QuakeCon day one – A virtual reality

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Carmack keynote

  • On the topic of Rage, id was happy with the moment-to-moment gameplay...
  • …but apologised about the lack of a checkpoint system, the ending and a very specific apology for disappointed fans – “We’re going to do better.”
  • For Doom 3: BFG Edition, “Working on consoles does have a lot of advantages.” Also, PC, when it’s working right, is far, far better.”
  • Doom 3 : BFG is a gap-filler project that was originally shopped around to other studios before id realised it was the right team to do it.
  • Interestingly, Doom 3: BFG is more aggressive GPU-wise on consoles than Rage, but it will still run at 60fps (30fps for each eye in stereoscopic 3D).
  • Apparently, there’s a lot of id Tech 5 in Doom 3.
  • Code release and modding for iD Tech 5 is still TBD.
  • Carmack believes that handheld games—including mobile phones—powered by id Tech 4 are possible and wants them to be made.
  • He also likes the idea of an iterated version of Rage 2: fix the bad stuff, enhance the good. (This isn't confirmation of Rage 2.)
  • Doom 4 is being worked on now, but it has a “when it’s done” release label.
  • On the topic of the mixed messaging of Rage, “Everyone gets the messaging with Doom: shotguns and demons.”
  • “Rage did feel a little bit stiff.” Carmack stated that the world was a shell and there wasn’t much interactive material.
  • id has closed up its mobile development team and moved them across to Doom 4. Post-Doom 3: BFG, everyone at id will be working on Doom 4.
  • “The real aim is blockbuster AAA titles.” id remembers what it’s all about.
  • Carmack stressed that he wants to release more than one game a decade and intends on achieving this aim by maintaining the pipeline, which means id has to be disciplined in not changing tech things all the time. “It’s more important for us to make games faster.”
  • He’s been working on megatextures since the development of the original Doom 3.
  • Doom 3 was too dark. Agreed.
  • “Games were a lot more hardcore back in the old days.” This was on the topic of the survival-horror nature of Doom 3 with its limited ammo and the having to sacrifice a weapon for a torch. “Mainstreaming games has made them easier.”
  • “We’ve made a lot of mistakes already with Doom 4.”
  • He seemed excited about the prospect of next-gen consoles, but has signed a bunch of NDAs that doesn’t allow him talk about them.
  • Apparently, there are no OSX fanboys at id. His words.
  • Current-gen consoles just aren’t fast enough, hardware-wise.
  • Cloud gaming has a bright future, according to Carmack.
  • He’s extremely excited about virtual-reality gaming and id licenced out Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein in the early 90s to see what VR developers could do with them. “The truth is, they uniformly sucked really, really bad.”
  • According to Carmack, the problems still haven’t been solved decades later, and when he first started tinkering with the tech, the delays between head movement and display were more than 100ms. Unacceptable by his, standards.
  • He strongly considered waiting another decade to see if things had improved then.
  • Used an expensive part from his rocket system in one of his VR prototypes.
  • Certain VR equipment he tested was “like looking at the world through toilet paper tubes.”
  • While Carmack isn’t fully sold on 3D, he does like the fact that it makes more companies care more about 120Hz monitors.
  • He played guinea pig for improving VR tech by beaming a laser image directly into his eyes.
  • When id first started out, they took breaks to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, which explains why Carmack was continually comparing VR to “the holodeck”.
  • VR tech isn’t quite there yet, but it’s going in the right direction. In fact, it’s the first time ever that he’s wanted to invest in multiple video cards.
  • That being said, resolution is too low, latency is too high, tracking and orientation aren’t where they should be. He’s confident that all of these can be solved in the imminent future.
  • Current VR tech uses three cables: video, power and USB connection to a PC.
  • Carmack’s been approached by a lot of people who want to commercialise virtual reality, but he’s worried that it’s moving too fast.
  • He hated developing in Java Script because he had to change WebGL scripting with every browser update.
  • Carmack loves Intel. He said they just keep getting better and better every year.
  • It’s not a novel observation, but Carmack mentioned in passing that the Sony was a wee bit too ambitious with the PS3’s hardware and, because of this, it’s difficult to develop on.
  • When asked for his thoughts on Windows 8, he pointed out that id “stuck with Windows XP to the bitter end.” No-one in the office used Windows Vista and Windows 8 has yet to be tested internally, but Carmack acknowledged that this is something that should be done given the impending release of Doom 3: BFG Edition. His final thoughts on Windows 8 were that there wasn’t a single feature that he was salivating for.

I’ll post a QuakeCon day two wrap-up in the next 24 hours. Be sure to check out some of the pics from the day, too, attached to this article.

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See more about:  id  |  bethesda  |  quakecon  |  john  |  carmack
 
 

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