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Where Carmack Goes Next

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the with-the-end-of-q3 dept.

Linux 94

JayZee writes "The guys at Shugashack have word on John Carmack's plans now that Quake3 is finished. He's going to be looking into cyberspace virtual realities, and even better he's going to be working on open source projects like glx much more! " Well, that's a nice mix: Free Software projects and realizing cyberspace realities, combined with a man who can make them happen.

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Old, old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510814)

Sheesh, this isn't news...Carmack has been helping with Mesa/GLX for quite some time now.

Virtual computing (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510815)

That DOOM admin stuff was cool. It is sort of exciting to me to think that we could be moving to a new paradigm in computing...that a GUI would not be a mere /facade/ to the computer, but that actual actions in the virtual environment translate directly into actions on OS objects. (Plus I watched Matrix twice last weekend)

Woo! (2)

rde (17364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510816)

I think the cheap little web cams have some interesting possibilities

It's innocuous little sentences like that that result in major paradigm shifts a couple of years down the line. This could be interesting.

1. Sorry for saying 'paradigm shift'
2. Am I the only one that had to change the character set so I could read this page?

Disney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510817)

I thought he was going to Disney World!

Off the rails at last! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510818)

"He's going to be looking into cyberspace virtual realities, "

This usually indicates the end of a productive career (although not, sadly, a lucrative one). I'll be happy to see Carmack buck the trend, but I'm skeptical.

Virtual Reality appears to kill everything that touches it, from technical standards (VRML) to creative ideas (see n-thousand pointless 3D metaphors for filesystems and the like).

That's not to say the field is a dead end - I'm aware of some truly useful projects - surgical training tools, and in the UK the fire departments in some cities are equipped with VR software containing detailed building plans. Flight simulators are virtual reality devices that have been around long before the trendy moniker

But, at the moment useful VR seems to be only done using expensive closed hardware and software.

Carmack's Future (1)

joecoder (107223) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510819)

I have always beleived that Carmack would eventually step into the realm of 'virtual worlds'. His engines are simply screaming to be used for all sorts of interesting things, perstent virtual worlds, interfaces...the possibilites are endless. Kudos to him for wanting to try and make things really amazing.

Velly interesting! (3)

Ratface (21117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510820)

This is good news. Since the early 90's, when VR suddenly went from being the latest buzz to being a dirty word, any projects that have tried to investigate new advances in VR tech have either been doomed to budget failure, or have had to cloeak the project in other terms such as 3D visualisation, or such.

It takes someone like Carmack, who having completed 3 rounds of Quake (if you get my drift), have the time, inclination, clout and reasons to put some heavy duty effort into getting some real cool "3D visualisation" technology into the hands of Joe Schmuck (that's you and me :-).

.. either that or perhaps the militay will hand us some of it's offshoots :-)

Reinventing Cyberspace (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510821)

Sounds to me like the Metaverse in the making. Snow Crash, here we come. I know that other attempts are underway to make Metaverse-like worlds, but I would give Carmack the highest likelihood of creating something that I would actually want to use. If that's the kind of thing he's talking about.


Re:So he is responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510822)

go crawl back under your rock

Hey! did you guys read the .plan? (2)

Lonesmurf (88531) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510823)

"We will be supporting Q3 for quite some time. Any problems we have will get fixed, and some new features m[a]y sneak in. "

Hehe. Unscheduled upgrades are always a welcome thing.


Re:So he is responsible (1)

Darchmare (5387) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510824) Kansas.


- Jeff A. Campbell
- VelociNews ( [] )

'd:>mkdir research' (3)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510825)

I'm not going to overanalyze Carmack's words and try to figure out what he's going to sink his fingers into next, but I will point out this little line in his plan. A lot of people on Slashdot flame MS as a user environment, as a development environment, and as a networking environment, but Carmack does indeed use NT for the majority of his development (and not because he's locked into it). It just goes to show everyone that they don't need to be tied to one OS just because they use one OS.

Mark troll, flamebait, whatever.

Re:Virtual computing (1)

[Bruce] (110799) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510826)

Im with you that this would be very cool and everything but I do think that where carmack is headed is different. This sort of VR involves a (in my view) a 3d model of yourself that you can use to interact with other ppl or programs etc. The point is that you can have whatever maodel you like, and appear however you want. In my opinion webcams take the hole point away from the net in that you are no longer anonymous and cannot create your own image.

Re:So he is responsible (0)

Beguile (75476) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510827)

You can't be serious... If you are, you're a COMPLETE IDIOT!!

way to go carmack! (4)

md_doc (8431) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510828)

First off for those people thinking carmack is selling out and not going to create another game... your on drugs. Carmack is one of the fastest and best programmers out there. Did everyone forget that GLquake was created in one day on a bet that he could not port quake over to using OpenGL in one day?

Carmack just sees things different then everyone else and he wants to see if its possible to do some pretty sweat stuff. The really awesome thing that no one is even noticing is that carmack and id have million of "followers" if you will. With carmack doing some side work on opensoure projects this means only good news for the world of opensource because now the people who are hacking quake and quake2 and quake3 might think about getting involved in some opensource stuff which will be nice. Also note that carmack loves to do research and loves to just go and hide away from everything and everyone and just code for days and weeks even on things he finds interesting... its definitly fun to do if you can find the time to get away.

Good luck with research carmack can't wait to see what you come up with. It always ends up being exciting.


More Open Source than we give him credit (3)

Shaheen (313) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510829)

I think that Carmack and company are actually more of an open source company than we give them credit. No, it may not be directly dealing with source code, but I think it deals more with knowledge with this company.

id Software has always pushed the limits of 3D software and hardware acceleration, and they've also given a *lot* back to the community. Yes, they make money off of licensing their rendering engine, but (from what I hear), the id engineers are always willing to talk to you about how they accomplished certain tasks.

Like a true geek, Carmack is proud to show off his algorithms to the rest of us - and he's not worried that someone's gonna go off and copy it and patent it and make him pay for his own inventions (like some patent-grabbing idiots out there). (BTW - if id patented their rendering algorithms, how much do you think the value would increase in today's market? Two fold?)

id may not be Open Source in terms of giving all their source code away, but they give a lot of *knowledge* back to the community that keeps them swimming in dollar bills :) That's why I'm willing to put the $40 into QIII, because Carmack and company is a software firm I can trust to put something back into the community after they have made their millions.

I guess I was rambling a bit much there, but that's just how I feel...

cybertown (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510830)

Maybe he shoudl check out THey are an interactive site, that seems to be interested in doing some pretty cool stuff. They are in SF, CA somewhere.

send flames > /dev/null

Read it again, and pay attention this time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510831)

. . . the point wasn't "whooo, he's working on GLX" -- it was "whoo, he's working more on GLX". Get a grip on yourself. Duh, of course the mere fact of his involvement in GLX isn't news -- do you really think you're the only person that knows that? . . . sigh . . .

Re:'d:>mkdir research' (1)

mikera (98932) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510832)

Quite right. You should use the right OS for the job. I'm a big GNU/Linux advocate, but if Linux is going to win in the mainstream, it will have to win by being *actually* better rather than simply having great potential.

Despite a lot of philosophical/technical problems with Windows, I still use it as my primary development environment.

It's got my favourite Dev. tools (Delphi, KAWA), favourite spreadsheet (Excel) and I actually like Internet Explorer for it's speed and user interface. Even if the GUI sucks, it's still relatively consistent and well supported.

But once those tools or equivalent are running on Linux, it will be a different story....

so you are responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510833)

It is because of people like you that we have problems. You are too quick to blame and look for the easy solution. How can you even say that John is responsible for the upraise of violence- he just makes a game. The problem in the recent upraise of violence lays elsewhere than with video games.

I could threaten your life here but that would really screw up my arguement (a joke).

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

Mong0 (105116) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510834)

To add to the usefulness of VR, it does have some very good uses. I saw a show the other day on the Dicovery Channel talking about Zoophobia (fear of animals). And how one group was using VR to desensitize the patient to the encounter of spiders. Before the desensitizing the patient could not get closer than 6' from a spider without feeling major anxiety. But after a several hour session of VR where the patient would first push the VR spider into a sink and wash them down the drain to finally touching a fake spider that was hooked into the VR world and actually hold it and inspect it. After the 2 hour session the patient was actually able to touch a real spider and has not had a bout of Zoophobia since.

Also the Government uses VR to build there ships in VR from the ground up to include every single nut and bolt to make sure that the design is viable. Hopefully John can bring this technology into the everyday usage. With someone with this much knowledge and clout if anyone can do it I believe John can.

I noticed that . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510835)

. . . you didn't get marked as troll or flamebait, as you wanted.

Well, I'm not a moderator, so I can't help you in your little quest, so here's the next best thing:

(pause while I clear my throat)
"Troll! Flamebait bastard!"

There, now do you feel better? Next time you wanna whine about moderation, you can just bring up this message and bask in the glow . . .

Some careful words on fame (3)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510836)

Let me add some thoughts for those people who may not be heavily involved in the game industry (or, more specifically, the 3D engine side of the game industry). I'm going to say this in a positive way, without any complaining. Do you know:

1. Who wrote the incredible 3D engine for Descent 3, released a few months ago? (This game is flashier than Quake III, technology wise).
2. For that matter, who wrote the 3D engines for Descent 1 and Descent 2?
3. Who wrote the ultra-fast engine for the soon to be released Slave Zero (a Windows demo was released this past summer).
4. Who programmed 1989's multi-processor 3D arcade game, Hard Drivin', which was so groundbreaking it even made it into the color plate section of many graphics texts?
5. Who programmed the 3D Hard Drivin' inspired games Stunts and Stunt Driver, which were released for the PC before Wolftenstein 3D and Ultima Underworld? (These were "drive anyway, do anything" games, not "follow the track" games).
6. Who conceived and wrote the engines for the following popular racing games: The Need for Speed, Daytona, Ridge Racer, San Francisco Rush, and Hydro Thunder?

What's interesting is that none of these people are one hit wonders. All of them have stayed in the game industry and made huge contributions. But who do you hear about? Carmack and Sweeney. They may be the golden boys of publicity, but they're not alone in terms of technical prowess by any means.

Web cams (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510837)

It could be a lot of fun if you e.g. could communicate with the computer through gestures. It would probably not do much to spreadsheets, but gaming and chatting might benefit.

What ever happened to Trinity? (1)

Rexifer (81021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510838)

After Quake, the next project was supposed to be Trinity, which I thought was to be a departure from the run and gun games id's been working on lately. Two more Quakes later, no Trinity. I'm kind of wondering if the research Carmack's putting in now is proof-of-concept research...

Anybody heard anything about this?

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

Gid1 (23642) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510839)

After 'n' years of pushing the envelope, he'd be mad if he didn't take a break!

Anyway, I bet he comes up with some pretty neat stuff, and then decides to start work on another game, possibly based on that research.

It's a damn good way to ponder without the stress of everything resulting directly in a game.

Even if he doesn't, it's not as if he won't contribute significantly to whatever field of 3d wossnames he decides to pursue.

The rest of 'id' are going to have enough on their hands exploiting the Q3 engine before they need him to pull another hat out of a rabbit.

Re:What ever happened to Trinity? (1)

aok (5389) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510840)

JC had a info about this a long time ago in his finger.

Trinity was just a name that represented the various things on which he was doing research. It got stuck as his next-generation engine.

It was not practical to complete all aspects of his research (Trinity) to release their next game.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510841)

It will be interestig to see what Carmack does next. Did he metion wether he was going to do these things and work on another game simultaniously? iD was making plans to release another game after Q3, some sort of single player thing, no?

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

Lavahead (81116) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510842)

In a previous interview (alas, I can't remember which one), Carmack said that after q3 he wanted to work on a 3D persistant online environment, along with whatever project 'id Software' is working on.
So it wouldn't be like all those silly VRML filesystems, or whatever. Perhaps a much more advanced FPS in a global, persistant world.

Re:More Open Source than we give him credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510843)

Quake3 is an excellent implementation of graphics algorithms that were developed in the 1980s. Most of the apparent progress of 3d graphics has been computer getting faster.

Not that any of this would stop the patent office from granting a patent on it.

Re:More Open Source than we give him credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510844)

FYI, id *MIGHT* be able to patent some stuff, given the idiocy of the PTO. But any patent they got would be just as bad as any of the other recent patents. Id isn't generally in the business of creating new techniques. Carmack didn't invent bsps..or portals, or multipass lightmaps, or network prediction, etc.

This is NOT a slam on id/Carmack. He has proven to be the best in the world, IMO, at taking these ideas and applying them in a usable fashion to real-time games, but to give him credit for the actual theory and base algorithms behind this stuff is as silly as all those fools that give Atari credit for PacMac because they first played in on the Atari 2600. Its a huge discredit to those (mostly in academia) who come up with this stuff. Somewhat ironically, a lot of the shoulders upon which Carmack stand currently work for Microsoft's R&D.

Ok that's all.

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

Watcher (15643) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510845)

Bit of a history note for folks: Carmack has been pushing for a massive virtual world system since development on Quake commenced. Even at the time (as Michael Abrash wrote), he was planning on building the metaverse described in Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash (if you have not read it, do so). Technology is finally progressing to the point where a massive, persistent environment can be created. Carmack probably has the greatest chance of pulling it off since he has the experience, and the time to do so. Here's hoping...

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510846)

Gaming is probably the place where this is least true. Carmack has spent years in perfecting a virtual world. It currently has limited forms of interaction, and is short on non-visual/audio feedback, but it's pretty good.

Now if he was to put his experience to work creating a game like Ultima Online, that would rock. All the crisp visuals and responsive controls we expect from Quake, in a persistant massively multiplayer environment.

It'd be interesting also, to be able to, in a virtual world, link the users gestures and facial expressions to their character. It wouldn't even have to look like you. But, wouldn't something like MS Comic chat be more interesting with high-poly nicely skinned avatars whose facial expressions mimicked those of the user (as seen via the camera on the computer) and whose lips matched the words they were 'saying'?

Many people might be more comfortable with the 'avatar' concept if it actually worked the way we're used to in the real world. Currently, an avatar in chat is just a picture that flashes next to your words. Big deal. But, if you were in something like a fancy lounge, with avatars that could sit down at couches, sip coffee, etc, and saw this 3d world through their eyes and had your words, either typed or spoken, said via the character...

Then instead of chat being nothing but a bunch of words scrolling down a page, you'd be able to wander around the room(s), hearing other people's words via 3d positional audio, when you were near them. You'd find interesting discussions by looking for large groups of people and listening in, or looking for people you recognize, etc.

It's not something *I* currently want, but I can see it being a killer app.

Re:Virtual computing (1)

ldanna (39676) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510847)

bThis will never happen. There is no good maping between OS objects and
physical ones, or "virtual" representations of physical ones. If
virtual reality is ever used for a main user interface, it will bear
the same kind of relationships to underlying concepts as the GUI does
now. That doom-admin thing was amusing, but things like that will
never be useful.

You should watch less movies

Re:More Open Source than we give him credit (1)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510848)

id may not be Open Source in terms of giving all their source code away, but they give a lot of *knowledge* back to the community that keeps them swimming in dollar bills :) Plus, they give all their source code away. :)

id has released the source to Wolf3D and Doom, and would have already released the source to Quake, had they not promised licensees of the engine that they would not do so until their products shipped. So, when Daikatana ships, um, any day now, we can expect to see Quake source as well.

Re:Some careful words on fame (1)

ywwg (20925) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510849)

Wow. If I searched around my acres of 5.25" disks at home, I think I would still find my old copy of Stunt Driver. That game was extremely cool. It used polygon-based 3d graphics to let you do loop-d-loops and corkscrews and stuff. It was also completely customizable, so you could make the breaks better, or the road slicker. This was a truely 360-degree game.

In previous interviews... (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510850)

Carmack has said that he read Snow Crash and said "I can do 90% of that." Maybe now he will :) Hey John, can I have access to those trapdoors?

Hmmm (1)

John Scott (115713) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510851)

Consider this.... The software must analyze the video from the webcam with probably neural net technology or something akin... While this is going on the system must render the 3d world on the users screen... Then bear in mind that webcams are low res... The bottom line : this is not feasible. It would be easier, less computationaly intensive and cheap to just use ultrasound with sensors attached to hands elbows and whatnot...

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510852)

He should do something USEFUL.

Like write and GPL a cross-platform, high performance, highly abstracted high-level, 3d API (like QD3D was supposed to be).

Then invent a mind-control ray, and use it on all game developers in the world to force them to abandon DirectX, and switch to the superior technology he wrote (because the fact that it IS superior, means that nobody will use it).

Then people will start writing games in the same way Id did Quake3, simultaneous cross-platform development. The way it should be. The way they do it in Heaven.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".

Carmack's tech and VR (2)

Indomitus (578) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510853)

I have always thought that if we were going to get good virtual realities like the ones we see in Snow Crash and Neuromancer the engine would come from games, not from weird VR experiments. VR experiments have given us VRML which isn't totally terrible but the way it's built isn't workable for large scale net environments. An internet ready engine like Q3 would be perfect. The net code in q3 is awesome and if anybody can hook it up to a nice interface for wandering around a world instead of just shooting at people it's Carmack.

Re:Virtual computing (2)

jflynn (61543) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510854)

I agree that an OSes and filesystems just aren't a very good fit for virtual reality, they are abstractions by nature.

To imagine a real application you have to think about e-commerce.

Suppose businesses could design a 3d level that presented their products to customers, who could wander around thru rooms, looking at shelves, watching simulated demos, and adding items to their shopping basket. The potential for competitive creativity funded by huge advertising budgets is fairly interesting here. You may rue the commercialism, but it's a real application that will happen no later than the widespread adoption of broadband in my opinion.

verse project (1)

[verse]Eskil (118352) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510855)

Often very true,
Most VR projects are either, plain silly or way too over kill, but still some of us are doing some interesting stuff.
Last week we attended a seminar were some VR people clamed that to do anything 3D on the net you would need 75 Bit, QOS and no latency. This is why the VR community needs people like carmack.
We are currently working on a free, OS platform and we think that VR does have a future but not as something you put on your head. but something you can run like a game and that is free , OS, multiplatfom, lightweight. and built by a community.
check out
We are still very early in development.

Re:Off the rails at last! (2)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510856)

And maby then I can finally get to "Be John Malchavich" (sporry for the mispelling). HEHE Have you ever seen that movie? its great!

Re:'d:>mkdir research' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510857)

delphi - soon out for gnu/linux excel - probably never , but i for must of ppl's needs quatro pro, staroffice calc and aplixware's spreedshet is good enough. try gnomeric also kawa can probably be replaced with Borland JBuilder....

where is the romero? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510858)


Keep in mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510859)

that Q3 would make a lousy virtual world. Q3 (Q1 & Q2 as well)is limited to small indoor areas. The Unreal engine would be a better choice(from current tech)for any sort of virtual would since it allows large outdoor areas. I guess my point is that Carmack's past & current work do not really lend themselves to creating virtual worlds, unless you want a small, cramped one.

Re:Carmack's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510860)

Damn you Carmack... I wanted to do that! :) (persistent, extensible virtual worlds that is). Too bad I don't have time and money to be able to work on it full time (ok, mainly just the money).

If he's going to do it, I hope he does it right. Metaobjects, metaactions, distributed universe. Make it like the web so that people can set up their own universe servers and hyperlink them (via portals in the universe). Built in scripting language for metaobjects, and metaactions (imagine having default chat actions -waving, laughing, etc- then walking into the "Quake" section of a world and having your actions redefined to be jumping, shooting, etc.) People would literally be able to create any type of first person game on their own server just by scripting the right actions and creating the right objects. I'd be like a MOO, only with a kick-ass 3D rendering engine. The skill required would be in building the 3D models.

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch from what Carmack has already put into Quake 3 (for custom mods) except that structure would have to be put in for things to change at runtime instead of compile time. The major difference would be the distributed universe.

btw, if it sounds like I've done this sort of thing, it's because I have (but got hung up on some of the limitations of Java3D --like efficient collision detection and rendering speed-- and I could never seem to find the time). I might release the code as open source just to see what comes of it.

Re:Some careful words on fame (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510861)

> 5. Who programmed the 3D Hard Drivin' inspired games Stunts
> 6. Who conceived and wrote the engines for the following popular racing games: The Need for Speed,

The Driving Team. Ah, the memories.

"Stunts", and "The Need for Speed" was developed by EA Canada.

I was lucky enough to work on the Need For Speed PSX port when I was a co-op student. (The first one back in 95/96)

Just a few of the names I remember off the top of my head...

Hanno - Producer
Wei Teh - Lead programmer
Brad Gour - track guru
Dave Lucas - physics guy
Daniel Teh - replay / interface

If I saw the team pic in the manual I could tell you who worked on what.

To bring this thread back on topic, as have you mentioned, it's a whole TEAM effort to get a great game out the door.

I don't remember Sweeney or Carmack wanting any of the lime light, instead they want to be "left alone" to do research and programm, but everyone keeps making them into "super-programmers-stars" (which no doubt about it, they ARE talented.)

To the contrary, they are some of the more publically modest programmers !

Michael Abrash has a good quote on game development, which Carmack has said as well: 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.

Seems to sum it up.

IAAGD (I am a game developer)


Similar to what the creator of Riven is doing... (1)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510862)

One of the Miller? brothers is also working on VR worlds-type stuff, along with Richard Vander Wende, the man responsible for most of Riven's 'feel'. I would love to see Carmacks awesome talents + The Cyan teams awesom talents blended. Riven comes close to being a VR world, but lacks Quake's immersivity I would love to see the two combined.

Re:More Open Source than we give him credit (5)

John Carmack (101025) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510863)

There have been a few things that didn't have prior art that probably could have been gotten past a patent examiner -- constant Z perspective texturing in DOOM, surface caching in Q1, and the overbright gamma table stuff to trade range for precision in Q3, for example. The patent issue came up at Id a few times until a made it perfectly clear that if the company pursued any patents, I would leave. John Carmack

Re:Off the rails at last! (5)

John Carmack (101025) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510864)

Hey, >I didn't say "virtual reality"... I tend to agree with your assessment. VR is a term loaded with high-enthusiasm / low-results connotations. We have worked with a few VR companies in the past, and I have always found them to not have finishing ability. So much of the VR world (and much other academic style research) is high concept, but sketchy on the details. Most VR experiences are heavy on the "You are in a virtual world!!!!", but don't spend too much time on exactly what you are supposed to be doing there. Can you poke and prod to find interesting things? What happens when someone pushes you? Can you dodge something effectively? Are the controls linear, or integrated over time? etc. I think that one of my strengths is a blend of idealism and pragmatism that has resulted in good results over the years. In any case, of the half dozen things I listed, I am clearly not going to be able to do all of them, so it may be a moot point... John Carmack

Re:'d:>mkdir research' (2)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510865)

Actually, what I found interesting in that line was the `mkdir'. I'm pretty certain that most dos users used `md' instead of `mkdir' (infact, it was a long time before I knew about `mkdir'), and while MS supports both `md' and `mkdir', unix (ignoring aliases' only has `mkdir', I was suprised to see John use `mkdir'. I guess he was either being clear (`mkdir' is easier to guess the meaning of than `md') or he is in the habit of using mkdir from his unix experience (and I don't mean just his recent Linux use (glx)).

I don't flame MS as a user environment: it's actually not too bad when it's not crashing; but as an admin environment, it sucks (95 and NT4 that is, 3.x wasn't too bad). For a couple of years I actually liked using Windows because it gave me a (pre-emptive) multitasking environment for my dos development. Yes, those dos boxes in windows 3.x were actually preemptivly task switched. The real windows OS was a 32 bit preemptive multitasking `os' (as such) with the windows everyone knew and loved running in one virtual machine (as a DPMI client) and each dos box in its own vm. This actually worked quit well so long as the dos programs were well behaved: security was almost non-existant.

Windoes is ok, I guess, but it doesn't meet my needs (and I don't like it), so I will never willingly go back to it. The only time I ever use it now is to fill out my timesheet, and that's on someone elses computer:).

Re:Carmack's Future (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510866)

A lot of this stuff has already been done by the quake mod scene. I remember one project that would link servers together in a web. Enter certain teleporters, and you connect to a different server. Another project would autodownload maps that the client didn't have (didn't quakeworld do that too?). That's two thirds off what you need right there. Add persistent objects, and a global database to keep track of them, and you've got a crude Metaverse.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510867)

The increase in desktop space alone would probably be worth it (a sphere of windows instead of 4 2D boxes). I can see applications for virtual meetings in 3D space (modeling and drawing in 3D rather than with, like, Netmeeting or something)

Mirrors of ID Software's finger servers (1)

MrHat (102062) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510868)

Just in case anyone is having trouble getting to the page mentioned in the article, [] caches ID's .plan updates as well. John Carmack [] , Graeme Devine [] , Xian [] and the rest of the crew are over there.

Re:Web cams (1)

doomy (7461) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510869)

Actually there is a whole genre of games that does it. The only one I recall is mind storm(?) that came with my sister's quickcam. it worked pretty ok with my bt848 card as well.. nice.. cute :) good for exerciing.. bascially you controlled a space ship with your whole body.. move your body from side to side.. or flap your arms (ahem wings) .. and so on

Re:Off the rails at last! (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510870)

Very cool. I always thought that VRML was invented by people who assumed a world of fat pipes and weak clients (and supported in that assumption by SGI). Quake was made for the real world of thin pipes and ever more powerful clients. VRML's very broken method of handling Levels of Detail is a great example of that: send all the models in one big file - real bright.

I've been raving about this for a while [] . Doom and Quake have been the best possible proving ground for system that could be adopted to nearly any situation. If Carmak makes a commercial interactive system that requires one large initial download for the "browser", but has small, easily downloadable enviorments (automatically, so the user is unaware of it even happening) he stands a very good chance of creating the Next Big Thing. Remember, before Jeff Hawkins came up with the Pilot, everyone said that the PDA was dead and that the Newton had buried it. I'm sure one compelling product can undo the years of bad ideas by other people.

John, please consider B-Rep geometry with streamed branching and primarily procedural textures with few bitmaps. And a global "real estate" system, so all of the worlds can link together. This could finally be the successor to the web.

Re:More Open Source than we give him credit (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510871)

Somewhat ironically, a lot of the shoulders upon which Carmack stand currently work for Microsoft's R&D.

So very true. Bill apparently gave Nathan a blank check to hire the best people in a number of different fields. Whatever his other sins, Billy did manage to nearly re-assemble the graphics group of NYIT. He has Alvy Ray Smith, Jim Blinn and Andrew Glassner (if you don't know these names, you don't know CG) all in one department. Interestingly, the rest of the CG pioneers seem to be working for Paul Allan's Interval Research - Dick Shoup (who wrote the first paint program with Alvy) and Alias' Gavin Miller.

Re:Some careful words on fame (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510872)

Of course Abrash used to work at id. I used to talk with him. Wanna say 1995?


Re:Carmack's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510873)

It's still missing the runtime redefinable actions at that can be scoped to sections of the universe (ie. metaactions that are limited in space). This could probably be added by a quake mod as well, though, as long as the actions didn't deviate too much from standard quake actions.

Persistent objects could be done without a global database. An object is defined on a given server, and as long as no one moves it, no other server needs to know about it. If a user picks up an object and walks to another server, then that object will have to be copied over (kind of like distributed cut n' paste). There is the potential for someone's server to be cluttered by objects, however (never underestimate malicious users). Some sort of object import security would likely have to be put in place to prevent this.

Re:Keep in mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510874)

Q1 and Q2 had limitations on doing large areas due to the surface cache and induced BSP splits. Q3 doesn't have either of those limits, so your only constraints are modeled polygon count.

John Carmack

Re:Carmack's Future (1)

Rational (1990) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510875)

A MOO with a 3d engine? You may want to give EverQuest a try, unless you have a social life and plan to keep it, that is.

Driving games (1)

Felius (56017) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510876)

I guess this is a bit off-topic, but while we're talking about driving games does anyone know what Sean(sp?) Southern is up to these days? I had so much fun playing the old Lotus and Supercar games, and I last remember seeing his name in the credits for a cool rally game on the PC a few years back.
make clean; make love --without-war

Re:'d:>mkdir research' (1)

Rational (1990) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510877)

Funny, I flame MS mostly as a user environment. My productivity drops by three quarters when I move from my 6-year-old SGI Indy to my Pentium II 300 running NT, mostly because I don't have immediate access to my customized scripts, aliases and hotkeys.

I know that much of this stuff can be had in the form of UNIX tools for NT, but I cannot be arsed to get them. My goal is to get off NT as soon as I possibly can.

I want in! How can we help? (2)

garyrich (30652) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510878)

I agree with a lot of the comments that John Carmack and a few others have the best position from which to develop useful VR environments that do something someone wants done. I'd be really be interested in how/where we can get involved - from a couple of perspectives.

Would the work be inside of ID or as part of a new startup? I don't think ID is publicly traded so I can't invest in them and get filthy rich (PS: my corporate nanny firewalls their site and tunneling out and lynxing from elsewhere gives me "Eeek, No frames support. Please upgrade your web browser" --- don't do that).

I can't code at John's level, but what could less genius hackers contribute to a project like this? I'll finish learning OpenGL and even....c++ if needed. Hey, if ID were hiring I'd even go back into software QA (Oh, God! did I say that out loud!?).

Think of an open source component to the project. I can see a medium hard time convincing IDers and VC of a total open source vision for a VR project,but open sourcing big chunks and getting the community involved would make easy some things
that are otherwise hard.

Hey, he may actually read this. The "John Carmack" that made a couple of posts a half hour ago doesn't have a PGP key in his user page, but it does sound like him.


Re:Hmmm (1)

Rational (1990) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510879)

Not really. I used to have a demo called EyeCatcher or something like that running on my seriously under-powered SGI Indy. Its motion analysis was good enough to let you control your character on the screen, and probably the entire computing power of an SGI Indy wouldn't ammount to a hill of beams when lost in the sloshing masses of power of modern PCs.

I don't think using a camera as an interface would cause any serious overhead.

Re:Hmmm (1)

jackmott (71631) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510880)

its a good thing smart people like carmack actually TRY these things rather than just assuming its impossible :)

and no, you dont need neural nets necessarily. You dont even know what hes trying to do!!!

Imagine a setup where the web cam looks at your face, if you smile, the texture on your model smiles, something like that. That is certainly doable.

whoa, its carmack....maybe :) (0)

jackmott (71631) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510881)


A sick idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510882)

I can see some other weirder uses for quickcams... What about in your standard giant robot game, instead of nothing at the controls, it could be you at your computer... heh... Same goes for Quake titles if they could figure out how to frame your face they could capture your last frustrated "Gawd, where was that guy" look just before you bit one ;)

in JC's plan (1)

harhar (91353) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510883)

he says:

I have two rendering technologies that I intend to write research engines for.

This seems very interesting. John, if you are reading, will you throw us any scraps about these babies, are they speed optimizations, quality optimizations, both, or other? Also, it seems like a lot of people are speaking for you in this story thread, are they even close to what you are thinking?

No way! (was Re:Hmmm) (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510884)

It would be easier, less computationaly intensive and cheap to just use ultrasound with sensors attached to hands elbows and whatnot...

Dunno about you, but I'm not gonna be attaching a sensor to my whatnot, no matter how much cheaper it makes things!

probably the same thing that happened to Prey (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510885)

can we say 'vaporware'?

Man, you have a long memory, whoever you are. I salute ya. I was going to post a remark about Trinity myself and you beat me to it. Grrrrr! hehe

Re:I want in! How can we help? (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510886)

(PS: my corporate nanny firewalls their site and tunneling out and lynxing from elsewhere gives me "Eeek, No frames support. Please upgrade your web browser" --- don't do that).

Actually, it's good advice...more recent versions of Lynx list the links inside of the frame, as well as the idiotic message the too-lazy-to-write-HTML-4 webmaster put there instead of doing the right thing. Not that it applies in this case, as [] doesn't have any frames on it, and it perfectly navigable with Lynx. Of course, the webmaster should have put in alt=" " on all the non-linked gifs. But for the most part, the Id team seems to understand the value of not turning anyone away...or at least that some people are going to get Quake for a new platform even before they get a web browser. I mean, there have priorities.

Re:So he is responsible (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510887)

This man by himself is responsible for the outcry of violence in todays youth.

Read some history - up until a hundred or so years ago, one of the most popular forms of public entertainment was executions. Hanging, pressing to death with stones, eviseration, beheading, burning - can you imagine the sound of someone being burned at the stake? The smell?

According to your logic, all of the kids who saw this - and it was considered a family outing - should have grown up and turned into serial killers or worse.

The truth of course is this: violent crimes in the US have declined. The worst school killing was not Columbine, but in the 1930s in Minnesota...what video games did that guy play? What has changed is the reporting. 24-hour news sources have to keep the pipe full, so things that might have not made the national press before now remain in the public eye for weeks.

Re:'d:>mkdir research' (1)

chandoni (28843) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510888)

You mean you guys don't put set prompt="d:>" in your .cshrc?


Re:Carmack's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510889)

A first person 3D engine, like Quake, that is. I've never played EverQuest (nor Ultima Online for that matter), but I don't believe that users can build their own objects and import them into the game, nor have I seen any persistent universe game that is a metaverse (ie. allowing users to literally build their own game within the game).

And yeah, I've heard about EverQuest addictions, that's one of the reasons why I've stayed away from it. I prefer to spend more time programming than gaming, but when I get into a game, the reverse usually happens.

Re:I want in! How can we help? (2)

garyrich (30652) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510890)

Actually, it's good advice...more recent versions of Lynx list the links inside of the frame, as well as the idiotic message the too-lazy-to-write-HTML-4 webmaster put there instead of doing the right thing

true, but... I couldn't telnet to home because
corporate firewalls ssh (I'm going to get mad at
them one of these days) so I had to telnet to
one of my domains at and use their
installed lynx to take a quick peek at idsoftware
and see if I can buy stock. I can't upgrade their
lynx - or rather an email would probably get them
to do it (they are pretty responsive) but I just
wanted to peek at the "corporate info" page and
it's not worth the hassle. I'm lazy, sue me.

The sort of "unusual but it happens" scenario that
nobody thinks about when they build pages that
just flat break if your browser doesn't support
feature 'X'. Not that I haven't done it myself
after banging my head on the desk and chanting
'No No No' at guys in ties hasn't worked...

this has nothing to do with The Topic at Hand though.


Re:Carmack's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510891)

I have a friend that plays EverQuest incessantly. It's practically all he does. I don't get it, either. Even though the perceived immersion aspect is interesting and multi-user is interesting, the quests don't seem all that interesting and the 3D engine absolutely *sucks*. 99% of the time I call him, he's "in the middle of a game." Tragically, all he seems to do is drink and play. ;)

Re:Hmmm (1)

slashdot-me (40891) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510892)

Why is it that whenever people are confronted with a problem that can't be solved with a perl one-liner they immediatly think "it must need a neural net." WTF? It's always either "neural net" or "quantum computer" or "fuzzy logic."


Re:'d:>mkdir research' (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510893)

I HATE using Windows, it's totally counter-intuitive to me now that I've been using Linux exclusively at home for upwards of a year now. But I must say that Visual Studio is a pretty sweet development environment, which is why Carmack chooses to continue to use it. I primarily use InterDev at work (we're all NT on the web side, which is where I do my thing), its youth definitely shows (it's only at ver. 2), and it's got some pretty ugly bugs, but overall, it's got some great features that I don't think any IDE in Linux has yet.

Re:Keep in mind... (1)

goon (2774) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510894)

on the subject of virtual worlds when is a major FPS game going to model natural environments instead of re-hashing interiors. Now i realise that most are leveraging on their current expertise in modelling architecture/code etc., but you can only go so far with interiors. When is the bar going to be lifted? Exteriors was one of the first things I looked for in Doom. Fighting imps in the open. Nicely done by the way. But that was '93. When I checked out Q3 screen shots..., hmmm not much improvement from what I could see.

I dont think I'm being overly critical here. The interiors have been done to death (and done extremly well at that). Time for the radical leap from order, precision of geometric lines to fractal geometry. Now is a good time to experiment with exteriors, L-Systems, fractals and parametric equations... all that messy math...but I will bow to coding god who transforms virtual reality from the currently manufactured look to a natural one.

Re:Hmmm (1)

ed__ (23481) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510895)

because neural nets are the second best way to do *anything*. followed closely by genetic algorithms.

Re:I wanna live forever (1)

wct (45593) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510896)

I think the publicity around Carmack comes from the impression that he has a hand in almost every area of development of id's games. Most of the games you mention come across as team collaborations.

I can only answer a few of your questions, and guess at the others - for 1 and 2, the work was done by a programming team. There was an excellent article covering the development of Descent 3, with some details about D1/2, at GamaSutra []

3. I don't know much about Slave Zero.

A team from Atari programmed that engine, but perhaps more remarkable were the Atari ST/Amiga ports, which used the same processor (68000), albeit only one of them. These ports were done by a German fellow (Juergen Dietrich?) in a short space of time, and ran remarkably similarly to the original. An urban legend floating around says the same guy had ported the Star Wars coin-op to these 16-bit platforms from memory!

Number 5 is easy - Geoff Crammond of course! He had also programmed the classic "Revs" on the C64, and went on to program F1 Grand Prix for Microprose, along with it's sequel. Not sure about the game "Stunts" though.

I assume #6 were team collaborations at EA, Sega, Namco and Atari. Could you enlighten me?


Re:Driving games (1)

wct (45593) | more than 13 years ago | (#1510897)

Magnetic Fields (Shaun Southern's game development studio) do the popular Rally Championship series. The latest one is due this Christmas.


Future We'd Like To See (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#1510898)

Anyone who's read the FWLS series (Pre-Matrix by several years) will probably agree that FWLS is closer to this than "The Matrix"

Re:Off the rails at last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510899)

If anyone can do this, it's most definitely John Carmack! The Quake series will be teases compared to what it could be. The metaverse in my lifetime (excuse me as I wipe the drool off my chin) is just something that would be beyond cool. And if Carmack is successful, he will again be making the tools available for others to thrive in his creation.

Re:Some careful words on fame (1)

Skip666Kent (4128) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510900)

The makers of the driving games you mention refined an existing game genre. Carmack et al re-defined a genre all their own, and escalated the capabilities of this genre with a speed and enthusiasm that matched that of their audience. This was a first, and made a lot of gamers out of typically non-gamers (like myself).

The driving games aren't hailed as loudly, because they didn't make the impression that Wulf/Doom/Quake did. Driving games appeal to a narrower audience, regardless of tech innovation. Sad but true.

Re:Off the rails at last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510901)

[on having an avatar in a 3D world...]

With a first-person viewpoint, as in all of id's games, one cannot see much of one's avatar. But with a third-person viewpoint, with one's view being from a "chase cam", one will be able to get a good view of one's avatar.

That has been done in the form of some Quake mods, but the best-known example of a chase-cam game is the Tomb Raider series, where one's avatar has numerous and often excellent animations.

So if one wants to look at one's avatar, there ought to be some sort of out-of-body option :-)

More damn sequels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510902)

Quake IV: It's Hammer Time
Quake V: Stone Cold Quake
Quake VI: Fragfest 2010 - the year we made contact
Quake VII: SlashQuake

Re:Keep in mind... (2)

plunge (27239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510903)

Again, before you go spouting off about what tech would be best for VR, you have to consider what you want the VR to do for you. I mean, if the focus is on interactivity, what exactly is the point of a large outdoor area? Sure it looks pretty and lives up to an ideal of a "virtual world", but pragmatically, you want the things you interact with to be at your fingertips, not thousands of virtual miles away. What interactive VR really needs is a good interface for immediate surroundings- traveling to different locations need not be a "see building in distance, walk for several hours to enter building" but rather "think of building, select it, teleport to location." A massive RPG, on the other hand, where aimless wandering and exploring is the whole point, would demand a more expansive terrian engine.

Re:prolly not C++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510904)

I dont know about Q3, but Quake2 (the only one of his products I have sufficient experience in to comment in) must have been written in straight C. Plus I think Carmack is prolly too smart to stray from true, pure C.

Re:Off the rails at last! (2)

WNight (23683) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510905)

Actually, if you're looking for a well implemented third-person view game, Heretic II from Raven Software, using the Quake 2 engine is the best I've seen.

Tomb Raider's camera shakes around too much for an action game, making it hard to see where you're going. If you're running next to a wall for instance, and turn away from the wall, your viewpoint tried to maintain a constant distance from you, can't because of the wall, and shifts off to an awkward angle. In Heretic II, the camera is linked much more tightly the direction the character looks, and it always gives a usable view, even in the middle of jumping and fighting.

But, yes, an Avatar for something like a chat room would probably shift to third person view when you're talking, and to first if you were going to navigate the world.

The Tomb Raider engine isn't much of an example of anything except the power of pixelated tits to sell an obsolete engine with a repetetive game.

Re:Virtual computing (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1510906)

Well the MWI (mouse-window-icon) isn't that great either. Really, how much stuff do you actually DO on a desktop? The more stuff you try to fit into the metaphor, the more metaphor shear you get.

Yes, DOOM admin was amusing in a "useless" sort of way, but there are some /real/ issues involved in 3D interfaces. For instance, in a 2D interface everything has the same visual priority. Screen space is precious, and useless things take up just as much space as useful things. Also, in a 2D environment, there is a limited number of ways you can "drill-down" to get to info. Everything must be encapsulated in a higher level of abstraction ("My Computer"->"Hard Drive C:"->"Folder 1", etc.). The hierarchy in the interface is entirely linear. It might be usefull to have a hyperbolic sort of hierarchy and interface, whereby more "important" things get a larger focus. This /can/ be done on a pure 2D interface, but since 2D is only 2D attempting to show multi-dimensional hierarchies gets very ugly. These are all valid human-interface problems. Scientists work and write papers on this stuff. Although I'm not suggesting it is a "cure-all", we should be moving in new directions now that we can. Who knows...if it hasn't ever been done before how do we know it's not better?

Re:Some careful words on fame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1510907)

The answer to your first three questions is Jason Leighton. Of course he was working with others, but he was the driving force behind D3's two-in-one engine. After finishing up at Outrage, he promptly left for California to work on Slave Zero. Dr. Payne
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