Interview of John Romero

The English website Games TM recently interviewed John Romero in order to remember his career, and his work at id Software. They talk about many things including Wolfenstein 3-D:

We were all brainstorming one day for the next game to make, and I said ‘Why don’t we just redo Castle Wolfenstein in 3D?’ Me, Carmack and Tom Hall were all major Castle Wolfenstein freaks, so that was it. We were going ‘Can you imagine killing Nazis in 3D? There’s no game like that!’ One thing people don’t really know is that the game ran at 70fps because the video controllers of the time ran at 70fps, unlike today, where they’re mostly working at 60. So all of the technology behind it was built in four months, from January to April 1992, it was released on 5 May 1992 and the response was just massive. Like, Commander Keen’s sales were a joke compared to Wolfenstein. That first month we sold 4,000 copies and were doing phone interviews, and the local news came over and videoed the team. We really knew we were onto something – this 3D, violent thing is huge! [laughs]

They also discuss about his departure from id, and his difficult relationship with John Carmack soon before…

In 1995, when I wasn’t working directly on Quake, and John was working really hard on it, I was busy with all the other stuff in the company. Heretic had just come out, and I was dealing with that, as well as the development of Hexen with Raven. There was also the re-release of Doom to retail, the amount of things going on was huge, and I was the only one doing these things, and I think John didn’t feel like I put enough into Quake. I was building the level editor with John so that all of the level designers could build levels, and I kind of waited until the engine was ready to make the game. It took about a year to get to that point, and so I think that he was mad because I wasn’t on the game like he was on the game. I think that upset him, and it could have gotten fixed if we had reorganised the company into an engine development team and a game development team. If we could have carried on making games in the Doom engine and then when the Quake engine was ready switched over to that, that would have been an optimal strategy for the company, but we did not really analyse the problem back then. All we really knew was how to work on the game together. Looking back, I believe that was a mistake.

A sad view of what could have become id with a better internal organization…

John Carmack leaves id Software

After being hired by Oculus VR to work on their virtual reality headset – the Oculus Rift -, John Carmack has decided to definitely leave id Software, after 20 years spent to create some of the most advanced 3D engines for the company he created in 1990. From the original creators of Wolf3D, only Kevin Cloud still works for id.

John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,” id’s studio director Tim Willits told IGN. “John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.

Carmack also reacted on his twitter account: “I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn’t work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging.” He also added: “If they don’t want me to talk on stage at Quakecon next year, we’ll just have to fill up the lobby like the old days. 🙂

More info about John Carmack in the encyclopedia

John Carmack hired by Oculus VR

The id founder and technical director John Carmack has officially joined the Oculus VR company, which creates virtual reality devices – a subject that has interested Carmack a lot for years. In QuakeCon 2012, he spoke about such devices, complaining about their poor quality for games. He will work first for Oculus, and will stay at id and Armadillo Aerospace.

Note that the Oculus Rift, the device the company is creating, was founded successfully via KickStarter, similarly to another project that should get the attention of any FPS fan: the Omni – which uses the Oculus Rift in order to *really* walk and run freely in 3D games.