Why the creator of Doom left id Software for Oculus VR

John Carmack cites lack of opportunity to work on VR for Doom 4 as instrumental in his departure from id Software.

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John Carmack, creator of the Doom series and co-founder of id Software, has revealed the reason why he left the studio to work at Oculus VR.

For the first time since his departure in November last year, Carmack spoke at length about his reasons for leaving id Software in a recent interview with USA Today. The father of the first-person shooter genre, Carmack played an instrumental role in the development of the Doom and Quake series during his tenure at id Software.

He cited hopes that Oculus VR and id Software's parent company ZeniMax Media would reach an agreement that allowed games he worked on to be released with support for the Oculus Rift headset.

According to the interview, had the deal gone ahead, several of id Software's games could have been released with support for the Oculus Rift headset, including upcoming title Doom 4. The deal he proposed never came to fruition.

Carmack first joined Oculus VR full time in August last year. Shortly afterwards, Bethesda issued a statement confirming that he would continue his role in providing technical leadership for games in development at id Software.

Three months later, he left id Software to work at Oculus VR as the company's chief technical officer.

"When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id Software, I decided to not renew my contract," Carmack said.

Oculus VR demoed the latest version of its Oculus Rift headset at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, a prototype called Crystal Cove. The head-mounted display boasts improved resolution from its 1080p OLED screen, and a new real-position tracking system that utilizes an external camera.

Discussion

69 comments
headcase120
headcase120

IMO, Carmack just decided one day, "I hate games, let's just make money with useless crap like another stupid attempt into VR"  Even if VR takes off this time around, it is just a toy to make more money with, rather than another creative attempt.  Ugh... Carmack, you may be a pioneer, but no one will forget this ... Why did he leave Doom? Simple ... Money ... :(

kurkosdr
kurkosdr

IMO polygonal graphics are done (in the gaming sector, there is probably lot's to be done in CAD environments when it comes to precision and such). In games, we have reached a point we have individually rendered concrete cracks and ultra-natural lighting. The future is the move from polygons to ray-tracers (see the id tech 6 engine), but this is still 3-4 years away. Meanwhile, Carmack can do some work in the VR sector, which is another revolution in-development.

StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

People quacking (or should I say Quake'ing lol) on about Doom 4 should maybe bare in mind that it is now nothing more than a name to be flaunted. The Doom series was great because of what they were and the talent behind them. There are no guarantees Doom 4 will be any good. In fact given the amount of time, rewrites and general lack of direction/decision it is very likely to be a disappointment. I have a feeling it will be a game made by committee.

Devin Platt
Devin Platt

lol he does sort of look like Alton Brown.

Red John
Red John

I miss him along with john Romero

Oğuzhan Çetin
Oğuzhan Çetin

near future we might see more Oculus stuff. Carmack is a great pioneer

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

As a technical genius he can do a lot more for VR technology than he can do for games. What's the point of staying in an incompetent game studio that's only continuing to slip away when he can actually make a difference on another technological front? He's done a LOT for video games and for OpenGL and such and I'm glad to see him pushing innovations in new directions elsewhere.

Dan Cunningham
Dan Cunningham

cuz he's a knob who wants to work on the biggest knob project in history

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

you'd think he would have jumped ship when doom 3 turned out to be a travesty, but waits for lack of vr support as his rational? 


theres got to be something in the drinking water of this country....

Chad Wildey
Chad Wildey

Oh, I thought he left id Software so that he could host the show 'Good Eats'.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

I bet it was a hard decision for him and that there were probably a few arguments involved. The games industry is getting too fat, greedy, and political for him. Even id, one of my favorite developers of all time, is starting to flounder.. :(


I always wondered why the concept of VR never really took off. It looks freakin awesome, and he's probably one of the best people possible to help innovate it. It's a whole entire new world to explore..

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

I'm sure money was a good enough reason.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

Carmack has always been good at getting down to the nuts and bolts of tech, and I remember that he pushed some of the graphics card manufacturers to implement certain things over the years, which benefited everyone.  I would say he was an ideal choice to work on the Occulus Rift, and maybe he can help to shape it into something truly innovative and long-lasting.


I don't think VR is going away, this time.  There are too many other applications under development outside of the gaming space to take advantage of VR.  If Occulus Rift can get things right from the outset, then it could very well change the way a lot of people interact with games in the future.  I'm not sure I'll be able to take advantage of it, due to dodgy eyesight, but I nevertheless hope it proves successful.

Akshay Bordawekar
Akshay Bordawekar

John Carmack is the new face of the 'my body is ready' meme. At least this pic of him.

V3rciS
V3rciS

I always liked Carmack and hope to hear some good news from him about this Oculus project. Finally we're truly entering the next gen

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

John Carmack is a pioneer and technical genius.  I don't think he really cares about games. He's more interested in technology, innovation, and programming.  If he wasn't working for idsoftware he'd probably be working for google, IBM, Apple, or MS.  I think he shares a lot in common with Tim Sweeney from Epic which seems to no longer want to make games either.  It's a damn shame he left id but it means a lot of good things for oculus. 

Ezio Vynci
Ezio Vynci

i dont care about that gimmick, it will fail as the virtual boy did. i just want DOOM 4 , please.

Simon Corbett Bsc
Simon Corbett Bsc

Doom 4 missing in action, hopefully something get's shown off at QuakeCon this year.

Jarrod Buckard
Jarrod Buckard

Fine, I'll get it over with. Doom 3 last doome game half life 3 confirmed

Anthony Evans
Anthony Evans

He left because his cool car didnt get girls anymore

Jason Doughty
Jason Doughty

Doom 3 is my favorite fps of all time. The first Dooms were the first fps I played on PC back in 95'. As long as we still get Doom 4 at some point, I wish Carmack the best of luck on what could be the future of gaming.

Jacob Plunkett
Jacob Plunkett

I just hope the new order doesn't become vapor-ware

Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe

He left so that this cool picture of him could be posted every time someone talks about him online.

Gaming Updates
Gaming Updates

I miss Wolfenstein Games :( the New order doesn't look like Return to Castle Wolfenstein which was a Master Piece

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

damn, the next doom with OR would had been awesome

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Id is a floundering Dev company anyway

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

If I met John Carmack we'd be the bestest friends ever.

Talavaj
Talavaj

Carmack is a technician, not a game designer. He is better off working at the Oculus VR rather than on games.

bernard978
bernard978

Carmack is a legend among the PC space, any true PC gamer knows this without the need to be told why.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Doom 4... never came to fruition" That's what I'm thinking, because Doom 4 is little more than a name. It's like before the launch of Diablo 3, we knew that it was being developed long before it was released or even before seeing anything, but nothing more.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

I could be wrong but I wouldn't put my hopes up on "John Carmack" :\

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@headcase120 Well I'm just glad we've got a well-informed expert on the case in the form of you, being his psychologist and accountant as well was just a nice bonus.

hystavito
hystavito

@Gallowhand  I don't know if it will go away, but I don't see it becoming mainstream, common, even amongst more serious gamers.  I certainly can't see it being big outside of the PC world, and even there I think it will be niche.


First consoles and now mobile have taught us that the big population of people out there that will even play games occasionally want convenience above all else, they're not going to want to wear a device like that.


But yeah, there's a lot that can be done outside of gaming.  It's important to note however, that the Oculus isn't really something especially new.  Finding ways like this to visualize various things for business, science, etc., for example being able to "walk through" a factory or something before it's built, has been around for a long time.  I think the major draw with the Oculus is the reasonable cost. It works without special facilities or additional very specialized hardware, instead using standard PCs and being affordable to purchase many Oculus units for many people to participate.

V3rciS
V3rciS

@plm3d_basic Well said, that's why I'm so excited to see him working on Oculus Rift

merrickx
merrickx

The reason it's achieved so much popularity, and built up steam so quickly, is because it is no longer a gimmick. Head-mounted VR is here, and it's going to keep getting better. You don't have to have an interest in it, but presuming it a gimmick is just ill-informed.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

Meh, i've gotten over doom 4. Delays and rewrites, and internal problems at id. It almost became a CoD clone! how good could it possibly be IF it even releases? It's over.. I'll just stick with my memories of the original games and even doom 3.


V3rciS
V3rciS

I'm glad not many people share the same backwards ideas as you. You do realize that by the time Virtual Boy released, technology was not advanced enough to support it. Embrace future.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

New Order is in development by a decent FPS developer. Give it a chance instead of living in the past.

Fenlig
Fenlig

@Talavaj Carmack is an amazing games designer. Games are not just a art style and a story slapped together. If he was an mechinical engineer he would be designing engines for cutting edge cars while others just create the look and style, but when your behind the wheel your not feeling the lovely red body work, but the power behind the engine as its sticks to the road at increadible speeds. If you boot up rage and doom 3 and play it at 60fps+ it feels great and the FPS controls are so fluid ive only felt them same quility in a serious sam game. This is why id has suffered a great loss.


merrickx
merrickx

@hystavito @Gallowhand  "First consoles and now mobile have taught us that the big population of people out there that will even play games occasionally want convenience above all else, they're not going to want to wear a device like that."


You're not mentioning the gamers that want immersion.


"the Oculus isn't really something especially new..." 


It is for consumers. Hell, as far as most people know, this type of thing hasn't existed at all outside of science fiction.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@V3rciS Personally I never feel in my life-time the Virtual headset will par with a decent controller, it's going to go the way as a PS Move or a Kinnect. But as an option for guys like yourself? Go for it. Whatever makes you enjoy your games.


I agree on the D00M 4 however, he hyped that game for years then up and left. It's hard not for a fan of the series to feel neglected.


Fans want D4!

merrickx
merrickx

@RSM-HQ @V3rciS  The difference between Move, Kinect and the Rift, is that the two former are gimmicky even when they find a niche application in which they can be utilized decently, and such instances are few and far between. So far, the OR has an incredibly profound effect, even for the thousands who are only using a primitive, early developer's kit.