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Show Me The Money, Dammit!
An Interview with id Software's John Cash
By Fragmaster

"Hi! I'm John Cash. Not the good looking one... the one with the facial hair. Yeah. As you can see, I'm a midget! We all know midgets are good programmers. Anyway, this is my son. He'll destroy you! Bwhahaaa... hahaa... ha... heh... Hey... look... there's like half a halo to the right side of my head. I guess I'm god or something. Cool."
John Cash Interview
FM:  (Fragmaster, The White Trash of Quake) So, how's it going?
JC: (John "Cold Hard (ahem)" Cash): On and on and on. Really well, actually. We're nearing completion of Quake II, so I may get to see my family again someday soon.
FM: Who are you and what you do, dammit?
JC: Well, my real name is George John Cash IV. Yeah, that's right... the fourth. Call me John, not George (and definitely not Johnny). Yep... my first son is the fifth (he's Johnny). I play Quake using the name Hellrot when I don't mind people knowing it's me. When I do mind, I just make a name up.

I'm one of the three programmers at id Software. What else can I say, it's one of the greatest jobs on earth.

FM: Until recently, I didn't even know that you're the Lead Programmer on Quake2 (I'm pretty sure you knew that already, tho). I hate to sound cynical, but why you and not our Lord Carmack?
JC: Judging from my recent .plan file contest, that's something a great many people didn't know. I am the lead on Quake II for a couple of reasons. First, Carmack wanted to be able to go ahead of the rest of the development team and start doing some research work for Trinity. If he was to have taken the helm, he just wouldn't have had the time to do that. Second, Quake II's focus has not been on the graphics engine so it really wasn't necessary for him to be the one to drive the project. It's not like he hasn't been involved; he has done a lot for Quake II (more than was originally intended).
FM: Why do you think that PC Gamer, etc. forgets to mention you in their articles? Do you think it's because they're jealous of your incredible good looks or something?
JC: It's a given that when people want to talk to id, they want to talk to John Carmack. It's also rather hard *not* to notice Hook and Steed. So they come here, talk to John, go to lunch, come back and play (umm, "review") the game, and then they have to run back to the airport. I seem to have a special ability to get lost in the shuffle.

Or maybe it *is* my good looks... those jealous bastards! They're just afraid all their women are gonna hop the next plane to Dallas and... umm... is this a family show?

(Obviously, John didn't catch that Paul Steed interview. -Frags)

FM: How did you get started with id anyway? What other projects have you worked on?
JC: How I got started with id... it was Doom at first sight. heh. I was working at Novell when Doom came out. I loved the game, but the damn multiplayer over IPX was hosed. Sure, two player worked OK, but I was on a LAN with thousands on machines. I wanted four players to work (well, for more than 5 minutes). So I analyzed what was going on and sent an email to Shawn Green (tech support at that time) telling them what was wrong. I got back an email from some dude named Carmack. I really had no idea who he was at the time. Basically, he gave me the source for IPXSETUP so I could try to fix it. Fix it I did and (after a 20 hour marathon 4 player DM.. damn, I mean "testing session"), I sent it back to him. We talked via email once and a while after that. A year or so later, id was in need of another programmer and I got the call 8-)

Other projects? Nothing as exciting as this stuff. At Novell I worked on NetWare 3.1 through NetWare 4.1 as well as a few side products that even I don't remember anymore. Wanna hear all about the checkbook program I wrote for my mom when I was 13?

(No. -Frags)

FM: You know, I hate to be the bearer of bad news… but while I was doing research for this interview… I discovered an imposter John Cash! He's some two-bit Polka Singer or something, but he's obviously cashing (no pun intended) in on your good name! What are your thoughts on this scheming, dirty, bastard?
JC: I met up with him in Frankfurt, Germany once. Cornered that SOB in the restaurant at the hotel. First off I found out that he had taken *my* suite on the top floor! Then he went around town boozin' it up and singing with a bunch of other low-life imposters at a country music festival! I *hate* country music!!! I did dig the black clothes.
FM: What have you been working on with Quake2 lately? Bug fixes?
JC: Bug? Where? <a brief panic attack ensues>

OK, I'm back.

I've been working on everything but the renderer (Hook's domain). We're always trying to find better ways to do things and finding ways to make the game better. Hmm, that's vague. Here's a small sample of what I've worked on recently: ladders, incorporating weapon sounds, left handed weapons, droppable inventory, cleaning up the progs code, performance tuning, actors, and whatever else needed done..

FM: What's the keenest new feature you've implemented?
JC: Keen? Wrong game ;-)

It's hard to pick out one single thing. Maybe the gun turrets.

FM: What was the hardest thing to implement?
JC: Hey, these are getting hard. How much longer until "complete the sentence"?

Moving volumes of water were "interesting". The gun turrets were difficult at first too. But with all the stuff we've put in the progs, it would be much easier if you were starting them now.

FM: Why does Kevin Cloud do a better job than John Romero?
JC: Because he doesn't ask questions that are designed to cause controversy?

(Controversy? Heavens, no!)

FM: What features work only with 3D cards?
JC: Colored lighting.
FM: Tell me something about Quake 2 that the public doesn't know that id wants to keep under wraps. I swear I'll keep it a secret, even though this interview will be read by millions of John Cash groupies…
JC: People think we only got rid of the satanic references. We decided to follow that course on to it's natural end and totally eliminate all forms of violence in Quake II. There are no weapons. There are no monsters. It's just going to be one great big 3D chat room. The AI work has really been on the chat censors that will make sure that no sentient being is offended.

(Hot Damn! That'll be a Hoot! I hope there's a ball room (can't throw the balls tho) or a house of mirrors or maybe even some good old-fashioned multiplayer Kick The Can! WOO HOO!!)

FM: Isn't the release of the Doom source code cool? What do you think people will do with it? Do you think you might mess around with it a little?
JC: Yes. Learn a lot. No.
FM: A lot of changes have been made with Quake2's network code. Could you briefly describe what's been changed and how it's better?
JC: Briefly, it's like QuakeWorld without player prediction. "like", not "is". The actual line protocol hasn't changed a great deal, but what we do (and more importantly do not) send over it has. We've still got work to do on it because net bandwidth optimization is something we do near the end. Hey, wait.. it *is* near the end... I gotta finish this interview!
FM: Can your son kick your ass in DM? I hear he whooped a lot of people at QuakeCon…
JC: Overall, he's not a bad player. For a six year old, he kicks ass. He won a 4 player FFA at QuakeCon on E1M1. He also won a 1 on 1 game when Esses made the mistake of thinking "he's just a kid". A kid with quad lightning is a dangerous kid ;-) BTW, my two year old just got his first internet frag saturday afternoon: an axe murder!!! Man, they know how to make their dad proud!
FM: The John Cash Diet is my philosophy of life. Is it true that you've been thinking about doing an exercise video or a book? Can you name some celebrities that follow your diet plan?
JC: Yes, it's true. Expect to see them in finer adult video and book stores this Christmas. I can't name the celebrities.. their husbands might get pissed off and have me killed. Hey, you were right. Those PC Gamer dudes *are* just jealous of me and my "workout partners"!!!

As a special added bonus, we present... <drumroll> The John Cash Diet! WOO HOO!

Words to live by. John Cash is the Richard Simmons of Quake (only he isn't... well, you know...).

FM: What program do you code with?
JC: I use a keyboard and a mouse.

(I use my fingers...errr...waitaminute...)

FM: Any advice for aspiring programmers?
JC: Learn by doing. Books will teach you computer science. *Programming* is still an art.
FM: Do you look at user-created TC's, mods, etc.? What do you think of them?
JC: Yes. Some are really cool (most recently, Zerstorer). Most have interesting elements to them, but lack polish or are incomplete. Some just plain blow.
FM: Got anything else to say before we get to "complete the sentence"?
JC:
Do I? hehehehe....
Does spelling count?
Samoas are the ultimate cookie!
Hi Kornelia, you rock girl!
Thresh, take care of the car until Johnny wins it from you
American is a pig f*ck*r!
How much time do I have for this part?
College is great, except for the classes
Sorry Terje, maybe this spring!
Hi mom!
Yes, my sister really is named Penny
Politics blow; politicians suck
Once Quake II ships, I'm going to Disney World
Insomnia is a terrible thing to waste
Do you thing Frag is regretting asking this question?
OK, I'm done now.

(I would insult John at this point, but I think I'm in enough trouble as it is. "Samoas are the ultimate cookie!"?)

FM: "Not many people know about my giant…
JC: ...collection of empty Spam containers. A million and one uses man.

(As the former Editor-In-Chief of msn's SpamNews (pathetic, isn't it?), well... I assure you that Spam is more than just a slimy meat... just ask sCary what he does with it. :)

FM: "The worst job I ever had was…
JC: ...growing up.
FM: "John Carmack
JC: ...is five of the best programmers I have ever worked with.
FM: "Brian Hook…
JC: ...hates Olive Garden.

(Blach... who doesn't? They have that green, salad stuff don't they? BLARGH!)

FM: "Paul Steed…
JC: ...makes too damn many models with too damn many frames!
FM: "If I wasn't a programmer, I'd be a…
JC: ...sex toy for horny starlets?!?!

(Guess who's been hanging around Paul Steed for too long?)

FM: "If suddenly God came down from heaven and said 'Hey Dude, I want you to like… DIE DIE DIE!' and then started slapping you with a rubber halo and all you had to defend yourself was a week old bag of potato chips, a pet rock, an id Anthology, a goat fetus, and infomercial superstar Diane Warwick, I would…
JC: Have Diane read the secret passages out of the anthology while I sacraficed the goat fetus to summon Santa Claus. Then I'd smack her with the rock to shut her up, sit down, eat the chips, and watch the action as the two great powers duked it out. Man, this part is *easy*!!!
FM: "Quake 2 has the best…
JC: ...supporters in the world. You people are nuts, but in a cool way.
FM: "id…
JC: ...is a two letter, single syllable word. It is NOT the same as I.D.
FM: "I am…
JC: ...Hellrot!
FM: "This interview was…
JC: ...a complete lie. I let my boys make up the answers; I just edited out the parts about the Power Rangers and Barney.

You think he's lying about lying? Or is he lying about lying that's he's lying?

Anyways, as you can see... John Cash is more than just a mammal... he's a human. And he works for id. Which makes him a human that works for id. And his sons are mutants. An axe frag at 2 years old? That's very cool. 

Follow his diet plan, join his cult, buy his books and videos. John Cash is an inspiration to us all.

Fragmaster

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