John Carmack's QuakeCon Keynote Address

Smart guy says a bunch of stuff we don't understand
By - Thrrrpptt!

Carmack takes the stand.
Strangely enough, id Software has never had an official press conference, at least not until now. Following the announcements about id's partnerships with Raven and Nerve Software to create new games using id technology, the company's co-founder John Carmack gave his traditional QuakeCon speech.

Topics, as with last year, mostly centered around id technology, hardware trends, and the new DOOM game (see our DOOM tidbits article for a summation of the latter).

Carmack's talk transitioned smoothly from the press conference and started with a video of some of the new DOOM game technololgy. We were treated to a grusome display of the next generation of 3D engines, complete with commentary by Carmack ("This stuff is great!" he exclaimed as a hungry demon tore a hunk from a fresh corpse). The programmign guru noted that he does NOT see the DOOM engine as the next rung in the evolutionary ladder created by prior Quake games. Rather, he sees it as a completely new evolutionary pattern.

This engine, he claimed wtih a slight smile, would be the next big thing. It would be the standard that all future game developers copy if they can and license if they can't.

Taking things further and speculating about the NEXT generation of engines after this, Carmack sees a convergance of gaming technology and mainstream media. There will be a day, he reasoned, when the cartoon shows that you see on television will be created with the exact same kind of engines that create your comuter and console games. All in real time, all edging right up again photo realism.

The room was completely packed with hardcore gamers.
Many of the paradigm shifts (and for once, that phrase fits, because that's what they really are) in the new DOOM technology are meant to make this sort of high quality production values easier and more efficient.

The game's level editor, for example, is able to light maps and perform other functions right inside the editor. These kinds of tasks currently require one to recompile code, which can take anywhere from hours to days depending on the complexity of the map and the speed of one's computer. Everything will be made easier and faster, which benefits not only the professional game developers, but the amature mappers and mod makers as well.

Carmack also spent a great deal of time talking about hardware accelleration technolgy, giving various thoughts on how it needs to change and improve in the coming years to reach its full attention. Most of Carmack's comments int this area were highly technical, so while a few folks appreciated what he had to say, most of us just did our best not to look too befuddled.

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