QuakeCon 2009 – John Carmack Keynote

The John Carmack keynote ranges from topics such as the ZendiMax buyout of id Software, the expansion of id Software, Rage, QuakeLive, iPhone game development, and many technical topics which are beyond my capacity to outline.

Concerning the buyout of id Software by ZendiMax, Carmack said he had to lookup who ZendiMax was online when discussions on the deal started. Overall, he is very pleased with the takeover for many reasons. Carmack”s main reason was the lack of support from publishers to third party developers such as id Software. “id Software used to be Activision”s FPS guy”, but now the company owns the extremely popular Call of Duty series which receives a much higher priority over any FPS title id would release. Being a small independent company, there were certain projects just could not take on themselves. They had to take a cautious approach to many projects because they were directly financing them. Being part of a larger company now, id will be free to take on larger risks and projects. What Carmack hopes will be there working relationship with also was discussed. Carmack said that id has much to learn from ZendiMax such as their success in the marketing and downloadable content arenas.

On the topic of Rage, Carmack said most of the major technical parts of the game have already been finished. Much of the working being done now involves polishing the game and designing the vast array of user interfaces the game will feature. The game has been id Software”s longest develping project to date, even beating out the time it took to produce DOOM3. Carmack did go off on a small tangent on how some of the text sizes in the game were too small for someone with bad vision such as himself. Overall, he seemed very pleased with the production cycle so far.If you were wondering if there are any Rage beta testers somewhere, Carmack let us know that a small group of people are already hard at work testing the game . He added that it will be the most rigorous testing any id game has undergone before. He made it clear though that id won”t be heavily influenced by design comments these testers might give. id already knows the direction they want to take on Rage. Some interesting notes . The first level of the game will be the last to be made. While this does have its disadvantages, it does allow the designers to have a much better idea when the designing the level that will set the tone for the entire game.

While Carmack isn’t a sentimental guy at all, he did reminisce about the good old days when id Software was a much smaller company. The development of Rage has skyrocketed the number of employees at id Software to somewhere around ninety. Carmack himself does not even know all of the employees by appearance, let alone by name.If you have followed the Carmack keynotes over the past few years, you are well aware that Carmack really enjoys developing cell phone games. He said that developing these games has been both a fun and profitable endeavor for id. He really enjoys that he is able to do a vast majority of the work himself, unlike Rage which has a massive amount of team members. Currently, Carmack seems solely focused on developing games for the iPhone. The limitations they encounter on regular cell phones is becoming too much of a bother. The development cycle is so short that id plans to schedule new game releases every other month. Carmack even discussed the possibility that id would stop developing games for the Java and Brew platforms to focus solely on the iPhone.


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