Carmack decries “unfair” credit for early id Software titles

Tuesday, 25th June 2013 05:53 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Widely-acknowledged programming mastermind John Carmack has said it’s a shame that he gets all the credit for id Software’s highly influential shooters.

Carmack’s engineering unlocked many of the technologies which powered games like Wolfenstein, DOOM and Quake, but in an interview with Ars Technica he modestly credited the rest of the id team for the success of the finished releases.

“The people that do the charming and fun things in the games are the designers and the artists,” he said.

“While I have been the driving technical force there, it’s been unfair for all the other people that worked on the things that you remember from Doom. That’s all other people and it’s often unfair how much credit I get for things.”

In fact, Carmack even distanced himself from his own accomplishments, saying that he wasn’t “a key historical person” on several groundbreaking game features.

“While I was the first to do a lot of things, I have little doubt that other people would have come up with them. There’s a tech determination – when things are easy and possible, people will do it,” he said.

“It’s fair to say that we did some things earlier maybe than they would have been. Now with these 3D graphics, anybody can pop up OpenGPL bindings. Twenty years ago, trying to write a graphic raster that didn’t have cracks between the polygons was something that only a few people in the industry could pull off at the time. But writing these primitive things was a huge challenge back then.”

Carmack noted that many of his best ideas – mod tools, multiplayer, first-person perspective – were inspired by “wouldn’t it be awesome if?” questions. Unfortunately, he also said he’s probably done with designing games now, having tapped out at Quake 3, and will probably just solve problems for other people now.

In the full article, Carmack expresses his enjoyment of mobile games as opposed to massive, complicated triple-A releases, and talks about how having children has shaped how he thinks about games. Click the link above to get caught up.

As well as being one of the most respected programmers in gaming, Carmack runs an aerospace company in his spare time – yes, he’s also a rocket scientist – and has been quite involved with the VR scene over the past few years.

Thanks, Develop.



  1. Talkar

    The man is a genius! He’s also working on laser output. At Quakecon he talked about when everybody was busy with VR he had moved on and started testing with a laser to send images directly to his eye. ^^

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Stardog

    It’s always the children that ruin them! They start wanting to make things their kids can see/play. Just look at Schwarzenegger.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Digital Bamboo

    “runs an aerospace company in his spare time” lol, that’s awesome.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. xxJPRACERxx

    Yeah, if it wasn’t for Carmack (and to a lesser extent Sweeney) I don’t think gaming would be like it is now. I miss his .plan files!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. hives

    Stop being nice! Make new Doom! :F

    #5 2 years ago

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