John Carmack resigns as technical director at id Software, now full-time with Oculus VR

Friday, 22nd November 2013 20:31 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

John Carmack is now working full time at Oculus VR, thus leaving his position as technical director at the company he founded, id Software.

Here’s the statement in full from Bethesda handed to Polygon:

“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,” said Tim Willits, studio director at id Software. “John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects.

“We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”

A spokesperson for Oculus VR would only confirm to Polygon that Carmack was working full-time at the Oculus Rift company.

Back in August, Carmack became CTO at Oculus VR but maintained his position at id. 

He was soon joined by Matt Hooper, design director for Rage, as the firm’s new director of development.



  1. Erthazus

    Boom. Good luck John. You made one of the best games in history.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. sebastien rivas

    A rush to next gen device is opening.
    Rift or Sony, who will come best VR headset for bst decent price.

    Regardless remember one thing. If you want your VR to grab gamers interest and survive then the VR must work natively with games or there is a huge risk for major flop.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    Neither. They will both flop.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. sebastien rivas

    I agree, they are tapping into real challenges and difficult venture. But the rewards may be even greater if done right, smart, and appealing. And that is at all levels,
    From R&D, to concept dedigns, to PR and marketings, to retail price.
    1 of these is a weak chain and the whole could just burn into oblivion.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. yeoung

    I think some people underestimate the prospect of VR. It will be of greater significance than anything in the last 2 generations of console hardware. Factor in the arrival of all the VR input devices and it’s pretty clear that VR is the next level in gaming.

    Looking back some time in the future, 2014(/2015) will mark the most significant year in videogame entertainment since sprites-to-polygons. It has begun. It will be glorious. John Carmack understands this, and chose to be a part of it. I can’t wait. Truly exciting things lie just ahead.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Djoenz

    Assumptions! We simply dont know.
    3D flopped so yeah thats kinda fact but VR has a long way to go. Personally I would like to know what the cons are and perhaps physical side effects.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    I’m not underestimating anything. The severe side effects of these kinds of devices cannot be avoided, and most people are not going to tolerate them for the sake of a floating head.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Darkfield

    @IM So much negativity Mike :D

    Well I do doubt that their first gen devices would deliver perfectly, I expect the revised models to be more appealing though.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. freedoms_stain


    How important was Carmack to id’s tech development I wonder?

    Will there ever be an id Tech 6 without him?

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    @8 I’m not being negative. I’m just being realistic.

    We had “first gen devices”. Back in 1995.

    They caused headaches and nausea then, and they’ll cause headaches and nauseas now. You cannot put something that close to the human eye in an enclosed space and *not* react that way. Its completely unavoidable. No amount of research will change that.

    You can do the research for yourself. You’ll find the same answers.

    The Occulus is another Ouya in the making.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. lookingglass

    @Ireland Michael is short sighted and hardly understands the concepts surrounding VR.

    You can spit your uninformed pessimism all you want, but the simple fact is that VR and AR will both be fully realized in the coming years.

    In terms of Oculus specifically, nearly everyone who has experienced it, even the unrefined original dev-kit, has described it as awesome and magical. You honestly think that the minor side effects won’t be resolved in the next 10 years? You seriously believe Palmer and Carmack can’t do it?

    The Oculus is in it’s infancy. This is first gen stuff. VR has been attempted in the past, but today is the first time in history that all the technologies needed for good VR have matured and can converge into the right experience.

    Stop crying on every VR post on VG247. You sound like someone who gets motion sickness easily and you want it to fail because of all the good times everyone else will have if it doesn’t.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @11 “In terms of Oculus specifically, nearly everyone who has experienced it, even the unrefined original dev-kit, has described it as awesome and magical.”

    Everyone whose tried it has also felt off balance *while* using it, and many have felt ill, headachey and nauseous afterwards, some quite severely.

    Even if the effects are mild for some people, I do not believe for a second that the average consumer is going to be willing to spill out the money for something with those kind of side effects, especially if they don’t know how badly it will effect them beforehand.

    “You honestly think that the minor side effects won’t be resolved in the next 10 years? You seriously believe Palmer and Carmack can’t do it?”

    They are far from minor, especially long term. And no, I don’t think they can, unless they somehow learn to rewire the human brain. Calling me short-sighted is absolutely meaningless unless you can somehow explain to me how they fix the problem, and ad hominems don’t actually prove your point.

    John Carmack made a bunch of fun FPS games back in the day. He is not some sort of visionary genius.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Pytox

    so no more quakecon carmack keynotes? or we might see john back only talking about vr ofc, it’s not like he did anything else :p

    #13 1 year ago
  14. yeoung


    Aye, we do not know, hence “Looking back some time in the future..”. That said, I did write a thesis partly about VR earlier this year, and I tried the Oculus Rift a fair amount. I also have a fair understanding of the market and consumer behaviour, due to research required for the aforementioned thesis.

    Also, I’m assuming you’re referring to stereoscopic 3D? That was the central theme of my first paragraph. The transition from 2D sprites to 3D polygonal models did have a rather significant impact on gaming as a whole though.


    I know of the complaints, assuming you’re referring to motion sickness. My longest session with the OR spanned about 90 minutes, mostly messing around with the demos in the dev kit. I experienced some mild vertigo after the 11th straight rollercoaster ride, but little else in terms of discomfort. I do know others who’ve experienced motion sickness or brief dizzyness using the device.

    Still, “severe side effects” seems a bit much, and I question your assertion that something like this cannot be avoided. Humans adapt quickly and technology seems to keep pace. The floating head comment I’m going to sweep under the reductio ad absurdum rug, but you should be aware that your entire comment is extremely absolutist. Worth a thought.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    @14 Then you’re one of the lucky ones.

    The average consumer is not going to shell out the money for something if they don’t even know how badly it will effect them. Especially not something so insular. At best, it will be severely niche.

    Humans do not “adapt quickly” in the way that this affects us, unless you somehow know how to speed up evolution. This is not learning how to type, mate. This is inherent genetic design.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. lookingglass

    You should honestly do some research on the Oculus Rift before you post anything about it. Read up on modern VR while you’re at it.

    You hyperbolize peoples’ negative experiences with the headset. Long term use for anyone isn’t viable on the first gen Oculus admittedly. But short term use only causes temporary side effects for a small percentage of users. Short term being under 1 hour.

    Yes, many describe it as “disorienting”. It’s the first real VR device that brings together all the right technologies. And it’s also peoples’ first experience with VR that good. After a few minutes most acclimate to it and are fine until long duration simulator sickness kicks in.

    Which brings me to the causes of VR sickness. It is almost entirely the result of high latency between the motion sensor and the display.

    A head movement must be sensed and then translated to proper movement on the screen. Too much latency between these and your brain experiences a disconnect between motion and sight. That causes motion sickness and/or simulator sickness.

    Latency is the number one issue that Carmack and Palmer are addressing. Each millisecond closer to zero latency they get, the more diminished the side effects are and the longer the device can be used continuously.

    They’re rethinking graphical computing from the ground up with VR in mind. They’ll get it right and it’ll hugely prevalent in more than just gaming.

    You underestimating John Carmack and trivializing his work shows just how inept you are to discuss the technicalities of VR.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. yeoung

    The human brain, sir, was (genetically) designed to adapt. Perception is a quality governed by the brain, as such, it is adaptable.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    “The human brain, sir, was (genetically) designed to adapt. Perception is a quality governed by the brain, as such, it is adaptable.”

    So everyone on the planet is going to magically build up a resistance to a physiological response system that has existed since forever just from using the Rift?

    And you lecture me about hyperbole. Damn man.

    The human brain adapts to *understand* things. It cannot magically fix something like this.

    Again, you’re missing the point. The average consumer isn’t going to *want* to tolerate these sort of side effects for the sake of the tech. Most people are not going to want to be clamped inside a giant helmet full stop.

    Do you honestly think that we’re all going to be sitting around in 10 years playing games online with our VR headsets? It’s just not going to happen.

    The fact that you just admitted that the “first generation” of the technology won’t be able to solve the problem is answer enough. They don’t have an answer because they’re isn’t one, and your bias towards the technology is as transparent as their constant excuses.

    “Sorry love, can’t come to dinner tonight. Recovering from my Rift session.”

    #18 1 year ago
  19. yeoung

    You failed to take into account my earlier comment on technology keeping up. The statement that #lookingglass was kind enough to entirely spell out for clarification.

    Carmack stated on the matter that under 20ms of latency is acceptable in terms of player perception, minimizing risk of motion sickness.

    There are other forces at work, of course. Have a look. They’re systematically (and openly) addressing contributing factors.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Djoenz

    “Sorry love, we cant have sex right now Im recovering from my Rift session. No BJ either Im nauseous gosh you are so insensitive! ”

    In other news have you guys seen that japanese perv with the Occulus banging a virtual anime character bumping against a pressure pad with his junk?

    #20 1 year ago
  21. fearmonkey

    @9 – I imagine that it’s the same case as it was for TIm at Epic, where the new engines require a programming team so much that you no longer need a single engine creator like John was for many years. ID Tech 5 was based on John’s research but still had a team of others helping.

    John probably needed a break from the same ol same ol, he wanted to sell ID a long time ago, and was waiting for the best opportunity to leave. When Doom got pushed back, it seems like now is a good time to go.

    Not having him in engine development sucks but having him involved with the rift gives it a even better chance at being awesome.

    The question now is what happens to ID? Do they become yet another old and famous studio that slowly withers and dies? Is Zenimx just going to use their IP and eventually wind the studio down if the next doom isnt successful?

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @19 “minimising”

    Gosh, that makes it so much better.

    “Do they become yet another old and famous studio that slowly withers and dies? Is Zenimx just going to use their IP and eventually wind the studio down if the next doom isnt successful?”

    Isn’t that what they’ve been for about a decade now?

    #22 1 year ago
  23. JB

    I think David Braben has some nice points on VR and Kinect for that matter:

    #23 1 year ago
  24. lookingglass

    You just continue to misunderstand the root cause of VR sickness. It’s latency, plain and simple, and completely solvable.

    Zero latency, retina displays, and 120 FPS are the holy grails of VR. We’re not there. Hell, we’re not even close. But we’re at a convergence of tech that makes VR leaps and bounds better than it has ever been. It’s just good enough right now, and it will only get better.

    Is everyone going to be using VR in 10 years? Of course not. Are a lot of gamers? Probably. Is it going to also permeate other industries as well. Most definitely.

    The value of VR goes far beyond gaming. Medical professions, engineering, design, science fields, and even plain business all stand to benefit from great VR. Gaming is just the tip of the iceberg.

    It will happen. There is no physiological reason good VR won’t work.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. yeoung

    @22: I see you do not bow to logic and sourced facts so easily, you are a worthy adversary indeed.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. JB

    “Motion sickness due to virtual reality[edit]
    Motion sickness due to virtual reality is very similar to simulation sickness and motion sickness due to films. In virtual reality, however, the effect is made more acute as all external reference points are blocked from vision, the simulated images are three-dimensional and in some cases stereo sound that may also give a sense of motion. The world’s most advanced simulator, the NADS-1, located at the National Advanced Driving Simulator, is capable of accurately stimulating the vestibular system with a 360-degree horizontal field of view and 13 degree of freedom motion base.[12] Studies have shown that exposure to rotational motions in a virtual environment can cause significant increases in nausea and other symptoms of motion sickness.[13]“

    #26 1 year ago
  27. xxJPRACERxx

    @IM Carmack said that the main reasons people feel sick when using VR is because of its current limitations. Like low FOV, low fps, delay and lens distortion.

    He’s at Oculus exactly to try and help resolve these problems and he believe that when they’ll be resolve there won’t be anything major left to mess with the brain and the experience will be flawless. (well, probably vertigo is unavoidable)

    #27 1 year ago
  28. The_Red

    Best wishes for him.
    The man along the rest of classic id team has made the DEFINITIVE first person shooter game (Doom 1).

    #28 1 year ago
  29. lookingglass

    @JB Many things cause simulator sickness and/or motion sickness. Syncing all of the users senses with the display output at an imperceptible rate is a huge component of minimizing side effects but it definitely isn’t the only thing.

    Sure, even with perfect latency I can still make a game that makes you puke or get headaches. Not to mention sensory “drift” if it happens after extreme durations.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. manamana

    The more Carmac on the OR, the better. I’m looking forward to it and have no doubt’s that they will lower the latency on the next iteration, at least to a bearable minimum. Seeing that I am enjoying 3D very much and without any sideeffects, I cannot wait to see it hooked up to a Steammachine. This is the shit, imho.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. ctankep


    Yeoung –
    I’d love to read your thesis if you have it online.
    Could you possibly post up a link here?


    Otherwise those who say it can’t be done should probably get out
    o’ th’ way o’ those doing it — or so th’ saying goes. There’s potential
    for lots o’ different VR applications an’ I’m happy that both Michael
    Abrash + John Carmack ., th’ two guys who practically “wrote th’ book”
    on realtime 3D rendering are hard at work on this.

    We used to think 3D graphics were only possible on SGI or other
    dedicated workstations costing $10,000 +. Now we have phones
    that run UE3. VR will improve in much th’ same manner as screen
    technology [ 4K at 120Hz with pixel refresh ] improves.

    Th’ custom Rift sensors are more than adequate running at a
    nominal 1000 Hz. So fidelity ., responsiveness there is not th’ problem.
    Rather th’ limiting factor remains latency ., blanking an’ slow pixel
    refresh inherent in consumer screen technology.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. yeoung


    Apologies, my good man. Though I value your interest, once I turned it in, I signed away rights of publication without the institute’s consent. I am however allowed to send you a small excerpt of the VR-related section via a personal message or email, if you so wish.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Djoenz

    This is the ultimate next gen:

    Oculus rift + first person games +:

    #33 1 year ago

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