Carmack explains decision not to license id Tech 5

Programmer John Carmack has become a public face of id Software, but he's still a programmer at heart. The legendary developer recently spoke out on a wide variety of topics, from the decision not to license id Tech 5 to his new-found coding freedom at the company.


When id announced last year that id Tech 5 would only be licensed to Bethesda-published games, there was some disappointment from PC fans, but Carmack says he didn't ever take the software licensing business as a major part of the company. "It was never really a business that I wanted to be in," he says. "In the very early days, people would pester us, and we would just throw out some ridiculous terms, and we were surprised that people were taking us up on it," he told Gamasutra.

"I didn't want to be in the process of supporting a lot of outside teams -- because we feel beholden to not make radical changes, and pull the rug out from underneath lots of other people. If it's your own team, you can make the sensible decision of 'It's going to be worth it. It's going to suck for a while, but we can make our way through it.' But you don't want to do that to other people."

Carmack is also attuned to how Rage's long development time reflects on Doom 4. He says that the team "rewrote too much technology," and needs to be more focused in the future. "But the other thing is just once you've made all the decisions, there's real value in being able to pile a hundred people onto a project. Now that id's grown to be multi-team, we should be doing more of that shifting resources around. As soon as Rage ships, the core tech team is going over to help the Doom 4 team. I think that's the more correct way." He says a "migratory work force" is more efficient than trying to hire a glut of new employees.

Finally, on the contentious issue of the state of PC gaming, Carmack argues that the platform is probably more active than ever -- just not in the way PC enthusiasts would like to see. "When you look at all the MMO money on there, there's still a lot," he says. "And when you include Facebook games and stuff like that, and all the web games. It's just, I think people regret the migration of the hardcore action game, which clearly has taken a move towards the consoles. But gaming on the PC, there's probably more hours of PC games going on now than there were five years ago. There's expansion in the market, different trends, and things like that. And sometimes, just the world doesn't always correspond to your wishes."