John Carmack becomes Oculus chief technology officer

John Carmack has long supported the Oculus Rift 3D goggles, even duct-taping a prototype together to show it off last year, and will now play a bigger role in its future. The id Software co-founder and 3D wizard has joined Oculus as its new chief technology officer--but will still work with id.

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John Carmack has long supported the Oculus Rift 3D goggles, even duct-taping a prototype together to show it off last year, and will now play a bigger role in its future. The id Software co-founder and 3D wizard has joined Oculus as its chief technology officer--but is still working with id.

"I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer," Carmack said in the announcement [also here if the site's still overloaded]. "It's certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don't even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It's going to be awesome!"

Carmack's big statement likens working on the Rift to other milestones he's had a hand in.

"I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming - the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on," he said. "Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer's early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there."

He'll still be with id, though how much of his time Oculus gets remains slightly in question. He'll work out of a new Oculus office in Dallas, Texas, which is the same area as id Software so, geographically at least, it shouldn't be a great stretch to do both.

"My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!" Carmack said on Twitter.

The official line from Oculus is that he's "now full time at Oculus VR working on the Oculus Rift," but the company has no idea what that means for the Doom developer. id's parent company ZeniMax, meanwhile, says that "The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected." Even Carmack's working two jobs nowadays.

Though it's been shipping Rift developer kits to game-makers and curious enthusiasts for a while now, Oculus is still working on a consumer version of its virtual reality headset.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 7, 2013 7:55 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, John Carmack becomes Oculus chief technology officer.

    John Carmack has long supported the Oculus Rift 3D goggles, even duct-taping a prototype together to show it off last year, and will now play a bigger role in its future. The id Software co-founder and 3D wizard has joined Oculus as its new chief technology officer--but will still work with id.

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      August 7, 2013 8:33 AM

      "He'll still be with id, though how much of his time Oculus gets remains slightly in question. He'll work out of a new Oculus office in Dallas, Texas, which is the same area as id Software so, geographically at least, it shouldn't be a great stretch to do both."

      More than his time at id, it would appear:

      https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/365126783290445824

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        August 7, 2013 9:39 AM

        Thanks y'all. This story sort of exploded with WILD SPECULATION so I tried to hold on a bit until, you know, we had the slightest clue what was happening.

        D E V E L O P I N G etc I guess.

        (At least I didn't post CARMACK QUITS ID FOR OCULUS.)

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      August 7, 2013 8:53 AM

      Wow... busy guy. Wonder when he makes time for his wife and new baby? ; )

      All joking a side, I really think after all these years that id Software has slipped away at what made them great. Quite a shame really, use to be a big fan of them.

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        August 7, 2013 9:20 AM

        If this story generates a lot of comments, I wonder what the ratio of Carmack-related replies to "id Software sucks now" posts will be...

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          August 7, 2013 12:51 PM

          I have been thinking about this way before this news. That's the thing about life; things change and people change. After I read this post, I started to think about the q3test and how those days were great. I started playing id Games when Commander Keen came out but I still remember downloading the q3test on dial up at 3 AM in the morning and had to go to school in 3 hours lol.

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            August 7, 2013 1:57 PM

            I think one of the things a lot of us who have been gaming since the 90's or before are struggling with is something that probably happens with every form of media/entertainment, but it's particularly pronounced in the gaming world for various reasons and that is: the thing we fell in love with most is often the byproduct or even the side effect of a young industry manned by young people who didn't know what they were doing. Consequently, occasionally we really cling to something that we call a game mechanic that ultimately boils down to a decision made because the ideal solution hadn't been thought of yet, or because the technology wasn't there yet.

            A prime example is the monster closets in DOOM 3. They got highly criticized but if you go back and play the original games, they were full of monster closets.

            Look at the original ROTT versus a modern Call of Duty FPS. It's like comparing a movie made by kids to the latest Michael Bay epic. There are so many things in ROTT 1994 that you just flat don't do anymore. There are so many look-and-feel things that just don't happen these days. But then Apogee took a chance that people might like to see a big budget game with the ROTT 1994 feel and mechanics and so we have ROTT 2013. If it sells well and becomes/remains popular, then maybe there's a place for this sort of niche.

            So then go back and look at id Software games. Monster closets are absolutely the result of a room full of 20-somethings who don't know what they're doing, buoyed by a guy who was smart enough to make computers do things that no one had figured out yet, and they're having a great time doing this for a living instead of mundane normal jobs. So many things from id back in the day were a byproduct of a time when no one knew what they were doing, and no one else was doing anything. The game industry wasn't huge yet like it is now. And those particular people, except for JC, have all scattered to the wind. Note how the biggest disappointment from id came in the form of a game they spent 5+ years working on, and the games people like took 2 years at max to pull off. Notice how JC himself said he'd like to go back and make another Quake game, and preferably one that they don't spend too much time on and don't think about too much. Just like they did back in the day.

            People need to figure out what they liked about the industry back in the day and support that. If you miss old school 1990's shooters, buy ROTT 2013. If you miss the days when small teams just tried new shit, go check out and buy indie games. If we're lucky, the game industry will evolve into Hollywood and there will be room for everything.

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      August 7, 2013 9:03 AM

      My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!

      https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/365126783290445824

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        August 7, 2013 11:53 AM

        wtf I thought it was always id not Id.

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      August 7, 2013 9:30 AM

      I wonder where the Dallas office will be? As in, are they renting some digs in downtown or does "Dallas" really mean one of the suburbs.

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        August 7, 2013 11:56 AM

        Probably Plano or Richardson. Wouldn't surprise me if they sublet space from the Gearbox offices in Plano.

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          August 7, 2013 2:57 PM

          Or hell, maybe in the same building in Richardson that id is in right now. That might make juggling the two gigs easier.

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      August 7, 2013 9:44 AM

      This article actually made me take a nap.
      Carmack is a geek in every sense of the word. Of course hed like to fool around with this thing.
      This rift crap is pointless. Unless this device can exist without having to buy it and without having any geeking looking glasses to wear on your face, it will fail. Just as 3D has.
      History teaches us that hardware not shipped with your platform of choice. Fails and miserably.
      On to some gaming news.

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        August 7, 2013 9:44 AM

        wow this post is a real piece of crap

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        August 7, 2013 9:49 AM

        to be fair everyone ive seen try the rift has been blown away by it...and thats the low res version

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        August 7, 2013 9:50 AM

        Unless this device can exist without having to buy it

        this phrase made my head hurt.

        History teaches us that hardware not shipped with your platform of choice. Fails and miserably.

        Phone fuckup aside, you do get that this is for the PC, right? That there's more than just game consoles, right?

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        August 7, 2013 11:01 AM

        Oculus Rift basically IS a platform itself. And it connects to a PC which most people have. Trust me, VR is not just some gimmick like 3D televisions... it's bigger than that. This is potentially an entire new branch of the entertainment industry in the making. VR will be on PC's... and if it hits big (10 years or less) you will see VR devote consoles coming out for sure.

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        August 7, 2013 11:04 AM

        hahahaha

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        August 7, 2013 11:05 AM

        In essence you are right about third party 3d hardware but there has been a huge buzz over this thing and excitement is ramping up.

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        August 7, 2013 11:11 AM

        1/10

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        August 7, 2013 11:24 AM

        You should use one. It's amazing. It's like the first time you went from software rendering to OpenGL sized leap.

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        August 7, 2013 11:31 AM

        Yeah, just like the mouse. I mean, who wants to go buy this thing? http://tinyurl.com/mlbk4ag It's like $80 and it just makes you need a bigger desk.

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        August 7, 2013 11:39 AM

        You do realize that graphics cards were originally addons, right? They changed the game enough to warrant becoming standard pieces of hardware. The Rift is a similar jump, in my opinion (given that I have one to play around with). It's a big enough leap that games designed for it are going to be equivalent to going from software to hardware rendering. This first generation of Rift's is pretty much like your Voodoo 1, amazing in its own right but nothing compared to where the tech is going to go.

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        August 7, 2013 11:40 AM

        Tagging this post for later.

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          August 7, 2013 12:58 PM

          Mine his post history. He's got some real gems in there.

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            August 7, 2013 12:59 PM

            And I have never seen this many custom-tagged lolscripts on any one post before.

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        August 7, 2013 1:03 PM

        I know that you weren't complaining about Microsoft's very existence again this time around, but this cartoon still suits you, is extremely funny, and is just too appropriate to your character to let it go by.

        http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/22

      • reply
        August 7, 2013 7:42 PM

        You chose… poorly

      • reply
        August 7, 2013 8:27 PM

        When the Great Oculus Rapture begins, you will be left behind.

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      August 7, 2013 10:09 AM

      great sounds like we can expect crap from Oculus Rift now, it's obvious Carmack is outdated look how poorly made his last few games with Id were, poor game engine with lazy programing that no one else will bother using. Does anyone even care what this guy does anymore he has nothing good to speak of in the last since the original Doom...

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        August 7, 2013 10:21 AM

        nice trolling, 7/10

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        August 7, 2013 10:23 AM

        Nobody else is allowed to license idTech 5 except Bethesda published titles. Atleast two such titles have already been announced.

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          August 7, 2013 7:12 PM

          No, the only reason it became Bethesda only was because nobody wanted to licence it. Id started off enthusiastic to licence the engine to other developers:

          http://www.shacknews.com/article/52275/id-tech-5-update-ready
          http://www.shacknews.com/article/48381/ids-hollenshead-on-licensing-id

          They when they found nobody was interested they started making excuses and saying they only wanted a small number of licensees:

          http://www.shacknews.com/article/58596/id-cautious-on-licensing-of

          I suspect they didn't get any at all, so it became Bethesda only.

          There's no denying Carmack is an extremely intelligent man who did a lot for the industry. However, IdTech 5 was dreadful and it was years behind the competition when it came out. The Cry Engine 2 was vastly batter and was out a long time before IdTech 5.

          Rage didn't look bad if you looked at a scene as a whole, but when you went up close to anything the textures were incredibly low resolution and it really didn't meet the standard expected by gamers. It also seems that the engine wasn't very versatile and the mappers had to work around the limitations.

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        August 7, 2013 10:33 AM

        Clearly technology is the only thing that makes a game great. A weak game must obviously mean that the technology behind the game is terrible, hence the person making that technology must be incompetent.

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        August 7, 2013 10:41 AM

        I almost can tell if you are serious. Carmack is almost purely technical (not really on the creative side) and id Tech has always been strong. Its had it's issues here and there (Rage launch was mostly driver issues I think) but he has been a leader of the industry for years. If his engines are anything but best in the industry.. it's only because he has maybe lost a bit of his passion for it. Rockets have taken up a big part of his time... and he's always been into this VR stuff. It's possible that Oculus Rift wouldn't even be around without him because he developed some of the tech himself, advised them on parts of it and then promoted it to the world at last years E3. He is partially responsible for kicking this whole thing off. If he is passionate about this subject and devotes his brain power to it... it will kick ass (even more so than it would have without him). This is a very, very, very good thing for Oculus Rift. I'm one of those who believes that VR is probably the future of video games (and possibly home entertainment) so this is big news.

        As an example.. .think about the guys who created TCP/IP. That is the foundation of the Internet and just networking in general for the whole world. The guys who worked on that defined how a massive chunk of the world runs today. I think Carmack sees this as his chance to help define a new pillar of the industry at that base level. And he's probably the best person to help do this. He almost single handedly pushed OpenGL for years. He can do that here. This is exciting news.

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          August 7, 2013 10:55 AM

          If he's not trolling and he's serious, then I think that there's something about our hobby and its close tie to the Internet that seems to be poisonous to a certain kind of person.

          He's spitting venom on John Carmack, someone who has literally won numerous awards (including an Emmy, ffs) and is a multimillionaire based off of his work, and who is nearly universally hailed as a brilliant pioneer. However, id Software's last game was lacking compared to its hype and because the game launched with issues on the PC.

          When you point out that he's still a smart and talented guy you will be brushed off with "his last good game was X" where X is whatever this person liked last.

          When you point out that he's extremely accomplished, he will just tell you that you're trying too hard to defend him.

          I mean people on this board hate on VALVE for fucks sake. Valve, who has delivered numerous top notch games and whose digital distribution service has damn near single handedly saved PC gaming. But they won't deliver HL3 or mention it so fuck them they're a bunch of assholes who are dead to me, etc.

          I defend Carmack because I go see him every year at QuakeCon. It gives me a different perspective from trolls like this. Partly because I'm able to see for myself how brilliant this guy is. But also because I had to leave the house to do it.

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            August 7, 2013 11:01 AM

            valve made a couple mediocre games and brought drm to the masses. there's lots to dislike about them.

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            August 8, 2013 1:35 PM

            It's just that gaming journalism is still not mature, so even users who've read gaming sites for years aren't educated, and don't even realise that Carmack doesn't even design games.

            There are plenty of reasons to hate on Valve. At this point they're actually strangling PC gaming and not allowing it to flourish. Steam needs to be open.

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          August 7, 2013 11:27 AM

          But what has Vint Cerf done for us lately?

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        August 7, 2013 10:46 AM

        some people just can't let the past go.

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        August 7, 2013 11:03 AM

        show us on the doll where John Carmack touched you...

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        August 7, 2013 11:15 AM

        Where did you get your degree in computer science? Please tell me all you know about programming!

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        August 7, 2013 11:20 AM

        That guy with three jobs is such a lazy fuck.

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          August 7, 2013 12:13 PM

          Haha ya. Co founder of id, cto of a huge startup, and makes rocket... Lazy fuck

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        August 7, 2013 12:08 PM

        haxim is that you

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        August 7, 2013 12:21 PM

        Obviously you care enough to comment! Oh wait, you're a front pager, huh? Nevermind.

      • reply
        August 7, 2013 12:21 PM

        Yeah, definitely. I heard Carmack already plans to replace the entire device with actual turds. Your pre-order will literally be a box of shit.

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        August 7, 2013 12:48 PM

        http://t.co/pcPiiQhZsL

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        August 7, 2013 7:27 PM

        I can tune a piano but I can't tunaguy

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        August 8, 2013 11:39 AM

        Never said he is lazy, but really what game has he worked on that you truly liked. Let's be real Rage was a mess at launch and was in development for way too long, id tech 5 is poorly built anyone who has had a real chance to mess with it will tell you that, that's why there aren't any other Bethesda titles that use it or are even looking to use it, they mostly using Unreal 3 or going 4, perhaps as an actual hardware guy Carmack might be good but at this point in gaming he just needs to stay away from game design already...

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      August 7, 2013 11:05 AM

      Fuckin awesome, hope this will speed things up for oculus production

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      August 7, 2013 11:16 AM

      This thread, why even try.

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      August 7, 2013 11:25 AM

      The last thing they need is a new engine so this may help them in some way (Id).

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      August 7, 2013 11:51 AM

      My mate got his Rift last week. Jetting to his place to try out some HL2. He said its amazing even at low resolution

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      August 7, 2013 12:04 PM

      This is outstanding news.

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      August 7, 2013 8:20 PM

      Everyone in this thread who is questioning Carmack's involvement in Oculus Rift needs to watch rudds fantastic interview with him from last year's E3.

      http://www.giantbomb.com/videos/e3-2012-john-carmack-interview/2300-6164/

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        August 7, 2013 8:54 PM

        that was fantastic, thanks for sharing. missed this before.

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      August 7, 2013 8:34 PM

      During the keynote he talked about how impressed he was with what Abrash was doing at Valve. Carmack probably realized he has to be involved full time if to have any chance of making signification breakthroughs. If this move gives us the best VR experience sooner, more power to him. Don't know why people are so upset about it..

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      August 7, 2013 10:19 PM

      They need to work on the size of that thing, better yet just make it a hologram that projects from your head! No one wants a brick stuck to their heads. They should put the major workings of it in something you sit on your desk.

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        August 7, 2013 11:12 PM

        The major workings of it? It's pretty much just a screen, simple optics, and the housing enclosure to block out light and hold the sensors.

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          August 7, 2013 11:32 PM

          Then why is it so huge : / Why not make it of a similar size to sunglasses, but protrude forward a little further. The housing shouldn't need to be that massive.

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            August 8, 2013 12:13 AM

            Sadly they don't have the hundreds of millions of dollars to have fully custom displays made and as such are feeding off of existing panels originally constructed for cellphones/mini-tablets.

            Given the limited panel options, to maintain a good field of view it has to stick out a bit due to physical laws, perhaps some optical trickery can be done to get it thinner but that adds weight and expense, though depending on how they deal with inter-ocular corrections, they may have that in the production models anyway.

            As to the total size, according to Carmack in the video linked by Firefly1985 the smaller enclosures apparently do poorly at keeping light out. He shows a pair of Sony goggles that are much smaller and comments that many folks would re-mount the display due to problems.

            On the bright side, the Oculus Rift is supposedly quite light weight, so at least there's that.

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              August 8, 2013 1:52 AM

              Guess this is what we are stuck with unless people want to pay 10 grand for it or alternatively wait for another 10 or 20 years lol. Will be great to see what happens with this technology, would love to try it.

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                August 8, 2013 2:05 AM

                I don't see what the big deal is if it's lightweight. Unless you want to use it to watch porn while you're on an airplane. Consider this the first gen of a new beginning. A few more generations and your concerns will probably go away.

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                  August 8, 2013 3:03 AM

                  My concerns relate to comfort (esp. over a longer period), it also would make head movement easier thus adding to realism. But true, it is first gen. Got to wonder what kind of health concerns something like this would cause also... head cancer, neck problems or ruined eyesight anyone? Guess it's no worse than staring at a computer screen...... or is it... DUN DUN DUN.

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      August 7, 2013 11:12 PM

      You guys ready for Quake IV in VR running id tech 5 or mabie id tech 6?