The Amazing Carmack (And Reznor)
Though Johnny Carson may never have met id Software's programming guru, his
character's brainiac powers wouldn't be amiss explaining John Carmack's incredible
talent. With id Software now at a high of 17 employees, Carmack is comfortable enough
to concentrate fully on creating the rendering engine for Doom III. And he's almost giddy
with excitement about how it's going. That's right - genuinely giddy.
What's got John Carmack so gleeful? "I made some good calls at the beginning," he told
PC Gamer about the engine-building process. In addition, "some other procedures, like
with the physics, have worked. [These were] optional functions, but they ended up
working," he continued.
The Doom technology is clearly a generational leap for game engines, and Carmack
insists that more user-friendly elements will be addressed for the mod community: "The
engine could be used as a tool," he says.
This broad functionality includes a sound engine that id programmer Graeme Devine is
building. It will be the first to feature full 5.1 support, a decision that led to Carmack's
contacting Creative Labs to tell them the drivers for 5.1 didn't work. "We know, we're
working on it," Creative's designers reportedly said, "but no one has tried to use them
As Carmack is aware, enforcing an immersive environment involves more than graphics,
and he's evidently thrilled to have former Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor
coordinating Doom III's sound design. Already working closely with Devine on the pure
functionality, Reznor hopes to bring a new form of sound design to the game world. "The
environment is unnerving and scary," Reznor told PC Gamer," so we're not creating just a
soundtrack over the action. [This project's] sound design is intriguing." Though Reznor
admits to being in the learning process of this design, "on first seeing the engine - seeing
the light moving realistically - I could tell it was an exponentially more realistic
experience." Carmack confirmed that id had approached Bob Prince, who produced the
Carmack's enthusiasm bubbled for more than just the technology; he was also excited
about the possibilities for the game's tone. "We want to [do more] than just scare people,"
he says. We'll be waiting.