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The Amazing Carmack (And Reznor)
PC Gamer
Issue #8
August 2002


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 yet."

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 original

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.