That's why I paid rapt attention at his QuakeCon lecture, in which he talked about such engaging topics as the arcane two-CPU architecture in the Saturn, and how quaint it was that he used global variables in inappropriate situations in some of his early games. Also, here's a few other comments he made that might actually be of interest to normal people.
- Rage is a playable game now, but the beginning of the game isn't anywhere near finished yet. Carmack hopes this gets done soon so they can start playtesting the game from the start.
- The next Doom is the first game since Doom II that will require no new engine tech; it's using the same version of id Tech 5 as Rage.
- After the Zenimax acquisition, id will grow to three full internal teams to make big-budget games like Rage, but no fourth team is planned.
- Carmack is disappointed with some aspects of Quake Live. Elements like leaderboards have been unexpectedly taxing on the back end, and the project has been too expensive for an ad-supported product. But id is still trying to make it a viable product with a big user base, and Carmack sees people playing Quake Live for years to come.
- Mobile phone time! id is likely migrating away from the Java and Brew platforms to work solely on the iPhone. Carmack says carriers like Verizon and AT&T don't care about games, and likens their mobile gaming strategy to "someone making semi-random decisions." Furthermore, he says fitting games into these companies' tiny, arbitrary space limitations is a pain, so id is "giving up and stepping away from" expecting these companies to ever improve their games platforms.
- Doom Classic for iPhone is basically done, but being held for strategic business reasons. Carmack isn't sold on holding the game back from release, and sort of wants to release it ASAP.
- id is planning a three-tiered iPhone strategy: classics, designed-from-the-ground-up-for-iphone titles (probably including a Rage game), and RPG. You should expect an iPhone title from id roughly every other month for at least the next year.
- Carmack thinks 3GS-level graphics hardware can handle id Tech 5's megatexturing feature, and cites Myst for iPhone's success as proof games with large file size will sell well.
- id may bring over Orcs & Elves and Doom II RPG for the iPhone treatment, similar to the upgrade Wolfenstein RPG got.
- Carmack hasn't gotten to do any high-end graphics research since the last QuakeCon. He feels more pressure to make a great game now since the Zenimax acquisition, but acknowledges that at some point he'll have to get back to research purely for business reasons.
When I left, Carmack was talking about Armadillo Aerospace's next attempt at the X-Prize's Lunar Lander Challenge, and spouting hard numbers about the rear-wheel horsepower of his old Ferrari Testarossa. Man, that guy is awesome.