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QuakeCon 2009: John Carmack keynote highlights


Id Software's annual keynote by its co-founder John Carmack at QuakeCon 2009 ran well over two hours with Carmack seemingly not taking a breath as he unloaded on id's plans for the future, his own feelings on next-gen games technology, his rocket company and even his new electric car. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Carmack doesn't see id Software's recent acquisition by ZeniMax Media as a sell out. Indeed he finds it liberating because, "I don't have to attend any more board meetings" which means he can concentrate on doing programming work at the office. id Software has been an acquisition target for a long time; Carmack said that just after Wolfenstein 3D was released, id was almost bought by Sierra Online.
  • Speaking about their upcoming game Rage, Carmack referred to it as a "people game". Unlike previous id games which were mostly about monsters trying to kill you, there are real characters that you interact with in the game.
  • Carmack is a big believer in the iPhone for games. Indeed he said its likely that all of id's mobile game products will be exclusively made for the iPhone. Carmack sees id making three kinds of mobile games; the classic id game ports, the variant RPG games like Doom RPG and Wolfenstein RPG, and all new original products. Carmack said in that latter category you can expect a Rage tie-in game. Carmack predicted that id will release a new mobile game every other month for the next year or so.

Check out more tibits after the jump:
  • Carmack says their experiment with Quake Live will continue for a while (you can expect to see new maps, skins and other content) but admitted that their initial business revenue model with in-game ads isn't working as well as they had hoped. They hope to gain more revenue by adding a premium service down the road that will let people buy their own Quake Live servers.
  • When asked about his opinions on "cloud computing" in relation to the game industry (like the plans for OnLive) Carmack said that was a very interesting idea and that it was something that could be a factor in the future. However he also knows that the biggest problem facing such a system is broadband latency. Ultimately, Carmack said cloud computing could work in about 10 years time "but not this year, and not next year". Which makes us wonder about OnLive and Gaikai's viability even more.
  • Carmack stated that the source code for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is almost ready to be released and just needs approval from ZeniMax. The release of the Doom III source code will most likely happen sometime after the release of Rage, again pending ZeniMax approval.
  • Carmack's other company is Armadillo Aerospace, where he and his team have been trying for years to create a way for private humans to head into space. Carmack has been putting a lot of his own money into the company and at the keynote he said that for the first time Armadillo Aerospace could eek out a small profit this year thanks to the company doing jobs for clients such as NASA.
  • Carmack admits he's not a game industry insider per se but did say that with the closing down of several Dallas based developers such as 3D Realms, Ensemble Studios and others has helped with id's plans to hire more people.
  • Carmack is the proud owner of a Tesla Roadster. He owns the 30th such electric car made by the company and while its not a speed demon like his old Ferraris he clearly enjoys driving it (although he doesn't buy into how electric cars are going to save the environment).
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