http://www.buzzscope.com/features.php?id=1248 John Carmack Interview by Howard Brown 2006-01-04 John Carmack is one of the videogaming industry's elite icons. Credited with originating the first person genre of games, gaming would not be where it is today without this programmer. Not only does each game he releases redefine the genre in some way, but the technology behind it shapes the evolution of videogame graphics and sound in each generation. Even if you don't play his games, you'll be hard pressed to not feel the influence of them as the ideas and elements introduced in each one of his engines are used and adapted in some way industry-wide. As such, few can say they've affected the gaming scene as much as he has and the company he keeps in that respect is small. We recently had a chance to ask Mr. Carmack a few questions on a number of topics. If you want to know why he prefers the Xbox 360 to the PS3, what id's next projects are, what he thinks of the next generation of mobile graphics and more then read on as one of the greatest minds in videogames speaks. Howard Brown: DOOM RPG is now out and it's a fantastic game, especially in consideration of the massive restraints of a cell phone handset. What was your original vision for DOOM RPG and what did you want to include in the game but were unable to due to handset restraints? Are you pleased with your efforts on DOOM RPG? John Carmack: The BREW version pretty much did everything I wanted, and I was very happy with the results. The most frustrating thing with the J2ME version was the sound output. Even though we really didn't have the memory budget to do a lot with it, the API implementation absolutely crippled our efforts. I did realize on the BREW port that I couldn't afford to devote enough of my personal hours to the project to truly maximize the rendering engine. Modern BREW phones are quite powerful little machines with a lot of potential. If I was able to work on it full time for a few months I would make different implementation decisions, but since I was only able to devote a few weekends to my programming on the project, I wound up going with a simple and robust strategy instead of something technically challenging. HB: Many people have developed a major interest in DOOM RPG, especially with that amazing trailer that you and Jamdat released. I have even heard people wishing for the game to come out on the PC?! Have there been any thoughts on seeing the next installment of DOOM RPG being released on formats other than mobile, or any consideration with working on the 3D accelerated handsets? What do you think of those 3D accelerated handsets? JC: We looked into the possibility of porting and expanding our upcoming mobile game to the GameBoy Advanced, but the market for third party titles without a major toy tie in didn't look good at all. I could imagine moving some titles to the iPod, but we don't have any firm plans. The first generation mobile 3D parts from ATI and nVidia were both botched a bit, but in different ways. I expect the second generation parts to be clean and effective. We are negotiating with ATI about possibly making a dedicated 3D accelerated version of an upcoming mobile game, which would really let me do some cool work on it. HB: First person games are your bread & butter, but have you thought of creating a game that is a different genre? Do you see mobile gaming as your testing ground for new titles? JC: I have a backlog of a half dozen different game ideas for mobile at the moment, and most of them aren't first person. HB: What are your thoughts on the Xbox 360 and the PS3? With the Xbox 360 now released in three territories, can you see yourself developing a game with either of those consoles in mind? "DOOM 3: Demonic Regions" for Xbox 360 & PS3, maybe? JC: They are both powerful systems that are going to make excellent game platforms, but I have a bit of a preference for the 360's symmetric CPU architecture and excellent development tools. The PS3 will have a bit more peak power, but it will be easier to exploit the available power on the 360. Our next major title is being focused towards simultaneous release on 360, PS3, and PC. HB: DOOM the movie...What do you think? If you had the opportunity would you have rather been the director of that movie or had more control with the production? JC: I liked it. I had intentionally kept myself completely away from the movie production, because I wanted to see the completed work for a valid first impression, and I don't have any notion that I am qualified to be a movie director. I liked the first Mortal Kombat movie and the Resident Evil movies, and I put the Doom movie in with them instead of the miserable game movies like Mario Brothers and Double Dragon. HB: DOOM 3 is out and almost dusted. What is the next biggest game that you're working on right now for mobile and PC? JC: We aren't talking about our next PC/console game yet, but our next mobile game is a fantasy themed game with a similar core play style to Doom RPG. I am excited to get this in the hands of reviewers, because it is such a good example of what I have been talking about with regards to the rapid pace of evolution possible on the mobile titles - the game is just much better in every possible way. The team at Fountainhead has taken all the positive things we discovered about this style of play with Doom RPG, and added a large number of unique innovations. HB: Thanks for your time John and we look forward to learning more of your future projects soon.