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Carmack Demos HMD, Talks Long Next-Gen Console Future

By - Source: USA Today | B 31 comments

While id Software's John Carmack was demonstrating his new Head-Mounted Display for Doom 3 BFG Edition on PC, he said it would have been easier to just develop it on consoles.

id Software Technical Director John Carmack said this week during E3 2012 that the next-generation consoles -- namely the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 -- should have a really long lifespan. He made this prediction as he demonstrated Doom 3 BFG Edition running on a customized Head-Mounted Display that he's been working on since the release of RAGE back in September 2011.

Typically when Carmack wraps up development on a game, he turns to rocketry and aerospace engineering. But this time he wanted to experiment with HMDs and virtual reality (VR). He dumped money on a $1,500 HMD, dismantled it, and began to study its weakness in optics, tracking and processing. He fooled around with the gyros and then supplied the data to motion sensing tech firm Hillcrest Labs which in turn wrote new custom firmware that doubled the refresh rate.

Ultimately his goal was to reduce the latency between the game, the computer or console's video processing, and the motion tracking tech in the HMD. He set out to build a new screen using cellphone sized displays, but then came across PalmerTech's Oculus Rift. The firm thus sent him a prototype and he began integrating Doom 3 with the display.

"I actually think it is better than anybody has done in terms of VR demos," he told USA Today. "Over the last few weeks of playing with this I have probably had some of the more stick-with-me moments in a game that I have had over the last two decades. Projected into there and having the subtle little bits about looking around and having things come out at you, it is a different experience."

Now the headset is slated to be sold in a limited edition of Doom 3 BFG Edition for the PC that will be sold in limited quantities for around $500. Technical difficulties prevent the headset's resolution from matching current HD graphics, but the movement is reportedly so fluid, it's life-like. Carmack is hoping to have a large number of kits thrown together by the time QuakeCon 2012 launches in August.

This week as he showcased Doom 3 running on his new headset, Carmack admitted that it would have been a lot easier to make the HMD edition happen on the consoles. "Unfortunately, you can't just plug a USB device into a console and have it work; you have to have it certified and go through a whole process," he said. "And that's a little bit of a shame because even though the PC is ten times more powerful, sometimes getting something done at the exact right point is easier on the consoles - it's a place where you know what scanline you're on at any point, and so on."

He went on to add that console gaming might actually morph into a niche product. "You can certainly see cloud gaming being built into every display device and traditional consoles could become more like the audiophile niche of people who want the extreme experience there," he said. "I hesitate to predict anything five, six years into the future, but the next generation should last a long time."

Still, Carmack seems rather dazzled over his new project, saying that until now, there couldn't be a case made for HMDs being fundamentally cool. "With it integrated into the game -- it has all of the axises on there and I got out all the latency out -- it's really pretty damn cool," he said. "You can see an inkling of where it is going."

DOOM 3 BFG Edition -- Debut Trailer

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  • 16 Hide
    house70 , June 7, 2012 4:21 PM
    This guy has abandoned PC gaming a while ago; even now, when "working" on a PC game, he still bitches about it. Rage was a flop on PC, and he took the Jobs' attitude "you're using the drivers wrong". Like he didn't have access to the video drivers during development...
    He's dead to me, I am sorry I bought his games and will never buy any of his work again. Let him develop for consoles, phones and what ever else he thinks will bring in a quick buck; he's not getting any of my money anymore.
  • 16 Hide
    aoneone , June 7, 2012 3:44 PM
    Long lifespan? Please don't make me laugh again...

    Remember Bill Gates in 1981? "640k ought to be enough for anybody..." Yeah lets not jump to conclusions here LOL
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    aoneone , June 7, 2012 3:44 PM
    Long lifespan? Please don't make me laugh again...

    Remember Bill Gates in 1981? "640k ought to be enough for anybody..." Yeah lets not jump to conclusions here LOL
  • 2 Hide
    juanc , June 7, 2012 3:44 PM
    You didn't understand there are tech issues... he needs/wants to know the exact scanline (line you are drawing on the display) at a certain point which is hard to know when you have hundreds of different displays, video cards, drivers, and OSes.

    In a console, you have ONE of each only. Closed ecosystem.

    By the way. I thought that was over after C=64 et.al.
  • 8 Hide
    captainnemojr , June 7, 2012 3:45 PM
    I'm glad that since the fail of Rage, instead of working on Doom 4, he's been working on a headset to go along with Doom 3 Reloaded......
  • 2 Hide
    nukemaster , June 7, 2012 4:01 PM
    I fully enjoyed Doom 3 Back in the Geforce4 ti/Radeon 9800pro days, but I would much rather get a NEW game not add some levels and slight graphics enhancements to an old games.
  • 3 Hide
    officeguy , June 7, 2012 4:02 PM
    Quote:
    Typically when Carmack wraps up development on a game, he turns to rocketry and aerospace engineering.
    . I do that too :) 
  • 16 Hide
    house70 , June 7, 2012 4:21 PM
    This guy has abandoned PC gaming a while ago; even now, when "working" on a PC game, he still bitches about it. Rage was a flop on PC, and he took the Jobs' attitude "you're using the drivers wrong". Like he didn't have access to the video drivers during development...
    He's dead to me, I am sorry I bought his games and will never buy any of his work again. Let him develop for consoles, phones and what ever else he thinks will bring in a quick buck; he's not getting any of my money anymore.
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , June 7, 2012 4:25 PM
    I might start to respect him again as a pioneer much like the old days when Quake was new and he made the best 3d engine with the latest hardware (Voodoo from 3dfx or Riva anyone?). Since then ID haven't been pushing any boundary's at all but rather made efficient use of already old hardware.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , June 7, 2012 4:33 PM
    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm looking forward to a decent HMD VR unit. I remember back in the day going to an amusement park, and inside the arcade they had setup some Sega VR test units. 5 dollars for about 2 minutes and it was AWESOME!! Or so I thought as a young boy. Since that point, I have not seen a similar system and have been extremely disappointed with every product I have tried. "20-45 deg. angles and head tracking that doesn't work, pfff." ended up being my final thoughts.

    If Carmack can deliver an HMD with a 90 deg. viewing angle and head tracking that actually WORKS for $500, I'll be all over that! Doom 3 that actually works with the HMD? an added bonus!

    But thats just my 2 cents.
  • 5 Hide
    Prey , June 7, 2012 5:07 PM
    I will say this trailer looks awesome, but the only boundry that id and Mr Carmack are pushing is how long you can rest on your laurels.

    IMHO I look at Rage as a victory for Carmack, it seemed like after Doom3 he didn't want to do any dev work for PC, so Rage was his "See I told you so." So now he must feel fully justified abandoning the PC market. While he probably didn't want it to fail, it was good for him that it did, so he can make console games.. again.. just good for him.
  • 5 Hide
    shloader , June 7, 2012 5:28 PM
    Prey's right. Rage was just decent enough (barely) that it was a no-lose scenario in the eyes of the Carmack. On the flip side the man's influence is heavily erroded that he's more irrelevant every year. He has so effectively alienated id's original following that no one really cares about their games on PC anymore. In the console space id has no real reputation with that crowd so they must co-develope to get a recognized studio involved... or should I say 'ride on their reputation'?

    "Doom? Didn't my dad play that when he was in high school?" - There, ya feelin' old now?
  • 0 Hide
    Antimatter79 , June 7, 2012 5:29 PM
    I'm not sure if something like this would ever gain enough widespread appeal to be considered a financial success, but he better have something really special after how poorly Rage did. Other than Duke Nukem Forever, I can't recall a game launching at a typical Triple A title price and then slashing the price so quickly. I also agree with the previous comment that he is resting on his laurels. Past success can only carry you so far, even when the games are truly memorable and groundbreaking in their time.
  • 1 Hide
    may1 , June 7, 2012 6:14 PM
    Carmack has really killed what used to be ID after all other 3 founders left the company. Enough said about ID
  • 4 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , June 7, 2012 6:33 PM
    As much as I love Doom, instead of a Doom3 reloaded I'll never buy, as I have the original versions already, I'd rather they made Quake V based off the monsters, story, and style of the original Quake.
  • 4 Hide
    gorillagarrett , June 7, 2012 7:12 PM
    th
    Quote:
    I will say this trailer looks awesome, but the only boundry that id and Mr Carmack are pushing is how long you can rest on your laurels.

    IMHO I look at Rage as a victory for Carmack, it seemed like after Doom3 he didn't want to do any dev work for PC, so Rage was his "See I told you so." So now he must feel fully justified abandoning the PC market. While he probably didn't want it to fail, it was good for him that it did, so he can make console games.. again.. just good for him.



    It doesn't really look awesome, at all!!

    I don't care what the guy thinks.Just because it's easier for him to code for consoles, it doesn't mean we, gamers, are supposed support his business.

    Heck, we've been getting the same graphics and mechanics for years now.Especially the mechanics, they haven't really changed since Half Life.

    Most of the games that's been released so far in the last few years are really not playable.They just plain suck.In fact, the only game that i've enjoyed in the last couple years is BF3.

    However, We have the gamers too blame for the current state of PC / quality gaming.When those kids keep buying those crappy games in those numbers, then those shitty companies and developers will keep using the same old technologies and tools...
  • 7 Hide
    PhilFrisbie , June 7, 2012 7:27 PM
    bluestar2k11As much as I love Doom, instead of a Doom3 reloaded I'll never buy, as I have the original versions already, I'd rather they made Quake V based off the monsters, story, and style of the original Quake.

    The original Quake had a story? ;)  I thought it was just 'shoot everything that moves'. . .
  • -4 Hide
    airborne11b , June 7, 2012 8:20 PM
    Just another console sellout. I hope he dies in a fire. He has no respect for the pc.
  • 1 Hide
    dreadllokz , June 7, 2012 8:29 PM
    With cloud any gaming plataform, consoles, pc, mobile, will have "really long lifespan"! I guess, every game will be developed for only ONE plataform, probably PC, and them streamed for your device! It will make life of developers much easier, devices much more cheap and games much more afordable! The cons you all know, can't pirate it, can't play it offline, ping, monthly fee, etc etc!
  • -4 Hide
    DroKing , June 7, 2012 8:36 PM
    "You can certainly see cloud gaming being built into every display device and traditional consoles could become more like the audiophile niche of people who want the extreme experience there,"

    How can a guy who got famous by making few sweet ass FPS for pc say this? Audiophile niche of people who want the extreme is CONSOLES!? I think a little bit inside of me just died a little. PC is THE EXTREME. You freaking MORAN.
  • 1 Hide
    Shin-san , June 7, 2012 10:19 PM
    It sad that the Doom game has more color than most other FPSs
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , June 8, 2012 4:53 AM
    Hypocrite.

    Anyway, a good read (related to the PC Gaming and E3):
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/06/07/pc-gaming-e3s-dirty-little-secret/
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