Skip to main content

Carmack: App Store Is 'Model of the Future'

When id Software's John Carmack speaks, the Internet stops to listen--or at least, the technology-based portion listens. Carmack's programming brilliance seemingly kick-started a revolution in the 90s that propelled technology forward like a rocket, creating a symbiotic relationship between hardware manufacturers and software developers. Some consider Carmack a god; the rest just know his words are golden.

During an interview over the holidays, Carmack said that packaged, off-the-shelf software is on the way out. That's nothing really new, a reality most retail outlets currently face (and even try to prevent by banning Steam-laced games). However he put an emphasis on Apple's App Store, claiming that it is "the [distribution] model of the future."

"It is the wave of the future for everything," he told The Telegraph. “Everybody knows that eventually will be digital distribution like this--it’s only a question of time. Clearly, packaged goods sales are still critical on the big platforms at this stage, but that’s all going to go away sooner or later."

So what's so special about Apple's digital distribution platform? He said it removes the obstacles in getting the product to the consumer. "You don't have to cut deals with publishers. It's almost completely egalitarian on there. It's great to see all the small teams that wind up making these breakout hit games for the Apple devices."

There's also an added benefit to publishing titles on an App Store-like platform: direct consumer interaction. "The fact is, on this platform, we can go ahead deal with fifteen-a-day feedback on there and directly interact with the consumers, make changes and get things out," he said.

During the interview, he also clarified that RAGE: Mutant Bash TV doesn't use id Tech 5 on Apple's iOS. Instead, it uses a completely different code base. "We build the levels on id Tech 5 on the PC, but then it goes through a processing phase where it digests all of that into a format that can be efficiently run on the IOS devices," he explained. "That was the most complicated part of the process. The only parts of the technology which were really challenging and difficult were in that exporting phase of things. Most of the rest of the stuff graphics-wise was me just dredging up stuff that I was doing ten or fifteen years ago on other platforms and re-implementing it here."

He also acknowledged the complaints from gamers that RAGE: MBTV uses rail-based gameplay rather than support the customary free-roaming FPS experience. He explained that using the mega-texture tech significantly impacted the overall design of the iOS game and introduced a limited amount of surface area that could be displayed.

"There are multiple [reasons] why the game was never intended to [allow free-roaming], but everybody wants the game exactly the way they want it to be, but you can't please all of the people all of the time," he added, laughing.

To read the full interview, head here.