John Carmack Leaves id Software, Plans to Focus on Oculus Rift VR Helmet

Legendary Game Developer Leaves His Company for Oculus VR

by Anton Shilov
11/27/2013 | 11:01 PM

John Carmack, a legendary game developer, has left id Software, the company he co-founded a little more than two decades ago, in a bid to focus on his work at Oculus VR. The latter is developing Oculus Rift VR virtual reality helmet, which Mr. Carmack believes will eventually revolutionize video games. This is the second major resignation from id Software this year.


“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn't work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging,” said John Carmack in a short statement via Twitter.

John Carmack (born August 20, 1970) is a game developer and the co-founder of id Software. Since the early nineties, Mr. Carmack was behind of many popular video games as well as video game franchises, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Rage, etc. The former chief technology officer of id Software is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics. However, he is also founder and lead engineer of Armadillo Aerospace.

According to Wikipedia, John Carmack pioneered or popularized the use of many techniques in computer graphics, including "adaptive tile refresh" for Commander Keen, raycasting for Hovertank 3D, Catacomb 3D, and Wolfenstein 3D, binary space partitioning which Doom became the first game to use, surface caching which he invented for Quake, Z-fail stencil shadows which he devised for Doom III, and MegaTexture technology, first used in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Unfortunately, in the recent years John Carmack has been far less active than earlier in his career, just like id Software in general. The company released only two of its own games developed in-house in the last ten years: Doom III in 2004 and Rage in 2011.

John Carmack. Images by Bethesda, Gamespot.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that Mr. Carmack is no longer interested in video games. In August of this year he became the chief technology officer of Oculus Rift, while remaining at id Software. As it turned out, developing virtual reality helmet became a more important thing than innovations in computer graphics.

"John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio. John's work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id's tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well," said Tim Willits, studio director at id Software.

Earlier this year Todd Hollenshead, chief executive officer of id Software, left the studio.