id Software’s New Game Engine

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I wasn’t at Jobs’s keynote yesterday, but I was interested to hear that John Carmack was there, showing off his new technology. Carmack is the guy who pretty much invented the first-person shooter — Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, Doom again — the technical side of it anyway, and he’s still at the top of his game. So to speak. And it’s been a while since we’ve heard from him — not since Doom III came out, really.

Check the video: he turns up at about the 11:30 mark and says a lot of things in his special graphics geek dialect. (If you wait till the end of the segment you can hear Carmack bust out his signature verbal tic, a kind of “mn!” noise he makes, apparently involuntarily.) Nice to see them doing big outdoor environments, instead of the claustrophobic spaces of Doom III. I was down at id a few years ago for the Doom III release, and I heard an artist say he was busy drawing trees, so I figured something different must be in the pipeline.

I doubt this signals much of a change in the bleak landscape of Apple gaming. But at the same time I can see why Carmack shows up for these events when Jobs calls, and brings his massive geek cred with him. id is the Apple of gaming: they’re getting thwocked in market share by Unreal — just the way Mac gets thwocked by Windows — because, like Apple, they’re not as interested in licensing their tech and being partner-friendly, because they like to keep an obsessive level of control over what they do.

At the same time, what they do is…pretty cool.

Update: An embedded guerilla-video version from