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Carmack: id graphics next-gen ready

No need to "radically rework" architecture.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Half-robot programming wizard John Carmack knows id Software needs to keep pace with new hardware - that's why he's already begun researching the next-generation of videogame graphics.

But for better or worse, he hasn't uncovered anything that's going to require a massive rethink - presumably regarding proprietary games engine id Tech 5.

"Games today look incredible, and there are few things that we can't do a pretty good job of rendering with the available techniques, so it is much more a question of balancing and trading off the development process against the fidelity of the product," he divulged on the Bethesda Blog.

"We have to be reactive to hardware trends, and there are still large bodies of work in the offline rendering world to consider, but I don't feel huge pressure to radically rework our graphics architecture right now."

"Still, I have done a fair amount of research work this year to help clarify our next generation directions, but so far they have mostly been negative results – I know we won't be rendering with a triangle intersection ray tracer on the next gen, for instance. I have a couple more research projects to undertake in the coming year, but the technical work I am most excited about doesn't have anything to do with graphics, but instead with the data management and work flow through the development process."

And who wouldn't be excited about data management and workflow through the development process, John?

Carmack, the man who made Quake and Doom, said there used to be clear graphical progress each generation, as well as a big push in between to thump out more frames per second and more pixels and more triangles.

He's been at the vanguard of game engine development for years, and is currently wowing us with newest creation id Tech 5 - the grunt beneath Rage and Doom 4.

Last year id Software boss Todd Hollenshead told Eurogamer that id Tech 5 will not be licensed out to third party developers and publishers. The technology is instead reserved for games published by ZeniMax and Bethesda Softworks.

Meanwhile, it won't surprise you to learn that Carmack likes rockets. He's been studying them for over a decade and has his own aerospace company that's going out of the Earth's atmosphere next year. So, how does building a computer game compare to building a spaceship?

"The saying 'rocket science' is bad in two ways," declared Carmack. "Rocketry isn't science; it is applied engineering, and while it is hard in the sense of having high consequences for failure and a challenging evolutionary cycle, it really isn't all that complicated compared to many other endeavours.

"A modern videogame is much more sophisticated than an orbital rocket," he said.

Who on this planet could interest such a man at a dinner table, you ask?

"Hmm," pondered Carmack, possibly calculating the universe. "I put Shigeru Miyamoto up on a bit of a pedestal for having done so much work that I admire for so long, but I know I can have an entertaining conversation with someone like [Epic Games'] Tim Sweeney or [Valve's] Gabe Newell."

This is what Carmack can do on iPad.

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