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Carmack hard at work on id's next FPS

John Carmack, who became a father at the weekend, has appeared on video at QuakeCon addressing some of the issues id is facing with its next game - a single-player focused first-person shooter.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

id Software's next game will be a first-person shooter with a single-player focus and a simple multiplayer component, engine supremo John Carmack told the audience at the annual QuakeCon event this weekend, also commenting on the new game engine and some of his aspirations for the project.

Although the veteran developer wasn't at the event in person - having just become a father - he did make an address in the form of a video presentation, which was followed by a Q&A session with other id Software folks.

Meanwhile, CEO Todd Hollenshead told CNN/Money's Game Over column that the next game would likely be rooted in the horror/action genre. "That suits our tastes and talents. We're thinking about something up that alley. [That said], we're keeping the idea vault open," he said.

Back at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, John Carmack said that the game would "be some near-future [game]. A present day of near-future thing where we can reuse the fire extinguishers, the waste baskets and some of those things like that [from Doom III] in the game." He also said, "it won't be a sequel to any of our previous works."

Although some commentators poked fun at the fire extinguishers comment at the time, Carmack's point was that id's next engine would draw media from other projects - something he reiterated with greater clarity at QuakeCon. In theory, he told the audience, all game engines should behave that way. It's certainly something the next iteration of id tech will do - and over the past two months he's been researching the possibilities. With so much media to worry about nowadays, shortcuts are necessary and practical since they don't have to be particularly transparent.

With this in mind, the game should be finished a lot sooner. Speaking in a Slashdot posting recently, he joked, "I have high hopes that it won't be another four year odyssey." And although he believes that rendering is approaching the levels that movie studios use (something he said at both the GDC and QuakeCon), that actually works for the team rather than crippling them - for example, while Quake 3 would take 30 minutes to process a level, Doom III can do it in real-time, giving designers a better chance to direct things efficiently.

Sadly, actual details of the game remained thin on the ground, but with Doom III just on store shelves id is understandably reluctant to go public with anything yet. However, once again, multiplayer will not be the focus - in fact, id would like other companies using the same tech to bring the multiplayer up to a more polished level, according to comments republished on hardware websites. (Then of course there's Raven's Quake 4, which should ship in 2006 and give us all a much-needed multiplayer fix.)

Nevertheless, there was a sense that id could show us what the team is working on if it wanted to. As it is though, Carmack doesn't want to put up any tech demo videos up for fear of them turning up in blur-o-vision on the Internet somewhere. Given the problems id has had with the distribution of content over the 'net lately, perhaps that's understandable.

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