Legendary game programmer and Doom co-creator John Carmack is getting a new "full-time" job. He's going to be working as the head of technology at Oculus VR, the company behind the upstart Rift virtual reality goggles.
Is this the end of an era?
Possibly, though the situation is a bit confusing.
The word from the people behind Oculus is this:
John Carmack joins Oculus VR full time as Chief Technology Officer and will work out of Oculus’ brand new Dallas office. Formerly at id Software, John is now full time at Oculus VR working on the Oculus Rift.
The word from Bethesda, publisher of id Software to Kotaku is this:
John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected.
We're trying to reconcile the two, as it's unclear just what Carmack's role at id will be going forward. When asked straight-up if Carmack was gone form id, a Bethesda rep replied, "No, he is not."
UPDATE: Bethesda/id clarifies: "John will spend time working out of Oculus as part of his role with them, but he will also continue to work at id."
UPDATE 2: Carmack himself clarifies his priorities:
My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) August 7, 2013
The new Oculus gig is a good fit, as Carmack has been vocal about his interest and support of the Rift. In fact, Carmack is the one who debuted the Rift to the press in one-on-one meetings at E3 2012.
On the official Oculus Kickstarter page, Carmack talked about his new role as Oculus Chief Technology Officer:
“I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming – the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto [Rift inventor Palmer Luckey's] early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It’s certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don’t even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It’s going to be awesome!”
id software was co-founded by John Carmack in 1991. Under Carmack's technical leadership, it developed numerous games in the Doom and Quake series. Its most recent major title was 2011's Rage.
Carmack also is heavily involved in his own rocket company, Armadillo Aerospace. He delivered his annual keynote address at the id-centric fan convention QuakeCon last week.