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Thread: John Carmack "not all that excited" by next-gen hardware

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    Default John Carmack "not all that excited" by next-gen hardware

    John Carmack "not all that excited" by next-gen hardware

    By James Brightman

    TUE 19 JUN 2012 9:27PM GMT / 5:27PM EDT / 2:27PM PDT

    The legendary programmer does see a bright future with VR headsets though
    Virtual reality, once thought of as a gimmicky, far-fetched idea, is becoming reality, and id Software's John Carmack is pushing hard to make VR headsets a part of every gamer's standard equipment. The Doom creator spent most of E3 showing off his own special VR headset in conjunction with the Doom 3 BFG Edition. For Carmack, prettier graphics are nice, but they won't fundamentally change the gameplay experience; VR, on the other hand, could have a dramatic impact.

    As it turns out, a man by the name of Palmer Luckey had been working on something similar to what Carmack was tooling around with: an Oculus Rift head-mounted display.

    "I was building these things myself but then I came across another guy with a huge personal collection of head mount displays and he's been working on these in his workshop. He's offering this as a kit for only $500, and he sent it to me. I added my sensors and software and stuff on there... When we decided to re-issue Doom 3, the thought was 'how do you interest people in an 8-year old title?' The idea was that we had serious stuff, Microsoft and Sony are pushing the 3D TV stuff, but I'm still not a huge backer of that. I think I did as good a job as possible with it. It's kind of neat, but it's a toss-up if you want to play it, especially on a console where you have to deal with frame-rate."
    Interestingly, while the demo we played was with an Xbox 360 controller, Microsoft hasn't shown much interest, while Sony has, Carmack noted. Not only that, but Carmack told us that he's "actually going to be talking with Valve next month." Carmack didn't say who this was, but we're guessing it's Valve's Michael Abrash, who's already spoken publicly of his interest in wearable computing."[Luckey] is starting a Kickstarter to help fund the first batch at $100 a kit. The hope is to sell these at $500 a kit with sensor and a copy of Doom 3 it could be about $600. I may wind up subsidizing a set of this first batch as they are so incredibly cool. I'm hoping that we will have these available around August... to have a chance, to have an impact on how VR is going to go, as this is better than most high-end units."

    "I got a friend up there who is working with augmented reality, so there is a lot of overlap. It will be fun sitting down to talk about that stuff. So yeah, it is one of those things that we feel we're on the cusp of something rolling. This is neat, but I know three ways we can make this much better with available things, it just takes more effort and work. This is all stuff that can be done, it is not expensive and certainly in a price point of something like this could be a radical experience," Carmack said.

    The demo we tried was certainly impressive, and the goggles do track your head motions, mapped to the left analog aiming controls, pretty well. The downside is it's a somewhat isolating experience.

    "Certainly it doesn't cover every gaming experience, because a lot of gaming is social. It is you and your buddy sitting there, and eventually you will be able to see your buddy's avatar and everything, but there is still the living room atmosphere that you won't get with something like this. I do think it will be able to cover a large fraction of the gaming market out there though," Carmack told us.

    Carmack sees this as just the beginning, and he thinks it can tie in nicely to the booming mobile market. "In a couple years, we hope that instead of being tethered to a PC, you build it off mobile-phone hardware, an iPhone 5 or whatever. No wires, you use the cameras for optical positioning and then you can walk around. You can set up your arena and play in Virtual Reality," he said.

    "It won't sweep the world in a year or two, but so much of what we've always been trying to do with games is simulate that holodeck experience and put you in a different world. This could do it in a way that you could never, ever get in a traditional game," he continued. "The thing is, when you walk around E3, you are still looking into a screen playing an interactive movie. That's just not the same level of experience that you get with this. You can integrate additional factors of actual motion. With a different sensor on here, you can get down on your hands and knees and put your hands on the virtual floor. That's really, really cool."

    It's always enjoyable to listen to someone speak on a topic they're hugely passionate about, and we could tell that Carmack could barely contain himself while talking about VR and his headset. This, he argues, not the fight over polygons, is what can change the industry.

    "Sony and Microsoft are going to fight over gigaflops and teraflops and GPUs and all this. In the end, it won't make that much difference. When you get to this, it makes a really big difference in the experience. Nintendo went and brought motion into the gaming sphere and while only having a tenth of the processing power was able to outsell all of them in all of these ways. I think someone has an opportunity to do this here. It takes a whole ecosystem though, but it is almost perfect," he enthused.


    Carmack asserted that Microsoft should have put its research into something like this VR technology rather than Kinect. "They screwed up the latency on all of it... I still think it is unfortunate; they did some very good software work in that, but it should have gone into something like this though," he said.

    Ultimately, technology doesn't hold back game designers anymore, Carmack said and that's why he doesn't view the next graphical leap as being too important.

    "When people ask how tapped out is the current console generation, PCs are 10 times as powerful but you really are still not technically limited. Any creative vision that a designer could come up with, we can do a pretty good job representing on current generation and certainly on PC. In many ways I am not all that excited about the next generation. It will let us do everything we want to do now, with the knobs turned up," he said.

    "If you take a current game like Halo which is a 30 hertz game at 720p; if you run that at 1080p, 60 frames with high dynamic frame buffers, all of a sudden you've sucked up all the power you have in the next-generation. It will be what we already have, but a lot better. You will be able to redesign with a focus on D11, but it will not really change anyone's world. It will look a lot better, it will move towards the movie rendering experience and that is better and better, but it's not like the first time you've ever played an FPS. It won't be like putting yourself in the virtual world. All the little things you can do on that, such as playing an audio cue over here, and turning your attention to that.
    That will be more of the discontinuous step like we've had with first going to 3D or first using a mouse," he elaborated.

    So when will VR headsets fulfill Carmack's dream and become a mainstream market reality? It's hard to say, but Luckey's Kickstarter is beginning in another week or two and then if a major player gets involved, who knows?

    "As a fully consumer thing, it is hard to imagine that happening in less than a year. Sony is already interested in this thing, and they are interested in seeing how they want to follow this up. I can easily imagine something like that. Sony conceivably could have a product out in the next year. I have no inkling on internal plans, but as a company I think they can do it," Carmack said.
    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...t-gen-hardware

    I actually found this rather surprising. This is a guy who for his entire career has had to take an advantage of the latest hardware and in the past, I couldn't stand hearing him talk for that long because most of his speeches would about the hardware, the specs, and tech needed to run his games rather than the game itself. Apparently, he feels the industry has hit a point where having the best specs is no longer a priority. What's happening that causing people like John Carmack to suddenly have a different point of view about video game hardware and what hardware should be used for. Wether it's reality or not and wether it'll become the next big leap in gaming or the next fad, you have to admit, VR is meant to serve more as a gameplay tool rather than a tool for better graphics. It could very well be the tool needed to blend gameplay and cinema.

    Apparently, he's not alone. Sony has an interest in this field too. Could this ultimately serve as Sony's long term plan, maybe not for the PS4 but perhaps the PS5? I don't see Microsoft doing anything with VR unless somebody else is successful with it first, since that's how Microsoft rolls most of the time.

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    so who is gonna be the first developer to be like "i wasnt excited for next-gen hardware before it was cool to not be excited for it"?

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    Senior Member ShadiWulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXTimelessXx View Post
    so who is gonna be the first developer to be like "i wasnt excited for next-gen hardware before it was cool to not be excited for it"?
    Miyamoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXTimelessXx View Post
    so who is gonna be the first developer to be like "i wasnt excited for next-gen hardware before it was cool to not be excited for it"?
    You actually have a point here. There are actually a number of developers who are not looking forward to the next generation, mostly due to fears and uncertainty. Never before since the US launch of the NES has anyone actually been afraid of the arrival of next gen consoles. The problem is the business model we've grown accustomed to over the last 30 years where better graphics and higher specs sells consoles no longer works for various reasons. In order to maintain the whole console ecosystem that's been helping the industry thrive, hardware makers and game designers have to rethink the emphasis of a game console, which is why we've seen motion controls for Wii, Kinect for Xbox 360, and Move for PS3. I expect the next generation of consoles to invest more into alternative forms of gameplay.

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    Senior Member sonikku956's Avatar
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    John Camarack looking at Valve?




    Also, is Doom 4 cancelled?
    Don't you love it when you picture exactly how a thread will turn out?
    "Not next-gen"
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    Nowadays, it seems id is more into mobile games anyway. At least I see more id games on the iOS than I do on the consoles.
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    I'm not excited by next gen hardware either. You kids are getting all excited for far-off new consoles to have what computers have had for many years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Classic Fan View Post
    Nowadays, it seems id is more into mobile games anyway. At least I see more id games on the iOS than I do on the consoles.
    Eh, a lot of them are enhanced ports and some of them are console ports. I think the biggest iOS game they worked on was Rage. And that was a 360/PS3 title too, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoSaver View Post
    Eh, a lot of them are enhanced ports and some of them are console ports. I think the biggest iOS game they worked on was Rage. And that was a 360/PS3 title too, right?
    True, but it's more than what id's released for consoles for awhile. Quake 4, Quake Wars, Rage, and that's all I could think of. Besides that, Carmack seems to always talk well of mobile since the DS and even before that with mobile phone games.

    Quote Originally Posted by a bee View Post
    I'm not excited by next gen hardware either. You kids are getting all excited for far-off new consoles to have what computers have had for many years.
    Computers have always been better spec-wise (though actual experience wise, I think that's more debatable. Is it really as satisfying an experiencee to huddle with friends around a monitor on a desk to play Halo on Windows than on a couch in front of a huge big screen TV, and is Uncharted as good on the PC?)
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    "If you take a current game like Halo which is a 30 hertz game at 720p; if you run that at 1080p, 60 frames with high dynamic frame buffers, all of a sudden you've sucked up all the power you have in the next-generation."

    Heh, no surprise there. So there won't be much extra processing power for more graphical effects and stuff, it will just be higher resolution, higher framerate and higher textures. But at it's core, they will be kinda like the current gen games.
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