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Published on October 11th, 2011 | by Bob


>Dear John Carmack,


I’ve loved almost every single PC title that has come out of id Software, even from the beginning (say anything bad about Commander Keen and I’ll probably hurt you). Wolfenstein 3D basically created the first-person shooter archetype. Up until this point, John Carmack, you’ve been nearly infallible. Your genius has permeated the entire gaming industry, and quite frankly, there are few people on the planet as brilliant as you. But you broke my heart.
Surely the botched launch of RAGE on PC, a game years in the making, would make anyone angry, but surely THE John Carmack wouldn’t let it out the door without it being perfect, right? In speaking with Kotaku, you had explained why the launch was such a “cluster [email protected]#$,” which was all well and good. I was going to overlook the fact that you’re blaming AMD/ATI for “their” driver issues, when in reality, they give you all of the tools that you need… but then you went ahead and said it.

“You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements… We chose the latter.

We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games… That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version. A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it. Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases.” (Kotaku interview here)

The Carmack giveth, and the Carmack taketh away. I’m not enraged, John, I’m disappointed. I can’t keep it in any longer, and you just lost your free pass. There’s no excuse for what happened to RAGE on launch. If you want to place blame, look no further than your own team. You didn’t test it on a consumer equivalent PC before it was distributed? Really? You didn’t assume that someone would be running the Battlefield 3 Beta drivers? Even THIS is somehow EA’s fault?

The burden shouldn’t be on AMD for making a special driver build for your game; your game should operate on what they’ve provided for you. I think at this point, the industry has absolutely taken driver updates for granted. It may be in the interest of AMD and nVidia to provide driver updates to increase performance, but don’t release a game without testing it on “retail” or current drivers. You would have had plenty of time to test with even Catalyst 11.5.

Had you engineered the game on PC and ported to console, maybe you would have recognized the less-than-optimal implementation of your “incremental quality” increase by way of massive textures. You probably would have also recognized the need for fine adjustment controls in the video options menu.

It’s unfortunate that this launch has soured you. I never thought I’d see id Software, of all developers, choose console first and port to PC.

Come on, bro. We need some time apart. At least DICE made my preferred platform their priority. They get me. I’m moving on.

Love Always,

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11 Responses to >Dear John Carmack,

  1. derp says:

    >Im not even mad, Im dissapointed

  2. ChodeNation says:

    >To expand on Jugs point. If console fanboys got a hold of this news it will be all over platform wars in the comments. No more aids in the comments pl0x.

  3. Jugs says:

    >couldnt agree any more. Whats really the worst of it is that other developers on the fence of porting from pc to console will have id's precedence, one of the most iconic pc developers, to look back on and say…. "hey. If an iconic pc developer chose to develop around console then port to pc… why the hell shouldnt we?"

    this wasnt just a step back for id's reputation. This was also a step back for pc gaming as a whole.

  4. CharlieTango says:

    >Carmack really let me down on this one. Hopefully one of these up and coming devs can shift the focus back to the PC, or at least keep to their roots when the PC made them what they are. I would really like to hear what the KBMOD podcast thinks about the future of PC gaming. Will it ever become the prominent gaming platform again? Or at least reattain the respect it deserves? It seems like its been on a steady decline in the eyes of most developers, with the exception of Valve titles.

  5. Fargo says:

    >This trend of unfinished games is really getting bad, I'm not sure if it's as much doing it for money or if it's just people being lazy and thinking that it's good enough.

  6. santorum says:

    >Hate me for it all you want, but this seems to me like it was just carmack being carmack. He was realistic about the desire for companies to provide the best experience for console gamers to make more money. I can understand the broken heart because you were looking for some acknowledgement of the long time connection between id and pc gamers, but this was open and he charcteristically refused to talk down to anyone. The rage launch sucks so holding that against him is understandable, but his candid statements here make me like the guy anyway.

  7. Bizznichw says:

    >The worst part was sitting @QuakeCon and hear him say that everything was gonna be ok. Yes, he did say that "console" is where the money and security is but that "Pc" is still where his Heart is. In the long run, its just a game we prob wont play or enjoy but knowing where John has come from, he is the one that is going to have to sleep with this Fu*k-up on his mind.

  8. moniteleon says:

    >He lost my respect the second he vouched for CoD.

  9. ImTheRush says:

    >At first I thought you were talking about KBMOD John lol

  10. Mikan says:

    >Oh dear :(

  11. BrappleSauce says:




One of the founding fathers of KBMOD, and an unfortunate casualty of real life responsibilities. An IT professional by trade, and an elitist by choice.

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