Id Software Lore and Theory-crafting

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Most of you probably know a bit about Id Software. They made Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Commander Keen. Besides their games Id is probably most well known for being founded by John Romero and John Carmack. While Carmack and Romero are the most famous (or infamous) former employees of Id, several other key people were involved in the early days of Id. This includes artist Adrian Carmack (no relation to John), designer Tom Hall, and "biz guy" Jay Wilbur. Other notable Id employees include: American McGee, Tim Willits, Kevin Cloud, Sandy Petersen, Michael Abrash, and Mike Wilson. Tensions between Id's founding members began to rise during the development of Doom. Tom Hall was fired from Id around this time. Eventually, tensions reached a head during the development of Quake. Carmack became increasingly frustrated with Romero during this time and forced him out of the company.

Romero's firing from Id ultimately led him to found Ion Storm with Tom Hall in 1996. Romero and Hall were joined by Todd Porter and Jerry O'Flaherty from 7th Level. Mike Wilson, who had joined Id in 1995, also left Id to become Ion Storm's CEO. Other notable employees of Ion Storm include: Stevie "Killcreek" Case, Sverre Kvernmo, and Warren Spector. In contrast to Id, which had been driven primarily by John Carmack's technology, Romero and Hall envisioned Ion Storm as a place where, "design is law." Ion is probably best known for Romero's infamous flop Daikatana. In total, Ion was responsible for five other games. These are Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3, Anachronox, Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, and Thief: Deadly Shadows. Ultimately, Ion Storm failed to replicate the success of Id. Romero and Hall both left the company in 2001. By 2005 the company was closed completely.

Since the start of the millennium, both Carmack and Romero have been involved in a number of ventures. Carmack left Id in 2013 to work for Occulus. More recently, in 2022 he left Occulus to start a company called Keen Technologies. From 2000 to 2013 he was also running Armadillo Aerospace, seemingly as a hobby. Romero has hopped around between video game ventures since the failure of Ion Storm. Currently, he's relocated to Ireland with his latest wife. Together they're operating Romero Games.

This thread is for discussing all things Id Software and Id Software adjacent. I'm especially interested in gossip, rumors, lore, and theories about the goings on at Id and Ion Storm in the 1990s. I'm also interested in information regarding former employees and what they're up to today.

Is John Carmack the world's greatest programmer or a hack-fraud who is largely recognized for copying the hard academic work of others?

Is John Romero really running a game company or is he evading taxes in Ireland?

Who is to blame for the failure of Ion Storm?

What happened to American McGee's sister?

Why did Stevie Case do a nude photo shoot to promote Daikatana?

Is Sandy Petersen the real victim of the Quake development cycle?

Is Q_rsqrt proof that men are better programmers than women?

What happened to Sverre Kvernmo?

Did Mike Wilson sell his hairline to devil in exchange for his success?

Who was truly responsible for Daikatana's infamous advertisements?
 
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Well, I'm actually reading Masters of Doom; it is most of official story behind ID Software showing how amazing guys was. My favourite part is Carmack destroying doors to Romero's office wth battle axe. Things like that are there in every chapter. But as fun fact, I will post here a game relased by ID Software, on engine similar to one used on mobile Doom RPG. Game came out on Nintendo 3DS, and it is Fantasy turn based RPG. It has great vibe, and it is definitly worth trying. Here


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1y4k9p0f4g
 

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Not only did Trent Reznor record the soundtrack for Quake, he did all the voice acting for the game's protagonist including the iconic "HUH" jump noise.
 
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Well, I'm actually reading Masters of Doom;
Masters of Doom is definitely worth reading if this stuff interests you. I often use it as a reference when discussing Id or Ion Storm.
My favourite part is Carmack destroying doors to Romero's office wth battle axe.
Since reading it, I've thought Carmack and Romero were both pretty unreasonable people throughout the development of Quake. I think, if the other partners had felt more confident about challenging them then Romero would not have been fired. It seems to me that Romero needed to allow some of the other design staff to step up and take on more work. At the same time, Carmack clearly needed to be insulated from any kind of management role. His behavior at the time was beyond the pale, and he was still downplaying it in interviews as recently as 2019.

Not only did Trent Reznor record the soundtrack for Quake, he did all the voice acting for the game's protagonist including the iconic "HUH" jump noise.
Interesting, I wasn't aware that Reznor did any of the sound effects. If you have a source then I'd be interested in reading it. I was able to find the same claim, through Wikipedia, in a Rolling Stone article, but it doesn't give any details. I thought, it might be mentioned in the notes for the vinyl release, but I didn't see it. American McGee, in the notes, does say that they produced, "sound effects by the hundreds," but I'm unsure whether he meant music samples or effects specifically. On the other hand, I did get to learn that he watched, "super-deviant porn," with Nine Inch Nails, so I guess that's a plus.

Edit: I checked Masters of Doom and the same claim is there too. The book doesn't go into any detail either though. :(
 
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For additional research and technical learnings... consider taking a look at Fabien Sanglard's fantastic Game Engine Black Books
For Doom and for Wolf3D.
Additional things... A LOT of the music in Doom is ripped off "technically not a copy" bobby prince legal shenanigans that lets them get away with it. Interestingly, even E1M1's soundtrack is also a ripoff(I have yet to find a source or find where I found this out...) but it's a ripoff of this vinyl(not quite identical, but the melodic part of it is very similar...).

There's also the classic "baby's first cellular automata" in Final Doom's Fire effect for the logo. Fabien wrote about that here, and there's a big lot of implementations here. If you want to be cool, you should throw in another implementation in your language of choice :CoolKong:
Interesting, I wasn't aware that Reznor did any of the sound effects. If you have a source then I'd be interested in reading it. I was able to find the same claim, through Wikipedia, in a Rolling Stone article, but it doesn't give any details. I thought, it might be mentioned in the notes for the vinyl release, but I didn't see it. American McGee, in the notes, does say that they produced, "sound effects by the hundreds," but I'm unsure whether he meant music samples or effects specifically. On the other hand, I did get to learn that he watched, "super-deviant porn," with Nine Inch Nails, so I guess that's a plus.

Edit: I checked Masters of Doom and the same claim is there too. The book doesn't go into any detail either though. :(
Here you go! This was from the Quake OST LP a while back and written by Carmack and American McGee. Trent talked about how bullshit the legal situation was that he had to "leak" this pdf separately from the LP and encourage people to make their own productions of it.
Reznor offers the Quake 2XLP for $35 on the official Nine Inch Nails website with an added note that isn't exactly subtle when pointing to a different link with purchase.

According to the product listing, "We designed this reissue to include a booklet containing essays from id Software's John Carmack and American McGee. A certain unnamed video game publisher made it impossible to include this in the package, so please honor their wishes by not clicking here to even see the essays, or here to print the booklet out yourself."
Source.

As it's ID Software-adjacent to DOOM modding, for those who want to mod DOOM or Quake check these 2 videos out


Yes, Q_rsqrt was used to steal n00ds! teehee
 
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Yeah, everyone talking about Doom and Quake, but for me games made on IDS engine by other studios are worth to be mentioned as well. It shows how Carmack's engine was huge dope for video games culture. For me most important ones are
1695238817607.png

Blood,
1695238852741.png

Heretic
1695238886243.png

and Hexen.
But there is more, amount of games created on variations of Doom Engine only proves that Carmack didn't want JUST to make money, but to show people that something more is possible, on every step. In Masters of Doom there is lot of quotes of Carmack saying that he doesn't even care If other studios or creators uses his work, and even that he want them to do so. Also, after Commaner Keen they made Wolfenstein 3d, wich was in fact "remaster" of older game they liked
 
nce reading it, I've thought Carmack and Romero were both pretty unreasonable people throughout the development of Quake. I think, if the other partners had felt more confident about challenging them then Romero would not have been fired. It seems to me that Romero needed to allow some of the other design staff to step up and take on more work. At the same time, Carmack clearly needed to be insulated from any kind of management role. His behavior at the time was beyond the pale, and he was still downplaying it in interviews as recently as 2019
You're probably right, but I think that given their profession and characters, it was simply inevitable. They were both eccentric artists and programmers. Sometimes I wonder how they stayed together for so long. Of course, it's very good that they succeeded to
 

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Fabien Sanglard's fantastic Game Engine Black Books
For Doom and for Wolf3D.
There's also Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book. Unless you want to write a software renderer for 486s, it's not super interesting as a technical reference anymore. It does have a forward written by Carmack and several chapters are dedicated to Quake though.
Here you go! This was from the Quake OST LP a while back and written by Carmack and American McGee. Trent talked about how bullshit the legal situation was that he had to "leak" this pdf separately from the LP and encourage people to make their own productions of it.
These are the notes I was looking at. McGee does mention that Nine Inch Nails produced sound effects, but he doesn't specifically say who created what. I did find an article in Wired where Reznor was actually interviewed about this. He says, "I remember just laughing, you know, because it was absurd to have a mic and have another guy sitting there just going 'HUMPH, HURNK, HURP.'" There's a post from Romero on Twitter that claims Reznor did all of the player sounds too. The Wired article also says, "... as a result of Nine Inch Nails' contract at the time, Reznor was barred from vocalizing in Quake—either in the soundtrack or the game's effects." I guess my conclusion is that the voiced effects were specifically created by Reznor, and everyone is being intentionally vague about it.
Yes, Q_rsqrt was used to steal n00ds! teehee
I was definitely traumatized by viewing this image in 2016.

I'm pretty certain that Blood is based on Build (Duke Nukem 3D) and not Doom. Build is interesting but I don't know a whole lot about it. Ken Silverman has a cool website though.
Heretic and Hexen.
I've probably played more Hexen than any other Doom engine game. I don't know why exactly. I'm not a huge fan of the game over all. It's kind of a slog. Heretic is the better of the two in my opinion.
You're probably right, but I think that given their profession and characters, it was simply inevitable. They were both eccentric artists and programmers. Sometimes I wonder how they stayed together for so long. Of course, it's very good that they succeeded to
I agree. Given the personalities and desires at play, I think the break-up of the original Id team was pretty much inevitable. On the other hand, if it hadn't happened then we may not have gotten Deus Ex.
 
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People of culture here I see. Came here to mention Masters of Doom but y'all are too good for that.

JC's behavior "beyond the pale" made me lol.

I never liked DOOM but respect it. Never was an FPS guy so don't listen to me. As an engine dev I loved that damn book. Also curious about what happened with Armadillo. Will look it up. Last I checked he was still poppin rockets off in the desert for a gov contract but who knows now.
 
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