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John Carmack Spearheading Mobile Dev at Oculus VR

By - Source: Venture Beat | B 10 comments

GamesBeat recently conducted an interview with Oculus VR Brendan Iribe, who talked about where the Oculus Rift is today in terms of development, how the team stays organized, some of the new emerging technologies, and so on. He also revealed that company CTO John Carmack, who just left id Software so that he could focus on his position at Oculus VR, is heading the team's mobile focus.

"He and his group are very focused on the mobile side," Iribe said. "We are throughout the company, but he's spearheading a lot of that mobile work. We can't give any details on it, but so far, from the glimpses we've seen, we're going to see another 'How did he make that work?'"

That comment refers back to Epic Games' Tim Sweeney who reportedly asked that very same question when he saw id Software's 2.5D engine running Doom on a low-end computer.

"We have a team of real senior, rock star engineers," he added. "Of course, Carmack is at the top. He's been spearheading a lot of the mobile effort, working with a group of talented engineers on that. He largely works out of the Dallas office. Most of the engineers, though, are in Irvine here, working remotely with John. There's a handful of other developers in Dallas that John is working with."

He goes on to say that Carmack is known for being head-down. "We're trying to respect his wishes, where he wants to get in and code and solve these problems on such a small platform. To do that well, he needs to focus and have his isolation. That's what he's doing," he said.

Earlier in the interview, Iribe said that VR is going to reignite the PC race and the GPU/CPU race, which has largely plateaued. The industry really isn't talking about Gigahertz and cores, but how many triangles they can achieve. The race has seemingly calmed down. But once you put on a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, you'll want even more.

"What does that mean for mobile, when suddenly we're at the edge of making this all work in a PC that's five or 10 times faster than a smartphone or tablet? There's a big challenge there," he said. "That's the kind of thing that a guy like John Carmack loves to sink his teeth into and pull something off there, something where people look at it and say, 'How is that possible?'"

To read the full interview, head here.

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  • 1 Hide
    hoofhearted , December 21, 2013 6:24 AM
    If he could bring back that same euphoria I got when I first played Doom multiplayer, then best of luck to him. Hope it happens.
  • 2 Hide
    NightLight , December 21, 2013 6:51 AM
    If he could bring back that same euphoria I got when I first played Doom multiplayer, then best of luck to him. Hope it happens.

    I think he himself is trying to recapture some of that euphoria, in terms of personal achievement.
    I like the guy, but he has been spinning his wheels the last 10 years or so.
  • -1 Hide
    tolham , December 21, 2013 7:39 AM
    I like the guy, but he has been spinning his wheels the last 10 years or so.

    agreed. not to belittle id's or john's hard work and contributions to gaming, but let's be honest, they invented the FPS about 20 years ago and they've been reinventing it ever since.
  • 0 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , December 21, 2013 9:28 AM
    It's strange because they don't want to put Oculus Rift on consoles because they are not powerful enough for it, but mobiles are not expected to be more powerful than the latest consoles for a very long time. Mobiles are not expected to match processing power with consoles until about 2014 and that is with the old generation of PS360. The new generation of consoles is not even powerful enough and imagine how long it's going to take for mobiles to catch up to that!

    The main secret to John Carmack getting things to work is that he deprives his engine of some major features that require large amounts of hardware resources, and hopes nobody notices, but once people do, it totally spoils their mood. In the Doom 1 & 2 engine, it was no slopes in world-space or even in camera-space because all the world surfaces were completely horizontal or vertical and the camera could never rotate on the pitch or roll axes. In the Doom 3 engine, there were no gloss textures, so decently depicting slimy parts of models, for horror effect, were not possible. Not a good idea considering that Doom 3 was a horror game.

    With Oculus Rift on mobile devices, I can pretty much guarantee you that in order to provide the amount of spatial and temporal pixel throughput sufficient to prevent nausea, they will have to lower the sophistication of the graphic engine severely to about PlayStation 2 levels. Actually this is nothing new for mobiles because many games are already down there because many people don't have the latest mobile hardware. It's the same story as with PC; game developers usually target their games to run well on the medium hardware for the time; anyone with high end hardware usually just burns that extra processing capability on higher spatial and temporal pixel throughput since that is what is easiest for the game developers.

    So anyway that's the secret to why mobile devices will get Oculus Rift support whereas consoles will not despite consoles being more powerful; mobile device gamers will tolerate low sophistication graphics whereas console gamers will not. That doesn't fill me with excitement, and it shouldn't do that to you either.
  • 0 Hide
    ZolaIII , December 21, 2013 9:38 AM
    I think that in the next two years mobile SoC scene will dramatically change especially in GPU & DSP aria & that hyper memory cube will became a well adopted standard. Making Johns dreams technically possible!
  • 0 Hide
    kartu , December 21, 2013 1:52 PM
    Consoles are too weak for Oculus Rift, yet it somehow should work with mobile devices.
  • 0 Hide
    Blazer1985 , December 22, 2013 5:01 AM
    In infinity blade there,are no reflections. It is the same room upside down with a semi-opaque plane as a floor. BUMMER! Still you get that "how the hell did they make that work?" feeling. When subtle optimization is always welcome :-)
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , December 22, 2013 6:04 AM
    I said it before, John Carmack is basically David Bowie. Talented and respected in his day but now largely irrelevant. How about pushing out Doom 4 instead of messing around with pie-in-the-sky tech that won't see mainstream for 10-15 years. Get the whole Ziggy Stardust phase behind you and concentrate on the Space Marine shooting demons on Earth.
  • 0 Hide
    zambutu , December 22, 2013 9:22 AM
    That's right..some of you aren't thinking future. Consoles are locked and wont advance with the rift display tech. Mobile is advancing fast with no bounds!!
  • 0 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , December 25, 2013 3:01 PM
    Yes, mobile devices will advance very often while consoles will not, but will they advance fast enough that the best mobile device will surpass the best console device in computational capability? Sadly, I seriously doubt it.