You can safely say that thanks to ID Software, the computer games industry has acquired its modern features. After all, this producer released such hits as Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein. Thanks to ID Software, the foundations of a new game genre – 3D Action – were laid. Who were these geniuses who could so seriously change the whole industry?
The company was founded by three talented programmers – John Carmack, John Romero and Tom Hall. True, the company is still associated with the name of the first of them. In this there is no injustice, because the other two founders quickly left ID Software to do other projects. Carmack himself was one hundred percent programmer, and Romero and Hall are still game designers. This led to the emergence of serious disagreements already at the very beginning of the company’s activities.
And John Carmack was born on August 20, 1970. Parents dreamed of giving him a good education, which would allow him to choose a decent job. Programming somehow did not fit into these pictures. After all, as it seemed then, there was no future for this profession. However, John, like any other young man, protested against the views of his parents. Carmack recalls that his young years were insane, and at school he was a real hooligan.
Studying at the university, Carmack, as it is customary for Americans, worked part-time also in a pizzeria. However, the training itself did not last long – after a couple of semesters, John dropped it, because it interfered with the main hobby, programming. First John worked as a freelancer, creating programs for Apple II. And already in 20 years Carmack got a job in the company Softdisk.
There he met with Hall and Romero. The first during his training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison began to create for the fun little games for computers. However, soon Tom realized that it could well bring money, so he settled in Softdisk in 1987.
судь In the same company, fate led and Romero, where he met with future partners. And the revolutionary work of Carmack, which was able to create a smooth scrolling of the background, united the trio. For the gaming industry, this was an unusual occurrence. Only here for the management of Softdisk this work was useless. That’s why Carmack, Romero and Hall decided to use the new technology for their own independent project. Naturally, work on it was planned in off-hours.
The development of the project involved financial investments that the three programmers simply could not provide. That’s why they had to look for an investor. They were Scott Miller of Apogee Software, who quickly evaluated the potential of the new development. After some time after the development began, the troika realized that they would need another member of the team. It was the employee Softdisk Adrian Carmack, the namesake of John.
Many hours of work have passed, without rest and days off, until the first project of ID Software called “Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons” appeared. The game was not revolutionary, but it got a good press, becoming a real hit. And before that the team had time to work on such a cult project as Dangerous Dave. The main work was then done by John Romero.
Then the team created several less significant projects: Rescue Rover 1 and 2, Shadow Knights, Hovetank 2 and Catacomb 3D. In the latter, the future style of ID Software has already been viewed. However, at that time the company itself did not legally exist. It was 1990, Carmack was only 20 years old. And from February 1, 1991 the group worked already in its own firm, ID Software. The first serious project of the company became a hit. The Wolfenstein 3D shooter became a real revolution. The design of the game was developed by Hall and Romero, and at every stage there were caches, which in time became a visiting card of the company’s products.
And the creation of the engine Wolfenstein Carmack inspired the game Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss 1991 release.And Carmack’s work for that time became a real perfection. May 5, 1992 the game appeared on the shelves, the publisher was Apogee Software. The game became so popular that the name ID Software became known throughout the world. But the real glory came to the brand only after the next project, which managed to become the most famous in the gaming industry – Doom.
That game was much more technically advanced than its predecessor. The development was carried out on Next computers with the NextStep operating system from Steve Jobs. But it was in those golden years that conflict arose within the company. No matter how much the designer tried to Tom Hall, the levels he developed were constantly swept aside.
Romero did better and it was his options that were taken as a basis. The study of the plot on the part of Hall also did not need Carmack, he did not see any special meaning in it. As a result, Romero was engaged in design, and Carmack created the engine. Other artists and programmers performed secondary roles. The tense situation was resolved only with the departure of Hall to a new place of work, in Apogee Software.
I must say that the work on the cult game was not easy. Then, in the early 1990s, development was not particularly tied to the computer. As a result, some monsters did not draw, but collected physically, filmed on cameras and then processed the resulting images. A number of textures are generally taken from real life. For example, the cult chainsaw was a real image of the device, owned by the girl Tom Hall. And some models of weapons were removed from toy analogs.
The game appeared on the shelves in October 1993. It was distributed on a new then shareware business model. In other words, anyone could play for a while for free, after several trial stages. If a person liked the game, then you should have already bought it to continue the process. In September 1994, the second part of the game appeared. And although it was not much different from the first, it was to become a part of history. After all, it turned out to be much more diverse levels, and monsters have become much more interesting.
True, calling Doom a full-fledged revolution is still dishonest. From the point of view of the gameplay, this is a breakthrough, but not technically. After all, the game was not really three-dimensional. A real 3D game appeared in 1996. The Quake project was the latest in ID Software for John Romero.
As it was then accepted in the company, the lion’s share of work on the engine was performed by John Carmack. True, ID Software’s financial status was already such that he could quite well hire someone else to this place. Designed by Romero and his work he did brilliantly. It was thanks to him that the game had such an amazing atmosphere. He created very diverse levels, which even led to competitions in passing the game for a while. It turned out that there are different possibilities to do this.
But it was after Quake’s development that Romero was fired from the company. In fact, it did not become a shock for him, he himself was going to leave to launch his project. But nobody expected any layoffs. Over time, Romero and Hall will unite, creating their own company ION Storm. But she will suffer an inglorious fate along with the failed project of Daikatana. Romero for some time will create entertainment for mobile phones, and then begin to work on a secret online project, the details of which are classified.
And the company continues to evolve and releases the second part of Quake on a completely new engine. Again, most of the code belongs to Carmack. Stunning physics and a glorious brand already could not but turn out to be a success. The third part of the game was focused on network battles, becoming for a long time the basis for e-sports. After a series of improvements to Quake, the continuation of the cult game, Doom 3, also emerged. Although the game was criticized, it was still a quality product, which was confirmed by sales. And according to the plot of the game even a film was shot, unsuccessful, though.
ID Software company manages to release games infrequently, but creates real hits. And the reason for success is correctly built management. Employees note that in the company everyone knows what he should do. Each has its own clearly defined tasks, taking into account the abilities of the person. This is the key point for ID Software, which is why John Romero has failed with his project. He waited for the work to somehow improve itself, but this did not happen. After all, clearly structured structure, as in ID Software, no one has created.
Do not forget that every success of the company is inextricably linked with the founder, John Carmack, who takes an active part in the development of each new game. And he does it rightly, being an ingenious programmer. More recently, the ID Software development surprised everyone at the MacWorld conference. The newly created engine will be the basis of the next hits of the company – Rage and Doom IV. It is noteworthy that ID Software is one of the few who creates games using Open GL, which makes them cross-platform, going to PC, Xbox, PlayStation.
Another important point in the history of the company is its specialization. She works on games of the same type – 3D Action. At the same time, all products are somewhat similar, just each new release is more perfect than the previous ones. And only about a hundred people work in the company. No wonder they say that the future is for small companies. In 2009 ID Software was sold to the giant ZeniMax Media. Although many fans were shocked, Carmack himself said that with such strong support, his team could better concentrate on new projects.