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'Doom' and 'Quake' legend John Carmack joins Oculus Rift team as technology chief

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Carmack Head-Mounted Display
Carmack Head-Mounted Display

Video game tycoon John Carmack, responsible for helping create Doom, Quake, and more, has just joined Oculus as CTO. Carmack, who has been a supporter of the Oculus Rift VR headset from the start and helped optimize Doom 3 for an early prototype, gave the following statement:

I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming — the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer's early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It's certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don't even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It's going to be awesome!

Carmack was a founding member of Id Software, but shortly after the announcement, Eurogamer reported that he had left his role at company. Since then, an Id spokesperson has told Polygon that he's not stepping down. "John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project," he said. "The technical leadership he provides for games in development at Id Software is unaffected."

"The technical leadership he provides ... at Id Software is unaffected."

One of Carmack's major side projects, the space startup Armadillo Aerospace, was put on hold earlier this year after mixed results. He'll be arriving at a pivotal time for Oculus: the Kickstarter-funded project has shipped to developers, but most people still have yet to use one, and there's no hard timeline for getting it from development kit to finished product.

Though the Rift has spawned several new games and even its own accessories, many of these are still shots in the dark, with developers trying to figure out what works on virtual reality. As Carmack notes, he was on the forefront of the sort of first-person gaming that's being leveraged for the Oculus Rift — and if the project pans out, he could help it take the next big step forward.