Game Developer's Conference 2004: Carmack Addresses the Massesby Derek Wilson on March 30, 2004 3:34 PM EST
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IntroductionIf the Game Developer's Conference is the Mecca for all those who write video games, then surely John Carmack is like the prophets. Founder of id Software and creator of incredibly long lived and just plain good games, John is arguably the most brilliant programmer of our time. For years the IDGA (International Game Developers Association) has been trying to get John to come speak. This year they pushed the right buttons (they convinced his wife it was a good idea) and the king of game programming, himself, descended upon GDC.
The focus of the keynote was on the difficulties with bleeding edge game engine development. Obviously this isn't something most of us face on a day to day basis, but knowing what John Carmack thinks about game development is almost like looking into the future of computing. Either through amazing foresight or incredible influence, John Carmack has well understood the direction computer hardware would take throughout the past few years.
To illustrate just how far computing has come, John informed us that he first started coding on an Apple IIc. He pointed out that the computing power we have now is about one million times that of his first Apple machine. Further, with about 100 times more power, Carmack thinks we will be able to do in real time what it currently takes four and a half hours to render in a 3D content creation application like 3D Studio or Maya. Essentially, the master of video games is predicting what he called "Lord of the Rings" quality rendering in real time within the next ten years. How does a video game developer stay on top of it all? Well, it's not easy...