It is safe to say that thanks to ID Software, the computer games industry has acquired its modern features. Who were these geniuses who could change the entire industry so seriously?
The company was founded by three talented programmers - John Carmack, John Romero and Tom Hall. This led to the emergence of serious disagreements at the very beginning of the company.
And John Carmack was born on August 20, 1970. His 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, this profession had no future. However, John, like any other young man, protested against the opinions of his parents. Carmack recalls that his early years were crazy, and at school he was known as a real bully.
While studying at the university, Carmack, as is customary among Americans, also moonlighted in a pizzeria. However, the training itself did not last long - after a couple of semesters, John left her, as she interfered with his main hobby, programming. John first worked as a freelancer creating software for the Apple II. And already at the age of 20, Carmack got a permanent job at Softdisk.
There he met Hall and Romero. The first, during his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, began creating small games for computers for fun. However, Tom soon realized that it could make money, so he got a job at Softdisk in 1987.
Fate brought Romero to the same company, where he met future partners. And the three were united by the revolutionary work of Carmack, who was able to create a smooth scrolling of the background. This was unusual for the gaming industry. However, for the management of Softdisk, this work turned out to be 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 outside of working hours.
The development of the project implied financial investments that three programmers simply could not provide. That is why they had to look for an investor. This was Scott Miller of Apogee Software, who quickly recognized the potential of the new development. Some time after the start of development, the troika realized that they would need another team member. It was Softdisk employee Adrian Carmack, John's namesake.
It took many hours of work, without rest and days off, until the first ID Software project called "Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons" appeared. The game was not revolutionary, but received good press, becoming a real hit. And before that, the team managed to work on such a cult project as Dangerous Dave. John Romero did most of the work then.
The team then created a few lesser projects: Rescue Rover 1 and 2, Shadow Knights, Hovetank 2, and Catacomb 3D. In the latter, the future style of ID Software was already visible. True, at that time the company itself did not legally exist yet. It was 1990, Carmack was only 20 years old. And since February 1, 1991, the group has been working in its own company, ID Software. The company's first serious project became a hit. The shooter Wolfenstein 3D has become a real revolution. The design of the game was developed by Hall and Romero, and at each stage there were caches that eventually became the hallmark of the company's products.
And Carmack's Wolfenstein engine was inspired by Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss 1991 release. And Carmack's work for that time became a real perfection. On May 5, 1992, the game hit the shelves and was published by Apogee Software. The game became so popular that the name ID Software became known around the world. But real fame came to the brand only after the release of the next project, which managed to become the most famous in the gaming industry - Doom.
That game was much better technically than its predecessor. Development was carried out on Next computers with NextStep operating system from Steve Jobs. But it was in those golden years that the conflict within the company arose. No matter how hard designer Tom Hall tried, the levels he developed were constantly swept aside.
Romero did better and it was his variations that were taken as a basis. The study of the plot from the side of Hall was also not needed by Carmack, he did not see much sense in it. Eventually Romero did the design and Carmack built the engine. Other artists and programmers played secondary roles. The tense situation was resolved only when Hall left for a new job at Apogee Software.
I must say that the work on the cult game was not easy. Back then, in the early 1990s, development was not particularly computer-based. As a result, some of the monsters were not drawn, but physically collected, filmed, and only then processed the resulting images. A number of textures were taken from real life. For example, the iconic chainsaw was a real-life depiction of a device owned by Tom Hall's girlfriend. And some models of weapons were removed from toy analogs.
The game hit the shelves in October 1993. It was distributed according to the then new shareware business model. In other words, anyone could play for a while for free by going through several trial stages. If a person liked the game, then he should have already purchased it in order to continue the process. In September 1994, the second part of the game appeared. And although she was not much different from the first, it was she who was to become a part of history. After all, it turned out to be much more diverse levels, and the monsters became much more interesting.
True, calling Doom a full-fledged revolution is still dishonest. In terms of gameplay, this is a breakthrough, but not technically. After all, the game was not really really three-dimensional. A real 3D game appeared in 1996. The Quake project was the last in ID Software for John Romero.
As was then customary in the company, John Carmack did the lion's share of the work on the engine. True, the financial condition of ID Software was already such that he could easily hire someone else for this place. Romero did the design and did a brilliant job. It was thanks to him that the game had such an amazing atmosphere. He created very varied levels, which even gave rise to competitions in passing the game against the clock. It turned out that there are different ways to do this.
But it was after the development of Quake that Romero was fired from the company. In fact, it did not come as a shock to him, he himself was going to leave to launch his project. But no one expected dismissal. Over time, Romero and Hall will merge to form their own company, ION Storm. But she will suffer an inglorious fate along with the failed project Daikatana. Romero will be creating entertainment for mobile phones for a while, and then he will start working on a secret online project, the details of which are classified.
And the company continues to develop and releases the second part of Quake on a completely new engine. Again, most of the code belongs to Carmack. Stunning physics and already glorious brand could not but turn into success. The third part of the game was focused on online battles, becoming the basis for e-sports for a long time. After a series of improvements to Quake, the sequel to the cult game Doom 3 was released. Although the game was criticized, it turned out to be a quality product, which was confirmed by sales. And according to the plot of the game, they even made a film, unsuccessful, really.
ID Software manages to release games infrequently, but makes real hits. Well-structured management is the reason for success. Employees note that in the company everyone knows what they have to do. Each has its own clearly defined tasks, taking into account the abilities of the person. This is a key moment for ID Software, which is why John Romero failed with his project. He expected that the work would somehow get better by itself, but this did not happen. After all, no one has created a clearly debugged structure, as in ID Software.
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 rightfully, being a genius programmer. More recently, ID Software's developments amazed everyone at the MacWorld conference. The newly created engine will underlie 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 moment in the history of the company is its specialization. She works on one type of games - 3D Action. Moreover, 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 belongs to small companies. In 2009, ID Software was sold to the ZeniMax Media giant. While many fans were shocked, Carmack himself stated that with such strong support, his team would be better able to focus on new projects.