games programming

Carmack unplugged

by on Dec.09, 2006, under computer graphics, consoles, games programming

Carmack Quakecon 06

Is there a point where pure expertise takes you far from the elemental principles of your subject? Such that your perspective actually becomes skewed? It’s an interesting question, and certainly a difficult one. History is replete with experts that get blindsided by innovation or worse, redundancy.

When listening to someone as clearly expert as John Carmack, it’s absolutely clear that there are few that can exceed his knowledge or experience in graphics technology. Every year, John delivers the keynote at his own QuakeCon convention. It’s somewhat of an industry joke that no one really understands what he says there. His whole manner exudes someone totally steeped in technology (more specifically, graphics technology). It’s always interesting, even if you don’t fully grasp every last ounce of his wisdom. He gets up, delivers a clinically fascinating speech, and leaves.

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MMORPGs, Security, and the Grand Promise of Middleware

by on Oct.06, 2006, under games design, games industry, games programming, mmo, mmorpg, security, WoW

WoW and SecurID

A big congratulations goes out to Neardeath Studios on the 10th year of Meridian 59. What a fantastic accomplishment. M59 is the first, the longest-running, and most respected MMORPG of them all.

This article is in response to M59 co-creator Brian “Psychochild” Green’s post, “Why middleware will not save us“. He hits pretty hard, and sets his sights on the “middleware market” in the MMORPG space. I’ll say I agree with the bulk of it. Yet, some of the specifics cause me trouble. Thus this post.

His argument noted two levels of the MMORPG industry, the indies and the AAAs (“the blockbuster games”). The gist of his article is that, as a technological cure-all, MMORPG middleware companies fail in their promise. They will make little impact on game development in MMORPG games. A gross-oversimplification on my part, so I’d encourage you go read Psychochild’s post.

First off, how does one define middleware?

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Microsoft Goes Indie!

by on Aug.15, 2006, under consoles, games programming, xbox360


Gamasutra reports that Microsoft is getting into the independant game biz. As of August 30th, anyone with a Windows XP can download Microsoft’s XNA “Game Studio Express” and start making various games for the Xbox 360.

For an additional fee of US100$, indie developers will then be able to access the Xbox Live Arcade service, both to list their titles and to possibly download content for their game dev needs.

The engine itself will be a “XNA version” of GarageGames’ Torque engine, plus some upporting tools. This engine has been a popular choice among indie developers, although I’m somewhat ashamed to say I’ve never played anything from there.

Putting aside my typical cynicism of Microsoft, I have to admit this is cool. Yes, they have an agenda – to sell more Xboxes. Yes, they’d love to envelope indie development. Sure it’s to their advantage to reel in fresh programmers and designers to get them accustomed to using their products.

But there’s a plus side too :

  • it’s the first time anyone’s been able to create content for a major console without hacking into it.
  • Also by creating a “community of interest” surrounding indie gamedev, it elevates it, bringing it closer to the mainstream.
  • You have extensive Microsoft resources teaching you how to make games.

Not bad, for evil Microsoft.

I wonder what Greg thinks of this…


Microsoft XNA Dev Center

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Carmack Pulls a 180

by on Feb.02, 2006, under games programming, pc, xbox

photo from joystiq

“The Xbox360 will be id’s primary development platform.” – John Carmack.

All I can say is, “Did I read the article right??”

This is the man that popularized OpenGL and brought the opensource mindset into the hearts of the general public. Before the upstart iDSoftware, virtually no one had released the sourcecode for a hit commercial game before (to my knowledge).

PC Gaming would likely not be where it is today if it weren’t for iD’s efforts… I know its probably not true, but does it sound like to you that iD is abandoning the PC?

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