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MIT Technology Review

35 Innovators Under 35

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  • John Carmack

    31

    For a decade, John Carmack, cofounder of id Software, has revolutionized the computer game industry with immersive first-person shoot-’em-up games where players maneuver through 3-D worlds as characters on the screen. Since 1992 the self-taught programmer has attracted a devoted following of millions and has broken sales records with Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom I and II and the three- part Quake series. His work raised the standard from simple games to complex, role-playing scenarios, which are so compelling that the U.S. Marines have used the games to train fighters. To make possible more realistic environments, Carmack has used leading-edge graphics hardware to create game engines, and he freely allows developers to improve them. “A great many people in the industry got their start modifying our games,” he says proudly. Carmack—who also builds small rocket-powered vehicles—and his crew in Mesquite, TX, are working on a new engine that improves the depth and texture of 3-D environments. His ultimate goal: achieve a level of rendering equal to those “of film and television graphics.”