John Carmack (born August 20, 1970) is a widely recognized figure in the video game industry. A prolific programmer, Carmack co-founded id Software, a computer game development company, in 1991.
John D. Carmack II grew up in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, and became interested in computers at an early age. He graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School, then attended the University of Kansas for two semesters before dropping out to work as a freelance programmer. Softdisk in Shreveport, Louisiana hired Carmack uniting him with John Romero and other future members of id Software. In 1990, still at Softdisk, they created the first of the Commander Keen games before Carmack and the rest of the team left to officially found id Software. The Commander Keen series of games was then published by id Software, under the shareware distribution model, from 1991 onwards.
Carmack's programming skills enabled the development of the seminal first-person shooter games Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and Quake, amongst others. Carmack's game engines have been able to take advantage of the developments in PC hardware quicker than other developers. He has invented several computer graphic algorithms, notably surface caching and Carmack's Reverse. Carmack's game engines have been licensed for use in other influential first person action shooter games such as Half-Life and Medal of Honor.
Carmack is also known to some of his fans as "the OpenGL-Pope", "Carmack the Magnificent", "John "Godlike" Carmack" or "John "The magic fingers" Carmack".
When the source code to Quake was stolen and circulated among the Quake community underground a young programmer (known as GAlexander on the #c IRC channel) used it to port Quake to Linux, and sent the patches to Carmack. Instead of having the programmer arrested, id Software (at Carmack's behest) used the patches as the foundation for a company-sanctioned Linux port.
Some of the recipients of Carmack's charitable contributions include his former high school, promoters of open source software, opposers of software patents, aerospace research, and game enthusiasts. In 1997 he gave away one of his Ferraris as a prize in the Quake "Red Annihilation" tournament.
Though Carmack is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics, he is also a rocketry enthusiast and the founder of Armadillo Aerospace.
Carmack married Katherine Anna Kang around January 2000 and his son Christopher Ryan was born at 12:50pm on August 13, 2004.
On March 22, 2001, Carmack was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon those who have made revolutionary and innovative achievements in the video and computer game industry.
In 2003, Carmack was one of the subjects of the book Masters of Doom, a chronicle of id Software and its founders.
"Note to self: Pasty-skinned programmers ought not stand in the Mojave desert for multiple hours."
"The speed of light sucks."
"Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important."
"I'm good? Seriously?"
"It's nice to have a game that sells a million copies."
"It's done, when it's done." (referring to Doom 3)
"It's a good thing Doom 3 is selling very well..." (Having destroyed a rocket test vehicle worth $35,000)
"[A]t its best, entertainment is going to be a subjective thing that can't win for everyone, while at worst, a particular game just becomes a random symbol for petty tribal behavior."