John Carmack's Thoughts on iMacs

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

This is from John Carmack’s .plan file. He’s a lead programmer for id Software and a co-creator of the Quake series. He is currently working on Quake III Arena and in his .plan file he has some thoughts about iMac’s and iBooks and Apple as a gaming platform…

[]Welcome to id Software’s Finger Service V1.5!

Name: John CarmackEmail: johnc@idsoftware.comDescription: ProgrammerProject: Quake 3 ArenaLast Updated: 10/17/1999 21:36:10 (Central Standard Time)


The next release will be the full “demo” release for quake 3.It will include bots and a new, simple level that is suitable forcomplete beginners to play, as well as the existing q3test maps.

The timing just didn’t work out right for another test before wecomplete the game.

We plan on releasing the demo after code freeze, when the entiregame is in final testing, which will give us a few days time tofix any last minute problems that show up before golden master.

No, I don’t have an actual date when that will be.

I got an iBook in on friday. It is sort of neat (I need to gobuy an AirPort, then it will definately be neat), but it iscurrently way too slow to play Q3 on.

Apple’s high end G3 and G4 systems with rage128/rage128pro cardsand latest drivers are just about as fast as equivelant wintel systems,but the rest of the product line is still suffering a noticablespeed disadvantage.

The new iMac has a rage128, but it is only an 8mb/64bit version. Still,with agp texturing it is a solid platform with performance that iscertainly good enough to play the game well on.

Existing iMacs have 6mb ragePro video. ATI’s windows drivers forthe pro have come a long ways, and Q3 is plenty playbale onwindows with a rage pro (ugly, but playable). On apple systems(iMacs and beige G3’s), the performance is sometimes as low as HALFthe windows platform. The lack of AGP contributes some to this, butit is mostly just a case of the drivers not being optimzed yet. Thefocus has been on the rage128 so far.

The iBook is also ragePro based, but it is an ultra-cheap 32 bitversion. It does texture over AGP, but it is slooooow. I suspect itis still driver issues, because it is still very slow even at 320×240,so that leaves hope that it can be improved.

Another issue with the Apple systems is that Apple 16 bit color isactually 15 bit. I never used to think it made much difference, butI have been doing a lot of side by side comparying, and it does turnout to be a noticable loss of quality.

* new lg splash* added channel number for local sounds so feedbacks don’t override announcers* remvoed scoreup feedback sound* expand score tabs as needed for large scores* fixed bfg obit* fixed swimming off floors* fixed swim animation when jumping in shallow water* fixed first weapopn switch problem* convert all joystick axis to button events (twist is now bindable)

Are we listening Apple? Make faster graphics chipsets for iBooks and iMacs so we can enjoy q3 arena in all its glory!!

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