As if the Oculus Rift
project needed any more buzz and excitement, things just kicked into overdrive with the announcement that legendary game programmer John Carmack
of id Software fame has joined the team as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). That's right, the lead programmer of iconic gaming franchises like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D will now contribute to the Oculus Rift and help shape the future of virtual reality.
"I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming – the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer’s early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there," Carmack said in a statement. "Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It’s certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don’t even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It’s going to be awesome!"
Carmack is right, everyone working on virtual reality today is a pioneer, and the project with the most potential -- Oculus Rift -- now has an individual with a rich history in gaming. And if you're speaking about pioneers, you have to point to Carmack as a pioneer of 3D gaming and first person shooters. His involvement as a major figurehead in the Oculus Rift movement adds instant legitimacy to the already intense hype surrounding this project. It would be like having Axl Rose join your garage band in the 1980s.
A believer since the beginning, Carmack was the first developer to integrate the Rift into a game back when the hardware was just a handheld prototype lacking an SDK. Now he's joining the team and will be working from the new Oculus Dallas office that's set to open soon.
If you haven't been following the Oculus Rift movement, it's a virtual reality headset that generated over $2.4 million on Kickstarter from over 9,500 backers, far surpassing the project's original $250,000 goal. Since then, the project has taken on a life of its own
and recently secured an additional $16 million in funding
. It's also responsible for the most adorable video of a 90-year-old grandmother
you'll ever see.
Where Oculus Rift goes from here remains to be seen, but with Carmack on board, you can't help but be excited over the future of virtual reality.