Quake maker's new game engine runs on Mac

Id Software co-founder and CTO John Carmack stepped onto the keynote stage of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to show off a Macintosh build of a new game engine -- the engine's first public showing, anywhere. More Mac news would be forthcoming, Carmack promised.

Carmack is id Software’s Chief Technology Officer and the programming mind that brought the world the game engines that have powered first person shooters since the inception of the original Quake and Doom series. Id CEO Todd Hollenshead revealed at an event in May that Carmack was working on a new engine, and said that it was being developed for an entirely new game franchise.

“I think that when we show it to people, once again they’ll see, just like they saw when we first showed Doom 3 , that John Carmack still has a lot of magic left,” Hollenshead said. Hollenshead noted that id Software hopes to use the new engine across a wide range of applications and different games.

The software is called “idTech 5,” and Carmack’s presentation at WWDC marks the first time that it’s actually been unveiled publicly. In a statement posted to its Web site, id says that idTech 5 “practically eliminates the texture memory constraints” placed on game designers and artists. With idTech 5 in hand, game makers will be able to create titles that contain vast outdoor landscapes that are completely unique, while creating indoor environments with higher levels of artistic detail than they’ve been able to create before.

In some ways, Carmack’s presentation mirrors the last time he was on stage with Jobs — that time at the Macworld Expo Tokyo keynote in 2001. At that time, Carmack unveiled for the first time a development version of the game engine that was being used to create Doom III, which ultimately made it to the Macintosh, as well.

As with past id Software game engines, idTech 5 will be available for license to third-party developers who want to base their own games around the new technology. So idTech 5’s presence on the Macintosh is an important first step in bringing those games to the Mac.

Id will reveal some details at the E3 Media and Business Summit, which happens in July in Santa Monica, Calif. Carmack also told WWDC attendees that more details are expected to emerge at QuakeCon, an annual gathering of id Software gaming enthusiasts that happens each year near Dallas, Texas. This year the event runs from August 2 - 5, 2007.

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