John Carmack

From Academic Kids

John Carmack is a widely recognized and influential . Through his work, he has made significant contributions to the field of  and his  have sold in the millions.
John Carmack is a widely recognized and influential game programmer. Through his work, he has made significant contributions to the field of 3D computer graphics and his games have sold in the millions.

John D. Carmack II (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.



Carmack 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. He then attended the University of Missouri - Kansas City 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 key members of id Software. In 1990, while still at Softdisk, Carmack, Romero, and others created the first of the Commander Keen games, a series which was published by Apogee Software, under the shareware distribution model, from 1991 onwards. Afterwards, Carmack left Softdisk to co-found id Software, where he remains.

Carmack's most notable programming ventures are in the area of first-person shooter games. His programming skills contributed heavily to the development of seminal games of that genre: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, as well as their newer versions (including Doom 3 and the rest of the Quake series). He has invented or popularised many computer graphic algorithms, notably surface caching and Carmack's Reverse (while the latter was originally invented not by him, he discovered it independently). 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.

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John Carmack working on Doom 3

Carmack works to promote elements of open source thinking and fan feedback in his game designs. When the source code to Quake was stolen and circulated among the Quake community underground, a programmer unaffiliated with id Software used it to port Quake to Linux, and subsequently sent the patches to Carmack. Instead of pursuing legal action, id Software, at Carmack's behest, used the patches as the foundation for a company-sanctioned Linux port.

Carmack is also noted for his generous contributions to charities and gaming communities. Some of the recipients of Carmack's charitable contributions include his former high school, promoters of open source software, opponents of software patents, aerospace research, and game enthusiasts. In 1997 he gave away one of his Ferraris as a prize to the winner of the Quake "Red Annihilation" tournament, Dennis Fong.

On March 22, 2001, Carmack became the fourth person to be 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. The first to receive that honor was Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo.

In 2003, Carmack was one of the subjects of the book Masters of Doom, a chronicle of id Software and its founders.

Though Carmack is best known for his innovations in 3D graphics, he is also a rocketry enthusiast and the founder of Armadillo Aerospace.

Carmack met Katherine Anna Kang after she visited him at the id offices with a friend during QuakeCon '96. They married around January 2000 and their son, Christopher Ryan, was born on August 13 2004.


  • Kushner, David (2003). Masters of Doom: How two guys created an Empire and transformed Pop Culture, New York: Random House. ISBN 0375505245.

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