Carmack making games again at Oculus VR

Carmack making games again at Oculus VR
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

January 9th 2014 at 7:24AM

Virtual reality headset maker hiring developers for internal projects

Oculus VR is hiring game developers to work with John Carmack on the virtual reality headset manufacturer's internal development program.

Carmack joined the company as CTO last year and has since left his long-time role at id Software, where he helped develop classics like Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D, to work on the Oculus Rift full-time.

It surprised many at the time because, though Carmack is certainly the accepted expert on the technical side of gaming graphics, it's hard to imagine him not working on games.

Now Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has told Engadget at CES that Carmack and other developers are doing exactly that – building software that can show off the Oculus Rift's impressive virtual reality experience.

"He's working on a lot of exciting tech," said Iribe. "But, his heart and soul and history certainly lies in the game-development side.”

So far, Oculus has used third-party software for its demsontrations, but Iribe explained that his compnay is looking to take a page from Epic – the makers of the Unreal game engine.

"That's always been Epic's philosophy. And it's what allowed them to make what they made,” he said.

“It's certainly been id's philosophy in the past. It's been John Carmack's philosophy - you gotta eat your own dog food here, and develop internal content also."

It's unclear if this means Oculus plans to make it's own full-length games or just tech demos, but the company is definitely taking an active role in making sure their hardware has plenty of software on the market.

Oculus has hired former EA Partners director David DeMartini to head up its third-party programs and plans not only to support a range of studios, but might even wind up publishing externally developed games.

DeMartini explains that Oculus could even wind up contracting third-party dev teams to build games around ideas they don't have the resources to pursue internally.

"When we catch on to a nugget that seems like it should become a full experience, we may end up doing it ourselves,” he said.

“We may end up putting it out and working with a third-party studio that does. We've actually started to engage with third-party studios like that through the relations group, the publishing group, as well as our own development.”

That's certainly good news for small and mid-sized studios looking for work, but Iribe said that over the next year the biggest changes will come from the company's drive to hire game developers for internal projects.

"You'll see, over the next six to 12 months, if you monitor the careers page, we are putting up our team out there,” he said.

“We wanna make this a very open company. Pay attention to that page and you'll see more and more game developers showing up.”