John Carmack is a gaming and programming legend, having co-founded id Software and having served as the lead developer on iconic games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.
Most recently, Carmack has been working to port some of id’s classic titles over to the iPhone, and more often that not, has had positive things to say about the iPhone’s capabilities as a gaming platform. But that doesn’t mean that his experience of working with Apple has gone off without a hitch, and indeed, his interactions with Apple stretch back to before the iPhone was even under development.
In a recent interview with Kotaku, Carmack discussed what it’s like working with Apple and his opinion on how Apple executives truly feel about the iPhone as a gaming device.
“My relationship with Apple has been long standing, but it’s a rollercoaster ride,” said Carmack. “I’ll be invited up on stage for a keynote one month and then I’ll say something they don’t like and I can be blacklisted for six months.”
But Carmack is nonetheless encouraged by the fact that his long time colleague and former id employee Graeme Devine now works in Apple’s iPhone Game Technologies division. Devine’s portfolio includes work on Quake III, Doom 3, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Age of Empires 3, and Halo Wars. So yeah, he’s legit.
Kotaku notes that Devine began working at Apple earlier this year, and Carmack sees this as a positive step in the right direction.
“Graeme Devine is in a significant position as a game developer at Apple,” Carmack said. “I have a real man on the inside now. We knew each other from way back in the day. He’s a real developer and I understand everything he is saying.”
The most interesting thing Carmack had to say, however, centered on what he feels is Apple’s underlying disinterest in gaming.
“At the highest level of Apple, in their heart of hearts,” Carmack said, “they’re not proud of the iPhone being a game machine, they wish it was something else.”
And truth be told, for a company that’s been as averse to gaming as Apple has been over the years, I can definitely see some truth in that assessment . While I’m sure Apple doesn’t mind that people enjoy using the iPhone to play games, I wouldn’t be surprised if the higher ups at Apple are afraid that the iPhone/iPod Touch will be defined by that sole feature when the device is truly capable of so much more.