Steve Jobs and 'Doom' coder John Carmack's relationship a 'rollercoaster' spanning more th...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 15
The noted game designer, in much-shared Facebook post, remembers the "rollercoaster" of knowing Steve Jobs.




Carmack, the founder of Id Software, the lead programmer of "Doom," "Quake" and "Rage," and a one-time fixture at Apple keynotes, shared some memorable stories about his run-ins with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on his Facebook page Monday. The post had over 4,000 likes in its first 19 hours.

Carmack, who is now CTO of Oculus VR, begins the post by sharing that his wife had asked him why he would always drop whatever he was doing anytime Steve Jobs called -- which included, it turned out, their wedding. Carmack's answer? He was an Apple fan for his whole life who spent much of his childhood dreaming of owning an Apple II.

Even after hitting it big as creator of Id Software, his first big splurge was a NeXT Computer.

Run-ins with Steve

Jobs introduces Carmack in 1999


Carmack remembers going back and forth with Jobs over whether his game "Doom" would launch with a "Developed on NeXT computers" logo. Carmack acknowledges that Jobs was never much of a gamer himself and didn't take gaming especially seriously, and once Jobs returned to Apple, the pair had some disagreements about graphic interfaces.

"When Steve did make up his mind, he was decisive about it," Carmack wrote. "Dictates were made, companies were acquired, keynotes were scheduled, and the reality distortion field kicked in, making everything else that was previously considered into obviously terrible ideas."

A series of keynotes



Carmack appeared several times with Jobs at Apple keynotes, often touting the gaming applications of whichever product Apple was announcing that day.

"I'm here today because Apple finally has their act together with regards to 3D graphics acceleration, both hardware and software," Carmack famously said at a Macworld keynote in 1999.

"I wound up doing several keynotes with Steve, and it was always a crazy fire drill with not enough time to do things right, and generally requiring heroic effort from many people to make it happen at all," Carmack said in the post. "I tend to think this was also a calculated part of his method."

Steve the jerk

In the post this week, Carmack isn't afraid to point out the negative side of the Jobs experience. He remembers the former CEO "berating the poor stage hands over This Home Depot shit' that was rolling out the display stand with the new Mac."

Most notably, Jobs once asked Carmack and his now-wife to postpone their wedding so that Carmack could participate in a keynote. Carmack and his wife drew the line at that after Jobs refused to loan an executive for a day to Carmack's wife's startup, and got married as scheduled.

"The Steve Jobs 'hero / shithead' rollercoaster was real, and after riding high for a long time, I was now on the down side," Carmack wrote of a blowup around early iPhone apps. "Someone told me that Steve explicitly instructed them to not give me access to the early iPhone SDK when it finally was ready."

Seeds of the iPhone

Carmack recalls advocating an Apple-produced phone to Jobs, years before the iPhone arrived on the market.

At QuakeCon in 2008, after the first iPhone launched, Carmack touted the iPhone's gaming applications and called it more powerful than the Nintendo DS and PSP combined.

The last product Carmack ever worked on for Apple was the "Rage" game engine for iOS, which launched in 2010. But, the two had disagreements and they ended up on the outs -- an estrangement that continued until Jobs' death in 2011.

Later, Carmack regrets the day that he was too busy, near the end, to take a phone call from Jobs, and that he never was able to put together a goodbye email when he heard that Jobs was in failing health.

"I corroborate many of the negative character traits that he was infamous for," said Carmack. "But elements of the path that led to where I am today were contingent on the dents he left in the universe."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    My peak "gaming" was back in the day with the DOOM and Quake franchises.  Loved them so much.  Still do. 

    Have Quake IV (I think it is) on the 2009 27" iMac.  Fire it up every now and then.

    Not sure were it stands if previous versions were/are avail in the App Store.  I probably shouldn't check....

    Cheers!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    stanthemanstantheman Posts: 273member
    “Carmack regrets the day that he was too busy, near the end, to take a phone call from Jobs.” Too busy for a phone call? That little falsehood undermines Carmack’s entire story.
    jony0
  • Reply 3 of 14
    lukeilukei Posts: 321member
    “Carmack regrets the day that he was too busy, near the end, to take a phone call from Jobs.” Too busy for a phone call? That little falsehood undermines Carmack’s entire story.
    Not at all. If someone had treated you badly, suddenly rang you up and you had something urgent to attend to on you might just pass. Carmack wasn’t to know it would his last chance to talk with Jobs. 
    seanismorrisapres587jbdragonmazda 3sdysamoriajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,463member
    So that’s where ‘Apple is Doomed’, came from!
    asciiracerhomie3avon b7SpamSandwichfastasleepjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,507member
    Life with an Aspergian genius is seldom gentle.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    jorgiejorgie Posts: 30member
    “Carmack regrets the day that he was too busy, near the end, to take a phone call from Jobs.” Too busy for a phone call? That little falsehood undermines Carmack’s entire story.
    There have been many times that I have *been too busy* to take a call from someone when we are not getting along. It is a regular occurrence when business associates are having trouble working together. Do you have inside information that he is lying?
    edited May 17 dysamoriamazda 3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,739member
    Life with an Aspergian genius is seldom gentle.
    Don't excuse Jobs' behavior by associating him with autism. Having high functioning autism doesn't require being an antisocial, selfish asshole.
    amarkap
  • Reply 8 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,739member
    “Carmack regrets the day that he was too busy, near the end, to take a phone call from Jobs.” Too busy for a phone call? That little falsehood undermines Carmack’s entire story.
    What makes you declare it's a falsehood? Do you know Carmack personally? Did he admit to you that it was a falsehood? If you don't happen to like his descriptions of Jobs, that doesn't mean he's a liar.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,507member
    dysamoria said:
    Life with an Aspergian genius is seldom gentle.
    Don't excuse Jobs' behavior by associating him with autism. Having high functioning autism doesn't require being an antisocial, selfish asshole.
    Reality, is what it is -- regardless of how you might want to spin it...  
    And, by the way:   Jobs was as far as one could get from selfish.   He gave his life and every bit of his energy to his passion:   Apple, Next, Pixar, Apple, etc... 

    And, he would not tolerate mediocrity or selfishness.  Some call that being an "anti-social asshole".

    And, by the way, there is no such thing as "high functioning autism" in any diagnostic criteria.   It's a term made up by lay people to describe something that they don't understand.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    jorgiejorgie Posts: 30member
    dysamoria said:
    Life with an Aspergian genius is seldom gentle.
    Don't excuse Jobs' behavior by associating him with autism. Having high functioning autism doesn't require being an antisocial, selfish asshole.
    I assumed they were talking about JC. :)

    Edit... guess I was wrong. Just read the reply. 
    edited May 15 jony0
  • Reply 11 of 14
    jorgiejorgie Posts: 30member
    GeorgeBMac said:

    Jobs was as far as one could get from selfish.  

    No, we wasn't. You don't screw your partner and friend out of bonus money from one of your first contracts if your not a selfish asshole. (Not to mention keeping it a secret for decades.)
    edited May 15
  • Reply 12 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,509member
    Classic quote: "The Steve Jobs 'hero / shithead' rollercoaster was real..."
    jony0GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 14
    tipootipoo Posts: 908member
    I'm reminded of this clip with the half jab of "Apple finally got its act together on graphics", there was clearly some friction between them, and how could there not be, but also respect. 


  • Reply 14 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,507member
    tipoo said:
    I'm reminded of this clip with the half jab of "Apple finally got its act together on graphics", there was clearly some friction between them, and how could there not be, but also respect. 


    Jack Lambert, one of the toughest and best linebackers of all time said more than once:
    "I don't want them to like me.   I want them to respect me"

    2nd rate businesses rely on being liked.  
    The top tier relies on respect.

    But Jobs took it one step even beyond that:   He focused on doing what was right.  If they liked him, that was good.   If they respected him, that was better.   But neither was necessary.   I suspect Lambert felt the same way.
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