John Carmack Talks ‘DOOM Classic,’ ‘Rage’-Themed Racing Game

John Carmack has finished work on the much-anticipated port of “DOOM” for the iPhone. Dubbed “DOOM Classic,” it’s available in the App Store for $7, and offers four full episodes from the classic FPS and local multiplayer support over the same WiFi network. I spoke to Carmack regarding the project, his follow-up to “Wolfenstein 3D Classic” on the iPhone.

The game was actually announced several months ago, but certain aspects forced its delay. Said Carmack: “In hindsight I kinda wished I had just rushed it out and been done with it. It would’ve been six weeks after “Wolfenstein Classic” had been released on there. But it was one of those business things where we’re trying to be responsible and schedule it relative to the other product releases…it just took much much longer than I expected.”

But the development time was also increased due to the complexity of “DOOM,” which has a lot more going on than “Wolfenstein 3D.”

“Probably was about 3 times as much total effort went into this as with ’Wolfenstein.’ There was just a lot more to do, and including the multiplayer and all that, so it was a bigger project, but it was still something I basically just did all by myself. That was a lot of fun, that was one of the more rewarding aspects of the project. Instead of being in this team of dozens and dozens and dozens of people working on these working on these big projects that have multi-year goal posts, to just go in and cram really hard and blaze something out in a relatively short amount of time.

The controls are particularly innovative for “DOOM Classic.” Having spent a fair amount of time with the game, I feel like it’s the best solution for an FPS yet seen on the iPhone. But apparently some changes to the controls were made since the release of “Wolfenstein Classic,” which has led to some disagreements among the community. Said Carmack, “There’s tons and tons of people of people that played lots with [“Wolfenstein Classic”] that it’s already tying my hands on how I can choose to try to innovate in control schemes…I should’ve had an exact compatibility mode, ’Wolf 3D Classic’ mode.”

The release “DOOM Classic” is hardly the end of iPhone development for id Software. Carmack mentioned that “DOOM 2 RPG” is in the works right now, and there’s still an intention to bring the first 3 “Quake” games to the platform.

Carmack is also interested in putting out an iPhone title based on “Rage,” id Software’s upcoming FPS.

“It’d be some kind of an action/combat/racing sorta game. There’s already certainly a lot of good racing games on the iPhone, but I think we could have something with ’Rage”s style that’s not necessarily a time-based racer, but more of an action/combat thing. It all depends on coming up with something that works and plays well.”