John Carmack: Direct3D Now Better Than OpenGL (!)

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Whoa. John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software who pretty much helped invent the first-person shooter genre, not to mention an all-around fantastic gentleman (we hung on his every word during last year’s QuakeCon), has said that he now believes Direct3D is a superior API to OpenGL. OpenGL, of course, was the API used in all of id Software’s 3D games, from Quake right on down to Doom III. And given how many of today’s game’s are at least partially based on the old Quake III Arena engine, including the Call of Duty series, it’s safe to say the man’s words carry quite a bit of weight.

Carmack told Bit-tech, in the run-up to an upcoming article in PC Gaming, that Microsoft’s decision make several “incompatible” changes to the API has enabled it to evolve at a faster rate than OpenGL. OpenGL, meanwhile, is sorta locked into its current situation, and can’t be quite as brave when it comes to making such changes.

You can sorta see that now, OpenGL’s decline. AMD’s drivers for its Radeon graphics cards have, until very recently, had a heck of a time running OpenGL games as well as they run Direct3D games.

In any event, Carmack also says that, despite Direc3D’s improvements, he doesn’t see id Software switching teams, as it were, not because of any technical limitations, but because the actual benefit of switching over mid-stream, so to speak, aren’t necessarily worth the effort.

But still, this would be a little bit like Sir Alex Ferguson saying, “You know, Liverpool FC isn’t so bad after all.”