Friday, January 10, 2014

“Doom” 20th Anniversary Stories

Wil Shipley:

The way I got into the software business (besides learning to code) was to use every piece of software I could find and send the developers tons and tons of notes and bug reports. It turns out developers liked this, and it gained me a lot of opportunities. One of them was porting Doom and Quake to NEXTSTEP.


Don’t take this to mean [Carmack’s] code was spaghetti—it was actually some of the easiest-to-understand code I’ve ever worked with. It has an almost indescribable quality of “obviousness.” Like, you know when a really good teacher explains something, it seems obvious? That’s what his code was like.


We did some other ports for free as well, because back when OS X was new it wasn’t at all clear that the Cocoa layer would win out over the Carbon layer. (Most people thought not.) It had been my life’s mission (since 1987) to make sure that NEXTSTEP technology got into the mainstream, and OS X was our last and only hope. We knew games were crucial for a platform‘s wide adoption (c.f. iOS), and Steve didn’t like games, so it was up to us.

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