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John Carmack is a legend in video game programming, and he received a high award from the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) on Friday. He gave a short acceptance speech and did an interview that should inspire the whole game industry to do greater things. We’ve posted the video below, and pulled a few choice quotes from it.

Carmack has been involved in a lot of pioneering work, from establishing the first-person shooter genre with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom to helping create the Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset that debuted last fall. Carmack is currently chief technology officer at Oculus VR, which Facebook acquired for $2 billion in 2014, and he helped create the Oculus Rift headset that debuted for the PC on March 28.

Upon accepting the BAFTA Fellowship award onstage, Carmack said, “A strong team can take any crazy vision and turn it into reality.”

“Thank you very much for this honor, but I’m just getting started,” Carmack said.


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In the after-interview, he said he felt uncomfortable about getting a lifetime achievement award because he was “only 45 years old, and I’ve got a whole lot more programming left in me.

“Obviously, virtual reality is where I’ve placed my bet about the future and where the excitement is going. At this point, I could say it’s almost a lock. It’s going to be magical, it is magical, and great things are coming from that. Along the way, I was focused on the first-person shooters. I said we should go do something on mobile. We were doing mobile games before the iPhone. We were doing free-to-play with Quake Live. We wanted to do massively multiplayer stuff in the early days but didn’t have the resources to do it.”

Carmack said it took people with the full weight of resources to flesh out those trends. He said the new generation of indie Steam games shows that you can make the magic of gameplay without the huge bet that triple-A (blockbuster) game teams are putting into development. He says it will take a little while before VR “hits on all of the things that become the magic of the medium.”


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