Echo VR shuts down, John Carmack suggests multiple alternative routes

In the context: Originally released as part of the Lone Echo VR adventure, Echo VR is an early example of “VR sports” for the Oculus Rift (and later Quest) HMD VR system. After acquiring a developer (Ready at Dawn) in 2020, Meta announced that the multiplayer mode will be permanently closed this summer.

Tens of thousands of players still enjoy (and support) Echo VR, but Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said the resources the company is now using to launch the game could be used to benefit “tens of millions of people.” with VR systems in your home. Bosworth also said that John Carmack would not shut down Echo VR, and Carmack responded by stating that he believes in “saving everything”.

The genius developer who brought us Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and many other classic games before leaving id Software in 2013 left Meta VR by the end of 2022, sharing a sour remark about the self-sabotage mode the company operated in. as he showed in recent statementCarmack reached out to Bosworth as soon as he heard about the end-of-life announcement for the Echo VR to voice his displeasure.

The former CTO of Oculus VR said he felt it was a mistake to drop Oculus Rooms and all Gear/VR/Go content, especially when its emulation layer worked “at least for a lot of things.” Carmack believes in saving everything, and he clearly doesn’t like the trend of the online experience disappearing forever after a player falls below a certain threshold.

Carmack said that even when a game or multiplayer mode can count on “only” ten thousand active users, destroying that user value should be avoided, as the company will do more harm by taking away something users like than benefit by “providing that something equally.” valuable to them or others.” User value is Carmack’s number one priority, although the developer acknowledges that opportunity cost is also “the real thing.”

Carmack would have retained the Echo VR experience to some extent, and now he offers some (unsolicited) tips on how Meta can keep VR fans happy for a lot less money. Options described by the developer include dropping the game to “absolutely minimal support” where only one programmer is responsible for maintaining the code, spinning off the project if someone at Meta is interested in the idea, and finally open source. project forever.

Carmack admits that his ideas can’t be implemented, especially in the open source space, since most large commercial codebases use licensed components that require significant engineering effort to bypass. To alleviate code porting issues, Carmack concludes his note with a programming tip: Developers need to be “disciplined” with the build process so that there is at least “opportunity” to make the project open source at a later stage. Carmack said that “fundamental software engineering” is hard to do right, especially in today’s technology environment, but it’s satisfying.

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