id Software is a video game development company based in Mesquite, Texas, founded by John Carmack, John Romero, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack. The company is known for creating extremely popular video game series including "Doom", "Quake", "Wolfenstein 3D", and "Hexen". Id has come under criticism due to the violent nature of their titles and the potential effects that this violence could have on young people. With their "Doom" series, the company pioneered the idea of allowing users access to design tools in order for them to create their own maps.
Id Software was founded in the offices of Softdisk, a monthly computer software magazine. During the early years of Id, the employees continued to develop games for Softdisk during the day while using Softdisk's machines to develop games for Id at night. Their first game, Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons, was released in 1990. The first episode of Invasion of the Vorticons was released as shareware through Apogee Software on December 4, 1990. After a short legal battle with Softdisk, Id Software was founded on February 1, 1991, and immediately moved their offices to Mesquite, Texas. Development on Wolfenstein 3D, Id's next title, continued throughout 1991 and into 1992. This title is widely recognized as one of the first games in the first person shooter genre DOOM, id Software's next title, was released on December 10, 1994, to critical acclaim. Its advanced graphics, innovative gameplay, and the ability for users to create their own levels ("mods") contributed to the title's popularity worldwide.
Success with the FPS genre continued with the Quake series, along with sequels of the Wolfenstein and DOOM series. With these titles, the audio and visual aspects of these virtual worlds have become more realistic, along with increasingly sophisticated elements of gameplay.
|1990||Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons|
|1991||Commander Keen: Keen Dreams|
|1991||Rescue Rover II|
|1991||Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion|
|1992||Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny|
|1999||Quake III Arena|
|2003||Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory|
|2005||Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil|
|2005||Enemy Territory: Quake Wars|
|2007||Return to Castle Wolfenstein|
|2009||Wolfenstein 3D Classic|
|2012||Doom 3 BFG Edition|
Modding and Open Source Game Engines
As stated by John Carmack, a founder of Id, in a Slashdot interview, "DOOM was designed from the beginning to be modified by the user community." In 1997, the source code for Doom was released, which allows for programmers to create not only their own levels but also add their own gameplay. Content used within the Doom game engine is collected in WAD package files, allowing for easy access by users even without access to the source code for the engine itself. id has also been a pioneer in the realm of open source software through the distribution of its game engines' source code.
Whole "modding" communities have sprung up around id's open source engines, with many projects involving antiquated software such as the DOOM source code continues to be actively worked upon. This has created a similar activity around other games, where it is now common for game development companies to release level-creation toolkits for their software. Keeping in spirit with Id's goal of open sourcing its technology, in November 2011 id open sourced its id Tech 4. This is the powerful engine behind games such as Doom 3.
One of Id's earlier innovations came in the form of the shareware distribution system that was used in every Id game from the first Commander Keen title to Quake. Pioneered by Id and Apogee, this method of distribution involves releasing the first section of a game for free, distributed through the Internet, and then allowing two further sections to be purchased through mail order. This method allowed Id to release a steady number of games by allowing them to stagger their development. Until the release of Doom II in 1994, every Id game was released using this method.
Controversy and Legacy
As a pioneer in 3D game engines, first-person gameplay, and pushing the boundaries of violence in games, id Software has been recognized by its industry as a leader. With the critical acclaim, there has been a substantial criticism of multiple aspects of the company's products.
One of the critical elements of Id's popular series is the first-person perspective that the player gains. In fact, co-founder John Romero stated on a message board that the protagonist of the DOOM series did not have a name because the player was the protagonist. This perspective, compounded with the amount of graphic violence in the game sparked controversy with the DOOM series, along with the company's other first-person titles. This controversy was magnified when the media reported that the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre were avid DOOM players. The game's violent nature, along with being associated with such real-world acts of violence, made DOOM controversial. The ability for a player to immerse himself in the game through creating his own levels and having the first person perspective propelled DOOM to be considered one of the most controversial games of all time. 
Violence in Games
Games have the responsibility for the results of how the artificial agents and artificial environments they create affect the ethical mindset of players. In games, there is a constant ethical situation where players have choices and have to make them in the virtual world with their interpretation of values in the "real" world. DOOM, Wolfenstein, and some of id's other first-person shooter (FPS) titles are known for their violence, which had relatively high amounts of it when they were first released. Being a virtual reality environment, these FPS games have the ability to encourage "virtue-less" behavior, which has raised the question about how responsible Id maybe for the real world consequences of in-game violence.
More empirical evidence has been discovered that supports the notion of how violence in video games can encourage users to engage in violence out of the virtual reality. If this is the case, then id Software and other game developers must be prepared to take responsibility for how that violence manifests itself in the real world.
Id has allowed its graphics engines to be used to create users' own virtual environments, in which they can interact with other players through internet connections. The amount of customization available to the modding community permits very unfamiliar environments to be created. The ambiguities created by these capabilities in an online environment make it necessary for id and the user-base to establish guidelines for ethical behavior. Permissible actions (e.g. what can be "killed", created, destroyed, altered) in these environments needs to be commonly understood to prevent harm in this virtual reality .
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kushner, David (2004). Masters of Doom (paperback ed.). Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8129-7215-5.
- ↑ id History Retrieved 09 December 2012
- ↑ Id Software Games
- ↑ Wikipedia "Id Software" 
- ↑ Slashdot Interviews John Carmack Answers
- ↑ Doom 3 engine goes open-source
- ↑ The 15 Most Controversial Video Games (PICTURES)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 https://ctools.umich.edu/access/content/group/cd00dd55-2128-45a6-99cb-941eae4d8cda/Required%20Readings/3%20Virtual%20Environments/Brey%20Virtual%20Reality%202008.pdf