How Id software created Doom

Id Software is, without a doubt, one of the most important video game developers ever. The company’s flagship franchises – including Quake and Doom – have left an indelible mark on the industry. But it wasn’t always this way. Before Id became synonymous with groundbreaking first-person shooters, they were just another struggling video game studio. The early days of Id Software are the stuff of legends: There are stories about stockbrokers betting on how long it would take for their company to go bankrupt; board meetings held in a locked bathroom because someone had sabotaged their office space; and nights spent so drunk that employees could remember almost nothing about them the next day. How did these three men go from such humble beginnings to become legends in the video game world?

1983: Meeting in a Computer Lab

John Carmack and Tom Hall met while they were both students at the University of Texas at Austin. Both were interested in computers and programming, though Hall had a much deeper interest in the subject. Carmack, on the other hand, was a more pragmatic student – one who was more interested in pursuing programming as a “useful hobby” than as a way to make a living. Carmack and Hall developed a friendship that was based on their common interest in computers. At the time, Hall was already working at a computer lab, so he was able to give Carmack a job.

1991: Id Software Is Born

Hall and Carmack had talked about starting a business together for a long time. In the early 1990s, they decided that now was the time to make those dreams a reality. The two friends were soon joined by the third co-founder of Id Software, the artist Adrian Carmack (no relation to John). The trio’s first project was a game called Bad Blood. However, this title was never released, and the game is now virtually unheard of. Unfortunately, the team’s first game was a flop and was never released, leading to a cash crunch. To make some extra money, the team created a graphics demonstration called The Guide to Computer Graphics.

1993: Wolfenstien and Id’s Breakthrough

The Guide to Computer Graphics proved to be a success, and the demo included a rudimentary first-person shooter that Id called Wolfenstein 3D. This game was an immediate hit, and it is considered one of the most important titles in the history of the first-person shooter genre. Wolfenstein 3D helped to popularize the first-person shooter genre and spawned many sequels. Wolfenstein 3D also helped to keep Id Software afloat financially. At the time, Id was a small company, so it was not able to release the game itself. Instead, the game was released by a larger publisher.

1994: Doom, Quake, and Id’s Triumphant Return

After the success of Wolfenstien 3D, the team at Id was eager to develop something new. The team, led by John Carmack, decided that they wanted to create the first ever first-person shooter game set in a fully 3D environment. They wanted the game to feature top-notch visuals and an expansive single player campaign. The team was able to pull it off, creating the iconic first-person shooter Doom. Doom was an instant hit. The game featured groundbreaking visuals for its time and an immersive single player campaign. Doom also featured multiplayer options, allowing players to compete against each other.

1995: Ready to Rock and Roll

The success of Doom helped to propel Id Software to new heights. The company suddenly found itself at the center of attention and was courted by many potential investors. The company decided to accept an offer from the software company ZeniMax. ZeniMax offered to buy the company and let Id continue operating largely as they had before.


Id Software was a company that was built on the back of hard work. The creators of the company had to work through many hardships that would have crushed many other companies. The team members all had a deep love for gaming, and this passion for their work helped Id to survive through tough times. Id Software also had a good deal of luck on their side. The company happened to be in the right place at the right time with the first-person shooter genre.

Doom and Wolfenstein 3D were the right games at the right time. The people at Id Software were able to ride the wave of interest in first-person shooters and take the genre to new heights. They were able to capitalize on the growing interest in computers and gaming as well. If they had released Wolfenstein 3D even a few years earlier, it might have got lost in the sea of other games in the early 1990s.