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Hook On Carmack

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A little something Brian Hook said about John on the Motley Fool Forums:

Don't confuse me for one of the Carmack Cultists. I respect and admire him as a professional, but don't think for a minute that I don't personally believe that with a lot of hard work I'm just as good of a coder as he is, if not better.

Being a good coder is one thing -- John wrote some sloppy as code in his day, and is a lot better about it now -- but being a hard worker, good coder and BRILLIANT researcher, all in one person, is rare.

In fact, it's so rare that I don't think there's anyone else like him in this industry, not by a long shot. In FACT, he will likely go down as the greatest game programmer of the first 30 years of computer game programming. He has no equals. None.

I AM a Carmack Cultist, and I worked with the guy for two years -- I know him pretty well, the good and the bad. I have a pretty big ego, but there is no one -- and I mean NO ONE -- in this industry that can play in his league when it comes to the overall package. There are some that are harder working; others that are more organized; and others that know way more theory/math than him.

But when it comes to making great games, quickly, and that redefine technology as we know it, there is NO ONE that can approach him. NO ONE.

Yeah, I'm a bit of a sychopant, but it's pretty much impossible to understand how brilliant he is until you work with him for a while. He routinely solves problems in 5 minutes that take others days or weeks -- or sometimes never.

The best part is that he has no ego about it. Nor does he have false modesty. He has a completely objective picture of his own brilliance that's rather amusing to witness.

He said something to me once that I found remarkable, it was something like "I recognize that I possess a very special intellect, but at the same time, I recognize that I'm lacking in a lot of areas. But being well-rounded is greatly overrated."

I remember when I got into the biz how I used to tell my friends "I don't want to work for id, I want to BE the next id." Then after working there, I was like "Goddamn, I was such an idiot." Working with John is probably the singular most humbling experience any programmer can ever go through, simply because you realize how dim your light shines next to him.



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