id Software co-founder: DirectX is better than OpenGL

By on March 15, 2011, 1:13 PM
id Software co-founder John Carmack built his popular game engines around the cross-platform OpenGL API. It therefore may be a surprise to learn that he considers Microsoft's DirectX to be a superior API.

"I actually think that Direct3D is a rather better API today," he told bit-tech. "Microsoft had the courage to continue making significant incompatible changes to improve the API, while OpenGL has been held back by compatibility concerns. Direct3D handles multi-threading better, and newer versions manage state better."

That being said, Carmack won't be switching away from OpenGL anytime soon. Despite the advantages of DirectX, OpenGL is rooted deeply in the company's game and tool code and transitioning to the Microsoft camp would involve a lot of work. It could complicate supporting platforms like the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Apple Mac.

"It is really just inertia that keeps us on OpenGL at this point," Carmack said. "OpenGL still works fine and we wouldn't get any huge benefits by making the switch, so I can't work up much enthusiasm for cleaning it out of our codebase. If it was just a matter of the game code, we could quite quickly produce a DirectX PC executable, but all of our tool code has to share resources with the game renderer, and I wouldn't care to go over all of that for a dubious win."

User Comments: 19

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tacobfm said:

Really now, I wonder why?

Guest said:

How much was he paid to say that..?

Guest said:

He is obviously possesed by the demon.

Korn007 Korn007 said:

week old news

vipor231 said:

um they both are good..the only reason directx is doing good is because microsoft saturated the market with it...linux would be actually #1 if it had more support from people..but alot don't know about it which stinks

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Wow, I remember a few years ago he said the exact opposite. Granted, he did say that DirectX has gotten better than it used to be and was coming close to being as good as OpenGL, but he still thought OpenGL was the better API. I've only used OpenGL, so I can't comment on if he's right or not, but I would suspect that DirectX would be the best route to start on due to its continued and unhindered development whereas OpenGL has remained somewhat stagnant.

Guest said:

The remake king of the industry. Meh, Carmack is a code monkey who talks out of both sides of his mouth. John Romero exposed that many years ago when they were at id.


anguis said:

It is better but not by enough that they would consider changing. Not worth the effort.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Are you talking about the same John Romero that released Daikatana?

Guest said:

"The remake king of the industry. Meh, Carmack is a code monkey who talks out of both sides of his mouth. John Romero exposed that many years ago when they were at id."

I got a good laugh out of this for several reasons. A.) Carmack just handles the technology at id. You don't like the games they're making, look at Tim Willits. B.) Yes, Carmack is a code monkey, and a very good one at that. I'd trust his opinion on a question about GRAPHICS over Romero's for that reason -- along with about 50 others. C.) He didn't even say id would be adopting DX. In fact, he said for the time being they won't be. So what are you complaining about, exactly?

But maybe your right. Carmack just now finally said a good a word about directX after saying it "sucked" for 15 years because he talks out of both sides of his mouth. Makes perfect sense.

Guest said:

Wrong. Carmack made all decisions while at id. I agree with this person (sort of) Id is the "remake king of the industry."

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Carmack could tell me that the clouds were cotton balls and I'd believe him. He's my hero


Umm... makes sense I guess.

So when is Quake 5 coming out? Going back to our roots? I want my damn lightning gun back on the Necropolis map to zap some Shamblers!!!

Guest said:

Say no to proprietary standards! Just say NO.

Especially if they are owned by microsoft. Why? Check out on wikipedia what "Embrace, extend and extinguish" mean.

Guest said:

Well then, I guess OpenGL just has to get off its *** and get better. And soon.

Otherwise we'll be stuck in proprietary standards for the future coming!

Guest said:

Wow, n00b invasion!! You don't know anything about programming and still here you are talking about something you DON'T know n00bs, Directx is a better api for many reasons, design, expose more hardware capabilities, object oriented (c++), dynamic memory allocation, etc..

Guest said:

Another n00b who believes that OpenGL is open source and non-proprietary, well, you are wrong, it is not open source and it IS proprietary, belongs to khronos, read more about it. Oh yeah Microsoft is evil!! =O =O, you think that, and many people too, well, most of those people has never even read the api documentation... ID Software uses directx for x360, opengl ES for PS3 and opengl for PC...

Guest said:

Say no to software that works! Proprietary software that is!

Who would have known that money is an incentive for quality?

Guest said:

Bill gates and microsoft is sux.!

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