Masters of Disruption: How the Gamer Generation Built the Future 
"A 'cyberspace' as it is often imagined is beginning to be feasible." Two decades ago, John Carmack caught a glimpse of the coming metaverse.
This post is part of a longform project I’m serializing exclusively in my newsletter, Disruptor. It’s a follow-up to my first book, Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Built an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, and it’s called Masters of Disruption: How the Gamer Generation Built the Future. To follow along, please subscribe to Disruptor and spread the word. Thanks!
For the past few months, I’ve been exploring the rise of the metaverse here in Masters of Disruption: How the Gamer Generation Built the Future. It’s a story that began in science fiction, found its footing in the PC gaming community of the early 1990s, and is now, with the news that Facebook is rebranding itself as Meta, finally penetrating the public consciousness. Where will it go from here? Is it all just hype? What does it mean? The answers will continue to come from the same people who brought it into light, the gamers.
To close out the metaverse section, I’m sharing a piece of history I found in my Masters of Doom files. Back in the late 90s, id Software co-founder John Carmack was posting periodical updates on his research into the company’s latest game, Quake III Arena. In this post below from 11/22/99, he references the coming metaverse (“cyberspace,” as he puts it), and the role he hopes to take in creating it.
So what innovations does Carmack see coming over the next 20 years? Next week, I’ll be sharing the first part of my new interview with Carmack, who’s deep into his greatest challenge yet: bringing artificial general intelligence to life.
Name: John Carmack
Project: Quake 3 Arena
Last Updated: 11/22/1999 19:47:28 (Central Standard Time)
I am very happy with how Q3 turned out. Probably more than any game we have done before, it's final form was very close to its initial envisioning.
I will be getting all the Q3 code we are going to release together over the next week or so. I will write some overview documentation to give a little context, and since you can do game mods without needing a commercial compiler now, I will write a brief step-by-step to modifying the game code.
I'm looking forward to what comes out of the community with Q3. The rough outline of what I am going to be working on now: We will be supporting Q3 for quite some time. Any problems we have will get fixed, and some new features my sneak in. I have two rendering technologies that I intend to write research engines for.
I am going to spend some time on computer vision problems. I think the cheap little web cams have some interesting possibilities.
I am going to explore some possibilities with generalizing 3D game engines into more powerful environments with broader uses. I think that a lot of trends are coming to the point where a "cyberspace" as it is often imagined is begining [sic] to be feasible.