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id Software (note the lower-case id, which refers to the id as a psychological concept) is a computer game developer based in Mesquite, Texas. The company was founded by four members of the computer company Softdisk: John Carmack, a programmer, John Romero and Tom Hall, game designers, and Adrian Carmack, an artist.
The company's breakout product was Wolfenstein 3D, a first person shooter with smooth 3D graphics that were unprecedented in computer games, and with violent game play that many gamers found fun. After essentially founding an entire genre with this game, id created the games DOOM, DOOM II, Quake, Quake II, and Quake III. Each was a first person shooter with progressively higher levels of graphic technology (and progressively higher minimum system requirements).
The lead programmer for id Software is John Carmack, whose skill at 3D programming is widely recognised in the software industry. John Romero, considered by many as a gifted game designer, also used to work for id Software until he left after the completion of Quake in 1996 to form Ion Storm in Dallas with fellow co-worker Tom Hall.
The shareware method of distribution was initially employed by id to sell their software. They would release the first part of their trilogy as shareware, then sell the other two installments by mail order. Only later (about the time of the release of DOOM II) did id release their games via the more traditional shrink-wrapped boxes in stores (through other game publishers). It is likely that id Software has been the most successful shareware publisher to date.
Currently, id's "game engines" are licensed to many other developers, to the point where some in the industry regard id first and foremost as a game engine developer and only secondly as a producer of finished retail games. The price of licensing id's engines normally runs about $250,000 per title. id releases its older game engines, such as that of Quake and Quake II, under the GNU GPL for others to use free of charge (bound by the GPL license restrictions).
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