id Software, the Doom/Quake maker that epitomized the power and passion of independent game development, is indie no more.  The Texas-based developer sold to ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, last week.  Though the company says that the createive process will remain the same, it marks the end of an era for one of the industry's most influential shops. 

In the 1990s, id pioneered self-publishing and shareware publishing - giving away portions of games such as Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3-D, and Doom for free, then charging for the rest.  Eventually, the company worked with Activision to publish its products.  But as large publishers like Activision and Electronic Arts began buying up development shops, tensions have grown for third party developers.  id co-founder John Carmack tells Kotaku that he grew increasingly dismayed over Activision's reluctance to throw more weight behind id's games.

"There's a very real conflict there between whether they want to put resources behind something they own the IP for and derive all the profit for versus something where they don't own the IP," he said "and they might feel like any effort they're putting into it isn't going into their value but somebody else's. That problem has grown over the years as budgets have increased."

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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