The Carmack interview started out well. I've never seen him speak before, so I wasn't about to let the opportunity go by without attending this session. There was a nice demo reel from Doom 3 running and then our interviewer (N'gai Croal from Newsweek) started in with the questions.
Thankfully, the interviewer did know what he was talking about, so the structured portion of the interview session was quite good. He let John pontificate on the merits of quality vs. gameplay experience and the need to slow down the gameplay in order to make sure that all of the art assets were appropriately used.
Some of the more interesting discussions were about the trade-offs between up- and-coming ideas such as environmental destruction and the advance of graphics in games. His theory on this is that we may have blown past our ability to do destructable environments for now because the rest of the graphics in the game are so compelling that allowing people to destroy things would require much more work than can be applied to a title that isn't focussed on environmental destruction. An example are all of those circuits and pipes that show up on walls these days. Users will expect the pipes to spray and drip and they will expect the circuits to flash and short.
Some interesting ideas were exchanged and he patted himself and his team on the back for the coming-soon release of the game and the engine.
The question session was again a bit lack-luster.