Please note: This segment of the television episode was filmed in January 1995.
HATTIE: If you have a son over 12 years old, he probably knows more about Doom than you would like. If you want to know more about this incredible success, here's a look at Doom, first through the eyes of our producer's 13-year-old.
JAY WILBUR (id software): Go into god mode.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) What could be captivating Benjamin Matthews? It's Doom, the 3-D computer game, where you, the player, are the only human being left alive, and you are in a brutal battle with the ultimate evil.
BENJAMIN MATTHEWS (13-year-old): Jeez, this one was, like, impossible.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) What do the critics say?
Unidentified Announcer: The biggest adrenaline jolt this year! The best of the breed! The most addictive PC game!
JAY: He's spitting these cubes out that'll eventually turn into monsters.
HATTIE: In a few short months, Doom became the most popular computer game in history. Three guys in their early 20s had an idea and couldn't convince their employer to let them pursue it, so in their spare time, they started id software, with a $2,000 investment from their first distributor. Just three years later, sales are at $20 million.
Commander Keen was first. And what was second?
HATTIE: Then Doom.
HATTIE: Kids aren't the only ones playing Doom. It's been banned from many corporate networks because too many men were playing it at work, but will they admit it?
All right. Now, Jeff, you're trying to tell me, really and truly, you don't play this sometimes up here?
JEFF LONG: I don't. I have my own copy at the house.
HATTIE: (Voiceover) Id's headquarters in a Dallas suburb looks more like a men's dorm than the offices of millionaires.
This place is just totally full of games. There's a foosball here in the kitchen. I think people never go home. They've got cases of lemonade...
Unidentified Woman #2: ...a little Snapple. I mean...
JOHN CARMACK (id software): We've got computers, fast cars, ancient weapons and lizards, you know. It started off where we all kind of had some ideas. We started working on the games, but then we started doing some really clever things that other people weren't doing in the industry. John Romero, main partner that he started looking at these things, and the dollar signs went off in his eyes and just like, `Wow, we can make a lot of money on this.'
JOHN ROMERO: We all know what it is gonna turn out like, so we all know what we have to do, you know, what our--wi--each of us has our own jobs, and we don't step on each other, and it's just purely just something that we really wanted to do, and we all just worked on it and cooperated.
HATTIE: What is your job?
JOHN ROMERO: I write the tools that let us create the worlds that, you know, that we--that people play in.
HATTIE: What does the other John do?
JOHN ROMERO: He creates the three-dimensional engine and the program superstructure.
HATTIE: And what does Adrian do?
JOHN ROMERO: He does art.
ADRIAN CARMACK (id software): All right. Well, this was the first time I ever worked with clay. I never got to take sculpture in college. But the very first one I worked on was this guy right here. Yeah, I design all the monsters and draw all the blood and all that kind of neat stuff.
HATTIE: Did you finish school--college, or...
ADRIAN: No. No, I dropped out my junior year.
HATTIE: Did you go to college?
JOHN ROMERO: Nope.
JOHN CARMACK: I went to one semester of college, and it was really a lot too slow-paced for me. And I tend to be self-taught in most things.
JAY: They work vampire hours. There are actually weeks that'll go by where I won't even see John Carmack, because I'll come in during my 12, and then he'll come in for his 12, and we'll just...
HATTIE: OK, now what exactly do you do? What's your contribution to the puzzle?
JAY: All the business. Anything business. And if it doesn't have to do with development, I do it.
HATTIE: OK, Kevin, what do you do here?
KEVIN CLOUD (id software): I do the computer graphics and design the packaging and the advertising. These guys, I've worked with them in the past and knew they were a great group of guys to work with. All of them are extremely talented and have a lot of creativity and imagination. That's a hard combination to beat when you're developing computer games.
HATTIE: Who is your user? Is it people like this?
JAY: It's him, it's me, it's the guy behind that camera, it's the man over there, it's...
HATTIE: How many people are u--how many games are out there right now?
JAY: We estimate there are 10 million Dooms in circulation right now, 10 million Episode Ones. We take a game, we break it into three equal pieces. In Doom's case, we take the full game, it's three separate episodes of nine levels each. We take Episode One, we give it away for free.
JOHN ROMERO: Normal software companies, they write things down. They create design documents, and they're really thick and everything. We never, ever write anything down.
JAY: We use the existing online services, CompuServe, America Online, Delphi, Genie, the Internet, bulletin boards, both major and minor, to--we upload the game to these sources.
JOHN ROMERO: The game changes while we're creating it. So...
HATTIE: OK. I did read where some other companies might use 30 people on a project, you only use five.
JOHN ROMERO: Yeah.
HATTIE: And that's the reason, that your--talk, you move, you don't deliberate--you don't put it into writing, you don't fuss around with reports.
JOHN ROMERO: Right. Plus, we're not nine to five, we do more work than they--than other companies do.
JAY: And then the users grab ahold of this game, Episode One--which, I might add, ends with a cliffhanger and an (800) number--they move this game around. They just--they love it. They just--it's of such high quality, they have to give it to you, and you have to give it to him and so on and so on and so on.
JOHN CARMACK: So we consider it a very clean way of making money, because we don't have disappointed customers.
HATTIE: I was gonna say, they know they want more or they wouldn't call you.
JOHN CARMACK: And that gives us a very loyal customer base. Right now, all the decisions that I make are more important to keep me happy than to make more money. Money just piles up in the bank. I mean, happiness is something that I deal with every day.
JAY: And we don't want to lose the fun part. We don't want to--I mean, I think you'll find that almost all big businesses started out as small businesses. And if you go in and interview somebody who works in a big business, they're probably not going to have a genuine smile on their face, although they may have a smile on their face. We have genuine smiles on our face, and we plan on keeping them there.
JOHN ROMERO: This is fun. This is a lot of fun, and a lot of people really like what we do, which is another reason why we do it. You know, we do it because we like it, but we also do it because everyone else really likes it.
JAY: I just secured the book deal. Four books, through the course of two years, we signed a six-figure deal.
HATTIE: It's sweet.
JAY: Ain't it?
HATTIE: Hey, you can buy some more Snapple.
JAY: Life is good.
HATTIE: You can get a Ferrari, too.
JAY: No, I have a house. So I--yeah, I can't wrap my house around a pole.
HATTIE: Here we have quilts for when it gets cold in here.
Man #5: This was a recent purchase, for a fever I had.
HATTIE: This is what it takes to build a great business.
(Voiceover) Here's what I learned from spending the day at id software: There's no substitute for long hours. When the marketplace can experience a great product, they'll buy. And build a team with players whose skills don't overlap.
KEVIN: If you have a dream, if there's something you're really excited about doing, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot, and because--working with your dream is what you're gonna work the hardest for.