The Carmack Plan

Game designer John Carmack took extensive notes during the development of the game Quake. He used .plan files with a fairly straightforward system.

The System

Throughout the development of the game, he needed to manage the various different bugs, features, and tasks that came up throughout the days. Here's an example of a .plan file from August 12, 1997:

* qe4 project on command line
* qe4 rshcmd replacement
* qe4 select face
* qe4 avoid multiple autosaves
* qe4 region selected brushes
* bindlist command
* imagelist command in ref_soft

+ leaktest
+ load game.dll from gamedir

pendulum motion
no jump on lava floor?
-game
16 bit wall textures

He used a few basic symbols to do this:

Symbol Meaning
* Completed that day
+ Completed on a later day
- Decided against on a later day
No symbol Mentioned but not completed that day

This system is nice because it allows a clean slate every day as well as a log of what happened over previous days for careful review over time. I love how simple it is, yet that it allows for allocating todo's and thorough logging using UNIX CLI tools.

References

  1. https://garbagecollected.org/2017/10/24/the-carmack-plan/
  2. https://github.com/floodyberry/carmack/tree/fc09ed3e7dde67b296a6840524a7c9ec8c36511a/plan_files
  3. https://github.com/floodyberry/carmack/blob/fc09ed3e7dde67b296a6840524a7c9ec8c36511a/page_tools/template/plan.html#L26-L41
  4. http://web.archive.org/web/20050309230054/http://doom-ed.com/blog/category/doom-ed/john-carmack/

Last modified: 202206101419