John Carmack hopes there’s a path to getting the popular unofficial ‘ports’ of id Software games like Quake onto Oculus App Lab, with some help from Microsoft.
Facebook’s Consulting CTO for Oculus had a brief exchange with modder Simon “DrBeef” Brown on Twitter discussing the possibility of bringing the developer’s community-made VR ports of classic games to App Lab.
The exchange started with DrBeef stating that him and Team Beef “intend to get some of the ports listed on App Labs [sic]”, starting with Quake.
The games’ engines are ported over into VR and shipped with community-made “shareware” versions of the original assets for legal reasons, so that the content can be legally distributed online. Users who want the authentic experience can transfer in the original textures and assets on their own, using a purchased version of the original games for PC.
App Lab is Oculus’ new method for easy distribution and installation of non-Store Quest content, providing an easier method than traditional sideloading and with less strict content restrictions. That being said, the nature of Team Beef’s VR ports might make an App Lab listing legally complicated.
DrBeef said on Twitter that the App Lab listings for these classic ports would use the shareware versions of each title and tagged Carmack asking him what he thought. You can read his response below:
I think there are ways to do it independently and legally, but you have to be careful about trademark usage and media rights. I have some hope that we could get a tacit go-ahead form Microsoft after the Zenimax deal fully settles, which would be the best case.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) February 14, 2021
In another follow-up tweet replying to Carmack, DrBeef indicated that he would “postpone the App Lab application for now and hope that things progress in our favour.” DrBeef and Carmack are referring to Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which includes the studio behind the Quake franchise, id software.
Microsoft could hypothetically give their blessing for the ports to be listed as App Lab apps once the acquisition is finalised. However, until then, it looks like we’ll be installing the ports through traditional sideloading methods.
Many of Dr Beef’s port are available to install through using SideQuest. You can read more about how to get started with sideloading here.
Note: The Quake screenshot in the feature image of this article is a screenshot of the Quake PC VR project.