Plasma and ion beam based techniques have been used to deposit carbon-based films. The ion beam based method, a cathodic arc process, used a magnetically mass analyzed beam and is inherently a line-of-sight process. Two hydrocarbon plasma-based, non-line-of-sight techniques were also used and have the advantage of being capable of coating complicated geometries. The self-bias technique can produce hard carbon films, but is dependent on rf power and the surface area of the target. The pulsed-bias technique can also produce hard carbon films but has the additional advantage of being independent of rf power and target surface area. Tribological results indicated the coefficient of friction is nearly the same for carbon films from each deposition process, but the wear rate of the cathodic arc film was five times less than for the self-bias or pulsed-bias films. Although the cathodic arc film was the hardest, contained the highest fraction of sp3 bonds and exhibited the lowest wear rate, the cathodic arc film also produced the highest wear on the 440C stainless steel counterface during tribological testing. Thus, for tribological applications requiring low wear rates for both counterfaces, coating one surface with a very hard, wear resistant film may detrimentally affect the tribological behavior of the counterface.