|Posted by Blitz on 2004/10/04 02:16:14|
|With Doom 3 being hailed as the technological benchmark for some time to come, I got to thinking about what "fools" gamers into thinking that the game they are playing was actually a step up technologically.
My opinion is that Doom 3 only has two distinct features that do this -- texturing and lighting. There is no arguing that the textures are outstanding in terms of clarity and the ability to convey depth like never before. Lighting is something I think you can only truly appreciate once you open up the editor, but it really is fantastic in terms of the level of precision and the number of options you have when it comes to lighting. Realtime lighting also makes the engine shine. (pun intended) The player and monster shadows are stunning.
But other than that, Doom 3 is not really doing a good job of convincing me that it is the step up that it's being hyped as.
Let me give you an example of a next generation game living up to that appellation.
Quake stepped on to the scene boasting "true 3D" environments, and when you play Quake, you see that this feature doesn't go to waste, as you often have to traverse the same area/ structure in several different capacities.
The game also made great use of its improved rendering, providing us with several different distinct themes of textures for its levels and units. This not only provided a great sense of place for the out of the box user, but it supplied the custom designer with more than enough separate ideas to use. Lighting also received a makeover, with the addition of spot lighting to compliment the ability to design in true 3d.
Enemy models in Quake looked far superior to the sprite based enemies of Doom, as well as a new ability to track down the player with some intelligence. Baddies were no longer mere shooting gallery set pieces, they were sentient inhabitants of the game universe.
And finally, where Doom revolutionized the way we play computer games against our fellow man, Quake sharpened and polished that attractive feature into an entity of limitless proportion by increasing the pace, making flowing environments to facilitate that pace, and creating a true sense of victory by making your opponent's death sound like watermelon being smashed with a baseball bat, and making it look like the French revolution.
Quake was a true technological advance and it set the standard for how successful games were made for some time.
As for Quake 2 and Quake 3, they were not hailed as innovative, nor should they have been. Colored lighting here, and increased bit depth there are nice features, but the games offered little else in terms of significant advance. In fact, I think they actually made deathmatch worse since Quake. (An argument could be made for Quake 3's ability to create realistic curves, but to me the feature isn't implemented, nor can it be, in such a way that it completely alters the gaming experience from Quake 2)
So id's loyal sons and daughters waited for their gods to rain a brilliant gift down from Mount Olympus, and we believed that Doom 3 would change the way we play FPS once again. What we got for our 60$ was an OK game that has nearly photo realistic textures and tries to pass off cheap tricks as innovative gameplay.
Sorry id, but casting the player into the darkness to create suspense via the unknown has been used in films since Hitchcock, and used in games since Zelda. I kept reading about how shadows and light would change the way we play DM maps, creating more "suspense."
The only suspense in 'Lights Out' is whether I quit first or my opponent does, because we're both bored out of our minds.
(continued next post)
The PDA idea is also not a new idea, just an old one with a face lift. Infocom games had notes laying around that you could reference later in your journey. In fact, I think 'the Lurking Horror' is a more entertaining game than Doom 3.
So now I'm faced with a tough thought when I consider Doom 3's fate.
Is it just that Doom 3 didn't employ the technological advances it created convincingly enough? Or is that that the advances themselves were not all that important?
I would like to think it's the latter. In the same way that Quake could have had a lot of flat, boxy levels, and then have someone from the community actually put it's advances to good use, I'm hoping some plucky group of lads out there will crack open Doom 3 and say, "Hey guys we can really make a great mod/game/tc with this engine!"
Sadly, I think it's the latter. Photo realistic textures and real-time shadows are nice, but they just don't do anything to create a new level of intensity or interactivity.
With a rocket scientist, a brilliantly talented artist, and a load of good design people, id should have given us something better; something that didn't feel like Quake 2 with better graphics.
(Before I finish I think games like Far Cry and UT2K3/4 are making better steps in terms of innovation. Far Cry with its ability to integrate realistic forestry and excellent landscape into deathmatch and UT2K3/4 with its plethora of game modes out of the box.)
Maybe I am being to hard on id, perhaps the real problem is that shooters don't really have any place else to improve upon except in their outer appearance. Much like sliced bread or prostitution, shooters have been around for a while now and they're still great, there's just no significant way to improve upon them.
" I would like to think it's the latter." should actually be
"I would like to think it's the former."
sounds like you're complaining more about the game than the engine. They are two separate things yet you seem to be combining them when talking about 'Advancement'.
The latest Unreal engine is good looking, different to the D3 engine, but it can hardly be called more Advanced than the d3 engine.
I'm Complaining About Both
In Addition To My Initial Posts
I wondered a little bit off topic from where I had originally culled this line of thought from.
I also wanted to pose this question to you all:
What defines acceptable detail for a map to be considered on par or above the game's maps? In Quake, if someone made a map that looked like DM3 today, they would be flogged.
I'll use Friction's upcoming map as an example. Most people (including myself) think it's shaping up to be a very sexy map indeed. So what about that map has us all wearing stained pants? The pipe work? Some singular feature? Or is it harder to define for a game like Doom 3 what the acceptable amount of detail will be; especially for deathmatch.
Could a map with the same level of brush detail in Q3 be acceptable in Doom 3? I am inclined to say yes, because I think the textures are what people are really drawn to in a good map.
that's a totally separate issue from both the engine and game.
To answer your question, I think it's the overall package, not necessarily just the brushwork, the lighting or the texturing by itself.
Czg's 100 brush map is a very good example of a map looking decent depsite a very restrictive brush count.
To also counter your point about textures drawing people to a map, what about the geocomps for q3? No texture detail whatsoever, yet some stunning maps were produced.
Close This Thread
Wow. A discussion on func_ about how Quake is a much better game than newer game *. And solely based around nostalgia for Quake's innovation and not how it stands up to real comparison. What a surprise.
But #7 That Would Give You The Last Word
Baddies were no longer mere shooting gallery set pieces, they were sentient inhabitants of the game universe.
I think you exaggerate here quite a bit. There is not much to the AI in Quake. A few monsters look like they are going about their business here and there due to fixed walking paths, but we are not talking about Ultima4 towns of people milling about their daily business, earning their daily bread, nor Half-Life inter-monster combat reaction.
No game is going to beat the Turing test any time soon.
A good, and intelligently done post though, Blitz.
perhaps the real problem is that shooters don't really have any place else to improve upon except in their outer appearance.
Well, I sort of agree with that. I think now that the FPS genre has been evolving for ten years, it's pretty hard to do something that's noticably better or different to what's already been done.
sounds like you're complaining more about the game than the engine. They are two separate things yet you seem to be combining them when talking about 'Advancement'
What he's talking about is how technological advances contribute to gameplay advances. The move from Doom's 3D to Quake's 3D did significant things for the gameplay, because all of a sudden you're looking up and down. Removing that restriction at the time was really something to throw parties about.
The big step that Doom3 takes is lighting, but it's hardly used to any effect in the game other than attempted spookiness. How many games do we have that are based on light? (I'm thinking Splinter Cell and similar stealth business here.) That kind of thing in Doom3's engine could be seriously significant, especially if the monsters followed the same system. Monsters that try to stay in shadow because they're hurt by light, for example? Corralling them out of shadows with the flashlight and pocket flares in order to finish them off. Monsters that actually emit darkness, that act to hide others?
The game that is Doom3, made with the engine that is Doom3, is the equivalent of Quake being released with no level-over maps.
At least, I think that's what Blitz is saying. Am I right?
Monsters that actually emit darkness
Oh god, I wish I could do that in Quake.
you had some cool ideas there. Maybe you should go work for id and set them right! :)
No, I don't think Doom3 is innovative - at all, really. But it's still a solid game overall. There's a great mix of terror and action.
Besides, id has never been an innovator - they do what they do, and they do it well. It's always really been like that. While they stick with a general formula, it seems to work pretty well. I'd have to assume it's simply their polish that makes their games great.
Technologically advanced? Well, I can't speak on specifics, but it seems much more polished, too. Coming up with the kind of stuff Broussard had planned for Prey, for example, would require probably an enormous amount of resources, time, and planning to get to work correctly. Then, it would have to seriously impact a game's gameplay in such a positive manner to be worth it.
Deciding to go with a claustrophobic fear-adrenaline action game, technological advances don't seem worth it. They highly upped the realism/lighting, yes, but it also impacted the gameplay. OK, it didn't really, but it DID impact how you felt during the game, which is what they wanted to do in the first place.
Would a monster that emits darkness be really cool? Sure would. Using a flashlight to melt away demons would be neat, too. But they're not really practical to the specifics that id was trying to make - terror/adrenaline action. You can add all sorts of neat little quirks to monsters, but if they don't help the goal, it just kind of distracts from it.
In Quake, if they had made a level that was all Myst-like puzzle solving with super-awesome special time-warping technology, would it help the goals of the game? It would be damn cool, that's for sure (if done well), but all of a sudden Quake becomes diluted. This is along the lines of Doom3.
Doom 3 looks good because it helps the terror of the game. It does what it was supposed to do, immerse the gamer. You can add all sorts of innovative bells and whistles, but if they don't help the goals of the game out, what's the point?
I'm glad someone understood what I was saying.
Good Points Zwif
But I'm not talking about bells and whistles, I'm talking about a game that advances the genre -- like Doom or Quake.
They decided to go with a "claustrophobic fear-adrenaline" true, but do you think they made that decision because they thought it would be a cool idea, or just because after they got done making high poly models and monsters, that they had to make it like that?
Let me pose this question to you -- do you think the people that bought a new computer for Quake got more for their money right out of the box, or do you think the person that bought it for Doom 3 did?
<Backbler> blitz, sumarise the question in a single sentence
<Backbler> not a post the size of a medium-sized website
<Bl1tz> either you think Doom 3 was a significant technological advance that furthered the genre, or it wasn't
<Backbler> yes obviously
<Backbler> in the graphics and their implementation for the purposes of atmosphere
<Backbler> the end.
First point: I don't think id is such a newb company that they made the models first without a clear game plan. There's too much cohesive design to say id decided to make a "terror" genre AFTER they did most of their work. So I think they decided to do the genre they did FIRST, then followed up on it.
Your second question is a little harder to answer. Considering the enormous amount of negative feedback for Quake, and the enormous amount of positive feedback for Doom3, I'd have to say that people got more satisfaction from Doom3 than they did from Quake. So based on that, I will say Yes, people who upgraded to play Doom3 got more for their money out of the box than what they did for Quake.
If you're not measuring in terms of overall satisfaction, but in terms of "technological innovation," then I'd say Quake was a bigger achievement compared to Doom than Doom3 was compared to Quake 3.
if you're measuring in terms of general overall-ness, then I'd say people who bought a new computer for Doom3 got more, because they can play a much wider array of games.
But, how many FPS games are truly that innovative? If you look back, most games that are toted as innovative are rehashes of concepts pioneered by earlier, less known games. You can't really judge a game based on innovativeness, though. Few to no games are innovative, especially technologically.
And I think the benchmark-thingie is more based on the raw power required to compute the high visual specs more than how advanced it is. Maybe this point is irrelevant, however.
There is not a doubt in my mind that the slow player movement and difficulty avoiding monsters was done to show off the art.
Innovation In FPS
Not a hard list to compile actually, well, discounting games that I haven't played.
System Shock 2,
Doom3 is debatable, but because of the cinemagraphic quality (which I've complained about previously for making it too linear), I would include it in the innovative column.
Each added a degree of gameplay that was unique in itself (and not as a mere continuation of a genre).
If you count Quasi-FPS that contain RPG elements or the like that make the game something other than a straight shooter,
Betrayal at Kondor
I'll stop there. In every case, each game took the elemental, graphical and software capabilaties available in the PC of its time and created a unique gaming world.
I think the 'nothing new under the sun' argument falls flat on its face when you see how Lunaran points the way to how the games of our current generation could be improved upon for another unique gaming experience.
However, if Deus Ex came out tommorow with the same graphics and software capacity that it had in 2000, I would still buy it.
Id's Technical Innovations:
- true 3D
- precalculated vis
- network/internet play
- first game to support hardware rendering out of the box?
- shaders (this is more important than it sounds)
- first hardware-only game?
- per-pixel lighting and shadowing
- that cool computer terminal scripting language thing
- anything else? (i haven't really dug into modding it yet)
I don't believe Doom 3 is radically innovative at all. It is a FPS, set in a realistic, futuristic environment, with a series of weapons that have all been used before. The gameplay not all the different from the games mentioned earlier in this tread.
What Doom 3 is compared to the other games is an experience. If you are to single out one part of the graphics engine, or a single part of the gameplay experience, they are not special. But truely, this is an example of the the sum being greater than it's parts.
The engine itself and it's advanced lighting algorithms, sound design, GUI interfaces and what not all come together create an atmosphere the directly envelops the player in this world that is so fimiliar.
I don't believe the id team was out to make a Half-Life clone. It went out to create a scary environment to scare the crap out of kids, and as a result they built their technology around that. What is so wrong with that?
I think we are truely coming we maybe coming to a space in time where for awhile we will see things being rehashed on newer technology. Clearly Doom 3 is a lot better this time around as far as atmosphere as the orginal, and there is nothing wrong with making quality remakes. If your looking for pushing boundries as far as gameplay is concerned, you should look to consoles in my opinion. At least for the time being.
It always seems that there are shifts in the computer world. For a few years you see hardware make some big leaps, then stall for a bit. Meanwhile you see games try to catch up, meet it, then generally try to innovate after they've mastered the technology.
Blitz, I see that you might be disappointed with aspects of the game. Though in my opinion, when you place each piece together to create the actual game experience itself, I find that each fits perfectly to accomplish the goal.
That was so poorly written I don't know what to say.
"there is nothing wrong with making quality remakes"
That type of attitude is enabling companies like id to say "well, people are ok with it if we just re-tell this story with our newest technology"
And then that's all we'll get. From what I hear, the latest id game is either another "retelling" or a sequel.
I understand that id isn't here to tell me a great story every time they release a game, but at least just come up with a setting that allows for some creativity and not just retellings.
I do agree about the creativity point, Blitz. I was disappointed with the lack of variation in environment creativity, as well as weapon creativity. I won't get into it too much, but I did feel the levels themselves, though they lended to the "whole" as prodigyxl put it, were pretty unimaginative. But then again, you can't expect the variation of levels that the Quake community has put out in every game, because it's just not possible.
But, for once, I would like a truly crazy FPS that pushes creative environments, weapons, and enemy design over technical aspects.
some things you forgot...
- coloured lighting
- clientside/serverside seperate dll's
- client prediction (based off of QuakeWorld (which was originally a testbed for Q2))
- multi-part models
- 32 bit textures
- surround sound support
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