News | Forum | People | FAQ | Links | Search | Register | Log in
Modern Retro Shooters / Quake Spiritual Successors
Wonder If A Specific Retro-shooter Thread Is Warranted?
#10166 posted by Shambler [92.29.26.135] on 2017/08/27 11:32:00


It is! Separate thread because there's a lot of these sort of games, the ethos of them is particularly relevant to this board, and it's inhabitants seem to have some good varying opinions on the matter.

Quake as the eptiome as 90s action FPS:

Very direct control and physics
Simple streamlined gameplay
Brutal visceral and gory
Weird fantasy / gothic / industrial theme
Grungy, coherent graphics
Cool map designs / architecture (for the time)
Varied but consistent bestiary
Etc
(many of the above adhered to and greatly enhanced by subsequent custom content)

We all like these aspects, we all like these aspects in other games, we all want to see more of those games, possibly combined with modern graphical styles (Quake Chumpions MAPS might be an example of how far this could go) and maybe very limited modern additions (crouching? an inventory? coherent story? - but nothing that gets in the way of solid action). We perhaps want the next Quake / 90s action FPS spiritual successor...

Modern Retro Shooters:

...and lo, there's a neverending stream of modern retro games many of which are unabashedly marketting themselves as 90s action FPS spiritual successors and particularly highlighting speed, direct control, simple action, limitless violence. Do they have what it takes to hit that mark though??

Strafe
http://store.steampowered.com/app/442780/STRAFE_Millennium_Edition/

Amid Evil
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo7X7b6pPng

Dusk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsu9uDMlIMM

Hellbound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyabhVn1SfQ

Apocryph
http://store.steampowered.com/app/596240/Apocryph_an_oldschool_shooter/

Ion Maiden
https://twitter.com/voidpnt

Neverdead
http://store.steampowered.com/app/681000/NEVRDEAD/

Gorescript
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpZ1Wa0OIoQ

Intrude
https://bagogames.com/intrude-review/

Hermodr
http://store.steampowered.com/app/490360/Hermodr/

Devil Daggers
http://store.steampowered.com/app/422970/Devil_Daggers/

Gibhard
http://www.gibhard.com

Without wanting to opine too much, there seems to be a general trend of possibly not hitting the mark despite some attempts to do so, with a huge variety in how much potential those attempts show, as well as how close these games are to realising the overall harmonious game quality of a typical best 90s action FPS. I.e. Some games seem to do some aspects right, but don't seem to get all the aspects in balance and appealing together.

Discuss....
*as The Epitome OF* 
fu otp.x 
Shambler's Threads 
Are the real spiritual successor to Quake. 
 
Another contender (haven't played it): Midnight Ultra http://store.steampowered.com/app/731590/Midnight_Ultra/

Got a few thoughts on theme/atmosphere at least... will put those in a separate post. 
 
While I haven't played or heard of everything on that list, there seems to be two main flaws that most of the 'new wave of retro shooters' always hit. The first is name-dropping every old school shooter they can think of, by name specifically, in the game's trailer- Doom, Quake, Heretic, and Hexen, primarily- but playing much more like Serious Sam instead, full of large but enclosed arenas with waves of identical enemies for the player to mow down. The second is a graphical complaint- either making the game too dated looking, worse than the actual FPSs of the time, or trying to make it look like Quake 1-era graphics but ignoring palette limitations, texture scaling, etc. so it looks like a typical ugly Darkplaces mod.

Also, controversial opinion: these types of games rely very heavily on good level design, this site still existing being an obvious testament to that, and using procedural/random generation for your levels (no matter how many rooms you've made) immediately makes them crap. 
 
The style of old school shooters was the way it was not due to artistic styling, but hardware limitations.

This notion is completely ignored in the surge of "retro-style" shooters. 
 
Skipping mechanics chat for a minute:

By coincidence I was thinking about Quake atmosphere this morning, as a result of poking around in some of the Quake Champions maps recently. Those maps are impressive in many ways, but don't have a Quake (1) atmosphere despite I think some intentions in that direction.

Quake had some weird worlds. Partly because it was made by a weird group of dudes, partly because of technical limitations (e.g. low polygon count, and restricted color set because of so many palette indices dedicated to lighting shades). But for whatever reason, it was all a bit "off-model" compared to more well-worn themes and settings.

Not to pick on the OP, but it's not really Gothic. It's also not Giger, or hell-and-demons, or Lord of the Rings fantasy, or Doom 3 style "future base with pipes and wires". It's a little sparse, low-tech, brutalist, swampy. It has spaces that seem to be waiting for something (the player, maybe). It's a little bit Lovecraftian and eventually downright abstract.

For an Actual Quake Sequel I'd want to see good takes on the specific Quake settings (base, runic, etc.) although I'm afraid that a modern game's art team wouldn't be able to get away from making them overly "busy" and overly more-like-this-other-familiar-thing.

For a retro shooter I'd really just like something that has the balls to go off-model like that. (Which is why I want to give Midnight Ultra a look when I have a chance.) And to ease back on the explanations and guides and interruptions that get in the way of letting the gameworld breathe.

Actually the thing that most tickled my retro-shooter-feel in the past couple of years might have been Teleglitch, although it's not an FPS. 
Gibhard 
Looks great. Looking forward to this one. http://www.gibhard.com/ 
The Only One In That List That Hits The Mark Is Ion Maiden 
Because it's actually made on fucking Build. 
Don't Forget 
Minimized
Monument
Revulsion

Keeping my fingers crossed for Ion Maiden. 
+ 1 Gibhard 
That's the only one I care about. Coincidentally I think it's the only one on that last made by someone with extensive mod + game industry experience 
 
last = list 
Gotta Be A Dungeon Crawler First 
Before it's a first person shooter. Anyone who manages that has it nailed. 
You Forget Paranautical Activity And Eldritch 
 
No I Didn;t Forget You Nugget, I Don't Know The Whole Fucking Lot. 
Also less listing games, more discussing whether this trend can work, whether the games you list can hit the mark, etc. 
I'll Look At The List In More Detail 
but I agree Gibhard looks excellent. Super-coherent look, great implementation of that pixel aesthetic. Low-ish res sprite weapons work great. The textures are appropriately low-res, unfiltered, and well executed. Effects all look good. Combat looks enjoyable.

Potential shortfall is obviously the fact that it's proc-gen and time will tell if that can be executed well. 
Oh And Of Course, Devil Daggers. 
Close to the Quake aesthetic. It's dingy and brown and pixellated, but it is actually hugely atmospheric and oppressive. It does that thing where the lack of detail causes your mind to fill in the blanks.

Only thing is it's so intense and oppressive, i find it a bit much after a while. I guess you could consider that a compliment. 
Not Really Interested 
To me majority of Quake mods and maps and also Doom mods and maps are far superior to these attempts.

Recently I have been playing "The Ultimate Torment and Torture Supportive Edition" with Brutaldoom and having a blast. I doubt any of the so-called retro titles can give me similar enjoyment. 
 
Brutaldoom 
 
Brutaldoom is a decent TC whatevs, fuck the drama around SgtMarK who cares?

Better than above mentionned games as Kingold says.

I think there is real bank to be made on a real "oldschool" FPS a la Quake 1 - it will create a following and proper hype, the public is ready for it and all they get is the (mostly crap) listed above to try hard as they can to enjoy for want of that having that "old school fps" experience again.

For this to work though the way of stripping it down (procgen, ridiculously low res simple gfx etc) is not the way to go, it needs to be done in a GRAND way.
Super art direction (but simple efficient limited engine), low system specs - awesome performance 100+ fps easy on weaker systems (how can one justify shit perfoamnce on "retro" ?) real SP campaign, good MP & great netcode with dedic private and public servers etc etc, moddability and mappability.

Not an undertaking for a small low funds indie team I don't think but who knows...

I know we are on func, and its obvious, but the extent of beauty being pulled out of the Q1 engine from the quality of custom maps being made these days is a perfect example of what a large well funded art team should of such a project would be working on (and not endless wow fx multi artist team assets) 
 
On and yeah, another "modern" touch that could go a long way - great fucking sound design with great fucking sound tech - a la positional stuff in Thief.

There is a great deal that can be done with the diverting of the massive art team resources put in AAA games towards more polishing, the subtle touches and generally quality over quantity to make a "retro" fps feel like much much more than just that.

And AAA quake 1 2017 could be made and very profitable if a few execs somewhere had the vision.. 
 
i think it's wishful thinking that a publisher would put a "big" budget into a retro shooter. Way less bankable than a modern shooter with AAA graphics, no matter how predictable those can be. 
My Thoughts 
Here's a brief list of what I perceptive as mistakes and shortcomings found in modern "retro" FPS games (and their remedies):

• absence of proper level design - level design is the very core of a good FPS. you can have a phenomenal aesthetic and clever ai, but that is absolutely no substitute for real, good level design. inversely, a game can have a lackluster aesthetic and dumb ai but still be a very good game by virtue of it's level design. IMO, if one had to choose a single most important aspect of a game it would be this. sadly, level design seems to me the most overlooked in the modern retro FPS scene.

• inappropriate/inconsistent art style - this one is pretty self-explanatory. execution goes a long way, even uninteresting or derivative designs can hold their own if executed properly. IMO, I think that materials (bumps, norms, specs, etc) are not only often inappropriate, but poorly executed as well. even materials subtly and tastefully used are still ultimately out of place. spend time making one good diffuse map rather than throwing in all the bells and whistles because you can. also, I don't remember any FPS from the days of old that used 8-bit music.

• unrestrained and haphazard design - classic FPSes were defined by outside limitations (hardware, tools, etc). this created not only a certain look, but a feel. these games oozed creativity that is often a product of the devs working within and around these limitations. modern retro FPS devs need to think deeply about appropriate limits, impose them, adhere to them and work creatively within them.

• respect the player - there is a strong temptation to "dumb-down" and "hand-hold". I sympathize, but stop it. understand your audience, they're much more experienced and astute than you give them credit for. also, don't swing too far in the other direction. making something stupidly difficult or obtuse is not good design and it's not retro. these games need to be pleasurably challenging and rewarding.

• one-dimensionality - this is more general but is a common trait among these games. The "retro" aspect is approached more as a gimmick than an ethos. devs seem to pick a single and often easily identifiable attribute of oldsclochool FPSes (pixelation, lowpoly, speed, gore) and run with it, seemingly in a vacuum. this results in a caricature, exaggerated and shallow, rather than an authentic classic fps experience. oldschool FPSes are often more nuanced than people think and are a careful balance of many things.

It's not enough to execute one of these correctly. You have to hit all of them. I'm sure there's more to add to this list (there is) but I have stuff to do :D 
Killpixel I Only Read Your Titles. 
And I already think I agree 100%. 
 
I intended to keep it at bullet points with maybe a single sentence explanation but ended up getting a little wordy :/

the bold text makes a good TL;DR 
 
i think it's wishful thinking that a publisher would put a "big" budget into a retro shooter.

DOOM 2016 would like a word... 
 
that was in response to

There is a great deal that can be done with the diverting of the massive art team resources put in AAA games towards more polishing, the subtle touches and generally quality over quantity to make a "retro" fps feel like much much more than just that.

Doom 2016 is as AAA and modern as they come (obviously the gameplay takes inspiration from classic shooters and rewards action etc) 
Shub Niggurrath Brings All The Whites To The Yard 
 
Killpixel's Game Should Be Added To The List 
He sounds like and definitely looks like, he knows what he is doing. 
 
Doom2016 indeed is a an example of a modern FPS taking more retro mechanics and having success.


I think this is highly underestimated : the wow factor achievable if the human resources poured into the crafting all the stuff needed for impressive modern gfx were poured into doing more with less a la Quake1.

You got to think the scale, detail and polish achievable. Of course there would be no reasons to have any limits on level size, number of brushes etc, not for the purpose or silly-level acrchitectural detail but rather gigantic maps

Imagine this kind of stuff http://quaketastic.com/files/jam9.png on an insane scale, where you can see off kilometers into the distance (using modern gfx power for high render res and max AA etc to keep all that lovingly designed crisp detail as much as possible)

These AAA level human resources can be busy with scripting actual events in the distance while you make you way thorugh the episode sized level, eg enemy and friendly forces fighting far off in the distance, actually happening in level in engine


I think that in todays almost bland me-too AAA eyecandy gfx this would actual have a much higher impact than classis "gud gfx" 
 
Doom 4 barely has anything retro in it though, apart from keycards and maybe the health drops from monsters that is vaguely similar to Life Essence in Blood. The progression is almost the same as Painkiller's which is absolutely NOT a retro FPS.

Also killpixel is spot on. 
Agreed 
killpixel's project looks fantastic and nails the the retro-shooter aesthetic. No wonder his critique of modern shooters is also so spot on. 
Killpixel's Ain't Included On The List Because.... 
...it so far doesn't like it's going to fit in with "a general trend of not hitting the mark" ;) 
Damn 
now that's a hot trend 
Aw Shucks, Guys 
wait till you get your hands on the demo then decide if it belongs on a list :D 
Killpixel 
are you going to use us to make maps for your game?

please? 
Shamblernaut 
Hmm. I'm tempted to give you a cute answer like "maybe :)" but that wouldn't satisfy me if I were asking. So to be frank (and probably overly candid) yes, it is intended that the level design team will be comprised of people from the quake, doom and duke nukem 3d communities. HOWEVER, I have not started assembling the team and I'm still quite a ways away. There are still things to be done, things that remain be seen and others that have yet to fall into place. The project's destiny will be clearer after the demo (I'm doing my best to get it out Q1 2018).

So there you go :D 
Only Interested In A Few 
Dusk, Ion Maiden, Amid Evil and Gibhard.

Most retro inspired shooters are not good. Strafe is one of the big name examples where they failed to properly do the genre justice. Most of them aren't even as good as Strafe. 
 
Strafe is a roguelike-ish FPS, not a Quake clone. 
My Perfect Retro-modern Fps 
Graphics/asthetics like Devil Daggers, hub-centered world design and combat pacing similar to that of Hexen, slow but not too slow, Quake-style thematic variations, just enough big-picture polish for effect without going overboard into minute details. 
Devil Daggers Is Cool 
albeit it's far more akin to an FPS version of scoring shmups where the point is NOT "good level design" in the traditional sense but rather in continually replaying the same stages with the same patterns over and over with the goal of self-improvement, beating records, etc. As a highly casual occasional shmup player I can appreciate that; not really my preferred cup of tea, but it's a really good game that's trying to do something much different from old school FPS, however it was marketed. It has the aesthetic down to a T, though, that's for sure.

Doom 2016 is awesome. It's obviously much more in a Painkiller/Serious Sam vein, but it blows those games out of the water in its execution.

I haven't played any of the others mentioned in this thread but I will probably check out the ones Fifth mentioned, and any others that people care to recommend (assuming they don't use procedural level generation). 
New Apocryph Trailer 
Doesn't impress me - Doom 3-style lighting, narrow cluttered rooms, boring enemies, boring trailer.

Anyway here it is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGdx2yg3m-g&t= 
 
boring music too. 
Woof 
 
Aye. Pretty Sure My Favourite Old Skool Shooters... 
...weren't box rooms full of bouncing jello blobs which you can hardly see because of the blinding rave effects from the weapons.

I don't mind the lighting tho. 
Apocryph 
truly awful particle effects 
 
:D 
 
That Looks Really Cool 
what game is that? 
 
One of those Dark Souls games

Thing is you can go anywhere you see there

This is what I was talking about a few posts back

Integrate to a "low detail" engine the really great parts of modern tech such as one big detailed level you can travel to any part you see of. 
 
There's nothing oldschool about Doom 2016. It's pretty much just Serious Sam with less enemies and more arenas that lock you in place. Unlike Serious Sam, when you're low on health or ammo enemies just start shooting them out like pinatas so the player never has to think about ammo conservation or health. Even Doom 3 felt more "oldschool" with handplaced encounters, resource management, secrets scattered around maps that aren't collectible bobbleheads, and movement mechanics and Doom 3 is the last game that comes to mind when thinking about oldschool. 
Bullshit. 
 
I Agree With Anon 
Doom 3 is more old school than Doom 2016 (D3 is essentially quake2 at half speed). D3 and D2016 are both rather different games, IMO. As matter of fact, I just beat D3 twice back-to-back this last week (I love the atmosphere, art, sound, animations and general vibe).

I've only beaten D2016 3-4 times and have replayed several of the levels many times. The health-on-demand system really is a deal-breaker for me. I try to compensate by playing on the hardest difficulty and by turning off most hud elements but even then I know it's just an illusion - health is at my fingertips should I ever need it. I really don't care for the arenas at all, either. Don't get me wrong, it's a good game in its own right, but it falls short in some meaningful ways for me. Had they ditched the infinite health and boring arenas the game would have much more staying power for me.

However, Foundry, Argent Facility and Argent Facility (Destroyed) are some of the most pleasing play spaces I've seen in any game. 
 
(D3 is essentially quake2 at half speed)

Quake 2 at half speed is Quake 4, not Doom 3.

Doom 3 was id's attempt at implementing the Half-Life style of scripted storytelling, which was hugely popular at the time. This, together with the heavier renderer, resulted in the slower pacing.

Let's not forget that Quake 1 is also slower than classic Doom. The speed in Quake was reduced to make the levels seem bigger, since the Quake renderer couldn't match the performance of the Doom renderer in big areas back them. One of the first criticisms about Quake was that the levels never featured more than 5 enemies at the same time (which I'm not sure if it's actually true, btw). 
1 post not shown on this page because it was spam
Post A Reply:
Name:
Title:
Body:
message
question
exclamation
idea
flame
noflame
error
skull
beer
moon
pent
rocket
sheep
pacman
pig
cheese
worldcraft
gauntlet
crate
pitfall
pimp
smile
cool
sad
frown
oi
yay
tongue
evil
wink
neutral
q1
q2
q3
ut
hl
cs
doom
dkt
serious
cube
Website copyright © 2002-2017 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.