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Modern Retro Shooters / Quake Spiritual Successors
Wonder If A Specific Retro-shooter Thread Is Warranted?
#10166 posted by Shambler [] 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
(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??


Amid Evil




Ion Maiden





Devil Daggers





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.

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Videos don't do AMID EVIL justice. It's a whacked out mix of sprites, unfiltered textures, and shiny UE4 gloss. 
Would consider doing a legit Heretic episode, followed by a legit Hexen episode, followed by a legit Hexen 2 ... actually scratch that last one 
Amid Evil 
Ach Me Eyes! It Burns! 
#193 Thank You For Your Insights. 
Videos don't do AMID EVIL justice. It's a whacked out mix of sprites, unfiltered textures, and shiny UE4 gloss.

No offense to your judgement, but the very reasons you have given for it looking "gorgeous", are mostly the same reasons - with the addition of the ass-awful saturated lighting - that it still looks like shit on a stick, where the stick is also made of shit.

Incidentally I just rewatched Apocryph inspired by your post and whilst it does look fairly dung - I am assuming it is a mere engine test, the lighting, textures, monsters, and theme harmony already look 2000% better than Amid Evil.

I will concede that Amid Evil does look functionally fine as an old skool shooter (apart from the appalling screenflash on damage which should never even be an option let alone default), but the lack of any graphical harmony is a NOPE from me. 
Art Consistency 
Is amid evils biggest problem tbh. But this can be fixed a lot easier than gameplay (which looks ok imo) 
Art Consistency 
Is amid evils biggest problem tbh. But this can be fixed a lot easier than gameplay (which looks ok imo) 
Double Posting 
Is FifthHeffalump#s biggest problem tbh. But he's beyond fixing (imo) 
No offense to your judgement, but the very reasons you have given for it looking "gorgeous", are mostly the same reasons - with the addition of the ass-awful saturated lighting - that it still looks like shit on a stick, where the stick is also made of shit.

You left out the part where I said "In motion, it works. It's a crisp and colorful thing. Limited video bitrate muddies that." That's the important bit. The idea being - it sounds unlikely, but when playing, these seemingly disparate parts come together nicely.

AMID EVIL is purposefully chaotic in it's use of color, and it works. It won't be everyone's jam. I love it. It's something else. It's ugly in the best way.

I will concede that Amid Evil does look functionally fine as an old skool shooter (apart from the appalling screenflash on damage which should never even be an option let alone default), but the lack of any graphical harmony is a NOPE from me.

The flashing is less obnoxious when playing versus watching. But I agree, it should be optional.

Ye boi. When I first saw that in-game, I thought something was rendering incorrectly. Turns out it's just an inelegant and ugly way to occlude enemy spawns.

Incidentally I just rewatched Apocryph inspired by your post and whilst it does look fairly dung - I am assuming it is a mere engine test, the lighting, textures, monsters, and theme harmony already look 2000% better than Amid Evil.

Yeah all the parts harmoniously appear hideous all at once! :p

Seriously, it looks like an asset flip. I'm not saying it is, but it has that vibe - cheap and uninspired. Apocryph is trying so hard (and failing) to be dark and gritty with zero sense of irony. Of course maybe that's what you appreciate about it. There is a certain kind of honesty about how thoroughly uncool it is. Heck, it may even wind up a charming little piece of EuroJank. 
One More Thing... 
Let it be known...

I find Darkplaces and HD texture packs disgusting. Now THAT is inconsistency! 
Too Many Anon Posts To Keep Track Of, Who Is Who?? 
Seriously, takes 2 secs to type in a name and chrome remembers it for next time. 
TBH, If They're As Well Thought Out As #204...'s okay. It's still a bit annoying not knowing posting consistency etc, but, whatever, a thread contribution is a thread contribution.

Snide comments via anons, trolling or otherwise, are deleted. That IS something where posting consistency / history is required for context. 
Also, Kinn, the weapon "models" are sprites

and then you made them look indistinguishable from normal/diffuse/specular-mapped models from the mid-late 2000s... 
Seriously though, you can tell when playing the game. Videos fuzzy the effect.

For more hot normal-on-sprite action, I recommend BRIGADOR.

I can't defend AMID EVIL's visuals anymore. I've already admitted that it's UGLY IN THE BEST WAY. I mean, I DO have eyes guys. :p It's gaudy and garish and not for everyone.


ION Maiden is really coming along. A testing branch already has mouse movement feeling smooth and modern. Performance is better and the vsync issues are being investigated.

For anyone experiencing stutters at 144 fps, cap your frames at 120. The game loop updates at 30hz and interpolates at 120hz. If you don't have Gsync, you'll need to change your monitor's refresh rate to 120.

The update should be out soon. 
Amid Evil looks more interesting than Dusk for me. And Ion Maiden is fucking great.

Amid Evil's oversaturated effects seems to be a homage to the style of some old games, specially N64/Saturn/PS1 ones. Even if the game lacks visual harmony, at least it looks like the devs are putting effort into the art.

Being an independent developer sucks, specially if the team is just a couple of guys. Either the gameplay, the level design, the sound fx, the voice acting, the music, the models, the sprites, the textures, the animations, the visual effects, or something else will suck. Most likely, several of these aspects at once. But if the developer is openly honest about his limitations, some flaws can be forgiven.

What bothers me the most in many pseudo retro games are misleading advertisement, developers who doesn't tolerate criticism, and developers who uses "stylistic choices" as an excuse to lazy out on some aspects of the game. A lazy style is still lazy, despite being a style. 
Deliberately gaudy and garish, as much as I want to keep slagging it off, at this point I can just say "fair enough". If it's a deliberate choice then although I think the effect is ass (and not the sort of ass that appeals to me), then I can see what they are getting at. I guess I find it a bit of a pity personally because the level design and gameplay functionality does actually have some appeal, unlike many other of these games, and with different GFX style could be a winner. Oh well. 
And On The Subject Of Anons. 
If I see another post by FoldingChable, then I'll remember "oh that was the dude that was talking some sense about AE even if I disagreed". That context is useful. 
Nah dude its great having lengthy discussions of opinions with multiple anons and having to use random ass context clues to determine which anon is which so as not to confuse "anon thats a total fucking bellend" with "anon thats actually kind of reasonable" 
ion maiden seems great. played the demo and it looks better than I expected. I hope they will be able to finish the game

Also be aware that the game is going to run like shit on older computers 
It's curious to see Ion Maiden being labeled as a "spiritual sequel to Duke Nukem 3D". The art style is substantially different, in that while DN3D used prerendered CGI assets (All characters, cutscenes, title & intermission screens, etc), IM uses hand-drawn art.

IM's art managed to be of such high quality, that people don't notice how fundamentally different from the DN3D style it is. Ion Maiden is not simply rehashing old approaches. 
Copy Paste Of A Post On Another Forum Re: Amid Evil 
So now that the Early Access version is out, I can talk a bit about Amid Evil. I played a test branch of the Early Access version a week or so ago. I've always been critical of the visual style of the game (didn't really like the color usage that much) and thought the game looked garish and not that great. I got a key because of a semi-rant on Twitter about it, and promptly booted the game to see for myself.
Honestly, the videos really don't do the game justice because a whole lot of detail is lost to video compression. The game looks pretty good in motion, especially the third episode that reminded me of the first Tomb Raider a lot. My only problem with color is found in early Episode 1, the rest of the game looks good for the most part, with some great style at times (E1M2 comes to mind, this map is a real beast and one I wish I had made cause it's brilliant at times). The weapon viewmodels are apparently lightmapped sprites, which is pretty amazing considering how good they look.

The level design ranges from good to very good. There was not a single bad level in the version I played. E1M1 is very tame/simple but things get serious as soon as E1M2, which is very open and has vertical layers serpenting around. The game uses very little enclosed, Painkiller-like arenas which is very welcome. The third Episode has a lot of exploration gameplay too which I liked a lot (especially in E3M1). The Episodes only have three main levels and one boss each, but there are 7 Episodes planned total, each with its own style.

The game itself is a lot of fun. All the weapons are great to use and pack a punch. Even the base axe feels very powerful. My favorite weapons are the trident thing and the Mace of Torment which I find extremely fun. The weapons have an alternative, even more powerful attack once you gain enough souls from fallen enemies. It acts exactly as the Tome of Power from Heretic/Hexen, but I find it more interesting in Amid Evil since you actually have to fight to trigger it a vast majority of the time (and you can chain it with greater soul pickups). In the version I played the enemies didn't bleed much and had almost no pain frames; I wonder if that was changed because it was a bit distracting and it was hard to tell whether I was actually hurting them at times.

Overall, Amid Evil is a cool game. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel but it's a solid Heretic-like in some aspects. It runs well, has cool level design, great weaponry and feels good to play. 
Yeah, YouTube compression can completely ruin some visual styles, and is way too influential on the public impression. 
Skacky = Shill 100% Confirmed. 
j/k etc etc etc. Good post. 
It looks like Hellscreen won't be funded. Less than 3 days left, and not even 20% funding achieved.

Despite the campaign mentioning classic FPS level design, the lack of any actual classic FPS level design in the videos gives an impression that despite wanting to do it, the developer doesn't know how to do it.

It's a shame, as the visual style and the artwork are fantastic, and the music is great. 
Shitty review. If people are going to criticize devs for not following earlier designs, they should also bash the devs of the original Doom for trashing Tom Hall's design of it. 
Let's bash quake because it doesn't have an axe-ogre who pisses on dead bodies =D 
...that is one of the few genuine flaws with Quake. 
Steam Direct Was A Mistake 
Born To Be Wild Ripoff 
Hellbound Arena Pre-Pre-Pre-Alpha Test. 
Got generously donated a spare key for this. It is what you see in the video previously posted. One extremely simple arena with waves of enemies.

Even given those limits it is fairly flawed: disco lighting, terrible music, fairly homogenous humanoid enemies (apart from some ugly demons), a bit heavy on the hitscan enemies, and jumping feels a bit weird and abrupt. Basically feels like a Q3A mod test.

On the other hand, at it's core, it does do some crucial things right: Movement is pleasingly slick and precise, weapons feel good and meaty and distinct, and the graphical quality, if not it's execution, is totally good.

I'd say it's tentatively worth keeping an eye on, if they add a full game and better bestiary to this, and a stronger, deeper theme, it could well work. 
Apparently Midair (Tribes-style shooter) is going free today, anyone have experience with it? Not exactly a Quake/arena shooter style game but Starseige: Tribes dates to '98 so it sort of counts? Maybe? 
I have a key for it so I'll dip into it at some point. 
Update on Midair: tried it today, feels really damn clunky menu-wise, also seems to enjoy randomly reverting, deleting or re-locking loadout and inventory options (without refunding the in-game points needed to unlock them). Movement is really damn stiff especially if the last Tribes you played was Ascend- apparently this is a good thing, so sez the Old Timey Tribals, but I'm not a huge fan of the thrust vectoring jetpack system and the lack of natural air control at all feels gross. Uninstalled after it locked out shit I'd just unlocked without giving me the ingame credits back for it. 
no Romero´s Blackroom in-game footage yet? next Daikatana? 
The Most Gaseous Of Vapourware. 
Haha, the part where the dev talks about other good retro/indie titles and shows footage of Strafe, Dusk, etc. 
The "Level Design" section of their description is the best. 
He made a 2D version of Doom? When Doom already is 2D... 
Watched the Hellbound kickstarter video now.
Seriously, if a developer has a thick foreign accent, he shouldn't try to talk in a video explaining the game. Not without subtitles.

The weakest point of the Hellbound kickstarter is the same of the Hellscreen kickstarter: No classic level design at all. The Hellscreen kickstarter at least claimed to want to have classic level design (without any proof of concept), but the Hellbound kickstarter doesn't even acknowledge anything about level design; only about environment art. And none of the team members is a level designer.

Which is a bit of a shame, as the art and the music are great. 
Art looks great if only they created an actual level for it rather than a shitty survival chunk of dirt surrounded by a lava map. 
i guess its the only guy in the team that can speak in English well enough for that. And that is no accent, is what happens when you aren't accustomed to speak in English. I heard people saying that its like a vampire talking, but never understood it neither never heard that vampires talked in a different way.

It loks like they don't intend to make levels and only if they are very successful with the campaign, so this will be like Devil Daggers with more money on the graphics and Serious Sam style instead of a creepy one. 
And that is no accent, is what happens when you aren't accustomed to speak in English.

I'm not a native English speaker either, and I never actually talk in English. What happens when I try are tons of mistakes, a very limited vocabulary and an extremely irregular rhythm with some words taking very long to come out. It's like I suddenly become mentally disabled.

The main challenges for people who writes in English but don't talk in English are to remember every word, every sound that they make and every vocal muscle movement (chords, lips, tongue, etc.) needed to speak those words. And to remember all of it in realtime.

The guy in the video doesn't have trouble with that. But it's very difficult for me to understand all he says. 
Played the demo of Ion Maiden. Like any other recent Doom/Build mod with tons of graphical effects etc. it's not gonna run "efficiently", but aside from that it is extremely legit stuff. 
Apocryph Gameplay 
Even skipping through that was painful. 
Apocryph Video 
Find funny how the guy gets all fired up so much, even when nothing happens.

The layout is the same simplistic thing as the one i played some months ago and doesn't look like there is big changes, save for the motion blur that prevented from strafing that looks like is fortunately out now.

If the motion blur is definitely out this could be good if they got a level designer. 
Damn That's Terrible 
The level designers definitely didn't do a block-out first. 

seems more doom-like than quake-like but i saw a little bit of 3d/jumping in there. 
Not sure what the design goal of the game is... basically looks like Doom 3 with the resolution of Doom 1. 
I don't like the hud overlay but the pixel rendering of 3d objects adds a bit of a gritty feel to me. I like it. 
Typical Bullshit. 
" It reaches the quality you expect from a AAA experience while adhering to some of the aesthetic technical limits of older hardware."

Funnily enough you useless mis-guided cocksuckers, "aesthetic technical limits" were in no way what made old skool games great, they were a necessary evil to put up because they were just fucking limits. 
That's Debatable 
One could argue that the limits imposed by old tech forced developers to focus on other things than visuals, and also allowed for faster production cycles.
Example in our context, the time it takes to make a Quake map, vs the time it takes to make a level in some modern game. 
An incidental silver lining benefit, not a fundamental positive to having lower quality graphics. 
Li'l Bit Of This, Li'l Bit Of That 
(^ "bit" in the title is also said Cockney glottal-stop style)

It's actually very complicated with lots of variables jostling with each other. E.g. crunchy software quake at low resolution looks amazing and immersive and strangely rich with detail for some reason, but those exact same environments in smooth GL on a modern monitor look like bland, barren shite. You're no longer squinting at it and your mind doesn't have to fill in the details, and the magic is gone.

Other things: tools were primitive which probably hampered asset creation times substantially compared to what we can do now with all our spanky new Trenchcoats and Mayos and whatnot. 
I Disagree 
Many games, even some modern ones with big budgets, choose a specific quality of visuals with this in mind.
Biggest example recently that comes to mind is the latest Zelda game, where they tried to go more realistic but realized how much extra work it meant to look right, so decided for a simpler more stylized look.

To me one of the big reasons I love Quake is it's low-fidelity, and what that means for gameplay and extra content creation. 
For Clarity 
Previous post was in reply to Shambler not Kinn. 
But yeah, many of the things we love about 90s FPS level design - multiroute, exploration, secrets, optional bits etc - exist because you could afford to make them back then. With the cost of real estate in modern FPS, the optional bits are the first to get binned when production reality kicks in.

Things seem to be improving again, I think we're over the worst of the "linear" era and developers are making more of an effort in this regard, but certainly post 90s there was a long stagnation period when all FPS releases were little more than on-rails games. 
Just Watched The Trailer 
Yeah, WTF.

So they've made an FPS that looks like it came from the mid-2000s, then stuck it in a screen resolution that comes from the mid 1990s.

I've seen enough of these sorts of indie developers to think that maybe we should just gather them all up, dump them on some remote, isolated tropical island somewhere, and just let them make all these incongruous eyesore games amongst themselves, well away from the rest of us, and then meanwhile in the world of normal people with actual taste, we can all eventually, in time, just pretend that these awful things don't exist. 
And There We Go. 
Thread conclusively answered. 
I thought the main reason that old maps had so many different routes was because they also had to function as deathmatch maps. 
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