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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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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. 
So Any More Thoughts On These. 
The big hope, apart from maybe Witchfire which I'm worried might have a great theme and gameplay that is the worst of Painkiller meets the worst of Bulletstorm, is of course the semi-home-grown (i.e. half of terrafusion is working on it) 3DKillpixelRealms "#RetroFPS #PixelShooter #indie #blocktober #PartyLikeIts1996 #quakekiller #lowpixel #RetroPoly #pixelpoly #polypixel #QuakeLikeQuakeDidIt #pixel #ALLTHEPOLYGONS #8bitIndieDev #tastethegiblets #oldskoolpixeltretropoly"

But any more to consider....?? 
Ion Maiden still looks pretty sick. Haven't played the most recent demo level though. 
Seems To Be The Main Success So Far. 
A few people have been raving about Amid Evil but the presentation just ....doesn;t do it for me. 
Fake Retro Graphics Are Disgusting 
Amid Evil's art design is the most confused and dishonest rubbish I've ever seen. Never have I seen a more ridiculous 'retro' style.
If you're going to emulate a retro style then do it consistently. Dusk might have looked like bargain bin rubbish from 1996 but its at least consistent with its ugliness.

Just look at this shit

The weapons aren't models they're sprites, but they're lit with modern PBR shading and it looks weird as hell. They're high resolution enough that you don't even notice that they're sprites so its a complete waste of time anyway.
What makes it even worse is that the enemies are all 3D but their polycount and texture resolution is tiny by comparison to the weapons and they don't have the pbr shading that everything else does.
The levels look like romhacks of Mario 64 bashed together in sketchup and are lit with such garish colours and noisy textures that it makes the PBR shading all the more tasteless with tiny bright specular highlights everywhere
Then there's the particle effects which are in such abundance. The particles aren't even consistent with each other, some have 1bit alphas while others are blended and the blood particles don't match the decals they leave.
And then there's dithering on the water.
Its all so jarring its laughable.

Whoever is responsible for this absolute mess of an art direction should be ashamed.
You don't even have the excuse that Prodeus does by having a cool technical gimmick like having enemies be rendered as spites through a shader.

And RockPaperShotgun is sucking its cock because of course they are.
Anything with polygons and pretensions towards being 'retro' is a new Quake to those hacks 
Jean Baudrillard had a theory of "simulacra" - a copy of a copy of a copy, something that purports to represent reality but is in fact a perversion of an already distorted view of reality. Most of these "retro-style" developers seem to be creating simulacra.

Dusk is cool though. 
Hello Dave Oshry 
Chill out bruv, this ain't TTLG or NMA. 
Like, two sixty seven. My 'six' key has gone to shit. 
Dusk does also have a fake "retro" look. Its abundant alpha blending, colored lighting and fog looks nothing like the games it pretends to be inspired on (Doom, Quake and Build engine games).

The retro game whose vfx looks the closest to the ones in Dusk is Quake III Arena. The explosions, the alpha blended blood in the air, the fog, the colored lighting, etc. But Q3A uses texture filtering and has a way higher polycount, because it's not pretending to be a PS1 game.

The "low res" option in Dusk makes it look even more fake. Not true retro. Dusk's visual style is based on guesswork, not on actual research.

Dusk is not a retro-looking game, but anyway, it does look fun. And so does Amid Evil.

The blood splatters on the ground in Amid Evil seems to be using additive blending, not 8-bit alpha. Which is why they look a lot brighter than they should, and it does look bad indeed.
And I agree that the high-res weapons and the low-res enemies looks weird together. 
Dusk is really fun, the movement feels great and, maybe most important, the levels are fun to explore. I'm looking forward to Ion Maiden, too.
I don't really care whether these games are more or less faithful. I just want new shooters that 1) place an emphasis on interesting level design, and 2) run on my potato.
I do see, though, where the anger is coming from. The Quake scene has been churning out entire games-worth of material for years and years without any notice and then these games come out of nowhere in the last year or two and everyone acts like they're the first to discover the 90s. 
I do see, though, where the anger is coming from. The Quake scene has been churning out entire games-worth of material for years and years without any notice and then these games come out of nowhere in the last year or two and everyone acts like they're the first to discover the 90s.

It's about the presentation and the interface. To the average joe you need a phD in computer science to find and install a decent quake engine, get a mod running, get the map loaded blah blah blah.

There is no "double click this and you are in the game". There is no map/mod browser from inside Quake's UI. It's just a private club for private people.

That is why the quake scene has been invisible to the general public, and why any old shit with a simple point of entry is going to leapfrog quake so hard it's almost funny. 
Yeah I know that's not the whole story, and media-friendly marketing is also a big part of it, but you need a few different things all working together and the accessibility stuff I mentioned IS an essential ingredient. 
We Need Influencers Taking Quelfies ? 
We Need Influencers Taking Quelfies ?

No, and I hate social media wankers just as much as the next guy, but to be honest when that shite is an integral part to gathering a wide playerbase, I don't think it should come as a surprise when "90s Retro Shovelware Simulator #714" shits all over the custom quake scene in the public awareness department. 
By The Way 
Just to clarify - i'm not suggesting for a single second that custom quake's relative obscurity next to a recent commercial product is a problem in any way, nor am I suggesting any of us should give a toss about it (I certainly don't give a badger's bollock), but again this is just an extended reply to post #273. 
It WILL come as a surprise when "90s Retro Shovelware Simulator #714" shits all over the custom quake scene in actual quality. 
So I understand we need to create a room with old Pentium 90's with CRT running demos in Quake Software and some good lighting for a perfect "Quake Gamefeel Quelfie experience" room and charge a fee for entry.
and never let them back out of that room. 
Quake's gamma brightness actually looks a lot better on CRT monitors.

Considering how many people uses very bright gamma settings, which makes their maps nearly unplayable on gamma 1.0, CRT monitors would help. Bright gamma looks washed out on modern monitors. 
I'm playing Dusk and I LOVE IT! 
more interesting than most of these shitty retro FPS (so far) -
is there a filter/shader to correct/reproduce more faithfully the tuned on CRT Quake engine Gamma on LCDs ?
Or do some of the ports already do this and I am not noticing ?

CRT is cool and all, I'd love to find a large pro CRT monitor from back then someday but until such a find... 
I Don't Understand Dusk 
It looks like the work of a single amateur indie developer done in his spare time (of which I would respect a lot more), but instead it is made by a team of paid people working full-time? I don't get it. Did they all just settle for Sonic-fast movement and call it a day? There is nothing about that game that appeals to me.

Meanwhile Prodeus is looking good (mostly because I like the Doom 3-aesthetics of the levels): 
It Looks Like Someone Just Added Pixels To Doom3. 
Which strikes me as somewhat incredibly pointless. 
Ah The Nostalgia... 
...of running Doom 3 at lowest settings while wearing ski goggles. Bizarre.

Looks like they’re rendering enemies in 3d, and then converting them to sprites in real time, which could have been so cool if they attempted more of a “sprite” aesthetic. Like a bit of toon shading, stylised look, some post processing colour work to make them stand out from the background and make them look hand painted and easy to discern from a distance, but at the same time they’d rotate smoothly and you’d be able to do rag dolls, IK, and be affected by environment lighting. Imagine that style with the doom enemies! You could try and get the original sculpts to use as models too. Sadly here they did none of that and it looks like trash. 
From The Website: 
It reaches the quality you expect from a AAA experience while adhering to some of the aesthetic technical limits of older hardware.

...but not any combination of "aesthetic technical limits" that make any sense whatsoever.

I had a bit of a whinge earlier about how nonsensical it is to do circa 2005 visuals, and then view them through a pixel mosaic filter.

I wonder if it has 30,000-poly zbrushed monsters with PBR materials but which only animate at 10 frames a second? that would look sweeeeeettt - mix the old with the new baby! 
It reaches the quality you expect from a AAA experience while adhering to some of the aesthetic technical limits of older hardware.

Shame as this could be fun. Uncharted 4 but with tomb raider 2 graphics, Witcher 3 in the Daggerfall engine. That's the sort of thing I think of - not Doom 3 in the Doom 3 engine, but lower resolution. 
Aesthetic Technical Limits Of Older Hardware. 
Is basically horseshit, straight out of the horse's arse.

It's basically like being a fan of 1920s ballroom music and then making a lo-fidelity stuttering crackle'n'pop lossless FLAC of ballroom music, claiming that what made that era great was not the passion, melody, groove, and integrity of the music, but all the unavoidable shit quality recording of that music due to limits of that time. And then doing a fucking half-arsed job of sort of recreating the music, but putting a lot more effort into recreating the shit quality recording.

Devs, repeat after me until you get it into your stupid thick skulls:

WHAT MADE SOME RETRO GAMES GREAT WERE THE POSITIVE QUALITIES OF THOSE GAMES (directness, simplicitiy, player controls, imagination, themes, atmosphere, action, violence, creativity), NOT UNAVOIDABLE TECHNICAL LIMITS THAT GOT IN THE WAY OF THOSE QUALITIES. 
Creativity Can Be Quantified 
Give it time and you'll have algorithms that can far surpass anything any human can do creatively. 
Sure there are lots of small devs attempting modern retro shooters who lack the resources to go far beyond the limits of older tech. Totally fair enough. But it's just as important to focus on those positive qualities of older FPSes and do a really good job within that genre and within those limits, rather than using those limits as an excuse to churn out shit "Hey this is old-fashioned and out-dated, that's our USP". Nope, all the nope. 
An artificially low resolution can work as a deliberate art style, IF and I think only if, the underlying graphics are low fidelity and would gain nothing from being seen in a higher resolution.

Take vanilla quake, and start with a modern screen resolution, then try lowering it, and keep lowering it, until you reach a point where the ability to read the scene really suffers if you go any lower.

Take Doom 3, and do the same exercise. You will find you can't go as low as you can with quake.

It seems the people doing this Probeus thing haven't quite grasped this incredibly advanced concept. 
Dusk was made by one person. 
And it is fun (if occasionally eyeball-hurting). 
I'd rather move at a hedgehog's pace in HeXen II. 
I Know You're A Troll But 
Hexen 2 aged poorly because of its obtuse and tedious level design...

Therefore I fully expect one of these "retro fps" games to come out that perfectly mimics this obtuse and tedious level design, just because the developers think that's the sort of thing retro gamers cherish and is something to be celebrated...

i started playing dusk yesterday...

and... i'm afraid to say, but...

right now i love more dusk than quake

(i'm feeling like a traitor... please don't block my account) 
Tribal You Are A Disgusting Human Being :P 
I'm glad I don't understand Dusk, but it costs money? Apex Legends and Fortnite are free, so is also CS:GO and a few other games now with a lot higher production quality overall. Why pay for an inferior product just because you fell for the hype? Yes, I hate CS:GO and I don't play Fortnite but I can't hate on them for being free to play because at least they are honest about being worthless.

Come on, I just want to read you defend purchasing Dusk so I can feel smug sbout myself for choosing not to waste time and money on it. 
No thanks. 
Of All The Games I've Played (and I Played A Lot!)... 
Quake1 is the ultimest best game EVER, despite its old graphics, period!

I keep playing this gem years after years, since what, 20 years!? All the rest sucks in comparison. 
Quake nowadays is not Quake in 1996. Playing community content is not the same thing as playing what id Software released.

I usually play the first half of episode 1 sometimes, as well as the first map of the other episodes, but I doubt anyone regularly plays the full game anymore.

Saying "best game EVER", "all the rest sucks" is easy when comparing community content in Quake against the base content of other old games. Without the community content, there are better games out there. 
I fully agree. I was implicitely talking about Quake1 as it is today and about all the great maps that were done for it. Quake1 kept evolving, year after year, and this is why no other game can compares. 
I actually play the original episodes quite often as a quick stress free romp. Whenever I download a new custom map the perfectionist in me demands me to fully evaluate everything the map has to offer, so I can give it a fair and useful review here and/or Quaddicted.

Sometimes I enjoy the reviewing part but often, when I just want to unwind with some Quake without having to think and contribute, I play an episode or two, sometimes even blitz through the whole game. 
Dear Shammie Cumgogglies... 
"WHAT MADE SOME RETRO GAMES GREAT WERE THE POSITIVE QUALITIES OF THOSE GAMES (directness, simplicitiy, player controls, imagination, themes, atmosphere, action, violence, creativity), NOT UNAVOIDABLE TECHNICAL LIMITS THAT GOT IN THE WAY OF THOSE QUALITIES."

The bit after the "NOT" got us more of the bit before the "NOT"

You could only go so far with the glowy cumgoggle stuff, which due to limited options limited the manpower worth throwing at it, which left more resources to focus on what would differentiate and sell the game: "gamefeel"

And for atmosphere etc the limits are nothing to talented artists, as demonstrated by golden oldies that hold up perfectly well today in that department, even though they lack cumgoggle filters. 
A retro-styled shooter should, on the basis, have similar design elements from 90's shooters before Half Life, even if the graphics are high-end.

On the topic of low-poly graphics, I agree there's a big misunderstanding amongst the makers of those retro-styled FPSes. While it was indeed at the time because of technical limitations, I believe low-poly graphics can still be used to do pretty things, but not the Dusk kind.

What the minimum threshold should be IMO is Quake 2 as far as polycount go. Characters and monsters have curves, and some details (which is then reinforced by texture work). Anything below that looks like papercraft.
As for environment? I believe the best custom Quake maps in the past few years has elevated the standart, and is something that should be followed if a retro-FPS is made.
Unreal 1 and Tournament should also be a good inspiration for what to achieve in that regard. 
No particular game deserves to be held up as the aesthetic "template" for retro-shooters. It's more about aesthetic consistency. I think it's just as fine to aim for a Classic Doom look, as it is a Quake 3 look. The number of goons you can rope into helping you make this thing is also going to dictate the level of detail you can afford to make in a realistic time.

It's about making all the elements fit in with each other. Wolf3D environments mixed in with 10,000 polygon character models is, as the kids say, "retarded". 
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