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Advances (or How I Learned Stop Fellating Id And Love The Games)
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)
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most of those just don't seem as important, though it may be my bias. For example, colored light and 32-bit textures were really not fundamental leaps forward, they were simply taking advantage of basic features of harware rendering. Remember that software quake2 didn't have colored light. Quake3 had 32-bit textures becuase it didn't have an 8-bit renderer.

Dlls may sound interesting from a modding standpoint, but if you had the engine source (like the licensees did) it's really not much different. Multi-part models are also cool for a modder, but not that radical from a game dev standpoint -- after all, half-life had skeletal animation which is probably cooler, but yeah.

And surround sound? Is doom3 the first game to have it? Well, I can accept if everyone has different priorities, I guess. So I can't really argue with you, i guess. 
- true 3D

Ultima Underworld, and many others if you include flat shaded/wire-frame.

- network/internet play

If you define it as "fast action game with client-side prediction", ok. If it's just "using a network" then people were doing that decades earlier.

- per-pixel lighting and shadowing

Please. Many XBox and PC games predated Doom3 here. Off the top of my head, Shrek ( was doing it over two 1/2 years ago (if in a rather ugly way :P).

- that cool computer terminal scripting language thing

Ok, I'll give you this one :]. Probably the only Doom3 thing I've seen (not having played it) that made me go "ooooh!". 
Well you're probably right about precedence, i was more talking about how those games changed things on a large scale, though i threw in some "first for FPS games" type things too. Quake did popularize action games over the internet. Quake2 and Quake3 did help make hardware acceleration mainstream. I mean, i'm sure there were other hardware-only games before Q3, and other "supports hardware" games before Q2... but they weren't landmarks for whatever reason. (Though i really don't think Quake2 was much of a landmark...that was probably the least innovative game they made other than Doom2) 
No game is going to beat the Turing test any time soon.

They don't have AI that can pass the Turing test, but they have have simple fake AI based on clever scripting that can hold it's own. I personally don't think we are going to see true AI in our lifetimes, but then again, who cares if we don't. The Average Joe may not have a single unique thought in his whole lifetime. He certainly doesn't have them on a daily basis. His responses are a product of social conditioning. Personally, I think it would be hysterical if "Average Joe's" started taking the Turing test. It wouldn't take long before one "failed" it lol.

I'm sure some of you have seen this before, but I found it freaky : 
Sum Up 
In a conversation with John Romero :

ZZT-X: Sum up what you think of Doom 3 in two words.
John: dark mediocrity

I love John :) 
In a conversation with John Romero :

ZZT-X: Sum up what you think of Doom 3 in two words.
John: dark mediocrity



I guess it needed more Superfly to really be up there with the best ones. 
Well, at least he didn't finish it with a praxinoscope.

It Needed Frogs Really 
imagine what ID's level designers could have done with frogs and all that darkness. 
Maybe He Did, Kell... 
maybe he did.

I Stand By What I Said Before. 
As the discussion continued a bit in #tf...

Doom3 innovated in the way it used advanced graphics and art to create an atmosphere and enhance immersion.

Other games have used advanced graphics for other reasons (say, Unreal, Q3A)

Other games have created their immersion/atmosphere in other ways (say, HL, Deus Ex)

But from what I can see Doom3 was the first to really focus the GFX in that way.

Of course I might be "slightly less correct than anticipated" in which case you can STFU as I don't really want to hear about it.

P.S. WTF is Romero on??

P.P.S. I liked the frogs.

P.P.P.S. Why don't you come on IRC, nitin?? 
Don't Be 
Don't even be thinking about bad mouthing Romero. That Daikatana sh*t aint funny. 
Yes, I agree there, Id has been good at pushing technology. I just think they're sometimes wrongly percieved as a great inventor of technology. Imo their strength is at making previously obscure or high-end technology (e.g. lightmaps, shaders) practical. 
..and Also... picking the right technology for the game (although one could argue their technology picks the game :]).

For example, Deus Ex 2 has a very similar lighting system to Doom 3. However, the Deus Ex lighting doesn't look as good because it's used inappropriately - you just can't do big, well lit areas with that sort of system - whereas it suits Doom3 to a tee. 
What Struck Me As Special In D3 
Was the high density of quality graphics content. 
Quite Correct, Maj 
Abrash devotes a good deal of time describing that process in one of his books. Even the use of BSPs came about as a part of this process. Carmack studies the academic journals and then figures out a practical means (some would call a hack, but I dont!) of using the methodology to render PC games -- the story of Id.

Incidentally, it is the reason Id has been consistently argued against intellectual patents (the basis of Anglo-American civilization is the argument that property exist as a condition of scarcity, but I digress) because if those methods were covered it would have made Doom impractical to have been made by a low budget team. 
Or it could be Carmack actually believes in what he says. 
Well, Yes, You Are Right 
I didn't mean to descend into a determinstic argument. What is good for the company also is sound principle. 
You do bring up a good point though. The artificial scarcity that copyright law and its biggest proponents now rely upon is the best reason that i think the whole concept deserves to be reevaluated. 
mediocrity? hardly 
and it wasn't that dark either! 
dark and cramped
atleast much more than many other games

and thats what some ppl dislike about d3
and hence comes dissapointment

seriously, who cares about innovative tech, if its used badly

what was that game with really fast per-pixel light engine.. Secret Service Security Something? Nice engine, bad game, that was unnnoticed 
what was that game with really fast per-pixel light engine.. Secret Service Security Something? Nice engine, bad game, that was unnnoticed

I thought it was bad all round: 
Well, For My Money 
I reckon Romero's quote is pretty spot on, if you're talking about the most important part of the game (the gameplay). 
...I'll probably commence the PhD in August 2006, so as long as you don't die between now and August 2009 you may well see true AI in your lifetime (that's the plan anyway). 
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