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Games With Feeling. "Mood Factor?"
Okay, this might sound a bit odd but I have been spending alot of time lately analyzing games trying to figure out what the magic hook is that separates really atmospheric games from games which are simply like running through a series of rooms. Why have I become so attatched to the Quake feel? What is the source of the Quake feel? What are the "mood factors" in games? I came up with a couple more questions.

What is it that makes a game have a feeling? Or overall mood? Is it lighting? Is it color? In some ways Quake's limited color pallete is frustrating, yet in another way it is the one element which is unified throughout the game, thereby possibly making it a "mood factor"

I was recently looking at pictures of Unreal2, and while there is tons of detail in many of the images, and the landscapes look pretty, there seems to be no interlocking design concept. Everything appears to be slapped together, okay these purple lights will look cool here! I felt similiarly about Unreal, UT, and later Quake2 maps. Of course I will have to play the game to make final judgement, this is only a pre-conception based upon the images.

How does one go about establishing a world theme? I compare this to LOTR, the designers came up with a basic rules or relationships in design of the architecture of each race and stuck to these rules. These rules spread to effect everything from clothing, to weapons and armour. Therefore Gimli's armour, axes and clothing look like they could have been forged in the depths of Moria itself. The character of Gimli appeared to belong to his surroundings, much as the hobbits, elves, wizards, and humans fit their surroundings. These ideas are applicable for movies, but how does it work in terms of game design? How can we include these concepts in the designs of our "modifications" to make the existing game architecture better?

More later?.......I love the pimp icon
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As Has Been Said 10 Before 
Don`t make game worlds realistic, make them belivable. 
Well possibly, but i just feel the balance is perfect in Quake. See unreal (for example) is (ironically enough) too "unreal" for me, its too cartoony, bright primary colors, wimpy weapons, its doesnt feel as realistic/believable as quake to me. 
wimpy weapons and bright primary colors is more a personal taste matter rather than a believability/realism matter. I mean you could easily argue the opposite and say that unreal (or any other game) is much more believable/realistic than quake.

I still think that it was a fluky fusion of perfect amibent sound and music, excellent but incoherent art design (leading to increased versatility), nice blend of different types of monsters and more unrealistic physics than are present in modern games. 
Go On Underworldfan 
I think you're on to some thing here.
I lost interest, and was really disapointed in Q2 for the reason that it was to cartoony coparing to Q1. The game had lost it's salty feeling, maby meaning the feeling of "reality"... 
Magic Reality? 
I haven't tried determining what made Quake work so well, but I'm beginning to suspect that it's some element of the fantastic that I can't quite define yet.

The weaponry is certainly eclectic - high-tech lightning guns and rocket launchers, paired with shotguns and a bloody great axe.

Perhaps it's the environments. The lighting is not particularly realistic, but, as Underworldfan suggests, you have little or no idea what to expect next. The maps have a grim, dark, inhuman ambience.

The monster selection is equally eclectic: modern, medieval, and bestial, yet they all work well.

Comparing to Q2, part of the problem seems to be that Q2's gameworld is too well defined. It's quite unequivocally a sci-fi adventure, so all the weapons are suitably futuristic, the structures are all futuristic (and not particularly alien,) and what's waiting around the corner? Oh, some robot with human bits attached. What's waiting at the end? Another, bigger, robot with human bits tacked on.

I guess part of the problem with the latest crop of games is that their worlds are too well defined: Here's a WWII game with zombies. Here's a WWII game with soldiers and tanks. Here's a game with monsters overrunning a modern research lab.

The magic's gone: you already know what's likely to be around the corner, so no cause for fearful speculation. The only time something comes out of left field is when you set off a teleport trap. 
yep, that's the inconsistent yet effective art direction (the not as well-defined as modern games bit that you talk about) that I was talking about.

And actually, I'd have to say you got the nail on the head there fatty. It's actually the lack of realism in some parts (ie lighting, strecthed skins etc) which give the game a more gritty and fantastic feel that most modern games lack. 
That's an excellent word for it.

The textured grit/rust/deterioration feels more plastic in more modern games than it does in Q1. 
I Did? Gawrsh. 
I was only guessing... <smile>

My prediction for the next few years in FPS games will be a move away from realism and towards techniques like cel-shading.

I personally feel that the hyperreal FPS market is approaching saturation, and with the argument about videogame violence still raising its head every now and then (GTA3), companies need to look sideways for any potential edge in the genre.

Maybe that's the issue I was trying to raise. Q1 allowed lots of "sideways movement"; Q2 didn't, partly due to tech constraints (*cough* .wal files *cough*) and partly due to direction. Imagine if there had been more wildlife on Stroggos... or if they'd been into biotechnology... or transdimensional steampunk invaders... or a collective of alien races.

The trick being, of course, to work out just how much "sideways movement" is allowable. 
Beting My Hat On It 
realism will stay 
Music And Mapping. 
I was posting in the music and mapping thread when something that I normally consider when comparing the atmosphere of Quake to other games popped into my head.

The sound effects in Quake are also relatively eclectic/fantastical.....Come to think of it, I recall sitting down in a restaurant with a friend, about a week after Quake came out, we had been playing loads of dm online and the waiter came over.....someone's silverware clanked, and I felt the sudden urge to spin around and see who the hell was firing a nailgun in my direction.

I really think the soundscape in Quake is top-notch. When I consider the explosions in the game, they really seem to fit the spaces which one creates when designing quake maps. The sound seems to reverberrate off the walls and ceiling. Then of course we can talk about the gib sounds all day. I still remember the first time I gibbed a zombie, and got this incredibly organic sound. The one .wav file could be likened to the last gasp of breath escaping a partially blocked airway....

Then of course you have all the idle sounds of the monsters...the shamblers stomp grunts...the dragging chainsaw, so on and so forth. 
Under The Skin 
i think what quake 1 has is unrealistic things under a believably grotty, rough and tough outer skin. that's why the lack of polish can look good.

in quake 2 new engine capabilities and other things kinda made the world look too new. like it's never been used before (out of the box).

in quake 1 all the lightning and science fiction in it is covered in nice rusty metal and old oak and flames and all. new games have to TRY to be unpolished by adding things afterwards. i think quake 3 and unreal look too shiny, too smooth, too colourful, and too much like starwars. i have to admit doom was a bit like that but i wont slate it because i still love it. like giger making his art look realistic, so do quake textures, architecture and physics. unreal quake 3 hardly scares me, more like playing paintball with someone who has 10x better vision than me and always seems to hit me first shot (bots) 
Ockham's Razor: The simplest explanation tends to be the right one.

I think many of you are overlooking a simple fact.

Quake is fun.

It was a groundbreaking technological innovation coupled with a never-before-seen threshold of a successful, competitive concept; get them before they get you.

The game is now so ingrained into the hearts and minds of many people (especially on this forum) that it has achieved a cult-like status. And as such, games released afterward were and still are very often compared to it. Whether they realize it or not, many people form the opinion that a game is bad simply because it is not like Quake. This is incorrect. Good does not always mean "like what was before". Good comes in an infinite amount of flavors and it is NOT a matter of preference, as so many seem to believe.

Take Quake 2. Quake 2 is a good game. It was again groundbreaking technology, though perhaps not to the same degree as Quake, as the jump from two dimensions to three was substantial. But, groundbreaking nonetheless in a different way then Quake. Quake 2 is oriented around single player campaigns, not multiplay. It was one of the first games to group multiple maps into cohesive units which provided for a massively enhanced ability to generate the feeling and atmosphere of "place", Half-Life later expanded this concept further. Anyway, it's not bad, just different.

I do not care to debate specifics about Quake's atmosphere and themes versus that of other games. Those things are, while they can greatly enhance or detract from an otherwise sound foundation, missing the point. Quake did it well even if it was accidental. But likewise, Quake 2 also did it well. Fat Controller, I don't mean to single you out, but your comments about Quake 2's monsters being uneventful are a perfect example. While in fact I similarly agree with you, those statements are your personal taste and should not be confused with whether or not Quake 2 is good. The monsters in Quake 2 fit the theme and did their job. Simply because they are not compatible with Quake does not mean they are poorly done. In terms of overall cohesion, id software greatly improved in Quake 2 from Quake. But it came at the cost of thematic variety, which many dislike.

Anyway, most people, myself included, are more apt to generate opinions about things based on personal taste and not on "what is good". One must learn not to do this, but instead learn to recognize what is good. This does not mean you have to like it.

Simply put, know the difference between Good and Taste

And finally, I must apologize for the lack of my ability to present a proper definition and understanding of what Good is because often I have trouble figuring it out myself. But understand this: it is the reason why paintings that look like a toddler painted them are hanging in national museums and are worth ALOT. 
Because People Confuse Taste With Good? 
Or because there's just a lot of money in "new"?

Toddler-like paintings etc pretend, they emulate quality under a unified theme of gimmicky presentation. It may be "good", but good will never take precidence over taste if that good means nothing to those who must buy it and look at it.

Sure there are lot of different flavors. But the ones like "burnt rubber" and "pickles with mice innards" tend to target a bit more selective audience, rather than the general public. The average guy out there is smart enough not to fill his walls with expensive paintings just because that's what's in at the moment. Especially if the other average guys are coming over for a beer and a game of poker and might see it.

However, Quake2 was good. It wasn't perfect or really that interesting to those who liked the Quake flavor. In that sense, neither was quake3. People who changed games had to change their taste too. The tastes weren't bad, but they were different enough from what everyone had grown to like, that it was next to suicide to put them under the same name.

So, while I don't agree with you on the quality of distasteful splatters of paint on a greasy canvas, I do agree that Quake2 had a great deal of quality that was lost in the conversion it required.

I still didn't like it nearly as much as other games tho. Chock it up to taste I suppose. 
I cannot remember the last time a game was seriously compared to quake. 
you obviously havent been around long enough then :) 
I didn't fall off the back of the gaming truck yesterday. :P 
Let's get it right:

"The simplest explanation tends to be the right one."

Is very different from:

The simplest or most obvious explanation of several competing ones is the one that should be preferred until it is proven wrong

/me takes off his pedantic philosopher's hat 
Beep Beep 
Ya Metlslime 
Smart man, that Ockham. Ahead of his time. 
I'm curious. What does KJDM10 have to do with Ockam's Razor? 
Nothing. That's quite obvious.

distrans KISS is not the same thing as Ockham's Razor. 
KISS, implies a method for approaching a problem. I am mistaken, according to the link provided by metlslime.


A rule in science and philosophy stating that entities should not be multiplied needlessly. This rule is interpreted to mean that the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable and that an explanation for unknown phenomena should first be attempted in terms of what is already known.

I misinterpretted it thinking KISS was something applied to generating a theory, whereas Ockham's Razor was used to determine which, if competing theories were created, to choose.

I apologize distrans. 
shoot me with a rl but i like q2 dm (and nail me too for not playing that much q2sp for that matter) as much as qdm. reinstalling q3 reminded me of that. i love q3 custom maps, i should download weapon packs and mods cos i dont like the standard armament.

arguments tend to get a bit strange when half-life is mentioned because it didnt invent 3d, it didnt invent dm, it didnt invent nice browny metaly worlds. it just...was really really good sp. so proves that there is hope for next gen 3d games.

oh, anyone really waiting for doom3? hope its awesome but i wish id did less work on engines and more on levels... /me grumbles too much i guess... 
Id Needs To Branch Out 
They do FPS's well but I'd like to see them do some other genre's, or at least crossovers. I'm looking forward to Doom 3, but I'm a bit afraid of the machine req's.

I'm also tired of the fight aliens/evil guys plots. The abundance of military shooters was refreshing but almost too much. We need some more genius stories and gameplay. 
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