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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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Retro As An Art Style 
Is perfectly valid IMO, I think we're already at the point where the market is now getting saturated with retro fps games (like back in the 90's), and in order to stand out we're going to see some games needing to innovate on the fps standard so they can stand out from the competition (again, like in the 90's).
Also, games like this did exist in the day, like Strife for example. 
Fair Post Stroggo. 
I personally don't mind RPG-lite upgrades / customisation as long as it's fairly simple / streamlined. But for a shooter it shouldn't get in the way of the...Core gameplay.

If, say, you've got character upgrade runes, character upgrade crystals, armour upgrade tokens, weapon alt-fire upgrades, and then extra upgrades for those alt-fire modes, oh and ship upgrade things....that might be far too much twatting around. Especially when half of those upgrades usually relate to tinkering with 3 off-hand weapon additions, 3 melee modes, or the 3 additional movement options. THAT would be a whole lot of unnecessary bloat. 
Yep, You Smashed It, Shambler. 
For a game about a "Doom Slayer," in some ways it feels more like "Demonic Invasion Defense Management Simulator"... though I doubt even most manager sims are as over-complicated. It gets really tiring to keep track of all that BS. That's why I've spent so little time playing Doom Eternal this past year and FAR more time playing Quake mods from this fine community.

As for Strife, it's not representative of most FPS's in the '90's, since it was an RPG. It probably wasn't until Bioshock that OCRUD became popular in FPS games, though Bioshock was also an RPG. Mixing genres isn't necessarily what I'd call "innovation," but Bioshock was popular, so I guess the money talked.

A lot of people like the RPG genre, and that's fine. But it's never been my cup of tea... Ultima Underworld convinced me of that. I love exploration and non-linear environments, but I don't like spending huge amounts of time on tedious/boring/non-shootery stuff (like talking to NPC's, "grinding," character customization, etc.) For an FPS, especially a "retro" one, I think that stuff should be left as window-dressing at most, not a core gameplay element.

Apocryph would've been a great retro-esque FPS in the vein of Heretic, if only it had been released in a more finished state, and with better level design and animation.

Experience once again the first person shooter feeling in the same way you experienced it back in the '90s. A creation inspired by classics of the genre like Quake, Hexen, Unreal, and many others.

Gameplay video courtesy of some edgelord YouTube cretin.

Some more choice quotes from the developer:

Some of the models and textures took me more than 20 hours to make

There's a lot of love and effort in the project and it wasn't rushed at all. The demo took almost a year to be developed

ASKE is NOT a low effort project, and there's a lot of research behind the scenes in order to make it feel welcoming to retro enthusiasts without sacrificing the benefits of modern tech.

Even the usual """boomer shooter""" audience is beginning to catch on:

On the one hand we have maps like Tears of the False God for free, on the other hand we have levels that look like the first test map done in Trenchbroom, that they (eventually) want money for... 
Explosive meatballs that emit red smoke...

Overall, a little too Minecrafty for my tastes. Textures lack detail, monsters look like they were modelled by a kid with Blender. Doesn't look low-poly in a "we were constrained by 90's tech limits" but more in a "we just didn't give a f---" way.

But hey, at least it's not an "asset flip," right? 
Let's say that if it were a custom map for Blood of similar it wouldn't be too bad with some work on layout. It seems that the guy lacks a bit in mapping experience as the design gets a bit better the further in. By the end of the video it could equal to 1997's average Quake custom maps if the ranged enemies did not behave so much like turrets or were placed better.

The ''good'' points would be that it is not close to the worst we have seen around here and that even has some verticality. The textures are a bit weird in that they are sharper than expected from that resolution.

The player in that video should stop trying to act cool while sniping from afar and put a difficulty he can manage so we can actually see things. 
Graven Demo Playthrough!

1 full hour of derping, getting lost, and finally dying to an epic "never seen before in 1000s of hours of playtesting" bug, with commentary, critique, analysis, approval, and ranting. 
Graven Demo Playthrough Part 2! detailed critique and feedback for the devs (and still loving all the cool stuff). 
Forgot to put this here. It is not exactly about the game but interesting nonetheless.

Being Mapcore maps will be decent for sure and there is still time to join. 
Not seen this one posted before. It's more of a Blood-alike than a Quake-alike, but it seems to have a nice aesthetic, and doesn't fall into the trap of creating intentionally shitty graphics and calling it retro. 
Looks Solid 
so far in both looks an gameplay wise. And has some nice touches with how the projectiles can be interacted with.
My only gripe is how it all turns so blurry, specially on the brushwork most lit, and how coloured lighting overwhelms things a bit like with what happens with Quake 2. 
Engine Far Too Retro For Me, But... 
...that sure has hell has a good theme and purpose to it. 
The low res aspect of the aesthetic is destroyed by youtube compression. The stuff on twitter looks a little better but still pretty blocky.

That he has modelled everything and then converted into sprites makes me kind of wish there was just an option to see the models in the game. 
Idk about those screenshots. They just look much brighter and more saturated to me. 
Prodeus For MacOS On Steam 
At first I installed the Win - GOG in Wine on my (old) new Mac Pro 5.1 - 12 core - RX 580. It was barely playable but just enough to trig curiosity and excitement ... I couldn't resist to purchase the in dev MacOS version on Steam. Oh my ! The game is already really polished and optimised so well ! I'm blasting my way, all settings maxed out on Mojave. Great game. Everything has already been said : Doom, Quake, Unreal successor. It's fast and gory. Weapons and monsters are various and satisfying. Maps are kinda samey but whatever. Lava galore. It's addictive. For us oldskool FPS lovers. Just a perfect mix of known vibes and pixels with shiny new fx and visuals. Hulshult music is fantastic. This game is my most recent heartthrob since Wrath (which runs perfectly in Wine btw)... 
Been playing Amid Evil. The music is great. The graphics are too noisy in some areas, and while the lack of texture filtering isn't exactly an issue, the lack of anisotropic filtering is.

The weapons looks and sounds great, but they don't feel solid enough. For example, the axe in Quake feels more solid than the axe in Amid Evil. The jump feels closer to a Build engine jump but lower.

The lack of texture filtering, combined with the modern lighting & fog features, the N64 style overabundance of colored lighting, and the special effect textures feels unique. While I don't feel that the visual style of Amid Evil will become a trend, they deserve some big respect for coming up with a visual style of their own. The scenery is awesome and feels like a lighthearted lovecraftian fantasy. 
Quake-like Game In 13k Of Javascript 
It's kind of a ugly/blocky rendition of quake's first level (or 2?) in html5. No way to invert mouse. I got a bit motion sick but it's surprisingly playable. 
It does feature lit liquids. Top notch work. 
Amid Evil 
Got real bored and thought I'd try this out. Thoughts so far, after playing I think half to two-thirds of it...

I am utterly baffled and bemused as to why the default graphics and HUD settings are as they are. By default the game looks like all the bad things people were saying about it in this thread earlier.

However, you can go into settings, and tinker with various visual options to make the thing look NOT like total eye-rape.


Anyway...I'm actually pleasantly surprised. It feels like a game made in an alternate reality 90s, where all the designers and artists were the same as 90s designers and artists, but graphics hardware had a sudden overnight revolution and these same people were just slapping fancy shaders on things where they could. No, it's not consistent... but it still kinda works, as long as you fuck around enough with the graphics settings, as I say.

It's a game from the 90s, level-design-wise. You get the good stuff and the bad stuff with that. You get all the interesting 90s layouts and exploration. You also get all the tedious janky obtuse sections that no-one has the patience for any more these days.

Overall, the levels are a bit too sprawling and abstract for me, but I can't deny that they are made with an honest-to-god appreciation of 90s level design values. Back in the day, this game would have been highly praised, I think.

Weapons are ok, and monsters do the job I guess. The monsters look a bit janky, but...90s?. I do miss not having a shotgun though - the game is what I call a "wand shooter" - like Hexen 2 - so you never get the chunky oomph with the weapons that you do with guns.

But yeah, overall it's "alright". I was expecting a total dog's dinner, but actually got that posh dog food that comes in sachets labelled "chicken & thyme gourmet". 
Agreed With #484 
And I wish Amid Evil had an option to enable texture filtering, including anisotropic filtering; it would look kickass. The PBR lighting without filtering generates a lot of random white spots that makes the visuals more noisy than actual 90s FPSs.

I don't miss shotguns in it, though. The blue homing projectiles fits the role of wide spread shots, and the green crystals fits the role of quick concentrated damage. 
visuals more noisy than actual 90s FPSs

I found that the game, by default, had an unacceptably bad shimmering pixel noise problem in the distance until I set "AA Method: Temporal" in the graphics options. That totally smoothed out the middle to far distance. 
Temporal AA seems to have reduced the grainyness, although I haven't tested it in the grainiest areas yet. Thanks Kinn.

I never liked AA due to the artifacts it introduces, but in Doom 2016 I noticed some places had extremely heavy grainy artifacts if AA was not used. Looks like modern games are designed with AA in mind, so disabling it cripples the graphics. 
*TAA, not AA. 
Yeah, I did some good testing now and TAA does fix the noisy graphics in Amid Evil.

By the way, enabling Temporal Antialiasing resets the Resolution Scaling to 100%. If you enable TAA and then set the Resolution Scale slightly down to something like 97, the far away graphics will always look smoother, and anisotropic filtering becomes almost unnecessary.

It's a little sad that I've already played almost the whole game with extremely noisy graphics, though. I'm in the last episode, and could have enjoyed the game a lot more. 
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