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Carmack & Mustaine Talk Doom Resurrection For the iPhone 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the portable-demon-killing dept.
themacgamer writes "Luis Sosa had a chance to sit down with John Carmack and Tom Mustaine of id Software and discuss Doom Resurrection for the iPhone: 'At the start we thought it was just a touch screen, so you'd tap to shoot the monsters, but it was never fun; it felt too clinical. It didn't feel like you were swinging your heavy gun around to bring down the monster before he chews off your head,' said Carmack. Mustaine added, '[The shooting mechanic] was definitely a trial-and-error thing. You said the word "distilled," and that's definitely a word we've been using. We really wanted to distill the visceral Doom experience into the iPhone.' He also said, '... we have P2P co-op play that's not in the shipping version, but will come later. We didn't expect the 3.0 OS out so quickly! Two players join together, they see each other's cursors, and they either compete or co-op for a score. We're hoping to patch it in down the road. We're also looking at additional levels and potentially some stat-tracking stuff as well.'"
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Carmack & Mustaine Talk Doom Resurrection For the iPhone

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  • by stokessd (89903) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:45PM (#28917893) Homepage

    I've tried some of the first person shooter type games for the iPhone and i just can't get into them like I can with a keyboard and mouse. I have the same problem with console games, sure I can play them, but there just isn't the same level of immersion than WASD has for me. I guess it's time for a blanket and rocking chair instead.

    The biggest challenge is aiming, if they can do something clever and creative then they will have a real winner. until then simple games like doodlejump and ragdoll blaster seem to be taking my eyeball time.

    Sheldon

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      The Wiimote is clever and creative, and makes the Wii the most natural console for first-person shooters. The interface is far better than the 360's or PS3's for aiming and shooting, just barely worse than a mouse/keyboard combination.

      Unfortunately, the potential for the Wii in this area has been pretty much ignored by EVERYBODY, consumers and developers alike.
    • by Nyubi (1604647)
      Yeah.. But it is good For fun, old man ;)
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      When you get used to something, it's natural for you to feel the most comfortable with it. The modest approach to that is to say "I have gotten used to it and so I prefer it." The geek-slashdot way to approach it is to say "The keyboard and mouse are superior to all other controllers and everyone who disagrees with me is a fucking stupid heathen infidel!"
    • by WeeLad (588414)
      I'm not that familiar with the iPhone, but for my G1 there is a stargazing app that will show you a map of the stars for your location on earth (using GPS) depending on which direction and inclination you hold the phone (using some voodoo magic?).

      I always thought that would make a fun aiming system. Sure, you'd have to stand and turn around to shoot behind you, but that seems like it would be very immersive. It might look a little strange to onlookers though.
    • by kalirion (728907)

      Interestingly, Carmack's comment - "It didn't feel like you were swinging your heavy gun around to bring down the monster before he chews off your head" - applies just as much to the mouse/keyboard combo. Even in Counter-Strike where you have a different movement speed depending on which weapon you're wielding, the mouselook aiming is the same speed. So the heavy machine gun "swings around" as quickly as a pistol does, without any momentum.

  • No free movement (Score:2, Informative)

    by TrollHammer (1604811)
    Interesting....

    From the original article:

    And so that is the rub: Doom Resurrection lacks free movement. The devs would rather I stayed away from train references, but DR is essentially a rail shooter. (Oh, how our pampered gamer-hearts cringe at the word.) But the thing is, this is a really fucking good rail shooter that creates a sense of tempo and mood that is clearly remiss in other iPhone shooters.

    To cram another analogy into this review, imagine watching a good sci-fi horror flick but at the scariest, pee-in-your-pants moment having full control of the character's Big Fucking Gun (yes, it is in the game) and then blasting the crap out of all the monsters on screen. It would be one hell of a satisfying moment, and I am fairly sure you would not be bitching about the lack of free-range movement.

  • Quality? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "DRâ(TM)s graphics are nearly Doom 3 quality"

    This: DR [themacgamer.com]

    Versus: doom3 [wordpress.com]

    Yeah right. Almost.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Your second link is bad, simple 'shopped promo material. This is how Doom3 graphics actually look like: http://i31.tinypic.com/28b4d3q.jpg [tinypic.com]

    • by Agent ME (1411269)

      Well, it's at least much closer to Doom 3 graphics than Doom 2 graphics.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        On what basis do you say that? The first question is whether it's closer to Quake than original Doom - does it feature a true 3D engine (as opposed to a 2D with height component), and use polygons for models as opposed to billboards? It's hard to tell from the screenshot.

        With Doom 3, you're talking about things like per-pixel lighting, bump mapping, and real-time dynamic shadows. I can't see any evidence of that in the screenshot.

        And whichever it's "closer" to, it's still nowhere near Doom 3 quality.

  • by PhotoBoy (684898) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:19PM (#28918111)

    I bought Wolf3D for the iPhone on a whim, expecting it to be your typical iPhone game with stuttering gameplay and sluggish controls, but it really surprised me in how well it played.

    I think it's easy to just think of Carmack as a genius programmer but he also really knows how to tune a game to be fun too, from reading Carmack's blog about developing iPhone Wolf3D it's clear he put a lot of thought and effort into streamlining the gameplay. He removed the high score from the game as it was fairly superfluous. He also dropped having a finite number of lives in the game so you can restart a level whenever you want. He rightly noticed that too many controls are a pain so he made door trigger automatic (like Quake). Best of all he added an auto-map to help make sense of the maze-like levels (using the old maze solving algorithm of hugging the left wall works well for most levels ;) ).

    On top of all that he also wrote a game that maintains a steady frame rate and has very responsive and comfortable controls (which is very unusual in iPhone games). So, with all that in mind, I'm really champing at the bit to get his port of Doom Classic, but it still hasn't been released. I can only assume they're waiting for Doom Resurrection sales to drop off before releasing another Doom game to avoid cannibalising sales. Doom Resurrection is OK, but the tilt controls aren't that great and being on-rails it's missing the fun of being able to explore a level yourself at your own pace.

    Apparently Duke Nukem is on the way as well. I hope they do as good a job of porting that as Carmack did with Wolf3D. Now if LucasArts could be persuaded to port Dark Forces and Jedi Knight.... ;)

    • by Dan East (318230) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:16PM (#28921165) Homepage Journal

      I'm sorry, but you're gushing because Wolf3D doesn't suffer from "stuttering gameplay and sluggish controls" on a 400 Mhz device (with hardware FPU) and an OpenGL ES compliant GPU? Wolf3D was released in 1992, and designed to run on a 286! If it wasn't as smooth as silk then either Carmack or Apple would suck immensely. The iPhone can easily handle at least Quake 2 level engines, which is 3 generations more advanced than Wolf3D.

      As someone who ported Wolf3D, Quake 1 and Quake 2 to Pocket PC over half a decade ago, I think Carmack is a bit late in entering the mobile arena with his engines. Back then everything was 100% software rendering with no FPU, requiring conversion to fixed point math to have a respectable framerate. I will say that first person shooters are right at home with devices with an actual D-Pad and touchscreen (classic PDA form factor, Nintendo DS). The D-Pad is used for motion (forward / backward and strafing), and the touchpad controls mouse-look. Firing can be an problem, but many of the Pocket PC devices allowed you to push straight in on the D-Pad for "Enter", this providing a perfect integrated fire button.

      iPhone has some good capabilities, but it is also severely handicapped in certain areas, which is why Carmack produced light gun shooter, sans light gun, instead of an actual FPS.

      • by PhotoBoy (684898)

        You're right that I shouldn't be too impressed with something as basic as Wolf3D running properly on an iPhone, but have you seen some of the other attempts at 3D games on the iPhone? ;) Some of them have really appalling frame rates and unresponsive controls.

        Case in point, according to Carmack when Electronic Arts first ported Wolf3D to the iPhone they were just using the CPU for everything. It wasn't until Carmack took it on that the GPU was utilised. If you're interested Carmack talks about the developme

    • by kalirion (728907)

      He rightly noticed that too many controls are a pain so he made door trigger automatic (like Quake).

      How does it handle secret doors? Ammo is a bigger problem in Wolf3D than in Quake, so you can't just spay the assault gun everywhere.

      • by PhotoBoy (684898)

        Secret doors work like normal doors, so accidentally triggering them does happen every so often even without looking for them. That said, I have fond(?!) memories of walking against all the walls hammering my space bar looking for secrets, so I think automatic triggering might just be an improvement.

        So far ammo hasn't been too bad, I don't know if that was tweaked or not but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. Generally, I find myself short on ammo at the start of a new chapter where you get stripped of all

  • It's Fun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ericcj (1574601) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:49PM (#28918341)

    Any hack can make a gorgeous looking 3D world. id has always led the pack by delivering that experience under real-world hardware constraints.

    I downloaded this expecting a ported version of the 1993 Doom. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed when a fully 3D environment with Doom 3 media loaded up.

    NASA does super cool work, but they have billions of dollars and an army of PhD's at their disposal. We like MacGyver because he solves problems with whatever he's given. iPhone developers are given a 412 MHz ARM processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a touch screen.

    I think John Carmack and Co. are excited about developing for the iPhone because it's a fresh technical challenge for them. DR is an impressive accomplishment. Given the hardware constraints, and the fact that the game needs to be fun, I'm not sure what I would have done differently.

    • by alen (225700)

      it's a small screen so you don't need as much hardware as you would on a 19 inch LCD. and i've read that the 3G is about halfway between the DS and the PSP in hardware. the 3G S has a separate graphics GPU and i've heard some people claim it's more powerful than a PSP

    • by Trepidity (597)

      I agree that id's forte has been working under real-world hardware constraints, which is why they were so dominant early on in the development of 3d (well, pseudo-3d at the time) games. But I'll have to say this still doesn't look like it'll be fun: not all constrained design results with interesting challenges result in good games...

    • by Dan East (318230)

      NASA does super cool work, but they have billions of dollars and an army of PhD's at their disposal. We like MacGyver because he solves problems with whatever he's given. iPhone developers are given a 412 MHz ARM processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a touch screen.

      I think John Carmack and Co. are excited about developing for the iPhone because it's a fresh technical challenge for them.

      I'm being a cynic, but they aren't in this for the challenge. Three actual reasons:
      1) Over 30 million iPho

  • that this was news of some sort of new Doom game with a soundtrack by Megadeth. Oh well, a man can dream, can't he!
  • id Software:

    Technical Mad Skillz: +10
    Creativity, originality: what?

    I will always pay them homage and due respect for inventing a genre that I loved for many years. I fully believe it's possible that they will be the first ones to figure out how to put the R in VR on home-quality hardware.

    But Doom3 finally convinced me they've got NOTHING in the box as far as a single new idea under the sun for the story.

  • Dave Mustain on the iPhone?

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