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Carmack Addresses FPS Creativity Concerns 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-build-it dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "id Software co-founder John Carmack defended the creativity of first-person shooter games in a recent interview. The legendary programmer, who was a pioneer in the shooter genre with Doom and Quake, said he doesn't like hearing from developers that shooters aren't good because they're not reinventing the wheel. 'I am pretty down on people who take the sort of creative auteurs' perspective. It's like "Oh, we're not being creative." But we're creating value for people — that's our job! It's not to do something that nobody's ever seen before. It's to do something that people love so much they're willing to give us money for... you see some of the indie developers that really take a snooty attitude about this,' he lamented."
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Carmack Addresses FPS Creativity Concerns

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  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:17PM (#36819034) Journal
    Doom III. I'm sorry but Doom III wasnt a game, it was a tech demo. While I understand what you are getting at, you have some big skeletons in your closet regarding this particular complaint.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      I don't quite see the problem with Doom III. It did actually do a few interesting things beside the graphics. The sentry bots were pretty cool, the highres terminals that you could use directly from FPS viiew are something I still haven't seen replicated anywhere else and it was the first game I can remember that didn't allow shooting civilians by changing your cross-hair into a talk-symbol. Those aside, yeah, the whole flashlight thing was a bit annoying, it did have its fair share of monster closets and r

      • by bonch (38532) *

        I thought the first hour was great, but unfortunately, the rest of Doom III became an unmemorable blur of repetitive metal walls and monster spawns, broken up with an excellent Hell trip. At one point, I began to predict where monsters would appear when I entered a room.

        • Turn off the lights with no one else in the room. Ensure that it's quiet except for your PC speakers. Soak up the ambiance and enjoy.

          I for one thoroughly enjoyed the game even if it was overly hyped as a tech demo. So much so that I must have played through it all over two or three more times. I admit, Doom III wasn't the best of games in the genre , but it wasn't nearly as bad as others claim it to be.

          • by bonch (38532) *

            I played with the lights off. That got old after an hour. The game is just very, very repetitive in almost all aspects, to the point that you can barely distinguish one level of shiny metal walls from another.

            • by Moryath (553296)

              The problem with the FPS genre is that a hell of a lot of it has been done already. And so many designers aren't willing to break the mold, because the people bankrolling them don't WANT them to break the mold: they want Derivative FPS #56 to flesh out this fall's part of the EA or Ubisoft lineup because Derivative FPS #55 still sold well.

              The secondary problem is that designers keep insisting on trying to put in lame-ass "puzzles" that just don't work in an FPS environment. The best example is jumping puzzl

        • ... broken up with an excellent Hell trip. At one point, I began to predict where monsters would appear when I entered a room.

          I found that I hit that turning point about the time I got back from Hell. I honestly thought that effect was done intentionally-- after all, once you've literally been to Hell and back, what then should scare you?

    • by black3d (1648913) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:36PM (#36819174)

      I don't understand what you're getting at. He only made two real statements, neither of which yours seems to counter.

      He said that developers need to create value that people are willing to pay for. Doom 3 sold well, despite it not living up to some's expectations, it certainly fulfilled this statement.

      Then he said that indie developers take a snooty attitude about this approach (implying in context that, rather, indie developers believe every game DOES have to be something that's never been done before). This has no relation to Doom 3 at all.

      It sounds like you're just taking the opportunity to bash Doom 3. Understand, Carmack is arguing here FOR on-rails shooters. He's saying that games don't need to be incredibly creative and new every time they get released, they just have to do their job - provide entertainment that people are willing to pay for. And you're arguing against that by marching out a game which... provides entertatinment that people were willing to pay for. ..

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532) *

        It sounds like you're just taking the opportunity to bash Doom 3. Understand, Carmack is arguing here FOR on-rails shooters. He's saying that games don't need to be incredibly creative and new every time they get released, they just have to do their job - provide entertainment that people are willing to pay for. And you're arguing against that by marching out a game which... provides entertatinment that people were willing to pay for. ..

        You're missing the point that Doom 3 was widely panned for not straying

        • by Miseph (979059) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @12:16AM (#36819816) Journal

          And those guys are right, even if you don't like it. Transformers 3 made more money in a day than most movies will ever make. Nobody on that project was being paid to do anything particularly original or interesting... they were being paid to crank out a movie where robots blow shit up. They did their jobs, they got paid, the execs got precisely what they wanted from their employees... and hopefully a chunk of the money that the genuinely creative people who worked on it were paid for churning out the money-making-sequel de jour will go toward creating new and exciting works of art which will genuinely contribute to our culture.

          What he's saying is that anyone who criticizes those games or movies simply on the basis that they have failed to do anything particularly new or groundbreaking or edgy are just being pretentious. Who really thought Doom III should have been chock full of "original" FPS gameplay, anyway? If it had been a stealth-based puzzle game designed to comment Kantian philosophy, that just happened to be an FPS, nobody would have praised it for being "groundbreaking" or thought it was great that id put a new spin on the franchise: they would have called Carmack a goddamn moron for shitting all over what everyone expected with some random bullshit. They would have been right, too.

          Maybe you think it was shit, but it was still what you thought it would be, and you still bought the game based on that. If you see Transformers 3, you aren't expecting to have your mind blown by complex writing (it does feature some enjoyable snark, but every time Optimus speaks it makes you long for the depth and wit of a GI Joe PSA) or an intriguing plot (unless your definition of "intriguing" is XBox huge plot holes and characters behaving without any sort of consistency or logic), you're expecting to see giant robots that turn into cars and blow shit up. If, instead, you got Crime And Punishment, you'd probably be more than a little bit pissed off, regardless of how "original" it would be for Transformers to go in that direction.

          • What he's saying is that anyone who criticizes those games or movies simply on the basis that they have failed to do anything particularly new or groundbreaking or edgy are just being pretentious.

            Or perhaps they just believe that it can't be good without being new. Perhaps that is what they personally like. Who knows what they really believe?

            They would have been right, too.

            That would depend on who you ask.

          • It made money and did what was expected from them - no questions there. But they are lower quality works. If Carmack or the Transformers' director want to make cheap popcorn, they can't expect to be treated like people who are advancing the state of the art.

            Arrogance is never pretty, but trying to pass these games as being as worthy as any other just because they sell isn't very honest.

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          Doom 3 is not their most recent game from ID, it's not even their latest FPS game. There have been many many titles since Doom 3 was released in 2004. Quake 4, Enemy Territory and 'Orcs and Elves' come to mind straight away.

        • by timeOday (582209)

          Carmack is one of those guys who will tell you that big, dumb movies like Transformers 3 are just "doing their job" and that filmmakers making movies nobody has seen before are "snooty."

          I think it's more like a restaurant that makes an excellent steak, vs. more "artistic" restaurants always looking to wow you with something novel. Both have a place; the recipe for steak doesn't need changing. People enjoy the basic gameplay of first-person-shooters, just like they enjoy hitting a ball with a racket and

      • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @12:18AM (#36819818) Journal

        him and that wild man Romero, tore the gates off the entrance to the PC graphics and game industry, and stomped on them. they were years ahead of their time, only a tiny tiny handful could do what they did. what they did was absolutely pioneering.

        Romero's creative angst ridden genius + carmack's technical skill = compelling nightmare world

        you take one of those and separate it from the other? well, maybe you have to at some point,, they couldnt be shareware cowboys forever.... but sometimes 1+1 is much more than 2 and if carmack can't see that i dont know what to say.

      • This always kind of weirds me out. I mean the way people talk about doom 3 as if they played it for the first time 3 years after it came out and then compared it to other games of the time.

        Doom 3 gave people a first glimpse of what every other game that came after it had to aspire to. Yes I agree that some aspects of the story/gameplay could have been more thought out, but again, for it's time it was totally state of the art. It was the most visually compelling game out there. And that first scene w

        • by AdamHaun (43173)

          Doom 3 gave people a first glimpse of what every other game that came after it had to aspire to.

          On consoles, maybe. For a PC game it wasn't that great. Even at the time, Doom 3 was widely criticized for exactly the same reasons it is today. There's little to it except the lights going off and monsters appearing, over and over and over. It managed to make surprise attacks boring and predictable -- "Hey, a power-up sitting in a beam of light at the end of a long hallway! Wonder what'll happen when I pick it u

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>He's saying that games don't need to be incredibly creative and new every time they get released,

        At this E3 or maybe last year's, they did a side-by-side comparison of three of the shooters. Each had identical weapons on screen, with identical blood effects on the borders indicating health.

        It was quite depressing.

      • To be fair though, if I see one more indie tower defense game, I'm going to scream (queue the screams). Most indie games seem to take one approach or the other, either be a clone, or be completely different than anything else (or a clone with a *twist*! that might as well be a clone).
      • by eulernet (1132389)

        I don't understand what you're getting at. He only made two real statements, neither of which yours seems to counter.

        From TFA, Carmack says that the developers need to concentrate on the frame rate, which is almost the only thing he said.
        But he completely omits the game play ! (It's easy: search for the word play, there is none in the article !).

        The GP stated that Doom 3 had no game play.

        As a fellow game programmer, I think that the frame rate is less important than the game play.
        Of course, great games include both game play and technical prowess.

        It also hurts to hear Carmack speaking of creativity. I personally think tha

    • by fermion (181285)
      Pretty much all good games are tech demos. Games are the one way that developers can push machines to the extremes because games do not have run perfectly. If a game flakes out it is not nearly as bad as a business application flaking out.

      That said then, the games have to be something consumers will pay for. I don't think the games have to be violent. Prince of persia, pong, donkey kong, were not particularly violent, yet they were successful. What we are seeing is the rise of very realistic games, a

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Well, Half-Life 2 and each of the episode were tech demos. (Episode 1 introduced HDR, Episode 2 introduced improved particle something-or-other.) Team Fortress 2 premiered Valve's facial manipulation technology (Meet the Heavy was basically 90% tech demo of this stuff). Even so, they're all fantastic games.

    • by dudpixel (1429789)

      Doom III. I'm sorry but Doom III wasnt a game, it was a tech demo. While I understand what you are getting at, you have some big skeletons in your closet regarding this particular complaint.

      Yes it was a tech demo in some ways, but that's just a compliment.

      It absolutely was a game, just obviously not the one you wanted it to be. I think it was mostly destroyed by hype (some of which can be attributed to id), because there was so much that the game could never possibly live up to it.

      The other problem was that HL2 came out around the same time and had an actual storyline. Hardly hear much of either game these days - they both seemed to die quickly in the public arena.

      I believe Doom 3 could stil

    • The above poster is correct - there was something lost between Doom 1+2 and doom 3 as graphics got more realistic. I'm sure many of us felt that Doom 3 while an average shooter was not as exciting as the original games when they were released and a lot of it has to do with the design and aesthetics. There was a lot of charm to the 2D art style of the doom universe that was lost in it's transition to full 3D. Doom 3 was not true to it's roots it tried to be more of a "horror style" fps where doom was more

    • by master_p (608214)

      Doom 3 was a spectacular and breathtaking arcade FPS.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:20PM (#36819058)

    He's placing the blame on shitty games on us, the gamers.

    Rightfully so. When a COD game can sell millions just on it's name alone, something's wrong.

    Although I think that his take on it is a little wrong. But I think Rage is kind of the right direction away from just the traditional walk, shoot, maybe hide behind some cover paradigm. If Rage for iOS is anything to go by, it'll not only be rich and fun with a good sense of humor but the racing aspects will be a nice touch.

    Yes, HL2(and ep 2) had those annoying boat and car scenes, but I trust Carmack and co to get this one right.

    • by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:39PM (#36819196)

      To be fair, COD has a multiplayer component driving it, so when people pick up the latest COD, you want to pick it up too so you can play with everyone else online and take advantage of the latest multiplayer additions. That said, even a multiplayer game can be creatively unique--Team Fortress 2 is fantastic.

      • the problem with COD multiplayer since COD4 from a gameplay perspective is that unless you pick it up RIGHT AWAY and grind like mad, you're not going to really have a fun time. Unless you think eating unbalanced unlockable weapons for dinner is a good time.

        • by RockoTDF (1042780)
          And kill streaks. COD4 was bearable in that department, but MW2 was over the top. TWO harriers? The AC-130? The ability to have multiple aircraft in the air at once drove me mad. I'm so glad they added the "airspace full" rule in black ops.
    • When a COD game can sell millions just on it's name alone, something's wrong.

      It may not be your cup of tea or very original, but the games aren't bad. I know there's a tendency to see lots of people going nuts over something and have high expectations for it, and then be disappointed when it's not God's gift to the earth, but the games are well suited to their target audience.

      And to be fair the PC versions sounded like abominations...

      Yes, HL2(and ep 2) had those annoying boat and car scenes,

      I actually really liked those parts too.

      • I loved the boat and car part of HL2 also.

        I don't really play shooters single player anymore...but I can't stand the multiplayer in CoD. So many people like it that I guess maybe it's just me....but there is rarely any sense of distance, it's just running around in mostly cramped maps going full auto on any target you see. Full disclosure....I was downright awful at CoD multiplayer. I played it on the PC, I never heard that there were any problems with the PC version compared to the console. I would never
    • I think Rage is kind of the right direction away from just the traditional walk, shoot, maybe hide behind some cover paradigm.

      The latest video looks just like Quake to me. I'll guess that Rage is Quake yet again with cars glued on. Not that I really care whether John puts out yet another linear, repetitive single player game with MIA story line as long as he keeps setting the standard for render tech.

    • by Haeleth (414428)

      Yes, HL2(and ep 2) had those annoying boat and car scenes, but I trust Carmack and co to get this one right.

      Annoying? The main annoying thing about them was the load times. Gameplay-wise they were pretty fun.

  • Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:24PM (#36819086)

    It's not your job to do something nobody's ever seen before, sure. But raising the bar should be your goal nonetheless. Visuals are a solved problem, and the days of the tech demo are over. Even the hardware race is over--id's new game Rage is targeting six-year-old console hardware. So what else is there but to push creative expressiveness in a genre that's crying out for some artistic legitimacy on the level that movies and novels enjoy? It's clear that a game like Portal 2 would never come out of id Software.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bigpet (1695756)

      >Visuals are a solved problem

      Psssh, don't tell that to the SIGGRAPH attendees or engine developers because they'll smack you square in the face.

      • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:43PM (#36819224)

        I wouldn't need to say a thing. I'd just hold up the sales figure chart for Minecraft and watch them blink in astonishment.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I wouldn't need to say a thing. I'd just hold up the sales figure chart for Minecraft and watch them blink in astonishment.

          1) SIGGRAPH has more than just game designers. I'm sure the medical and data visualisation people will be impressed!

          2) Would it surprise you to learn that "looks like ass" is one of the reasons I don't like Minecraft personally? I don't think I'm a unique and precious snow flake so there must be other people like me. Visuals will only be "solved" (as if the concept even applies to something so abstract) when it is possible to express anything you can imagine in real-time, it doesn't need to be realistic, im

      • Tell it to the tens of millions of Wii owners instead.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fluffeh (1273756) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:48PM (#36819246)

      Being creative is a terribly subjective phrase. As a level designer (I worked with Epic on the Unreal Tournament projects) I think I have a good perspective of this. Most games that come out do follow the general genre that it is made for - but you know what, so does everything else. You don't see Ford lamenting that they aren't "designing a totally new car..." It's a CAR. People expect it to have four wheels, seats and all the usual stuff inside a car. FPS developers are making a game that people who want an FPS will buy. Can you be creative? Absolutely. Look at titles like Theif [wikipedia.org] for example. It is esentially a FPS, but with a brilliant twist. Same goes for Assassins Creed [wikipedia.org]. You run around and (for the most part) kill folks.

      The sign of a truly innovative game (and therefore truly amazing developers) is to take a genre, like FPS and make subtle transformations to it to make it a more enjoyable experience for the gamers. Innovation is great, but making something TOTALLY different is a huge risk. Just look at Black and White [wikipedia.org]. While very well done, it was so totally different in UI and concepts that it never became the smash hit that it should have.

      It takes a BRILLIANT game to push a genre a few steps to the left or right. You simply can't expect to make a title that is way out in left field and expect it to become an overnight smash hit. Not saying it simply cannot happen, but most of the time (especially when it comes to publishers financially backing games) you need to take small steps in the direction you would LIKE to get to.

      • by bonch (38532) *

        I disagree with the car analogy because, for most people, a car is little more than a tool to move them between locations. Games, on the other hand, are purely entertainment. Black & White's problem wasn't its attempt to be innovative (the reviewers who barely played past the first world rated it highly for that)--it's that it turned out to be a buggy mess that didn't live up to the promises Molyneaux made.

        You don't have to come out of left field to make something that pushes a genre forward. Taking wha

        • by Draek (916851)

          And yet the same World of Warcraft you defend was, and still is, blasted left and right as another "me too" MMO only with Warcraft characters and less demanding graphics.

          As the GP said, being creative is a terribly subjective phrase. So much, that in the eyes of anyone who thought WoW was generic, your post comes across as a defense of Carmack's position rather than an attack on it.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          Taking what exists and adding enough innovative twists on it is also good enough. World of Warcraft did that with the Everquest formula, for example.

          World of Warcraft wasn't innovative. Not really. It was however VERY well polished. Where Blizzard excelled was constant adjustment of classes to ensure balance, putting in a lot of content and really trying to make it work properly. Now, before you start jumping in and saying how buggy it is come patch time or the like, I am not saying that EVERYTHING works perfectly in it, but I did play it for a number of years, and compared to problems in just about every other MMO, it is right up there as being one of

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Black and White was not very well done, it was an exploding crashfest tech demo. And Black and White 2 was also an exploding crashfest, proving for once and for all that some studios think they're far better than they are.

    • Efficient real time rendering is a pretty interesting subject from my nerd perspective and I for one hope that games companies continue to spend some time and money on it even though it isn't the most important factor in making a game fun.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Well, Portal didn't come out of Valve. It was originally a student game from Digipen [wikipedia.org].

      A lot of publishers have the following cycle:

      1) Snap up a small team/company/indie that made a great game. Have them sell it at the company, or make a better version. Valve has Alien Swarm, Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, etc.

      2) Either move the team on to other projects or run it into the ground with bad sequels.

      3) Lather, rinse, repeat.

      I think the best thing is a mix of the two. Bring in the good works of peo

      • Correction: Narbacular Drop came out of Digipen. Portal came out of Valve.
        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          That's a bit pedantic, but that was what I was basically saying. Sure, Valve hired the Narbacular Drop people to make Portal and it was completely made in house, but it pretty much was not their concept from the get-go. They bought a good idea and paid to have the team expand on it.

    • I completely agree with this sentiment. We have only begun to scratch the surface of gaming's potential. FPS's, RTS's, Sports Sims, and puzzle games were fine in the first generation of video games, but they've grown quite stale by now.

      There are, however, glimmers of something greater out there. We all know Half Life and Shadow of the Colossus. There was also Black & White. I'm sure Slashdotters will jump in with half a dozen more. And recently I played Enslaved, which is one of the best games I'v

  • by dave562 (969951) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:31PM (#36819122) Journal

    Of course the "indie" developers are whining. That is what "indie" people do. They whine about how everything is not good enough and how they could do it better. Maybe some indie developer can come up with a revolutionary game where you ride around on a Vespa and go to poetry readings at various coffee shops.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:34PM (#36819154)

      Not really, indie developers claim that they can do better and actually try to do better. It's pretty clear from your tone that you know precisely zip about what you're talking about. Otherwise you'd realize that indie developers do put their money where their mouths are. Often it doesn't work out well and sometimes you get something that nobody has seen before.

      But to dismiss it as whining when folks point out that the quality of games could and should be higher is just as ignorant as your suggestion of a game involving that vespa and coffee houses.

    • by powerlord (28156)

      ... Maybe some indie developer can come up with a revolutionary game where you ride around on a Vespa and go to poetry readings at various coffee shops.

      Grand Theft Goth?

    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      ... or with a game in which the world is blocky albeit completely de- and con-structable, a run and jump game including altering the timeflow to solve puzzles, a fighter adventure game involving rabbits and wolves, ... ah silly indy developers! Thankfully one can still count on formulaic games from the major outlets.
    • by bonch (38532) *

      You don't seem to understand what "indie developer" is describing. It doesn't suggest anything about their personality. It's simply someone who's not selling through a traditional publisher. One of the reasons innovation is so important to them is that it's one of the ways they are able to compete in a market dominated by EA, Bethesda, and other tie-wearing behemoths.

    • Actually, it sounds like Carmack is whining, and the indie developers are just making games. Which don't suck and aren't boring.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If only GTA4 had been designed with modding in mind you could take a Faggio to get a Cappucino.

  • by hardtofindanick (1105361) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:32PM (#36819132)
    Interestingly it seems /. agrees that a company that made wolfenstein, doom, doom, quake, quake, quake, wolfenstein, doom, quake should not be the one to comment about FPS creativity.

    Thanks for the technology, but their gaming experience is still where it was 15 years ago. To top it off, visuals have come a long way since Q1 that it is really hard to sell a game purely based on "pretty" gfx.
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      their gaming experience is still where it was 15 years ago

      You've obviously not seen anything about their latest game rage to make a comment like that. Also you're missing the point. Carmack is saying you don't always need to innovate, seeming as they're still in business doing the same gaming experience you seem to have proven his point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:33PM (#36819138)

    > pioneer in the shooter genre with Doom and Quake

    When you're still known best for things done 15 and 18 years ago can you really claim "creativity" as one of your strong points?

    • by sirsnork (530512)

      Not to mention Wolf 3D was the real begining :)

      • by dintech (998802)

        If anything, Catacomb 3D was more like the beginning. But, ID was just ripping off the still-in-development Ultima Underworld. That game in turn borrowed a lot from the 'stepped' real-time 3D dungeon games like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder.

    • by cob666 (656740)
      Just because they are well known for something they CREATED 15+ years ago doesn't make them any less creative.
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Seeing as other FPS games were initially called "Doom clones" for many years after Doom's premier, I would say yes. That is indeed a strong achievement that you can be proud of for decades.

      it's a bit hard to predict, though. 20 years from now we might be looking at games where the user can heavily modify the environment cooperatively and look back at Minecraft as the game that popularized it - or, it might end up just being a fad. Who knows?

  • It's 2011 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:34PM (#36819150)
    Where's have the cool brackets+enter inventory system and use keys from 1994-97 gone to? We were doing so well until Halo came.


    Duke3D wasn't just fun for the 'attitude' and "THE BOOBS ON E1L2" you know, Heretic/Hexen also explored the more tactical FPS elements no one cared about (and no one really did still anyway. fps cockfighting wasn't seen again until 15 years later when ArmA 2 came out).

    Let's not forget that one '1993 vs. 200x level design' picture, the strict lameness of oververbose design documents written by a dedicated 'game designer'. I remember people saw the little GTA design doc here months ago as offensive for not being a "proper design doc" because it left a lot of room for the rest of the team to get creative by themselves to make the game by featuring little detail outside gameplay. It's getting so 'by the book' these days to make/sell linear one-track experience by linear one-track experience, we can't even have clever easter eggs anymore either.

    Let's also not forget the whole "DLC" movement, clamping down on custom content opportunities, destroying potential modding communities in the name for money.
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Honestly, I think the best way to do things is to give the individual team members a set of specific goals and then let them fill in the blanks.

      If you told a class full of 30 film students to make a 2 minute short film involving a tortoise and a traffic cone, I imagine that every one of them would be quite different. Some would be comedic, some would be dramatic, and some would be so over-the-top dramatic that it goes back round to the comedic side.

      Too many cooks spoil the broth.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      On one hand I agree with you about the Halo influence. On the other hand, I found Reach highly enjoyable...

      Let's also not forget the whole "DLC" movement, clamping down on custom content opportunities, destroying potential modding communities in the name for money.

      Have we seen such a thing in an iD game yet?

  • Current state of affairs

    Indie: We need more creativity!
    Nostalgia: We want doom level newness!
    Carmack: We made some creative stuff, but now we are doing it for the cash. Here, have another COD where you can endlessly fight each other in the same maps.
    Nostalgia: *whimpers*
    Steam: Here, we have hats!
    *It is super effected, Nostlagia feints*

    Indie: Art matters. Art... *stomach growls*
    Steam: We'll package your stuff together and drum up sales.
    Indie: Can't make art if dead from starvation....

  • Oh Carmack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atomicbutterfly (1979388) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:53PM (#36819278)

    Carmack, I like you. I respect you and appreciate what you've done for 3D gaming. But it's clear your strength is in engine design and not game design. Stay in your niche please, and don't pretend to believe that indie developers are somehow being 'snooty' so much as in offering an alternative gaming experience compared to the big-budget studios who are afraid to risk trying anything different.

    • His rant is really petty. Essentially, he's butthurt that people actually are designing games with higher artistic (and conceptual) goals in mind than just pushing the graphical power of another FPS, and he's taking it personally that they find his games boring. The "snootiness" that Carmack detects is a by-product of his commitment to commercial games. Well, John, you can console yourself with the money you get for the "value" that your are bringing, making your product. You chose your road, live with it,

  • we're creating value for people — that's our job! It's not to do something that nobody's ever seen before. It's to do something that people love so much they're willing to give us money for

    Wow, he's using almost the same argument for making DOOM 3 as the producers did to make DOOM the movie. Or Uwe Boll used for every movie he ever made. Say it ain't so, John!

    • we're creating value for people — that's our job! It's not to do something that nobody's ever seen before. It's to do something that people love so much they're willing to give us money for

      Wow, he's using almost the same argument for making DOOM 3 as the producers did to make DOOM the movie. Or Uwe Boll used for every movie he ever made. Say it ain't so, John!

      While I disagree with Carmack's statements, I must point out that the DOOM movie was actually pretty damn good. It certainly exceeded all of my expectations, and it was more creative and entertaining than DOOM 3.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Wow, I thought the DOOM movie was horrible. But I have to say at least I managed to finish it, unlike DOOM 3. And I paid a lot less for the movie...

      • by AdamHaun (43173)

        I must point out that the DOOM movie was actually pretty damn good.

        Yeah, that was a surprise. Oddly enough, it seems like the games that have the least plot end up making the best movies.

  • by br00tus (528477) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @11:01PM (#36819326)

    Obviously Carmack is not the sole fount of creativity in the world. But his output is amazing. I still know people who talk about Commander Keen. As far as Doom, Quake and the like, the market has spoken. I have spent many hours playing Doom and Quake deathmatch. There was a time the Internet component of Doom's deathmatch was seen as innovative. As far as I'm concerned, Doom and Quake set the bar for FPS, the way Age of Empires set the bar for RTS (I'm biased against Starcraft...)

    Carmack released id Tech 3's code as GPL. Go look at that code. I spend so much time looking over other people's crappy code. That code looks real nice. I couldn't believe how good the code looked. Clear as a bell what everything does. It's also amazing so little code can do so much in games like OpenArena.

    Reading the book Masters of Doom made me admire Carmack all the more as a coder. I don't know who was wrong or right in the office politics with him and Romero at I.D., most people I know who have met Romero say he's a nice guy. But there's no taking away Carmack's technical prowess.

    • by bonch (38532) *

      You're referring to a multiplayer era that existed almost 20 years ago. id Tech 3's code is neat, but how is that relevant to a discussion on FPS creativity?

    • The argument "the market has spoken" applies also to McDonald's, Microsoft and tract housing.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Dune 2, Warcraft 2, Total Annihilation, Starcraft. Every other RTS deserves no better than honorable mention. There is a clone of AOE now though (0AD has much the same smell) so I guess it can get on the list in a few years :p

  • I've had more fun with indie games in the past few years than every id game since Quake 3 combined...
  • "I'm sorry I haven't done anything original in 15 years. Please buy my latest iteration of Doom anyway. I promise you exactly the same crap I've been peddling for the last 18 years, but with 5% extra shiniez. No nasty surprises,no interesting gameplay mechanics, no unusual environments, just generic corridor shooting the way you like it. Legions of cookie-cutter mooks from the clone vats, despite the fact that doing a little randomising on the facial features would take zero effort. Locked doors won't
  • Just one of Valve's "creative" games brings in more money than all your unimaginative games put together.
  • by Tei (520358)

    All videogames, to this date, are "derivative work" from older titles. You take the mechanic of a old game, or older games, and you recreate the formula, tryiing to make it better. Just adding things that already exist, may feel "short" and get poor reviews from both critics and public. It would really feel like a bad game.

    So from your point of view as game engine programmer It can be ok to iterate the same game, with better graphics, but this is going to fail wen the public opinion will find your game a

  • Of course, the Phoenix isn't as pretty as the Enterprise-E. But it f$%king warped! People should learn some manners before they bash Doom 3 :D

    I agree HL2 is the best FPS so far in how it's like an addictive novel. You just can't put the mouse down and want to know what's next. But I never forget the refractive panels and the dynamic shadows in Doom 3. JC gives the tools to fellow developers to make more good stuff and I respect that.

  • Like many geniuses, Carmack is clearly out of his depth when discussing topics outside of his field. Quake 2 might be one of the greatest games of all time, and GPLing the code for that and quake 3?!? As far as I'm concerned, Carmack is a god. However, he's full of shit using sales to justify crap sequels. I hear people do that all the time for movies and music too, and the argument fails for the same reasons: Corporate power and brand recognition ALWAYS create sales. But those sales are short lived an

  • Setting up a game in a post-apocaliptic future wasteland is a paradigm of creativity.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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