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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Doomed: How id Lost Its Crown 491

bonch writes "Steve Bowler, lead animator for Midway Games, has written an article for Next Generation called Doomed: How id Lost Its Crown. He talks about id no longer being the king of the hill in the FPS genre, losing the multiplayer gaming wars to Counter-strike and the engine licensing wars to competitors like Unreal 3.0, and focusing too much on rendering realistic environments at the expense of modern gameplay features. From the article: 'It's hard to stomach having to shoot a zombie in the head the same number of times as in the body (six rounds from a pistol, thanks for asking) to dispatch it, when you can shoot a light fixture and watch how realistically light dances around the room.'"
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Doomed: How id Lost Its Crown

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:02PM (#13036057)

    Dupe...original article can be found here. []

    Almost the same title, too.
  • by Approaching.sanity ( 889047 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:03PM (#13036069) Homepage
    Zombies can remain animated independant of if their head is intact or not.

    Who writes these things anyway? Honestly folks.
    • by CDLewis ( 775622 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:10PM (#13036157)

      > Zombies can remain animated independant of if their head is intact or not.

      Indeed, they'll keep coming back almost as often as this story.

    • Come on now, everyone learned in Zombie 101 that when you take out the head, the zombie is toast.
    • by killtherat ( 177924 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:17PM (#13036248)
      Obviously somebody needs to bone up on their
      Zombie Survival Strategy [].

      Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack

      1. Organize before they rise!
      2. They feel no fear, why should you?
      3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
      4. Blades don't need reloading.
      5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
      6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
      7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
      8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
      9. No place is safe, only safer.
      10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.
      • #7 says get out of the car and onto a bike. Bikes can be tipped over easily and offer no offensive value. Now a truck with a suitably large bumper offers both offensive and defensive value. What better way to take out a dozen zombies in the road way than just making sure you got both hands on the wheel and preparing for a slight, momentary, loss of traction as you travel over crushed re-dead bodies?

        As Interstate '76 said:
        "Don't get out of the car, never get out of the car."
        (tactic worked well in many place
        • If you read the book, the author's primary point is that a bike is fast enough to outrun zombies while still being quiet so as not to attract attention. A truck or other motor vehicle will attract the zombie hordes from miles around, which can swarm over the vehicle in sufficient numbers to stop it.

          If you've ever attempted to drive through an Arbor day parade, you'll know what I'm talking about.

      • It's a great book, but I take issue with the author's weapons advice.

        Disparaging pistols and shotguns because they're close range weapons makes and promoting the epitome of close-range weapons, a blade, makes no sense.

        I also think that the M1 carbine is a terrible choice for a weapon

        While it might be cheap (or was cheap in surplus form at one time), the ammo would be nowhere as easy to come by as .223 Remington (AR-15/M-16 ammo, aka 5.56). And its ammo also is notoriously ineffective at any range.

    • Sorry nope.

      From Night of the Living Dead []:

      Reporter: Chief, if I were surrounded by eight or ten of these things, would I stand a chance with them?

      Sheriff: Well, there's no problem. If you have a gun, shoot 'em in the head. That's a sure way to kill 'em. If you don't, get yourself a club or a torch. Beat 'em or burn 'em. They go up pretty

      Reporter: Are they slow moving Chief?

      Sheriff: Yeah. They're dead. They're all messed up.
  • Light? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DeathFlame ( 839265 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:03PM (#13036077)
    Light dancing around the room?

    We're talking about doom 3 right?


    Umm.. maybe how nice it looks when you shine your flashlight around the room... unless you have your gun out...
    • Re:Light? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gunpowda ( 825571 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:24PM (#13036323)
      What annoyed me most was the "No Duct Tape on Mars?" concept. If you're striving for photo-realistic horror, then at least give players the opportunity to be able to see something. Or shoot. Maybe both?

      This [] is an ingenious mod. Seriously - in my view, the main reason Doom 3 was such a poor game was the fact that you could see *nothing* without the flashlight. Who cares about the super new graphics engine if you're barely given an opportunity to take a look at the environment?

  • Seriously- (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <> on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:04PM (#13036083) Homepage Journal
    One of the real reasons Doom3 never took off is because I needed to buy a new computer to use it. And so did everyone else.

    Counterstrike runs on crap hardware, and basically, a crap internet connection. You'll get called a lagger, a newbie, and a lamer, but it will work, and you can play, and have fun.

    Gameplay is extremely important, but so too is availability.
    • Re:Seriously- (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:08PM (#13036142) Journal
      That and you can't see whats going on. I didn't like Doom because I couldn't see crap. And in a space age enviroment, couldn't the guy have a light put on his helmet? Even minors in the days pre-electricity could do this.

      The sequence to Doom (someone else said this once).

      1. Move around corner
      2. Light turns off
      3. Loud noise
      4. Option - Load Saved Game
      5. Wash - Rinse - Repeat.
    • "Never took off?" Doom 3? This is the Doom 3 that debuted at number one on PC, debuted at number one on consoles, became Activision's biggest seller EVER, and basically made a trillion dollars, as expected? That Doom 3?

      What the hell does "taking off" mean? Everybody on Earth (and half of those on Mars) bought TWO each?
      • Re:Seriously- (Score:4, Insightful)

        by badmammajamma ( 171260 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:40PM (#13036457)
        In spite of its sales, it was pretty much DOA. Most of the people who bought it did so because of id's reputation. In the end, they were mostly disappointed. The game is terribly derivative of its own history. The scares are cheap with the flashlight swap crap and end up just being very annoying and not scary at all. All the areas are these narrow corridors and small rooms because the performance would be ass otherwise. This left me bored pretty damn fast.

        Other than new graphics, this game had nothing going for it. A total dud and that's that. Only a total fanboy could like it.

        Lets face it, Unreal and Half Life kick Doom's ass all over the place at this point. Although I admit that HL2 was disappointing because of Steam (I love waiting 5 minutes to play my game because of that fucking piece of shit). I will never by another half life that has Steam in it. The only online FPS I really like Is UT2k4. Everything else is pretty much ass these days.

        Finally, are there still people playing Counterstrike? rofl
        • Re:Seriously- (Score:3, Interesting)

          by swv3752 ( 187722 )
          It appealed to an older generation. I loved the game and was one of the few solo games I have bothered to finish. I found the game immersive. The flash light could have been better handled.
    • I didn't have much trouble -- but I had to find some odd console command to set the brightness far brighter then it was supposed to be. :P

      After that, I could usually see just enough -- and only had to use the flashlight occasionally.
    • Re:Seriously- (Score:3, Informative)

      counterstrike *used* to run on crap hardware.

      feel free to dust off your crap hardware and load the latest version of non-source engine counterstrike via bloated/slow steam delivery platform.

      I used to love how CS 1.5 and older ran on modest hardware... not so much anymore =(

  • doop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Evro ( 18923 ) * <> on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:04PM (#13036085) Homepage Journal
    Duped story so I'll dupe my comment.

    Doom 3 was a great game, imo, however people's complaints about the whole flashlight mechanism were justified, and I can see how it would detract from the entertainment value. Id's goal was to make a scary game, and if you played the game with the swapped-in flashlight as they intended, it was indeed scary. The lighting was better than in any game I'd played at that point and created an unparalleled atmosphere of creepiness.

    That being said, the idea that in "the mysterious future" you wouldn't be able to hold both a flashlight and a gun hurt the game's credibility. And going for the cheap scare so many times did tend to get old.

    They were also determined to make D3 a single-player game in a field now dominated by multiplayer and massively-multiplayer games. I would have thought that they'd have realized this better than anyone, given that they practically created the market for multiplayer FPS gaming, but they chose to make Doom 3 a single player game, and between that and the whole flashlight deal, many people decided the game was a dud, and thus its fate was sealed.

    I still thought it was a great game though!
    • The cheap scare (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sterno ( 16320 )
      I played Doom 3 for a couple weeks and I did love the scare factor. There were a couple moments that had me so creeped out I had to stop playing for a while. But in the end, most of the creepiness is something you get immune to by the end. So it has little if any replay value. "Oh yeah, this is the part where I step on the pentacle and the screen goes red, and I hear screams of, 'we took your 50 dollars muahahahaha', can be heard."

      I think the big problem with most FPS games these days is that the story
  • FPS games that are single-player only never last. The last good multiplayer FPS that id put out was QIII, which was put out over 5 years ago. Doom III's multiplayer was just...bad.

    Everyone plays ut2k4, hl2, CS, whatever because it's fun either sneaking around and sniping people, or jumping around flinging rockets. Doom III kinda mixed them, and failed to create a fun multiplayer experience.

    I'm still looking forward to Quake 4, however.
    • Id is 90% graphics and 10% gameplay. Their next Quake needs to have by default....

      1.) multiplayer
      2.) teamfortress
      3.) real coop mode
      4.) single player with real missions not more deathmatch

      So far UT2k4 has eaten Quake3 and Doom3 alive in terms of replay value. But for those who want eye candy, yeah they bought Doom3 anyways.

    • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:49PM (#13036546)
      FPS games that are single-player only never last.

      And you know this because? Based oin the lack of a available servers to log into? What? I know lots of people still playing Morrowind a year later.

      Everyone plays ut2k4, hl2, CS, whatever because it's fun either sneaking around and sniping people, or jumping around flinging rockets.

      I'll bet money that there are still more people playing Quake 3 than all those games put together. Tens of thousands of people every day on their office LANs. It's not generating any new revenue for Id, but Id is still the king by far if you're counting numbers of current players. "Hardcore" gamers and the gaming rags are so far out of touch with the mainsteram that it's rediculous.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Veteran animator Steve Bowler (pictured) got pretty angry when he bought Doom 3. And he's still a mite agitated...

    What was it, 12 years ago, that we first laid eyes on the original, the dark new 3D world that was Doom? Even before that, a select few of us recall with wonder the revival of one of our favorite gaming franchises, in a bold new direction, when Wolfenstein 3D hit the shelves.

    For a dozen years Id has been the top dog, the guy to beat, the pater familia to the first-person shooter. It can loo
    • So what this boils down to is. "I played Doom 3. It sucks. There are, like, monsters that hide behind doors and other unfair things. Therefore, ergo, one can deduce from this that the entire technology behind Doom 3 is a complete catastrophe and it's no wonder Unreal 3 is so popular."

      I don't really get it. The observations don't really match the conclusions. I mean, it could well be that Unreal 3 will be better than Doom 3. I don't know. It's just, well, criticising the Doom 3 engine on the basis that the

  • really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by intmainvoid ( 109559 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:05PM (#13036100)
    It's hard to stomach having to shoot a zombie in the head the same number of times as in the body (six rounds from a pistol, thanks for asking) to dispatch it

    And this is based on your real world experience with Zombie's I presume?

  • For a dozen years Id has been the top dog, the guy to beat, the pater familia to the first-person shooter. But one day, the industry changed. The consumer changed. It's hard to put one's finger on it.

    Doom 3? Anyone who has played CS at a LAN party can tell him what's changed.
  • I don't recall... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slime-dogg ( 120473 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:06PM (#13036105) Journal

    Id hasn't really been a player on the FPS game market in a while. Their recent games (Quake 3, Doom 3) have basically been technology demos. They sell well because we nerds think it is cool, but the actual games leave much to be desired.

    We know that Id makes its money from licensing its engines to people. Half-life made Id some money. Keep that in mind. I'm not sure if the Source engine takes anything from one of Id's engines.

    • Quake3 was extremely fun IMO. I got completely addicted to the early tests that ID put out for free... and played it for years. I still play it every once in a while.

      But I never even got past the 1st level on Doom3. It just bore me to death... and that was a huge dissapointment considering I had been waiting for it ever since ID announced they were doing a Doom3 .. and I even bought my new computer in anticipation for it.

      What's really worth noting is that when we're talking about ID and it's "Crown" .. yo
    • I'm not sure if the Source engine takes anything from one of Id's engines.

      Interesting question imo, since Valve been spouting off how they've build the Source Engine themselves, yet, when the alpha-code-leak happened, various people found entries from the Quake-C code inside (either commented out, or still in use) :

      I wonder how much of that is still in there and, if it is, if id is getting something out of it.

      • Valve has said a few times that its a ground up rewrite, which is a lie. Valve has always been bad at keeping their story straight, like what features of condition zero were going to be in the final version.

        Even from just hunting through binaries you can find tons of quakec in both cs and cs:s (and I assume other mods). Its downright bad that some of its still in the mods, like for example everyone in counterstrike still has cell/rocket/shell/nail ammo values. What a waste.
      • Interesting question imo, since Valve been spouting off how they've build the Source Engine themselves, yet, when the alpha-code-leak happened, various people found entries from the Quake-C code inside (either commented out, or still in use) :

        I'm fairly sure that it's QuakeC (or a derivative) that's extensively used in Half-Life and Half-Life 2's model animation system []. It seems a bit coincidental that they'd choose the '.QC' extension for a simple, compiled-to-bytecode scripting language...

        From the poin
  • Headshot! (Score:5, Funny)

    by October_30th ( 531777 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:06PM (#13036107) Homepage Journal
    'It's hard to stomach having to shoot a zombie in the head the same number of times as in the body (six rounds from a pistol, thanks for asking) to dispatch it

    Now that's something I've never understood in the movies or in the games. I mean, if you're a zombie, you don't have a brain. Period. It's all mush and all you want to do is to eat the brain of someone else for some obscure reason (protein content, perhaps?). So, why would a headshot be more effective against a zombie than a bodyshot? It just doesn't make any sense. If I were facing a zombie and I had a shotgun, I'd just shoot his bloody legs off and run away bravely.

    • all you want to do is to eat the brain of someone else for some obscure reason (protein content, perhaps?).

      It makes the constant pain of being dead go away.
    • by zenneth ( 767572 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:15PM (#13036216)
      If I were facing a zombie and I had a shotgun, I'd just shoot his bloody legs off and run away bravely.

      Sir Robin?
    • From the article...

      "And don't try justifying it with "well, the zombies obviously aren't powered by brains, because there's some zombies without heads," because you can still kill them by shooting them in the jaw six times. I'm sure they'd also die if I shot them in the foot six times, but honestly, I'm just too bored with the game to even try."
    • Re:Headshot! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#13036354) Journal
      aww the common misconception. Most zombies (obviously each persons vision is different but still), have very basic brain functions. These are "Must feed" and "Must survive". Now you put the two together and you get a rabid dog in human form.

      So if you disable the brain it can no longer send signals to the main body or even "think" basicly. So a bullet to the brain disables their basic thought and movement in 1.

      Secondly, brains is the "common" thing, but if you notice they just want to eat flesh. Most humans naturally consider flesh the "best" food source (meat and 2 veg, shows this perfectly). So they go after flesh, human or other wise (Most zombie films will show you dead animals being eaten or at least being attacked).

      Of course each "universe" will have it's own way of making zombies and it's own rules, but the basic lay out if above.
    • How is this informative. First in only ONE movie were zombies wanting to eat brains and that movie was a spoof of the Romero films (it was Return of the Living Dead) mostly they want to eat whatever part of you is closest. In most Zombie movies (Lets disregard the Return of the Living Dead movies as they were never meant to be horror flicks) a head shot is what is required to kill a zombie, just one to the head will stop it, Taking out it's legs just means it's gonna be crawling after you. Hmmm... run away
    • Re:Headshot! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Spez ( 566714 )
      In fact, i think the therory of a zombie is that the brain can continue to function basically without the heart pumping blood. The only way a physical living (or undead) creature can move its arms/legs is by the brain sending impulses to the muscles to do their job. But since the brain dies when its out of oxygen, the rest of the body becomes useless. When a beeing becomes "undead" (or zombie), the brain keeps functionning basically, so it can still send impulses to the limbs. Theorically, the body would no
    • Re:Headshot! (Score:4, Informative)

      by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @05:01PM (#13036679) Homepage
      Now that's something I've never understood in the movies or in the games. I mean, if you're a zombie, you don't have a brain. Period. It's all mush and all you want to do is to eat the brain of someone else for some obscure reason (protein content, perhaps?).

      Return of the Living Dead [] said the reason zombies eat brains is, "because it's the only thing that numbs the paaaaaiiiiin! The paaaaaaiiin of death!" But that's not a very serious zombie movie.

      If I were facing a zombie and I had a shotgun, I'd just shoot his bloody legs off and run away bravely.

      Well in that same movie, even the dismembered parts continued to move.
  • Silly (Score:4, Funny)

    by RickPartin ( 892479 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:06PM (#13036112) Homepage
    It's hard to stomach having to shoot a zombie in the head the same number of times as in the body (six rounds from a pistol, thanks for asking) to dispatch it, when you can shoot a light fixture and watch how realistically light dances around the room.

    You are forgetting about the BLOOD SUCKING LIGHTBULB MONSTERS!
  • While the game looks incredible, id's not hiding the fact that they're just selling you a glorified SDK anymore. It looks nice though. And it has zombies. yeah. zombies. think about it.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:13PM (#13036197)
    Is that the engine only seems to be able to do dark well. Something always seemed wrong when I played the game, it seemed too dark. Yes, I know it's supposed to be dark, but something was off. I couldn't put my finger on it, but later someone pointed it out to me: The game doesn't have any kind of radiosity.

    Radiosity is the property of multiple light reflections. When a light shines on a surface it reflects, of course. However that light can then further reflect off another surface and so on. That's what leads to soft shadows, and is the reason why when you turn on a flashlight, the whole room is slightly illuminated, not just what oyu are pointing at.

    Doom 3 doesn't do this, a light hits a surface and will reflect to the screen, but there's no multple levels of reflections. The net effect is hard shadows, corners that are always dark. You can't get a good brightly lit scene.

    Now I don't fault them on this, doing radiosity in realtime isn't feasable at this point on most cards. However other games can deal with this, the don't do all their lighting in realtime. Some is done in realtime, some is a precomputed light map. That allows for a global illumination, but one that doesn't have to happen in realtime.

    That is my big problem with the engine. Sure it's more accurate than the UT2004 engine, technicly speaking, but it doesn't look as good. UT is "faking" the lighting and shadows, but they look good, and you can have a nice brightly lit outdoor map, or a dark indoor map, and they both work. You can have a light source that casts light on to all surfaces, even those it doesn't directly hit, since it's calculated before hand.

    Personally, I'd rather have a game engine that looks good rather than one that is more accurate.
    • Quake 2 had radiosity. People pissed and moaned about "fuzzy shadows", so it was taken out for Quake 3. Then they got rid of that pesky "ambient light" stuff for Doom 3.

      I look forward to their next game, which can be enjoyed by the blind equally as well as the sighted. Talk about an untapped market, and Id is really cracking into it.

    • by Jerry Talton ( 220872 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @05:44PM (#13037021) Homepage
      *sigh* I wish people wouldn't post drivel like this (or mod it up, for that matter) when they clearly don't know what the hell they're talking about.

      No, that's not what radiosity is. The effect you're referring to is called diffuse interreflection, and radiosity is a finite element method for simulating it based on heat transport. Of course, in the real world most surfaces aren't totally diffuse, and radiosity would have been a bad choice for simulating global illumination effects in Doom in particular since there's an awful lot of metal and other surfaces with strongly specular BRDFs.

      More to the point, all global illumination algorithms are too slow to use in real-time game engines, and so level designers typically precompute these effects and store them in textures. This has nothing to do with the choice of engine: if your engine can display textures, it can approximate these precomputed effects. I don't know whether id decided to do this in Doom or not, but if they didn't it isn't because the engine is fundamentally limited in some way.
      • by moultano ( 714440 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @07:49PM (#13038059)
        I take it that you have some significant experience in non-realtime rendering, but it doesn't sound like you have much experience with game engines and how level designers use them.

        Precomputed light maps do indeed have to do with the choice of engine, because the engine takes care of computing the lightmaps for you. Halflife 2 for instance, supports normal mapped radiosity calculations, in which the diffuse lighting components are added along different vectors during compilation, and then dotted with the normal map during the rendering. "Level designers" don't store them in textures, the compile tools that are associated with the engine do, and the engine takes care of displaying them appropriately.

        Having precomputed lightmaps in the doom 3 engine would break all the internal consistency of the lighting. Mobile lights in engines based on precomputed lighting are treated differently from static lights. Doom 3 doesn't have this distinction.

        The doom 3 approach allows lights to be much more dynamic, but when a light is that dynamic, you can't have precomputed light maps. You wouldn't have any way of updating them to reflect changing light conditions. Every time an imp warps in, all the lights dim. This couldn't be done realistically with precomputed light maps.

        Adding precomputed light maps would require redoing all the internal assumptions about lights in the engine, and you would be basically writing your own.

  • My general complaint about Doom 3 is that although one of the most breath taking pieces of technology available, it is an entirely unfun game. If a game is unfun what is the point of playing it?

    Doom 3 suffers from many of the problems stated in the article as well as too many other games are trying to follow suit. It is not fun to be constantly assulted by strange noises. It is not fun to die to things you can't see. It is not fun to die when when the player does nothing wrong. Players like to rise t
  • Another whiny... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c0l0 ( 826165 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:15PM (#13036219) Homepage
    ...and irrelevant rant about Doom 3. It's clearly not everyone's taste, but the hell, I really enjoyed playing id's final version of what the original Doom was meant to be, but could not become, due to technological drawbacks back in time. So this guy, while providing you mit wrong "facts" about "no headhsot in teh g4me 'n stuff dud3!12" (in fact, the Doom 3 engine FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER featured collision-detection based on the actualy polygonal structure of objects, NOT just el-cheapo-hitboxes, and definately recognizes different body-zones of its models!) basically just spills biased mud in the company's face that will get Enemy Territory: Quake Wars as well as the sequel to Quake 2 delivered soon, constantly innovates the industry in the field of real-time 3D-graphics, and sold its latest and greatest groundbreaking engine to be incorporated into some of the most eagerly awaited games in the genre.

    Yeah, I see clearly now, id is doomed.
  • You know.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suparjerk ( 784861 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:15PM (#13036230)
    Even though the gameplay itself for D3 was far below what it should have been, I have to say I must give them credit for being able to create such a powerful and frightening environment as they did. D3 was the first game I've played since the Marine campaign of AvP that actually made me scream, jump out of my chair, and have to leave the room. (Yes, I'm a sissy.)

    Everyone craps on D3 so much, and it bugs me. Yes, gameplay is probably the most important quality in a video game, and I admit it was severely lacking in D3. But dammit, they really really excelled in other areas and did a few things other video games just don't do. They do deserve some credit.
    • Re:You know.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @07:13PM (#13037809)
      Marathon and System Shock 2 both scared the crap out of me, and both were much, much, much superior games to Doom 3. So yeah, you're a sissy (Aliens vs. Predator? Wuss.) But if you had admitted to crying during System Shock 2, I'd be hugging you and saying, "ssh, I understand."
    • Everyone craps on D3 so much, and it bugs me. Yes, gameplay is probably the most important quality in a video game, and I admit it was severely lacking in D3.

      The conjunction of these sentences kind of makes you sound like a retard. Just an FYI.
  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:16PM (#13036231) Journal
    Morrowind, of course, was an RPG, but it wouldn't be impossible to remake Doom 3 or UT2004 to look and act like it.

    The thing is, non linear games where your actions determine your standing in the game, as well as its path and outcome, are the wave of the future. Especially games with thousands of mini adventures on the side. Also, in Morrowind you interacted with practically *everything*.

    If Morrowind were not done years ago and were done today through the Doom 3 *or* Unreal 2 Engine (either of which would imply far fewer bugs than Bethesda's own "engine"), it would eclipse all other games in popularity for 2 years. I say that because Morrowind appears to be almost the single player's equivalent of Starcraft in popularity and longevity.

    The lesson: forget the graphics arms race, achieve Doom 3 or UT2004 level graphics and leave it at that, and concentrate on a deep, complex, non linear, "easy to get into it quick" story lines, and endless paths of quest resolution. Give FPS players a world to explore, tweak the outcomes, and generally have fun in.

    ID somehow appears to be furthest behind in pursuing this goal, even though Doom 3 is no more linear than HL2 or Unreal 2.
    • Bingo...

      Now if only we could convince more developers than just Bethesda Softworks that they should make a game like you describe that isn't online so people with, you know, jobs can play it at their own pace... It's also nice when the gameplay can be designed to reward something other than total hours played which is what seems to happen when the goal is to keep the monthly fees coming in.
    • No, the data was what was *wrong* with morrowind. The engine was fine - sure it leaked memory like a sieve but as an actual engine it was great. I've seen people in the newsgroups say the best way to do TES 4 would be for Bethesda to use exactly the same engine (the hardware will have caught up to it by then) and just make a new set of datafiles. Partly they want better models and textures, but there's also problems with the gameplay.

      Morrowind failed because it was too open-ended. Daggerfall had that proble

      • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @05:02PM (#13036699)
        I never understood how people got "lost" in Morrowind. From the moment you get off the ship, they tell you where to go and who you need to see to begin the main quest. All of the other quests are pretty self-explanitory, despite the fact they are not presented on a sliver platter. There is some work involved and that seems to throw some gamers off.

        Far more people are used to "On-The-Rails" RPGs, where you must do this, then this then this, etc. Playing a game like Morrowind requires a mentality shift. The game is not in control of the experience, you are. I firmly believe that is the better type of game, but opinions differ.

        The problem I see is that for too many gamers, the goals must be rammed down their throats before they can do anything. To suddenly say "Hey, we've created this entire world, have fun!" is too much for them to deal with. Not because they are stupid, but because it is so vastly alien to them.

        Personally, I will be far less likely to buy an "On-The Rails" game because it is too frustrating. I have this great world around me, but it is very much like being on a train. I can see all of the potential, but everything is predestined. No getting off to enjoy the scenery and explore the world rushing past my window. I must fight this guy, I must go here...I get pissed. If I wanted to be led around, I would have put in a DVD movie instead. I want to go off on my own and do my own thing.

        With Morrowind, I can slip in and out of the main plot at will, or ignore it completely. There is no forced-anything. From the moment I walk out into Seyda Neen, the options are virtually limitless. I can go anywhere, do anything and be any kind of character that I want to.

        Choice is good, replayability is fantastic and having the opportunity to simply walk away for a while and pick up right back where I was in my "other life" is priceless. I've done marathon sessions before, but only because I've had a night where I had nothing better to do. You get sucked so far into the game and your character, but unlike Everquest and World Of Warcraft, myself (and other Morrowind fans that I know) find it very easy to put the controller down and not let it consume our real lives.

        Being able to not just live one adventure, but continue on a lifetime of them, without it getting in the way of everything else (or costing money every month) just can't be beat.
    • The thing is, non linear games where your actions determine your standing in the game, as well as its path and outcome, are the wave of the future. Especially games with thousands of mini adventures on the side. Also, in Morrowind you interacted with practically *everything*.

      Actually, that's been one of the biggest complaints against it, that there is no real hand-holding through the main quest line, that it's easy to wind up with 50 simultaneous quests and losing track of which one you're doing. *shrug*

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:19PM (#13036280)
    I read the other Slashdot thread. But one thing I found missing there (and in the article itself was) - how did ID really loose the crown of engine linsencing? As the article noted the Unreal3 engine is all over the press, but you see no sign of other companies moving to use the Doom3 engine for other products.

    Is the Doom3 really not as capabile of expansive environments, really not as easy to program? How did ID let that slide by?
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:20PM (#13036290)
    "And while id was looking down.
    Unreal stole its gaming crown..."
  • What did you expect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ya Bolshoi! ( 776966 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:22PM (#13036307)
    Why are we all of a sudden complaining about the gameplay in an id game? That's like saying that there's little characterization in George Romero film: no shit.

    Carmack et al are on record as saying that games don't need story. Romero (that other one) was booted out of id after he tried to get them to focus on gameplay and design, not just graphics. Admittedly he failed spectacularly, but from that point one id was a one trick pony. They make pretty looking games where you kill zombies/cyborgs and collect keycards.

    Is this behind the times in terms of gameplay? Sure. Imo, Deus Ex and System Shock 2 both beat the pants off DOOM3 (and Painkiller and Max Payne) in terms of gameplay and design. And they're more than five years old!

    Frankly, DOOM was only "revolutionary" because it was the first game that really nailed how to do graphics good enough to make an FPS game work. Expecting fabulous gameplay out of id is like expecting a Terminator movie to bring you to tears.

    DOOM3 is about shooting things. Period. Don't like it, okay, I can relate, but don't try to act as if this is a surprise.

  • Where did all these people come from the last few years, who think that just because you can make gameplay more realistic, that you should?

    I choose Doom 3 gameplay over Half-Life 2 or Unreal whatever-version-it-is-this-month any day. Some of us actually enjoy adrenaline being released into our systems while we play computer games. I've pretty much completely stopped playing FPS games these days because they're all so high on realism and short on fun that they put me to sleep. The slow, campy gameplay of Co
  • Ahh but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:34PM (#13036402)
    >> ..having to shoot a zombie in the head the same number of times as in the body.. ...In Doom3 you can also blow their heads right off and they still keep coming. Evidently a zombie's head isn't a critical organ, so the body should be more suceptible to damage than the head actually.
  • Perhaps some Slashdot editors are using Slashdot as a service to drive page views to sites? If they don't hit whatever the agreed upon traffic figure is the first time around they just repost the story until the desired traffic is met?

    They really can't be lame enough to consistently do this by accident can they? There must be some reason behind it. I wouldn't think it would be for the humor, surely that would have worn off by now?
  • by sbma44 ( 694130 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:34PM (#13036405)

    At least, now they do. The requirements for game development are increasing every day, stretching development cycles and requiring more resources.

    id's games have always been about groundbreaking technology, so it's not surprising that as development costs expand, gameplay filligrees in id titles suffer (relative to the competition). id uses its games as technology demos. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em, but their focus is not on the sort of game logic that distinguishes the experiences this story refers to (no, I haven't RTFA yet). Let's face it: AI is an interesting area that needs improvement, but programming headshots is boring. Making realtime rendering engines as good as they can be is a real technical challenge, and something that id can do better than anyone else. That's what makes them unique, and consequently it's also what makes them money -- not from game sales, but from engine licensing.

    • Let's not forget this John Carmack gem -

      "Story in a game is like story in a porn
      movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not
      that important."

      Such an attitude will lead to "dumb" games that provide about 20 minutes of fun and 3 hours of boring monotony. Running, shooting and getting scared is all that Doom 3 is. There are no advances on enemy positions, creeping around and no freedom on how to accomplish a task. There is no character development or storyline twists and turns. There was no room for a g
  • by Foolomon ( 855512 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @04:38PM (#13036436) Homepage
    Saying that Carmack doesn't know how to build a truly engaging game is like saying that Lucas doesn't know how to write a truly engaging script. [Rolls eyes]
  • Never being the FPS partisan, I've found it extremely easy to enjoy a variety of games from a variety of developers because the fanboy trap was something I never wanted to fall into. You simply end up denying yourself too many good games that way.

    We all know how difficult it can be to sort through the junk and find the real gaming jewels, so I see no point in going into something intended to be relaxing and enjoyable as gaming with a ton of prejudices. (Though I do make a lighthearted crack about the new
  • Sorry, but this article is pure crap. iD Software is king of rendering. Always has been, and probably always will be. That's what matters most if you are someone who uses FPS games for chat more than game play. The more interactive and realistic the environment, the better.
  • Don't care anymore (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Monday July 11, 2005 @05:32PM (#13036923)
    I know it's a dupe, but this time I get to respond instead of just giving mod points...

    I played D3 at a friends house for about an hour. Big screen, dark room, was fun. But the fact is, I'm not the gamer I was back in the early nineties; zombies just don't do it for me anymore. Doom was amazing because it was a technical tour de force; I still remember walking into some of those rooms and going 'that is so *cool*!' Frankly, the whole zombie/monster story was pretty old even then, but Doom was such a good game, I was happy to play the entire thing. Hell, I did the same for D2.

    Quake was pretty good, but seemed like pretty much the same thing with a slightly mideval twist to it. By the time Q2 came around, it seemed like I was playing the "same-old-thing", even though, id never disappointed in the graphics level.

    But in the intervening years I'd gotten married, had kids, played a lot of other games, and given the time I now have to play, I'm looking for something different and original. Id seems to think that they can coast on demonic bitmaps and licensing forever.
  • Back in the days of Doom 2 and Quake, there was no real competition to what ID made. In the days of Quake 2 there was, but ID was the one who made the best engine, and they were the first to sell a game based on it obviously. Quake 2 was just as bad a game as Doom 3 is when looking at the single player part of it.

    What was good about Quake 2 was its multiplayer mode. While Quake 1 allowed multiplayer as well, the initial DOS version required either external tools for IP networking, or a nullmodem cable or modem connection for multiplayer modes.

    Then came Quake 3, which never got a playable single player mode, rather, it concentrated on multiplayer mode almost exclusively. The engine however was capable of single player mode quite well as shown by for example Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

    By the time of Quake 3, it was clear that ID could create a good engine, but needed third parties for creating good content, and one can argue that Quake 3 served more as a demonstration of the graphics capabilities of the Engine then anything else.

    In the years to follow quite a few good games were build on this engine, including what I still consider one of the best multiplayer games so far, Enemy Territory. This resulted from finding a very good balance between complexity of gameplay (relatively simple) and realism (amazingly good for its time). You can get inmersed in the games without having to learn too much, and can quickly learn enough to have an enjoyable gaming experience.

    It seems to me the mistakes with Doom 3 are in 2 distinct areas. First of all, the balance between gameplay and realism is not right (as the article suggests also). Second, and imho even more important, ID can't create proper content, and rehashing the same old content in a new engine is just boring. They saw this when making Quake 3, and didn't even try, but failed to remember this for Doom 3. They were making a demo for the engine and confused it with making a complete game with entertaining content.

    To me this is quite evident from the fact that old (Doom 2) based games like terminal velocity and a game like Duke Nukem 3d are a lot more fun to play then anything ID ever made except maybe for the original Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein.

VMS must die!