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First Person Shooters (Games) Graphics Software Entertainment Games

From Doom To Dunia — the History of 3D Engines 117

notthatwillsmith writes "It's difficult to think of a single category of application that's driven the pace of desktop hardware development further and faster than first-person shooters. Maximum PC examined the evolution of FPS engines, looking back at the key technologies that brought games from the early sprite-based days of Doom to the fully 3D-rendered African Savannah as rendered by Far Cry 2's Dunia engine. It's truly amazing how far the state of the art has moved in the last 16 years."
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From Doom To Dunia — the History of 3D Engines

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  • by yossarianuk ( 1402187 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:14AM (#28864197)
    One major 3D game not mentioned is - 1990 - Amiga - Corporation

    It was released years before Wolfenstein 3D, you could even send a photo of your self to the company and they would digitise it and send you it back to play in the game...

    It was incredibly hard but had great atmosphere - the main issue was the controls were impossible to use - It took the PC until about 1994 to get anywhere near the graphics of this game..
  • Quake 1-3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:23AM (#28864243) Homepage Journal

    People like the FTEQuake folks have integrated Quake1-3 together, which allows you to play any map from Quake 1 through 3, or to incorporate things like shaders into the Quake 1 experience. It's actually kind of neat. Take a look at the screenshots at [] - it's all I use nowadays when I play FPSes. I'll play some Gears cooperatively with my friends, but nothing yet has beaten the original quake experience for FPS fun.

    The euphoria engine looks pretty interesting. I've been doing some work with motion analysis, and so the work they've done on it really impresses me - apparently you can code animations using it without keyframes or motion capture, which is pretty neat (if it works). The tech demo video is here - []

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:36AM (#28864293)

    Was Wolfenstein based on a reusable 3D engine - which is the theme of TFA - though?

  • Robocop 3 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:38AM (#28864315)

    Robocop 3 (1992) On the amiga:

    The missions where varied, some chase bad guy x and run them off the road, others where more 1st person shooting inside buildings.

    There was also hunter (1991), not so much a 1st person shooter:

  • Re:Wolfenstein 3D? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lproven ( 6030 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:50AM (#28864381) Homepage Journal

    Not only Wolfenstein - which arguably was the origin of the engine of Doom - but other significant milestones are missing.

    Firstly, Jez San's "Starglider", marketed by Rainbird. Possibly the first 3D game for home computers. ("Battlezone" ran on dedicated vector-graphics hardware.) []

    David Braben's "Lander" and later the full game "Zarch" for Acorn's Archimedes were AFAIK the first /solid/ rendered 3D graphics on home computers: []

    Of course, Braben's Elite was the first computer game to use any 3D at all - Starglider was /all/ in 3D. []

    These seem to me to be worthy of a mention, at least an opening paragraph. So, probably, is Maze War (1973!) - just limited box-drawing, but a display of 3D and a widely-used technique. []

    It doubtless inspired 3D Monster Maze from 1981 on the ZX81, a machine which didn't even have graphics as such: []

    3D Ant Attack from 1983, which also provided the engine for Zombie Zombie. []

  • Re:Robocop 3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yossarianuk ( 1402187 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:53AM (#28864399)
    hunter was truly awesome. I mentioned corporation as it was the 1st 3D game i played (excluding Dungeon Master / Bloodwych which are not really 3D)
  • not 3d shooters... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:54AM (#28864405)

    IIRC, it was never 3d first-person games that drove hardware development, but space-flight shoot-em ups. Titles like Wing Commander really drove the need for better and better graphics hardware, in fact, Wing Commander was the one that made the 386 chip a necessity and apparently made people upgrade to play it.

  • by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:11AM (#28864507)
    What about Stunts?

    I played this game for years.

    I know, I'm old. :(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:15AM (#28864529)

    Should have also meantioned Carrier Command. Its 3d engine was exceptional for 1988

  • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:40AM (#28864765)

    6 degrees of freedom, 7 degrees of hurl.

    I also remember that game being very difficult. It would be interesting to play it now to see if it's as hard as I remember. I think dretching in tremulous has helped significantly for me to be able to think in 3d which would help, although automatically being normal to the surface in that game probably helps significantly.

  • by iVasto ( 829426 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:44AM (#28864811) Homepage
    I for one applaud the editor for using the print link. It saves me from having to click through probably 5-10 pages. I wish all editors would follow suit.
  • Midwinter for Amiga (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @08:49AM (#28864851) Journal

    The first real-time 3D engine I ever played or saw was Midwinter for the Amiga. It was released in 1989, 4 years before Doom, and featured flat-shaded polygon rendering in a true 3D environment. I just remember the environment being incredibly huge and immersive, and I spent many hours walking and skiing around desolate white landscapes.

    Wikipedia article (which mentions nothing whatsoever about the game's technical aspects); []

    Screenshot of the 3D environment (Atari ST version):,362797/ []

    Gamespot seems to be one of the few that actually recognize how groundbreaking this game was: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:00AM (#28864967)

    Where's the fun? In the 90s I enjoyed Doom, Quake series, DN3D, Unreal, and so on, but the *quality* of the gameplay diminished. Many single player FPS these days are just a series of corridors and rooms bolted on to each other with a terribly linear path as compared to even Doom, where many levels were almost puzzle-like in construction. Many people bemoan Doom's gameplay as "find-the-key", but at least that's a real *goal* and encourages exploration, unlike the linear gameplay of many modern FPS. That or ones that appear "open" yet are just a series of radar checkpoints ("go this direction, do X, now go this direction, do Y") which is just as bad.

    I still play Doom on a very regular basis; the amount of quality fanmade maps keep it fresh and even the originals are interesting and challenging enough to replay over and over. Modern games like Crysis and Far Cry, and even games like Half-Life 2 (hell, even the original Half-Life was pretty dull) just bore me to tears in comparison.

    Plus we just have a glut of FPS these days. A new one comes out every week or two -- seriously, isn't it time to slow down and make original, fresh, interesting games? Oh no, we can't do that, that'd be *risky!* Life is risk, game companies. Take some. In other words, stop concentrating on making an FPS that looks 5+% more shiny than the last one and do something interesting.

    AC because every single modern gamer that has been raised to believe that the horrible state of gaming today is not only acceptable but actually PREFERRED will mod me down.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.