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scifista42
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First, I DON'T want at all to sound like I'm complaining on modern Doom maps. I enjoy them, some of them get me really excited, no doubt. Things like Knee Deep in ZDoom, ZDCMP2 but also BTSX and Vanguard are very appealing for me like for all others. Creators of these great works very well know how to achieve quality, and how to impress both unskilled novices and old Doom veterans who have already seen a lot. During all those years, mapping has evolved into a certain higher form, from old-school mapping into the so-called modern mapping. And masters of this kind of mapping are able to produce the most impressive maps widely appreciated by the community. This is the fact.

I only observed a certain tendency in the modern mapping. As I feel it, the general style/spirit of both visuals and gameplay is moving somewhere away from Doom. I dare to say that the quality modern Doom maps resemble more of Quake than Doom, in the sense of style and spirit.

Just look: Bordering structures everywhere, repeating architectural parts in rows, decorative pillar alleys etc., complicated decorations, rustyness of textures, art textures made solely for decorative purposes, arena/setpiece battles and "scripted" gameplay. Common elements in modern-day maps. But if you look at original Doom, you'll notice how little of these elements you'll find there. As opposed to Quake, which emphasized on them instead. At least as I see it.

However, I don't say it's bad to emphasize on them. Also, I DO believe that modern maps can emulate Doom and Doom's style and gameplay in pretty much every way and overcome it. But in reality, the successful quality maps always take advantage of the abovementioned elements. Would the maps be as good if they didn't?

Do you see it too, or not? Is the essence of Doom suffering a loss in order to improve Doom mapping quality? Hard to say, because one would need to define the "essence of Doom" first. Opinions on this would be interesting too. But I think everyone has a rough idea what makes Doom to be "Doom". And what doesn't.

In any way, I'd really be interested to see a quality modern-day Doom map that doesn't resemble Quake, but is clearly Doom. And I'm not talking about emulating old-school-style mapping, I'm talking about the modern mapping as described at the beginning of this post.

So, do you think there's at least a bit of true in my words here?

Last edited by scifista42 on 12-29-13 at 11:17

Old Post 12-29-13 10:38 #
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Jayextee
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100 Lines (at least the 'traditional' WAD -- the non-trad one is primarily slaughtermap territory which is far from a classic game style), Zone 300 and 900 Deep in the Dead are probably something of an antithesis to a lot of these problems. By their nature, the limitations bought out a rather nostalgic aesthetic and approach.

How do you feel in general about vanilla-targeted projects (such as ...The Way id Did projects and my own Nex Credo)? Surely they capture some of that 'essence' of Doom you speak of?

Old Post 12-29-13 10:56 #
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scifista42
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They surely do, but as I said...

scifista42 said:
And I'm not talking about emulating old-school-style mapping, I'm talking about the modern mapping as described at the beginning of this post.
I'd rather like to talk about the top quality products of the community's talents, you know which (products and people) I mean. You recognize the "modernness of mapping" in them.

I can enjoy and see the quality in various kinds of wads and games. If my feeling from them is good, I don't care about the genre. Modern-day quality doesn't lie solely in modern-day mapping style. I just wanted to discuss here whether for example the awesome ZDCMP2 would get along without "quakeisms". Whether the "quakeisms" are the defining elements of modern mapping or not.

Old Post 12-29-13 11:13 #
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Antroid
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I do feel like people, when mapping absoltuely freely in the style they like most, tend to drift away from the original style and aesthetic. Personally I'm not a fan of this fact, but since this happens it must mean that people like it. I wouldn't necessarily associate it with quake, but I can see what you're talking about. Although the original quake (not so much the expansions) had some pretty doom-like levels in it, there was one in particular in ep4 that I of course don't remember the name of that always comes to mind.

If I were to try and put it into words, I would say that the original Doom aesthetic style (not talking about gameplay here) is simple and abstract enough to look right with it's crazy unrealistic layouts. There's a lot left to the imagination but it works. But when people start adding purely decorative architecture a la what you're talking about with Quake style, it sort of ruins that effect, because when you have elements like border structures and such, you can't just not think about them anymore, you start noticing all the places where such things are absent and how ridiculous the levels look when you take them more seriously/at face value, instead of as just suggestions of what the places look like, barely a couple of steps above the written word. But it's pretty much a general argument against detailed or "realistic" graphics that I have (and yes "modern" Doom graphics don't really count as either, but they're a step in that direction, however miniscule). When you have abstract layouts like Doom's, I pretty much think the graphics should be as simple as possible, otherwise it highlights more and more how ridiculous everything is in them. Of course, it's not like many people even care about that so it's not really an issue.


TL;DR the more elaborate the graphics, the more at face value you take them and the more ridiculous the levels look as a result

Old Post 12-29-13 11:27 #
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Jayextee
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Antroid said:

TL;DR the more elaborate the graphics, the more at face value you take them and the more ridiculous the levels look as a result



Looks like Doom mapping has its own uncanny valley... ;)

Old Post 12-29-13 11:30 #
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Antroid
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Jayextee said:

Looks like Doom mapping has its own uncanny valley... ;)



Actually, that's an interesting parallel with stuff like cartoons. I dislike the CGI cartoons of today pretty much because with all the realistic lighting and materials and such, the cartoony characters look freaky and wrong. The old hand-drawn cartoons obviously don't have that problem. If you really squint your mind's eye you can kind of see the parallel with videogame graphics in general, and Doom specifically.

Old Post 12-29-13 11:32 #
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I, too, don't see it as a problem but I do agree with regards to the 'Quakeisms'. There's a little more to it than that for me as well. Since you brought up ZDCMP2 I'll use that as an example. For me the opening looks nice in stills. Then I load it up and it runs terribly on my i7 machine with 8 gig of RAM and a 2 gig graphics card. To me that's no longer Doom. I know that 30 years ago people were expected to have high end machines to run the vanilla game but 30 years later my (pretty powerful) machine can't handle a map? That, to me, shows up how it's really no longer Doom. I don't mean to single that one out it's just one that's been mentioned here already. There are plenty ofothers like it requiring ridiculous amounts of horse power. And it's all to do with the overly elaborate, huge maps that are no longer like Doom. There's something wrong when my system can run Crysis 2 maxed out but can't run a Doom map well!

As I said, I don't see it as a problem but it's certainly not Doom any more(IMHO). :)

Someone said ages ago that ZDoom wasn't really a Doom engine any longer. It was just an engine that happened to be compatible with Doom games. That's kind of how I feel about a few of the modern projects. They're not Doom (as we knew it). They just happen to have Doom textures and monsters. Hope that makes sense...

Old Post 12-29-13 11:36 #
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Demonologist
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The essence of Doom is a fast-paced arcade with the focus on high-octane action and 'infernal' accent. Aesthetics and original style are secondary to that. Moreover, I dare to speak that 'original style' you're talking about is 20 years old and is thus obsolete. Tell me, would you play maps that tend to look like their original ancestors for two decades with unchanged dedication? I think not unless you're a caveman. Everything should move forward if it wants to survive, when it stops - it inevitably dies.

Old Post 12-29-13 11:38 #
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Jayextee
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Antroid said:


Actually, that's an interesting parallel with stuff like cartoons. I dislike the CGI cartoons of today pretty much because with all the realistic lighting and materials and such, the cartoony characters look freaky and wrong. The old hand-drawn cartoons obviously don't have that problem. If you really squint your mind's eye you can kind of see the parallel with videogame graphics in general, and Doom specifically.



I'm actually with you on that one. I have a preference for barely-representational mostly-abstract visuals in games, which is a large part of why I actually play so little modern games (and probably a lot of what I love about Doom, to be honest).

When able to create a first-person shooter with my own personal ideal aesthetic?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/jayextee/shot17_zps19f17562.png

Shit looks like an early '80s arcade game, yo. </shamelessplug>

I think function over form is important in games, where content isn't 'directed' in the same way linear narrative forms (film, literature, comics) are -- a player can interact or react to stimuli in so many unpredictable ways, it's more important to have it function well than to look good.

Old Post 12-29-13 11:38 #
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Antroid
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Demonologist said:
The essence of Doom is a fast-paced arcade with the focus on high-octane action and 'infernal' accent. Aesthetics and original style are secondary to that. Moreover, I dare to speak that 'original style' you're talking about is 20 years old and is thus obsolete. Tell me, would you play maps that tend to look like their original ancestors for two decades with unchanged dedication? I think not unless you're a caveman. Everything should move forward if it wants to survive, when it stops - it inevitably dies.

I would, and I prefer to play maps of that style to the more "modern" ones, by far. It's not obsolete, it's classic. The "stops and dies" thing is such a non-specific and generalized phrase it's pretty much bullshit.
Also, I never saw Doom as this action game people are making it out to be. Honestly I think it never was one until some of the custom levels. Maybe the second one a little bit, but the first one was almost survival horror back in the day. Which is why I feel D3 represented how I perceived Doom perfectly, instead of some serious sam or painkiller style stuff which I wouldn't have liked at all.



Jayextee said:
I'm actually with you on that one. I have a preference for barely-representational mostly-abstract visuals in games, which is a large part of why I actually play so little modern games (and probably a lot of what I love about Doom, to be honest).

Well actually I'm not quite that extreme about it. I prefer when games try and represent an actual setting, but don't bother trying to be all realistic about it. Although the latter works too, I love Skyrim's or Metro's aesthetics just fine. And a lot from the middle, the GTA games for example, all of the 3d ones. I actually don't like it at all when there's no setting and no story or anything. For me, the game in your screenshot could only work if it was like Tron or something, explicitly about cyberspace or some shit. I wouldn't like it without any context of what everything is.

But for when the levels are abstract, I think the graphics should be as simple as possible. TBH I also like simple graphics with non-abstract settings, kind of like Might and Magic 6-8. They work with everything, while the more you move towards elaborate graphics the more you should move towards realistically done setting, IMO. More detail and such in Doom would work (and does work) too but the levels need to be very non-doomy in layout for that, for me at least.

Old Post 12-29-13 12:08 #
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Gez
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Average said:
I know that 30 years ago people were expected to have high end machines to run the vanilla game

I'll say! To run Doom on 1983 hardware, you pretty much needed to have access to NASA/military/secret-MJ12-conspiracy hardware. Especially for the time travel device needed to get the game ten years before it was made. :p


ZDCMP2 was pretty much designed to push the engine to its limits. The map is absolutely gigantic (Vrack2b has nothing to it) and it uses thousands of different textures.
http://i.imgur.com/w3kbr5p.png
(Not the final statistics)

I wouldn't hold ZDCMP2 as an example of a "normal" modern Doom map. For one thing, it's a community project centered on a single map instead of a collection of maps like community projects tend to be.

Last edited by Gez on 12-29-13 at 12:17

Old Post 12-29-13 12:10 #
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Demonologist
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@ Antroid: I never lost confidence in your stubbornness. And that's why I can't take your replies on this matter seriously, it feels like you're living in a reality of your own. I won't to ruin your perfect utopia... caveman.

Old Post 12-29-13 12:26 #
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Antroid
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Demonologist said:
@ Antroid: I never lost confidence in your stubbornness. And that's why I can't take your replies on this matter seriously, it feels like you're living in a reality of your own. I won't to ruin your perfect utopia... caveman.


Wow, you're an ass. What the heck are you even talking about? Should I change my tastes and preferences just because you and some other people disagree with them? Fuck off, douchebag.

Old Post 12-29-13 12:34 #
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Jayextee
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Antroid said:
For me, the game in your screenshot could only work if it was like Tron or something, explicitly about cyberspace or some shit. I wouldn't like it without any context of what everything is.


Game's called SLaVE. End boss is MaSTER. Master/slave. Everything else will have computer-y names about them, yes. But it's all an excuse plot, as I'm rather fond of those and how surreal they can get. It's almost the entire charm of them for me; if I want a real developed story, I have books for those.

Though I get what you're saying. I said I only have a preference for abstract/surreal settings in games; I will happily romp through representational/semi-realistic worlds if the game engages me enough. A couple of more modern examples is the arcadey shallow-but-fun romp that is Bulletstorm or the bonding I have with friends in the otherwise-dull Borderlands. I can dig the setting of those, even if it's not my ideal.

Old Post 12-29-13 13:20 #
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dew
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scifista42 said:
Hard to say, because one would need to define the "essence of Doom" first. Opinions on this would be interesting too. But I think everyone has a rough idea what makes Doom to be "Doom". And what doesn't.

Exactly. And I can already tell you have the wrong idea. Well, at least according to my idea of the essence of Doom, which is different to yours. You're operating with a mighty conjecture here, your whole theory disintegrates if you're proven not 100% correct about what makes Doom the way it is. Where you see betrayal of the olden days, I see expansion of the ways of Doom that makes it bigger, more robust and daring.


scifista42 said:

And I'm not talking about emulating old-school-style mapping, I'm talking about the modern mapping as described at the beginning of this post.

I'd rather like to talk about the top quality products of the community's talents, you know which (products and people) I mean. You recognize the "modernness of mapping" in them.

You choose to ignore a whole massive segment of Doom mapping to support your argument, that's not nice. Then you add insult to injury by saying vanilla mapping is not "top quality product". If that's your opinion, then moving away from vanilla Doom is only logical, for who would want to create sub-par maps when we can do better?

Old Post 12-29-13 13:36 #
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Xaser
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Reading the OP, I'm not really understanding where the line is drawn between "Doom-like" and "Quake-like" in this sense; are we talking level of detail or stylistic tendencies? What's the threshold? Would something like No End in Sight be considered "Doom-like" enough? What about something more detailed like Suspended in Dusk? Just to name a couple of potential litmus tests of sorts.

Also, while it's touched on sorta in the OP (re: emphasis on setpiece battles and whatnot), gameplay shouldn't be neglected either when discussing mapping styles, and almost all the emphasis has been visual in nature so far. On that note, Doom maps in general sport a style of gameplay that is distinctly Doom, given the ingredients that go into the mix; even the more "scripted" encounters or extreme gameplay variants like slaughter still possess traits unique to Doom-era games (fast player speed, projectiles, etc). One could probably draw close comparisons to other games of the 90's era (hence Quake) as well, though, so there's that.

As for the detail "uncanny valley" effect, it doesn't seem like a convincing universal truth as presented. I can think of several wads that employ a rich-visual approach alongside abstract layouts to great effect -- SiD and BTSX immediately come to mind on that front. Furthermore, I'd certainly say that convincingly real levels of detail are possible in the Doom engine given the right touch; to toot the Hacx horn a bit, that's exactly what we're hoping to achieve:
http://i.imgur.com/WQ0NMs.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/n2GjTs.pnghttp://i.imgur.com/rXomKQps.png

If this just boils down to a matter of opinion or if the intent was to speak only about the classic "Doom-style" stuff, though, then I feel we may limiting ourselves a bit. Gotta see all sides of the coin.

Old Post 12-29-13 14:16 #
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Avoozl
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I absoultely love those shots, Xaser.

Old Post 12-29-13 14:48 #
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Jayextee
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They are great shots. Although my preference is for more surreal/abstract environs, I find that a representational one can be just as appealing if it's internally-consistent; I remember enjoying just looking around the stages of Redneck Rampage, for example, a lot more than those in Duke Nukem 3D.

I think the 'essence of Doom' talked about (and found in the iwads) is an artifact of limited knowledge of the engine, plus a low spec ceiling on gaming machines of the day. A product of its time, and one that won't be easy to emulate without breaking out DEU on a 486/SX or something. Part of why my initial response was to the tune of "100 Lines, derp".

It's not lost, it's just harder to find.

Old Post 12-29-13 15:01 #
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Vorpal
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Basically a person makes the map that they want to make. It's really that simple.

When we have multiple, major projects in a year (this year) that emulate Doom/Doom2 in look, abstraction, and gameplay, I dont think "modern" style has any meaning since people are still making maps that emulate vanilla and follow vanilla restrictions in this modern era.

Old Post 12-29-13 15:53 #
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jute
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scifista42 said:

art textures made solely for decorative purposes, arena/setpiece battles



Doesn't Doom have plenty of both of these?

Old Post 12-29-13 16:14 #
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Antroid
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Xaser said:
As for the detail "uncanny valley" effect, it doesn't seem like a convincing universal truth as presented. I can think of several wads that employ a rich-visual approach alongside abstract layouts to great effect -- SiD and BTSX immediately come to mind on that front.

I explicitly wasn't presenting them as a "unviersal truth", but okay. It's obviously a matter of individual perception, to me those two examples you give are exactly as I described. I think I even whined about that in BTSX at some point. I feel that the line between abstract enough visuals and abstract layouts painted with elaborate visuals was very much crossed in both.

The best explanation for the line I can come up with is that in Doom graphics can just say to your brain "this is a room with computers in it", or they can describe every computer in the room with precision, which sort of shifts what is left to the imagination and what isn't and makes you subconsciously look at things not as suggestions of what the place looks like, but instead as precise descriptions of it. Kind of like a books vs movies deal, only not as distinct.

I'm willing to bet that for many people reading some epic scene in a book would be much more powerful than seeing it in a movie, because their imagination can come up with imagery that is more impressive and more personally geared to what the person is most perceptive of.

Hopefully it makes some sense so people can at least get where I'm coming from here. Obviously I'm not trying to enforce my vision, just sharing it (in case people want to once again accuse me of the former).


Vorpal said:
Basically a person makes the map that they want to make. It's really that simple.

When we have multiple, major projects in a year (this year) that emulate Doom/Doom2 in look, abstraction, and gameplay, I dont think "modern" style has any meaning since people are still making maps that emulate vanilla and follow vanilla restrictions in this modern era.


I'm not sure about other people, but even if a mapper happily follows a style guidance for a specific project, it doesn't really mean that he would make the same stuff if he was making his own thing. Being the hypocrite that I am, I made a couple vanilla-compatible maps for a few projects but my own project is shaping up to have a fuckton of things I wouldn't want to see in other people's maps and is becoming something I'm not sure I'd play if it was made by some other person.

Old Post 12-29-13 16:18 #
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dew
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I don't understand your vision at all. The way I read it, not even vanilla Doom would pass your ridiculous hurdle.

Old Post 12-29-13 16:47 #
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Da Werecat
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Xaser said:
Furthermore, I'd certainly say that convincingly real levels of detail are possible in the Doom engine given the right touch; to toot the Hacx horn a bit, that's exactly what we're hoping to achieve:
http://i.imgur.com/WQ0NM.png
http://i.imgur.com/n2GjT.png
http://i.imgur.com/rXomKQp.png


Yeah, about that. I played your old demo recently and, frankly, wasn't very pleased. I guess I expected something similar to commercial Build games with their simple yet effective geometry. Instead, I got this:

http://i981.photobucket.com/albums/ae293/da_werecat/th_Screenshot_Doom_20131229_203522.png

Which is neither simple nor effective. I really hope that you tweaked the lighting since then. And did something about crampedness. I like the shots in your post.

Old Post 12-29-13 16:49 #
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geekmarine
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Doom mapping, like any form of artistic expression, grows and evolves over time. It's influenced by the world around it, and that's pretty much impossible to avoid. Even if it were possible to avoid that, then the mapping/modding community would be stale and uninteresting. And yeah, sometimes it picks up negative traits from modern gaming, but sometimes change is for the better.

As for maintaining its essential "Doomness" if such a thing exists, I'd say that's a more difficult issue. After all, I'd say even our perception of exactly what "Doomness" is and represents has changed over the years. My perception of Doom in 1996 (when I was first introduced to it) was vastly different than my perception of it today, and thus so has my notion of what makes it special, what makes it its own thing. Mapping may be different, but then, so is my notion of what Doom means to me.

Ultimately, the way I see it, despite all of the changes, in both my perception of what Doom means and in mapping in general, in my opinion, the essence of what makes Doom stand out from other games still remains for me. Even when I play a modern map with all the modern features and influences of modern gaming and whatnot, I usually still feel like I'm playing Doom, I don't feel like the experience is so radically different from what Doom means to me. Yeah, there are occasionally mods that come out that do change the experience so much that I don't feel like I'm playing Doom anymore, that just don't seem to fit Doom's style at all, but for the most part, I still see modern mapping as capturing that essence of what Doom is, even with the new features and styles and whatnot.

Old Post 12-29-13 18:17 #
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Antroid
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dew said:
I don't understand your vision at all. The way I read it, not even vanilla Doom would pass your ridiculous hurdle.

Yeah, I guess you just don't get it, man.

I know such a thing can be hard to put to words but I didn't think it'd be quite THAT difficult to understand. Maybe you didn't even try. Maybe it's because it's all subjective. I can safely say that when there's noticeably more detail in the visuals it stops feeling like Doom to me. But the original dooms pass my "hurdle" pretty easily. It's really the difference between painting with broad strokes vs bothering to render particular details. To me, most of the original Dooms' levels are painted with strokes just broad enough. If there is a detail here or there it's an exception.

Old Post 12-29-13 20:17 #
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Phml
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But it's all an excuse plot, as I'm rather fond of those and how surreal they can get. It's almost the entire charm of them for me; if I want a real developed story, I have books for those.


If only more people shared that perspective.

Old Post 12-29-13 20:19 #
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Eris Falling
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So Doom, and not Doom?

Old Post 12-29-13 20:23 #
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Gez
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Eris Falling said:
So Doom

While it makes good use of the E4 sky, I'm afraid it doesn't qualify as Doom, since the railing was obviously made with 3D floors.

Old Post 12-29-13 20:27 #
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Eris Falling
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I wouldn't go that far, since it could be a very cleverly done midtexture, but I guess the Arch-Vile means it's Doom II. 0/10.

Old Post 12-29-13 20:32 #
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dew
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Antroid said:
I know such a thing can be hard to put to words but I didn't think it'd be quite THAT difficult to understand. Maybe you didn't even try. Maybe it's because it's all subjective. I can safely say that when there's noticeably more detail in the visuals it stops feeling like Doom to me. But the original dooms pass my "hurdle" pretty easily. It's really the difference between painting with broad strokes vs bothering to render particular details. To me, most of the original Dooms' levels are painted with strokes just broad enough. If there is a detail here or there it's an exception.

Either tunnel vision is your superpower, or you've never played a McGee map. That guy revelled in fancy architecture, pointless detail and eye-catching effects. You sweep "OG Dooms" as something monolithic, easily described with a few labels that would somehow elevate them above filthy PWADs. Doom is not consistent enough, so your poetic unfocused rambling doesn't really cut it at a site where everyone is an experts.

Old Post 12-29-13 21:04 #
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