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Man of Doom

Did anyone else think Doom 3 was going to be hub-based?

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I'd like to start by saying that the very first FPS I ever played was Quake 2 (the shareware version of Doom came a little while after I stumbled across the "Battlebook"). I was a particularly young lad when I first played it.

 

If there's one particularly striking feature about Quake 2 is how its levels were structured. There was a total of about 4-5 hubs all connecting a cluster of around 5-7 levels per hub (including secret levels). Adding to that was the fact that everything you did in each hub would stay the way it was, allowing you to revisit levels and taking a look at the carnage you left behind, even after you just entered from another level. It blew my mind back then, and it still blows my mind to this day because with today's more advanced graphics (often requiring supercomputers to run), allowing enemy corpses to stack like cordwood seems to be next to impossible nowadays even with said supercomputers.

 

But that's not the point of this topic, the point of the topic is how the levels in Quake 2 were designed. I was playing it right around the time Doom 3 was in development and my little boy mind had this thought:
With the hub-based level design of Quake 2, wouldn't it make sense for Doom 3 to also have a hub-based level design?

Combined with the virtually photorealistic graphics at the time, I was pretty much stoked to get my hands on it. In fact, the levels in various screenshots (and pre-2004 trailers) did suggest a more open world, with the levels themselves showing an extreme amount of attention to detail.

It was to my slight disappointment that Doom 3 ultimately followed a more linear level design structure. Yes, you could technically revisit areas, but they would often be radically changed up, both in design and flow (think Mars City vs Mars City Revisited). In fact, there aren't secret levels. Looking back in hindsight, the levels we did get are insanely detailed (I heard once that the levels are so detailed that every single pipe would be flowing somewhere) and the development team around Doom 3 was relatively small compared even to most other studios at the time. That being said, the areas in the pre-2004 screenshots do appear to be massively different compared to what we got in the final product.

 

My question to the rest of you guys is, did you also think that Doom 3 would be hub-based?
If so, how would the levels be created or redesigned to fit those hubs?

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Now that would have been awesome, great idea. Doom 3 has always struck me as having some of the greatest 3d Sci-Fi indoor environments, even to this day. 

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Nope. DOOM has always been a linear game in my mind, so there wasn't any reason to expect a non-linear setup outside the fact that Quake II did it... but, Quake II is not DOOM.

 

On that note, I wouldn't call Quake II "hub based". It featured interconnected stages more or less. Hexen has more of what I'd classify as a "hub" setup, with a centralized location (i.e., "hub") that serves as the basis of accessing other stages.

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I enjoyed Hexen quite a lot, and I think I would enjoy a hub-based Doom too! I think I actually stopped playing FPS games around the time because they were becoming corridor shooters, but extra linear, again. So I didn't get Doom 3 when it came out and can't remember the hype. I recently beat Doom 3 and enjoyed my time with it. But I prefer more-open level design like the recent Amid Evil game.

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I wasn't expecting the game to be hub-based, but I have always pictured the game being better with it that way. Optional areas that aren't required to progress, wandering around not knowing where to go, control panels that have a big impact on completely different areas of the facility, still feeling threatened no matter where you are or what you've got done already, etc. could definitely add to the horror/ambient aspects of the game.

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On 6/28/2018 at 6:28 AM, amackert said:

Nope. DOOM has always been a linear game in my mind, so there wasn't any reason to expect a non-linear setup

 

Same.

 

Well, maybe not totally linear, after all the classics feature plenty of exploration, but straightforward nonetheless.

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