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hardcore_gamer

Has PBR for Doom been a disappointment so far?

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I mean don't get me wrong, the actual textures themselves look lovely. But the problem is that the realistic look just doesn't work for low poly models. With sprites is looks dumb to begin with, but I still thought to myself that with models it would probably look better. But then I saw this video which does use models and honestly it just looks kind of bad. Realistic levels require realistic models and animations, or otherwise it just looks like....well the above.

 

I have also noticed that there is virtually nobody (or if there are, feel free to show me them) working on any mods that are taking advantage of the new PBR textures. There is of course the thread about remaking the original textures for PBR as well as Doom slayer chronicles, but other than that there doesn't much seem to be going on honestly with the new PBR stuff.

 

Do you think PBR has been somewhat of a disappointment for Doom modding so far?

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> But the problem is that the realistic look just doesn't work for low poly models. With sprites is looks dumb to begin with

 

I don't think so. It really depends on how the textures are designed. You can still have PBR materials on textures that still look fiting to doom's artstyle.  

 

Example: https://i.imgur.com/5G1Q4S6.gifv

Imagine this space with vanilla doom enemy sprites. I'd say it fits. The metal texture might be a tad too realistic, but the floor is great. 

 

So I hope more maps will give them a shot. They can definitely look great.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Lampenpam said:

I don't think so. It really depends on how the textures are designed. You can still have PBR materials on textures that still look fiting to doom's artstyle. 

 

The problem is that PBR materials look so realistic that they look out of place even next to early 2000 era 3D characters and animations. None-PBR materials have this cartoonish stylish look to them and this works well with both sprites as well as simple 3D models. But with PBR, either everything has to look real or it just doesn't work.

 

Here is a analogy: Remember those old 3DO games where they took live action footage of characters and inserted that into their otherwise unrealistic games? This is basically like that but in reverse. And it looks stupid.

 

I had a hard on for PBR in Doom at first when I first saw this, but now I am beginning to feel like PBR just doesn't have any real useful function for Doom modding. The only way this could change would be if support for more modern model formats become a reality thus allowing us to bypass the limitations of MD3 while also making smoother animations possible.

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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8 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

But with PBR, either everything has to look real or it just doesn't work.

 

No dude, it depends on how the artstyle is captured, it does not have to be photo realistic. For example Fortnite has PBR textures (like any modern game nowdays), yet the whole game is cartoonish, and there are a ton of cartoonish games than use many more PBR textures that Fortnite does. You just have to implement PBR textures in a way that fits to the style.

Edited by Lampenpam

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Are you on crack? PBR is great, despite my computer not being able to handle it. That video looks amazing, not sure why you think it looks bad. The models just need polish, and they are way better than running that old model pack in Doomsday.

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I'll just say Lampenpam's sample Imgur GIF looks incredible and I'd love to see a Doom map that actually looks like that.

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I honestly wasn't that excited for PBR to begin with, except for a few very specific corner cases.  I still feel the same way, if not more so.

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PBR has been available in Doom for...how many weeks? And each texture requires...how many layers?

 

Is this seriously a thread complaining about how good PBR textures look??

 

Each and every time someone attempts to improve Doom's imagery, it is followed by a few unsatisfied voices:

  • "Translucent fireballs suck" - too dark, too bright, too ugly with 8-bit color, too slow...
  • "High res output sucks" - too sharp, not like the original, the textures are too low-res...
  • "Low res sucks" - too blurry...
  • "High res textures suck" - not exactly like originals, makes things look out of place...
  • "Thing models" - look cartoony, not enough polys, move awkwardly...
  • And now, PBR

Has anyone noticed the lack of 3D models for the Doom monsters? Yes, it's difficult, and it requires master artists and modellers. But I wonder about the effects of the constant lack of encouragement. It's almost as if someone must release new enhanced textures, floors/ceilings, beautiful 3D models, new high-fidelity sounds, and a set of awesome maps, all at once, to avoid this inevitable "X looks out of place with Y" rant. And, that's probably not enough.

 

Summary:

Can we at least play a few PBR maps, and enjoy the new possibilities a bit, before having to read a bunch of obvious conclusions that one set of resources is more advanced than the other? Guess what? Building 3D models (PBR or not) requires totally different skill sets than making textures. What if someone makes an awesome new PBR pinky? Will everyone have to suffer hearing that "The pinky is totally out of place against the original textures - what a disappointment"?

 

By the way, I am astonished and completely impressed with the new textures, and with the engine responsible for displaying them. And, I guess I can cope with playing a map or two with beautiful textures, and those awful original monsters, for a week or two...

Edited by kb1

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That's Bridgeburner's contribution to Elementalism:

 

 

 

We hope to release this next year.

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11 minutes ago, Dragonfly said:

That's Bridgeburner's contribution to Elementalism:

 

 

 

We hope to release this next year.

 

Awesome. Will be sure to follow what's happening with it! :)

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+1 to everytihng what hardcore_gamer has said in this thread, except for it's title - PBR itself is just another tool in the toolbox, and I think that for the current possibilities of engine, it works as well as it can so I think it can be objectively said that PBR itself isn't a disappointment. What we're really discussing is here what people are doing with that, and as usual, that's being a mixed bag ;)

The problem with EVERY hd-pack of any sort for any of the older games (doom/quake/duke/whatever) is INCONSISTENCY. Second notorious one would be the quality of assets itself, but that depends on a specific pack in question, plus the quality overall went up over the course of last years. But let's tackle the first one.

 

People have been attempting modernized textures for ages (high resolution previously and now PBR), but rarely go beyond that - that's kinda like renovating a single corner of a building. Modern video game graphics aren't just about high quality textures/materials, it's about EVERYTHING and how it works together - materials, level/prop geometry detail and lighting. With the third neglected mostly, and the second neglected pretty much completely it simply has no right to look good. And that's assuming we would have all Doom assets replaced with pbr assets with modern level texture resolutions and poly counts, considering updating the environments and leaving the stock sprites in just seems... insane to me? Lampenpam's example looks OK despite the super blocky geometry, but the sprite lamp posts just kill it completely and make it look ridiculous, I can't even imagine doom monsters animating through this.

 

Every artist interested in this recognizes the inconsistency - you're applying pretty modern texture/material assets to essentialy 1993 super blocky geometry. As the example in the first post, adding some 3d floors, beams and transparent grates doesn't help much - that's advancing 1993 level geometry to 1996 levels while still trying to apply visual solution from 2016-2018? Good luck.

 

Let's assume we'll be able to move all this into modern territory - level blockouts + properly detailed static model for all the walls, floors, whole structure. Days of BSP detailing levels are long gone, it was too clunky and too intense to process for levels of details required, so everyone moved to static meshes, IIRC this started happening around the days of Unreal Engine 3/Gears of War (around 2006). So assuming we have this type of update for Doom's environments, we come to the third pilar - lighting.

 

While GZDoom is moving forward, from what I know (correct me if I'm wrong), but shadow casting is something relatively new in the engine, and as for lighting solutions, we're still stuck mostly using limited, and performance heavy (because they're dynamic) point lights. That means no way of proper environment/sky/sunlight type of lighting, no light bouncing (which I think is supported in some basic capability even by modern RAD calculators for Quake related engines). Of course, since we're starting to have some shadow casting, and with good use of pointlights I'm confident it's possible to make something looking really good using what's currently available. The question is - will it perform?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against expanding the engine. As I've said previously I think that having the option to use a tool is objectively better than not having a tool at all. Problem is that we're adding modern features on top of an engine that is essentially from 1993. If we had amazing modern Doom assets, I'm pretty sure that if you put them into a modern engine like Unreal, they would look better as well as perform better, and that's not GZDoom's fault. It's a completely different engine, suited to different things, and we're trying to force it to do something it was never meant to do.

 

So in order to make proper, moden looking HD pack for Doom, we'd have to
1. Remake all the game's assets from the ground up, with the added complexity of remaking the level geometry completely which isn't a hobbyist thing to do over the weekends. It's a full time job for multiple artists that no one will want to pay for.

2. Rebuild the engine from the ground up. Which is pointless given that there are great solution for modern games/visuals already present. And GZDoom is already amazing for what it's meant to do. Play Doom and Doom engine games and expand their possibilities.

 

So is it really worth it? I'd say no. And for any other, lesser in scope efforts, I just think it's just not going to work. I think that appreciation for those projects is more of a "it's better than nothing" argumenet tbh. I'll take a polished low resolution pixel art game, over half-baked modern graphics anyday, same applies to Doom for me.

 

Ironically though, I think that the best use of PBR in GZDoom I've seen so far, is the low res stuff - that material pack for stock Doom textures, material based oldschool textures in Batandy's mods, or the example provided by Dragonfly - way more consistent and coherent than the HD pack efforts I've seen.

 

As an ending word, I'll just leave this here to think about :D
c59.png

 

Edited by Cage : typos

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Yeah man PBR sucks, I still didn't get my PBR edition of HDoom.

 

15 hours ago, Dragonfly said:

PBR works really well on things that are supposed to look wet/moist

 

vl3CPLi.jpg

 

 

This screenshot makes me moist.

Edited by tempdecal.wad

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hardcore_complainer

 

While in some cases it looks awful, most of the threads I've seen here and on ZDoom, they look pretty great. Anything looks like crap if the person doesn't know what they're doing.

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In addition to @Dragonfly's and @Bauul's excellent examples, I also thought of this thread which is all about making PBR for the id textures, with (IMO) excellent results.  

 

I think these examples show pretty conclusively that the problems with hideous graphics like the ones in the OP aren't that they have PBR or whatever other advanced effects, but that they just don't get the principles of good Doomy graphics in the first place.  Focusing on the PBR as the cause of their badness is a red herring.  Which I think is what Cage was saying in their own excellent post.

 

And yes, I'm using the word excellent a lot in this post, but there's a lot of excellence out there, both in texturing and in posting. :)

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I think 3d models and HD textures in an old game like Doom will always look out of place.  But I echo those above who are saying that PBR materials done tastefully, at lower resolutions, can definitely add something special to a Doom level designers toolbox.

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I would be interested to see how Doom looked with subtle PBR materials for all IWAD textures and all other effects turned off / set to mimic software rendering.

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One of the unfortunate side effects of adding graphical features to any Doom engine is that there's always going to be people using it poorly and then other people in turn using that as evidence it is all shit. As a simple example, I could conclude the Unreal Engine 4 is utter garbage because I've seen youtube videos of Doom remakes in it that makes every single feature in the engine look terrible. When hardcore_gamer chooses to use something like his original video as "evidence" I think he's doing more or less the same - what looks bad there had nothing to do with the textures, but rather *everything* in the scene: model animation, post-processing, sprite choices, and the textures themselves. Yeah the video looks shit, but whose fault was that really? Seems a bit premature to blame the tool.

 

My original goal with the feature wasn't to suddenly upgrade Doom 1993 to Doom 2016 visually - there's been plenty on comments here already explaining why that would never work. What I wanted originally was to add a bit more quality to dynamic lights and allow the careful modder to bring more detail into the world. Specifically, I wanted early 2000's game style specular textures to work. Hopefully over time some talented folks would be able to apply it at just the right spots. Like Enjay did with 3D models in Gene Tech and Waterlab. So far the screenshots from Elementalism are looking very cool. It is stuff like this I added it for.

 

Then there are the actual PBR textures themselves. Once I had added the infrastructure in GZD required to switch between light shaders, there wasn't really anything preventing me from experimentally adding an UE4 level light model into the mix. Unlike specular maps, which is a basic extension to the original light model Doom was built on, PBR actually need environmental light input in a completely different way. What you see GZD is a test of what happens if you just take the modern PBR materials but leave out the environment.

 

Short version here is that it doesn't look too good, because any material with reflection in it suffers badly and it blends poorly with the flat ambient light in Doom. It got pretty clear early on after release that I have to improve the environmental part of the equation for this to be truly useful. Doing this is tricky though, as Doom has no lightmaps and no other baking tooling in place beyond generating a BSP tree. I recommend that mappers stick to specular textures and not use the PBR feature. There are a few folks here on DW that are trying anyway with PBR textures and made stuff that sometimes looks great, sometimes reveal the problems with the light model as implemented. I want to add environmental light to it at some point, but I'm still trying to find a good solution here that doesn't require a complex baking tool. Until then, probably best modders stick to specular maps.

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I don't know where else to put this, but while messing with PBR related stuff I made a customized lights.pk3 that just dims / desaturates all the light color definitions.

 

lights.pk3.zip

 

Lf6xL2z.jpg

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13 hours ago, Cage said:

...The problem with EVERY hd-pack of any sort for any of the older games (doom/quake/duke/whatever) is INCONSISTENCY...

 

...So in order to make proper, moden looking HD pack for Doom, we'd have to
1. Remake all the game's assets from the ground up, with the added complexity of remaking the level geometry completely which isn't a hobbyist thing to do over the weekends. It's a full time job for multiple artists that no one will want to pay for.

2. Rebuild the engine from the ground up. Which is pointless given that there are great solution for modern games/visuals already present. And GZDoom is already amazing for what it's meant to do. Play Doom and Doom engine games and expand their possibilities.

 

So is it really worth it? I'd say no. And for any other, lesser in scope efforts, I just think it's just not going to work. I think that appreciation for those projects is more of a "it's better than nothing" argumenet tbh. I'll take a polished low resolution pixel art game, over half-baked modern graphics anyday, same applies to Doom for me.

Every change is inconsistent at first. I totally agree that consistency is very important. But it tends to go against the Doom community's resource improvement model.

 

Doom improvements have always been slow and incremental. Now, unless you're a total Doom purist, it's hard to deny that Doom looks and plays better than ever. Take the original sprites, for example. Here's some incremental sprite improvements that have been done over time:

  • Smooth weapons (new frames added, as well as "remastered" sounds)
  • Sprite offset alignment fixes
  • Sprite pixel fixes (fixing stray pixels, etc.)
  • Smoothed monster movements
  • Animated/extra animation frames (torches/candles)
  • Destroyable objects
  • Romero's release of the missing monster animations
  • Extra gore, extra death animations

These are just some of the improvements that stay true to the original look and feel of Doom. Some like them, some do not. The point is that these improvements were done by many people, over many years. For one person to have made all of the changes in a single release is an impractical idea.

 

Going from vanilla Doom, to a full conversion to PBR, the same process applies (many changes by many people over many years):

  • Creation of GL-rendering ports
  • Full 3D rendering port support
  • New shading/lighting support
  • Dynamic lighting
  • Shader-based rendering
  • PBR rendering support
  • 3D actor model support
  • Creation of 3D models
  • Creation of PBR floor/ceiling, and wall texture content
  • Creation of PBR texturing for 3d models

Each of these areas are quite complex, and they require the same incremental approach, done by many people. During this time, it's not unreasonable to expect some inconsistency.

 

Bottom Line

If you are of the opinion that the stock resources will always be the best for you, I cannot argue with your personal tastes - good for you (seriously).

 

But for everyone else, I have to assume that you'd welcome a Doom with modern rendering and totally new, hi-res assets, as long as they look good, and are consistent. If this assumption is wrong, please forgive me.

 

But if I'm right, I argue that inconsistency is a temporary condition that gets hindered by negative reception of partially improved resources. Stated differently: "We'll never get to see a nice PBR model of, for example, the Archvile, if everyone complains about how awful stock sprites look against nice PBR walls. No one will want to approach the task, because of the discouragement.

 

I'm not saying to hold back your views about the inconsistency. But to say that it's not worth it? That it will never work? That's just not a fair assessment.

 

As far as I can tell, here's what's missing:

  • improvements to Doom's lighting model
  • dedicated modellers
  • dedicated artists

The first obstacle requires some planning and some programming. The other two could be accomplished with enthusiasm and hard work. Or crowdfunding...and hard work. If I were to hit the lottery, I'd pay for it myself. If I had artistic ability, I'd make and paint the models myself.

 

These recent PBR demonstrations are stunningly beautiful. I'll be the last person to rush to the forums, complaining about how, mysteriously, those sprites that I know and love have instantly become shitty. Or even worse: "Those new textures look *too good*" Huh?

 

Does anyone ever stop and think about how amazing these effects are? These are completely flat, solid walls, yet shadows hug the edges of bricks, following the contours as the light source is moved. Each pixel of the wall can reflect incoming light with its own intensity. To do this with geometry would require many millions of polygons. It's a miraculous thing that was only a dream not too long ago.

 

This feature is brand-new to Doom, and it's already shit? I'm embarrassed to read this - what a shame.

 

For what it's worth, (I know that many others and) I truly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in PBR, and the other improvements being done for Doom, for that matter. Bravo! Please carry on - I can't wait to see where it goes!

 

Can we please follow the example made by id Software and thousands of subsequent modders, and have a little bit of encouragement and enthusiasm for those responsible for these great developments? They deserve it.

 

6 hours ago, dpJudas said:

One of the unfortunate side effects of adding graphical features to any Doom engine is that there's always going to be people using it poorly and then other people in turn using that as evidence it is all shit...

 

(other commentary on Doom's lack of proper lighting causing problems with modern realistic rendering techniques)

Long ago, the list of improvements necessary for realistic rendering was huge. But with the work that you and others have brought to Doom, that list of remaining to-dos is getting smaller and smaller. I'm sure, with time and effort, the remaining issues are not insurmountable. It's getting closer and closer!

 

4 hours ago, Linguica said:

I don't know where else to put this, but while messing with PBR related stuff I made a customized lights.pk3 that just dims / desaturates all the light color definitions.

Thank you! Subtlety is the key to all such effects. Ideally, all effects should quietly contribute to the whole, not hog the whole scene. When you watch a movie, you don't want to realize that you're looking at special effects...instead you want to believe that what you're seeing is true. Much improved!

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18 hours ago, Linguica said:

I would be interested to see how Doom looked with subtle PBR materials for all IWAD textures and all other effects turned off / set to mimic software rendering.

 

Could Quake's software point lights be adapted to software Doom ports?  Distance to source and geometry could play with the light diminishing palette-shifting, maybe even get green/yellow/red lighting from using the pain/etc palette changes.  Could even try adding specular by taking the very top values of certain colors and shifting them into greyscale, only when point-lit.

Edited by Reiken

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Someone on a different forum pointed out that the first video is pretty close to the aesthetics of the fake screenshots on the D!Zone box:

 

Dzone_fake_screenshots.jpg

 

Thinking about it like that somehow makes it more lovable.

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I was going to make with collaboration with Arl, a doom pbr materials community project, but felt like the demand wasn't there. There's so many doom textures that need to be remade, it'd take me way too long to do myself, and honestly i SUCK at making these textures.

 

Is anybody here experienced with making PBR materials, and think that the PBR project i mentioned is a good idea?

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1 hour ago, Mynameislol said:

I was going to make with collaboration with Arl, a doom pbr materials community project, but felt like the demand wasn't there. There's so many doom textures that need to be remade, it'd take me way too long to do myself, and honestly i SUCK at making these textures.

 

Is anybody here experienced with making PBR materials, and think that the PBR project i mentioned is a good idea?

 

I think a community project is a pretty good idea actually.  

 

There are 617 textures/flats in the Doom2 iwad.  If we got just a dozen people contributing, that's just 50 odd textures each.  Creating a height map and a specular map is not that time intensive for graphics as low-res as Doom's.  Even just a height map would be a start, then at least we would have Parallax Mapping working (which I personally think holds more promise, as it doesn't require dynamic lights).

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