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GoatLord

Why did Doom 3 go for realism?

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As I've mentioned in another thread, a dedicated attempt by devs to convey realism is not relevant to most gamers, outside of highly specific sims (and even in the case of The Sims, high realism is rarely if ever pushed as a gameplay mechanic). Doom 3 is an overall enjoyable game with issues, to be sure, but the biggest culprits are intentional decisions to go for realism. Observe:

 

• Character design, while effective for human/possessed characters, looks dull and unremarkable on most of the enemies, especially the imp, cacodemon, trite and even the cyberdemon.

• The weapons appear functional, but are not particularly distinctive. This is most evident in how meh they look in the first person.

• Environments are beautifully detailed, and make the UAC look like a real place, but navigating them is rarely interesting, as they were built to look believable, rather than to have good flow.

• The player has an absurdly slow walking velocity, which increases only slightly when sprinting, which has a very limited meter. It makes the game harder, but only artificially, as there's nothing particularly fun about not being able to vary your pacing, although it is realistic.

• In real life, being physically attacked could cause brief blurred vision and disorientation, but in a game a subtle visual indicator conveys pain perfectly. All the extreme blurring/stumbling does in Doom 3 is make firefights (once again) artificially difficult.

• Shotguns in real life scatter the buckshot pretty quickly, but that doesn't mean a videogame shotgun should behave similarly.

 

So at the end of the day, what did id gain from these decisions? Was it all in the service of the survival horror layer? Was it symptomatic of the focus on realism that typifies a lot of early 2000s titles? 

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My guess is, they probably just tried to push the horror element of the games to its limit and see where it goes, it was inevitable and I'm glad they went that far, even if it didn't pay off much. Starting with PSX Doom the series started pushing more and more in that direction, and that wasn't a bad thing, but the execution is flawed in D3.

 

The combat in D3 feels much more like an afterthought compared to its predecessor which were much more balanced. They tried to immerse the player into the game too much, to actually live the horror of a demon invasion, but it got to the point the atmosphere became the primary focus and everything else just accompanied it. I'm not a fan of most enemy designs either, particularly the Cacodemon, dull and lacking most of the distinct traits of the classic counterpart.

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You're just listing all the things I loved from this game (expect the Shotgun part). That combination between "realism" and Doom is what I really liked in this one.

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8 hours ago, GoatLord said:

• Shotguns in real life scatter the buckshot pretty quickly, but that doesn't mean a videogame shotgun should behave similarly.

You know, I got an odd sense of deja-vu when I read this. Then I remember that I soundly rejected this idea in a thread from 2015. And then I realized it was you that originally stated this exact same thought in that thread.

 

I still stand by my comment in this thread, it's on the second page. Thread link: 

 

Real world shotguns behave nothing like the shotgun in Doom 3. The shotgun in Doom is far more comparable to a real world shotgun than the absolute travesty that is the shotgun in Doom 3.

 

However, you do have some valid points, the realistic environments got boring really fast. It was almost the exact same theme throughout the entire game, there were very few areas that were really impressive. And the weapons ultimately looked boring. Far too "futuristic", they just ended up looking sterile.

 

Character design wasn't bad, I didn't really care for the new imp, but I didn't hate it either. The Hell Knight looked good, the pinky, while different looked pretty terrifying. Trites were a bad choice, they're just a little nuisance enemy and I hate when those show up in games; the slime from Duke Nukem, the rats from Blood; so I hate those by default. Cherubs were creepy, maybe a little over the top, but they were creepy. The new lost souls I didn't really care for. The mancubus looked pretty good. The zombies looked really good for the time, like something out of Resident Evil. The Cyberdemon looked a hell of a lot better than the Cybermoose we got in Doom 4. 

 

I enjoyed it enough, it wasn't a bad game, but it was a little disappointed after waiting that long for a new Doom game. Mainly it just got boring. It was a relatively long game, I can't quite recall how long it took on my first playthrough, but I think it was between 15 and 20 hours. Or maybe it just felt longer because I was getting sick of walking through the same damn hallways over and over.

 

But again, your ideas on real world shotguns is wrong.

 

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The Doom 3 Shotgun is a glorified melee weapon. You have to shove it up the nose of your enemies and somehow it still misses. It's almost as if they wanted the player to feel vulnerable and ended up butchering the gunplay to achieve that.

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Because they were getting tired of the same formula. They had been making the same game since 1993 but with different names. There was also the matter of Half Life, which had an impact on FPS games that was similar to Doom.

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14 hours ago, GoatLord said:

All the extreme blurring/stumbling does in Doom 3 is make firefights (once again) artificially difficult.

I don't know what 'artificial' means, but I'd say that's part of the gameplay. It makes any damage, especially melee damage, costlier than expected. You have to be more careful to avoid being hit. It's an evolution of how in Doom 2 heavy damage would almost blind you.

 

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8 hours ago, tempdecal.wad said:

The Doom 3 Shotgun is a glorified melee weapon. You have to shove it up the nose of your enemies and somehow it still misses. It's almost as if they wanted the player to feel vulnerable and ended up butchering the gunplay to achieve that.

 

Tbh the gunplay wasn't butchered, but the balancing of some weapons was bizarre, the shotgun being the best example.

 

But then, shotguns have a hard time trying to be realistic in video games since:

 

Spoiler

Fx5Ltr5.jpg

 

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9 hours ago, Jello said:

Real world shotguns behave nothing like the shotgun in Doom 3. The shotgun in Doom is far more comparable to a real world shotgun than the absolute travesty that is the shotgun in Doom 3.

 

I was going to mention that and you beat me to it. Seriously, it would be ridiculous if a military-issued weapon worked like that.

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I feel silly mentioning the shotgun's scatter, because I've fired them in real life and ya'll are absolutely correct, because a target can still be effectively hit from a good distance. The D3 shotty is just so lousy, I was trying too hard to justify it.

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3 hours ago, printz said:

I don't know what 'artificial' means, but I'd say that's part of the gameplay. It makes any damage, especially melee damage, costlier than expected. You have to be more careful to avoid being hit. It's an evolution of how in Doom 2 heavy damage would almost blind you.

 

Heavy damage, yes. But practically any damage in Doom 3 causes way too much feedback. That's what I mean about "artificial;" the extent to which it's implemented is gratuitous.

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I don't think Doom3's themes are all that similar. Well, similar sure, but they're by no means identical.

Personally I don't see the environment as overly focused on being realistic either.

 

I think the biggest problem ties right back down to the story presentation. It's impersonal. They kinda deposited all the world building in PDAs or audiologs and while that may add at least a little color to the world, it doesn't really ground or anchor it to the physical space. Also, most of the PDAs were linked directly to the main narrative of the game and less to the actual world building. Or in other words; too much "I'm scared. Betruger is crazy" and too little "Frank's lunch".

 

In fact, this has been a major focus point for Phobos. We call it "Human stuff". Item placement can go a long way in creating a rich environment that breathes life into it. It's time consuming and difficult, but if you don't do it you'll end up with a bunch of rooms and hallways instead of a living, breathing place.

 

It's not that Id software didn't do any of this, it's just that they didn't do it enough. Compare and contrast Doom3 to the Lost Missions and you'll find that the latter really is just a soulless string of hallways whereas the former has at least a little character.

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3 hours ago, printz said:

I don't know what 'artificial' means, but I'd say that's part of the gameplay.

Artificial difficulty is when games resort to cheap methods to increase the difficulty.

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It was 2004, NOT 1993. Doom 3 was a huge step forward. Return To Castle Wolfenstein is not like Wolf 3D too. I played through original Doom 3 on veteran without cheats, with default gamma setting on CRT. It's a tough game and it does not need to be simple and easy.

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I'll just leave this here...

 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FakeDifficulty

 

Doom 3's shotgun near unusability, as well as the flashlight mechanic (on the original, not the BFG edition, it wasn't weapon-mounted) definitively qualify in my book. Granted, the game would be far easier if every point-blank hit with the shotgun was a guaranteed kill against imps and zombies at least (which it isn't), and you didn't have to switch back and forth betweehn weapon/flashlight (eventually fixed in the BFG edition), but if the game has to resort to such gimmicks to be "not simple nor easy", then that's fake difficulty.

 

On the other hand, as mentioned, Doom 3 was not immune to the "trend" of the time to make player characters in FPS more vulnerable and less powerful compared to Doom or Wolf3D, to the point that every enemy encounter felt like a boss fight. Even standard Doomguy is God-like compared to e.g. CoD or CS soldier. So much, in fact, that the return to this kind of gameplay was pretty much Doom 2016's banner.

 

With that said....certainly one would expect better than id, than to simply jump on the "realism/survival/horror" bandwagon.

Edited by Maes

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I always felt like DOOM 3 was the Doom that John Carmack always wanted.  "Masters of Doom" states that initially Carmack wanted Doom to have a seamless world with his new dynamic light technology but scrapped the seamless world idea and stuck to the standard level base design for shareware reasons.  It's always joked that Doom 3 was a glorified tech demo but when it was first released, it felt right to me, and I know I'm one of the few that thinks that.  When I played doom as a kid, I never thought it was the super fast balls to the wall action shooter that Quake was, when I played it, I was more reserved and didn't sprint all that much unless to get to a door quickly or something and Playing Doom 3 to me was like playing the old Dooms with (at the time) mind blowing technology; it was just missing the enemy count.

 

As to why Doom 3 went for realism, it was part of the times and the limitations of the engine.  You had Quake and Unreal Tournament for fast paced action, and then you had story driven campaigns like Half Life that really dialed players in to a less frantic, more paced game and I believe that was what the team at id wanted with Doom 3.  A horror dungeon crawler where its just you and some guns verses the forces of hell invading a UAC Mars facility.

 

Shotguns in video games have never acted correctly, they would be way too over powered, and in Doom 3, a realistic shotgun would have broken game balance.  You can easily place 00 Buck on a target at 7-10 yards and push for suppressive fire well out to 25 yards (I tested this myself with an Imp Target and my own shotgun)  Doom 3 is all about super tight quarters, and being able to put all 9 to 12 pellets (depending on your choice of buckshot load) into your target at 15 feet or more and do devastating damage would have made someone feel like, well, they were playing Doom or Doom II (lol). 

 

 

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Maybe they could've increased its range but lowered its damage. After all, the shotgun would be OP as fuck if it wasn't for the range.

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As far as I can tell, there wasn't any well thought out rationale for taking Doom 3 in the direction they did. They had the new technology, and they knew what they could do with it. I think they were just making something they thought was cool.

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4 hours ago, GuyMcBrofist said:

As far as I can tell, there wasn't any well thought out rationale for taking Doom 3 in the direction they did.

You mean aside from the fact that the original game could be interpreted as an action horror game made with limited technology on hand? Because that's a pretty big fucking rational right there.

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On 1/31/2019 at 1:08 PM, GoatLord said:

stuff


I actually really like the Imp design, it's very sleek but also built, it looks ferocious and gives me a kind of Xenomorph vibe. Some of the monster designs however are not so great as said (Lost Souls look dumb, and wtf is going on with the Cyberdemon?) and some of the new ones are pretty cliche (ooh scary babies and the head spider from The Thing!). But other than that the Revenant and Mancubus are on-point and the redesign for the Pinky demon and Hell Knight are very intimidating and rather iconic designs now.

The final design for the shotgun is ugly, ihni why they ditched the alpha model for that bulbous, rubbery looking thing.

The design of the facility and overall tone of the game, along with the audio logs, really suggests it wanted to be like System Shock. Indeed it does look nice, even to this day the lighting and shading is fantastic. But I really wish for a game called DOOM 3 they would've taken more risks and gave us more Hell levels. Infested base is nice, but it's very late game and feels like a weird compromise for the lack of Hell.

The sprint bar is dumb and unnecessary, given how you're not all that mobile, and yes it's really lame for raising challenge. Much like how unbalanced hard mode (Veteran) is by raising percentage of damage to 170 from 90% on normal (wtf?). Most of my deaths don't feel like my fault, I simply fall victim to a trap I didn't see coming or set off too many enemy spawns for me to handle at once, promptly get cornered and then slaughtered. Yeah it's realistic, but it's not really fun when you're at the mercy of the game, despite what playing an old school FPS has taught you over the years. It's in a weird territory where it's not uber realistic but it's not arcade-y either, it doesn't do either particularly well.

The double vision is ass, combined with the camera jolting, it's the reason I had my first death in D3 from the first shotgun guy, because he kept shooting me over and over and I couldn't do anything about it, and this was on easy. Nowadays it's not so bad, but just because I know an enemy will be there doesn't mean I won't still get hurt because of a weak weapon and/or lack of enemy pain chance.

The spread of the shotgun is hilariously exaggerated beyond belief, even with as short and stubby as the barrel is you'd think it was shorter in order to justify the insane pellet radius. Even at close range (not point blank) an Imp can survive most of the time because only 2/3 of the pellets will hit it. With how often close quarters combat occurs in D3 you'd think the shotgun would be a little more useful. Just absurd. At least the damage is the highest in the series for a pump-action.

I do believe at the end of the day they wanted to make a 'Doom if it actually happened' game, which is a neat idea, but the execution is polarizing. For every good or cool thing there's something bad or silly to offset it constantly. If it wants to be like a survival horror however then why am I flushed with ammo? More-so, why is the capacity for the ammo types so damn high? I don't even need the locker codes, they feel like something to pander to frightened newbies than absolutely vital supplies. And to think they buffed the ammo pickups in BFG edition. What, were console players emptying entire magazines into walls before? On purpose? I don't get it.

 

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