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JD_Method

Doom modding questions

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone.

I’m currently working on an essay about Doom/Doom II's modding scene and I wanted to get some thoughts directly from the Doom modding community. Would any of you be interested in answering a few questions about Doom modding?

 

Here are my questions:

 

1.    We have seen modders appropriate copyrighted material for their mods, such as Aliens TC and Batman Doom. How do you feel about copyrighted content being used in mods? Are there any examples of a copyright holder demanding a Doom mod be taken down or cease development because it used copyrighted content?

 

2.    Are there any examples of Doom being appropriated to represent the experiences or concerns of marginalised groups?

 

3.    The wealth of mods and maps available for Doom undeniably bestow upon the game an incredible depth of content and give Doom greater value. Do you agree that Bethesda/Zenimax, the current rights holders to Doom, benefit from the free labour of the Doom community? If so, how do you feel about this? Do you feel there is anything problematic about companies benefiting from the free labour of modding communities?

 

4.    For those who make mods/maps, what is the appeal of modding/mapping to you? What makes modding/mapping for Doom more appealing than modding/mapping for other games?

 

5.    Why do you think the modding scene for Doom has survived as long as it has and continues to thrive to this day?

 

I'd massively appreciate any responses I can get. Thanks!

Edited by JD_Method

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, JD_Method said:

1.    We have seen modders appropriate copyrighted material for their mods, such as Aliens TC and Batman Doom. How do you feel about copyrighted content being used in mods? Are there any examples of a copyright holder demanding a Doom mod be taken down or cease development because it used copyrighted content?

Doom arguably got this started (if not, Wolf almost certainly did) - I remember mods that replaced Barons of Hell with Barney the Dinosaur, back in the Wild West days of the Information Superhighway. That said, the Doom community did (and still does) have a level of standards - including the original game's graphic data with your WAD got it excluded from the idgames repository, and so did anything too close to the other commercially released games on the engine to the best of my knowledge.

 

Nowadays, Doom is such an old engine that even with the additional features modern versions of the engine added, it's very hard to say that, for example, mods like Doom 4 Doom (which adds recreations of 2016 Doom's guns) can really harm sales of newer games. While source ports are really flexible, it is still limited by the limits inherent to the Doom engine. There's lots of clever workarounds for a lot of old problems, but at its core, it's still 25 year-old tech being respun. I'd say that as long as it's not being made for profit, and does respect the copyright holders' wishes if they do ask for it to be taken down, that the mod be allowed. It's not exactly anything unique to Doom, after all - any game that can be modded probably has this at some point. The fact that Sonic Robo Blast 2 still exists is a pretty good example of this philosophy. (Now if only Sega would've done the same for Streets of Rage Remake... But I digress from both your question and from Doom.) 

 

As for mods that got cease and desisted, I can't think of any Doom mods that had this (even infamous stuff like Laura Beyer's Doom), but I do remember an attempt to recreate Doom in Unreal Tournament called UDoom that got cease and desisted by id. Still got the files on my hard drive, too. Even though all it really got was a partial recreation of E1M1 and the weapons, that was enough for them.

15 hours ago, JD_Method said:

2.    Are there any examples of Doom being appropriated to represent the experiences or concerns of marginalised groups?

To the best of my knowledge, no, but it could be done pretty easily if someone wanted to. There's Doom mods that are more puzzle-oriented for example, or ones that reduce graphic violence (Chex Quest for example), and added flexibility via the source code and features mean that a mod doesn't even have to really be shooting or violence-oriented anymore.

 

So it's really just a matter of someone putting in the work.

15 hours ago, JD_Method said:

3.    The wealth of mods and maps available for Doom undeniably bestow upon the game an incredible depth of content and give Doom greater value. Do you agree that Bethesda/Zenimax, the current rights holders to Doom, benefit from the free labour of the Doom community? If so, how do you feel about this? Do you feel there is anything problematic about companies benefiting from the free labour of modding communities?

Clearly. A lot of people argue that Doom 2016's Glory Kills were heavily inspired by the Brutal Doom mod, and it's hard to argue against that once you draw comparisons to the two.

 

I see it as that a copyright holder and a modder can mutually benefit. Some games, the mods become so good they become officially added into the core game - Postal 2's AW7 mod is a good example. And as modders, most of us generally understand that there is a level of tolerance exercised by the copyright holder that they are free to revoke at any given time.

 

The really strong ones may benefit by breaking into the industry. That's hard to do now with Doom, but many of the great '90s mappers went on to work commercially on other big FPS games of that decade, that's a fact.

15 hours ago, JD_Method said:

4.    For those who make mods/maps, what is the appeal of modding/mapping to you? What makes modding/mapping for Doom more appealing than modding/mapping for other games?

Doom has some interesting limitations that aren't present in most unfettered 3D engines. I'm part of the mapping team for a project that is reinserting the maps that got cut from the Playstation version of Doom back into that game, and it's got even more technical limits and challenges than the PC version has. But it makes me smile when I see some people playing the map, and at getting a map into a version of the game that never had that map in it originally is a pretty unique feeling of its own.

 

Even if I'm swearing at the screen sometimes.

 

15 hours ago, JD_Method said:

5.    Why do you think the modding scene for Doom has survived as long as it has and continues to thrive to this day?

Continuing evolution plus relatively low requirements for getting it to run. We went from being able to create custom maps, to limited modding, to full engine source enhancing the types of maps and mods that could be done, to extending the engine itself with additions that increase that further still. Stuff like Action Doom 2 (which turns the game into a first-person beat-me-up) or Total Chaos (which barely even feels like Doom anymore) are excellent examples. As long as the engine keeps evolving, there will always be players who seek and push those limits.

 

Throw in that Doom is basically the most violent Hello World program that there is, and well, it's easy to see why it wouldn't surprise me if in another twenty-five years, us graybeards will be able to sit and marvel at how it's still kicking - but we somehow knew all along it'd make it. 

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Thank you very much for taking the time to respond, Dark Pulse. I really appreciate it!

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21 hours ago, JD_Method said:

How do you feel about copyrighted content being used in mods?

as any other modding community, i guess. if a mod is good, then people will say: "yeah, what a creative use of resources! do it more!" and if a mod is bad, people will say: "also, it is using copyrighted assets, which is a big NO-NO by itself." such hypocrites we are (and we enjoy this ;-).

 

21 hours ago, JD_Method said:

Do you agree that Bethesda/Zenimax, the current rights holders to Doom, benefit from the free labour of the Doom community? If so, how do you feel about this?

i don't think that they have huge benefits from us. if anything, they are doing free PR for us, promoting Doom games. anyway, current doom scene is mostly about having fun. if our fun makes them some money... meh. that is, until they're keeping their lawers on a short leash.

 

21 hours ago, JD_Method said:

Why do you think the modding scene for Doom has survived as long as it has and continues to thrive to this day?

first, because doom gameplay is excellent. it Just Works, and it works right. second, this is mostly because start mapping for doom is easier than doing "full 3d", i believe. so, good game + easy enter to mapping == alive and kicking. people love to be creative. we love new maps. the marriage settled in heaven! ;-)

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