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aSeriesOfNumbers

Doom Sprite History

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Posted (edited)

I've always been so fascinated with the sprites and their history in classic Doom. I know some of them are either drawn, or just digitized pictures from real life.

Especially the hanging bodies on the ceiling. They look more realistic than any other corpse in the game.

Does anybody know if they are actual people that are posing for the picture, or are just drawn? Because they don't look consistent with any other sprite.

tumblr_inline_msf4veWMJF1qz4rgp.png

Edited by aSeriesOfNumbers

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It's been long debated. Some of them think that they're partially both - some think that one on the left is actually a doctored version of Mussolini hung up after he was executed.

 

We may well never know. Unless someone wants to track down Adrian Carmack (ha) or Kevin Cloud maybe?

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I remember it being brought up and speculated several times in the past whether the hangman sprites are based on Mussolini and his wife hanging, and if so to what extent. In particular I remember someone saying something about the lower or upper body of the sprite being likely based on them, but unless Adrian of Kevin can weigh in all it can be is speculation.

 

Although not a sprite, some of the textures for Doom were actually based on an injury Kevin Cloud had on his arm.

 

5x5JG8P.png

 

NRToOW6.png

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I think it's quite possible that it's based upon this fasci-hanging. At least the left one. And the right one is probably has it's roots in another war-time photograph too. It looks like the corpse was originally lying on the ground.

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Posted (edited)

Here's another very similar thread with some interesting info on these sprites:

 

Apparently they are indeed hand drawn, I have no idea how they got them to look like low quality photo-to-sprite conversions so accurately, but they did. They're cool sprites, they just stand out like dog's balls compared to most other Doom sprites. Despite being a bit more bland I actually think the earlier version of this sprite jives a lot more with the rest of the Doom art assets, but that might just be me. It looks a lot cleaner as well:

 

U7ZiVzZ.gif

 

EDIT: Just looking back through that thread I linked, it tapered off in a weird spot, but it basically left me with the conclusion that these were in fact digitized from a G.I. Joe figure, as noted in multigen.txt (included in the Doom utilities released by id Software). So.. If that is indeed the case, then what's the deal with the "clean" Jaguar version of the sprite? Revenant100 makes an excellent case for it being an earlier version of the graphic, but if the sprites were digitized, surely the grainy/dirty variant is the earlier version? There's still a lot here that needs to be investigated as far as I'm concerned. Despite the strong argument for the Jag version being earlier, if these are indeed digitized photos of G.I. Joes - once again, this is suggested by id's own multigen.txt - then what's the deal with the Jag version? Why does it even exist? Was it made later in development of the PC version but accidentally not included, but then snuck it's way into Jag Doom somehow, despite Jag Doom itself including a fair few earlier variants of sprites and textures?

 

Each individual piece of evidence points in a totally different direction. It's goddamn bizarre, I need clean-cut, proven answers, dammit! Someone needs to get on the phone to Romero!

Edited by Doomkid

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Romero may well not know, but he's probably the only person who could get in touch with Adrian Carmack, who might know.

 

Its either him or Kevin Cloud, after all.

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23 hours ago, Stale Meat said:

some of the textures for Doom were actually based on an injury Kevin Cloud had on his arm.

*head detonates*

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I don't believe the console version is an earlier version. If anything it's a later version. Perhaps is wasn't finished in time for the PC release.

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5 hours ago, Gez said:

Perhaps is wasn't finished in time for the PC release.

That would mean the textures missed not only Doom but Doom 2 as well.

 

Regarding more context for the Jaguar timeline, note that Jaguar Doom has this as its title screen graphic:

M_TITLE.png.e4dcfb049e73cc4db9ce825ab6acb6bb.png

 

Which is conspicuously different from the intermission screen graphic used in Doom 2, which was developed before Jaguar Doom:

INTERPIC.png.aaea35ba248a910fa55fe2707ccaa9a5.png

 

Note that the Jaguar menu image is uncropped at the top, is rotated slightly, and bears the telltale marks of their camera. This is because that graphic is based on the original digitized photo of Adrian's artwork before it was cleaned up. This is more corroboration of the notion that id actually sourced earlier unfinished art assets while working on Jaguar Doom.

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I'm inclined to say it's touched up photos of some kind of dressed up doll. Mostly because of the lighting.

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One version of the image has terrible contrast values, stray pixels, and an art style completely different from the rest of Doom. The other has is cleaned up, consistent with the rest of art in the game, no odd beige pixel on the dark green pants, slimmer thighs, more details. Should I really believe that they started from the PSX guy and decided that what it needed was to have its art style changed so it's no longer recognizable as belonging to the "Doom" game, with a huge solid black shadow, enough highlights to make it look like it's wrapped in cellophane, some thunder thighs, and gratuitous stray beige and gray pixels?

 

There's the question of the walls behind but we know, since the same picture is used as a sprite, that the brick background and the mutilated corpse on it are separate elements. Perhaps they accidentally baked the old wall in this version and when they redid the walls they just lazily used the old sprite instead of the cleaned up version. But in any case, the faceless guy with the orange torso and the noisy pants looks worse than the one in the console version.

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1 hour ago, Gez said:

One version of the image has terrible contrast values, stray pixels, and an art style completely different from the rest of Doom. The other has is cleaned up, consistent with the rest of art in the game, no odd beige pixel on the dark green pants, slimmer thighs, more details. Should I really believe that they started from the PSX guy and decided that what it needed was to have its art style changed so it's no longer recognizable as belonging to the "Doom" game, with a huge solid black shadow, enough highlights to make it look like it's wrapped in cellophane, some thunder thighs, and gratuitous stray beige and gray pixels?

 

There's the question of the walls behind but we know, since the same picture is used as a sprite, that the brick background and the mutilated corpse on it are separate elements. Perhaps they accidentally baked the old wall in this version and when they redid the walls they just lazily used the old sprite instead of the cleaned up version. But in any case, the faceless guy with the orange torso and the noisy pants looks worse than the one in the console version.

I disagree, I think having it look closer to a photo makes it more sinister. The cleaner version just doesn't jump at me as much, and is more clearly a cartoonish illustration where the noisier one could be a real person.

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Again:

rgYpSjv.png

Look at the rest of the gore. Including the gore new to Doom II (top right series of sprites, splatted bodies on brown bricks).

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Well I could hear arguments one way or the other about which one looks better, but once again I’m left with strong cases from both Revenant100 and Gez that lead to totally opposite conclusions! Only Doom development stuff could leave one with this many questions.. Or perhaps we’re just more obsessed than most.

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I have fixed the Jaguar graphic by bringing in some of the improvements of the PC version. Much better with these little touches, don't you think?

 

fv36uSD.png

 

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Add about 100 random black pixels into the legs and you’ve got a beautiful sprite on your hands

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The only thing unfortunate about that jaguar texture is how the Green Brick is stylized in a different way than the Green Brick textures in the base game. It would need to be totally overhauled if you wanted it use it with the other textures and not have it stand out like a sore thumb.

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I gotta be honest, the Doom 2 bodies were disappointing and the Doom 1 bodies are perfect in my opinion. Doom 2 looks cartoony, Doom 1 I would stare at the decorations while traveling through the levels in morbid fascination and disgust back when that stuff was cutting edge.

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yeah I'll admit there's something I like about their visual style, it's distinct and it looks kinda unpleasant, as they should. That said, I do think there would be value in improving them some, since the random colors on the legs Gez has pointed definitely detract from it to some degree.

 

I don't really mind the doom ones that much too, though. It's a bit more in line with the rest of the game style and fits well with the impaled guys from the first game, which also fit in reasonably well. They actually look like the marines and zombies.

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Posted (edited)

It's so, so easy to bitch and piss and moan about stray miscolored pixels and how stuff looks fugly when we have Photoshop and the modern technology of 2019, and we apparently forgot that these things were getting digitized using comparatively primitive 1992-1993 photographing and digitization equipment, and a hand-written utility to take things down from true color to 256 colors, which itself wasn't great and distorted the images and forced manual touchups anyway.

 

Sorry if they couldn't do things perfectly, I guess?

 

My bet is the reason the Doom II ones look "better" (and that's definitely subjective) is that they decided that the digitization stuff was indeed crap and/or too much work, and so decided to hand-draw the new stuff. It's obviously more consistent, but at the same time, it somehow comes off looking more flat to me, personally. No matter your skill as an artist, back then you just weren't going to replicate the nuances of light bouncing off a real, physical object like the Doom I ones did (which is honestly why I believe they're photographed/doctored figurines or whatever).

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8 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

It's so, so easy to bitch and piss and moan about stray miscolored pixels and how stuff looks fugly when we have Photoshop and the modern technology of 2019, and we apparently forgot that these things were getting digitized using comparatively primitive 1992-1993 photographing and digitization equipment, and a hand-written utility to take things down from true color to 256 colors, which itself wasn't great and distorted the images and forced manual touchups anyway.

 

Sorry if they couldn't do things perfectly, I guess?

I think you're preaching the choir here, Gez wasn't bitching about the quality of the sprite, he was just making his case for why it is indeed the earlier graphic and the more cleaned up but more basic looking one did in fact come later. Stray pixels and use of messy colors is pretty strong evidence for it being a digitized photograph. It does make me wonder how a later version of a sprite ended up with a bunch of other, earlier versions of assets in Jag Doom, which really is the underlying mystery here.

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21 minutes ago, crazyflyingdonut said:

The only thing that bothers me is that they didn't bother re-adding the Baron corpse for Doom 2. It's only in Doom 1.

They probably just didn't end up using it and therefore tossed it out to conserve space.

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1 minute ago, whirledtsar said:

They probably just didn't end up using it and therefore tossed it out to conserve space.

They certainly didn't do that for stuff like the leftover "READ THIS!" from Doom 1, still in the WAD file for Doom 2, albeit unused.

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they had automated processes to figure out which textures are unused and prune them, it didn't apply to other WAD lumps though due to how id internally compiled the game wad. The texture pruning wasn't perfect, since occasionally textures would become unused later on with map updates (at least in doom 1) and the way the game worked made it so that unused switches still had to be defined.

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