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Posted (edited)

I am impressed that this...

 

 

...or this...

 

 

 

...have remained so ignored; asleep, to the otherwise keen eyes of today and now. Static and unfathomed, mostly brought up as fun facts at best, under the noses of all who have ever breathed while playing a first-person game. The worst traitor one can have is time.

 

Here's a bit of background. Enjoy my essay, which I am sure most of you already know most of, and feel free to skip to sections 3 or 4, which is where things start to get relevantly important. If you just want the main point, skip to sections 5 through 6.

 

 

| I. Where's All the Data?

 

Doom has had a very, very long lifespan, throughout the which a very significant amount of development was poured into everything Doom-related by the community. Even before John Carmack generously yielded to the GNU General Public License, there were already dozens, if not hundreds, of community projects regarding Doom. Sure, most were proprietary (if not commercial), but still many. Early names include DEU, DeHackEd, DeePsea, WadAuthor... just to name a few.

 

Of course, this just blew up the moment Doom v1.9's full source code was put on id's FTP servers. Boom! MBF! Frickin' liquids! Frickin' pushers and winders and blasters and animdefzors! In the early 2000s, there was no sight in the horizon to the end of all this madness.

 

 

| II. Enter ZDoom.

 

With its massive modding and extensibility capabilities (which is perhaps the primary selling point here), support for modern systems and paradigms, and more, ZDoom was a very influential and extremely popular source port from the very beginning. Spawning several multiplayer derivatives (Odamex, csDoom, Skulltag, Zandronum), many popular and influential mods of nearly cult classic status (NeoDoom, Complex Doom, Brutal Doom, ...), and with such a wide array of supported official games (Doom (duh), Heretic, Hexen, Hacx – heck'x, even Strife!), it is no doubt that this particular source port would remain alive for decades, and the torch of its dynasty for many more.

 

If ZDoom is Julius Caesar, then GZDoom is his heir, Octavian.

 

But if we're talking big things, then we need to talk big history. If ZDoom was Ancient Rome, then what was Ancient Egypt?

 

 

| III. History is Truly Epic

 

Of course, if we want to talk big, we want to take into account the depth of things. Before there was Sergeant Mark IV casting curses upon his microphone, before there was Marisa Kirisame converting your automap kill count into the dry razors of a narrator's throat and raspily vigorous voice, there was already 3D. Resuming in a few brief lines that probably fit in your 80-column terminal emulator...

 

  1. In the beginning, there were boring, depressed squares.
  2. But seeing it, Carmack complained, in His tongue of 386:
  3. "Let there be space partitioning!" And there were graph paper figures.
  4. Yet, with his ambitions unquenched, He said: "Let there be polygons!"
  5. And thus depth hath coalesced from the once flattened matter.
  6. However, a larger force suddenly appeared; shifting Him from His throne.
  7. In a deep, growly utterance, It demanded more than just sight and view.
  8. "Break the reality from its fabric, like you break the bark from the trees;
  9. And unite the three dimensions with the sounds and the feel."
  10. And then, at the blink of an eye, (and the roar of a computer fan,)
  11. Reality became faster, and more real, than ever.
  12. Accelerated, by whatever mystical voodoos and pentiæ;
  13. Suddenly, reality was too real to still be called real.

 

Before all the wonders erected from the temples whose foundations Killough and Ty and Randy and Graf laid, there was a monument bigger than all of those combined. It was rough, stonen, and bound to the sands and lands. Yet, it remained large throughout all of History, and stood the test of time.

 

Throughout the heights and mists of the 90s, a man – perhaps not a pharaoh's architect in name only – had vivid dreams. Having invented whole new ZZ-tools and ZZ-ideas and ZZ-concepts, he knew exactly how to change History forever. As he witnessed the rise of first-person shooters, and the massive explosion (pun not intended) of '3D' titles, Timmy realized exactly what his ultimate duty was. He quickly set for this. He already knew that he was set for something massive, and had thus already given his company, and greatest enterprise, the most fitting name; Epic Megagames. Sure, it sounded a bit cheeky, but it did convey the task laid upon his hands.

 

Gathering a small crew to aid in his edification, it took almost until the end of said decade. After years of hard work and restless honing, a scale which back then was actually mostly unheard of in the nascent game development industry, he finally laid his satisfied eyes onto his creation. Once filled with determination, he gasped in admiral of his own creation; imagine the pride! It was not just real. No, it was more than real. And hence, at last, became its name...

 

| IV. "Looks Real... but Feels Beyond Real"

 

Released in 1998 by then Epic MegaGames (and also a bit by Legend Interactive and Digital Extremes), and published by GT Interactive, Unreal quickly became a hit. When it was released, it had not only 3D graphics and eclipsing performance. It was immersive. It felt real. No, it felt more than real.

 

The then-advanced Galaxy sound engine made use of tracker modules, a music format that was far superior to MIDI, and more portable than PCM or Redbook formats; it was compact, and could be edited directly with the proper programs. It was already proven, from the then one-and-a-half decades of usage in the demoscene. Among other important things that made this thing a big thing, were

  • Objects!
  • Actors!
  • Replication!
  • Collision cylinders!
  • Colorful lights!
  • A migraineless level editor!
  • Constructive solid geometry!
  • Awesome music!
  • UnrealScript!!!

 

The environment was also spectacularly sculpted; with above average terrain, decent skyboxes integrated into the levels themselves, and massive open areas that almost put Quake II to shame, Unreal was a sight – and a sound – to be beheld. To this day, you may have seen the name "Unreal Engine", or the label "Powered by Unreal Technology", somewhere. In a disk's cover; stamped in a website; in an E3 trailer. It was in several places. The first names to use it were, other than eponymous titles (like Unreal Tournament), titles like Rune, or The Wheel of Time, or Nerf... or, perhaps you know this one better, Deus Ex.

 

| V. Surviving and Forgotten

 

You already got it. Unreal was great.

 

But, quickly, it was obvious that the evolution of 3D was only picking up on speed, for the foreseeable future; in less than a year, Valve's debut into the industry, Half-Life, was becoming one of the largest phenomena in the entire landscape of late 90s, early 2000s video gaming. Quickly, it was apparent that Unreal would survive mostly in its nonetheless prestigious name. There were still generations upon generations that simply added more nooks and crannies, and eventually entire new concepts, on top of a core that would, until 2014, remain largely unchanged.

 

But, somehow, most of the magic was lost. Forgotten. That impressive, tilty demo was now just a token from ages since gone by. Sure, the Great Pyramids were big, but they were still just a bunch of stone blocks carved into a pyramid. It was not "more than real" anymore. It was just a castle, whose graphics looked only slightly better than the appropriate for the time. It looked better than the contemporaneous Tomb Raider, but what was once a large difference quickly disappeared into one single amalgamated arché of memories.

 

 

| VI. Memoriae Ad Perpetuum

 

We once disputed each other, in word swords and plightly fight, over such petty matters. We competed to prove the authenticity, superiority, granderness, of our most beloved games. Was Unreal Tournament really better than Quake III Arena? Was having more game types – and a bunch of mutators – worth the noticeably slower game pace? I think it was.

 

But, deep inside, all those games shared the same sentiment, the same joyousnesses, and the same desire to be big. And they all were joyful, and they all were big. And it is truer than ever right this minuteness, that it is of essential and utmost importance to preserve the experiences of each other. Those disputes were friendly, and they mostly weren't all that serious, anyway. You surely wouldn't punch your neighbour over it. Those weren't the spark behind the Ides of March.

 

Everything is endangered to forgetfulness. There are archives here and there, but no matter how much JavaScript you can stuff into a single HTTP request, no web page can reinvoke the utter, moody vibe that seeped the innards of each and every of those beloved and everimportant pieces of software. Truly wrought miracles deserve to be known forever. And that is why, in this, that is pretty much an impromptu essay, I call for the remembrance of those adventures, peripeteias, highs and lows. Please put your thoughts and memories below. We will shed tears together!

 

                                                                                                                             ...hey, you! You're finally awake.

Edited by Gustavo6046 : Typos are the arch-nemesis of the latine locutor.

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49 minutes ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Was Unreal Tournament really better than Quake III Arena?

3 words: y e s.

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Redneckerz said:

The Corona Crisis brings a lot of creativity to the table i see.

 

But does it run Crysis?

Edited by Gustavo6046

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2 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Was Unreal Tournament really better than Quake III Arena? Was having more game types – and a bunch of mutators – worth the noticeably slower game pace? I think it was.

 

From comparing youtube videos, it looks to me like UT and Q3 are almost exactly the same speed. Which is to say, fast. I enjoyed Quake 3 a lot but UT was better. Domination? Assault? Massive rock temples floating in space? Did Q3 have any memorable maps???

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Posted (edited)

I don't want to take away from the great (?) essay here but I have to be the voice of reason. Q3A was much, much, much better than UT99. There's a reason why Q3A become the main AFPS and UT99 didn't.

 

6 hours ago, magicsofa said:

Did Q3 have any memorable maps???

 

DM6, DM17, DM13, T4

 

Edit: I don't want to turn this thread into UT99 vs Q3A so I won't make a new post about it, I'll just reiterate that the movement and weapons for Q3A are so much better than UT99. UT99 is fun for SP vs bots with mutators etc but when it comes to actual MP Q3A dominates it. Just look at this shit, it's 2good:

 

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by xvertigox

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Posted (edited)

Pfft. Q3CTF4 was fun, and some space DM maps were fun, too. But Q3 got boring quickly, and I only play it every now and then nowadays. Meanwhile, I am still full on onto UT99. There are like waaaaay more mods in UT99, which makes its funspan virtually infinite. But, even with just a few mods, the funspan is already almost infinite, granted those mods be carnage on their own.

 

For example, I like using Arena Match's Arena Physics mutator to max out the momentum scale (so any projectile will knockback 10x further, making for some chaos on its own already!), while using either the Carroteer Arena mode (from the Food Fight weapons mod), with those devilishly homing, deadily explosive carrots; or play some Jailbreak. It's really awesome!

 

———————————————

 

That's not why we are here, though. In fact, Quake III is pretty good on its own merit. Isn't this what Section VI is all about? That we are all equals before the trials of time?

Edited by Gustavo6046

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

 

But does it run Crysis?

The PC, Switch, PS3, X360, PS4 and Xbox One do.

3 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Pfft. Q3CTF4 was fun, and some space DM maps were fun, too. But Q3 got boring quickly, and I only play it every now and then nowadays. Meanwhile, I am still full on onto UT99. There are like waaaaay more mods in UT99, which makes its funspan virtually infinite. But, even with just a few mods, the funspan is already almost infinite, granted those mods be carnage on their own.

Having played both, they both have their qualities. I return more often to UT99 since i played that more as a kid (It was the game back then) but some years i went back to Q3 and its just as memorable, just different.

In terms of longevity (and open source) well Q3 beats UT99 every day given its ported to a dozen or so platforms and its clean renderer mean its still a good benchmark title to this day.

3 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

 

For example, I like using Arena Match's Arena Physics mutator to max out the momentum scale (so any projectile will knockback 10x further, making for some chaos on its own already!), while using either the Carroteer Arena mode (from the Food Fight weapons mod), with those devilishly homing, deadily explosive carrots; or play some Jailbreak. It's really awesome!

Unreal4Ever is where i am at with its Nuker.

A funny gameplay mechanic i discovered: Modify the weapons so that the only one is an Airblast) allows you to fly) and then use low gravity as mutator. The AI trying to use it in CTF maps like Lava Giant is just amazing.

And they get unexpected kills aswell from the side. Blowing AI away using that mode only for them to return (Because the Airblast allows you to propel and hover using UE's wonky physics) is just hilarious.

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14 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:
  1. In the beginning, there were boring, depressed squares.
  2. But seeing it, Carmack complained, in His tongue of 386:
  3. "Let there be space partitioning!" And there were graph paper figures.
  4. Yet, with his ambitions unquenched, He said: "Let there be polygons!"
  5. And thus depth hath coalesced from the once flattened matter.
  6. However, a larger force suddenly appeared; shifting Him from His throne.
  7. In a deep, growly utterance, It demanded more than just sight and view.
  8. "Break the reality from its fabric, like you break the bark from the trees;
  9. And unite the three dimensions with the sounds and the feel."
  10. And then, at the blink of an eye, (and the roar of a computer fan,)
  11. Reality became faster, and more real, than ever.
  12. Accelerated, by whatever mystical voodoos and pentiæ;
  13. Suddenly, reality was too real to still be called real.

 

 

this, my friends, is poetry.

 

(no proper insight to add but I did greatly enjoy this read and Q3 is always a better game)

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Gotta love how this topic with well written OP's post just devolved into a Q3A vs UT99 thread.

 

We had a Q3A vs UT99 topic sometime ago and I will quote my own post from that topic.

Quote

Personally, its a tie for me between UT99 and Quake 3.

 

On one hand, Quake 3 is much better than UT99 in terms of pure gameplay mechanics (better weapon balance, better item placement in maps, more fluid movement). This is a big reason why Quake 3 was vastly more popular than UT99 in the eSports scene. The game is easier to pick up compared to UT99 due to its simplicity, while also having a higher skill ceiling. The engine is also superior than that of UT99 in terms of features like having curves and better netcode. Quake 3 also benefits from complete source code release whereas in UT99's case, only the rendering part of the code was released I think.

 

However on the other hand, UT99 has much more fun weapons with altfires and more variety of options available when creating a match. Quake 3 didn't really introduce anything new to the table, whereas UT99 invented 2 new gamemodes called Assault and Domination (the latter of which found much popularity in modern shooters). The maps, while less balanced in terms of item placement, were much more creative in terms of layouts and atmosphere. The bots in UT99 also felt smarter than those of Q3A while also being customizable. The OST is also much much superior in UT99. The campaign is also more engaging (for a botmatch campaign that is). 

 

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I guess the only conclusion I can take from this is, bitterly, that any retrospective regarding 90s shooter games will devolve into Quake 3 vs. Unreal Tournament arguments. (I didn't start this!)

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It's important to note there were some huge technical caveats between the games, too.

 

Unreal, for example, had full colored lighting support in its software render. Quake II did not. Unreal arguably looked better if all you had was software rendering, but under Glide that engine just absolutely shone.

 

In terms of opensource, sadly Quake wins that one hands down. People have begged for Unreal Engine 1 to be opensourced for years, but so far, it hasn't been. (There are numerous leaks though, some even purporting to be full source code. Whether they are or not is another question entirely.)

 

In terms of gameplay, I'm a UT99 diehard. I played Quake 3 a bit, and it wasn't bad per se, but I can't help but feel like some stuff just relies on knowing some techniques that not everyone will know of or be good at (i.e; you'll never beat someone who's good at strafejumping if you don't do it yourself), plus in Quake 3 it felt like a whole lot of matches could devolve to a few types of weapons (rockets, railgun).

 

UT99, on the other hand, was a lot more grounded. You could dodge for speed boosts, yes, but crazy bunny hopping did you no good. The possibility of headshots also meant that you took sniping seriously, but you also had to play carefully with someone slinging Ripper blades through the hallways. Of course, you could duck (and smart players did duck), but admittedly in UT99 the head hitbox is hella big (basically shoulders on up). And remember, this was before the crazy dodgejumping and wallkicking that made it feel more like Quake. Throw in some original new game modes and the fact UE1 mapping did away with one of the most frustrating aspects of Quake mapping (ain't no holes here!), and it's pretty much "Quake 3 might've had the better gameplay, but UT99 had the better game."

 

Given the two, I'll pick UT99 any day of the week. If only the source code were properly released... or someone who couldn't wait any longer just began reverse-engineering the damn thing.

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Gustavo6046 said:

I guess the only conclusion I can take from this is, bitterly, that any retrospective regarding 90s shooter games will devolve into Quake 3 vs. Unreal Tournament arguments. (I didn't start this!)

Everyone knows Nerf Arena Blast was a far better arena shooter than both Unreal and Quake 3.
 


''Here's some for ya, bozo!''

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31 minutes ago, Redneckerz said:

Everyone knows Nerf Arena Blast was a far better arena shooter than both Unreal and Quake 3.
 


''Here's some for ya, bozo!''

No, we all know it's really Rock'n Shaolin.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

At least they did put some effort. That looks like the Build engine. The subway metro looked cool, too! Besides, much of the weirdness could be because the game had foreign (Asian culture) producers with little experience in actual game design. The same benefit of the doubt can't be given to those behind Nerf: Arena Blast.

 

On the other hand, Nerf is an Unreal Engine game. I am not sure which one I should support for Consulship in the Senate.

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1 minute ago, Gustavo6046 said:

At least they did put some effort. That looks like the Build engine. The subway metro looked cool, too! Besides, much of the weirdness could be because the game had foreign (Asian culture) producers with little experience in actual game design. The same benefit of the doubt can't be given to those behind Nerf: Arena Blast.

It actually is a Pre-Duke version of the Build Engine, yes. It came out in 1994, and if you're familiar with Build technical minutiae, it's map format 4 - the earliest public Build game ever - TekWar, Witchhaven and PowerSlave used map format 6, and all others used map format 7.

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Ah alright, that explains it! Also, Powerslave seems to have lightmaps, which is pretty cool, too.

 

I wonder how easy it would be to implement lightmaps into the Doom engine.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Ah alright, that explains it! Also, Powerslave seems to have lightmaps, which is pretty cool, too.

You might be getting the different versions confused. The PSX and Saturn version has a form of dynamic lights by have the geometry made up of uniform triangles and shades them accordingly, but they also aren't using Build (and that isn't actually light mapping). The PC version which used Build just has normal sector shading.

1 hour ago, Gustavo6046 said:

I wonder how easy it would be to implement lightmaps into the Doom engine.

Already done. It's only really a polygon (hardware) rendering thing, though. The Carmack renderer could technically do them via brute force, but... uhh...

Edited by Edward850

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Posted (edited)

Oh, okay. Vertex mapping lighting? I mean, the PSX one, which is the version I saw. Either way it looks pretty!

Edited by Gustavo6046

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1 hour ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Vertex mapping lighting?

Yup, Vertex lighting, just done with a lot of sub-divided triangles. Still fairly unique all things considered.

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Posted (edited)

When it was released, Unreal was absolutely beautiful. I had a picture from one of the later levels as the desktop background for quite a while. It's hard to relate just how amazing that game looked when it came out; but it blew everything else out of the water with it's expansive outdoor environments. Sure Half-Life and Quake 2 looked good back in 1998, but the idtech engine couldn't come close to Unreal's outside areas. 

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8 hours ago, Jello said:

When it was released, Unreal was absolutely beautiful. I had a picture from one of the later levels as the desktop background for quite a while. It's hard to relate just how amazing that game looked when it came out; but it blew everything else out of the water with it's expansive outdoor environments. Sure Half-Life and Quake 2 looked good back in 1998, but the idtech engine couldn't come close to Unreal's outside areas. 

Was it Terraniux? Please tell me it was Terraniux.

 

Although more likely it would've been the Sunspire or something.

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15 hours ago, Gustavo6046 said:

Ah alright, that explains it! Also, Powerslave seems to have lightmaps, which is pretty cool, too.

 

I wonder how easy it would be to implement lightmaps into the Doom engine.

I mean, on top of what @Edward850 showed, there is this:
 

Spoiler

3NdWfKW.jpg


And here is FreeDoom Phase C1M1 with ZDRay baked lightmaps:
 


It remains unfinished though, and it actually uses Kaiser's DLIGHT (from Strife VE) to help in the lightmapping, but well, provided you use the custom GZDoom build, it exists. I just wanted an all-in-one package with build to expose this feature some more. Huge thanks to Nash for providing pretty much all of the content and Rachael for hosting it.
 

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ZDRay looks cool! I did see it before when looking that up. I am slightly more interested in the portable potential feasabilities of Linguica's Cornell Box demo, or light-baked megatextures.

 

2 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Terraniux?

 

I didn't really like Terraniux' look from inside. It could have been the thing's shape from Noork's Elbow in the distance (which was pretty cool). I did also have a desktop picture of an Unreal level; it was, obviously, that boring rock boner. Duh.

 

Funny, though; the prettiest levels are also the most maze-like, and unnavigable. I didn't like going around in Terraniux, and I absolutely loathed running through all these seemingly identical passageways in the Sunspire over and over. Most of the time I'd just cross the same corridor, but sometimes, when I thought it was the same corridor, there was a gasbag, or a few pupae, or a gasbag and a few pupae, and apparently I hadn't come there before!

 

Might have to do with the size of these levels. After all, it is not among my interests to wonder what Chthon's been watching lately... but it's super effective!

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On 5/23/2020 at 2:24 AM, Redneckerz said:

Everyone knows Nerf Arena Blast was a far better arena shooter than both Unreal and Quake 3.

It looks like it could've been potentially successful, if only not for the AI.

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