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Sneezy McGlassFace

Let's discuss the essence of Doom

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This really dawned on me watching @sandwedge's video about the fresh SELACO demo. Here's a bit ripped out of context:

 

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Look at all this, that's really cool but it just doesn't do it for me, you know.

 

Sorry about stealing your thumbnail, sandwedge

 

I also remember @Biodegradable saying that he didn't play anything else in two years. 

It really seems like once you get bitten by the Doom bug, it's hard to get back to the more conventional stuff. Doom has a certain gameplay vibe that I haven't seen in any other game. Selaco is a super impressive game from what I've seen. So is Ion Fury / Ion Maiden. So is Dusk, and Amid Evil and a bunch of other games. They're all great but they don't have the Doom essence, whatever that actually is. 

 

Look at Age of Hell, they took the base Doom experience, and expanded upon it. Even if you discount the slaughter sections, which are somewhat uniquely Doom. Doom doesn't equal slaughter. The Doom essence ain't it, chief. There are countless maps with like 30 guys in, evenly spread, and it feels 100% Doom. 

You can have super high intensity slaughter, and you can have laid back run gun fun. And it'll still have the Doom vibe. 

Can the essence of Doom be preserved if one doesn't have the monsters and weapons of Doom? 

 

And an idea I'd like to close my spark that'll hopefully ignite a broader discussion, what would a non-doom game have to have to catch the interest of seasoned Doomers? And perhaps the other way around too, bringing the non-dooming public in on what we have going on here. I believe there are many (or at least some) aspiring game devs among us in the Doom community. 

So what is it? 

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It's all in the name. Let it roll on your tongue. Feel it.

 

Doom.

 

No video game name quite measures up to it. 

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1 hour ago, Murdoch said:

Have said this before- Doom was lightning in a bottle. The right style mixed with the right tech at the right time. The one element that can be pinpointed to explain it's insane longevity is it's feel. But that really is kknd of multiple things. Movement. How the weapons work. The environmental design. The combat. Remove or change any of those and you kill some of the feel. One need only look at Heretic.  Its an ok game. But it doesn't feel as good as Doom.

 

You're definitely onto something here. Heretic is a great example. 

Do you think that no non-doom game can capture the uniquely Doom feeling? 

 

Also, I was thinking about the timing thing and I don't think I agree. When I was young, I didn't really like Doom much. Giving cash to strippers in DN3D, and feeling like an action movie badass felt much more interesting to me. Only recently Doom won me back. Also, the original Doom campaign is charming but doesn't hold a candle to done of what people were making since. 

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1 hour ago, Murdoch said:

Its an ok game. But it doesn't feel as good as Doom.

 

I've played a lot of retro-inspired shooters in the last few years, and I always feel that the least interesting ones somehow have less impact than Doom. When I say "impact" here, I'm trying to articulate the complex marriage of player/enemy movement, animation, sound effects and "weightedness": like your actions feel like they have heft; like enemies physically feel as if they they occupy the space they're in before, during and after your slug connects. It consistently blows me away how some modern indie stuff doesn't get that feel right, and yet something from 30 years ago absolutely fucking nails it.

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37 minutes ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

Do you think that no non-doom game can capture the uniquely Doom feeling? 

 

It's hypothetically possible. I think Doom 2016 actually came remarkably close for me personally. Obviously people perceive things differently so some people no doubt disagree.

 

39 minutes ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

Also, I was thinking about the timing thing and I don't think I agree.

 

For you personally that may well be true. But think of the timing on the wider stage of the gaming industry. For all the many games released over the last 60 or so years, there's very few you can point to that really either defined a genre, or dramatically redefined an existing one. Doom is definitely one. It revolutionised the industry and well and truly put FPS on the map.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Murdoch said:

One need only look at Heretic.  Its an ok game. But it doesn't feel as good as Doom.

I've been playing Heretic for the past couple days and I agree, coming from Doom the Heretic weapons don't feel as powerful as Doom's. While they do their job and the Tome of Power can really turn them into something interesting, their base look and feel... Not the strongest point of the game.

Spoiler

Some weapons are creatively designed though, the gauntlets of the necromancer is one for example, maybe also the Dragon Claw or the Ethereal Crossbow

 

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30 minutes ago, xX_Lol6_Xx said:

I've been playing Heretic for the past couple days and I agree, coming from Doom the Heretic weapons don't feel as powerful as Doom's. While they do their job and the Tome of Power can really turn them into something interesting, their base look and feel... Not the strongest point of the game.

  Reveal hidden contents

Some weapons are creatively designed though, the gauntlets of the necromancer is one for example, maybe also the Dragon Claw or the Ethereal Crossbow

 

I'd like Heretic a bunch more if the damage and enemy health was comparable to Doom. Everything takes a hella beating. A single shotgun blast reliably dispatches one or more low tier dudes if they stand close to each other. Having a plinker pistol makes all the other guns feel all the more satisfying. 

Hmmm, that's a part of the Doom DNA I haven't seen in many FPS games. 

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1 hour ago, Murdoch said:

I think Doom 2016 actually came remarkably close for me personally

I may be asking too much but could you articulate what makes it so? I think it would be interesting to get to some sort of .. eh, "conclusion"? I can't think of the right word. 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

There are countless maps with like 30 guys in, evenly spread, and it feels 100% Doom. 

I recently played a typical 90s shitty WAD in the ER/IWA event, and it just dawned upon me: If this was any other game, but the same exact shitty level, it would be an absolute ass experience. Yet, with Doom, even the shovelware-kind of WADs feel uniquely fun.

 

It's hard to pin point to the exact reason, but Doom has all the boxes checked to perfect balance. While sure, it's not actually a perfect game, it's the closest we'll ever get. The hype during it's original release was real, and with good reason. The fact that almost 3 decades later it manages to be relevant it's just insane. Even the ''Doom clones'' and predecessors never quite managed to find that sweet spot. Duke3D has a superior engine and potential, sure, but I dislike the enemy roaster and the confusing-realistic level design. Blood is unique and has a fantastic style, yet it feels like a punishment every time I try to play it and the experience becomes too slow and sadistic for me. Quake is pretty awesome too, and it improves upon the gameplay of Doom, being simple, fast and effective, yet even then it feels like it lacks the punch and cohesion that Doom has. It's hard to explain, but it gets boring after playing it for a while, while Doom still feels fresh, somehow.

 

I think the essence of Doom it's just Doom. The entire game works with all of its features to the brim. When you change its core mechanics, you start noticing the difference, and it's why so many gameplay mods get boring after a while. I started playing like that, a GZDoom mod user, and yet all mods felt dull and got stale after a while. Now the vanilla experience just feels so right on, even with its issues, it works.

 

And to make it even more beautiful, add all the decades of community made content and you have one of a kind. The kind of game that you can actually play eternal.

Edited by Endless

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Doom is basically really good. Talented programmers, talented artists, talented level and encounter designers, @Murdoch nailed it already with the “lightning in a bottle” description. It set an exceedingly high standard.

 

And then there’s all the mods!

 

5 hours ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

And an idea I'd like to close my spark that'll hopefully ignite a broader discussion, what would a non-doom game have to have to catch the interest of seasoned Doomers?


Fun combat, fun level design, quality (or at least decent) aesthetics. Nothing’s going to top the Original Three for me (Doom, Quake 1, and Quake 2) but I’ve still had a blast with a lot of these newer 90s inspired shooters and there’s only been a couple I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. Out of them all I’ve enjoyed Ion Fury and Rekkr the most, they’re some of the best shooters I’ve played.

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Posted (edited)

Doom for me is built on three "pillars" of gameplay: Action, Exploration, and Suspense. Doom balances each one well enough so that it doesn't feel lacking in any area, but this is where the clones don't "get it." Hell, most WADs don't hit this balance either. 

 

Not enough Suspense and the action becomes braindead, not enough Action and you have a very boring FPS, not enough Exploration kills replay value.  You can cram in as many gimmicks as you want (Strafe has Roguelike elements, Amid Evil has super mode, Ion Maiden has transphobia etc etc) but these usually just wind up being distracting and don't actively enhance the gameplay. 

 

As for what could get me interested in a Doom clone...not much. I've played so many from the 90's onward I am convinced that the only natural evolution to Doom was Quake. 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

I may be asking too much but could you articulate what makes it so? I think it would be interesting to get to some sort of .. eh, "conclusion"? I can't think of the right word. 

I think Doom 2016 is an important game to destill the Doom essence.

It's safe to say that Doom Eternal captures not the classic Doom experience, rather the combo heavy and flashy Ultrakill/Devilmaycry appeal.

Doom 2016 shows already some core features from Eternal (like the upgrading system and glory-kills), but has the Doom essence in some sort of form.

 

If we remove the Eternal-like parts of 2016 I think we have a small pool of possibilities.

 

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First: It's not the movement

The movement is a great part of the Eternal experience (parkour between combat, Hookshot, etc.)

While in 2016 it's limited to double jump and not ass air-control and 1993 we have just a high running speed.

 

Second: High-Impact weaponry

Even if you don't upgrade a single weapon, every weapon (with the exception of the pistol) just feels amazing to shoot with.
 

Spoiler

 

To consider "Lazy Purples" argument, why TF2s gameplay survived so long, it may be, because the main focus lies in burst damage weapons.

Only 4 continous firing weapons are in the game, while the other 5 is burst and the main form of combat. From the 4 non-burst options, only 2 are actually in the main-loop: Chain- and Plasma gun. The pistol is heavily discouraged to use and only as last resort and the berserk-pack makes the chainsaw unnecessary.

 

 

Third: Simple Gameplay

Sounds rather strange, but think about it: It is easier to learn 1993 combat than Eternal. Heck, you couldn't even look up or down in the first 2 games.

No story interuptions (beside text scrolls), no reload, no mouselook, no weaponmods, no gibs, no weakpoints,... all this is fat we can cut off without hurting the doom essence.

Spoiler

But thanks to Wolfenstein 3D, we can say for sure the line lies in height variation, where you must stop cutting, to have memorable maps to fight on.

 

 

I could count even more, but even now I see my current arguments grumble. Mainly because many fit into Wolfenstein3D, which you can't really sugarcoat, is bad.

 

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But here's one I have considered not many like to hear:

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I don't like Free Doom, even though it's just a retexture with better-designed levels.

It is the closed thing we have to a Doom-free Doom-experience, but I don't like it, seemingly, because it's not Doom.

I feel like many games just don't have a chance, because they are not in our well-known comfort-bubble and the more they try to get closer, the more unfavorable comparisons are going to be made.

39 minutes ago, Endless said:

I recently played a typical 90s shitty WAD in the ER/IWA event, and it just dawned upon me: If this was any other game, but the same exact shitty level, it would be an absolute ass experience. Yet, with Doom, even the shovelware-kind of WADs feel uniquely fun.

It think this comment supports this theory.

Edited by ChestedArmor

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35 minutes ago, Mr. Freeze said:

Ion Maiden has transphobia etc etc)

 

Major agreement with your overall post, but this needed to be highlighted for making me laugh.

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1 hour ago, ChestedArmor said:

Third: Simple Gameplay

That is a definite part of it.

 

But it's not just the gameplay. It's the entirety of the game design. For example, they had promised information terminals, something that ended up not actually existing. That means that the only interaction you can have on lines is opening a door or pressing a switch. There's no computer with a hacking minigame or whatever to unlock some data scroll about the lore of the game.

 

And yes, there's no real lore either. The protagonist is deliberately a blank slate so that he can be "you, the player"; but really it's the entire game that is a blank slate so that you can do whatever you want with it. They can be abstract nonsense and it doesn't hurt. They can be whatever theme you want them to be, from intricately detailed and realistic to utterly surreal.

 

With Doom 3 and 2016/Eternal, this is no longer true. There's a sense of place, a sense of progression. You don't have that "hey, I'll just load this random level and play it"; instead everything has to be a campaign. This is especially true in the NuDoom games where you have a ton of "unlocks" to do so you can have all your weapon mods and masteries and other miscellaneous upgrades.

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all i'll say is, no game ever really had the vibe or energy that Doom and Doom 2 did. the way the music weaves itself into the abstract, but still cohesive levels, which then heightens the gameplay. the gameplay is so simple, but somehow feels very responsive, even today.

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Posted (edited)

The essence is found in the strange but unidentifiable sense of comfort and engagement we get from a series of experiences that are "Simple" in nature and fast and powerful, but have the depth of an abyss with a backdrop of a beautiful crimson macabre.

 

THAT is DooM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Eurisko

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

Can the essence of Doom be preserved if one doesn't have the monsters and weapons of Doom? 

 

It depends if the monsters and weapons are really the essence of the game. If someone asked me what Doom is at a basic level, I guess I would say "exploring and shooting". But obviously to get the "spirit" of the game you need much more than that. Or the "vibe." It's hard to draw that line. Maybe the pacing of combat is the most important aspect, but on the other hand the style of the graphics and sounds contribute a lot as well.

 

Quote

And an idea I'd like to close my spark that'll hopefully ignite a broader discussion, what would a non-doom game have to have to catch the interest of seasoned Doomers? And perhaps the other way around too, bringing the non-dooming public in on what we have going on here. I believe there are many (or at least some) aspiring game devs among us in the Doom community. 

So what is it? 

 

The movement and combat would have to be spot on. It wouldn't have to be exactly the same, but I think there are some key qualities that probably most Doomers wouldn't want to give up:

- Player has to be able to move fast enough. What speed that is, I don't know, all I know is that I don't want to feel slow

- High damage in both directions. Most enemies go down pretty quickly, but they all have serviceable attacks and even a 200/200 player can be cut down fast

- Environments should improve combat, not hinder it or just be "neutral" (i.e. bland repetitive rooms/hallways)

 

The thing is, we all have our differing preferences. Some people enjoy arena battles, while others prefer the "wandering monsters" style. Some like counting shells, others like counting seconds. Some will never play the IWADs again... others swear by them. And some will not care very much about the things I listed above. But if your game is fun to explore and combat isn't a chore, then it will at least be palatable to most oldschool Doomers.

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Averaging the diverse experiences of the series over the decades, the essence could perhaps be boiled down to:

 

  • Strong art/sound/music direction that emphasizes occult, heavy metal, industrial, futuristic, gothic and arcane themes.
  • Rhythmic combat that feels like dance, favoring quick reflexes and improvised strategizing.
  • Environments that have a strong sense of pace and progression, emphasizing secrets and exploration.

 

It seems every Doom game has stuck to this design philosophy in way or another. Even the often-maligned Doom 3 has interesting spaces and plenty of secrets, not to mention combat that is unusually intimate and requires a bit more precision than usual due to the slower player speed. I imagine that one or more of these elements (probably the first) was missing in the cancelled Doom 4, which looked promising but clearly didn't have the mood of Doom in its DNA.

 

Blood is the only Build Engine-era game that feels Doom-y to me. It has that dark, sardonic feel, that gritty palette, incredibly memorable locations, the ghoulish monster designs, extremely macabre violence, etc. It was just darker and more brutal than the rest. Painkiller, at times, can feel Doomy, but its terrible soundtrack--lots of meathead metal with no sense of distinction or even lead work--and complete lack of emphasis on enemy placement makes it a really tedious, albeit fun, experience. That Doom essence has to work on all levels. There's a new shooter that is rhythmically-driven shooter called Metal Hellsinger, which looks absolutely obnoxious because the cool looking graphics/environments/mechanics are killed by over-compressed, overproduced metalcore where all that sound design going on in the game, and the riffs of the music, are drowned out by the overloud vocal mix, which is just constant screaming/growling. That completely destroys any balance the sound design might have. It's hard to get that Doom thing down.

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It's all about artists involved. Videogames are a medium of art, and as with any other painting, song or what-have-you, Doom is the artists who made it. One could spend a lifetime learning to repaint Van Gogh's "Starry Night," and though they might come close, the final essence of their painting would still reflect themselves.

 

In fact, I think that painting has significant similarities with Doom. The vague, wide brush strokes and vibrant colors leave interpretation to the viewer in the a similar fashion to Doom's deeply saturated, pixelated imagery. 

 

I think that during Doom's conception, ID's relevant artists were channeling into themselves, not for money or publicity, but for themselves. I think they must have been a group of deeply afflicted individuals who could still collaborate with each other (a rare scenario.) It would be like 4 Van Goghs working together on a series of 100 paintings. The bright colors and nightmarish depictions would satisfy their brains in a way real life could not. I think Doom had to be made for their health, and it's a miracle that they were able to do it together and package that raw self expression into something cohesive.

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This is generally a problem in art (and yes, video games are art, don't bother talking me out of my hot take)

Many try to replicate a movie/band/video game, and fail, for the simple reason that they fail to realise what makes the thing they love... the thing they love.

 

This happens a lot in games. There are tons, TONS of soulslikes - how many have captured the essence of Dark Souls?

They have slow, tactical, and challenging combat, gloomy settings, cryptic, obscure storylines, and so on... but they still don't have the same "magic"

The same goes on with the so called "boomer *pukes* shooters" that try to be Doom and/or Quake

Demons and monsters, lots of guns, fast action, pixely violence, metal-ost

 

Doom isn't those though...

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6 hours ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

I may be asking too much but could you articulate what makes it so? I think it would be interesting to get to some sort of .. eh, "conclusion"? I can't think of the right word. 

 

Again, it's the feel. I deliberately didn't mention Doom Eternal because the mechanics are so different. But 2016 has all those smaller elements that come together that make me think it's about as close to a truly up to date Doom experience as one is likely to find.

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40 minutes ago, Ofisil said:

Many try to replicate a movie/band/video game, and fail, for the simple reason that they fail to realise what makes the thing they love... the thing they love

 

Yes. It's also about timing. If The Beatles first showed up today they wouldn't hit the same they did back in the 60s to give another example from another artform.

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I'm going to commit heresy (heh) for saying this but I disagree with most of this thread. Doom is nice because it hits the right spot inbetween simplicity and complexity. Every mechanic is solid, every asset is easy to read and creating custom content for it is like using playdough.

 

Still, I disagree that it's the best or the most addictive game there is.

I like Heretic, Hexen, Quake, Descent much more than Doom and I feel they are all vastly superior in terms of gameplay, and that's only the games in the genre.

 

The big advantage that Doom has is how simple it is to get it running and how easy it is to make content for it. The other games are video games, but Doom is like a toybox.

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Hey @Sneezy McGlassFace no problem, that thumbnail is hilarious and glad I could inspire an interesting discussion, I've had fun reading through these.  I think everyone is touching on all the aspects that make up Doom, but it's hard to put it all together.  The fact that the source code was released and now we can all make levels is definitely a huge part of it, and the fact that the engine and levels are complex enough to be interesting to play but primitive enough to easily map for is a real sweet spot.  I really appreciate the directness and simplicity of the game.  They were extremely smart to jettison all the frilly stuff around the core experience and just focused on being fast, direct and impactful.  This still stands out to me today.

 

As you mentioned I talked a lot about this in the Selaco demo I played.  That's an example where I feel they added a bunch of stuff around the edges in interactivity, lore, systems etc. but I still was missing a fun core combat experience.  Obviously it's going for a different feel, kind of more a semi-modern shooter, maybe something like FEAR.  But in general I've found Doom has spoiled me with fast, direct, no-nonsense fun combat and a lot of games with tons of stuff built on top of it just feel excessive.  The way everything now has RPG-like elements like gun upgrades... dude, just give me a gun that feels good right away, you know?  I sound like such an old man right now but that's what Doom's done to me.

 

I'll post the vid here just because I actually talk a lot about some of these thoughts while playing through the demo, I hope it's not too shilly, lol.

 

 

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For me, Doom is just Doom. You get in the level, you kill demons and then you go to the next level. Everything just works, that's why there were so many Doom-clones trying to imitate it. 

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Mr. Freeze gives a shockingly good summary but @Murdoch and @Endless has , sadly, the best perspective. It's not like there weren't other FPS contemporaries that had good action, but they lacked the other elements and as such, have much less staying power than Doom does. It's like, Strife uses the same engine and has very good action, but the problem is that the artstyle doesn't contain the same striking abstraction. Descent is very fun but is fairly generic sci-fi,  Marathon which might have equal gunplay depending on your perspective,  is creepy, but lays the sci-fi theme even thicker, has an aesthetic that's just not as engaging over the long term. Plus exploration can feel a just a little bit too aimless at times with an overall level quality best described as 'shoddy.' Dark Forces is also an excellent game, but unfortunately has to keep within the Star Wars limits.

 

To answer the other question....is there a retro shooter that could mimic the feel solely of an id game? Probably, however, I don't really think you could nail the artstyle. It was a product of the 90s in many ways, and coming up with a comparable hodgepodge that both pays tribute to and expands on said style...doesn't really seem to be in the cards right now.

 

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I'd say Doom's essence is tied to its ease of moddability. All the good things flow from that.

 

The first thing is there is a lot of it. You're not going to like every Doom wad out there. Probably not a majority of them. But there's still so much Doom out there that with some basic selectiveness, the pool of Doom wads someone will reasonably enjoy is practically inexhaustible. So everyone out there, even if they only liked about a third of wads (a different third for each person) and weren't really into the rest -- which I think is actually typical  -- would have a practically limitless selection of good wads to enjoy.


Frankly, games as a whole are obviously theoretically inexhaustible in this way too, but the flipside of Doom's ease of moddability is its ease of reconnaissance; at this point Doom is a framework for effortlessly trying many different wads, whereas you have to install every individual game or demo you play. So it's ridiculously cheap -- not just monetarily, but in its time and effort cost -- to find Doom wads you're into, which makes it even more self-sustaining. There's little downside associated with playing a wad and finding early you don't like it. For a game demo, there's probably a wait for the download and install, and then as Sandwedge's video shows, a good chunk of time playing time down the drain. If I'm really going to bounce off of, uh, Down the Drain, I can find that out in a quick drag-drop to my launcher and maybe 10 minutes. :P 

 

~

 

Doom's ease of modding is not just that a skilled author can open up an editor for an hour and make a decent map, it's also that it's very flexible: starbases, hell, medieval grottos, fantasy cloudscapes, MyHouse.wad, all feel innately Doomy. There's something loose and ambiguous in its aesthetics that permits that. You can play your whole life with vanilla mechanics, but there's even a great gameplay modding scene that has produced a lot of works I've sunk many hours into. Doom is a fully self-sufficient medium if you're omnivorous enough -- or even if you're not. Even when you're playing a rougher Maximum Doom-style 1994 map, a lot of the charm there is in the extensive conversation it has with modern tropes -- namely in its clear absence of those -- and that's possible only because there are so many wads made for the game.

 

Every time you're playing a pwad, you're not really playing a sui generis creation, you're playing something that stands on the shoulders of accumulated wisdom, tropes, to come before it. Which happens because Doom is so easy to mod so the community was able to iterate towards designs a million times faster. 

 

By contrast, every standalone game you've played, no matter how well tested and crafted it was, is essentially "cycle 1." It's one of the first things ever made for its gameplay mechanics. The meta isn't especially fleshed out; the creator hasn't really gotten the most of what is truly possible. They couldn't have. That takes a lot of actual players playing and figuring out the nuances of how the game works -- then designing around that, iterating into infinity. If a game was super easy to mod and we ended up playing the 5000th custom DLC campaign for it ever made that got the equivalent of that community's Cacowards, we might have very different opinions of it and its gameplay depth. But not a lot of FPS games get to that point. Because they're not so easily moddable.

 

~

 

I actually disagree with some points upthread. As much as I like them, I don't think Doom's base mechanics and game feel are perfect. I would describe those as "very good" -- but only borderline that. It has definite holes and weaknesses. But a lot of those holes, luckily, don't matter a great deal; there are things like the pistol being superfluous, which can be smoothed over by map design. (Again, here's where it helps that Doom is so ridiculously moddable that people have iterated endlessly and figured out how to smooth out many of its weaknesses.) It is a lot better than something like Heretic, but I don't think Doom's enduring popularity is explained by its mechanics and game feel being beyond reproach, as much as it's a very strong "good enough."  

 

Even more than Doom is good, though, it's really likeable: a rag-tag bunch of creatures like the imp, the revenant, the arachnotron, the archvile. Doom has aged very well. If you think about it, base Doom has lots a lot of its original luster; it's no longer scary by modern standards, it's no longer technologically advanced. It's far from either of those things. But it's pretty lucky then that it had the elements required to be a very cute, (memeable) game now that it's no longer scary. And to become a pretty, artful game now that it's no longer very technologically advanced. Basically, it had what it took to be "rebranded" as it aged. This rebranding is arguably even better than the original! These "gestalt" factors matter imo as much as its mechanics and feel.  And there's definitely a luck element there in how well it aged, because I don't think that could have been predicted.

 

~

 

As an addendum: imo a lot of gameplay mods are flat-out better in terms of mechanics and feel than vanilla Doom, but the drop-off they suffer is a) they don't have mapsets designed specifically around their mechanics, which loses a lot; as much as I love some mods, I eventually need to play something that has an intimate marriage of intentional level-encounter design and base mechanics, which the pwad scene offers in abundance for stock Doom, but which is very rare for gameplay mods; b) they don't have the advantage that comes from everyone already knowing the meta. Every new "meta" you learn, no matter how enjoyable it is, has a time and energy cost. And that is a final edge Doom has over games too; you don't have to relearn it, or most of it at least, with every new pwad you play. And that's possible, yet again, because it's so ridiculously moddable.  

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19 hours ago, Sneezy McGlassFace said:

Also, the original Doom campaign is charming but doesn't hold a candle to done of what people were making since. 

I never liked this rationale, even though it's true.

 

It's like saying the Model T doesn't hold a candle to the Ferrari - the Ferrari wouldn't exist without the Model T, so in terms of "cultural and scientific importance for humanity", that Ferrari better know its place and bow in reverence.

 

I feel the same way about "better" maps than what's found in vanilla Doom/Doom 2. The maps made since are only "better" because the base campaign did like 80% of the foundational work that the new stuff was built on!

 

I'm over-explaining the very basic concept of an average-height person standing on the shoulders of a giant and claiming to be the tallest in the land, I know, but I feel like it's worth reminding people of and just generally acknowledging from time to time.

 

---

 

Off the back of what rd said, I don't think "perfection" is even possible in the realm of potential Doom gameplay feel, primarily because the very concept of "quality" or "perfection" is 100% subjective, but also because every other game (or toybox, or whatever we want to call Doom) also falls in the same trappings. The additions that make Doom gameplay perfect for me will surely make the game worse for others. What I might see as an enemy that fills an obvious hole in Doom's roster, another player is liable to see as unnecessary fat best stripped away from the experience.

 

With subjectivity accounted for, I struggle to think of a better template for "building a basic and fun FPS experience" than Doom. The closest human beings can come to perfection with something like this is being "a versatile crowd-pleaser", and Doom most certainly is that!

 

Basically, I want to echo the overall sentiment, and add on that Doom's ability to be made "perfect" for the end user so easily is another huge part of its draw. If the stock roster is perfect for you, there's genuinely more content out there ready-to-play than any human could in their lifetime. But, if you just see Doom's assets as "neat, but in need of refinement" - it's literally just a few hours of learning and modding between you and that vision of "personal Doom perfection".

 

The fact that I can even write this kind of stuff about Doom means that, for me, it's as close to perfect as one could expect - and a lot of the gameplay mods I've made/played are also their own "perfect experience", adjacent to that of vanilla Doom gameplay.

 

Ok I'm gonna stop ranting now or else I'll just keep typing!

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