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lerner

The /newstuff Chronicles #262

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Heh, Overlord runs just fine here. Pretty awesometastic wad, which is reminiscient of an older wad of Enjay's where the objective is to infiltrate this genetic engineering facility.

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Belial said:

Edit2: As for Maxima, there's a SSG at the start of map01, and the map itself is short and easy.



All three maps are short and easy? Or just map01? If it's just map01 what did you think of the rest of the wad, like the new player textures and such?

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Belial said:

There's nothing wrong with telekom.wad. It's a solid mapset that makes up for it's shortcomings in the design department with fun gameplay. Of course it's not exactly what you'd expect from a 2005 wad, but it's definitely not 'pure shit' either.

No, the reviewer was pretty spot on. I don't know if these were the first levels the person has ever made... but they're not very fun. "Fun gameplay", whatever that is (shooting more demons?) can't cover the dull 1994 architecture. Fun maps need both, and this does not deliever either.

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sargebaldy said:
fp! i'd rather all the maps had screenshots. i generally prefer playing the old ones, and it's nice to see what they look like rather than simply taking the reviewer's opinion.

True, or at least a schematic descriptions of the maps, in regard to what kind of layout, item placement, theme and styles were used. I got a slight idea of what type of wad the last one is only after Belial and Scuba Steve started discussing it (since I have a vague idea of what they prefer), but still don't have much of a clue about it, really, especially when 18 maps are in question.

Scuba Steve said:
Fun maps need both,

Fun maps need to play well, giving a decent challenge, and not getting unbalanced in one way or another (too much ammo, few monsters, etc.) The architecture, as the board where the action takes place, will always play a role in how well a wad may play, and thus in how much fun it is, but in other regards or in itself (in the sense of creating architectual structures per se) it has nothing whatsoever to do with fun, unless textures using saturated colors harm your eyes or make you nauseous, or unless the architecture is awkward or glitchy in ways that impedes or breaks an exciting game. You may call architecture "awesome", "artistic", "pretty", "badass" or whatever when done some way or another, but whether it is simplistic or more advanced won't define how much fun it is. If we're talking about fun we're talking about the ACTION in the game, not a design style. It's very simple really, "good looks" make a map good looking (and we don't all agree on what that is) and "fun gameplay" makes a map fun (which can vary with our playing style and tastes.)

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I call total bullshit. A good looking map is just as important to fun as gameplay. I fired up the map in question... no matter how "fun" as you so put it the gameplay is... the architecture is so bland it's no fun shooting guys in a grey box. Don't attribute Gameplay with "fun" and graphics as just "Oh well they don'ty have to be there to be fun". Total BS, to be fun, the whole package needs to be there... looks included. There's a difference between Simple and Ugly. something like Rex Claussen's Episode 1 remake is Simple. This map is just Ugly.

The opposite is the same. Deus Vult had very nice visuals but I didn't feel like playing it because the gameplay sucked... just 'kill monsters' in the console for me, thanks.

Don't give me the Gameplay > Visuals malarkey... both are need in equal doses to make something truly fun.

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Scuba Steve said:
Don't give me the Gameplay > Visuals malarkey... both are need in equal doses to make something truly fun.

A challenging and entertaining megawad could be made using like 16 very simple textures, 4 such flats, and mere geometric forms for the sprites, and sticking to certain restrictions on each map (light levels here, floor heights there, room forms here, only that monster there, etc.) Visuals are very important; they must be used continually to enhance the game, but of course as part of the game's way of playing, not as some separate category that alongside with "gameplay" must be good (as in pretty or whatever); visuals must play an effective part in that action that is the game. If the visuals aren't enhancing the way the game actively plays as a board where the action takes place, they are either a minor plus, redundant, or a hinderance.

As far as fun goes, sure, "gameplay" (its a game after all) is more important that "visuals" (an element of gameplay, at its best.)

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@Slathedoomer: Heh, my /idgames review needs more detail. So here goes: maps are short, simplistic and linear, with rather boring designs, and texturing that's either bland (map01, map02) or 'oldschool' (map03). As for gameplay, to make things interesting with a monstercount of 50-60 it has to be either Plutonia or Scythe. The only moments that go into the average difficulty area are the mancs+av and the cyber fight. The rest is very easy.

As for telekom, yes the first maps look ugly, but the later maps (probably because of the authors increasing experience) are made in a pretty unique style that's not common these days, because people like Scuba will call it shit. When I first looked at the automap I thought it's gonna play like a '94 'square room after square room full of monsters' wad. I hate those. But surprisingly the gameplay works very well, and the consistent semi-realistic approach that's seen best in maps like map09 and map10 vaguely reminds me of some KS maps. Also the last few maps end up pretty hardcore in the difficulty department and I'm all for that.

@Scuba Steve: I call total bullshit. Don't give me the Gameplay = Visuals malarkey. Last I've checked having fun when playing Doom came from killing stuff and beating hard maps, not admiring the funky architecture or whatever.

DV's gameplay is great. You just can't play it well enough to enjoy it.

Edit: I support the above post. The maps design is important in the way it supports interesting gameplay (layout of the rooms, arenas, support for traps and ambushes), detail is pretty much an extra element that won't be sorely missed.

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Belial said:

@Scuba Steve: I call total bullshit. Don't give me the Gameplay = Visuals malarkey. Last I've checked having fun when playing Doom came from killing stuff and beating hard maps, not admiring the funky architecture or whatever.

You know, you're absolutely right. Visuals don't matter for shit... why hell telekom is the best level ever made for doom! No no hear me out... just because the map looks like it was made in 1994 with a HEX editor... it's FUN because I can shoot the same monsters I've been killing for 12 years... despite the fact that the level can't hold ayone's interest for more than 30 seconds because the architecture is so boring no matter how many troopers I get to shoot!!

I don't know what in the hell you're smoking but visuals in a doom wad are just as important as the gameplay. Lose one, lose the other. Nobody is fucking stupid enough to sit through an abomination like Doomjr (sorry Cyb) today even if the gameplay was phenomenal. Well except you, because you live in magical "looks don't count world"... which consists of just you. Espi's map he released last year was phenomenal... because it was both fun to play AND he spent time fine tuning the gfx and architecture to be stunning. I don't give a shit how fun the gameplay was in it, I wouldn't have played more than 3 minutes if it looked like something made 10 years ago.

I stress this, the only wads worth playing today are those that are engrossing to play and look nice.

DV's gameplay is great. You just can't play it well enough to enjoy it.

Of course!!! It couldn't be the fact that 800 Mancubus are sitting in one room. because you know anything about how skilled a player I am, you can make such judgements?

Maybe you just suck so bad at art that you can't enjoy a good looking level!! That's it!

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Scuba Steve said:

A lot


You have some points, but I sure hope you are making a distinction between simplistic architechture and 'undetailed', ugly, boring architechture. I am able to enjoy an undetailed map, yet still enjoy it aesthetically if things are neat enough and excel in the limits of it's own detail.

For example, runbuddy (Michael Kraus, I believe) is not what you would call the most detailed map, but has clean lines, solid design, and, most importantly (heh), aligned and matching textures.

So be sure you make a difference between minimalism, as it is, and pure ugly shit.

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Oh of course. I pointed that out earlier... that simple architecture and ugly are two different things. I can appreciate a simple wad like some stuff I've seen from SargeBaldy, Ravage or Doomboy... but not ugly.

Belial said:

lol God hath spoken. Get over yourself.

Damn right, I'm glad we see eye to eye and could put this whole thing behind us.

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Scuba Steve said:
Nobody is fucking stupid enough to sit through an abomination like Doomjr (sorry Cyb) today even if the gameplay was phenomenal.

You called my opinion "bullshit" and resorted to ranting and pluralizing your opinion to try to bloat it, yet this is genuine bullshit in the real sense, since people would indeed play it if the gameplay were phenomental.

I don't give a shit how fun the gameplay was in it, I wouldn't have played more than 3 minutes if it looked like something made 10 years ago.

Fine, but many people, who like DOOM per se and aren't around merely to meddle with the resources/engine, disagree.

Maybe you just suck so bad at art that you can't enjoy a good looking level!! That's it!

Who knows, except enjoying art is passive and playing is active.

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Ugh, all this mumbo jumbo about how aestetics aren't a part of how a map plays again. It's really disturbing that some people doesn't understand that everything that is in a game is a part of the so amazingly ellusive and legendary and awesomepants gameplay.

The sound, the graphics the level design layout and aestetics are just as important as the code that makes it all run. Monster/item placement is just one part of the package.
Like Scuba said, there's a difference between simple and ugly (something that a lot of people seem to have no clue about I'm afraid). Some people might enjoy just blasting demons in a grey box. Most people doesn't though, because they want a complete package to get involved in the experience more than just arcade shooting.

Myk: Enjoying art is sure as hell not passive, in the least. I'm not saying you do, cause I don't know you enough to make such claims, but it appears to me, you don't understand art.

Anyway, what I was coming to was this.
http://www.nautrup.com/shaviro/gameplay.jpg

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Scuba Steve said:

Don't give me the Gameplay > Visuals malarkey... both are need in equal doses to make something truly fun.


thank you, someone finally said what i've been thinking all along. it's rare that i play anything from before 1997 nowadays.

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kristus said:
Ugh, all this mumbo jumbo about how aestetics aren't a part of how a map plays again. It's really disturbing that some people doesn't understand that everything that is in a game is a part of the so amazingly ellusive and legendary and awesomepants gameplay.

I don't know who you're talking about; but one may well say exactly the opposite; that since one understands how it all plays into the game, one can distinguish the importance and function of the different elements of the game, and how they fit.

Like Scuba said, there's a difference between simple and ugly (something that a lot of people seem to have no clue about I'm afraid).

So that's a lot of clueless people... but then, as shown below, they are just "some people" and "most" do otherwise?

Some people might enjoy just blasting demons in a grey box. Most people doesn't though, because they want a complete package to get involved in the experience more than just arcade shooting.

Right, lets plant flowers in football fields so they look better too, so that the players are more eager to play.

DOOM is an FPS game, and at its core a minimalist action packed one. People can also play other games, sure. Hybrid FPSs, RPGs... anything.

Myk: Enjoying art is sure as hell not passive, in the least. I'm not saying you do, cause I don't know you enough to make such claims, but it appears to me, you don't understand art.

Enjoying "art" in wad on the other hand, is, unless you refer to wad-making (as opposed to playing.) As far as DOOM goes, to play wads then we must all be designers, if this enjoyment isn't going to be "passive." But I can go enjoy a movie without being a movie-maker, or not? On the other hand, if I walk into DV and I'm not a well-practiced player, I'm fried imp-chow.

Which brings us to the Q&A segment, in which someone asked about Carmack's opinion of games as art, rather than purely as entertainment. Carmack was very set on games as entertainment, citing value to the gamer as his primary motivation and what he believed should be the industry's primary motivation. A gamer pays to play, not to admire.

Anyway, what I was coming to was this.
http://www.nautrup.com/shaviro/gameplay.jpg

This says what? Like you implied above, you think that play-oriented minimalist fans of the game (i.e. classic DOOM players) forget that the visuals, audio and "story" form part of the game? When playing you're looking at a screen and listening to sounds; that's your necessary and unavoidable input. For some reason you choose to forget, but know well that such players are well-aware of these elements, but give them the shape and usage that suits a game like DOOM. It's the mappers who need to play with details and looks; players don't really care, as long as the design isnt physically harmful and suits the demands of a good challenge, and unless they don't really play but admire.

There's nothing wrong with new resources and a tidy design, but if these secondary elements are pursued per se, they become as important as the board and the physics of the game and, at best, exponentially increase the design time. They might be in themselves worth seeing, but that only lasts so long, and it's misleading that they'll make a map any better to play. The immersive elements should not be treated like fundamental elements.

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Yay, flamewar!!1 Anyway, this is just the same old newschool vs oldschool people ranting about their already cemented opinions. I can relate to both sides in some way so I know where you all are coming from.

The C-N/doom2.exe/1994-nostalgia crowd and the 2000+ zdoom/legacy/detail!!1 guys will never fully understand each other's arguments even though both sides are in a way right. Arguing is just pointless, it's like religious people having an argument over the existance of god with an atheist, it just won't lead anywhere good.

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Erik said:
The C-N/doom2.exe/1994-nostalgia crowd and the 2000+ zdoom/legacy/detail!!1 guys will never fully understand each other's arguments even though both sides are in a way right.

Really? I fully understand where Scuba Steve is coming from; I just simply prefer pratically the opposite.

Arguing is just pointless, it's like religious people having an argument over the existance of god with an atheist, it just won't lead anywhere good.

And personally, I doubt that's a proper analogy; every time I discuss this stuff I get insights that affect the way I perceive play and design. I'm pretty sure other people do too, as they read other people's opinions and get an opportunity to see their own positions critically, as they present their arguments.

There's nothing worse really than seeing differences as destructive rivalries.

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On this whole gameplay versus visuals thing, why can't people just search the forums for those terms, find the 5000 or so matches it will probably turn up, re-read them and then move on? It's the same argument as many, many times before, with the same kind of views being put forward and it is just as likely to be resolved (ie not).

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Enjay said:
It's the same argument as many, many times before, with the same kind of views being put forward and it is just as likely to be resolved (ie not).

Why would it need to be "resolved"? On the contrary; a forum is a place of discussion, not an encyclopedia, and fundamental subjects (in this case related to the game) are dealt with continually. Theory is like that, you don't reach ultimate conclusions or truths; you argue the possibilities according to your position, which isn't set in stone. Do search for those 5000 or so threads, you'll see that any good participants will be bringing fresh elements to the discussion that's "predefined and doomed" only in silent prejudice.

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Erik said:

The C-N/doom2.exe/1994-nostalgia crowd and the 2000+ zdoom/legacy/detail!!1 guys will never fully understand each other's arguments even though both sides are in a way right.

I don't consider myself either. I just play doom for fun... and if it looks nice and isn't too frustrating to play I enjoy it. I can name dozens of very minimalist wads I enjoy. However I know what is crap, and what is simple. Even the most simple map can be aesthetically plaeasing if the mapper is talented (I really enjoyed the recent Classic Episode 2).

I also don't buy that visuals are just some passive, "they just exist" aspect. a good artist/mapper will not just create something appealing, they will engage the player with them. Why do we all play Doom in the first place? Why isn't this FortressOfDrRadakaiWorld? Because Doom was brilliant, and is for us nostalgia of the amazing package it delivered. None of us would have played Doom longer than a year if it looked like wolfenstein and played the same. The core of the game you so love relies on its groundbreaking art, sound and gameplay (at the time).

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Here's the way I see it.

It doesn't matter whether it looks good to you, or plays awesome to you, or is the best or whatever and whatever. Not everyone is going to like it, and those that do, will not like it for the exact same reasons as another. You learn to live with the fact that you cannot please everyone, and in trying to do so, you end up pleasing no one.

Doomjr is ugly. It was designed to be. It played awesome; I still loved it.

Action doom is pretty. It was designed to be. Gameplay wasn't something I was fond of; I still loved it.

Who bloody cares?

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Scuba Steve said:
Because Doom was brilliant, and is for us nostalgia of the amazing package it delivered.

Personally, I'm more partial to racks than packages. But really, DOOM was? I haven't deleted it from my system, and my most enjoyable moments playing it (I mean the game itself and not its add-ons, quite often great fun themselves) were probably quite recent, like last year (currently I play somewhat sloppily since I made some unusual changes to my setup.)

The core of the game you so love relies on its groundbreaking art, sound and gameplay (at the time).

I'd say the core is how it plays, both now and before, not just when it came out. Naturally, the contrasting or distinct textures and sounds are used well functionally to make that happen.

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I rthink you're just being naive on that. Doom made history because of its looks, sounds and gameplay. This is not debatable. The game became a worldwide phenomenon... not because it had "fun gameplay"... it was the whole package. If not for the phenomenal looks of the game, it would just be another banal fps we played and deleted in 1994. If you don't admit that, you're... well just wrong. Maybe 2 or 3 people would still have it and play it... but that's it.

Why do I still play Doom today? I can tell you I haven't played Wolfenstein or Blake Stone in years despite sitting on my hard drive. It's not that there isn't a lively Wolf3d community... people still mod for it. I'd wager almost all members of this community play new wads because they want to see what sorts of worlds someone can create for them to play. If every level ever made for doom used stock doom textures and looked like a map from 1994... there wouldn't be a doomworld or any community so to speak... we'd have moved on a decade ago. Fortunately, people continue to improve and expand every year what the engine is capable of... and that's really the only thing keeps many of us playing.

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Scuba Steve said:
Doom made history because of its looks, sounds and gameplay. This is not debatable. The game became a worldwide phenomenon... not because it had "fun gameplay"... it was the whole package.

I'd say DOOM "made history" first because it has an engine and a set of internal rules capable of delivering awesome action on a 386. Naturally, had the artwork and sounds been blotches and noises, it would never have attracted many sales, and had those been bad enough, rendered the game altogether unplayable (for practical reasons, aside from obvious first impressions.)

Don't come to me about "the whole package" because as I've stated repeatedly, the whole thing must be used to effect in order to create that kickass action; but every sound in DOOM is functional, and the textures and lighting are best used to enhance the action. DOOM isn't a movie or a set of touristic locales; it's a game.

I don't mind if other take the game as some sort of virtual LEGO with some additional interactivity, but that's not my thing (at most that LEGOish character plays a good role in the design process which is geared to putting the gameplay to effect.)

If not for the phenomenal looks of the game,

Do you mean the consoles plastered all over the ceiling or the moon base stuff inserted in hell?

I'd wager almost all members of this community play new wads because they want to see what sorts of worlds someone can create for them to play.

That seems to put playing on a second or minor plane (i.e., it's the LEGO business.)

If every level ever made for doom used stock doom textures and looked like a map from 1994... there wouldn't be a doomworld or any community so to speak... we'd have moved on a decade ago.

There's a lot of variety here, some like classic stuff exclusively, some new stuff only, other a variety of things (sometimes pretty specifically, sometimes more in general.) Naturally were there no one "expanding the frontiers" of the game (creating mods) this community would be smaller, just like it would be smaller if we didn't have people playing '94 wads or creating classic-engine action-oriented maps.

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No, consoles on ceilings isn't what I meant. I'm talking about the art itself. If doom looked like Wolfenstein... it would suck. The textures are unique, the level designs, until that point, were the most otherworldly places in a game to date. Part of the charm is that the game cannot be characterized as a factual locale.

My first memory of Doom? The shotgun going off. "HOLY SHIT" I said (probably not shit since I didn't swear), The gun Blew back firing wildly and then the player hefts the gun up cocks the shotgun in total movie fashion with that classic KA-CHUNK sound and lowers it again. Until that point games just had tubes of death, that dispensed bullets. Doom had guns as far as I was concerned... the first real game to do so.

Artwork is critical to games... JUST AS MUCH SO AS GAMEPLAY. Many people say that to be wowed by a games visuals is "superficial". Well I say that's a load of shit. Remember Beautiful design is not equal to Photorealistic. Viewtiful Joe was beautiful, but far from realistic. Probably half of what a game is... an experience... is derived from visuals. If a fps was just a grey box to kill shit, fps would suck. Doom and every "great" modification of it has appeasing visuals... otherwise what is it but a box for shooting some stuff. Look at Simplicity... VERY simple gameplay and classic Doom style traps... made infinitely more fun by the addition of unique architecture.

Look... Myk if YOU personally enjoy very sparce architecture in your Doom maps, then I can't argue with that. But when you're claiming that games are fun because of gameplay and visuals are just "there" you're one of a kind or a VERY small minority. Gaming is a full sensorial experience... gameplay, visuals, SOUND, environment. You can maybe drop the ball on one or another and still do well by sucking it up in the other areas... but burn a couple and you're hosed... no matter how great the gameplay idea is.

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Scuba Steve said:
But when you're claiming that games are fun because of gameplay and visuals are just "there" you're one of a kind or a VERY small minority. Gaming is a full sensorial experience... gameplay, visuals, SOUND, environment. You can maybe drop the ball on one or another and still do well by sucking it up in the other areas... but burn a couple and you're hosed... no matter how great the gameplay idea is.

As for selling games, I agree, such elements are utterly crucial for promotion. They are the immersive elements that move you to try the game (as opposed to the fundamental ones that make you keep playing it over and over.) And then some types of games aren't strictly games, but, like I mentioned above, elaborate interactive LEGO things where you create stuff (they exist primarily for the immersive experience.) DOOM, on the other hand, is pretty raw and works very well as a game. For playing, the resources must play a role in the action; especially in DOOM where people like John Carmack pushed so that it'd be that way (prompting Tom Hall out, who wanted a game with more extraneous and individually amusing elements.)

As for sparce architecture; we'd have to see how the map plays out; it might look clumsy and misaligned, but then the cheap architecture might be used reasonably effectively in regard to lighting or how things are placed, and might indeed bring forth some entertainment, possibly good replay value.

I respect you position and the way that you relate to the game, which offers many possibilities, but I clearly know that your assumtions that I'm a "very small minority" are quite incorrect and, more importantly, pointless, by mere interaction with people around the "DOOM community." At most they tarnish your case. Not that I'm really interested in what the "majority" is or how a majority would give my position any importance, or lack of. I mean, what, you post "for the people" in the name of the democratic majority?

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part of why i liked hexen so much was because, unlike previous doom engine games, much of hexen (at least after the first hub) actually LOOKED like something, instead of being just random rooms- or outright surrealness.

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myk said:

Why would it need to be "resolved"? On the contrary; a forum is a place of discussion, not an encyclopedia, and fundamental subjects (in this case related to the game) are dealt with continually. Theory is like that, you don't reach ultimate conclusions or truths; you argue the possibilities according to your position, which isn't set in stone. Do search for those 5000 or so threads, you'll see that any good participants will be bringing fresh elements to the discussion that's "predefined and doomed" only in silent prejudice.


All true. Perhaps seeking a resolution is not the goal here, and not really the point I was trying to put across either. In fact, it was the stagnation and repetition of this age-old debate I was bemoaning. I saw nothing being said in the great (and mismatched) detail versus gameplay debate that hasn't already been said many times before on these forums. There is a difference between debating continually and debating repeatedly. That's why I suggested doing a search and just re-reading what has already been said - because what you will find is almost word for word what was being said here when I posted. When I made my post, I saw nothing here moving the debate on to newer ground, no "fresh elements". I can't remember the last time any really "fresh elements" were brought to this particular issue. There isn't that much to discuss and I suspect all the major points were made some time ago. However, the topic comes up again and again and all that happens is that the same points get made over and over each time, often based on the flawed concept that detail and gameplay are mutually exclusive (although that was not quite the thrust this time).

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Doom looked and played better than anything that came before it, it was actually scary, delivering some genuinely frightening moments. I still think it has every other game beat on gameplay alone but without a modern port like zdoom or legacy etc its looks are pretty bad now. Doom II always looked crap to me, most of the levels looked like they were rushed and unfinished, almost like the designer didnt really care how it looked but it did have the super shotgun which made for some great closeup kills in deathmatch and it still had the same amazing gameplay as the original. The scabby looking maps encouraged me to design my own so Im not complaining.

Carmack is wrong to say a game cant be art, theres no rule that says art cant be entertainment, movies and the theatre are entertainment but also art. I see Doom as great entertainment (better than any movie) but also as an amazing work of art, as are a lot of the maps the community makes for it. Just like conventional art there is some good art but there are a few jackson pollocks too.

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