QUIVER - A new TC for [Eternity?] [Still in Planning Stages, NOTHING is Official]

Strife is a wonderful game... I wonder why there are so few strife add-ons here around.

L.

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Stilgar said:

Speaking as one of the founders of the Blasphemer project, who's learned about these things the hard way, NAY. It may sound fun at first, but eventually it's going to not be, and you realize that you're just spending effort on re-making a game for free that someone already made and got paid for when you could be putting that effort to making your own new game instead, with an engine that's easier to work with than Doom's with all its peculiarities, and without the legal grey area that doing these clone-off reskin projects entails.


One of the nice things about Freedoom, Blasphemer, and other similar projects is that they can be used to run the vast, ever-expanding collection of PWADs. A completely original game gives you more freedom and less potential legal problems, but it'll just be one of many other games out there, with little or no add-on support.

There was a project (Dumb engine) long ago that tried to be a superset of Doom and Heretic. It actually shares no source code with Doom and is instead derived from another, older free engine (wt). The site and source codes are still around today:
http://www.samba.org/dumb/

Even though it it could use Doom and Heretic IWAD and PWAD files, it also came bundled with its own original "world", just to show off the capabilities of the engine. But I don't think anybody ever expanded on it. The engine could probably be modified to support Hexen, Strife and maybe even other games of that era. Or even entirely brand new stuff altogether...

Is it worth it though? Or is vanilla Doom's IWAD format and engine good enough?

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hex11 said:

One of the nice things about Freedoom, Blasphemer, and other similar projects is that they can be used to run the vast, ever-expanding collection of PWADs. A completely original game gives you more freedom and less potential legal problems, but it'll just be one of many other games out there, with little or no add-on support.

The PWAD compatibility factor is IMO overrated (especially for Heretic, which has few add-ons and fewer that are worth it) and problematic in itself (do the reskins fit with replacement textures based on the game you're cloning, if the WAD adds some of its own? Not likely, unless you're copying stuff too close for comfort. And what about more extensive mods? Then it gets even worse.) If you want to play stuff made for a particular game, play them the way they were meant to be (in the game they were made for.)

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Stilgar said:

The PWAD compatibility factor is IMO overrated (especially for Heretic, which has few add-ons and fewer that are worth it) and problematic in itself (do the reskins fit with replacement textures based on the game you're cloning, if the WAD adds some of its own? Not likely, unless you're copying stuff too close for comfort. And what about more extensive mods? Then it gets even worse.) If you want to play stuff made for a particular game, play them the way they were meant to be (in the game they were made for.)

I agree with this. PWAD compatibility in a resource replacement set like FreeDoom will inherently never be able to work properly with WADs that use any Doom-based custom content, which there are an endless amount of.

Not only that, but encouraging it for a separate IWAD seems rather illegitimate: content (textures, sprites, etc) based on Doom's resources can legally be used only under the condition that the project containing them requires Doom itself in order to run. I realize this restriction is often skirted in the community in regard to mixing games' resources together, but for a project aiming to be a legal, Free-licensed original game it seems inappropriate.

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Marnetmar said:


please forgive me, its just when you kept going on about how "Doom like" the project should be and how the gameplay should be the same as Dooms and how the levels should be abstract like Doom and the atmospher should be like dooms I thought that it would save a lot of time if you just made a doom wad with new textures and maybe new sprites.

Of course, reading all your posts properly I see that you changed your stance as people started to complain and point out how pointless the original idea was so that link is justified I guess for me not reading all the posts.

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I played extensively using the Freedoom IWADs + Chocolate Doom and found only a small subset of PWADs to not work properly. Even full-fledged TCs like School Doom and Aliens TC worked fine. I think the only time you'll run into major problems is if a PWAD replaces only part of a sprite's frames, which then leads to the sprite alternating between the modified id sprite (contained in the PWAD) and the completely different Freedoom IWAD version. But I only encountered that problem in a small percentage of PWADs. More often, I found modidified id textures, but those blended in fine with the Freedoom ones. And of course, most vanilla PWADs are just plain maps with occasionally some new music and/or sound FX.

So I've found Freedoom to be quite usable for the purpose of running PWADs. It does have a slightly different flavor than id's version and that's to be expected since the game can't legally be too close. I don't think that's a bad thing, and any similar project should also try to distance itself enough, not only to avoid legal problems but also because it then creates a unique experience of its own.

Btw, another merit of using the Doom engine vs. a completely new game is that plain old vanilla Doom nailed the gameplay in ways later games didn't match, despite arguably better engine technicals and graphics, etc.

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hex11 said:

I played extensively using the Freedoom IWADs + Chocolate Doom and found only a small subset of PWADs to not work properly. Even full-fledged TCs like School Doom and Aliens TC worked fine. I think the only time you'll run into major problems is if a PWAD replaces only part of a sprite's frames, which then leads to the sprite alternating between the modified id sprite (contained in the PWAD) and the completely different Freedoom IWAD version. But I only encountered that problem in a small percentage of PWADs. More often, I found modidified id textures, but those blended in fine with the Freedoom ones. And of course, most vanilla PWADs are just plain maps with occasionally some new music and/or sound FX.

So I've found Freedoom to be quite usable for the purpose of running PWADs. It does have a slightly different flavor than id's version and that's to be expected since the game can't legally be too close. I don't think that's a bad thing, and any similar project should also try to distance itself enough, not only to avoid legal problems but also because it then creates a unique experience of its own.

Btw, another merit of using the Doom engine vs. a completely new game is that plain old vanilla Doom nailed the gameplay in ways later games didn't match, despite arguably better engine technicals and graphics, etc.

But Aliens TC contains graphics based directly on Doom's, making it actually illegal to play using the Freedoom IWAD.

Also, I'm mainly talking about wads made within the past decade.

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You mean the Doom police is going to come and arrest me? :D

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Damnit, I keep not being clear on precisely what I mean. What I was talking about earlier in emulating the original Doom closely was not in trying to make it have near identical resources. I was talking about the graphical style. It should definitely be different, but I think it should have a style close to what id used. Just slightly different maybe, but still have the overall same feel and tone.

Again, I emphasize that what's most important is that it feels clean, polished and well-done, as opposed to FreeDoom's kinda sloppy feeling style.

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Sodaholic said:

Damnit, I keep not being clear on precisely what I mean. What I was talking about earlier in emulating the original Doom closely was not in trying to make it have near identical resources. I was talking about the graphical style. It should definitely be different, but I think it should have the same style that id used. Just slightly different maybe, but still have the overall same feel and tone.

Again, I emphasize that what's most important is that it feels clean, polished and well-done, as opposed to FreeDoom's kinda sloppy feeling style.

I wish people would magically make high-quality projects for me, too.

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esselfortium said:

I wish people would magically make high-quality projects for me, too.

No fair! I wished for it first...

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esselfortium said:

I wish people would magically make high-quality projects for me, too.

I wasn't requesting it, I was just saying it's a good idea to strive for making high quality resources from the beginning, rather than fill it full of meh-quality resources that all have to get replaced later on due to their lackluster quality. That, and it's best to do it from the start because the team may never get around to making better quality resources to replace the crap ones down the road.

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In my opinion what Freedoom missed from the start of the project is any kind of creative direction for the project. This is something that is probably my fault as I was running the project from its inception until a few years ago. I focused too much on just getting as many resources added as possible to create a complete game. As I'm a programmer, not an artist, I focused too much on the technical challenges of the project and not enough on the importance of the artistic parts. The problem is that the result is a mishmash of different material and different styles.

There are many different ways I can imagine to design a creative direction for the project. The simplest would be to have a single person acting as creative director, designing how the project should look, but if you do that, you end up with a single point of failure, as that person has to maintain an active interest in the project.

There are other more passive ways that you could try to encourage a creative direction. The simplest would be simply to write a story for it, perhaps divide up the levels / episodes and describe how the game is supposed to progress. That then gives the level designers and artists something to work to. You could extend this by coming up with some mock screenshots, so that others can get an overall feel for what the game ought to look like when completed. For a design document like this, it probably ought to be a single person or a very small number of people doing it, but at least this way they are not necessarily a single point of failure for the project in the future.

The main problem of course is the sheer scale of the project - Freedoom still doesn't have a complete set of monsters, for example. It takes time and dedication to draw out all those sprites, and we've only found a few artists who have been able to contribute them. The same applies to the other material (levels, textures, etc.) although on a lesser scale.

What I would say is that I think the lack of creative direction for Freedoom is actually a deterrent for people that might be interested in contributing. I get the feeling that informally Freedoom is something of a joke due to its mishmash of material and isn't really taken very seriously. You might find that if you have a solid plan for what the game should be like, you'll be able to attract contributors more easily.

Finally, one last thing - don't underestimate the legal aspects. One thing I am glad of with Freedoom is that everything is freely licensed, and that means it can be included in the Debian repository (among others). That was identified as one of the key aims at the start of the project, as it was really the main purpose of Freedoom. Make absolutely sure that everything contributed is original work and actively make an effort to explain this, because there are people who don't care or understand about copyright issues. Unless you explain and make clear what is and is not acceptable, people will rip stuff off websites, other games, etc. Even if you do explain this, there will be people who don't bother to read your explanation, so be vigilant.

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As a person who hates freedoom as it is, I support this project.

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There's no problem with free doom. It's supposed to be Doom for free and it is exactly that. You take what you can get.

I intend to make my own IWAD at some point in my life as I proceed to acquire new skills from making wads all the time. I hope some day I can stand to be a one-man idosftware from 1993, emulating the best qualities from every member of the team. The most difficult skill I'm trying to acquire is music. But I can think of a cohesive creative direction for all the art and sound scheme of a new game, and have also acquired the skills to be able to make those sprites, textures, sound, graphics, maps and so on. Some day.... Some day.

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40oz said:

But I can think of a cohesive creative direction for all the art and sound scheme of a new game, and have also acquired the skills to be able to make those sprites, textures, sound, graphics, maps and so on. Some day.... Some day.


Hah, yeah good luck with that.

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I fully agree with everything that Fraggle just said. He basically said what I was trying to say, but worded it better. There must be an established graphical style from the beginning. It's also best to create hq resources from the beginning and not fill it full of crappy resources for the sake of filling it with resources.

May I suggest using medium poly models to make monster sprites out of? If this is done, make sure that it doesn't have a textured look, but rather is smooth and has solid colors. This way, it will be just like how id made clay models, and it will look good.

This would be to avoid that shitty appearance of stuff like how the FreeDoom zombies look, so it would look cleaner.

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Sodaholic said:

It's also best to create hq resources from the beginning and not fill it full of crappy resources for the sake of filling it with resources.

Some people seem to assume that this is what happened with Freedoom; it isn't entirely true, although there is probably some truth to it.

There was a fair amount of awful rubbish in the early versions of Freedoom - cartoony weapons, etc. It's actually a lot better than it once was. However, I always tried to maintain some degree of standard to what I put into it. For example, one of the earliest suggestions was to use the POVdoom monsters until better ones could be found. I tried these out but quickly rejected them and I don't think they were ever included in proper releases. I didn't see it as useful to even use them as placeholders. Similarly, I was given the resources from the Hyena project to re-use, but only used a few of these, as a lot of them didn't seem to be a very good quality.

I'll admit that in some cases it might have been better to have rejected some submissions, though I think it would have been "politically" difficult for me to do such a thing. Freedoom has always been very open in nature, and although I ran the project, I never felt like I had the right (or the desire, for that matter) to be a "dictator" or "gatekeeper" of what ought to be allowed into the project. Indeed, I would have considered such an attitude to be potentially counterproductive, as I always hoped to attract new artists and contributors to the project, and rejecting contributions would potentially have discouraged future contributions.

In that case, you might ask, why not put all new contributions up to a vote? Well, the flip side of the coin is that Freedoom already suffers from an abundance of what might be considered pointless discussion. As an example, consider this recent thread where contributors spent two months and over four pages of discussion bikeshedding what they thought the medikits ought to look like. Multiply that by every new submission and you get the idea.

I think what is needed is something like Wikipedia: accepting of new submissions but with a culture designed to encourage good quality material. Wikipedia has a style guide, and an assessment system to encourage improvements to the project. In the context of a Freedoom-like project, the equivalents might be a design document like I described in my previous post (with a story and mock screenshots to illustrate the intended style), and a peer review system to evaluate what is submitted and suggest improvements.

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Perhaps there should be a set time limit for debates, as to prevent that 2 month stuff from happening again.

I'm willing to contribute sound and graphics work to the game. I'm kinda looking forward to this idea, when might this project start?

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Sodaholic said:

Perhaps there should be a set time limit for debates, as to prevent that 2 month stuff from happening again.

I'm willing to contribute sound and graphics work to the game. I'm kinda looking forward to this idea, when might this project start?


If this project actually gets rolling I'll try as hard as I can not to let that kind of stuff happen.

I think the first thing we should do however is create a storyline and concept behind this. Any volunteers? I'll have a whack at it myself.

We also need some kind of central location to send our ideas so everybody's voice is heard and things aren't scattered all over the place.

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Sodaholic said:

May I suggest using medium poly models to make monster sprites out of? If this is done, make sure that it doesn't have a textured look, but rather is smooth and has solid colors. This way, it will be just like how id made clay models, and it will look good.

This would be to avoid that shitty appearance of stuff like how the FreeDoom zombies look, so it would look cleaner.

In my opinion, the Freedoom zombie sprites are among the most interesting and visually distinctive in the whole project, along with many of the other hand-drawn assets.

It's that odd (and overly shiny) model-ripped look of the imps and cacodemons that strikes me as needing the most improvement.

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Sodaholic said:

Perhaps there should be a set time limit for debates, as to prevent that 2 month stuff from happening again.

That doesn't seem like the right approach to me.

In the case of that particular thread it isn't a big problem, because it was just one thread. My point was to illustrate that too much discussion *can* be counterproductive. Seeing how Freedoom has developed, it might be tempting to place too much emphasis on quality control - for example, if there was a "council" assigned to assess every new contribution, or worse - if every contribution was put to a public vote. A policy like that would potentially doom the project to crippling bureaucracy that would prevent work from getting done.

The basic idea of a "bazaar" of new contributions (like Freedoom or Wikipedia) I think is a good one, but what is needed is a "framework" for those contributions to take place in that promotes a strong, consistent creative direction, and a culture that encourages good quality stuff.

For the latter, it might be helpful to have some tools available to support discussion and review of material. Again, if you think of Wikipedia, the Mediawiki software lets people add comments to any page, and they've recently introduced a feature that lets readers rate the quality of articles. It might be helpful if there was something similar available - imagine if you could gather together a set of sprites and have a structured, threaded discussion, for example.

Mithran Denizen said:

In my opinion, the Freedoom zombie sprites are among the most interesting and visually distinctive in the whole project, along with many of the other hand-drawn assets.

It's that odd (and overly shiny) model-ripped look of the imps and cacodemons that strikes me as needing the most improvement.

The hand-made sprites / models argument is an old one, but I have to admit I've heard far more complaints about the hand-drawn zombies than I have about the model-based monsters.

That said, it's interesting that there are few complaints about the player sprites (also used for the chaingunner). I should point out that the player sprites and the zombie sprites were both drawn by the same artist and submitted around the same time. The difference is that Fredrik did some serious cleanup and recoloring work on the player sprites, and they look much better as a result.

The artist who drew the sprites (Saint of Killers) was a decent enough artist but I think he wasn't too skilled with the post-processing work after scanning the monsters in. The Icon of Sin face is also his, if I remember correctly.

Individually drawn sprites can look good if done properly but they're obviously a lot more work. I'm personally not convinced they're worth the extra effort required compared to models.

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Here's a story idea that I just came up with:

Humanity has expanded it's endeavors to space, but other species in the universe have already done so long before. You are a security guard on the gray colored asteroid colonized by the humans called "Mortelatis" for the fact that there is the apparent remains of an ancient advanced alien civilization called the "Sumiltas". This colonization has a research base near the ruins, mining the caves and studying their technology.

The research team finds some old communications technology, and turns it on, causing it to automatically send a signal into space. The Sumiltas still exist, and have become far more advanced since their original colony on Mortelatis, but they receive the signal. There is a teleporter deep in the planet that leads to their dimension, and the aliens do not want it to be found.

They send their troops in ships back to Mortelatis to find out who the hell turned on their communication device. They are extremely hostile enslavers, and begin immediately attacking the crew, leaving most civilians dead, and kept the strongest alive, but possessed them with mind control implants to be their slaves.

You have not been possessed yet, but notice the invasion going on. Then the game starts.


Enemies:

Possessed guard - These mechanically augmented guards have been possessed by the aliens. They wield pistols.

Possessed NCO - Same as the above, but different colored clothes, and have a shotgun.

Possessed officer - Bigger guys, but they have assault rifles.

Sumiltas fighter (imp) - Alien trooper. They have a device in their arm that can shoot reddish plasma, and can also act as a blade in close combat.

Sumiltas grunt (pinky) - These are the alien slaves that do most of the Sumiltas's physical labor. Not very bright, but can run fast and maul people up close.

Sumiltas commander (cacodemon) - The natural born variation of the scouts, these guy's DNA was used to make the scouts. Though they can live without life support, unlike the scouts, the ones in combat chose to undergo augmentation to be able to fly. They have a plasma launcher attatched.

Sumiltas scout (lost soul) - Genetically engineered creatures related to the commanders that are too scrawny and small to live on their own, they are hosted by a mechanical body with levitation capabilities. They will charge at an enemy to attack. The reason they are small is so they can get into places that the huge commanders cannot.


I'll think of other enemies later.

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Mithran Denizen said:

It's that odd (and overly shiny) model-ripped look of the imps and cacodemons that strikes me as needing the most improvement.

The thing about that is that those were shitty models. I was talking about imitating clay models but in 3d modelling software. They should intentionally have a dull, clay-like texture, not some shiny looking texture. They should not be oddly shaped (like the unnecessary tail of the imp), or have too small/detailed areas (like the limbs of the cacodemon).

But seriously though, am I the only one that thought that the FreeDoom zombies looked fugly as hell?

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It seems like a reasonable enough start, though I'm no writer, so perhaps I'm the wrong person to judge. It's good to think about what the monsters you're encountering are actually supposed to be.

I think as well as a story setting it's probably a good idea to think about how the story should progress as you play through it. One of the problems with Freedoom is that because there's no story, there's no indication for what the levels should be and what the player ought to be encountering. Ideally it probably ought to be designed down to the individual level.

One thing to notice with Freedoom was that the textures were all completed very quickly, because there was a fixed list of things to accomplish - "make a free replacement for texture X". A story can provide the same thing for levels - "make a level in which the player encounters X". I'm not saying it should give all the details - mappers should be able to design their levels how they want - but it might be useful to at least provide a vague idea of what the level should be about, even if it's just a list of level names.

I do believe very strongly that the creative direction ought to be set by a single person or at most a very small group. I think the person who does that ought to be an artist who can illustrate what they think the game should look like - ie. not just descriptions of monsters, but ideally sketches as well. Some kind of mock screenshots would be nice if possible as well.

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Seems like a good start, but I'd stay away from the whole "Aliens" thing personally.

I think we should wait for monster concepts though so we don't get ahead of ourselves. I say that the only thing I would do first, is lay down the storyline. Then we can start thinking of monsters and stuff.

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Marnetmar said:

Seems like a good start, but I'd stay away from the whole "Aliens" thing personally.

I had very demonic-looking aliens in mind, is that okay?

Why can't we do monster designs around the same time? After all, enemies in games are almost always directly related to the story. Besides, it's not like the story matters too much anyway, all it's supposed to do is set a theme.

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