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zzzornbringer

why i love doom

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well, let me start off by telling you a little something about my gaming history. i am 32 years old now. i was born in 1982.

my first gaming console was an amiga. i don't even remember what version it was. it doesn't matter anyways, because it wasn't a significant milestone in my gaming history. it just was too basic. maybe i wasn't able to appreciate early game design in this period of time. heck, i was maybe ten years old.

at the same time or shortly after, or before, i don't actually remember, there was the c64. i was around ten years old. i didn't actually own this system. a childhood friend of mine that was a few years younger than me owned this system. actually, his parents owned the system and his mother tought me how to use it. it involved something along the lines of "*". i don't remember the rest. i do remember summer games, or winter games or something along the lines. olympic stuff, involving mashing two buttons on a joystick that got two red buttons.

time passed and eventually i got the sega master system. my new best friend of another generation inspired me to get this system. there was sonic and mortal combat that i remember visually.

later i got the natural evolution of the master system, the mega drive (you may know it as the sega genesis). it was just amazing how colorful and fluid the mega drive was in comparison to the master system. on top of this there were digitized sounds. if you're a sega fan you clearly remember the "SEGAAA" logo voiceover. i was just amazed.

later there was the sega saturn that didn't receive as much love as i would have expected. there were two significant games that stood out. it was panzer dragoon and panzer dragoon zwei. the latter, probably one of the best games out there.

now, excuse me for the rather long introduction but it was necessary to tell you where i come from.

i got my first pc at the age of fourteen. this was around 1996. doom already was released. there was quake and there was duke nukem 3d. to tell you the truth, duke nukem 3d was the game that really got me into pc gaming. to put it more simple, i liked the "gals" in duke3d. that instantly hooked me. the editor just drove me deeper into it.

creating stuff always was more interesting to me than just experiencing something that was created by someone else. specifically, very early on i preferred to use the mspaint application over the solitaire application.

so, over the years i dipped into the build editor in duke3d. i've spent some time in qoole which was a editor for quake1+2. eventually i found my way into the quake3 editor qeradiant. i've spent a lot of time in that editor. not just for quake3 but for jedi outcast. i think my mapping skills evolved the most during my jedi outcast mapping sessions. of course i also dipped into doom3 mapping which introduced some really helpful functions.

after all that, i got into classic doom mapping. it's weired, i know. i've done all that advanced stuff already but i got back into the more basic stuff. now, to get back to the actual topic... why do i love doom? i love it, because it is so basic. it is so pure and perfect at the same time. you don't just create your own levels. you can create your own mechanics.

the art style? the art style is pixel art. it is timeless. it's not inferior to modern art. it is unique and perfect in it's own way. i actually think that older games aren't inferior to newer games in general. each and every game is unique and perfect on it's own. the visual fidelity does not count. merely it's about coherency. and looking at the context of doom, it's perfect in every way.

this is why i love doom and i prefer it over a lot of the so called "modern" shooters. doom is the pinnacle of first person shooter genre. the game itself is just a baseline of what we can achieve with this formula. it's a gift for everyone of us who want to be creative and want to push the envelope.

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I'm particularly impressed by DOOM's balance. Everything is just how it should be, weapons and their rate of fire, damage, ammo capacity etc. Same for monsters - great balance of hitscan/projectile, HP and damage.

It's amazing that all iwad levels were designed with pistol start in mind, but at the same time they can be challenging even if you carry over weaponry and armor from previous levels.

I don't recall this sort of balance ever being reproduced in FPS history, not even by id. It was a combination of knowledge and superb intuition. Possibly also a little bit of luck.

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Aha. Here's my chance to be pedantic again.

zzzornbringer said:

the art style? the art style is pixel art. it is timeless.

Not everything that consists of big pixuls is pixel art.

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Da Werecat said:

Not everything that consists of big pixuls is pixel art.

I pictured you with thick-framed glasses and a lip piercing as I read that.

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Da Werecat said:

Aha. Here's my chance to be pedantic again.


Not everything that consists of big pixuls is pixel art.


and yet, pixuls aren't even a thing. but then again, doom's pixel art is art. pixel art it is. it is, pixel art.

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I think pixel art is when you draw the entire picture by placing pixels one-by-one, all by hand, not converting photos or something like that.

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Patrol1985 said:

I'm particularly impressed by DOOM's balance. Everything is just how it should be, weapons and their rate of fire, damage, ammo capacity etc. Same for monsters - great balance of hitscan/projectile, HP and damage.

It's amazing that all iwad levels were designed with pistol start in mind, but at the same time they can be challenging even if you carry over weaponry and armor from previous levels.

I don't recall this sort of balance ever being reproduced in FPS history, not even by id. It was a combination of knowledge and superb intuition. Possibly also a little bit of luck.

In my opinion, you just like Doom and you've got very used to Doom's balance so that you find it to be good and maybe "the perfect one". I can imagine it pretty well (I know it from myself). Nostalgia AND long term experience have a huge impact on influencing a person's perception of what he finds bad and what good and "right". Otherwise you couldn't have overlooked how useless the pistol is, how game-breaking is the BFG, SG disadvantage in comparison to SSG, harmless zombiemen, badly challenging spiderdemon...

I really like and enjoy Doom for its gameplay, for its smooth performation even in maps overloaded by monsters and effects, for the tons of custom wads and other content out there, for the easy possibilities to mod the game and create maps and other custom assets, and I cannot deny it's for nostalgia too. I'm also very used to the way how Doom looks and works.

Quake and Duke Nukem 3D (their gameplay, balance, characteristics) appeal me a lot too, but not as much as Doom. :)

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scifista42 said:

Otherwise you couldn't have overlooked how useless the pistol is, how game-breaking is the BFG, SG disadvantage in comparison to SSG, harmless zombiemen, badly challenging spiderdemon...


within the context of iwad maps maybe (though it's hard to argue the pistol doesn't suck under any circumstance). the base stats (hp, damage, pain-chances, etc) and utility of each weapon are solid enough to facilitate quite a range of very finely balanced gameplay in custom wads. Could the same be said for other fps though? probably, yeah.

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Scifista42, you always offer intelligent and well though out responses on topics like this. However, I would like to point a few things out.

scifista42 said:
In my opinion, you just like Doom and you've got very used to Doom's balance so that you find it to be good and maybe "the perfect one". I can imagine it pretty well (I know it from myself). Nostalgia AND long term experience have a huge impact on influencing a person's perception of what he finds bad and what good and "right".

I totally agree with the point you're making here.

Otherwise you couldn't have overlooked how useless the pistol is

If you played Doom on an easy setting, as many of us did back in the day, you'll see even on e1m1 that the pistol is a "suspense" weapon. It's whole intention is to make you worry about finding a bigger, better gun - not to actually be a reliable weapon. Its meant to add to the "overwhelmed" vibe of the game. By the time Quake came around though, we all knew the score, so they dropped the pistol.

how game-breaking is the BFG

More like game making ;)

SG disadvantage in comparison to SSG

The SSG was added for the sake of balance, ironically enough. Doom 2 throws so much at you, that the single barrel for the whole time would either result in way too high a difficulty, or a boring monotonous grind, depending on the player. It is a fairly unbalanced weapon for DM though, which comes to your point of being used to the game and thus "tricking" our minds into seeing it as a perfect balance. I just couldn't live without it in DM!

(I never get why the SSG cops so much flak. It's a natural progression of better weaponry. The chain gun is better than the single barrel in literally every way, yet it never gets a mention)

harmless zombiemen

Now, I think we all enjoy a little cannon fodder, don't we? Not every enemy needs to be mid tier!

badly challenging spiderdemon...

Another common criticism of Doom I've never understood.. Playing through the whole game up to that point, It seems like a perfect test of your acquired knowledge. Hide behind walls, find vantage points, and make that spider your bitch! Definitely miles ahead of the Wolf3D bosses, imo.

Considering not only its age, but it's engine - one of the first ever games with a convincing "3D" interactive environment - Doom is astonishingly well balanced. As Patrol said, it just happened to be the perfect combo of expertise, knowledge of their medium, and luck :)

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Doomkid said:

Scifista42, you always offer intelligent and well though out responses on topics like this. However, I would like to point a few things out.

*Points out a few things to disprove useless pistol, game-breaking BFG, disadvantaged SG, harmless zombiemen and badly challenging spiderdemon*

Thanks... :)

The reasoning behind my particular complaints was that I've got used to a "modern" critical thinking and judging balance / efficiency, maybe too much. Probably too much. I don't see a good balance when there's a weapon / monster that completely overrides another weapon / monster and makes it so much less efficient that it becomes nearly "useless" (pistol x CG, SG x SSG, PG x BFG, zombieman x anything). Also when some thing or action is taking more space / more time / more effort than would be efficient (spiderdemon is huge, slow, OP at close range, unreliable at long range, hard to use in maps).

Reading your reply, I've got to agree with your point:

Considering not only its age, but it's engine - one of the first ever games with a convincing "3D" interactive environment - Doom is astonishingly well balanced.

And as I've said, I already got used to Doom's balance well.

I can enjoy occasional mods that mess with balance. If I could change the balance myself (using DEHACKED / DECORATE modding), I would do it, actually I did it multiple times :D. But I'm glad that the default behaviour is as it is and as I know it, and I'm comfortable with that.

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Doomkid said:

(I never get why the SSG cops so much flak. It's a natural progression of better weaponry. The chain gun is better than the single barrel in literally every way, yet it never gets a mention)

Not every way. It requires you to constantly expose yourself while you fire, which is bad against multiple enemies or enemies with a low pain chance. In those situations, you want to use one of the shotguns and take cover between shots.

The SSG is only better at very close range (which, for better or worse, is where most deathmatch battles take place). At mid to long range, the pump gun's tighter spread means it does more damage (both per second and per shell) and is even an adequate sniper weapon if you need to conserve bullets. It's too often underestimated.

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Excellent points from scifista and Foxpup. Come to think of it, the chaingun is also worse in terms of ammo preservation. Also, the shotguns sniping ability is freakin' awesome!

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I absolutely love Doom. I grew up playing it as far back as 1997 when I was only 4 years old. It is a game that just never gets old. I'm relatively new to the online multiplayer Doom community and I've also learned the art of making WADs. Doom has allowed me to meet and work with some really cool people.

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Movement-wise, Doom is like the first trip to the moon - a pristine maiden voyage, free of space junk. Just you and that moon. These days, and particularly after player-collision data and the visual environmental representation data have become more separated, the ever increasing demands brought on by artists of the realism school, coupled with the financial grind that is the hardware industry ever reduces the amount of air-time between the player and the moon, filling it with run-of-the-mill "good-looking", yet gameplay wise unfunctional, space junk. Doom is just you. And that moon.

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I will just address the pistol issue - of course the weapon sucks. I still consider it to be balanced, because its main advantage compared to other weapons is that it's always available.

Compare it to Painkiller, where the initial weapon could very much be the only thing you will ever need (don't get me wrong, it's awesome, but you understand what I'm saying).

Regarding SG vs SSG it's all about the range. SG is better in long range battles.

Perhaps I should have mentioned item placement as part of the balance as well. Like I said: each Doom level can be completed from a pistol start. The same can't be said for Quake (try E2M6 for instance and see how few weapons / ammo boxes there are, you're basically stuck with a shotgun in the last level of the episode).

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zzzornbringer said:

my first gaming console was an amiga


By the description and the chronological order you're listing it, you're probably trying to describe an Atari 2600 or even a pong console. The Amiga would go between the Mega Drive and your first PC, and it was not even a console: it was a home computer.

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Maes said:

By the description and the chronological order you're listing it, you're probably trying to describe an Atari 2600 or even a pong console. The Amiga would go between the Mega Drive and your first PC, and it was not even a console: it was a home computer.


yes, it was an atari, not amiga. confused the two. mind altering substances have been used. sry. :)

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i was originally going to say that the character movement is the strongest point of the game, and why the gameplay seems to have so much longevity when other stuff doesn't. but i don't think that alone makes Doom.

Doom is really an odd mixture of elements. there's a lot of emphasis on creating atmosphere and horror, and in the general vibe of the worlds. a lot of arcadey games would go for a lighter or more tongue-in-cheek vibe, and while Doom certainly has those moments, it also takes itself very seriously too. not to mention the fact that those environments are also very diverse, and it doesn't just stick to one mood (like Quake or something). there's obviously a lot of well-balanced gameplay that is very arcade game-like (as someone else has said before, sort of like 'first person Robotron'), and that gameplay is very deep because of the amount of possible variations introduced by Doom 2 - and also introduced by non-intuitively obvious gameplay stuff like teleporters and crushing ceilings. there's the versatile engine which allows for a lot of architecturally really interesting and creative stuff (which is honestly the reason i keep coming back to Doom). there's the fact that that engine is complicated enough to make something with a lot of depth and detail, but simple enough that you can do it pretty quickly.

Doom in general is a marriage of a lot of ideas people wouldn't normally think to put together, which explains why it's kind of a strange outlier that hasn't ever seemed to have been improved upon or repeated.

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