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Patrol1985

why do all FPS protagonists have to swim in shit at some point?

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This happens way too often for me to ignore.

I know that all FPS games have to have a "sewer level" (as was lampshaded by Serious Sam in one of the videos I'm about to link) and I'm nowhere near thinking that sewers are a nice and clean place to be. Nevertheless, I always considered contents of sewers to be either industrial waste, or at worst some sort of "unspecified slime". This, in my mind, helped me save the protagonist's dignity.

Unfortunately, the developers on numerous occasions leave my imagination to rest by stating explicitly that our hero is swimming through SHIT. Not walking beside it on some sort of a sidewalk, but swimming DIRECTLY in it. 3 examples of the top of my head:

1. Hexen - it features a level called "cloaca" which is as unsubtle as it comes. I remember there is a part where you have to press a switch or pull a lever in order to raise the level of waste, which in turn props you up to reach whatever there was to reach.

2. Serious Sam 2 - allow me to link to a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHlU0yAkeLw

watch the first 40 seconds to see the intro and following comments by Netricsa and Sam. They didn't even let him fall in legs first. It had to be a face plant...

3. Blood - I'm going through Blood for the first time now and I've reached a place where Caleb opens a wooden field toilet and makes a comment about "the smell he has discovered". Yup, you guessed it, you have to jump into the hole straight into shit, because apparently that's a good place to store a key, a switch or whatever.

I like to immerse (haha...) in my games and such instances make me think one thing for the remainder of the game, or at least a given level - that my character is covered head to toes in shit. Not how I picture a "bad-ass protagonist". I want them to be covered in blood and guts dammit!

Kudos to id Software for never putting the Doomguy in such a situation (yet...). The waste in Doom is always hinted to be of industrial nature, with all the processing plants around etc. and the Doomguy usually gets a nice environment suit if he has to dive into that. However, dark times can be coming as the BFG edition of Doom 3 removed the environment suit from the sewer sequence (the one where you fight numerous mancubi). I don't want it to happen to Doomguy as well :(

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Patrol1985 said:

Kudos to id Software for never putting the Doomguy in such a situation (yet...).

What do you think SLIME0# is? Tasty Chocolate? :P

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Archi said:

Doom 3/Quake 4?


New Reckoning, but the whole game is swimming in shit without the act of swimming.

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Underhalls seems like a sewer network, although it looks rather clean. The focus certainly has a bit of optional poop water to get the secret ssg. Plutonia has a map MAP28 I think called Sewers, and at one point you're at least waist deep in it. And I think Quake E3M1 is called sewage system or something right?

I find it a little interesting, particularly with our fascination with the application of brown in most games, which in general is used to portray cold rusty metal, deteriorating wood or mud in many cases, with murky diarrhea sludge being the closest liquid to accent it. Something about it makes it very comforting to play in even though its rather repulsive and unsanitary in real life. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I think in the clean and shiny social norms we deal with on a daily basis, a part of our subconcious being just wants to be one with filth.

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Patrol1985 said:

1. Hexen - it features a level called "cloaca" which is as unsubtle as it comes.

It's just Latin for "sewers". E.g.

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Gez said:

It's just Latin for "sewers". E.g.


Thanks, I never knew this definition. The reason I mentioned it is because I knew another...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaca

Though obviously the one in Hexen refers to sewers.

As for other posts - thanks for your input guys, but you're not helping... now I know that even in Doom / Quake I had to swim through shit at some point :D

I also meant instances where it's clearly stated. Not "looking like shit" not "probably shit", but SHIT, as mentioned by someone in the game.

Captain Red said:

What do you think SLIME0# is? Tasty Chocolate? :P


Until it's called FECES0# I will consider it "unspecified ooze" for my own sanity's sake :D

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printz said:

Next one: why are sewers and jails so featured in action games?

Probably because they are comprised of mostly square rooms and halls.

Easy to map.

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Captain Red said:

What do you think SLIME0# is? Tasty Chocolate? :P


Well, you see it a fair amount in Plutonia, and it kinda makes sense as nearly all natural water is not bright blue, like in the Caribbean/[Insert name of place]. Also, a jungle level would be likely to have water that contains mud.

But, I still think that if Underhalls is meant to be a sewage system, it should have could have used the SLIME0# textures.


But hey, I use WATER# for aesthetic purposes.

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Regardless, the DOOM marine doesn't swim in shit because he uses Jesus-like powers to walk right over it!

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myk said:

Regardless, the DOOM marine doesn't swim in shit because he uses Jesus-like powers to walk right over it!

Technically, neither walk over it, but rather they walk on it.

Horrid pedantics aside, I've always interpreted flat liquid in Doom and other contemporary games as being very shallow and not supposed to have any serious depth, the slight sinking effect in Heretic/Hexen agreeing with that. Though, I will concede that such an interpretation falls apart somewhat when you've got accessible areas of liquid changing their height, as well as those weird underwater snake monsters.

Perhaps something more along the lines of what Shadowcaster did should have been done, where it made you waist deep. You could have a sort of bobbing effect to make it as if you were really swimming, the idea being that you're constantly treading water and cannot dive (just as you cannot look up and down), and that when you're dead, your body has simply floated to the surface.

Of course, nothing really prevented them from just doing Boom style water, other contemporary games like Dark Forces 1 and Marathon 2 already did stuff like that with no real performance issues.

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I just find it oddly appropriate that swimming through a river of shit is actually a very fitting metaphor for most sewer levels. You're literally trudging through shit as you work your way through the sewer, and you're figuratively trudging through shit because sewer levels are always boring, bland mazes. Why can't those two things ever be decoupled?

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Sodaholic said:

Though, I will concede that such an interpretation falls apart somewhat when you've got accessible areas of liquid changing their height

Or it could be that there's supposed to be a platform under the water rising causing the water to also rise.

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Inkie said:

Video games always have over-sized, walk-in sewer systems, but no bathrooms.


The more I think about it, the more genius observation it becomes. It truly is like that! :D

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I wish I had a dollar for every toilet / bathroom present in Doom wads.. Every other map pre-2000 had a toilet in it!

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Wolfenstein The New Order had some swimming parts. Well done actually. I always loved the look of water n the Half Life 2 levels. I like water.

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Maybe because that means the protagonist is a real badass, who doesn't care about drowning in shit in order to save the world/universe.

Gez said:

It's just Latin for "sewers". E.g.


The world "cloaca" also exists in Spanish, with the same meaning, of course.

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I'm grinning ear to ear reading this, the way the OP is so disturbed by poo water, and that we're discussing it at all, oh it's so absurd. I love it.

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Isn't Underhalls supposed to be a sewer/access tunnel?

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Linkrulezall said:

Yeah, I think we all remember Wolfenstein 3D's sewer level.
Oh wait...


Well, what with Blazcowicz being a prisoner and all, and the Nazis being Germans, surely shit and torture must have been involved at some point.

"Hahahah, wir sind der Aryan Super Men SS Natzis and eat vielen Wurstel und Sauerkraut, while du Amerikkkan Schweinhund verboten eating! Du kann only svim in unsere Scheisse, Ja?"

They just couldn't hint at it without losing that PG13 rating. ;-)

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