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Zulk RS

Classic FPS Endangered?

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Is it just me, or are arcade style FPS games like Doom, Doom-2, Duke Nukem etc. getting less and less common. Most modern FPS games have mechanics like, regenerating health while staying still, head shots, covering and firing, missions etc. There aren't many FPS games that have rush through hordes of enemies in direct combat with a super-powered weapon or has you frantically searching the map for health and ammo.

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Sadly it would seem to be so. At least we have Wrack that's aiming for an old-school feel, though.

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How many new, commercial arcade FPS games do we really need? I'm more than happy to play and replay what already exists, especially with mods and existing communities. In terms of content and fun, these sure don't seem endangered to me...

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Welcome to the 00s...oh wait, it's the 2010s already.

Doom-style gameplay, at least for single player FPS, has been a "fashion victim" ever since the first Quake, at least.

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I know this may sound blasphemous, but I'm actually kinda okay with the old games staying in the past. They're always there for us to enjoy, and we certainly have no shortage of new content for games like Doom. But I'm totally fine with game studios pushing forward and not being hung up on the past, trying new things, etc., even if we're not always happy with the results. Besides, attempts to intentionally recreate that oldschool feel always seem to backfire. Those games were a product of their time, a combination of limited computer power with the newness of the genre. It's hard to recreate the circumstances that gave us those games, and so attempts to create new games like the old ones are kinda doomed from the start (no pun intended). Heck, even for Doom, times have changed so much that you can almost guess the year a map was made based on style, detail, little quirks, etc.

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geekmarine said:

It's hard to recreate the circumstances that gave us those games, and so attempts to create new games like the old ones are kinda doomed from the start (no pun intended).

I hope not.

Probably the reason for no hordes of enemies in mainstream fps is, casual gamers couldn't handle them, and would quit the game before they've gone through one level. So they need regenerating health and super powered weapons just to kill slow moving barn yard animals that come at you one at a time. The computers and hardcore gamers could handle much more. But making a game for hardcore gamers might not be a good business idea for making money.

Of course they could always implement difficulty settings like.. 1 enemy in casual mode becomes 10 enemies in hardcore mode.

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geekmarine said:

I know this may sound blasphemous, but I'm actually kinda okay with the old games staying in the past. They're always there for us to enjoy, and we certainly have no shortage of new content for games like Doom. But I'm totally fine with game studios pushing forward and not being hung up on the past, trying new things, etc., even if we're not always happy with the results. Besides, attempts to intentionally recreate that oldschool feel always seem to backfire. Those games were a product of their time, a combination of limited computer power with the newness of the genre. It's hard to recreate the circumstances that gave us those games, and so attempts to create new games like the old ones are kinda doomed from the start (no pun intended). Heck, even for Doom, times have changed so much that you can almost guess the year a map was made based on style, detail, little quirks, etc.


This. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. Things change for a reason.

Jimi said:

Of course they could always implement difficulty settings like.. 1 enemy in casual mode becomes 10 enemies in hardcore mode.


I agree. After all, that's what the difficulty settings were always for and they allowed everyone to enjoy a game regardless of their skill. Think of Doom - the difference between "I'm too young to die" and "nightmare" is humongous. Literally ANYONE can enjoy this game.

However, recently I spoke to a friend of mine who happens to be a casual gamer, but he's also a completionist and he said that he wants to be able to beat the game at the highest difficulty setting. If he can't, he's not interested. He knows his skill is poor, but he thinks it's the developers' task to adjust the game to HIM. I explained that difficulty settings have their names for a reason. If you want to beat "hard" you should have to put at least some effort into learning the game mechanics etc. Otherwise it wouldn't be called "hard", but it seems he just wants some false sense of achievement - he wants something to be named "hard", but not to be hard at all. I assume many people think like that and developers try to answer.

Think of Rage - its highest difficulty setting is called "Ultra-Nightmare" and to my mind is equivalent to Doom's "Hurt me Plenty".... Fortunately one person created a rebalance mod which makes the game REALLY challenging.

Another problem is the achievement system. People treat those with an unprecedented level of devotion. One guy told me that he plays games solely for achievements. If there is an achievement for completing the game on the highest difficulty and the said difficulty is truly challenging, people will get discouraged.

Don't hate the game devs. Hate the entitlement of the current generation of players.

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Lack of hordes isn't the only issue.. And even then, well there are games out there that offer hordes, but every time they do, they end up with the mentality of, "Hordes of enemies is what oldschool shooters are all about, so we'll just have a series of arenas containing hordes." I've said it before, but exploration was also a major factor in oldschool games like Doom - wandering dark corridors looking for a switch, trying to navigate through a strange and abstract world - in fact, I'd go so far as to say the abstractness is one of the major factors preventing modern games from being like oldschool games.

You see, with Doom, the technology was all brand new, they really had no concept of making realistic levels yet - levels that actually looked like they could be real-world places. This led to all kinds of creative design choices because hey, you could make all this cool architecture and stuff, but there was no sense of, "Okay, but does this layout look like it makes sense in the real world?" That didn't come until later, with games like Duke Nukem 3D and Half-Life really pushing the idea of having levels look like they could actually be real places. It's kinda hard to go back from that after we've made the leap. And I fear most attempts to recreate that style of abstract mapping are going to end up feeling artificial.

It's... well this is gonna sound like it's coming from left field, but imagine William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Now imagine someone doing an impression of Captain Kirk. Now imagine someone doing an impression of an impression of Captain Kirk. Yeah, William Shatner has his tics, but with each impression, those tics and whatnot become more and more exaggerated, to the point where by the end, it sounds completely ridiculous and very little like how William Shatner actually sounds (even if you can still tell it's supposed to be a William Shatner impression). I think the same kinda thing ends up happening when you try to recreate that oldschool feel in modern gaming - you exaggerate the bits people most clearly associate with the genre until it becomes ridiculous, and ultimately not very much like a real oldschool shooter at all.

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Doom 4 is supposed to be pretty arcadey, but I haven't seen the gameplay footage yet so I guess we'll see.

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Bleh, to me modern FPS's are better off straying away from classic game elements. Games change for a reason.

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geekmarine said:

I know this may sound blasphemous, but


I understand that point of view, and there were times where i felt that way too, but a part of me has a feeling youve been disappointed too many times to keep your hopes up. I think it can certainly be done, especially with very little budget or even time. As crazy as it sounds, I just think game developers making oldshoolfps themed games are thinking too hard. Old school games are not complex in the slightest, and the resources needed to make them often times are freely available on the net (opposed to the software that probably cost money in the 90s and is extremely outdated by todays standards)

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Patrol1985 said:

stuff about playing in hardest difficulty

Hardest difficulties can be hidden, maybe give the player a hint about their existence after completing the game. Then the casual players played the game through on the non-hidden-hardest skill, and felt good about themselves and the game.. if they then find out that there's also some impossible skill available.. or that it's not even the hardest.

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RoTT 2013, Shadow Warrior 2013, Painkiller Black/BoTH, Wrack and maybe Hard Reset are examples of these, the first two doing the best job.

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TBQH, strip away ironsights and regen health, and you're already halfway to "classic" design.

As for Doom's gameplay, the sheer distortion around how Doom actually plays reached a zenith when Painkiller came out. I remember getting into discussions with people (usually burnt on Doom 3) that no, Doom wasn't about gunning down hordes of enemies and moving from one open arena into the next.

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Painkiller and Serious Sam demonstrated that people are or were incapable of trying to utilize old FPS mechanics and execute them correctly. Like Mr Freeze said, it's not all running and gunning. Painkiller was played in this fashion: room, stop, rock music, kill hoard, next room. Serious Sam was similar. Doom has back tracking, puzzle solving and secrets. Not to mention resource conservation and entire sections of map that served no purpose but extra adventure and bonus objects.

I enjoyed Serious Sam and Painkiller when released but have not touched them since.

I'm dying to try RotT 2013 but from what I've seen of Shadow Warrior they didn't really pull of the old school feel IMO.

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Mr. Freeze said:

As for Doom's gameplay, the sheer distortion around how Doom actually plays reached a zenith when Painkiller came out.

Ironically, there's also a very similar distortion around how SS and PK play. These games are more about combat and less about exploring your surroundings than your usual early shooter, but that doesn't mean they have nothing but open arenas.

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PK really shinned when it had open areas such as the old train station (or was it an airport). The asylum also comes to mind when the game had some exploration, too.

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Mr. Freeze said:

TBQH, strip away ironsights

I disagree, Iron sights can be great if executed correctly(Red Orchestra) I also find that it adds a bit to the game play(By sacrificing movement for better accuracy)

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Doominator2 said:

I disagree, Iron sights can be great if executed correctly(Red Orchestra) I also find that it adds a bit to the game play(By sacrificing movement for better accuracy)


It's not a call to arms, its a way to make things more "classic" (a term that I dislike; not every shooter before 2005 played like Doom but I digress).

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Old school FPS are considered arcade? I'd assume arcade FPS are awful games that force you down a straight line.

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I'm probably wrong, but I've always interpreted "arcade" as meaning more skill based, perhaps even with a points system and otherwise competitive replayability. I think that's what makes Classic Doom "arcade," obviously sans points.

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Arcade to me means transparently gamey features and encouraging fast paced gameplay with reflex based challenge and speedy gratification to encourage replay. Simulation, realism, atmosphere, story and long term strategy would not be primary goals.

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Zulk-RS said:

Is it just me, or are arcade style FPS games like Doom, Doom-2, Duke Nukem etc. getting less and less common. Most modern FPS games have mechanics like...covering and firing


I disagree with you here. Doom's strafing controls were absolutly essential to its gameplay. Covering and firing was an important aspect of the game.

Also, I don't believe head shots to be a degeneration of the game play experience. Shoot someone in the head, and cause more damage, as opposed to shooting them in the foot causing equal damage. Doesn't seem to be a horrible idea to me. I'm not talking about gore either; there doesn't even have to be any. But it is reasonable to believe getting shot in the head will cause massive damage to health.

There are aspects of modern games that are very bad. However, there are some advancements, like the headshot that shouldn't be bunched in with what makes games bad. Basically, we shouldn't have them guilty by association.

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I'm not opposed to headshots, but they shift the focus towards aiming, while "classic" shooters emphasized movement, so I can see how certain people can perceive this feature as "newschool".

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Reminds me of the many times I was crawling in the tall grass and shooting terrorists into their feet and hearing their screams of pain as they died.

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Kontra Kommando said:
Doom's strafing controls were absolutly essential to its gameplay. Covering and firing was an important aspect of the game.
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True. But strafing isn't what I meant by covering and firing. I meant the times all you do is hide behind something and wait for your enemies to pop out their heads so you can shoot them. You know, ducking, waiting, shooting, killing moving repeat... No head to head combat.
Also, I don't mean the new elements were bad. All I'm saying is that old game play elements are getting less and less common.

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purist said:

Arcade to me means transparently gamey features and encouraging fast paced gameplay with reflex based challenge and speedy gratification to encourage replay.

I'm thinking 'speedy gratification' is vague. Shooters that let players kill enemies with single or few shots and/or emphasize tactical gameplay deliver their 'gratification' quickly per circumstance. Doom's 'arcadey' gratification comes 'quickly' from simply moving quickly up to each encounter, but less directly emphasizing tactics; you then have to work the player's movement and handling to get your results.

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