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Orchid87

Ever noticed how stylish does Doom 3 look?

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It's 10 years old already but still not many games have this flawless art style. Everything, from the Marine and Security armor to enemies design to machinery design. Doom 3 was anything but generic looking. Looks like it was kinda cyberpunk and anime inspired. Quake 4 for example is much less consistent in it's art style. Hell, even in RoE Nerve made a big mistake of bringing the cheesy flying skull from 90's back.

















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Orchid87 said:

Hell, even in RoE Nerve made a big mistake of bringing the cheesy flying skull from 90's back.

Some people tend to think of the classic designs as an absolute ideal that would work anywhere.

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Da Werecat said:

Some people tend to think of the classic designs as an absolute ideal that would work anywhere.


Not in a game that tries to be serious and scary. Skulls and horns work only with a cartoony art style.

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I agree, I remember when it was new and seeing screenshots, it was hard to believe that it was in game footage and not staged or something. Even today the screenshots look more like something you might see on deviantart than an actual game. Its not even that its realistic, its just good.

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Da Werecat said:

To be fair, the original Doom 3 also has some "skulls and horns" designs. Can't say they fit very well.

The stylized ones like this are fine

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I meant Guardian and Maledict (technically, the latter was introduced in the original game).

Some of the zombies and regular monsters also have rather "demonic" faces.

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I agree that the style is part of the success, but ultimately it's also a big part of the problems with Doom3. The style was way too narrow. It's at the point where it starts getting ridiculous and impractical. The helmet design there is obviously made with "looking cool" as priority #1. Another example is the godawful design of the "Darkstar" ship the player arrives on. I definitely like the general style of Doom3, but they took it way too far. Many things look overblown and overengineered.

That's not to say Doom3 looks bad or has crappy design. Most of it is very nice, but the drab, lifeless and strict approach to design creates an involuntary sterile environment where the game serves the design instead of the design serving the game. Instead of placing random screws, pipes and exhausts on everything they could have spent more time on the overall design of the world - expanding the extremely narrow style so it would allow for more life and diversity. Working with and within Doom3's visual style is a bitch.

I actually think RoE injected some very much needed personality with (especially) the Bruiser.

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The helmet is awesome. As are the random screws, pipes and exhausts on everything.

Not to say the style is devoid of problems. For example, the aforementioned "demonic" designs clash with the more "animalistic" monsters, as does the whole "fire and brimstone" concept of hell. It's as if the artists couldn't decide whether they want a psychologically disturbing sci-fi horror, or a sci-fi/fantasy epic about ancient evil.

Perhaps that was their idea of expanding the style.

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Shaviro said:

I actually think RoE injected some very much needed personality with (especially) the Bruiser.

But all RoE levels looked like Site 3 (the most boring looking level of original) with some Caverns thrown in. I wish there were more CPU style levels which is just beautiful. Cold humming machinery is what makes Doom 3 creepy.

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Da Werecat said:

The helmet is awesome. As are the random screws, pipes and exhausts on everything.

Not to say the style is devoid of problems. For example, the aforementioned "demonic" designs clash with the more "animalistic" monsters, as does the whole "fire and brimstone" concept of hell. It's as if the artists couldn't decide whether they want a psychologically disturbing sci-fi horror, or a sci-fi/fantasy epic about ancient evil.

Perhaps that was their idea of expanding the style.

Fire and brimstone concept should go away already. I wish they opted for something more Giegeresque

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For what it's worth, Doom 3 has a very bold aesthetic vision that was fantastically realized. I don't necessarily think that it's strong enough to hold my attention for a full length play-through. The engine was a big leap, but I think a big reason that the game holds up today is the meticulous design more than anything else.

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Orchid87 said:

Fire and brimstone concept should go away already. I wish they opted for something more Giegeresque


Doom 3 as well as the classic Doom games were actually more Gigeresque than people give them credit for; Adrian Carmack was a huge Giger fan, and I wouldn't mind seeing a game that took things further in that direction.

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I always thought doom 3 was severely well designed, and this game is still high in my list together with two other revolutions released circa 2004.

It keeps amazing me how they pulled all of that off on a damn Pentium 4 and a few hundred megabytes of memory. Even modern 2D junk imitating a damn SNES game dares to require a stronger machine in these days... opengl3, dual core... damn modern programming just to fill the gigantic hunk of pixels they call a modern screen.

Marnetmar said:

Doom 3 as well as the classic Doom games were actually more Gigeresque than people give them credit for; Adrian Carmack was a huge Giger fan, and I wouldn't mind seeing a game that took things further in that direction.


So, a lot of woman with tubes up their ass, and spikes in their woohoo. Beware the ESRB rating ! ;)

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It's easy to get caught up in all the massive black rubber cocks and sexual penetration, but seriously, Giger's work embodies Hell and the stuff nightmares are made of more than anyone else. Doom 4 better have some crazy ass Giger shit or I'm going to be disappointed. It doesn't need to have all the creepy erotic stuff to be Giger-ish.

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I think DooM is better off pursuing it's own style. Instead of Giegeresque cybernetics (very organic-looking machines) classic DooM and even DooM 3 to some extent had very chaotic, cobbled-together and downright tortuous-looking cyborg tech. DooM 4 seems to have a lot of glowy bits and seems to be a much more intelligent fusion, but it's easy to see where the machine ends and the monster starts.

Also, I'll take horns and skulls and bone and fire and exposed flesh over metal ladies any day. At this point the Giger style is in so many sci-fi movies it might as well be just as generic as a fire and brimstone hell is to fantasy. At least one is easily attributable to eternal suffering and evil, perhaps benign Eldrich at best, the other just makes me think of Mike Dawson.

Also, traditional western demons are fucking creepy

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I liked Doom 3 being a 2004 dark 3D shooter game that had an art style, which reminded me of some of the Doom engine games and how they all had a rather different looking aesthetic. I also felt that D3 had some rather consistent visuals. The Hell Brimstone areas did look rather out of place, due to the rocks and how suddenly angular a lot of the stuff was, but I'm pretty sure that was the point, to be so jarringly different, that I can almost excuse that. The dig sites, while cool, kinda seemed boring, but they were interesting in that they were introduced when the tech bases were starting to wear thin. I thought most of the monsters fit very well, too.

It just makes me wish that the Build Engine games had consistent styles. Duke Nukem, Blood, and PowerSlave (Save the crab enemies, who looked very out of place) probably had the most consistent art styles permeating throughout the game, but Shadow Warrior's enemies never really fit into the levels very well, especially some of the tougher enemies who clashed horribly. I guess Redneck Rampage looked okay to, actually, consistency wise. So, I suppose I don't know what I'm ranting about. But damn, RR was ugly.

And although that one pictured helmet up above looks cool, I'm still not entirely certain how the hell you see out of it. There's not much indicating a visor, or anything. It's like a solid unit. Maybe it's got a computer readout so the marines can all see their health bars and ammo counts a la Gordon's suit?

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Doom 3's aesthetic have always been my favorite aspect of the game. That being said, I substantially prefer the look of the original classic Doom monsters, but because of the Giger-esque environments, the more "alien" look to the demons fit surprisingly well. The attention to detail for every little nook and cranny on the walls and machinery makes the world feel believable and alive. You get the impression that this is an actual base with actual machines requiring specialized workers to operate.

I also love how as you progress through the game you can feel the fiery grip of hell begin to slowly consume the base. At the beginning, there are many survivors and it's basically the base overrun by small demons. This slowly becomes more intense after Bravo Team is killed, cutting you off from connection with Kelly, Swann and Campbell. After you pass about 2/3 into the story you begin to see more fire and lava around the lower parts of the base. Then entire rooms begin to collapse and increasingly powerful demons spawn and take over. Around this time you get a video linkup with Kelly who suddenly speaks in a cryptic tone and eventually tries to kill you. It feels like all hope is lost - so when you finally make it to hell for the second time and close the portal I get that heroic "I can't believe I did it!" feeling like I had actually been through something traumatic. I had survived an invasion from hell.

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Jaxxoon R said:

At this point the Giger style is in so many sci-fi movies it might as well be just as generic as a fire and brimstone hell is to fantasy.


Excuse me?! I don't recall seeing a single image from sci-fi cinema in the last 20 years that has Giger-ish images other than the infrequent appearance of a Xenomorph. Examples?

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I really like the details in Doom 3 as well. I agree that it feels believable and, other than the corny of-the-period computers and unnecessarily bulky TV monitors, the technology looks sufficiently futuristic. But I disagree about the hell aspect. I feel like they just tacked on some occasional fire-and-brimstone imagery and then BAM, you're in a generic hell. I found some aspects of it genuinely immersive--particularly with the star field background and the stones assembling themselves--but it looked really generic and lazy compared to the techbase stuff. Hell needs to be majestic, yet evil. It needs to feel as if some greater demonic force, more intelligent and more powerful than the demons you fight, built this place. Take a look at the cover to Morbid Angel's "Gateways to Annihilation," the artwork I linked below. This, to me, perfectly embodies Hell's architecture. Wouldn't you want to explore an environment like that?

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Holy shit, that picture is magnificent. I would LOVE to explore a game world like that.

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There's a lot of death and black metal album covers that I think would be fitting in a Doom universe. I'm really disappointed at how silly Hell looks in Doom 3. I'm really hoping Doom 4's hell will have the love and thought put into it that D3's techbase levels contain.

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GoatLord said:

Excuse me?! I don't recall seeing a single image from sci-fi cinema in the last 20 years that has Giger-ish images other than the infrequent appearance of a Xenomorph. Examples?


I was really tired when I wrote that; I'm surprised it's as legible as it is. What I really meant to say was scifi video games. Things like Species, R-Type, X-Multiply, Contra, Dark Seed, Gradius, Metroid, Ecco the Dolphin, and probably others I'm forgetting.

And yeah, Ecco the Dolphin is a pretty fucked-up game, BTW.

And after seeing that image, the majesty sort of reminds me of the creepier bits of the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. I do guess most of the Jim Henson creatures looked pretty demonic now that I think about it.

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id has always had amazing artists. Most of the art stuff is wonderfully designed and executed in their games. Hell, take a look at RAGE. Some of the architectural / character designs blow D3 out of the water.

As for the D3 Hell, I thought that the way Hell was consuming the base was really cool. Like when the corridor was twisted and reshaped in Central Processing. Or the Delta sector in RoE.

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Generic hell is fine, even mandatory but it should be spiced up after a while. For instance the first level in E3 Doom 4 is in the outskirts of hell, In E3M2 you approach the castle gates which you scale to enter the castle and there is also a storm raining blood from a lacerated sky, in E3M3 you are in a gothic cathedral similar to the one in Deus Vult 2, in E3M4 you are in the catacombs beneath the castle and after the fourth level shit gets really weird like a hell factory made of a patchwork of flesh and stolen UAC technology where you must destroy the hell factories where Mancubi, Revenants and Cyberdemons are manufactured, then a level inspired by the scrolling faces, a level where the most heinous acts of humanity are frozen like WW1 and 2, a level like GoatLord's fantastic artwork, a secret Wolfenstein level. In short it should start generic and become more and more weird.

I really think Doom 3 would have benefited from more hell levels, returning to Mars was a mistake I think. The player was already bored by tech bases and when things finally started to change you went back to Mars. Even so, the hell levels in The Lost Mission are wonderfully stylized and each room looks different and fresh, even if the whole place is made with only stock Doom 3 stuff. That walkway with cacodemons, those cages flowing with blood, the cathedral with bloody windows, they really really felt like classic doom, even the architecture was blocky. Also spotted certain Quake 1 quirks in both vannila and The Lost Mission with a hint of Quake 3 here and there. I think the Lost Mission levels were a testing ground for Doom 4 level design.

P.S where can I find more depictions of hell like the one GoatLord posted? That's freaking awesome.

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I never liked the helmet design for the marines, I do like the RoE expansions version of the helmet though.

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I think it's safe to say that although Id has had a few missteps over the last years the do excel in key areas like graphical fidelity, wonderful art and more recently fantastic weapons in RAGE. It's part of the reason why I am hopeful for Doom 4 and why I have a soft spot for Doom 3. The visual part of a game is extremely important to me but that is not limited to just graphics, great art is just as important and Id have both in spades and more recently fantastic guns.

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