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GoatLord

Why is no one talking about level design?

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DooM_RO said:

It seems to me like Id is forced to make a game around those assuptions.


It did feel to me in places that some of the stuff was made a certain way because they knew the audience wanted it, without them actually wanting to make things exactly that way. Like "fine, you fuckers want a fast super dynamic overly gory doom with a nigh-invincible and psychotic protag, you'll get your fast super dynamic overly gory doom with a nigh-invincible and psychotic protag". Almost feels like Doom 3 and the scrapped version of 4 were truer to what the devs themselves would've wanted to make, if they didn't have to concern themselves with stupid stuff like "what would sell".

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Even Dark Souls? I mean, they coulda marketed and designed Doom 4 in a similar "URGH HARDCORE DEATHIFICATION" kind of way if they really wanted to.

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That's a good point, but I have my doubts that it would've worked. They want a broader audience, and people probably aren't too eager to jump on a FPS that markets itself like dark souls. People aren't so much used to the idea of hardcore difficulty as they are to hardcorely difficult fantasy hack n slash games with dodge-rolling and shit.

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Antroid said:

Almost feels like Doom 3 and the scrapped version of 4 were truer to what the devs themselves would've wanted to make, if they didn't have to concern themselves with stupid stuff like "what would sell".


The scrapped version of Doom 4 may not have been as pandering to the veteran fans as much as the new version, but it pandered more to the mainstream/casual FPS fans. So I wouldn't assume id Software wanted to make that version more. Besides, it was id Software themselves who felt that version wasn't good enough.

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Maybe they just realized that that version would've disappointed the majority of the potential buyers.

I'm sure they at least wanted to continue doom 3 with a hell on earth story, and the version they had for a while was a sort of natural development of that, perhaps.

But then someone with business sense came in, the same person who probably reminded them that making games tie into stories of games more than four or so years old is way too obscure for the general public and so everything should always be a reboot.

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Antroid said:

Maybe they just realized that that version would've disappointed the majority of the potential buyers.

I'm sure they at least wanted to continue doom 3 with a hell on earth story, and the version they had for a while was a sort of natural development of that, perhaps.

But then someone with business sense came in, the same person who probably reminded them that making games tie into stories of games more than four or so years old is way too obscure for the general public and so everything should always be a reboot.


Let's not act like the scrapped version was something unique and obscure. It looked just like Call of Duty with demons, and it involved the whole "resistance group" trope we've been seeing constantly over recent years.

Implying that id Software was taking a big risk with that game, I'd have to disagree based on what we've seen. The new version seems much riskier, but with more potential payoff.

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By obscure I meant just continuing a storyline from a previous game. That seems to be discouraged somewhat nowadays. At least not as popular as "back in the day" when an RPG series like Ultima would run through eight or so installments with continuous stories, and people waiting for new games like for episodes of a show. Nowadays the audience is more fluid, the attention spans are shorter, and any game that isn't getting a sequel twice a year (looking at you ass creed) is expected to not require any knowledge of other games.

I am slightly exaggerating but that's the general mood I think.

Dunno about the risks though. The previous Doom 4 probably would not have interested any new people as it didn't seem to stand out, and lots of old fans would probably have fucking boycotted it. This new doom 4 seems to draw in people who have never played a doom before - I've seen a bunch of comments like that. People pretty much want exactly what doom 4 is shaping to be. I don't see how it's riskier.

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Antroid said:

By obscure I meant just continuing a storyline from a previous game. That seems to be discouraged somewhat nowadays. At least not as popular as "back in the day" when an RPG series like Ultima would run through eight or so installments with continuous stories, and people waiting for new games like for episodes of a show. Nowadays the audience is more fluid, the attention spans are shorter, and any game that isn't getting a sequel twice a year (looking at you ass creed) is expected to not require any knowledge of other games.


I doubt that the scrapped version would have involved Doom 3's story much at all. It probably would have been presented as a standalone story about demons invading Earth, while briefly mentioning the Mars incident. I wouldn't say that was much of a factor.

Antroid said:

Dunno about the risks though. The previous Doom 4 probably would not have interested any new people as it didn't seem to stand out, and lots of old fans would probably have fucking boycotted it.


That's because it just looked like shit lol. It wasn't risky. It was bad. The new version looks like a much better game. But it's riskier because it's focusing on the core principle of not taking cover or being stealthy, and every AAA shooter these days involves at least one of those tenets.

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ChickenOrBeef said:

I doubt that the scrapped version would have involved Doom 3's story much at all. It probably would have been presented as a standalone story about demons invading Earth, while briefly mentioning the Mars incident. I wouldn't say that was much of a factor.

Yeah, I suppose you're right. No reason to directly involve any characters or tie in resurrection of evil or any of that to tell a hell on earth story.

ChickenOrBeef said:

That's because it just looked like shit lol. It wasn't risky. It was bad. The new version looks like a much better game. But it's riskier because it's focusing on the core principle of not taking cover or being stealthy, and every AAA shooter these days involves at least one of those tenets.

Well making a game that looks like shit is kinda risky... but I dunno, I feel that everyone secretly wants a game without stealth or cover these days. I haven't seen a single person, CoD fan or no, actually dismiss a potential FPS because it didn't have that kind of thing in it. I think it's just assumed that many people wouldn't want a balls out action game.

Now, if they made the level layouts resemble the original doom games in their core principles (needing to explore and actually find and perform the sequence of events that would allow you to exit, I miss this so much oh my god), and the gameplay as well (the sheer danger of certain monsters, assholish ambushes, need to actually look for supplies) - THAT would have been a true risk!

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potnop said:

The frustrating thing is people seem to think classic 90s shooter like doom = mindlessly running around shooting things and ultra violence

Case in point: Painkiller, Serious Sam, Hard Reset, Shadow Warrior Reboot (2013)
Many people compare these games with Doom or other classic FPSs like Blood, Duke 3D and the original Shadow Warrior, but static and monotone arenas are very different from the more "free to explore while fighting" levels from 90's gaming.

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It would be sad if there wasn't some interesting level designs in the full game. I think there's a lot of creative stuff you could do if you can double jump and climb. But it's hard to judge the level designs of the game based on what I've seen so far. During the demo, there were branching paths and you can't tell where they could have taken you. I also noticed that when he climbed up the stairs, there was a ventilation hatch that was reachable and had big yellow lights on it. Maybe you can enter it like in Duke 3d? Probably not, but who knows...

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I'm ok with arenas being peppered through out the game. Because they can add a lot of tension and fast paced combat if done correctly. I just don't want to see Doom turn into another arena based fps. It would be a shame to turn Doom into a arena, epically because they seem to be putting a lot of focus on vertical movement.

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Fulgrim said:

I'm ok with arenas being peppered through out the game. Because they can add a lot of tension and fast paced combat if done correctly. I just don't want to see Doom turn into another arena based fps. It would be a shame to turn Doom into a arena, epically because they seem to be putting a lot of focus on vertical movement.

See, that's the thing, I don't have a problem with arenas here and there in a Doom-like game (yes, I think I just made up that word), but make the entire game a giant connection of arenas and it's not a Doom-like game anymore.

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LkMax said:

See, that's the thing, I don't have a problem with arenas here and there in a Doom-like game (yes, I think I just made up that word), but make the entire game a giant connection of arenas and it's not a Doom-like game anymore.


I just want to see a Doom game that has actual freaking level design. Not a series of arenas or a liner progression of nicely decorated hallways. Also, the only thing that games like Serious Sam and Painkiller share with Doom is the fast paced combat and the weapon setups. I wouldn't call them a "Doom like game". Because one of the central aspects of Doom 1 & 2 is the level design.

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I hope they dispense with the items dropping off monsters when they die because imo that ruins the whole part of exploring in doom and also allows people to act brain dead when fighting the demons.

I loved how the hell level had a classic doom hell door. Doom 4 may surprise the hell out of all of us and have great level design besides the detail.

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I haven't mentioned level design, because honestly, I don't think I can tell that much from the footage.

Several people have suggested that the demo player just went a direct route and skipped exploration, which is a possibility.

The double jumping and displayed ability to clamber over edges suggested to me that you could jump over some of those short railings in the tech base level and drop down below the catwalks, so my impression was that there might be some exploration possible in those levels.
There could be invisible walls of course, but with the double jumping and the ability to haul yourself up from ledges, they would become so painfully apparent it would be much more immersion breaking than usually.
So immersion breaking in fact, that I doubt the designers would go for that but maybe I'm just being naive.

I did notice that the level design featured much wider spaces and a few wide doors that gave me a distinct classic Doom vibe. A friend of mine once said that Classic Doom was essentially one of the most spacious FPS in its level design and I think he was right, so I'm cautiously optimistic that some of that seems to be much better represented here than in Doom 3.

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gamul312 said:

The original Doom came out of that C-RPG world of dungeon mazes like Might & Magic, Ultima, Gauntlet, etc. Those may still be just as popular today given the number of roguelikes and titles like Etrian Odyssey and Legend of Grimlock out there (there's a lot on Vita and 3DS), but generally mazes and keys and secrets and all that aren't expected as much in FPS, especially since Call of Duty and Half Life became the standards. Call of Duty brings mission structure and team focus (military) and Half-Life brought the cinematic event-driven approach to things where it feels like you're exploring but you're really on a string of set pieces.

I think when graphics were more limited it worked well for mazes because you could use the same textures over and over. You weren't expected to put a ton of life-like detail into the scenery. Generally a maze isn't very lifelike unless it's like a literal corn maze or hedge maze or something. Doom's levels weren't strictly "mazes" but they were kind of abstract like that and I feel they came out of those designs from RPGs in the 80s. Wolfenstein 3-D even more so. (Or Catacomb 3-D?) But I do think this is essential to what made Doom great, so it's a shame it's not there in the new versions. In some ways the darkness of Doom 3 made it difficult to navigate (know where to go), but Doom 2015 isn't like that (apparently).

I think it'll still be good in the way that some of the more straightforward level designs in recent Id games are? Lost Missions, or other Tim Willits stuff (Episode 1 of Quake). But not that exploration-heavy. This doesn't mean the level design is bad per se. It may have a lot of clever things about it that have less to do with navigation or finding stuff but things we don't know yet.


When I first played Minecraft, I had the same thoughts. I think the lo-fi graphics allow for this half-in/half-out sort of take on reality and the abstract and so you can have these evocative worlds that feel both realistic but aren't bounded by reality. It's like, you are given enough structure and realism to project onto but not so much that the game now has to become bound to people's notions of the real world with rooms that actually have a clear purpose for existing or landscapes that aren't somewhat repetitive if looked at realistically.

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insertwackynamehere said:

When I first played Minecraft, I had the same thoughts. I think the lo-fi graphics allow for this half-in/half-out sort of take on reality and the abstract and so you can have these evocative worlds that feel both realistic but aren't bounded by reality. It's like, you are given enough structure and realism to project onto but not so much that the game now has to become bound to people's notions of the real world with rooms that actually have a clear purpose for existing or landscapes that aren't somewhat repetitive if looked at realistically.


Yes, definitely. There's so many moments in the original Doom games (Quake, too) where you see these abstract rooms that have no bearing in reality. I forget which level it was in Doom 2, maybe the first city level (11?), where you get into a room where like there's 12 elevators going up and down and each one has a Cacodemon on it and there's switches up there. Makes no sense, but it works with Doom's primitive graphics. I wish that kind of stuff could be done today.

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gamul312 said:

Yes, definitely. There's so many moments in the original Doom games (Quake, too) where you see these abstract rooms that have no bearing in reality. I forget which level it was in Doom 2, maybe the first city level (11?), where you get into a room where like there's 12 elevators going up and down and each one has a Cacodemon on it and there's switches up there. Makes no sense, but it works with Doom's primitive graphics. I wish that kind of stuff could be done today.

I just wish they'd do something a bit inspired by Duke Nukem 3d and the other Build engine games that featured "realistic" level design, but still kept it maze-like, with some slightly surreal elements, because Doom takes place in a future setting that's more alien looking than what we have today and I want rooms that aren't so recognizable, because they serve a purpose that's based on technology that does not exist today.

All those excuses about how making levels "realistic" somehow makes it impossible to allow for exploration just don't register for me, because the Build Engine games did something that was both acceptably "realistic", while keeping the level design fun with multiple approaches and exploration intact.

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yeah, its hard to explore, when the game is just a pretty corridor. Probably the issue is that, too many assets asigned to decoration, so no space to make more places to explore.

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Piper Maru said:

I wonder if they will include monster closets, or is that a thing they will leave in the past?


I think it would be boring if they completely do it without monster closets, because that would mean the only way left to surprise attack the player would be teleporting monsters in.

Monster closets can be fun when they aren't over-used and when they are designed in a somewhat believable way.

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Monster cabinets are the hallmark of the series , they must return in the new Doom but do not know how they will use them if there is no key and skulls.

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