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How would you describe Doom's aesthetic?

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For me, Doom's abstract nature is one of its best aesthetic features - video games are meant to be a distraction from our trivial lives, and thus less realistic games could actually give us more fun.

When I play games with more realistic environments, I start to feel bored pretty quickly. Doom, on the other hand, keeps my imagination stimulated and hungry for more.

Regarding DOOM2 - we could see it as an anti-utopia of sorts. It does seem pretty rough and cold for a futuristic world. In fact, I talked about this subject in one of my fan fiction pieces:

"Humanity had always had great expectation for the future – everyone eagerly waited for the time when clean and bright cities would replace the cold concrete and rusty metal of the past. Reality, as always, delivered a rude awakening – progress came at a cost. There seemed to be more backbreaking work and toil for everyone, regardless of all the marvelous technological advancements. The spaceport and all the amazing new factories surely looked pretty, yet there always were little muddy holes filled with filth and soot. Humanity had reached for the stars, and yet was still unable to escape from its dirty roots."

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I love realistic cities....because I can see what it is meant to be.

But then, I also love abstract ones because my imagination sees a city, a funny looking one but one all the same.

For me it goes both ways, I like a mix....I'm sure that in the past they would not have given a toss about making abstract cities if they had the means to make realistic ones....they did try for some amount of realism after all, the abstractness isn't necessarily deliberate. However depending on the art direction, of course it can be.

As long as the gameplay is good it's fine. I find most urban levels in video games fun, realistic or not. Except Doom 2's, like I've said before elsewhere, one gripe I have with Doom 2's city and just general look, is that leaves me feeling a bit queezy, games don't often do this to me.

But still, cities are often cool levels I find.

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rampancy said:

the poor were forced into ghettos while the super rich worshipped satan?

Seems accurate.

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I always felt that veiny blue/red texture best represented the aesthetic direction of Doom 1 for me. It didn't shy away from having primary colors at the forefront.

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To me the aesthetic seems to fit into the typical technology and military science fiction look used in multiple types of media before the year 2004. But all of them add their own little extra feel on top of it. examples could be ; Alien, silent running, terminator, blade runner, even some locations in star wars and many more.

A time where machines where machines, rusted, yet they could still function 30 years after they where made... On top of this mechanical old school look and feel there is this unrealistic aspect where radioactive acid poison runs next to unprotected ledges barely any higher than the poison levels, rusting walls, and demonic monsters.

Come to think of it ;
hellraiser + cube + alien + stereotypical demons + simple teen fantasy.

I cant seem to condense it into a simple sum up, because there are just so many things needed to explain it.

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Doom's aesthetic?

The start view of E3M4 with cutoff GSTGARG and GSTONE1 edging CEIL3_2 describes it in nutshell.

Nah, just kidding. About in 2011 I started to complain about how unfitting texture-flat variations are in the original game, but whining and cussing has gone out of my repertoir completely by now.


Back to the point, some of the levels are even designed with good taste related to being parts of the original game (e.g. E2M2 and E2M7, which IMO have the most detail). The theme question, hm. E1 is still best defined as STARTANSTARTANSTARTAN, TECHIESTUFF, oops, brick stone, STARTANSTARTAN, some nukage, some SLAD, some BROWN, STARTANSTARTANSTARTANSTARTAN, TECHIESTUFFTECHIESTUFF, a fingerful of ember and satanist symbols at the very end. E2 is obviously more complex than simply being called "military headquarters", since it does introduce CRATES, CEMENT, MARBLE, VINES, DAMAGED STARTANSTARTAN, FLESH, LIVE FIRE, BLOOD, PIPES, LAVA, WATER, WOOD, random ROCK flats and textures, etc., all permutated to make a straightforward transition from the base to the pre-hellish theme. After comes E3 which encloses all the stuff introduced already in E2 into more confined usage to make the theme even more hadistic, and does take some slighter-to-more-significant moves back to the techie stuff which gets ignored in E2 rather bad (basically E2M2 and E2M6 are the only notable levels to have TEK* textures in them). Okay, Spidey is flattened. What comes next? WOOD, MARBLE, WOOD, METAL, MARBLE, LAVA, WOOD, METAL, LAVA, WOODWOODWOODIRTY, MARBLEMARBLEMARBLOODY, ROCKYMARBLELAVAMETAL, a debatably compley hybrid of WOODWOODMARBLEBROWNIESTONEYWOODGROUNDNUKETECHIE with various other aspects revisited, and then again some MARBLE and WOOD stuff saved for the very end. Oh, and don't forget that TAN outside versus WOOD inside schizophraenia in the optional route.

Man, am I a preacher or what?

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I kindof spaced out as I was reading


I love that people on this community randomly mention obscure things like Texture names in DooM in conversation. Not too many people in my life with whom I can casually mention STARTAN for some reason.

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potnop said:

I love that people on this community randomly mention obscure things like Texture names in DooM in conversation. Not too many people in my life with whom I can casually mention STARTAN for some reason.

It's not exactly because we're being technical nerds in this community, it's because we mappers often and frequently work with stock IWAD textures, and thanks to long term experience, their names became common casual knowledge for us. :)

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