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GoatLord

Art direction and sound design

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These two aspects are integral to the immersion factor of any video game. So often, I've seen trailers or clips for games that had me rolling my eyes and little else, due the developers having an apparent lack of imagination or an eye/ear for details. I first played Doom in 1994 and was always taken aback by its aesthetic. After watching quite a bit of recent footage of Doom '16, I felt it was time to really analyze its aesthetic.

In terms of art direction, there are a lot of subtle touches that really suck you in. The fog, material lighting, the sleekness of the automap, computer terminals, holograms, numerous architectural details, it's all great. The grungy, "Aliens"-esque look of the UAC facilities is perfect. The Hell portions that were shown are a massive improvement over Doom 3's, and in many ways bring to mind the best Hell maps from PSX Doom and Doom 64, which is a good thing.

Weapon design is slick. Everything looks as it should and the more powerful weapons look like they'll be a lot of fun to wield. Their animations are very detailed and make the player feel like a badass. The enemies are some of the best designs of any Doom game, period. The imp is looking better and better. The hell knight is TERRIFYING. The demon, baron and cacodemon in particular are utterly faithful to their original designs. Even the hunched-over cyberdemon is growing on me. They all look great and the glory kills are quick enough to avoid being distracting.

But--and this has already been covered--there's something wonky about the shadows and blood. Shadows appear on some surfaces but not others, but of course this is to be expected because we're not at the point where shadows can be cast from literally every surface. But Doom 3 had shadows draped over enemies lurking in the dark that would pass over them as they approached you. The fact that this doesn't really tend to happen in Doom '16--not to mention the player's hand doesn't cast a shadow on objects he interacts with--makes me feel like I'm watching footage from a much older game. Meanwhile, the blood textures look good, but the actual spraying of blood from enemies looks a bit sub-Q3A, and I really can't accept that in 17 years we haven't improved on that. The way it disappears instantly (despite leaving decals on the floor) is unsatisfying.

On to sound design. A game this detailed and action-heavy needs a lot of sound effects, and there's certainly no shortage of that. But when the carnage gets heavy, it seems like something is off. Some weapons sound too low in the mix while less powerful weapons are much louder (rocket launcher versus shotgun for instance). Enemies doesn't seem to react to damage too much; I keep wanting to hear armor being chinked or painful groans to be emitted, but there's not a lot of that. Sometimes an enemy would go down or an explosion would go off and either a very weak sound would be heard, or there was no sound at all. I find this extremely distracting. It's like watching a movie where the foley guy fell asleep halfway through!

Also, it's not that difficult to record multiple sounds for the same action and I think far too often we hear the exact same sound effect, and that's just plain silly for 2016. It's also silly that in all of the footage, not once did I hear even the slightest attempt at creating a realistic sense of propagation of sound. Sound gets distorted not only by reverberating off of walls, but your relative distance from the sound's origin can cause minor phaser effects. The fact that these effects can be heard in classic Doom source ports but not here is a bad sign.

Music is good. The mixture of ambient, symphonic, heavy metal and industrial fits Doom perfectly. I wouldn't mind some more brooding, less busy dark ambient in the Hell sections that were shown, but the angelic chorus was a cool touch and the guitar riffs are tasteful. In other words, I no longer have any gripes about the music. Clearly Mick Gordon came through on that end. The fact that the music is dynamic is particularly enjoyable.

So that's my rant. As both a music producer and a visual artist, I felt it was important to discuss how those elements affected me as the most recent plethora of videos surfaced. I think for the most part everything is just dandy, but it disturbs me a bit that there's a laundry list of tiny things that add up, important things that should have been glaringly obvious to anyone working on the game. The fact that such things were overlooked won't be a deal breaker, but the question that keeps echoing in my mind is, "How did they not notice this?"

Then again, poor Marty Stratton has apparently been looking like the living dead. I'm sure he and many of the employees at id are stressed and overworked. So perhaps this laundry list is justified.

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Nice rant.

Also really digging the Hell Knight here, I didn't really like him in Doom 3, but his aggressiveness and relentlessness in this new game has been a huge surprise for me.

Not sure what to think about the spraying of blood yet, but from what I've seen so far it's not as satisfyng as in other violent games, for example I recently played Shadow Warrior 2013 and the bloody effects looked more interesting there.

I'm not an expert on sound design, but I would also say that the sound design seems odd, because some sound effects that are supposed to be loud can be barely heard and I don't hear anything memorable from the demons, it feels like their different sound effects don't stand out like in the previous games, they did a better Job in Doom 3.

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>The new hellknight really does this berserk monster thing seriously...
>The imp is amazing, theyre very agile and mobile during combat.
>The pinky takes some getting used to because they nerfed him with his armor in front.
>The mancubus is pretty amazing, lumbering yet powerful, huge healthpool and high damage to boot.
>The cacodemon is faster as they will try to avoid you sometimes
>The former humans and the possesed really feel like strogg for some reason..like..quake 2 strogg with advanced ai. I was kind of hoping for a glory kill that lets you grab a shotgunguy's shotgun and gun butt his face then crush his head as he falls down.
>The baron is terrifyingly fast but youre faster. Makes up for ranged attack and that ground smash.

>on the sound thing, i agree woth you, too much muffled noises.

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I was watching the new Hell gameplay again and just noticed that the imp seems to be completely silent when he dies.

EDIT: And not just the imp, the Hell Knight too.

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I was told in a previous thread that this can be blamed on the nature of streaming. I don't remember any of the E3 footage having sound issues.

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I can't really tell if the imp and the hell knight make any sounds when they die in the E3 demo, but I can say that the pinata effect looks better in the alpha. it's so bad now, why would they do this?

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From all the footage shown, imps seem completly silent.
Sound design seems quite flawed on various aspects

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Sound design just seems really sparse and weirdly mixed to me. That seems to be a pretty consistent issue with idtech games as well. The audio tech in idtech5 was really barebones for what you'd expect out of modern AAA titles. Doesn't seem like many improvements were made for 6.

I'm mainly basing my thoughts on this single player footage.

Why aren't there any footstep sounds? There also barely seem to be any audible weapon impact sound. I mean, not even the rocket explosions seem to emit any notable sounds. That really big minigun weapon has a much lower volume than any of the standard weapons which seems really counter-intuitive.

Overall, I'm just really disappointed with the audio so far. Brutal Doom, even though it's really rough around the edges and amateurish from a sound quality perspective, at least doesn't get these kind of crucial things wrong.

I would probably mod the sound for this game myself, but from what I've heard I doubt the game is open/moddable enough for me to do anything of note other than just replace existing sound files. With the kind of problems present it's more about expanding and adding new sound functionality rather than just switching out files.

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GeckoYamori said:

Sound design just seems really sparse and weirdly mixed to me. That seems to be a pretty consistent issue with idtech games as well. The audio tech in idtech5 was really barebones for what you'd expect out of modern AAA titles. Doesn't seem like many improvements were made for 6.

I'm mainly basing my thoughts on this single player footage.

Why aren't there any footstep sounds? There also barely seem to be any audible weapon impact sound. I mean, not even the rocket explosions seem to emit any notable sounds. That really big minigun weapon has a much lower volume than any of the standard weapons which seems really counter-intuitive.

Overall, I'm just really disappointed with the audio so far. Brutal Doom, even though it's really rough around the edges and amateurish from a sound quality perspective, at least doesn't get these kind of crucial things wrong.

I would probably mod the sound for this game myself, but from what I've heard I doubt the game is open/moddable enough for me to do anything of note other than just replace existing sound files. With the kind of problems present it's more about expanding and adding new sound functionality rather than just switching out files.


Right on the money, couldn't have said it any better myself. Worryingly, both TNO and Doom multiplayer beta had these odd issues with surround and sound dynamics so it seems unlikely that this can be fixed. Hopefully some one @ id reads this forum and does something about this. :/

Edit: And this definitely isn't hardware dependant. I have a rather high quality hifi sound system hooked to my PS4. (4 x Kef iq90, q600c, psw2500)

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HellVain said:

>The new hellknight really does this berserk monster thing seriously...
>The imp is amazing, theyre very agile and mobile during combat.
>The pinky takes some getting used to because they nerfed him with his armor in front.
>The mancubus is pretty amazing, lumbering yet powerful, huge healthpool and high damage to boot.
>The cacodemon is faster as they will try to avoid you sometimes
>The former humans and the possesed really feel like strogg for some reason..like..quake 2 strogg with advanced ai. I was kind of hoping for a glory kill that lets you grab a shotgunguy's shotgun and gun butt his face then crush his head as he falls down.
>The baron is terrifyingly fast but youre faster. Makes up for ranged attack and that ground smash.

>on the sound thing, i agree woth you, too much muffled noises.

You are forgetting the new Flash Archvile, which coupled with his strong attacks and summoning capabilities, really looks like a demon you should be aware of in the game.

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While i carefully read that rant, i couldn't help but think... so you have played
the game already ? It's hard to really let this rant sink in because i haven't.
I could only post such in depth review (at least that's how its written) when i
actually played the game in my own home with my nearfield speakers blasting at me.

I would be able to agree on certain points if u and i actually have played it,
but we didn't ( or u are keeping a secret from us :) So I'll wait with actual
points of criticism until i've been drenched in doom.

I do however find the way u analyze these things interesting and they will make
me pay even more attention to these aspects as a fellow visual artist and hobby
music producer.

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GoatLord said:

But--and this has already been covered--there's something wonky about the shadows and blood. Shadows appear on some surfaces but not others, but of course this is to be expected because we're not at the point where shadows can be cast from literally every surface. But Doom 3 had shadows draped over enemies lurking in the dark that would pass over them as they approached you. The fact that this doesn't really tend to happen in Doom '16--not to mention the player's hand doesn't cast a shadow on objects he interacts with--makes me feel like I'm watching footage from a much older game.



Has to do with the fact that the engine uses a different method to render shadows, than the one used in Id Tech 4 and Tech 4.5.

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GoatLord said:

Text/......

You do realise that you can't have shadows enabled from all light sources and expect this run 1080p60 on consoles, isn't it such an obvious thing for you.

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id.dav said:

You do realise that you can't have shadows enabled from all light sources and expect this run 1080p60 on consoles, isn't it such an obvious thing for you.

Any way this would be changeable via console or otherwise?

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GeckoYamori said:

Sound design just seems really sparse and weirdly mixed to me. That seems to be a pretty consistent issue with idtech games as well. The audio tech in idtech5 was really barebones for what you'd expect out of modern AAA titles. Doesn't seem like many improvements were made for 6.


This.

Also, realistic shadows can be very taxing on hardware (all games, not just id). It's the first feature a developer would dial down if their goal is 60 FPS constant on consoles. And most if not all the footage I've seen is on PS4, which uses a modified AMD HD 7870 (GTX 580/660 equivalent). I'm willing to bet the PC version (the real version of DooM IMO) will have much better graphics and perhaps better sound mixing.

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joeking said:

This.

Also, realistic shadows can be very taxing on hardware (all games, not just id). It's the first feature a developer would dial down if their goal is 60 FPS constant on consoles. And most if not all the footage I've seen is on PS4, which uses a modified AMD HD 7870 (GTX 580/660 equivalent). I'm willing to bet the PC version (the real version of DooM IMO) will have much better graphics and perhaps better sound mixing.

Were both of the streams played on pc, or console?

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LittleBurger said:

Any way this would be changeable via console or otherwise?

Nope! It is done in editor...you simply disable shadow from lightsource. Unchangable untill edited in idStudio manually)) May be there's a cvar that forces shadows from all lights even if those were disabled in editor, but I wouldn't count on that.

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id.dav said:

Nope! It is done in editor...you simply disable shadow from lightsource. Unchangable untill edited in idStudio manually))

Darn. I think some variant of the doom 3 lighting would go well with this game (should have just allowed for various settings for it so it).

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LittleBurger said:

Darn. I think some variant of the doom 3 lighting would go well with this game (should have just allowed for various settings for it so it).


Don't quote me on it but I've read it somewhere that Doom3's lighting was only useful for low-poly assets, and that framerate quickly tanks when you try to use it in a modern triple A game.

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The Doom 3 algorithm (shadow volumes) turned out to be a dead end and nothing uses it anymore. Of course nowadays games are all going for approximations of global illumination / physically based rendering, which ends up being horrendously complex in any event.

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Linguica said:

The Doom 3 algorithm (shadow volumes) turned out to be a dead end and nothing uses it anymore. Of course nowadays games are all going for approximations of global illumination / physically based rendering, which ends up being horrendously complex in any event.


I know that Quake 4 used id Tech 4 from Doom 3, were there any other games that used it?

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Piper Maru said:

I know that Quake 4 used id Tech 4 from Doom 3, were there any other games that used it?

Wolfenstein 2009, Quake wars, Brink, cancelled Prey 2.

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Everything looks good...but the "Possessed Humans" look like shit.

They look like lab experiments, not fucking soldiers/guards that have been possessed by hell.

Hopefully with alternative variants, most will look like they have been possessed (Either Doom 3, or Classic, OR BOTH!) and not looking like fleshy turds from hell.

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XLightningStormL said:

Everything looks good...but the "Possessed Humans" look like shit.

They look like lab experiments, not fucking soldiers/guards that have been possessed by hell.

Hopefully with alternative variants, most will look like they have been possessed (Either Doom 3, or Classic, OR BOTH!) and not looking like fleshy turds from hell.

They look like they have been possessed and cybernetically enhanced to me, except the energy of hell has caused them to mutate and become malformed likely due to their bodies not being meant to be touched by it. Which is different than a more traditional possessed corpse or the like route.

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The former human creatures are people who have been exposed to the so-called Lazarus waves that have stripped away higher brain functions and have mutated them, and in some cases fused them with their cybernetic suits(?) Some of them, mainly the former security/marines have retained their combat skills in their new existence. I for one love the new designs and am glad to be facing something different than green haired guys with shocked expressions on their faces. It's the kind of look on their face as if they just dropped their watch in the toilet or something.

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XLightningStormL said:

Everything looks good...but the "Possessed Humans" look like shit.

They look like lab experiments, not fucking soldiers/guards that have been possessed by hell.

Hopefully with alternative variants, most will look like they have been possessed (Either Doom 3, or Classic, OR BOTH!) and not looking like fleshy turds from hell.


The Lazarus Waves mutates them not only in some bio/genetic way, but also fuses them with nearby technology, which is why it looks like they've been grafted with machinery.

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XLightningStormL said:

Everything looks good...but the "Possessed Humans" look like shit.

They look like lab experiments, not fucking soldiers/guards that have been possessed by hell.

Hopefully with alternative variants, most will look like they have been possessed (Either Doom 3, or Classic, OR BOTH!) and not looking like fleshy turds from hell.

Because this time the UAC either is or contains an evil cult who really do experiment on people, rather than the tech and weapons corporation that happens to have an asshole whose name literally means betrayer.

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RikohZX said:

Because this time the UAC either is or contains an evil cult who really do experiment on people, rather than the tech and weapons corporation that happens to have an asshole whose name literally means betrayer.

When olivia said "Brothers and sisters..." during the sp preview, it became apparent that UAC devolved into a cult rather than a corporation. It is rather fucked up that UAC tells thier employees to voluntarily give thier souls to the demons as long as thier equipment is taken care of.

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victorboris1 said:

The Lazarus Waves mutates them not only in some bio/genetic way, but also fuses them with nearby technology, which is why it looks like they've been grafted with machinery.

Interesting, so basically they get changed by the energy either due to it not being meant to be used on them, or as a attribute of it (or probably a mix of the two)? I wonder if it has any lingering effect on the area it is used in.

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Also, if I recall correctly, the Revenant is the result of a human who is cybernetically augmented and then blasted with large doses of Lazarus waves repeatedly.

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