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40oz

Is brown still overrated?

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Some years ago, all modern sci-fi military shooters were getting criticized for being really brown and gloomy and blooming light sources. It seems like more color contrast is making a come back in games these days.

Brown of course is still pretty prevalent in doom wads, but often contrasted with some brightly colored accents like red or orange or green or purple. I think during the time quake was popular, popular mappers were using more and more brown in their maps and greens and blues and other saturated colors were disappearing into obscurity. This doesn't seem to be the case anymore now that more and more mappers are using saturated colors and alternate palettes. Lately I've been into the grungey look of early 2000s doom 2 wads that were dark and musty and mostly made of earthy/victorian tan bricks and cobble stones with rusty metal supports against a dusty brown sky. I dont see much of this anymore and I wonder if this is because mappers think that particular theme is played out. I really like it and I'm tempted to make some more monotone brown maps like it.

Is "too much brown" a criticism that people take seriously anymore?

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I think it's more of a personal preference. If the maps plays and is textured well, an overall monotone theme will be a non-issue. I personally don't mind it, in fact I like nearly all of Doom's brown textures. For me they set a perfect stage for the 'Starport' style maps of first episode of Doom2.

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That's the important key word in all of this, contrast. That's one thing far too many modernish games had a real problem with, not having enough contrast, using entirely muted colors for the most part. That's actually one thing I like about Doom 2016. More muted environment colors with some colorful enemies to contrast it.

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Usually when you see critics about the abuse of Brown, Dark, Sad and Gloomy, they are taking about the early years of the "360/PS3/Cheap Ports for Pc".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccWrbGEFgI8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz-oUUhUXc4

Two of the best of example of that Brown, Dark, Sad and Gloomy Era...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ8Yuq8qpbM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-4HNmuEAKg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxJbz_3PKQo


Another examples...... I guess they were trying to be "deep" and "serious" at the time.

Games like Doom 1,2 Quake 1 ,2 ,3 are quite colourful

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Wild Dog said:

Games like Doom 1,2 Quake 1 ,2 ,3 are quite colourful

I'd have to disagree with you on quake. Quake 1 was very brown, and so was Quake 2, albeit to a lesser extent.

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Quake 2 was more of "metallic", i guess that was due the Strogg theme, but when it comes to colors, you had a lot of colors. Blue, Red, Green, Brown.
Quake 1 was more monotone than the other ID Games but it was a far cry from the overused brown filters from shooters from the 2005/6/7

This is a perfect example of that era and why people hated brown...

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sudo459 said:

...was very brown, and so was Quake 2, albeit to a lesser extent.


I dunno, I'd argue the dominant color in Quake 2 was orange.

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40oz said:

Is "too much brown" a criticism that people take seriously anymore?

To me, it is. Even though I do believe that brown is a good neutral color to be used on large surfaces, I prefer when a scenery has a variety of colors instead of just one color.

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Quake actually has wider colour range than Doom, it's just that it uses a lot of muted tones rather than a smaller selection of more vibrant ones. It's also got a pointillism approach to texturing, where something that might look like a grey texture, turns out on closer inspection to have lots of little points of colour in it.

That said, a lot of the original maps had a predominance of greeny-brown environments. And if you convert Quake textures straight to the Doom palette you will end up with a lot of drab browns and greys.

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Urthar said:

Quake actually has wider colour range than Doom,

I'm not sure about that.

Doom palette:



Quake palette:



EDIT: OK, if you mean "wider colour range" as "greater number of bright-to-dark sequences belonging to the same shade of whatever color", then you're right. I was thinking more like "greater number of distinct colors that a human can name", and Quake doesn't even seem to have any orange or purple, which Doom has, although it does have violet and (something somewhat like) cyan, which Doom doesn't.

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Unless I'm mistaken, the reason so many Ps3/360 era games were so muted in color was to mask system limitations that would otherwise be apparent with more vibrant colors. Crysis was an early exception to the rule but, of course, it was known as a ball-buster for most PC's at the time so it wasn't exactly going for limitations anyway.

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To my memory, Quake 1 vs. Duke was the beginning of the too-much-brown debate.

Quake 1 does brown like Super Mario does jumping. Quake 2 is also a bit drab but doesn't have the atmosphere to pull it off. Later military shooters somewhat overused dirt and mud.

I think Doom 2 and Plutonia deserve a spot alongside Quake 1 as doing brown right. And we've moved into a MOBA-drowned era where color is everywhere, which opens up possibilities for doing something different. Devil Daggers was super dark and muddy but a big hit.

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scifista42 said:

I'm not sure about that.

Doom palette:

http://doomwiki.org/w/images/2/2d/DoomPalette0.PNG

Quake palette:

https://quakewiki.org/w/images/0/09/Qpalette.png

EDIT: OK, if you mean "wider colour range" as "greater number of bright-to-dark sequences belonging to the same shade of whatever color", then you're right. I was thinking more like "greater number of distinct colors that a human can name", and Quake doesn't even seem to have any orange or purple, which Doom has, although it does have violet and (something somewhat like) cyan, which Doom doesn't.


Quake has 32 purples. Doom has a small and rarely used bright magenta range. Neither have any vibrant cyan ranges, though Quake has a few full bright light blues that edge towards cyan.

Quake has 16 vibrant yellow, 16 muted yellow and a few full brights. Doom has a small range of white - yellow, but no deeper yellows outside of the 'fire' range, which Quake also has, extending into deep terracotta.

Doom does have a full range of vibrant orange, so it sort of scores there, but Quake's full bright lava range and terracottas more or less cover that area.

As you say, Doom basically has less hues, but it will dedicate a lot more shades to a given hue, for example Doom's 37 greys vs Quake's 15.

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i'd love to see some brown maps

there's a definite tendency in certain maps to be built from bright liquid, dark monotextured rock, horizontally-scored gray and pastel plastice and striplights, all under a bright cheesy sky. it tends to look gorgeous but all modern Doom maps looking gorgeous is starting to feel a bit weird. bring back the stained brown environments imo =P

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I am an alumni at Gaston Lahaut Memorial College For the Colorblind with a focus in Brownian Applications. I've never been a critic of "ew too much brown" although yeah, those console game videos that Wild Dog linked are sortof insane.

But seriously mordeth is the best set of maps ever and I won't stop steali--- making tribute maps to it.

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Honestly, it depends on what kind of mood you're trying to present. Dull brown is kind of like a darkened black & white, it's meant to make you feel uncomfortable and a sense of dread. I think it should mostly be relegated to horror and otherwise sense of despair and hopelessness since a brown environment tends to be associated with wastelands and the like. Overly using it for anything besides that just muddies the whole experience, especially if you intend to have a game where the player is supposed to be having fun and generally in an uplifted mood.

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Brown is the universal color. Wherever you go there is brown. And darkness. But in Doom, brown works for all themes.

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The key is variety. I don't mind brown here and there but when everything is brown like in Plutonia is gets stale pretty fast. Doom II had too much brown as well, but hey some people don't seem to mind. It doesn't detract from the gameplay and map layout at least.

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I don't know why, but Quake's palette is utterly beautiful. It's a really interesting use of VGA limitations.

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Quake seems to devote more of its palette to shades of color, which WOULD give it an advantage in different shades of darkness since, in Vanilla Doom, the colors get quite ugly when in darker rooms.

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