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To revise Doom 3

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I used to have mixed feelings about it, but over the years I've come to appreciate, respect, and really, really like Doom 3. Doom 4 was pure excellence, it's clear that every single decision in that game was intelligently calculated to make it the best possible Doom game for the modern era, not only advancing the gameplay, but also the plot, while remaining faithful and true to what made Doom, well, Doom.


I literally cannot find a single thing to complain about in it, not even the lack of modding tools. Do you really think that people would do much, beyond huge teams of experienced people that would be better off applying at id if they're so good at making content for cutting-edge tech? Snapmap is the perfect analogue to traditional Doom mapping circa 1994. Sure, it's not "real" modding, but that's unrealistic, given the circumstances. Snapmap is simple, powerful, accessible and easy. Just like making WADs for classic Doom. Why should it be anything else?


As a side note about modding in the olden days: Okay, yeah, the tools sucked, there was no real documentation, etc, whatever. Not relevant. The important part is there, and that's what matters.



All that being said, there are a number of poor decisions in Doom 3's design that have not aged well. I wouldn't change too much about the game, but here's what I would change (some of these may have made the performance worse on old hardware, but oh well):



It acted like Half-Life where it shouldn't have, and didn't where it should have. I refer specifically to the distinction between cinematics being presented as cutscenes vs. scripted in-game sequences. I can see what they were trying to do, but I think the lengthy playable intro was not a good decision in retrospect. I believe their intent was first to use the new technology to tell the story in a way they couldn't before, it was novel and they wanted to run with it. It was also a nice showcase of the graphics engine. They wanted to build up tension and atmosphere before everything went to hell (pardon the pun, or don't).


Problem is, this is Doom, not Half-Life. In Doom, you start right at the action. The first level is to be short. I feel that a better solution would be to cut map 1 and the first half of map 2 as a playable sequence, turning the second half of map 2 into map 1. The intro would've been better as a cutscene cinematic. A lengthy one, too, but you can skip through it. They could've tightened the presentation this way, and used a lot of stuff from the old reveal trailer to better depict the start of the invasion, as I feel it was very lacking in the released game.


Then, the in-game cutscenes. Anything that depicts events going on elsewhere should remain as cutscenes, but anything that depicts what's going on in the immediate area should have been in-game scripted sequences. If it's right in front of the player's face, why are we taken out of the controllable first person experience? That's not Doom-like.


The pace of the game was a little on the slow side. The action was tense and frantic, but the player didn't move very fast, and there weren't very many monsters. Doom 3 BFG sped the player up 25%. Personally, I'd go maybe like 30-35%, but it doesn't need to be turbo, the level design is not built for it. I feel like they could've added more monsters (this is the part where I mentioned performance earlier), reducing their health but increasing their numbers. Probably decrease their damage output as well.


As a side note, corpses shouldn't disappear for obvious reasons. (again, performance, but I don't care)


The weapons were mostly alright, but they could be tweaked. Everyone hates the practically-melee shotgun. The machine gun was a bit weak. The chaingun was perhaps a bit too powerful, and took too damn long to rev up. The other weapons seem fine to me. Speaking of weapons, requiring the soul-cube to defeat the Cyberdemon was just dumb. Protip: to kill the cyberdemon, shoot at it until it dies. How did they manage to screw this one up? The only thing I truly hate in this game, rather than dislike.


The game was 99% techbase, it's like they forgot that hell existed and suddenly remembered at the last minute. One map for hell? Are you kidding me? It should have been at least 4 or 5 levels. Oh, and the demons looked fugly with their unique hell skins. Just let me see them as they normally are, please.


The PDA was cool, it's an integral part of the world-building and I would not like to see it or the associated content removed. However, this, more than anything, is what slowed the pace to a crawl. It was required to progress by listening to long audio logs until you finally hear them speak the code to get past that one door (and if you're in the middle of combat, you better hope you heard it and remember it amongst the chaos). It was less problematic when you needed to read an email, but this still requires you to stop what you're doing.


I figure; if it's their personal data assistant that contains their codes, shouldn't you just get automatic access to whatever it told you via voice or text? Turn them into plain keys that happen to also grant optional world-building content. Problem solved.


The excessive darkness was a problem. Carmack didn't want to have a flashlight, as it would've been just one more light source for the game to calculate the stencil shadows from. It's also decidedly un-Doom-like. Why not instead go for (low) base ambient light levels? This might improve performance in general and potentially (though I'm not sure) offset the performance issues added by using more monsters without fading corpses, because they could have reduced the amount of light sources placed in the maps just to make anything visible at all.


Another idea, they could have attempted to mimic the light diminishing from the classic games by having a distance based light amplification, based on the existing light level before this effect is applied (midrange gets it the most, very dark and bright areas get it less). Would've felt right at home, too, as the stencil shadows are very reminiscent of classic Doom's high contrast aesthetic with sharp sector-boundary shadows drawn into the map.


Lastly, Trent Reznor's sounds. I have absolutely no idea what happened here and why he left (or was removed from) the project. While the final game's sound design was very good (with a few questionable sfx such as the rather wimpy weapon sounds), Trent's would've blown it the fuck out of the water and make the game's atmosphere just that much better.



Other than that, it's a very solid game, and a damn good entry in the franchise.

Edited by Blastfrog

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I only played Doom 3 on the original Xbox and must say, for that console it's a great game, even though it runs a bit sluggish at times.

I found the PDA thing actually quite interesting, as it gave you a different aspect from all the action. I mainly just cleared a room and if I found a PDA, I usually saved that until I found a locker or such where I actually needed to look for a code. By the time the area was already cleared of monsters and you had a moment to breath, kind of like the save rooms in Resident Evil.


I guess the biggest problem is that Doom 3 is just a complete different approach to Doom, which begins with the story. I think the whole survival thing fits the story more than the action paced style from Doom 1 & 2, but maybe that's because I played Doom 3 before I played Doom 1 or 2.

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TBQH, I wouldn't change anything really. Doom 3 was a totally different look at Doom, and it does that well. We're looking at a world where you can't move at insane speeds, you need air to breathe outside, high jumps are fatal, demons are creatures from a strange world, etc. Everything about Doom 3 feels much more like a "if Doom was realistic" game. 


The scripted sequences (such as the jeep/vehicle appearing out of nowhere) and cutscenes (monster introductions) were well done and served their purpose. Most of the cutscenes were cool enough, save for the intro. The scripted sequences were just as good, some being interactive (remember the man trapped in this machine and you can choose between freeing him and killing him?)


The flashlight is magnificent in establishing a fear of surprises. The world is dark, and you can only see a part of it at times. Because there's no duct tape on Mars, it only makes the situation even more harder. 


PDAs were definitely a nice addition. Their existence makes sense, and the way they function makes sense. If only those PDAs didn't lack a slider for fast forwarding/rewinding media :/


The game itself seems to take place after the invasion/breach. Would explain why enemies are lightly sprinkled on maps rather than filled with them. But in the end, it's just like Doom: Doomguy fights the demons, Doomguy wins. Only difference is Doomguy is shown to suffer trauma for what he went through, which makes sense. Who wouldn't suffer after going through all that?


Point is Doom 3 was a game about patience. You had to wait in order to get what you want, to delve into the story, to take it one step at a time. It's what made Doom 3 unique.


I still think Doom 64 is the real Doom 3 though.

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I just recently started playing through Doom 3 again and have also come to appreciate it.  It has a more survival horror feel to it that I can really get behind.  I do, however, wish that there were more roaming creatures instead of constant warp-ins.

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I've loved Doom 3 since day one. It's in my top five favorite games of all-time.


But fuck the BFG Edition. That's a neutered joke. I think this is maybe the seventh time I've said this over the years. But damn it, it's what I'm here on Doomworld for. Stick to vanilla, or vanilla with HD mods.

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I liked Doom 3 well enough when it was first released, but it had the bad luck to come out only a few months before Half-Life 2, which made Doom 3 look incredibly old-fashioned (and not in a good way) in comparison. Doom 3 was obviously a reaction to the original Half-Life - it had the same style of design, where the game is largely a piecewise evolution of the "classic" FPS model (big arsenal, centered around fighting enemies) whereas Half-Life 2 was an indication of where FPSes were headed in the future (more streamlined, more of a guided amusement park ride, more focused on the overall experience than the gameplay).

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I was sad when I bought the BFG edition and changing the flashlight back to how it was in vanilla wasn't an option :(

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Personally, I find Doom 3 to be a perfect game for people who actively hunt down lore and for the atmosphere. The pace was perfect. Yeah, it wasn't lightning quick like the first two games, because it had its own art style, and it wasn't trying to copy previous titles, but shoot on its own way. And it did a very good job while at it.


What may induce heresy is that I generally like Doom 3 more than Doom 64. It may be because of the fact that my main squeeze is Half-Life, and in general I mostly compare FPS games with Half-Life. But still, I prefer Doom 3 due to the originality, due to the slower pace and lesser enemies, the whole expanded minimalism of the thing. I mean, if you had some new tech you wanted to show, and wanted people to bask in the details a bit longer, wouldn't you slow down your game? Just imagine breezing through Doom 3 on Ludicrous speed. Would you enjoy it? Would you be able to pick up the details from the side? Would you let someone's imagination and creativity become worthless because you had to "play it like it's 1992"? If the game wasn't beautiful as it was and if it remained to look and feel like the first two games, I would complain about the pace. But it was perfect for this setting.


The weapons were so satisfying to use, to look at, and to listen to. I liked the assault rifle's design, and chaingun finally spelt "power" with it's whole... well, with itself. The rocket launcher being a portable artillery weapon (unlike a explosive plasma ball so to say), it's whole design is futuristic in a good way, aka, humanity learned to make personal rocket launchers, how cool is that?


What takes the cake is the BFG. Instead of just being the biggest gun, it became a personal ICBM of a weapon, one you are afraid to fire because of how rare it's ammo is, but once you do manage to fire properly, well, it feels like riding a tank and firing off the main barrel. It wasn't a conventional weapon so to say, much like the Soul Cube, the way it works, the way you could knock yourself out with it (aka die from it) made it a special weapon. While at it, the Soul Cube was a cool artifact, reminded me of the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead, just instead of being associated with Hell, its opposed to it, specifically designed to take down demons, not just physical beigns, like the Unmaker. Just much more cooler.


I hated the BFG edition because the whole feel of this edition just soaks the original game in warm water. I liked the flashlight being a weapon on its own. It makes you think, like, would you a) be able to see the enemy or b) be able to fight the enemy? Anyone smart enough just swaps the options all the time, and with the introduction of the plasma weapon in the gameplay, you could do both (altough it is a skill a bit harder to master). Also all the gameplay changes, and how the whole "mystery" vibe just washes off whenever I see the main menu.


Oh, and kickass music. Blasting the theme on 100% makes it a finely tuned testosterone generator.


I mean, I could glorify this game for the rest of the day, but its not like we are sitting in a room talking about it, so I will cut this text post now and conclude with the next:


I wonder did anyone who denies Doom 3 just because it wasn't like Doom 1 or 2 had ever thought that this title was designed on its own way, rather than it being the most closest looking copy the old formula? Yeah, that "3" part might unnerve people, but I swear, looking at the game like it was a spin-off title or a experimental art project or even a (god forbid) "movie game" makes it look like a perfectly good FPS game. Thinking that it was supposed to be succesor to the lightning-fast titles beforehand will obviously dissapoint people. It just wasn't meant to be one, but with all the lore and story aspect (and great atmosphere) it definitely is a game you would put along other Doom titles.

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Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed response, I was worried that people wouldn't take an interest in this thread.


I wouldn't want to take away from any of what you said was good about Doom 3. It's good that Doom 3 does its own thing, I like it. I just think that it should've allowed more options to the player to play how they want to at any point in the game. I'm not saying to turn it into "1993 Doom 3" or anything, just streamline some things to be a little bit more action-ey and allow me to focus on just that as a player if I wanted to.


PDAs are great for world-building. The audio logs, emails, etc. all tell a story about what was going on before you got stationed there. But don't make me listen to a 5 minute monologue just so I can open a door!


The slower player speed is nice, but a slight increase would be nice, at least on the running speed. The stronger/fewer enemies was not only gameplay choice, but also a technical consideration. I wouldn't add too many more enemies, maybe like 15-20% more at most.


Honestly, the flashlight really sucks. It's not fun. At all. There's a reason they changed it in BFG, and not just because people complained. They changed it because it was actually a bad game design choice. They didn't even want to have it originally, it was only added by necessity for how dark the levels were. I just think they could've handled it differently (and brought performance up by using less dynamic light sources) by having base ambient light levels.

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TBQH, I thought the flashlight mechanic was a pretty cool addition. And it's not like the whole game is pitch black (Doom 64 should've had a flashlight :P).


Or maybe I'm biased, as I've always been a fan of games that have something unique in them. An example I can think of is the blinking mechanic of SCP:CB, really cool.


The flashlight is the same here. Most FPS games usually have the flashlight alongside the weapon. Pretty much kills the atmosphere some times. But since in Doom 3, it's a seperate item, I'm taking a big risk when I bring it out. That alone makes me a hell lot more cautious of the environment, which contributes to the fear factor. It just feels so real and exciting this way.

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I'm of the opinion that Doom 3 had the right idea, but didn't go far enough with it. That's right: I think it would've benefitted from being even less of a reminder of the glorious early days.


Instead it tried to seat one ass on two chairs, and we know what usually happens when you do. I believe their original vision was bolder - the early preview materials show a strong and coherent survival horror vision. Then maybe some fans yelled loudly enough - too grey, too slow, or whatever - and they decided to pander just a little bit.


It's an idea problem, but there were quality problems as well. Like cutscenes: I don't think their existence is the problem, I just think they were badly scripted, with dull camera work and not a lot of interesting things going on. With this in mind - yes, maybe they should've looked at Half-Life, where the camera never leaves the main character's head. It ain't worth it to break the player's immersion if you're a mediocre filmmaker at best.


Or maybe they should've stuck with what they showed in 2002: scenes so gruesome that the camera work didn't really matter.


Then there are crappy ragdoll physics. If there's anything objectively broken in the game, it's that. No wonder demons disintegrate immediately after being killed - we don't want them stuck in an awkward unnatural pose even for a few seconds. If only we could do the same to zombies, right? But hey, let's make every human corpse liquefy from one bullet grazing a pinky finger - with any luck, it will happen to 90% of zombies in the game, and no one will notice anything weird.




Edited by Da Werecat

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Some changes I'd personally make:

  • Overall make the maps brighter, if even just slightly.
  • Less incentivizing of using the flashlight.
  • Make finding codes for cabinets and shit less tedious.
  • Improve about half of the sound effects in the entire game.
  • Hire better voice actors for about half of the character cast.

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There are some changes I make when I play:
-Reduce the shotgun's spread.
-Make it reload one shell at a time to rebalance.


That's about it :p.

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I made a mod for myself a long time ago - it copied the shotgun behavior (and also sounds) from the leaked alpha. The result was pretty balanced and fun, although 5 shells in the magazine felt a bit harsh at times.


It's amazing how easy it is to make the weapons in the game actually satisfying - a small amateur mod made in half an hour is about enough.

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On 26.5.2017 at 9:41 PM, Blastfrog said:

Problem is, this is Doom, not Half-Life. In Doom, you start right at the action. The first level is to be short. I feel that a better solution would be to cut map 1 and the first half of map 2 as a playable sequence, turning the second half of map 2 into map 1. The intro would've been better as a cutscene cinematic. A lengthy one, too, but you can skip through it. They could've tightened the presentation this way, and used a lot of stuff from the old reveal trailer to better depict the start of the invasion, as I feel it was very lacking in the released game.


The adventure-style, peaceful beginning of Doom 3 was one of the best parts of the game IMO. It helped to establish the whole setting, introduced the main characters, showing a normal day on an UAC base and let you do things at your own pace. And with that prelude the demon invasion felt much more imposing and spectacular.

Edited by Tetzlaff

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