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Hisymak

The biggest flaws of Heretic (as compared to Doom)

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Heretic was the next game based on Doom engine, and it definitely brought some important engine improvements (looking up and down, flying) as well as gameplay and graphical experience (fantasy weapons, monsters, Tome of Power) and excellent soundtrack. Especially during my childhood I preferred Heretic over Doom as I was more familiar with its medeival theme, and loved the weapons and everything. Nowadays I play Doom much more (but still return to Heretic sometimes) and I started realizing that even through Doom was older and technically a bit less advanced (engine-wise), it did many things better than Heretic.

 

So I'm trying to come up with list of things which Doom did better and what I consider being the biggest flaws of Heretic:

- Lack of many linedef actions which were present in Doom. Most importantly fast opening/closing doors, switches requiring a key etc. Even if these were not used in original levels, they should have left them available in source code to be used in custom levels.

- Only two switch types (textures). A regular switch and exit switch (which is often used for a regular switch in custom maps). Doom has really rich palette of switch types.

- Lack of a BFG-like weapon. Heretic has 7 weapons (same as Doom) and they almost match each other between Doom and Heretic. Except the BFG and Firemace. I personally think that they should have made something like D'Sparil's staff (at lease for the two expansion episodes) with similar destructive effect as BFG.

- Less monster variety. Doom has overally the highest amount of monster types among many games that existed that time, and each monster is unique in some way. Heretic has only about a half to choose from (if I do not count different kinds of same monsters like scratching/firing gargoyle, non-shooting/shooting golem and the shadow variants etc.)

- Your health cannot go above 100

- No hitscan monsters

- No "expansion pack" with new monsters, weapons, textures and music like Doom2 was for Doom.

 

So is there anything else you can think of?

Edited by Hisymak

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For me heretic weakness is in worse monster variety which escalate in worse gameplay, doom have more monsters which can attract player little bit better. Also sfx sucks and it didn't helping in atmosphere much

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1 hour ago, Hisymak said:

- Lack of many linedef actions which were present in Doom. Most importantly fast opening/closing doors, switches requiring a key etc. Even if these were not used in original levels, they should have left them available in source code to be used in custom levels.

- No "expansion pack" with new monsters, weapons, textures and music like Doom2 was for Doom.

 

So is there anything else you can think of?

 

Vanilla Heretic doesn't have the fast door actions introduced in Doom 2 (because its code is derived from Doom 1), but I believe none of the vanilla Doom engine games (except maybe Strife?) have locked switches. I'm having a hard time finding more specific information, but I think locked switches were made possible in Boom through the use of voodoo dolls, and in ZDoom formats through the use of scripting. In vanilla Heretic format you can use the voodoo dolls, and in ZDoom's Heretic in Hexen format you can use the scripting. The latter should also allow you to use fast doors, or at least something functionally identical. On a related note, vanilla Heretic may have fewer linedef actions than Doom 2, but it also has more sector types, including the scrolling/pushing floors that allow for a huge amount of Boom-like pseudo-scripting.

 

Heretic's relative lack of textures does suck, though it isn't a problem unless you really want to use vanilla Heretic, which I would agree is not very viable for modding. Gameplay-wise, I think the biggest problems with Heretic are the weakness of many of the weapons and the fact that most of the monsters are very similar to each other.

 

I've been working on a content expansion for Heretic (monsters, artifacts, etc.), as well as a moderate rebalance of the gameplay. Most of what I currently have done can be found in the latest beta of The Wayfarer, so if you want to check it out and let me know what you think, the feedback would be appreciated. Also, if you want to see a more extensive list of all the little things I think are wrong with Heretic, you can check out the list of stuff I've fixed, which is in the OP of that thread.

 

 

42 minutes ago, Memfis said:

Weak sounds. Heretic really lacks that BOOM CHK CHK.

 

@Xaser has a partial sound mod for Heretic floating around somewhere, which I've played around with and borrowed many fixes from (more recently than the beta in the thread linked above, unfortunately). The big takeaway I got from it is that Heretic's sounds are mostly fine, but there's a weird issue with the sound rolloff where all sounds start to become quiet immediately after leaving their source, rather than a few hundred in-game feet away from the source like they do in Doom. You'd be amazed how much better the game sounds just with the rolloff fix.

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56 minutes ago, Hisymak said:

Lack of many linedef actions which were present in Doom

The question is: do they that important. In terms of setting, they don't seem to be.

 

57 minutes ago, Hisymak said:

Only two switch types (textures). A regular switch and exit switch (which is often used for a regular switch in custom maps). Doom has really rich palette of switch types.

Sure that's a bit dissapointing thing, but hey, don't forget, it all was set up in one dimension, in one time period, all this antic shit was made by same group of slaved *somewhoevertheywere*

 

59 minutes ago, Hisymak said:

Lack of a BFG-like weapon.

Because they do not need there in any way.

 

1 hour ago, Hisymak said:

Less monster variety.

Agreed obout that one. Totally.

 

1 hour ago, Hisymak said:

No hitscan monsters

Thankfully. It's quite unfair when your usual dumbster-mobster hitscanning you and killing by one shot. Because logic says "all firepower are greatly overpowered compared to medieval stuff".

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1 hour ago, Hisymak said:

- Lack of a BFG-like weapon. Heretic has 7 weapons (same as Doom) and they almost match each other between Doom and Heretic. Except the BFG and Firemace. I personally think that they should have made something like D'Sparil's staff (at lease for the two expansion episodes) with similar destructive effect as BFG.

- Less monster variety. Doom has overally the highest amount of monster types among many games that existed that time, and each monster is unique in some way. Heretic has only about a half to choose from (if I do not count different kinds of same monsters like scratching/firing gargoyle, non-shooting/shooting golem and the shadow variants etc.)

- Your health cannot go above 100

- No hitscan monsters

- No "expansion pack" with new monsters, weapons, textures and music like Doom2 was for Doom.

1 - Well the tomed claw basically act's as a BFG (and much more fun to use in my opinion)
2 - Yes it has less if we compare it to Doom 2,if we compare it to Doom 1 there are a lot more cool and varied enemies.
3 - You can hold up to 16 Ums and 16 Flasks so it kinda balances that.
4 - Ok you are right
5 - You can add Hexen monsters if you make a ZDoom Wad ;)

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11 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

Vanilla Heretic doesn't have the fast door actions introduced in Doom 2 (because its code is derived from Doom 1)

Actually, there is at least one "fast door" action in vanilla Heretic. For example E3M3 (The Confluence) when you approach green-lock doors from the indoors side, they will open fast. I believe there are more uses in the original levels but cannot recall where. So if they added this particualr action, why more were not added as well?

15 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

But I believe none of the vanilla Doom engine games (except maybe Strife?) have locked switches

I think Vanilla Doom2 has them. Not used in any Doom2 level, but they are used in TNT which uses vanilla exe (I believe). That was my first time I encountered a locked switch btw.

 

12 minutes ago, SOSU said:

3 - You can hold up to 16 Ums and 16 Flasks so it kinda balances that.

Yes, that's truth. I didn't realize that.

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Flaws of Doom as compared to Heretic:

 

1. Melee doesn't work properly (face it)

2. The palette is put together badly

3. The status bar is a mess

4. The music is worse

5. Infinite height

6. Much less range in weaponry (heretic weapons all have two modes, plus there's the time bomb and the morph ovum)

 

Feel free to add more.

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1 minute ago, Grain of Salt said:

Flaws of Doom as compared to Heretic:

 

4. The music is worse

Well that's subjective

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33 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

believe none of the vanilla Doom engine games (except maybe Strife?) have locked switches. I'm having a hard time finding more specific information, but I think locked switches were made possible in Boom through the use of voodoo dolls, and in ZDoom formats through the use of scripting.

???

 

You can make a locked switch just by using "SR Door (Red) Open Stay (fast)" or one of the similar line actions.

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1 minute ago, Grain of Salt said:

???

 

You can make a locked switch just by using "SR Door (Red) Open Stay (fast)" or one of the similar line actions.

Right, but that's just attaching the door action to a remote linedef, which of course you can do in Heretic as well. I thought the OP probably meant using a locked switch to do other things.

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17 minutes ago, Hisymak said:

 

I think Vanilla Doom2 has them. Not used in any Doom2 level, but they are used in TNT which uses vanilla exe (I believe). That was my first time I encountered a locked switch btw.

I think they were first put in with Ultimate Doom.

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47 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

 

@Xaser has a partial sound mod for Heretic floating around somewhere, which I've played around with and borrowed many fixes from (more recently than the beta in the thread linked above, unfortunately). The big takeaway I got from it is that Heretic's sounds are mostly fine, but there's a weird issue with the sound rolloff where all sounds start to become quiet immediately after leaving their source, rather than a few hundred in-game feet away from the source like they do in Doom. You'd be amazed how much better the game sounds just with the rolloff fix.

I haven't gotten around to making a thread for it or anything (though I maybe should), but for anyone interested, it's here:

 

https://static.angryscience.net/pub/doom/mods/herefix/

 

It's incomplete, but it's a small ZDoom mod that's essentially a collection of sprite+sound tweaks that don't affect gameplay. Credits are a bit spotty, but the extended weapon sprites are by Neoworm and I snagged a bunch of sounds from Quake 2 of all places.

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The problem with Heretic is that everything had to be slowed down and nerfed to accommodate the item system.

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The weapons are a bit weaker but Heretic is still a masterpiece, a 10/10 game. Comparing the two games is like a Nevermind/In Utero debate.

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As a developer trying to write a generalised system of weapons and items for EE that encapsulates Doom and Heretic: Heretic is WAY heavier on specific one-off hacks in the engine. Stuff like the tomed blaster projectile, or tomed phoenix rod in general, or tomed skull rod's cloud. The morph system is also another big pain in the arse.

 

These behaviours are cool in Heretic, but a huge thorn in an implementor's side when you want to make it tidy and clean and part of a larger whole.

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I enjoy a lot of Heretic's level design much, much more than Doom's (not Doom2 though). The problems arise from the lack of monster variety as already mentioned. Everything is either a Demon variant that just walks towards you for a melee swipe, or an Imp variant that shoots a slow projectile at you. The liches I guess are unique but having movement impaired (tornado thingies) is inherently unfun in a game built around player speed.

 

The weapons are also rather boring mechanically. The Tome effects are cool but not when you only get to access them for a few seconds at a time. And then Hexen nailed it with fun weapons, but screwed the pooch by locking them behind "classes".

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A long time ago, I decided to play Heretic maybe for the second time, but not before I replayed the two Hexen games. The latter made me believe Raven has very good sound designers. Heretic added "only since Hexen" to that sentiment.

 

1 hour ago, Grain of Salt said:

1. Melee doesn't work properly (face it)

Berserk fist is still fun.

 

1 hour ago, Grain of Salt said:

4. The music is worse

 

Still better than D_RUNNIN, I suppose.

 

1 hour ago, Grain of Salt said:

6. Much less range in weaponry (heretic weapons all have two modes, plus there's the time bomb and the morph ovum)

Heretic is a good illustration that more doesn't necessarily mean better. Doom has distinct weapons with clear uses. In Heretic you just spam whatever it is you have more ammo for.

 

Though the bestiary might be largely responsible for this.

 

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The Firemace is a bit underwhelming. That's as far as I'll go. Heretic is a masterpiece. 

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- The flashy sprites of Hellstaff projectiles.

- Horizontal aim assist on projectile weapons, making hitting monsters behind walls difficult.

- Poor long range fights. This does compensate for the lack of hitscan monsters though.

- Game crashes sometimes when fighting Maulotaurs (tested in E4M2 and E5M8).

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One of my biggest turnoffs with Heretic (vanilla) was the first episode's "boss". Literally the most underwhelming "boss" ever, especially when you run into four or five of them in every map after. 

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1 hour ago, Altazimuth said:

As a developer trying to write a generalised system of weapons and items for EE that encapsulates Doom and Heretic: Heretic is WAY heavier on specific one-off hacks in the engine. Stuff like the tomed blaster projectile, or tomed phoenix rod in general, or tomed skull rod's cloud. The morph system is also another big pain in the arse.

 

These behaviours are cool in Heretic, but a huge thorn in an implementor's side when you want to make it tidy and clean and part of a larger whole.

I totally understand exactly what you mean here, yet I gotta say (with all the love in the world) "tough titty." It's not a programming language, it's a highly-tweaked game, which means that the developers went that extra mile to make things unique and that much more interesting. Otherwise, you'd have 5 different-colored missiles, 5 different-sounding pistols, etc. I'm sure you know what I'm saying, and probably agree, huh?

 

As far as implementation goes: Nothing wrong with keeping the original tweaked functions, and supplementing with a nice set of generic A_FireProjectile/A_FireMissile/A_GenericMelee funcs. And you could always allow actor/sound/ammo swaps on the tweaked funcs to provide customization. The last 10% can be done with full-blown scripting.

 

On the subject of biggest flaws: That's a tough one for me. I guess the big flaw is that when I hear "Doom engine", I think future weapons against demons. Heretic's atmosphere and the influence of inventory/carryable powerups screams "slower-paced adventure". The flaw is that Doom has a hard time slowing down, even the tiny bit required to do Heretic justice. I'm not even sure what that would look/feel like. It's not bad, as-is. Hexen tried with its puzzle elements, but that didn't exactly hit the mark either. Very cool, but something's off with the pacing. Can't really point to any one element in either game (except for the low number of textures). Good question. I wish it did work better - I love the genre.

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The iron lich is really the only monster that has an interesting attack. No real equivalent of Doom's mancs, revs, viles, PEs, and hitscanners to subvert effortless damage avoidance by minimizing changes of direction, no real twists on straight-line attacks like the cyb's high damage + splash. Nitrogolems home too weakly, and disciples spread isn't wide enough. Monsters do too little damage and have too much HP. 

 

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Adding to what others said:

 

- Mauloatur can target other monsters, but can't be target of any monster. I use a decorate for this thanks to @Ichor. They are actually good at fighting other Heretic monsters, but they suck at fighting Doom bosses (not that this is important at all). 

- Shadowsphere, if there are no hitscan monsters, when should I use this artifact? Ok maybe for ghost Undead Warriors, but their axes are easy to dodge. I would like to test a situation where I need to use it.

- Low weight, monsters can easily be pushed away too far with any weapon. Worst cases are pushing them off a precipice with the phoenix rod (in ZDoom though).

- Iron Lich's tornado, it's weak and annoying, but it's feels dangerous, however I find it bad that tornadoes won't disappear instantly if the iron dies. 

- Regular gauntlets are only useful against gargoyles, golems can still punch you (in vanilla) and any other monster has enough pain chance to resist a full KO without damaging the player. The chainsaw in Doom is, apart from pinkies/spectres, good against imps, lost souls, pain elementals, and former humans, and maybe cacodemons and revenants, it depends. 

- This isn't a flaw, but something personal, I would like the status bar to show me the face of Corvus, like Doom does with doomguy.

 

I know some of these are more personal disconformities than flaws, but I think without them the game would be a little more fun than already is.

 

4 hours ago, Hisymak said:

- Your health cannot go above 100

THIS IS SO TRUE OMG, although it's compensated with the general weak attacks from monsters.

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7 minutes ago, galileo31dos01 said:

THIS IS SO TRUE OMG, although it's compensated with the general weak attacks from monsters.

It's actually compensated with the enchanted shield, which absorbs 75% damage, basically giving you 400 max health, well actually closer to 366 health, since the armor would run out before you run out of health, when you're at about 33 health.

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5 minutes ago, Ichor said:

It's actually compensated with the enchanted shield, which absorbs 75% damage, basically giving you 400 max health, well actually closer to 366 health, since the armor would run out before you run out of health, when you're at about 33 health.

That explains a lot! Thanks!

 

@rdwpa you mean like, zig-zagging rockets? Cause the fire snake can send you to the air and blast you immediately, somewhat similar to a cyberdemon's rocket, or what do you mean? 

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13 minutes ago, galileo31dos01 said:

- Shadowsphere, if there are no hitscan monsters, when should I use this artifact? Ok maybe for ghost Undead Warriors, but their axes are easy to dodge. I would like to test a situation where I need to use it.

- Iron Lich's tornado, it's weak and annoying, but it's feels dangerous, however I find it bad that tornadoes won't disappear instantly if the iron dies. 

The Shadowsphere makes the tornadoes unable to track you, which effectively makes you immune to them. That's the main purpose of the item, imo. I've brainstormed ghost mechanics a bit and haven't come up with any way to solidly improve the Shadowsphere, but it does give you near immunity to two monsters, one a common horde monster and the other a miniboss that can totally mess up your combat abilities. Not too bad, really.

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4 hours ago, Not Jabba said:

The big takeaway I got from it is that Heretic's sounds are mostly fine, but there's a weird issue with the sound rolloff where all sounds start to become quiet immediately after leaving their source, rather than a few hundred in-game feet away from the source like they do in Doom. You'd be amazed how much better the game sounds just with the rolloff fix.

Easily fixed by tweaking the SNDCURVE with a hex editor.

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