Is slaughter an unexplored game genre?

I'm seeing more and more new players that are primarily interested in slaughter maps and got into or returned back to Doom because of them. Is that some untapped potential right there? Do you think the genre could explode if some big name company made a high quality game based on it? If you're a game developer, what are you waiting for? Or is slaughter too hardcore and nerdy to become huge?

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I've never played it, but from what I've read, Serious Sam is a slaughter game.

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I think there's definitely a lot of potential that commercial games haven't tapped yet. It seems like high difficulty games are becoming more popular, which I suspect has a lot to do with Twitch and Youtube: people like to see spectacles, and to see skilled players overcome seemingly impossible odds. And then they sometimes like to try it themselves. A lot of the difficult games that are being made are quite different from Doom slaughter maps: roguelites, platformers, Dark Soulsy stuff. But I think the appeal is similar. You enjoy terrible setbacks and repeat stuff until you learn strategies and build the skills to do it.

 

The closest thing to Doom slaughter that comes to my mind is Devil Daggers.

 

Getting Over It is a great example of a modern indie hard game. It's made by the guy who did QWOP. He's a brilliant game designer.

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58 minutes ago, Memfis said:

If you're a game developer, what are you waiting for? Or is slaughter too hardcore and nerdy to become huge?

Too many actors to handle.

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1 minute ago, ASD said:

Too many actors to handle.

Spam actors and optimize till 60fps

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7 minutes ago, ASD said:

Too many actors to handle.

 

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I think there are two main obstacles to this:

 

One, the most obvious one, is that slaughter requires a lot of moving, thinking entities by its very nature. This isn't an insurmountable issue - hell, RTS games regularly deal with up to like eight players having potential army sizes that reach the hundreds, and these are entities that need really good pathfinding - but it's certainly something that would push away people who are aware of how much optimization making that work requires.

 

Two, the much larger problem, is how to sell such a game. See, slaughter isn't really a thing outside of the Doom community, so you can't exactly bank on that like you can with "roguelike" or "bullet hell." But that raises the fact that, on the surface at least, slaughter is kind of at ends with itself. You've got thousands of enemies and the goal is to destroy all of them through high-octane action, and that's exactly how it presents itself, but ... whether you make it a FPS, TPS, or something more Diablo-like, it's a lot more like a puzzle game than nearly all games in that other genre. You've got to deal with ammo management, both in not using your weapons wastefully and utilizing any environmental tools that can remove a lot of the hordes, figure out which hordes to prioritize over others, manage what hordes are unleashed at what time and in what order, not overextending, etc..

 

You don't go into slaughter to just slaughter millions of dudes for the sheer catharsis factor, you've got to embrace humanity's inner Hitler to plan out the most efficient yet plausible ways to slaughter millions of dudes while also keeping in mind contingency plans in case things go pear shaped. Then you slaughter millions of dudes.

 

Needless to say, that makes it not so easy to figure out how to market such a thing. Honestly, I can see such a game doing really poorly with maybe a small niche that isn't linked to the Doom community getting the actual appeal and sticking to it, while everyone else sees the game as the next Serious Sam or Painkiller only to find themselves constantly out of ammo while a horde of monsters slowly close in and realizing it just ... isn't.

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There have been a lot of bullet-hell styled Doom maps, even well before the term "slaughtermap" caught on. I'm sure it's a better descriptor as there's a mix of hitscanners and other unique differentiating factors in there as well, but strictly from a marketing standpoint, it would have been nice if the bullet-hell label was also applied to FPS games/mods featuring insane numbers of enemies and projectiles. The greater gaming community knows exactly what to expect when they hear bullet-hell gameplay, but if you say "this is a slaughtermap" any non-Doomer is going to be like uh, what?

 

It's one of those cases, so it seems anyway, where the label itself has no real weight so it can't really be used as a selling point.

 

My initial reaction to many bullet-hell style Doom maps was/is "man, this would probably appeal to a lot of hardcore shmup fans as well". Regardless, there is definitely plenty of untapped potential for this in the modern gaming market. If, in a few years time, a lightweight but super popular bullet-hell FPS comes out and sells well, I will not be surprised in the slightest. Doom mods (and maybe kinda sorta Serious Sam? But not really) are literally the only place you can get this kind of gameplay at the moment. Such a thing exists literally nowhere else. For a concept so damn fun, that's simply fucking criminal. It's all about how to market such a thing (and well, the game itself having pleasing player movement/speed/colors/visuals all around)

 

EDIT: I think there's a difficulty curve issue here as well which would have to be ironed out if it was going to be a commercial product. Let's say we have a scale of difficulty from 1 to 10 - in the case of a Doom mod for hardcore players, it's fine to start at 9 and gradually work your way up to 11 throughout the wad like just about every slaughter set does, but for 99% of players, this would be a turn-off from square one, as proven by the very reaction many have to slaughtermaps. 5 or so introductory maps that teach the player how to best manage ammo, utilize the enemy's hoarde logic, avoid enemy fire, etc etc that start at a 1 or 2 in difficulty would be absolutely necessary. After having the chance to dip a toe in and get used to the gameplay, I'm sure many would be ready to up the ante and beat a whole campaign that gets progressively more difficult while employing all of our favorite aspects of slaughter-like gameplay. Just spitballing here.

Edited by Doomkid
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10 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

My initial reaction to many bullet-hell style Doom maps was/is "man, this would probably appeal to a lot of hardcore shmup fans as well".

 

I wouldn't be quite so sure, because the skillset does not actually translate so well. For one, you have far less visibility due the sheer fact that you're in an FPS instead of a shmup, two the fact that you manually advance through the level changes the nature of the bullet patterns a lot, and three there's no "oh shit" button to reset the bullet density and give you i-frames. Even with far less bullet density, I can't help but feel like most danmaku players would be overwhelmed by a danmaku FPS.

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There are definitely important differences that would turn some off. I suppose a better way to present that thought would be to say that I see the bullet-hell gameplay in an FPS setting and think that there must surely be millions out there who would be into this sort of challenge, players who might not even be interested in oldschool Doom maps and such but would love the 'overwhelming and fast' nature of slaughter gameplay. There's got to be a huge market for it - it just seems like a delicate case of how to go about designing and marketing such a game. In terms of design I think my "start easy and teach the player while still preparing them for whats to come" approach would work reasonably well, especially if coupled with some really pleasant visuals, but how in the hell one would go about marketing such a thing is where it gets tough. While it's not new at all, a lot of players would see it as a "new genre" being presented to them. It almost seems like you'd have to rely strictly on "wow this looks cool" when presenting a video ad, coupled with positive word of mouth. I have no idea how else such a game could break into the market in any serious way.

 

Good thread, super interesting topic to think about.

Edited by Doomkid

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Left for Dead 2 is kinda slaughterish. There's shit tons of enemies you need to kill.

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1 hour ago, Doomkid said:

It's one of those cases, so it seems anyway, where the label itself has no real weight so it can't really be used as a selling point.

Thats probably because slaughter isn't clearly defined even within this very community, and therefore the term doesn't say anything to someone outside of it.

 

1 hour ago, Doomkid said:

My initial reaction to many bullet-hell style Doom maps was/is "man, this would probably appeal to a lot of hardcore shmup fans as well".

Well, I'm certainly better at games like DDP DFK, or Mushihimesama than I am at classic Doom, epecially if I play these under as close to actual PCB conditions as I possibly can, and I guess I enjoy slaughter more because I enjoy bullet hell shmups more than the traditional Gradius/R-Type series for the most part (Though Gradius > R-Type, imo). Thankfully every now and then danmakus are a bit on a rise here and there, and generally people seem to enjoy these games due to their intensity and the way they look. I guess the same can be said for slaughter maps in some respects.

 

But if classic slaughtermaps were really similar to danmakus, I wouldn't be playing them, because fankly, and this might surprise a lot of people to hear me say this: Slaughtermaps make for piss poor danmakus as far as I'm concerned, and it's not so much because you can't see your hitbox accurately (because if you look at that while playing a danmaku, good fucking luck staying alive and figuring out reliable escape routes), it's also because in comparison to a decent danmaku, doom's movement is spongy as heck. Acceleration and momentum limit what you can put into doom to make it resemble a danmaku quite difficult (I'm working on this since mid of this year on and off with varying success, and some things work really well while others just don't at all). To make matters worse, shmups in general are much, much more deterministic than classic doom could ever be due to its PRNG, which, imo, is the biggest limiting factor to what's possible and what isn't (unless you play with -fast, which then imposes another limitation on what you can do, because things go into "turret mode" when they see you, and they stop shooting when you're out of their FOV). These things combined make mods like touhou doom kind of semi-faithful due to how they play in reality.

 

From what I have gathered so far, you can do some things to make doom enemies mimic "danmaku-ish" behaviour (Valiant's super mancubus would be one example, or, heck, just the normal manc serves well) but at the same time, you won't get to these tight and deep patterns that make good danmakus what they are (though "good danmaku" is highly subjective, because "elitism" as to what's the best danmaku is strong within the shmup crowd, believe me). Another problem that classic doom has is that, to get as close to danmakus as possible, you'd need ZDoom format, and I'm not sure how this format behaves with tons of projectiles on screen. CAVE shmups slow down due to deliberate bullet spam which stresses an arcade machine's sprite limit on purpose, for example, while doom would simpy end up with framerate stuttering, making it unplayable under certain conditions. But if the behaviour of ZDoom is close to how it behaves in slaughtermaps with like +5 monsters, then there's trouble to be had anyway.

 

In my opinion, you can translate some shmuppy characteristics in a way that makes them work well for classic doom, but you will not get very close to the real deal upon closer observation, because you have to make lots of compromises. That doesn't mean I think it a bad idea, obviously I'm not since I'm trying to get something like that working to some degree that I'm okay with. But aside of the "spectacle effect", and maybe some basic techniques which shmups and doom have in common by way of nature, there's little in the way of resemblence to be found.

 

As for the actual idea of slaughter being unexplored, well that sure holds true, but it would be nice if we had a semi-decent definition to what makes slaughter the thing it is. I sure as heck know what it is to me, but then you have people who think that SoD's "twilight massacre" is a slaughtermap, when really it's just what it says on the box (kill +3k enemies with "big gun"). If anything, slaughter is unexplored by many people, especially those prejudiced ones who can't help but think of it as grindy, boring, and tedious, without ever having spent 10 minutes thinking about what they should/could do to make it go faster, thus more interesting (inb4 "Why are slaughtermaps looked down upon part 123536254659, danmaku edition").

 

If what you want is to have an FPS that stands on a danmaku foundation, gotta make a game of your own, but don't be surprised if you don't get bullet patterns organized properly so that they become readable for players, among many other issues along the road, for that matter. ;-)

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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Anytime someone wants a slaughter-like game, I'm going to say Serious Sam BFE, TFE, and TSE. They are basically Slaughtermaps: The Game. Whats totally awesome about them though is they do it in a way where it doesn't get boring and the performance stays silky smooth. How they did it, I don't know. Apparently the serious engine kicks serious ass. I mean like the HD versions of TFE and TSE look incredible. The water in that game, wow. The skies too.

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3 hours ago, Empyre said:

I've never played it, but from what I've read, Serious Sam is a slaughter game.

I mostly agree with this. One thing is quite different between SS and Doom slaughter maps are, in Doom, you can pretty much outrun every single type of monster while in SS you can't. Therefore, the planning and the decision making would be a little bit different in these two "games".

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Do shmups and Dynasty Warriors count as slaughter games?

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Sure Dynasty Warriors can count as a slaughter game, of course it's third person and uses melee but that doesn't make it any less slaughterish.

 

I tried Dynasty Warriors with DW8 but it pretty much bored me.

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I know it is a hack n slash but does not Dog of War1/3 apply. It can get pretty intense... especially challenge of the gods/titans and then end fight againt like hundreds of your self.

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So my definition of what slaughter is changes a lot. However recently I have ended up considering anything not mainstream = slaughter for the most part based on past discussions and my own observations.

 

I got into slaughter because I wanted to make demos for maps that challenged me rather than make demos which simply added more challenge to normal maps. If modern games want to make harder difficulties or levels that are simply harder or require skills that most players do not possess simply from playing the original game then that would be my interpretation of slaughter for those games.

 

Serious Sam has large encounters with lots of enemies. In my opinion they are not implemented very well and don't compare to well crafted Doom slaughter wads.

 

Just give me something that is incredibly challenging. I will consider that slaughter's equal in another game. Unfortunately this means not mainstream game design and probably won't be successful.

 

But I'm weird. I'm the dude that beat L4D2 campaigns on realism expert getting most kills without taking any damage for fun, speedran ninja gaiden and contra type games, hard games in general.. I can't relate to what the mainstream considers difficult so my opinion is probably worthless.

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Keep in mind, this slaughter game could have difficulty settings, and could even be easy on the lowest setting. Seems the defining aspect of a slaughter map is tons and tons of enemies being packed in, often in big open areas. Even if what fans enjoy about it is the challenge and the puzzle like aspect some of the maps have in dealing with the enemies.


Can you make a game out of that? Sure. Technically there's Dynasty Warriors and stuff like that, and Earth Defense Force games can have big waves of enemies at times etc. Though those are more arcadey, and what makes Doom slaughter maps is a unique thing. And personally I don't enjoy Doom slaughter maps myself.

 

That said, me, what I want more of in action games (FPS in particular) is clever inventive level design, and I prefer less enemies than you see in slaughter maps.

 

I will say, like I was saying with the difficulty settings thing, if the actual concept is fun and engaging, it can't only be because of difficulty, it needs to have appeal on all difficulty settings and levels. At least to achieve what the OP is asking, if it could become huge. The hardcore fans would play it on the hard difficulty, and if the concept is sound, it would still be worthwhile and interesting on the lower settings as well.

 

And games mentioned like Left 4 Dead 2, I dig that a lot, but slaughter isn't just a lot of enemies. It's a hilariously ridiculous amount of wall to wall enemies from the get go, at least going by a lot of Doom slaughter wads.

 

Edited by PsychoGoatee

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21 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

slaughter is unexplored by many people, especially those prejudiced ones who can't help but think of it as grindy, boring, and tedious, without ever having spent 10 minutes thinking about what they should/could do to make it go faster, thus more interesting (inb4 "Why are slaughtermaps looked down upon part 123536254659, danmaku edition").

We're talking about entertainment that we enjoy on a computer. I can respect that you love this subgenre of Doom user maps so much, but c'mon. I'm sure there are video game creations that you don't personally enjoy. Everybody has their own taste. You kind of miss the point by labeling other people as biased and "prejudiced ones" for not enjoying or finding interesting what you do, that is of course an opinion based on what you personally find engaging and worth pursuing in this form of entertainment. It's a freakin' subgenre of Doom maps. There's nothing wrong with anybody who gets their kicks in different forms, in regards to video games of all things.

 

And dude, you are just as biased as anyone else.

 

In that topic you say how you don't like some things that I like. We like different stuff in our niche hobby. You're no less biased than anybody.

 

Edited by PsychoGoatee
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14 minutes ago, PsychoGoatee said:

There's nothing wrong with anybody who gets their kicks in different forms, in regards to video games of all things.

thank you for being articulate with your words in ways i've completely failed to be in the past

Edited by Arctangent

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17 hours ago, Killer5 said:

Serious Sam has large encounters with lots of enemies. In my opinion they are not implemented very well and don't compare to well crafted Doom slaughter wads.

 

But I'm weird. I'm the dude that beat L4D2 campaigns on realism expert getting most kills without taking any damage for fun, speedran ninja gaiden and contra type games, hard games in general.. I can't relate to what the mainstream considers difficult so my opinion is probably worthless.

I really respect that you finish L4D2 campaigns on realism expert. I wanted to at least approach this by doing realism hard, but I couldn't find enough hardcore friends to practice together, which was a sad experience to me. To be honest, I understand the feeling for challenges, and you may feel boring playing easy games or such.

 

Serious Sam definitely shares some similarities with Doom's slaughter maps, but I have to agree with you, they are not very well implemented and not as fun as Doom's. I hate Serious Sam 3 the most because it failed to correctly position itself and it seems like something between realism and not realism.

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Devs have a hard enough time making a game as good as regular doom, let alone slaughter maps for it. I think many new indie fps are really lack luster, and for AAA games the graphics demands cause a bottleneck where fewer beefier enemies would be more productive.

 

Perhaps if we could see indie fps games that are as equilly good and deep as doom, then we could look to see games actually going in that direction, but for now, I don't really see it happening, it's pretty niche.

 

 

Edited by MrGlide

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8 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

I couldn't find enough hardcore friends to practice together,

add me on steam, I'v got it as my homepage on my profile.

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14 minutes ago, MrGlide said:

add me on steam, I'v got it as my homepage on my profile.

Well... for some reason, I don't really like to play multiplayer games recently... Maybe one day I really want to go back and try, I'll tell you. Thanks anyway :D

 

@Killer5I'm in California. Maybe later I'll want to play L4D2 again.

 

@MrGlideI found multiple "MrGlide"s, I assume the account with Doom on the homepage is yours?

Edited by GarrettChan
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7 hours ago, PsychoGoatee said:

We're talking about entertainment that we enjoy on a computer. I can respect that you love this subgenre of Doom user maps so much, but c'mon. I'm sure there are video game creations that you don't personally enjoy. Everybody has their own taste. You kind of miss the point by labeling other people as biased and "prejudiced ones" for not enjoying or finding interesting what you do, that is of course an opinion based on what you personally find engaging and worth pursuing in this form of entertainment.

Way to build a strawman, and not at all surprised at who applauds you. In this partiular case I have been specific enough to distinguish people who have given something a fair chance from people who have not. That's an important difference that you conveniently ignored, perhaps in hopes of making the impressionable forum member think I have an agenda running, or perhaps because you think that trying something for 10 minutes to then pass a blanket judgement on an entire subgenre of doom mapping resembles an informed opinion. If you think there's a third option here, feel free to explain to me how 10 minutes worth of "expertise" about a subgenre of mapping that has evolved over quite a few years can be considered informed, when there's enough slaughtermaps that don't even allow for the supposedly notorious circle strafing to begin with. For reference, see "newgothic movement 2" map 02 or 07, or "dimensions" map 02 or 03 or 32,  just to give a few rather recent examples. Not saying circle strafing doesn't happen at all, but selling it off as +80% of an entire subgenre's gameplay (implying it's the defining factor; which is what many people like to do) is nonsensical, because circle strafing exists in pretty much any subgenre of doom-mapping, and it's often one of the more efficient methods of gameplay in particular in non-slaughter maps, if not the most efficient, but funnily enough it's what keeps getting brought up almost exclusively in regards to slaughter.

 

If you believe that all doomers nowadays are actually knowledgeable about the slaughter subgenre, I'm going to have to disappont you, in particular because I have seen someone write in a discord chat that they thought slaughter was all about circle strafing lots of monsters ad nauseam less than two weeks prior to this comment here. And if that doesn't qualify as a prejudiced blanket statement based on a lack of expertise, and maybe even confirmation bias (because they heard that somewhere and then played an actual grindmap), then I don't know what else does.

 

If there ever was an agenda running on my end, then it involves people who are not even willing (or maybe even able for lack of information) to write more than two lines of text about a complex topic, while said people consider these two lines of text as a well laid out and properly differentiated point of view that can be served to others. If you think that anybody should have to "respect" an opinion that comes in the shape of two lines of text, thus not delivering any actual information as to which set has been played, which difficulty picked, and which map lead up to what I consider a knee jerk reaction, I certainly won't do that "just because".

 

In case you, or anybody else, should want to have a conversation about a diverse subgenre, then we can have that, provided you deliver more than a blanket statement, and instead show some of the background that made you develop your opinion, which by the way I'm not saying you can't have just because I might disagree. But I'm not going to consider someone's POV as informed - let alone valid - just because it's meant to come across as if it were, or because it resonates well within the confines of an echo-chamber (and I'm not saying "100% objective" is what I want, either, because I know someone might have liked to go for this supposedly low hanging rethorical fruit for lack of something else to say). Would you consider somebody's opinion on Jump'n'run games as a genre to be informed, because they didn't like one game out of many? I certainly don't think you would, so why should I have to?

 

I'm not "labeling" people as prejudiced because they don't like something, I'm labeling people who drag a complex subbgenre of mapping through the dirty by way of objectively false (because easily disproven) blanket statements as prejudiced, because I have every reason to do so if said opinion - or the presentation thereof -  lacks substance.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels
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On 11/3/2017 at 1:17 PM, Doomkid said:

There have been a lot of bullet-hell styled Doom maps, even well before the term "slaughtermap" caught on.

I might slightly argue that true "bullet-hell" maps are very rare in Doom.  When I think of bullet-hell in Doom, I think of something more like this:

 

 

This is @Remmirath's community boss map on Skulldash.  It's very much a pure bullet-hell experience.

 

Slaughtermaps are a lot more nuanced.  It's not simply about avoiding projectiles while dishing out damage, there's a lot more in terms of movement, kiting, in-fighting, positioning, prioritising etc. etc.  because you're not just dealing with avoiding projectiles but physical monsters.  Beating a slaughtermap is a lot more complex skill than simple bullet-hell.

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