Why does Doom 3 have so little height variation?

Virtually all of Doom 3's levels are almost entirely flat safe for a few stairs here and there. Why does the game have so little height variation? Is height variation a thing of the past and mostly just limited to old school shooters now?

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Old shooters might've required it to look good. They were also very fast games => they were built on a lot of movement, and height variation makes for fun and varied movement.

 

Newer games started to get slower for increased realism. Not a lot of opportunity for crazy maneuvering anymore, the focus has shifted to good marksmanship and target prioritization. Which doesn't require very vertical designs.

 

I think it boils down to these things.

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I think they needed tight areas to ease setting up jumpscares and make players feel locked, tight space help making games slightly scarier in most cases, wider space probably wouldn't have helped.

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On 1/7/2018 at 9:51 PM, dmg_64 said:

I think they needed tight areas to ease setting up jumpscares and make players feel locked, tight space help making games slightly scarier in most cases, wider space probably wouldn't have helped.

But Doom 64 was pretty scary in-spite of having wider spaces. I think Doom 3's levels are too corridor heavy and that the whole game suffers for it. I mean it's not like the classic dooms don't have a ton of corridors, but at least they mixed things up a bit. With Doom 3 i's just corridor after corridor after corridor...

 

Even the hell levels were just a bunch of corridors 0_0

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I'm guessing it was because of the AI and more work to create buggy paths.

 

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5 minutes ago, Mr.Rocket said:

I'm guessing it was because of the AI and more work to create buggy paths.

 

 

How could that seeing as the Doom 1 AI was able to handle complex levels just fine? And don't tell me it's because Doom 3's AI is advanced, it's dumb as bricks.

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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Well that's exactly what I'm talking about.

 

I see, the convo you guys were having had to do with something totally different than the topic title. 

Which is what I was talking about Doom3's AI.

Edited by Mr.Rocket

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4 minutes ago, Mr.Rocket said:

Well that's exactly what I'm talking about.

 

I see, the convo you guys were having had to do with something totally different than the topic title. 

Which is what I was talking about Doom3's AI.

 

I just don't understand how AI in a game from 2004 could be worse than one from a game that came over a decade earlier...

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Well you could look at it this way I suppose, if you were to create a shit ton of 3dfloor steps (in Doom2 gzdoom or something) that overlapped one another and then put random monsters in there, they may end up having a hard time getting up and down those steps.

But that's just a guess about Doom3, they may have been on a time budget after awhile and told everyone, no, no your not going to make anything more than our standard goal, we have a release date to meet.

Hard to say, it maybe a bit of both.

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I wonder if the game's lightning system had something to do with it. Perhaps they just liked dark corridors more because "SCAAAAAAAAAAAARY!!! BIG SPOOKY DYNAMIC LIGHTS WHOOOOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!"

 

 

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Could have been, you can only have so many lights in Doom3 if you don't have a bunch of portals to brake it all up.

Otherwise, framerate issue.

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The hilarious part is that the game doesn't even take proper advantage of it's lightning system. Dynamic shadowing is frankly not used that often. I remember watching the E3 preview and seeing things like hanging lights get tossed around resulting in pretty awesome lightning effects where as you almost never see this in the actual game. The dynamic lightning and shadowing in Doom 3 is a very missed opportunity honestly.

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Oh the parts where they used the ragdoll physics yeah, I remember seeing a lot more dynamic shadowing from when the player or monsters crossing a light source than anything. It seemed that they focused more on projection lights and bumpmaps than shadows.

Of course we would have needed our flashlights handy to get more out of shadows anyway.

Edited by Mr.Rocket

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On 1/7/2018 at 2:54 PM, hardcore_gamer said:

Virtually all of Doom 3's levels are almost entirely flat safe for a few stairs here and there. Why does the game have so little height variation? Is height variation a thing of the past and mostly just limited to old school shooters now?

First the pipes, now the height variation. Whats next, lack of elevator music? There were multiple levels in DOOM 3 that made use of an elevator. There's the answer to your height question. 

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1 hour ago, royaldj said:

First the pipes, now the height variation. Whats next, lack of elevator music?

Now that you mention it...

 

Seriously though, you reminded of how a sci fi space ship or base is often designed to be dark, industrial and dreadful. Realistically, lots of pleasant sounds, aesthetics and even smells would be placed to prevent people from going mad.

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3 hours ago, royaldj said:

There were multiple levels in DOOM 3 that made use of an elevator. There's the answer to your height question. 

You could say that Wolfenstein 3D had elevators too. What did that change?

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4 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

 

How could that seeing as the Doom 1 AI was able to handle complex levels just fine?

Because it wasn't. Doom 1 AI had no pathfinding at all, monsters just tried to run directly at you ( as in, ignoring walls ) and just pinballed around the map if they couldn't manage that.

 

It's sheer luck if a monster manages to chase you down in anything but an open field. It's really that simple - Doom's AI is dumber than bricks, but enough confirmation bias that the monsters are actually chasing you around as opposed to stumbling about like aimless drunks can do wonders for making it look otherwise.

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6 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

The hilarious part is that the game doesn't even take proper advantage of it's lightning system. Dynamic shadowing is frankly not used that often. I remember watching the E3 preview and seeing things like hanging lights get tossed around resulting in pretty awesome lightning effects where as you almost never see this in the actual game. The dynamic lightning and shadowing in Doom 3 is a very missed opportunity honestly.

Well they had to do this for performance reasons y'know, even with all the fancy lightning and what else toned down in the final product the game still pushed the hardware of the time.

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41 minutes ago, Agent6 said:

Well they had to do this for performance reasons y'know, even with all the fancy lightning and what else toned down in the final product the game still pushed the hardware of the time.

I just find it amusing that Carmack made a big deal about the lightning system in the game only for the game to not have very different lightning from other games anyway. It means that the decision to reduce the level design into a mere corridor crawl was all for nothing.

 

Coming to think of it, pretty much everything about the game falls a part the moment you make anything that isn't a small cramped space. Custom maps that have larger more open spaces play horribly because the monsters become borderline harmless when they can't attack you at close range. Granted that in the original Doom this is also true up to a point but nowhere near as much.

Edited by hardcore_gamer

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I guess modern games try to represent realistic architecture. There's not a lot of head-high areas that you have to gymnastically jump into or lifting platforms that take you into diferently-levelled areas of the same room in real world places

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7 hours ago, hardcore_gamer said:

I just find it amusing that Carmack made a big deal about the lightning system in the game only for the game to not have very different lightning from other games anyway...

btw I really think Doom3 was unlike any other game in terms of lighting when it came out. Carmack developed stencil shadows, which at the same time Creative also developed and then forced EAX into Doom3 etc etc. While I did some engine and shader work back in that day, I never got to look into the technique but I'm pretty sure the shadowing system in Doom 3 is brand new, and that's to talk about the shadows only. It also had a lot of using of bumpmapping, higher polygon count, and a specific implementation of speculars

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Not very sure it was unlike anything else at the time really, Half-Life 2 was very advanced as well, especially in the physics department, and its graphics also got downgraded before release as well.

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HL2 had a reworked version of Havoc for physics. And yes it was way better than everyone else's, and their technical highlight point, along with the facial technology.

Still, Doom3 was a graphical breakthrough, at least for closed sized areas. In rendering wide open areas you had the turkish brothers' FarCry engine coming out that same year. I tend to think Doom3's graphics were prettier

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What sets Doom 3's graphics apart - and what I personally like about it - is its unified lighting system. Everything goes through the same rendering path, so you don't get weird things you would see in HL2 like a box without a shadow, or a light that lights up the world but not the actors.

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The character models in DOOM 3 look like crap. Especially the faces. HL2 engine looks & aged much better.

Edited by royaldj

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29 minutes ago, royaldj said:

The character models in DOOM 3 look like crap. Especially the faces. HL2 engine looks & aged much better.

Disagree. I mean yes I will give you that the actual characters look better in HL2 but almost everything else looks worse. The spooky levels in Doom 3 look a lot more visually impressive than HL2's levels do. And Doom 3's hell level still remains to this day one of the most memorable gaming moments I have ever had where as there are no moments in HL2 that I can say stand out very much.

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1 hour ago, hardcore_gamer said:

Disagree. I mean yes I will give you that the actual characters look better in HL2 but almost everything else looks worse. The spooky levels in Doom 3 look a lot more visually impressive than HL2's levels do. And Doom 3's hell level still remains to this day one of the most memorable gaming moments I have ever had where as there are no moments in HL2 that I can say stand out very much.

Eh, Point Insertion scene at the beginning, Ravenholm, Nova Prospekt, Highway 17 & Sandtraps, Our Benefactors, and so on. HL2 is still memorable and the important levels most certainly do stand out.

 

I agree though, both games aged very well, although texture quality wise (as in, map assets and their textures) Doom 3 looks better, particularly when you take a closer look at them, but the facial expressions and so on definitely don't.

Edited by Agent6

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Doom 3's environments are mostly indoor/inside buildings, and more often than not, rooms in buildings tend to be connected through connecting structures and passages, 'corridors'. Before mentioning one type of factory or something that doesn't follow this, be sure to not just give an example of an exception of this tendency.

 

Adding to that, the factor of the "scaryness" enclosed areas can provide, and performance and technical reasons, I guess we can understand Doom 3's structural and architectural choices. Even with that, the game tried to add variation, the excavation sites have some big open areas to show, but not really a gameplay style that can take advantage of it.

 

About "corridor after corridor after corridor", we should make the exercise of playing some levels and count corridors and other type of rooms to see if that premise is actually true.

Edited by Arl
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On 1/9/2018 at 0:37 AM, royaldj said:

First the pipes, now the height variation. Whats next, lack of elevator music? There were multiple levels in DOOM 3 that made use of an elevator. There's the answer to your height question. 

Abosuletely brilliant! Funny but also added substance. Shame that a certain individual was out to get him. As for the topic on hand here, is it possible that IdTech 4 did not have the capabilities of creating levels with multiple floors on top of each other? Anyone here know if Quake 4 had any height variation? It also ran on IdTech 4

Edited by MK-ULTRA

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1 hour ago, MK-ULTRA said:

Abosuletely brilliant! Funny but also added substance. Shame that a certain individual was out to get him.

lRpXXOZ.png

 

squint

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