What do you think keeps Doom alive?

Doom was created in the early 1990's and released in 1994 (if I recall correctly) and people are still playing and discussing it today. So I would like to know you are still interested in the game and why you think it is still popular. For me it is creating detailed WADs and always challenging myself to do better.

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It's really the community that's being talked about here. I'm not sure Doom is still popular, we're rather small when taken into the context of current gaming. It seems to be discussed more as a legend with even Doom 3 being called old.

I recall saying this before to one of these threads earlier. The fact that "how long will Doom keep going?" threads pop up every few months (often by new people like yourself :) show that we're doing fine. As long as new people come to the community and take an interest in participating while the longer term members drift off it will continue.

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Demon_Collector said:

released in 1994 (if I recall correctly)

10th December 1993.

What Khorus said, plus the annual human sacrifice of a randomly selected newb or loser to our demonic overlords.

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It's just a FUN game. It's fast paced and easy to get in to for just a short periods or to play all night. Personally the custom wads are fun but I could play the originals and be happy. I really think Doom was the most revolutionary game of all time and was released at just the right time to stick in peoples minds.

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qoncept said:

It's just a FUN game. It's fast paced and easy to get in to for just a short periods or to play all night. Personally the custom wads are fun but I could play the originals and be happy. I really think Doom was the most revolutionary game of all time and was released at just the right time to stick in peoples minds.


This. Easy to learn, hard to master, and one of the most addictive examples of pure, fast-flowing gameplay around. It just doesn't get old, because everything just works and there are NO INTERRUPTIONS.

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For me, it is interesting because of the mapping. Its all about the mapping. Mapping, compared with other FPS's editors, is easy and accessible. Most FPS's don't even have the option. Doom mapping is sort of the gamers equivalent of being a Dungeon Master from the D&D board games. It allows us to create complex worlds with seemingly endless amounts of themes. We can use our imaginations to create immense and submissive worlds and situations, becoming the puppet master. It can even be said that mappers emulate God, or rather Satan. When you place that first vertex its like The Big Bang; the creation of a new universe. That, for me, is what keeps Doom alive.

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This community would be bigger if the general populace knew about Doom's variety of multi-player games, vast amounts of custom maps, and dead-simple mapping and editing tools.

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Technician said:

This community would be bigger if the general populace knew about Doom's variety of multi-player games, vast amounts of custom maps, and dead-simple mapping and editing tools.


I don't know if we want half of those people in this community.

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PRIMEVAL said:

I don't know if we want half of those people in this community.

Can you imagine that? The idgames archive would be flooded with a second era of '1994' WADs.

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A big part of what keeps it going is the momentum it built being the first super popular FPS (along with bringing in some rad multiplayer). Establish a big community base is super important, sort of like what Valve did when they introduced the Counter Strike and the Source engine (although CS had beginnings before then).

Another thing that keeps it highly popular with regard to old games is that the gameplay is very solid and enjoyable, and provides for some really fascinating variation. Doom 1 and 2 laid the groundwork for many concepts (layout, progression, enemy placement) but it's just been expanded on and compounded each passing year, with players still finding absolutely fascinating ways to design a level or implement an enemy.

Plus with anything, as long as there is an active community, it will rope in new mappers eager to make their mark.

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Demon_Collector said:

So I would like to know you are still interested in the game and why you think it is still popular.

I think there's no single factor. The most important thing to say is that it's a classic game in every sense of the term: it regularly and rightly features in "top games of all time" lists, and that notoriety is enough to keep up interest in it today. I think it has aged well, and it's the kind of game that I think even younger players raised on more modern FPSes can probably pick up and appreciate.

In terms of gameplay, Doom essentially defined the modern first person shooter genre. This graph is a good example of what I mean. There will be some people who at this point will rush to correct me by pointing out that Wolfenstein 3D came first. But in some sense I feel like Wolfenstein 3D was a prototype for the FPS genre, and it was Doom that actually defined it.

There's something Doom has that I feel like Wolf3D doesn't - part of it is almost certainly the technology, but there are also thematic and artistic differences between the two. Wolf3D still had a somewhat tongue-in-cheek cartoony feel to it, while Doom brought a focus on dark themes and gritty realism. It's something that's influenced the entire industry and everything that's followed it.

Aside from its historic significance, what has kept interest in Doom alive until today?

  • Point number one, and this can't really be overstated, is the fact that the source code was released. I'm fairly confident that without the Doom source code there wouldn't be a Doom community at this point. Aside from the fact that Vanilla Doom doesn't even run properly on modern machines, what you can do with it is severely limited. Having the source opens so many different doors.

  • Modding is probably the second most important thing. Historically speaking, modding was one of the big features that drove interest in Doom from its very start. Before Doom there weren't really games that were designed to be modded. Instead, Id basically encouraged it and the end result were thousands of add-on levels and a kind of mini-industry that sprang up around the game. That kind of momentum has manage to continue to this day.

    Doom has retained an active modding community, and again, this is fuelled by the existence of source ports that expand the range of things that modders can do. Mods like Urban Brawl demonstrate the ingenuity of modders and the kinds of things that source ports are capable of.

    One interesting thing to point out is that it's really really easy to make a Doom level, even something moderately complex. The 2.5D aspect to the engine means that you can sketch out an idea for a map on a piece of paper. Think about the fact that a level for a modern game could take a professional level author months of work to complete. By contrast, the Doom community has speedmapping contests where people put together a complete set of 32 levels in 24 hours. It's my theory that Doom level editing occupies a kind of "sweet spot" where you can make something that's architecturally interesting without the effort required from a full 3D engine.

  • Multiplayer is the final big thing. This is something else that Doom has had from the start - from being one of the first popular PC games to include multiplayer support, to pioneering Internet and online gameplay (DWANGO). Doom has retained a somewhat-separate community of deathmatch players. This is again something that has been fueled by source ports: without ports like csDoom I don't think there would be so much interest.

    Doom's deathmatch dynamic is different to more recent games, which I think has kept some interest. Things like the player speed and weapon selection make for a much faster-paced game that other games haven't really reproduced.

  • Perhaps it's only a minor thing really, but since its release in 1993, it has always been available. Id have kept it going with numerous new releases and re-releases: early on with the Ultimate Doom and Final Doom, then with boxed sets like the Depth of Doom trilogy and the budget Collector's Edition CD that I even saw for sale in my local supermarket. It's been available for download via the Id website for years and now via Steam as well. More recently we've seen Doom RPG, the XBLA version, the iPhone version and now the BFG Edition version. Unlike other games it's not just a forgotten historical relic: it's still around, still for sale, new versions are still being released.

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fraggle said:

Point number one, and this can't really be overstated, is the fact that the source code was released. I'm fairly confident that without the Doom source code there wouldn't be a Doom community at this point. Aside from the fact that Vanilla Doom doesn't even run properly on modern machines, what you can do with it is severely limited. Having the source opens so many different doors.


Well, I don't buy this one. Doom already had a huge momentum even without the source code, and enough fans who would have been interested to actually re-implement the engine from scratch. This has already happened with other game engines, like Dungeon Master for example. Even though DM source code was never released, tons of reverse-engineering took place and it effectively has the equivalent of modern source-ports. It's not a very simple game engine either, there's actually a lot going on under the hood (anyone interested, check out the docs at dmweb.free.fr). In Doom's case a compatible engine was even started (allegedly) a couple years before the source was released:
http://www.samba.org/dumb/
And of course, the vanilla binaries have been playable at full framerate on a decent computer for some time now, via DOSBox. By "decent", I means something faster than my old-ass laptop, although it doesn't fare that badly either (I've been playing Doom 1.2 on it for the past week or so, since no modern source port runs that version correctly and precisely).

You can make a case that the Doom community might be smaller in size, had the source not been released but to say it wouldn't exist is very far fetched indeed. BTW, people are still making, releasing, and playing Dungeon Master stuff. Some of it is even very impressive (Conflux III, for example).

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There's just no modern equivalent to Doom. As the fps genre got older it went towards realism rather than abstract, became slower, dropped projectiles in favor of hitscan weapons (which put the focus on hiding behind stuff rather than dodging), environments became tight, narrow and linear; and finally, most modern FPS are bogged with cutscenes and scripted sequences. You literally cannot open a single door yourself in Homefront, you have to wait for the napkin npcs to finish blabbing and open them for you.

Doom plays like an old Shmup or Robotron style game, just in first-person.



But it adds exploration and non-linear environments to the hectic projectile dodging. The emphasis is on player skill and movement. One of the Bioshock blokes wrote about it actually.

http://vectorpoem.com/news/?p=74

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hex11 said:

Well, I don't buy this one. Doom already had a huge momentum even without the source code, and enough fans who would have been interested to actually re-implement the engine from scratch. This has already happened with other game engines, like Dungeon Master for example.

Well, in that case look at it another way then: it's the availability *of* source code that has kept things interesting - if not the original Id code, then the DUMB engine code. I suspect DUMB would probably have gone a lot further as a project if the Doom source hadn't been released. If it hadn't, perhaps I'd be replying to this thread saying it was the most important thing to have happened to the Doom community.

It's the ability to do enhanced things that is the key. Think about what's been possible thanks to the source code release: client-server networking, scripted levels, enhanced GL renderers, and so on. There's 1,001 features that just aren't possible without having the code available, and they're what have kept things interesting for the past ~14 years.

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It's a very well done fun game. Reasons that you've stated fraggle are important, but they are simply cherries on top of a huge pile of fun. Dozen of cherries on a huge pile of fun, that is how Doom is awesome.

There are also often Doom threads on 4chan's /v/. Usually they reach hundreds of posts.

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fraggle said:

One interesting thing to point out is that it's really really easy to make a Doom level, even something moderately complex. The 2.5D aspect to the engine means that you can sketch out an idea for a map on a piece of paper. Think about the fact that a level for a modern game could take a professional level author months of work to complete. By contrast, the Doom community has speedmapping contests where people put together a complete set of 32 levels in 24 hours. It's my theory that Doom level editing occupies a kind of "sweet spot" where you can make something that's architecturally interesting without the effort required from a full 3D engine.

This right here is what has always drawn me in. Sorta explains my recent shift to vanilla mapping, too, I guess.

[EDIT] Ah, I see someone linked to JP LeBreton's article (the vectorpoem link). That right there explains its biggest appeals in terms of gameplay. No game has matched it since, and the only ones that have come close have been in the late 90's and early 00's. So says the Xaserface.

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Honestly, I think early 3D engines are easier to map for than Doom. I know I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of a 2D map with height filled in separately back in the day. I took to mapping for Half-Life like it was nothing, by comparison. Granted, there wasn't anything like Doom Builder back then that let you see sector height changes and texture alignment in real time either. I might've gotten into it easier if there was.

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I was kept in by the modding that I could do and user made-levels until about 2002. Then I discovered ZDoom and the modding and user-made stuff for that, which has kept me interested until around about 2010, where the community (which I'd known about since '05) has been the main hold. not sure what's got me in still now. I think it's almost force-of-habit. I mean, can you imagine life without Doom? It's basically always been there, AFAIC.

Easy to work with, easy to pick up, easy to play and easy to get lost in for a couple of hours. It's the perfect casual gaming experience really!

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Like other folks here have said, it's just so easy to play and to get into, and damned addictive. Also a constant influx of new WADs doesn't hurt either :)

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After more thought I really think the fact that it had no competition at the time is probably the biggest factor. Want to play the best FPS of today, of 2005, of 2000? Good luck figuring out which was best, and even if you do, the 2nd best is going to be pretty close.

Want to play the best FPS if 1993? Play Doom.

Edit: That got me wondering, so I looked. I was 12 years old at the time and my memory is a bit fuzzy. It's pretty interesting what was going on when Doom came out. Mortal Kombat 2 anyone?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_in_video_gaming

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  • It's a fun and provocative game
  • It was a genre forging release
  • It has always been modifiable
  • It's a stepping stone in first person popularity
  • It's important in developing multiplayer
  • It went big but with an indie development

hex11 said:
Well, I don't buy this one. Doom already had a huge momentum even without the source code, and enough fans who would have been interested to actually re-implement the engine from scratch. This has already happened with other game engines, like Dungeon Master for example.

I agree, the whole retro game movement that sustains older games shows DOOM would have been no exception. Perhaps it would have agonized in the early 00s due to the the adoption post-9x Windows systems, but would have resurfaced again with DOSBox, even without anyone rewriting the engine.

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I personally feel that Doom is still alive because of the impact that it had on the FPS gaming genre. It may have not been the first but it had great maps, graphics, music and most importantly gameplay. The fact that you could make your own WADs for it made Doom stronger, and then there became source ports. Doom had a huge impact on the gaming community and FPS games.

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hex11 said:

BTW, interesting stuff about early Doom editing (Usenet posts by Raphael Quinet, Romero, and others):
http://www.johnromero.com/lee_killough/history/edhist.shtml


Interesting. The very first post pretty much demolishes the alleged "mod-friendly" attitude of id, and the follow ups paint a picture of painstaking reverse engineering and trial & error, with maybe only a feeble tolerance by id, and never an active involvement, not even the odd friendly tiny, little hint now and then. Quite a far cry from the rosy picture that is often painted.

Maybe some of the techies/developers were actually mod-friendly (after all, they let it slip out with the -file switch enabled and even officially documented. If it was ever used for its planned purpose, aka adding official expansions, it could be kept disabled by e.g. patching the exe only by such mods). The bottom line, id merely tolerated modding. That's a far cry from claiming they supported it.

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Nah, you're seeing it off context. First, they needed to defend their copyrights, and back then there was little modding experience, in practical and legal senses. It wasn't entirely clear what it could imply, whether it could get out of hand. So, publicly they had to have a wary stance, but that did not mean they weren't encouraging modding. Romero said right there (see the last message) that they purposely designed the files so they could be edited more easily than Wolf3D, which had had some modding from fans, such as by placing the game data or "contents" on a separate file (the WAD). Mere tolerance wouldn't have implied such accommodations.

With DOOM being a pioneering game, the fact they offered it so that only hackers (programmers) could start editing it makes it a learning toy. Just like id had fought their way to making their independent game, now fans could explore the game and mod it if they put effort into that. It also made any success more of an achievement for the fan community, compared to getting a game with an editor or the like.

Some guys, like the artists, didn't like the idea of mods very much, but Romero and Carmack did, in their own ways.

As for involvement, they supplied the source for the node builder, and Taylor also uploaded an app to convert MIDI files to MUS lumps.

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