Twenty Years

December 10th, 2013

Twenty years ago, Doom was released to the world. To celebrate, I reviewed it. Have fun.

There is a lot of debate over what the first “first-person shooter” video game ever created was. Some consider Wolfenstein 3D (1992) to be the first, some consider it Quake (1996), and in between the two– is Doom (1993). Wolfenstein was certainly a first-person game, and certainly a game with shooting, but is outdated and distanced from the actual FPS genre as it is known today. Doom built upon the basic bare mechanics of Wolfenstein, while adding plenty of new staples that still hold up today, establishing the genre. Before Doom, there was no variation in floor or ceiling height, floor or ceiling textures, or varied brightness in map sections. The differences between Wolfenstein 3D and Doom marked one of the biggest technological jumps in video gaming history. Doom was also the first game to feature LAN multiplayer deathmatch. Quake sprung even further with this, and revolutionized multiplayer in its own right. But it couldn’t have gotten there without the game-mechanic advancements of Doom, which would set the standard for every first-person game released after it in the following few years. And while the hype has died down, it has yet to die out. Now, over twenty years after its release, Doom continues to support a considerably large community of dedicated fans, still growing in size. Doom popularized custom user-made modifications with it’s simple WAD file format for game content. While not an official feature of the game, this accessibility spawned a community of thousands of hobbyists creating new textures, levels, music and sound, weapons, enemies, and more to this day. Due to the simplicity of modding, as well as the game’s source code release in 1997, the Doom community is continually active, becoming more and more intricate with the releases and continual updates of dozens of source ports. Doom is historically significant for what it did for first-person shooters, PC gaming, gamer culture, and video games as a whole. Although historical significance does not necessarily correlate with quality significance in any medium. Luckily for Doom, the connection is there.

Of course in comparisons of graphics, Doom is lacking to most anything released in the past ten years. Luckily, graphics are absolutely, objectively, unimportant– in any and every video game. Better-looking games aren’t necessarily better games. But eye-candy is appreciated in a medium so visual. Games SHOULD look good. But there’s no reason 2D sprites can’t compete with 3D models. If I had to rate Doom’s visuals on how three-dimensional they are, I’d give them a 0/10. (Doom is technically 2.5D.) This means nothing about the quality of the game’s aesthetic appeal– which is NOT so objective. Everyone will have their own opinions on which art styles are attractive and which ones are not. There is no such thing as objectively good graphics or objectively bad graphics. Doom’s graphics are repetitive, but consistent. Dark, but thematic. A little dated, but extremely nostalgic. There is nothing undisputedly good or bad about the graphics. Overall, they set the tone nicely and convey the gameplay in a way that fills the environment you are in clearly and crisply.

Doom’s sound and music can be very pleasing or very boring, each in different ways. To start, the in-game sounds are for the most part enjoyable. The guns’ sounds accurately communicate the behavior and power of each weapon. The enemy sounds are fitting and satisfying. The main problem with the sound would be lack of diversity. Not repetitiveness necessarily, but the similarity of many differing sound clips. This is subjectively a problem based on how appealing you find most of the sounds to be. You’re likely to either like most if not all of them or hate most if not all of them, based on their unvarying nature. The in-game music suffers from the opposite issue. The music tracks are diverse (while staying in a steady theme) but repeat often on different maps. This is only a problem if you don’t love the music to begin with. The music was heavily inspired from many different rock and metal artists, often modeled after single specific songs. If that’s what you are looking for, Doom does a phenomenal job. If you’re more of a Bee Gees kinda guy, you might wanna knock the volume down a little bit.

The storyline of Doom is almost non-existent, and often ignored by fans. Although multiple Doom novels were made, as well as a comic book, the storyline is lackluster at best. Thankfully it’s mostly irrelevant. With no cutscenes and no dialogue, questions aren’t important. Run. Shoot. Find secrets. Repeat. If you are looking for a captivating storyline, you should check out the Doom movie. (Note: Do not actually do this.)

Gameplay. The game engine is fast, efficient, smooth, and has minimal bugs. The controls are simple. Level design is non-linear, which (usually) leads to more entertaining exploration, but could be a negative for the more casual gamer. The game has five skill levels, affecting item and enemy placement and behavior. (These will not have an effect on level layouts.) The gameplay is addictive, and the multiple multiplayer modes put it over the top. Doom has clever mechanics, satisfying kills, complex secrets, and fantastic replayability due to its simplistic single player enemies in decidedly non-simplistic levels, as well as oddly unique multiplayer gameplay.

Circles

April 28th, 2013

Actually getting back into the groove of things here. A small project, but here it is nonetheless.

About: A single deathmatch map with a gimmicky design, inspired by Dr. Seuss. There is significant use of sector movement which cannot accurately be expressed in the screenshot, so keep that in mind.

Protip: Turn sv_infiniteammo on.

Compatibility: Doom II, Zandronum. (skulltag_data.pk3 required again for use of Minigun, Grenade Launcher, and Railgun.)

Download!

Barrel of Fun

April 25th, 2013

The end/start of another hiatus. Here’s another project, see you in a few months.

About: A new game mode, Barrel of Fun is a single player and co-op defense game. Monsters randomly spawn from all corners of the map and make their way to the center, where they target the single explosive barrel. If the monsters destroy the barrel, you lose. It is similar to invasion but doesn’t have different waves or any ending, and running away from the monsters is no longer a viable strategy.

Protip: Always keep your eye on the barrel, or a zombieman might slip through the cracks while you take on a revenant.

Compatibility: Doom II, Zandronum. (skulltag_data.pk3 required for use of Minigun, Grenade Launcher, and Railgun.)

Download!

Prop Hunt

September 26th, 2012

About: Another new game mode, Prop Hunt, finally in Doom! If you’re unfamiliar with Prop Hunt, it’s a game mode with two teams, the hiders (props) and the seekers. The hiders are all different decorative objects that were already in Doom, while the seekers are marines with shotguns. The prop players run around and try to blend in. The seekers must differentiate against the prop players, and the real props. The seekers win by killing all the prop players, and the props win by surviving until the time runs out. Runs under Team Last Man Standing game mode.

Protip: When hosting this mod, please enable chasecam.

Compatibility: Doom I or II, Zandronum.

Download!

King of the Kill

September 21st, 2012

Finally, the official inaugural Zandronum mod from Doom.co! Hope everyone enjoys it.

About: A new game mode where you win by being the first player to get a set number of kills in a row while being the “leader”. You become the leader by either achieving the first kill when there is no leader, or by killing the leader directly. The leader will receive full health, armor, and ammo for every frag he gets, and will also go slightly faster and jump slightly higher every time he frags someone. Played through deathmatch.

Protip: Don’t forget to set the pointlimit cvar to an actual value other than zero!

Compatibility: Doom I or II, Zandronum.

Download!

Bot Creator

September 13th, 2012

In the interest of digging up old relics of time, I present you my Skulltag Bot Creator program. Written in AutoHotkey a few months back, but never released because I was waiting for a more appropriate time. Since Skulltag is dead now, I guess it’s a Zandronum Bot Creator.

It should be pretty self-explanatory, except that you must keep a copy of 7z.exe in the same directory that you launch botcreator.exe from, or else it won’t work since it wouldn’t be able to create the PK3. (The required file is included in the botcreator download link anyway.)

Also, hooray for the first post in the Applications category! I’ve never really released an actual program before, so I often take for granted the fact that only I know exactly how everything works, and how to maneuver around certain bugs and things. This program is simple enough that there shouldn’t be any bugs, but if anything goes wrong, please contact me.

Download!
(View Source Code)

Nyan Cat

September 8th, 2012

Here’s a little project I was working on over a year ago. I almost completely forgot about it. (Sorry the fad is out of date now…) After fixing a few things and wrapping it up, here it is. Keep in mind that this was made before Zandronum existed, so I still don’t have any official projects designed for it.

About: A sidescrolling-ish Nyan Cat game where you eat cake and burgers, while dodging poop… in space. Have fun.

Protip: Don’t forget to set up your controls.

Compatibility: Doom II with Skulltag(/Zandronum?). Oh, and you need to use the Software renderer. OpenGL makes it look like crap.

Download!

Portal Gun

August 31st, 2012

Oh so Zandronum 1.0 was released like a week ago or something, I’ll work on moving over to that soon. (This was only tested with Skulltag, not that it should make a difference.)

About: A portal gun for Doom. Works in multiplayer.

Protip: Don’t forget to set up your controls.

Compatibility: Doom I or II, Skulltag(/Zandronum). It also seems to work in ZDoom.

Download!

Dots

August 20th, 2012

Haven’t done one of these in a while… I’m still waiting for Zandronum’s first stable release. But I decided to whip this up last night, and it turned out pretty good. Right now it’ll run with the final version of Skulltag, so Zandronum compatibility shouldn’t be a problem.

About: A simple new game mode with one level. Run around the square room collecting dot orbs. For each orb you collect, a new projectile will randomly spawn and continually bounce around the room, along with the next dot orb. Get five orbs to refill your health, and then six more, then seven more from that amount, and so on. There is no end to the game, simply play until you die, and compete with high scores. (There is nothing stopping you from playing in deathmatch or coop, I suppose. But this is intended for single player.)

Protip: This was inspired by the flash game also titled DOTS. You can play it on both Not Doppler and Newgrounds.

Compatibility: Skulltag(/Zandronum). It also seems to work in ZDoom. Doom II.

Download!

Skulltag Update: Zandronum

June 5th, 2012

Doomworld posted this article yesterday… I’ll write about it when I have more time. Just spreading the word for now.

EDIT: Okay, now a week has passed, and I’ve looked more into this… So basically, Skulltag is being forked into a new project, called Zandronum. Although technically, it’s not really a fork because Skulltag itself is dead… Due to community drama that I won’t pretend I entirely understand, the former Skulltag team has decided to cut off all ties to Carnevil, including dropping the Skulltag name. So they’re leaving Skulltag with Carnevil, and creating a “new” project. Basically just renaming Skulltag and trying to move away from all of the drama. Other than that the project is really not too different than the latest Skulltag beta. In fact, it’s just about the exact same thing, except with all mentions of Skulltag replaced with Zandronum, and all stock resources removed. (Temporarily or for good, I’m not sure.) As far as where this leaves the players who just want to play Doom, well, Zandronum will let you do everything you were able to do in Skulltag, except that any mod that used Skulltag stock resources must now be loaded with skulltag_data.pk3 in addition to the wad/pk3.

There’s really nothing wrong with the port. I mean, I don’t really like the name Zandronum, but it seems most people don’t, and this has been argued to death on the forums. It doesn’t seem like it’s gonna change though, especially because it’d be a lot of work buying a new domain, getting a new logo, and even changing all of the internal mentions of the name. So I don’t really blame them, or care about that.

As for me, I guess I’ll just have to “upgrade” to this new port as soon as the first stable version is released. I wish I could stay behind with Skulltag, but I’ve already kept countless mods from being released because I was waiting on Skulltag to support a feature that’s been in ZDoom for months. And now without anyone developing Skulltag or keeping it up to date, it’ll be left behind entirely, it seems. Carnevil is the only one who has the authority or ability to continue with it, but he’s busy with other projects. It’s not his fault, and I feel bad for him. Skulltag was his creation, and even though I usually try not to get involved with the community drama, from what I’ve gathered, it seems like he was the innocent one who had his work stolen from him. It’s a real shame to see Skulltag “die” like this, but maybe one day Carnevil will return, or hire someone new to pick up Skulltag and restore it to its glory days.

That’s about all there is to say in terms of how it affects regular players who don’t care about drama. Let’s hope Zandronum will stay more up to date than Skulltag did.