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Id losing industry relevance?


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This article at NextGen got me thinking about id's position in gaming. id used to set the bar for graphics and used to wield some serious influence over the industry.

 

It seems that for every iteration of the Doom/Quake series, Carmack and company have managed to set the bar for the industry, both graphically and in Netplay. Yet, after being out now for half a year, it [Doom 3] is being surpassed in both. Its online game didn?t make even the tiniest ripple in the Internet pond.

 

Doom 3 just didn't have the same impact of previous id releases on the industry. The engine can't be considered real competition to Unreal Engine 3 and the game itself just didin't have nearly the influence of past id projects. I know Carmack has been sidetracked by other projects but I'm just wondering...is the influential id dead? Quake Wars look amazing -will it be the game that Doom 3 should have been?

 

The article also takes shots at Doom 3's gameplay and design including:

 

I could go even further and discuss how banal the whole metal + hell aspect of it is. One can only take so much future-goth architecture overflowing with demons. It?s sufficiently played out. I?ve played through every Id title to date, and after 12 years of the same thing packaged in a new box, suddenly, I just don?t give a damn about hell anymore.

 

I am so glad to see someone else with the same opinion I have on the asthetic of id games. I loved the older Doom & Quake games but, even then, I was tired of the "metal + hell" look.

 

As a long time id fan (though I'm not a fan of Doom 3) here's hoping Quake Wars is a break from the old and returns id to being a key player.

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I know Carmack has been sidetracked by other projects but I'm just wondering...is the influential id dead?

 

I think this sums it up perfectly...Carmack has always been the driving force behind id. It was never about the hangers-on like John Romero...he was outted as a poser with his later solo gaming efforts. There some other very talented people at id, but Carmack IS what made id what it was.

 

The man is a programming genius, but I think he's getting bored with the medium which is why you see him toying with rocketry and such. Besides, despite being such a pioneer in 3D gaming, many have caught up to him and there is so much more competition in the field than their used to be.

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I think this sums it up perfectly...Carmack has always been the driving force behind id. It was never about the hangers-on like John Romero...he was outted as a poser with his later solo gaming efforts. There some other very talented people at id, but Carmack IS what made id what it was.

 

Actually, you're completely wrong and that's part of the problem. Carmack is a programmer. 100% a programmer. The best games id have produced have always been more than the sum of their parts, and always heavily influenced by people on the team other than Carmack for their level design & goals.

 

They need new blood, they need a bigger awareness of what people are looking for. I think there was a serious misunderstanding of what people were expecting out of a Doom game with the latest sequel (something that's very common in this industry - the makers of a game not understanding quite what their own audience/fans actually liked about a successful title).

 

John Romero...he was outted as a poser with his later solo gaming efforts

 

So only one person worked on Daikatana?

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I think there was a serious misunderstanding of what people were expecting out of a Doom game with the latest sequel (something that's very common in this industry - the makers of a game not understanding quite what their own audience/fans actually liked about a successful title).

 

I always got the impression that Doom 3 is the way it is because Carmack and company specifically wanted it that way. Do you really think that the game would have been any different if id had gone out and asked gamers what they wanted from the next installment.

 

That said, I think it would be great if id did something a bit different. I'd love to see their own take on a genre other than FPS. Perhaps a survival horror title from them would be cool, or even an action/adventure title of some sort. At any rate, I agree that it's time for them to come up with a new scenario other than what we get in the Quake and Doom games. You can only do the same thing for so long before people get bored of it.

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I hoping for good things from Quake IV and Quake Wars. Quake 2 was the last FPS I really loved playing Multiplayer (although Halo 2 and UT2004 are alright), I used to crack out on this on the college LAN and still played online after leaving college. Every now and then I power Q2 up on my A64 2800+, it's still fun even with more primitive graphics.

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I always got the impression that Doom 3 is the way it is because Carmack and company specifically wanted it that way. Do you really think that the game would have been any different if id had gone out and asked gamers what they wanted from the next installment.

 

I don't think I made myself clear - yes, Doom 3 is the way it is because id made what they wanted to make. However, it was heralded & marketed (by themselves and Activision) as a return to the hallmarks of Doom (thus the name, Doom 3...). However, it clearly wasn't the Doom that people loved 10 years ago and I think a lot of that is down to Carmack & id having a very different idea of what it was about Doom that made it special.

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So only one person worked on Daikatana?

 

No, sometimes I wonder if anybody worked on Daikatana :D

 

That said, I think it would be great if id did something a bit different. I'd love to see their own take on a genre other than FPS.

 

I don't think that is necessary. If id wants to make FPS games, then that is their decision. Just because Doom 3 didn't live up to what some wanted it to be doesn't mean the next one will be a failure. As far as I'm concerned, they can remake the same game again and again as long as I'm entertained each time I will be happy. It's the point where I don't feel like it was worth my money to buy the game that we have a problem.

 

This is probably a good time to mention anybody who hasn't read Masters of Doom should. Right now. It gives you light into Carmack and Romero's positions in the company (whether current or former, as it were) and the roles the other guys around there played.

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I think alot of other programmers have caught up to and in some cases surpassed ID in terms of building great overall gaming engines. Game engines these days have to be able to do it all. Support for great looking graphics (tons of poly's, high res textures, etc), realistic physics, expansive outdoor areas, good sound, etc. IMO games like Half-Life 2 and even FarCry display a much more complete and believable game world than anything Doom 3's engine has shown me. Maybe this new "Quake Wars" game will show it off a bit more but until I see something running on my computer I will not be a believer. Not to mention the upcoming Unreal engine 3 games. That engine looks friggin insane.

 

So I think there is some relevance to stating ID has lost some of its influence on the gaming community. How anyone cannot see that is beyond me. Its not necessarily a knock on ID but rather kudos to other people for stepping up and creating some kickass game engines. For what its worth I thought Doom 3 was neat for the first couple hours of play until I realized that the gameplay was going nowhere fast and it got really boring/lame. I never bothered finishing the game (I got to Hell and didnt feel like playing anymore). On the flipside I have played completely through Half-Life 2 3 times and wouldn't mind playing through again and again. As always the focus should be less about "what new bells and whistles can I put into my game engine this time" but rather "what do I need in my game engine to create interesting, innovative and exciting new games".

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IMO games like Half-Life 2

 

Half-Life 2 only looked as good as it did because of the insane amount of art assests that Valve built over the six+ years that they were working on it. Source in its core is still good ol' Quake 2 tech, hell there is even still Quake 1 code in it!

 

Now don't even get me started on UE3.

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HL2 may well be a very nice game to play; I just fail to see what Doom3's repetitive gameplay has to do with whether or not the engine is up to scratch. For years it's been the case that id are an engine company first and a game company second, and the actual engine looks very solid indeed, judging from the Quake Wars footage.

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Half-Life 2 only looked as good as it did because of the insane amount of art assests that Valve built over the six+ years that they were working on it.

 

In other words, they cheated? ;)

 

Seriously, does it really matter why the game looked good? The fact of the matter is, Half-Life 2 is an amazing looking game with a great physics engine. To suggest that it isn't nearly as impressive as it is because it incorporates some older technology seems a bit silly to me.

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In the sense that Nvidia, ATI, and the hardcore gaming world held their breathe for the years that Doom III was in development, ID is still very much relevant. Or was, before Doom III was released. Doom III didn't set the world on fire. And if Quake IV doesn't set the world on fire, then future sequels to these franchises will no longer receive as much unearned spectacle.

 

It will be very interesting to see where ID goes in the next five years. I predict that they won't be as well off as they've been during the previous years. We'll see.

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I think id's biggest challenge will be the launch of their new franchise that they are currently working on.

 

And DOOM3 didn't set the world on fire? People lined up for its release on not only the PC but also when it relaunched on Xbox. The product was very successful. Most game devs would love to have just 1/4 of the sales figures that DOOM3 knocked out.

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I think id's biggest challenge will be the launch of their new franchise that they are currently working on.

 

What is known about the new property? Does it use the Doom 3 engine?

 

And DOOM3 didn't set the world on fire? People lined up for its release on not only the PC but also when it relaunched on Xbox. The product was very successful. Most game devs would love to have just 1/4 of the sales figures that DOOM3 knocked out.

 

You are, of course, correct but Doom 3 hasn't captured the industry or the market like previous id games. That's what the whole thread is about...id falling from darlings of the game industry in terms of both game design and game engines.

 

In a sense one could measure the success of id based upon the number of game developers who would sign up to license id game engines after a new game was released. That line simply didn't queue after the release of Doom 3. We have three announced games utilizing the Doom 3 engine so far and two of them are id IP's (Quake & Quake wars). Meanwhile, Unreal Engine 3 is being licensed to hell and back despite the fact we still haven't seen a retail game running on it. That speaks volumes about id's inability to capture the mindshare of developers -or at least sell themselves. If the Doom 3 engine is superior in any meaningful way to UE3 id needs to do a better job marketing it.

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What is known about the new property? Does it use the Doom 3 engine?

 

We currently know nothing about the new property. I would imagine it will be a FPS and I would imagine that it will feature new tech.

 

id has always been highly selective with who they sell their engine to, they only license on a case by case basis and that is why you don't see huge mutli game deals coming from them. If id grants you an engine license you made it.

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If id grants you an engine license you made it.

..and I think the main point is that while Id is off being "selective" and allowing developers to, as you put it, "make it" Epic has positioned themselves to be far more relevant in the coming years.

 

The Doom 3 engine has simply not proven its versatility to me as of yet. I know that the engine is capable of well done outdoor settings, but the developers currently working on games using the engine (such as Prey) continue to create games with the same dark corridor crawl look. Some of the screenshots of Quake 4 are almost indistiguishable from Doom 3 in my eyes. Quake Wars, thankfully, looks to change all of that.

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The Doom 3 engine has simply not proven its versatility to me as of yet. I know that the engine is capable of well done outdoor settings, but the developers currently working on games using the engine (such as Prey) continue to create games with the same dark corridor crawl look. Some of the screenshots of Quake 4 are almost indistiguishable from Doom 3 in my eyes. Quake Wars, thankfully, looks to change all of that.

 

I couldn't have said that better myself.

I really hope Quake Wars helps put id back in a seat of preeminence among engine makers.

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Some of the screenshots of Quake 4 are almost indistiguishable from Doom 3 in my eyes

 

Not just your eyes.

 

I'm not a fanboy of any development house, that I can think of. That said, while I did enjoy Doom 3, I was blown away by Half Life 2.

 

I don't think that the original Doom/Quake, had quite the competition that is out there now. Doom 3 came out after HL2, and Farcry and...I think, Riddick: Butcher Bay. All 3 of those can compete with Doom 3 for graphical glory, but if I had to place them on a list with story/gameplay being the decisive factor, PERSONALLY, Doom 3 would absolutely be at the ass end. Of course, this is an opinion.

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  • 8 months later...

/casts resurrect spell on thread

 

Saw this interview posted on another forum and thought I'd share it with you guys. Carmack confirms that he is indeed working on a new engine that will focus specifically on unique texturing. He also shed some light on how he goes about designing his engines and what the focus was for the Doom 3 engine. Give it a read:

 

Are you working on a new rendering engine?

 

Yeah. For the last year I’ve been working on new rendering technologies. It comes in fits and starts. Our internal project is not publicly announced on there. We’re doing simultaneous development on Xbox 360, PC, and we intend to release on PS3 simultaneously as well, but it’s not a mature enough platform right now for us to be doing much work on.

 

Game engines have their own certain look to them. Quake 3 era games all have a similar lighting and texture model, so do Doom 3 era games, from the high-poly bump maps. Can you predict what the engine is going to look like from the start?

 

Usually when I set out making the technical decisions I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. A lot of it is working out what works, and what ideas come to you. It is worthwhile mentioning, as you said, that there’s a characteristic look to the new engine, and it’s going to be centred around Unique Texturing.

 

This is an argument I get into with people year after year. Every generation, someone comes up and says something like “procedural and synthetic textures and geometry are going to be the hot new thing. I’ve heard it for the last three console generations – it’s not been true and it’s never going to be true this generation too. It’s because management of massive data-sets is always the better thing to do. That’s what a lot of the technologies we are working on centre around – both the management for the real time use of it, and the management of the efficient content creation side of it. I think that’s going to give a dramatically better look than what we’re seeing in this generation.

 

Can you describe how it will look, in a layperson term.

 

When you start seeing screenshots of games designed like this, it’ll be obvious that they’re of a new generation. I’m not sure how much it comes through, but Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, the game Splash Damage are working on, that uses an intermediate half-way technique, the Megatexture stuff I did originally. They’ve really gone and run with that. Some of their screenshots are really starting to show the promise of unique texturing on everything. We’ve got an interesting combination of techniques on that – they did a procedural offline synthetic synthesis to generate the basis of the terrain, and I built some technology to let artists dynamically stamp things into all the channels in game. We’re starting to see some really, really spectacular results out of this, as everyone climbs up the skill curve of using these new tools. The technology we’re working on here at id takes that a step further with a terrain texturing system is applied throughout for everything.

 

When you create a technology, do you build features specifically for a game, or is a case you just testing to see what the silicon can do?

 

It’s somewhere in between. You don’t build technology for technology’s sake. The people who would just build 3D engines without a game attached, those have never been the really successful products. In any case of engineering, you really need to tailor your design to what you’re trying to accomplish. There are always the types of situations when you can say, “we know we want our game to have this type of outdoor stuff, or this type of indoor stuff,” and you start trying to write technology for it, but you find out something might be harder than you expected, or you might get a novel idea, and that might feed back into the game design. We commonly switch gears during our development process when a really good opportunity comes up. We’re not going to be pig-headed about something, and say “this is what our design spec says, so this is what we’re going to do”. We’ll pick targets of opportunity when we get them, but the technology does very much try to build around what we want to accomplish with our games.

 

Was there one of these “targets of opportunity” in the development of Doom 3?

 

When we left Quake 3 I had several different directions of technology that I considered potentially useful for next generation game engines. One of those was uniquely texturing the surfaces, and one of them was this bump-mapped and unified lighting thing that wound up in Doom. The decision I made at the time was that something that made less quality screenshots but a more dynamic environment would make a better game, which is why I took that direction, but it’s interesting, now that the technology of the hardware has progressed, I can combine both of what I wanted to do with the unique texturing and the fully dynamic environments.

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