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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Q3A and Doom 2000
   

An opinion on id Software's upcoming releases
  — by Fragmaster

Hi there. You may old skoolers may remember me as that Fragmaster who ran PlanetQuake when it sucked. :)

Since my psychic friend skillz proved pretty accurate in my last editorial for PlanetQuake, an editorial I wrote nearly a year ago, I thought Iíd push my luck and look into the future. The future? Thatís right, all the way to Doom 2000.

Before we get to that though, Iíd just like to mention two things regarding that Q3A editorial: first off, I really should have mentioned that all the ballyhoo about curved surfaces is insane, since they add ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to gameplay. You can argue that the increase of visible polygons does (as evidenced by q3test2), but curved surfaces donít. Q3A is pretty much the same old deathmatch; the killing grounds just look prettier.

Iíd also like to emphasize that I make some pretty bold predictions here, and that some of these predictions conflict with things Carmack has said in previous interviews or trends id has persued in the past. Iím also biased here, because Iím a big fan of Doom and would really like to see Doom 2000. And I tend to babble. Still, I donít think this scenario is very far-fetched, itís not like Iím predicting that id and Valve Software will merge and develop a Bugs Bunny game for the Playstation 2 as their first project.

I said this in that Q3A editorial, and it still applies somewhat:

Is anybody concerned with idís constant change of plans? How do you know theyíre sure this time? Who says they wonít change their minds again?

Itís possible that id will change their mind and not do a Doom 2000. Doom 2000 is only an idea at this stage, but id has mentioned that doing another Doom game is a definite possibility and even went as far as to secure the Doom2000.com domain. Hell, it wonít even be called Doom 2000 because thereís no way theyíd be able to get it ready next year. Q3A wonít ship until Christmas (by my estimation, partly because id will realize that if they donít include CTF theyíre shooting themselves in the faceÖ and then thereís the botsÖ), and the game was announced in June í98Ö so thatís an eighteen month development cycle right there. For a multiplayer only game using a pretty much existing engine!


I think the possibility of id doing Doom 2000 as their next project is pretty good. People are sick of this Quake stuff. Quake games donít even have a consistent theme. Classic Quake is gothic medieval stuff with some military levels thrown in, and Quake II is a Doom rip-off with robots. With Doom, id has a great theme to work with: space marines versus HELL. Doomís engine wasnít really capable of rendering ďhellĒ very faithfully, but Q3ís engine certainly is. Iíll single out the work of id designer Brandon James as an example. Organic. Scary. Hellish. DOOM! Of course, Doom 2000 would contain lots of military space outpost levels too, but Iím getting ahead of myself.

Another reason why id would do Doom 2000? Itíd be a movie tie-in. A Doom movie is supposedly in development by TriStar Pictures with Spawnís Todd McFarlane as a conceptual designer. I say ďsupposedlyĒ because rumors of a Doom movie in development have floated around since 1996, but with McFarlane involved things may actually get off the ground.

I think itís safe to say that if youíre reading this, you WANT to see another Doom game. For most of us, Doom was a way of life back in the early 90ís. I wonít even begin to gush at all the innovations Doom introduced and how every first person shooter youíre playing today owes at least part of its success and overall design to Doom.

And finally, I donít think id wants to start another franchise from scratch. Thatís not id. With the exception of Commander Keen, all their games have been first-person shooters that emphasized action over strategy. They arenít going to turn around and do something totally different. If id suddenly announced that they were going to do a real-time strategy game after Q3A, either John Carmack went a little wild at the all you can smoke Crack-o-rama, or the apocalypse is frighteningly imminent. And since I seriously doubt theyíre going to go back and make another Wolfenstein game, or suddenly decide that Commander Keen should be updated for the millennium, Doom is the obvious choice. Besides, the game would sell like mad just by reputation and name alone, even if it sucks ass.

Like I said before, Doom 2000 is just an idea. If Q3A is a huge success, id may decide to go the online-game only route. Thatís certainly a possibility even if Q3A isnít that successful, since online gaming is a really cool phenomenon with lots of unexplored territory. And id may even decide that single-player development these days takes way too long, and that theyíd rather churn out smaller games with a shorter production schedule for engine licensing reasons (so the engine doesnít have a chance to get as outdated).

The industry has changed since the days of Doom. To be perfectly honest, id is past its prime. Doom was revolutionary. Quake was revolutionary. Quake II? Q3A? They arenít. The Quake engine was uncontested; the closest thing you could license was 3DRís BUILD engine. Now thereís Epicís Unreal engine and Monolithís frighteningly advanced LithTech2. As far as gameplay is concerned, you could argue that Duke3D has better gameplay than QuakeÖ but if you compare Quake II to Half-Life (single player), thereís absolutely no contest. And then thereís the fact that the only developers currently at id who worked on the original Doom are John Carmack, Adrian Carmack (artist), and Kevin Cloud (artist). All the designers who worked on the original Doom, most notably Sandy Peterson and John Romero, are no longer with the company. But this could be seen as an advantage as well, because idís current design team is arguably more experienced with FPS design and certainly no slouches in the talent department. Not only that, but nearly all of idís newer hires were fans of Doom before they got to id, so working on a new Doom game would be a dream come true.

I wonít even try to touch upon the advances in console technology that could potentially threaten the PCís FPS dominance, because thatís a threat that has been overcome before and it wonít really be an issue until 2001.

 


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