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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | August 25, 2000
   

PQ Mailbag

Return of the Bag

To make a long story short, there was a complete lack of suitable mail last week, so the Mailbag was shelved. However, this week, we had an ass-kicking editorial that brought in tons of feedback, so the PQ Mailbag returns to enlighten and entertain like it always has! Read on, my friends!

Ain't No Turning Back

Our ass-kicking editorial this week was courtesy of Plummer, and was entitled "You Can Never Go Back". In it, he laments about the future of the new Doom game in development by id Software, and what the community will think of id "rehashing" an old idea. It made for some interesting feedback. Check out a whole poopload of it!

From: indian18
Subject: RE: You Can Never Go Back

After reading the recent editorial "You Can Never Go Back," I was prompted to write a few words on the subject.

In the last few years, the internet has given the hardcore gamers increased access to the game developers. Feedback and suggestion have abounded, but with them so has disappointment. It further illustrates the old cliche, "give them a foot and they'll take a yard." I agree that consumer input has it's advantages, but is it really worth a game developers time to attempt to taylor a game to its would-be buyers? The answer becomes increasingly cloudy when you consider that the number of consumers giving this feedback is an amazingly small percentage of the masses who will eventually buy the game, and even this small percentage can almost never agree on what it wants.

I have also observed that those who have extremely high expectations of a game will invariably be let down, and those who expect a game to suck are already convinced...so to them, it does. Perhaps one good solution for everyone involved is to go back to the way things were back in the days when Doom first game out. Let the game companies make their games (that IS what they do best, after all) and let each consumer judge for himself as to the quality.

In conclusion, it's obvious that the new Doom has an enormous amount of potential. Will id take advantage of the potential? I don't know, but rather than worry about it or flood JC's email account with what I would like to see in the game, I think I'll just kick back and let the boys at id take care of the game development. There will be a test and a demo, I'm sure, so I'll have plenty of opportunity to decide if it's worth buying before I actually shell out the cash. I sure hope it's a really cool game, and I bet it will be, but I'm not losing any sleep over it.

indian18

From: RiO
Subject: Doom Editorial

Dear Feedback People and Plummer,

I've read the latest Doom editorial (there was one on Gamespy a time ago), and I say now what I said then - you are judging things to early. id has said little other than "the next game we make will be Doom 3". But this isn't binding in any way. I would not describle Quake 2 as bearing much similarity to its precursor Quake, or to its Sequel Quake 3 Arena - therefore, with this title, id is not, in my view, at all restricted in what they do with thier next game.

And, in my view, id have yet to produce a game that isn't worth playing, so I fail to see how the next doom, on the facts we have been given, can be frowned on by anyone, as:

1) They don't know anything about it, or what it will be.
2) The nature of it's precursors is not in any way binding.

Thanks for reading,

RiO

From: Essobie
Subject: Single player doesn't need public opinion

"Defining what is expected from id software in the coming months makes it easy for id Software to satisfy the demands placed upon them by their customers. Something they are in the business of doing."

I think Plummer has it all wrong. The LAST thing that id Software wants to do is find out what it's customers want in a single player game... that kind of feedback works for a game like Q3A, but is in no way useful for what the new Doom will most likely be like. I mean... what is "The Customer"(tm) going to tell id that they want in a single player experience that would actually help id?

Here's what _I_ want the new Doom to be like: 1) I want it to be fun. 2) I want the graphics not to suck.

I'm sure id Software already knows this. Why? Because if you make games, typically these things are the first things you learn when you make one. Asking anything more than the above isn't only a waste of time, but also asking too much from a single player game. The LAST thing we need for a single player experience is a bunch of "expert gamers" telling a software company a bunch of crap to put in a game that they've seen in other games before already.

Leave this one to id Software. If they can come up with something that looks good that is fun and not a total multiplayer disappointment, I think they'll have a very successful title.

Essobie

From: (address deleted)
Subject: DOOM doomed? I think not!

Here are my thoughts on those two questions:

1.) What does id Software hope to accomplish with its next product?

Easy. With this installment, id plans to do quite a few things.

First, they plan to pioneer new technology in every single aspect of the game, as well as code all of it from scratch (nothing taken from the Quake code). This is quite a good thing, actually. It won't look like Quake with just revamped features. Quake 2 was merely an improvement of Quake, and Quake 3 was an improvement on Quake 2. Without having to improve on anything (code-wise), the code can be created from scratch with brand new ways of accomplishing things, introducing better system resource efficiency, brand new rendering technologies, and integrated development tools.

Speaking of development tools, that's the second thing they plan to accomplish. By integrating the development tools into the executable (ALMOST like Unreal and Unreal Tournament did -- the editor was essentially the game engine with an editing GUI instead of the game interface), this will ensure that ANYONE (as long as they match the system specs, of course) can create new things for this installation of DOOM. Since they are developing the game on the very systems that will be running it, this allows a more focused attempt on ironing out bugs and developing more accessible tools. The Quake maps (most of them, I believe) were compiled on an Origin box, which hardly ANY of the members of the Quake community has access to. By creating tools on a box with the targeted specs, this will ensure that people will able to make things the exact way the id guys did, compiling and all.

Third, this is (to my knowledge) the first game in which they plan to use modular staffing. By using "specialized artisans," if you will, each aspect of the game will have its own focus, and no aspect will have more importance than the other. Carmack has admitted that in the past, he has done "filler" things for aspects of the game that did not have a major focus but needed to be included. "Whatever got the job done" was the creed there. However, this will all change with this installment. Specialized work to rendering, AI, graphics, music, sound, and networking will produce a more tightly woven title, chock full of great features that reek of dedication. No more half-assed "this will do" implementation.

2.) What do we expect of the next id software product?

Everyone will expect different things from ANY game, regardless if it is DOOM or not. In this case, there are many mixed expectations. Some will want a simple redo of the original with nothing changed. Some will want all the spice of the original with some new weapons and baddies thrown in the mix. Some will want a completely new DOOM that is slightly related to the original. Some will want a continuation of the last DOOM title.

It is, therefore, unreasonable, not to mention unrealistic, to think that the new DOOM is going to please everyone. People have their own opinions, and you can't typecast people into one title.

However, if you tried to please everyone, then the game would take FOREVER to complete, and the various aspects of the game would change on a daily basis. The development team would get frustrated and eventually say, "Screw you, we're making it how we want to, and you're gonna like it." My current job is like that. :)

Also, by saying that the target audience is the Quake community, you are forgetting a MAJORLY important part of the targeted audience: the currently existing DOOM community. Yes, the DOOM community is still alive and well. So, a big chunk of business (as well as debate and opinions) will come from the folks who have refused to move on to other games and have stuck with the current DOOM titles, even in light of the newer id offerings.

By not giving anyone a clear-cut idea of what the next DOOM game will be, id has done a good thing. If they decide to change a certain aspect of the game later on, they can do so without going back on what they said earlier. That's why Carmack said in his June 1st .plan that he didn't want to speak about the new game until they had something to show. He wished to avoid any misleading information. If you tell people a game is going to be a certain way, then you close the door to other better ideas later on down the road.

In conclusion, I think that this next installment of DOOM will be a GREAT game, but it will not make everyone happy. Think of this next title not as a one-upper to the original but more of a, "Hey, it's been a long time. Welcome back!" kinda game. A game that can also say to the DOOM newbies, "This is the latest installment in the series of the FPS that started it all. Show some respect." True, this ain't your daddy's DOOM (mine never played), but it's DOOM nonetheless.

Let's give the old-timer another chance. He might be old, but he can still kick some ass. Let's see Grunt blast a Baron full of buckshot. He'd probably turn tail screaming. :)

Scott Bailey (a.k.a Wyvern)

From: Phoenix
Subject: Doomed Doom

"There will be no Doom 3"

I remember reading that when Quake was introduced, and yet here we are with the next Doom on the horizon. How could this be? Id software is unique in the gaming community in that it began the trend of allowed modification to it's games by those who play them. This started with Doom, with people making their own maps, TC wads, and dehacked patches. Even with 3 Quake games in the way, there is still a hard core Doom fanbase out there. We see numerous attempts to remake Doom in 3d in the Quake series of games. There was a Doom TC for Quake, the now infamous short lived Generations mod for Quake 2 which featured the Doom character, my own Doom Unleashed package that was derived from Generations, two Quake 3 mods that I am aware of at least that involve some element of Doom, not including the Generations Arena mod that LeeMon's heading up, Doom2000 from Team TNT, Zdoom, Jdoom, CSDoom - the list goes on and on!

Id is taking a risk in alienating the fan base, true, but also I think it is a way to give something new to the Doom fans from those who started it all in the first place. Everyone has been dreaming of Doom's gameplay but with full 3d instead of sprites, dynamic lighting, openGL, and so on. By doing this Id can bring the next game into the works and introduce completely new technology while doing so within a familiar environment. Everyone has wondered what it would be like to OOH and AHH over what Doom *could* have been like. With Quake 3's technology we have seen great game potential, and even greater potential in what lies beyond that.

Id has pushed the envelope and defined the gaming industry along the way. They have been THE software company, and it is quite easy to try to put them up on a pedastal as well as the games they make, but in the end Id is people, who make decisions based on what works. I think it is a safe play by Id to make the next game a Doom as opposed to something completely off the wall. We have seen a lot of FPS that didn't get real far, and ended up in the bargain bin. Quake has pretty much hit the limit both engine-wise and gameplay wise. To put out another multi-player centered game would cause an absurd amount of competition with Id's own products. One might ask why they should by the next multiplayer game when Quakes 2 and 3 already have so much to offer. Indeed I did not pick up a copy of Quake 3 until I got involved in model work simply because the gameplay of Rocket Arena 2 was more appealing at the time. It would be more of a risk for Id to step out into something completely new, without any precedent, without anything to fall back on, than to make the next game centered around Doom's theme. Also, there is logic in a new singleplayer game as the internet becomes filled with more and more games and gamers, and the ratio of game servers to end users becoming smaller by the day.

I am sure, as with any game, there will be people who love it, and those who hate it, a small group of hardcore purists who will play nothing but the original, but the majority of people I think will buy it because we know the formula Id has developed so far is tried and true, and they have yet to truly disappoint.

This is going to be a touchy subject for a while now. We're getting the same kind of reactions as when id said Q3A was going to be "multiplayer only". People say id can't do single player, people say that they should make it exactly like the original Doom but with updated graphics, etc. Cut the crap, people. id makes games the way they want to make them. They're known for doing that; they're game industry badasses. They set the standards. Other developers end up following what John Carmack does, whether they like it or not. Hundreds of thousands of people will buy their next game, simply because id made it. That may not be what id wants, but it's what's going to happen. I have to agree with the final sentence in the last letter I just printed. "They have yet to truly disappoint." It's true.

On Page 2: Leftover Gibs, Baby!


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