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Merry 30th Birthday, DOOM!

Commissar SFLUFAN

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That's right - the original DOOM turned three decades old today and the media has churned out a plethora of articles to commemorate the occasion!



On its 30th anniversary, Doom remains a masterpiece with the capacity for constant renewal.




Take your own birthdate, add a decade, and you’ll most likely find the release year of the games you first loved - the ones which set your expectations for fidelity, framerate, and back-of-the-box features. Anything before that? Those are games that require an active, cognitive effort to appreciate. Enjoying the relics that pre-date your own interactive awakening takes an act of forgiveness - a deliberate forgetting of all the iteration that’s taken place in a medium driven by breakneck technological advancement.


Unless, of course, you’re talking about Doom. id Software’s seminal FPS, which today turns 30 years old, is uniquely exempted from the accelerated degeneration that afflicts all other games. Though it is the musket rifle to Modern Warfare’s thermal-scoped submachine gun, it needs no historical contextualisation or explanation. Successive generations have sat down with Doom and not only understood why it was fun in 1993 – they’ve felt it. This geriatric shooter still stands up among the many games it has spawned and influenced, as engrossing on the Nintendo Switch as it was on DOS.







To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of Doom, id Software co-founders John Carmack and John Romero reunited to talk about the legendary FPS. The discussion was moderated by David Craddock (The FPS Documentary, Long Live Mortal Kombat), with interview questions from Craddock and the Twitch chat.


The conversation was understandably warm and celebratory, but I was also surprised at how critical the two were of their own work. Carmack alluded to "flashier" (and potentially technically riskier) graphical effects he wishes he had built into Doom's engine, and he noted that he thinks the more grounded, military sci-fi aesthetic of Episode One has aged better than the abstract hellscapes later in the game.


Romero, meanwhile, contrasted Doom with the id games before and after, arguing it represented a technical "sweet spot" before Quake and full 3D acceleration started to seriously complicate development and limit how many enemies they could fit on screen. The developer praised Doom's engine for allowing more complex maps than Wolfenstein though, ruefully remarking that "Making levels for Wolfenstein had to be the most boring level design job ever."





On Doom's 30th anniversary, RPS speaks to creator Jon Romero about the creation of the seminal FPS, Doom's legacy, and …




“When people read anything, no matter the source, they will believe it.” So says Doom designer John Romero on the subject of his relationship with John Carmack. Together, the pair built id Software and the FPS genre as we know it - before the cracks started to show during the difficult development of Quake, ending their professional partnership.


Yet any lasting acrimony has now dissipated. That became apparent when Romero’s new autobiography, ‘Doom Guy: Life In First Person’, showed up on shelves with a glowing back cover quote from Carmack. The latter praised Romero’s “remarkable memory”, and waxed wistfully about their shared impact on the gaming medium. “For years, I thought that I had been born too late and missed out on participating in the heroic eras of computing,” Carmack wrote. “Only much later did I realise that Romero and I were at the nexus of a new era - the 3D game hackers.”





In 1993, a team of five coders released what would become one of the most influential video games ever made. Three decades on, they explain how they did it




In late August 1993, a young programmer named Dave Taylor walked into an office block on the Lyndon B Johnson freeway in Mesquite, Texas, to start a new job. The building had a jet black glass exterior and sat utterly incongruent amid acres of car parks, single-storey industrial units and strip malls. Game designer Sandy Petersen called it the Devil’s Rubik’s Cube. Taylor’s new workplace was on the sixth floor in office 615. The carpets, he discovered, were stained with spilled soda, the ceiling tiles yellowed by water leaks from above. But it was here that a team of five coders, artists and designers were working on arguably the most influential action video game ever made. This was id Software. This was Doom.


By the time Taylor joined the company that day, fresh from his electrical engineering degree, id had already hammered out a dozen small-scale games for the digital magazine publisher Softdisk and the shareware pioneer Apogee. Its most recent title, Wolfenstein 3D, was an edgy Nazi shooter with fast-paced action and rudimentary polygonal environments. But when Taylor met id’s charismatic designer and coder John Romero, he was shown their next project, whose name was partly inspired by a line from the movie Color of Money. (“Doom” is what pool hustler Tom Cruise called his cue.) The concept was simple: Aliens meets The Evil Dead. But into this new project, Romero, the brilliant coder John Carmack and the artist Adrian Carmack had thrown all their obsessions: heavy metal, Dungeons & Dragons, gore, cutting-edge programming.


“There were no critters in it yet,” recalls Taylor of that first demo. “There was no gaming stuff at all. It was really just a 3D engine. But you could move around it really fluidly and you got such a sense of immersion it was shocking. The renderer was kick ass and the textures were so gritty and cool. I thought I was looking at an in-game cinematic. And Romero is just the consummate demo man: he really feeds off of your energy. So as my jaw hit the floor, he got more and more animated. Doom was amazing, but John was at least half of that demo’s impact on me.”



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36 minutes ago, AbsolutSurgen said:

I still remember the time I first saw Doom.  A house party at the rez of my University (hosted by the pirate BBS’s I used to frequent). Someone mentioned this awesome shareware game that they had downloaded. He offered to show us, and I was amazed. 6 months later I built my first PC. 


I was amazed too. I was 12 yrs old. 

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