First Person Shotgun | Episode 1
DOOM 2016 All Weapons Deep Dive in Ultra-Wide 3,440x1440
DOOOOOOOOOOOOM! The first video game I played was Pong...on a black and white TV....in my garage. My dad is a bit of a Renaissance man and he always had his fingers in various hobbies while I was growing up. It ranged from wargaming with little metal figures to model airplanes to computers and electronics. We had an entire room in our basement (unfinished with concrete walls and floor) dedicated to hobbies. The 'Hobby Room' as it were. We had an Atari 2600, and eventually an Atari 800 and finally he pitched in to help me buy an Atari 1040ST (which started me down the path of 3D animation). But before we had all of that we had Pong....and I've been gaming ever since.
This blog is going to be composed of my musings on gaming trends, some deep dives into the specifics of certain games and some thoughts on particular games and game technology. As a professional 3D animator I've spent part of my career in the gaming world, mostly doing game Cinematics, advertisements and event animations for events like E3. Back around 1993 the first version of DOOM on PC was released. It was a milestone in the sense it was the first real 'must have' game on PC (if memory serves it ran under MS-DOS, not Windows). Up until that time (in my opinion) computers like the beloved Amiga kicked the PC's butt in gaming. But DOOM changed a lot of things and it's effect on the industry is well documented.
About 10 years later DOOM 3 was released in 2004. A lot had changed since the MS-DOS days. In fact, I remember working on the product release video for the original NVidia GeForce 256 around 1999. PCs were now outfitted with GPUs and DOOM 3 was revolutionary in a number of ways. id Tech 4 was impressive, it gave us normal mapping, dynamic lighting with real-time shadows and specular highlights. Things that we take for granted in today's games were jaw-dropping 10 years ago. It also had the mis-fortune of being released within a few months of Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2 was a revolution in a multitude of ways that had nothing to do with normal mapping or dynamic lighting, and it made DOOM 3 look shallow...and almost childish by comparison. It exposed id as being behind the curve with regards to where games were going. Half-Life 2 was a giant step forward with an immersive, atmospheric game that existed in a fully-realized world and was driven by a complex narrative and actual NPC relationships. It was gaming 'grown up' - while DOOM 3 was mostly a nicer looking version of DOOM. DOOM 3 just wasn't very ambitious on any front other than graphics and sound.
I won't get too far into Rage (id's next big release) other than to say it looked like id was at least trying to close the gap with other open world, narrative driven games. While mostly fun, with some great shooting action (Wing Stick anyone??) it wasn't considered a great success and suffered from technical issues (ahem...MegaTextures). id still either didn't 'get it' - or simply didn't have the talent to pull off the type of game Rage wanted to be. It felt that id was trying to capture some of the atmosphere, immersion and mystery of a game like 'Stalker' with the world that they created...but the Wasteland never acquired the personality, depth or mystery that the 'Zone' in Stalker had. It wasn't dynamic....always daylight, always sunny, the same stuff in the same places all the time. Nothing to explore...no secrets to uncover. It was boring.
So...with a couple of lukewarm releases in a row there was quite a bit of pressure for DOOM 2016 to do well. I'm super happy to repeat what everybody else has been saying. DOOM 2016 embodies everything id does well - it's fast, fun and beautiful. It also has that extra helping of 'loving attention to detail' that sets great games apart (and DOOM 2016 is definitely a great game). It doesn't try to be something it's not. There's some kind of story'ish thing going on. Something about Optimus Prime's cousin and RoboCop's sister quibbling about their fracking venture in Hell....or whatever. It doesn't matter. DOOM is FUN. They don't shoot for something that they couldn't attain, but rather nailed what they were always good at. Being in the 3D animation business for 20 years I know how much work goes into this stuff and I want to show off what a fantastic job the DOOM modelers, lighters, texture artists and animators did on the weapons in DOOM 2016. Maybe I'll see if we can get one or two of the artists over at id who worked on DOOM to do a podcost here at Pixel Fondue. I know MODO was used rather extensively. In this video I go over every single weapon and modification in the game in glorious 3,440x1440 Ultra-Wide with all settings turned up to 11 (using Vulkan of course) - aided by the Duel TitanX GPUs in my system. Enjoy ; )