2012/09/12

Humbled by '93 technology

Recently I've been poking around ports of the original DooM engine. I could say that it was research for my project, but that's be a lie, I actually found an online video about a modification that caught my attention, and looked into it.

Luckily for me, it has resulted in a whole lot of inspiration for the DooM4k miniDooM project, so yes, I am totally going to rationalize it that way.

First things first, the video that caught my attention was this one (Warning: gore and possible profanity):


That is the aptly named Brütal DooM mod.





Now, fixation on dismemberment aside, the video drew my attention primarily because of how it turned monsters into silly red-paint filled balloons that pop at the slightest prick. That I think fits the idea I have for the more cartoonish DooM4k miniDooM.

Upon trying the mod, though, I found out it had much more.

On one hand, it is a kind of hybrid between Duke Nukem 3d and DooM. It has the taunts, the irreverent humour, the over the top violence and action.

On the other, the rebalancing of weapons actually makes the game more tactical than the original (Yes, amazing, I know) and, more importantly, makes every weapon useful, which, design wise, is something I find really interesting (I dislike designing weapons that will be promptly ignored once something bigger is found).

Now yes, there's plenty of gore in the mod, to such ridiculously cartoonish amounts that it hardly would offend anyone, and I must admit, it does help make the game an effective stress relief tool (I've taken to playing it through using the minigun exclusively, with infinite ammo, which I might make and actual game mode in DooM4k miniDooM).

But that wasn't the "humbling" part I refer to in the title.

Thing is that, once I had the mod running (on the SkullTag port) I set to find some community made maps, since I pretty much have the entire game memorized.

I came across a series of DooM2 replacement map packs (Called mega-WADs, as the DooM data files have a .wad extension) hailed for being hard, and recommended for cooperative play (One of my main goals with the DooM4k miniDooM project). I fired one up called Deus Vult II, skipped a few maps checking the layouts, and then... Oh my...




First things first, the architecture I've seen on some of these packs has been breathtaking, despite being implemented in the rather limited DooM engine. The video shows a rather impressive Cathedral.

Secondly.... The game throws hundreds of monsters at you... Literally. 

This was humbling because I've been fretting over optimizations to present multiple entities on screen, fearing that a few dozen monsters throwing fireballs might slow things down too much. And here comes a port of a 1993 game presenting hundreds of entities, all of them launching even more entities (fireballs, missiles, other monsters), and no slowdowns at all!

DooM has yet again inspired me.

Oh, a final note, do not try to combine the Brütal DooM mod with those massive map packs. The special effects the mod uses will bring your system down on its knees.

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