First released in 1993, DOOM became a phenomenon in PC gaming history and is widely recognized as the catalyst for the first-person action genre. Since its inception, the franchise has been one of the industry's best-selling PC series, with DOOM III already the most hotly anticipated PC title currently in development. DOOM III is being developed by id Software, distributed by Activision and is expected to be released early next year, 10 years after the release of the original.
Continuing the successful tradition of the series the new installment has already begun harvesting awards. In its first showing during the 2002 E3 Expo the game was awarded five Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2002 honors including Best of Show, Best PC Game, Best Action Game, Special Commendation for Sound and Special Commendation for Graphics.
As can be expected, developers and distributors were delighted.
We've set out to blow people away with DOOM III, and the demonstration at E3 was a tremendous success, said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. People have now seen that in everything from graphics and sound to atmosphere and gameplay, we are creating the most advanced and uniquely frightening game ever.
It is a great honor for DOOM III to be recognized in five categories by the people who most closely follow our industry, said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. We are thrilled to continue working with id Software on this legendary franchise.
According to Carmack, Doom III is different to Quake III in that it does have a story to tell. Quake III was a straight shoot at everything game, Doom III however, is a shoot at everything... in a moody, gloomy atmosphere. One of the reasons that pushed id to develop an atmosphere and a coherent storyline for Doom III, said Carmack, was their desire to use the latest technology and move graphics to the next level. This is bound to cause a drop in pace and Carmack expects an average of 30 frames per second for most Doom III players. This, in turn, meant that a more involving and immersing experience had to accompany the FPS backbone of the game. In comes Trent Reznor for the soundtrack and you have a truly awe inspiring package.
id Software designer Mal Blackwell said We always yearned for a cinema look and feel. This became real with new technologies supplied by GeForce 3 and ATi Radeon. We are going to create a credible environment that ensures a whole new level of immersion unattainable before. We'll make players believe the reality of the game.
Jim Dose, id Software programmer claims: The main purpose of DOOM III is to scare player and make him believe in what's happening on the monitor. We want him to recall his DOOM experience even when his computer turned off. We want DOOM III to be a new reality for him. They aim high at id, but it seems that they have come really close to achieving their goal. Everyone who has survived the cinematic and in-game footage of Doom III, claims that it has been one of the scariest, most involving experiences they have witnessed.
As far as the actual story goes, it is Mars and the year is 2145 there are plenty of marines, even more monsters and shots are fired...
Jim Dose says Moreover, it (the story)is going to shock you. DOOM III story is created by a our fellow Matthew Costello, who conceived stories for "7th Guest" and "11th Hour". We are pretty aware, though, that many players and especially Doom I and II fans might dislike delving into the fundamentals of the story, and ignore the roots of incident on Mars. We can't force them to, so we grant an option to finish game in a shooting-spree style. Well, those who want to know the truth, will find it out.
The specifics of the story, including its many twists, are a closely guarded secret. What is known, is that Doom III is set on Mars and that the timeline falls really close to that of Doom I. Can we infer that DOOM III is a remake of the original?
Well, actually yes it is, says Jim Dose. Imagine there were no Dooms before. Our new game is not about retelling the same story. This is Doom at its best: fearful as hell, mystic, and breathtaking immersive.
In Doom III your enemy is pure EVIL
The most significant change from previews FPS games in order to achieve the unique DOOM III atmosphere is the brand new lighting system. Shadows are calculated for each pixel of the scene, meaning that lights and darkness are extremely important parts of the set. In many parts, already previewed, of the game the mood is set by such effects as flashing lights about to go out. The significance of the lighting in the game can only be explained through the comments of those who have actually witnessed it. According to most, it is hard to remember that this is a game and not a high-budget movie.
This of course means that some gameplay sacrifices will have to be made. Mal Blackwell says In most crucial moments we employ the third person perspective camera to build up the tension and pump up some adrenaline. However, sometimes the external cam is required to elucidate the action. There won't be excessive cut-scenes, and we are going to insert them into the plot rock solid. Trust me, you won't want to miss them. For the time being we'll have to take his word for it.
As mentioned earlier Doom III drops the tempo, as far as FPS pace is concerned. To most who have witnessed the previews this is a negligable sacrifice considering the actual storyline pace and atmosphere. For example the lighting effects allow, a sharp player, to detect an enemies shadow long before they confront them. This means that a lot of suspense is involved while waiting for an enemy to appear within your sights.
The game however, will offer options in order to allow for the fidgety gamer.
We provide certain freedom of choice, just as we do with the storyline, says Jean Paul von Waveren, id Software's programmer. Whether to jump out in a frenzied shooting spree or to evade enemies and go a different way, saving ammo and health, is for the player to decide.
Perhaps the best way to describe the gameplay in Doom III is by using Carmack's own words.
With this Doom, Carmack says immersion is everything. We decided that this game was going to be about the fear, the scary, extraordinary, unknown environment and not knowing what can happen. Subliminally, everyone who plays a lot of these games [first-person perspective shooters] looks at things and knows what is interactive and what is part of the environment. You know shooting this light is not going to make the light go out. The way this current generation works, there is a separation between static and dynamic elements. With the new Doom, there is no separation. There is fundamentally nothing to tell you whether that machine is just background or something that is going to explode when you get close to it.
The Artificial Intelligence used, in order to make the monsters a force to be reckoned with , promises a daunting journey for any player.
How will the AI function in Doom III? Jean Paul Waveren comments We shall have various creatures, both stupid and smart, and they will perform differently. I can say our monsters are credible. What does that mean? Imagine yourself approaching a man on the street and asking him what time it is. You don't expect him to dance jig or recite Shakespeare. That's what our monsters are, they will act like real creatures. They won't hole up around the level or talk to their mates through radio. Their objective is to kill every living being, and your fear attracts them. That's their natural pattern of behavior, and they all attack in a different way, according to their savage ruses.
id get very defensive when queried about the enemies in Doom III. This is DOOM! We are not going to mimic Serious Sam where the player is exposed to relentless attacks by hordes of identical enemies. The Monsters are more than adequate, sometimes they'll attack in tens, sometimes they poke around alone. We want the player to be unaware of what is behind the next door. DOOM III is all about pressure and terror. but how can we have hordes of such highly detailed monsters on screen? The trick is in the extensive use of bump-mapping, says Jim Dose. The characters are not REALLY high-polygonal, but the bump-mapping provides the proper picture. This is how we intend to cram tens of monsters onscreen without damaging performance. By the way, let me give you a piece of advice regarding hardware configuration: you won't see what DOOM's like on video cards below GeForce 3. With per-pixel lighting and bump-mapping turned off, you just won't see DOOM III. Yes, the game can be run on GeForce 1, but my urgent message is as follows: go buy GeForce 3 or better. Promoting hardware are we Jim?
The complete cast of monsters in Doom III will include many, revamped, monsters that featured in the original, including pinky demon, imp, flying skulls, and cyber-demon being just some of the old favorites. All the work on the animation has been carried out by animator Fred Nilsson. He was previously working in Hollywood, and worked on "Shrek". His ability to inhale life into any incredible creature has long become a legend. We are very happy to have him working over DOOM III with us claims Jim Dose.
DOOM III is expected to, initially, contain around thirty levels. They will be extensive and will slowly build up the asphyxiating atmosphere of fear and terror.
Building levels for DOOM III is a really hard work, says Jim Dose. The point is that we use a great deal of special effects, which previously were a cinematic privilege, like shadows and lights. This is why we must pay special attention to architecture details, decorating, sources of light, even furniture - as everything must serve our goal: scare the player as hell. This is where we get the most effect from our physics system, which is Jean Paul's domain.
According to Dose play will also take place on the Martian surface We plan a number of outdoor levels. I'm not going to reveal the precise number of indoor and outdoor areas. Don't want to spoil the impression. Actually, implementing open-air levels is not our primary purpose. They won't be more than needed, and we are not willing to churn them out just because its flashy these days.
The first news do not seem to be encouraging, for those who enjoy the multiplayer aspect of FPS games.
Dose again We are trying to create unforgettable and revolutionary singleplayer game, That's why we plan only a simple deathmatch for DOOM III. However, new modes of play are likely to appear afterwards, but I can't state anything for sure right now. Our primary and foremost objective is to create a stunning singleplayer experience, and we employ all possible and impossible technological attainments glued with immersive plot to achieve proper result.
So for the time being it looks as if id are satisfied with the stereotype of the isolated, sleep deprived gamer. One thing is certain though, things will not stay that way.
Doom III promised a unique, Next Level gaming experience. So far it has delivered, what remains is for the final test and that will come some time in 2003.