Feb 17, 2013
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
If you were the type to draw fanciful Doom scenes all over your schoolbooks, rejoice! Thanks to the mod Brutal Doom, id's shooter is now every bit as violent as your younger self's doodles. Every dismemberment; every curbstomping; every immolation; every Hell Knight being kicked square in the soul spheres: they're all here. A new version came out last week, letting me post a long-overdue story about this gory marvel.
Brutal Doom, as the name suggests, makes Doom and Doom 2 more violent. Blood sprays across walls, gibs fly freely, you can blow enemies' legs off to make them crawl then curbstomp them, the Beserk powerup adds horrifying fatalities, more weapons are in, and it's generally, well, brutal. Now moreso, since creator 'Sergeant_Mark_IV' released version 18 on Valentine's Day.
The changelog includes--and Mark's very kindly illustrated many of these with videos--kicking teeth out the faces of crawling enemies and punting Barons of Hell in their laughing gnomes, new burning animations, new fatalities, new plasma deaths, improved AI, better blood, and oh so much more.
Grab Brutal Doom v18a here at Shacknews. You'll want to run it in the Zdoom, GZDoom, or Skulltag replacement Doom engine.
Quake II was one of the first FPS epics to espouse the pristine logic of firing rockets at one's feet to jump higher. Id's memorable shooter didn't skimp on the bullet count either, and in celebration of its 15th anniversary yesterday, Creative Director Tim Willits shared a few did-you-knows (via Eurogamer) surrounding the art and multiplayer.
For instance, just three artists crafted the 2D and 3D visuals for Quake II's entirety, delivering an orange-tinged world of metal and flame shuddering beneath a massive human military offensive. An earlier suggested title for the game was WOR, but id changed the name after realizing Quake II's fast-paced action better suited the renowned series.
Lastly, Willits' multiplayer arena of choice, The Edge, hides over 50 trick jumps for handy hoppers, though Willits only designed two of them. The rest were discovered by early adopters of ye olde drum-and-bass jump videos.
The remainder of December holds further commemorations for PC gaming greats of the 1990s. WarCraft II hits 17 in just two days, with id following right behind with a 19-year-old Doom anniversary on Monday. Planescape: Torment, Black Isle's masterful RPG, turns 13 next Wednesday. Id returns yet again with tough platformer Commander Keen's 22nd birthday on the 17th, and nothing boosts holiday cheer like the sorcerous cultists of Raven Software's Heretic which dings 18 on the 23rd.
Dec 5, 2012
The team over at RGB Classic Games is giving us our nostalgia fixes in the form of Java-based DOS emulation. They currently host over 300 games from days of yore including Doom, Commander Keen, Earthworm Jim, and many more that didn't get spotlighted because they were too far down the alphabetically-organized page. And it's totally free.
It almost seems too good to be true. You might expect the hammer of legal action to be looming just above the dusty library of classics, but the site's intentions appear noble. As it explains: "The highest ideals of this site are to support the authors by providing links to their web sites and ordering information for the full versions of games that are still sold, and to encourage the authors of classic games to preserve their games for future generations by making them available for sale or as freeware. If you enjoy a shareware game, please consider buying it from the author.
"All of the games on this site are freely distributable because they are shareware, freeware, or because the copyright holder has officially and legally released all rights to the public domain (abandonware)."
Assuming that's the case, the site shouldn't see any problems, but if it does offend a copyright holder, we'd expect a simple removal of the game in question to suffice. Cue up some Nirvana and have a look for yourself.
Clear your schedule and make room on your hard drive: there are over 9000 mods up for consideration as ModDB's 2012 Mod of the Year award nominees, and only a little over five days to nominate them. A big green button on each mod's page makes it hard to miss the opportunity to give your favorites a bump.
There isn't much time, so we'll get straight to it after this obligatory acknowledgement that we said "over 9000" on the internet: tee hee, references. Moving on, DayZ and Black Mesa are tough to ignore, and The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod was a valiant community effort. Those might be the most talked about and praised mods this year, and we expect they'll secure nominations, but there are so many more that deserve recognition. Which are you voting for?
If you need a refresher, you might want to browse our recent mod coverage to see if you've missed any driving elephants or My Little Pony conversions.
Nov 20, 2012
Shacknews - Steve Watts
It's the season of heavy holiday hitters for the games industry, but if you're more of a classic connoisseur you might prefer strolls down memory lane. To that end, a "Doom Classic Complete" set is hitting the PlayStation Network today, and it packs three of the hell-heavy titles together.
Since Bethesda Softworks bought id Software, the publisher has been keen on making use of its old franchises. This will be the second Doom in just over a month, after the recent release of Doom 3 BFG Edition.
Nov 14, 2012
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Ah, FPSs! They don't make them like they used to, do they? No, in many ways and for a number of reasons. But if you find yourself nostalgically longing for The Good Old Days and sniping at the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, then have I got the Doom 2 parody mod for you!
Released on the same day as Cod Blops 2, Call of Dooty II: Green Ops crams waypoint markers, regenerating health, cutscenes, flashbacks, nonsense conspiracies about Russians, popup hints, and other foolishness into id Software's classic FPS.
"Let's face it: Shooters today suck. Their levels are too linear, they aren't challenging enough, and they play more like interactive movies than the experiences we once loved up until the mid-2000s," creator 'Chubzdoomer' says in the readme file. "Call of Dooty is an ode to the terrible shooters that now inhabit the market and have taken over the gaming industry by storm. This WAD isn't supposed to be fun to play - it's here to make a statement."
Call of Dooty II is fittingly the sequel to last year's Call of Dooty, which was itself inspired by kmoosmann's 'If Quake was done today.' Annual sequels to mods parodying games suffering annual sequelitis, how glorious!
Of course, this being a modern linear FPS, multiple editions are a must. There's a plain old Standard Edition for proles, a Limited Edition with the original Call of Dooty and some before/after screenshots, and a Special Edition which also adds the soundtrack, ringtones, and achievement icons. Any true Call of Dooty fan will want the Collector's Edition, which packs all that plus the papercraft marine, 'making of' document, and the Green Ops Armor DLC. It's a small touch which means so much.
In the word of Dethklok frontman Nathan Explosion: "Brutal." Originally released in March, the Brutal Doom mod furnishes Doom's buckets of blood, steaming guts, and ultra-violence with a critically missing element: more buckets of blood, steaming guts, and ultra-violence. We're talking extreme Chunky Salsa Rule here. A freshly spawned Halloween update provides custom fatality animations as you RIP AND TEAR into Hell's minions.
Helmed by the one-man efforts of Sergeant Mark IV, Brutal Doom doesn't just coat everything in strawberry juice. The mod also augments weapon and projectile behavior to react slightly more realistically—slightly; you're still fighting demonic hellspawn in a box in space—such as inflicting harmful splash damage to yourself if you're too close to a wall. Stealth kills and movable barrels are also possible. Headshots count. Limbs sever.
"Everything in Brutal Doom is extremely intense," the good Sergeant writes. "Everything sounds louder, looks bigger, moves faster, and hits harder. The camera shakes every time something explodes near you. Enemies are harder and smarter, and weapons and explosions are loud as fuck.
"Some enemies will scream in anguish and try to crawl away when near death, and they can be used as human shields. Blood will drip through your visor every time you shoot enemies too close."
Doom 3 BFG edition is out this week, which makes it the perfect week for a Doom 3 BFG launch trailer. The repackaged, updated version of Doom 3 comes with 3D vision support and a new seven-level segment called The Lost Mission. The Resurrection of Evil expansion pack is included, along with Doom and Doom 2. The whole package is available at a budget £20 / €30 price point.
it sounds like Doom 3 has been significantly polished up with "improved rendering and lighting," more sensibly placed checkpoints and, countering one of the biggest points of contention, an armour-mounted flashlight. That should stop you from having to constantly choose between being able to see and being able to defend yourself. You can absorb some of that information in visual form with bonus demons in the launch trailer below.
id Software is Dooming us like we've never been Doomed before. Publisher Bethesda Softworks has announced the Doom 3 BFG Edition, which will feature the series' entire catalog, including Doom, Doom 2, Doom 3, and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, as well as an added "Lost Mission" with seven new levels. The release date and pricing are TBA, but it's coming sometime this year. Check out the trailer inside.
In addition to new content, id has spent the past year addressing complaints about Doom 3's darkness and difficulty (enter the new "armor-mounted flashlight"), tweaking its lighting and rendering, and adding 3D monitor and 5.1 surround sound support. Many of the modifications are bigger news for the console versions, as we've already been blessed with smooth framerates and the famous Duct Tape Mod.
"Doom 3 was enthusiastically embraced by gamers worldwide at its release," said id Software's John Carmack in today's statement. "Today, the full experience has been enhanced and extended to be better than ever, and is delivered across all the platforms with a silky smooth frame rate and highly responsive controls."
If id were working on it, this definitive Doom collection would be an excellent precursor to Doom 4, and Polygon's Russ Pitts made the same leading statement to id's Tim Willits, who repeated back, "If one were working on that, it would be a perfect precursor."
So, yeah, it seems likely that we'll get a Doom 4 re-announcement sometime this year.
John Romero, the veteran developer and id Software founder who helped create FPS touchstones like Quake, Doom and Wolfenstein, is planning a return to the genre in which he made his name.
Romero, who's currently CEO of social game studio Loot Drop, Inc., told Eurogamer that although he hasn't formally started work on the project he has the design nailed down.
"Yes, I'm definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on PC first," he explained.
"I don't want to talk about the details but I already know what it is. I've already kind of designed the thing and it's pretty cool - though of course, I am going to say that. I think it's a neat design, I haven't seen the design anywhere else."
Romero didn't go into much more detail but added that it'll be "MMO-ish" and will offer a new twist on genre traditions.
"It's a persistent game, it has persistent player data, the character grows and gets better over time. I think most gamers expect that now anyway, but this was a design I'd done a while ago. I think it's pretty valid.
"You will be playing the game as you would expect a shooter to feel, but the specifics of your situation, narrative wrapper and reward system are all unique. I wouldn't want to give out any specifics until I'm close to shipping it. I've learned my lesson about talking too soon about specific game features and release dates."
He couldn't confirm when work will begin or if it'll be a Loot Drop production.
It's been a long time since Romero last brought out a shooter - the 2003 N-Gage version of Red Faction. We asked him whether he thinks the skills necessary to make a successful modern shooter have changed since then.
"I don't think it's changed other than that the 3D graphics have to be good and there are a tonne of basics in the design that have to be there for players to feel that it's a current game.
"But I already have a lot of that stuff designed and none of what I've done has become invalid over time based on today's shooters. So I don't think there's an issue with it feeling dated or feeling old. It's not going to be an old-school shooter - it won't be pixelated. But it will probably have some faster movement than most games have right now."
Romero also offered his take on how the genre has evolved since his time at id Software. While he appreciates that Gears of War is a quality product, he's not a fan of the shift towards slower, cover-based gameplay.
"I'm not a fan of cover systems or the player being a bullet sponge. I'm not that interested in the tank-like player; I like feeling that I have skill in the game," he explained, before theorising that the rise of the console game pad has pushed developers in that direction out of necessity.
"I do realise that a lot of the movement in new shooters is directly attributable to the console controller because you can't play well and fast with them so they had to come up with some design to make it so the player can do something else if they can't skillfully move quickly. They have to do something different.
"But I'm a PC mouse and keyboard type player," he countered.
"I love twitch 180s, fast targeting, fast firing, fast movement. So anything that's not like that - like current shooters that are basically a track going through a level to the exit and everything is closed off - is not interesting to me.
"I like to explore my levels, y'know? So I'm not a fan of on-rail shooting or slow-moving cover systems. That's not to say that Gears isn't a great game but as a player I'm more interested in speed and fast movement."
Loot Drop's only current confirmed project is Ghost Recon Commander - a social spin-off from Ubisoft's tactical shooter series due out on Facebook and mobile platforms some time this Summer.