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Masters of Doom 484

kevin42 writes "Everyone who was into computers 10 years ago knows about Doom. Less people are familiar with Wolf3D, and even fewer people ever played any of the Commander Keen games. But those of us who played them when they were cutting edge games couldn't wait for what would come next. To hard-core gamers, these games were amazing, and important. The change came with DOOM; suddenly everyone was interested in this groundbreaking game." Kevin reviews below David Kushner's Masters of Doom.
Masters of Doom
author David Kushner
pages 352
publisher Random House
rating Excellent!
reviewer Kevin Bentley
ISBN 0375505245
summary How two guys created an empire and transformed pop culture.

Virtual reality was the craze of the time, and Doom offered a glimpse into what it was all about. But this innovative game did not come from any of the "big" video game developers of the time, and it was not the built by a large team with huge resources. Although it was the product of many people's efforts, it was primarily the creative genius of two people, both named John.

John Carmack and John Romero are names that every self-respecting Slashdot reader knows. Carmack even posts here occasionally (hi John!). Until I read this book, I knew very little about the personal life of Carmack, and I thought I probably knew too much about Romero. Like many, I have been intrigued by their successes (and failures), and was interested in learning more about what makes them tick.

Masters of Doom starts off with a chapter for each John, telling stories from their childhood that made me realize they were just typical American kids, with the same kind of problems that many of us probably had. These are important chapters, and the author repeatedly references these stories throughout the book. Although the book chronologically covers the entire lives of the two Johns, most of the book details their working years, from their time at Softdisk until now.

This is where the book was most interesting to me. The details of the camaraderie that existed among the team made me feel like I was there. The author got a lot of his information from personal interviews with people, and it really shows in his writing style. First-person accounts are woven together so you get to know what each person was thinking while the story plays out. For instance when the id team met with Sierra On-Line in 1992, you get first-person impressions from both sides of the meeting, giving the reader a lot of insight that you would ordinarily never get.

For me, the book's climax was during the initial releases of Doom, when huge checks were pouring in. Things were going really well for the team at this point, and the book describes things like John C. and John R. dropping off a check for five million dollars at the bank's drive-through, while riding in one of their Ferraris. Although things were looking great for the team at this time, the future really held turmoil and disappointment.

The only negative comment I have about this book is not really a criticism of the book itself, or even the author. I believe the story was accurate, and while it didn't have any shocking new information, it left me feeling sad to see such a powerful combination of talent break apart because of personality conflict, and sad at the thought that Carmack seemed to be losing interest in id Software. The book does mention Carmack's current interests in rocketry (which are even more exciting to me than his games), and Romero seems to have settled into a life he is enjoying, but the mood of the book seemed very depressing to me in the end.

Anyone who is a gamer or a self-taught programmer like Carmack and Romero would enjoy this book. The book does not require the reader to know much about games or computer programming, but I suspect it might be uninteresting to people who aren't either gamers or interested in computers. To the average Slashdot reader though, I would definitely recommend this book.

You can purchase Masters of Doom from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Masters of Doom

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  • I remember that... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qat ( 637648 ) <admin@please[ ].us ['eat' in gap]> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:33PM (#6746011) Homepage
    ah yes the good 'ol days, playing "Ultimate Doom" and "Heretic" on a 28.8 dialup. I miss those days :( Now you have to worry about some kidiot with an aimbot and wallhacks getting ready to AWP your ass through wall.
    • I still have original copies of Doom, Wolf3D, and a handful of Commander Keen, 'cept I always have troubling running the games on my Win2k and WinXP computers. Sometimes the games won't run period, or there will be missing sound (for example).

      My friend's got it worse on Win98 - He can play the games for a good 1/2 before he bluescreens.

      I know this may be off-topic to the story, but does anyone have quick tips on how to play these DOS-age games on modern day OS's and hardware?

      • by Fryed ( 205364 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:54PM (#6746299)
        The first thought that comes to my mind is probably not the easiest solution, and I must admit I haven't tried it before, so I don't know for sure that it'll work, but it might be worth trying...

        Install Bochs [sourceforge.net], and install a version of DOS onto that (I wonder if FreeDOS [freedos.org] will work?) This will insure that the game is running on the OS it was really designed for (particularly if you use an old copy of MS-DOS rather than FreeDOS), and it will keep the game from trying to run too fast, since the emulation overhead will slow it down a bit. I think Bochs also includes a way to forcibly slow the CPU down even further if necessary.

        Anyone have any experience trying this setup? I'm curious as to how well it would work...
        • by noisehole ( 300584 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:47PM (#6746973)
          emulators/vm's are always the best sollution. since source for those old id games have been released in the past, there are a bunch of implementations.

          and if there aren't any (like for the old commander keen games, iirc), give VDMSound a shot (under nt4/w2k/xp) http://ntvdm.cjb.net/

          and some old dos games refuse to run at all under modern os's (eg weird memory manager), so have a look at http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/, and if that fails too, use bochs/vmware.

          btw, i remember an old feature of doom v1.666 or something. you had to build an ipx network of 3 dos boxes and could play on all three. one screen for 90 leftview, on center and one right. woah!
      • Well, as far as Doom goes, there is a Windows port of LSDLDoom [firehead.org] that uses LibSDL [libsdl.org] for graphics. Everything except for Midi (because I'm too lazy to get it to work) works great under WinXP. As an added bonus, you're not limited to the 320x240 that the original Dos version had.
      • by skyjake ( 667196 )
        For playing Doom (and Heretic/Hexen), I think the Doomsday Engine [doomsdayhq.com] is the best solution.

        Of course, I'm a bit biased.

      • by SomeGuyFromCA ( 197979 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:08PM (#6746484) Journal
        I know this may be off-topic to the story, but does anyone have quick tips on how to play these DOS-age games on modern day OS's and hardware?

        Don't try. Just get another computer. I have a K6-2/300 [that I picked up for next to nothing] sitting at my right that I use for all my old games. Keen, Wing Commander, Raptor, Tyrian, etc. 256 megs RAM, 8.4 gig drive, SB AWE32, all for next to no time or money.

        The most expensive part would have been a KVM switch, except that I have a dual-input monitor, so I just needed a KM switch.
      • I still have original copies of Doom, Wolf3D, and a handful of Commander Keen, 'cept I always have troubling running the games on my Win2k and WinXP computers. Sometimes the games won't run period, or there will be missing sound (for example).

        Wolf3D? That was just about the most groundbreaking game I've ever seen. I remember walking into a computer store one day, and seeing this game that blew my freaking mind. Felt like a friggin' acid trip.

        So are there a bunch of yougin's around here who have never p

        • Even before Wolf3D, there was "Castle Wolfenstein". I remember playing it in high school on an Apple II (not a IIe, before that :) ). There were also the Lord British games like Ultima. I've noticed the similarities between my kids' gameboy games and these old Apple II titles.
      • DOS Emulation (Score:3, Informative)

        by waffle zero ( 322430 )

        As far as Commander Keen and Wolf3d go, your best bet is the open source dos emulator DOSBox [sourceforge.net]. There are ports for Windows, BeOS, and Linux and I'm sure the source will compile on other *n?x systems.

        The problem is that DOSBox doesn't support protected mode as needed by DOOM. But that is not a problem because there are plenty of open source DOOM engines. A quick search of sourceforge turns up DOOM Legacy [newdoom.com]. It has netplay and should work on all varieties of OSes.

      • by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

        I know this may be off-topic to the story, but does anyone have quick tips on how to play these DOS-age games on modern day OS's and hardware?

        Since this is slashdot, you really should be using Linux. :-)

        Use DOSEmu [dosemu.org] and FreeDOS [freedos.org]. We have some screenshots on the FreeDOS site of playing these great old DOS games using DOSEmu:

        Or, if you have a Mac, you might use VirtualPC:

    • by OneIsNotPrime ( 609963 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:47PM (#6746218)
      28.8 dial up? You call that the Good ol' days? You little whippersnappers don't know nothin' about the good ol' days.

      When I was your age, all we had was seven computers in the whole world, five of them were in Nigeria, and they were connected by old loops of string. Instead of packets, you had to put a color coded ribbon on it and pull the string for 60 hours until the ribbon got to the other guy. Then he had to manually enter the data into his computer via punchcards and smoke signals, and we liked it that way!

      We didn't have no fancy 3D engines, or even 2D, all we had was 1 dimensional games, lines with broken spaces in between and you had to pretend the long ones were space cowboys and the short ones were mutant trolls. It took 84 hours of processing time to draw 1 pixel, and we liked it that way!

      You spoiled bratts and your instant messaging eDoom 7.0++ with real time anti-aliased bitmaps don't know nuthin about the good ol' days.
    • Herectic! Yes! We played that over our own Arcnet network. I think we had TV grade coax running around our house and a pretty simply "hub" on the landing at the top of the stairs. It was pretty good too: IIRC, we could get 150KiB/s on FTP between our Slackware boxes.
    • Oldies checklist (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JCCyC ( 179760 )
      Everyone who was into computers 10 years ago knows about Doom. Less people are familiar with Wolf3D, and even fewer people ever played any of the Commander Keen games.

      Check. Check. And check again. ;)

      Let's push this a bit further back, shall we?

      - Prince of Persia
      - Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
      - Alley Cat

      By now we fell off the PC's time of existence, and if I wanted to go on I would have to mention Apple II games like Karateka, Conan, or Swashbuckler. But I won't.
      • Conan and Karateka got me through kindergarten and first grade, man, they were awesome! And let's not forget Montezuma's Revenge and Wizardry. Ah, the apple IIe, the reason I have all my terminal windows green-on-black ;-)

        I also remember walking to my neighbor's house to play the *Quest games on his IBM PC-XT (?) 286. Werd.

        Feeling much much too old for my age, but, given the current crowd...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:33PM (#6746014)
    Don't try to rewrite history! Wolf 3D and Doom were great games, but Commander Keen stunk day one.
  • lacks talent (Score:5, Informative)

    by craigtay ( 638170 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:33PM (#6746015) Journal
    While this book was a nice read for me, it would have been terrible for most. It was written very poorly. The only thing that kept me going was learning all the little things about the people who created doom that I didn't know before. I struggled through some parts of it, and was almost embaressed by others. Great read for those who are interested in the subject, but for people who have a passing interest.. I suggest looking elesewhere.
  • If you bought a Gravis Gamepad in the early-to-mid-90's, you got Commander Keen (adventure 4, I think) for free. I was quite familiar with Doom and Wolf3D, but I wasn't a 'gamer,' so I didn't have developer loyalty and didn't care who "Id" was and had never heard of Commander Keen. When I bought my Gravis with the Spree-looking buttons, it changed that.
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:34PM (#6746027)
    is that first person shooters after Doom were called "doom like" instead of "Wolfenstein3D like."

    I suppose "doom" is easier to say, but it doesn't give credit to the real first, the one that opened the floodgates.
    • by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax@gmai l . com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:42PM (#6746142) Journal
      They are as much Doom and Wolfenstein3D like as Snood is Tetris like. It's just a genre given a recognizable term. Many more people know the name Doom than Wolfenstein, even with this latest Return to Castle Wolfenstein thing. I've hear "Quake style" all the time now. Is there a reason we can't say FPS?

      When I am describing a game and relate it to another game as oppose to a genre, I actually mean it. If I say a game is Unreal Tournament style, I mean it is cartoonish in graphics, more focused on gameplay than reality (wild and crazy), etc. If something is GTA like (oh don't anyone dare call this a regular FPS) I mean it's open-world'd, fun just do to random things in, etc.

      Bad spelling is not an indication of bad thought, it's just not wanting to take the time to post into a word processor.
    • or really, Ultima Underworld-like.. Of course it's another type of game, but the 3d concept was there first.
    • by coreytamas ( 411374 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:43PM (#6746148) Homepage
      One reason I think Doom stands above Wolf as the real father of first person shooter games is because it broke ground with internet multiplayer "deathmatch" type gaming that you could actually use. Many, if not most modern FPS games promote multiplayer as at least half of the product, and in that sense Doom is actually a front-runner.
      • by cje ( 33931 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:31PM (#6746721) Homepage
        In terms of the game engine, there's not a lot of comparison between Doom and Wolf3D. The Wolf3D engine was primitive compared to Doom; most of the rooms were essentially large squares or rectangles, the lighting was pretty static, the list of enemies was pretty limited, and all of the levels were flat. Compare that to Doom, with its sectors of (basically) arbitrary shape and size, its introduction of sector height so that you could create staircases, trenches, walls, etc., its vastly-improved lighting capabilities, its vast array of special line types, its long list of monster types, etc.

        Wolf3D was a ground-breaking game, but not nearly as ground-breaking as Doom was. Hell, I think I have more fun playing the original Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein from the early 1980s. :-)
    • "I suppose "doom" is easier to say, but it doesn't give credit to the real first, the one that opened the floodgates."

      The first, of course, would be Ultima Underworld from Looking Glass Studios which made it out the door just before wolf3d. That game still kicks some major booty even today.

    • Actaully, Wolfenstein was the second. The first was a Heretic like game. I'm thinking it was called Catacomb? Somebody help me out here.
      • Your right, it was something like that. Why do I have the word shadow in my head right now? Hmmm. This is one of those times you wish Jeeves actually could answer any question.

        Anyway, I actually played it, and it was interesting to say the least. The monstors were pretty cool, and there was a fog effect in the game. I think I had the shareware.
      • Wrong again! Wolf 3D wasn't the first or second first-person-shooter game. The first game in the genre was Battlezone which was released in the arcades in 1980. It had everything that a first person shooter needs. The game is 3D and the player's view is first-person. Your objective is to navigate through the 3D world and shoot things, blow them up, and kill stuff.

        Battlezone was huge when it was released, and the USA military was even working with Atari to make a version that could be used to train the
        • Oddly enough, I found that one of the most inventive games ever was a post 96 FPS by the same name: BattleZone.

          BattleZone '98 was a kick-ass RTS/FPS hybrid (avoid the sequel, it lost the charm). It had a wonderful premise (secret cold-war combat on the moon in the '70s) and excellent gameplay. Very inventive, very fun. Still, classic Bzone players wouldn't like it as its much more modern-FPS style of play.
      • Catacomb Abyss was the name. I remeber playing a shareware copy of it back in mid-90's. I didn't bother much, though - Wolf and Doom had much better (read: VGA) graphics...
    • by jemfinch ( 94833 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @03:47PM (#6747654) Homepage
      Doom and Wolfenstein 3D were vastly technologically different. Whereas Wolfenstein 3D was tile-based, had nothing but orthogonal angles and no height, Doom had varying angles, varying heights, stairs, elevators, and all sorts of other niceties that Wolfenstein 3D never had.

      First Person shooters after Doom were called "Doom like" because "Wolfenstein 3D like" wouldn't have done them justice. It simply wasn't in the same technological arena.

  • ...how odd it must feel having people rip apart your life for dissemination to the public. I suppose you get used to it, but it would probably freak me out. I much prefer to have a separate public life and a private life, thank you. Of course, that gets into the question of why people find other's private lives interesting. Soap operas maybe?
    • Of course, that gets into the question of why people find other's private lives interesting. Soap operas maybe?

      Vicarious living. People just want to know about others lives that are more exciting or "dangerous" so that they can get an outlet for a different existence without leaving the confines of their couch.
  • Changed My World (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:34PM (#6746035) Homepage Journal
    When I was in High School my teacher knew some people over at ID and we got to alpha and beta test Doom in computer club. I remember the still monsters and walls you would fall through and the numerous crashes we would have. Even then the game was a total blast.
  • by NotAnotherReboot ( 262125 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:35PM (#6746048)
    "I believe the story was accurate, and while it didn't have any shocking new information, it left me feeling sad to see such a powerful combination of talent break apart"

    It saddens me that Romero ever made Daikatana. Perhaps the greatest disaster ever witnessed by man could have been avoided.
  • by LordoftheFrings ( 570171 ) <null@NoSPam.fragfest.ca> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:36PM (#6746059) Homepage
    How can the fact that the two Johns split up be a negative part of the book. I mean, would the book be better if it WEREN'T accurate, and lied about it? Of course not. That is just how things worked out, so I think it can hardly be seen as a negative aspect of the book.
  • by camilita ( 694206 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:38PM (#6746089)
    ..kind of "archeological" gaming you can always read the pretty decent The Ultimate History of Video Games [amazon.com]
  • pretty good read (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kisrael ( 134664 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:38PM (#6746093) Homepage
    It was a pretty good read.

    Interesting seeing how badly PCs lagged consoles in terms of gaming...the sidescrolling of Commander Keen was considered a technical breakthru, even though it started as a demo level of Mario Bros 3 as a proof-of-concept, and was basically the same thing the NES had been doing since the mid-early 80s...in fact, it was a while until PCs could play games that the C=64 and Apple II could, never mind the Amiga and Atari ST.

    DOOM and, possibly to a lesser extent, Wing Commander really put the PC ahead of the consoles (at least for many genres) for a long while. I think the tide has turned now. (though YMMV depending on what genres you like--I'm just very glad not to have to worry about 3D cards and compatability and what not.)
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:39PM (#6746101)
    I don't recall Commander Keen being cutting edge. Maybe in the PC world where scrolling was an issue. To me it seemed like a fairly second rate platform game compared with what I'd come to expect from other platforms over the preceding yeard. Talking of scrolling... I wish I could find my copy of Xenon II Megablast. I wonder if it will run at the correct speed on my more modern hardware.
    • "Talking of scrolling... I wish I could find my copy of Xenon II Megablast. I wonder if it will run at the correct speed on my more modern hardware."

      If it runs too quickly all you have to do is pick up a copy of mo'slo. The freeware version will slow it down to any integer percentage of the real speed, adn the paid version can do float values as well (i.e. 0.1%).

    • I wonder if it will run at the correct speed on my more modern hardware.

      That's the best understatement I've heard all week.

      "I wonder if this hot wheels car, traveling down a wooden plank at a steep angle, will be just slightly slower than the bullet from this gun. Hmm."
      • Okay Mr. Sarcastic, have you considered that they might have done a good job of detecting system speed and adjusting their framerate appropriately?

        Wing Commander played well on a 386DX@33MHz, but was unplayable on 486DX4@100HMz. Quake 2 played reasonably on a Pentium-166MMX, and is still playable on todays high end systems. Some games scale well with the hardware, some don't.
      • Uh, the question is whether game speed is programmed in or merely dictated by the speed of the hardware. The issue is if the game will be too fast to be playable, not whether the hardware is capable of running the game.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:40PM (#6746111) Journal
    The first thing that popped in my head was that it would be great to talk to either (or better both) John's about what it took to become the programmers/designers they are, how they got involved in the wave of revolutionary games, and how it changed their lives.

    Strangely enough, /. searched showed no results for either Carmack or Romero (in case such an interview has already occurred)... but perhaps it's just being buggy. As somebody who is greatly interested in such things (hell, the games are why I started coding initially) it would be great to hear straight from the "Johns" about their experiences, mistakes, and successes.
  • Deathmaze 5000 by Med Systems Software, which ran on the original TRS-80 with stunning 128x48 black and white graphics. It was a maze game with overlapping corridors and horrible traps to kill you with. Most fun for a pre-teen/teen. They also put out a game called Asylum which ran on the TRS-80 and other 8-bit computers of that era. Pretty amazing that even back in 1980 or so people were pushing hardware in the attempt to display realistic 3D graphics. I absolutely loved these games. And if we're going to talk about 8-bit Trash 80 games, one can't forget Big Five Software [bigfivesoftware.com] - the originator of popular arcade clones written in hand assembly for the TRS-80. These guys were my heros as a kid. No, really! --M
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:40PM (#6746118)
    John Carmack and John Romero are names that every self-respecting Slashdot reader knows.

    I'm having trouble understanding everything after the 'every' and before the 'knows.'

    I feel so dirty posting this.
  • by Wrexen ( 151642 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:42PM (#6746143) Homepage
    "Kevin reviews below David Kushner's Masters of Doom"

    Slashdot editors are construction masters of sentences.
  • by acarr0 ( 652849 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:43PM (#6746146)
    I'm still playing rouge and hack.
  • I don't think that it is surprising that beloved games like DOOM are the product of the vision of a small group of people.

    Games that really do engage us, do so at a very primal level. There is something about the game that has to click, and release your anandamides ... This syncronization of what you feel when you play the game and what the developer wanted you to feel is more pure, like it is in art, when this vicarious "anandamide" is personal ... so personal that it becomes universal ....

    Corporations with big departments will create a lot of good games, but I believe the purity of the intensely personal experience can come only when the vision is personal, and concentrated in a few people rather than diffused ...

  • by Ratphace ( 667701 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:53PM (#6746289)

    ...Rise of the Triad, which I found 10 times more entertaining and fun in a PVP type environment (they called it commbat mode or something close to that).

    Even more entertaining was the one expansion they made to ROTT where El Oscuro was not dead and you had to go at him again, only this time it was a LOT harder than the first time, which was no cake walk. :)

    Having things like ludicrous gibs and the funny things the characters would say when they got gibs was neat too. Not to mention, the first game that let you pick a character that you wanted to play, and each character had it's unique starting stats like hitpoints, accuracy, etc.

    All in all, my favorite FPS games rank like this:

    1.) ROTT
    2.) Blake Stone
    3.) Wolfenstein 3D
    4.) Doom/Heretic

    ROTT gave the very first totally friendly map maker, not to mention one that would randomly generate maps you could compete with. The CD was loaded with all kinds of goodies..

    Fun to look back and reflect on the time spent playing the true classics...
  • IDDQD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Malicious ( 567158 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:54PM (#6746312)

    I am the master of doom.

  • Let me suggest the IEEE graphics and animation conference proceedings, which were published back in 1985, if I remember correctly (or was it 1983?)

    It was in this book that there was published a chapter (an article, really) that dealt with a new mathematical device, the binary spatial partition.

    When I read that, I perked up. I was alert enough to realize that this was a major breakthrough, and if realtime animation would ever be possible, that this was how to do it. I even went so far to learn how to do
  • I remember having a neighborhood kid bring his box over to my place, hooking it up to mine with a laplink cable, and then dialing-up my buddy's PC in the next apartment so we could play 3-player Doom - we thought that was amazing. Internet? Internot.
  • ...you know, I miss the days of Softdisk.

    And the old 8-bit mags, COMPUTE! and it's computer-specific variaints, Antic for the Atari 8-bits...

    the concept of getting sent a monthly issue with plenty of odd little programs to type-in or if you were lucky enough to get it all on disk...that was pretty cool.

    I mean, not as cool as the web, which is one of many reasons that these things won't be coming back anytime soon, but still cool.

    Anyone remember the "Adventures of Alfredo" series? This tiny little stickf
  • I remember seeing Doom on my buddy's crappy Packard Bell PC and being really jealous that there was nothing like that for the Mac. Fortunately the good folks at Bungie [bungie.com] came out with Marathon [bungie.com] and I could take out all my frustrations by killing nasty Pfhor and saving witless BOBs.

  • Are there any plans to upgrade or re-issue? Can we still get the originals? Will they work on newer widows operating systems and Linux?
  • by skippy13 ( 174383 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:16PM (#6746566)
    Doom and the original Quake were, to me, phenomenally entertaining games. I was completely addicted to multiplayer Doom over the now defunt DWANGO network. At the time, I was sure that Quake's built-in TCP/IP multiplayer capability helped jump-start internet usage in many homes. I recall with fondness reading Blue's Quake Rag, and Redwood's, and the original incarnation of PlanetQuake.

    But I hold id software personally accountable for the current state of "release early, release often" game development. Their unending succession of Point Releases justified other game developers doing the same: releasing a buggy product and fixing it after the fact (oftentimes LONG after) with updates and patches.

    Certainly I recognize the need for continuous quality improvement, and I respect companies that provide support for their products. But it seems to me that ever since Quake (or, perhaps more fairly, Quake II) the initial release of most games have been plagued with faults, and we the consumers have been lulled into accepting this as somehow "okay" or "the norm"! After all, a Point Release is just around the corner...
  • by mraymer ( 516227 ) <mraymer&centurytel,net> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:27PM (#6746680) Homepage Journal
    Doom Legacy [sourceforge.net] - Probably the most popular source port...

    Doomsday Engine [sourceforge.net] - Windows only, but my personal favorite.

    It's amazing how a little OpenGL in the right places can make an old game look so much better.

    What's even more amazing is how well DOOM has aged. I can't think of any other game from its era that I can sit down and play for a while, and end up totally forgetting that I am playing a retro game.

    Trivia: DOOM got its name from the movie "The Color of Money" when Tom Cruise is about to open a pool stick case, and someone asks what is in there... his reply? "Doom."

    Oh, more trivia... DOOM was originally going to be a game based on the movie Aliens, but that idea was scrapped since the developers wanted total creative control over the project. Likely a very good choice, since we're still talking about DOOM today, and it's still on the charts over at download.com.

    Trivia source: mobygames [mobygames.com]

  • doom stories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erikdotla ( 609033 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:35PM (#6746782)
    I used to do DOOM I and II technical support. id outsourced it to a Colorado company called StarPak. For the first few days, I was doing the support practically alone, along with hundreds of other products with different companies. I'm proud to have recieved the first phone calls.

    id provided an excellent knowledge base, and we were able to solve 90% of the problems people called in with. I felt really good enabling thousands of people to play this game - back then, everybody wanted to play it due to it's explosion of popularity and controversy, and people knew little about computers, just like today, with the difference that they were dealing with DOS and Win31, which was even harder for them.

    I'll never forget the many times I heard kids scream "hooray!" in the background after I spent an hour on the phone with a very tired mother or father trying to make it work.

    I believe that I received the first phone call ever of someone reporting motion sickness as a result of playing a video game due to the realism of 3D movement, since DOOM was the first game that had "bobbing". id thankfully had the insight to provide a switch to turn that off.

    Another interesting call I recieved was from a guy who claimed to have produced (or maybe directed?) My Cousin Vinny, and said he wanted to make a movie out of DOOM. I put him in touch with id, and I'm glad nothing ever came from it. It would have made a crappy movie - the plot was a razor thin excuse to provide a setting for thousands of monsters to attack you relentlessly.

    I also simultaneously operated on the 900 Hint Line. People would call up and ask the location of a particular key on a particular map. If you recall, the location of secrets was different between single player and multiplayer. We were encouraged to play the game while we worked (research! bwhaha!) and we always played multiplayer of course.

    People thought it was amazing that me and my colleagues could rattle off the location of a secret on a map in single player mode while simultaneously playing multiplayer on a totally different map, all without checking the book.

    Ahh, good times.
  • by crt ( 44106 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @03:26PM (#6747422)
    Good book - you can read a whole chapter of it here [gamespy.com].. along with an interview with the author and a few other bits.
  • by KH2002 ( 547812 ) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @01:38AM (#6752038) Journal
    It's been called the world's first interactive first-person 3D adventure game. It was a 1st person shooter -- situated in an abandoned space station. Must have been around 1989. The graphics were pretty crude, but it was real-time 3d...

The absent ones are always at fault.