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Doom (notch.net)
252 points by bpierre on Sept 12, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 177 comments

>Games weren’t as big serious business back then.

I'm not much of an gamer but I have an Xbox One and bought Destiny last night. The marketing was way too much, but I figured it should be a decent game. Well, it is, its something of a milquetoast Halo-clone shooter with some tacked on multiplayer/MMO stuff, but, my god, the game is drenched in Hollywood-esque overly-done orchestral music, big dramatic overtures, epic-style storytelling, etc. Its a lot of art and music that really doesn't need to be there. Setting the scene shouldn't be this big of a job, nor as serious. Its just a game- Let me play it.

I doubt AAA games will ever go back to not being movie-like, but it just seems like a huge waste of money and time (yet another 10 minute intro to sit through for example). A part of me would just rather dive into a simpler game that gets me to the gaming parts quickly instead of hitting me over the head telling me how awesome the game will be via cutscenes and dramatic scores.

Simplicity can be its own reward and can be just as emotionally fulfilling, as many low budget and simple-graphic indie games have shown. When Destiny is almost forgotten, we won't be reminiscing about its cutscenes or whatever currently popular actors they got to do the voice-overs. We'll be talking about our battles and accomplishments. Shame the focus on these games is more towards the aesthetic than the actual gameplay.

Notch as our collective gaming conscience is kinda nice. I think someone who has a high profile should be saying these things. A lot of lower profile indie guys certainly have, but they don't have the gaming cred to make the front page of HN, reddit, etc.

I think, if you're approaching modern AAA games as games, you're gonna have a bad time. They're not games; they're stories told in the second person (like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books) where the point of the gameplay isn't fun-as-its-own-reward, but deeper immersion/mimesis to make the story more rewarding. Almost no big-name player in the games industry is really making games per se any more--excepting the companies that just make the same sports/fighting/racing retreads over and over.

Here's another way to think about it: most games companies employ nobody with any training or experience in game design theory (they might give someone the title "game designer", but that doesn't suddenly confer them skills and knowledge they didn't have previously.) So where would you expect novel game mechanics--or even interest in "making games fun"--to come from?

The problem is that most of the time the medium is great (i.e. the graphics, voice acting, cutscenes), but the story/content is terrible. Repetitive quests, extremely stereotypical/cliché characters, underwhelming plot twists -- name it, it's all there.. I'd much rather have sub-par graphics and great storytelling than the other way around. Too much effort and money is being spent on the envelope. And I'm not even getting into novel game mechanics.

This is also what happens a lot of the time, interestingly, when a Hollywood director makes a movie "from scratch" without it originally coming from a screenwriter.

Maybe we could learn from that. What if the games industry followed the more standard Hollywood pipeline of "screenwriter writes a screenplay, shops it out for publication; some production company buys it and starts making it"? Imagine if we had indie game designers making their living writing game design documents and shopping them around to AAA companies--there would actually be a coherent game that the AAA edifice was hung upon! It might even be playtested and prototyped so as to guarantee it's fun before the AAA company even buys it!

Effectively, in games industry terms, you'd have the indie game makers creating the initial "game", but never publishing it--and then the AAA company creating a souped-up clone of that game, which is the first version of it anyone will ever see.

I think having to fit inside a game limits the storytelling, because you always need to find a reason why you have to go and battle several hundred enemies.

"To the moon" is a great example of the game you are looking for -- old school pixel art graphics, but it has a beautiful touching story. And the music... just listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QfPDmzpC2Q

The first part of this post is a really good one that I agree with strongly - the goal of modern games is experiential and immersive. Which is cool, and I dig, but you're right in that there are alternatives being left unexplored by AAA companies.

I do know people with the title of "game designer" at most of the big names, though, so that bit of your post falls flat for me.

Not really. Most AAA games need to be fun and have a intriguing world to interact with. Those choose your own adventure games don't sell at all never have.

I don't know what games you're thinking of. I'm referring to things like Last of Us or the story-mode in Call of Duty. Extremely immersive theme-park rides, but not games.

There's not big challenge here - just don't buy AAA games.

It seems to me that a lot of people think the old Microprose's and Id's were the AAA of their day and the nature of AAA games has mutated from something simple, fun, and authentic into the horrible monstrosity of today's overblown games.

I rather think that today's AAA games are a new phenomenon that overshadows but doesn't replace the kinds of games & game studios that most of us grew up loving. Those simpler, less overproduced games never went away.

Id started out as a shareware outfit which was the indie of it's day, instead of marketing games through app stores they distributed demos on floppy disk through intermediaries who advertised in the back of computing magazines and encouraged people to share demo versions by copying the disks with their friends. They used the shareware model for every game they released up until Doom 2. The original doom had a full 1/3 of the game available for free. I don't think early id games like Commander keen were even available in retail stores until much later.

Even in the 90s there were quite a few attempts to create movie like games, where live movie footage was mixed into gameplay. Night Trap and Rebel Assault are early examples of this. The problem they had was that there was too jarring a difference in realism between game sprites and movie footage.

> Even in the 90s there were quite a few attempts to create movie like games

Not just that - fancy animated cut scenes for intros and finales like in Dune 2 (1992) for PC. For a game that was maybe 10 MB on disk, those short animations were about 10 - 20% of the total installed size.

In any case, a team of ten people over the course of a year is typical for the time. The whole CONCEPT of a megabudget game with a hundred people solely dedicated to art and design for several years is something I've first associated with Final Fantasy VII.

The term "AAA" for me has implications of "Three million copies sold and we didn't even make back our IT budget".

You can sort of get the idea of what the mainstream games were back in the day by looking at what games were advertized in gaming magazines.

Take for example the issue of computer & video games from january 1991, right after the release of commander keen. https://archive.org/stream/Computer_Video_Games_Issue_098_19...

What were the ads? The untouchables, michael jackson's moonwalker, ghouls 'n ghosts, what's the score? (Microprose soccer game), f29 retaliator, ...

The games we remember most fondly aren't the mainstream games of their time, they're the ones that we kept playing long enough in order not to forget about them.

To be fair, most of the magazine is still dedicated to action games in ancient platforms, which have aged poorly. C64 and Spectrum were still the top bill, with some space dedicated to Amiga and Atari ST, both of which were rather short lived. The PC giant that was about to wake up was nowhere to be seen.

We also have to remember that Shareware games only really got real traction with Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, which would not come out for years. Keen was always more of a cult classic than anything else.

And despite this, I see an ad for one Sid Meier's Pirates, which is a classic. An Amiga review for Cinemaware's It Came From The Desert, another big classic, getting a 95%. An entire page of clues on Indiana Jones 3, a tremendous adventure game. An ad for an old Dragonlance RPG/Action hybrid, which was pretty fun. A once page ad for one Sim City, which is about as important a game as it gets.

The top sellers for C64 and Spectrum are dismal, but on the Amiga/ST charts, I can't blame people for liking the Strider port, but we see one Space Quest 3 in there, and more Indy, Bloodwych, and the pretty good for it's time TV Sports Football, another Cinemaware classic.

Action games sold very well, and yet, like all action games, they are quickly surpassed by some of the same with some gameplay tweaks and better graphics. It's just an issue of genre longevity.

So based on my reading of the magazine, the games we remember from the era, barring a few exceptions, just happened to be the most popular games of the era outside of the action genre. They are all over the magazine.

So yeah, the great games were still there, and well reviewed.

I have the same problem. Somewhere around Team Fortress 2, I just stopped liking modern games for much the same reason. I don't have time to really dedicate to games anymore. I just want to fire it up and get playing.

I've found huge amounts of joy at reasonable prices with Indie Games, retro games and emulation.

I've absolutely fallen in love again with the Dreadnaught Factor for the Atari 5200, it manage to convey a sense of mood and has amazing gameplay, all in just a couple kilobytes.

Granada and Ranger X on the Genesis/MegaDrive are also games I've just discovered.

Ranger X is a AAA title from 1993, and feels innovative and fresh and never gets bogged down in useless cinematics. You fight in the set pieces instead of just watching them. The first part of the game has you tearing along the desert on your robot bike right outside the ruins of an old fortress as you fight enemies while outgoing artillery fire shoots off into the distance over your head.

Granada is an old-school style top down tank shooter with great music that's perfect for a 10 minute game session.

There's hundreds of thousands of old games you can cheaply mine through, and they're well emulated. I play Granada and Ranger X on a portable emulation device for example. My 2006 netbook is more than capable of emulating just about anything up to the SNES era...add in XBOX controllers and hook it up to the VGA input on my TV and it's basically like I'm console gaming again. Except it's better with save states and filters.

There's also tons of great indie games with smart sensibilities and great gameplay. The Humble Bundles come fast and frequent and usually have great games. You can usually score a half dozen games each time for under $7.

My favorite game right now and over the last couple of months is King Arthur's Gold. There's really no other game that draws me in like it. It doesn't have AAA graphics, it has great pixel graphics, good gameplay and is a lot of fun. That's all it takes for a great game.


Very good - the KAG trailer[1] reminds me a lot of the graphics and gameplay of the video game episode of Community[2].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Eom7IGLRw

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEr8sO6auIA

They mentioned Lost Vikings in the description. Now I have to buy it.

What sold me about this game is that it was made by the creators of Soldat. I have so many good memories playing that game.

Interesting. It reminds me a lot of Terraria, which is also an excellent indie game. Lots of game play for the money.

Amazing .. Reminds me of one of my favorite snes games - King Arthur's world http://youtu.be/nCkymVAsoAg .. The catapults and kegs were fantastic fun. Like an olde timey weaponized lemmings.

yes! I have been playing a lot of king arthurs gold as well but the community is very small. There are usually only at most 2 servers with a decent number of players.

That looks like a lot of fun, thanks for posting!

Can't it be both? Why does the reverence of indie and/or simple gaming have to come with the denunciation of grand, orchestral-scored games with long storyline cutscenes? Each has their place, each has their intended target.

I love small, single-person-made games; and I love grand $100million dollar games. They each have their ambitions, and both of them are worthy of attention.

This is my problem with many modern games as well, they think they are movies, but the story, characters, actors, music don't quite pull it off. I love the portal/half-life games because they manage to feel movie-like without ever taking you out of the game. You can tell a good story without making a movie.

One of the best resources for indie games with intriguing plots/stories and/or novel mechanics that I've found is Kill Screen[0]. They regularly feature and write about non-traditional or non-mainstream games that push the edges of design, creativity, and emotion in gameplay.

0 http://killscreendaily.com/

> I doubt AAA games will ever go back to not being movie-like, but it just seems like a huge waste of money and time (yet another 10 minute intro to sit through for example).

I'm not sure, I remember a couple years ago going to a GDC session where a pretty high up executive at, I believe, EA was more or less predicting doom. (This was his own opinion not his employers). Anyway his point was that AAA games are inconvenient for players (short play sessions on low end computers are impossible), and extremely expensive to make (A lot of them are north of $60 million now), and that while expenses are growing exponentially profits are not. So I wouldn't be shocked if AAA games just become so expensive that they're not worth making at that price point anymore, and the giant epic AAA thing becomes more of a niche.

I can't be the only one who enjoys indie and AAA games. I'd love for both to continue existing.

You are not alone :)

As gaming is getting more money'd we're still discovering the sweet spot for what to do with it.

There are games that take "cinematic" set pieces to great effect, and create a condensed experience that can leave you emotionally drained at the end.

There is the "cutscene every 5 minutes" issue that comes up, but it seems to be an issue mainly in the beginning of games. I feel like the games industry could really use some A/B testing on intros.

Shadow of the Collosus is a game that is only about set pieces yet I will probably never forget it. The gameplay itself was somewhat terrible (some would praise it but you're basically just a cameraman, there's no real decision making in the game).

Remember when games just dropped you in a level ? I can't help but feeling bad at games chasing ceremony-wrapped photorealism.

I find it a little disturbing how many people are commenting saying that Notch shouldn't be wasting his time on such pursuits or that he should really be focusing on something new and big.

You don't become great by doing big things, you become great by doing little things and fooling around and starting projects and then abandoning them when you've gotten everything out of them you want to get. Then, when the big things find you, you will be ready.

I would expect a site called Hacker News to understand this. That most of those comments are at the bottom of the page indicates that many do.

I don't think it works like that exactly. While I don't believe a phenomenon like Minecraft can be predictably and consistently churned out, I also don't believe it's a given that it'll happen as long as you're not trying to make it big and stay humble or what ever.

And actually, Minecraft was ambitious, just not in the ways the game industry would think of as ambitious. The infinite open world, the surprisingly challenging combat, the varying ways to play the game.

Still, putting it on Notch to duplicate the success of Minecraft is ignorant of the reality that phenomenons don't happen very often. And I don't believe he even knows what made it a phenomenon. I don't think any people involved in the creation of such things understands what made them big.

Actually, I completely agree with you. I'm just saying that you can't figure out a priori what's going to be awesome and what's going to be lame. The best way to be "consistent" is to be consistently doing a lot of stuff and then prune the lame. The next Minecraft won't spring fully-formed from Notch's brain, it will be the result of some tomfoolery he's involved in that hits him in the right way and becomes amazing because it's still something he wants to work on day after day until it has evolved into a great game.

Thus, criticizing Notch for "messing around" and having "no focus" is actively interfering with the creation of the next Minecraft!

> While I don't believe a phenomenon like Minecraft can be predictably and consistently churned out.

And woe to those who've bilked others into thinking that from-the-ground-up hits are just an aspect of following a recipe.

Sure, The Planning Spreadsheet wants a new hit every year but it completely ignores the slow iterative process that it took to pull that rabbit out of the hat.

This is why most of us need significant recurring revenue - to have a time to work on things like this :)

You probably mean passive revenue. I have recurring revenue, but I have to go to an office programming stuff for other people every day to earn it..

As passive as possible, but I'm usually careful when using word "passive" for significant recurring revenues.

Am I the only one that is rubbed the wrong way by this "recurring revenue" phrase? It seems like a fancy way saying, "I wish I was rich." Why not just say that?

Yeah, I'm not rubbed the wrong way either. Was a frugal programmer all my life and now am an early retired landlord programming what I want to.

Delayed gratification, a like-thinking spouse, and compound interest is the answer.

> Was a frugal programmer all my life and now am an early retired landlord programming what I want to.

I often think about following this path. Do you have any regrets? Do you get enough time to program?

No regrets about postponing indulgences. What seemed so desirable as a youth has lost its appeal with age.

I program about the same amount of time now as when I was last paid a salary back in 2006, i.e. about 40 hours a week.

I think they are two different things. To me "rich" means I just got a windfall from my startup lottery ticket

Recurring revenue sounds more moderate, $X,000 a month is a more realistic goal than $X,000,000,000 company buyout

But at the end of the day, they both mean you get to work on fun stuff more often :)

The difference is that if you sold your company for $x million you can just put your money in a lowish risk investment and do literally whatever you want for the rest of your life with very little stress provided you don't go crazy with the yachts and strippers.

If you have recurring revenue of $x thousand per month from a product or service where revenue doesn't scale with hours worked you still have stress because if your customers leave (for example a competitor launches something better or cheaper) your revenue drops. So you still must spend at least some of your time working on that.

That's not the same though. If I'm rich now I have 1M disposable income. If I have recurring revenue, I may not have any disposable income at all, but I don't necessarily have to worry about doing paid work to pay all the bills for the next X months and can concentrate on something else / with longterm gain expectations.

They are convertible and therefore more or less equivalent. You can turn your $1 million into a long-term recurring payment by putting it in an interest-bearing account, and you can turn your recurring revenue into $1 million by taking out a loan.

I wouldn't say equivalent. It's easily convertible one way, but not the other. If you have 1M you don't have to spend it in one go and can provide yourself stable life for a long time. But nobody will give you 1M loan for unspecified purpose given you don't actually have any money left after living expenses to pay it back. If you have a company, business plan, etc. yes, you can get funding/loan. But then you get it for a specific reason, not to play around with ideas of games you may or may not feel like ever finishing.

Is that the case when you have guaranteed recurring revenue for a long time? The only reason they care about having money left for living expenses is that they're afraid you'll die or declare bankruptcy. For example, it's fairly easy to exchange an annuity for a lump sum. But then the question is, what is "recurring revenue"? If it's not guaranteed then it won't work.

You can have a recurring revenue that gives you enough to live on without being rich.

Is this people applying to their personal lives? Some sort of side-project that generates "recurring revenue" so they can stop working? I can see how that would be annoying if it's indeed a trend.

On the other hand, our business is based on a quarterly subscription model so recurring revenue is a very important metric.

No, those are two different things. And being the "author" of that recurring revenue I believe feels much better than e.g. just having a rich grandfather (but the later case is still better than nothing, probably ;) )

Oh yes, that is my ultimate dream!

That was well-said. I felt a little envious reading his update ("must be nice!"). :)

To be fair, Markus Persson has always been fiddling around with these kinds of fun stuff as long as I can remember. Surely, his current financial situation is beneficial for playing around with his stuff - but he has a passion I've seen few have.

God I miss Doom. To me, the pinnacle of FPS games.

Pick an episode, pick a difficulty, and literally 3 seconds later you've blasted somebody in the face. And the music. Phenomenal. Why is everything orchestral now?

It was a game. Not a semi-interactive movie. You could play it for 30 minutes or 3 hours, didn't matter. Dozens of enemies on screen, shooting you, insane fun.

What did we arrive at? Overly-dramatic, Michael-Bay-inspired "Saving private Ryan"-wannabe's with "realism" and "grit" and a 50 minute intro, with 5-minute levels, separated by 5-minute cut-scenes....ugh.

I would, immediately, pay $60 for a game like Doom, with retouched graphics, Fast-paced, fast-moving, maze-like levels you have to actually explore, with secrets (yes, I know it's not realistic) and just dozens of baddies you can blast to smithereens. And when you die, get this - you respawn in 3 seconds or less. No dying animation, no "Loading..." screen.

$60, right now.

You should probably check out the Serious Sam games. No real plot, just run and gun.


+1 Excellent recommendation; I picked up a few Serious Sam games back in the day and they are totally new 'Dooms'.

IIRC the "plot" involves time travel, aliens, and how fast you can shoot them. Loads of fun, pretty difficult, decent 3d graphics, none of that other bullshit.

Painkiller is based along similar lines but retains Doom's darker demonic palette whereas Serious Sam is very light-hearted and colorful. A number of people have mentioned that it is essentially what Doom 3 would have been if ID hadn't changed the series' genre to horror rather than staying an action shooter.

Painkiller trailer, for anyone else interested:


I have the exact same feeling about Quake 2. I have a feeling many people feel this way about many different id games. I really felt part of the when playing Q2 in a dark room when I younger. The music and the general dark art direction sucked me in.

DOOM was really easy to understand: "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

I've recently installed the Doomsday Engine (http://dengine.net/) on my Mac and have been replaying through Doom and Doom 2. I also invited a friend over so we can play some COOP and deathmatch games.

Still one of the most fun games ever.

Hear, hear! I replayed the old Dooms (< 3) a few years ago using Doomsday and was surprised at how fun they still were. I was afraid they'd be outdated and boring, but they really seem to tick off all the right boxes in terms of fun gameplay.

I still think Quake 1 is a lot of fun, too.

It would be cool if more hobbyist game developers started making retro FPS games in the style of Doom or Wolfenstein. It's only marginally more effort than making pixel art platformers, which is a wildly popular aesthetic these days, and I feel that the retro 3D aesthetic has a lot of untapped potential. The Vlambeer game Gun Godz is a good recent example, it's pretty much Wolf3D with a nice art style.

Also, these kind of games make it feasible to write a random level generator that actually makes okay levels (there are such generators for Doom), and allow users to create their own levels with custom art styles in a day or so.

I recently made a Wolfenstein like 3D shooter with HTML5/WebGL, called Xibalba[1]. It's based on a 3D Plugin[2] for the 2D Game Engine Impact[3] that I released as open source. With this, it should be really simple to make a similar game.

Also, in case you're interested, I created a making-of video for Xibalba[4] that explains the tech and level editor a bit.

[1] http://phoboslab.org/xibalba/

[2] http://phoboslab.org/twopointfive/

[3] http://impactjs.com/

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEP7zJ9cQfw

Wow, great games! Just clicked to check it out and found myself playing for 30 minutes. Great sound and game design, very immersive experience.

It's unplayable on my system (Firefox 32 on Ubuntu on an i3 laptop). Runs at like 5fps.

These are really cool! Great job, thanks for sharing.

Xibalba is just amazing, and you owe me 1 hour.


Could you elaborate on how it is only "marginally" more effort to make faux 3D pixel games vs. 2D pixel art games? Seems like it would be quite a bit more complicated to me...

A Wolfenstein engine is pretty simple to replicate, it's basically a 2D top down game projected into the 3rd dimension.

Here's how it works.


A doom engine is a little more involved and requires BSP trees, more clipping/culling and something closer to actual 3d (floors and ceilings with variable heights, geometry that doesn't fit onto a grid).

Both of the games used 2d sprites for enemies rather than 3d models, so you could draw all of the graphics with paint rather than a modelling tool which would probably be a significant time saver.

The BSP* algorithm used in Doom was research paper material in 1991, and Carmack was among the first to apply it to low performance PC games.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_space_partitioning

I keep thinking about the Malcolm Gladwell "Ten thousand hours to expertise" idea, and for Carmack to be looking at this sort of stuff at the age of 22, he basically had to eat sleep and shit computer graphics for years and years on end before he could be in a position to apply this to a computer game.

I read something from the System Shock developers about them finding out about BSP after Doom was released. They'd spent the whole time culling levels to try and fit into memory, never considered recursively chopping it up.

That sounds pretty complicated to me :D But, I am admittedly a layman in this area.

It probably makes more sense if you follow along with the article and convert the code examples into your favourite language. The good thing is that you don't even need to use Direct3D/opengl, you could do it with only a <canvas> element in javascript for example or anything else that lets you assign colours to pixels. You could even make an ascii art version if you were so inclined.

Or you can use unity.

You could, but the renderer in unity is optimized to deal with environments far more complex than were possible in wolfenstein or even doom and thus uses very different techniques to put geometry onto the screen.

A psuedo 3d wolfenstein clone written with a reasonably optimized raycaster would probably outperform a unity version quite significantly. I don't know how well suited unity is for having 3d game entities represented by flat textures instead of 3d models for example.

I'm just starting delving into SDL2 tutorials. If I ever get competent at it, this sounds like a fairly good idea for a project.

1) Quantity and quality of assets - I don't see much difference here, do you?

2) Game logic - a game like Wolfenstein has basically planar gameplay, you can't jump or aim up and down. You could play the same game in top-down view on a grid of squares.

3) Rendering - it should take you at most a day to write a Wolfenstein like renderer. Might be scary if you've never done 3D before, but it's a great starter project.

Doom has vertical aiming, but it's automatic. There are doom engine based games which relax this limitation and let you actually look up and down, fly, even jump. It doesn't actually make things much more complicated. See heretic & hexen.

I haven't looked into Doom's code very much, but based on playing the game it seems that hit detection is done in 2d. If you are shooting a target above you there is no visual indication that you are aiming higher. You can shoot at a wall and still hit an enemy above you who you cannot currently see.

You may be right, I can't recall whether the hit detection cares about height, but Doom does at least some slope calculation to display the bullet-hits-wall animation at the correct height. If you look at rockets and plasma, these projectiles will also move in a slope. So if you're rocketing someone high on a ledge, it won't show you a rocket hitting the wall at eye level... even though such a rocket (if you fired it while not lined up with the target) could possibly damage the target. That may have changed with some later versions. At least some source ports change it.

In any case, heretic and hexen actually let you look up and down. Crispy Doom (among others) have backported this feature and hook it with mouse aim.

Try shotgunning someone high up and far far away. Either there's a distance limit to auto aim, or it's just really damn picky about how perfectly you're lined up. Most of your shots will hit the wall below him.. it can be frustrating.

I think it's just that there are less pixels to hit when the target is further away. I'm not sure if the height difference is taken into account when calculating damage on hitscan weapons, below a certain damage output (damage output is in part random) it might not register a hit.

It's actually a pretty tricky issue with the last stage of Doom 2, where the modern ports with true vertical aiming make it impossible to hit the (hidden) impaled head of John Romero.

A cool retro 3D racing game: http://driftstage.tumblr.com/

Doom's art would actually be very labor intensive, because you have to animate each sprite from every angle.

They actually made 3D models of the enemies by hand, and took pictures of them from each angle


Just to be clear to people not following the link: physical 3D models. But today you could also make electronic 3D models (in, say, Blender) and shoot them from various angles to get sprite images. Later 3D-looking sprite-based games did this.

I assume they rotoscoped over those photos because the images are definitely look hand-edited. Blizzard went similar for Starcraft and Diablo - start with 3D model renderings and then hand-paint over them to get the art pixel-perfect.

They were definitely hand-edited and de-babelized. Would be interesting to have high-res images and edits for the later versions of Doom ports for today's screens, considering Doom ran on a 320x200x256 display.

High-rez Doom sprites were actually made for one of the later ports of the game - N64, I think.

Doom 64 ran at 320x240. :D The sprites are higher res so it looks better when scaled up close, but in the end no different than plain old DOS doom.

Doom only used sprites from a limited number of angles.

Here's the entire cacodemon spritesheet http://doomfansite.synthasite.com/resources/Cacodemonsheet.g...

Yes, it's a set of facing angles, and then mirror'd for the other side. I played with Doom modding tools back in my youth, I've seen the sprite-sheets. The Cacodemon isn't a good example, though, since it doesn't have a walk cycle.

Every monster that can walk needs to have a fully animated walk for going towards the player and away from the player and every angle in between. Ditto firing anims. That's a lot of walk cycles. They cheat with the death anims since the monster always faces the player to die. Still, lots of walk and firing anims.

The approach also fails for PVP models because players can fire and move at the same time, which creates the "skating" effect from Doom/Quake1/Quake2.

It's a lot of work, but there is nothing complicated about getting it done. You tell the art guys the specs and they spend a few days getting all the images and then move on to the next monster.

There's a lot of complication about getting it done. You're just offloaading all the complexity to the art people.

- signed, an art person.

Why yes, yes I did. But for Doom there were about 10-15 kinds of sprites (monsters, lamps, trash cans). I didn't say it was easy, I said it was straight forward. The code took a lot of time back then, and I'm sure the art guy(s) were busy the whole time.

Indie titles means clever/complicated is better than labour-intensive, because labour-intensive costs money but cleverness just needs one brilliant programmer/artist.

There are a decent amount of developers making games in the Goldeneye-era style. Though most are more creative takes on the genre than clones of retro games (ex: Superhot, Screencheat).

Is Gun Godz available for purchase? Their site seems outdated.

This is the link I bookmarked for later so not 100% sure it works:


I definitely thought this post would be about the Microsoft deal...

You mean it isn't?

I think it is... "I have driving lessons to take" might be his subtle way of saying "I'm moving to the US, where people have to drive everywhere".

It could be, or it might simply mean that he now has time to catch up with things on his to-do list. :)

This is inspirational. The guy is just openly doing his thing, experimenting with software and making the process and results very public. Sometimes he ends up creating something cool, sometimes not and I think he just enjoys the process without too much pressure to "succeed".

He must have nerves of steel to live stream programming. That terrifies me.

I record myself every once in a while. Makes for very depressing video.

Well a net worth of around $300 million gives you that luxury ;)

And if the Microsoft rumours are true Notch could be well on his way to being a billionaire

With millions of dollars under your belt, there's a hell of a safety net.

If you want to learn more about the genesis of Doom/id software, Masters of Doom is a fantastic read (also an amazing audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton).


Interesting that he live streams his development. Do you think that people would be interested in regular / open source development of code being streamed? If so, how about a Twitch / Hitbox site where there are categories of language / framework / vertical?

I'm sure there are many ways to make live stream in code interesting. But, do keep in mind that Notch's public development is unusually well suited. He is a very much a celebrity in the gaming&dev audiences. Therefore, he draws a large audience. He streams game dev. Therefore he has easy to understand, visual results. He only streams dev in domains where he is already very familiar. Therefore he is always making rapid progress. He only streams coding in environments that have very rapid iteration. Therefore, he can show new results multiple times per minute.

I would be interested in seeing the workflow of other python programmers. So less about watching them program in python, and more a demo of what a certain set of tools linked in a certain manner looks like, when shown by someone with experience. (IE, it's not the same when I try stuff out because I don't have the familiarity.)

Algoraves[1] are becoming quite popular although I don't know if it's the music or the live coding which is attracting people more.

[1] http://algorave.com/

I've been really wanting to do something like this, but every site I've looked at pisses me off. Any good alternatives?

"Coding With Angersock" could be a thing.

Why do the sites piss you off?

They aren't focused at developers.

I've got to sign up and maybe pay to 'cast.

There's no simple "This is how you get started...push buttan receive broadcast link."


I'm super super lazy.

The author of CityBound does this heavily


>Do you think that people would be interested in regular / open source development of code being streamed?


Notch should take some of that $2B he gets from Microsoft, buy all of the doom IP from id/Zenimax and make the next sequel.

Context: "'Minecraft' Creator Markus Persson Notches Billionaire Status On Rumored Microsoft Deal"


>> My current project is a Doom level renderer in Dart/WebGL, implemented with trying not to look at the original source code. Instead, I use an old document from 20 years ago called The Unofficial Doom Specs.

That brings back memories of playing around with WAD files, pulling out graphics and palettes, reading level data and drawing it with LineTo() and MoveTo() calls, and running into all the limits of a 16-bit C compiler (Turbo C)...

For my high school's CS class final project, we made a street brawler using doom characters. All the doom art was captured via opening a game and using print screen, then hoping the sprite was in the right position.

In retrospect, our sprites had their own lofi charm but yea, I never thought to just open up the WAD files.

I'm pretty sure this post is not about Doom at all - it's about Minecraft, and confirmation regarding the recent rumors about Microsoft buying Mojang. He's probably not allowed to talk about the deal, but he's using this post as an allegory to tell Minecraft fans why he's bailing on Minecraft.

What I found interesting was a quote from his previous post: http://notch.net/2014/06/literally-worse-than-ea/

Mojang does not exist to make as much money as possible for the owners. As the majority shareholder, I’d know. Every time a big money making deal comes up that would make a lot of money, it’s of course very tempting, but at the end of the day we choose to do what either makes the most sense for our products, or the things that seem like fun for us at Mojang.

This seems to be in conflict with the whole "selling Mojang to M$ for two gigabucks" thing.

We all have unfinished pet projects started because we wanted to experiment with something, it's the side-effect of an active mind :)

I enjoyed his livecoding streams for Ludum Dare and on hitbox, so I'm sure it's still be fun whatever other project he wants to tackle on next.

Is it playable yet, or is it still a work in progress?


PS: less importantly, gonna sell Mojang."

Fascinating. Notch is going retro in his own unique way!

Does anyone have a link to his channel on hitbox.tv?


From his channel there is a link to the project repository: https://github.com/xnotch/dark/

Does anyone else get just a blank page on the hitbox.tv link?

It loads for me, but the video is blank. (He's not livestreaming right this instant, and he doesn't usually have hitbox record his streams)

What does he normally use to record? And when typically? I've just been getting into Dart and have a long lived Doom obsession since the first shareware I received.

Sign up for an email notice. They will email you when Notch goes live.

Where is this email notice? I can't find it.

I think it's the "Follow" button. You probably need to be logged in.

Anyone have success running that? All I get is a black page.

Ahhh now MS's $2B buyout makes more sense!

Great about page

Is there a playable link somewhere?

Driving lessons?

Some countries do indeed have cities where things are in walking distance, or a working public transport network. In those cases you can get by without a driver's license just fine. (In the city where I studied getting anywhere with bike and/or public transport was often faster than by car.)

This is me. I live near the centre of an English town that, due to local geography, isn't far from some quite rural areas and is well-connected via rail links to two decent cities (20-30 mins). I can drive, but I've simply not needed a car. Other than the odd inconvenience (trips to IKEA or day trips off the rail network) I love it.

EDIT: Google's recent inclusion of bus services in the public transport routing information for Maps has made it even better. Cheers for that, Google!

In Europe there are few places where knowing how to drive is necessary unless you need it for work or have specific hobbies / needs. Most people still learn to drive quite young, but many don't. I'm 39 and have still not bothered getting a drivers license because I've never felt a need for a car.

I'm a Scandinavian in my mid 30s and haven't bothered getting a driver's license either. I could certainly afford a car, but it's just too much hassle.

Rumors are swirling about Notch's upcoming formula one game. It's apparently tailored to nerds who will now be able to go head-to-head with DHH on the track of their choosing.

It's where you get in lessons in driving.

Now that he's rich ($101m in 2012!) he said he was probably going to buy a car.


> I still like playing games and programming, and once I had the latest computer and consoles, there really isn't much more to spend the money on than traveling. I might eventually get a driver's license so I can buy a car.

I feel like there is a joke about Carl Gustaf learning to read in 1998 in there somewhere.

So he is going to let Microsoft make the announcement I assume. When are they going to do that?

This is a head's up that he's going to bail on the project like he always does. When he quit 0x10c it was because he wanted to work on smaller projects. I guess this WebGL project is not small enough though.

It seems like Notch just likes doing the fun initial work on games but gets bored once he's worked out all of the hard problems. I can hardly blame him for that, most of us are guilty to some degree, but he shouldn't market his projects so strongly if he is just going to ditch them.

Is a rather brief blog post really strong marketing? Other than this and his stream, I've not seen anything but other people ascribing their own defined importance to what he does with his time.

I think OP is referencing 0x10c, not this Doom game.

> Other than this and his stream

His stream is a big deal watched by a heck of a lot of people. If he just wants to experiment he should turn the cameras off like most of us do.

Why exactly SHOULD he turn of the cameras if he is just experimenting? You're just inventing these weird rules for people. Have you considered people enjoy watching his coding without any idea what the end result will be?

Because by living in the public and being a well known person you are inviting expectations. If you don't want to continually let people down because you don't like the pressure of finishing things then don't let them down. You can't have your cake and eat it to. You can't say "here's this cool thing I'm working on, watch me work 24/7" and "bored with this, sorry".

What... what weird obsession is this? You continue inventing requirements for this particular person out of thin air. Try to understand that there is absolutely no reasonable requirement, whatsoever, for Notch to continue doing some pet-project that he has publicly started. None! Just because he is a well known person does not truly remove any of his normal rights to decide what to do with his spare time.

These are not requirements. These are criticisms for continually treating his fans poorly.

Why shouldn't he stream? notch is a famous and well-known developer that many people look up to and want to learn from. What is the problem with letting people see his workflow when experimenting with something new?

Who cares? This is just a side project, it's not like there aren't a ton of other doom engine implementations based on the GPL code.

He did make the source available, with this one. Anyone can pick it up!

Just what the world needed, another way to play Doom. How many more chances are we going to give to Notch before we admit Minecraft was a lucky accident?

You're not giving him any chances. That's not in your power. He's doing things that you can choose to pay attention to or not. If not, he'll keep doing those things.

Why do you feel we as a community or any group of people have to give Notch some "chances" or determine whether Minecraft was a lucky accident or not? I'm sure most people, including Notch, understand that Minecraft success (as all games) have a certain element of luck..

It's the programmer who cried wolf, in my opinion. If any non-famous person did this, it might get a few points and comments, but because it's Notch, it gets 119 points and 61 comments (as of right now). At what point does he use up all of his goodwill and turn into John Romero?

I don't see Notch running around calling anyone his bitch. He's just happy coding, doing what he's doing and not trying to prove anything.

Very zen.

I'll tell you a secret - the world didn't need Doom or Minecraft either, and success is always some part lucky accident.

Wrong on so many levels.

Seems like Notch could do with a degree of focus - if not through strong discipline from within, than from external influences.

I think the ability to work on what you feel like and creative exploration is fine, but when there's a considerable gap between your last qualified success (or a lengthy period since you last actually completed something you were interested in), it should be a warning sign that you need to knuckle down a little.

That is one of the stupidest diatribes I have ever read in HN.

Success is a thing in of itself, it doesn't require repetition for validation. If notch is in a place where he never needs to meet your criteria of success ever again I'm sure he would be quite happy.

One second thoughts, having been on the sidelines of gaming communities for a number of years, I imagine that not having to feel like you need a success ever again is probably the best possible outcome as an indie game dev.

I think 0x10c was just as badass of an idea as Minecraft, even if it didn't get fully realized (yet). I mean really it was realized though - an 80s computer running inside a spaceship. That was an incredibly popular idea.

Also some of the Ludum Dare stuff he makes is pretty amazing. And he is giving a huge boost to WebGL now.

Looks to me like he has continued to code awesome stuff. Just because something doesn't suddenly earn millions of dollars doesn't mean it isn't a success.

I think given Mojang is making hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and they're reportedly in talks to sell the company to Microsoft for $2billion, he can probably be forgiven for not 'knuckling down' and just following his whims.

Edit: spelling.

Nothing screams "warning sign" quite like 2 billion dollars :-)

Are you serious? Have you considered that maybe he's not interested in making another "hit" game, and just enjoys making games?

Life isn't all about money (which he already has a lot of) and pumping out products.

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