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Doom III
id Software's next-gen Doom remake | Posted by jonchappell on Aug 22nd 05 04:13 PM
Doom III was developed by id Software and published by Activision in 2004. The game is a reimagining of the original Doom with a next-generation engine.

id employed a professional science fiction writer to write the script for the game so the story is more complex than that of the original, but the core elements remain in place. The game follows a Marine sent to Mars to work for the United Aerospace Corporation (UAC). During this time, ancient ruins were discoverd in the Martian soil. Stone tablets revealed how an ancient Martian race had developed teleportation technology but had inadvertently opened up a portal into Hell. In order to close the portal, they had sacrificed themselves to create a weapon known as a SoulCube. This cube contained the souls of their race and was used by their bravest warrior to defeat the demons. This race fled from Mars to another planet (rumoured to be Earth).

The UAC used the SoulCube to create teleportation technology despite the warnings given by the ancient race. When they open the portal to Hell, the scientists decide to investigate further and even sent people through the portal to bring back live specimens. The lead scientist took the SoulCube through the portal and the demons invaded the base, confident that the only weapon that could kill them was safe in their hands.

Doom 3 is very atmospheric. The levels are very dark, and demons often lurk in the shadows. The game uses this in an attempt to scare the player, particularly as the player cannot use their torch and weapon at the same time.

Since Doom 3 is a remake of the original Doom, the game's main selling point is the engine and its capabilities. Unified lighting and shadowing generates lighting information in real time, as opposed to Quake 3's approach of static, pre-generated lighting information stored in the map file. This creates more dynamic and realistic lighting and shadows, albeit at a performance cost. This allows lights to cast shadows on non-static objects such as monsters, which was impossible before.

The engine also features GUI surfaces that cause the crosshair to automatically turn into a mouse cursor when hovered over it, rather than pressing a simple "use" key. This increases interactivity and the suspension of disbelief.

Doom 3 also features normal-mapping. This adds more detail to models without increasing the number of polygons used. When the game is being developed, the developers create both high-poly and low-poly models and then create a "normal map" from the two. This lists the differences between the models. In-game, the low-polygon model is loaded into memory and the normal map is used to add detail from the high-poly model, but only when the monster is close enough for the player to be able to see the detail. This decreases processing and memory requirements. Normal mapping has been used in Deus Ex: Invisible War, Far Cry, Halo 2 and will be used extensively in the upcoming Unreal 3 engine.

Other engine features are realistic physics, dynamic ambient sound and a multi-channel sound system developed in-house by id Software. id plans to license its technology to other developers. The Doom 3 engine is currently being used for Quake IV, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2 and Prey. The Doom trademark has also been licensed for a Hollywood movie.

Doom III had a mixed reception, despite being one of the best-selling games of 2004. Critics disliked the reliance on cliches and over-used horror techniques such as monsters sneaking up behind the player or the lights in the room suddenly going out. Repetitive gameplay, linear "copy and paste" level design,  the inability to use the flashlight and a weapon at the same time, poor monster AI, a reliance on scripted sequences, limited use of physics (unlike Half-Life 2) and a multiplayer deathmatch mode with only 4 people all received criticism.

Gamers argued that these were not shortcomings but were in fact deliberate features integral to the gameplay. They claim that, as it is a remake of Doom - a game lacking high-end concepts - adding more complex features would take away what made Doom popular in the first place. They also state that not being able to wield the flashlight and a weapon at the same time is a deliberate gameplay mechanic designed to increase tension and make the player consider tactics before he switches to his weapon.

There have been many mods for Doom 3. The Duct Tape mod allows players to use a weapon and the flashlight at the same time, but some people think that it detracts from the core gameplay and makes the game too easy. There are a lot of multiplayer mods because a lot of people think that the multiplayer aspect of the game is too basic. These range from mods to allow more than 4 players in a game to co-op mods.
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