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Old 07 February 2003, 12:48   #1
Tim Janssen
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Arrow Will 3D ever become retro?

This is a thread I started at Games TM forum at Totalgames.net a couple of days ago. It is another 'Why 3D games s**k'-kind-of-thread but it didn't really took off over there. Here is another try:

Will 3D ever become retro? With Doom celebrating its tenth birthday this year, I have seen very few sites or magazines looking back in nostalgia at the 3D-games that have emerged since. In my opinion 3D is not retro. I have a couple of reasons for this:
- First, the 3D-genre is still evolving after all those years with games like Unreal 2 and Doom 3. The goal of developers to create am ultra-realistic looking environment means the 3D evolution can last forever -the 3D-chapter, unlike 2D, is not closed.

- Sharing a common experience: This needs a bit of explanation and is not necessarily 3D-related. Back in the eighties and early nineties the gamersbase was small and almost formed a community. Everyone knew which game was good and which one was crap. If a game was impressive, you could bet your money that everyone would get to play the game (mainly thanks to illegal copies or cracks). Mention 'Rick Dangerous' and fond memories come up by most 20+ gamers.
Nowadays the gamersbase is huge and anonymous. It will be more difficult to come up with a recent game that will be remembered fondly by many people in ten years time.
Having read the Retro-section of Games TM Issue 2, it was more than a deja-vu I experienced. Some articles have appeared in other magazines many, many years before. First, the interview with the Darling brothers/Codemasters: Zzap! had a similar article in 1991 where they looked at the history of Codemasters and their flagship series, Dizzy. The Stuntcar Racer review reminded me of an old article that appeared in Edge, August 1994. It was part of a series of retro-articles which covered games that would be ideal to be converted to Playstation, Saturn or SNES. It is no coincedence similar articles are published with so many years between: we all share a common experience.

- Lacking depth of gameplay. Lets admit it: most 3D-shooters are created to impress visually. But as years go by, the graphical 'wow'-factor wears off with only the gameplay remaining intact. At this point you will find out there is not much of involving gameplay left. Take a look at Interplay's Decent for example: back in 1995 it was heralded as a great 3D-game with an 'antigrav'-twist. Play it eight years later and you will find that shooting zillions of robots, collecting coloured keys and destroying a big end-of-level powerstation every level gets very boring indeed.

- Lack of revolutionary innovation: The number of new features added with every new 3D game appearing on the shelves are few and far between. What will be the difference between Doom (1993) and Doom 3 (2003) apart from more realistic graphics and sounds?

What are your visions about this topic?
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Old 07 February 2003, 13:51   #2
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Well...

I think you are missing a huge factor in the 3D gaming issue-- The online gameplay. Funny you should mention Descent, as I used to compete in Descent tournaments. I even won prizes and was invited to E3. Imagine that.

To this day Kali, one of the original online gaming services, still has a strong Descent community. I go back and visit on occasion, and I am always warmly greeted by people anxious to catch up on what I have been doing since I don't play Descent anymore. If I tell them what I HAVE been playing, they deride me for playing a "ground-pounder" (a game where the character runs instead of flies).

Indeed, I think Doom itself is retro. There still are many people working on and playing this game that it is silly. People on a few newsgroups ask for Rise of the Triad on occasion (not so much anymore since it has gone PD). Yes, people wax nostalgic for old 3D games.

The comparison between Doom and Doom III is interesting, and it really made me think. However, that analogy can be applied to any gaming genre... What is the difference between The Bards Tale, Eye of the Beholder, and Marrowind? Souped-up graphics and a minor variation in play. What is the difference between Gryzor, Nicky Baum, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc...? Same.

I like my 3D games (although I know I am the minority in this forum). Right now I am getting a great deal of joy out of SOF2 online. Maybe someday I will look back on it and become nostalgic, just as I sometimes do with my Descent days.

The major difference between old-school gaming and 3D gaming, I think, is the online communities that spring up around them...
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Old 07 February 2003, 22:08   #3
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Doom most definitely is retro or will be retro give it 5 years more.
In the future Half Life will be retro, and there will be posts on forum where members wonder how they can set up a retro PC with 3DFX card to play all those retro 3D games.
Then the moderators will tease the user asking questions with their own SCSI raid, dual-vodoo2, oldschool-retro p266 system.
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Old 08 February 2003, 04:53   #4
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The fact that these games will be retro is equal to the way the abandonware scene exploded...it's ridiculous, really. A great deal of the abandonware that those geeks drool over was in fact the poorest version of said game that was released. Explain to me why a retrogamer would prefer to play/emulate a CGA version of a game with IBM beeper sounds and no joystcik support, plus the need to run a slowdown patch...when a far superior 16-bit version with killer stereo sound, shiny graphics, etc. exists? Just more of the "me too" generation. So for sure, all those FPS games will have their tribute sites that will collect every bit of info on a given game. Someone out there probably collects rare cigarette butts and will be hosting a web gallery of them in the near future.

It's funny...this thread was talking about 3D games, yet the only kind of 3D game mentioned has been (surprise!) the FPS variety (sorry for that last oxymoron). I was looking over some of the Epic Interactive releases for the Amiga (and Mac) so far this decade...it's all 3D, but I didn't see any FPS games. Likewise, there was none of the token blurry, stretched textures. It's refreshing to see some companies don't have to play that same game of lining up in the lobotomy queue. Hopefully if the current crop of uninspired 3DFPS games one day are known as "retro", current games will try to revolutionize again. If not, I still have my music and books.
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Old 08 February 2003, 05:03   #5
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Well, I can tell you that one 3D game (outside of the 3D FPS realm) that makes me pee in my pants is Medieval: Total War. This is the wargame I have ALWAYS wanted. Lined combat in medieval Europe, with EVERY soldier modeled. The next release is Rome: Total War which is going to be ENTIRELY in 3d (no more sprites), and I have a feeling that this title will make me weep like a small child in a Turkish prison.

I feel very Sun Tsu when playing the Total War series... Brilliant, brilliant strat.
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Old 08 February 2003, 05:05   #6
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I agree with my sister APFelon. Difference between Eye of the Beholder, and Marrowind is souped-up graphics and a minor variation in play
 
Old 08 February 2003, 06:04   #7
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Absolutely, my Brother! You are a merit to your brood.
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Old 08 February 2003, 08:05   #8
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I dont think ever new game is better then the older version of the same style.

Dune2 was remade by westwood a couple of times and was never as good as the original even though it had better graphics. I loved Z, but Z2 sucked ass even though it had 3d etc. Warcraft 2 was killer, warcraft 3 made me yawn, the units were too powerfull and the defensive buildings were easy to take down.

Just because the graphics get nicer and the game gets more complex doesnt mean its more fun.

Look at the evolution of FPS type games, went from sort of 3d using sprites to actual 3d which allowed for better physics models. Tossing the grenade down a spiral 3d stairway and watching it bounce till it detonated on the head of an enemy was gratifying.. something your couldnt do in a 2d world. FPS started the home LAN, doom2 parties were so much fun. You could actuall coop in doom2 that was fun. Games like tribes and Unreal tournament added the capture the flag mode where teamplay meant the difference between winning and losing where all the old games were run in circles and shoot anything that moves. games like theif added 3d sounds where things could be heard behind you while you played added to gameplay. One of these days we will all have a headphone and mic so that we can all talk in real time that would add to the game immensly. There is always innovation, just takes time.
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Old 08 February 2003, 16:02   #9
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Stick out tongue

And where would we go next to make 3D games retro? Go back to 2D, or maybe we'll have to go to 4D?!
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Old 08 February 2003, 16:19   #10
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The next major jump for 3d games (mainly shooters) will be enhancing the physical modeling and getting back to REAL 3d positional audio.

with all the programming in the newer cards you can draw and texture things that dont have to be block/triangles. Someday you will be able to program the materials on the object such as hardness, tensile strength, temperature, etc. Shoot a brick with a pistol it makes a divet, shoot it with a flamethrower it gets hot and glows, shoot it with a rocket and no more brick. Completely deformable enviroment that doesnt look like your walking around in a perfect square environment will work. Be nice that if you cant unlock a wooded door in a dungeon you can burn the thing down. Cant get into the basement level, load c4 onto the floor and blast into it. Real 3d audio where you hear the echo of enemies talking in the next room or walking down the hall (picking off where Aureal left off before creative purchased them) will enhance gameplay along with players talking to each other in the game.

Once these get incorperated into 3d games the others will be old and retro. These changes will alow games to have many possible endings instead of the pre planned way games run today where everything has to be done in the exact order to win (if you forget a step your permanently stuck). Basically you will look at the old 3d games like you look at Myst and the old laservideo games instead of clicking and watching the pre rendered movie your actually in control of whats happens.
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Old 08 February 2003, 22:37   #11
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Well, it's said that Worms 3 will feature deformable enviroment in a 3D world.

I am really curious to see how this is going to work.
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Old 09 February 2003, 00:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by 7-Zark-7
And where would we go next to make 3D games retro? Go back to 2D, or maybe we'll have to go to 4D?!
I'm already waiting for the first 4D game Hypercubes should make fun enemies to pop
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Old 09 February 2003, 15:01   #13
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Something like Doom and Ultima underworld is what I define as retro about now. Not abandonware and I doubt it'll become that. But still retro.

Just found a demo for a game called Arx fatalis. That thing totally reminds me of Ultima underworld. Now if I only had a credit card to buy it with.,
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Old 09 February 2003, 15:16   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by 7-Zark-7
And where would we go next to make 3D games retro? Go back to 2D, or maybe we'll have to go to 4D?!
I think VR will eventually make todays 3D kinda retro.
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Old 09 February 2003, 17:44   #15
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I doubt VR will ever become so advanced that it'll be available to the consumers to such a degree that games will be made especially for it.

Holographic images will precede it before VR becomes cheap enough to produce that people can just go buy it.
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Old 09 February 2003, 18:28   #16
Jherek Carnelia
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I really enjoy EOB I & II.
I really enjoy RTCW, MOHAA, and Halflife.
I absolutely love TFC & Battlefield 1942. I love the enhanced graphics - its brilliant. I do not despise a game beacause it looks good. Multiplayer games can be excellent. I don't know about Amiga multiplayer games, I've never played them; do they exist? Will they ever be retro? Of course they will, to me at least, because they are WORTH it. Any game you enjoy can be retro in a few years time if you want it to be.
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Old 09 February 2003, 20:19   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Drake1009
I doubt VR will ever become so advanced that it'll be available to the consumers to such a degree that games will be made especially for it.

Holographic images will precede it before VR becomes cheap enough to produce that people can just go buy it.
IMO VR is the natural next step (technology wise) for games. 3D on the home consoles will reach a point where anything is possible and the only way to improve on it will be to make it truly immersive.
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Old 09 February 2003, 20:30   #18
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It will be a very long time before a cheap console has a video card and cpu that can render in real time complex high resolution scenes that look as real as a movie.

In 15-20 years the xbox/ps2 will look like the atari 2600 because of technology.

I dont see holographic TV displays coming out anytime soon. The 3d headgear sucks, except for some million dollar black box gear the pentagon generals give to their kids for christmas presents.
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Old 09 February 2003, 21:17   #19
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A great deal of the abandonware that those geeks drool over was in fact the poorest version of said game that was released. Explain to me why a retrogamer would prefer to play/emulate a CGA version of a game with IBM beeper sounds and no joystcik support, plus the need to run a slowdown patch...when a far superior 16-bit version with killer stereo sound, shiny graphics, etc. exists?
Following the same logic, we'd have to stop talking about almost every game released in the 90s, because why play Lucas Arts adventures with 32 colours for example when there are 256 colour - VGA versions? Why play The Settlers on the Amiga when the PC version has a higher resolution? I, too, can't see any 'beauty' in CGA games, but I am aware I didn't grow up with them. Others did, so this is the 'real' version of the specific game to them.
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Old 09 February 2003, 23:14   #20
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Unknown : I dont see holographic TV displays coming out anytime soon. The 3d headgear sucks, except for some million dollar black box gear the pentagon generals give to their kids for christmas presents.

I think holographic displays are within reach. I think I read they had constructed a 2 color one. Well that's been done a long time ago just not with moving images.
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