Project: First Person Shooter History

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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby dr_st » 2019-2-10 @ 17:16

You can't NOT play Daikatana. It's surprisingly good if you run Community Edition 1.3, and disable the sidekicks. :happy:
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Stiletto » 2019-2-12 @ 22:34

If I recall correctly, Outlaws' engine is actually an upgrade upon the Star Wars: Dark Forces engine, an engine called "Jedi". It has a number of similarities to Build engine but is its own thing.
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-2-16 @ 21:24

Game 10 Complete!

Blood

Image

Everyone knows this game got known for being very gory, as well as actually being a good game too! Based on my list, it almost seems like the last of the "DOS, software, sprite/2.5D episodic mouse-optional shooters" although that's quite a long winded category. Is it a swansong for this kind of shooter or had it already been left behind by Quake?

Getting it running
I had no problems getting it running, including AWE32 sound (not that it seems to make much difference). It came with an installer but installed just fine.

Gameplay
This game lets you enable vertical mouse look from within the options (well, a keypress, but no console commands are required). However, the first thing I noticed is that the game doesn't like looking up and down at all, it is very stiff, there is a lot of delay, and it seems to move in lumps - not helpful when a fat dude is vomiting at you from above.

Similarly with Outlaws, the game has issues when you're shooting up and down; I'd be shooting the irritating hand-dudes crawing around on the floor and missing despite my cross hairs being squarely on those creepy ********.

As above, this game is well known for its gore. Why just have a dude crumple into a heap on the floor on death when he can explode into dozens of bloody bits? Why just have a dead guy in the corner of the room when you walk in, when you can have his decapitated head on a circular saw perpetually spraying blood onto the ceiling? It almost seems a little quaint now, what with games like heavy rain having you saw off your own finger and modern fps having limbs blow off "realistically". However, at the time I can see why it caused the controversy.

Fortunately, the minute-to-minute gunplay backs up the gore well. The range of guns is good, with a shotgun again being your go-to weapon against normal-level dudes. The flare gun makes enemies satisfyingly catch fire with one hit, but with a few seconds of delay, making it a tactical choice to use it. Jumping and gunning against a range of enemies remains as fun as ever, especially with different enemies having a range of tactics. I like how the basic zombidudes get knocked down before coming back for more; I'd knock a bunch down, deal with bigger threats in the room and then come back to finish them off with my stabby pitchfork. Then you have small creatures on the floor, from rats to spiders to the aforementioned creepy hands that jump up and strangle you. And then there are fish, giant spiders, gargoyles...

The tone of the game sites in between the extremes of Quake and Duke 3D, perhaps leaning towards Duke3D. It's definitely got a gorey, satanic world, but it doesn't take itself too seriously, with signs warning you to not drop the soap in the shower and the protagonist humming "somewhere over the rainbow" if you leave him idling for a while.

The environments are well crafted, and look quite nice (in a 'blood seeping from wall-sphincters' kind of way) but the world the levels paint is a rather generic "hell and monsters" with the bloody mess perk turned on. The levels are still mazey, with three or four keys to collect on each level (take your pick from moon, sun, fire, spider, dagger, skull keys...) However there are a few neat ideas and puzzles here to create a welcome break from just dungeons, caves and haunted mansions. In one level, you have a network of flowing waterways to navigate that effectively form several loops (you can't turn around). There are gates you can shoot to direct the water (and yourself) down alternative paths.

I am so done with mazes and keys.

I played on the easy mode after getting my butt kicked on middle and between easy and middle. Pathetic I know, but it has four episodes and I've got lots of games to play! I still didn't exactly sail through it, dying and quick loading regularly. It took me about 12 hours to do all four episodes.

Overall, I feel that yes, this does make a fitting end to DOS, software etc shooters before accelerated shooters became popular. It is as good as (but not better than) Duke 3D, however Blood has a similar tone to all the other miserable shooters before it, where Duke3D is just sort of out there on its own being very silly (which is great!).

Graphics and Performance
So this one definitely is a build engine game. I had it running at 640*480 with perfect performance (as you would hope), except when a notable proportion of the screen is water, then the framerate tanks. I believe there were patches for glide acceleration, for Voodoo 1's, which I don't have. Nothing to complain about here in general.

Sound
I used AWE32 sound with no problems. The sound effects are good, with good use of ambient sound, e.g. ghosts screaming, the indoctrinated NPCs moaning, gargoyles roaring. Some of the levels have distant chanting sounds in some rooms setting the atmosphere nicely.

The music however was completely forgettable. One song in particular has a high pitched whine through about half of its approx 3 minute length, so I'd get 90 seconds whining 90 seconds whine free.

Was it fun?
Yes.

Should you play it?
Yes, not only is it fun in its own right, I feel it really does mark the end of an era for DOS, software FPS games.

Screenshots
Here are some in-game screenshots. I tried to get a mix of nice environments with HUD and gun removed, and some in game bloody action.

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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-16 @ 23:54

Just remembered another weird DOS game you might want to check out if you are interested in evolution of FPS genre and early quirky ideas about player control input - CyClones (1994) by Raven Software, AWSD with "mouselook", but not the way you think :) I wouldnt recommend a full play-through tho, 2-3 minutes is more than enough :-)
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby dr_st » 2019-2-17 @ 13:25

Re: DOS games and control schemes. Actually you could have a WASD+mouse set up as early as the first DOOM; however, it required manually editing the configuration file to set high mouse sensitivity, because the maximum you could do via the game menu was too low to be useful for quick turns. True, the original DOOM engine has no free-look, but a mouse is still very useful for quick turns, and once players discovered this control method, their playing skills went up significantly.

The original DOOM levels are no problem on UV (and for skilled players, even on Nightmare) with the standard keyboard-only Shift/Ctrl/Alt and arrows scheme; however, many of the ultra-hard level packs released in later years (Hell Revealed, etc.) would probably be very hard or impossible without the mouse (not to mention surviving deathmatch against mouse players).
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby LunarG » 2019-2-17 @ 18:55

This has been a really interesting read so far. It's fun to see how somebody not clouded by nostalgia reacts to these old games.
It's also quite obvious that a more modern audience have very different expectations of what an FPS game should be. Originally, the whole "labyrinth" style gameplay was a major part of the fps experience. Today, most fps games are about shooting other players.
As for that last bit though... I still think that Quake 3 Arena probably has the most pure "shoot other players" experience of any fps, even today. You just move fast, so it gives a very high paced gaming experience.
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-2-18 @ 19:21

LunarG wrote:It's fun to see how somebody not clouded by nostalgia reacts to these old games.


That's partly why I did it. You read people saying "Morrowind is the best game evarrr" (just as an example) and I, having not played Morrowind, give it a go with an open mind and find it that (without nostalgia) it most certainly is not the best game ever. In much the same way that I find Mafia 1 to be amazing, whilst people who try it now say it is nearly unplayable because of the difficultly, infrequent saves and clunky controls!

LunarG wrote:It's also quite obvious that a more modern audience have very different expectations of what an FPS game should be. Originally, the whole "labyrinth" style gameplay was a major part of the fps experience. Today, most fps games are about shooting other players.


Yes, and I'm open minded enough to see the good and the bad in modern shooters losing their early styles. As I've said in the early reviews, getting lost is one of the major frustrations, partly due to the tech with every room looking the same, and party due to the developer's aim in getting the player lost! But then, later shooters drop that and go for either deeper experiences (Half Life) or remove the mazey tedium from fast paced shooting. Like you say, Quake 3 is still a benchmark in some ways, but for the deeper experiences, modern games through their technology and scripting allow for the potential for a deeper and more immersive game.
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-2-18 @ 19:24

dr_st wrote:Re: DOS games and control schemes. Actually you could have a WASD+mouse set up as early as the first DOOM; however, it required manually editing the configuration file to set high mouse sensitivity, because the maximum you could do via the game menu was too low to be useful for quick turns. True, the original DOOM engine has no free-look, but a mouse is still very useful for quick turns, and once players discovered this control method, their playing skills went up significantly.

The original DOOM levels are no problem on UV (and for skilled players, even on Nightmare) with the standard keyboard-only Shift/Ctrl/Alt and arrows scheme; however, many of the ultra-hard level packs released in later years (Hell Revealed, etc.) would probably be very hard or impossible without the mouse (not to mention surviving deathmatch against mouse players).


Yes, I don't doubt that you can edit config files to enable mouse looking, but those games were clearly not designed for (or anticipating players would want to) play like this. Which is fine, it was quite a new genre after all. One of my made up rules I've come up with as I play is that I'm not going to mod or exploit the games. I want the experience as they launched (or after official patching).
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby dr_st » 2019-2-18 @ 19:40

Almoststew1990 wrote:Yes, I don't doubt that you can edit config files to enable mouse looking, but those games were clearly not designed for (or anticipating players would want to) play like this.
I think I should clarify that I was not talking about mouse look, but merely about using the mouse to execute fast turns; mouse look is still impossible in the original engine without extra utilities, but it's not really necessary either due to the auto-aim feature (and DOOM itself does not have any form of freelook anyways).
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Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-2-18 @ 22:09

I'm currently playing Quake 2. The CD music only seems to play the first track over and over again (at least I assume it is the first track). Any ideas why this is?

Blimey those Blood screenshots seemed to have aged a million years now that I'm playing Quake 2 at 1024 *768!
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