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Interview With John Romero 211

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-chain-gun dept.
spensdawg writes "Here is an interesting interview with John Romero on Games.net. He gets into the original design philosophy for the first Doom games, what he would have done differently, and his plans for the future. Worth watching if you want to know a little more about the mad scientist behind Doom." A warning: this is a video interview
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Interview With John Romero

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:24AM (#15626415)
    This article is not going to be much use for Linux users, as it requires Flash 8.

    Two points:

    - Why does a text article require flashplayer 8 to view it? It's a waste of bandwidth, waste of CPU and cutting down on this site's potential market.

    - Why has Macromedia has only released a (very buggy) flashplayer 7 for linux x86, and no flashplayer at all for amd64? The selling point of Flash is that it's multi-platform but that's not really the case.

    I look forward to the day when SVG and other standard technologies becomes more prevalent and Flash is relegated to the technology graveyard.
    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:34AM (#15626440)
      - Why has Macromedia has only released a (very buggy) flashplayer 7 for linux x86, and no flashplayer at all for amd64? The selling point of Flash is that it's multi-platform but that's not really the case.

      I guess since adobe is now in charge it isn't as high a priority, they are too busy finding bloat to put in it.
    • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo@mac. c o m> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:10AM (#15626544) Homepage Journal
      Why does a text article require flashplayer 8 to view it? It's a waste of bandwidth, waste of CPU and cutting down on this site's potential market.

      Because it's not text, it's video. And if that weren't bad enough, every 5 seconds or so it decides to pause the video to buffer some more. I don't know if it's my Internet connection tonight (which has been slow and flakey at times for no apparant reason), or if the site is being /.'ed, but either way the video player has some serious issues with its buffering time heuristic.

      In the end, it just isn't worth it. Trust me, you're not missing a thing.

      Yaz.

      • Flash Video is Evil. Yes, that's with a capital "E". Computer designers had video overlays nailed back in Windows 98. Remember the "Buddy Holly" video? Are you all trying to tell me now that we are throwing all that efficiency away and replacing it with a flash object painting to a browser renderer, which then paints to the screen? I can't believe my 3.0GHz dual-core is dropping frames now.

        You can't save it either, nor can you zoom in / resize. I'm running at 1600x1200, your 100x100 flash video is the siz

        • Have you ever stopped to think about why that might be? Let's see, what are the most common video formats:
          • Windows Media
          • Quicktime
          • Real Video

          Now, which of these work on the majority of platforms without another plugin to download or better yet lots of dedicated custom streaming servers? Also, which of these provide a simple means to display multiple videos on a single page or can scale to the browser window size automatically? The flash video stuff is used because it's a least common denominator w

          • Java would work on all systems. Just check that Classpath supports what you are using. There is no reason to use Flash. And nearly everyone has Quicktime installed.
            • Yes and no. Java has some applet security issues that require it to connect only to the server the applet was served from. Not a huge issues, but still not ideal. But the bigger problem you are overlooking is that while java and quicktime are quite ubiquitous they are not everywhere. I would argue that Java and Quicktime are still a less common denominator than flash, not to mention the download sizes of each of those. The first time you go to a page that doesn't have flash you are presented with a sim
            • And nearly everyone has Quicktime installed.

              Yeah, I just love nagware that asks me to upgrade to Quicktime Pro each and every fucking time I use it. I also love a "free" media player that won't let me view videos full-screen unless I pay 20 bucks. Even Mac users (myself included) STILL have to pay 20 bucks to get a fully-functional media player (unless you use Applescript hacks).

              And the fact that on Windows, Quicktime HIJACKS your browser MIME settings for all media types WITHOUT ASKING - yeah, I really e
    • by BruceCage (882117) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:19AM (#15626571)
      Interestingly enough if you directly go to the SWF file [games.net], you can listen to the interview without actually having Flash Player 8.
    • I look forward to the day when SVG and other standard technologies becomes more prevalent and Flash is relegated to the technology graveyard.

      That is never going to happen, for two reasons.

      One, Macromedia has a vested interest in keeping its sticky thumbs in everyones browser via Flash installations. They're not going to allow SVG to usurp the great thing they've got going, not matter how many users it infuriates. Expect a wealth of new Flash upgrades and especially better Flash authoring tools if SVG even l
      • One, Macromedia has a vested interest in keeping its sticky thumbs in everyones browser via Flash installations. They're not going to allow SVG to usurp the great thing they've got going, not matter how many users it infuriates. Expect a wealth of new Flash upgrades and especially better Flash authoring tools if SVG even look slike it's goign mainstream.

        So what you're saying is...Macromedia will want to compete with any opposition? You mean, like they're some kind of business or something? Like, if, th
    • by Quarters (18322) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:28AM (#15627316)
      >> A warning: this is a video interview >> - Why does a text article require flashplayer 8 to view it?

      Ruminate on those two statements for a while.

    • This article is not going to be much use for Linux users, as it requires Flash 8... Why does a text article require flashplayer 8 to view it? It's a waste of bandwidth, waste of CPU and cutting down on this site's potential market.

      Agreed. Everyone: go to the site, and if you can't read TFA, click the 'feedback' link just to the right of the mostly-empty box and tell them.
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:26AM (#15626421) Homepage
    This guy been around longer than Duke Nukem Forever and Daikatana 2 is still not out.
  • He designed some levels, he did a little game design, he was not by any stretch the main creative force behind Doom.
    • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:04AM (#15626529) Journal
      Level and game design is critical. It requires a good team to work with for it to be worth anything, and it's still critical. And the game designer is very often the main creative force.

      Eivind, former game developer.

    • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:56AM (#15626631) Journal
      Hehe... "Designed some levels, did a little game design"...

      He was the lead designer of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake and co-founder of id Software.

      Lead designers are kinda important for these projects and influence the gameplay quite a bit.

      But conversely, it's not enough with just one decent lead designer when making a game, as Daikatana showed.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:07AM (#15626911) Journal
        But conversely, it's not enough with just one decent lead designer when making a game, as Daikatana showed.


        Well, not contradicting what you wrote, but more as a reminder to everyone else: Daikatana was a complex phenomenon, at no number of designers could have saved it past a certain point.

        For starters, it was largely a management failure, rather than a game design failure. The game design wasn't particularly bad, and in some ways it was ahead of its time. E.g., Daikatana tried to have a story in a FPS long before Half-Life, for example. In fact, it tried to have a story at a point in time where everyone else was churning mindless Wolfenstein 3D clones. And by comparison, once John Romero was gone, Id reverted to John Carmack's view that a plot is as needed for a game as for a porno movie.

        What killed most of that design for Daikatana was simply being released so late as to not matter any more. Story in a FPS was no longer unheard of, the game engine was outdated, and some of the artwork looked like classic ass by sheer virtue of being old by now.

        And that, in turn, could be traced to just bad management of the project and the company as a whole. John Romero wasn't necessarily bad at game design, but he was useless as a manager. All I'm saying is: let's not confuse the two issues, because they're different skills.

        Plus, let's not underestimate the effect of Ion Storm's being the "victim" of a massive hype backlash. Partially because of its own PR blunders, that's for sure. (E.g., the "bitch" ad.) But also partially because a few idiots started screaming that Ion Storm killed Looking Glass, when Eidos let Looking Glass die. Suddenly it was _fashionable_ to be against John Romero and mourning Looking Glass, and a lot of SFVs (Stupid Fashion Victims) joined in the chorus without even having a fucking clue what they're pro or against in that campaign.

        So me say just one thing: if a _quarter_ of the people posting all "Daikatana sucks!!!" all over the place had actually played the fucking game, it would have been a major commercial success. It would have probably outsold The Sims. No, that's not saying it was that good, it's just saying how many SFVs were posting about it without even having seen it. Just because it was fashionable to be against it. It was instant karma to bitch about how much Daikatana sucks.

        A lot of people still bitching about how bad Daikatana's design or gameplay supposedly was, still haven't actually even _seen_ that design or gameplay.

        No, I'm not saying that it was great, but it was's as bad as people love to post all over the place either. It was just a mediocre FPS with a story. No more, no less. I _am_ however, saying, that the world would be a better place if people refrained from talking about stuff they have no clue about. I wish that everyone who hasn't actually played Daikatana (or whatever other game) just freakin' gave it a break already and talked about things they've actually experienced, instead of rehashing the same old canned hype they've read on some site.
        • by Pomme de Terre! (69783) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:35AM (#15627724)
          Daikatana tried to have a story in a FPS long before Half-Life

          Half-Life came out long before Daikatana.

          ...once John Romero was gone, Id reverted to John Carmack's view that a plot is as needed for a game as for a porno movie.

          When Romero was at Id, none of their games had plots, either. They didn't revert; they remained consistent.

          So me say just one thing: if a _quarter_ of the people posting all "Daikatana sucks!!!" all over the place had actually played the fucking game, it would have been a major commercial success. It would have probably outsold The Sims.

          Are you being facetious? Daikatana's target audience was hard-core FPS players. The Sims reached out to every segment of the market. What a ridiculous statement! You are greatly overestimating the number of people who read game sites at the time. Your general gaming audience had never even heard of Daikatana, and the name "John Romero" was meaningless. They saw an ugly red box with a silly title and bad graphics. That's why it was a poor seller.

          A lot of people still bitching about how bad Daikatana's design or gameplay supposedly was, still haven't actually even _seen_ that design or gameplay.

          The first level of the demo consisted of killing small frogs in the rain. The whole level. Design genius? Perhaps in an abstract fun-is-not-cool hipster universe. But in this world, it was stupid, and pointless.

          > The game design wasn't particularly bad

          "I CAN'T LEAVE WITHOUT MY BUDDY SUPERFLY!"

          QED.
          • Daikatana tried to have a story in a FPS long before Half-Life
            Half-Life came out long before Daikatana.
            I believe both statements are true. Remember, Daikatana was a gigantic management cluster fuck. They were going to do it on the Quake engine, then switched to the Quake II engine when it came out (and Romero orgasmed over it). One of the reasons that Daikatana flopped was that it came out way, way after it should have.
          • The Sims reached out to every segment of the market.

            Not quite accurate. The Sims was originally pitched to the hard-core Sims fans and focused mostly on the nifty AI and technical aspects. Once the hard-core geeks got done with a brief and passionate affair with the game, other people started picking it up. The game was played by the spouses and better halves of the hard-core players, and then the game spread primarily via word-of-mouth to other players. These people were the ones that used the game to
        • Ahem the money Eidos sunk into ION storm indeed kill Looking Glass partially.
        • I'm sorry I've played Daikatana and it sucks.

          It's difficult to explain how it sucks but it's not hard for people to realize it sucks who haven't actually tried it.

          I know Glitter sucks, if you wanted to see it I would recommend against it, this is the same thing.

          Examples of why Daikatana sucks, SuperFly is the most irritating character in any game EVER, enemies and weapons boring and uninspired, levels bland ugly and dark. Multiplayer is tainted by a ridiculous sword fight thing, (Also sword stays in t
        • i actually enjoyed daikatana for what it was: a fun first person shooter with a cheesy story and dated graphics (due to it taking too long in development.) if it had come out 2 years before, it would have been a completely different story (but half-life would probably have still crushed it, just like it crushed Sin, which was highly under-rated.)
        • It sounds like John Romero made you his bitch.
    • Try reading "Masters of Doom" by David Kushner. It has several chapters on what was occuring at Id when they were developing Doom. Specifically, it mentions that Romero hated the direction that Doom was taking and, in a marathon level-development session, created the levels that served as the basis for the Doom game. Before he did that they were heading down a "dull" military complex design idea that didn't reach out and grab anyone.
  • by Eideewt (603267) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:32AM (#15626436)
    Apparently it's not only games that aren't realeased for Linux. Neither are articles about them.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:33AM (#15626437)
    John Romero will make you his bitch.
  • by geerbox (855203) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:40AM (#15626464)

    Asked questions about what he would have done about Doom differently (he would've hired a great level designer), what was wrong with Doom (nothing, talked about how the game was designed), how he would do if he would make another Doom (pitch black, something new like stuff from HL 2), when he knew he hit it big (after seeing the numbers), what he thought of sequels (would only do one), what other projects he did and what he learned (he likes creation, and not so much cleanup), what he is doing (his new company, that he's working on something new that so far hasn't been done).

    Strange thing to me was that I saw mostly DOOM III video gameplay (no DOOM I or II gameplay video - difficult to find?), and there was HL 2 showed for a quick bit.

    • his new company, that he's working on something new that so far hasn't been done
      So he's going to merge Half life 2 with Guitar Hero and Gran Tourismo?
      • So, um, are you supposed to be some rock band guitarist standing up in the driver's seat with one foot on the wheel winding through dark twisty urban alleys at 3-digit speeds while rabid fans unexpectedly launch themselves at you while you have to fend them off with cool guitar riffs, and yet, still be able to finish the race while your competitors are doing the same?
        If there's anything that turns my stomach worse than a game like this, it would be... a *movie* based on a game like this! I'm calling Uwe Bo
  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:06AM (#15626534)
    I don't think John understands why Doom worked. Asked what he'd change about it, his reply is he'd hire better level designers (and even takes an unnecessary dig at Sandy Petersen). They didn't know any better back then, he says. Huh?! Do you hear anyone complaining about the original Doom?

    In fact, fans are still recreating Doom levels for other games as homages, which isn't to say those levels were stunningly brilliant. No, they were all they had to be--because the gameplay was so great. And the great fun rubbed off on the levels.

    By contrast, Daikatana's levels were built and rebuilt, polished and repolished. Fat lot of good it did. Design is law, of course, as the Ion Storm mantra went; but Daikatana is $0.99 in the bargain bin, too.

    Romero's on better ground when knocking Doom 3 for being dark, repetitive and predictable. Although he doesn't realize it, this argument bears on his earlier misguided comment. D3 is a masterpiece of level design, or at least of a certain highly-detailed future-industrial style. And that's all anyone takes away from it: how it looked. Having stood in line to get a copy the day it came out, I'm still trying to forget how mind-numbingly poorly it played.

    Bottom line: level design is vastly overrated. Sure, it can be an art form (see, for instance, old custom Quake levels built by geniuses such as Headshot or Mr. Fribbles). But most games look alike today; no matter how technically sound their appearance, few do more than go for realism or ape genre cliches. This even as hyper-realistic design means longer development times and higher costs. And nobody thinks games are more fun than their blockier predecessors--no, quite the opposite.

    So where Romero talks about level design as a virtue and even dreams about going back in time to revisualize Doom, the truth is something different. Level design is becoming little more than a clonable commodity.

    The solution is to outsource it. Set up companies that do nothing but build cities, dungeons, jungles, etc. to some standard, scriptable world-building spec. Devs can then buy chunks of these "places" and build their games in them--for much less than the cost of paying salaries for asset creation. This would liberate game companies to pour their energies into gameplay before it becomes a lost art.

    • by jacobw (975909) <slashdot DOT org AT yankeefog DOT com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:36AM (#15626704) Homepage
      D3 is a masterpiece of level design, or at least of a certain highly-detailed future-industrial style. And that's all anyone takes away from it: how it looked. Having stood in line to get a copy the day it came out, I'm still trying to forget how mind-numbingly poorly it played.

      Bottom line: level design is vastly overrated.


      You're using level design in a different way than I understand it. (I am a pretty casual gamer, so there's a good chance my definition is wrong, BTW. Also I couldn't get the video to play, so I wouldn't know if you were using it the same way as Romero.)

      To me, "level design" doesn't mean "designing the visual look of a level." That's an aspect of it, but not the most important part. More importantly is designing the layout of the level--where various paths lead, and where various obstacles occur, and where enemies lurk. This obviously has a major impact on how well a game plays, and having a good level designer makes a huge difference.

      In this respect, I think the original Doom levels were incredibly well designed, especially given that they didn't really have the technology for true 3D play. It really created the feeling of not knowing what was around the next corner, and resulted in the famous Doom Lean, where you find yourself tilting your real-world head, as if that was going to let you peer around a corner in the game...

      (I think we agree in substance, actually, but your use of the phrase "level design" was different enough that it made me wonder if I'm the only one who defines it as I do.)
      • Most casual level designers get involved by making DM or tournament levels or levels for team based games.

        Obviously these are very diffrent methods of making levels, if DOOM levels were available for any of these activities they would suck, there are poor strategic elements, shoddy weapon placement etc.

        However for single player blasting monsters and mindlessly chasing down keycards? Go DOOM!.

        (Disclaimer: Massive MASSIVE Q1 DM fanboy, some level design EXP)
      • To me, "level design" doesn't mean "designing the visual look of a level." That's an aspect of it, but not the most important part. More importantly is designing the layout of the level--where various paths lead, and where various obstacles occur, and where enemies lurk.

        My personal opinion on this (and out of experience as a heavy fps-gamer, and a mapper), there is a nice balance between the two: I agree that in the haydays of Doom, the layout of the level itself was of greater importance than the visual

      • I agree. Level design is a huge part of 3d gameplay. I've played dozens of games where I quit playing after 15 minutes because the level was so confusing to go through and there was a ton of backtracking. The best level design that I could think of was in No One Lives Forever. Those levels seemed to go on forever, you always felt like you're in the actual environment, but the level design was so good that you were never lost. That's a big part of what made that game a joy to play.
    • I have the exact same feeling. I played the DoomIII demo and while it did look lovely (at least the lit bits), I still felt like it was really the same Doom except that it had been ported from VGA to ZXWYGA (or whatever is the alphabet soup for high resolution these days) with a modern engine.

      Basically I had already played that game to death 15 years ago. Redoing it with nicer levels didn't appeal to me.

      So I went back to Battlefield 2 which instead provides a different game. Even though it doesn't look gorg
    • > D3 is a masterpiece of level design, or at least of a certain highly-detailed future-industrial style.

      You're saying it has good textures then. Monster Closets and no lights are not good level design.

  • Old news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KeithLDick (984953)
    I think I read this on his site quite a while ago... Then again I may have been playing Duke Nukem 3D at the time or just downloading the Prey Demo... ahh well nevermind...
  • by arm000 (985773) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:16AM (#15626564)
    Did anyone find it strange that the interview was mixed with videos of doom3 and half-life2? Two games that he had nothing to do with?
  • Transcript (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kugrian (886993) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:55AM (#15626630) Homepage
    I started to make a transcript of the video. I don't know the games, and I'm not a sectery either (plus hugely hungover), so I got bored quickly. Mananged to do half of it before I reached for the wrist-slitting knife - hopefully someone who can't view the flash will find it helpful:

    games.net Presents Behind The Screens John Romero.

    What would you change about Doom?

    So the thing I would have changed about the original Doom, erm, is to have a better design for all the levels in eposide 2 and eposide 3, and to probably hire someone who was a really great level designer, erm, because, er, Sandy Peterson, hes a, hes a, hes definitely a great game designer [clip of some Doom game I guess], but having that, having somebody who's whole job is placing textures, making sure that levels are, are not just 'hey, I'm just gonna make a level today, see what it turns out to be'. That's kind of what we were doing anyway, so it turned out kind of haphazard, which is kinda Doom 2 [too?] also turned out, that way with the levels, was like 'hey, let's make a buncha cool levels, we'll have [them?] put in the game.'

    What was missing from Doom?

    Well, I don't think there was anything missing from the original Doom. I mean it was, was, we pulled stuff out of the original Doom because it kind of violated the purpose that we had started to change the game [another clip of presumably Doom], which was kinda what we did with Wolfenstein. With Wolfenstein , we'd added a bunch of cool stuff in there, and it slowed the gameplay down, the pace down, and we didn't want that. So we pulled that out, and what you got was just some crazy running at somebody brings [might have been 'for instance'] a second game [didn't hear this well enough]. And so, with Doom we wanted, erm, a game that was the same kind of Wolfenstein feeling, but looked cooler and [had?] cooler monsters, but still had that super speed.

    What if you were to make another Doom?

    If I was going to do another Doom today, I would [possibly wouldn't] do a game that's like Pitch Black for sure. Erm, I wouldn't have predictable situations happening constantly every few seconds, and er, you know, I'd, I'd have something that, er, was kind of pushing the limits, [clip of some game starts here] that would be, I'd definitely take some cues from Half life 2 but, erm, also add in some cool ideas that, that, no one else is doing.

    When did you know you hit it big?

    It was, it was insane with Doom. When we put out Doom and it just, it went all over the place. The internet really helped. Erm, people have tp net [might been 'had the internet'?] and the software creations Bolternborg [didn't get this word] was awsome. When we saw the numbers that were coming in off, off of, Doom it, it was crazy. Erm, that's when I just, just, brought the test release [might have got this bit wrong]. I was just, that's it [laugh]. I'm buying it now.

    What do you think about sequels?

    In Return of Wolfenstein and Comandeer Keen, and, you know [laugh] [some clip starts here of unknown game]. Erm, if I was there those games wouldn't have come out, because I don't do like.. I do a sequel, then it's time to move on.

    Dude talks like a stoned hippy anyway.. I got time to waste on other things that don't include translating a zillion 'erms' to a text file.
  • by Morty (32057) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:57AM (#15626633) Journal
    Doom was not just a game, it was a whole new genre. While it wasn't quite the first first-person-shooter, it was the first one to do 3D reasonably well. When it came out, no one had seen anything like it. The game design was OK, the plot was basically non-existent, but it had no FPS competition because no one else had written one that even approached Doom. Considering that 3D accelerator cards didn't exist, and this all had to be done in software, there weren't too many people at the time who could write a competing FPS engine even if they had thought of it. So the lack of fancy levels and other aspects of the game design didn't matter much; the only thing the level design needed to do was showcase all the cool engine features.

    If there is any doubt as to whether it was the FPS concept and engine or the details of the game, consider what happened next. Other FPSs were released -- licensing the Doom and then the Quake engines, not the Doom and the Quake levels.
    • by Moraelin (679338)
      There were games with much better levels and gameplay long before Doom, or even Wolfenstein 3D, they just weren't textured. E.g., Bethesda had a Terminator game that featured walking or _driving_ (yes, driving) around a town, with cars, pedestrians (yep, you could run them over), etc, years before Doom. It took the textured FPS genre almost a decade to get back to that point.

      Or Ultima Underworld? It was a complex RPG and had a much more complex 3D engine too. It came out around the same time as Wolfenstein
      • Only partially true. Yes UU was two years earlier and had the same textured walls, sprite based items, and more advanced geometry then Doom. But it ran dog slow in a quarter-screen window with a tiny maximum viewing distance. The full screen, open, light and above all FAST Doom engine was altogether a new game.

        Then you add the one and only thing that made Doom worth playing - network play.

        I loved both UU games, but I went 13.5 hours without a toilet or food break in a Doom deathmatch.

        (UU does pre-date Wolfe
        • > Only partially true. Yes UU was two years earlier and had the same textured walls, sprite based items, and more advanced geometry then Doom. But it ran dog slow in a quarter-screen window with a tiny maximum viewing distance.

          Poor coding then, because it's the same engine as System Shock, which was not at all slow.

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:45AM (#15627398) Homepage Journal

        I think this illustrates the difference between "invention" and "innovation" very well. Doom wasn't the first 3D FPS, but it was the first viable FPS that turned a technology from being merely interesting to something that got into the hands of just about everybody and spawned an entire direction for the industry.

        The Sinclair ZX81 had Psion's "3D Monster Maze", and doubtless there were predecessors to that, but none of the examples you gave, nor 3DMM, ended up generating much interest, however popular they may have been. The excitement started with Doom.

        It's kind of like the GUI. Contrary to popular belief, there were many graphical user interfaces before the Mac. Indeed, the Mac's original, pre-Jobs, interface had little or nothing to do with the Xerox effort. It was the Mac, as released, that actually made people sit up and say "Wait, this one works" (albeit with quite some criticism), and made (despite that criticism) pretty much every new computer from 1985 onward (save for legacy systems, and even they slowly migrated to GEM and then to Windows) pretty much require a GUI.

    • Ahem that is the biggest false myths in history of gaming that doom was the first game to do 3d well. Looking Glass deserves the credit. The Ultima Underworlds were released even before Wolfenstein 3d, had doom like graphics (even full peudo 3d, with pits you could walk in), a physics engine and full environmental interaction and npcs wandering around. In fact ID software got the idea of its 3d engine for wolf3d when they saw an early beta of the first underworld game at a games con...
  • Too Much Hype (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by dshaw858 (828072)
    Maybe I'm just an unbeliever, but I don't think that John Romero is all that great. I mean, he's had a few good games-- great games, even, sure-- but is he the savior of all games? No. There are other great game developers that deserve just as much credit as Romero, but unfortunately simply don't receive it.

    Oh well, I guess we don't live in a perfect world. John Romero is still an extremely intelligent guy, and although the design intricacies of the Doom series are a little bit on the cobweb side of thing
  • And then? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Konster (252488)
    Really, the article should be about who was best, first.

    Carmack might be a bloody brilliant programmer, and that's what makes his early work so good, and that he had a brilliant design team to make his concepts into reality. Every product they made up to and including Quake 3 was off the charts good.

    Everything since is just rubbish and not fun to play; it's just bad, rendering aside.

    And Romero has nothing on his slate post ID that means anything; most of his work is the poster child of what not to do.

    Carmac
    • Re:And then? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Carmack and Romero were neat topics like...10 years ago. Now that there are 100 companies doing it better and faster than they do, what of these guys? I hate to proclaim them relics because we are about the same age, but the truth is, neither Carmack nor Romero have brought anything new and good to the table beyond engine leasing and hair conditioner ad spots for the last 10 years.

      Funny, what engine do all these new great games use? Often as not, something Carmack makes. He's an engine designer, and he's

    • I used to be the biggest quake/id software fan boy (for about 8-10 years), but now I no longer consider them my favourite game company. Id stopped making their own games and focused on licensing their engine, thats when things went down hill IMO. Doom3 and Quake4 was like the nail in the coffin for me.
  • It would be how he managed to completely fuck a pen and paper RPG so much that the game master (Carmack) couldn't even put it back together again. Way to go man. That kind of destructive power is very impressive. If it wasn't for the fact that Carmack was supposedly your friend I'd recommend you for some sort of prize.

    Alternatively, I'd ask him exactly how accurate the description of this event was written in Masters Of Doom. Shame they never made the doco film of that book.

    • For those who havn't read the book:

      In recent rounds Romero had been toying with the Demonicron, the darkly powerful book he had encouraged them to seize from the demons. It was a dangerous move, one that would either help them rule or destroy the world. Carmack grew increasingly distressed at Romero's recklessness. He didn't want to see the game he had spent so long creating get ruined. In a desperate move, he called Jay Wilbur back in Shreveport, asking him if he could fly up to Madison to reprise his D

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:53AM (#15628298) Journal
        All I see there is Carmack being either (A) a complete nerd, for whom sticking to some rules is more important than his friends, or (B) being a dick willing to ruin everyone's campaign just to teach Romero a lesson.

        It wasn't Romero that decided to introduce the devil into the game, and it wasn't Romero that made that NPC summon enough demons to destroy the world. It was the GM. Plain and simple. It was the kind of spiteful GM action that occasionally nukes everyone's characters to make a point, or as a quick "I've got the power" trip, or just being tired of the existing campaign. We've all run into moments like that.

        The fact is, the game was at all times under the control of the GM. If you don't want your players to nuke the world, don't lead them to a room with big red button that launches the nukes. If you don't want them to bring forth the apocalypse, don't lead them to a room with a big pentagram and written instructions on how to summon the four horsemen. Etc. If you choose to "test" them with an event that may destroy the world, don't be surprised if they push the big red button just to see what happens.

        And if you really want to save the world, you can always twist the rules as you like. That's why you're called a Game _Master_. Maybe decide that that big red button needed to first be activated by the Pentagon, or could be overriden by the Pentagon, so the missiles don't launch. Maybe a bunch of soldiers charge in and try to arrest the party, shooting the cable from that switch in the process. Etc.

        Or in your example, maybe the devil can be toned down so the party can win. Maybe, I don't know, an archangel descends and blasts the book into oblivion. Whatever. If you're the GM, you have the power to pull that kind of shit.

        Basically if you're the GM and (A) you've lead the players to a situation where they can destroy the world, and (B) you let them do that, then just accept the responsibility. _You_ ended the game, not the players. It's ok, if that's what you wanted to do. Start a new campaign or whatever. But don't be a prick and act as if some player is a great monster that deserves all the blame.

        Plus, it's just a freakin' game. Acting like Romero is some monster that destroyed the whole world, strikes me as (A) taking it waaaay too seriously, and (B) pretty damn unimaginative and contrary to the whole spirit of the game.

        I mean, have you actually played a tabletop RPG? That's exactly what the players are supposed to do. In a sense, it's sort of like playing chess against the GM. The whole fun is trying to (A) personally be creative and (B) to challenge others to be creative, in response to some unforeseen twist. That's a _two_ way street: the GM challenges the players and the players challenge the GM.

        Heck, even that Demonicron episode's tame stuff. Look at some episodes on Full Frontal Nerdity (same site as Nodwick) for some stuff that good gamers can pull. Stuff like someone choosing the "royal blood" trait just so later they can usurp the new king of the realm, and turn the whole campaign on its head. Now that's the good stuff. That's what good players _do_.

        As long as it's not deliberately trying to annoy someone or prevent them from achieving their goals, acting unpredictably in a creative way is what RP is all about. Just following the campaign and acting in a predictable way is _boring_.

        From there it's the GM's job to react. It may be some equally surprising twist, or just proclaiming it to not be possible, or somewhere in between. That's what the game is all about.
        • i just used up the last of my mod points, otherwise you'd be getting pluses for insightful. i totally agree with you on this: based on the excerpt, Carmack destroyed the world, to spite romero, who was playing a game as he saw fit, which just happened to not be the way Carmack wanted to play it. well, guess what: when you're the DM, you should be able to remain level-headed and also retain control. if he didn't want romero to have the book, he should have had a thief steal it in the night, or have some kin
  • I'm suprised to see all the negative comments. Unfortunately I was going to do the same thing. After seeing the crap these guys have made over the years it's easy to see that they just lucked out with Doom 1. ...and Doom 3 prooves it.
  • Romero (Score:2, Informative)

    by jaemz (935009)
    Rumors of his success have been greatly exaggerated...
  • For the bashers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:48AM (#15627423)
    I worked, for a time near the end, at Ion Dallas. While I didn't work directly with Romero's team on what they were doing at the time (I worked for Tom Hall on Anarchonox), I can safely say that the bashers need to just shut the fuck up at this point. The guy didn't kill your first born. He didn't even want to "make you his bitch". That was a "joke". You know, something intended to get you "laughing", which a lot of you fail to do WITH him. You can only laugh at him, and you've never even met him. Real mature fellas. Good call. He's actually a fairly cool guy to sit around and shoot the shit with, always brimming with ideas and thoughts about things. (Though this interview strikes me really as quite absurd for a lot of reasons I won't go in to...)

    His big problem wasn't the ads, the hype, or the lack of John Carmack. His biggest failure was that he had nobody there to keep him going forward on projects. That's what he needed to keep his projects focused towards a goal, and it's what he failed to find at Ion at any point. This isn't something he said to anyone, or something said to me or anything like that. It's just what I picked up on because I have the same issue when I direct projects. If you're an easily distracted director, you should have an assistant director or producer that's really good at putting their foot down when it's time to start work, and you should listen to them.

    Romero didn't have that.

    If Daikatana had released on time and not been mediocre (yes, I played a good part of it. My feeling was that it was hopelessly mediocre for the time it was supposed to have released at originally. Not bad, just nothing amazing.) everybody would have laughed with him about the ad, the hype, and there would have been peace and love in the world.

    You wanna lump hate on somebody in the games industry? Smack Broussard around for his publically insulting other games and talking about how DNF will be better than them. Smack any jerk exec at EA (or any number of abusive publishers) around for raping their employees on hours and pay. Smack Ken Kutaragi around for being a fucktard. But c'mon guys, lay off Romero. He got over it and got on with work at Monkeystone and Midway, you asshats need to get over it too.
    • If you're an easily distracted director, you should have an assistant director or producer that's really good at putting their foot down when it's time to start work, and you should listen to them.

      No. You shouldn't be a director at all.

      Romero wasn't a capable leader, you say as much yourself. Though it's quite possible he's changed since then it was his direction and flaky leadership that caused Ion Storm to hemorrage money and the game under his direction to be mediocre.

      Ion Storm was the house that R

    • You wanna lump hate on somebody in the games industry? Smack Broussard around for his publically insulting other games and talking about how DNF will be better than them.

      People don't hate Romero, we just mock him. And we do mock Broussard and DNF. Indeed, we do it for exactly the same reason Romero earned his mocking: too much hype, too little shipped product. There is no hope that DNF will be good enough to justify the hype and the wait. Just like Diakatana failed to be good enough to justify the hype

  • I'd have to say that John Carmack was the mad scientist behind Doom. Romero was just the big mouth of idSoftware, even though he did help.
  • John Romero Should be required to add "and Daikatana" every time he talks about games he made. This guy isn't a game god no matter what people want to believe. He worked with Carmack. Carmack is apparently what made Doom and quake great. How can I tell? Doom 3, great piece of work, Daikatana, total crap.

    I'm not saying Romero has no talent, but he's a level programmer, not a designer.

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