Doom 3: a short history of shooting stuff By Molly Wood
August 2, 2004
On January 1, 1993, Id Software issued a press release announcing a "technical revolution in PC programming" designed for computers with a 386SX or better processor. That revolution was a little thing Id called Doom, in which "you play one of four off-duty soldiers suddenly thrown into the middle of an interdimensional war!"
A revolution was born. Doom brought "real-time, three-dimensional, 256-color, fully texture-mapped, multiplayer battle" to the masses and launched a game-development arms race that still rages. Much ado about Doom
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Witness the revolution
So what made Doom such a phenomenon? First of all, the graphics were unstoppable. The company improved on its own 3D engine, first developed for Wolfenstein 3D, to create graphics for Doom that were nausea-inducing. It had seemingly endless levels and created a massive 3D world that proved irresistible. It was also one of the first multiplayer games, making it a habit you could share quickly and easily. Plus, it was fun--gleeful hell-spawn blasting at its goriest, most intense, and scariest.
Doom was released on December 10, 1993, and the blitz of attention that day slowed the entire World Wide Web. By spring of 1994, Doom was the third most popular entertainment software app. The game spawned multiple versions, including Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, PSX Doom, Doom 64, and more, and it won multiple awards. Doom became "one of the most downloaded pieces of software of all time," according to Id, and sales of Doom and its sequels, when released for retail, "have sold more than 4 million copies, generating sales topping $100 million."
Then, however, silence descended and Doom cocreator John Romero left Id. The company released Quake, then Quake II--more revolutionary leaps forward in gaming that left many thinking Doom was through. Finally, in June 2000, Id cofounder and Doom developer John Carmack gave hope to the masses, announcing that the company was starting work on Doom 3, which would "once again dramatically advance first-person gaming both technically and artistically," according to the press release.
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Don't think--just shoot
After that, gamers waited. Not patiently, but they waited. Early benchmarks
, rumors, and interviews suggested astonishing frame rates, jaw-dropping graphics, and of course, more terrifying monsters and the guns with which to blast them into drippy, sopping, disgusting pieces.
Finally, after nearly five years in development, Doom 3 has landed. Early reviews
suggest that the game won't be as life-changing as the original Doom (what could be, really?) but that, indeed, the expected cinematic graphics and satisfying slaughter won't let you down.