Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Final Doom Review

Game:  Final Doom
Year (s):  1996
Company:  dev.  TeamTNT, Casali brothers, id Software
pub.  many
Engine:  id Tech 1
Type:  First-Person Shooter
Metacritic Score: Not Available
My Score:  ker-BLAM!

Price (as of September 18, 2012)

Regular price on Steam:  $9.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (used, with shipping):  $10-15

Game Time: 15-20 hours on default, cheating whenever things got stupid

Obligatory Trailer:  http://www.videodetective.com/games/final-doom/144391

See Also

Doom/Doom 2 Review:  http://fpsandmtg.blogspot.com/2010/12/doom-doom-2-reviewed.html

Plot and Engine

Final Doom is comprised of two 32-level episodes, each utilizing monsters, weapons, and textures from Doom 2.  Both have minor plots of, "portals, demons, blah blah blah."  Final Doom was built on the Doom engine (id Tech 1), so there's no surprises in appearance.

Developers and Gameplay

Plutonia Experiment was developed by the Casali brothers, who were chosen to develop half of Final Doom after sending some of their levels to American McGee.  The first half of Plutonia almost exclusivly featured only the hardest enemies, and ranged in difficulty from "challenging" to "possibly impossible."  The latter half of had a more balanced monster selection, and the closest-to-Doom feel of Final Doom.

Evilution was developed by TeamTNT, a group of WAD-making fans that were active on the Doom editing mailing list.  Their contribution was going to be released for free, but the project was acquired by id before that happened.  Evilution favored large numbers of enemies, the majority of which are humans and imps.  Compared to Plutonia, these were easy.  Evilution uses midi files that I hadn't heard before.

Not to be Confused With...

Thy Flesh Consumed was an additional, damn-hard episode added to the edition of Doom entitled, "The Ultimate Doom."

Master Levels for Doom 2 was an expansion pack for Doom 2.  This contained 21 new levels, which were contracted to third-party developers by id.

Maximum Doom, commercially sold, had nearly 3000 levels.  These were mostly a compilation of amateur WADs found on the internet, so quality was not guaranteed.

Final Thoughts

This is very dated.  I would have played it to death when released, but this was my first time playing it.  While I still appreciate it for what it is, I've become spoiled with more recent games, and have little patience for finding, "that damn switch."

Level design was inconsistent, and the programmer's fondness for a select handful of enemies made progression tedious.  All in all, Final Doom is more Doom gameplay with subpar design.  I find nostalgia in the originals and felt that this (which I first played about fifteen years after release) fell flat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Corinne Yu: Someone You Should Know

Corinne Yu: Someone You Should Know

Currently, Yu works for Microsoft as a principal engine programmer for the Halo team. That's pretty great in a field where Lara Croft is the best-known female. But that's not all!

Here's a short game programming resume:
-Lead Engine Programmer for Prey, published by 3D Realms
-Director of Technology for ION Storm, the developers of Deus Ex
-Director of Technology for Gearbox, developers of Borderlands

As you can see, Yu has been at several companies, working with diverse engines and approaches. But that's not all!

Corinne Yu has contributed to the space shuttle program, and has been involved with US particle accelerators. The Department of Energy honored her with a national award for her nuclear physics research. She has also earned accolades from the Game Developers Conference.

But that's not all! On top of all that, she's cute, married, and raising a daughter.

I don't need to say anything else. An amazing individual: Corinne Yu is a name you should know.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tribes: Ascend Reviewed

Tribes: Ascend
Year (s):  2012
Company:  dev.  Hi-Rez Studios
pub.  Hi-Rez Studios
Engine:  Unreal Engine 3 (modified)
Type:  First-Person Multiplayer Shooter
Metacritic Score:  87
My Score:  A solid release for the Skiing/Jetpack genre.

Price (as of September 4, 2012)

Regular price on Steam:  Free To Play
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  More Than Free

Game Time:  Ad Nauseum

Obligatory Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oevWde_F-yU


Like most multiplayer-oriented shooters, there is no apparent plot.  There's nothing to say about the engine.  I will have an entry in the next month concerning engines.


Two things attracted me to this.  One, it was free.  Two, I'd heard good things about Tribes games ten years ago and wanted to get a taste.  It didn't taste like much.

This follows the Free To Play ("Freemium") model of sale.  The basics are free, but if you want access to every weapon and character class, you'll either have to cough up some coin or play like it's your job.  Personally, I prefer to pay upfront instead of being nickel and dimed.

The gameplay itself is multiplayer focused, with the usual gametypes.  Instead of having to run, players can quickly ski downhill, and maintain momentum by activating the jetpack at the hill's trough.  Momentum accumulates, so masters of the game zip around like crazy.  I didn't have access to everything, but some classes seemed clearly superior, at least to a casual noob.

Combat resembled children playing soccer.  Two dozen players swarm a spot, flying and skiing and blasting away.  The largess of movement hinders aiming.  After spawning, players try to find that nugget of action on the large, otherwise uneventful, maps.  

Learning the basics is aided by a crazy amount of tutorials.  Unfortunately, these buffer from the internet instead of drawing from the downloaded game file.  Not ideal.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

For this, DLC are content that will be unlocked if purchased.  I don't care to look if there are sequels.

Final Thoughts

I like the skis + jetpack movement, but I felt the game was inept chaps on huge maps, with what seemed like uneven (and sometimes indistinguishable) classes.  Team Fortress 2 is superior for your freemium multiplayer needs.