Doom 3: The Sourcening Approaches

Don't make me, er, shine my flashlight on you

So on the ball is RPS that the first post even slightly related to spooky goings-on we’ve run this week comes a full day after Hallowe’en. That’s just our shtick – spurning pagan festivals is what we do, as is being too lazy/non-cynical to compile ‘TOP TEN SCARIEST NOSES IN VIDEOGAMES’ posts to farm traffic.

Spooky this really isn’t, but it does concern aged, ultra-darkened, infamous manshoot Doom 3, the long-awaited source code release for which is finally near. “DOOM 3 source is packaged and tested, we are waiting on final lawyer clearance for release,” claimed id tech guru and lover of non-existent drivers John Carmack on the Twitters yesterday. So, in theory, an enormous amount of unfettered access to the still-power id Tech 4 could arrive in modders’ and developers’ hands any day now. I reckon some quite amazing indie/amateur stuff could be created off the back of it.


  1. MuscleHorse says:

    Whatever your thoughts are on Doom 3 as a game, graphically it has aged very well and still looks pretty good today. Excited to see what comes from this.

    Oh, and you had a spooky post yesterday – the Binding of Isaac Halloween update thingy.

    • Alec Meer says:


      (But only because doing so would undermine my poorly-researched introduction).

    • MuscleHorse says:

      (in quietest mouse voice) and Cardboard Children was zombie themed(/quietest mouse voice)

    • Alec Meer says:

      Will ‘RPS writer takes own life in shame’ be a suitably horrifying headline for you?

      (Don’t answer that, any resident trolls who might be reading).

    • Theory says:

      You must be joking! It’s a hideous engine. Wonderful dynamic lighting, horrid everything else.

      Let’s put it this way: Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 came out in the same year.

    • Khemm says:

      With Sikkmod and Wulfen’s Texture Pack it actually looks better than many AAA games on the market.
      It got criticized back in the day for monster closets and reliance on cheap scares, but it really was and still is a good game. Too bad the weapons – their models, sounds – didn’t do the name “Doom” justice. Shotgun in particular sucked.

      By the way, Rage has an awesome “feel” to the weapons, so maybe there’s hope for Doom 4. What I especially like is you aren’t forced to use ironsights – the guns are very accurate. THANK YOU, ID.

    • roryok says:

      peoples faces certainly did look a bit inside-out-bulldog-y

    • BooleanBob says:

      The M:TG rap video was also horror, of a kind.

    • soldant says:

      @Theory: Yes, I know HL2 came out the same year as D3. That’s why shadows could easily bleed through level geometry and appear through objects, because it relied largely on lightmaps. HL2’s impressive graphics is only in the facial and character animation. If you pull apart a HL2 level it’s mostly large brushes with textures plastered on it and a bit of clutter. Pull apart a D3 map and the amount of level detail per area is a lot higher. I’ve mapped with both engines and looked at the maps from both games, the two are entirely different and not easily comparable.

      EDIT: I meant lightmapping, not shadow maps.

  2. arrjayjee says:

    I didn’t mind Doom 3. Wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t a train wreck either. I really liked the interface they used, where the crosshair became a cursor on monitors and whatnot, and wish more people would use such an intuitive UI. The scares got repetitive and predictable, but it was a decent demon-man-shoot, and has aged better than most games of its era.

    • soldant says:

      I agree, it wasn’t a fantastic game but I think it was definitely a solid one. The biggest issue I had with it was that it was a little long for what it was, plus the monster closets got really annoying after a while. Walk forward, turn around, oh noes monstah, etc. I think one of the reasons it holds up well is because of the dynamic lighting, which was really fantastic back then and still works well today. It’s just a shame that the tech at the time ran off “shadow = pitch black” thinking or crawled with too many light sources in the one area.

  3. roryok says:

    Manhacks. Defintely Manhacks.

    • Apples says:

      We’re talking about the top ten scariest noses in games, not noises!

      Edit: I nominate Niko Bellic’s nose

    • mandrill says:

      The ping of motion detectors originally from the movies but used to great effect in AvP 1+2.

      As to noses… erm… I can’t think of any.

  4. The Tupper says:

    Am I understanding correctly: that iD are releasing the entire code of the Doom 3 engine for people to do whatever they want with?

    • soldant says:

      To be fair a lot of the things for Doom 3 were actually part of plain-text files (like the actual scripts that drove the AI). They’re releasing the engine code like they do with pretty much all their games. The key point though is that the content itself won’t be free.

    • The Tupper says:

      It’s very nice of them all the same. It’s a hugely powerful tool – in hands other than mine, of course.

      A hearty slap on the back and a round of applause for iD it is then.

    • CMaster says:

      iD have done that for all their games eventually. It may not happen with Rage however, what with Zenimax media now being in control.

    • DeathCarrot says:

      Zenimax owning the Rage IP shouldn’t matter, id Tech 5 is just the engine Rage was developed on. If Zenimax allows id Tech 4 to be released, I don’t see why they wouldn’t let id Tech 5 out.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Well Zenimax had to give them the okay for this one, didn’t they? I thought I remember John Carmack saying that they completely supported him on it, and a company lawyer came up to him at their Christmas party to tell him she thought it was important.

    • othello says:

      I’m pretty sure Carmack wouldn’t be too happy if they didn’t let him release source.

      Oh, and the reason they are waiting for lawyers is because it’s highly likely there is some bit of code that has been patented by someone else in there and they need to make sure they can’t be sued. ID actually takes quite a risk releasing their source, since it’s almost impossible to write code without infringing on someone’s patents.

    • The Tupper says:

      I knew that the first Quake tech had been released but I didn’t know that they had continued the practice. Given how shiny and (still) contemporary-looking the Doom 3 engine appears (on the surface, at least) it pleasantly surprises me.

  5. Lamarovic says:

    I did not like Doom 3 very much. In comparison to previous instalments (Doom 1 or Doom 2) it has more fancy looks but it is not so funny as these old games. But it is maybe due to the fact that I was a boy when Doom 1 was published and I am an adult now.

    • MD says:

      Growing up doesn’t help, but I don’t think that was the only reason. Doom 3 was a lot slower, with a lot less balls-to-the-wall action. Which is frustrating, because surely speed and franticness were the best things about Doom in the first place.

    • Khemm says:

      Yes, Doom 3 almost tried to be a survival horror – while I definitely agree with id that Doom should be creepy and keep you on your toes, the “scare” factor in Doom 1&2 came from the amazing music and demons attacking you in huge numbers – it made you fire like mad, go back and eventually hit a wall behind you while the enemies were still charging. Doom 3 replaced that tension with demons hiding in closets, which was… well, not a good idea.

    • zeroskill says:

      Thats just how most people thought about Doom 3. Its wasn’t a bad game by any means, but it just wasn’t the Doom game people where wishing for, me included. In most cases, it just doesn’t go well if you take fan favorite franchises and make them…different, as opposed to, evolving a franchise in a natural way, capturing the essence and bringing it to todays standards, which isn’t an easy thing to do, granted. Not every games developer is as gifted as lets say, Valve or Blizzard.

  6. Kefren says:

    I loved the Phantasm and Event Horizon mods.

  7. Mechorpheus says:

    I’ve had a play around with some of the stuff people have put together before the code came out and it’s pretty damned impressive already, such as that mod ‘Perfected Doom 3’ which has been floating around ModDB. Although this did show up the flaws in AMDs OpenGL drivers even before the whole RAGE debacle, as the game would routinely crash or run like a dog when attempting anything approaching ‘pretty’.

  8. DeathCarrot says:

    I’ll definitely have a rummage around, always nice to see what kind of code the guys at the top write. It won’t be able to compete with UDK or Unity for those who are willing to put money into an engine, and probably not as easy to get to grips with as Irrlicht or OGRE for those who need a free solution (but I guess it does come with a proper editor). Could be used as a base for something new I guess, there are a few decent engines that were originally forks of an id engine.

    • InternetBatman says:

      My favorite game on an id engine is Jedi Knight II. It would be nice if they would start licensing their current engine so Unreal could have a decent competitor.

    • DeathCarrot says:

      Unfortunately id’s engines aren’t known to be very developer friendly. id Tech 4 is the first generation to use C++ instead of C, which is good, but UE has UnrealScript which is considerably quicker to get things done in. I haven’t used any of id’s tools in years, but when I last checked, UnrealEd was in a completely different league to Radiant and whatever other tools were needed for id engines.

      Also they’d need to be a lot friendlier to modders. From what I understand, that’s one of the main reasons for UE’s success; they have a massive following of modders who end up making their own studios or are being hired by firms to make UE games.

      Not to say that id Tech 5 won’t be used. I’m sure it’ll get a fair bit of use in Bethesda published shooters.

  9. Gundrea says:

    The best thing about Doom 3 was the Thief mod.

  10. Cooper says:

    Dark Mod!


    That’s the only thing to be genuinely excited about with this news.

    I know The Dark mod has been covered by RPS before, but now there’s loads of genuinely very, very good maps/missions available. I installed it the other day and was bloody impressed by it all.

    Given Thi4f is on the way, it deserves another look-see.

    • Dervish says:

      The Dark Mod will still not be standalone, as it uses Doom 3 assets.

    • Derpentine says:

      Some of us on the team are working towards this, yes – however some of the models / animations and sounds that are used are a bit tricky to recreate. We’re always looking for people willing to help with code/asset tasks – so you never know! :)

      At the very least we should be able to bump up the performance quite a bit – and perhaps look at some fancier gameplay stuff :)

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @ Dervish: The open sourcing of the engine might give them the incentive to remake those assets so it can be stand alone.

      EDIT: Looks like it has.

  11. buzzmong says:

    Oooh, this could prove interesing.

    It will be a solid platform to develop content on, the only problem for small studios or individuals is that as each generation of game engine progresses, it takes longer and longer to generate each piece of content.

    Still, a half decent mod team should be able to make good use of it.

  12. Aspongeinmauve says:

    A lot of the textures in Doom 3 looked a million times (exageration) better than some of the muddy brown ones in Rage. Apart from the weapons not feeling very meaty and powerful, Doom 3 was a solid fps. Definitely a milestone in terms of tech too.

  13. Sigvatr says:

    This is just a distraction from the fact that Rage blows. He’s trying to trick us. Be on your guard.

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