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Carmack & Mustaine Talk Doom Resurrection For the iPhone

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the portable-demon-killing dept.

Cellphones 57

themacgamer writes "Luis Sosa had a chance to sit down with John Carmack and Tom Mustaine of id Software and discuss Doom Resurrection for the iPhone: 'At the start we thought it was just a touch screen, so you'd tap to shoot the monsters, but it was never fun; it felt too clinical. It didn't feel like you were swinging your heavy gun around to bring down the monster before he chews off your head,' said Carmack. Mustaine added, '[The shooting mechanic] was definitely a trial-and-error thing. You said the word "distilled," and that's definitely a word we've been using. We really wanted to distill the visceral Doom experience into the iPhone.' He also said, '... we have P2P co-op play that's not in the shipping version, but will come later. We didn't expect the 3.0 OS out so quickly! Two players join together, they see each other's cursors, and they either compete or co-op for a score. We're hoping to patch it in down the road. We're also looking at additional levels and potentially some stat-tracking stuff as well.'"

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ringbarer (545020) | about 5 years ago | (#28917773)

And when precious Apple pull it for whatever reason, who has to refund the customer? Eh?

Meh (1)

omegakidd (592638) | about 5 years ago | (#28917789)

Sounds awesome, but I just can't imagine this being better than playing with a keyboard and a mouse(optional).

Re:Meh (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28917849)

I was thinking nearly the same thing. Actually I was thinking something more along the lines of a tiny bluetooth game controller... maybe something about the size of a zippo lighter that can expand to the size of an NES controller and collapse into a zippo-sized hard shell that can be stowed easily in the pocket. But then again, after that, the iPhone becomes more of a display unit and needs a place to be mounted as well, but there are lots of people more clever than I am so I imagine that (1) someone else has already thought of this and even created it and (2) other aspects of the gaming experience have also been considered as well.

Re:Meh (1)

Given M. Sur (870067) | about 5 years ago | (#28918627)

I'm not sure any company would want to invest the money in that just to have to deal with Apple's spotty app store approval process. All that money could go down the drain with the waive of a finger in Cupertino.

Re:Meh (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28921995)

It's just like dealing with any other god... God giveth and taketh away... Sometimes it rains and sometimes it's sunny. God calls out the hurricanes to kill the sinner and the saint alike. The similarity in behavior is no accident. Apple is a god and should be worshipped as such.

"Praise different"

Re:Meh (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#28918849)

Connect it to the iPhone with a bracket. Problem solved.

Re:Meh (1, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 5 years ago | (#28917903)

Most iphone games aren't fun, they're money grabs.

The iPhone's touch only interface wrecks it for games.

Re:Meh (-1, Offtopic)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 5 years ago | (#28918527)

You've got to be careful. Expressing an opinion on iPhone or other Apple products will get you modded down these days. It's getting close to the blind devotion normally associated with consoles, and seems to get worse when there's negative news in the media. It may settle down, but this is a bit of a volatile time with the Google Voice fiasco in the news as well.

Re:Meh (1, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 5 years ago | (#28918603)

Except he made a blanket statement about iPhone games sucking, which is false anybody but an anti-Apple fanboy. The iPhone has many shitty games, lots of them, but there are tons of gems as well. Anybody who says any major platform has "no good games" usually that is the time to realize they are loon and not hop on board. Hate the Appstore's restrictive BS all you want but don't think the iPhone, or any other major platform has "no games". That sounds like fanboy FUD. Check sites that review mobile games for instance. There are as many 8's and 9's as you see on the big guys.

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 5 years ago | (#28918727)

He has a point as well though. Because of the popularity of the platform, there's been a huge deluge of 'crapware', much like with the Wii. You've got to check reviews, as there is an abundance of ... less than spectacular games. The lack of buttons is a limiting factor as well, although the touch screen does add capabilities as well. Personally, I think it would be a better gaming platform if it had a couple of hardware buttons. They'd be damn handy in many other situations as well. My point was that if you say anything remotely bad, you are likely to get modded down. Check around on some other stories and I think you'll find it to be true.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28919185)

Getting modded down for an anti-Apple post is about as likely as getting modded up for it, if you look at it objectively.

Re:Meh (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 5 years ago | (#28921011)

My point was that if you say anything remotely bad, you are likely to get modded down. Check around on some other stories and I think you'll find it to be true.

I've been on Slashdot a long time and I totally believe you about moderation abuses on this site. I've seen seen the ones you're talking about.

But I wanted to mention there's another side to this story. The excitement over the iPhone generated a backlash. Lots of people here started looking for reasons to not like it. (I'm sure PS3 owners know what I'm talking about.) It has gotten to a point where you can tell when somebody's making a legit complaint and when somebody's just mindlessly parroting something they've heard from somebody else. I agree, there's more nuance to it than most topics, but you are talking about something lots of people here have personal experience with.

To put it a little more succinctly: The zealotry will die down when the hatred does. Again, ask any PS3 owner about that.

Re:Meh (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#28919995)

Yeah - for years I've always browsed the Apple stories at -1, as moderation is so broken. Too many people using -1 for "I disagree".

Re:Meh (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 5 years ago | (#28936053)

Yeah, the moderation and meta moderation system has gone bad. I think they need to reset it or "shuffle" the cards.

Re:Meh (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#28919967)

To be fair, the money grab has been a common theme for mobiles years before the Iphone (write a trivial application, and charge money for it). But yes, the Iphone hype takes this to new heights, as simply adding "On your Iphone" will get tonnes of free advertising.

Witness this gem - $0.99 for an app to display an animated spinning ring [] . But not only that, they also get free advertising in national media (by the tax-funded BBC no less, who are supposed to not run adverts).

When I get a chance, I'll knock up a quick Windows app to do the same, and ask the BBC if they'll give me free advertising for it.

Never been a fan of post-Doom games (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28917803)

I'm of the opinion that Metallica was never the same after they kicked Mustaine out.

If this interloper wants to talk about "extreme" Doom-ness and other "hardcore" features, I think that we really ought to consider the quality of music that Dave Mustaine brought to heavy metal. Both with Metallica and eventually with Megadeth.

The iPhone may be a small platform, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also look at the possibilies it presents. That would be justice for all.

Re:Never been a fan of post-Doom games (1)

bckrispi (725257) | about 5 years ago | (#28934837)

You do realize that Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica before they recorded a single note of Kill 'em All, don't you?

I'm just too damn old (4, Interesting)

stokessd (89903) | about 5 years ago | (#28917893)

I've tried some of the first person shooter type games for the iPhone and i just can't get into them like I can with a keyboard and mouse. I have the same problem with console games, sure I can play them, but there just isn't the same level of immersion than WASD has for me. I guess it's time for a blanket and rocking chair instead.

The biggest challenge is aiming, if they can do something clever and creative then they will have a real winner. until then simple games like doodlejump and ragdoll blaster seem to be taking my eyeball time.


Re:I'm just too damn old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28919631)

Nah, I'm 15 and I can't use a console controller either.

Re:I'm just too damn old (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 5 years ago | (#28921051)

The Wiimote is clever and creative, and makes the Wii the most natural console for first-person shooters. The interface is far better than the 360's or PS3's for aiming and shooting, just barely worse than a mouse/keyboard combination.

Unfortunately, the potential for the Wii in this area has been pretty much ignored by EVERYBODY, consumers and developers alike.

Re:I'm just too damn old (1)

Nyubi (1604647) | about 5 years ago | (#28924213)

Yeah.. But it is good For fun, old man ;)

Re:I'm just too damn old (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#28927019)

When you get used to something, it's natural for you to feel the most comfortable with it. The modest approach to that is to say "I have gotten used to it and so I prefer it." The geek-slashdot way to approach it is to say "The keyboard and mouse are superior to all other controllers and everyone who disagrees with me is a fucking stupid heathen infidel!"

Re:I'm just too damn old (1)

WeeLad (588414) | about 5 years ago | (#28929325)

I'm not that familiar with the iPhone, but for my G1 there is a stargazing app that will show you a map of the stars for your location on earth (using GPS) depending on which direction and inclination you hold the phone (using some voodoo magic?).

I always thought that would make a fun aiming system. Sure, you'd have to stand and turn around to shoot behind you, but that seems like it would be very immersive. It might look a little strange to onlookers though.

Re:I'm just too damn old (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#28930155)

Interestingly, Carmack's comment - "It didn't feel like you were swinging your heavy gun around to bring down the monster before he chews off your head" - applies just as much to the mouse/keyboard combo. Even in Counter-Strike where you have a different movement speed depending on which weapon you're wielding, the mouselook aiming is the same speed. So the heavy machine gun "swings around" as quickly as a pistol does, without any momentum.

No free movement (2, Informative)

TrollHammer (1604811) | about 5 years ago | (#28918035)


From the original article:

And so that is the rub: Doom Resurrection lacks free movement. The devs would rather I stayed away from train references, but DR is essentially a rail shooter. (Oh, how our pampered gamer-hearts cringe at the word.) But the thing is, this is a really fucking good rail shooter that creates a sense of tempo and mood that is clearly remiss in other iPhone shooters.

To cram another analogy into this review, imagine watching a good sci-fi horror flick but at the scariest, pee-in-your-pants moment having full control of the character's Big Fucking Gun (yes, it is in the game) and then blasting the crap out of all the monsters on screen. It would be one hell of a satisfying moment, and I am fairly sure you would not be bitching about the lack of free-range movement.

Quality? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28918063)

"DRâ(TM)s graphics are nearly Doom 3 quality"

This: DR []

Versus: doom3 []

Yeah right. Almost.

Re:Quality? (3, Funny)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | about 5 years ago | (#28918125)

Your second link is bad, simple 'shopped promo material. This is how Doom3 graphics actually look like: []

Re:Quality? (1)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | about 5 years ago | (#28918315)

No, the link you provided is how Doom 3 looked for people who were playing the game on the same monitor that came with their first Packard Bell computer from 1992. Even if these monitors could display a proper picture, the idiots using them didn't have a clue as to how to adjust any of the picture settings on the monitor or in the game.

Re:Quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28918911)

somebody got yelled at by a Cacodemon.

Re:Quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28919151)

Or perhaps people are just not playing on an LCD/TFT.

Because most flat screen monitors have terrible black levels, dark images tend to look quite visible on them.
The same with web sites, that got darker and darker as web designers started using LCDs.

If I play Doom3 on my recently calibrated medical grade CRT, it looks very dark.

Re:Quality? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 5 years ago | (#28921855)

Your second link is bad, simple 'shopped promo material. This is how Doom3 graphics actually look like: []

Set GL_LensCap to 0, you fool.

Re:Quality? (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 5 years ago | (#28919207)

Well, it's at least much closer to Doom 3 graphics than Doom 2 graphics.

Re:Quality? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#28920083)

On what basis do you say that? The first question is whether it's closer to Quake than original Doom - does it feature a true 3D engine (as opposed to a 2D with height component), and use polygons for models as opposed to billboards? It's hard to tell from the screenshot.

With Doom 3, you're talking about things like per-pixel lighting, bump mapping, and real-time dynamic shadows. I can't see any evidence of that in the screenshot.

And whichever it's "closer" to, it's still nowhere near Doom 3 quality.

I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPhone (4, Insightful)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 5 years ago | (#28918111)

I bought Wolf3D for the iPhone on a whim, expecting it to be your typical iPhone game with stuttering gameplay and sluggish controls, but it really surprised me in how well it played.

I think it's easy to just think of Carmack as a genius programmer but he also really knows how to tune a game to be fun too, from reading Carmack's blog about developing iPhone Wolf3D it's clear he put a lot of thought and effort into streamlining the gameplay. He removed the high score from the game as it was fairly superfluous. He also dropped having a finite number of lives in the game so you can restart a level whenever you want. He rightly noticed that too many controls are a pain so he made door trigger automatic (like Quake). Best of all he added an auto-map to help make sense of the maze-like levels (using the old maze solving algorithm of hugging the left wall works well for most levels ;) ).

On top of all that he also wrote a game that maintains a steady frame rate and has very responsive and comfortable controls (which is very unusual in iPhone games). So, with all that in mind, I'm really champing at the bit to get his port of Doom Classic, but it still hasn't been released. I can only assume they're waiting for Doom Resurrection sales to drop off before releasing another Doom game to avoid cannibalising sales. Doom Resurrection is OK, but the tilt controls aren't that great and being on-rails it's missing the fun of being able to explore a level yourself at your own pace.

Apparently Duke Nukem is on the way as well. I hope they do as good a job of porting that as Carmack did with Wolf3D. Now if LucasArts could be persuaded to port Dark Forces and Jedi Knight.... ;)

Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 years ago | (#28921165)

I'm sorry, but you're gushing because Wolf3D doesn't suffer from "stuttering gameplay and sluggish controls" on a 400 Mhz device (with hardware FPU) and an OpenGL ES compliant GPU? Wolf3D was released in 1992, and designed to run on a 286! If it wasn't as smooth as silk then either Carmack or Apple would suck immensely. The iPhone can easily handle at least Quake 2 level engines, which is 3 generations more advanced than Wolf3D.

As someone who ported Wolf3D, Quake 1 and Quake 2 to Pocket PC over half a decade ago, I think Carmack is a bit late in entering the mobile arena with his engines. Back then everything was 100% software rendering with no FPU, requiring conversion to fixed point math to have a respectable framerate. I will say that first person shooters are right at home with devices with an actual D-Pad and touchscreen (classic PDA form factor, Nintendo DS). The D-Pad is used for motion (forward / backward and strafing), and the touchpad controls mouse-look. Firing can be an problem, but many of the Pocket PC devices allowed you to push straight in on the D-Pad for "Enter", this providing a perfect integrated fire button.

iPhone has some good capabilities, but it is also severely handicapped in certain areas, which is why Carmack produced light gun shooter, sans light gun, instead of an actual FPS.

Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 5 years ago | (#28930957)

You're right that I shouldn't be too impressed with something as basic as Wolf3D running properly on an iPhone, but have you seen some of the other attempts at 3D games on the iPhone? ;) Some of them have really appalling frame rates and unresponsive controls.

Case in point, according to Carmack when Electronic Arts first ported Wolf3D to the iPhone they were just using the CPU for everything. It wasn't until Carmack took it on that the GPU was utilised. If you're interested Carmack talks about the development process here [] .

I probably played your Quake ports back in the day, as I used to enjoy putting all the games I could find on my Pocket PC. I remember enjoying Quake on there a lot, although the d-pads on the PDAs I owned were always a bit fiddly! IIRC there was a Casio Pocket PC with a d-pad that would only accept one direction press at a time! This [] port of Quake 1 on the DS works very well given the hardware it's on, with the stylus/touchscreen being used for aiming and the d-pad being used for movement.

Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#28930363)

He rightly noticed that too many controls are a pain so he made door trigger automatic (like Quake).

How does it handle secret doors? Ammo is a bigger problem in Wolf3D than in Quake, so you can't just spay the assault gun everywhere.

Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | about 5 years ago | (#28930621)

Secret doors work like normal doors, so accidentally triggering them does happen every so often even without looking for them. That said, I have fond(?!) memories of walking against all the walls hammering my space bar looking for secrets, so I think automatic triggering might just be an improvement.

So far ammo hasn't been too bad, I don't know if that was tweaked or not but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. Generally, I find myself short on ammo at the start of a new chapter where you get stripped of all your weapons but your ammo reserves soon build up again.

It's Fun (5, Interesting)

ericcj (1574601) | about 5 years ago | (#28918341)

Any hack can make a gorgeous looking 3D world. id has always led the pack by delivering that experience under real-world hardware constraints.

I downloaded this expecting a ported version of the 1993 Doom. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed when a fully 3D environment with Doom 3 media loaded up.

NASA does super cool work, but they have billions of dollars and an army of PhD's at their disposal. We like MacGyver because he solves problems with whatever he's given. iPhone developers are given a 412 MHz ARM processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a touch screen.

I think John Carmack and Co. are excited about developing for the iPhone because it's a fresh technical challenge for them. DR is an impressive accomplishment. Given the hardware constraints, and the fact that the game needs to be fun, I'm not sure what I would have done differently.

Re:It's Fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28918873)

Any hack can make a gorgeous looking 3D world.

I disagree. I'm interested to hear whether or not you work in the games industry, though.

Re:It's Fun (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 years ago | (#28919043)

it's a small screen so you don't need as much hardware as you would on a 19 inch LCD. and i've read that the 3G is about halfway between the DS and the PSP in hardware. the 3G S has a separate graphics GPU and i've heard some people claim it's more powerful than a PSP

Re:It's Fun (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#28919281)

I agree that id's forte has been working under real-world hardware constraints, which is why they were so dominant early on in the development of 3d (well, pseudo-3d at the time) games. But I'll have to say this still doesn't look like it'll be fun: not all constrained design results with interesting challenges result in good games...

Re:It's Fun (1)

ericcj (1574601) | about 5 years ago | (#28920341)

I'm waiting for the abacus Doom port.

Re:It's Fun (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 years ago | (#28921231)

NASA does super cool work, but they have billions of dollars and an army of PhD's at their disposal. We like MacGyver because he solves problems with whatever he's given. iPhone developers are given a 412 MHz ARM processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a touch screen.

I think John Carmack and Co. are excited about developing for the iPhone because it's a fresh technical challenge for them.

I'm being a cynic, but they aren't in this for the challenge. Three actual reasons:
1) Over 30 million iPhones / iPod Touches sold - a large customer base to purchase software
2) Tightly controlled, single point application sales and distribution system (iTunes app store)
3) Powerful mobile hardware with FPU and GPU (relative to other mobile gaming consoles - DS, PSP, etc)

Nearly a decade ago this type of thing was a challenge [] , but now it's quite ordinary.

A better idea. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28918749)

Fuck the iPhone and Apple. Develop it for Android based phones.

Re:A better idea. (4, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | about 5 years ago | (#28918833)

I know you're trolling, but I'll reply quickly anyway - Google make no promises about what kind of hardware you're going to get with an Android phone, making it impossible to develop these kind of games. There's no guarantee you'll have a touchscreen, a keyboard, hardware buttons, etc. There are also no promises about the CPU/GPU you'll have available, making it even harder. Just read the docs for both platforms and you'll soon see that iPhone OS allows for a great deal more, mainly because you can make certain assumptions about the hardware. Writing a game for Android is like writing a game for the PC, you don't know how much RAM you have, or what your CPU, your GPU, or your input devices are. Writing a game for iPhone is like writing for a console - you know exactly what's on the other end, so you can optimise your code to the nth degree.

Re:A better idea. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#28920129)

So develop for a particular type of Android phone that meets the requirements. There are plenty of them about (though we never hear about them on News For Nerds). And you'll know exactly what their spec is.

Btw, different versions of the Iphone have had different amounts of memory, as well as different processors (see [] ), so what you say isn't true anyway.

Re:A better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28920653)

When you publish something to the App Store, you set a target.
If you develop something for the 3G S, it'll only be available to people with a 3G S. Similarly, if you develop for the iPod Touch (which is the baseline reference), it'll be available to all the Cocoa Touch platforms,

I really was hoping... (2, Funny)

billius (1188143) | about 5 years ago | (#28919131)

that this was news of some sort of new Doom game with a soundtrack by Megadeth. Oh well, a man can dream, can't he!

Re:I really was hoping... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about 5 years ago | (#28921465)

I was particularly amused by the !dave tag on the story.

Re:I really was hoping... (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 5 years ago | (#28921571)

Well Dave (+Megadeth) did the Gears Of War theme song, so it is plausible that Dave could be involved in the gaming industry... I'll just keep hoping.

Re:I really was hoping... (1)

bckrispi (725257) | about 5 years ago | (#28934855)

Well, they did do a cover of the Duke Nukem 3D theme.

to sum up... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 5 years ago | (#28922519)

id Software:

Technical Mad Skillz: +10
Creativity, originality: what?

I will always pay them homage and due respect for inventing a genre that I loved for many years. I fully believe it's possible that they will be the first ones to figure out how to put the R in VR on home-quality hardware.

But Doom3 finally convinced me they've got NOTHING in the box as far as a single new idea under the sun for the story.

of Megadeth? (1)

specific (963862) | about 5 years ago | (#28922857)

Dave Mustain on the iPhone?

Yes, same Mustaine that made 3DReam's DNF theme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28923547)

You wish.

Keep listening to Lazytown feat Lil' Jon, "It's a peice of cake to bake a pretty cake."

Mustaine! (1)

Robert Goatse (984232) | about 5 years ago | (#28930287)

I'm a big fan of Megadeth, but I can't help but wonder what if Mustaine stayed with Metallica.

Re:Mustaine! (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 5 years ago | (#28936077)

Ouch, I would have had to listen to a band with Lars Ulrich in it. oh no, the horror.

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