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Masters of Doom

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the buwahaha dept.

Quake 484

kevin42 writes "Everyone who was into computers 10 years ago knows about Doom. Less people are familiar with Wolf3D, and even fewer people ever played any of the Commander Keen games. But those of us who played them when they were cutting edge games couldn't wait for what would come next. To hard-core gamers, these games were amazing, and important. The change came with DOOM; suddenly everyone was interested in this groundbreaking game." Kevin reviews below David Kushner's Masters of Doom.

Virtual reality was the craze of the time, and Doom offered a glimpse into what it was all about. But this innovative game did not come from any of the "big" video game developers of the time, and it was not the built by a large team with huge resources. Although it was the product of many people's efforts, it was primarily the creative genius of two people, both named John.

John Carmack and John Romero are names that every self-respecting Slashdot reader knows. Carmack even posts here occasionally (hi John!). Until I read this book, I knew very little about the personal life of Carmack, and I thought I probably knew too much about Romero. Like many, I have been intrigued by their successes (and failures), and was interested in learning more about what makes them tick.

Masters of Doom starts off with a chapter for each John, telling stories from their childhood that made me realize they were just typical American kids, with the same kind of problems that many of us probably had. These are important chapters, and the author repeatedly references these stories throughout the book. Although the book chronologically covers the entire lives of the two Johns, most of the book details their working years, from their time at Softdisk until now.

This is where the book was most interesting to me. The details of the camaraderie that existed among the team made me feel like I was there. The author got a lot of his information from personal interviews with people, and it really shows in his writing style. First-person accounts are woven together so you get to know what each person was thinking while the story plays out. For instance when the id team met with Sierra On-Line in 1992, you get first-person impressions from both sides of the meeting, giving the reader a lot of insight that you would ordinarily never get.

For me, the book's climax was during the initial releases of Doom, when huge checks were pouring in. Things were going really well for the team at this point, and the book describes things like John C. and John R. dropping off a check for five million dollars at the bank's drive-through, while riding in one of their Ferraris. Although things were looking great for the team at this time, the future really held turmoil and disappointment.

The only negative comment I have about this book is not really a criticism of the book itself, or even the author. I believe the story was accurate, and while it didn't have any shocking new information, it left me feeling sad to see such a powerful combination of talent break apart because of personality conflict, and sad at the thought that Carmack seemed to be losing interest in id Software. The book does mention Carmack's current interests in rocketry (which are even more exciting to me than his games), and Romero seems to have settled into a life he is enjoying, but the mood of the book seemed very depressing to me in the end.

Anyone who is a gamer or a self-taught programmer like Carmack and Romero would enjoy this book. The book does not require the reader to know much about games or computer programming, but I suspect it might be uninteresting to people who aren't either gamers or interested in computers. To the average Slashdot reader though, I would definitely recommend this book.


You can purchase Masters of Doom from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Cheaper at Amazon!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6745989)

Re:Cheaper at Amazon!! (5, Funny)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746245)

Enter the latest in Trolling techniques: "It's cheaper at Amazon!"

I guess the best reply is:
"You must be new here! We don't buy from Amazon."

Re:Cheaper at Amazon!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746272)

Way to go, amazon-associate-percentage-reaping-whore!

Money-Whore! Mod down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746301)

This person's got their amazon associates name in the URL...they're trying to make money off you!

I remember that... (5, Interesting)

qat (637648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746011)

ah yes the good 'ol days, playing "Ultimate Doom" and "Heretic" on a 28.8 dialup. I miss those days :( Now you have to worry about some kidiot with an aimbot and wallhacks getting ready to AWP your ass through wall.

Re:I remember that... (2, Interesting)

yamcha666 (519244) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746194)

I still have original copies of Doom, Wolf3D, and a handful of Commander Keen, 'cept I always have troubling running the games on my Win2k and WinXP computers. Sometimes the games won't run period, or there will be missing sound (for example).

My friend's got it worse on Win98 - He can play the games for a good 1/2 before he bluescreens.

I know this may be off-topic to the story, but does anyone have quick tips on how to play these DOS-age games on modern day OS's and hardware?

Re:I remember that... (5, Informative)

Fryed (205364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746299)

The first thought that comes to my mind is probably not the easiest solution, and I must admit I haven't tried it before, so I don't know for sure that it'll work, but it might be worth trying...

Install Bochs [sourceforge.net] , and install a version of DOS onto that (I wonder if FreeDOS [freedos.org] will work?) This will insure that the game is running on the OS it was really designed for (particularly if you use an old copy of MS-DOS rather than FreeDOS), and it will keep the game from trying to run too fast, since the emulation overhead will slow it down a bit. I think Bochs also includes a way to forcibly slow the CPU down even further if necessary.

Anyone have any experience trying this setup? I'm curious as to how well it would work...

Good ol' days (5, Funny)

OneIsNotPrime (609963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746218)

28.8 dial up? You call that the Good ol' days? You little whippersnappers don't know nothin' about the good ol' days.

When I was your age, all we had was seven computers in the whole world, five of them were in Nigeria, and they were connected by old loops of string. Instead of packets, you had to put a color coded ribbon on it and pull the string for 60 hours until the ribbon got to the other guy. Then he had to manually enter the data into his computer via punchcards and smoke signals, and we liked it that way!

We didn't have no fancy 3D engines, or even 2D, all we had was 1 dimensional games, lines with broken spaces in between and you had to pretend the long ones were space cowboys and the short ones were mutant trolls. It took 84 hours of processing time to draw 1 pixel, and we liked it that way!

You spoiled bratts and your instant messaging eDoom 7.0++ with real time anti-aliased bitmaps don't know nuthin about the good ol' days.

Re:I remember that... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746292)

Herectic! Yes! We played that over our own Arcnet network. I think we had TV grade coax running around our house and a pretty simply "hub" on the landing at the top of the stairs. It was pretty good too: IIRC, we could get 150KiB/s on FTP between our Slackware boxes.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746012)

holy fuck!

MASTER OF FAILURE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746068)

2. ???
3. Profit !

Pffft .... Commander Keen (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746014)

Don't try to rewrite history! Wolf 3D and Doom were great games, but Commander Keen stunk day one.

Re:Pffft .... Commander Keen (0)

fear2k (669032) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746074)

There were far worse games, (ie: quake 3). These games were atleast original.....

Re:Pffft .... Commander Keen (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746198)

Pffft right back at you.

Granted, the first Cmdr Keen (pts 1/2/3) did stink. But the following ones were pretty damn sweet. The level and character design were very imaginative.

Re:Pffft .... Commander Keen (1)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746293)

Says who? God knows I wasted enough hours playing them.

Re:Pffft .... Commander Keen (0)

illFatedloveMunky (697428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746338)

i thought they were great games as a kid and i had no idea about the technical. but just to let you know commander keen was a technical marvel when it came out. my information is very sketchy but to my knowledge it was the first side scroller on the pc that actually scrolled well and playable, at a good pace. carmack was trying to emulate what super mario 3 worked like. i cant remember any more technicals but hopefully this was interesting

Re:Pffft .... Commander Keen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746339)

1 word trumps them all (in it's day at least)

Kroz!

lacks talent (5, Informative)

craigtay (638170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746015)

While this book was a nice read for me, it would have been terrible for most. It was written very poorly. The only thing that kept me going was learning all the little things about the people who created doom that I didn't know before. I struggled through some parts of it, and was almost embaressed by others. Great read for those who are interested in the subject, but for people who have a passing interest.. I suggest looking elesewhere.

Re:lacks talent (5, Funny)

DiS[EnDeR] (195812) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746097)

Was reading this like going to theme park at the age of 10 and riding the tea-cups realising after about a minute that your way past the age you should be riding the tea cups?

Re:lacks talent (2, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746228)

Teacups don't get fun until you get enough older kids in there to get it spinning so fast that nobody can move their arms to the wheel in the center anymore. As a kid they were always kinda lame, but now they're centripetally delicious.

mod parent up (4, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746252)

Precisely: very poor writing + very interesting subject = good book despite the prose.

My favorite snippet (paraphrasing): "It was 1991, and John Romero wanted to program in a hot new programming language called 'C'." (emphasis mine)

The Rating (1)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746016)

Is it excellent because it's a great book, or because it's being reviewed on Slashdot?

Re:The Rating (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746179)

If you'll trust some random idiot who posts on Slashdot, I found the book to be pretty informative and full of stuff I didn't know yet -- however, some bits were poorly written. I'd give it a 75%.

Re:The Rating (-1, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746268)

It's excellent because it's about Carmack. It could be the sloppyest most sophomoric prose you ever read.

It could be four pages long, written in engrish, and have crude hand drawn pictures of penises filling out the rest.

It's about Carmack, and a good slashbot never passes up a chance to kiss his ass.

Not true about Commander Keen (1)

jpsst34 (582349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746020)

If you bought a Gravis Gamepad in the early-to-mid-90's, you got Commander Keen (adventure 4, I think) for free. I was quite familiar with Doom and Wolf3D, but I wasn't a 'gamer,' so I didn't have developer loyalty and didn't care who "Id" was and had never heard of Commander Keen. When I bought my Gravis with the Spree-looking buttons, it changed that.

"self-respective" (0, Troll)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746022)

John Carmack and John Romero are names that every self-respecting Slashdot reader knows.

Please, I do not respect myself for knowing them. I also respect more people who don't know them that people who do.

Re:"self-respective" (1, Flamebait)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746136)

You dork. He didn't say that knowing these names was a cause for self-respect.

He is playing on the stereotype (albeit a mostly accurate one) of the slashdot reader as being a computer geek.

And that cliche involves the appreciation of video games. So - he says if you consider yourself a typical slashdot reader you know who these people are. If you don't than . . . You must be new here.

Re:"self-respective" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746290)

Jesus...I'm pretty sure his point was that if you read this site, you're probably technically inclined, and there's a good chance you would know who these people are...

Calm down!

Re:"self-respective" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746313)

"I also respect more people who don't know them that people who do."

Then you respect me.

I don't give a damn about doom now or then and even less about the people who created it. I have been too busy living a real life to live in a fantasy world. I didn't know about doom ten years ago and now know only that its some kind of stupid computer game. The only thing good that came out of the computer game industry is the motivation for the development of super fast 3d graphics hardware.

I was "into" computers (professional software developer) almost 40 years ago. Long before most slashdotters were even a twinkle in their parents eyes. Likely even before some of their parents were born. Before even UNIX or its little sister, Linux was created.

Yes, there was a before Linux. The universe did not pop into existence just a few short years ago. There was even a before computers. I know, I was there.

One of the things I find annoying... (5, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746027)

is that first person shooters after Doom were called "doom like" instead of "Wolfenstein3D like."

I suppose "doom" is easier to say, but it doesn't give credit to the real first, the one that opened the floodgates.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (1, Interesting)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746103)

Well, you are correct in saying that Wolf3D was first, but Doom was by far, more popular and widespread. There wasn't a kid in North America who hadn't heard of it, and Wolf3D, while being cultishly classic, was not nearly as well known. So, while it may have started the FPS genre, it Doom popularized it and made it mainstream.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746174)

Would Doom have happened without the success of Wolf3D? I view Wolf3D as a successful proof of concept that enbabled greater things a chance to happen.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (5, Insightful)

Epistax (544591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746142)

They are as much Doom and Wolfenstein3D like as Snood is Tetris like. It's just a genre given a recognizable term. Many more people know the name Doom than Wolfenstein, even with this latest Return to Castle Wolfenstein thing. I've hear "Quake style" all the time now. Is there a reason we can't say FPS?

When I am describing a game and relate it to another game as oppose to a genre, I actually mean it. If I say a game is Unreal Tournament style, I mean it is cartoonish in graphics, more focused on gameplay than reality (wild and crazy), etc. If something is GTA like (oh don't anyone dare call this a regular FPS) I mean it's open-world'd, fun just do to random things in, etc.

Bad spelling is not an indication of bad thought, it's just not wanting to take the time to post into a word processor.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (2, Insightful)

pcardoso (132954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746145)

or really, Ultima Underworld-like.. Of course it's another type of game, but the 3d concept was there first.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (5, Interesting)

coreytamas (411374) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746148)

One reason I think Doom stands above Wolf as the real father of first person shooter games is because it broke ground with internet multiplayer "deathmatch" type gaming that you could actually use. Many, if not most modern FPS games promote multiplayer as at least half of the product, and in that sense Doom is actually a front-runner.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (1)

Sethus (609631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746233)

Another time this happened (sort of) was the release of Jedi Knight, which technically was Dark Forces 2, but for some reason was never called that by people.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (1)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746240)

And one of the things that I find annoying is that every real-time strategy game is a "Command and Conquer clone", instead of a Dune II clone, which many people might remember as the first RTS of the type, and which incidentally was made by Westwood as well.

Re:One of the things I find annoying... (4, Interesting)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746247)

"I suppose "doom" is easier to say, but it doesn't give credit to the real first, the one that opened the floodgates."

The first, of course, would be Ultima Underworld from Looking Glass Studios which made it out the door just before wolf3d. That game still kicks some major booty even today.

One has to wonder... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746030)

...how odd it must feel having people rip apart your life for dissemination to the public. I suppose you get used to it, but it would probably freak me out. I much prefer to have a separate public life and a private life, thank you. Of course, that gets into the question of why people find other's private lives interesting. Soap operas maybe?

Fame vs. Money. (0)

I'm a racist. (631537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746243)

Hey, if I was dropping off a $5million check in my Ferarri, I think I could put up with some loss of privacy.

I've watched some of this Celebrities Uncensored [eonline.com] show, and I'll never get over how these fuckers feel violated in some way. They live a life of exceeding priveledge, giving back essentially nothing in return. Any one of them could be easily replaced (and there are plenty of losers waiting to pounce, should the opportunity arise). Don't go seeking to be famous, and then shun it once you get it. Take some responsibility.

Admittedly, John Carmack is quite a different case than Shannen Dougherty. He didn't necessarily seek fame. He's not excessively famous either, but I could see it getting to be a bit of a pain-in-the-ass for him. The same goes for Romero (although I think he enjoys fame more). I've never met either of them, but Romero and I have a friend in common, so I'm basing my opinions on what I've heard from that source.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit... the point is, it might not be so great to have everyone peering into your life, but they've certainly been compensated for their discomfort. The same goes for Bill Gates, George Clooney, Princess Diana, and whoever else.

Re:One has to wonder... (1)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746254)

Of course, that gets into the question of why people find other's private lives interesting. Soap operas maybe?

Vicarious living. People just want to know about others lives that are more exciting or "dangerous" so that they can get an outlet for a different existence without leaving the confines of their couch.

In related news, Linux users now resembling ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746034)

Goatse man, after the reaming delivered by SCO.

Changed My World (5, Interesting)

Bruha (412869) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746035)

When I was in High School my teacher knew some people over at ID and we got to alpha and beta test Doom in computer club. I remember the still monsters and walls you would fall through and the numerous crashes we would have. Even then the game was a total blast.

Re:Changed My World (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746107)

You masturbate a lot, don't you?

Re:Changed My World (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746190)

Man, You're gay!

I'm suprised you didn't commit suicide for being a virgin throughout high-school.

Hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746036)

I care about Carmacks personal life.

I watch queer as folk religiously hoping to catch a glimpse of my idol.

Blast off you teabagger.

All Good But... (1)

DiS[EnDeR] (195812) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746040)

I'll wait till the movie comes out.
I hear they got John Woo.

Hi Kevin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746042)

Your report reads like a second grade essay on "How I spent my Summer Vacation".

Please turn at least 12 before submitting any more "reviews", kthx.

It's not necessarily the breakup that saddens me.. (4, Funny)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746048)

"I believe the story was accurate, and while it didn't have any shocking new information, it left me feeling sad to see such a powerful combination of talent break apart"

It saddens me that Romero ever made Daikatana. Perhaps the greatest disaster ever witnessed by man could have been avoided.

Re:It's not necessarily the breakup that saddens m (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746137)

"Perhaps the greatest disaster ever witnessed by man could have been avoided."

Chernobyl wasn't a man-made disaster that could have been avoided? Even that I wouldn't classify as one of the greatest.

IT'S TURKEY TIME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746266)

" Gobble gobble!"

Re:It's not necessarily the breakup that saddens m (5, Funny)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746276)

"It saddens me that Romero ever made Daikatana. Perhaps the greatest disaster ever witnessed by man could have been avoided."

Obviously you have never seen the movie "Gigli" .

Negative part of the book (3, Insightful)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746059)

How can the fact that the two Johns split up be a negative part of the book. I mean, would the book be better if it WEREN'T accurate, and lied about it? Of course not. That is just how things worked out, so I think it can hardly be seen as a negative aspect of the book.

New improved ending for slashbots! (5, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746209)

Noone ever made a game called Daikatana. Quake 3 Arena was pulled before release when it was decided that it was just a cheap cash grab! RTCW was released without crippling bugs that made it unplayable on Radeon cards, and Doom 3 runs on mainstream hardware and was released in the first quarter of 2003.

The Johns stay together, get married, and live happily ever after!

The End.

not PC, Nintendo (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746070)

Mario was better and ran on cheaper hardware.
I think that's where the hardcore gamers were.

I imagine Columbine broke Carmack's heart (-1, Troll)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746072)

Here he intended to make a fun diversion with a scientific theme, only to see it used for training by Satan worshipping teens intent on killing as many of their wholesome classmates as possible. It would sure turn me off software development.

It is a good parable about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions.

Carmack should be in prison (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746126)

He and the gun manufacturers should be taking it up the ass in prison right now as they are more responsible than Harris or Klebold. 'Nuff said.

In related news (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746177)

I imagine also that Smith & Wesson are rolling over in their graves, knowing that their noble invention, originally intended for killing red savages, is being used today by niggers for mugging/killing decent, upstanding middle class white yuppies.

Re:I imagine Columbine broke Carmack's heart (1)

applef00 (574694) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746256)

If I may paraphrase an old truism: If you play a game called "Ride a Bike" can you ride a bike? No. The idea that Doom somehow trained Kliebold and Harris to go shoot up their school is ridiculous. About as ridiculous as blaming Marilyn Manson. In reality, the ones to blame are, a) the kids themselves, and b) the people that made them feel so angry and disenfranchised that they believed they had no alternative. Instead of everyone laying blame, perhaps somebody needs to take responsability (mom and dad, the jocks that beat the hell out of them on a regular basis, etc.).

Its not about doom3?? (0)

kraemer (637938) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746078)

I thought this book was supposed to be about the making of doom3, or is that another book?

if you are into this .... (4, Informative)

camilita (694206) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746089)

..kind of "archeological" gaming you can always read the pretty decent The Ultimate History of Video Games [amazon.com]

Re:if you are into this .... (2, Interesting)

stopbit (444789) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746186)

This is a great book! It is where I learned that Coleco stood for Colorado Leather Company was not a foreign name!

Re:if you are into this .... (1)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746269)

Or look at Halycon Days [dadgum.com] which has interviews with many of the early video game programmers (8 bits of raw power!)

pretty good read (4, Interesting)

kisrael (134664) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746093)

It was a pretty good read.

Interesting seeing how badly PCs lagged consoles in terms of gaming...the sidescrolling of Commander Keen was considered a technical breakthru, even though it started as a demo level of Mario Bros 3 as a proof-of-concept, and was basically the same thing the NES had been doing since the mid-early 80s...in fact, it was a while until PCs could play games that the C=64 and Apple II could, never mind the Amiga and Atari ST.

DOOM and, possibly to a lesser extent, Wing Commander really put the PC ahead of the consoles (at least for many genres) for a long while. I think the tide has turned now. (though YMMV depending on what genres you like--I'm just very glad not to have to worry about 3D cards and compatability and what not.)

Re:pretty good read (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746162)

PCs lagged consoles in those days because they were still primarily business tools. Back then an entry level machine was thousands of dollars, and people bought it for the true killer app - the spreadsheet. Most were in offices, the ones at home were largely off limits to the kids. IBM tried to vie against Commodore and Apple with the PC jr, and failed miserably for the most part.

I say consoles will always have the edge, at least for the types of games I enjoy. I havent seen an FPS that adds anything to the original Doom concept besides fancy eye candy.

I like the simplicity of a console and a gamepad and a game that only needs to be turned on and played, not tweaked and endlessly reconfigured.

Commander Keen cutting edge? (5, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746101)

I don't recall Commander Keen being cutting edge. Maybe in the PC world where scrolling was an issue. To me it seemed like a fairly second rate platform game compared with what I'd come to expect from other platforms over the preceding yeard. Talking of scrolling... I wish I could find my copy of Xenon II Megablast. I wonder if it will run at the correct speed on my more modern hardware.

Re:Commander Keen cutting edge? (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746303)

"Talking of scrolling... I wish I could find my copy of Xenon II Megablast. I wonder if it will run at the correct speed on my more modern hardware."

If it runs too quickly all you have to do is pick up a copy of mo'slo. The freeware version will slow it down to any integer percentage of the real speed, adn the paid version can do float values as well (i.e. 0.1%).

How about an interview? (2, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746111)

The first thing that popped in my head was that it would be great to talk to either (or better both) John's about what it took to become the programmers/designers they are, how they got involved in the wave of revolutionary games, and how it changed their lives.

Strangely enough, /. searched showed no results for either Carmack or Romero (in case such an interview has already occurred)... but perhaps it's just being buggy. As somebody who is greatly interested in such things (hell, the games are why I started coding initially) it would be great to hear straight from the "Johns" about their experiences, mistakes, and successes.

Carmack has been interviewed on /. (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746227)

And he has an account [slashdot.org] here as well.

Ow. (1)

vhfer (643140) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746114)

Gee, I was going to comment on how I hardly ever game any more but used to really like Commander Keen and Wolfenstein, and played both a lot for a while when each came out. Reading this short article, flawed though it may be, reminded me of simpler days. But someone will probably attempt to create me a new orifice. Hmmm, [Post] [Delete] click one to continue...

The first 3D game I ever played was Deathmaze 5000 (3, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746115)

Deathmaze 5000 by Med Systems Software, which ran on the original TRS-80 with stunning 128x48 black and white graphics. It was a maze game with overlapping corridors and horrible traps to kill you with. Most fun for a pre-teen/teen. They also put out a game called Asylum which ran on the TRS-80 and other 8-bit computers of that era. Pretty amazing that even back in 1980 or so people were pushing hardware in the attempt to display realistic 3D graphics. I absolutely loved these games. And if we're going to talk about 8-bit Trash 80 games, one can't forget Big Five Software [bigfivesoftware.com] - the originator of popular arcade clones written in hand assembly for the TRS-80. These guys were my heros as a kid. No, really! --M

Re:The first 3D game I ever played was Deathmaze 5 (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746229)

I wonder if this predates 3D Monster Maze on the Sinclair ZX81? That came out in 1981 or '82.

This [bernholm.dk] is the only screenshot that Google turns up, but it truly was a groundbreaking game, and it predated Wolf3D/Doom by at least 10 years.

Rich.

Re:The first 3D game I ever played was Deathmaze 5 (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746336)

Ahhh asylum!

That was a great game, though really more of a text adventure with 3D visuals than a moving interactive environment.

I'd trace it back further to the BASIC written game "Labyrinth" I used to play on my C64, back when I had nothing but a tape drive to load software with. 3D maze, you moved about in realtime. The graphics were all in PETSCII.

I don't understand (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746118)

John Carmack and John Romero are names that every self-respecting Slashdot reader knows.

I'm having trouble understanding everything after the 'every' and before the 'knows.'

I feel so dirty posting this.

Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746129)

I actually read this book while at American's house.

It was fantastic reading about the stories of how the people behind this revolution came to be and how everything happened. Reading it made me wish I was smart like that but in a good way. It's also great and freaky reading a few paragraphs and then looking over at one of the guys who was in the book.

But what was so cool was reliving the experiences that the game gave to us when we were back at the office, many years ago running around trying to get the BFG to fire before your buddy ducked around the corner.

I'm sure for all of us, this book is a must have.

Quality in every drop (4, Funny)

Wrexen (151642) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746143)

"Kevin reviews below David Kushner's Masters of Doom"

Slashdot editors are construction masters of sentences.

Re:Quality in every drop (2, Funny)

mz001b (122709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746232)

"Kevin reviews below David Kushner's Masters of Doom"

Oh! He card reads good.
--Homer

Sheer Genius (0, Flamebait)

gregarican (694358) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746144)

Quote from the review above ... "but I suspect it might be uninteresting to people who aren't either gamers or interested in computers." Gee, you think so?

I can only surmise that this review was written from a hospital bed during recovery from major head surgery. OR was written by an 11-year-old who was getting a jump on his first book report of the upcoming school year. What's next, current events?

That current events report would go like this..."The Microsoft MSBlast worm really has an impact on us. Especially those people with computers and who like the Internet."

What's doom? (3, Funny)

acarr0 (652849) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746146)

I'm still playing rouge and hack.

Re:What's doom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746277)

I'm still playing rouge

Drop the lipstick, sonny!

Commander Keen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746159)

"...for those of us who played them when they were cutting edge games couldn't wait for what would come next. To hard-core gamers, these games were amazing, and important. "

Command Keen? WTF? How is a crappy, side-scrolling Mario rip off cutting edge, amazing, and important? My friends laughed at the kids who used to play Commander Keen. Commander Keen blew. You probably thought Jill of the Jungle was a masterpiece.

commander keen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746163)

i remember that my dad used to have commander keen (there were like 3 of them?) on one of his office computers, and i would always play it when i was little... it was black and white, but if you played it for a LONG time, it would start to look almost like it had color (really good usage of grayscale, i guess) =P.

Re:commander keen! (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746297)

There were 7 of them, the first trilogy was EGA based graphics, the second trilogy was VGA, and the last one (aliens ate my babysitter?) was basically just a collection of second rate levels that didnt make the second trilogy.

They were decent games, great for killing time in computer class, but they didnt pull me away from my nintendo at home.

Nah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746323)

I think that was the crack kicking in.

If you buy the game, (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6746168)

do you become master of your doomain?

Game vision personal enough to be universal .... (5, Insightful)

leoaugust (665240) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746180)

I don't think that it is surprising that beloved games like DOOM are the product of the vision of a small group of people.

Games that really do engage us, do so at a very primal level. There is something about the game that has to click, and release your anandamides ... This syncronization of what you feel when you play the game and what the developer wanted you to feel is more pure, like it is in art, when this vicarious "anandamide" is personal ... so personal that it becomes universal ....

Corporations with big departments will create a lot of good games, but I believe the purity of the intensely personal experience can come only when the vision is personal, and concentrated in a few people rather than diffused ...

Related Read (0, Offtopic)

oasis3582 (698323) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746185)

see also: "Masters of Living In Their Parent's Basement and Looking at Porn"

Who wouldn't want to know more? (1)

ChopSocky (556987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746202)

It has been years since Doom arrived on the scene, but Carmack and Romero so thoroughly quenched my gaming thirst that I've hardly played a game since. These men were (and still are) visionaries of the highest order, and proved unquestionably our collective thirst for blood and violence.

less vs fewer (1, Redundant)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746278)

Less people are familiar with Wolf3D, and even fewer people

[Grammar Nazi = ON]

Less is used for amounts of a continuous stuff, fewer is for discrete items or people. For instance, you would use less flower in the next batch of brownies to serve fewer people. If you can count them, use fewer. [/Grammar Nazi]

Re:less vs fewer (4, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746314)

Actually it's spelled "flour" for the cooking ingrediant there Shakespeare. Maybe you should check yourself there G...

Re:less vs fewer (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746332)

unfortunately for me the spelling nazi and the grammar nazi modes are mutually exclusive in this version.

Personally, I always preferred... (2, Interesting)

Ratphace (667701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746289)


...Rise of the Triad, which I found 10 times more entertaining and fun in a PVP type environment (they called it commbat mode or something close to that).

Even more entertaining was the one expansion they made to ROTT where El Oscuro was not dead and you had to go at him again, only this time it was a LOT harder than the first time, which was no cake walk. :)

Having things like ludicrous gibs and the funny things the characters would say when they got gibs was neat too. Not to mention, the first game that let you pick a character that you wanted to play, and each character had it's unique starting stats like hitpoints, accuracy, etc.

All in all, my favorite FPS games rank like this:

1.) ROTT
2.) Blake Stone
3.) Wolfenstein 3D
4.) Doom/Heretic


ROTT gave the very first totally friendly map maker, not to mention one that would randomly generate maps you could compete with. The CD was loaded with all kinds of goodies..

Fun to look back and reflect on the time spent playing the true classics...

I would have called the book: (-1)

Mayak (688458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746295)

'Doomed to Succeed'

Aren't I brilliant? Thanks, I'm here all week.

I still have mine. (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746307)

I have the original floppies of these games, then later I got them on CD when a 2x reader has a hot item to have.

Even better and farther back in time, I have most of my old Sierra games on 5 1/4" floppies, like KQ1, Space Quest, etc...

I have an old IBM XT (a real one) and one day I'll get around to playing them again, just for nostalgia sake. Hey, back then those games were FUN! I even have Zork 1 and THHGTTG in text only versions, they are about 50-60k IIRR.. I used to play them on a Compaq luggable (8086) with a 10meg drive. WOW! 10megs in a portable PC! And it had 640k via an AST SixPack..

Yep, spent a lot of time playing those old games, doom was really cool, but I liked Wolfenstein better..

Re:I still have mine. (1)

Ratphace (667701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746334)


I still have all that stuff too! :)

I totally agree that Wolfenstein was more fun than Doom...

I think games like Wolfenstein, Blake Stone and ROTT all seemed to have more of an entertaining storyline for me to go with, and not just shooting a bunch of monsters that all sounded the same (i.e. the monsters in Doom).

IDDQD (5, Funny)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746312)

IDDQD
IDKFA

I am the master of doom.

Let me suggest a different book. (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6746327)

Let me suggest the IEEE graphics and animation conference proceedings, which were published back in 1985, if I remember correctly (or was it 1983?)

It was in this book that there was published a chapter (an article, really) that dealt with a new mathematical device, the binary spatial partition.

When I read that, I perked up. I was alert enough to realize that this was a major breakthrough, and if realtime animation would ever be possible, that this was how to do it. I even went so far to learn how to do it, but, alas, my 8 Mhz IBM PS-2/80 was just too slow. Note that I read this in 1987, not 1983 or 1985. Nonetheless, if you want a really good read, that book is worth buying, if you can figure out which one it is.

Anyone want to pipe up and say what it is, I'd appreciate it. I was motivated to go out and buy it, but then another programmer borrowed it, and never returned it *sigh*.

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