How did two sadists, a psychopath and a Mormon create one of the greatest games in history? Part 5 / Hebrew

How did two sadists, a psychopath and a Mormon create one of the greatest games in history? Part 5 / Hebrew

Last time we

finished the story

at the moment when id Software’s development team came to a historic decision: it is necessary to make a really cool shooter in 3D format. The first products of John Carmack in this genre were not very successful and did not go too well with players, but they allowed the first bumps on the way to creating DOOM. Now, however, our heroes have begun work on what we now know as Wolfenstein 3D: an upbeat romp of Nazis in secret dungeons.

All parts of the series of articles about the creation of DOOM:

In John Carmack’s Catacomb 3D from the fall of 1991, glimpses of Doom’s future were already hinted at

The cold and wet winter of 1991/92 was ending in Madison, Wisconsin, just north of Chicago and not far from the Canadian border. Back in the fall, the two Johns and their associates literally fell from the alligator-filled swamp in Louisiana into the harsh world of “Robocop”: in cheap apartments against the background of a depressing industrial landscape, they were literally surrounded by drug addicts and drug dealers, hoodlums and souteni, the public with whom problems periodically arose.

The turn of the 80s and 90s in the States was sometimes interesting, but quite problematic in terms of crime – which clearly affected the cinema of that time

The weather in Madison exactly 32 years ago looked approximately the same as it does right now in Central Russia: slush was interspersed with snowfalls and ice, and there was no particular desire of fellow citizens to walk through the problematic “area” anyway, and even more so in such weather – and they killing free hours playing D&D and watching horror and action movies. Unsurprisingly, when asked what their new 3D shooter should be about, the first suggested idea was to do something along the lines of 1982’s Something.

A cartoon about the characters and the essence of the movie “Something”

Let me remind you, this cult fantasy thriller was about how an alien NEH got into the American Antarctic station and did some Lovecraftian mischief on it. Well, then the ragged polar explorers arranged a little KILL IT WITH FIRE of Lovecraftian cruelty. The company’s chief idea generator, Tom Hall, suggested much the same approach: just wet the mean green monsters because they’re mean green monsters.

“We have a reliable shield – Ordo Xenos will protect!”

But monsters were soaked almost everywhere, except that on PC it is not yet in 3D. And then it dawned on John Romero. He mentioned two older toys from the Wolfenstein series: 1981’s Castle Wolfenstein and 1984’s Beyond Castle Wolfenstein from Baltimore-based Muse Software. Both games were arcade stealth and roguelite, in which the main character had to sneak behind procedurally generated Nazi dungeons, avoid patrols or kill-rob them (but there were fewer cartridges in advance than German soldiers), and shoot through crates of secret documents schnapps with a snack of sausage with cabbage.

The first game looked a little stiff even for 1981, but the gameplay was new and interesting, not the first stealth game – and on the Apple II, Castle Wolfenstein became very popular

The developers of Muse Software were inspired by the popular military adventure film “The Guns of Navaron Island”, about the adventures of a squad of British commandos and Greek partisans in the Nazi rear on an island in the Aegean Sea. In the first part, the player acted as a nameless soldier of the Allied army, who managed to escape from a cell in a prisoner-of-war camp equipped in an ancient castle, and decided, in addition to escaping, to borrow some more secret documents from the Nazis. The graphon was so powerful that the Nazi uniform, in particular the one worn to disguise the main character, was simply reflected as a large swaston on the little man’s stomach.

Screensaver of the first game of the Wolfenstein series

In the second, the player was already a saboteur like the characters of the Commandos series, who had to infiltrate and blow up Hitler personally, recreating the operation “Valkyrie” of 1944, but with a successful ending. In addition to a pistol, he now had a stealth kill knife and grenades in his arsenal. In addition, it was implied that the saboteur is dressed in the uniform of the enemy, and with the right pass, he is allowed to go where he needs to go without any problems (but it is not so easy to get these Ausweiss). The game from the very beginning was not so much a stealth or a shooter, so much an almost bureaucratic wandering around rooms filled with watchmen demanding a pass.

In the second part, the schedule was more decent, and voiced German soldiers quite clearly demanded “Halt! Ausweiß!

Both games were well known to all id Software colleagues – and Romero’s idea was approved almost immediately. The idea of ​​wandering through bleak mazes shooting SS men fit perfectly with the engine Carmack had. As the final boss, of course, they decided not to exchange for trifles and take Hitler. It is true that even Nazis had to be exterminated en masse, but still people. And, taking into account the tastes of the majority of those present, the water bath should have been accompanied by blood, guts and all the appropriate ultra-violence.

Although not as picturesque as later on the same subject in Tarantino

Other American actors of the time were afraid to associate themselves with frank cruelty on the screen, lest they provoke the wrath of militant conservative Christians – who, moreover, were still gripped by “satanic panic”. But the two Johns, as well as the two Carmacks, sincerely loved the maximum grim, blood and dismemberment. Only good-natured and romantic Tom Hall stood out from the team of misanthropes – preferring to make cheerful games for teenagers (and thereby knocking out the artist Adrian Carmack). Tom became the only one of the four remaining team members at the time who spoke out against this game concept – but the other three were in favor of making the game gory and deliberately scandalous. The decision was made. The game had to become more aggressive and faster than anything that came out for PC before.

Fascist blood from what resulted

There was a question about the name. Since Wolfenstein, which can be translated as “Wolf’s Stone/Castle”, had already appeared in the title of two games from Muse Software, the friends decided that they needed to come up with something different to avoid copyright problems. The options ranged from the banal “In the depths of Germany” to the passionate “Lugerni me” or “Geruchschlecht” (something like “Smell”). However, it soon became clear that Muse Software ceased to exist in 1987, and the intellectual rights to the name Wolfenstein had not been officially registered by anyone before. Then it was decided not to invent a bicycle, but to take an already popular brand – if it turned out to be homeless.

Wolfenstein 3D fan art

The team dug into the work. Ideas of varying degrees of stubbornness gushed out — and one can only guess what Wolfenstein 3D could have become if friends were not allowed periodically. For example, ideas about the design of the first-aid kit ranged from ordinary potatoes with peas to dog food, which had to be taken in battle from vicious German shepherds. At one point, Romero even suggested giving the hero the ability to increase his hit count… by eating the entrails of Nazis. Or, let’s say, to be able to irrigate their corpses.

In part, the idea of ​​replenishing hit points by devouring dismembered Nazis in pools of blood was later implemented in the first Bloodrayne in a variant of vampirism.

Scott Miller liked the concept – and he pledged $100,000 to finance the development of id Software’s new game. A new NeXT computer from Apple was purchased for 10,000. Everyone wanted to make Wolfenstein 3D as cool as possible – for which they decided to master the 256-color VGA format, and to write the music they invited the experienced game composer and sound engineer Bobby Prince. Meanwhile, the aesthetic contradictions between Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack were growing. The first thought that the resulting game was too bloody, grim and brutal – and the second thought that there was still an outrageous lack of blood, grimness and dismemberment in it.

However, everything seemed perfect to John Romero, the main initiator of the game. After running a trial sketch of the game for the first time and turning the drawn Nazi into bloody scraps with a loud gunshot, he got so excited that he fell off his chair and rolled, howling with laughter.

Sprite animation of the death of an ordinary Nazi soldier in Wolfenstein 3D

By the end of winter, the developers had taken their old friend Kevin Cloud, a computer artist, out of Softdisc — and just as he was about to sign a six-month lease on an apartment in Madison, they came to a collective thought: they were beaten to death by the bitter northern winter and the neighborhood. addicts They decided to change the place of work again – and the new destination of the developers of Wolfenstein 3D became Dallas, Texas, the same place where President Kennedy was shot. As fate would have it, in the truck that came to pick up their belongings, someone found an old arcade Pacman thrown away – which they promptly bought back from the driver.

All the team members grew up playing arcade machines, and Pacman was to them about what the millionaires were to classic Mario on the NES/Dandy

On April 1, 1992, id Software arrived in Dallas, Texas. More precisely, not to Dallas itself, but to its eastern suburb of Mesquite: an extremely conservative even by Texas standards, a town of over a hundred thousand people, where even the sale of alcohol was legalized only in 2011. Moreover, in 1982, Mesquite thundered across the States with a lawsuit demanding that computer games be banned in the country as a phenomenon that corrupts American youth and prevents them from embracing traditional values. The Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit, but the irony that it was in this city that id Software became what it became remained.

Mesquite is literally a stereotypical Texas town, although until 2011, it officially lived under “dry law” with no booze.

The friends settled in the loft of the La Prada residential complex and continued work on Wolfenstein 3D with redoubled energy. Fortunately, in Texas, both the climate and the atmosphere were noticeably better than in the cold and fast hole on the outskirts of Madison, and the conservatism of most residents was not noticeable in the youthful and progressive La Prada. Scott Miller, who lived in the nearby suburb of Dallas, which was one of the reasons for choosing a new location, believed in the great future of the game, and gave id Software the mode of maximum promotion and royalties at an unthinkable by industry standards of 50%. It got to the point that even the still mandatory games for Softdisc began to be written by the programmers of his Apogee, so that the Two John fellows could do only Wolfenstein 3D.

The project was moving forward at full speed.

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