The undeservedly forgotten best shooter of 2002 – Doom 3 Alpha + Khabr

The undeservedly forgotten best shooter of 2002 – Doom 3 Alpha + Khabr

Before moving on to the best shooter of 2002, and many maps written specifically for the alpha version (according to some sources, Fargus and the Navigator tried here). A short introduction, for those who do not understand what it is about.

Doom 3 is a game developed by Id Software and released to the world in the summer of 2004. Should have been a technical breakthrough, and the best game of the year, but lost this race by three games at once:

It received quite mixed reviews, especially due to the lack of a flashlight, unrealistic system requirements, harsh dynamic shadows and almost impenetrable darkness in the levels. In the future, the game acquired a cult status as a good, if very controversial, offshoot from the main Doom direction. To be fair, this is the last Doom made by John Carmack (albeit without John Romero).

But if you go back in time, you can easily understand the fans who were waiting for a technical breakthrough, and as a result got “This”. Although they were not promised anything “different”, what is the reason for the not so rosy reception of Doom 3?

Hell, this is the lost “forge” from Heroes 3!

Everything is very simple – durable technology. Doom 3 was shown for the first time back in 2001, and its release was promised back in the middle of 2003, and if you remember how quickly graphics developed in the late 90s and early 00s, it is easy to understand that what , which was at the cutting edge of progress in 2001, and would have been a revolution in 2003, 2004, was “good” at best.

To be fair, Doom3 looked good in 2004, 2010, and even now in 2023.

Why Half-life 2 is worse and better than Doom3 at the same time

I will digress a little, just because I want to reflect.

First, let’s be clear, if you download HL2 now from Steam, or even from OrangeBox, you will definitely notice that HL is superior to Doom in every way. But there is an aspect, in the best case you download the version of 2008, on the heavily modified Source engine.

This is the HL2 you remember

You have most likely played such HL2

But this is what he looked like in reality

2004’s Half-life 2 looked worse. No, it’s not worse, but not at all like with the release of the next episodes, but that’s not the point.

The bottom line is that HL2 had very simplified lighting on release, but the models had more polygons. In total, it was 5000 polygons per human model. 2003 year! (Source dod stuff), And physics was also implemented. I’m not even talking about the plot, shooting, etc.

Doom 3 had dynamic shadows, pixel-by-pixel model lighting, a lot of shadows, a lot of light … but at the same time, the models had only 1300 polygons (which is only 300 polygons more than Quake3, which came out in 1999).

Yes, in Doom3, bump-mapping was applied to creature models to create the illusion that they are more detailed. Texture baking was also used, but no amount of baking and bump-mapping can hide the diamond-shaped heads.

To be fair, bump-mapping was also used in HL2, but for the terrain, not for the models.

This is how the Doom 3 models looked without all the tricks.

What at the output… and at the output Doom3 with terrible textures and low-poly models ate many times more resources than Half-life 2. The situation was so critical that it affected the mechanics (remember about 3 attacking enemies at the same time, of which one is necessarily generated behind).

Although Half-life 2 could generate more enemies and huge open spaces.

Of course, on a more modern hardware, Doom3 with maximum graphics is revealed much better (the main thing is not the BFG edition, where the sound and shadows are broken) than Half-life 2 of the 2004 sample.

But HL2 looked great even on medium and low graphics, produced a smoother picture, started on a weaker iron, and did not limit the player “with its technical imperfection”.

Actually, then the polygons won in lighting, and what am I leading all this to? Besides, if developers hadn’t been chasing Ray-tracing for the past few years, it’s possible:

  1. Physics would return to games.

  2. Models would become more detailed.

  3. Starfield ran on any non-FSR iron.

  4. We would forget about the input lag associated with DLSS 3.

Starfield: Does It Work?

In general, light is cool, but in 2004 it lost to polygons. Why then is everyone putting so much emphasis on him now?

…Let’s go back to 2002

So, for the first time Doom3 was shown at the presentation, horror, Geforce 3! February 21, 2001. And even then, he shone with an unrepeatable picture, which for 2001 was… well, something that really caused a “WOW” effect. But to tell you the truth, if you look at the footage from the presentation – this “WOW” was running at about 10-15 FPS, but it was working!

Yes, even on release it could be run on a Pentium 3 1.4 ghz and Geforce3 TI, and it produced the same 7-10 FPS (a little less than in the demo, but the textures were also tightened).

Nowadays, I myself have not checked it (even despite the presence of an emulator of old iron, about to whom I wrote earlier.), used footage from Indian YouTube channel.

A second build was shown at E3 2002, and while most people believed that the image in the game’s trailers was pre-rendered, the merged rake build disproved this.

So, November 2002. Doom 3 was merged into the network. And it turned out to be the best game for November 2002. It really showed the full power of the Id Tech engine, flaunting all those shadows, incredible detailing of the models for 2002.

And also, it was:

– 12 weapon models. Only 4 are real (another 7 had models from Quake 3, and the saw did not have the amount of damage set in the confiscation, due to which the game was colored).

– Working shotgun (scatter rates were significantly lower than in the release version, which made the shotgun work simply as an ultimate weapon).

– 3 levels and a whole cutscene.

— Not the most disgusting system of artificial intelligence (very conditional. Enemies saw, knew how to find a way, and aim at the protagonist).

– 8 working enemy models. Including one hell knight.

By the way, about the models, they practically did not differ from the models included in the release version. Which proves it again… 1300 polygons for 2002 is pretty cool (but not for 2004).

— A disgusting set of sounds. How vague the weapon was in the release version. In alpha, it hurts the ears.

The levels were, of course, scripted almost entirely for public display. Most things didn’t work, or required manual polishing with the console, and that would be the end of it. People would look at the alpha, be happy, maybe play with textures, But!

…A level editor came with the alpha, and not only that it “was”, It was Radiant.

What is Radiant?

Radiant is a level editor from Id Tech. And it is known for the fact that its previous version was released to the public together with Quake 3.

And that wouldn’t be a big deal, but only enthusiast modders were awake and had 3 years to practice with the level editor between the release of Quake 3 and the Doom 3 downpour.

And this means that the pirates had all the tools to release “Doom 3 full release version” in 2002.

and the worst thing is their Pentium 2 400+64 Ram system requirements.

Some of these disks were simply Alpha versions prepared to varying degrees:

  • Somewhere a bug with a saw was fixed.

  • Ragdoll Knight of Hell was working somewhere.

  • somewhere, the craftsmen connected the launch of the game through the menu, and not through the console

  • Graphic bugs were fixed somewhere

  • Somewhere there was just a set of files from the “Make up your own mind” series.

But there was another part – full-fledged maps, with their own textures, with a plot, scripts.

There were a lot of them in my memory. Now, when I started looking for survivors (on YouTube, file washers, and the web archive), I was able to barely find maps for one and a half to two hours of gameplay.

On the other hand, a full-fledged Doom 3 is about 10 hours of gameplay.

Doom3 from 2002. + cards

Actually, here he is! A masterpiece of the Game industry since 2002, with corpses that stand up and even with other textures.

There were really a lot of cards. There were maps from in the amount of 10 pieces. You can go to the site and look at the map list. Unfortunately, you can’t download it.

If you dig on the Internet, you can easily find 20 cards of varying degrees of readiness. A little further on are links to those that are easily available from the website.

Some of them can be found here: (I don’t know if it is possible to put links to torrent trackers, so the screenshot contains enough information for searching).

Cards are available upon request find here. The difference between the version on the torrent and on the site is that the build on the torrent is optimized so that the maps do not need to be called from the console (at least the first 3).

space_evil 1

Space Evil is one of the most famous cards of that era, consisting of several levels united by a single theme. In total, the gameplay on it is about 15-20 minutes, which is more than enough considering the date of its release.

Mirror floor in Space_evil. And there is also a working elevator and space outside the window.

But Onan’s map from German developers was so bright

Onan’s map neither in childhood nor in youth, I don’t remember, but it is one of the first maps made by a German team of modders, which has survived to this day and is in almost all modern Doom 3 alpha and beta builds.

the sound of the door opening at that moment made my eye twitch nervously for another hour and a half.

artificial intelligence allowed zombies to jump off the top, not get lost and attack GG (illiamap)

it’s still lighter than the release version of the game

and here, if it weren’t for the HUD, it could be confused with what everyone was playing in 2004.

the famous touch panels worked already in 2002. Although their appearance was somewhat different. (LAB card)

Even the reflections were workers

in general, there is also Beta Doom, so to speak, a hotfix from Carmack. But why, if you can look at console errors every time a pair appears in the game.

Craftsmen scripted the cards themselves

They applied the textures themselves

And all this a year and a half before the official release.

If you don’t want to mess with an artifact of the past. Footage from 8 cards, you can watch it YouTube channels.

Why all this?

Yes, I talked about the superiority of polygons over lighting, I talked about artisans… I didn’t talk about the fact that the first computer capable of running Doom 3 “on ultras” came out only 2 years later (in 2006), due to the game’s requirement for the number video memory, what did I lead to?

Ah yes! Exactly! For all its flaws, the release version of Doom3 could have become a cult game if it had been released literally a year earlier. She would be forgiven for poor optimization, and brakes, and the game already had everything for her to enjoy back in 2002.

And the only miscalculation they madeCarmack and Co,” is by no means an emphasis on “illumination” over “detail,” or even a change of pace. And the savings on the number of artists and other people who are responsible for content, maps and models.

What instead of summaries? You can touch Doom 3 Alpha with your hands only if you are a big enthusiast and want to dig into the old world, or go through the user maps (which, in principle, you can run on the release version if you really want to).

But it is better, if you want to touch Doom 3, to take as a basis, the good old vanilla version:

– Install several mods on it here this site (Mods and conversions to the original Doom 3 are collected here).

The main thing is not to overdo it, because the fashion for bloom and oil in the 00s can spoil the game.

— It is possible to take several user cards.

And go through Doom3 as you remember it, not as it was, or as it became after it was reissued by Bethesda!

Related posts