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Saturday, November 7, 2009

From a Retro gamer to...a Next-Gen gamer?


"theres new gen consoles, why would they make a game that looks so outdated? looks as bad as the dreamcast itself"
"how about....idk making some more decent games for ps2, gamecube, ans xbox original? you know, the last generation? not two generations ago retards. Ill probably just download it on pc"

I've been getting these statements a lot - it's time to explain our ultimate reason behind developing for an engine of the "yesteryear", and why we chose a game that's lived a longer life than new age gamers do (just opinion, of course):


I grew up in the late 80's/90's, when sprite-based gaming ruled the battlefield, when games were original, fun, and invigorating. I also got to see the transition from primitive 2d into fully 3d games, and it was around that time period that I noticed the quality of games decline - not the graphics, but the concepts, originality, all that stuff.

It was like - I remember the day the original Alone in the Dark came out. Brand new genre at the time, amazing graphics (they are STILL amazing for its time), originality, a huge scare factor. You just don't get games like that nowadays, and I'm afraid it's what the current generation of gamers just don't experience because graphics are not going to get much better than what the next-gen stuff in development is right now. It's just a fact. As soon as graphics hit real life games will fade away. After all, it's the reasons kids and adults play games - to escape reality.

Doom was prime for it's time - new technology, new gameplay, cutting edge graphics, multiplayer. Now - Doom is still one of the most popular games/engines today. Doomworld, the site where I learned the tools of the trade, is one of the most expansive communities around on the web - Doom is even more alive than it was when id released it in 1993.

The reason we chose the Doom engine is simple - open source, huge community, and there has been things added to enhance the original engine. Watch the trailer for Hypertension and watch some stock Doom footage from 1993 (any original youtube entry will do) - there's big difference there.

Also, the Build engine (Duke3d, Blood, etc) was made not too differently from Doom's engine - not only allowing us to capture much of the classic Blood feel, but also to enhance the game with 3d models, killer scripting, true 3d floors, high-res modern textures..the list goes on. Build was technically superior to id Tech 1. Who knows - it still might be.

We didn't sit to develop Hypertension to awe gamers with amazing graphics. Hell, even Blood, in 1997, was ancient (as Quake and everything true, full 3d based came out in 1996), but 3d Realms took the risk, and it became a favorite. It's not graphics that make a game.

This is just like saying - why do retro game compilations sell well? PS3, 360 - even the Virtual Console? Retro is back in. Why did the new Wolfenstein 3d/Doom iphone/cell/virtual, etc. releases sell extremely well? Why does id's back catalog from 1991 - 1996 make more money today than all of Uwe Boll's movies combined? Granted, Hypertension is freeware but that's not the point.

(...I really do like Uwe Boll, he's a funny guy, and Postal was actually funny. There. I said it. Most of his movies were bad though, I'll admit that.)

The new gamers of today's generation will not understand Hypertension's underlying meaning. It's not to play Blood again. It's to show that these were the games that all of the current game designers created and they were fun. They had to start somewhere. Believe it or not. To us older gamers - drinking alcohol in a game, or smoking in a game, or hearing curse words or seeing strippers was a new and exciting thing for us. Now, it's the norm. That's why those gamers will not see anything in Hypertension.

I remember when Doom came out. Next it was Duke Nukem, then Quake, Quake 2, etc etc. Each few years technology got branched farther out, but the fun was stripped away. Of course, not completely, and this does not apply to every game out there, as I believe that there are a huge chunk of fun and exciting games - it just takes awhile for one of them to hit home nowadays. Wolfenstein 2009 was the last game that I think I enjoyed that was modern. And even then - Wolf's graphics weren't revolutionary.

People are realizing that the best games were made in the time period before graphics got so crazy it became boring. The last game I think I envied in terms of graphics was Doom 3. The rest after that wasn't interesting.

This game will not appeal to new gamer's - period, unless they are into the retro gaming era. It's strictly for the ones who grew up, like myself, on sprite based graphics and ludicrous storylines/gameplay, etc. Kudos to any 14 year old kid who plays the game and enjoys it, but we already knew we were targeting a specific demographic when we released that first teaser in the beginning of this year.

I have stated in our Gamefan Magazine interview - we are making this game for ourselves, not for others.

And it's totally true. Every game developer takes a risk. You either like the product, or you don't like the product. We're hoping for the first one, btw. =)

Here's to GREAT SUCCESS!

Are you a retro gamer? Maybe you're a modern gamer? You're free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article in our forums.


Also, just a quick update - Ben Wachal, part of the OST Strike Team, has uploaded an original in-game track from Hypertension entitled, well, "Untitled". Don't forget to check it out! =)

7 comments:

Clint said...

I just caught the trailer for this on GameSetWatch.com, thought it was incroyable. I only recently made an actual attempt at finishing Doom and, apart from some terrible level design, I thought it was amazingly fun. It's aged very very well. When I saw the trailer for this, it reminded me of Doom + Killing Time, which is, quite frankly, awesome.

Love the zombie hand, BTW. And the voodoo doll. And the makeshift flamethrower. And the live action cut scenes. Hell, I love it all.

Anyway, I definitely plan on picking this up (on the PC, never had a Dreamcast unfortunately), and just wanted to let you know that somebody appreciates what you're trying to do. Really. :D

Knuckles el Rastafari said...

Hypertension rocks!

Anonymous said...

This, this makes my very soul happy! I grew up in the late 80/90s like you described, with the excellent sprite based games, and witnessed the transition to 3d graphics as well. and hearing about Hypertension just makes me want to cry with joy :) this is definitely something i will pick up and play and enjoy, alot!

Just one quick question tho, will there be any form of multiplayer? seeing as doom even had it :3

Sorry for my english grammars, i am rusty.

Hail to hypertension from the icy regions of Norway :D

Anthony817 said...

Hey Corbachu, its me Anthony817. I could not agree with you more. I am about to turn 26 in December, and I grew up in the time of Atari and NES and the whole Sega vs Nintendo era.

The youngsters that were only born in the mid 90's will not even begin to understand things through our eyes.

When you said that you were making the game for yourselves, I got a big smile. People nowadays think its ALL about the gfx, I am a hardcore PC gamer now, and I love great gfx like the next guy, but its not always about the best gfx.

I had a Dreamcast back in the beginning of the decade, played it for 2 years, and sold it when the next best thing came out. Man did I ever regret that decesion.

I bout my second Dreamcast back in June of this year and have been appreciating how versatile the little machine is.

So I will say that Retro gaming is a HUGE part of who I am. I grew up on the stuff. So when the kiddies start talkin smack, just say, "Look, I made this game for me and my kind, if you don't fuckin like it, don't play it or criticize it".

You have the whole Dreamcast community behind you on this one man. Keep up the great work and I can't wait to play it. ;)

Anthony817 said...

Hey Corbachu, its me Anthony817. I could not agree with you more. I am about to turn 26 in December, and I grew up in the time of Atari and NES and the whole Sega vs Nintendo era.

The youngsters that were only born in the mid 90's will not even begin to understand things through our eyes.

When you said that you were making the game for yourselves, I got a big smile. People nowadays think its ALL about the gfx, I am a hardcore PC gamer now, and I love great gfx like the next guy, but its not always about the best gfx.

I had a Dreamcast back in the beginning of the decade, played it for 2 years, and sold it when the next best thing came out. Man did I ever regret that decesion.

I bout my second Dreamcast back in June of this year and have been appreciating how versatile the little machine is.

So I will say that Retro gaming is a HUGE part of who I am. I grew up on the stuff. So when the kiddies start talkin smack, just say, "Look, I made this game for me and my kind, if you don't frikin like it, don't play it or criticize it".

You have the whole Dreamcast community behind you on this one man. Keep up the great work and I can't wait to play it. ;)

Psychlonic said...

I applaud you guys for picking game play first, graphics second. I see so many lousy tech demos and total conversions come out for PC, and the only thing that gets upgraded? THE GRAPHICS! Too bad the rest of the game is usually boring as hell. Why waste time with cool graphics if you don't have the good game to back them?

Will be waiting in anticipation for the release. Hope you guys move on to do more projects when you're done. Also, I REALLY hope you've found a way to eliminate the "find the key" monotony.

Ryan said...

I'm 17, and played all the "advent of 3D" games back then, you know, that era between 1996 and 2002. Anyway, even though I enjoy my PS3 with games like inFamous and Wolfenstein, I'm absolutely facinated by sprites and the technology of old. How many work arounds there were to get it running on the hardware back then is just mind blowing to me. Anyway, I'm glad you're sticking up for yourselves, looks to be coming along nicely, and I will download it for my Dreamcast when it comes out.