The two individuals reminisced about the creation of the shooter and discussed the ways in which it was distinct from ID’s games up to that moment.

The webcast of “To Hell and Back” with John Romero and John Carmack will take place on December 10 (headshots).
Credit for the image goes to John Romero on Twitter.
As part of the festivities commemorating the thirty-year anniversary of the release of Doom, the co-founders of id Software, John Carmack and John Romero, got together to discuss the classic first-person shooter. David Craddock, who is known for his work on “The FPS Documentary” and “Long Live Mortal Kombat,” served as the moderator of the conversation. Interview questions were posed by Craddock and via the Twitch chat.

It was not surprising to me that the two were so critical of their own work, despite the fact that the discourse was naturally joyous and pleasant. Carmack made a reference to “flashier” (and perhaps technically riskier) graphical effects that he wished he had integrated into the engine of Doom. He also said that he believes the more grounded, military sci-fi aesthetic of Episode One has aged better than the abstract hellscapes that were later in the game.

Romero, on the other hand, compared Doom to the id games that came before and after it. He said that Doom represented a technological “sweet spot” before Quake and full 3D acceleration began to significantly complicate production and restrict the number of adversaries that could be shown on the screen. However, the developer expressed regret that “making levels for Wolfenstein had to be the most boring level design job ever.” This was a comment that was made in reference to the fact that the engine of Doom was able to support more intricate maps than the engine of Wolfenstein.

Also, the two remembered with fondness the technological constraints that existed in that era. Carmack made the observation that despite the fact that he believed that id could “just sell [Doom] in a brown paper bag” based only on its quality, he was pleased that they went the additional mile with designing its iconic box art and marketing it. The two developers have voiced their admiration for the enormous box packing of the 1990s personal computers and the associated “feelies,” such as fabric maps, and I completely agree with them.

Regarding the development stories, I was struck by Romero’s recollection of getting multiplayer working for the first time shortly before the release of Doom: “I went into my office—I was making E1M7 at the time—I’m looking out the window and I’m seeing two characters fighting, rockets are flying up at a high window, and someone is plasma gunning the other guy.” Romero was working on the game at the time.

Furthermore, I am thinking to myself, “This is going to be the coolest fucking game the entire world has ever seen, and I can’t wait to play that.”

“I’ve said before that I’m not a very sentimental person and that I don’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about the good old days,” Carmack admitted as a method of saying goodbye. “But what I can say is that they were really quite good.” I have a great deal of pride in the things that we constructed back then, and I am overjoyed that they have left behind a legacy that continues to this day.

Romero reiterated the sentiment, expressing his gratitude to Carmack for the years that they spent working together, and he also expressed his thanks to the gamers that continue to return to Doom: “I want to thank everybody in the Doom community for keeping this game alive.” Also, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in our games.

It is also the ideal moment to dig into Sigil 2, the sequel to Romero’s 2019 Doom megawad and the topic of PC Gamer’s most recent print cover story. You can see the whole talk on John Romero’s Twitch account, where you can also watch it in its entirety. Both of the Sigil megawads are available for free download, despite the fact that you may pay for a full-on classico large box that includes all of the feelies that we like.

Should you feel that this is not enough WAD activity for you, the megawad Eviternity has also just received a sequel campaign to commemorate the 30th birthday of Doom. Additionally, you may go to the list of this year’s cacophonists to find other high-quality masterpieces.

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