Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Unreal, Half Life…these are the building blocks that shaped my first person shooter (FPS) universe. As a teenager, I actually enjoyed watching someone else play, since I would be too scared! I didn’t have a computer to play the earlier ones, so I usually played them at my friend’s house. It wasn’t until dad got our first fast PC, coming in at 233MHz and 64MB of RAM, and I think it had an 8MB video card. The hard drive may have only been 1GB, also, and that seemed like a black hole of storage.
The Doom Guy. Is he mute? I don’t know, but he never speaks, and he can ruthlessly tear apart a room of demons with his massive arsenal of weaponry. When Quake came along, you could actually jump and aim your weapon – wait, what do I mean? In Doom, you only had to aim in the direction of the enemy, and worlds were not designed where jumping was necessary. So back to Quake, you had to learn how to aim…kind of. You could at least look around and point, but there was no reticle that had to be perfectly aligned with the bad guys.
Unreal had to have been the most advanced, as it had superior graphics. Things actually looked curved! Let’s bring it back to the headline of this post…and to the not yet mentioned FPS from the list at the top – Half Life. This game had a great storyline, fantastic graphics, a weapon fashioned after the proton packs from Ghostbusters, and of course, Gordon Freeman. This game also was among the first to introduce mods, or modifications. A couple of these actually exploded in popularity: Counter Strike and Team Fortress. I believe the former is still thriving. Now along with these mods came the power to craft worlds to play in. The software was called Worldcraft, which is now called Hammer; we’ve finally come full circle. In college, I was able to model a world after the local bowling alley, a cubicle farm I worked in, and our college house.
This kind of work seriously decreased productivity in other areas…but, resulted in some pretty goofy memories. As my kids got older, I introduced them to Hammer, because it’s kind of like a CAD (computer aided drafting) program. One of them actually got into it and created two worlds. Here’s the second one.
Let’s close this one out with one of my latest maps modeled after our church’s gym. Until next time!