πŸ‘Ή Is Doom 3 a completely new game today? Yeah, Fully Obsessed. πŸ€ͺ

in #virtualreality β€’ 4 years ago

Please note: This is the english version of my original post in german language. I'd replaced some links for this version.

Doom 3 was released in August 2004, almost 16 years ago. This makes it already one of the 3D grandfathers of first person shooters. id Software redefined the quality of 3D-shooters with its id Tech 4 engine. Per pixel lighting with realistic shadow casting were unique. Playfully, the developers took a slightly different approach than in the predecessors. Shock effects (so called jump scares) were quite common and the atmosphere in the narrow, nested rooms and corridors was very gloomy and oppressive.

No love for Doom 3

I personally wasn't touched by the technically brilliant sequel at that time πŸ˜‘. Playfully it was still about sending demons back to hell, with powerful shooting tools like the shotgun. Only this time much scarier, but also very hose-like.

nice and cosy the lighting in Doom 3 - still impressive today!

This obvious stringing together of story elements and shocking moments just didn't catch me up, as good as the technology was. I would have preferred a simple action-packed doom with improved graphics and more open levels. Well, and so it took until Doom (4 or 2016) to get the series back to its roots and now, with Doom Eternal, the crown of colorful arcade action. Good or bad? Well, Doom stands in the change of time.

The Surprise - Fully Possessed!

Technology can change everything and, in this case, makes Doom 3 a virtually entirely new game, at least for me.

How? By VR.
(Please note that the double-screen shots are taken from the PC screen. In the VR-Glasses they are of course put together as one coherent picture. This should only be the proof for the calculation left and right eye.)

In 2015 you can find first entries at GitHub, where a free modification (Mod) Fully Possessed for Doom 3, more precisely the BFG edition, was developed. This mod makes sure that you are thrown directly into the hell world of Doom. You suddenly feel yourself in the middle of this oppressive scenario, surrounded by flickering lights, scratched, rusty metal and zombie soldiers. Doom 3 features a mix of state-of-the-art technology and dark steampunk as environment. You can experience the game the same way once you have installed and configured the mod Fully Possessed (see next sections).

Flashlight and shotgun in your bag

Suddenly it all makes sense! That was my first thought. Impressive were also the cutscenes which give you an understanding of the background story. In the camera apertures you suddenly stand directly opposite the participants in life-size, dialogues clearly gain tension. In the flat-version at that time this was only a disturbing accessory for me, in VR it suddenly becomes more alive. Of course you can see the age of the game shining through at every turn. Doom 3 still uses relatively angular, low detailed geometry, but makes up for it very well with normal mapping and elaborate lighting. In VR this brings an already very high level of immersion and only gives you an idea how modern games of this kind would look like in VR. Half Life Alyx has already proven this impressively.

Not free from flaws

It is a fan-project and the development was stopped in 2017, as far as I know, at a very good, working level. However, there are still some minor quirks that catch your eye. There are the curvatures of the skin of the visible arms of the character (mirror scene) which were originally not rigged for free VR movement (skin deformation at certain joint movements) and lead to strange folding effects and glitches.

Shine a zombie in the face and aim!

Then in Cutscenes sometimes the characters miraculously float like paralyzed until they catch themselves again or their own bodies sometimes push themselves unnaturally into the foreground. That tears a bit out of the immersion, but is also quickly forgotten when you stand in the next dark corridor and hear the obsessed panting and screaming πŸ™„.

There are better friends.

You can also switch off your own body to fix the problem. Finally, you have to give modders the highest respect πŸ™‚πŸ€Ÿ for this great port to VR, since it was practically a flat game. Also praiseworthy is the implementation of realistic crouching. If you bend your knees slightly (yes, this is possible in VR πŸ˜‰), the character already ducks completely behind an object like a box and this simplifies the game, but still looks realistic.

Oculus Link makes it possible

I tried the BFG Edition with the Fully Possessed mod using an Oculus Quest and link cable, and it works very well! Ok, typical for the PC there are, as always, stumbling blocks that we nerds πŸ€“ simply avoid: These include:

  • fresh installation of Doom 3 without any mods, if already modified - uninstall and reinstall
  • First installation Fully Possessed Mod, which I manually copied from a zip file into the Steam folder, because the available installer (*.exe) showed some copy errors and I didn't want to rely on it
  • starts Doom 3 via the (hopefully existing) link Doom3BFGVR, alternatively in the Steam folder \SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\DOOM 3 BFG Edition\Doom3BFGVR.exe
  • Configuration of the controls in the game itself - this is set to teleport (jerky forward movement), snapturn (jerky turning in defined angular steps) at first start for VR newcomers. Even if you turn off teleport, you can't yet move smoothly through the 3D world like in first person shooters, but see a third-person perspective of the player and when you release the analog stick, you beam to the position you've reached. I thought this was a bug, but probably at the time the mod was created, motion sickness was still a big issue. So even that deactivated, smoothturn, free locomotion... and finally a completely free movement in VR!
  • failed loading of a savegame - Autosave at the beginning was grayed out or not selectable via Oculus touch controller, solution restart the game and create manual savegames if necessary, after that it ran smoothly
  • VR-Controller deactivated by mistake - happened to me at first setting, there is a lot of confusion at first, because you only have to use mouse and keyboard to change the game settings again, after that I never touched it again

VR settings for realistic control - Caution, not for beginners! Motion sickness guaranteed.

If you can't do anything with PC tinkering, there is a Doom recommendation for you below. πŸ‘‡.

What makes VR so unique

First of all I always see spatially in VR, depending on the Field of View (FOV) more or less of my surroundings. This alone makes an enormous difference to the feeling of being right inside. In addition to this, there is the looking around by head tracking of the VR glasses. If I hear a noise behind me, I simply turn around with my real body or of course I can use a classic controller. The following picture shows me moving my left arm with the flashlight. Because you hold something (VR controller) in your hand, the feeling is very realistic!

Doom 3 - with the flashlight in his hand, spooky!

It gets really interesting when it comes to complete space tracking, meaning I move in the real world to move in the virtual world. This makes it possible to punch around a corner or to stick my head through a hole to look inside. In Doom 3, for example, I can take cover at a corner and then take a real step aside to greet incoming enemies with my shotgun. But I can also use my arm to hold the gun in the hallway and shoot. 🀠 In the following screenshot you can see the touch control that happens with the movement of the real arms/hands. Where in flat there is just a mechanical animation, here a natural human movement happens.

Consoles are operated directly by hand in the VR version

This creates a wonderful feeling of being right in the middle of things. The basic requirement for this is a free area of about 2x2m or even more. Because as soon as you bump your hand, legs, head against something in the real world, you will realize again that you are in two worlds πŸ˜€ and it can also hurt πŸ˜†. Experienced players can get by with less space, but VR is also freedom!

More Doom in VR

If you look around a bit, there are other interesting VR offshoots. Especially recommended is the PSVR version of Doom VFR with Aim-Controller, a hell of a lot of fun and above all the plastic gun works perfectly there. I had mentioned the game here, here and here.

The Version for PC is quite different, where you can't get along with Oculus Link and the touch controllers at all, because the usual inputs like analog rotation are not configured. Around 2016/17 some big developers like Bethesda thought that flat games could be easily ported to VR with little effort. The result was rather sobering, but VR enthusiasts were still happy to be able to play some of the big titles in VR (see also Skyrim VR). With Doom VFR, you can only turn around physically in the default configuration. With a cable on the PC, however, this leads to rather strange entanglements πŸ™‚. Wireless gaming via Virtual Desktop (Oculus Quest) or Vive Wireless Module is possible, but by far not standard. There are instructions on the net how to fix the messed up controls, but I haven't been able to fix it yet. By the way, you don't have to buy the Doom VFR for 30 EUR at Steam, there are cheaper providers.

Quake 2 as mobile VR pleasure for Oculus Quest

If you count Quake as part of the Doom universe, there are also the great Quake I and II versions for the Oculus Quest available via Sidequest, i.e. here you can play these classics completely without cables and for free. Graphically they are even older than Doom 3, but in VR they are 5 times more impressive than the flat version. Also the mentioned BFG Edition (https://store.steampowered.com/app/208200/Doom_3_BFG_Edition/) (which is also available at a lower price) still offers the classics Doom I and II, but only in a flat cinema mode. If you really want to experience them in VR, Doom VFR also offers the appropriate classic levels, but with the newly modeled 3D opponents. A life-size hell baron is also something else 😨.

VR continues to grow

It's probably only a matter of time until VR arrives completely in the mainstream and titles like Doom Eternal appear as VR version of course. Maybe there will be landlords who include VR rooms in their tenant exposé 😁 and architects who always ask the question: "Have you thought about a VR area in your house?

flat gamer - picture by Dean Van Der Linde auf Pixabay

But even motionless people can remain in their usual rigid posture, because there are also many VR games and experiences that can be played completely with a gamepad and in a sitting position. Also worth mentioning is the cinema mode, which projects a picture several metres in size in front of your eyes, where you can play flat titles on your PC as usual or really meet up with friends as avatars, including audio chat for the cinema evening.

How all this works? Figure it out! Meanwhile there are many communities around VR that are happy to help. For example in germany the VR-Legion, MRTV, VoodooDE VR, Zitronenarzt, Mo Fun VR where there are also some well visited Discord channels.

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