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MemoryLeak
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I've always been intrigued by the tech behind video games, especially seeing Doom run for the first time in the mid 90s. I thought it might be interesting to write an article on how the Doom engine works, in case anyone else is interested. This then got me thinking what other games throughout history were technical landmarks?

There's the obvious likes of Doom/Quake/Unreal on PC, but what about earlier? Elite was pretty special. Sonic blew me away with smooth 2D sprite goodness. Mode7 stuff on the SNES. Outcast on PC. Gran Turismo on PS1. GT3 on PS2. What crazy hardware/software combos changed how things worked in the arcades?

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I suppose the gourad-shaded polygons of the various Virtua series were fairly significant in terms of arcade history.

I'm afraid I can't look up anything interesting at work, but since a lot of them were ported to the PC I can only assume there was some cross-pollination of hardware in there. For a while, they were pretty much the de-facto standard for the 'wow' factor in arcades and, for me at least, 3D graphics in general.

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Quake is still the only one I can remember really getting a sense of awe from. After playing the Dooms for ages, that first level where you go into the building and there's a guy up on a bridge - and you can walk UNDER the bridge! And the guy is still up there! Amazing scenes, as they say.

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As you mentioned Mode 7, Star Wing was obviously pretty special. Didn't Outcast use some weird tech as well? Not that it was landmark anything.

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Populous was pretty ground-breaking.

I see what you did there. Red Faction as well. Games where you literally 'break the ground'.

I remember reading (in Edge?) that Chuckie Egg had the big breakthrough if giving the main dude a sense of inertia when he ran off a platform, instead of just dropping straight down. A basic principle of the platform game.

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Got to be Mario 64. 3D platforming that works. Wooo! (Jumping Flash did it first on PS1, I suppose, but meh.)

Oh, and Halo has to be nominated for the way it took the existing FPS elements and added new ones that have become standard - the control scheme, the shields, the two weapons setup and so on. The AI deserves more than an honourable mention too.

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Oh, and Halo has to be nominated for the way it took the existing FPS elements and added new ones that have become standard - the control scheme, the shields, the two weapons setup and so on. The AI deserves more than an honourable mention too.

Veering off from the 'technical' part a bit, there.

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Ballblazer? Why that?

We're talking technical achievements, yeah? The speed of the 3D with not just one, but two players going for it in any direction. Technically, it was bloody impressive at the time. Unless you think something else was better and before it.

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Tribes says Hello there.

Heh, it's usually me who does that.

The thing that impressed me with Halo's vehicles at the time was the fact that you couldn't (at least, not easily) get stuck on the scenery. It's been years since I've played Tribes but I'm hazarding a guess that it wasn't quite as 'elegant' in it's vehicle implementation.

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I remember a feature on these sort of landmarks in Edge a few years ago: first game with cel-shading, first game with slow motion* (Aliens vs Predator?), first game with lens flare...

* (Intentional "artistic" slow motion, obviously, not slowdown.)

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Heh, it's usually me who does that.

The thing that impressed me with Halo's vehicles at the time was the fact that you couldn't (at least, not easily) get stuck on the scenery. It's been years since I've played Tribes but I'm hazarding a guess that it wasn't quite as 'elegant' in it's vehicle implementation.

Not as elegant no, but was always a laugh bailing out a transport vehicle as it plummeted to the ground. :blink:

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Defender basically invented / popularised scrolling, I think.

I recently stumbled upon this year's version of that Innovation Database student project where (among the usual idiocy where many things were attributed to NES games because the contributors weren't aware of anything predating them) someone pointed out that Lunar Lander did scrolling first.

Another interesting thing was that they'd identified NIMROD as the first computer game, predating Spacewar and Tennis for Two: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimrod_%28computing%29

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An obvious one but, Elite. At the time there was nothing else like it. The 3D vector graphics and just the size of the game, and the go anywhere do anything nature of it. It was 'sandbox' before the term was even thought up.

Also in technical terms, Dragon's Lair. From a game play point of view it's now considered pretty shit, but consider what it was like walking into an arcade and seeing it for the first time, after being used to seeing games with 2D 8bit graphics. It's one that sticks in my mind.

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