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18 minutes ago, Benny said:

If I had one criticism: that intentionally low colour depth and banding on all the textures is really ugly. It's as though DOS EGA colours were slapped onto textures in a VGA FPS game. I don't think there ever was anything quite like that kind visual from the era, so it does seem kind of weird to make it look like that on purpose. It does make it feel very grotty though I guess.


You can turn it off, and whilst the range of colours isn’t huge, I think it would be more to your taste. 
 

Still I’m certain you would adore this game. 
 

EDIT: I’m talking about Cultic - for those too lazy to turn the page. Ps play Cultic. 

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I gave the Cultic demo a go earlier. Have to admit, I don't think I'm all that keen on it and much prefer the style of Prodeus.

 

I played on standard difficulty, and I really wasn't keen on the incredibly deadly and accurate hitscan bullets from cultists, and also just how small they are on screen in terms of lining up headshots, which you kind of need to do often to finish them quickly.

 

The physics, while sometimes funny or making interesting reactions, seemed more often than not to make everything that much more dangerous to actually play around with, which made for some frustrating moments with dynamite.

 

I kept feeling like I couldn't really play it too fast and up close because enemies will shred you quickly with hitscans, and shooting them from a distance which might make getting through a section safer meant having to find little pixel heads in a sea of soup.

 

I've heard comparisons to Blood which I never actually played back in the day, but I have played Shadow Warrior and that had a similar hitscan thing going on which I never enjoyed.

 

Very few games struck that perfect balance that most of Doom and Quake had in terms of enemy interaction and challenge. Considering what particular brand of vintage shooter influenced this one I think it makes sense that I'm not too keen on it.

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BUT:

 

In terms of sounds, music, crunchy visuals (which I think look a lot better with colour banding and dithering turned off), and general weapon and tool feedback and destructible environments... All of that stuff is excellent.

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I downloaded the Cultic demo… it’s stunning! I really like the art style and the EGA style colour palette. Bashing folk with a hatchet is extremely satisfying too… I’ve got too many games on the go just now but this is on my list for the Christmas holidays!

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm sure it's been mentioned but I went to buy Prodeus before discovering it was there on Game Pass already. Damn great game and unlike Doom Eternal you don't spend what seems like hours being taught how you are supposed to play it, then just when you start getting the hang of it..bang..another demon Krypton Factor section. I swear I can see the game so many people absolutely loved hidden in Eternal but my God they really don't seem to have any confidence in the player to work it out themselves. We worked out Demons Souls when it ran like garbage and had only the word of some internet forum people that that it was worth it so at least give us the opportunity!

 

Doom rants aside, it's another one that feels like a proper progression of the old straight fps shooters, without trying to simply be, "Remember when games looked like this?". Seeing a load of weapons I've not unlocked in Prodeus makes me want to keep playing because I know they'll be fun to use, and go back to previous levels to use. 

 

I do wonder if Selaco can really live up to that demo, I'm trying not to really hammer it in case I somehow wear it out by the time more of the game is released. The video on their Steam store pages doesn't do it any favours when I send the link to everyone I can possibly think of so it'd be a shame if it missed a potentially massive audience. While you can certainly play it slowly and sneak behind cover etc it's the absolute madness of flying kicking an enemy into a wall then using that momentum to keep sliding along the floor, hopefully before you run out of ammo and hopefully into a doorway so you can pretend it was 100% intentional. Checking if jamming the CT scanner open with a metal chair and activating it from the safety of the other room would blow the whole machine to bits revealing a secret area weirldy reminded me of Half Life 2, except in Selaco it actually works..

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Call me a purist, but I genuinely think this makes Quake look completely weird and naff and wrong:
 

 

 

 

Incredible(ly shit).

 

Civvie 11 commented once that Quake II RTX just didn't look right and the same problem there applies here I think.

 

It just looks like it's being played with the gamma turned up higher than even the sweatiest Counterstrike player would be caught dead doing.

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I gave the Cultic demo another go last night. I'm not sure why I bounced off it so quickly at first as it is well done. It does seem to be very heavily inspired by Blood and when I started trying to play it a bit more like I saw Civvie 11 play that game and how and when to use dynamite it kind of clicked better.

 

I still really don't like quantity of deadly hitscan enemies as a challenge though, so I still don't think it's for me, but I get more of the appeal now (as I never played Blood). The thin and glitchy walkways that a fall from means death are pretty shit though. It's "okay" in a third person game like Dark Souls where you can see your relation to the edges, but far too easy to fall off to your doom in the Cultic demo and it killed me more often than the enemies.

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I agree on the Quake RT video - it looks odd. Quite cool in some places - the pitch dark corridors lit by muzzle flashes and glowing weapons look awesome - but absolutely hideous in others. Not quite as horrible and wrong as the Doom RT video, but there are still some questionable choices.

 

The stained glass window bits are the case in point. The DF presenter was rhapsodising about how technically impressive it was, and while it looked like real glass, it looked like a window to nowhere. There was no light coming through, so you couldn't see the actual stained-glass pattern. The technology was very clever, but it wasn't harnessed to enough consideration of what the original developers were trying to do. The same goes for the bump-mapping-esque textures they put on the stone floors to show off the new lighting - the pattern on the surface made the flagstones looked exactly like some tiles I was considering putting into my kitchen a few months ago, and nothing like the tiles you might see in a hellish pocket dimension of pain and misery.

 

There's also a slightly weird mismatch between the hyper-real lighting and the flat walls with low-res textures. It reminds me a bit of older remasters of games, where you still have the original, low-poly models, with very high-resolution replacement textures.

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28 minutes ago, K said:

I agree on the Quake RT video - it looks odd. Quite cool in some places - the pitch dark corridors lit by muzzle flashes and glowing weapons look awesome - but absolutely hideous in others. Not quite as horrible and wrong as the Doom RT video, but there are still some questionable choices.

 

The stained glass window bits are the case in point. The DF presenter was rhapsodising about how technically impressive it was, and while it looked like real glass, it looked like a window to nowhere. There was no light coming through, so you couldn't see the actual stained-glass pattern. The technology was very clever, but it wasn't harnessed to enough consideration of what the original developers were trying to do. The same goes for the bump-mapping-esque textures they put on the stone floors to show off the new lighting - the pattern on the surface made the flagstones looked exactly like some tiles I was considering putting into my kitchen a few months ago, and nothing like the tiles you might see in a hellish pocket dimension of pain and misery.

 

There's also a slightly weird mismatch between the hyper-real lighting and the flat walls with low-res textures. It reminds me a bit of older remasters of games, where you still have the original, low-poly models, with very high-resolution replacement textures.

 

Another part of the video that I disagreed with more in particular was about the warp gates:

 

He suggests having warp gates that now show you where you are going is a big improvement, as if somehow there was a technical limitation that meant they couldn't do that before and so this is better for the gameplay. Not sure if that was exactly what he meant but if so it's a very faulty reasoning - I think a huge part of why the warp gates were so cool in the original is precisely because you had no idea where they were going to take you.

 

All the tricks and traps and surprises are a massive part of what makes Quake Quake. So suggesting that change to the presentation is an improvement fundamentally misunderstands the very essence of the experience.

 

The water surfaces are maybe a bit more contentious: I liked the fact that in the original they were all disgusting and like they were covered in a film of scum so you couldn't see beneath. Of course in order to show off ray traced lighting reflections in this mod they've made the water surface transparent, which I think again takes away some of the grimy feel of the game to its detriment.

 

It's an interesting curio I suppose, but I'm increasingly starting to see these kinds of "improvements" being made to remasters of games by people who seem to fundamentally misunderstand the intention behind certain art design. Nightdive are very often justifiably praised for their restoration works, but one look at the Blade Runner remaster showed it's a very fine line between what makes something "better" or messes up presentation in the name of "technical" improvements.

 

(The 60 fps interpolation added to the rendered cutscenes, making them seem even more dated and taking away the cinematic feel was a good example. And the upscaling tech that blurred out the detail in the background renders in the interests of "smoothness". Honestly it was horrible, and I couldn't quite believe it was the same team who had done the Quake remaster)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Raytracing in Quake just strikes me as pretty pointless, it was never a game that was sold on how amazing it looked but rather how it played. The engine supporting true 3D environments with rooms above rooms etc was pretty amazing at the time but it wasn't exactly Unreal where you wandered about just looking at the graphics. I've watched the Digital Foundry videos on it and Quake 2 and wondered if they were looking at the same footage I was, all the textures and environments in Quake were never really intended to be seen in such minute detail because it reveals just how bland (and brown) they really were. It's impressive that it's possible with modern graphics cards but feels a bit like playing Wolfenstein 3D in 4K, why would you want to? I've thought for quite a while now that it'll only really become useful and worth all the extra processing power once it's used for full global illumination properly and game environments can be designed with that in mind, like Cyberpunk but not held back by requiring a release on older generation machines. The reflections in Control and Spider Man are impressive but other than that it's often more like a gimmick than an actual useful technology in most games. Kind of the same at the push for 4K really, the real leap forward imo is the HDR that has come along with it, the insane amount of extra power needed to actually render at 4K or to "fake" it just feels a waste. When I plugged my PS5 into my screen that supports HDR I nearly fell off my chair when I loaded up Second Son, I had no idea just how utterly broken it is in Windows and suddenly saw what it was *meant* to look like and it was incredible. 

 

Was anyone really in a massive rush to play through the first Portal game again? Half Life 2 with the environments remade with raytracing in mind I would buy in a heartbeat, but a puzzle game where I've already solved all the puzzles several times before and every new room looks the same as the last by design? I mean Portal is a game that could go very wrong using raytracing, but how many people are really interested in the technicalities and potential pitfalls behind different types of rendering and lighting? 

 

Exocide looks great, thank God Titanfall 2 wasn't the end of first person shooters that just felt excellent to play.

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5 hours ago, NickyDrinks said:

Raytracing in Quake just strikes me as pretty pointless, it was never a game that was sold on how amazing it looked but rather how it played. 


I’m going to have to disagree with you there. I remember Quake coming out and the first time I played it, and it was absolutely gobsmacking. The sky, with its layers of clouds! The huge structures towering above you! Gigantic monsters and bosses! Projectiles that lit up the stonework around them as they streamed down a corridor! Being flung hundreds of feet into the air and raining down death with a rocket launcher at the enemies clustered across some vast alien edifice!

 

It was incredible for the time. It really sold this dank, hellish environment made up of decaying structures and intestinal networks of tunnels. Even the way the slipgates shimmered and writhed looked fantastic. The visuals were cutting edge. 

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I mentioned this in the retro subforum, but the other day I finished the base game (but not the expansions) of Quake, via the 2021 enhanced update. Some of the later encounters felt a bit chaotic and there were some bullet sponges, but most of it holds up well. I missed out on that whole era at first (we weren't really into PC games until 1998-ish, and even then the only Quake thing we had was the shareware demo) and the classic map design hits hard after the hallways of modern shooters, but it's a nice way to kill some time during a quiet games schedule. :) 

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I missed out on Quake in the 90s too. When I play it now, I set the resolution lower - so it looks how I remember 90s fps games to look (not how they actually looked if you know what I mean?). With the RTX patch, pin sharp chunky pixels mixed with raytracing is the best of both worlds for me.

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Quake was absolutely a genre defining game graphically when it came out. BUT for me personally the biggest revelations in terms of being able to explore first-person levels on more than just 2D planes were Future Shock, Duke Nukem 3D, and Descent II. All of which I played before Quake.

 

So as a result the true 3D of Quake really didn't seem all that revolutionary to me at the time, as I'd already been exploring massive environments in those games. But the monsters looked nice.

 

Of course these days Quake has stood the test of time better than those games, though I still have a soft spot for Descent II.

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10 minutes ago, Uncle Nasty said:

Have any of these recent retro shooters used Unreal as inspiration?

 

The only one I can think of visually is something like Amid Evil.

 

Generally, with some clear exceptions, most of the retro shooter revival stable seem to favour graphical styles from Doom, Quake, and the Build Engine games.

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6 hours ago, K said:


I’m going to have to disagree with you there. I remember Quake coming out and the first time I played it, and it was absolutely gobsmacking. The sky, with its layers of clouds! The huge structures towering above you! Gigantic monsters and bosses! Projectiles that lit up the stonework around them as they streamed down a corridor! Being flung hundreds of feet into the air and raining down death with a rocket launcher at the enemies clustered across some vast alien edifice!

 

It was incredible for the time. It really sold this dank, hellish environment made up of decaying structures and intestinal networks of tunnels. Even the way the slipgates shimmered and writhed looked fantastic. The visuals were cutting edge. 

 

 

I get what you are saying and agree to a certain extent, but for me it was the actual 3D'ness (for want of a better term) of everything that was most impressive rather than the actual lighting or environments themselves. System Shock and Descent had done the 3D level layout but neither of them really demonstrated why it was so useful in as immediate a way as Quake for me, particularly Descent where I found navigating incredibly frustrating with the map just making things worse. They both also still used bitmaps for enemies, explosions and the like so didn't really feel that far off something like the Ultima Underworld games. Duke Nukem 3D had done it but it was faked using specific map teleport tricks as even though that version of the Build engine was much more capable than what Doom was using (I suppose really it was idTech 2 or something?), true 3D level layouts were still not supported properly . I remember downloading QTest just to have a look at the amazing graphics John Carmack, or more Romero probably, had promised and although the sky textures and portals looked cool I remember being a bit disappointed at how bland it all seemed. Sort of like a very early warning for the brown games we'd later be getting on the 360. The rest of the time I spent with that was listening to the modem noises as my friend and I spent hours trying to get our modems to connect, something I don't think we ever did get working.

 

I think what I'm getting at is that the things Quake was best at I just don't really think lend themselves well to being enhanced by raytracing, the bouncing lights of grenades and explosions are nice but the green and brown walls they light up with high accuracy only serve to detract from it, if that makes sense. 

 

System Shock I'm still a bit annoyed about missing properly, especially System Shock 2. I remember playing the demo of the first game and just being presented with this interface that hadn't been explained or demonstrated, I had yet to really get why using the mouse at the same time as the keyboard worked in FPS games so it was really fiddly to control and I had no clue what I was meant to be doing so eventually gave up. Ultima Underworld would be interesting to see with raytracing added, although it might be even worse as the super limited draw distance is probably a large part of what added to the whole atmosphere of the game and hid all the tricks they were using to make it seem to be doing the impossible.

 

Actually that's a good point about all the new games using Doom and Duke3D as inspiration, I guess it's because using Unreal Engine it's actually harder to make something in 3D that *doesn't* look particularly realistic in certain ways, even more so with version 5. Veering a bit off-topic but I loaded up an environment map that just a generic, albeit high-resolution and dynamic range panoramic photograph taken at the top of a hill, then just added a random 3D object in the editor for UE4 and couldn't believe how good it looked. Even with the only texture on the object being the UV map it was incredible just how "solid" and real it appeared to be as I walked around it. As impressive as RE Engine and the Decima engine are, Unreal Engine is *incredibly* good at lighting even without whacking everything up full blast. I do still find RE Engine the most impressive though because of just how damn versatile it seems to be, the fact that RE7 ran at 60fps on the PS4 and looked as good as it did still amazes me. A lot of that look is probably down to how much 3D scanning and photogrammetry is now used instead of putting it all together by hand and having someone draw the textures. Watching the dev videos is really interesting to see how many of the sets like the kitchen they just built full size then dressed them manually inside the editor. Devil May Cry 5 has lighting that looks absolutely amazing, especially in HDR, and I'm not even sure the raytracing option is used other than for reflections. For me Resident Evil 8 is one of the best looking first person games in terms of graphics, just walking into the hallway of the castle feels like we've finally reached the point where the Gamecube remake of RE1 is possible in real-time, even though that would lose a hell of a lot of the game without the static cameras. I have switched raytracing on and off on the PC version of RE8 and it doesn't feel like a massive difference but again that's probably because it's not using it for full global illumination, if it did it would probably mean redesigning the entire game around it because you'd end up with things like the stained glass window in Quake suddenly looking real, but also suddenly looking weirdly crap! 

 

I really want the full version of Selaco, more than any other game I can think of actually. Going back and playing the original Doom or Duke3D never appealed to me so I'd ignored all the "retro inspired" shooters until recently, but Prodeus really feels like the same kind of fun I remember having with those games when they first came out.

 

 

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I'm planning on picking up Quake in the next steam sale, I've been scrabbling around for something to scratch my Ultrakill itch lately, and haven't really found anything that's come close, though I've just started up Doom Eternal this evening and I think I'm in for a good time here, even if the story, pacing, and setting feel utterly bizarre compared to Doom 2016. I'm dabbling with Ultrakill's horde mode, the cyber grind, every now and then and am having a great time with it—way more fun than I thought I would actually.

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