It’s easy to think of videogame “generations” as those defined by the changes in console hardware. In truth, real generations only loosely correlate to new advances in microprocessors and are better defined by major new design paradigms. iD Software helped define one of the last major generational shifts, both in moving games to full 3D and creating a client-host structure for online multiplayer games. Today, the studio announced a new experiment with one of its older games, DOOM 3, that points to a coming generational shift.
DOOM 3: BFG Edition is an updated version of the original 2004 horror shooter for PS3, 360, and Windows. The game will support head-mounted displays that will present the game in an immersive 3D environment. To demonstrate the game, iD co-founder John Carmack built his own version of a head-mounted display running two off-set images at 1280 x 800, which is also responsive to a gyroscope and accelerometer that change the field of view based on the players actual head movement.
The last major paradigm shift in game design came with the move from 3D graphics to 3D motion control, popularized by the Wii and reluctantly embraced by Sony and Microsoft with Kinect and Move. These motion control platforms will inevitably reconcile with experiments in 3D presentation like that tech behind Nintendo’s 3DS or Sony’s 3D television monitors. DOOM 3: BFG Edition takes a step toward reconciling those 3D gestures with 3D presentation.
The generational shift is still ahead of us, but the pool of ideas is filling.