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History of the first-person shooter series (Part 1)

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From the time of Maze War to Overwatch, the FPS game series has changed a lot

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Historical articles about games often focus on only a few individuals or periods – because these people possess innovative or avant-garde designs. Events or people who disagree with them often go into oblivion. According to a famous article, the first-person shooter series (First-person Shooter/FPS) was officially born in 1992 with id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D game. A ‘big brute’ guy traveling in a Nazi labyrinth-like castle. In 1993, the Doom monument was released, selling millions of copies worldwide. Not long after, the Quake series of games was officially born and is considered the first 3D shooter with polygonal shape.

Founded in 1991 by former members of Softdisk software company, id has contributed a lot of success to the FPS game series. Wolfenstein 3D and Doom bring tangible progress, as well as gore and violence, to first-person games. The technology of programmer John Carmack is the basis for many FPS games born in the decade after Doom launched. But let’s not just stare at this stage, but forget the long, difficult journey in it; This is seen as a step closer to Call of Duty: World War II. And we shouldn’t belittle the games before, during, and after the id breakthrough, because they have similar concepts used and equally valuable directions.

Thinking about the origins of shooters is like thinking about mazes. Among the first pioneering FPS games, Maze was born in 1973. The game was designed by 3 high school students: Greg Thompson, Steve Colley and Howard Palmer in the study and work program of NASA, they used the Imlac PDS-1 and PDS-4 minicomputers. This trio studies ‘fluid dynamics’ for the design of future spacecraft. At first there was only single player mode, the area in the game consisted of only 16×32 squares that allowed the character to rotate 90 degrees to find directions. Maze then includes shooting, second player support via cable, poke-out to shoot, and orientation to help identify which way other players are looking.

After completing the game at NASA, Thompson brought it to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Thanks to a more powerful computer system and the support of David Lebling – who later created the legendary word adventure game Zork and founded Infocom – Thompson added support for 8 players with system editing software. US defense system ARPANET, allowing for map editing, graphic design, scoreboard as well as tracking mode and ‘bots of varying difficulty’. These features then became widely available in the shooter market many years later. Maze War was played very popularly at MIT – it used up so many computing resources that MIT decided to create a software to find and disable the game. In later stages, Maze adds a vertical (vertical) axis that allows the player to fly, shoot and hide in any direction.

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Maze War

It sounds like Maze War is a forgotten full-featured FPS game, but we need to remember that the term ‘first-person shooter’ has only recently appeared. According to a 2014 study by Carl Therrien, FPS started to be hotly discussed in the gaming market in the late 90s. Many studios, including id, refer to these titles by words like ‘3- D adventure’ (3D adventure), ‘virtual reality’, and ‘feeling you’re in the game’ when talking about games with a first person perspective. The words apply not only to casual commuting shooters, but also racing games such as the 8-bit Atari with Night Rider: putting the player in the driving point of view, the road is created with moving white rectangles. Or the 1974 flying game ‘Spasim’ (along with Maze Wars, considered the ancestor of the FPS series), the 32-player space plane shooter, each piloting a warship from the movie Star Trek. , with a processing frame of 1 picture 1 second

Then there are dungeon crawlers like Richard Garriot’s Akalabeth in 1976, which combines a top-down and first-person world map with colorful graphics. Maze War also has its successors and imitators, which was once called a “mouse-perspective” experience by a Computer & Video Game publication in 1981. The FPS genre we know today. take ideas from those game lines, mold them slowly.

According to the law of nature, the way of playing will change as new technology emerges. One of Maze War’s juniors was Paul Allen’s WayOut, which debuted on the 8-bit Atari system in 1982. The game uses ‘ray casting’ image processing technology (creating rays). The 3D environment is created from the 2D canvas by sending out ‘rays’ from the character’s eyes and drawing out pixels where they will intersect at the coordinates of an item. According to the fact that light will reflect at the surface of the object before entering our eyes, ‘ray casting’ creates a collision with an object only once (ie not reflected). Although limited in effects such as ‘refraction’, ray casting used less resources than other 3D rendering technologies, allowing computers of the time to process games faster. If WayOut is a potential application of ray casting technology, the game is famous for its weird gameplay and no combat. You will control a clown trapped in a maze, along with a spinning, dangerous ‘Cleptangle’ that will steal your map as well as your compass. A breeze will blow through the curtain, the direction of which is determined by the flying fireflies. This hinders movement, but also helps you navigate if you accidentally lose the map.

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Cockpit simulation games were hugely popular in the ’80s, starting with Ed Rotberg’s Atari arcade game Battlezone. You control the tank through the graphics of lines with a ‘microscope’ viewfinder (the US military also tried but failed to turn the game into a Bradley tank training software). In 1987, Incentive Software released the game Driller: Space Station Oblivion – the first game to use the proprietary Freescape technology, allowing the creation of complex 3D environments with dots and simple geometric blocks. Taking up a lot of space on the game screen will be the information board of your warship along with a lot of buttons and locations (like sitting in the cabin of an airplane). These simulation games are influenced by Star Wars – there is also the ship console in the ‘starfighter’ spaceships (in Star Wars). In addition, the game also tries to simulate the feeling that the player is the captain sitting in the cockpit. One of id’s later successes was in closing the space between the character’s body and the avatar, helping to create the premise for a “first-person perspective” – ​​not just a perspective but in the game. It also helps you feel like you are part of the main character in it.

By PC Gamer

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