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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 01:07 GMT 02:07 UK
Game gurus on target
Screenshot from Doom III
Doom III: Eagerly anticipated game from id Software
Gaming goliath id Software is behind classic games such as Doom and Quake. BBC World ClickOnline's Kate Russell looks at id's influence on games known as first person shooters.
It all started in 1991 in Mesquite, Texas, when a bunch of talented young programmers unleashed their brainchild on a market hungry for new gaming experiences.

The grand dad of all first person shooters, Catacombs 3D in 1992, heralded the start of a new era of 3D game design.

But for id Software, it was just the beginning of a long and illustrious career in the world of PC gaming.

Following quickly on the heels of their first title, id got to work on Wolfenstein 3D, a game which many hardened first person shooter fans today remember as being the first 3D shooter they ever played.

But it was id's next offering to the fray, in 1993, which really began to shape the face of computer gaming.

Head-to-head

Doom thrust willing inductees into a frenzy of action, in a fluid three-dimensional world full of rich textures, dark atmosphere and ever-present danger.


You actually really felt like you were there, that the monsters were real, that the weapons were real

Paul Wedgewood, Splash Damage
More than that though, for the first time Doom introduced to the masses the concept of going head-to-head with real opponents over a computer network.

Nothing of its kind had been seen before in the first person action genre. But it was what id Software did next that really secured their place in the halls of fame, in what was rapidly becoming a multi-billion dollar industry.

"I remember the first time I played Doom the most amazing thing was that it was a complete 3D world that felt really immersive," recalled Paul Wedgewood of game development studio, Splash Damage.

"You actually really felt like you were there, that the monsters were real, that the weapons were real.

"And then shortly afterwards they released level editing tools which meant that you could make your own 3D environments and upload them to the internet so you could be playing other people in something you had created yourself."

Fans do it themselves

Since then id Software have continued to wow their consistently growing fan-base with a barrage of games.

Return to Wolfenstein screenshot
Return to Wolfenstein: 3D wartime action
Many of the company's top designers started out as enthusiasts who coded maps and new levels for their favourite games late into the night, and then distributed them free to other fans over the internet.

The launch of the Quake series in 1996 saw the company's sales boom yet again.

Online gaming had become a serious business, with literally tens of millions of people downloading modifications and enhancements each year.

Before long, eager fans were converging in their thousands on Mesquite to participate in the annual festival Quakecon, celebrating the might of id's games.

"Quakecon has really become a phenomenon in its own right," said Paul Wedgewood.

"You've always had gaming conventions where lots of people who've had an interest in a specific thing, like board games, turn up in their thousands to discuss board games. But with Quakecon it's all about one game."

Id's contribution to gaming lore continues, with the eagerly anticipated Doom III due out later this year.


ClickOnline is broadcast on BBC World at various times across the world.

In DepthIN DEPTH
Video games
Console wars, broadband and interactivity
See also:

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29 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
15 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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