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John Romero
The man, the myth, the legend... everyone has heard of John Romero, the gaming guru who helped to create Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom 2, and Quake, among other games.  In fact, most people have actually heard John Romero -- yes, that is his reversed, phase-shifted voice at the end of Doom 2.  Now he's running his own company called ION Storm and working on his flagship game, a first-person shooter entitled Daikatana.  But back to the past... John Romero is the creator of the immortal Knee-Deep In The Dead, Doom's Episode One which has been played, feared, and loved by millions worldwide.  We figured that to talk about Doom's early days of development, it would be best to talk to someone who was there; and we'll be damned if Romero wasn't.  Read on!
 
Doomworld: When was the original concept for Doom created?
 
John: The original concept was created right after we finished shipping Spear of Destiny on September 18th, 1992.  We took a little time off and thought about our next game which was going to use a new engine that Carmack had been thinking about and working on.  When Wolfenstein 3D was completed in July 1992, all of us at id took a vacation at DisneyWorld then came back and started working on Spear of Destiny.  Carmack started working on a new engine while we worked on Spear.  This new engine featured sloping floors and ended up being used for Shadowcaster.  This work was basically his initial research into coming up with the DOOM engine. 

Originally, we wanted to do a game based on the Aliens license and we actually were in negotiations to do it and at the last minute we bailed out because we wanted total creative control and that was not going to happen with a licensed property.  So, John Carmack basically said, "What if we did the same thing, except with hellspawn instead of Aliens?"  It would be the same thing, essentially and get the fear factor across.  That decision may have also been slightly influenced by the aftermath of our last D&D campaign, the end of which came about because demons had overrun the entire planet and destroyed the whole game.

 
Who came up with the name "Doom" itself?
 
John Carmack came up with the name DOOM.
 
Was there a definite plan for Doom as it was being started, or was it more of a "some sort of techno-hellish game, let's go from there" deal?
 
Tom Hall started crafting the storyline in November 1992 and created the DOOM Bible, which turned out to be his initial ideas of where the story should go.  After that point, he mostly made lots of notes about ideas, drawings of the World Map, sketches of game characters, etc.  So, yes, there was a definite storyline created at the beginning of the project and we all started following that design.
 
What sort of features does DoomED has?  Does it have a texture viewer within the program, like QuakeED does?  Also, is it vertex- or sector-based?  (I.E. are sectors laid down first which are then edited, or are vectors laid down and then grouped into sectors.)
 
DoomEd was a pretty cool map editor, if i say so myself. :)  John Carmack did the initial superstructure of the program because i was just starting to learn how to code on the NeXT and under Objective-C.  He got the actual editing working, where you draw lines and pick-up/put-down sector information, and I did everything else, which included a Texture Inspector which showed all the wall textures available, a Sector Inspector (my pirate handle back in the Apple II days) which showed all the flats available, and various other browsers.  The editor was sector based; you drew lines, made sure they all created an enclosed space, then "filled" that area with the information contained in the Sector Inspector.  There were tons of options in DoomEd, but sadly I didn't think to put in automatic texture alignment.  I couldn't spend all of my
time working on it because i had maps to do and game balancing issues to work on.  BTW: I just got myself a new NeXT Computer and will be getting DoomEd up and running so I can take screenshots for you all.
 
Doom originally had a very indoor look, and was fairly flat (no skies, not very many height changes). How and why did it change?
 
When we started designing maps for DOOM, we were still in Wolfenstein 3D mode -- 90 degree square blocks and consistent lighting for the levels.  But as we started being more creative with the editor and exploring all the things we could do with the engine, then we started designing more interesting levels.  The alpha versions of DOOM that were released showed our map designing skills still in the Wolf3D mode, while later Beta version showed how far we were stretching.
 
What happened to things mentioned in the initial Doom press release, such as bullet holes in walls as well visible monster damage (which didn't actually surface until Quake 2)?
 
Well, technology happened.  Look how long it took for those features to be implemented after our original idea.  It took more memory, which requires cash.  Memory prices coming down over the last few years means everyone's machines have more memory in them, which means we can take up more memory with cool features like that.
 
What happened to the hub system found in one of the early alphas which allowed players to go back and forth between levels?
 
We had to make the game linear because doing a hub system that early in the genre would have probably steered the genre away from its pure action beginnings.  It was too much to accomplish at that early of a date with the time frame we were aiming at.
 
In the Doom press release there were treasures which could be collected (Demonic Dagger, Skull Chest, etc).  When was the decision made to cut these out of the game?  Why?
 
There was a point probably around June of 1993 where we re-assessed what your objective was supposed to be and we decided to boil the whole concept down to: kill everything and get out alive.  Thus, we took out Scoring (and the items that give you score) and Lives (and the items that give you free lives).
 
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