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Doomworld: How important do you think a "use" key is, in 3D FPS games?  How important are keyed doors, or similar locking mechanisms?
John: I now believe that a USE key is an important concept to keep in FPS games because it enables interaction with your environment and allows more control over it.  In DOOM deathmatch, you would always use the USE key to open and close doors between you and your opponent; it was an important DM strategy.  In Quake, you basically have no control over doors -- they open when you touch them, but you can't close them on command.

As for having locking mechanisms in FPS games, they are still useful but are becoming less used as designers find more fun and clever ways of having the player get through the maps.

Many people claim that Doom2 has the best balance of any deathmatch game ever created.  Are you surprised by this?  Was deathmatch considered at all when the weapons were designed and, if so, in what respect?
We did not think about the weapon balance when we added deathmatch; the weapons were designed in ascending order of firepower for a single-player game.  Our plan was to use them as-is for the deathmatch part of the game and they worked perfectly because they were designed correctly for single-player.  As for DOOM2 being the best DM game ever created, I would have to say that I am pretty surprised to see that it is still the most hardcore DM game still out there, despite its age.  Especially for one-on-one games.
Why wasn't Doom coded in C++?
I believe the reason was because DOOM was our first game that used a DOS Extender and there were no C++ compilers available at that time that used DOS Extenders.  Another reason could have been because we were doing all the code on NeXT computers under NEXTSTEP and there was no C++ compiler, only Objective-C.  We would compile and link the code (typed on the NeXT systems) on the Intel systems and then run the game.
What were some of the weapons that were cut/never seen in alphas?
The knife, bayonet, machine gun, Unmaker and Dark Claw.  Anything else you see in the design doc was not seriously considered; they were weapons that would have made it in if there was enough time and the balance would work out.
Was Doom originally supposed to be more RPG-ish?  Early betas and screenshots, which show the inside of the marine's helmet with weapon readouts and automaps, as well as inventory lists ("Heart of Lothar," "Captain's hand," etc) seem to point to this.
No, it was still going to be an action game, we were just going to have a more elaborate "status bar" that was going to be a detailed HUD.  But it took up way too much screen real estate.  The "Heart" and "Hand" were basically different-looking keys for doors.
Why was high resolution/high color cut?
I believe it was a decision made because of compatibility issues.  The hicolor mode was not something initialized the same way on all graphic cards at that time and it also halved the resolution.  We would rather have more resolution with less colors.
What were you expecting to be done with the Doom source after its release?  Have these expectations been realized?
I was hoping for a 3D accelerated version to be made, mostly.  Also, I thought that there might be more detailed TC's attempted since new weapons and items could be added easily.  I was just glad that it was released so people could see what made it tick.
In the Doom source, there are a number of quit messages that are... well... off-color (Such as 'Hey Ron, can we say f*** in the game?' and 'Don't leave yet!  We're still spending your money!') that are commented out by default.  Any comments about these?
Hahaha, those are all mine.  Those are the "development mode only" quit messages that were never to be seen in a real release version.  The "Ron" in that one message was Ron Chaimowitz, the CEO of GT Interactive, our publisher for DOOM2.  I was always looking for a way to make the player laugh before they left our worlds.
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