Posted Tue, Nov 13, 2012 by ricoxg
Before there were MMOs, there were FPS games. The RTS, RPG, and FPS made up the trifecta of PC gaming for years before brave developers set sail for the undiscovered country of massively multiplayer games. FPS games have had a major influence on the world of PC gaming over the years. We’re going to take a walk through the past and look at how some of these titles, and some of their mods, shaped today’s gaming world.
Who could discuss FPS games without paying homage to the father of the genre, Wolfenstein 3D? This is the game that gave rise to the whole Doom series and defined a genre around itself as it went along. Wolfenstein didn’t break rules, it made new ones. In a lot of ways, the game was like the particle physicist that just couldn’t make his math work, so he invented a new relativistic property to handle the problem.
Shareware wasn’t something that had caught on until id Software used the concept to promote Wolfenstein. In the years after the method proved so enormously successful, even internet companies started distributing free versions of their software. The system of distributing shareware has changed a little over the years as the process morphed into things like open betas, demos, and trial accounts in various games. These more modern terms all have shareware as a common ancestor.
Another innovation from Wolfenstein was the concept of player level design and mods. The idea sort of developed out of nowhere as addicted gamers tried to help each other maintain their FPS high. When id Software rolled out Doom and Quake in later years, they specifically designed the games to be “level-creator-friendly.” Now, years later, we have Steam releasing entire development packages to their fans; several FPS games have mods that are more popular than the game itself was; and Cryptic Studios took a successful crack at having their users create their content for them in Star Trek Online.