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Having a lot of resources and code already available can be at the same time a huge advantage and a disadvantage. Creativity oftentimes comes from limitation. The limitations Carmack and Romero were working with were huge not only in terms of hardware but also in terms of technique. The idea to use raycasting to render the graphics in Wolfenstein was brilliant and would not have been conceived had there been 3d hardware and 3d libraries. With 90% of the problem solved, the question is, how compelling is the other 10%? And how costly? What is left as a real challenge to the programmer today that would motivate him or her to sit for months or years and create a novel game, especially given the high likelihood of little payoff and stiff competition? Carmack and Romero were breaking new ground both technologically and in game design. Another FPS (or any other genre) game today is not going to do so. It seems there is less and less new ground to break these days and much more aggregation of different libraries and frameworks to recreate the same games over and over again. While new gameplay techniques do emerge, the world of PC gaming has hardly seen any new innovations in the GPU / OpenGl, DirectX / Unreal Engine / etc. era other than incremental increases in image quality. Audio and controls fare even worse. I wonder if today's "Carmack and Romero" would be able to pull something as brilliant as Wolfenstein if they started today. I hardly think so, even starting with millions and a lot of luck. The palette of tools may have been expanded, but the canvas has shrunk to infinitesimal proportions.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2013 on You Don't Need Millions of Dollars at Coding Horror
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Oct 18, 2013