Designing DOOM Eternal’s New & Classic Demons

Designing DOOM Eternal’s New & Classic Demons

January 27, 2020 100 By William Hollis


[WHOOSH] [MUSIC PLAYING] – Hi. My name is
Hugo Martin, and I’m the game director
on Doom Eternal. We’re here today to talk
about the demons of Doom. The pain elemental.
The pain elemental we wanted to definitely bring
as many characters from Doom II back
as we could. I think we’ve
gotten all of ’em. Kind of queuing off
some of the design elements that were in
the original cacodemon of 2016 with
some of the Predator-like mandibles.
Jon Lane this time did this awesome concept
where he really steered into it, and it has,
instead of like, two fangs like the
cacodemon has, it has, you know,
tons of them. There’s like six or seven.
Every time you design something, I feel like it’s important that
you think of it like like a person, like
give it kind of a personality. Like if it
talked, how would it talk? Would it have like an accent?
Would it be like an old person, a young person?
So it’s like, well, if you look at the
pain elemental, I kind of think of him
like a grumpy old man. And a lot his animations
and the way he looks, he just looks very crochety if you
actually look at the way he looks. And he has this one
bull charge that he does, where he kind of like,
walks like this. It’s really funny. It’s kind
of like a grumpy landlord. I think all the best
characters have that, whether it’s Jabba,
like, you know, this really fat gangster, or
you know, Yoda. Like all the great
characters that really stand the test of time.
They generally have a personality. And
you know that a concept is there when
you can almost hear it, like when Jon
made this drawing I feel like when you looked
at it, I could even hear the sounds that he would make,
which I thought was really cool. From a design standpoint,
the AI team and myself, we really
wanted to make sure that he was definitely
a super heavy unit, really, really strong,
a real bullet sponge. Just sometimes I
think you think that that’s not enough,
but they had really cool attacks, they throw
lost souls just like in the original. But as a
pressure unit in Doom, if they can
just take a beating, just that alone can
make them a really valuable chess piece
on the chessboard in that it’s not so much
that individually by themselves they’re
hard to kill, but it’s that they create openings
for the lesser AI. Now it gives them a chance.
So the soldier that you were stomping on earlier in
the game, once a pain elemental is pursuing
you, and you’re having to look up and
shoot him, now that soldier, he’s not such
a chump anymore. He’s got a open
shot on you. So those kind of chess pieces
in Doom are really important, and the pain elemental
is one of our favorites. [MUSIC PLAYING] Arachnotron. Arachnotron, designed
by Alex Palma, modeled by Jason Martin,
our lead character artist, a very good friend
of mine, someone I’ve worked with for
a really long time. DANNY: No relation? – No, no relation. And we
don’t look anything alike. Really wanted to infuse
some of that UAC tech in with him,
and the opportunity to kind of like update
these amazing Doom II characters is just so much
fun with AAA graphics. And then to have a modeling
team model them, it’s just phenomenal. I think if
you’re a Doom fan, you’re just going to have
a smile across your face. He has his grenades
that he shoots out of his side canisters,
and those are kind of his area of effect
weapons, and then he’s pretty nimble.
He can actually stick to the ceilings
of certain places, which is really cool. We kind
of think of him like a mobile turret.
He can kind of hunker down and just
light you up. His number one attack
is that gun on the top of his head.
We tuned that thing to be crazy.
So we really want to pressure the
player with this attack, and we
want you to hate that thing. We’re cool
with frustrating you so long as we have
something to teach you. So long that we
promise you that if you allow yourself
to be steered into the style of play that we
want you to– The way we want you
to play, that you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
So one of the most fun things in Doom Eternal
is to take out the arachnotron’s turret,
because if you don’t, he’s going to mess you up
pretty bad. So usually a skilled player, you’ll
be doing this pretty easily in no time.
You’ll use either the horoscope or
the sticky bomb. We have specific mods on
guns and specific guns that are better at
taking out weak points than others, especially
like some of these precision mods that we
have. So as soon as you see him, the
pro tip is to to take out the
arachnotron’s turret, otherwise he’s really, really
going to mess you up. And then you’ll pretty
much change the way that AI behaves. Now the
only thing that he can do is drop grenades.
So it really changes the way he operates,
which is really cool, and you can
feel, like, the combat dance
kind of change based on the
player’s actions. And he looks awesome.
You can shoot up his brain, all the parts come out,
and then you see rib bones in his brain, which
I don’t know why there are rib bones in his brain,
but it looks cool. [LAUGHING]
And you can actually take his little arms and stick
’em in his eye when you kill him in some of the glory
kills, so it’s really, really fun. It’s one of my
favorite demons. [MUSIC PLAYING] Archvile. Definitely knew from the
very beginning that we wanted to try to bring him
back. So the little insider information, the
summoner from Doom 2016 was basically the archvile
for that game. In terms of a chess piece,
he definitely fills that role this time around, but this
time it’s the real archvile. He functions very much the
same way, and we worked hard to get the poses to be
just like the original. Yeah, definitely an homage.
I mean, I think with a lot of the designs
of the characters, we just knew that we
wanted to be able to bring these 1994
sprites to life with AAA graphics. We felt
like that’s what would be the most fun.
And it’s a testament to the guys who designed those,
the original Id guys because they still hold up.
From a design perspective, he’s illusive, and with
our illusive AI we use them to drag
the player around the space. Anytime that
we make the player move in Doom, it feels
good for the player. And also another key component
of what we call, like, the fun zone in Doom, which
is just like this list of activities that
we know if the player is doing these things, then they’re
going to be having a good time. And moving is one of them,
and prioritizing targets is definitely one of them.
That keeps you thinking. That keeps you engaged.
So as soon as the archvile comes up, you can hear
him, you can see him, you can see that he’s starting
to spawn in guys on the screen, and it’s a ticking
time clock at that point. You have to go and
kill him before he spawns in those guys, ’cause he’s
going to spawn in some really, really
heavy dudes. That really changes
the meta of the game on the fly,
and he has a fire wall that he puts up,
which is really gnarly, and he shoots these fire
waves at you. The AI team worked
extremely hard. You’re going to love this guy.
He’s going to be one of the guys you
love to hate. [MUSIC PLAYING] The hellifide soldier. The hellifide soldier,
we just wanted to make a soldier
that looked like the original Doom
soldiers with the green hair, because we
thought they were awesome. He was brought back
from the last game, but we changed up
his model to make him look more like
the original Doom guy. And I think the guys
nailed in. Standing on the shoulders of giants,
the people who designed the original
Doom characters. That sprite looked awesome.
All we had to do was translate that
into 3D, which was really
fun exercise. Some of the new things
that you’ll notice with him when you play the
game is he’s not really a chump this time around.
Like yes, he’s fodder, and he is there to be
farmed. The resource management game
in Doom is strong, and it’s a big part
of the experience. It’s what helps you get in that
flow state, and one of the best guys to farm
is the soldiers. But if you just mosey
up to the soldier, all lackadaisical-like,
and think you have an eternity to put that
shotgun to his chest, he is going to blast
you in the face. He’s got a really,
really strong melee swipe this time, as do
really all the AI. We think of
them as like, if you’re going to
run up to them and want to try to
engage them in close range, you’ve really got to
set it up. You’ve got to think about it a little bit
first. And you’ll notice that with him. He’s got
a hell of a shot. [GUNSHOTS] So those are some of the
demons that we brought from Doom II, but
now let’s talk about some of the demons, the new
guys that you’re going to see in Doom Eternal. [MUSIC PLAYING] Whiplash. Man, this AI is a
real pain in the ass. I gotta be honest.
So she, he– So she’s actually our
first female demon. She’s not entirely
anatomically correct because we want to
be able to use her in marketing images, and so,
like, we had to just kind of keep things sort
of nondescript. She gets down on the
ground, and she slithers around. And anything that
gets the player to take crosshairs off the
center of the screen within reason, if you
ask the player to do that too much, it’s going
to get pretty annoying. When she drops to the ground
she slithers like a salamander across the floor, and she tries
to actually flank you and get behind you.
Then she’ll pop up and rake you with her
whips, which is a really devastating attack.
The point of this is ’cause we know one
of the elements of the fun zone is to get
the player to move. We know this will make the
player move, believe me. You’re going to track this
thing as soon as it comes out. And she pushes the player
around more than anybody else, and anytime
the player’s moving like that, it just feels
really good. And you’re going to prioritize her, which
is another one of the really important things of the
Doom dance that makes it feel really good. So she
slithers across the floor. You’re going to track her
with your guns. She does kind of
make you also use certain weapons,
because we think of the weapons like tools,
and the AI are kind of like problems, and you want
to bring the right tool for the job
so to speak. So when she comes
up, maybe you’re using the shotguns or
certain weapons, but you’re definitely probably going to
switch to something that’s good for tracking something
that moves really fast. We had mods for that
specifically. We have the microwave mod, for example,
that can freeze her in place and fry her.
We’ve got the ice bomb that can freeze anything.
So it’s kind of purposely designed
to steer you, to motivate the
player to dabble in more mods and
different attacks that maybe they haven’t been
using up to that point. I asked to talk about her because
she’s one of my favorite AI in the game. It’s really
just a brand new chess piece for Doom
Eternal, and I think it’s going to be a lot of
people’s favorite thing to shoot and murder
and glory kill. And she has one of
the best glory kills in the game. If
everybody remembers 43 Steven Seagal movies
from back in the day, they were awesome.
Now he’s kind of maybe not so awesome,
but he used to be awesome. He would always do this
thing where he would like hyper-extend
bad guys’ arms and just do awful things
with their arms. So we had to put in
like a Steven Seagal glory kill. So there’s
one where you grab her arm, you hyper-extend it, the
whatever this bone is called sticks out, and then
you like shove it in the demon’s head.
It’s pretty awesome. It’s like one of my favorite
glory kills, so I can’t wait for
you to see it. [MUSIC PLAYING] Tentacles. The tentacle is one of
the new AI in Doom. But it’s actually, we’re
pretty proud of this. It’s not really a full AI.
Like, we have AI that do the craziest
things, they traverse all over the place. This is
actually kind of like pest level AI, like
an ambient AI. It was a fair criticism
of Doom 2016 that it relied heavily
on arena combat. And we thought our arena
combat was awesome, and it’s even better this time
around. But we needed to do more to
challenge the player in between the arenas.
We needed to make sure that the time you spent
between the huge fights was just as engaging
as the huge fights were, maybe even
more so. Well, we developed like a pest
AI to help with that, which is the
tentacle. Now, sometimes they’re hiding underwater
and you can’t see them. And sometimes they’re in
these wormholes that are kind of scattered throughout
the level. But you can’t really tell which wormhole
they’re going to pop up from. It’s kind of like whack-a-mole.
And they give you a pretty good whack if you don’t pay attention, but they
kind of give you a chance to shoot them, ’cause there’s a
little meta game in there. So the player has a window to
take them out before they get whacked. And it’s fun. I think
it keeps you on your toes. The main thing as a designer
is we really just wanted to keep you thinking.
I mean, that’s kind of the whole point.
Like you could either just run through a hallway
without a concern, or we could fill the hall–
We could turn off the lights and fill the hallway
with a bunch of wormholes. And that’ll make that
journey through that hallway just a little bit
more interesting, really kind of keep you
on your toes. And that’s really the goal with Doom Eternal,
is to make sure that we’re engaging you in the experience
from beginning to end. [MUSIC PLAYING] The marauder. In Doom, you’re
going to be kind of leveled
up like a martial artist. In the first hour,
you’ll get your white belt. Couple hours in you get
a blue belt. You gotta work your way up, and at
some point, you’re going to become a black belt.
And where you’re there, in the third act of
the game, it’s more about showing off
just how badass you can be. And the game
is kind of aware you have your black belt, and there is
another black belt out there waiting
to face you. You are Obi Wan, and
this is your Darth Maul. And you guys are going to
have this awesome fight. You’re going to fight a couple
times in the game, actually. He’s going to hold you accountable.
He’s going to see just how good you are
at the Doom dance. And when he’s there,
he is definitely like the queen chess piece
on the board. And he is going to
create a lot of openings, as I said, with the other
guys, for the pawns and the other chess pieces that
have been out there, that you’ve been kicking their
butts the whole time. So it makes for this
really interesting meta where you’re
going to want to try and get rid of
everybody else, kind of like in a good
Bruce Lee movie. When the grand master comes
out, you got to get rid of the white belts first,
and then you can face the grand master, so that
way you’re not dealing with anything else.
And that in itself makes for a really dynamic
combat encounter. So I don’t really want to
give away too much, but hopefully it’s intriguing
enough to get you guys to dive into the lore.
That’s why we do that stuff, try to expand the
Doom universe. He’s awesome. Doom hunter. We try to find
new ways to give the characters ways
to move around, new approaches to
locomotion. So that way it
can make for a little bit more variety
on the battlefield. You know, we consider
like what the player sees while they’re
scanning their targets, and if everybody just has
two legs and runs around like a man,
that’s pretty lame. So that’s why we have, like,
the pinky who charges like a bull, and other
characters who fly around. But the
doom hunter, he floats around on
like, this hover tank. And on his tank
he’s got some of his strongest attacks
that are on the tank, the sled that
he actually rides on. But then you’re got
the upper part of him, which shoots this cannon
and has like a chainsaw. So what’s really cool
is that you could disable one of his
weak points, is you can actually disable
his sled and make it so he can’t
use his primary attacks, again, just
like the arachnotron, making him far
less effective. Huge shout out to the
AI team once again, ’cause this stuff is
super hard to do. It’s kind of a two
stage battle. The first stage, you work
to disable his sled. Once the sled is
destroyed, he will actually pull himself off
the sled and then hover around just
as the upper half of him. And then he
kind of, he completely changes. He goes from like
a hover tank to like a hummingbird. He’ll
fly all around attacking you with his
guns, swiping you with his chainsaw. It’s
really, really awesome that we just feel
like it’s so cool that through the
course of battle, as you disable these weak
points, you can completely change the behavior
of the AI, which is something we worked
extremely hard on. [MUSIC PLAYING] Carcass. Again, we’re comfortable with
frustrating the player just so long as we have
something to teach you. What we’re doing is
pushing you into a more fun style of play,
we promise. And we know that
weapon switching and using a variety
of different weapons will help keep
the game fresh for hours, so that way
you’re not just doing the same thing again and again.
You’re not going to play the game very long if that’s all you’re
doing. The rocker launcher this time around is
way stronger, messes up
tons of dudes. It also does
a ton more damage to the player.
Self damage is way higher, and it
shoots a lot slower. High risk reward gun.
Just like in the original Doom, you kind of don’t want
to run around with it like it’s a rifle
or spam it, which was kind of what you could do
in 2016, which wasn’t awesome. The carcass was designed
specifically to take that gun out
of your hands. So he’ll throw up
this shield, this electric shield right
in front of your face. And a lot of times
for people who are relying on the rocker
launcher a little too much, they’ll actually–
It’ll blow the rocket up right in front of their
face and kill the player. So as soon as you
see the carcass, and you see his shield pop up,
you’re going to switch away from your rocket launcher.
Or, if you’re skilled enough, you could just dance around
and use your movement to be able to create
opportunities to kill him with the rocket launcher. So we’re
not saying you have to not use the rocket launcher,
we’re just saying this AI specifically is design to kind of
try to make you think a bit more when
you’re using it. And thinking is really
what we want you to do in Doom Eternal, more
than anything else. Because when you’re
thinking, you’re engaged. And when you’re not
thinking, you’re bored. And you’ll go play
something else. [ROAR] [GUNFIRE] [ROAR] [MUSIC PLAYING] So those are the demons
of Doom Eternal. Those aren’t even all the
demons. I work there. I don’t even know how
many there are. They’re some of the best chess
pieces that I think the studio has even made, and
I think you’re going to fighting them. They’re going
to make you feel strong. They’re going to
make you think. They’re going to give you
something to master as you Overcome all the different
challenges that they present to you. Look out
for Doom Eternal om March 20th, 2020. [MUSIC PLAYING] [TYPING SOUNDS]