Finding the Fun in FPS Campaigns | Game Maker’s Toolkit

Hey. Hi. Hello. Mark here, with Game Maker’s Toolkit. You know, I used to love first person shooters.
I grew up playing games like Doom, Half Life, Blood, No One Lives Forever, and Duke Nukem
3D. I used to adore this genre, but, more recently,
I’ve become pretty bored with these shooter campaigns. We see the same game mechanics and the same
combat loops and the same level design over and over again, just with slightly different
hats. And maybe a flying section, if you’re lucky. But in 2016, two games came along that reminded
me just how much FUN a shooter can be. Because when developers are more interested
in frantic firefights and varied gameplay, than historical accuracy and set piece explosions,
we end up with games like DOOM, which is id Software’s gory tribute to 90s game design,
and Titanfall 2, which has more imagination in one level than most games achieve in their
entire story mode. And, yeah, everyone’s already said how awesome
these games are. But considering how much I enjoyed ’em, I think I’d be remiss not to
cover them on the channel, and take an indepth look at how these two games, basically saved
the first person shooter campaign. Starting, with Doom – which has the best combat
loop in a decade. Wait, when did Resident Evil 4 come out? Yeah. Best in a decade. Each encounter in this game is a breathless
scrum between the demons and the doomslayer – who richochets around the environment like
a pinball, bouncing off enemies and threading through tight corridors to pick up health
and ammunition. It’s fast, basically. Not just because your movement speed is high,
but also because id forcefully rejected just about every piece of shooter design that has
been employed to slow this genre down. Like, take aim down sights. In a normal shooter,
accuracy sucks when shooting from the hip so you have to zoom in to look through an
ironsight or a scope – which… massively reduces your speed. Doom ditches that: outside
of a few guns, there is no aim down sights. Also, you’re as accurate when running at full
speed, as you are when standing still, so you can shoot when you’re on the go. And because
you can strafe at the same speed as you can run, you can orbit around an enemy, pummelling
them with bullets and avoiding their fire. Oh, that’s because enemies use projectiles
instead of hitscan. A quick reminder: hitscan weapons hurt you as soon as the enemy pulls
the trigger. Projectile weapons fire physical, slow-moving objects at you, that you can dodge. If you do get hit, you won’t be hiding behind
cover for your health to regenerate. Instead, you’ll need to hunt around the arena to find
a health pack. Or, even better, run towards an injured enemy to unleash a glory kill,
which lets loose a shower of health pickups. If most of Doom’s design keeps you moving
around enemies, the glory kill system pushes you towards them. It makes you feel like a
brutal predator, taking down your prey one by one. Plus, that satisfying split-second animation
gives you much-needed time to blink, and consider your next move. Because Doom is a surprisingly tactical shooter,
where you’re executing different plans all the time – just, at a hundred miles an hour. As I talked about in my episode on the original
Doom, this new game has a bestiary of unique demons who all work in very different ways. There’s the Revenant, who batters you with
missiles. The bumbling Cacodemon, who floats in close to munch on your face. This dude,
who chases you about like a quarterback. And the pinky demon, who you take out like a bullfighter.
It has a shield on the front, so wait for it to charge past you and then blast it in
the butt to kill it. So you’ll need to pick your priorities, which
might mean dodging pinkies and cacodemon fireballs while you focus your fire on a deadly hell
razer or an annoying summoner. Each enemy makes you move in a different way, too, as
you head for cover or snake through bullets or just run the hell away. And then there’s the other piece of shooter
wisdom that Doom punches into a billion bits. While most games limit you to a couple weapons
at a time, Doom lets you carry an entire Walmart’s worth of firearms on you at once – all accessed
from a radial menu that slows, but doesn’t stop the action. Different guns have different uses. The fast-action
assault rifle is great for needling enemies and stopping them from shooting, the shotgun
works great up close, the rocket launcher is deadly but risky, and there’s the one-hit,
one-kill chainsaw which showers you with ammo, but runs out of gas quick. So pick your targets
well. Juggling guns and enemies is something of
a puzzle. and you’ve got to figure out the answer in the seconds before you get tackled
by a pinky and turned into a thick red paste. This new Doom also adds verticality to levels,
with a satisfying double jump, a generous system for quickly clambering up platforms,
and the ability to chain a jump into a glory kill for a big leap between spots. And so, between different enemies and different
level layouts, id software can effectively cobble together an infinite number of combat
encounters. But, and here’s the rub, even the best firefights
in a decade get boring after a while and Doom can be an intensely repetitive game. Between endless battles you get some exploration stuff and some so-so platforming bits. And you can divert from the path to pick up
secrets and collectibles. Personally, I vowed to avoid hunting down
collectibles forever after shooting 100 pigeons in Grand Theft Auto IV and seriously questioning
my life choices. And I think I’m becoming allergic to upgrade trees, too. But even if you do go after Doom’s various
trinkets and upgrades, jumping at pipes and looking for secrets can send the game’s intensity
from 11 to 0 in painful, whiplash fashion. Which brings us to Titanfall 2: a game with
an expert sense of pacing and the best FPS campaign in a decade. Wait, when did Half
Life 2 come out? Yeah. Best in a decade. BT-7274: Got you Now, when I say pacing, i’m talking about
two different things. One, is how often a game is introducing new
and original ideas to shake things up. And Titanfall 2 is doing that constantly through
its tautly-wound single player campaign. In this level, you grab a tool that can be
used to turn off fans, flip platforms, and hack robot sentries. Another stage takes place in a sci-fi Ikea factory, as you bounce through pre-fab houses on a monster conveyer belt. This level has you wall-running on a spaceship,
high above the planet. And, of course, there’s press Left Bumper to time travel. Effect and Cause, as is the level is called,
lets you ping back and forth between two moments in time – from a squeaky clean research centre
in the past, to its charred ruins in the present. It’s a visual spectacle and a brilliant idea,
but what makes it so rad is how it impacts the two things Titanfall does best: combat
and platforming. In shootouts, you can phase out of time, and
then phase back in, now behind a group of soldiers. Then again, the present timeline
is crawling with these vicious dinosaur enemies, so you have to juggle two combat encounters
at once – often jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. And there are the platforming bits, where
you switch timelines mid-jump to phase in walls and safe spots beneath your feet. It’s brilliant. And then, at the end of the level, Cooper rips the time
machine off of his wrist, and the mechanic is gone for the rest of the game. Tossed away,
before you ever have a chance to get bored of it. And that focus on keeping the player engaged
is how Titanfall 2 is always operating. Because the other aspect of pacing is how well a game
manages to mix up its most fundamental pillars of gameplay. Titanfall 2 has firefights, it has platforming
bits, it has titan battles, and it has some story stuff too. And the game does a brilliant
job of switching between these sections before you ever have a chance to get tired of them. Each style of gameplay moves at a slightly
different speed, and tests slightly different skills – so you don’t get fatigued from constant
action, but there are no lulls in the pace either. Some aspects of Titanfall 2 are better than
others. The platforming’s fantastic, though, why isn’t the grapple hook in the singleplayer? The titan bits are pretty dull. And the combat
is really good… but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Doom. Like that game, Titanfall 2 wants to keep
you on the move – as seen in the flashy CGI trailer at the start of the game. TRAILER NARRATOR: The pilot is the true dominant force. Fast and agile. Graceful, yet devastating. So you get tools to move fast, like a super
long slide and a wall run that increases your speed and your defence. And certain enemies
push you to run, like the tick: which is a sort of frag grenade on spider legs that chases
you around the arena and will kill you if you don’t get moving. But where Doom asks you to move around and
towards enemies, in my experience, Titanfall 2 more often makes you run away from the fight. Part of this has to do with the shooter tropes
that Doom so confidently rejected. Aim down sights and slow strafing encourage you to
get some distance from enemies before engaging. Unless you’ve got a shotgun, that is. Plus,
hitscan weapons, regenerating health, and even the need to reload your weapon force you into cover and retreat. And if Respawn really expects players to wall-run
and shoot at the same time then… well, for one, that’s pretty hard. Maybe it’s easier on a
keyboard and mouse. But, also, the level design doesn’t exactly support it. At the beginning of the game, you run a thing
called The Gauntlet which is a sort of obstacle course where you jump, slide, and wall-run,
while simultaneously taking out foes. The design of The Gauntlet, which is like
a winding corridor littered with pockets of enemies, allows for a joyous moment of zig-zag
warfare as you bounce between walls while letting off shots and grenades. The game itself never really sees anything
like this. The arenas are mostly just big boxes and the platforming sections are completely
devoid of enemies. Because if you want gamers to play in a certain
way, you’ve got to encourage them, through systems, like the glory kill; or level design; or incentives, like the scores in Platinum Games. Otherwise, they’ll more likely play it in the most safe and boring way possible. Because even Call of Duty has wall-run these
days, but I still played Infinite Warfare by cowering behind a series of walls and boxes. Which is the same way we’ve been playing shooters for
years – because it feels like most FPS campaigns have been working off the same blueprints
for the last decade. Which is why games like Doom and Titanfall 2 – and other wacky shooters like Wolfenstein and Bulletstorm – are such a breath of fresh air. They remind us to question the design trends
that have built up in certain genres. They remind us that variety comes from clever level design and expert pacing, not just historical set dressing. And, above all else, games like Doom and Titanfall 2 remind us that first person shooters can be fun. Thanks for watching. Game Maker’s Toolkit
is powered by the crowd-funding website Patreon, and these are my top tier supporters. Here’s an interesting fact. The director and
singleplayer lead of Titanfall 2, Steve Fukuda and Mackey McCandlish, were design leads on
Call of Duty 4. So while Activison might be stuck making the same game every year, the
guys and gals in the trenches are capable of doing much more interesting stuff. If they get the chance. Anyway, after these credits have run I have a couple episodes you might want to check out. Before Doom 2016 came out, I looked back at the original game to talk about the importance of unique enemies. And you can learn more about hitscan weapons and regenerating health, in a video called “How Games Do Health”

About the author


  1. Like the Tharsis music, weirdly enough I once had a lazy week where I'd spend hours a day playing either Tharsis or Doom, switching to Tharsis when I couldn't handle any more Doom for the day.

  2. This game is absolutely amazing. I remember the first doom that came out and it's absolutely amazing to see what graphics has progressed too.

  3. 5:12 Doomguy watched Big Hero Six when he was younger…?

    Meh, it’s nice having a little friendly Easter egg in the demon-Slaughtering simulator of Doom.

  4. Don't forget the need for weapons to be addicting and satisfying. That's the main reason why tf2, csgo and stalker are some of the best shooters out there

  5. I loved Bulletstorm. It was an unpretentious, flat out, don't-give-a-fuck roller coaster of a game and it was Fun.

    "Well that was a dildo of an idea" Best line in a video game.

  6. Game Maker's Toolkit, the best game design youtube channel to come out in a decade. Wait, when did Extra credits start? Yeah, in a decade :}

  7. Wait … when did "insert awesome game here" come out?
    Right … best in a decade.

    Discovered your channel recently as I rekindle an interest in developing a game (just for fun, using UE4 to create a Vermentide L4D style game using their free Paragon and Infinity blade assets but I might shrink that down to a Quake 1 style no nonsense SP FPS).

    Love your video essays.

  8. Wait people used the radial menu in doom? I never really noticed it even after finishing the game. Wouldve made life easier but not by a lot

  9. I think that shooters like Doom and Bulletstorm was the best type of this style, 'cause of the velocity of the gameplay and the diversity of enemys/weapons and, principally, violent finalizations!! You felt so badass, and this sensation transformed this games in the best FPS experiences i've ever had!

  10. I didn't like DOOM, I preferred Doom 3, that to me captured the essence of the old Dooms. In DOOM we don't ever feel afraid or anything. Doom was always a more action game, not a horror survival by any means, but even so I was always wondering in dark corridors what was expecting me next. In DOOM it's just an arena with spongy enemies, then another arena with spongy enemies… I got to the end bored of it. For me the best shooter was Bioshock, that unfortunately is too easy, in the sense that there is no punishment if you die whatsoever, so it's quite a strange and underwhelming design. But the ambiance is simply fantastic, I had that feeling of being afraid in dark corridors, imagining what was expecting for me, even though the game is not a horror survival that gets you afraid because you are always low on bullets or health packs. All these colorful and shinny blinks with fast paced action to me is tiresome and without purpose. But at the same time I can't stand anymore games about the second war, about Americans killing German nazis, this trope is just too repetitive, and that's why I didn't play the second Wolfstein. I would like, in fact, more tactical games, although I have to agree that realism is quite boring because it was overdone, too much games are like that.

  11. The platforming and parkour in titanfall is actually very detailed, you can look at tutorials or videos of titanfall players traveling across huge maps in 5 seconds with the system of parkour that in a sense lets you accumulate speed by chaining jumps, walk runs and slides. It’s a matter of practice really, to chain off these successful sequences you just need to comprehend how this speed system works and then you can do all kinds of wacky shit.

  12. Tf2 was a great game but I really disliked the boss battles as they were all boring basic and repetitive (maybe not repetitive for the flying one).

  13. Titanfall 2 takes the top of my best games ever list, right next to Subnautica. I did play it on the PC, and its a lot easier to keep the pace and aim at the same time, so I had a lot of those, wall running, double jumping, enemies slaying, type of moments. Whoever is here to check if they should buy the game, the single player is the thing that sold it for me. There's also the multiplayer which is a hectic insane paced twitch shooter and has quite the learning curve. But the single player is what is the main thing here.

  14. What a good time to recommend me this video, Youtube. Apex Legends' release revitalized TF2 and it's the best. I wasn't really dead in my eyes, but having nearly doubled the only players on PC it's a breath of fresh air and a joy to see this great game get the attention it always deserved but never got.

  15. Doom is soooooo good! If anyone watching this video hasn’t played it, then you will be doing your self a favor by playing it. One of my favorite FPS games if not my favorite

  16. Another "out of the curve" FPS is The Darkness 2, the mafia/demons theme is very different, both in gameplay and aesthetically, I had so much fun playing it.

  17. Who's gameplay of doom is that? Cause holy shit you missed sooooooo many shots it was giving me anxiety . Good video though (:

  18. Bulletstorm was the first game for a while (only played it in 2018,) other than The Soulsborne games, that I got to the end of the campaign and then went straight back to the beginning and played it through again.

  19. Desync is an indie game that took DOOM 2016's combat, and removed a big portion of the inbetween bits of running around on pipes, with the most time you get between pre-made encounters being 15 seconds. The enemy design is varied, with no enemy just being a mere grunt; even the first enemy you encounter in the game, the Hammer Lunge (yes that is its name.) can kill you effortlessly in the last area, making every enemy an equal target. The weapons have just as equal variation as the enemies, with one being a high knockback shotgun that can lay down a spinning trap that will stop enemies from walking through a certain zone, to a spike launcher that can nail enemies to others. The game focuses on combat and fluidity in it specifically, granting you certain "execute" moves based around not using the same old run at an enemy and blast them with a shotgun, Like a certain kill move that will almost always instantly kill enemies who can be effected by knockback by blasting them into the spinning trap layed down by the shotgun.
    Basically if you enjoyed DOOM 2016's combat and love the 90s neon aesthetic, check out Desync.

  20. The problem with shooters isn't historical accuracy, it's Hollywood realism. All the guns are real but operate nothing like they would in real life. The countries are real but HOW THE FUCK DID RUSSIA ATTACK THE UNITED STATES FROM THE EAST WITH NOBODY IN EUROPE NOTICING?! And how the fuck did they attack ALL OF EUROPE AFTERWARDS?! Sometimes the conflicts are real but the characters just would not get the jobs they did in real life.

    For example look at Call of Duty: Black Ops, the mere fact I'm using an M16 that doesn't jam at all (as opposed to every nanosecond, because the earliest version of the M16 was actually a pile of dogshit that could only fire spurts of liquid disappointment, made even worse by a rumour that it was "self-cleaning" and would often be thrown away in favour of AKs until some improvements were made and a manual teaching how to clean it was distributed) is EXTREMELY unrealistic.

    The reason for this is the "follow the money" mentality, if a game is successful expect to see clones of it along with already existing franchises taking cues from it. Dead Space 3 isn't even in a historical setting for example yet it was turned into a fucking cover shooter by EA. Resident Evil 6, again, fucking cover shooter. Rather than trying to BE the money maker company everyone follows they all take the safest, blandest route that often makes them NO money because fans of that game already have the game they want and would rather try something new and not a sub-par ripoff.

  21. If you think Doom (2016) is a good 90 fps shooter, you need to give Dusk a shot.
    And Amid Evil. And Ion Maiden. And Rise of the Triad.

  22. Why were you playing Titanfall 2 like that? The hip fire is very accurate and time to kill is low so you can keep moving while taking out enemies. I've never had any of the problems you mentioned.

  23. My goodness,nyou are amazing in teaching us about good videogames. You should become a teacher for this sort of stuff

  24. Finally someone that put on more coherent words why i got bored of FPS (borderlands is an execption).

  25. 10:17 i am gonna stop you right there cod was never original i mean they just add parts and machanics of other enjoyable games to keep 12y old's interested so they can exsist somehow

  26. I think Respawn needs to ditch, or at least modify, ADS and make titan gameplay more engaging as well

  27. DOOM 2016 doesn't have that good of a design. Modern arena shooter game design with a few gimmicks thats supposed to make it "old school".

  28. I don't know why, but that visual gag with the keyboard and mouse was really funny. Kudos for that, Mark!

  29. Titanfall's issue with movement comes from the fact is that they didn't account for the difference in COntroller and MKB and it is hard to balance the 2 to have fast and engaging movement without making drastically different games. and it is especially hard with advanced movement and they expected that Titanfall would balance itself because they can't offer a simple and easy advanced movement system for controllers but they also can't expect to provide 2 different movement systems for the same game especially with Controller support on PC

  30. Now after two to three years, Titanfall 2 multiplayer becomes maybe the most "forcing you run into every fight you can get" style game, and slidehopping + wallrunning while shooting down enemies becomes something quite normal for veterans. It's so intense and fast-paced that, when I played Doom for the first time after 300+ hrs Titanfall 2 multiplayer experiences, even Doom makes me feel clumsy and slow.

  31. Excume me???? Halo???? Wtf?
    Not even a mention. I love this channel, and I agree with most points you made… But Halo is amazing, and I think is one of the few shooters that carried the entire genre lmao.

  32. I usually like your vids, but sounds like you haven't played Halo.
    That's one of the greatest gaming series ever.

  33. I once collected 100 hidden packages in gta 3 and I’ve been contemplating what I could have done instead with that time ever since

  34. Im not bragging, but wallrunning and shooting is easy in Titanfall 2. Its all about timing, focus, and knowing your weapon. Therefore I stick with the same guns as much as I can which is the automatic shotgun for when I get close to enemies, and assault rifle (can't remember the name but it's a particular rifle) for fast movement and precision shooting. Now granted I'm sort off a fast learner, and I ran the gauntlet 60 something times, this was easier for me. But that's my formula, I've stuck with it for years, and plan to keep sticking with it. Makes the gun not only fun, but fast and slow enough to get past the pain and enjoy the beauty. P.S. It helps to have a rifle that looks like an incarnation of the M4, those weapons tend to be the best in my opinion and mostly play the same

  35. What you call historical set-dressing isn't really the problem, its a missed opportunity. Battlefield One would've been an infinitely more memorable game if it really forced you to go over the top and hit trench networks with hand grenades, sharpened shovels and bolt action rifles. But they didn't dare to steer away from the gameplay that the MW generation has gotten used to, so it's wide open spaces, automatic weapons and tanks all around.

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