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Newell's history of porting Doom to Windows to show it can be a gaming platform (neogaf.com)
72 points by kiisupai on Sept 24, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 51 comments

WAIT. Newell's Windows port (commonly referred to as DOOM95 http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Doom95) was never popular and very few DOOM players knew it even existed. It certainly didn't prove to the masses that Windows was a viable gaming platform.

Those that do recall the Windows port do so in the the context of Microsoft telling people that '32 bit Doom will be twice as fast' before finding out that wasn't true.

The most popular - read 'only' - PC version of Doom was the DOS 4GW version. Ditto Doom 2, Hexen, etc. Quake also assumed DOS. No Windows port of those games was mainstream. Go read the DOOM FAQ - everything assumes DOS, DOOM95/WinDOOM is only mentioned as one of many ports of 'regular' (DOS) DOOM http://www.gamers.org/docs/FAQ/doomfaq/sect1.html#5-6).

DOOM was released in the era of 386s (when 486s were new). 32 bit Windows required at practically at least 16MB of memory and a 486. For the people that had those specs, if the Windows DOOM port was faster, people would have used it - but they didn't, because DOOM95 wasn't faster.

DOOM95 may have been used to inspire developers however - the regular PC version of Quake 2 came with a Windows installer / launcher and was frequently launched on Windows.

Source: spent my teenage years building stuff like http://mikemaccana.com/#/doom-the-path/ in DEU, the first algorithm I ever heard of was BSP, and I know what IDSPISPOPD stands for.

PS. Go play my and John's WAD linked above. It has working toilets. In DOOM!

The other interesting thing is that, as far as I know, until the late 90s the entire installed base of computers was bought practically every year. There'd be 10M computers one year and 10M bought the next. In that kind of fluid market a company can take over without winning converts (Joel Spolsky wrote about it here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html).

Today, PC sales are steady or falling because everyone in the developed world has one already. Someone buying a second or third computer is getting a tablet.

> WAIT. Newell's Windows port (commonly referred to as DOOM95 http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Doom95) was never popular and very few DOOM players knew it even existed. It certainly didn't prove to the masses that Windows was a viable gaming platform.

Not sure where the original article ever makes those claims.

In the post's title: "Newell's history porting Doom to Win to show it can be a gaming platf." The general context of the post seems to be about proving Linux to consumers, rather than developers (which is more accurate).

Quakeworld was my entry point into wanting to program. BSP, VIS, DISP, oh yeah. I remember trying to figure out the math for projectiles and the various splash damage routines.

I remember bunnyhopping and attempting to figure out the glitch to alter the effect even more on sharper turns.

So many 'wasted years' that resulted in a wonderful career and field of study. I emailed John a few times throughout the years. He was the most courteous and honest person I have ever met. One of the replies from Carmack went along the lines of, 'Yeah, those models are our IP. If your community is small and the growth is not going to explode, feel free to use them. Just do not brag about it on your website. Our lawyers are not hunting for people, unless they wish to be seen.'

Carmack's a legend - he's done good things (which I can't talk about) for the WebGL community too, ask Tojiro next time you visit a conference.

Weird Quake/Doom crossover: Doom had 'rocket jumps' (pushing yourself further off a cliff via smashing a rocket into the wall) - one was required for the E3 secret level.

Doom also had accidental wall riding but only when you were headed north. :^)

North and east.

It's due to the 'sliding' check on walls, if the player is moving fast enough, the movement path is divided in half and each is checked for obstacles...but if the obstacle happens to be in both segments of the path, you're slid twice.

And the reason the bug only happened when you're moving north and east is due to...another bug, the check is done only if your movement is greater than X or Y, not if it's less than negative X or Y.

Part of the reason Doom95 wasn't very popular was that came along so late. It didn't come out until 1996, which was 3 years after Doom originally came out for DOS and the same time Quake arrived.

I didn't have a Doom-capable computer until 1995, and it was hard to find people to play Doom/Heretic/Descent since everyone had moved on to Duke 3D and some game called Warcraft...

It was nice to not have to play Doom in DOS anymore, though.

Yeah, it's even got Thy Flesh Consumed which was from Ultimate DOOM (the last official id DOOM 1 release, which came out years after DOOM was first released).

I think Newell's comments are about showing developers that Windows games could have good frame rates. Which is reasonable.

The Neogaf poster is confusing that with Newell showing the DOS version to people to prove that the PC could have awesome games.

Microsoft was throwing a ton of effort into getting developers to move to Windows. It took a while but they got here.

They had 'bad' demos like Hover! but there were some pretty nice games like Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Earthworm Jim, and Fury^3.

Once it got OpenGL and Direct3D, Win32 ruled the gaming world. It already had 32-bitness, virtual memory, TCP/IP... Apple dinked around with things like QuickDraw3D and GameSprockets but they just couldn't get it together for some reason.

Oh man Hover! was awesome. (At least to me.) You can still download it from microsoft, check the bottom FTP link:

Grr, the exclamation point is not working, so copy paste.

very few Doom players knew it even existed? really? It was the version I had when I bought it back in the day. I assumed a lot of people bought it.

Final Doom included Doom95 and used it by default on Windows, so I would expect that many players were aware.

Sure but as the other poster notes, by the time Final Doom came out the world was already onto Quake.

That wad looks familiar. I wonder if I ever played it.

When I used to work for Lotus we used to use their Unix box in the US to FTP onto one of the big CDROM sites that had loads of wads on and play different ones every week. Happy days.

And one other thing - what's the best Doom port for Android? Any recommendations, anyone?

But did you ever play SPISPOPD? :)

Well, those of us that were already coding for Windows back then, remember that what brought game studios to Windows was WinG, the percursor of DirectX.


Gabe Newell had nothing to do with it.

Came here to say this. Gabe is welcome to his version of events but like all humans is suffering from selective memory syndrome. Alex St. John is the one who "made it happen" in my recollection, and I was pretty close to the action.

Yeah, Gabe's role is massively overstated here, but it's important to remember how awful a development platform Windows was for games, that compared to DOS it was far, far worse than Linux is today.

In DOS mode you could easily get full-screen, high-frame rate game graphics. In Windows you'd be lucky if you could push more than one frame per second, the Windows GDI was absolutely brutal.

Linux is a lot further ahead, so SteamOS has a relative head start. If Windows can be made into a first-class gaming platform, so can Linux.

<digression> reading this took me down memory lane, I ended rediscovering windows midi songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoHxMWw354

Thanks for sharing the link.

I completely forgot about WinG. I think I remember a test it ran when installing to find the fastest way to blit bitmaps. A tiled curvy red line that would flip tile directions back and forth.

Gabe Newell worked for Microsoft at the time in question. He is saying that as a principal Microsoft employee he initiated the port of Doom because Microsoft saw the problem getting game authors to target Windows. Notable that Alex St. John then led the development team, for those who note his obvious importance in gaming on Windows.

OMG, the comments below that first post are full of ignorance. It's just so painful to see what people think and say of Linux (even the ones who defend it).

Can you really blame them? It's our fault for using the word "Linux" all the time when sometimes it's too specific (we really mean all un*x) and sometimes too broad (we talk about a specific component such as the DE, Xorg or a specific distro).

You can't expect the average teenage gamer to understand what's the difference between a kernel and an operating system.

In the end, maybe rms was always right, we should use "GNU/Linux". Ten years ago it was humorous because the GNU userland was pretty much the only one available but now with Android, SteamOS and friends it's becoming really misleading.

Yeah, I can blame people for trying to make a point while knowing close to shit about the subject they talk about. When you don't know, you just say you don't know or that you're not sure. Seeing stuff as "Android is Linux too" without any footnote is just... wrong.

Was this your first introduction to NeoGAF or other gaming boards? It's pretty depressing isn't it?

It's the primary reason I stopped frequenting video game communities.. Which is a shame because I've been a gamer all my life, and I wish there was a vibrant (and large) community for intelligent discussion like Hacker News but that was game focused.. I'm sure there is somewhere, but I haven't found it..

You could try the highly moderated http://reddit.com/r/Games community. It was started in reaction to the horrible posts on /r/gaming.

They even post warnings on threads that real /r/all where people not subscribed to /r/Gaming will see it and come in to comment.

There is also /r/linux_gaming which will have better discussions on the Linux aspect of Valve's new developments.

But it's not perfect. Just one of the better options.

I found /r/Games last year sometime, and you're right it's actually quite good so far...

rockpapershotgun.com might be worth a look too.

I knew Neogaf but did not really check it very often.

> and I wish there was a vibrant (and large) community for intelligent discussion like Hacker News

I was thinking the exact same thing ! We really should try to do something about that. Interested?

The problem is that certain topics cater to a certain demographic. Hacking and start ups are not primary concerns of the teenage crowd on the web. Video games now...

What this means is that if you plan to have a somewhat "grown up" community you'll have to find a way to raise the bar somehow.

Honestly, I do think that NeoGAF is one of the better video game forums out there, given that registration is strictly restricted to school, work, and ISP email addresses[0]. But even so, you still have wade through many unproductive one-liners to find a post of modicum importance. And as far as I have heard, NeoGAF is frequently visited by game journalists and developers alike, so the bar is already pretty high.

Some people have tried making more mature gaming communities, such as the owner of Insomnia who enforces a very strict posting guideline[1] and requires a paid subscription in order to participate[2], but I feel that these types of communities are often too restrictive in the types of content they can provide, often limiting themselves to specific discussions on higher level game mechanics of specific genres, and, as a result, lack the diversity found in forums like NeoGAF.

[0]http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=390708 [1]http://insomnia.ac/commentary/posting_guidelines/ [2]http://culture.vg/subscribe.html

Invite only, gmail beta style.

Heh, I guess that could work, but then it's about who to invite!

Neogaf I think almost certainly has the highest quality of discussion in the games space, but you won't notice it on a newsy sort of topic like this because the high level of noise.

The site attracts a lot of developers, game journalists and industry people and you'll find discussion of niche topics that will rarely if ever appear on Reddit. For example there's a weekly Japanese sales thread that has been going on for years where Japanese sales trends are exhaustingly examined.

Japanese sales trends are... boring. Monster Hunter xxx, Project Diva zzz... most of the top hits in Japan are utterly boring games, and there's not much to learn from that. Especially since the Japan market is unlike any other out there.

It may take a while, but have you thought about starting one yourself like lobste.rs did? I think the code for HN is available somewhere(an older version at least) then just troll the gamer sites and give invites to those who contribute well to discussions.

Honestly: I would love to do something like that, I just don't have the time and energy to tackle that kind of thing.

I'm partial to the Idle Thumbs boards... http://www.idlethumbs.net

So true. So much FUD, even by so-called Linux advocates. Guess many haven't played AAA games on Linux (Oil Rush, X-Plane 10, Valve games for native titles, and many run great on Wine), or tried to develop games for Linux.

Fact is, performance on Linux is fantastic, graphics drivers are a non-issue unless you're on AMD graphics (Intel is decent, Nvidia is great), OpenGL is up to the latest version on Nvidia, 3.0 on Intel, and sound is the weak point, but still not that bad.

For developing, you have pretty good, easy tools like Maratis, Irrlicht, Panda3D, SDL, Blender, etc... Not to mention commercial engines like Unreal, Unigine, and others I'm sure...

Linux isn't perfect, but it is pretty good, and it can run AAA games just fine, right now.

i no rite, wen theez fagots gna lern?

That's a bit simplified. More details about this story can be found in the very entertaining book "Masters of Doom" (about John Carmack and John Romero).

This is an excellent book. It's not just about Carmack and Romero (although it focuses on them) but also about id Software as a company, from its inception through to a few months before Quake III came out, if I remember correctly. A very insightful read.

Loved this book. Bought a few copies for friends to hopefully inspire them about what a small, scrappy team of talented individuals can achieve (and the fun... and pitfalls along the way).

I would think that times were a bit different back then, and it's not really a fair comparison to make.

Companies today that are the size of id software back then, and that are making games of relatively equal complexity, are already publishing to Linux.

There were no 200-person studios cranking out $10 million dollar (or more) game projects when Doom came out, and that's a much more complex issue to address..

We're barely seeing OS X ports of major titles now, so while I think SteamOS is great, I don't think it's going to suddenly mean an influx of AAA Windows titles appearing on Linux.

A bunch of titles are available for OS X thru Aspyr [1] with porting latency measured in months.

[1] http://www.aspyr.com/

Although DOOM95 was not a success, it doesn't mean that what Newell believe was wrong. Also it's pretty clear that many people buy/use computer for solely entertainment purpose and that's why consoles sold.

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