The many faces of DOOM’s afterlife

The measure of any piece of hardware is whether it can run Doom. And it turns out that pretty much any modern computer can, whether it’s a , the programmable display in a key on the or a .

Doom runs anywhere, and that’s down to the labours of a community of programmers that have been working on DOOM for nearly 20 years, ever since John Carmack released for non-profit use on 23rd December, 1997. “Port it to your favourite operating system,” he wrote in its readme.txt. “Add some rendering features – transparency, look up/down, slopes, etc. Add some game features – weapons, jumping, ducking, flying, etc.” Along with some other suggestions, he went over a few of his code’s shortcomings and his regrets, explained Doom’s fundamental workings, and expressed hope that a community would collaborate on an improved version of the game, signing off with, “Have fun”.

And people really did. That source code is the progenitor of a vast body of mods, games, maps and years-long friendships. And in January, one of its longest-serving members suddenly quit.

ZeniMax alleges John Carmack stole “thousands of documents” developing Oculus

ZeniMax – the parent company of publisher Bethesda Softworks (itself the parent company of id Software) alleges that Doom co-creator John Carmack stole thousands of files from the company to developer the Oculus Rift.

That ZeniMax is suing Oculus is nothing new. The two companies have been when Zeminax alleged that Carmack developed the Oculus Rift with Palmer Luckey using tech obtained through ZeniMax back when Carmack was still with the company. This legal dispute went public shortly after Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook for an astounding $2bn – the timing of which raised some eyebrows.

Now, two years later, the complaint has been amended to accuse Carmack very directly of stealing files, even after his employment was terminated in the summer of 2013 – shortly before he became Oculus’ chief technology office on 1st August that year.

Face-Off: Doom

There was a time when a new id Software release could make waves across the industry – redefining entire genres, upping the ante for high-end graphics, and changing the face of multiplayer games forever. With those halcyon days lingering in our rear view mirrors over the past few years, it has often felt as if the id Software we grew up with had been lost to time. Then, on Friday the 13th of May, everything changed – Doom was released to the world and blew the doors off expectations worldwide. To say that we were pleasantly surprised would be a vast understatement. To put it simply, id Software is back in a big way and this new take on Doom rockets the studio right back up to the top.

The release of Doom also marks id’s triumphant return to cutting-edge graphics engine development. Combining the high performance and virtual texturing capabilities of id Tech 5 with advanced lighting and materials, the new id Tech 6 feels like a long awaited return to form. Such results don’t come easy, however – while classic id Tech engines were architected primarily by John Carmack, who has since moved onto Oculus, id Tech 6 is the product of a massive dedicated team of id veterans and leading industry engineers, including a number of folks from Crytek, coming together under one banner.

The results are explosive. Doom delivers a full 60fps shooter on consoles with some of the most remarkable visuals we’ve seen this entire generation. In the wake of PlayStation Neo rumours and cries for new hardware, the release of Doom and Uncharted 4 in the same month demonstrates just how capable the existing machines are in the right hands. After all, no matter how much power is available, good performance still requires smart coding and design.