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Prerelease:Doom (PC, 1993)

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Doom (PC, 1993).

Hmmm...
To do:
There's Doom Bible-era concept art for the intermission map/layout for what would become Episode 3.
And you were just a scroll away from being fired too...
Oh dear, I do believe I have the vapors.
This page contains content that is not safe for work or other locations with the potential for personal embarrassment.
Such as: Mentions of gore and some rather hurtful language.

"DOOM-where the sanest place is behind a trigger."

Press Release

The press release announcing the game and the capabilities of its engine:

Id Software
1515 N. Town East Blvd. #138-297, Mesquite, TX  75150

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:        Jay Wilbur
FAX:            1-214-686-9288
Email:          jay@idsoftware.com (NeXTMail O.K.)
Anonymous FTP:  ftp.uwp.edu (/pub/msdos/games/id)
CIS:            72600,1333

Id Software to Unleash DOOM on the PC

Revolutionary Programming and Advanced Design Make For Great
Gameplay

DALLAS, Texas, January 1, 1993-Heralding another technical
revolution in PC programming, Id Software's DOOM promises to
push back the boundaries of what was thought possible on a 386sx
or better computer.  The company plans to release DOOM for the
PC in the third quarter of 1993, with versions planned for 
Windows, Windows NT, and a version for the NeXTall to be
released later.

In DOOM, you play one of four off-duty soldiers suddenly thrown
into the middle of an interdimensional war!  Stationed at a
scientific research facility, your days are filled with tedium
and paperwork.  Today is a bit different.  Wave after wave of
demonic creatures are spreading through the base, killing or
possessing everyone in sight.  As you stand knee-deep in the
dead, your duty seems clear-you must eradicate the enemy and
find out where they're coming from.  When you find out the
truth, your sense of reality may be shattered!

The first episode of DOOM will be shareware.  When you register,
you'll receive the next two episodes, which feature a journey
into another dimension, filled to its hellish horizon with fire
and flesh.  Wage war against the infernal onslaught with machine
guns, missile launchers, and mysterious supernatural weapons. 
Decide the fate of two universes as you battle to survive! 
Succeed and you will be humanity's heroes; fail and you will
spell its doom.

The game takes up to four players through a futuristic world,
where they may cooperate or compete to beat the invading
creatures.  It boasts a much more active environment than Id's
previous effort, Wolfenstein 3-D, while retaining the
pulse-pounding action and excitement.  DOOM features a fantastic
fully texture-mapped environment, a host of technical tour de
forces to surprise the eyes, multiple player option, and smooth
gameplay on any 386 or better.

John Carmack, Id's Technical Director, is very excited about
DOOM: Wolfenstein is primitive compared to DOOM.  We're doing
DOOM the right way this time.   I've had some very good insights
and optimizations that will make the DOOM engine perform at a
great frame rate.  The game runs fine on a 386sx, and on a
486/33, we're talking 35 frames per second, fully texture-mapped
at normal detail, for a large area of the screen.  That's the
fastest texture-mapping around-period.

Texture mapping, for those not following the game magazines, is
a technique that allows the program to place fully-drawn art on
the walls of a 3-D maze.  Combined with other techniques,
texture mapping looked realistic enough in Wolfenstein 3-D that
people wrote Id complaining of motion sickness.  In DOOM, the
environment is going to look even more realistic.  Please make
the necessary preparations.

A Convenient DOOM Blurb

DOOM (Requires 386sx, VGA, 2 Meg) Id Software's DOOM is
real-time, three-dimensional, 256-color, fully texture-mapped,
multi-player battle from the safe shores of our universe into
the horrifying depths of the netherworld!    Choose one of four
characters and you're off to war with hideous hellish hulks bent
on chaos and death!  See your friends bite it!  Cause your
friends to bite it!  Bite it yourself!  And if you won't bite
it, there are plenty of demonic denizens to bite it for you!

DOOM-where the sanest place is behind a trigger.


An Overview of DOOM Features:

        Texture-Mapped Environment

DOOM offers the most realistic environment to date on the PC. 
Texture-mapping, the process of rendering fully-drawn art and
scanned textures on the walls, floors, and ceilings of an
environment, makes the world much more real, thus bringing the
player more into the game experience.  Others have attempted
this, but DOOM's texture mapping is fast, accurate, and
seamless.  Texture-mapping the floors and ceilings is a big
improvement over Wolfenstein.  With their new advanced graphic
development techniques, allowing game art to be generated five
times faster, Id brings new meaning to "state-of-the-art".

        Non-Orthogonal Walls

Wolfenstein's walls were always at ninety degrees to each other,
and were always eight feet thick.  DOOM's walls can be at any
angle, and be of any thickness.  Walls can have see-through
areas, change shape, and animate.  This allows more natural
construction of levels.  If you can draw it on paper, you can
see it in the game.

        Light Diminishing/Light Sourcing

Another touch adding realism is light diminishing.  With
distance, your surroundings become enshrouded in darkness.  This
makes areas seem huge and intensifies the experience.  Light
sourcing allows lamps and lights to illuminate hallways,
explosions to light up areas, and strobe lights to briefly
reveal things near them.  These two features will make the game
frighteningly real.

        Variable Height Floors and Ceilings

Floors and ceilings can be of any height, allowing for  stairs,
poles, altars, plus low hallways and high caves-allowing a great
variety for rooms and halls.

        Environment Animation and Morphing

Walls can move and transform in DOOM, which provides an
active-and sometimes actively hostile-environment.  Rooms can
close in on you, ceilings can plunge down to crush you, and so
on.  Nothing is for certain in DOOM.

To this Id has added the ability to have animated messages on
the walls, information terminals, access stations, and more. 
The environment can act on you, and you can act on the
environment.  If you shoot the walls, they get damaged, and stay
damaged.  Not only does this add realism, but provides a crude
method for marking your path, like violent bread crumbs.

        Palette Translation

Each creature and wall has its own palette which is translated
to the game's palette.  By changing palette colors, one can have
monsters of many colors, players with different weapons,
animating lights, infrared sensors that show monsters or hidden
exits, and many other effects, like indicating monster damage.

        Multiple Players

Up to four players can play over a local network, or two players
can play by modem or serial link.  You can see the other player
in the environment, and in certain situations you can switch to
their view.  This feature, added to the 3-D realism, makes DOOM
a very powerful cooperative game and its release a landmark
event in the software industry.

This is the first game to really exploit the power of LANs and
modems to their full potential.  In 1993, we fully expect to be
the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses
around the world.

        Smooth, Seamless Gameplay

The environment in DOOM is frightening, but the player can be at
ease when playing.  Much effort has been spent on the
development end to provide the smoothest control on the user
end.  And the frame rate (the rate at which the screen is
updated) is high, so you move smoothly from room to room,
turning and acting as you wish, unhampered by the slow jerky
motion of most 3-D games.  On a 386sx, the game runs well, and
on a 486/33, the normal mode frame rate is faster than movies or
television.  This allows for the most important and enjoyable
aspect of gameplay-immersion.

        An Open Game

When our last hit, WOLFENSTEIN 3D was released the public
responded with an almost immediate  deluge of home-brewed
utilities; map editors, sound editors,  trainers, etc.  All
without any help on file formats or game layout from Id
Software.  DOOM will be release as an OPEN GAME.   We will
provide file formats and technical notes for anyone who wants
them.   People will be able to easily write and share anything
from their own map editors to  communications and network
drivers.

DOOM will be available in the third quarter of 1993.
(Source: Lee Killough's Doom Archive)

A few things that didn't make the cut or were changed:

  • The four defined characters were dropped in favor of each player being a nameless Marine.
  • The RAM requirement by the time of release was doubled from 2MB to 4MB.
  • Walls cannot change shape or move in the final engine. In the engine used for Hexen, however, walls have the ability to rotate and move in a straight line, though not at the same time
  • Messages are never displayed on walls, there are no access terminals or anything of the sort, and walls can't be visibly damaged outside of patches left by weapons and projectiles. Some of these have reappeared in fan-made WADs (Message Walls appear in Wraith Corporation's Hell To Pay, and Eternal Doom is notorious for its use of breakable walls hiding secrets and necessary level progression).
  • Palette translation is never used to indicate different player weapons, hidden areas, or monster damage.

The Doom Bible

The Doom Bible was written by Tom Hall for the development of Doom, but it would soon be decided by the rest of id Software that The Doom Bible was to be mostly ignored. The only thing from The Doom Bible that survived was the name "Knee-Deep in the Dead", which would be used as the name of Episode 1.

A Visit to ID Software

A 32-minute video recorded in November 1993 by Dan Linton, operator of the Software Creations BBS. The first third is a tour of the id Software office (showing id employees and associates Adrian Carmack, Shawn Green, Sandy Petersen, John Romero, Dave Taylor, Jay Wilbur, and Bobby Prince), with the rest being gameplay footage. Joe Siegler from Apogee Software discovered a VHS tape with this footage in 2009 and sent it to Romero, who digitized it and uploaded it on Vimeo.

The video quality is poor for the gameplay portions since the game footage was obtained by filming the monitor, but it reveals a few things about the development of the game, as it was recorded a bit less than a month after the release of the press release beta and about two months before the first public release. The id crew makes many comments about the game and levels during the demonstration, drawing attention to various map details and engine features, as well as bugs not yet fixed.

The game still has a number of major bugs such as, when finishing a level, often crashing with a Z_Malloc error message and a helpful notice telling the player not to worry about the "file not found" error.

Interface

  • HUD messages (such as item pickups) are displayed right above the status bar instead of at the top of the screen. The game displays the last three messages.
  • The ouch face is displayed while walking on damaging floors. The face is also shown when taking heavy damage, as seen at the end of E1M3 and E1M4's crushing ceiling.
  • On the intermission screen, the statistics are aligned horizontally as KILL, ITEM, and SCRT, rather than vertically.
  • The level music continues on the intermission screen, instead of it having its own theme ("Intermission from DOOM", also used for E2M3).

Sound Effects

  • As a placeholder, the SNES Wolfenstein 3D sound effects are used. All the monsters have the same death scream, and all the weapons have the same firing noise (a rather weak one, at that) - even the chainsaw, which as a result sounds like a chaingun.
  • As in the press release version when sound is enabled, there is no volume attenuation with distance.
  • Unmodified GENMIDI lump from DMX SDK is used, resulting in different OPL music sound.
  • Imps' firing noise is different.
  • One of the devs comments that they intend to make the Shotgun Guy's death sound deeper than the Zombieman's in order to make them seem stronger.

Misc.

  • Bonus items are still treasures instead of health and armor bonuses. However, the demonic dagger already functions as a health bonus, and the skull chest as armor bonus. The unholy bible and evil sceptres, present in the beta, were already removed from the game.
  • Imp fireballs are still using the beta graphics (smaller and with four points, somewhat like a red plasma ball).
  • Health and armor seem uncapped. Picking up skull chests after a blue armor increases the armor rating past 200%. The supercharge gives 100 points of both health and armor, so picking up one with 147% health and 203% armor adds 100 points to each instead of capping at 200. A similar powerup would appear in the sequel, in the form of the Megasphere,
  • Keys still appear in deathmatch. They remain behind when picked up so that another player can also pick them up.
  • Deathmatch uses regular player starts due to not being a distinct game mode yet - it is simply co-op with belligerent players.
  • Sprites can be seen through doors as they open, indicating there were still glitches in the drawsegs sorting algorithm.
  • Sprites for gibbed enemies and door-crushed corpses differ significantly.
  • The rendering engine still runs in VGA Mode 13h, as evident from lack of shimmering in the hall of mirrors effect.
  • One of the devs comments that, upon trying to exit the game, that the game should say things like "Die, faggot!". It's probably for the best this wan't kept in.

Levels

The exit rooms feature a nonfunctional door, making it seem like a switch-activated airlock.

E1M1

  • No bonus items are present.
  • The green armor tower is behind a secret door, and contains a shotgun instead. The green armor and its pedestal are instead right in front of the secret door.
  • The computer room is not present. Instead, there is a length of detailed corridor with a large bay window to the right and an elevated area to the left.
  • The nukage pool in the secret courtyard has a supercharge instead of a blue armor.
  • The room before the exit does not have any barrels.

E1M2

  • The red key aisle is still accessed by lifts rather than by stairways.
  • The music track is "Dark Halls" (E1M3) instead of "The Imp's Song".
  • The backpack secret in the computer maze area contains a rocket launcher instead of a backpack.
  • The game crashes after picking up the above rocket launcher, so the rest of the level is not seen.

E1M3

  • The music track is "Waiting For Romero To Play" (Doom II MAP18) instead of "Dark Halls".
  • The hidden window opening from the left part of the map to the center room before the secret exit is behind a computer screen showing the "PLANET1" texture. Once opened, visibility is reduced by BRNBIGR+BRNBIGL midtexture combination.

E1M4

  • The start room has a UAC logo (SHAWN1) in it.
  • The courtyard is not yet open to the sky. The skylight instead is textured with FLAT9.
  • The northeastern room is still textured with GRAY7 instead of the final STARTAN3.
  • The northeastern room's "one-time-only" lift raises into the ceiling, triggering a massive HOM from which Romero escapes by no-clipping back into a playable part of the level. Interestingly, the HOM does not show the classic flashing effect that gives HOM its name, suggesting that at this point Doom was not yet using a triple-buffered "Mode Y" graphical mode, but was possibly still running in Mode 13h.

E1M5

  • The stairways/corridors circling around the western nukage pit do not have their monster closet traps yet.
(Source: Doom Wiki)