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3DO DOOM Source Made Available, Developer Speaks

Back in 199x, a war was brewing, and it was between several different 32 bit consoles that claimed to be the most powerful. Sega’s Saturn, Sony’s Playstation, Nintendo’s N64, Atari’s Jaguar and the 3DO. Unless you believed the hype that the Jaguar was a 64 bit system, most of these machines seemed to be roughly similar in power and it was ultimately the available game library that decided the winners, rather than the race for computing power that the commercials seemed to focus on.

DOOM was one of those games, and while it appeared on just about every device ever made in the past 2 decades, its appearance on the 3DO was one of the most interesting. Universally panned for its visuals and sluggishness, the 3DO version of DOOM would have went completely unloved were it not for the incredible soundtrack it came attached with. There were rumors about how the game managed to get mishandled so poorly, but the full story was never known…until now.

Yesterday that mystery was solved when the 3DO port’s developer, Rebecca Ann Heineman, released the source code for her 3DO port of DOOM. Though the code is something of interest to programmers (or armchair programmers), the real meat is the story she tells of how she came to be on the project.

    Yes, this is the infamous port of DOOM for the 3DO. Firstly, this was the product of ten intense weeks of work due to the fact that I was misled about the state of the port when I was offered the project. I was told that there was a version in existance with new levels, weapons and features and it only needed “polishing” and optimization to hit the market. After numerous requests for this version, I found out that there was no such thing and that Art Data Interactive was under the false impression that all anyone needed to do to port a game from one platform to another was just to compile the code and adding weapons was as simple as dropping in the art.

    Uh… No…

    My friends at 3DO were begging for DOOM to be on their platform and with christmas 1995 coming soon (I took this job in August of 1995, with a mid October golden master date), I literally lived in my office, only taking breaks to take a nap and got this port completed.

Rebecca goes on to speak about the shortcuts she made (A short but entertaining read), but one of the most amusing tales she tells is how she had no time to port the music driver, so she had the company hire a band to record new versions of each track. Which ultimately resulted in one of the best DOOM soundtracks ever written.

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Carl Batchelor

About

Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.



5 comments
  1. Ralph Chilton
    Ralph Chilton
    December 1, 2014 at 10:14 am

    64 Bit or no, DOOM on the Jaguar was silky smooth.

  2. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    December 1, 2014 at 10:37 am

    That and AvP. Had a friend who was a Jaguar owner and everyone would come over to his place to play AvP and Tempest.

  3. Ralph Chilton
    Ralph Chilton
    December 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

    AvP was fun despite the 2D Sprites and enemy AI that could see you looking over your shoulder to see a literal line of aliens chasing you :)

    Tempest 2k … sublime. I’m really glad Jeff Minter is still doing his own thing at Llamasoft. Seeing his enthusiasm for VR and the ease of porting his new title to the Samsung Oculus was one of the reasons I got a Note 4 as my new phone!

  4. InfectedAI
    InfectedAI
    December 1, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    This is all actually really interesting and having the source code to a console game is rare. I’d love to read a longer article about those 10 weeks. Knowing how fanatical the DOOM community is, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year we see a fixed version running on actual 3DO hardware.

  5. csgardner
    csgardner
    December 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    That’s because John Carmack actually developed the Jaguar version, as opposed to every other port.

    I seem to recall a quote from Carmack suggesting that after the Jaguar port he never wanted to do console work again, but I wasn’t able to find it. I did find this link, which praises the Jaguar and says he never wants to work with Nintendo again: http://www.retrovideogamer.co.uk/index.php?topic=882.0

    Ah memories, makes me miss my Jag.