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Last modified: Tue Jan 1 08:47:39 EST 2013


Contents

Introduction
Vanilla DOOM
— Hardware to run Vanilla DOOM
— Operating systems
— The three variants of DOOM 1.9
Source ports
— Categories of source ports
— Test method for source ports
Best faithful source port:  Chocolate DOOM
Best enhanced source port:  PrBoom-Plus
Best remake:  Classic DOOM 3
DOOM 95
All other source ports
Classic DOOM links

Classic DOOM Versions, Ports, and Remakes

Introduction

The purpose of this survey was to determine what I must do to continue being able to play Classic DOOM.  I continue to update it piecemeal as the available software evolves and new facts come to light.

The original DOOM game (generally referred to as Vanilla DOOM when discussing later ports) ran under DOS with a screen resolution of 320×200 and a Sound Blaster or similar ISA sound card.  None of those preconditions is easily satisfied on a modern PC.  DOS compatibility went out the window after Windows 98.  Modern LCD monitors are increasingly reluctant to support the 320×200 video mode or any other standard VGA mode.  And most of the functionality of the old Sound Blasters is now done in drivers that only work in Windows XP or later.

There are several different strategies to overcome this.

  1. Salvage some old parts and build a retro DOS gaming rig just to run Vanilla DOOM.  As of 2012, it's still pretty easy to do this on the cheap.
  2. Run Vanilla DOOM in an emulated environment on a modern PC.  I am yet to see this work well enough to be a convincing substitute for the real thing, but it is sure to improve.  I haven't yet tried it with CPU-level virtualization.
  3. Give up on Vanilla DOOM and use a source port.  Under Linux, getting the music to sound like it did in Vanilla DOOM can be a challenge.  Under Windows, smooth gameplay is hard to achieve, and the MIDI emulation is different yet again.

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