Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom in 2020: a guide
Hello, forums! As my first post to these forums, I'd like to introduce you to a hobby that none of you seem to understand very well: modern classic Doom. You might think to yourself, "Doom was a DOS game and I run x64 Windows! How the hell am I supposed to play it?" Well, this guide will show you exactly how.
1. The Source Port
Before we play the game, we need the engine. Every Doom game ran on the same or similar Doom engine, so the games aren't bundled with it. Due to the public release of the engine's source code, there are many to choose from, but these are the blatantly right choices:
- GZDoom (zdoom.org)
A modern source port for modern people. It can run nearly any Doom engine game from the 90s, like Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Chex Quest (exactly what it sounds like), and even support totally new games, like Harmony and Hacx. Its physics aren't completely vanilla (e.g. can't grab items through 1-unit thick walls), but you can imagine it as what Doom would be today if id Software kept developing the id Tech 1 engine. There is some texture filtering on by default, however; turn that off in Options > Display Options > OpenGL Renderer and set Texture Filter Mode to None (Nearest Mipmap) to get that old-school, not blurry look.
- LZDoom (same)
A legacy version of GZDoom for legacy devices. Largely compatible with GZDoom mods, but a little bit older. Software renderer is on by default; you can change that to the OpenGL renderer in Options > Change Rendering Output. Or don't, it's more retro. Luckily, texture filtering isn't on by default with LZDoom.
- LZDoom (same)
- PRBoom+ (prboom-plus.sourceforge.net)
A middle ground between modern and classic. Compatible with "Boom-compatible" mods, it offers a variety of ways to play without sacrificing vanilla physics compatibility. An OpenGL-accelerated version, GLBoom+, also exists.
- Crispy Doom (Crispy Doom on chocolate-doom.org)
A retro source port. Fully vanilla-compatible with Doom 2, from the physics to the saves to the demo recordings, while adding some nice touches such as a doubled internal resolution. Recommended to also have another before port to ensure mod compatibility, as vanilla-compatible mods are few and far between today, especially with the improvements ZDoom and Boom have made to the engine.
- Chocolate Doom (chocolate-doom.org)
Crispy Doom's older, simpler brother. Essentially DOOM2.EXE version 1.9 ported to modern Windows with built-in DeHackEd support (DeHackEd is a language that allows simple changes to the base game that vanilla-compatible mods can't do on their own). If you want the true, 1:1 vanilla Doom experience, Chocolate Doom is the way to go.
- Chocolate Doom (chocolate-doom.org)
Most if not all Windows versions of these ports are packaged as file archives that can be extracted anywhere you like. Linux versions are packaged as, you guessed it, packages; check the repositories. With the engines out of the way, let's get onto the games.
2. The WADs
What the hell is a WAD?
- every Doom noob ever
WAD is short for "Where's All the Data?" It was id's first-gen way of making bundling the game easier for the end-user. There are two kinds of WADs; first:
2.1. The IWADs
There are four or five Doom-related internal WADs (or IWADs) that you should worry about:
- Doom Shareware (download) - the first episode of Doom one, available for free.
- The Ultimate Doom - the full first four episodes of Doom.
- Doom II: Hell on Earth - the sequel to the hit game. A continuous journey with over 30 maps.
- Final Doom - consists of two parts:
- TNT: Evilution - Non-canon megawad like Doom 2 made by TeamTNT.
- The Plutonia Experiment - Another non-canon game made by Dario and Milo Casali (both of these were published by id as Final Doom).
If you've got these, you should be all set, just place them all in your game directory (where you extracted the source port) on Windows or in /usr/share/games/doom on Linux. Additional paths to look for WADs can be set in your source port's config file. Do know that everything here but the shareware is commercial software, so you can either buy it on Steam* or GOG** or, just, y'know... yar har.
*The versions of Doom on Steam are not the 90s originals. The Red Cross Foundation hates it when people use red crosses in video games, so now the health packs have green crosses. Not sure about the GOG version.
**If you buy Doom on Steam or GOG, some ports will automatically detect it and add it to your list of IWADs.
2.2. The PWADs
Now that we've got the games out of the way, let's talk about the mods. A PWAD, or patch WAD, is an addition to the base game. Many great PWADs can be found on the /idgames archive, including the following:
- SIGIL - A fifth episode for Doom one, made by John Romero
- Black Gloves for the Doomguy - Gives you black gloves. Looks sick.
- Plutonia MIDI Pack - Total music conversion for The Plutonia Experiment's recycled soundtrack
- Full Doom Textures - Allows Doom one-exclusive textures to be used in Doom II and vice versa; also includes the scrapped waterfall textures
- Unidoom Deathmatch X (UDMX) - A 32-level deatchmatch megawad for Doom II; some of the best DM maps that exist
- Much more!
Now with all of this out of the way, let's pull it all together.
3. Rounding Out the Journey: The Launcher
Now, all of this is great, but we're missing one thing: a convienient, GUI way to actually mix and match mods and games. This is where launchers come in. Launchers are frontends to load your favorite source ports with your favorite games and mods. Like source ports, there are many launchers available, but I'd recommend ZDL (the version you want is 3-1.1. It's the most up-to-date and also Linux-compatible). Using it isn't rocket science; in fact, it's rather easy. Extract the .ZIP on WIndows or the .TAR.GZ on Linux, preferrably somewhere near your source ports if possible. Then, simply go to General settings and add the executable(s) (.EXE files on Windows, somewhere in /usr/games on Linux) for your source port(s) in the Source ports column and add your IWADs in the IWADs column. You can then add any PWADs, DeHackEd files, config files, or anything else in the External files in the main Launch config tab. You can then pick your game, mods, and port whenever you want to play Doom.
Well, there you have it; you're all ready for some classic Doom. With your source port, WADs, and launcher, you've got the whole Doom package. If you have any questions, feel free to post them down below, but otherwise, it's time to rip and tear!
Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.
- The Wizard of Id, 1965
Nice thread, with much detail. Very interesting! 😉
Proud Member of the Solstice Content Team! | Contact me for any inquiries!