The development of Doom began in 1992 as a tie-in of Aliens, but the first concept of the game, “Evil Unleashed“, was finished only in febraury 1993. As we can see from the ToastyTech website, this demo had only a room and three enemies: an imp, a demon, and a baron of hell. The hud was very different and with more status informations, even if still not functional. They were still testing the engine , so it was possible to change the textures and the lighting system using the keyboard.
The next build of Doom that we have, the alpha 4-22 (dated april 1993), included, instead, early versions of many levels (Spawning Vats, Containment Area,Refinery, Computer Station, Central Processing, Command Control, Nuclear Plant, Pandemonium) and a test map that was discarded. Some areas (like a room where marines are playing cards, that was supposed to be the beginning of the game, or the showers and the lockers) and objects (like the office chairs) of the stages were completely removed, in part probably because the story of the game was at the beginning much more complex and there were five playable characters (Lorelei Chen, John Pietrovich, Dimitri Paramo, Thi Barrett,Buddy Dacote). Items couldn’t be collected, and their design was still unfinished. The chainsaw was already there, though. Also, there were some removed pickups, like a strange circle of skulls, and you could use a bayonet for melee attacks. Enemies didn’t have any AI and they still couldn’t be killed, but the developers had already created the graphics for a first version of the Lost Souls, even if they weren’t accessible in the game yet.
A subsequent alpha, the 5-22 (dated may 1993), showed a game much more similar to the Doom we know. Familiar elements like toxic pools, keycards, explosive barrels, medikits, the overworld map, were added, enemies could now be killed (but they just disappeared), items could be picked up, switches and elevators worked, the Cacodemon and the Zombieman were created but still not inserted in the game. A press release beta demo made shortly before the final version had still a few strange items and some differences in the layouts of the three levels included. Interestingly, the game still keep the score like in the alpha 5-22, even if it wasn’t in the hud anymore.
Some more info can be found in this article:
the design document sketches an outline of a game that’s closer to Left 4 Dead than the actual Doom – a co-op romp through a realistic military base filled with undead and devoid of lava traps or acid pits. There was even a proper story too; one set to span six episodes
A cut area called The Officer’s Club, for example, is described in the design document as a private bar where players could find “a neat collector’s pistol (if we can have weapon quality)”. There was no other purpose for the area – the Club was an optional stopping off point for those who wanted to explore and who’d collected a dismembered hand that could fool the biometric locks.
Doom had been intended to start in the hangar where the heroes played cards, a short cut-scene ending with players standing around the card table and even holding in their inventory the sandwiches they had been eating.
Some of the pre-release alpha and beta versions are available in the idgames archive. You can find them on Doomworld, or do a search for “/idgames/historic/”.
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