Doom [PC – Alpha / Beta]

Doom [PC – Alpha / Beta]


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/”.

Thanks a lot to Nathan for the contribution, to Deepcut and Joe Martin for the links and to SquarePulse for some of the videos!



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15 thoughts on “Doom [PC – Alpha / Beta]

  1. Ross Sillifant

    Official reason the Commodore Amiga never had a conversion:

    The amiga is not powerfull enough to run DOOM.  It takes the full  
    speed of a 68040 to play the game properly even if you have a chunky  
    pixel mode in hardware.  Having to convert to bit planes would kill  
    it even on the fastest amiga hardware, not to mention the effect it  
    would have on the majority of the amiga base.

    John Carmack

  2. Ross Sillifant

    While working on the jaguar port (It’s running 10 – 20 fps without
    monsters now), I came across several performace improvements to the
    basic DOOM engine. I am debating whether I should update the PC
    version. I think I could get it about 20% faster, but any more time
    I spend on DOOM is going to delay QUAKE.

    John Carmack
    Id Software

  3. Ross Sillifant

    Team 17 talking about trying to get Doom on the Amiga:

    When we started developing AB3D I spoke to id about the possibility of
    just doing an official, I.D sanctioned Amiga Version of Doom. They wanted
    $50,000 before they would even talk. I assumed this to be a starting point for negotiations, but no, that was a 100% firm position. No $50,000, no

    They said that it was for so that they could be sure that the finished product would be worthy of the Doom name. But to be honest, if we had
    given then $50K we would have had to sack Andy Clitheroe and have the game written by the tea lady, and it would have been pants.

    They might change their mind when they’ve seen AB3DSE, but who gives a flying fick? We’re Amiga users, do we need Doom? We’ve got AB3D, and Gloom

    i think what Andy has done, and what he will do with AB3DSE is good enough, I.D can kiss my armpit!

    Marcus Dyson…

  4. Ross Sillifant

    High Voltage Software on why I.D used Jaguar low resolution mode for the conversion :
    Adisak Pochanayon:

    I don’t really see anything wrong with Doom in 160×180.  IMHO, it’s
    more than enough resolution for the game.  Doom is quite playable in the
    “small screen” versions on the PC that allow higher frame rates.  With
    smooth 64K graphics, one of the main features to creating a realistic
    feel with Doom will be a higher frame rate. I can give you another
    suggestion to why ID has gone to 160×180.

    First of all, consider that the published speed of the Jag is a 26.6
    Mhz master clock.  Given a normal DRAM memory system, it takes 4 clock cycles at this speed to make a memory access read or write unless performing burst
    reads or writes with page hits (this usually only works on continuous data).

    This is because normal DRAM requires that a uP provide a “row” and a “column”address and then a read/write signal followed by data (one reason why the
    minimum instruction time on a 68000 is 4 clock cycles).  Assuming that
    the textures and screen are not located in the same page, this can
    be used as a reference.  Since texture mapping in DOOM requires reading and writing one pixel at a time, we can roughly estimate that the maximum speed of the texture mapping would occur at((26.6e6/4)/2) the maximum output speed is 3-4 million pixels texture mapped per second.  This really isn’t a lot to work with when you are doing as complicated texture mapping
    as DOOM.  Now I would assume that this limitation of using normal DRAM and texture mapping a pixel at a time is going to hold with SATURN as well if they use a blitter for texture mapping.  The reason the PC can do more pixels is because it doesn’t use “normal” RAM accesses.  Due to the uP cache, the uP reads data from the textures in burst mode, may perform delayed
    writes (also in burst mode) and the actual texture may be in a cache (most PC’s have 128K-256K of cache).  This makes for an incredible speed difference in the maximum speed of writing individual pixels.  The good news, is that the Jaguar can use burst mode itself to write out 4-pixels at a time when doing 3-d polygon graphics with Gouraud shading (which probably gives the
    Jag an ability to hit around 20+ million Gouraud shaded pixels per second!!!!!).

    Second reason is that 160×180 resolution with 64K colors will look A LOT better for a game like DOOM than on a PC.  The color variations on DOOM are going to be so much smoother on the Jag that it will look better than the higher
    resolution version on the PC with fewer colors.

  5. Ross Sillifant

    (Jaguar) DOOM will run at 160×180. The main reason is speed. With 320×200 res, we could have gotten 20 FPS in some places 15 in most. With
     160×180, we get 20 all around. As far as the cache architecture goes, I don’t think the res lowering is directly related.

    (Regarding why no resolution toggle as in the PC version)

    The reason the PC has it is because the hardware it can be played on varies is speed/processing power. All of the Jaguar boxes are the same. (Isn’t developing for consoles great? :-)

     -Shawn Green
     id Software

  6. Ross Sillifant

    As for Doom II heading to Jaguar:

    Q. What can you tell us about the Jaguar version of DOOM 2?
    GameFan says that it should be completed by 4th quarter this year. Is
    that accurate?

    DOOM ][: Hell on Earth will be completed by the 4th quarter of this
    year, but we will probably not do a port of it.

    -Shawn Green (sh…
    id Software

  7. Ross Sillifant

    Burger Bill Heineman
    I’ll probably get flamed for this…
    I started the project to port DOOM to the 3DO in Mid-September. After
    10 grueling weeks we finished a pretty good port of the JAGUAR version.

    We were under a deadline to get it out by Christmas (Pretty
    unreasonable considering the day the project was started) and had to
    only do just a port of the game with no enhancements.

    I do NOT work for ADI, we were contracted by ADI at THE LAST MINUTE to
    do the game. I work for Logicware Inc.  ADI misrepresented themselves
    when they advertised the so called “new” levels and weapons. Logicware
    suggested to ADI to change their advertising but it looks like they
    I still have not seen what the box looks like, and by the sounds from
    this newsgroup I don’t know if I want to.
    In the past I have written, Out of This World, Wolf 3D and Kingdom :
    The Far Reaches. So I do know how to squeeze some performance from the
    3DO (I think… :) ).  If we had been put on the project many MONTHS in
    advance instead of the last minute, DOOM would look MUCH different

    Oh well…

    I only hope that future DOOM products for the 3DO go much better.
    Logicware probably won’t do any more business with ADI for other
    reasons I’d rather not get into. But know this; DOOM was created from
    the extremely hard work from several very talented people at Logicware
    and we were just saddened that things just didn’t work out the way we
    would like.


    P.S. At least the music kicks butt!

  8. Ross Sillifant

    I have seen quotes, supposedly from Dave Taylor of I.D software saying that whilst the 3DO was an excellent machine and had broad support and a sizable market share, he did not feel a “13 bit CPU W/Super Kludge”, really fitted within I.D’s long-range company goals..

    That generated this response :

    While I am confused and dismayed as to why ID would prefer to write for Jaguar rather than 3DO, I fully support ID’s right to choose to develop
    for a machine based on whether or not they “like it.”

      I like the Amiga, and I like writing software for it.  If I had “business sense,” I would “wake up” and write for Windows.  So obviously I’m
    motivated by more than mere dollars.

    While I’m curious to know the reasons behind ID’s decision, I’m pleased to see that ID is willing to make a porting decision based on what they think is best, rather than taking the low-risk expedient “good-for-business” option.

    Leo L. Schwab —

  9. The Crestfallen

    Atari shipped the jaguar with a fairly serious hardware bug: the
    risc chips cannot reliably execute code unless it lies in the on-chip

    caches, which are only 4k and 8k in size.

    You can break your program up into a lot of overlays, but it is a big

    time consuming hassle, so virtually all jaguar games are going to
    execute the majority of their code on the 68k, which is only about
    one tenth the speed of the risc chips.

    The jag has lots of speed in it, you just need to sweat a bit to get

    at it. In contrast, the Sega 32X is less powerful, but very easy to

    get the speed (they have a GCC compiler for the SH2 chips). DOOM
    will be showing up on both the Jag and the 32X. The jag version will

    be a bit better, but it will have over twice the man-hours put into

    I am just now testing a dynamic overlay scheme that automatically
    caches position independant code on the local ram. It will be slower

    than hand-overlaying everything, but still several times faster than

    running on the 68k.

    John Carmack

  10. Ross Sillifant

    why the Jaguar was the “port of choice” for Doom:

    Jay (Wilbur): Two reasons:
    1. Price Point. The Jaguar is positioned to sell.
    2. Programmability. Our developers can program on the metal with
    the Jaguar and not hurt a thing. If one were to go to the hardware
    on the 3DO it is likely to crash with the next OS rev. [John: help
    me here].

    John (Romero): The hardware. We like fitting our code within
    cartridge-sized constraints – it’s fun. And the
    parallel-processing elements of programming on the Jaguar are much
    more fun to code than a straightforward architecture. We don’t like
    wasting space on CD-ROM.


  11. Ross Sillifant

    John Carmack answering concerns over compromises being made to the Atari Jaguar version.

    >Supposedly, the final version of Doom will run at only 15FPS…
    >It will run at a screen resolution of 160×180


    >Lastly, are both of these *because* the code doesn’t run reliably in
    >the RISC caches, and you were forced to use the 68000?

    If the gpu and dsp were bug free and had dynamic caches (which has
    NEVER been in the spec) the program would have been done over a month
    ago, or I could spend more time optimizing and get they frame rate up

    But, the aren’t.

    Frame rate: It actually can run 30 fps with your nose in a wall, but
    I am more interested in seeing a reliable 15 fps than a wildly
    variable 10 to 30. I am trying to make the game as good as possible,
    not give marketing people and advocates numbers to throw around.

    The PC version had a master tick rate of 35 tics / second, so on most
    peoples machines they were running 1 to 3 tics / frame. Because I
    have a fixed platform on the jag, I have chacnged the master tick
    rate to be equal to the target frame rate, which will give more
    consistant control.

    Reolution: reolution is drastically overrated. It looks good at
    160*180. Once again, it is easy to fudge things around. I could
    have 320*180 and have it run at 15 fps with your face in a wall, but
    drop to 8 fps when you look at something complicated. That is not
    the right thing to do.

    It is possible for a more restricted game engine to get twice the
    pixel rate that I’m getting (AvP does, I think). Wolfenstein gets
    three times the pixel rate. The resolution / frame rate numbers that
    get bantered about are really not the most important things about a

    >The note also said that extra objects (barrels, etc.) were being
    >removed from Jaguar Doom in an effort to save space.

    A cartridge is not going to have everything that a 12 megabyte floppy
    game has. Period. We take out the things that will least effect the
    gameplay. A lot of blood puddles and lamp posts are gone, and lots
    of wall textures have been combined.

    >I’ve heard that the color palette had to be reduced to something
    >like 128 colors on-screen from the projected 32,000+.

    Not true. It is still in 16 bit cry color.

    It will be a good game. Trust me. It WILL NOT be a better game than
    DOOM pc on a 486/66 with a sound canvas and a sound blaster. An
    order of magnitude more expensive hardware will do that.

    John Carmack

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