[Acorn Gaming]


Overview - Doom

Despite its age, the landmark 3D game Doom continues to generate a lot of interest with regard to its availability or otherwise for Acorn computers.

For some years an almost complete version has existed, but until now it had never been released due to the cost of the licence required to release the game. This has now all changed, with R-Comp Interactive releasing a proper, legal, full release of Doom for Acorns, complete with full sound, MIDI music and a true-colour mode, as well as support for all Doom, Doom 2 and Ultimate Doom WADs (level files). It was released at the Acorn SouthWest show in Bristol on the 7th of February.

[Doom video configuration]Acorn Doom retails at 35 pounds, and for this you get three CD-ROMs which include Ultimate Doom, Doom 2 Master Levels, 3000 extra levels and - of course - the Acorn Doom player software. You can play full-screen at resolutions up to 1024x768 in 256-colour modes, and there is also a 24-bit colour mode in which you can only go up to 480x352 full-screen. Acorn Doom will also multitask and run in a desktop window, and in this mode you can run at any resolution you like - larger than 1024x768 if you want! You can also enable a 'zoom' option, but on my Risc PC 700 this is actually slower than running at an equivalently scaled resolution.

You get full sound, but you need a MIDI synthesiser for the music, not that you'll be missing a huge amount if you don't hear the music - it's not very tightly tied to the game at all. But it's great to finally have an Acorn game which supports MIDI music.

It's a bit slow on my Risc PC 700, although still mostly playable, but it really comes into its own on StrongARM-equipped machines. It won't work on pre-Risc PCs at all. You can order the game from R-Comp on (01925) 755043. You can also email R-Comp at doom@rcomp.co.uk.

Multiplayer network support, as I understand it, is not directly supported by this release, but the various hooks are there for an enterprising programmer to develop suitable drivers for it should they so wish.

Coinciding with R-Comp's announcement of an official release, however, was the news that iD had released the original source code for Doom into the Public Domain, so it is now possible for anyone with the requisite ability to compile the game for their own use. Jack Parkinson did just that for Acorns, with a port which runs at between 20 and 30 frames-per-second in 320x200 in 8-bit colour on a StrongARM Risc PC, but since R-Comp's announcement that they have acquired the exclusive rights to all RISC OS releases of Doom, Jack has withdrawn his previous intent to release his version. Jack initially agreed to a delay of at least two months, but it now looks unlikely that his version will ever be released.

Another Acorn programmer, David Császár, has in fact released his own port of the free Doom Linux sourcecode, which can be downloaded from [link removed at R-Comp's request]. This version is pretty basic, and nowhere near as fast or as polished as the commercial release. R-Comp have said that they are now taking legal action against David.

For those who want to examine the source code themselves, you can get it from ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/source/doomsrc.zip, but note that it is hard to gain access to this FTP site - you could try early in the morning when most US citizens are asleep.

Prior to these recent Doom events, certain people had managed to illicitly get hold of copies of an unreleased Acorn version, and at one point this was illegally made available for public download from the internet. This version caused some considerable interest on the internet in Autumn 1997, and a RISC OS Doom level editor was released, called DoomEd. In fact, it is this original port which has now been developed into R-Comp's commercial release.

The most accurate explanation of the full story came from the original Acorn author of the game, Eddie Edwards, who had previously programmed and published a full port of iD Software's preceding blockbuster game, Wolfenstein 3D (now available at a much reduced price from Beebug/Risc User).

The following text is reproduced from the Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.acorn.games, and is copyright Eddie Edwards. You should be warned that it contains strong language which you may find offensive.

Newsgroups: comp.sys.acorn.games
Subject: Re: Acorn Doom. ID Software suing Eddie Edwards?
From: eddie@cranberry.co.uk
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 10:34:45 -0600


Wolf3D cost me $10,000 for the license, but I published it myself under the name "Powerslave Software" which took costs up substantially. 2,000 copies of the game were made, of which approx. 300 were sold at AW95, ~100 mail-order and the rest through distributors (the last 300 were done as a job lot). Distributors don't pay much, though - RRP £30, Eddie Edwards gets £15; manufacturing is £3, income tax, etc. etc. etc. At the end of the day it was tight to break even. Then Greyhound went bust, owning me £6,000, at which point I thought maybe Powerslave Software should fold (I didn't bankrupt myself, thank God!)

DOOM was originally priced at $250,000, but as Jay Wilbur said (paraphrase) "That's the price we give to the Atari's of this world". We had worked a deal whereby the license would be $25,000. I was in negotiation with one of the faces of the Acorn scene to pay the license, but at the end of the day it was looking ropey profit-wise (i.e. very very risky) and then Greyhound folded and I decided to call it a day. "It's a day," I said.

During negotiations a *very* small number of people got copies, and I know *exactly* who they are ... and so do they. Id Software are, AFAIK, not even aware of the existence of a downloadable Acorn DOOM port - they will be when they read their email this morning. No legal action is (yet!) underway.

So ... whatever happened to Eddie Edwards? Well, there's a new PC game coming out this month (see today's CGW) called QAD by Cranberry Source, for which I was the lead programmer. If you like it. Otherwise I was the teaboy ;-) This is my first effort at Intel assembler and, God, it's nasty but, God, it's f**king fast! The Pentium was shit-hot; the MMX is just soooooooooooo sexy it makes me ... OK, use your imagination. FLOATING POINT, guys, FLOATING POINT. The Pentium-120 does 120 MFLOPS peak. OTOH, the PC market is so up it's own arse that I can't bear it. Maybe I'll go and code on the Newton for a while ;-)

Anyone with problems with Wolf 3D or questions or anything like that can contact me at:


or write, or come round for a smoke:

Eddie Edwards
49 Witherington Road
London N5 1PN

All opinions are my own, except the facts, which are facts.

Eddie xxx

...this page last updated: 4/7/98...
...back to the top...

Free games

Botkiller 2
Burn 'Out
Eternal Destiny
Fire and Ice
Heretic and Hexen
Heroes of Might and Magic 2
The Chaos Engine
Wizard Apprentice
Full Tek review now online - finally!
Any comments on Acorn Gaming? Send me an email!
Latest updates
Email Acorn Gaming
©Gareth Moore 1993-2003

Acorn Gaming is a completely independent publication and has no official connection with any company