OG DOOM Shows Off The Origins Of Multi-Monitor

We have a thing for DOOM, and we admit it. The source was released, and clever hackers have ported the engine to every system imaginable. It’s a right of passage, when hacking a machine, to run DOOM on it — be it a VoIP phone, or tractor. But the original 1993Β release does have a few notable tricks, and there’s something to be said for recreating that experience on period hardware. And that’s what we’re covering today: [Tech Tangents] discovered DOOM’s multi-monitor support, and built a 4-computer cluster to show it off.

There is a catch, of course. DOOM 1.1 has the multi-monitor support, and under-the-hood, it works by running a copy of the game on individual computers, and controlling the drones over the network. As the game’s network code was updated for version 1.2, the multi-monitor feature was axed to make the network code easier to maintain. So, find a 1.1 shareware release, install it on a DOS machine with IPX drivers, and start each iteration with a -net flag. Use -left and -right to set the drones to the appropriate view. And that view is ninety degrees left and right.

Maybe not ideal, but at the time it was one of the first games to have any sort of multi-monitor support at all. Likely inspired by a commercial flight simulator setup. Either way, it’s a neat feature, and kudos to [Tech Tangents] for showing off this obscure feature of a beloved classic!

13 thoughts on “OG DOOM Shows Off The Origins Of Multi-Monitor

  1. “Doom for monkeys” or the unfortunate spread of social networks into the physical privacy of every person. Sometimes I miss the print era, where text serves as a medium for suggestion, and images are parsimoniously used to clarify text when needed.

    1. Graphical text-adventures were like that. Pardon. “Interactive Fiction with graphics”.
      Games like The Pawn, Wonderland, Fish!, Jinxter or Gateway had graphics, but they were optional. The environment was fully described in text form, too.

      Unfortunately, those cerebral games had to make way for mass-compatible games like Doom, which do please humans’ lowest instincts. How ironic. How sad. Or not? If people nolonger care and remember, they won’t be sad about the loss, either.

      1. Why pretend that Doom killed all other games? Even old action RPGs like Deus Ex, Morrowind and many other contain several novels worth of background/non-gameplay oriented text. There’s plenty of cerebral games out there even if you can’t be bothered to find them.

        Take kerbal space program for example, which in the more hardcore modes or without autopilot mods, requires some understanding of engineering physics and orbital dynamics theory to actually make much progress.

      2. There are plenty of counter-examples of cerebral games that make the most of their graphics, too. Myst, to start with. Then great games like Portal, Quern, The Witness, Obduction, The Talos Principle. And don’t discount the storytelling and art of some of the “shooters” over the years, too. Tom mentions Deus Ex, and I’d add Dishonored, Bioshock, and Control.

    1. Really? Doom netcode can run perfectly well for 4 players over just 28.8K dialup, the biggest issue with that is latency. Even for this usage, the only datapoints being sent are the control inputs and their timing compared to the server’s PRNG table cycle.

  2. I did this in Linux of all things back in the early 2000’s. Had three monitors side by side and when I launched DOOM in Xorg it would display it on all three monitors. The trick was setting up an odd screen resolution. To sum it up I only needed one PC and two video cards. I also did this with a few other games like Quake and Quake2.

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