Running DOOM In A Keycap Takes Careful Work

Shoehorning DOOM into different hardware is a classic hacker’s exercise, and [TheKeebProject] managed to squeeze the 1993 classic into a custom keycap with the help of a Raspberry Pi RP2040, a custom PCB, and a clear resin enclosure. It even has a speaker for sound!

All processing is done inside the keycap, which is a clever feat. There is a USB connection, but it’s only for power and keyboard controls, so it’s completely playable without needing a whole lot of external support. The custom PCB and code are based off an earlier RP2040 DOOM project, and [TheKeebProject] has certainly made it their own by managing to get everything so tightly integrated. There’s a quick video mashup embedded below. There’s still a bit of work to do, but the code and design files are all on GitHub should you wish for a closer look.

Making DOOM physically smaller is a good challenge, but we’d like to remind fans that we’ve also seen DOOM shrink in terms of power consumption, all the way down to 1 mW.

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DOOM Ported To A Single LEGO Brick

By now you’ve all seen the tiny LEGO brick with a working screen in it. The work of one [James “Ancient” Brown], it was truly a masterpiece of miniaturization and creativity. Since then, [James] hasn’t stopped innovating. Now, he’s demoing a playable version of DOOM running on a single plastic brick.

We’ve covered the construction of these astounding screen bricks before. Long story short, [James] designed a tiny PCB that hosts an RP2040 microcontroller which is then hooked up to a tiny OLED screen. The components are placed in a silicone mold, which is then filled with transparent resin to form the brick. The screen is then powered via contacts in the bottom, much like older-style LEGO motors.

Early experiments involved running various graphics to emulate a spaceship dashboard, but [James] has now gone much further. He’s implemented RP2040-doom to run the game. It uses tilt controls thanks to an accelerometer, combined with capacitive touch controls for shooting. The monochrome OLED is driven very fast with a special library of [James’] own creation to create three levels of grayscale to make the game actually visible and (just barely) playable.

It’s a hack, of course, and the controls are far from perfect. Nobody’s speed-running E1M1 on [James’s] LEGO brick, to be sure. Perchance. With that said, it’s still a glorious piece of work nonetheless. Just imagine, sitting with friends, and announcing you’re going to play some DOOM — only to pluck a piece of LEGO out of your pocket and start blasting away at demons.

Just because [James] doesn’t know when to quit, we’re going to lay down the gauntlet. Let’s get network play happening on these things, yeah?
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