John Carmack talks Doom Classic for the iPhone

'Doom is a more serious effort'

John Carmack talks Doom Classic for the iPhone
| Doom Classic

Apparently the iPhone adaptation of Wolfenstein was something of an experiment for id Software founder John Carmack, as he explains in a new blog post over on the official site.

Doom Classic, however, is something Carmack apparently cares a lot more about, and doesn't want to disappoint the millions of cult fans the game has built up over the years.

"Wolfenstein 3D Classic was a quickie project to satisfy my curiosity and test the iPhone waters, but Doom is a more serious effort," Carmack begins.

"Making Doom run on a new platform is only a couple days of work. Making it a really good game on a platform that doesn't have a keyboard and mouse or an excess of processing power is an honest development effort."

He explains that Wolfenstein was designed to meet the 10MB limit for downloading the games from the App Store over 3G, but he doesn't want to limit Doom Classic in any way, and has spent the last few weeks dedicating his time to its adaptation.

It seems a lot of experimentation has gone into either upscaling the game's original graphics to the higher iPhone screen resolution, getting quotes from contractors to recreate them, and any number of technical wizardry better explained by Carmack in an effort to give Doom Classic the face lift it deserves.

But in the end, it seems retro true was the way to go.

"The toughest question was the artwork. Since Wolf was selling well, I had planned on paying contractors to upscale all the Doom graphics to twice the original resolution. When I pulled all the graphics out and tallied it all up, it looked a lot more marginal than I had expected," says Carmack.

"We started to do some internal samples of up-scaled artwork to use as reference for getting the contractor quotes, and it just wasn't looking all that spectacular. In the end, I decided not to do anything with the Doom source art. With the GPU accelerated filtering and 24 bit lighting it looks a lot better than it ever did, and with floors, ceilings, and lighting you don't seem to notice the low resolution as much as with Wolf.

"With the speed (a solid 30 fps, even in the more aggressive later levels), the audio, the resolution, and the rendering quality, it is Doom as you remember it, which is quite a bit better than it actually was."

For retro aficionados, this will be very welcome news. It's called Doom Classic, after all, so a top notch adaptation will be worth far more than a few smooth edges around a Baron of Hell.

That said, the addition of wi-fi multiplayer (and, when the iPhone's 3.0 software is released, Bluetooth multiplayer) will be something Doom fans will lap up. The first beta test has apparently been sent out, so it hopefully won't be too long before you're wandering those demon-infested corridors once again.

Head on over to id's website for the full interview.