Though we look back on the classic PC games of yore with our rose tinted glasses, we can’t deny the fiddly-ness of them sucked. Hey, don’t get me wrong: I loved my childhood playing the likes of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, The Descent and Wolfenstein 3D, but even I can admit dealing with command lines or modding anything was a pain in the butt. The simplification of running games is why so many people flocked to consoles.
While I consider myself part of the “PC Master Race”, as some would describe it, I find no pleasure in hacking/cracking/work-around-ing a game to get it to run, and boy am I glad there’s been a good 20 years of people before me fighting to make that something I don’t generally have to do now. Well, that is until today.
Let me explain. There’s a new a level for DOOM out today! Yes, that DOOM; the original. And the level was made by John Romero, one of the co-founders of id Software and designers of their original games. If this news excites you as much as it excited me, you can download it here.
— John Romero (@romero) January 15, 2016
I downloaded the map straight away, and even on my Australian, Dark Ages internet connection it took no time at all given it’s so small. The .zip file contained two files: the e1m8b.WAD and a text file. Now I may be some mad fool, but I assumed the text file would come with some installation instructions so that that I could, you know, just play this thing I downloaded.
But this is a new map for a classic PC game, so I was going to have to do some digging to get this to work.
The first thing I did was go back to the sources I got the news from that Romero had released the level. None of the articles I found had any instruction as to how to actually play the damn thing, because why would they? Anyone who actually cares would have been doing this for the past two decades, they should already know how or henceforth forfeit their PC Gamer credentials.
So what did I do? I did what anyone would do: I hit up Google.
The top link looked promising. That thought quickly dissipated upon clicking it.
Warnings of factual inaccuracies and a lack of coherence aside, I gave the wiki a chance. It mentions in its first paragraph that there are four different types of “IWADS”, the first two being for Ultimate DOOM and DOOM 2, before going on to mention most mods are made for DOOM 2. However, I discovered in my initial digging that Romero’s new level is a replacement of the end boss for Knee Deep in the Dead, the first part of the original DOOM, so the map is most likely designed for that.
As rest assured, as soon as I saw command line instructions I gave up and moved on, thinking “there has got to be a simpler explanation than this; it’s one goddamn level!”
So I returned to Google, and decided to hit up the first video that was listed. I’m more of a visual learner anyway, so perhaps this was my answer, my Holy Grail.
Suffice it to say, it was not. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t the complete dumpster fire of a video I was served.
No sound, no voice, just shoddy notepad subtitles and awkward mouse cursor circles. Hell is nothing but this kind of tech support.
Still, I did everything the video suggested, I installed DOOM custom level launcher “zdoom” in its own directory and plonked the relevant .wad files in there and all I ended up with was playing my normal copy DOOM but with no sound. Thanks user “unphaque”, you were no help at all.
So I went back to Google. I’d been constantly served a giant mound of diddly-squat (that’s the nice way of putting it) but I was determined to figure this out. And by some miracle, my saviour arrived. It was like Zeus himself had stepped down from Olympus, bringing with him all his perchance of giving-no-fucks, and just snapped his fingers and the problem was solved. However, in this analogy, Zeus is the website Mashable.
Yes, in the time it took for me to go through all my trials and errors, to write a really angry introduction to this article, Mashable wrote and published “How to play the ‘Doom’ creator’s first new level in 21 years”, and boy do I feel embarrassed.
So here it is, finally: how to install the new map.
The information I had already uncovered was relevant but also completely wrong, go figure. First, you need a copy of Ultimate DOOM, the latest version of the original game which is available on the likes of Steam. Then, you install zdoom into the ‘base’ folder in the Ultimate DOOM directory. This directory will be in your [username]/steamapps/common folder.
Placing zdoom in the actual game’s folder was the important part “unphaque” left out. Dumbass.
From there, plonk the e1m8b.wad file into the same ‘base’ folder as zdoom. Then click-&-drag the .wad file over the zdoom.exe file, and it will load up Ultimate DOOM with the new map replacing the original one at the end of Knee Deep in the Dead.
Now all you need to do is get up to the level! You can either play your way there from the start of the chapter, or you can cheat by typing (without quotation marks or full stop) “idclev18”. If you do that, you’ll have absolutely no weapons given you skipped over all the parts that give them to you, so type “idkfa” to get all weapons and ammo or else you’ll be stuffed.
As for the how the actual level itself is? Yeah, it’s OK. I got to shoot demons in the face, that’s the important thing.