DOOM is an FPS game developed and released by ID Software in 1993, and became one of the most influential games of all time.
This page will only focus on the disastrous 3DO port of DOOM.
DOOM on 3DO had an extremely messy development cycle, Randy Scott and his publishing house Art Design Interactive had just recently acquired the rights to create a console port of DOOM from ID Software, there was a huge problem, however, and that is that Randy Scott didn't know anything about game development, and thought that making a port was just copying files and that's it.
With his complete ignorance about the field, Randy started went in a completely bonkers PR campaign in which he promised: new levels, new enemies and FMV cutscenes, in less words a massive system seller, which was something that the 3DO company really needed.
Chosen for the tasks of porting the game was Rebecca "Burger Becky" Heineman, an ex Interplay employee, who know had her own company called Logicware, and she had helped to successfully port Out of this World, Battle Chess (while she was still at Interplay) and Wolfenstein (with her new company) to the 3DO, so they were approached by Art Data interactive and the 3DO company to port DOOM, it made sense, as they had experience, they had worked with ID Software, and knew the system, so it seems like the perfect match, however thanks to Randy it would all become a massive disaster.
The game needed to be ready for Christmas of 1996 and when Logicware was approached, it was already mid-August of 1996, However, Heineman accepted because she was told that the work was almost finished, and it only needed some simple tuning, that would give them a 10-week window to finish the game.
As soon as development stated there were massive problems when Heinemann contacted Randy Scott and asked about the source code, Randy only said; just get started, and when Heineman said again that she needed the source code, she was instead sent a shareware floppy disk of the PC version.
Randy Scott Continuously dodged given them the source code, so Miss Heineman had to get in touch with the 3DO company, who told her to get in touch with ID Software, which she did, and contacted none other than John Carmack, trying to find something she could work with, fortunately, he sent her a copy of the source code for the Jaguar version and the PC version.
Desiring to find the assets that supposedly, Art Data Interactive made, Heineman went to their offices, only to find that everything that was done, was just some screenshots, there was nothing done, all because Randy believed that developing features, levels and weapons, was as easy as just painting them and copying them.
After that horrid finding, Heinemann obviously said the project was impossible, but the 3DO company begged her to do what she could, as Art Data already pre-sold copies to major retailers, meaning they were obligated by contract to have the game ready on Christmas of that same year, Rebecca accepted, this lead to the massive update to DOOM promised becoming just another port based on the Jaguar version.
It took Heinemann 5 weeks to get the Source code she got from ID software to compile and run on the 3DO, basically, the project she was originally asked to work on after half of the development time, and she had to apply every trick she could to have the game at a playable speed since the 3DO was underpowered compare to the PC's and even the Jaguar itself, she had no time to make the soundtrack work on the 3DO, so she had to ask Art Data to remake the soundtrack for the game, as since the 3DO was a disc-based system that would get rid of that problem, Randy Scott himself was a guitarist and with his garage band, he was able to remake DOOM's soundtrack in a heavy metal style.
Shortly before the deadline, she sent a beta to ID Software who's main critique was obviously, the framerate sucking, so ID suggested the ability to reduce the screen size so it would improve performance, which Rebecca added to the game as a desperate measure, she was also asked by the 3DO company to hide the full resolution behind a cheat code, so it would be used in their future console called M2 (which never happened) that could run the 3DO game better.
When Randy Scott saw that none of his ideas were applied into the game he demanded answers, stupidly believing that the assets he had given Heineman, could be added quickly to the game, and when he was told what he wanted was impossible, he grew desperate, so he offered another 40000 dollars on top of the 40000 he already promised to Heineman and logic ware for porting the game, just to add one more level into the game, again he was told this was impossible to do in just 7 days, his answer was asking Rebecca if she couldn't just download one from the internet.
Heineman ignored the requests of Scott and sent the game for quality assurance to the 3DO, who were nervous due to how close they were on time, especially since all the games needed at least 5 to 6 revisions to pass Q.A. testing, DOOM had no choice but to pass on its very first attempt, managing to be in stores just in time for Christmas 1996.
And as his last move out of desperation, Randy Scott and Art Data, press 50000 copies for the port's first and only run, which would come and bite him in the ass later.
Why It Sucks
- The most infamous part of this port is that you play it in a really small screen, at a smaller resolution than any other port of DOOM. Even the SNES port allowed you to play in fullscreen.
- The game has 6 screen sizes but none of them come close to the other ports of the game.
- There are extra 2 larger resolutions that are hidden behind a cheat code, this is because originally the 3DO company wanted to make an updated system called M2, which had the ability to play 3DO games at better resolutions and framerates, but the project was cancelled and the M2 never happened.
- The second most infamous part is definitely the absolutely atrocious framerate. Most of the time the game barely reaches 20 FPS, and is sometimes reduced to single digits.
- While lowering the screen size improves the framerate, it never reaches a decent number, no matter the size.
- Of course since the higher difficulty levels increase the number of enemies, the already bad framerate becomes worse, making the game almost unplayable at times.
- Since this is a port of the Atari Jaguar, there is neither Spider Mastermind nor Cyberdemon.
- While the sound, for most of the time, is decent, there are times when louder sound will silence others completely or at least partially.
- False Advertising: the back of the box still lists the supposed features that this port originally was going to have, including the FMV cutscenes, and new levels, which of course don't exist in the finished game.
- The controls are awful:
- To switch weapons you must press the Select button and C, which is an awkward combination and not very precise.
- Toggling automap requires an even less precise combination, in this case, C+Start.
- Turning is way too slow, it is really hard to go in the direction you want, and worse, it makes it hard to aim correctly.
- It doesn't help that going backwards and forwards feels really slippery, which makes moving around the map a massive chore.
- The shooting has a delay, and it varies from weapon to weapon, the worst being the pistol and the rocket launcher, which have a half-second of a delay from pressing the button to the character actually shooting.
- Speaking of the resolution, the game looks as bad, if not worst than the SNES port, the enemies some of the time are barely visible, and the entire game looks like a blurry mess of pixels.
- The chainsaw is absent from the game.
- The A.I. of the enemies were completely butchered, many times they don't attack at all, or take years to attack, this makes hard enemies like Cacodemons, killable with punches.
- The auto-aim is much less precise than in the original game, many times it misses things it could have hit.
- The cheat codes are ridiculously hard to pull, as you must enter a really long sequence of button presses on the navigation map.
- When referring to the small screen size, Randy Scott said that the 6 screen sizes were a feature rather than a drawback, and in the interview, said that the game had 6 levels of speed.
- The game has a fantastic soundtrack.
- It has all the levels just like the Atari Jaguar port, unlike the 32X version.
Needless to say, DOOM on 3DO was panned by critics and gamers and was a massive commercial failure, both thanks to the small 3DO user base and the absolutely abysmal quality of the port. Worse, for Art Data Interactive is that they owed the 3DO company 3 dollars per copy shipped, and since they produced 50000 copies, that meant they owed a total of $150000 to 3DO, even worst is the licence fee they owed which Heineman believes it was around $250000 to $500000, and that's before considering the manufacturing and development costs, and Rebecca herself hold the final disc of the game until she and Logicware were given their money, which they got.
Randy Scott blamed the disastrous game on Logicware, however, ID Software themselves backed Logicware. Art Data when out of business shortly after this release, making DOOM on 3DO only game they ever produced.
Rebecca Heineman stated that Randy Scott borrowed money from none other place than his church to fund the game. She believed that if they had been given 10 more weeks of time, the game could have been a massive improvement. In 2015, Heineman uploaded the source code for the 3DO version on GitHub. To this day, Rebecca Heineman still works in the industry as the CEO of her own company Olde Sküül.