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Doom went golfing and exploring Roomba brains over the holidays

Doom turned 25 last month, so it can do whatever it wants over the holidays – that includes turning into a golf game or converting the hazy memories of robot vacuum cleaners into hellish arenas. While I was away from my news-desk, programmer Rich Whitehouse cobbled together DOOMBA, a system for exporting the memories of your house’s layout from a Roomba and filling it with demons. An impressive bit of weird Doom one-upmanship over modder TerminusEst13, who just one day prior released Hellshots Golf – a multiplayer golf conversion set across eighteen holes of hellish relaxation. Give both a look below.

You know Hellshots Golf has to be good because it beat me to the ‘Doom Fore’ pun. It’s an ambitious but deeply silly mod for single or multiplayer – armed with nothing but a handful of golf clubs, a trio of shot angles and a handy free-floating camera, your goal is to put Ball A in Hole B. In most maps it’s a relatively chill experience, but some of the later holes include roaming demons (best battered with the ball) and moving obstacles. Just getting under the par score is a challenge, and the maps are fun and imaginative. Avid Doomheads may recognise the modder as the brain behind the Weird Western High Noon Drifter.

The other bit of Doom-based weirdness released over the holidays was DOOMBA. It’s an extension of Rich Whitehouse’s earlier project – Noesis – a tool to convert images and models across a variety of file formats. In this case, Roomba memory to a simple line image. Noesis can then convert these images once more into semi-random doom maps using the image’s geometry as a template, although the density of enemy and ammo placements is determined by the user. As a bonus feature, Noesis can convert other images into Roomba maps, which can in turn be converted into playable levels. Of course, this power can be used for good (see the Mortal Kombat logo above), or for evil, as illustrated in the video below.

I’m never going to give you up, Doom. Of course, this isn’t the only (or even best) way to generate Doom levels from scratch. Andrew Apted’s Oblige is an excellent level generator, able to create some impressively detailed battlefields from scratch, and even arrange them into steadily escalating campaigns. Not that you’d ever need to generate levels – there’s more hand-made ones worth playing than anyone could find the time for. See my Best Doom Of 2018 roundup here.

You can snag Hellshots Golf here on Itch, and DOOMBA over on Rich Whitehouse’s page here. The former requires a copy of Doom 2 (one quid on Steam still), plus either GZDoom (for solo play) or Zandronum (if you want to play online). The latter requires either a recent Roomba model to poke around at the brains of, or just some images to pass back through Noesis. Both require you to be weird Doom dorks.

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Dominic Tarason

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