Around 2012, I decided to leave the Doom community behind, but I became saddened by the prospect that (G)ZDoom and Zandronum are becoming the de facto Doom experience and instead of whining about it, decided to step up and build a Doom source port I think is worthy of being the standard. What does this mean?
State Of The Art Netcode
The netcode model used by the major client/server ports (Odamex, Zandronum and ZDaemon) is fundamentally flawed. D2K will implement netcode based on delta compression, very similar to the system used by Quake 3.
In addition, D2K will also employ techniques to improve the experience for players on lossy or lagged connections. This includes smoothing opponent positions, adding backwards reconciliation (unlagged), and projectile lerping, among other things.
Faithful, Modern OpenGL Renderer
PrBoom+’s OpenGL renderer is outdated, using deprecated APIs and the fixed-function pipeline. I will upgrade it to use the programmable pipeline, and restore functionality lost to deprecation (paletted textures, for example). I will also endeavour to ensure that anything possible with the original software renderer will be possible with the new OpenGL renderer as well.
Employ a Modern Scripting Language
Doom’s extensive modifiability created an entire generation of game designers, but it has failed to keep up. ACS, DECORATE, EDF and ExtraData all attempt to improve Doom’s extensibility, but all leave much to be desired. ACS is particularly horrible.
Add Existing Features
Doom source ports have advanced tremendously over the years, but PrBoom+ has remained relatively conservative. D2K will add many advanced features, from those ports, including:
- ACS scripting
- 3D floors
- 3D MidTex
- 3D physics
- Ambient sounds
- Support for other ID Tech 1 engines (Heretic, Hexen, etc.)
- ZIP/PK3 resource files
…and much more. The goal, ultimately, is to be mod-compatible with even highly advanced engines like the Eternity Engine, GZDoom, and Zandronum.
Doom has a rich demo history, and it is important to preserve it. D2K will continue PrBoom+’s commitment to demo compatibility by following Odamex’ lead and building a demo testing framework.
The days of ASCII dominance are over. D2K will use UTF-8 internally and support environments using non-ASCII encodings.
Use Modern Technology
D2K will use C99, and will be progressively reformatted to use C99 features. Compilers and IDEs with inadequate C99 support (such as MSVC++ before 2015) are unsupported.
John Carmack released the Doom source code for Christmas in ‘97, and the Doom, gaming, and developer communities owe him a huge debt of gratitude. None of these modifications or advances would be possible without this initial gesture of openness.
Unfortunately, it is much harder to work with PrBoom+’s source code than it is to work with the original Doom source release. PrBoom+’s source is notoriously impenetrable, full of hacks, and largely written in an unreadable style. This has dramatically slowed the pace of contributions, and discourages would-be developers from working on PrBoom+.
Other ports have ported their code to C++, and while some of these efforts are examples of how C++ doesn’t have to be disgusting and confusing, others prove that it is far too easy to create impossibly complex code with the language.
Competitive Doom players are all too familiar with conservative developers refusing to add features they or others personally disagree with. Such recalcitrance has had a hugely negative impact on the entire Doom community.
D2K will continue in this spirit of openness.
I will always honor my obligations under the GPL and D2K and derivative works will always (and must always) remain open source.
I will diligently reformat code in a consistent, readable style, and I will attempt to redesign hacked features in a more robust and clear manner.
D2K will remain in C in an effort to maintain the highest level of potential interoperability with other technologies.
I will always evaluate existing technologies before implementing bespoke solutions for D2K, ex: JSON for server configuration payloads.
I will always weigh new features on the merits, not on politics nor on personal preference. A vanilla game will always be possible, and advanced features will always be optional.