Top 5 Innovations of DOOM (1993) - #2: Modding

  • June 20, 2019
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  • By: Joe Rybicki
Top 5 Innovations of DOOM (1993) - #2: Modding

When DOOM first arrived in 1993, it was unlike anything gamers had played before – so much so that for a considerable period after its release, first-person shooters were simply known as “DOOM clones.”

Picking just five of its most significant contributions to gaming is tough, but we’re going to do our best.

2. Modding

After the success of Wolfenstein 3D, the team at id Software noticed players were putting a lot of effort into figuring out how to make their own levels. When it came time to make DOOM, they did all they could to make sure that players couldn’t get their filthy hands on its code.

Just kidding - they built DOOM from the ground up with the intention of allowing players to create their own maps, enemies and even stories. This was done by storing level data separately from the actual game engine, in what were called WAD files (short for “Where’s All the Data?”). This made it almost trivially easy for players to develop their own WAD files, from simply designing new maps for DOOM itself to creating what were essentially entirely new games running on DOOM’s engine.

This kind of customizability was virtually unheard of at the time, and a game company actually supporting those efforts was shockingly new.

Unsurprisingly, the practice of modding and expanding games became a huge phenomenon in the PC world and is practically ubiquitous today. So the next time you meet a mudcrab wearing a tophat in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can tip your own hat to DOOM.