Top 5 Innovations of DOOM (1993) - #5: Texture Mapping

  • June 17, 2019
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  • By: Joe Rybicki

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.

5. Texture Mapping

Before DOOM (1993) came into the world, there were but a small handful of first-person games bearing similarities to how DOOM looked and operated – to include id’s own Wolfenstein 3D. However, none of them boasted the same sense of realism (at the time, of course) as DOOM – and perhaps more importantly, none of them could run at DOOM’s incredible speed. So, what did DOOM do differently?

In brief, a lot of technical stuff. But it mainly comes down to how DOOM handled texture mapping – that is, applying images and details to surfaces in the game. You could say that DOOM’s texture mapping used every trick in the book, except there really was no book at the time; DOOM had to write it.

Among the methods used were invisible textures (to simulate windows), rendering only the textures within the player’s field of view, and storing textures horizontally but displaying them vertically to trick the computer into loading multiple textures at once.

Like we said: a lot of technical stuff. But the results allowed the game to run at unheard-of speeds on computers that were close to 100,000 times less powerful than the top-shelf processors of today. That speed and that detail were simply shocking for the time – a fact that helped put DOOM on the map.