This custom chip plays ‘Doom’ and nothing else
In context: Doom launched on December 10, 1993, and while the team at id Software knew they had something special on their hands, they had no way of knowing just how important the seminal first-person shooter would prove over the coming weeks, months, years and even decades.
The DooM-chip! It will run E1M1 till the end of times (or till power runs out, whichever comes first).
Algorithm is burned into wires, LUTs and flip-flops on an #FPGA: no CPU, no opcodes, no instruction counter.
Running on Altera CycloneV + SDRAM. (1/n) pic.twitter.com/wd7j4JnfWn
— Sylvain Lefebvre (@sylefeb) May 8, 2020
Over the years, programmers developed a knack for attempting to get Doom to run on any and all sorts of hardware, often to great success. Doom on mobile was a no-brainer; getting it to run on a McDonald’s cash register took a bit more work and being able to play Doom on a single keyboard key was just mind-blowing. Others, meanwhile, have loaded the game onto Canon printers and have ported it to the web.
Heck, one person even created a mod so you can play Doom inside Doom and even walk up on yourself playing Doom. Wild, no?
For graphics and development enthusiast Sylvain Lefebvre, the goal was simple – to create a machine that only plays his custom port of Doom.
According to Lefebvre, the DooM-chip! Will run E1M1 until the end of time (or power runs out, whichever comes first). “Algorithm is burned into wires, LUTs and flip-flops on an #FPGA: no CPU, no opcodes, no instruction counter.” It also runs on Altera CycloneV + SDRAM. (1/n) (if that means anything to you).
More from Endgaget:
“Lefebvre created a mini computer using a Cyclone V FPGA circuit board. These were originally meant to serve as the brains behind simpler electronics, but have also found a place in homebrew gaming, including the development of hardware-based emulation — companies like Analogue Interactive use FPGA chips to create products such as the Mega SG. Excluding the game itself, Lefebvre says it took 666 lines of code to get the “DooM-Chip” up and running, which is fitting enough for a game filled with demons and hellspawn.”