Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dreams: Doom on the ZX Spectrum and Gameboy

I had a dream, well, not so much a dream, just this idea about computers and software and hardware, and how folk of my generation have seen home computer processing power improve and graphics improve, and maybe have a tiny inkling that back in the day, one guy in his bedroom could write the bestest computer game in the world, like Elite, but these days, it take a team of dozens of people.

Code used to be written really tightly to fit into a Vic 20's 20 kilobytes, or an Amstrad CPC's 64k or a Spectrum's 48K. Code had to be tight to fit, these days code sprawls and sprawls, and processing power always increases faster than the need to write tight code.

The limitations used to be things like how many colours you could have on screen at once, a pallet of 15 or 32 colours, resolutions less than 300 by 200. It seems so long ago. Now, the only colour limit it the human eye, and with screen resolutions, even the iPhone has the human eye resolution beaten. The limits for graphics are in terms of polygon count, 10,000 or 100,000 ain't much of a difference.

Anyhoo, what I'm imagining is if somehow could could get twenty-first century games on old 8-bit machines, with the graphical limitations inherent to them.


I remember when I first saw Doom, the graphics blew my mind, on my dad's 486 DX2 PC. But compared to state of the art games graphics now, it was a bit pants.
What I wonder is, What would Doom look like on 8-bit machines?

Well, on the ZX Spectrum, 15 colours in two colour 8x8 blocks for a screen resolution of 256x192, it would look like this:-
And on the Nintendo Gameboy, four shades of green/gray at 160x144, it would look like this:-
I reckon the Game Boy version would be bestest.

It would be neat if I could be bothered to do some kind of gif animation of the action, but that's a little too much hassle. For the ZX Spectrum screen shot I used a utility called zxspectrumizer, from this chap and for the Gameboy screenshot I just used good old Photoshop.

Looks like some Hungarian mob put together an Spectrum version after all

Its a bit crap

This version of Wolfenstein 3D looks a bit better

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