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fraggle

Debunking the Myth that Doom is meant to be played keyboard-only

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Posted (edited)

The MS-DOS startup menu was introduced in DOS 5.0, and I jumped straight into it -never went the way of making custom boot floppies or painstakingly F5/F8-ing all startup items each time I boot.

 

FWIW, Doom was pretty "spartan" in terms of the software environment -it would run even with a straight F5 (no autoexec.bat/config.sys loaded) boot. With a genuine Sound Blaster card, no mouse and no need to use the CD-ROM, no playing around with DMXOPTIONS etc.  you really didn't need anything. In fact, it was better that way: SMARTDRV.EXE, HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE were not needed for Doom. In fact, they could do more harm than good, especially with just 4 MB of RAM.

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On 6/20/2019 at 3:31 PM, Nymbus_Hustle said:

When I worked as a computer tech and took calls, I had to be really focused because I was multitasking. Also, my boss would have gotten cranky if I started playing DOOM in the office hahaha.

 

From people I've known who've worked in them, call centers seem to range from "chill and laid back" to "Maximizing Pain For Our Employees".

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17 hours ago, Maes said:

The MS-DOS startup menu was introduced in DOS 5.0, and I jumped straight into it -never went the way of making custom boot floppies or painstakingly F5/F8-ing all startup items each time I boot.

Ah, cool - didn't know about that! Do you remember the command that started the menu? I'd like to check it out.

 

17 hours ago, Maes said:

FWIW, Doom was pretty "spartan" in terms of the software environment -it would run even with a straight F5 (no autoexec.bat/config.sys loaded) boot. With a genuine Sound Blaster card, no mouse and no need to use the CD-ROM, no playing around with DMXOPTIONS etc.  you really didn't need anything. In fact, it was better that way: SMARTDRV.EXE, HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE were not needed for Doom. In fact, they could do more harm than good, especially with just 4 MB of RAM.

For a 4 Mb machine, I agree, but my Doom box had 8 Mb, and I got some real benefit out of carefully tweaking the startup environment. In particular, SMARTDRV seemed to make a big difference, which is strange considering Doom's zone memory allocator. Had it been built a bit more carefully, that SMARTDRV memory could have been better utilized by the in-game allocator.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/20/2019 at 7:12 PM, fraggle said:

Curious to see a pic of your Model M variant with the mechanical caps lock if you'd be willing to share.

Sorry, my memory played bad tricks on me. The ancient Keyboard I still have is a commodore (with DIN 5-Pin, but  NO mechanical Caps-Lock),
similar to the one on the attached pic, but back in those days it was something else. Might have been a PC122-clone from our AS400 5250 terminals,
but I can't swear. Sorry for causing confusion, but I'm just an old fart who swallowed too many rockets...

 

 

commodore_pc.jpg

Edited by DoomGater : (addad pic)

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Oh yeah, I remember the MS DOS boot menu. Making separate configs for max mem (no driver), just audio, audio+mouse, audio+CD, audio+mouse+CD, and Windows. Good times.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Gez said:

Oh yeah, I remember the MS DOS boot menu. Making separate configs for max mem (no driver), just audio, audio+mouse, audio+CD, audio+mouse+CD, and Windows. Good times.

The better times were when I discovered that there is a single good configuration that works for 99% of the games, gives you maximum memory with audio, mouse, CD, Smartdrive and Doskey, and doesn't conflict with Windows in any way. Haven't had a boot menu since. :D

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On 6/21/2019 at 11:21 AM, Maes said:

The MS-DOS startup menu was introduced in DOS 5.0, and I jumped straight into it -never went the way of making custom boot floppies or painstakingly F5/F8-ing all startup items each time I boot.

 

Wrong. Startup menus were introduced beginning with MS-DOS 6.0. I think the F5 and F8 key functionality was also introduced at the same time, it definitely did not exist in DOS 5.

 

(perhaps some other DOS than MS-DOS did these at a smaller major version number? I am not familiar at all with those...)

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Posted (edited)

6.0 it was, indeed. Not that it mattered much to me since I started with 6.2 anyway. FWIW I picked up the trick from a PC magazine of the time, which actually had it in its "hints and tricks" sections. However, the existence of this feature seems to be unknown to the many (and even to the Internet), and appears vastly underutilized. It would have sucked not to even have had F5/F8 though....I guess then it was really only floppies or maybe some third-party program.

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On 6/4/2019 at 12:43 PM, Doomkid said:

The best DM players of 1994 and 1995 were already using “proto WSDA” controls that allowed easy strafe running and generally versatile control. For some people it was ESDF, or other variations, but the idea was already there. I don’t think WSDA was the norm until Quake, but it was invented for Doom DM initially.

 

I’m not sure if it was novert or not, but there existed several tutorials on various old geocities sites and such on how to reduce/turn off vertical mouse movement, so it was at least somewhat common practice in the mid 90s.

 

Maybe this was the common way back then. When I was looking through a bunch of old Doom sites some years ago I remember people describing how to do it in Win95 and Win98 as well. I’m sure it was only deathmatchers or super hardcore players bothering with it in the olden days but it was definitely a thing.

 

 

 

Duh, haven't been here for 2 months or so, too busy, so excuse me for bumping this thread, sitting with my phone here at the airport:

 

I've used such a mouse driver mod too, Google a little program called cpanel  (if it runs on win 10 today...) , it simply gives you 2 axes to set your mouse sens, and we disabled vertical sens completely for our death matches,  since it made it possible to turn without moving, for example falling off the ledge in entryway. Iirc novert.exe was older, but I preferred cpanel for its graphical interface.

 

That was in the days of vanilla doom of course, as later doom's source ports and quake accustomed me to mouselook, and tbh I find playing without it weird today.

 

But whatever, I remember I downloaded the first dm demos recorded by mouse players in 1995 or even late 1994, notable some by noskill who used a very high sens, which is obvious from his flash turns, and these demos made me wonder how I could move like this. So I found cpanel, and it was really useful (I still preferred doom dm over quake's )

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On 6/21/2019 at 10:21 AM, Maes said:

HIMEM.SYS

 

Wasn't neccessary at all, because Doom used DOS4GW. HIMEM.SYS was used to free as much as possible conventional memory by load mouse drivers and such into upper memory for real mode DOS stuff like Wolfenstein 3D.

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I can still remember the first time I played Doom, back in 1994 - shareware episode one, on computers at college, with no sound. As pointed out extensively the fact that the mouse made you go forwards and backwards was offputting. WASD + mouse seems obvious now but it was a mental leap at the time and sadly my mind wasn't flexible enough.

 

I became fixated on the idea that you were supposed to use the mouse by itself, and that the "keyboard + mouse" option in the setup screen meant that you had a choice between either of the two input methods, but you weren't supposed to mix them. I remember assuming that the chaps at iD had special virtual reality mice with masses of buttons.

 

Also, at the time 3D games tended to be incredibly fiddly. Stuff like Cybercon IIIInfestation, and the Freescape games that no-one remembers nowadays. Before playing Doom I assumed that every level was going to be like "The Chasm" - narrow catwalks with precise platform navigation, in which case having the mouse nudge me forwards all the time was going to be impossible.

 

System Shock was basically keyboard-movement, mouse-interacting, wasn't it? And it was incredibly aggravating. You have to remember that a lot of PC games in the 1980s and 1990s generated their "gameplay" not from being entertaining, but by being aggravating and irritating - escort missions in X-Wing and those horrible Sierra point-and-click adventures where you died if you clicked the wrong thing. I think back in 1994 I assumed that Doom was going to be like that.

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