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Der Gillster

Source Port Advantages/Disadvantages

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I use only one source port, Zandronum. I have heard of GZDoom, Odamex, Eternity, Chocolate Doom, Zdaemon and other various ZDoom projects. Is there an "ultimate" port to use, or are all of them distinctly the same with some minor differences, other than just using different ports to play multiplayer once in a while?

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Der Gillster said:

Is there an "ultimate" port to use?

No.

or are all of them distinctly the same with some minor differences?

No.


Odamex, ZDaemon and Zandronum are multiplayer-oriented. Each of them has its own servers (and communities). Odamex and ZDaemon are both based on old versions of ZDoom. Zandronum supports more advanced features than the other two, comparable with today's ZDoom itself, but still less.

Other ports are singleplayer-oriented and not very suitable for online multiplayer. Chocolate Doom is faithful to the vanilla game with all its limitations. Boom-compatible ports add features and remove limits. PrBoom-plus is a popular port for recording .lmp demos / speedrunning, offering a variety of easily-selectable compatibility levels. ZDoom and GZDoom allow the most advanced features, ZDoom has only software rendering, GZDoom supports OpenGL rendering, their disadvantage is .lmp demo incompatibility with lesser ports.

I think these abovementioned ports are the most popular ones, but there are many other source ports with their own specifics and used by many people: Doomsday, Doom Retro, Eternity, EDGE / 3DGE, Risen3D...

You can find a list of source port and their comparison here:

http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Source_port#List_of_source_ports

http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Doom_source_ports

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The way I see things there are:

ZDoom: The most advanced software renderer with voxel support, slopes 3d floors and all kinds of stuff. Also best for modding because of DECORATE, MAPINFO and ACS. Tons of options, fucking awesome.

GZDoom: Fork of ZDoom with OpenGL renderer which means you can do even more stuff like reflections, fog etc. Fucking awesome.

(gl)prboom-plus+: Best demo functionality, you can also convert demos to video easily. Excellent vanilla+boom support, runs super fast, I don't like the way the renderers look, the options are a clusterfuck and I hate playing with infinitely tall actors.

Eternity: Excellent vanilla+boom support, has modding features, a console, a better software renderer than prboom+.

Chocolate Doom: Emulates the original game 100%, but with the original resolution it's hard to see wtf is happening a few meters away. Bugs and glitches galore, only good for testing stuff.

Doom Retro and Crispy Doom: Double the original's resolution, bugs fixed, limits removed, excellent vanilla compatibility because they are forks of Chocolate Doom. Gritty visuals.

3DGE: Good-looking OpenGL renderer but no uncapped framerate, vanilla/boom compatibility is very bad, you can easily get stuck in maps. Great modding features though.

Doomsday: Never survives more than 20 minutes after installation. I will check this out in a year or so. John Romero uses this, seems he enjoys the superfiltered vaseline look. To me it makes Doom look like some game with shit graphics from 2000, only the lighting looks kinda good. Clusterfuck of options, I think it lacks Boom support, too.

Risen3D: Seems to me it's for people that like 3d model monsters.

Doom Legacy: Crappy renderer, bad vanilla support, bad windows support, buggy as a spider's nest.

I play single-player mostly, for multiplayer there's Zandronum that is a fork of GZDoom with extra functions for multiplayer and a great community. Then there's Odamex that has a truecolor software renderer but no community. And ZDaemon, which is managed by immature drama queens it seems.

(You can use Zandronum for single-player, but it's like using a 1-2 years old version of GZDoom basically.)

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I personally use Zandronum as my default port, because it's relatively universal in feature-support, handles both software and OpenGL rendering, and both singleplayer and multiplayer well enough. Plus, I've gotten used to its very specific behaviour (better air control, non-pulling chainsaw) compared to other ports, so that I don't want to change it. But whenever I have to (due to compatibility or other issues with the wad I want to play), I play in other sourceports depending on the situation. PrBoom-plus for recording demos and playtesting Boom maps, Chocolate Doom / Choco-Render-Limits for playtesting vanilla maps, G/ZDoom/other ports for playing wads with the latest advanced features.

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@VGA: How do you use PrBoom+ to record demos and then convert them to video easily? Would you mind giving a step by step on that? I'd really like to get into recording demos and making reviews of maps...

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What scifista said (first reply). There might be an "ultimate" source port for you specifically, if what's important for you is what this port brings, while you do not care about what it misses.

Basically, ports go along these three axes, for three different types of players:

  • Purism/accuracy. Most practical for recording and playing back demos. Biggest appeal to speedrunners (offline competition).
  • Multiplayer focus. Biggest appeal for online gamers, obviously.
  • Fancy new features. Advanced editing features, extra eye candy, etc. Biggest appeal to modders who want to go beyond what vanilla offers, and to casual doomers who just want a prettier Doom that works without bugs.
Then you have mixes: Zandronum's appeal is that it offers fancy new features for multiplayer; Eternity tries to strike a balance between fancy new features and purism/accuracy; etc.

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VGA said:

Doomsday: ...John Romero uses this, seems he enjoys the superfiltered vaseline look

Please, stop perpetuating that idiotic assumption. Near all GL-rendering ports provide options that control whether filtering is used. If JR doesn't like the filtered look then chances are its not enabled :P (changing such things via the UI couldn't be easier and is only a couple of mouse clicks away)

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Average said:

@VGA: How do you use PrBoom+ to record demos and then convert them to video easily? Would you mind giving a step by step on that? I'd really like to get into recording demos and making reviews of maps...

Something like:
prboom-plus -timedemo anydemo.lmp -viddump filename.mkv

Get the files I successfully used from here:
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/post/1318745

@DaniJ
It's not an idiotic assumption that JR likes that look. Anyway without that look there is no reason to use Doomsday.

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@VGA In my book it is idiotic to assume that one of the original game authors prefers their game to look very different for the simple reason they can't find the option to change it. Your comments lead that assumption when in reality there is no reason to think so.

Clearly you don't care for Doomsday and I'm perfectly fine with that. However, the use of filtering when its entirely optional is not a valid reason to not use a GL-rendering port.

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Of course he could find the option, he just likes it that way and that's the default look of Doomsday.

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How can you possibly make that assumption? Maybe he does. But the truth is we don't know.

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Obviously, if there is proof of John Romero's preference then that overrides everything I said. However, the only comments I've read from him personally concerning why he uses Doomsday regards multiplayer and the ease of configuring and managing a networked game.

Personally I draw no conclusions about JR's preferences from his playthrough videos concerning how DOOM looks in Doomsday.

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VGA said:

Doom Legacy: Crappy renderer, bad vanilla support, bad windows support, buggy as a spider's nest.

One strong thing Legacy has going for it is splitscreen multiplayer. I've seen other ports boast splitscreen, but Legacy is the only one I've seen that does it well.

The only major bug that comes to mind is the lack of MIDI support, the files have to be MUS format, pretty much restricing you to vanilla wads only. Still, if you have friends that enjoy playing Doom, it's an easy way to do some 2 player with your buddies (or 4 player across LAN)

Aside from that, I've never actually noticed any other bugs. If you play in software mode, it runs really smooth.

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VGA said:

The way I see things there are:

3DGE: Good-looking OpenGL renderer but no uncapped framerate, vanilla/boom compatibility is very bad, you can easily get stuck in maps. Great modding features though.

Uncapped framerate is available as intended with 3DGE v2.0.0. It also has been available since v1.4a. ;)

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Doomkid said:

Aside from that, I've never actually noticed any other bugs.



That doesn't mean much. Most of Legacy's bugs are self-inflicted changes to game physics, often done to 'improve' multiplayer. The most egregious one I remember is how damaging floors are handled (inflicting damage right on first touch instead of using a fixed timer), which can render some maps uncompletable. The half-assed implementation of many Boom features also didn't work out that well.

And the way 3D floors are handled is very much broken in the playsim.

I have to admit that I haven't followed wesleyjohnson's work so my impressions are still based on that ancient 1.42 release which was pretty much unusable, even if you got it to run. I'm fairly certain that the big technical issues have been weeded out, but I'm not so sure about the gameplay side as this is mostly very subtle changes that often were made intentionally.

But even as it stands, Legacy has a legacy (heh!) of too many borderline incompetent devs having worked on it, and the only way to undo that is to undo Legacy. I think there's a reason why splitscreeen multiplayer is basically the only thing left for what it's being used these days.

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Chu said:

Uncapped framerate is available as intended with 3DGE v2.0.0. It also has been available since v1.4a. ;)


When I try to start a new game 3DGE 2.0.0 crashes with this error message

W_GetNumForName: 'TESTMD5' not found!

When I try to exit from the menu 3DGE 2.0.0 crashes with this error message

Unexpected internal failure occured!

I don't experience either of these things with 1.36 Final or 1.4A Test 1

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Shite, well, it's an easy fix but I swear I uploaded a clean copy of this file...no matter. Open up Things.DDF, find the first entry (HEALTH_POTION:2014] and replaces the STATES with the following:

STATES(IDLE)=BON1:A:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:B:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:C:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:D:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:C:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:B:6:NORMAL:NOTHING;

Should be fixed. I was testing MD5 in a demo wad that I got mixed up with the release copy. I have re-uploaded the 7Z with the proper fix on SF.

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Chu said:

Shite, well, it's an easy fix but I swear I uploaded a clean copy of this file...no matter. Open up Things.DDF, find the first entry (HEALTH_POTION:2014] and replaces the STATES with the following:

STATES(IDLE)=BON1:A:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:B:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:C:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:D:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:C:6:NORMAL:NOTHING,
BON1:B:6:NORMAL:NOTHING;

Should be fixed. I was testing MD5 in a demo wad that I got mixed up with the release copy. I have re-uploaded the 7Z with the proper fix on SF.


Thanks, it works now.

That being said, there's something wrong with the player's view height. It's mugh higher than it should be.

1.36F
2.0.0

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Doom_user said:

Thanks, it works now.

That being said, there's something wrong with the player's view height. It's mugh higher than it should be.

Just looks like your FOV is different, to me.

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Using a dark line in the STARG1 as a point of reference, the player's POV appears to have shifted from several point below to a few points above.


(1920x1080 - 198k)

EDIT - The difference is easier to spot when I flip the 1.36F wall and place it beside the 2.0.0 wall.

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DaniJ said:

However, the use of filtering when its entirely optional is not a valid reason to not use a GL-rendering port.


Disabling the filter is the first thing I do. Then I crank the sexy particles and start the party.

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I use Doom Legacy all the time, almost exclusively, and I don't even recognize the problems they stated. Please note that those are not accurate descriptions of Doom Legacy. They could not even list the most major features of Doom Legacy accurately. I am not very interested in old axes to grind over old implementation detail arguments, or old grudges from arguments with the previous developers.

Doom Legacy feature list: Developed on Linux, with SDL, but also is ported to Windows (older is better), and Linux X11.
Has Software palette rendering, RGB rendering (15bit, 16bit, 24bit and 32bit), and Hardware GL rendering options.
GL rendering has GL lighting enhancements.
Implements Boom (see 1.45 version of Doom Legacy, not descriptions of the incomplete 1.40 version).
Has extensions for 3d Floors, swimmable water, fog.
Playing options: freelook, jumping, gravity, about 6 menus of options.
Deathmatch and coop: internet network play with up to 32 players, including team play with customizable team sprites.
Multiplayer enhancements.
Splitscreen, so two players can use one computer.
Multi-screen, so one player can have multiple monitors.
Launcher, so command line features are available to command-line crippled OS like the newer Windows.
Plays Doom, UltDoom, DoomII, TNT, Plutonia, Heretic, ChexQuest.
Savegame directories, with 99 savegames per directory.

The first consideration is what OS you are using, and what ports cater best to that OS.
I develop Doom Legacy on Linux.
I still cannot compile ZDoom because of its sound lib requirements.
For example, Doom Legacy with SDL requires that you have SDL installed, it does not supply SDL libraries like some other ports.

Doom Legacy has its own unique features, and some wads that other ports will not run. See if you are interested in phobia, hth2, chexquest-newlevels, or any other Doom Legacy specific wads.

Currently under development. Current work is upgrading network code options to not be command line switch oriented, and enhancing network server controls.

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Must say, I'm not comfortable with the 'port dissing' I see from time to time.

Source Ports are personal projects that are given free to the community, in the hopes that they bring enjoyment to others. Sometimes, there is community collaboration, and even code submissions from the public, but, essentially, they are pet projects of the developers, and, therefore, have features that the developer finds interesting, and in sync with the port's and the developer's philosophy.

There's nothing wrong with bug reports, but comments containing phrases like "this port sucks", "all ports should (insert favorite feature)", and "...buggy as all hell" are just inappropriate, distasteful, disrespectful, and just plain common. It's a form of bullying, actually.

If you look closely at any modern port, it can be seen that inspiration (and usually, code and data) has been derived from all ports proceeding it.

Don't beat these guys up - it's discouraging, and unnecessary. They work many, many hours... for free, and provide us with the fruits of their labor.

@developers, map and resource authors: I, for one, do appreciate your efforts. Everything has some disadvantages, but also advantages.

Back on topic: Usually a port's biggest advantage is when a map requires its features. Other than that, there's no specific answer, because many features are supported by multiple ports. An interesting aspect about the variety of ports is in the array of unique features supported, and the different ways that those features can be configured.

Stated differently, you almost need to become familiar with these port differences, before you can label them an advantage, or a disadvantage.

For example, Chocolate Doom does not draw fireballs translucency. Some think that's a disadvantage, but others think that 8-bit palette-based translucency is ugly looking.

The best answer I can provide is that I see it to be advantageous (and a joy) to spend the time to initially try out each port, and then, over time, become familiar with the capabilities each one provides. Maybe, spend more time in the recently updated ports, because they are in active development, but that's just a suggestion.

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Over all, I'd consider GZDoom to be the best balanced. It's certainly not the prettiest GL source port you can use, models reacting to dynamic lights would be helpful, but it does benefit from Decorate and ACS carried over from ZDoom so it has complexity of scripting events going for it that many other source ports lack.

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MetroidJunkie said:

...., models reacting to dynamic lights would be helpful,....


Actually models are affected by dynamic lights,



or else, for example, the labcoats would not turn red.

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I have split the extensive complaints about Doom Legacy issues into their own thread, as it was drifting off topic for this thread.

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Kappes Buur said:

Actually models are affected by dynamic lights,

or else, for example, the labcoats would not turn red.



I meant in an accurate way like with the environment rather than just one solid shade like sprite objects. You'll notice that all of their coat is shaded uniformly rather than in spots. You'd have the same effect with a colorized sector light.

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