Doom: Did it really look that bad back in the day?

Recently I've tried running Doom via both DoxBox and Chocolate Doom, and I'm amazed by how horrible it looks.  I could have sworn that it looked much better back in the 90s, but now I'm wondering if my memory's just playing tricks on me (I went on a nearly 20-year hiatus from the game).  Did it always look extremely pixelated, and if so, why do the sprites used in modern sourceports look so good?

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Yes and no. I think CRT monitors helped but 320x200 is no joke. Doom95 helped a bit with 640x480.

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Doomworld really needs a laugh react.

 

The art assets haven't changed. Only the resolutions. DOSBox and Chocolate Doom play the game in its native aspect ratio of 4:3. Doom's original resolution was 320x200.

 

If you want it to look nice, get GZDoom or something.

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If you want it to actually look nice, get prboom+ or something.

 

But yeah I'm sure CRT monitors played a role, as well as Doom literally being the greatest looking thing ever at the time, so the amount of pixelation was likely irrelevant to you when you played.

Edited by bonnie
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playing the game on the hardware of the time looks surprisingly good. I have tested on my old PC and I like the look a lot. Maybe the natural blurriness of old monitors smooths the look a bit.

just copy/pasting my response to this from the other thread.

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1 hour ago, MetroidJunkie said:

Our young minds tended to fill in the details, making us remember more vibrant environments than there actually were.

I would chalk it up to this. The standards were different back then and Doom would leave a deeper impression with nothing better to compare it to.

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We had much smaller monitors back then and no, it did not look THAT bad..

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CRT monitors would have made a big difference. Individual pixels are less defined in them, and they have better contrast. So a dark hallway at 320*200 in vanilla Doom on a CRT will fade to deeper darkness with less harsh edges than an LCD.

 

Nostalgia plays a part yes, but it did look better than it does now.

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I started playing in the 2000 lates and even so I consider it fantastic, I have never been very fond of graphics.

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Yes, it looked that bad in 1993. However, what these days is considered 'bad' was revolutionary back then. 320x200 was the highest resolution that had decent palette support to offer and virtually no game used the 16 color modes with higher resolution - never mind that their memory organization made them a gigantic hassle to support.

 

On top of that, no game before managed to render such an environment at playable speeds which made players forgiver all the shortcuts and shortcomings that were inevitable to make such a game work on 1993's hardware.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Edward850 said:

Doom looks bad?

in a 4k Monitor, yes.

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It looked better and more complex than anything else that ran at the same resolution, back in the day.

 

In comparison, Wolf3D and Blake Stone looked outdated the moment they came out -they took many more shortcuts than Doom, and there were better 3D video games for reference -e.g. in the arcades, Daytona USA was fully textured, Ultima Underworld on the PC was also fully textured and had height variation etc. and there were fully 3D polygon-based games (mostly sims).

 

Doom just hit the sweet spot between a fully textured, detailed 3D environment and fast action-paced gameplay. Until then, you had to give up one of these elements.

Edited by Maes
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Quality tends to look less nicer in lower resolution so kinda yeah.

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42 minutes ago, dmg_64 said:

in a 4k Monitor, yes.

I looked at Doom on a 4K monitor. Looks the same, just more pixels. Are the Cacodemons supposed to turn lime-green or something?

Edited by Edward850
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10 minutes ago, Edward850 said:

just more pixels.

More pixels = changed, for better or for worse depending on how you view it.

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So how does that make it worse somehow? Again, are the Cacodemons supposed to turn lime-green or something if there's more pixels?

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3 minutes ago, Edward850 said:

So how does that make it worse somehow? Again, are the Cacodemons supposed to turn lime-green or something if there's more pixels?

Yes

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Maybe you need to recalibrate your monitor then. They still looked red to me, and didn't suddenly gain or lose detail.

Edited by Edward850

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9 minutes ago, Edward850 said:

and didn't suddenly gain or lose detail.

First you say "More pixels" and now this, make up your mind.

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8 hours ago, MetroidJunkie said:

Our young minds tended to fill in the details, making us remember more vibrant environments than there actually were.

True,i remember Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (I was like 2 when i watched my brother play it) looking like a SNES game but recently when i played it it just looked like a normal NES game.

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I think it looked worse on the PCs of the time.

 

From what I recall from my experience with Doom on a Win 95 machine with a CRT monitor and compared to what nowadays' ports do, it definitely looks better to me than how it did back then, with the possible exception of the enemies, they give me a very strange feeling when they move around the screen in the distance and I get closer to them, but that's probably just some setting in the port. Beside that, I prefer playing Doom in 1080p than what the machines of the time could pull off, big improvement for me.

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Filtering, Higher resolutions and a whole lot other features that surfaced years after the exe did that.

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Pick up my jaw up off the floor back then in 1995 when first saw Doom II. Trust me - it's look fantastic.

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Debating video game graphics without a time/era context is moot. It certainly didn't look worse than other games of its era -on the contrary, its visuals were groundbreaking, especially when considering the gameplay and speed they came with. If you wanted something that just looked better, well, you could always play Myst.

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It's really easy to forget that 3D games used to be on the order of VHS resolution. It's actually kind of shocking to play it "purely vanilla" these days, given that games today might be up to 10x the resolution or more, if you consider 4K displays.

Edited by GoatLord

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everything back then looked that bad

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