As a society, I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of trying to run Doom on anything and everything — for instance, this Twitter bot that converts replies into in-game actions and a calculator powered by potatoes. The latest Doom success comes from Graham Sanderson who uses the new Raspberry Pi Pico to run a multiplayer version of the classic shooter.
The Pico is a microcontroller that uses the new RP2040 chip released by Raspberry Pi recently. The Pico’s tiny form factor makes it ideal for small, insignificant tasks like programming LED lighting or motion sensors. But the real question, at least for Sanderson, was if it could run Doom. The project isn’t the most creative entry in this ever-evolving challenge revolving around the 1993 classic, but it’s still an impressive one given it uses a 21mm by 51mm piece of hardware.
Just like the original — Sanderson detailed the entire process on his GitHub page, noting that he wanted to match the original game as much as possible, basing it off the Chocolate Doom port. As documented on Sanderson’s YouTube, it’s a complete success. Sanderson runs Doom using 2MB of onboard flash memory in the original 320 x 200 resolution, complete with the retro sound effects. Just like the original, you can save and load your games, as well as punch in cheat codes since it supports USB keyboards.
The most impressive part of the build is that four-player multiplayer works since Sanderson’s project includes I2C networking. Sanderson even said that you can run Ultimate Doom and Doom II using a Pico that has 8MB of flash memory.
Sanderson released all the necessary code for the project in a GitHub repository. Considering the Pico is only $4, it has to be one of the more affordable solutions to running Doom on whatever we can. And it’s definitely way cheaper than running it on an Apple Watch or the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.