DOOM Bethesda via official Twitter account 2018
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Credit: DOOM on Twitter

Game designer hijacks Roomba to create Doom levels based on your house

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Dec 26, 2018

Stay with us for a minute on this one: A veteran game designer has figured out how to give players a distinct home-field advantage in the Doom video game universe, using the scanning power of a robot vacuum cleaner to make auto-generated Doom levels that recreate the interior footprint of your very own home.

Rich Whitehouse, a developer whose long resume includes Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast and X-Men Legends, has deployed his Noesis tool — an interface that allows digital assets to be shared between platforms — to mach up the house-mapping capabilities of a Roomba and the hell-crawling gameplay of Bethesda's classic shooter.

According to Whitehouse’s blog, his “Doomba” script “will track your Roomba, store tracking data, allow you to visualize that data in a variety of ways, and, of course, turn that data into a randomized DOOM map.” That sounds like a definite perk, since knowing the layout of your hellscape like the back of your hand makes for a big head start when there’re imps and demons lurking around every corner.

After researching the Roomba 980, Whitehouse said he “soon realized that there was a clear opportunity to serve the Dark Lord by conceiving a plethora of unholy algorithms in service to one of the finest works ever created in his name,” as he explained on Dec. 24. “Now, the fruit of my labor is born. I bring forth DOOMBA, a half-goat, half-script creature, with native binary backing for the expensive parts, to be offered in place of my firstborn on this fine Christmas Eve.”

For now, Whitehouse says he can only confirm that the fun feature will work with the Roomba 980, though he encourages other scripters to play around with their own robot vacuums and share their results. But be advised: Converting a blueprint of your house into a lava-seared torture zone comes with a little bit of a learning curve, one that involves downloading Noesis, bringing up the Roomba Tracker interface, scanning your pad for Roombas, and tracking the device(s) via their IP addresses as they chart a wicked course through your house.

If you’re ready to intern as hell’s own cartographer before blasting its demonic denizens back to where they came from, though, you can learn every evil detail on how to enlist in the cause by visiting Whitehouse’s project blog.

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