Doom is now playable through a GIF image hosted at fanfiction site Archive of Our Own (aka AO3), which is quite the achievement. A software engineer named Andrew Sillers exploited the way that GIF images are loaded by websites like AO3 in order to add new frames to the end of a “looping” image, meaning that you can essentially stream a game or animation as a GIF.
You can find more info on how Sillers managed to achieve this in his video talk on the topic for BangBangCon, which he conducted earlier in May. The AO3 page allows anyone viewing the page to add inputs to a queue similar to the method used by Twitch Plays Pokemon. As you might expect, this crowdsourced approach seems to lead to a dead Doomguy more often than not. Also, to be absolutely clear, this is FreeDoom, an free, open-source offshoot of the original game. The original Doom is still under copyright.
This GIF-based source port of Doom is the latest in the ongoing struggle to run Doom on the most unexpected and bizarre devices imaginable. For example, hackers have managed to get the landmark shooter running on the Touch Bar of a MacBook Pro and on a pregnancy test. Last year, a YouTuber managed to get the game running on 700 potato slices and a graphing calculator, using a chemical reaction within the potatoes to provide the electricity. Now that’s potato power.
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