'Doomba' Will Turn Your Roomba Into a Doom Hellscape Generator

Photo: Eugene Hoshiko (AP / Edit: Tom McKay)

The Roomba’s most sinister-sounding feature—recording maps of your home that iRobot CEO Colin Angle swears he will totally never sell to advertisers—can now be used for more overtly hellish purposes thanks to Doomba, a tool that converts Roomba maps for use in the 1993 shooter Doom.

In just a few steps, Doomba can create a level based on Roomba’s memory of a location, Polygon reported. It’s yet another nifty technical trick in the long and storied tradition of Doom hacks, which has involved everything from bizarre mod packs to running the game on toasters and printers.

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The results can seen below in a tweet from developer Rich Whitehouse:

“I 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,” Whitehouse wrote in a blog post. “Simultaneously, I would be able to unleash a truly terrible pun to plague humankind. 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.”

“Some will say that it’s pointless, but I have faith in my heart that the Dark Lord will wipe these people from the face of the earth and trap them in a dimension of eternal hellfire,” Whitehouse added. “Their suffering will be legendary.”

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According to Whitehouse’s post, Doomba is more or less a plugin for Noesis, a tool that converts assets to different file types for use in game development. The plugin allows for users to automatically download the floor map from a Roomba—Whitehouse only tested it with a 980 model, so mileage may vary—via wi-fi.

Doomba relies on random seeds to generate the levels using default textures and enemies, and it’s unlikely to result in anything but a very brief level without some fiddling unless you have a very large house. But Whitehouse wrote it’s possible to stitch together multiple maps to create larger ones, as well as tweak various settings such as enemy and weapon spawn rates.

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The hack works because Doom is, despite appearing 3D, more or less a two-dimensional game (the original games were incapable of having multi-storied levels). As Whitehouse noted, that means Doomba can also be used to create Doom maps out of any static image, but “I can’t promise my unholy algorithms targeted at Roomba maps won’t fall over if you start throwing all kinds of random crap at them.”

In any case, we’ve come a long way since the 90s, when Doom itself was controversial and maps based on real-life locations were more so (especially a long-running, and apparently baseless, myth that the 1999 Columbine High School massacre was planned via maps based on the school). Advancements in computer technology since then have made sprite-based violence about as innocuous as can be, so no one’s going to bat an eye when you tell them you’re shooting demons in a map based on your house.

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As Polygon noted, Neosis is free but donations are encouraged. If messing around with Doomba has rekindled your love of ripping and tearing, the Doomworld fansite recently put up a list of the best Doom mods of 2018 from the game’s modding community, which is still going strong 25 years after its original release.

[Polygon]

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Tom McKay

"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post