Video + Poll: Is Doom playable on a 386?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by philscomputerlab, Jul 9, 2015.

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Is Doom playable on a 386?

  1. Yes!

    73.5%
  2. No!

    26.5%
  1. philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Is Doom playable on a 386? This is the question that I will answer with this video. I built a 386DX-40 PC and benchmarked Doom at all quality and screen size settings.

    What do you think? Do you think it's playable or not? Please share your thoughts!

    Video link: Is Doom playable on a 386?

    Video link: Playing Doom on a 386

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  2. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I voted yes because I played DOOM on a 486SX33 when it came out, so the mighty 386DX40 could probably pull it off. I was expecting to see some actual in-game footage on the 386 in your vid Phil, but it was all Pentium 100 stuff??

    Of course there's "playable :thumbdn:" and there's "playable :thumbup:" - I wouldn't bother playing DOOM on anything slower than a DX2 66 these days.
     
  3. slavewone

    slavewone Member

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    Doom use to get plenty of play on my 386sx25. Pretty sure i was oblivious to lag.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    I'm the same with Wing Commander. 286 10 MHz, EGA, PC Speaker and mouse. I've got no idea how I played that game :D

    I realised this after I packed everything away already. I was trying to focus on the speed and fluidity of the game when run on a fast machine. :(

    But you're right. Lesson learnt: Leave the system lying around for a few days...

    Hey want to be an early access YouTube watcher / QA person?

    EDIT: I will do a quick follow up video with some 386DX-40 game play.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  5. JidaiGeki

    JidaiGeki Member

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    First saw Doom on my friend's DX40, and it was awesome, definitely playable.

    You had 5MHz more than I did :wired: back then, I remember all I could do was tweak DOS settings to free up conventional memory and play through the lag. It was that or go outside and play ...

    I take my hat off to you sir :D that would have been a slideshow!!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    Badmofo's comment made me add this additional video!

    Video link: Playing Doom on a 386

    Clearly when music and sound is playing, and in later levels, the 386 struggles. Often it's very hard to aim and time the shots. Quite a few pauses when the game loads sounds. Maybe a limitation of 4 MB RAM?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  7. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    I use to play Their Finest Hour and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe on my XT 8MHz, EGA Atari PC3. Thinking back the lag was horrendous but when you had very little in the way of games its amazing how well you can adjust and simply put up with it. I actually got quite good at playing them. :)
     
  8. Cannula

    Cannula Member

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    I play it on my AMD 386DX 40 as well so I voted yes.
    Playable back then had a different meaning than nowadays, could you kill stuff and not die and did you enjoy it, if yes then back then it was playable. ;)
     
  9. power

    power Member

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    you'd hope so right?

     
  10. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    Heh

    Though, the processor in that printer is probably around 50 times as powerful than a 386 (literally) so more like the other way around!


    -edit, Oh and I voted no, but I'm a bit torn as you can enjoy it on smaller window sizes. As others have said, we wernt as anal about fps back then.. 20fps was considered silky smooth!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  11. OP
    OP
    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    That printer video is funny :)

    I guess, back in the day, we all played games on underpowered hardware. It's just what you had to do. Games kept pushing the envelope. Personally I found Doom acceptable only when I built myself an AMD DX4-100 back in the day. It was a lovely machine. Had the multiplier and FSB switches custom made onto the front of the case, so I could have a DX2-50 up to a DX4-120 :) Wasn't stable at 120, but I still found it cool :lol:
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  12. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Thanks for the follow up vid Phil! Yes its slow but what was the alternative when you were a kid? Upgrade your PC with your pocket money? Impossible. Not play the most awesome game released up until that point? Impossible.

    Yes I'm happy to be a QA guy but I must warn you that my time constraints will make me unreliable :weirdo:
     
  13. bennyg

    bennyg Member

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    Ahh nostalgia. I played it first on a 386 and found it so hard, no wonder why with the fps of a slideshow and no mouselook...

    Was smooth as on the 486 dx2-66 in comparison.

    Brutal doom (gzdoom) struggles to be fluid a teeny bit too, after killing a few hundred demons on an overkill map pack on hardest difficulties, with (permanent) blood splats and gibs and casings everywhere, on a i7 quad / gtx680m... The more things change the more doom is still awesome
     
  14. Grom Hellscream

    Grom Hellscream Member

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    I played the original Half-Life and Unreal Tournament on a K6-233mhz with 32mb of RAM and an ATI Rage II onboard chip. 320x240 software rendering! :lol:

    Oh lordy when I built my own PC was it a big change (Celeron 333 + TNT2)
     
  15. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Going purely from memory (and this was MANY years ago), these were from systems either myself or friends owned:

    386 SX25 + math coprocessor = nope
    386 DX40 = just, with low settings
    486 SX25 = just, with low settings
    486 DX50 = good
    486 DX2-66 = hell yeah

    I still remember experiencing it on my friend's 486 DX2-66 with AWE32 sound card hooked up to his 19" CRT (huge!) and Marantz amp and speakers. Oh my lord, that was quite spectacular.
     
  16. Hater

    Hater Member

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    I remember playing it on my Pentium 90, 64MB EDO, 2.1GB HDD no issues. It was a beast of a set up though.
     
  17. TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    I beg to differ slightly ... I had a 386SX25 and Doom 1 was playable. My mate had a 386SX15 ... barely playable on smallest screen size and low.

    Doom 2 came out, and murdered the 386SX25. My mate had since upgraded to a 486DX4 100 and it was amaze balls. A few months later we upgraded after the 386 litterally went up in smoke and I had a glorious Pentium 100. Many a dial session was had for deathmatch :D
     
  18. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    I know what exactly what this is, its either the compact flash card or the adapter or a combination of the two, when I was setting up my original 386 machine I had exactly the same pauses with the disk icon in the lower right corner of the computer screen with a compact flash card, I eventually got an enhanced ide controller with a 4.3gb hard disk and it really flies, it loads up Doom twice as quick as your machine.

    I'll have to dig it out and do some benchmarking but your pcplayer benchmark looks slow, my 386 does 4.4 in svga mode but its probably just a quirk with that benchmark, 3dbench around 16.1fps, what Is the chipset on your graphics card?

    As for the playability of Doom on a 386 its definitely playable but you need low settings, IMO it was a very small price to play as once you were playing the game you quickly forgot the quality if that's all you had.

    Back in the Day with a 386-SX33 & 512kb trident I used low quality and that had noticeable slowdowns, on the DX40 on low quality the framerate is really quite acceptable, that's the only caveat I'd say for doom on the 386, its needs to be a DX40 with low quality but you still get 90% of the doom experience, these days its only for nostalga to look at Doom with the 386 but it was definitely playable.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    philscomputerlab

    philscomputerlab Member

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    The graphics card is a Cirrus Logic 5424. System was with BIOS defaults. It can be improved a little bit by lowering timings and overclocking the ISA bus, but none of this is going to change the situation much.

    A member on "Vintage Computing Forum" tested the 8 sound mixing options on a 486-33 and found it made almost zero difference. Someone else mentioned that using General MIDI is faster compared to FM.

    I have a board that takes both, 386 and 486 chips, might be an interesting project. I'll check out the IDE controller setup, I can't remember exactly what drive I used, it's all packed away again, but it makes sense. I remember your ISA IDE controller in you pimped out 386. Such a nice machine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  20. jmannik

    jmannik Member

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    Now that my 386 DX40 is up and running ill give it a go tonight and do not only a timedemo run but also a gameplay experience rating(subjective test)
     

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