It’s not often I’m blown away by something. Actually, no, that’s a lie. I’m usually amazed by pretty much everything
I see. But this is a little different, because this
is me being amazed via. the medium of ASCII. I should also note that it was brought to
my attention from fellow Tweeter, and frankly incredible artist @Bhaal_Spawn otherwise known
as idspispopd… and if you want to know the meaning behind idspispopd, well, then you
can check out my video on it. Right, let’s just cover off what ASCII is
first. So, ASCII was actually developed from telegraph
code, which relied on morse code to send the digits 0 through to 9, and all letters of
the alphabet. In a computing sense, binary is used, to create
encode 128 characters into a 7 bit string. Using this chart, we can see for example that
a capital A is represented by 1000001. Really this is the basis which allows us to
interact with this technology, and it’s a character set we would have used on early
systems running a command line interface for operation. So how do we create the world of DOOM, simply
using these characters. Well, it’s a little bit like this. Isn’t it wondrous? It’s like an aggressive and more fun version
of the Matrix feed. Although it uses the Doom WAD, 1337d00m (or
Leet Doom if you like, which although generally standing for Elite, is also used to describe
a language where other ASCII characters are used to represent actual letters) is actually
written using the Unity engine. I had a brief catch up with Croatian creator
Dario Zubovic, to find out his inspiration, and apparently it all goes back to Rogue-Likes,
which, incidentally, I’ve actually made a video about as well! Now, this makes sense, Rogue-Likes were build
entire around ASCII, and so Dario wanted to know if it could be applied to create a 3D
perspective. I mean, there are other DOOM ASCII variants
out there. There are even libraries which convert images
to ASCII art, but this creation works just a little bit better. By using a post-processing shader, Dario was
able to refine it’s look to create something, which actually works. Originally he was going to make a bespoke
game based on it, but after knackering himself out with the shader, he decided to plump with
Doom, and to be honest, it’s a good thing, because most people know there way around
Doom. And if you were to hike up the difficulty
to impossible – essentially by decreasing the number of text columns, then you REALLY,
REALLY need to know your way around the game. Technically it’s using a set of monospaced
characters, divided in groups by density of the character. So in effect, the denser (or darker) a set
of pixels are interpreted, the denser the corresponding character will be used in their
place. If you use more columns, you have more pixels
symbolised by each character, and therefore, it’s a lot harder to work out what’s what,
even with your brain trying to fill in the gaps. Interestingly, it’s one of those things which
works better if you’re short sighted. Like me. I remember reading an article in a Sega magazine
in the 90s about how Mega Drive graphics actually look better if you’re short sighted. That’s really because being short sighted
creates an anti-aliasing effect, which blurs edges together, removing jagged edges, and
in this situation, actually helping to form a more coherent image. Even so, there’s no way I can tackle it on
impossible mode, or even hard mode. To make things worse, you can even put it
into black and white mode. Which is… just, no. Higher resolutions – or more columns, are
however, much easier, and look a lot more like Doom. You can play away like this for hours, being
lured into the changing characters, like an audience member into Paul McKenner’s clutches. It’s also helped by the soothing, yet somewhat
tense stoner rock music provided by Sydney based Turtle Skull. Which actually works nicely, within Doom. Usually I have outrage for anything that’s
not the original Doom soundtrack, so this was a pleasant surprise. Anyway, that’s 1337D00m. I’ll leave some links below so you can go
and try it yourself. Thanks for watching.

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