For Halloween this year, a bunch of people remade Doom in their real-life office. It was good and we all had fun. But now something better has happened. On Christmas Eve, programmer and designer Rich Whitehouse released Doomba, which is able to turn a Roomba’s route around your house into a Doom map. Astonishing.
Let’s just make it absolutely clear as to what Doomba is. Firstly, Roombas are robot vacuum cleaners. If you don’t own one then you’ve probably seen them on the internet, being ridden by a cat dressed as a shark, or as part of what is probably the greatest short clip to come out of 2018. They move around your house on their own accord and clean your carpets. Pretty neat.
Whitelock bought a Roomba recently and quickly found that he could track its route around his house and turn that into visual data. By hooking that data into his tool Noesis he’s able to generate a map for the original 1993 Doom. So the corridors and rooms of that Doom level are determined by the route the Roomba took around his house as it was cleaning.
Earlier this year, researchers announced that they had taught an AI to design Doom maps. Those maps are probably a bit more playable than the ones created by a Roomba. Which is why Doomba comes second to DJ Roomba in the unofficial best uses of a Roomba. Vacuum cleaning is probably a solid third place.