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Doom Timeline

The Build-Up
December 1990

[Commander Keen]

  • Id Software is born with the release of its first game, Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons, distributed by Apogee Software. At this point, the "company" is simply a name for the evening-and-weekend projects of Tom Hall, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, and John Romero. It's formally founded as a legal entity a month and a half later.
April 1991

[Hovertank 3D]

  • Softdisk Corporation publishes Hovertank 3D, Id's first game with a simulated three-dimensional first-person perspective. Although crude, Hovertank demonstrated concepts that would come to fruition in Doom two years later.
May 1992

[Wolfenstein 3D]

  • Id and Apogee Software release Wolfenstein 3D, an improved derivative of the Hovertank concept with smooth VGA graphics and a chilling WWII setting. The game sees enormous success, giving its developer the confidence to develop more advanced "3D" games and to handle its own shareware distribution. A sequel, Spear of Destiny, would appear later in the year.
September 1992
  • Following the release of Spear of Destiny, the staff of Id Software table proposals for their next major project. One idea that's hatched is a proposal for a game that pits supernatural demons against tangible technology, inspired by science fiction and Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.
November 1992

[Doom Bible]

  • Development of Doom: Evil Unleashed begins in earnest.
  • Tom Hall prepares a design document, "The Doom Bible," filled with proposals for gameplay structure and elements. The design document would go through several revisions and laid the creative foundation for Doom, although much of the content would go on to be simplified or changed in the final game.
January 1993
  • Jay Wilbur publishes the first press release for Doom, predicting it will be "the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world" and promising delivery in the third quarter of 1993.
February 1993


  • Doom: Evil Unleashed Tech Demo "0.2," the earliest known pre-release version of Doom, is made.
  • Support implemented for walls of variable thicknesses and angles.
  • Support implemented for variable light levels.
  • Graphics for enemies exist in close to final form.
  • Massive heads-up display covers all four sides of the screen.


  • First pre-release screenshots distributed.
  • Doom Alpha 0.3 released to industry professionals.
  • Support for multiple maps and sectors of variable height implemented.
  • Automap implemented.
April 1993


  • Doom Alpha 0.4 released to testers.
  • Doors now implemented.
  • Massive heads-up display discarded in favour of slimmer display at base of screen, with bar-type health, armour, and shield meters.
  • Most Episode 1 maps now developed (although the map order would be shuffled in the final game).
  • Doom now uses the DOS/4GW extender to get around the operating system's 640k conventional memory limit.
May 1993


  • Doom Alpha 0.5 released to testers.
  • Switches now implemented.
  • Moving platforms now implemented.
  • Health now implemented.
  • Keycards and locked doors now implemented.
  • Exits now implemented.
  • Game menu implemented in close to its final form.
June 1993
  • Development enters a four-month "dark period," marked by tumult. The exact nature of the development during this period is difficult to gauge, as no screenshots or prototypes are known.
  • According to John Romero, this was when "we re-assessed what your objective was supposed to be and we decided to boil the whole concept down to: kill everything and get out alive."
July 1993
  • Creative director Tom Hall is forced to resign, following weeks of creative conflicts and frustration over the direction of the game.
September 1993
  • Doom passes and misses its original Third Quarter 1993 release target.
  • Sandy Petersen is hired...and given the unenviable task of designing or modifying nineteen levels for Doom's final release in ten weeks.
October 1993


  • Press Release Pre-Beta released to journalists, with three complete levels.
  • Bar-type health, armour, and shield meters on heads-up display have been replaced by numeric percentages with the character's face, similar to Wolfenstein 3D.
  • Most graphics are identical to their final form, barring weapon sprites and lost souls.
  • Number of levels per episode reduced from 13 to 9.
  • Wolfenstein-style points system with bonus "treasure" and limited lives still in place.
November 1993
  • Sound and music now implemented.
  • Episode order rejigged; "Hell" episode moved from before "corrupted techbase" to after it.
  • Points system removed; limited lives replaced by unlimited lives; "treasure" replaced by health and armour bonuses.
December 1993


  • Doom is finished.
  • Shareware version 1.0 first made available by FTP on 10 December.
  • Registered version 1.1 first made available to purchasers on 16 December. (There was no registered 1.0 version.)
The Aftermath
February 1994
  • Doom version 1.2 is released, with available "Nightmare" difficulty and added map areas on some levels. Several additional minor updates follow over the next year, culminating in version 1.9.
June 1994
  • Doom is awarded the 1994 Game of the Year title by Computer Gaming World magazine. Doom goes on to win numerous accolates from press and industry associations including Game of the Year from PC Gamer, the Award for Technical Excellence from PC Magazine, and the Best Action Adventure Game award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
October 1994

[Doom II]

  • Doom II, a commercial sequel to the original Doom, is released.
April 1995

[Ultimate Doom]

  • The Ultimate Doom, a special edition of the original game with an added fourth episode, is released in stores.
August 1996

[Doom 95]

  • Doom 95, a special implementation of The Ultimate Doom for Windows 95 making use of the new OS's graphics technologies, is released in stores.
  • John Romero is forced out of Id Software under circumstances similar to Tom Hall's. The two would continue to collaborate, founding Ion Storm three months later.
June 1997
  • Sandy Petersen, the last of Doom's principal level designers, leaves Id Software to work for Ensemble Studios.
December 1997
November 1998
  • Doom's half-decade anniversary is commemorated with 5 Years of Doom, a fan-oriented website containing numerous interviews with people involved with the game. This website is still online.
June 2009
  • Id Software announces that it has been acquired by ZeniMax Media, ending the developer's eighteen-year run as an independent company.
March 2011
November 2013
  • John Carmack, the last of Id's cofounders still on its payroll, leaves the company.
March 2021
  • ZeniMax Media, heir to the Id library, is swallowed up by Microsoft Corporation. Such ends the tale of Doom...
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Last update 23 May 2023.