Doom Port Released as BIOS Payload

Doom in your BIOS
(Image credit: Doom icon + clip art)

Doom being ported to unusual hardware has become a common recurring tech theme over the years, but now it has been ported to a BIOS. Coreboot has been updated to version 4.17 today, reports Linux-centric news site Phoronix. Originally known as LinuxBIOS, which provides a better clue to its utility value, Coreboot 4.17 supports new motherboards, delivers a new bootloader, supports AMD Platform Secure Boot (PSB), comes with a handful of fixes, and… a port of Doom.

Coreboot is a free and open-source BIOS implementation that supports numerous extensions known as Payloads. These Payloads add functionality to the minimal code that is the basis of Coreboot. Therefore, a great deal of customizability is available to Coreboot users to determine exactly what their BIOS ROMs contain via Payload choices.

To configure Coreboot for a usable setup, one might typically start by adding a bootloader, with a choice of eight available currently according to the official Wiki. Then there is support for various popular OSes, a handful of utilities provided as Payloads, and even some games. If your BIOS flash memory space is large enough, you could even shoehorn in a Linux distribution.

Continuing on the theme of extremes, we circle back to our headline highlighting that Coreboot 4.17 supports CoreDoom as a Payload. This is a great new choice if you are bored of the Grub Invaders (Space Invaders) and Tint (Tetris) clone Payloads, bringing 3D gaming to your BIOS.

CoreDoom is based on DoomGeneric, which is a purposely portable version of the 1993 vintage 3D FPS. Doom WAD files are held in the ROM too, for almost instant-on retro gaming. However, at this early stage, there are still a few limitations with CoreDoom that we feel readers should know about. For example, it currently requires a PS2 keyboard for WASD action (USB keyboard support is coming). Furthermore, video format support is limited, there is no sound, there is no save game or config file support, and your system will hang on exiting the game.

If you are interested enough to check if your desktop or laptop motherboard supports Coreboot, head to the official status page and do a quick search. Several Google Chromebook and Clevo laptop motherboards have gained support with Coreboot 4.17.

This probably won't be the last of the odd Doom ports that we'll see in the wild. We recently reported on Doom being ported to the Raspberry Pi Pico and the Minimum Viable Computer, for example.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Metal Messiah.
    This is interesting ! It appears that this old-school FPS game is a favorite of too many tech enthusiasts after all.
  • drea.drechsler
    Anything being termed a "payload" is the damaging virus...or trojan....component of an otherwise innocuous BIOS as far as I'm concerned.

    Not saying it's undesirable in this context, I just wish they'd use a less ominous term for the concept.
  • Scottwarddd
    Old timer Nice!!
  • Obummer
    I bet one day someone will be able to get Doom running on a single transistor.
  • hotaru.hino
    Obummer said:
    I bet one day someone will be able to get Doom running on a single transistor.
    Well, you could. It'd just take a few generations worth of human civilization to verify it actually worked.