Doomba turns your robotic vacuum cleaner into a Doom map-making machine

A Roomba is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that, guided by various sensors, will slowly prowl your room of choice, keeping your carpet clean without knocking everything over. Thanks to the efforts of coder Rich Whitehouse, it is also now an automated Doom map-making machine: The DOOMBA

Doomba is actually a script for Whitehouse's Noesis software, a tool for "previewing and converting between hundreds of model, image, and animation formats". The script tracks and stores your Roomba's movement data via the Clean Map reporting system, which can be imported into Noesis and then into a randomized Doom map. 

"I discovered that the newer Roombas are making use of a pretty respectable SLAM [simultaneous localization and mapping] implementation, which led to wondering about what kind of data I could get out of it and what I could do with that data," Whitehouse explained on his website.

"I soon realized that there was a clear opportunity to serve the Dark Lord by conceiving a plethora of unholy algorithms in service to one of the finest works ever created in his name. Simultaneously, I would be able to unleash a truly terrible pun to plague humankind. Now, the fruit of my labor is born." 

Doomba has only been tested with a Roomba 980 so there's no guarantee that it will work with other models, and some assembly is required: You'll need to install the latest Noesis software, copy over the Doomba script, and then manually set up the Roomba's IP and credentials. After creating the .noeroomba file—the raw movement data—you'll have to pull it all together in the Noesis application, and then tweak it up as you see fit. 

That's the part where things can go really wrong, as Whitehouse warned that he hasn't tested it extensively and "didn't really bother sanity-checking values on the engine side". Doomba won't stop you from trying to do things that Doom itself can't handle, in other words, so it's easy to cause errors like the Visplane overflow if you start fiddling with things you don't understand. 

But like a lot of DIY PC gaming exotica, practicality isn't really the point. "I hope you get some fun out of this feature. I definitely have!" Whitehouse wrote. "Some will say that it's pointless, but I have faith in my heart that the Dark Lord will wipe these people from the face of the earth and trap them in a dimension of eternal hellfire. Their suffering will be legendary."

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.