Where others failed, this mod finally adds a 3rd dimension to Doom's enemies

A shot of Voxel Doom
(Image credit: pagb666)

Voxel Doom, a graphics mod for the original Doom that turns the game's various sprites into full-on 3D voxel models, released its 1.0 version today. Made by a modder named Cheello, the mod affects everything from the game's legioned demons to its ammo pick-ups, adding a sense of depth and—get this—letting you view its once-obstinately flat 2D sprites from different angles. Angles!

We've been keeping our eye on Voxel Doom here at PCG for a while now, but the Doom modding community has been talking about the idea for even longer. The problem was about both artistic capability and technical capacity: any project that was going to try replacing Doom's sprites would need to walk a tightrope over the uncanny valley, making sure that the models it created weren't incongruous with Doom's much-beloved art style. 

Voxel modelling—a technique that uses 3D cubes instead of traditional 2D pixels to create models—was ideal for that. Unfortunately, Doom's various source ports didn't seem to like rendering them for whatever reason, which led to a bit of an impasse. Clearly, that impasse has now been overcome.

Today we have a mod that implements voxelated models into Doom so deftly that you almost don't notice anything's changed until you stare down a Cacodemon from a 40 degree angle. It's a testament to Cheello's abilities that the mod adds a whole new dimension to Doom's enemies without putting a foot wrong in terms of aesthetics and animations.

Cheello hasn't said where he intends to take the project from here. Back in May, he was hoping to buy an RTX system to make Voxel Doom compatible with ray-tracing mods, but he may want a break after spending so long painstakingly modelling imps and pinkies. His previous work was giving the enemies in Blood the same voxelly treatment that he's now given to Doom, though, so I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest that whatever he does next will probably involve an old game, hard work, and a lot of voxels.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.