Doom 3 ported to Web Browsers

It’s an unwritten rule that if a computing platform exists, someone will port Doom to it. The original Doom has been ported to a bafflingly long assortment of devices and platforms, including Digital Cameras, iPods, HTML5 and flash. This is in large part due to the fact that the game has been made open-source, meaning that hobbyists and tinkerers are free to poke around game engine files and figure out how to get them running on otherwise unsupported platforms.

The same is true of 2004’s Doom 3, which eventually had its source code release in November 2011. We’ve not yet seen Doom 3 ported to as many different platforms as the classic Doom, in part due to the more demanding technical requirements of the game, and the far more complex nature of the game engine, but work is being done in this regards, and now we’re starting to see the fruits of that labour.

Try it now

Available to play right now in the majority of modern web browsers, D3wasm is an experimental project seeking to get Doom 3 running via Mozilla’s WebAssembly framework. Supported across browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera, across operating systems like Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and iOS, WebAssembly lets developers create powerful applications for deploying across modern web browsers with relative ease. 

D3wasm is still at the experimental phase, and currently just uses the free demo level files, but you can test it right now whilst it’s being worked on. 

This is not a project that is directly associated with id or their owner ZeniMax, but it is entirely compliant with the open source license that the Doom 3 engine has been released under.

I tested it on my Windows Laptop running Chrome, and I got solid performance out of it, it seems totally playable to me. On a phone, it’s a different story where the game seems to boot and run fine, but it would need totally reworked controls to run on a touchscreen. All I could do was stand still and look around. Perhaps if you pair a keyboard and mouse or gamepad it would work better. Performance is on the choppy side, and it took quite a while to download all the game files, but to even see this game that once required a bleeding-edge gaming PC running on a regular phone is quite impressive.

What might the future hold?

I’m pretty curious to see how it progresses. You can track the progress of this port on the project’s status page here. Perhaps this could be the start of seeing Doom 3 make its way onto as many different platforms as the original Doom did.

This might be the last game from id to have its engine code released as open-source, since that initiative was mainly pushed by 3D graphics pioneer and open source advocate John Carmack, who is no longer with the company, so anyone hoping for Doom 2016 or other id titles to be released as open-source may be setting themselves up for disappointment. Who knows though, and perhaps this web port could end up getting the official seal of approval from id, and become the basis for a fully supported and officially released web browser version of the classic shooter.

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I skew Chaotic Good where possible, and love pressing buttons, viewing pixels and listening to sounds. I’ve written for publications like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, VG247 and Kotaku UK, and spent 13 years running SavyGamer.co.uk. If you ever get the chance you should ask me to tell you the story about that time I had a fight with a snake on an island off the coast of Cambodia.

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