30/09/2004-01/10/2004 @01:40:51 ^04:00:59

in this post you've just found a picture of yourself on a website

It's chavscum.co.uk!! Oh no!!


In all versions of Doom there are three flats named CONS1_1, CONS1_5 and CONS1_7. They are each a 64x64 image of a computer console, rotated to different angles. They are not very common; there are only four maps in Doom and two maps in Doom 2 in which they appear.

Problems arise due to the missing rotation; namely that if you want a room of consoles you can only have them on three sides. In such a position while making Elixir I found myself needing to decide just which way round CONS1_7 actually is. CONS1_1 and CONS1_5 are vertically mirror images of each other, so the problem does not arise.

Each flat has a grey side and a silver side. The grey side contains two rows of rectangles surrounded by blue lights that could be status monitors or they could be a keyboard. The silver side is for nearly a third of the extent of the flat just blank silver. However the screen in the centre of the flat looks more correct - the text is left-aligned that way, for instance - if you are standing at the silver side and the grey side is to the wall.

So that's the problem - there's no obvious way to tell which way round you're supposed to use these damn things! While you could just guess, I think that is an abhorrent thing to do when the alternative is to ascertain the correct answer then utilise it or indeed nix it with good reason. So, first thing to do was look at how the IWADs use them, but this was something of a dead end.

However Doom 2 was made long after the graphics were done, so I decided it couldn't be taken as canon. Indeed the things had been pretty much made for E2M7, one of the Doom maps on which the flats were present:

So Doom 2 says it's grey side out and Doom for the most part says it's silver side out. Which is correct?

We can show that Doom is definitive, not only for the obvious reason that it came first, but because, as I have been hinting, the console textures were made specifically for an early version of E2M7. Behold, the Doom alpha versions. In particular, the 22/5 alpha. Three quarters of the way down that page:

"I noticed that there is a large control console in one of the rooms. A similar console is in one of the very early screen shots, I couldn't find it in alpha 4, but then it shows up in this alpha, and disappears again in the final version."

The "very early screenshot" is obviously SCRN2_03.GIF at the bottom of Doom alpha screen shots, set 1. The room in question from which the console was obviously removed was the large room with the double door, just inside the yellow locked door in E2M7. It always struck me as very empty as the imps that start in it happily wake up and wander out, leaving only a barrel. Now we know why.

I downloaded the particular alpha version and managed to get the flats themselves out of it. Not entirely surprisingly, there were all 8 CONS1_* flats, including the missing side CONS1_3 and the diagonal corner pieces CONS1_2,4,6,8. Interestingly CONS1_3 isn't just a simple reflection of CONS1_7 but instead has a bright yellow splodge where all the others have dark green. In fact you can just about see it in the middle of dbcontrol.gif. In summary I think it's fair to say that silver side out is correct.

However, having determined by research the correct direction for the console flats I proceeded to totally ignore my findings. The pragmatic fact is the console flats look fine either way round you use them provided

  1. You don't blatantly use them in contradictory ways in the same WAD (never mind the same room, yes whomever it was who made E2M6 I'm looking at you)
  2. You make a good choice of lower texture below the console flat so it blends in. For example if you want to do grey side out, use COMPSPAN. If you want to do silver side out, use SHAWN2. Actually COMPSPAN works fine if you do silver side out as well, especially if your console is surrounded by it all the way round (cf dbcontrol.gif again)

In Elixir I have constructed a large computer console that had to have console flats with their grey side out. However, I managed to mask the fact that it's blatantly backwards* with lots of big screens, flashing lights, fiddly bits of architecture and other retarded Star Trek: Original Series meets Button Moon crap. In particular by splitting the sector I could lower the grey bit to emphasise that it's the keyboard.


*The worst part is, it wouldn't look "blatantly backwards" if I had never found myself forced to consider the question and do the research