Software engineer Matt Swarthout is pushing the limits of automotive tech with a new hack that delivers a playable version of Doom II on the dashboard of one of the most expensive cars on the market.
Want to try this one out for yourself? All you need is an original CD-ROM copy of Doom II, a flash drive … and a $200,000 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet.
After recently producing a toaster-based Python emulator, Swarthout developed a controller for PC games using similar bread-toasting technology. The 1993 game Doom served as a testing ground for the engineer’s multi-toaster controller setup, and the results apparently inspired Swarthout to port the classic first-person shooter to even less conventional gaming hardware.
Swarthout’s whims led him to seek inspiration from the dashboard of his 2017-model Porsche 911, which features an onboard computer. Through a simple hack involving a flash drive and a media USB port located in the Porsche 911’s glove compartment, Swarthout managed to boot his car’s computer into safe mode, which then allowed the operating system to execute Doom II via an audio CD player.
Surprisingly, the Porsche 911’s debug functionality maps in-game input to the car’s accelerator, steering wheel, and gear stick. The result offers a singularly thrilling way to play Doom II, though the experience is reserved for car owners with expensive taste and a lack of regard for personal safety.
“All of the car’s controls, by default, show up as input controllers to a regular computer,” Swarthout explains. “That means that you can turn left by turning the steering wheel left, turn right by turning the steering wheel right, […] change guns with the gear selector, [and] fire the gun by honking the horn. And we can move our character forward by accelerating.”
Swarthout ends his video with a live demonstration in which his car’s movements sync up perfectly to the on-screen action in Doom II. Swarthout’s horn-honking skills are no match for a tag-team attack from a Spiderdemon and Cyberdemon, however, cutting his joyride short.