Gaming on old systems (was Re: Twiggys [was: Re: ka... ching!])

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Wed Oct 12 12:14:49 CDT 2016

On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 12:55 PM, Jerry Kemp <other at> wrote:
> This discussion is stirring up so many old memories.
> I distinctively recall, back at the time that this was relevant, that the
> (DOS) network game play was disrupting/saturating networks, because, if I
> recall the article correctly, the game was communicating with other nodes
> using broadcast packets, vs unicast or multicast packets.

My memories of multiplayer Doom on DOS machines go back to IPX over
Arcnet because at the time, Arcnet cards were much cheaper than
Ethernet, plus a simple 4-port Arcnet hub was 4 BNCs and 4 resistors.
The game networking code could be disruptive because it was common to
be on a private network.  That expectation did not extend to playing
on an office or campus Ethernet network.  I think later versions of
Doom toned the broadcast traffic down a bit.

When I was at McMurdo in the late 1990s, the network engineer could
always tell when someone was playing Doom, even solo, because the
version at the time would kick off a broadcast storm to look for
visible nodes and other players then settle down, and that left a
characteristic pattern of fireworks on his OpsView console.


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