The King Doom Experience
The King Doom Experience (KDX) was mainly developed by Christian B. Caldarone, and is a software application, which allows to manage the variety of Doom engine source ports together with the huge number of custom levels (PWADs) available online. In addition to this, KDX provided an online platform, so users could play together over the Internet without being worried about level settings and synchronization. The online platform was implemented using The Universal Master Server (UMS), a classic master server software developed as well by Caldarone. UMS is maintaining a database of online players and hosted game servers, based on continuous heartbeats UMS is receiving from its clients.
- Convenient way to use the Doom port of your choice, including its specific settings and parameters.
- Stores sets of custom levels together with corresponding DEH patches and graphic resources in a database.
- Provides a VWAD (Virtual WAD) format to treat total conversions like IWADs.
- Extended database management and import/export functions to provide a professional way of handling custom levels.
- A file based selection mode allows to quickly select PWADs and additional resources.
- All available command line options can be pre-loaded and managed from the GUI.
- An intelligent mechanism stores all save games into a database, depending on Doom port and IWAD/PWAD.
- The cheat editor allows you to modify cheats, which will be loaded as a DEH file into the game later on.
- The Config File Manager allows you to create several different config files based on your needs.
- "Dr. WADson" examines WAD files for you to provide detailed information, such as level replacements, game mode, etc.
- A Plug-In Manager deals with external programs or additional WAD files to be loaded/executed based on certain conditions.
- The KDX "Send To" shell extension allows sending files directly from the Explorer to the frontend
- A Console Window allows access to the KDX core commands, useful for the power user and for scripting.
- An already built-in online client provides support for DoomCQ and extended online functionality.
- Fully integrated support for the KDX Game Browser turns KDX into an Online Doom Platform with master server functionality.
- The KDX-to-GSA Gateway allows KDX to be played through GameSpy Arcade, overriding GSA's restricted actions scope for playing Doom online.
- Support for the Internet Doom Explorer (IDE) allows that you can launch Doom from KDX through IDE.
- The software is open and highly customizable through config files and external plug-ins and tools.
Besides the DoomCQ interface in ICQ-style, where you could find and talk to your online fellows, also an IRC-style interface was available, where you could join the KDX Chat Central lobby room, meet with people from all over the world, then eventually invite them for playing Doom online together.
To announce hosted games to the master server, a separate tool named KDX Server Reporter was available. The Server Reporter was acting as local system service to send heartbeats to the master and to listen for queries from the KDX Game Browser. The KDX Reporter could be installed independently on a dedicated game host and had launcher capabilities to allow Doom game servers to be hosted in a quick and easy way.
Yet another alternative was given by using the KDX-to-GSA gateway application. An easy and efficient network synchronization protocol based on TCP/IP for source port configuration settings and PWAD loading.
Extensibility and WAD management
KDX did further interact with other third party software as well, thanks to its open approach and the intention to provide the best experience to the user. Therefore KDX came with built-in support for common Doom utilities like ZenNode, Glvis and others. As an extension to this, special plug-ins could be loaded to for example interact with:
- A Media Player for replacing the original Level music by MP3s played in the background, especially developed to play-back the PlayStation Doom music.
- The WAD Factory GUI as the most advanced frontend for SLIGE, the random level generator.
- Import/export of custom levels and whole databases of custom levels.
In 2003, Caldarone released a three-disc compilation, The King Doom Experience CD. It bundled the frontend and other utilities with the popular source ports of the time, as well as copies of all WADs in the idgames archive. The setup application purported to install all of these components to the user's computer in a single pass.