The Curse of the Alphas, also known as the Doom Bible Curse, or simply "the Bible curse", is a widely known phenomenon in the Doom community that prevents any project based on the Doom Bible from ever being completed. Causes of Doom alpha project closures include, but are not limited to, hard drive crashes, thefts, drama, sudden lost of interest, and lack of commission funds.
Main article: Doom Bible
The origins of the curse are unknown, but likely were experienced first in id Software's offices. As the lore goes, Tom Hall's ideas in the Doom Bible were simply too complex for the fast-paced shooter that John Romero and Adrian Carmack wanted. The depths of the Doom Bible go beyond the scope of even the latest video games.
The recipe for a sure Doom Alpha Project failure includes:
- Attempting the monorail: No Doom project used a fully functioning monorail system. Most Doom ports can't handle complex moving vehicles. This is probably why this feature was cut.
- Attempting multiple characters: Most Doom ports that can handle "multiple characters" implement them as "classes", with little interaction between characters, if at all. Given that each episode was to have its own characters, this adds up to a lot of dialogue to write.
- Antagonists: The Doom Bible mentions a chain of command, including a "Demon General" and other demons that were intended to be interactive characters with dialogue. Such ideas for handling this didn't show up until Strife.
- Interconnectedness: All of the locations in the Doom Bible were to be visited at will. Keeping a player active across multiple levels without bogging the player down with backtracking is a Herculean effort.
- Obsession with what was different: A lot of the original Doom levels and action are still contained within the finished game. Most Doom alpha projects give focus on the elements that set the alphas apart from the finished product, not giving thought as to why said objects were cut.
- Absence of information: Most of the later episodes do not have any data written down. Either they were in Tom's head, or they never existed.
- Doom ALPHA Project: This project was started in 2005, and ended later that same year when one of the two team members was banned from the ZDoom forums.
- Doom: Evil Unleashed: This project showed promise until arguments arose within the team over gameplay structure. The project split into two projects, one for Vanilla Doom and the other for ZDoom. Neither show much progress, although the ZDoom version does have a video showing gameplay features.
- Doom: Evil Unleashed (2007): A project started by Reinchard which was never finished, even after dozens of promising screenshots.
Near misses and exorcised projects
- It could be argued that Knee-Deep in ZDoom is an attempt of a Doom alpha project, but instead played on the strengths of the final game with some of the alpha elements that could work, including the rifle, scripted events, and multiple flavors of enemies. KDIZD also suffered many setbacks, including a full leak of the project months before release, and a possible Cease and Desist from the CEO of id Software.
- Assault on Tei Tenga takes some ideas from the Doom Bible but since the real plot is not related to the original documents in any way, save for the location of the action, the curse did not take hold.
- Doom: The Lost Episode uses alpha maps, but were heavily edited to fit modern Doom gameplay expectations. As a result, the curse did not strike.
- Favillesco Alpha Episodes: As they only use the texture resources, they are free.
What is really Happening
As with most of these projects, The idea of implementing the Doom Bible seems promising until the mapper(s) realize the difficulty of the task they have taken. This is probably why most of these projects end with just a smattering of promising screenshots and weapons, but never the meat of the Doom Bible: the plot. The reason for this is that the plot of the Doom Bible is pretty nonsensical in some places, sparse in others, and non-existent for places that sound like key areas to have. Tom Hall allowed a lot of room to make a general story, which requires talented writers to fill in the gaps. Rarely a Doom project is formed that has a well-written story with multiple endings, including Urban Brawl, and these projects have their own original stories. Given the difficulty of connecting all the dots when the dots are already fuzzy, makes for a project that is more work than it is fun. Perhaps this is why the Doom Bible itself never made it as Doom in the first place.