IKEA Tradfri smart lamp with 108kb RAM can sort of run Doom

JC Torres - Jun 14, 2021, 10:11pm CDT
IKEA Tradfri smart lamp with 108kb RAM can sort of run Doom

It has long been both an insider joke as well as a challenge that the game Doom, at least the original one by id Software from 1993, can run on anything that qualifies as a computer. Of course, the latter can be defined as anything that has a microprocessor, which includes most non-trivial consumer electronics these days. Smart appliances are even better targets for these attempts, and that is indeed what a couple of hackers attempted in making IKEA’s Tradfri smart lighting run the game, though with a bit of necessary cheating.

Although it looks crude by today’s standards, the original Doom game was by no means simplistic. It was one of the first games of its time to utilize 3D graphics technology and required no small amount of work to make it fit in the extremely constrained computers of that age. Those extremely constrained computers almost resemble the microcontrollers and single-board computers of today, making it the perfect challenge to retrofit the game into one of those modern but equally limited computers.

The group over at next-hack took that challenge and tried to apply it to an off-the-shelf device that was not meant to run Doom or any game at all for that matter. They settled upon the IKEA Tradfri smart lamp, specifically the newer GU10 345 RGB LED model, that happened to run on an 80MHz Cortex M33 processor. That was enough CPU for Doom, but that was where things started to get more difficult.

The smart lamp only had about 108kb of RAM, far smaller than the 384kb of the GBA port of Doom. Of course, that was precisely the kind of hacking challenge that the group thrived on. Even with that solved, the port also needed to actually attach a display, make audio and input work, and all the other pieces that will make Doom actually playable.

In the end, they did get Doom to run on the IKEA Tradfri. Technically, it was actually running on the Tradfri’s microcontroller unit (MCU) with an attached display since the smart lamp doesn’t have its own. Perhaps in the near future, IKEA will launch a smart lamp that does have some form of screen, and then it might be more trivial to port Doom to that device. For what purpose? For science, of course!


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