One Designer's 15-Year Journey to Ship The 'Doom' Mod He Started as a Teen


“You have been infected with a disease that causes lucid nightmares. You have fallen asleep, you must escape!" This was the simple premise behind Total Chaos, an idea conceived by 14-year-old designer Sam Prebble. But that was a long time ago. Today, Sam Prebble is 29 years old, and on Halloween, in 2018, he finally shipped Total Chaos. It only took him 15 years.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


. . . is it just me or does 1994 to 2018 make for 25 years, not 15?


1994 was when Doom 2 launched, not when Prebble started the mod.


Technically (and its one of the fascinating things about Doom) nothing was above or below you. Doom takes place on a 2D coordinate plane, and the maps etc are just visually 3D, its all just sleight of hand.

Also, I love how 4th-wall breaking the new trailer dialogue is (unless its entirely for us and not in game at all?)


The article is a bit confusingly written regarding the timeline. If the game was just released in 2018 and took 15 years to make, then the project started in 2003. The multiple mentions of “90s-era textures” are muddying the waters. The creator, being 29 today, was only 5 years old in 1994 when Doom II came out, and was 10 years old in 1999.


There’s also a line where he’s working on the mod for a decade, then in 2006 switches to a new engine? This can’t be right.


There’s also the second sentence of the piece mentioning that he started working on it when he was 14 years old, which, when he’s now 29, means that he’s been working on it for 15 years.

Also “90s era textures” can mean a lot, especially considering that this was a mod, made for a 90s era game by someone who probably didn’t had a lot of ressources.


“Not much of the early 90s-era versions of Total Chaos still exists.”

This is a quote from the article. I submit that it is confusing.


Pretty sure that’s meant to be Doom, probably an editing oversight.


This is a really cool story, if only because I think it offers an interesting insight into being a creative. Many of us (me included!) definitely have game ideas from when we were teenagers that were never realised, many of which for their overambition or simply just not being relevant to our skillsets.

Prebble pushing their own project to completion is dope, but I can totally imagine the world in which I did have the skills to make the game that fourteen-year-old robo wanted to make. A cool moment or a deft pitch does not make a full game; I am not surprised that the process of putting your dream to the anvil and exposing it to reality, with its flaws and foibles, was neither straightforward nor smooth for Prebble.

In a way, this reminds me of reading guidance from webcomic artists in the late 2000s, so many of whom pushed back against saddling yourself with the task of creating your magnum opus as your first work. The labourious task of learning on something you treasure and that, as you improve, you can see getting worse in your rear-view mirror, seemed bad then – and, while not 1:1 with Prebble’s work, doesn’t seem entirely dissimilar.

Tons of respect to Prebble for going through with it.