Vanilla CHEX.EXE supports multiplayer!

Started by Melodic Spaceship, July 08, 2023, 09:07:27 PM

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Melodic Spaceship

This is something I discovered last month and made a YouTube video about but I forgot to post about it.

A few months ago when I wanted to set up a multiplayer game with vanilla Doom, I had noticed that multiplayer in vanilla Doom is set up not by launching DOOM.EXE directly but by launching executables called IPXSETUP.EXE or SERSETUP.EXE that then launch and communicate with DOOM.EXE. That got me wondering about what would happen if I hex-edited IPXSETUP to refer to CHEX.EXE instead of DOOM.EXE. Lo and behold, it actually sets up a multiplayer game with vanilla Chex Quest:

After trying some actual multiplayer games in vanilla Chex Quest, I noticed two things. First of all, deathmatch is not supported. Only co-op is. Probably because either getting slimed from zorch didn't make sense or because the term "deathmatch" sounded too violent. Second, the game crashes when exiting a level in co-op. I later discovered that the crash is an issue with CHEX.WAD, not CHEX.EXE, as I could eliminate the crash by simply adding a PWAD with shorter intermission graphics.

Based on my findings, it seems like Digital Cafe originally planned to have at least co-op multiplayer as an option, considering that the new levels in Chex Quest have co-op starts and the box advertised multiplayer support. But maybe they experienced the crash that happens with CHEX.WAD, and they didn't have the time to figure out how to fix it so they "disabled" multiplayer support by simply not including the multiplayer drivers. Since some of the levels also have deathmatch starts, they were probably considering having deathmatch style gameplay too even earlier in development.

Anyways, if anyone wants it I can release my Chex Quest compatible hex-edits of IPXSETUP and SERSETUP as well as some PWADs I made that shorten the intermission graphics, add more multiplayer starts to the levels and changes the player sprites to be green so that everyone has a different color outside of being slimed in multiplayer. Maybe it's not as good as using source ports for multiplayer, but it is an interesting novelty.


That's a really cool find. I never really thought about it, but now that you point it out it's pretty obvious. Especially considering the co-op starts in every map. Nice work! You should definitely release it.
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Melodic Spaceship