The Visplane Overflow is a fatal error that occurs in Vanilla Doom when there are more than 128 unique floor and ceiling surfaces (visplanes) on the screen simultaneously. The visplanes that cause overflows are most usually the furthest away from the player.
BSP v2.2 added features to detect and prevent visplane overflows, by changing how Subsectors are laid out. It used a heuristic which was based on guesses about the true causes of visplanes, and which was tested against actual WADs, in some cases positively identifying the exact location the player would need to be to cause a visplane overflow. When the exact cause of visplane overflows was found and fixed -- after the release of the Doom source code -- BSP v3.0 removed the code which attempted to guess about them, and left only the code which helped prevent them from affecting earlier versions of Doom.
The restriction on the number of visible visplanes was eliminated completely in BOOM; removal of the visplane limit is a standard feature of almost all modern source ports. For technical information about visplanes, see Doom rendering engine.
- The Truth About Visplane Overflows, from Lee Killough's archive