DOOM is one of the most famous, influential, and best games of all time. It is the backbone of good game design for first-person shooters from the predecessor Wolfenstein 3D and Doom’s successor Quake. While other games have quickly followed Doom’s design principles.
John Carmack would later release the Doom Engine (ID Tech 1) source code to the public under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This allowed the game to live long after its original release in 1993.
Fans of Doom have been tinkering with the Doom Engine Source Code to make their own mods, Source Ports, and their own games like Selaco, Brutal Fate, Stellar Valkyrie, and Beyond Sunset.
In this Article about the legendary video game Doom, I will cover why you should play Doom and some cool mods and source ports you should check out.
Why play DOOM?
Doom is a great game; I am not sure why you would say it’s not. Doom’s gameplay revolves around you making tight decisions on which weapon is best to kill a demon and managing your resources like health, armor, and ammo. Each weapon you carry can either share or have its own ammo type. This makes each weapon unique to its play style.
The game encourages you to stay in the action, and never slow down, even slowing down just to play tactically is the same as suicide and no one wants that at all. Learning to play the game for what it wants you to play will be even more rewarding. Even listening to the game’s soundtrack makes it feel like you are in a gym on a routine exercise. Funny, the Doom lore states that Doom Guy can run 50 miles per hour on foot (not by vehicle).
From my experience playing these games. My first was Quake 1. Later on, I played Doom and enjoyed it, along with the use of source ports like GZDoom. Other favorites are Heretic and Hexen. One of the things I like about Doom is the constant flow of action from one level to the next. The same can be said for similar games, but here I am covering Doom and only Doom.
The progression of weapons is pretty solid starting with your fists and a pistol to the BFG 9000. Each weapon is balanced to a certain degree that makes you feel empowered over all the demons on Mars, Earth, Deimos, or even the Demon’s home called Hell. In the Doom Guy’s perspective, it’s not a “you are trapped with them” but “you are trapped with me”. The only thing the Demons fear is you.
In this section, I will discuss some of the top source ports for Doom.
There are hundreds or even thousands of Doom source ports. I have not used them, even when playing Doom for the first time. I chose GZDoom as my main source port for playing Doom Engine games.
GZDoom powers most of the mods I know and enhancements for Doom. Some of these mods will be covered, but I will give out a few things I like about GZDoom.
GZDoom is based on ZDoom but instead of software rendering like most games from the 90s. GZDoom offers OpenGL and Vulkan Rendering which makes Doom engine games feel like a modern 3D but not a completely 3D game. GZDoom allows you to have a full mouse look, be able to jump (which wasn’t possible in the original game), being able to have widescreen support, and have a higher framerate. If you are a developer or someone who likes typing in Cheat Codes. GZDoom includes a Quake-style console so you can have a visual display of what the level is loading or see if that Cheat Code was put in there correctly.
ZDaemon & Zandronum
Way back in 1993, Doom came with multiplayer, but it wasn’t online. You could only play on the Local Area Network. A year later, DWANGO (Dial-up Wide Area Network Game Operation) came out and would let you play online using Dial-Up internet at the time. Nowadays we are on Broadband internet and don’t have to deal with Dial-Up connections. While this was new for Doom at the time. Is there a way to play classic Doom with broadband internet? There is and there are two different clients to play the same game but with enhancements since both stem from the ZDoom engine (What GZDoom is based on).
Most of my experience playing Doom multiplayer is from a nice community called United States Doom & Quake Community. I sometimes hop in and enjoy what they have to offer for Doom multiplayer events. The clients we use are called ZDaemon and Zandronum. Both multiplayer source ports are very similar but offer other things to differentiate.
ZDaemon offers a unique account system, an email isn’t required besides the one for the forum. You must make a username and password and your data can be used on multiple computers. ZDaemon does have a leveling/ranking system that does sync to a leaderboard so you can see which player has the highest level in the system. Leveling up at a certain level will give you the reward to have custom profile pictures in the client and the leaderboard. Nothing too fancy and there are no cosmetics either to make Doom Guy look pretty. ZDaemon does automatically install IWAD files and Mods when you join a server that has a community-made map or weapon types.
Zandronum does offer similar features that ZDaemon has but since it is a bit newer in comparison. There’s no account system like ZDaemon and its server browser is cross-platform so other clients can use it. Zandronum does support more mods than ZDaemon like Brutal Doom so you can play multiplayer on that.
You can play on both of these clients, doesn’t have to be one over the other and I think that’s what is great about them as some of them may offer a different multiplayer experience.
In this section, I cover some of the best Doom Mods I’ve played.
Brutal Doom is a mod that makes Doom…well…BRUTAL! Brutal Doom adds more gore than the original Doom and finishing moves to make demons want to run away from Doom Guy. This also inspired Doom 4 (2016) and Eternal to add Glory Kills. Fans will love this mod as you can play Brutal Doom with its custom levels or replay with the original Doom levels from 1 and 2. People may have thought Doom was violent but Brutal Doom intensifies the violence to the extreme.
Voxel Doom is a visual mod that turns Doom into a full 3D game. Doom originally isn’t 3D, but a top-down shooter rendered in first-person point of view. Each sprite is represented in 3D form. A voxel is a 3D pixel. Walking around objects in Voxel doom will look 3D vs always facing towards you no matter the direction or position in which the player is at.
The Doom engine originally never support 3D objects. Other engines from the 90s like Ken Silverman’s BUILD Engine for legendary Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and Blood. Later versions of the BUILD Engine will use Voxels instead Sprites. Now I wonder what would happen if someone ported Doom or remade Doom in the BUILD Engine. But aside from that, Voxel Doom is a visual mod for those who are curious in trying it after years of playing the original game and realizing that it’s not a 3D game.
Doom is a fantastic game and so is the community. I enjoy playing the game as much as I enjoy discovering new things for the game. The multiplayer is fun and so are the mods like Brutal Doom. If you are a new player thinking about trying the original doom from researching or playing the reboots. I wouldn’t start hesitating to get it. I would recommend getting the game as you will find it enjoyable for endless amounts of hours.
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