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An Interview With Brutal Doom’s Creator
Doom is one of my favorite First Person Shooters of all time. While the base game itself is great, what really keeps me going back is the mods. From giving you four arms to quad wield your barreled shotguns to total overhauls turning the game into Metroid, Doom‘s modding community is still alive and kicking. However, my most played mod is Brütal Doom. As a total overhaul mod, Brütal Doom reshapes the Doom experience into something much more fast paced and bombastic. I got the chance to interview the mod’s creator, Sergeant Mark IV, about both Doom and the mod itself.
Doom has had a loyal modding fanbase for over twenty years now. Why do you think this game’s modding community is still going strong?
Well, there are many factors to determine this, but on my personal opinion, I think it’s due the incentive from the creators. Mario is more popular than Doom, but you don’t see many Super Mario World mods around, do you? That’s because Carmack wanted Doom to be moddable since the beginning. When devs decides to spend some extra time optimizing a game for mods, releasing manuals and modding tools, and lately releasing the source code, they are ensuring that their game will live for many years more.
Why do you believe Brutal Doom is such a popular mod?
I think it’s because the way it “modernizes” Doom. It makes everything look more real, and more alive. The whole game responds in a more plausible and dynamic way. Doom is a simple game, but back in the day when we were children with lower standards, it looked much gorier, grimmer and darker than it actually was. The most common comment I hear about Brütal Doom nowadays is “That’s Doom how I remember it when I was a kid”. Brütal Doom basically is that one “gorier, grimier and darker” version of Doom that only existed in our childhood memories, but this one is playable.
How do you feel about the fact that there are many mods of Brutal Doom itself already?
It’s good. They make different flavors of Brütal Doom that can fit on more people’s tastes.
Why remove the pistol instead of upgrade it?
I never found a way to properly balance it. You were supposed to only have a rifle on Doom‘s alpha, the zombies have a rifle, even Doomguy’s model has a rifle! Why can’t you pick it up? The rifle was undoubtedly necessary to be included. But if I were to include the rifle, why should I keep the pistol? The Rifle has longer range, and due it’s longer barrel, deals a bit more damage than the minigun, while the minigun offers highest dps and suppressing capabilities at the cost of accuracy and quick ammo depletion.
Where would the pistol would come in? Every weapon in Brütal Doom is rebalanced to have its pros and cons, and have a specific situation where one is more useful than the other, and I never could find a place for the pistol. It had to make the sacrifice for the sake of gameplay and consistency.
Where do you come up with some of the fatality ideas?
Since my childhood I imagined that in Doom 3, Doomguy would be able to tear a zombie’s torso in half, or remove his head, or holding the Pinky Demon from his mouth and ripping his face off, only using his bare hands, throwing an imp in the ground and stomping it’s head. Around at version 3 when Brütal Doom stopped being just a gore mod and started to become “The Doom how my inner child remembers” I decided to start trying to put these old ideas in action. Soon I noticed that doing these fatalities in first person would take ridiculous amounts of work and time that I couldn’t afford, so I changed my plans to include a third person mode. By doing this, I was no longer restricted to first person view, and Doomguy would be able to do much more complex movements and I no longer had to care if it would look good on first person view.
Then ideas started to pop in from many random sources. Every gruesome death I seen in a movie or game, I wanted to to make it real on Brütal Doom. The fatality where Doomguy smashes the zombieman’s head with the butt of his rifle comes from the village scene from Platoon, the curbstomps are a mix of Gears of War and American History X, I’m not sure from where I got the idea of the Revenant’s “Baseball Fatality”, but I think I have seen something similar on Mr. Bones. The fatality which he removes the Baron of Hell’s spine is from AvP 2010. Other fatalities are pretty much intuitive. The Cacodemon’s one for example, who never wanted to grab his shiny big green eye and pull it out, forcefully?
Do you also want [examples] from the monster’s fatalities?
Only if you want to.
For the monster fatalities, they had a similar initial idea: they came from an old nightmare. It’s a weird history. When I was a teen, on some rare occasions, I had dreams about Doom, Aliens, and Warcraft. On one of these Doom dreams, I was a marine, and I had a partner with me. It was a Hell on Earth scenario, and we were exploring an old ruined building when suddenly a Baron of Hell showed from the darkness and grabbed the other guy. I was unable to fire, my rifle was jammed or maybe was unloaded, I was trying to figure out why my weapon was not firing while the baron was holding the other guy from its shoulders, and slowly ripping it apart. He was done, and looked at me, I just dropped the rifle, turned in 180 degrees, and started to run and screaming like a little girl. That night I woke up the whole neighborhood. When I noticed that I could use the very same code of the fatalities to make enemies do fatalities on you, that old dream instantly came into mind.
Do you plan to have other ways to make the Mancubus Cannon and the Revenant Launcher obtainable?
No. I like how they are now. It makes part of Brütal Doom’s “lore”. You can’t find these guns on the ground like others, and can only obtain them from corpses because out of all other Marines, Doomguy was the first one, he was the only one crazy enough to pick up a chainsaw and do some in-field necropsy to see what he could salvage.
Do you think Brutal Doom will ever be “Finished”?
Yes. As much as I don’t like to think about this day, this will eventually come. Someday Brütal Doom will reach its “singularity” and there will be nothing else to be changed or improved, but I think it’s safe to say that this day is not close yet.
Thanks to Sergeant Mark IV for the interview. You can check out the Brutal Doom mod on moddb.com.