Brutal Doom in single-player or online Co-op

Art by Derek Yu

This tutorial uses Zandronum as the Doom port to run the game engine and Doomseeker to manage the servers. The aim is to set-up a Coop online game with minimal computer and server knowledge. However, there is also all the information you need for single player enjoyment.

A) Download Zandronum here

Install it in the folder of your choice through the installer. If you chose the portable version, Zandronum will later ask you to point in which folder you installed it.

B) Retrieve the .wad file from your Doom install folder, or dig a .wad from abandonware websites. If you don’t own Doom, the best legal way is just to get the .wad from the shareware (this is not the full game but one episode of Doom). Note that you will play on the levels from the .wad you use (Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, custom maps and so on).

Place these .wad files in the installation folder of Zandronum.

C) Download Brutal Doom version * here

(* stands for the most recent version number, 21 as I write these lines)

Place the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) in the installation folder of Zandronum.

I will begin with how to configure Zandronum to play in the best conditions, then move on to the multiplayer part with Doomseeker and how to create a simple server.

Configure the game or play single player

D) To launch Brutal Doom, three ways.

1) either drag and drop the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) on Zandronum.exe

2) either press SHIFT + right click on the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3), Open with (Or just Open if Open with is not available), Choose the default program (More apps > Look for another app on this PC) then browse through your folders and choose Zandronum.exe. From now on, opening the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) file will be enough to launch the game. It is also possible to create a shortcut for your desktop; if you use this way to launch the game, you will need to do it again for every new version of Brutal Doom.

3) either the last alternative that is to place the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) file in a folder named skins in the Zandronum folder (create skins if it does not exist), launching Zandronum.exe will be enough to take Brutal Doom into account. However, this way is not compatible with multiplayer mode and only recommended if you play single player only.

Bonus) to replace the music.

In the skins folder (to create if it does not exist) of the Zandronum folder, you can add the .wad of the Doom PSX music for Doom 1 or Doom 64 music for Doom 2 or Doom PSX music for Doom 1 & 2 & Final Doom .

Bonus) to play a custom map in single player, there are two ways.

There are many custom maps, such as hellonearthstarterpack.wad from the Brutal Doom Starter Pack – remember to kick the first switch to open the door, or this revamped final boss for Doom 2, or the alternate Doom 1 versions e1m4b and e1m8b from John Romero himself.

The first method is to place the .wad file of the map into the skins folder in the Zandronum installation directory (create skins if it does not exist), and to launch Brutal Doom as in points 1) and 2). On start up you may have to choose between Doom 1 (Ultimate Doom) and Doom2, most often you will have to pick Doom 2.

The second method (using the principle seen in point 3) that is not multi-player compatible) is to put the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) in the skins folder of Zandronum then drag and drop the .wad of your choice on Zandronum.exe Then choose between Ultimate Doom or Doom 2 (provided you have their .wad) to run the map. Some maps require one or the other to run, but it mostly is going to be Doom 2.

Once Brutal Doom and Zandronum are launched, the software should have directly detected the .wad that you have in the Zandronum folder and will ask you which version of the game to choose (if you have both Doom 1 and Doom 2 in there). You can also choose the render mode, Software will use your CPU while Hardware will use your GPU. In doubt, you can stay in Software mode.

I will now explain the different options to change in the menu to play the game in the best conditions.

Options>Set Video Mode

Change the Aspect Ratio to 16:9 if that is how your screen is, or 4:3 if you have an old monitor. Select the resolution of your screen.

Options>Customize controls:

Fire on Mouse 1, Secondary fire on Mouse 2, Use/Open on E or F, Jump on Space, Crouch on Shift, Mouse Next weapon on Mouse wheel Up, Previous weapon on Mouse wheel Down, then further down Kick on E or F, Reload on R (there is a specific second reload key to find for Brutal Doom). Of course key binding choice is subjective, just make sure you have keys for these actions

Options>Mouse options

Make sure that Enable mouse is on Yes and Always mouselook to ON. For the ones that like inverted view, you can change it in this menu.

Options>Player Setup

Change your name, your sex and the color of your armor. Here it is better to have Always Run to ON.

Options>Automap options

Change Map Color Set from Custom to Traditional Doom.

Options>Display options>OpenGL Options>Preferences

Change Sector Light Mode to Bright if you find the game too dark.

Options>HUD options

Default Crosshair, pick the one your prefer, the first choice seems good. You can also change the color of your crosshair. To see changes in real time, launch a game then come back to this options menu.

Brutal Doom Options>BD player options

HUD size to display the HUD as it originally was in Doom. If you do not want the original HUD bar, there is no need to modify these settings as the Brutal Doom HUD has new things to show such as grenades (thrown by pressing G) or akimbo rifles (press X).

Show enemy health on No.

You can now play Brutal Doom with good settings. If this is the first time that you launch Ultimate Doom:

New game>Rifle start>Knee-deep in the dead>Hurt me plenty!

Rifle start is the way Brutal Doom is meant to be played, Purist is closer to the original Doom experience. Knee-deep in the dead is the first episode, from this screen you can pick another episode from the four that Ultimate Doom contained. Hurt me plenty! is the difficulty, start with Ultraviolence if you want more challenge.

F6 for Quicksave, F9 for Quickload.

Configure the server or play multiplayer

In the installation directory of Zandronum, there is a Doomseeker folder. Launch doomseeker.exe.

Click on the red arrows at the top left to get a list of the servers. In the search bar, type in Brutal to display the public servers running Brutal Doom. However please note that if you join one, you might encounter a whole range of error messages or issues. Either an incompatibility between different versions of Zandronum, either new files to download, or « acs fatality is already defined in global ». If you happen to see this error message, you must remove the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3) from your skins folder. When you want to play the game in single player, just drag and drop the file on Zandronum.exe. Good luck!

If you intend to create a server, in Doomseeker Options>Configure>Custom servers, click on « Add » and type in Host your public ip address (if you want to know it, type in what is my ip in Google), and as a port leave 10666. Please note that it is very likely that you will need to open your port/redirect your port on the UDP port 10666. You can usually set this up on the firewall of your router, you will hopefully find a tutorial/guide specific to your router on the web. You can use that software to verify the port redirection.

Then in Doomseeker, File>Create a server. Executable must target your Zandronum folder. Type in a server name and keep the port on 10666. Game mode, Cooperative if you so desire. In the IWAD line, target the .wad file of the Doom you want to use (Ultimate Doom or Doom 2) then in the Additional WADs and files,  click on Add and target the Brutal Doom .pk3 file (currently brutalv21.pk3). This is also where you can add a custom map, by clicking on Add and targeting its .wad file. Please note that some custom maps require Doom 1 while others require Doom 2. The Map line can remain empty if you start a .wad from the very beginning, otherwise type in E1M1 or MAP01 or else to start from a specific map (Episode 1 Map 1 and so on for Doom 1, MAP01 and so on Doom 2). Make sure that Broadcast to Master is ticked.

Let us now review the tabs. In Rules, you can change the difficulty of the game (I recommend the highest one, Nightmare, because there is no permanent death in Coop), and provide the maximal number of players that you want (including the host that creates the server). In the Misc tab, you can add a password to the line Connect password. You can change other details from the gameplay in the tabs, but I will not cover them here. Once done, at the bottom of the window click on Start server. In the new window that appeared (the server), the host can click on File>Join server to enter the game (not so easy if you added a password, see below).

Your server should appear in the server list of Doomseeker, think about clicking on the red arrows to get the servers or on the refresh button to see it (the host should use this list to enter the server so that the password prompt can be filled in here). Once the server is joined, Doomseeker will automatically launch Zandronum and enter the game. Press space to join the fight (and also press space to move on to the next map at the end screen).

My knowledge and guide stop here, if you have any issue take a look at the FAQ of Brutal Doom or Zandronum.