A little background behind the legend that is
I started playing Doom2 regularly, in single-player mode, when Doom2
first came out in December of 1995 (my mom had been playing Udoom before
that, and it took a few months, and a winter with a lot of snow for me
to notice that it was cool). In the Spring of 1996 I found some of Xoleras'
demos on ftp.cdrom.com, and was blown away. I switched to mouse+keys, and
found several local BBS's in the area (Maryland). I went onto the BBS's
with the handle Bad Company, which was later permutated into BahdKo as
an intended unique handle for the internet.
After playing the locals a while, I met up with Kreuzin, who was known
for being the best player in the Maryland/DC/Northern VA area. I called
him a lot for games, and I knowingly ran up a number of couple hundred
dollar phone bills in the process. I had a job, so I could pay them, and
it was worth it to me. We recorded many games, and I learned a lot. When
people ask me what my deathmatch background is, I tend to reply that I'm
a former student of Kreuzin.
I went to a few netparties in different places (DMcon2, some in Massachucetts
and Pennsylvania), and then all too soon, Quake came out. I tried to play
Quake; for like 3 days I forced myself to play it single-player, but at
the end of that time, I just knew it had nothing for me. Switching from
one to the other wasn't an option, because Quake just didn't have the substance
I wanted. The things I had come to love about Doom weren't there: the screaming-fast,
difficult movement; the weapon balance that could not be shaken; the clean,
colorful environment that was 3-d enough in perception to get the job done,
regardless of it being an actual 2d engine with tricks to create a 3d appearance.
It was either continue playing Doom or, find something entirely different
to do. So, I stuck with Doom, and I have been here ever since. The
new games that come out over the years continue not to present the deathmatch
environment I like.
Can you remember the first time you played DOOM?
I don't think I remember the precise moment, no. I do know that it was
with my mom, after having watched her for a while, and it was Doom1.
Has your config changed for DOOM or do you still
use the same keys you did when you started?
It has changed. My original configuration, excluding the year I spent
as a keyboarder in 1995, was asd and space, space being double-assigned
for both backup and use. It was based upon XoLeRaS' configuration, although
he may have used a mouse button for forward. I moved my USE key off of
the spacebar and to the letter E sometime around 2001. The old config with
USE and BACKUP on the same key causes unintended, instant respawns when
you are killed while running backwards, and this was hurting my Map1 game.
Even though the instant respawns seemed helpful on Dwango5 Map1 by getting
me to the SSG almost instantly and perhaps even able to follow up on the
frag before the opponent's weapon had finished reloading, it was too crippling
against the high level Map1 players to leave it this way.
It is correct to note that my current config does not allow use of the
USE key at the same time as doing an uninterrupted straferun angled to
the left. This does not significantly impact my silent BFG. It's based
on Ocelot's config (his use key is R though), who also does not seem to
suffer any practical difficulty from this.
You played in many tournaments over the last 10
years... and that is partially documented on doom2.net. Was the skill
level of the players in DOOM's heyday as good as today?
There's a number of issues to discuss regarding this question.
One way to take it would be: Is the overall skill level among the majority
of the deathmatch players higher or lower than it was in pre-1997?
In my opinion, the skill level of the average player is higher today; this
is due to both the huge amount of information available on the web as opposed
with back then, plus the unification of the general deathmatch population
worldwide by the internet and the popular client-server doom ports such
as Zdaemon. In pre-1997, the average deathmatch player had a group of locals
that typically functioned as a closed environment (for example, Dwango
servers and APCi BBS's). These closed environments encouraged high skill
playing, but only to a point. It was possible for the top players
on BBS's to become comfortable with their current skill level, and because
of not having regular exposure to even tougher players, perhaps not reach
their full potential. The general skill was such that keyboarders were
not all that uncommon, and technical information such as the particulars
of Silent BFG and wallrunning had not reached everyone. People did play
games with non-locals on occasion but for the average deathmatch player
it was not common. Long distance games cost money (which was prohibitive
for the under-18 crowd), and the connection quality of such games was questionable.
Another way to take the question is: Are the top players today of higher
skill than the top players from pre-1997? This question is not answered
by one person who was simply there, such as me, but through the critical
viewing of demos by people with a depth of understanding. In that context,
I believe the top players of today to be the best ever in Doom's history
It is worth noting that a minority of the players from pre-1997 refused
to record demos, reportedly to keep their tactics secret. This selfish
decision has relegated them to obscurity in the Doom deathmatch scene of
today. We might hear a name, and be told that the name is that of a great
player, but without demos to back up the assertions the general deathmatch
scene does not have a functional memory of them.
There is a third point that your question addresses. So many people
assume that the "Golden Years" and "Heyday" of Doom was the years of 1995
and 1996, pre-Quake release. I was there and I'm here to tell you that
the heyday of Doom deathmatch, as compared with back then, is TODAY. Here
are four reasons why.
* The players of today are all here because they want to be, and
because they like Doom deathmatch for what it is. In 1995-1996, they
were here because it was the only game in town. On the BBS's of old,
would encounter people with strange attitudes that you just don't see
today. The number of players (within what's needed to keep a scene
viable) does not have a direct bearing on what would be perceived as
quality of the Doom scene.
* There is a vast world of information now available on the internet
about Doom that didn't exist back then. The increased information has
empowered the average doom player beyond what we had in the early years.
* We are truly once scene now, thanks to the combination of the
availability of inexpensive, residential high speed internet service,
internet-playable and easy to use Doom deathmatch ports such as Zdaemon,
and the IPX/SPX to TCP encapsulation tools that have in the past few
years enabled Doom itself to be playable over the internet on the Win98
platform. Being one true scene as opposed with segregated locally as
the pre-1997 days has increased the overall skill levels of our games.
* As I mentioned before, the best players in the history of Deathmatch
so far are playing today. Once you come to understand that, you
that you aren't missing much by not having been around in 1995, except
perhaps a couple hundred dollars in long distance bills.
You hold yearly DOOM tournaments in Virginia (more
of a get together with DOOM deathmatch as the main focus). What has
been most rewarding from that experience?
Getting to LAN doom with everyone. All of the work required to make
a lan work well can be a pain in the ass, though.
These days, I get a bigger kick out of going to other people's Doom
LANs. I've gotten to visit far and wide, including internationally. The
people I have met on these trips have been enriching from a personal perspective,
as well as Doom.
Do you watch demos of other games?
No, although if Warcraft2 had demo recording ability, I'd consider it.
What is your favorite source port of DOOM and
I am, specifically, a "Classic" doom2 enthusiast. This means that I
personally prefer the network feel and game characteristics of the original
Doom2.exe, including some things which could be considered limitations
in the game. My favorate doom port for classic style doom2 games is Prboom
version 2.2.4, because for me, the performance and feel most closely resemble
It would be incomplete not to mention Zdaemon in the context that I
really like what it has done for the doom scene. Even though I am known
to turn down offers for games in Zdaemon and suggest a Prboom game instead,
it's not because I don't appreciate Zdaemon. I like Zdaemon but I would
just rather not play it much, if that makes sense. Spectating zdaemon games
is certainly fun. The recent developments in Skulltag make it have some
promise too, although one really has to rip the hell out of the client's
default config so that one is not exposed to things like skins, and make
sure to play it on classic maps with no weird, strange, and otherwise unpleasant
You have edited some DOOM maps in the past, will
we ever see a publicly released map from you?
I don't remember editing any maps but, I do have one deathmatch map
out. It's named the ever-appropriate bahdko1.wad, and you can get
it off of doom2.net's deathmatch wad list.
Can you name some wad releases for DOOM that you
Dwango5 .... Dweller2 ... some of Danzig's stuff... and
my own release bahdko1.wad? Thats kind of bad huh. I did say that I was
a "Classic" enthusiast. There's lots of other good maps out there, I think
Toke has some good ones out, but I'm really simple in terms of my map repertoire.
You have by far the best archive of DOOM deathmatch
demos ever, how often do you watch them?
I don't have time to watch demos out of doom2.net's archive anymore.
I've watched many of the demos in the past, but nowadays I don't go through
them and watch them. I do tend to watch some new demos though, both deathmatch
and single player, especially ones by guys like Anders Johnsen, Ocelot,
Your movement skill from deathmatch play translates
well to single-player play; but I get the impression that you don't play
SP very often. Why is that?
The one and only reason is lack of time. It's not a quick and easy thing
for me to work doom single player with any skill to speak of. I would love
to be building my movement and aim skills in doom single player and participating
in c-n, but I just can't right now.
Who are some of your toughest opponents in deathmatch
and what was it like to play them for the first time?
The hardest deathmatch games I've ever experienced were with Ocelot
and Anders Johnsen.
I first played them both at the same netparty, for the same week. It
was a shocking, humbling, and amazing experience. I flew out to Norway
in December of 2000 for Andy's netparty in Stavanger, where I tangled with
them both in map1 over LAN for the first time.
Anders is supremely fast and agile, with aim that cannot be shaken,
and a willingness to utilize his agility and speed to the max. He would
appear in my face and kill me at times when my experience said that he
should not have been able to, and he just mowed me down over and over again.
It didn't take long for me to start feeling helpless under what seemed
like a rapid-fire assault that could not be stopped, no matter what I did.
Anders on LAN is just unbelieveable. The demos going around of him are
a bit deceptive because they might lead you to believe that you can camp
him and play highly strategically, and make a difference. You have to play
him to get the full experience, is my opinion.
My first games with Ocelot were not unlike beating my head on a wall.
He effectively turned Map1 into a big, confusing mess in which there never
seemed to be a right thing to do. Ocelot's name has gotten around now,
but back then I didn't know him from a hole in the head. I knew from demos
that he had stunningly good movement and a tendancy to aim like a sadist's
idea of an autoaim bot, but I didn't realize what was in store for me when
I went into Map1 on LAN with him. I got fragged, over and over again, and
couldn't do anything about it. He tended to beat me worse than Anders did,
but he didn't do it in the same way. He wouldn't take the trouble to dodge
15 rockets coming down a long corridor so that he could come to the top
and kill me, even though he *could*. He was very much the master strategist
on Map1, with movement skills that were so good as to resemble art, and
he still is today.
Do you ever wish you could replay them now?
I do play them. Ocelot is around, and we can play somewhat lagged games
over the net (130 - 140ms ping usually). He actually made it to my last
LAN, where he kicked my ass harder than ever (check out the 50 - 3 game
in my netparty documentation section on Doom2.net. My three frags are somewhat
luck based, isnt that sick?). Anders has his own server up on Zdaemon off
and on, and we use Microsoft Zone's IPX room on occasion.
Does anyone from DOOM's past ever contact you
for a game or just to talk?
Once in a while, yeah. But it's not all that often, and it's not like
I'm getting back with old friends in some way. My best Doom friends are
in the live scene of today, not from the past.
Do you still play online deathmatch games?
Doom, sure. I consider myself an active player, I just don't necessarily
play every day or week. I use Kahn and Microsoft Zone to play doom2.exe
over the internet, and occasionally use Prboom, Zdaemon, and Skulltag.
What do you think about the future of DOOM demos?
I've been maintaining a demo archive since 1996, when I established
EFnet #doom2 and put up a fileserver (FileSv^QS) to send doom files around.
I have always felt that the value of Doom demos for the future is two-pronged.
The most important thing they do is educate new and advancing players on
movement, aim, and strategic possibilities. The other thing that they do
is maintain a historical perspective on who did what, when. In the interest
of historical value, I never modify any of the demos I redistribute, such
as swapping the player POV's or removing pauses. Not only do these kinds
of changes modify the timestamp of the demos, but it can confuse player
identities later on. Pauses can be removed by the final recipient, there's
no need for a distributor to do that. The distribution of valuable Doom
demos will certainly continue as long as I am in the scene; it is an important
part of what we do to propogate knowledge and support the building of skill.
Are you ready for DOOM3?
From the screenshots and the movies I have seen lately, it looks like
it will be an interesting game for single player, similar to Halflife maybe?
It sure looks nice. I think I'll want to play through it because of the
good things it will offer, not because it has any link in my mind to Doom2
(I also played through Jedi Knight and Unreal, btw). I'm suspecting that
it will be a high quality, different kind of game from Doom2 and our doom
deathmatch ports, and people will be able to enjoy both without coming
to hate one or the other due to perceived shortcomings. Kind of like apple
pie and pizza. You wouldn't be inclined to mix them up together before
eating them, or compare them, but they both have a place. Both very well
could be eaten by the same person without a perceived conflict, and without
one replacing the another.
Opulent -- 12/2003