Deathmatch and more


     Almost all these words have been about the single-player DOOM experience.  There is a second side to this game that has just as long and rich a history; although it has very rarely been... recorded.  Documentation of DOOM deathmatch existed in newsgroups, chatrooms, and demo textfiles until the one and only website for serious DOOM multiplayer gaming,, finally gave it a home.  Run by professional DOOM deathmatch player Laura 'BahdKo' Herrmann, is true "one-stop shopping" for quality DOOM demos, rare information, and more.  With numerous high-quality facts, articles, profiles, and deathmatch demos from the entire DOOM history, her site is the most in-depth FPS deathmatch gaming site on the net.  She also hosts the Compet-N and the primary DOOM demo ftp site.  She even hosts a yearly tournament where players from Europe, Canada, and the USA play the classic deathmatch games that keep them playing for more.  Put your fancy graphically-unchallenged, teamplay-oriented games down for a second and read about, no experience, the game that started professional tournament PC gaming.

     In 1994, idsoftware released the source to ipxsetup.  This allowed IPX emulator server utilities like Kali, Khan, and Ifrag to be created and used for numerous games.  Some common ways to play online DOOM are with the source ports Csdoom, Vavoom, Legacy, Doomserv (which uses Zdoom1.22), Skulltag, and Zdaemon(which is a modified Zdoom).   I have only seen Zdaemon and Legacy multiplayer online demos, so I am assuming the others only have limited demo support.  IPX-emulator networks like MSN Zone and Khan still exist for the more serious deathmatch player who needs to play the real game.  DOOM is still featured as one of the games at some LANs alongside games of today; I'd say that is a true measure of its quality.

Fod of the Forest BBS in the UK sent these words describing his wealth of experience with DOOM deathmatch.  This article captures the passion and fun that is multiplayer DOOM:

10 years of deathmatch mayhem

Carrying a computer case, keyboard, monitor etc up 3 flights of stairs in an office complex every Sunday morning. That's my first memory of Doom Deathmatch. 8 hours of playing friends over a lan, then carrying the lot back down 3 flights again, all good fun.
Or so it seemed, when there is little other choice.

Then a friend and I set up Forest BBS with Game Connection and it was deathmatch from home from that time onwards!
30 modems installed, 1,000 members, we were the UK's largest Game BBS and 4 player Doom went on from lunchtime until 3am every day! It's no wonder that I cannot play much now, wrists screwed by so much fun :P

Then the Internet, or as we called it, World Wide Web, became accessible to more people and people used ZDoom to connect to each other and I found a program called ZM by TGO and Haag, soon to be renamed Doomserv and my life had to move over to American time to catch the good players from over the pond.
Doomserv provided a real, playable service for people to play Doom and chat and it was fun! Deathmatching with a ping of 400 was bearable, or seemed so in those days!

All good things must come to an end and Doomserv died a death, Doom Connector could go the same way if someone isn't able to help out with a server, I hear.

Fly's CSDoom was born and it was a boost to the number of people able to play and Internet games became easier and more fun for us with modems, player predict wasn't perfect but the list of servers grew and the online community was worldwide.

Doomers seemed to split into two groups then, CSDoom for fun or "The Zone" for serious players. Both sides dipped a toe in each others water, usually with cries of "It's so sloooow" in the case of CSDoomers trying the Zone, or "It's erratic and aim is rubbish" from Zoners trying CSDoom.

Bond provided IDE, which became (and still is) the front end of choice for lots of players, Gherkin provided Doom Connector, which was similar to Doomserv with rooms and chat functions, file sharing etc. Carnevil's Skulltag has so much potential. Zdaemon's launcher has become the program of choice for most players that just want a fragfest, like swallows dipping in and out of different games, nearly 100 servers up some nights!

There are now three main playing groups, Zdaemon, Doom Connector and Khan (which seems to have replaced "The Zone"), some players straddle all three options, others stick strictly to their own choice and vehemently defend their decision, very few nowadays use ICQ to play or Kali, some still prefer the old ZDoom command line options, but whatever your connection choice Deathmatch Doom is fun and will remain so as long as the spoilers don't get their way.

And yet, still world wide, people dutifully pack up their precious computers, lug them accross town, or even across continents when Bahdko has a LAN, and fill a room with their skill, ego and sweat :P
Long live Doom.


     In July 2001, John Romero recorded a historic, nostalgic walk through the first episode of DOOM.  Originally released for's 'Episode 1' Week event, these demos were record with Legacy1.32.   Since he was  the one who originally designed the maps, Romero's in-game commentary and actions are as priceless as hearing Shakespeare himself read a passage from Hamlet.

Opulent -- 12/2003