Jul 4, 2012

Don't need no stinking CoD for my FPS fix.

Because these last few weeks I've indulged one of my childhood nerd-dreams, playing some of the old school FPS's online, cooperatively.  I'm talking about the various shooters pre-Quake 1 here.  Prior to my current stint my only only experience with these old timers online has been playing 2 player Duke Nukem 3D via 28.8kbit (or therearound) dial up modem, which was fun at the time but also incredibly unstable and laggy.  These days however, with fast net connections and source engine tweaks that improve net code drastically, setting up a game of say, Doom 2 online is doable even by the most technically challenged such as myself!

So far I've been able to play Doom 1 and 2 (plus Final Doom), Heretic and Hexen online and it has been a blast.  In particular, Doom 2 with the incredible amount of custom files you can tack on has been amazing.  We use a game engine program called SkullTag to run the game, which has a ton of features on its own such as OpenGL support with high resolution, decent shader sets and visual tweaks making the games look much more relevant by today's standards compared to the 320x240 or whatevs these games ran at in their prime.  Slap on a couple custom .wad and .pk3 files such as Brütal Doom and hi-res enviroment texture packs and you got yourself a whole new beast to play, completely transformed.  There's even 3D packs you can fetch that change all sprites from item pickups to enemies to 3D modeled varities, but personally I find they change the game too much, while also not really looking that impressive (at least the packs I've tried).

Brütal Doom chaingun replacement and a look at some of the textures in the hi-res replacement packs

I'm sure theres a ton of old farts like me out there with secret wet dreams of revisiting these classics, so I'm going to put down a quick and dirty guide that will cover various clients needed or recommended, and how to get an actual game running with a few custom files tacked on.

Stuff you'll need:

1. Doom 1 / 2 or both.  Be aware that these games are still sold online and downloading torrented versions is considered software piracy.  They can be bought for a pittance at Steam, for example.

2. SkullTag or another source engine program, there's at least a dozen different ones of varying quality.

3. Doom Connector 3.  This program handles server browsing and is also in my opinion the easiest tool available for setting up your own lobby that friends can join and play with you on.

4. Optional: Custom files.  Save these someplace convenient to find back to such as your Doom folder.
Doommetal.wad <- Replaces the regular midi with headbanging metal remixes of all Doom1+2 ingame music.
Brütal Doom beta 0.16 <- A total conversion mod, adds extreme amounts of gibs, execution moves, sounds and a whole new set of weapons.  Be sure to download the version relevant to the source port you're playing with (such as SkullTag).
Doom 1/2 enviroment textures <- replaces most/all textures on ground, roof, walls and things like doors and switches with high res versions that look good even at 1080p +.
Final Doom enviroment textures <- same as above, but includes the new textures from Final Doom
Skybox replacement textures <- Replaces the various ugly sky textures with slightly better ones
Doomcoop2 Brutalized Hardcore <- Replaces all Doom 1+2 levels with much, much tougher versions tuned for 2-3 players co-op. Besides adding hundreds of enemies these levels also have new areas added to them and stuff generally moved about. Great to try after you've beaten the regular levels a few times.

I am NOT cleaning that up. Brütal Doom rocket launcher replacement and an assortment of gibs and gore.

How to get this running:

First off, you need Doom 1/2, Skulltag and Doom Connector 3 installed.  Once that's done you will need to run Skulltag once to let it know where your Doom game folder is, also try launching the game to make sure it works, and you should probably take a few minutes to tweak your game options to your liking.

Done with all that, close your game and SkullTag, and launch Doom Connector 3.  You will need to register a user here, very simple stuff with no email activation required, done in a few seconds.  Once logged in, Doom Connector will also need to know where your custom files are saved and also the SkullTag folder.

Almost ready to get that shotgun out now.

Joining online games on Doom Connector 3:

Simply hit "Refresh" to get a list of running games from the masterserver and get cracking! If you are missing custom files required for any of the lobbies you're in, type /getall in the chatwindow and Doom Connector 3 will try to download and install them for you from a list of hosts.  If that doesn't work, google is your friend.

Hosting online games on Doom Connector 3:

Click "Create Room", set room name and password if you'd like the game to be private (the lobby will show up in the masterlist while open).  On the next screen click "Setup Game" to set what game and engine to run, and look through the various config options for your game.  If playing Co-op its a good idea to check "Weapons stay" for example so your friends can all get those rocket launchers. Double ammo is also something to consider, some maps are designed to run you very low on ammo, double ammo balances this slightly to be playable for 2+ players.  Also, team damage? Leave the field blank for friendly fire off, or enter a percent value to make looking where you shoot that gun slightly more important.

Next, click the second tab of the Setup Game screen and you can pick your custom files to use.  If you've configured Doom Connector 3 correctly you should see some of those custom files listed above when you hit Add PWAD or PK3.  Add some or all of them, confirm your game setup and once you and everyone you want playing with you are set to go, click "ready to play" and launch game!

Have fun!

You punched out ALL my blood!

Oh, and if you or your friends are stuck at "connecting to.." when launching the game, you will need to get technical a bit.  Go to your router setup and enable port forwarding for port 10666 and it should be resolved (might have to reboot/fetch new IP)

H4VOKK frapsed a level of play from one of our co-op sessions.  Custom files used: Brütal Doom beta 0.15, Doommetal.wad, D2reloaded.wad (level replacement megawad)

As always, if any visitors have questions or problems setting things up for themselves, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them!

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