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    BFG FAQ by TFabris

    Version: 1.3 | Updated: 12/28/95 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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                  _/_/_/_/    _/             _/_/_/_/_/           FAQ
    ================ The BFG FAQ, Version 1.3, December 28, 1995 ================
                    Frequently Asked Questions About the BFG9000
                                   By Tony Fabris
                        Contributors, in alphabetical order:
                    Doug Bora ....... Content, Editing, Proofing
                    Tod Bouris ............ Content, Playtesting
                    Chris McAllen ......... Content, Playtesting
                    American McGee .............. Technical Data
                    Dean Stretton ..................... Proofing
    ================================= Disclaimer ================================
      This text is intended to give the public information about some elements
      of the computer game Doom and its sequels, by id Software. This text was
      not written by id Software, so bugging them about its contents is
      probably a very bad idea.
      Additionally, the computer game referenced in the text is of an adult
      and graphic nature. In no way is this text intended to promote violence
      of any kind. Any references to violence in this text are meant in
      relation to the playing of the computer game, not real violence. The
      author is adamantly non-violent.
      Additionally, this text is being presented in the form of a text-only
      computer file. Any illegal or damaging activity related to the use or
      transfer of this or any other computer file is not the responsibility of
      the authors.
    =========================== Trademark Information ===========================
      All specific names included herein are trademarks and are so
      acknowledged: id Software, DOOM, DOOM II, THE ULTIMATE DOOM, QUAKE. Any
      trademarks not mentioned here are still hypothetically acknowledged.
    ============================= Copyright Notice ==============================
       This article is Copyright (c) 1995 by Tony Fabris. All rights reserved.
      You may make and distribute copies of this work in original form, so long
      as the copies are exact and complete, the copies include the copyright
      notice in its entirety, and the copies are in electronic form. You may
      not charge any sort of a price or fee relating to any copies of this work
      in any form.
    =========================== Table of Contents ===============================
      Section 0 - Introduction
        0A. What is this FAQ about?
        0B. How was the information is this FAQ obtained?
        0C. How accurate is this information?
        0D. Where is the latest version of this and other FAQs?
      Section 1 - BFG Basics
        1A. What is the BFG9000?
        1B. What does 'BFG' mean?
        1C. Where can I find the BFG in the game?
        1D. What is the cheat code for the BFG?
        1E. Why is the BFG missing in my version?
        1F. What's this I hear about the original BFG?
      Section 2 - The Direct Hit
        2A. What is a direct hit?
        2B. How much damage does a direct hit do?
        2C. What are the limitations of a direct hit?
      Section 3 - The Blast Area
        3A. What is the blast area?
        3B. How much damage does the blast area do?
        3C. How long does the blast effect last?
        3D. How exactly does the blast area work?
        3E. What are the limitations of the blast area?
        3F. How many targets can it hit?
        3G. How does altitude affect it?
        3H. If I am only partially exposed, do I only take partial damage?
        3I. What happens if the attacker is fragged before detonation?
        3J. What about multiple BFG shots?
      Section 4 - Deathmatch Techniques
        4A. What is considered unfair when using the BFG?
        4B. What is the best way to defend against the BFG in a deathmatch?
        4C. What is the best way to attack with the BFG in a deathmatch?
        4D. What is the Silent BFG trick?
        4E. What is the Level One Strafe trick?
      Section 5 - Submitting Corrections
        5A. Common misconceptions
        5B. I think the FAQ is in error. How do I get it corrected?
    -- Section 0 - Introduction -------------------------------------------------
    0A. What is this FAQ about?
      A FAQ file, stated simply, is a Frequently Asked Questions file.
      This FAQ file describes, in as much detail as possible, the behavior of
      the BFG9000 weapon in the MS-DOS version of the games Doom, Doom II, and
      The Ultimate Doom. It is not intended to answer general questions about
      the game itself. Please refer to the other FAQ files for help in other
      areas of the game. You can also frequent the rec.games.computer.doom.*
      newsgroups for more information.
      We began writing this FAQ out of necessity. We were frustrated at the
      apparent inconsistencies in the way the weapon seemed to behave during
      game play, especially during deathmatches. There were times when we
      would get killed by the weapon when we thought we were completely safe.
      Conversely, there were times when we thought we had used the weapon
      correctly against an opponent, but they walked away unscathed.
      Our intent is to provide players with enough information to attack
      effectively with the BFG, and to correctly defend against it in a
      deathmatch. Our hope is that this information will give players a new
      attitude toward the weapon. We want to transform it from "The weapon we
      love to hate" into "The thinking man's weapon".
    0B. How was the information in this FAQ obtained?
      The primary source of information was American McGee at id Software. He
      patiently answered our questions while this FAQ was in its draft stages.
      He corrected several serious errors in our descriptions of the way the
      weapon calculates damage. He provided us with a great deal of detailed
      information, and reviewed the file during its development. His help was
      invaluable in putting this FAQ together.
      Most of the other information here is a result of careful testing during
      game play. Testing was performed on Pentium computers running the MS-DOS
      versions of Doom II and The Ultimate Doom. Tests were done both in single
      player mode and in 4-player deathmatch mode. Testing was performed on the
      regular levels as well as custom made levels. In some cases, a special
      .WAD file was created to test situations that would be difficult to
      reproduce with the regular levels.
    0C. How accurate is this information?
      Fairly accurate. Accurate enough to base your playing strategies on.
      However, it has not been tested with every single version of Doom, and
      there may be differences among platforms. In addition, at the time of
      this writing, we were unable to verify every single item with American
      McGee. Quake is the big project at id Software at the moment, and he
      didn't have a lot of time to devote to us. As a result, some items in
      this file are strictly conjecture, regardless of how carefully they were
      tested. Please see section 5 if you suspect this FAQ contains erroneous
    0D. Where is the latest version of this and other FAQs?
      The latest Doom-related FAQ files and other documents can be found at
      all of the Doom mirror FTP sites. The central location for the Doom
      mirrors is at ftp.cdrom.com. However, that site is usually quite busy,
      and you may need to locate another mirror site from which to download.
      Listing all the mirror sites is beyond the scope of this document.
      See the 'DOOM: Rec.Games.Computer.Doom FAQ' or 'DOOM: FTP and WWW
      Sites' postings in the rec.games.computer.doom.* newsgroups for a
      complete list.
      The URL of the directory that contains the Doom FAQ files (usually in
      TXT format, compressed in a ZIP file) is:
      The latest official version of the BFG FAQ is also posted monthly to
      the rec.games.computer.doom.announce and .playing newsgroups. This is
      part of the RGCD Periodic Information Postings (PIPs). If your news
      server does not keep the articles long enough for you to find one of
      the PIPs, they are archived at:
      The official location for the hypertext version of the BFG FAQ is
      DoomGate on the World Wide Web. The hypertext version is highly cool.
      Check it out here, along with some other good documents:
    -- Section 1 - BFG Basics --------------------------------------------------
    1A. What is the BFG9000?
      The BFG9000 (or BFG) is arguably the most powerful weapon in the
      computer games Doom, Doom II, and The Ultimate Doom. It is also the
      most difficult weapon to use well in a deathmatch (multi-player
      competition), because it does not behave in a simple 'point and shoot'
      When you have it in your arsenal, the BFG is selected by pressing the
      7 key on your keyboard.
      When you pull the trigger, there is an excruciatingly long pause as the
      weapon warms up. Then a large green ball of plasma is emitted from its
      barrel. The plasma ball flies in the direction you fired it until it
      hits a target or a wall. Like all weapons in Doom, it will fly straight
      through decorative objects like torches or trees.
      When the green ball hits a solid object, it detonates and does two
      types of damage: Direct Hit and Blast Area. Each damage type is
      outlined in its own section, later in the FAQ.
    1B. What does 'BFG' mean?
      The general consensus is that BFG stands for Big Fragging Gun. Well,
      that's the G-rated version at least. That's from Hank Leukart's
      "Official" Doom FAQ.
      The term 'frag' is used in Doom to represent a confirmed kill in a
      deathmatch game. This comes from the idea that in a deathmatch, you are
      killing your fellow space marines. The definition of frag, according to
      the dictionary, is:
        frag Slang. Verb, transitive
        fragged, fragging, frags
          To wound or kill (a fellow soldier) by throwing a grenade or
          similar explosive at the victim: "He got fragged. Blown away"
          (Bobbie Ann Mason).
      Other good name suggestions that have found their way to the authors
      are "Big Funny Gun" (Chris Somers) and the much more logical "Blast
      Field Gun" (William D. Whitaker). As of this writing, we have not
      confirmed any of these with id.
    1C. Where can I find the BFG in the game?
      Listing all the locations that the BFG can be found is beyond the scope
      of this document. For detailed information on the location of all
      weapons, please consult the other FAQ files. Keep in mind that the BFG
      appears more often in deathmatch games than it does in single-player
    1D. What is the cheat code for the BFG?
      While you are playing the game, type the keys IDKFA to give your marine
      all weapons, keys, and ammunition. Then press the 7 key to select the
      Note: This cheat code is disabled in multi-player games and single-
      player nightmare-skill games.
    1E. Why is the BFG missing in my version?
      If you perform the above cheat correctly, but do not get the BFG, you
      may be playing the shareware version of Doom. You must purchase the
      commercial version of Doom from a retailer or id Software before the
      BFG can glorify your screen.
    1F. What's this I hear about the original BFG?
      The current version of the BFG is not the way id's designers
      originally envisioned it. According to a recent thread on the
      newsgroups, the BFG behaved quite differently in a pre-release beta
      of Doom. Several people independently reported this feature:
      Apparently, it worked by shooting multiple streams of different types
      of plasma and fireballs. Because this required an unusually large
      number of moving objects, it tended to slow down the game. Therefore,
      the BFG was redesigned with the invisible blast area that is used
      This may explain why the behavior of the blast area is so unusual.
      It seems that the trace calculations still use some of this old code.
      See section 3A for more information.
      Note: Please don't bug the authors for copies of the Doom beta. We
      don't have one. The information in this section was obtained by
      reading a newsgroup thread.
    -- Section 2 - The Direct Hit ----------------------------------------------
    2A. What is a direct hit?
      A direct hit happens when the BFG's green plasma ball directly hits a
      target. The target can be a monster, an exploding barrel, or an opposing
      player in a multi-player game.
    2B. How much damage does a direct hit do?
      A direct hit with the BFG will cause a random amount of damage between
      100 and 800 points. Keep in mind that these are the base values as
      stored in the game engine. The actual amount of damage taken by a
      player is modified depending on skill level. How much is it modified?
      We don't know.
      A note about skill levels: Testing seems to show that weapons always
      do the same amount of damage to monsters, but that the player objects
      can absorb the weapons better at lower skill levels. Therefore, it
      takes more shots to kill a player at lower skill levels, and fewer
      shots at higher skill levels. This is why some players prefer to
      deathmatch at the higher skill levels: The frags are quicker that way.
      If your target is lucky enough to survive a direct hit, he is still
      susceptible to damage from the blast area. This happens sometimes in a
      deathmatch. Since there is a brief pause between the direct hit and the
      blast area calculation, your victim may go through several stages of
      fear and elation in the space of one second:
        1) Victim sees the BFG coming towards him (Uh-oh.)
        2) BFG scores a direct hit (D'oh!)
        3) Victim realizes he has miraculously survived (Woo-Hoo!)
        4) The flash damage kills him a moment later (D'oh!)
    2C. What are the limitations of a direct hit?
      The direct hit is not limited by the same parameters as the blast area.
      There is no range limit, and the damage does not decrease with distance.
      The hard part is that the BFG's plasma ball travels at a fixed speed,
      and can be avoided by an alert deathmatch player. The reference number
      for the BFG ball's speed, as stored in the .EXE file, is 25. For
      comparison, rockets travel at 20 and plasma gun shots travel at 25.
      If it seems like this is too fast, and would not be easy to avoid,
      remember that the plasma gun fires in a continuous stream. The BFG can
      only be fired once every few seconds. The BFG's green ball is also very
      bright and large on the screen. All of those factors make it generally
      easier to avoid in a deathmatch game.
      A direct hit in a deathmatch (against good players) is usually the
      result of luck, or the result of a player that did not know the BFG ball
      was coming towards him. See section 4 for details of a trick that can
      help you achieve the latter scenario.
      The direct hit can only damage one target. If there are two targets
      very close together, the green ball can only hit one of them directly-
      whichever one it touches first.
    -- Section 3 - The Blast Area ----------------------------------------------
    3A. What is the blast area?
      After the green plasma ball detonates, and after the damage is
      calculated and deducted from the target that received the direct hit (if
      any), the area effect of the BFG is calculated. Targets that fall within
      a specially defined area will take varying amounts of damage.
      Simply put, the blast area is like an imaginary 'cone' or 'fan' of 20
      damage traces that briefly extends outward from the attacking player.
      The cone always points in the direction that the weapon was fired. For
      instance, if you originally fired the weapon in the northwest direction,
      the cone will always face northwest, regardless of which direction
      you're facing at the moment of detonation.
      Note that this does not mean that the attacker must continue to face in
      that direction. The attacker is free to turn away from his targets, as
      long as he moves to a position that keeps this imaginary cone pointed at
      them. Common misconceptions are that you must be facing either the
      targets, the detonation point, or the same direction as the weapon was
      fired. None of those things are necessary in order to inflict damage.
      Also note that this imaginary cone has no relation whatsoever to the
      detonation point. The location of the detonation point is only important
      for the direct hit (see section 2). Only the moment of detonation is
      important, not the location. It is possible to have the green ball
      detonate twenty miles away in a completely different room at a totally
      different altitude, but the blast can still cause damage right next to
      The paragraphs above cover the basic concepts of the blast area. More
      detailed information can be found in section 3D, below.
    3B. How much damage does the blast area do?
      The 20 traces that make up the blast area's damage cone each do a
      random amount of damage between 5 and 15 points. Again, these are only
      the base values stored in the game engine, and may do different amounts
      of real damage at different skill levels. See section 2B for more info.
      Because these traces radiate outward from the attacker in a fan shape,
      a target will more likely be hit by a given trace if he is close to the
      attacker. Therefore, targets closer to the attacker will generally take
      more damage because they are hit by more traces.
      If a target is very close to the attacker (for instance, standing right
      next to him), the target might be within the hit range of all 20 traces.
      The amount of blast area damage in this situation would be between 100
      and 300 points. However, all 20 traces would not necessarily be absorbed
      by that target, and might move on to other targets. See section 3F,
      below, for more information on this phenomenon.
      This blast damage is calculated in addition to the direct hit damage (if
      any), making the total possible damage points for the BFG a whopping
      1100 points.
      A note about random numbers:
      A phenomenon known as the 'bell curve' happens when you combine the
      outcome of multiple random numbers. Players of book-and-paper role-
      playing games may recognize it. In those games, you would often use
      three dice to generate a random statistic. In theory, adding the three
      dice would generate a random number between 3 and 18. But in reality,
      the actual results would be weighted towards the middle of the range,
      around eleven. The odds of getting a three or an eighteen are rare
      because you'd have to roll 1+1+1 or 6+6+6. There's only one possible
      combination for each outcome. On the other hand, rolling an eleven is
      relatively easy: 6+4+1, 5+5+1, 3+3+5, etc. If you were to graph the
      outcome of a thousand rolls, the graph would be shaped like an arc or
      a bell, with more rolls coming up in the middle of the range of
      possible values. Hence the name 'bell curve'. The role-playing games
      use this to make certain random statistics more fair.
      This applies to the damage traces, as well, because they are
      essentially a group of multiple random numbers. For instance, if you
      hit your victim with all twenty traces, the possible damage should be
      between 100 and 300 points. But the odds are that the total damage
      will more likely be around 200 points, due to the bell curve. The odds
      of doing 100 or 300 points damage in that situation would be extremely
    3C. How long does the blast effect last?
      Testing has shown that there is a brief time window in which a hapless
      player can wander into the damage cone after detonation and still take
      some blast damage.
      There seems to be two factors at work here:
      1) There is a brief pause between the moment of detonation and the
         moment that the damage traces begin to work. This pause seems to
         have been inserted deliberately by the designers. The exact
         duration of this pause is not known. Some evidence suggests that
         the pause is about four-tenths of a second long, but this is not
         confirmed. It's not known exactly how it affects the trace
         calculations, but it seems as though all calculations begin
         -after- the pause.
      2) It seems as though the traces are not calculated instantly. If a
         player moves into the damage cone during the trace calculations
         (after the deliberate pause), he might still take some damage. At
         the time of this writing, the exact duration of the calculations
         has not been determined. It is possible that the trace calculations
         work more slowly when there are many things happening in the game,
         i.e., when there are a lot of monsters on the screen. However, this
         has not been confirmed, and we might even be imagining the whole
         thing. It's possible we're mistaking this for the deliberate pause
         mentioned above. This question will hopefully be addressed in more
         detail in a later version of this FAQ.
    3D. How exactly does the blast area work?
      The blast area is a spread of 20 invisible traces that radiate outward
      from the attacking player. The damage for the traces is calculated
      shortly after the green ball detonates against a target or a wall.
      The traces radiate outward in an imaginary cone that is roughly as wide
      as the player's view, i.e., about 45 degrees to either side of the
      centerline. The cone always points the same direction as the attacker
      was facing when he fired the weapon. For instance, if you fire the
      green ball in the southeast direction, your cone of traces will always
      radiate towards the southeast.
      Regardless of how much you run and turn between the time you fire and
      the time the green ball detonates, the traces will always radiate from
      your location. Think of it like a tank with a gyroscopically stabilized
      turret: only the cone's origin point moves around with you, not its
      direction. The cone's direction remains fixed on the same compass
      From a technical point of view, the game engine does not actually keep
      track of the cone while you're running around. That's just the effect
      it seems to have. Most likely, it simply stores the vector of the
      direction of the green ball's flight in a variable. When the time comes
      for the ball to detonate, the variable is retrieved to begin the
      calculations for the traces.
      Because of this, the cone's direction is based on the direction that
      the green ball was actually fired, not where you were when you pulled
      the trigger. As far as the game engine is concerned, you haven't fired
      it until it actually leaves the barrel of the gun.
      Here's a diagram of how it works:
            * <- Blast
                 detonates         \   Damage  /
                 here               \   Cone  /
                                     \       /
            ^                         \     /
            |                          \   /
            |                           \ /
            X          X -->             X
        Attacker      Attacker       Attacker
        fires BFG     runs east      is here at
        northward                    detonation
      Note that this diagram is foreshortened. The detonation point would
      have to be quite far away in order for the attacker to run that far.
      But the principle is the same, regardless of how far the green ball
      flies: The damage cone is calculated after the green ball detonates.
      When the green ball detonates, the traces are calculated one at a time,
      using the same criteria for calculation that the engine might use for a
      bullet: If there is a solid object (a wall, etc.) between the target
      and the attacker, the trace is harmlessly absorbed by the object. With
      one exception: In order to hit a target with a bullet, you had to be
      facing the target. You don't have to be facing your target in order to
      do damage with one of the traces.
      Quick review:
        - The cone of traces always points in the same compass direction, the
          direction you originally fired the BFG.
        - You sort of 'carry the cone around' with you as long as the green
          ball is still flying.
        - When the green ball detonates, the cone of traces does its damage
          depending on where you're standing at that moment, and who is in
          the cone.
        - You do not have to be facing the targets to do damage, you only
          have to maneuver into a position where the cone is pointing at your
    3E. What are the limitations of the blast area?
      There is no range limit for the blast area, but the farther a target is
      from the attacker, the less of a chance it will be hit by a given trace,
      therefore the less damage it takes.
      Because of this, the effective range of the blast area ends up being in
      the neighborhood of 1000 units. At the outer edges of this range, a
      deathmatch opponent will only get hit by one trace, taking only 5-15
      points of damage. Farther out from that range, it becomes increasingly
      unlikely that a target will be hit by any traces at all. Of course,
      larger targets such as spiderdemons have a wider radius, and therefore
      the BFG's effective range is slightly farther against such targets.
      Keep in mind that there is no part of the program that explicitly
      prevents traces from hitting targets outside the 1000 unit range. It
      can happen, and does in fact happen, it is simply less likely. For the
      purposes of learning how to use the weapon in a deathmatch game, base
      your strategies on the idea that its main effective range is about 1000
      units, and you'll be OK.
      If you are unfamiliar with the Doom engine's units, remember that a
      standard teleporter pad is 64 units across. Line up 16 of those and
      you've got a basic idea of what 1000 units is.
      The blast damage is also limited to targets that have an unblocked
      line of sight to the attacking player. This does not mean the attacker
      must see the target. It means that the attacker must be in a position
      where his traces can see the target, i.e., he could see the target if
      he were facing in that direction.
    3F. How many targets can it hit?
      The blast area can only hit as many targets as its traces can touch.
      Since one trace can damage more than one target, you can theoretically
      kill more than 20 targets. In tests on an artificially created grid of
      monsters, it is not uncommon for a single shot to kill 25 imps. But in
      regular game play, rarely are that many targets standing in such a
      perfectly aligned pattern. Usually, some individual targets will soak
      up more than one trace, while other traces miss targets completely.
      The traces are calculated on a 'first come, first fragged' basis. For
      each trace, the damage is calculated and subtracted from the target and
      the trace. Where applicable, any target that dies from the trace is
      removed from the map. Then the engine moves on to the next target in
      the line of that trace. When the trace runs out of damage, the
      calculation routine moves on to the next trace.
      Here is how it works:
      (Please note: In the discussion below, we refer to 'line of sight'
      loosely. Remember that the attacker does not need to be looking at his
      targets to inflict damage.)
      In the following scenario, imagine that the attacker is standing in a
      direct line with several targets (imps, perhaps) lined up in front of
      him, and the green ball detonates on a wall somewhere:
      Attacker:  X->         X X X X X X X       Detonation point: X
      The first couple of imps are close to the attacker. They crumble,
      having soaked up some of the traces that are pointing ahead of the
      attacker. The next few imps are a little farther away, and absorb some
      more of the traces, but not as many. They absorb fewer traces for two
        1) because the imps in front of them absorbed some of them
           already, and
        2) because they are farther away and the traces are more
           spread out.
      But they still die. The next imp gets damaged, but does not die. He
      has soaked up the last trace that was headed in that general direction.
      The last imp is not damaged at all because there are no more traces
      left in his direction.
      In order for the above scenario to work, the targets must be perfectly
      aligned. For instance, in the following scenario, all of the targets
      take full damage, because there's no one in front of them to soak up
      Attacker:  X->            X                      Detonation point: X
                              X    Y
      The one target in the back (Y) is still susceptible because it is not
      blocked by another target. The attacker can see him through the gap.
      So, for example, an imp standing directly behind a cyberdemon is
      fairly safe, but an imp standing next to a cyberdemon is a sitting
      The moral to this story is: In deathmatch, do not depend upon other
      players or monsters to absorb the BFG blast unless they are exactly
      between you and your attacker. And you'd better hope they're very
      healthy. In all other cases you take full damage.
    3G. How does altitude affect it?
      For the most part, it does not. With a few exceptions.
      Again, in the discussions that follow, we refer to 'line of sight'
      loosely. You do not have to look at your targets to hit them.
      If a difference in altitude brings your target out of the sight of your
      traces, then yes, it makes him safe from the blast damage. But if your
      traces can see any part of him, he takes full damage regardless of how
      much higher or lower you are than he is.
      As far as altitude is concerned, the traces seem to use the same
      criteria as your view does to determine if the target is visible. In
      other words, if both you and the damage cone are facing the target, but
      the target is above the top of the screen, you can't hit him.
      But there is a catch. The upper and lower angle limit of the traces
      seems to be the same as your view would be if your screen was fully
      zoomed in. For instance, if you are displaying the status bar at the
      bottom of the screen, your view window is slightly cut off at the top
      and bottom. Press the plus (+) key repeatedly to zoom all the way in,
      and you can see what this means. The BFG's traces seem to use the same
      angle as this full view does to determine if they can hit the target.
      So if you've got the status bar showing, you can actually hit someone
      who is off the top of your screen. If you are fully zoomed in, your
      view seems to be an accurate representation of the damage cone's angle.
      If you are standing on a ledge above your target, and you are so close
      that you can 'touch' him (i.e., you can't step off the ledge because
      you're bumping into him), your shots will go right over his head and
      the blast damage will not affect him. This is because, technically, the
      traces can't see him. Well, if you could look down you would see him,
      but you can't look down in Doom. Must be those darned restrictive space
    3H. If I am only partially exposed, do I only take partial damage?
      No such luck. The only thing that reduces your damage is getting hit
      with fewer traces. Here is how it works:
      If you are hiding behind a decorative sprite (such as a tree or a
      technical column) you are fully exposed. All weapons in Doom always
      pass completely through decorative sprites.
      If you are peeking over a podium, or partially obscured by a raising
      lift, or a closing door, and only half or one-tenth of you is showing,
      you still take the full amount of damage. The traces are calculated
      based on the game's two-dimensional block map. As far as the game
      engine is concerned, all of the traces can still hit you.
      If you are hiding behind a vertical wall with your rear end peeking
      out, you might take a little less damage because some of the traces
      may hit the wall instead. But don't count on it. Tests seem to show
      that your distance from the attacker is more important than how much
      of you is exposed. This is an observed phenomenon, not necessarily
      supported by hard facts. It is difficult to test due to the random
      nature of the damage traces.
      Also remember that what counts as 'showing' may not be what you think.
      The Doom engine uses the radius of the player to determine visibility.
      Your player's aspect ratio does not change when you rotate. It also
      seems as though your radius is slightly larger (in some cases) than
      the sprite (picture) that represents your player. In tests, it is
      possible to inflict damage upon a player that seems to be out of sight
      (no visible pixels) but whose radius is large enough to count as 
      'visible' to the BFG traces.
    3I. What happens if the attacker is fragged before detonation?
      The BFG's traces are still active, even if the attacking player is
      dead. So if you fire the BFG, then get fragged, do not press the space
      bar to respawn your marine right away. Wait until the green ball has
      detonated before you respawn.
      Here's why:
      Even after being fragged, you can still see the action from your fixed
      point of view on the ground (your 'dead' state). The traces remain
      active and can still frag an opposing player (hopefully the one that
      fragged you). The traces will radiate from your dead body's 'eyes'.
      The traces still follow the same rules, i.e., they radiate in the
      direction the green ball was fired, regardless of which direction your
      'dead view' is facing.
      In a previous version of this FAQ, we reported that you will lose
      the chance to frag your opponent if you respawn before detonation.
      Several people pointed out to the authors that the statement was in
      error. The traces remain active even after respawning. Testing shows
      that the traces do, in fact, continue to radiate from the dead body
      even after you have respawned in a completely different area of the
      map. This testing was performed at the prompting of Kirby Nixon, who
      insisted that it was true. Whaddya know? He was right.
      This means that, technically, you don't need to hang around and watch
      your opponent in order for the traces to work. But Kirby pointed out
      a good reason to wait for the detonation before respawning: Your dead
      body's traces can frag you, too! Just because they were once your
      traces doesn't mean you're immune. If you are unlucky enough to
      respawn within your dead body's damage cone, you can kiss your butt
      Of course, the same thing applies to projectile weapons like the
      rockets and the green ball. It has long been known that those items
      behaved in that way. But this information about the damage traces is,
      to the authors' knowledge, new.
      Please note: Any projectile kills made by a respawned player (whether
      by rockets, plasma, BFG traces, etc.) do not contribute to that
      player's frag count. Killing -yourself- in this manner does not change
      your frag count, either. This appears to be because the game engine
      creates a new instance of the player-object at respawn-time, and
      therefore 'forgets' to award that frag. In any case, if you wait
      before respawining, you will get credit for the frag as long as you're
      still dead. This is another reason to wait for detonation before
      respawning. Special thanks to John Castelli for pointing this one out.
    3J. What about multiple BFG shots?
      Each BFG shot is tracked and calculated independently. Testing seems
      to indicate that the game engine's code is object-oriented, and has no
      trouble keeping track of multiple blast areas. Each damage cone's
      direction is based on the direction of its corresponding green ball.
      The origin point of the damage cone is based on the current location
      of the marine who fired it (even if that marine is just a dead body-
      see section 3I for more info).
    -- Section 4 - Deathmatch Techniques ---------------------------------------
    4A. What is considered unfair when using the BFG?
      Many deathmatch players moan and groan when the BFG is used successfully
      against them. 'What a cheap frag, you craven coward!' they shout. Well,
      they usually use fewer words to express the idea, but that's what they
      mean. This is usually due to a lack of understanding about how the
      weapon works.
      The purpose of this FAQ is to educate players about how the BFG behaves.
      If you know how it works, you will know how to defend yourself against
      it. You will also know how to effectively attack with it. If both (or
      all four) players have the same knowledge about how the weapon
      functions, then the BFG by definition is not unfair. If you play against
      an opponent who does not know how the BFG works, then you should make
      sure to educate them on its behavior before turning them into paste.
      Having said that, the following things are debatable regarding fairness.
      I'm not saying they are patently unfair, I'm just saying that their
      fairness is debatable:
      - The Silent BFG trick (see section 4D).
      - 'Sitting on' or 'guarding' the BFG when you are playing deathmatch
        2.0, and picking it up again every time it reappears.
      - Having a BFG left over from a previous level when there is no BFG
        available to the other players on the current level.
      In the last two examples, four-player deathmatch tends to cancel out
      any advantages to those techniques. The remaining three players usually
      coordinate and attempt to bring down the king of the hill in these
    4B. What is the best way to defend against the BFG in a deathmatch?
      This requires, of course, that you know where the cone of damage
      actually is. That, in turn, requires that you know where your attacker
      is and in what direction he fired the weapon. That, in turn, requires
      that you know the weapon was even fired at all. Which, in turn, may be
      difficult against a player who has mastered the Silent BFG trick
      (See section 4D).
      It still helps if you are playing the game with a stereo sound card
      and headphones. This allows you to hear how far away and in which
      direction your opponents are. If you think in three dimensions, the
      sounds you hear in the game will give you a great tactical advantage.
      You must understand completely how the weapon works before any
      avoidance technique would be meaningful. So if you skipped ahead to
      this section, go back and read the gory details.
      With all that said, here are a few ideas. These are just things to
      try, not necessarily good things in all cases.
      - Run past the attacking player so that you end up behind him. This
        assumes that he is still facing the same direction as his damage
        cone. You will be completely safe if you're on the opposite side
        of his cone. This can backfire if you're not careful. You could end
        up three feet from him and inside his cone when the green ball
        detonates, and soak up some rays. Twenty of them, to be exact. That
        SPF 60 sun block won't help, either.
      - If you think you're about 1000 units away from the attacker, and
        you don't think he's running towards you too fast, you can try
        running away, and hope that the traces will be too thinned out to
        damage you seriously.
      - You can duck behind a nearby wall or a solid column. If you can see
        your attacker, simply move so the column is between you and him.
        Wait for the blast to detonate and die down, then step out from the
        column and place some ordnance in his face. This technique works
        well on Doom II's 'Circle of Death' level (11).
      - If you are very close to him, you can attempt to frag him before his
        shot gets off. When he pulls the trigger, there is a slight pause
        while the weapon warms up where you can still stop him dead in his
        tracks. There is nothing more exhilarating than hearing his BFG
        spinning up, then the sound of his scream as your super shotgun
        removes his face. Muahahahaha...
      - If you are involved in a turning, running, spinning melee in an open
        area, keep it up. Learn how to circle-strafe (use a combination of
        mouse and keyboard controls to turn, run, and strafe all at the same
        time). If you keep your attacker running in circles, his cone of
        damage will hardly ever be pointing at you. He will eventually run
        out of ammo, or you will frag him with conventional firepower. This
        technique works well in the main courtyard of Doom II's 'Citadel'
        level (19). In this kind of melee, it is nearly impossible to keep
        track of the cone (for either you or your attacker), so you are
        really taking a gamble that the turning fight will be to your
        advantage. But the exhilaration of winning that kind of fight is one
        of the best rushes you can get.
      - If you are well armed and very healthy, you can judge whether or not
        you can survive a blast area hit at your current distance. Then take
        advantage of the fact that he's trying to keep you in his sight. He's
        got a moment or two where he must leave himself exposed while he
        tries to soak you with his traces. Pepper him with rockets or plasma.
        Grit your teeth and take the blast area hit, but keep on him. Just
        don't get too close.
      - Anything else that takes advantage of the particular quirks of the
        weapon. Remember that you can use your knowledge of BFG attacking
        techniques to your advantage, like the example above.
    4C. What is the best way to attack with the BFG in a deathmatch?
      (Sha, nice try.)
      This requires, of course, that you know where the cone of damage
      actually is. So if you looked here first, go back and check out the
      rest of this FAQ for details.
      Anyway, here's some ideas. Not necessarily comprehensive:
      - The best universally accepted method is to shoot a wall or solid
        column that is very close to you. In this situation, your cone of
        damage roughly equals the visible targets on the screen. This is
        because you don't have much time to move around before detonation.
        Your targets don't have much time, either (You will notice that all
        of the 'defense' tips in this FAQ assume having time to react).
        Because we already know two things:
           1) The direct hit is difficult to achieve,
           2) The location of the detonation does not matter,
        there is no reason to try shooting the green ball at your targets.
        Your goal is to get the green ball to detonate as quickly as
        possible after you decide upon your targets. Just make sure you're
        facing your targets when you fire. If you have to rotate away from
        the direction of fire in order to see your targets, your cone of
        damage may not hit them.
      - The next best thing is to use the strafe feature heavily. Don't
        rotate, just keep strafing and keep your targets in sight while you
        wait for the detonation. This also keeps your cone of damage roughly
        lined up with your view, allowing you to use your view as a
        reference. If your targets are trying to run behind you to get behind
        your damage cone, running backwards while strafing may also help.
      - Combine the two previous attack methods: Shoot a nearby wall, then
        strafe toward your targets. This takes advantage of the pause that
        happens after detonation. You have a few heartbeats before the traces
        are calculated, so use this time to strafe your targets into view.
        The best example would be at a 90 degree hallway intersection: Shoot
        the wall at the corner, then strafe out into the hall. This is really
        just a shortened version of the level one strafe trick, except you
        don't have to wait for detonation.
      - "Everything I need to know, I learned at Top Gun." Avoid turning
        fights. See the related item under the defense techniques, above.
      - "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer." Really. The
        closer you are, the more traces will hit their faces. Don't even
        bother firing if your opponents are more than 1000 units away: you
        will either miss, or do very little damage.
      - Don't be afraid to use it in close quarters. You might think the BFG
        is designed for open-area use, but it actually works best when things
        get cramped. The 'shoot the wall' trick really mulches 'em in a
        narrow hallway.
      - Keep it loaded, then use it liberally. Find lots of ammo for it. Use
        a backpack to double your ammo capacity. Then shoot it off whenever
        you get the urge. For instance, every time you enter a new room or
        open a door.
      - Set up pre-timed shots that take advantage of its long warm-up time.
        Like this: pull the trigger, *then* open the door. Or pull the
        trigger, *then* drop off the ledge into the room with your target.
      - Shoot the green ball at a very distant wall (such as outdoors or
        down a long hallway), then run into the room where your target is.
        He may not know you even fired, or he may think it already detonated.
        Either way, you can just stand there. When the ball eventually
        detonates, your target will simply see himself crumble to the ground,
        realizing too late that you were standing still because you were
        keeping your traces on him. See section 4E for an example of this.
      - Use 'combo' moves. Use the above 'distant wall' technique, but switch
        to a conventional weapon as you run into the room. Your traces still
        work, even if you have switched weapons. Blast 'em with both the BFG
        traces and something else at the same time. Special thanks to Dan
        Christensen for this suggestion.
      - Bait your prey. Use the above 'distant wall' technique, but switch to
        the pistol and fire it while running into the room. They will hear
        your pistol and attempt to get very close to frag you. If timed
        correctly, they will be right in your face at detonation time. Splat
    4D. What is the Silent BFG trick?
      Defending yourself against the BFG pretty much depends on your ability
      to know precisely when it is being used against you.
      If you are fortunate enough to play deathmatch with a stereo sound card
      and headphones, you know that sound cues are vital to playing well in
      deathmatch. In many cases, the only way a potential victim knows the
      green ball is in the air is by the distinctive sound the weapon makes
      when fired. The headphones can give him directional cues as to its
      origin, and therefore point the way towards a proper escape.
      So if you wish to get the drop on someone, wouldn't it be great if you
      could put a silencer on that weapon? Well you can. A limitation in
      Doom's sound code allows you to silence the firing sound of the BFG.
      Regardless of the 'Number of Sound FX to Mix' that you chose in Doom's
      setup program, your character can actually only utter one sound at a
      time. This includes all weapons firing. If you cause your character
      to grunt, i.e., you jump off of a ledge or press the space bar on a
      blank wall, you have a brief period while the grunting sound is being
      played in which you can pull the trigger and no sound will be emitted
      from the weapon. Your grunt makes a little noise, but it's relatively
      quiet and is sometimes ignored by your opponents.
      While it works well in theory, in practice the trick is hard to
      perform. It also may be a little unfair. As with all secrets, it
      definitely makes the game unfair if you don't share this information
      with your opponents.
      As of this writing, there seems to be a small handful of players on
      the doom newsgroups who use this trick. The first person to submit
      this trick to the author of this document was John Fedor.
      Interesting anecdote: When reviewing a draft copy of this FAQ,
      American McGee at id Software informed us that they have been using
      the Silent BFG trick in their deathmatch games since day one.
    4E. What is the Level One Strafe trick?
      The level one strafe trick is not a deathmatch technique per se, but
      it's a demonstration of the BFG behavior that educates many folks on
      how the BFG really works. The act of performing this trick tends to
      open one's eyes to the amazing possibilities of the weapon. It also
      proves some points made in this FAQ.
      Doug Bora first pointed this demo out to our particular group. Credit
      for the original version of this demo goes to John Ripley of the UK.
      The full deathmatch demo file PETALK2.ZIP is the first example of this
      specific action. This file should be available at:
        ftp://{INS site}/lmps/doom2/1.9/petalk2.zip
        where {INS site} = any DOOM ftp site, eg. ftp.cdrom.com/pub/idgames
      Since that time, this has been repeated by many folks on the Doom
      How to do this:
      - Set up a deathmatch game with Doom II, starting on level one, no
        monsters, deathmatch 2.0, ultra violence skill level.
      - Player one (Green) will most likely appear on the ledge with the
        chainsaw, BFG, rocket launcher, and super shotgun. Tell him to move
        so that he is within view of that first entrance room, standing on
        the ledge where he can see down the brightly lit hallway from his
        perch above the brown room. Tell him to sit tight right there. He is
        frag bait for this demonstration.
      - Player two (whoever) will stroll into the brown room and pick up the
        BFG behind the column. Wave to the nice guinea pig waiting patiently
        on the platform above. (Hi Phil. Hi Ralph.)
      - Player two strolls down the brightly lit hallway to the intersection
        where he can see the other dark room, way down the long hallway. You
        can just make out the plasma gun sitting on that podium in there.
      - While facing the plasma gun from the intersection in the bright
        hallway, fire the BFG. When the shot actually leaves the barrel of
        the gun and begins traveling toward the plasma gun, strafe quickly
        back toward the intersection where you can see Greenie standing on
        the ledge in the first brown room.
      - If you reached that hallway intersection in time (before the green
        ball detonated in the plasma gun room) you will be rewarded with
        seeing the frag bait get fragged. Well, at least damaged. Maybe
      - One extra credit point to anyone who guessed that you don't have to
        be facing Green Boy to kill him. You just have to make it to that
        intersection in time. You could be turned completely away from him,
        he will still be hit by the traces. You can prove this by running
        straight to the intersection rather than strafing to it.
      This demonstration proves the following:
      - You don't have to be anywhere near, or even facing the detonation
        point to damage your targets. You only have to move to a position
        where your cone of traces is on them.
      - The cone of traces always points the same direction regardless of
        which direction you turn.
      - You do not have to face your targets in order to hit them.
      - You can fire the BFG in a totally different area than where you want
        your targets to be damaged.
      Players who perform this stunt successfully the first time are usually
      amazed that it actually works. This is also a good practice for using
      similar moves in real deathmatches.
    -- Section 5 - Submitting Corrections --------------------------------------
    5A. Common misconceptions
      This is a list of the most common misunderstandings about the behavior
      of the BFG. Please review this list before submitting corrections.
      1) You have to be looking at your target in order to inflict blast area
         This is untrue. The target must be within an imaginary line-of-sight
         to you at detonation time, but you can be facing away from the
         target, provided it meets all the other criteria.
         This is an easy mistake to make because you tend to be more accurate
         in positioning your cone of damage if you keep your eyes on your
         targets. Especially if you are strafing instead of rotating.
         See section 4E for proof of this.
      2) You have to see the detonation point in order to inflict blast area
         Nope. The detonation point can be completely out of your range of
         sight, and can be separated from you and your targets by a hundred
         solid stone walls.
         Again, see section 4E for proof of this.
      3) The location of the detonation point is a factor in the blast damage
         area calculations.
         Only the moment of detonation is important. The location of the
         detonation point is not used. See number 2, above.
      4) The location you were standing when you fired, or the location of
         targets at firing time, is a factor.
         Only the location where you are standing when the blast detonates is
         important. The compass direction that you fired is important, but
         not the location where you fired. The traces are only calculated at
         detonation time. The game engine does not care where the targets are
         until the traces are calculated.
         Again, see section 4E for proof of this.
      5) You have to be facing the same direction at detonation time as you
         were at firing time.
         No, the cone of traces extends outward in the same compass direction
         regardless of which way you are facing at detonation time.
         Again, an easy mistake to make because you tend to be more accurate
         if you keep your eyes on your targets. Again, especially if you are
         Again, see section 4E for proof of this.
      6) Your BFG blast can frag someone behind you, but only if they are
         close enough to touch you.
         You can frag someone behind you if they fall anywhere within the
         cone of traces. Sure they can be behind you, but they don't have to
         be touching you. In order to frag someone behind you, you must
         rotate away from the direction you fired, then maneuver so that
         your targets are within the cone behind you.
         Having said that, if the victim is standing right next to the
         attacker, at 90 degrees perpendicular to the cone of damage, they
         will fall within the cone if they are in front of the attacker's
         centerline. But if they are truly behind the attacker's cone of
         damage (behind the centerline of the attacker), they will walk away
         This seems to be due to the fact that the player's 'hittable'
         radius is larger than the player's 'walk into' radius. When you
         walk up to a player and bump into him, his 'hittable' area is
         overlapping into your area.
         This is an easy mistake to make when looking at a deathmatch game,
         where everyone is moving around each other so quickly that it's
         hard to keep track of the location of the cone of damage. If you
         really think you fragged someone behind you, it's probably because
         of one of two reasons:
           1) They were actually next to you and slightly forward of your
           2) You rotated away from the direction of fire, and the victim
              stepped into the cone of damage that still existed behind you.
    5B. I think the FAQ is in error. How do I get it corrected?
      Please go through this checklist before submitting information:
      1) Read the entire FAQ to be sure we did not cover your point in
         another section. Check the 'Common Misconceptions' section, above,
      2) If you have a theory about the BFG behavior, please test it
         carefully before submitting it. If you can't reproduce the effect
         under controlled conditions, you were probably witnessing a side
         effect of one of its known behaviors. Or perhaps it happened in a
         deathmatch game, where the action is so fast that you often can't
         keep track of what's going on.
      3) If you think you have tested your theory thoroughly and are ready
         to submit the theory as proven, please prepare a short description
         statement that details how to reproduce the effect during game play.
         Please make sure the description is short and precise.
      4) When you have composed your description message (please make it as
         short as possible), e-mail it to tfabris@oro.net and wait patiently
         for a reply.
      5) Note: Do not attempt to send us information for FAQ files other than
         this one. We do not maintain other FAQ files and we do not echo
         information amongst other FAQ authors.
    ============================ End of BFG 9000 FAQ ============================

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