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The BFG9000 firing a plasma ball in MAP32 of Hell Revealed

Template:Doom 3 weapon also in The BFG9000 is the ultimate weapon to be found in Doom. It appears as a large, silver metallic gun with a dark gray aperture similar to the plasma gun, and fires large spheres of green plasma. In general, it can be considered the most powerful weapon in the game; it is capable of destroying nearly any player or monster with a single shot, and can disperse damage over a wide area to multiple targets simultaneously.

The abbreviation "BFG" canonically expands to big fucking gun, as explained in section 14 of the Doom Bible. Other expansions of the name were attributed to it before that document was made public, notably "big fragging gun", which still retains some usage in settings which require politically correct language. Characters in the Doom novels refer to the BFG as a "big freaking gun". In the Doom movie, BFG is said to stand for "Bio Force Gun" [1], although Sarge refers to it with much relish as a "big fucking gun". It is also sometimes called the "Blast Field Generator."

In the PC version of the game, the BFG first appears in Episode 3: Inferno, in a secret area of E3M3: Pandemonium. On the Sony PlayStation, it makes its first appearance in E2M3: Refinery.[2]

When picked up, the BFG contains 40 energy cell units, which doubles to 80 on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill levels. It expends 40 energy cell units per shot.

Combat characteristics

The BFG9000 appears in MAP04 of Hell Revealed

When the trigger is pulled, there is a pause of 30 tics (approximately 0.857 seconds) before a large, relatively slow moving green and white plasma ball is ejected. If this plasma ball hits a solid object, it explodes and randomly deals between 100 and 800 hit points of damage to the target, in round multiples of 100.

After a further delay of 16 tics (approximately 0.457 seconds), additional damage is calculated: 40 invisible tracer rays are emitted from the player in a cone-shaped volume (about 45° half-angle) in the direction the plasma ball was fired. If the player has turned around, the direction of the rays does not change — they are still traced in the direction of firing of the original plasma ball. If he has moved to another location, their origin moves along with him. Each of the rays causes random damage between 49 and 87 points if it hits a solid object within 1024 map units. Even cyberdemons and spiderdemons, which are immune to blast damage, are affected by these rays.

Therefore, the minimum damage of the weapon is 49 points if an object is hit by one ray and not the plasma ball. Hypothetically, the maximum damage is 800 + (40 × 87) = 4280 points, which assumes the plasma ball hits an object for full damage, and all 40 tracers also hit the object for full damage. However, even should all 40 rays and the energy ball hit a single target, this theoretical maximum damage can never actually be inflicted due to the periodicity of the simplistic pseudorandom number generator used by the Doom engine.

Contrary to section 3H of the BFG FAQ, the tracer code does not include horizontal auto-aiming (although, like any bullet attack, each tracer can auto-aim vertically).

Tactical analysis

Despite its tremendous power, the weapon can only be used to its fullest effect with practice, due to its staggered firing sequence and the unique behavior of the tracer ray cone. The BFG FAQ includes an extensive section on deathmatch tactics.


The BFG9000 in the beta
  • As with the rocket launcher and chaingun, the full BFG sprite (after pickup) is slightly too large for the screen, and can only be viewed with a level or resource editor; the lower edge of the sprite includes a BFG logo.
  • In the Doom Bible, the section on weapons (14) describes the BFG 2704, a highly destructive weapon which would damage the wielder a bit, pushing him back. That same entry unveils the politically incorrect meaning of "BFG". Tom Hall later used the number 2704 as the year of the setting for his game Terminal Velocity.
  • By the press release version of Doom, the BFG was a functional, albeit completely different, weapon: each shot in that version releases 80 regular-sized green and red plasma balls (spending 40 cells per shot) which can bounce off ceilings and floors. This version was scrapped because, according to John Romero, it "looked like Christmas" and severely slows the game down due to the large number of sprites on the screen. MBF, a source port that can play the press release levels, includes a working restoration of the press release BFG.
  • The BFG9000 has a "safety catch" similar to the rocket launcher. When selected while the fire key is still pressed, the BFG will not begin firing immediately like other weapons, but only when fire key is released and pressed again. The safety mechanism was likely implemented to prevent the player from wasting 40 cells by accident.
  • To determine the damage of a BFG tracer, a random number between 1 and 8 is generated and repeated 16 times. This makes the total damage vary from 16 to 128 (due to the "bell curve" phenomenon, the value is weighted towards the middle of the range). However, due to the pseudorandom number generator of Doom, this never happens in real gameplay, and the damage is limited to the range of 49 to 87.


BFG9000 data
Weapon number 7
Damage 100-800 (main projectile)
49-87 (per tracer)
Included ammo 40 (80 on skill 1 & 5)
Max ammo 300 (600 with backpack)
Ammo type Energy cells
Shot type Projectile (direct hit)
Hitscan (tracer)
(plasma ball)
25 map units per tic
(875 map units per second)
Shots per minute 52.5
Sound DSBFG (firing)
DSRXPLOD (impact)
Appears in Registered Doom
The Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom
Thing type 2006 (decimal), 7D6 (hex)
Radius 20
Sprite BFUG (before pickup)
BFGG (wielded)
BFGF (firing)
BFS1 (plasma ball)
BFE1, BFE2 (impact)
Class Weapon
Damage done by one BFG discharge (direct hit plus 40 traces). For clarity, values are grouped into ranges of 100 hit points
Damage done by one BFG discharge (direct hit plus 20 traces). For clarity, values are grouped into ranges of 100 hit points
Shots needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Barrel 1.00 0.00 1 1
Zombieman 1.00 0.00 1 1
Shotgun guy 1.00 0.00 1 1
Wolfenstein SS 1.00 0.00 1 1
Imp 1.00 0.00 1 1
Heavy weapon dude 1.00 0.00 1 1
Lost soul 1.00 0.00 1 1
Commander Keen 1.00 0.00 1 1
Demon 1.00 0.00 1 1
Spectre 1.00 0.00 1 1
Boss Brain2 1.00 0.00 1 1
Revenant 1.00 0.00 1 1
Cacodemon 1.00 0.00 1 1
Pain elemental 1.00 0.00 1 1
Hell knight 1.00 0.00 1 1
Arachnotron 1.00 0.00 1 1
Mancubus 1.00 0.00 1 1
Arch-vile 1.00 0.00 1 1
Baron of hell 1.00 0.00 1 1
(direct hit plus 40 traces)
1.35 0.48 1 2
(direct hit plus 20 traces)
2.06 0.24 2 3
(direct hit plus 40 traces)
2.00 0.00 2 2
(direct hit plus 20 traces)
2.91 0.29 2 3

  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, impact animations, backfire checks, and muzzle lighting are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). It is also assumed that all projectiles are launched at nearly the same range, so that the various procedures call P_Random in the same sequence each time. Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

Appearance statistics

The IWADs contain the following numbers of BFG9000s:

The Ultimate Doom 9 9 10
Doom II 20 20 19
TNT: Evilution 9 9 9
Plutonia 15 15 16

The BFG in other id Software games

The BFG in Doom 64.
Doom 64's BFG pickup sprite.
  • Doom 64 includes a slightly revamped version of the BFG. Its modified damage characteristics and timings are inherited from the Atari Jaguar version of Doom.
  • Quake II features the BFG 10K. In addition to the direct impact damage, its slow moving plasma projectile shoots green beams which lash out at any enemies near it. The projectile sprites are exactly the same as Doom's.
  • Quake III Arena included a new version of the BFG 10K that works considerably different from its previous incarnations. It fires explosive plasma projectiles in a high rate of fire and has a more streamlined shape.
  • Doom 3 includes a redesigned version (see BFG 9000 (Doom 3)). It can be charged up for a more powerful shot, and the plasma projectile shoots rays at nearby opponents in a manner similar to the Quake II BFG 10K.
  • The BFG also appears in the Doom RPG, where it is named BFG-9000.

Other appearances and homages

Many subsequent first-person shooters implemented similar weapons, but few were quite as notorious as the BFG9000. In addition, due to its reputation, the BFG has been referenced or parodied in many other places:

  • The Doom movie features the weapon under the moniker "Bio Force Gun v3.14".
  • Additionally, the sprites for Skulltag's BFG 10K are modelled after the BFG v3.14 from the Doom Movie.
  • In the hack-and-slash RPG Sacred, one character, the Seraphim, has a combat art called "BeeEffGee".
  • Magic: the Gathering (Unglued expansion) includes The "BFM" (Big Furry Monster).
  • A character in the movie Jason X mentions using a BFG.
  • In the 1994 computer game Jazz Jackrabbit, Jazz's gun is called the "LFG-2000". LFG may stand for 'Large Fucking Gun'.
  • In the RPG Adventure Quest, the "BFG" weapon is an obvious clone of Doom's BFG.
  • The character Bob in ReBoot plays a guitar called a BFG (Big Fancy Guitar).
  • In the game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, the Archer and Tigress characters have a turbo attack called "BFG", which fires a huge green burst shot forward.
  • There was originally a quest in the second EverQuest expansion, The Scars of Velious, which resulted in an item called "Breezeboot's Frigid Gnasher", using the image of the BFG9000. The item lore calls it "Model 9000".
  • In the 1999 space simulator FreeSpace 2, the largest red- and green-colored beams in the game are referred to internally as BFRed and BFGreen.
  • In the platform shooter Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, there is a level called "The Nefarious BFG" (a reference to both the weapon and to The Notorious B.I.G.).
  • It appears in the PSP game Infected as the BMFG (Big Mother Fucking Gun).
  • In the television series Eureka, the episode "Alienated" referred to a high-tech gun called the "BMFG."
  • The M249 SAW is an unlockable weapon in the FPS game Black, where it is called the "BFG".
  • Version 3 of the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk introduced a new class of lightweight, large-bore, man-portable gyrojet weapons known as Ballistic Flechette Guns (BFGs).
  • Magnum Research, Inc. produces a line of powerful revolvers called the Magnum Research BFR. Officially, this stands for 'Biggest, Finest Revolver'.
  • Duke Nukem: Zero Hour contains a weapon called the BMF Thunderstrike.
  • In the movie Soldier, a computer screen is briefly displayed which shows that Kurt Russell's character is qualified on the BFG 9000.
  • The configuration files for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun give the name of the Cyborg Commando's weapon as "BFG". In-game, this unit launches exploding green balls of plasma.
  • In the Inspection training mission of MechWarrior 2, one of the boxes has an inspection reading of BFG 9000.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force featured a nearly identical weapon called the Displacer, which even shared the same explosion sprite. It also allowed the player to teleport themselves to a hidden bonus area (provided they had sufficient ammunition).
  • In Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire, a technology called String Resonance is referenced internally as "BFG9000".
  • Facebook's "Pets" application, in which you control battling rabbits, includes a weapon named the "BFG2000".
  • A weapon called the C.B.F.G. became available in Kingdom of Loathing during Crimbo 2007. This stands for "Crimborg Biomechanical Fragging Gun."
  • The most powerful missile weapon in the game Fury3 is called the BFM (Bion Fury Missile).
  • In Halo 3, the description for part 2 of the mission "The Storm" reads: "Scarab. BFG. End of World," with BFG referring to a large Covenant anti-air cannon.
  • In Halo 2, the Easter egg Scarab gun fires a blast similar to the BFG.
  • In Halo Reach, the Multiplayer map "Spire" has an area named BFG.
  • In the flashgame Onslaught 2 there exist combos which are called "BFG", which shoot a blast simillar to that of the BFG.
  • The largest size can of Monster Energy Drink, a 32oz-large can, is referred as the "BFC": presumably meaning "Big Fucking Can".


  • Roald Dahl's novel The BFG predates Doom by over a decade, but is completely unrelated. Roald Dahl's "BFG" stands for "Big Friendly Giant".
  • The Games Workshop tabletop wargame Battlefleet Gothic is sometimes also referred to as "BFG".
  • The artwork for the BFG9000 is based on photographs of a toy gun named "The Machine / Roargun" sold by Royal Condor, and manufactured by Fuyaco. The surface of the toy gun was also used as the base for a number of Doom's textures, including the exit door.[1]
  • An infamous ad for the 1995 Bullfrog Productions game Magic Carpet used the phrase "BFG = BFD" (BFD implied to stand for "big fucking deal") in an attempt to set itself apart from the crowd of Doom clones. The marketing campaign is widely considered to have backfired.[2]

See also

External links