The BFG9000 appears as a large, solid metal gun which fires large balls of green plasma. For general purposes 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.
The abbreviation BFG stands for 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". Characters in the Doom novels refer to the BFG as a "big freaking gun". In the Doom movie, BFG officially stands for "Bio Force Gun" , although Sarge calls it a "big fucking gun".
The BFG first appears in a secret area of E3M3: Pandemonium, and again in secret areas of three of the next four levels. It is eventually found in a non-secret area in the expanded version, in E4M5: They Will Repent. When picked up, the BFG contains 40 energy cell units (80 on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill levels). It expends 40 energy cell units per shot.
When the trigger is pulled, there is a pause of 30 tics (about 0.857 seconds) before a green and white plasma ball is ejected. If the large plasma ball hits a solid object, it explodes and causes 100-800 hit points of damage to the target, in round multiples of 100.
After a further pause of 16 tics (about 0.457 seconds), additional damage is calculated: 40 invisible tracer rays are emitted by the player in a cone-shaped area (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 ray causes 49-87 points of damage 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 minimal damage of the weapon is 49 points (if an object is hit by one ray and not the plasma ball) and, hypothetically, the maximal damage is 800 + (40 × 87) = 4280 points (if 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, that much damage can still 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).
Despite its tremendous power, the weapon can be used correctly only with practice, due to its staggered firing sequence and nonstandard blast damage. The BFG FAQ includes an extensive section on deathmatch tactics.
- 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 a 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". By the press release version of Doom, the BFG (already numbered as 9000) was a functional weapon: each shot in that version releases 40 regular-sized green and red plasma balls 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 reenactment of the BFG found in the beta version.
|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)|
|25 map units per tic|
(875 map units per second)
|Shots per minute||52.5|
|Appears in||Registered Doom|
The Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom
|Thing type||2006 (decimal), 7D6 (hex)|
|Sprite||BFUG (before pickup)|
BFS1 (plasma ball)
BFE1, BFE2 (impact)
|Shots needed to kill1||Mean|| Standard
|Heavy weapon dude||1.00||0.00||1||1|
|Baron of hell||1.00||0.00||1||1|
(direct hit plus 40 traces)
(direct hit plus 20 traces)
(direct hit plus 40 traces)
(direct hit plus 20 traces)
- 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.
- Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
The IWADs contain the following numbers of BFG9000s:
|Game||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|The Ultimate Doom||9||9||10|
Appearance in the Doom movie
The BFG in the Doom movie is identified, on a computer monitor, as Bio Force Gun version 3.14. Unlike in the games, this gun is not labeled as '9000'. When it first appears, Sarge calls it a "big fucking gun". It has no apparent magazine, suggesting that it is recharged in its special storage system. The gun fires a blue (rather than green) blast of plasma, which obliterates the target and burns away at the surrounding areas for several minutes. The flash damage does not appear to be part of this weapon: when it is fired at Reaper, he dodges the main blast and is either not attacked by any other energy or is immune to that energy.
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:
- Quake II and Quake III both include the "BFG 10K" (the latter game's version was copied by Skulltag). In Quake II, the projectile sprites are exactly the same as Doom's.
- Doom 3 also includes the BFG 9000, though the weapon acts closer to the Quake II BFG 10K than the original.
- The BFG also appears in Doom RPG, where it is named BFG-9000.
- 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.
- A "BFG" is the preferred weapon of SEMME agent Joyce (who apparently keeps it in hammerspace) in the webcomic It's Walky!.
- In the movie Soldier, a computer screen is briefly displayed which shows that Kurt Russell's character is qualified on the BFG9000.
- The configuration files for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun give the name of the Cyborg Commando's weapon as "BFG". In-game, this weapon launches exploding green balls of plasma.
- A player can purchase a BFG in the MMORPG The Crims, although it is not the most powerful weapon available.
- In the Inspection training mission of MechWarrior 2, one of the boxes has an inspection reading of BFG9000.
- 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 the Covenant anti-air gun.
- In Halo 2, the easter egg Scarab gun fires a blast similar to the BFG.
- Roald Dahl's novel The BFG predates Doom by over a decade, but is completely unrelated. Roald Dahl's "BFG" stood for "Big Friendly Giant".
- The Games Workshop tabletop wargame Battlefleet Gothic is sometimes also referred to as "BFG".