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The BFG9000 firing a plasma ball in MAP32 of Hell Revealed
This article is about the weapon in the classic Doom series. For other versions of this weapon, see:

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 less offensive 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."[citation needed]

In the original Doom, the BFG was extremely rare, being only available in select levels in Episode 3: Inferno (as well as Episode 4: Thy Flesh Consumed in Ultimate Doom). It first appears in a secret area of E3M3: Pandemonium, or E3M6: Mt. Erebus outside of a secret. In Doom II, it is more common and appears almost twice as much than it did in the original Doom, being first obtainable on MAP08: Tricks and Traps. In most versions based on the Atari Jaguar port, including the Sony PlayStation version, it makes its first appearance in MAP11: Refinery, whereas in Doom 64, where it is given a new look with a darker color scheme, it is first introduced in MAP10: The Bleeding.

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. Its description in the instruction manual is as follows:

"BFG 9000s are the prize of the military's arsenal. Great for clearing the room of those unwelcome guests. Shoot it and see for yourself."

Combat characteristics[edit]

Classic Doom games[edit]

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).

Doom 64[edit]

The BFG in Doom 64, as seen in MAP17: Watch Your Step.
Doom 64's BFG pickup sprite, as seen in MAP14: Eye Of The Storm.

Doom 64 includes a slightly revamped version of the BFG. Because the game was based on the Atari Jaguar version of Doom, the timing for the attacks is slightly slower as a consequence of the internal logic of the game running at 30 tics per second instead of 35. Like in classic Doom, it takes 30 tics for the weapon to fire upon trigger pull, but the slower tic rate causes the weapon to wait exactly 1 second before firing the projectile. The tracer spray attack upon detonation takes 14 tics to be called instead of 16, which translates to roughly 0.466 seconds.

The damage calculations are mostly the same as in Doom and Doom II, but the way the tracers are projected differs slightly. The vertical angle the tracers can autoaim is taller, to account for the different vertical resolution the game is rendered at (200 pixels in PC Doom versus 240 in console Doom), and the origin point of each tracer is 12 units above the player's mid point instead of the original 8. Finally, the RNG calls used for damage calculation of the tracers use their own identifier, meaning that the BFG's P_Random calls will not affect the general RNG and are considered completely separate.

Tactical analysis[edit]

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.[2]
  • 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 15 times. This makes the total damage vary from 15 to 120 (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.


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
Romero's head2 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[edit]

In the IWADs the BFG9000 is first encountered on these maps per skill level:

The IWADs contain the following numbers of BFG9000s per skill level:

The BFG in other id Software games[edit]

  • 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 within 256 map units from it. The projectile is also explosive, meaning the player who shot it can be hurt by the blast radius if they stand too close. The BFG 10K tracers are also changed, so that they're not shot from the player, but from the ball itself at the moment of detonation. The tracers will only hit targets that are located within 1024 units from the ball's impact area, and will only cause damage if an unobstructed line of sight can be calculated between the target, and both the BFG's projectile explosion and the shooting player. The projectile and tracer impact sprites are exactly the same as Doom's. In addition to being used by the player, it is also the primary weapon of the game's final boss, the Makron.
  • 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.
  • The BFG also appears in the Doom RPG, where it is named BFG-9000.
  • A BFG-10000 appears in Doom Eternal; incorporating a BFG-9000 in its design, it is an orbital weapons platform that fires a beam with enough force to crack the surface of a planet, and is actually used to shoot a hole in Mars. The ARC Complex level also includes billboards for a food item called the BFB, which presumably stands for "Big Fucking Burger".

Other appearances and homages[edit]

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:



  • Serbu Firearms produces two anti-materiel rifles bearing the name BFG, the BFG-50 for the single shot version, and BFG-50A for the semi-automatic version.
  • Magnum Research, Inc. produces a line of powerful revolvers called the Magnum Research BFR. Officially, this stands for 'Biggest, Finest Revolver'.
  • The largest size can of Monster Energy drink, a 32oz-large can, is referred as the "BFC": presumably meaning "Big Fucking Can".
  • Russian craft brewery Selfmade has a variety of Double IPA beer named "BFG", the can's artwork features a stylized Doomguy holding a BFG9000. This brewery also has an American IPA named "Rocket Jump" which is an obvious reference to Doom too.
  • SpaceX founder Elon Musk named the planned Mars-going rockets BFR and BFS (implied to stand for Big Fucking Rocket/Spaceship) after the BFG:[3]
"Musk coined these names himself. 'This is a very obtuse video-game reference,' he tells me. 'In the original Doom, the gun that was like the crazy gun was the BFG 9000 or something like that. So it was sort of named after the gun in Doom. But that's not its official name, of course.'"
― Chris Heath, writer for GQ, quoting Elon Musk

Tabletop games[edit]

Television shows[edit]

  • In the television series Eureka, the episode "Alienated" referred to a high-tech gun called the "BMFG."
  • The character Bob in ReBoot plays a guitar called a BFG (Big Fancy Guitar).

Video games[edit]

  • In the RPG Adventure Quest, the "BFG" weapon is an obvious clone of Doom's BFG.
  • The M249 SAW is an unlockable weapon in the FPS game Black, where it is called the "BFG".
  • 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 2D roguelike shooter Cryptark one of the most powerful arms available for personal combat suits is called "GFB" - "Galvanic Fission Bombard". It launches a relatively slow plasma ball, resembling the original BFG projectile. On impact it produces lingering area damage energy as well.
  • Duke Nukem: Zero Hour contains a weapon called the BMF Thunderstrike.
  • 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.
  • The most powerful missile weapon in the game Fury3 is called the BFM (Bion Fury Missile).
  • 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.
  • 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 Halo 2, the Easter egg Scarab gun fires a blast similar to the BFG.
  • 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: Reach, the Multiplayer map "Spire" has an area named BFG.
  • It appears in the PSP game Infected as the BMFG (Big Mother Fucking Gun).
  • In the 1994 computer game Jazz Jackrabbit, Jazz's gun is called the "LFG-2000". LFG may stand for 'Large Fucking Gun'.
  • A weapon called the C.B.F.G. became available in Kingdom of Loathing during Crimbo 2007. This stands for "Crimborg Biomechanical Fragging Gun."
  • In the Inspection training mission of MechWarrior 2, one of the boxes has an inspection reading of BFG 9000.
  • In the Flash game Onslaught 2 there exist combos which are called "BFG", which shoot a blast similar to that of the BFG.
  • 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.).
  • In the hack-and-slash RPG Sacred, one character, the Seraphim, has a combat art called "BeeEffGee".
  • In Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire, a technology called String Resonance is referenced internally as "BFG9000".
  • In the April Fools' 2019 snapshot build of Minecraft: Java Edition, there's a chance to find an enchanted crossbow named "BFC9000" in the barrels that generate.
  • In the mobile game Goddess of Victory: Nikke, the SSR Nikke "Elegg" uses a machine gun that strongly resembles the BFG-9000 from the 2005 Doom film (starring Dwayne Johnson).
  • A version of the BFG 9000 can be bought for 400 credits on the Fallout 4 Creation Club.

Web apps[edit]

  • Facebook's "Pets" application, in which you control battling rabbits, includes a weapon named the "BFG2000".


The toy gun on which the BFG was based.
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Thorsen, Tor and Tim Surette (4 March 2005). "The Rock solidifies Doom movie role." GameSpot. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  2. Hall, Tom (25 April 2012). "The initial name for the BFG 9000 was the BFG 2704. Later used as the year Terminal Velocity was set in. #gametrivia #doom #terminalvelocity." Twitter. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  3. Heath, Chris (12 December 2015). "How Elon Musk Plans on Reinventing the World (and Mars)." GQ. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  4. Doomworld forums thread
Weapons from Doom and Doom II
Slot: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Fist Pistol Shotgun Chaingun Rocket launcher Plasma gun BFG9000
Chainsaw Super shotgun