|Author||Jekyll Grim Payne|
Beautiful Doom is a gameplay mod for the GZDoom source port created by Jekyll Grim Payne. The core change is providing new graphics and animations for all monsters and objects, while affecting gameplay as little as possible. However, the mod also provides optional modes that alter the behavior of weapons. It is designed to work with other mods that provide their own custom content.
The first version of the mod was released some time in 2008 and is one of the oldest total enhancement mods for ZDoom. The concept of the mod was to take every single object (weapon, monster or decoration) in Doom and make them look better in some way. Among other things, it focused a lot on gore, introducing a basic particle-based gore system where enemies that could be gibbed would spawn limbs and heads with graphics matching the original enemy sprite. They were also shootable (which notably caused issues for users with the default autoaim settings). While lacking polish, it garnered some attention from the community.
Over the course of its developments and multiple updates, the vision of the mod changed several times. Certain objects changed their style, features came and went. Despite the goal to keep the vanilla gameplay unchanged, Beautiful Doom, in fact, featured a number of deviations, especially in earlier versions. For example, the super shotgun and the chaingun featured alternative attacks, and the plasma rifle used non-vanilla sprites for a while.
The mod eventually switched to having two weapon sets ("Vanilla" and "Enhanced"), and later three (with "Modern" being added circa 2019). The author took some breaks in the development. The mod resurfaced in 2015 with a 6.x generation of updates, featuring better gore sprites and various other improvements.
After another hiatus circa 2017, the mod resurfaced again in 2019, this time in the process of being heavily converted to ZScript. Jekyll Grim Payne used this opportunity to learn ZScript better, and, after a stream of dev releases, on May 18, 2021, Beautiful Doom 7.0.0 was released, featuring three weapon sets, once again updated graphics, improved gore physics, texture materials, improved muzzle flashes, optimized performance and other changes.
The 7.x.x generation kept receiving updates into 2021, mostly focused on increasing compatibility with other mods, which became one of Beautiful Doom's primary features.
Beautiful Doom features three weapon sets — "Vanilla", "Enhanced" and "Modern" — that the players can change at any moment in the game using Beautiful Doom Settings menu.
The Vanilla set features weapons that behave identical to Doom weapons, except featuring smoother animations, various extra effects (muzzle smoke, bullet casings, bullet tracers) and higher-quality sounds.
The Enhanced set features the same weapons but with different sounds and alternate attack modes:
- Fist: primary attack is slightly faster and doesn't alert enemies. Features a kick as a secondary attack.
- Chainsaw: no secondary attack, but the primary attack doesn't attach the player to monsters, allowing them to move more freely.
- Pistol: primary attack is slightly faster than vanilla. If a second one is picked up (pistols are occasionally dropped by zombiemen), the alternative attack is firing both pistols for increased firerate but reduced accuracy.
- Shotgun: the alternative attack is a melee strike which can be quickly cancelled into a shot afterwards.
- Super shotgun: the alternative attack is a single-barrel shot, after which the weapon can be reloaded.
- Chaingun: the barrels can be spinned with the alt fire button, while the primary button can be pressed to start firing. The maximum firing speed is significantly increased in this mode, but the weapon can overheat.
- Rocket launcher: the secondary attack fires homing rockets with reduced fire rate.
- Plasma rifle: the secondary attack fires a non-piercing long-range railgun.
- BFG9000: the secondary attack fires a wide, short-range piercing beam that deals a lot of damage but needs some time to wind up. It consumes cells quickly, and, if fired for too long, needs time to cool down.
The Modern set features significantly rebalanced weapons, sometimes with different graphics, tweaked damage, accuracy and other values. They're generally more realistic than the vanilla weapons, and their design is built around increasing base power but making them somewhat harder to use; at the same time they still aim to fulfill the same gameplay roles. Their general features are:
- Bullet-based weapons and the rocket launcher have magazines and need to be reloaded. By default they will reload in background if deselected long enough (this can be disabled).
- Energy weapons feature overheat mechanics.
- Bullets are not hitscans but rather projectiles that have travel time and distance-based damage fall-off.
- The base damage is fixed, only affected by the damage drop-off (for bullets).
- Quick Kick is accessible at all times with a dedicated key, as long as the currently selected weapon isn't firing.
- Fist: The primary attack allows to raise the combo counter with quick left punches, while the secondary performs different finishing moves (a right punch, a heavy punch, or an uppercut). The Quick Kick can be implemented into the combo as a secondary finisher. The longer a combo is, the higher is the chance that it'll put the enemy into their pain state, so with some skill this can be used effectively even against strong enemies.
- Chainsaw: Requires to be started, after which can deal a lot more damage than the vanilla chainsaw. However, it needs to be cleaned by revving and spurting the blood out with the secondary attack, otherwise it can jam. A jammed chainsaw needs to be restarted.
- Pistol: Semi-automatic with high fire rate (it can fire almost as fast as the player can press fire).
- Shotgun: Features a higher base damage and fire rate than the vanilla shotgun.
- Super shotgun: Portrayed as a one-handed sawn-off, features single-barrel and double-barrel blasts. This is the only bullet weapon that can actually pierce enemies, with the chance of piercing based on the monster's health (so it can easily pierce multiple weak enemies but only a couple strong ones). Much higher base damage than the vanilla super shotgun but harder and slower to use.
- Assault rifle: A replacement for the chaingun, since the author couldn't find a satisfying way to design a minigun that would feel somewhat realistic while also featuring the sniping capabilities of the vanilla chaingun. It's a pretty standard "workhorse" weapon, with an ADS mode as a secondary attack. In ADS switches to a 3-round burst and gains improved spread.
- Rocket launcher: The rockets are significantly faster than vanilla. Features grenades as a secondary mode. 8-round drum magazine.
- Plasma rifle: Increased projectile speed, and the projectiles deal damage over a small area. Offset by reduced fire rate and some randomized spread (as opposed to vanilla, where projectile weapons are always perfectly accurate); it also heats up while firing. The secondary attack performs a quick manual cooldown; if not used, the gun is forced to cool down at some point (after ~60 shots), which takes longer.
- BFG9000: Holding the primary fire button allows to charge the weapon, spending between 10 to 80 cells on the shot. The attack itself produces a large energy orb that tracks enemies around itself with visible beams; those enemies receive damage once the orb explodes; the orb also deals impact and explosion damage. In short, in contrast to the original BFG9000 that damages enemies within the player's field of view, this one damages enemies within the orb's FOV. In order to prevent the players from firing the orb into the distance to easily kill remote enemies, the orb actually slows down after flying some distance. The amount of cells spent on the attack determines:
- the orb's visual size,
- initial speed,
- the number of targets it can track,
- the maximum distance towards the targets it can track,
- the impact and explosion damage.
While using Modern Guns, some of the monster behavior changes. Zombiemen, shotgun guys and chaingun guys can all fire multiple bullets per shot, and also need to reload (during reloading they will try to flee before starting to fire again). Their bullets also gain travel speed and damage drop off (the latter also applies to spider mastermind).
The mod aims to improve on all aspects of the game, so the following features can be found:
- Smooth monster animations (provided by Gifty, the author of Smooth Doom).
- Multiple new death animations for the monsters (including burning and smoking/blackened effects for being killed by fire and plasma attacks).
- A custom gibbing system where monsters produce multiple unique parts (such as recognizable heads and limbs, a cacodemon's eye, etc.). The gibs are coded to impact performance as little as possible, while still bouncing and interacting with the geometry of the map.
- Monster projectiles feature extra effects, such as smoke, particles and improved animations. Their visuals can be changed in the options as well.
- Flies will appear over monster corpses after a while.
- Animated blood particles and pools with scripts that prevent the pools from hanging over ledges and being properly angled on slopes.
- Decorations (such as floating skulls, torches, lamps) feature various enhanced effects, such as lens flares, smoother fire animations, etc. Some decorations react to being shot by explosive projectiles (e.g. lamps can be broken).
- Gore decorations (such as impaled victims or hanging bodies) feature fully customized hand-painted sprites by Jekyll Grim Payne. Wall textures with gore are updated accordingly.
- Locked doors play different sounds based on the key type they use (card or skull).
Beautiful Doom features multiple options the players can change:
- Weapons: can be disabled fully, or can be switched between three possible sets.
- Monster, item or decoration replacements can be enabled or disabled fully (requires starting a map anew to take effect).
- Gloves color: can be switched between black and classic brown.
- Muzzle flashes: can be switched between smoother, yellow flashes and more classic-looking red ones.
- Projectiles style: can be switched between three styles: no replacement (vanilla projectiles), classic (similar to vanilla but with improved animations/colors) and enhanced (updated sprites and extra visual effects).
- The various special effects, such as smoke, debris, bullet casings, smoke, etc. can be toggled, and their maximum amounts can be adjusted to help with performance.
Beautiful Doom is built to be as compatible as possible with custom maps and other mods thanks to the following features:
- Weapons, monsters, items and decorations featured in the mod can be disabled, allowing for compatibility with other weapon mods, monster packs, etc.
- Thanks to the use of ZScript, the mod prevents the player from getting wrong weapons if a cheat is used or an ACS script gives the player a weapon directly (i.e. they can't receive vanilla Doom weapons if Beautiful Weapons are enabled, and vice versa).
- Thanks to 3saster, a feature was implemented into the mod that makes it compatible with older WADs that use DEHACKED patches or direct graphics replacements. This feature can be configured using a Safe actor replacement menu item, found under Options > Beautiful Doom Settings. This feature affects monsters and decorations only. It offers the following options:
- DEHACKED only: If played with another map/WAD that features custom defined in DEHACKED, the mod will not override them with its own versions. (Can be seen in Eviternity, for example, where the annihilator and the former captain will remain intact when played with the mod.)
- DEHACKED and sprites: In addition to checking for DEHACKED patches also checks if any direct sprite name replacements are used. For example, if the mod detects that a replacement for the COLUA0 sprite is present in one of the loaded files, it will not replace the small floor lamp with a modded version. This allows the mod to work with vanilla-format maps that may replace the sprites of Doom decorations to show something entirely different. (Can be seen in Deus Vult II, for example, which replaces the Doom 2 burning barrel sprites with teleport fog sprites. If this option is used, the sprites will remain intact, not being replaced by a Beautiful Doom version of the burning barrel.)
- Disabled: Ignores the checks above and always uses Beautiful Doom versions of the actors.