An in-game screenshot of Skulltag 0.96f. Here, a player has just fragged a bot with the minigun, a Skulltag exclusive weapon.

Codebase ZDoom, GZDoom
Developer(s) Brad Carney (Carnevil), Torr Samaho
Initial release 0.6 (2000-06-11, 23 years ago)
Latest release 0.98d (2010-11-08, 13 years ago)
Development status Discontinued
Written in C++
Target Platform Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
License Doom Source License, custom
Source Repository


Skulltag is a multiplayer source port and mod created by Brad Carney (Carnevil). Its gameplay has been described essentially as a hybrid of Quake III Arena and Doom. The last version is 0.98d, based on ZDoom 2.3.1 r1551 and on the GZDoom r127 renderer.

On June 7, 2012, Carnevil announced the cessation of development on the port after the development team forked Zandronum from it on June 3, 2012, effectively abandoning the original project.

Multiplayer game modes[edit]

Influenced by Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament, Skulltag's multiplayer mode includes game modes including Deathmatch, Cooperative, Invasion, Terminator and Last Man Standing. There are also several teamplay modes, such as Capture the Flag, One-flag Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Team Last Man Standing, and so on. In addition, a game can be played in Instagib or Buckshot mode.


The Terminator game mode is a deathmatch variant. At the start of a terminator deathmatch, the Terminator sphere is randomly spawned in the level. When a player picks up the Terminator sphere, they become the terminator which bestows large benefits upon them (see the Terminator sphere information in the new items-section below for details of the benefits). If a player kills the terminator, they receive ten points for the frag instead of just one.


In the nameship game mode, Skulltag, players capture the enemy's "skull" and take it to one of several skull pillars where they get points, similar to Capture the Flag. Before 0.97b, the player did not need both skulls to score; afterwards, the enemy player's skull needed to be in their home base before a player could score at a skull pillar.


Redone in version 0.97c, Skulltag includes deathmatch bot players that can be used in online servers or offline skirmishes. They do not perform well in game modes other than deathmatch and its variants, however. They are unable to attack monsters or to grab tokens like the skull or flag. Bots have personalities and chat phrases based on their status (winning, hurt, killed, and so forth). Some of the bots' names are taken from Greek mythology, such as the bot Orion, or references to well-known community members such as modders or port developers. There is even a bot that takes the appearance of the famed plush cacodemon toy Hissy.

Other features[edit]

New weapons[edit]

  • Minigun: Even faster than the chaingun, but has a cooldown pause when the trigger is released, and eats bullets twice as fast.
  • Grenade launcher: Fires bouncy, explosive grenades that not only damage enemies on explosion but on impact as well.
  • Railgun: Fires a depleted uranium slug that can pierce multiple enemies. Reloads every four shots.
  • BFG 10K: Unleashes powerful rapid-fire, hitscan bolts with splash damage which can affect a large area. Has to charge up before firing and cool down when the trigger is released, however. Takes the appearance of the Bio-Force Gun from the Doom movie since 0.97b.

The full set of Doom weapons are also available. All weapons may be placed in maps, summoned via the console, or given to players at the start of a Last Man Standing round. The weapons bunk with their respective Doom equivalents (i.e. the railgun is in the same slot as the plasma gun, and the grenade launcher is with the rocket launcher). As a side note, this also shows that those weapons share the same form of ammunition used by their counterparts.

New items[edit]


All Spheres are only effective for a limited amount of time for the carrier.

Speeds up any player that picks it up. During the time the sphere is active, the player leaves behind after-images in a similar manner to Hexen's Boots of Speed.
Time freeze sphere
Freezes everything in the map but the player who picked it up and his/her allies for a short period of time. This means everything: projectile weapons remain frozen in midair, for instance. Time unfreezes jerkily at first. The effect is easily mistaken for connection problems by the uninitiated.
Invisibility sphere
Makes the player translucent to the point where they are almost impossible to see, essentially being an enhanced version of the partial invisibility power-up. The sprites for the sphere come from the Doom pre-release beta, which essentially is the sprites for the partial invisibility sphere with the reds and blues swapped over.
Multiplies the damage done by the player who picked it up by four for the sphere's duration, similar to the quad damage powerup in the Quake series. While active, the player turns red as an indicator to others as well as having a saturated red screen.
Reduces the damage done to the player by 75%. While active, the player turns beige as an indicator to others as well as having a saturated beige screen.
Random powerup
Rotates through the following: Soulsphere; Megasphere; Turbosphere; Invisibility; Doomsphere; Guardsphere; Partial Invisibility.
Terminator sphere
Only appears in the Terminator game type (but can be summoned during any other game mode with cheats enabled), where the sphere is central to the mode's gameplay. When a player picks the sphere up, they are given full health and armor, similar to the Megasphere, as well as a permanent Doomsphere effect that doesn't affect the players vision. The Terminator sphere appears above the player that possesses it, making it visible to other players. When the player holding the sphere is killed, the sphere is dropped, allowing other players to pick it up.


The effect of a rune remains as long as the player is holding it. Players lose runes on death.

Strength rune
Doubles the damage of the bearer's attacks.
Rage rune
Doubles the bearer's rate of fire.
Drain rune
Each successful attack by the bearer heals the bearer with an amount equal to half of the damage inflicted.
Spread rune
Causes the player's weapons to fire in three separate directions simultaneously at no extra ammunition cost. The sprites for this rune come from the Doom press release beta.
Resistance rune
Halves the damage done to the bearer, by monsters or by other players.
Regeneration rune
"Regenerates" 5% of the bearer's health every second.
Prosperity rune
Lets the bearer pick up all health and armor items up to a maximum of 250% instead of 100%.
Reflection rune
Makes half the damage done to the bearer hurt the opponent who inflicted it.
High jump rune
Makes the bearer jump much higher. Good for shortcuts.
Haste rune
Makes the bearer run faster.

New monsters[edit]

Aside from weapons, new monsters are available. They can be placed in any kind of Skulltag map, or summoned. Within Skulltag itself, they only appear in the "The Impending Nightmare" Invasion episode.

  • Blood Demon — a twice as tough version of the demon. Dark red. Has 300 health.
  • Dark Imp — a twice as tough imp with a faster fireball. Black with blue/purple fireballs. Has 120 health.
  • Super Shotgun Guy — a zombie that wields the super shotgun. This is the only monster with original sprites (the rest of the opponents are merely recolors of the enemy sprites from the game). Has 120 health.
  • Cacolantern — an orange cacodemon, twice as tough as the original and with a faster fireball. Has 800 health.
  • Abaddon — a three times as tough and faster black cacodemon that fires a volley of two fast, powerful fireballs. Has 1200 health.
  • Hectebus — a twice as powerful mancubus with a near-continuous five-way spread attack. Black with green fireballs. Has 1500 health.
  • Belphegor — a variant of the Hell knight and baron of Hell, fires a rapid volley of three fireballs. Red and black. Has 1500 health.

New levels[edit]

The source port installer also includes 56 custom levels that cover the new gameplay modes.

The Skulltag team[edit]

Carnevil was the creator and project leader of Skulltag. Under him, Skulltag's staff was divided into development and moderation departments. When Skulltag was discontinued in 2012, at the time Torr Samaho and Cyberimp666 were respectively acting as department heads. Below are some past team members grouped by their main role with additional responsibilities listed.


Clan activity[edit]

Main article: Clans

Controversy of 0.97b[edit]

On December 22 of 2006, Carnevil released Skulltag 0.97b. It was a very hyped up version of Skulltag due to the number of game modes, features, and maps that were included as well as the OpenGL support by implementing the renderer from ZDoomGL 0.81. However, it became a nightmare for the developers to realize how bugged Skulltag was at the time - crashes and glitches were frequent. Because of this in addition to a few other reasons and the stress these things caused on him, Carnevil departed from Skulltag on January 13, 2007.

Soon after this, Torr Samaho stepped in as a new Skulltag programmer. He joined the development team in February 2007. Rivecoder was also working on the Skulltag source code secretly and was later announced to the public on March 16, 2007. SuperGod helped as well with compiling binaries for Skulltag testing and making minor edits to the source to make sure it compiled on multiple Linux distros. Carnevil eventually came back and started programming Skulltag again in July 2007 and left the development team once again the following December to start work on a new commercial game. Rivecoder was a programmer and the project leader until the release of the 98 series, when he announced his retirement from the port. Torr Samaho is still the lead programmer, with Blzut3 and Vortex Cortex also working on the port.

Controversy of domain[edit]

On December 5th of 2009, changed its domain to When pressed for info, the developers did not wish to state details--shortly after, however, Carnevil came onto the forum with accusations that Rivecoder and the current Skulltag team had stolen Skulltag and the Skulltag site from him, while the development team insist it was because Dreamhost was too small a web provider for their growing port.

While arguments linger on the forums, Skulltag successfully moved domains. Carnevil has posted his viewpoint of the events on the former Skulltag website, though current developers decry his viewpoints as emotional or outright wrong. Eruanna posted an official rebuttal on her own website.

On August 21st of 2010, Carnevil revealed that Eruanna has resigned her position as webmaster, transferred the Skulltag site back to and that he was assuming his former position as project leader, although he made it clear he was not going to be taking any major roles within development to continue working on his commercial game, Wrack and that Torr Samaho would continue to head development of Skulltag.

Source code[edit]

Skulltag was closed-source for security reasons (a method which the developers admit is not foolproof but nevertheless still better than nothing), a controversial move on several accounts and is uncommon in the Doom community where most source ports have their source code publicly available.

However, they released the source code for an old version, 97c2 on March 11, 2010, which could no longer be used as a basis for cheating in the current version. This codebase would be adopted for ScoreDoomST.

On February 13, 2012, Skulltag officially went open-source.

Resurrection of Skulltag forum archive[edit]

On March 28, 2017, through an effort of various staff members from the Zandronum team at the time, the Skulltag forum reappeared in archived form. It contains every post made between September 2009 and May 2012 and is set to be read-only.


  • Skulltag would retain the ZDoomGL 0.81 renderer for versions 97b, 97c, 97c2 and 97c3. According to Torr Samaho in the history.txt, version 97d briefly used ZDoomGL as well but was halfway dropped for GZDoom, at one point having both renderers working in Skulltag.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Source code genealogy
Based on
Skulltag Base for
Based on
Base for