Skulltag is an open-source multiplayer source port created by Brad "Carnevil" Carney based on ZDoom and on the GZDoom renderer. Skulltag has been closed indefinitely, with the last public release being version 0.98d on November 7, 2010. The most recent development of Skulltag has been forked off into the source port Zandronum.
Multiplayer game modes
Influenced by Quake 3: 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 namesake 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). And some of the bots names are based off of Greek gods, such as the bot Orion, and off of well-known modders around the entire Doom community, and references to the game's developers or otherwise. There was even a bot that takes the appearence of the famed plush cacodemon toy Hissy, but it was removed in a later release, as the sprites were smaller than other player sprites, giving players who used the skin in online play an unfair (albeit slight) advantage.
- Support for most ZDoom features (deep water, skyboxes, transparent walls, etc.).
- Client/server multiplayer architecture.
- Customizable, dynamic bots.
- Support for loading DeHackEd patches directly.
- Extra weapons, items, and monsters.
- Medals to award achievements during multiplayer mode.
- Partial DECORATE support (compatible with ZDoom version 2.3.1).
- Support for Heretic, Hexen, Strife, and Chex Quest.
- Runs on Windows, Linux , and FreeBSD.
In addition to the regular set of Doom weapons, Skulltag introduces four new weapons. Much like the Super Shotgun, each of the new weapons shares a weapon slot and ammunition type with another weapon:
- Minigun: Fires twice as fast as the Chaingun, but has a cooldown pause when the trigger is released. Occupies slot 4 along with the Chaingun.
- Grenade launcher: Fires bouncy, explosive grenades that not only damage enemies on explosion but on impact as well. The grenades have a faster forward velocity than rockets, but are subject to gravity. Occupies slot 5 with the Rocket Launcher.
- Railgun: Fires a depleted uranium slug that can pierce multiple enemies. Reloads every four shots and uses 10 energy cells per shot. Deals 200 damage to each target, and is not subject to random damage spread. Occupies slot 6 with the Plasma Gun.
- 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, and energy cost is 5 cells per bolt. Takes the appearance of the Bio-Force Gun from the Doom movie since 0.97b. Shares slot 7 with the BFG 9000.
All weapons may be placed in maps, summoned via the console, or given to players at the start of a Last Man Standing round.
All Spheres are only effective for a limited amount of time for the carrier, except for the Terminator Sphere (see below).
- 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 spheres 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, Invulnerability.
- 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. When the Terminator sphere is summoned via cheat in single-player mode, it remains active for the duration of one level.
The effect of a rune remains as long as the player is holding it. Players lose runes on death. Picking up a second rune will remove the one already held.
Runes can be found in both The Impending Nightmare and The Mortal Conflict campaigns.
- 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 three projectiles at once, the two extra projectiles being fired out diagonally left and right. This does not increase ammunition cost. The sprites for this rune come from the Doom press release beta.
- Resistance rune
- Reduces 50% of 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%. This includes both health and armor bonuses.
- Reflection rune
- Causes 50% of 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, with the same visual effect as the Turbosphere (trail of afterimages).
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 1200 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.
Controversy of 0.97b
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. 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
On December 5th of 2009, Skulltag.com changed its domain to Skulltag.net. 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 Skulltag.com 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, Last Bastion and that Torr Samaho would continue to head development of Skulltag.
Skulltag officially went open-source in early 2012.
In June of 2012, the developers of Skulltag created a new source port called Zandronum and transitioned the Skulltag community to the new port, effectively abandoning Skulltag. Zandronum is a direct continuation of Skulltag, with its first official release being what Skulltag 0.98e was supposed to be. The reasons for the move are cited as serious conflicts between Skulltag's creator Carnevil and the Skulltag development team.
Closing of Skulltag
On June 7th 2012, Carnevil officially closed Skulltag following the creation of Zandronum by the former Skulltag development team. See here for the official closing announcement from Carnevil.
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