Well, shortly after writing yesterday’s article, I was looking at random pictures of Brutalist architecture in Google Images when I happened to see a screenshot from “Doom II” hidden amongst all of the cool-looking buildings.
Intrigued, I clicked on it and I was led to this absolutely fascinating article about a mod for “Doom” called “Brutalist Doom”. Even if you aren’t interested in the mod, the article itself is worth checking out.
Since Doomworld’s archives didn’t seem to be working properly at the time of writing (earlier this year – they seem to be working now though), I had to download this mod via a fairly circuitous route (eg: using the Google cache of the mod’s archive page to get a link to the German download mirror).
I also only had a chance to try this mod out briefly on “Ultimate Doom”, “Doom II”, “The Plutonia Experiment” (from “Final Doom”) and “Heretic” (just for the hell of it) using the “ZDoom” source port. So, this will be more of a “first impressions” article than anything else.
Anyway, let’s take a look at “Brutalist Doom”:
“Brutalist Doom” is a mod which tries to make “Doom” levels look a bit more like Brutalist architecture, mostly by changing many of the wall textures and some of the skybox textures. From what I’ve seen, it both succeeds and fails at this.
First of all, the idea behind this mod is a really cool one. Brutalist architecture is one of the most fascinating types of architecture out there and it’s awesome to actually be able to play a computer game that includes this type of architecture.
Most of the mod’s visual changes are fairly simple ones, but they seriously change the whole atmosphere of the game. Many wall textures are replaced with foreboding grey concrete and most of the skybox textures have been changed to something much gloomier. It’s wonderfully ominous, gothic and bleak. However, the skyboxes in the first level (and possibly more) of episode four of “Ultimate Doom” haven’t been changed.
It might just be the lack of visual contrast, but even the monster sprites appear slightly more faded when you use this mod. Having a blank canvas as a background is a really interesting idea and it both does and doesn’t work. On the one hand, it means that there are fewer distractions, allowing you to focus on combat and exploration a lot more. Not to mention that there’s Brutalist architecture – in “Doom”!
But, on the other hand, it can get very slightly monotonous after a while. Brutalist architecture itself is interesting because large Brutalist buildings look absolutely fascinating from the outside.
However, many official “Doom” levels take place inside buildings, so this visual effect can sometimes be lost when using this mod. However, if you’re playing a level and/or a WAD with lots of large outdoor structures or areas, then I imagine that this mod would make them look twice as cool.
Not only that, some of the texture changes don’t always work that well. Sometimes doors will be replaced with identical wall textures, or with nothing more than a plain black texture. Unless you’re playing a level that you already know by heart, this can sometimes get a bit confusing and disorientating.
Interestingly, when I tried to play “Doom II” and “The Plutonia Experiment” using this mod, there was literally no music whatsoever. The levels were filled with an eerie silence, which just seemed to add to the wonderfully foreboding dystopian atmosphere that the mod tries to create. However, when I played “Ultimate Doom”, the music worked perfectly.
However, when you try to play “Heretic” using this mod and “ZDoom”, something interesting happens….
Although “Heretic” is still playable, the graphics glitch out in a really interesting way. Many of the levels suddenly take on a wonderfully cool black and gold colour scheme, the HUD is an interesting shade of purple and many of the monsters have an odd solarised “glow” to them. Like this:
This may not be the way that this mod was originally intended to be used but, wow, it looks cool 🙂
All in all, despite it’s flaws, this is a really interesting mod. If you like your architecture to be gloomy and dystopian, then you’ll love this mod. Yes, it has it’s issues, but I still absolutely love the idea behind it. Not to mention that it also (unintentionally) makes “Heretic” look really cool too.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would probably get at least three and a half.