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The Freedoom project aims to create a complete, free content first
person shooter game, but _Freedoom_ by itself is just the raw material
for a game. It must be paired with a compatible _Doom_ engine to be
There is a massive https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Idgames_archive[back
catalog], spanning over two decades, containing thousands of _Doom_
levels and other modifications (“mods”) made by fans of the game.
_Freedoom_ aims to be compatible with these and allows most to be
played without the need to use non-free software.
_Freedoom_ is actually three games in one, consisting of two
single-player oriented campaigns and one set of levels designed
exclusively for multiplayer deathmatch:
*Freedoom: Phase 1*:: Four episodes, nine levels each, totalling 36
levels. This game aims for compatibility with _The Ultimate Doom_
mods, also known as plain _Doom_ or _Doom 1_.
*Freedoom: Phase 2*:: 32 levels in one long episode, featuring extra
monsters and a double-barrelled shotgun. This project aims for
compatibility with _Doom II_ mods.
*FreeDM*:: A 32-level game designed for competitive deathmatch play.
The engine uses a single file, such as +freedoom2.wad+, that contains
all the game data such as graphics, sound effects, music, and so on.
This file is often called an “IWAD” by those in the _Doom_ and
_Freedoom_ communities. While the _Doom_ engine source code is free,
you would normally still need one of the proprietary data files from
https://www.idsoftware.com/[id Software] to play _Doom_. _Freedoom_
aims to create a free alternative: combined with the GPL-licensed
_Doom_ source code, this results in a completely free game.
For more information, see https://freedoom.github.io/.
== How to play
Since _Freedoom_ is only the game data, you will still need to
download an engine separately. These are also often termed “source
ports” by the community. There are an overwhelming number of choices
available, a lengthy list of which is available on the
One particularly recommended by the _Freedoom_ project is
https://zdoom.org/[GZDoom]. This engine offers good support for
single-player, multi-player, and the majority of mods created for both
_Doom_ and _Freedoom_.
On Windows, you should place _Freedoom_’s data files (those ending
with +.wad+) alongside the engine (eg, +odamex.exe+). On Unix-like
systems, these data files should go in either +/usr/share/games/doom+
or your home directory. If _Freedoom_ comes packaged as part of your
operating system distribution, it should already be installed into the
Hopefully, your engine of choice should already be capable of running
_Freedoom_ without extra configuration. This may not be the case,
however, if the engine does not recognize any of the filenames for
_Freedoom_, and might require manual intervention to make it so. One
of the following options should solve it:
* Use the +-iwad+ command line parameter. For example, to play
Phase 2, you can enter +-iwad freedoom2.wad+ either at a command
line, or adding it to an application shortcut.
* Use the +DOOMWADPATH+ environment variable. Many engines support
this variable to add directories and/or files to their search
path. The exact syntax matches your operating system’s normal
+PATH+ environment variable.
* Rename the game files. This may be a bit crude, but you can
rename the files to match those of _Doom_’s. This is often the
easiest quick-fix, although it is normally desirable to use one of
the above methods if possible.
** +freedoom1.wad+ can be renamed to +doom.wad+
** +freedoom2.wad+ can be renamed to +doom2.wad+
** +freedm.wad+ can be renamed to +doom2.wad+
Additionally, for Unix-like operating systems, such as GNU/Linux or a
BSD variant, _Freedoom_ may be packaged and installed with programs
named +freedoom1+, +freedoom2+, and +freedm+ that automatically run an
engine for proper play. Desktop files may also be installed so that
you can start the game using a graphical interface and avoid the
command line altogether.
== What “free” means
When we speak of free content or software, we refer to the movement in
which your freedoms to use, copy, modify, and study a work is not
infringed. For example, you may freely use _Freedoom_ for any purpose
you see fit, you may redistribute it to anyone without needing to ask
for permission, you may modify it (provided you keep the license
intact, see `COPYING`), and you may study it--for example, to see how
an “IWAD” is built. To facilitate this, you can get the full source
code for _Freedoom_, in this case, in the form of a DeuTex tree.
You may read more about free software at the https://www.gnu.org/[GNU]
and https://www.fsf.org/[Free Software Foundation] websites.
== Contributing to Freedoom
Contributions to _Freedoom_ are always welcome, however there are a
few guidelines that should be followed:
=== Intellectual property
We know people hate legalese, but this is important. This applies to
*everything* which is submitted.
You must be careful when basing on existing graphics or sounds. Most
_Doom_ projects are lax on reusing intellectual property--there are
many mods which contain modified _Doom_ sprites, for example.
However, due to the nature of this project, we do not have the same
liberty to rip as we please.
The general rules go as follows:
* You must have permission for everything you submit. If you make
your own resources, do not base on resources from _Doom_ or any
other restricted work. If you take work from other places, please
make sure that the work is freely-licensed or that you obtain
permission to include it in the _Freedoom_ project. They may not
place additional restrictions compared to the normal _Freedoom_
* Do not try to emulate _Doom_ resources exactly. Where possible,
put effort to make new versions look visibly different from
_Doom_. This is a tough call, because our compatibility with
_Doom_ mods limits how far we can deviate, but it is feasible.
* Be especially careful of “free textures” (or “free sounds” or
“free graphics”) sites. Although these would appear at first to
be okay to use, many are free for “non-commercial use only.”
One of the things we want to be able to do is put this in
GNU/Linux distributions (which can be sold or developed
All levels for _Freedoom_ must be vanilla-compatible, requiring an
expanded-limits or limit-removing engine is not permissible. This
means you may not exceed the limits of the original _Doom_ engine, and
do not depend on additional mapping features. Levels should be in
_Doom_’s original format, not in “Hexen”-format.
It is sensible to also heed the following guidelines:
* Make sure that skill levels are implemented, and that all
multiplayer start points, both cooperative and deathmatch, are
* Try to make levels appropriately difficult for their position
within the progression of the game. Also bear in mind that not
all players may be as skilled a player as you.
* Do not use tricks that exploit _Doom_’s software renderer; some
engines, especially those that use hardware accelerated rendering,
may not render it properly. Examples of tricks to avoid include
those used to simulate 3D bridges and “deep water” effects.
* While unrestricted by limits, do not make excessively complicated
scenes. It is desirable that _Freedoom_ levels should be playable
on low-powered hardware, such as phones and old computers.
* Test your levels in https://www.chocolate-doom.org/[Chocolate
Doom] to make sure that vanilla compatibility is maintained. This
is an engine with strict adherence to vanilla Doom limits and
bugs, and working in it assures that levels can be played with any
Graphics should generally have the same color and size as the original
_Doom_ graphics, as to remain compatible with mods. Otherwise, levels
may end up looking like a nightmare in design. They may be
thematically different as long as it doesn’t clash.
_Doom_ uses a fictional corporation abbreviated as “UAC:” this is
trademarked by id Software and cannot be used in _Freedoom_. Instead,
use the initials “AGM” for _Freedoom_.
_Freedoom_ always needs help with documentation, so please send your
patches, but keep in mind:
* We use http://asciidoc.org/[AsciiDoc] for writing the
documentation. AsciiDoc is a simple plaintext-based format which
is simple to read and write in its source form, and can generate
nice HTML documents out of them.
* Headers are formated in a wiki-style format, this makes it easier
for Vim (perhaps other editors, too) to automatically re-format
* Text is kept at 72 characters wide. In Vim, you can set the
editor to automatically insert line breaks as you’re typing by
performing `set textwidth=72`. Special exceptions to the width
rule might be allowed when necessary (for example, inserting long
=== Submitting your work
The most common, and a fairly simple method, to submit your work is by
posting it on the
https://www.doomworld.com/forum/17-freedoom/[Freedoom forum] on
Doomworld Forums. This allows a great number of people to review the
contribution and provide feedback, although the registration process
is known to be cumbersome.
An alternative to using the forum, is to post your submission on the
https://github.com/freedoom/freedoom/issues[issue tracker], which may
also be peer-reviewed and provide a feedback cycle.
Unfortunately, the Freedoom project cannot provide hosting space in
the form of a web page nor FTP, however there are many free file hosts
to use when you need a location to upload files. Sites and services
such as https://www.dropbox.com/[Dropbox] and
https://mega.co.nz/[Mega], as well as others, are common and should be
simple to use.
==== Crediting information
_Freedoom_ is made up of submissions from many people all over the
globe. All of them, and you, deserve credit! Please do not forget to
provide your name and email when submitting resources.
==== Using Git
You can also commit on a clone of the _Freedoom_ repository, although
this is a technical task and it is okay to let other _Freedoom_
maintainers to do it instead: that is our normal mode of operation.
However, pull requests are much appreciated and you may submit them in
any manner you wish, with GitHub’s direct pull requests being the
simplest, but by far not the only means.
Freedoom uses the commit message style commonly seen in distributed
version control systems, adopted by projects such as Linux and Git.
For an explanation of this style, see
https://chris.beams.io/posts/git-commit/[How to Write a Git Commit