Phobos: A different kind of old school

Our type of “old school” is a very different breed than the type encountered in today’s “old school”. Yes, there are similarities; We too have upped the action, speed and gore, but not to the extreme lengths seen in the new Doom game. Our levels are built for exploration, progression and environmental puzzles. These are our main qualities.

Phobos is closer to games like Half-Life or Dark Forces/Jedi Knight in spirit. Just like Classic Doom, these games are types of First Person Shooters that have all but vanished. We truly are a different kind of oldschool.

New Shotgun and other weapon changes

We think we can all agree that the Doom 3 shotgun never felt quite right. We’ve changed that and replaced the vanilla shotgun with a new and more powerful medium range shotgun. The new shotgun tears through enemies with much more ease than its Doom 3 counterpart.

We’ve also made changes to all of the familiar weapons from Doom 3, giving them a more original Doom feel and play. This includes sounds, particle effects and damage output. All this to make enemy encounters more entertaining and fun.

The weapons in Phobos will definitely give The Hordes of Hell something to fear.

New, familiar and altered enemies

Phobos includes new and familiar enemies to the Doom franchise. Expect to see the Arachnotron and Pain Elemental like id software intended them.

Like anything else in this mod we’ve also changed the Doom 3 enemies towards something more like the original Doom. Just like the weapons this includes all aspects; Enemy behaviour, look and feel. Expect faster moving demons and more enemies on screen at a time, leaving you with a combat experience more true to the original than Doom 3 was.

New story in a familiar setting

In most games, the story revolves around the player character. The problem in the case of First Person Shooters is that the main character rarely talks, emotes or acts in any way.

We want to do something different than what you expect from most first person games. We want the player to have a voice. The player isn’t you; You are the player.

The player is not an empty shell designed to contain you. He is a character - complete with a past, a present and a future. Using him as a vessel, we intend to give you a chance to experience a deep and exciting story that will spark the imagination and leave things up to your interpretation.

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We know it has been quite a while since the last devblog. More than a whole year. So why has it been so long? To start off, it has been a very eventful year for the members of the team. People have been moving, buying a new house, there have been tragedies. Close family members lost. Operations. Busy times at work - so something had to give. And instead of sacrificing our productivity for the actual mod work, we have cut back a little on the public relations side of things. So all in all, this doesn’t mean we have been idle, we have simply prioritized not being idle higher than not looking idle.

So what have we been doing for all that time?
Well, quite a lot. First off, we finished up E1M8 - the last level of the episode. This involved a wide array of our abilities and pressed us to evolve new ones as well as refine the existing. We had to ensure that the episode ends with a bang. One of our main challenges when building this level was the ever changing progression style from linear to nonlinear.

Next up we decided it was time to remake E1M2.
This was, after all, the first level we created since practically rebooting the project in 2009. While there were good ideas and segments in the level, we opted for scrapping it entirely and replace it with something new and much better. Certain parts of the old version was saved and reused for the new. We finished the map in a reasonable amount of time and the subsequent result was much better. One of the problems we had with the old level was that it was too fragmented and didn’t portray that part of the martian base in a manner where the player would know exactly where he was and what he was supposed to do. While we like to have a certain level of nonlinearity, we need to have a greater sense of direction in this part of the story.

Lastly, we had to create E1M1
, the start level of the game and the last level of the first phase of development. We already had a few pieces of the level ready, so all we had to do was to settle on the style and build the rest of the areas of which were already planned. The first level of Phobos has been planned to have no action. While it’s not set in stone yet, we are attempting to create a level that’s large and completely open to explore, but you don’t have to spend too much time there if you’re simply craving to progress to the levels with action. It’s a delicate balance to get right, but if we succeed it should be very interesting. For the story seeking player, spending more time in E1M1 will pay off dramatically. We are putting great care into the opening of the game.

And that was it for Phase 1.

Before we head off to Phase 2 in this here devblog, it’s worth mentioning that somewhere in between all of this work, the writers finalized the first draft of the entire detailed story with flow, characters and direction. Now, this doesn’t mean we waited until now to write the story - far from it - the rough story as it is was completed back in 2005 or 2006 and we have been following this plan ever since. Not much has changed in this regard. What’s new is the amount of detail the document goes into with the characters, what scenes the player witnesses and the interconnections between the characters. The document details what each character is doing at any time, what their motivations are, what they let others know and so forth. We would have loved to have had this earlier, but time didn’t permit it. So far it has been a tremendously useful tool. We are really excited about it.
And now on to Phase 2. Please note that all illustrative images are work in progress and do not represent the final quality of the areas, but are merely here to show what kind of processes we go through with Phase 2.

We started by planning out how the workflow would be. This didn’t take long as we had been discussing the phase for 4 years at that point. What basically goes in is we have all the levels ready, playable from start to finish - complete with puzzles, monsters, items and weapons. They all look decent and all the shots we have released show that there is a certain level of quality throughout. Now, with these levels in the bank, we go through them one by one, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and then proceed to write a solution document which goes into detail on how we can fix any problems the levels may have. That is not to say we look too much at texture misalignments, less than perfect lighting or anything like that. Phase 2 is a rough pass over the levels, fixing uneven quality, things that are broken, implementing details to reinforce what we’re trying to convey with the story and so forth. An example of this is how we in E1M4 completely scrapped an old cargo system in order to replace it with a new, carefully crafted cargo conveyance system. This involved a few new areas and overall the level has been doubled in size.

So does the mention of E1M4 mean we have finished 4 maps for the second phase? Sadly no. When determining the order of the levels in this second phase, it was an important point for us that we did not work on levels that had fatigue. This basically means levels we have almost just completed within a year and haven’t had time to show its weaknesses. We need some time away from the levels for us to brew up great ideas and clear vision on their qualities. This meant we decided to start on E1M4, then take E1M3 and continue with E1M5. Long story short, we’re doing them in the same order as with Phase 1.

As of this devblog, we are in the finishing stages of E1M3, that soon makes it 2 levels in the 2nd Phase bank. It has taken a little longer than we wanted, but these two levels are the oldest and in most need of work, after all. We hope and intend that the process will speed up over the next levels, but it’s important to say that at this point, 9 years after the release of Doom3, we don’t really have any deadlines anymore. Our most important goal is to deliver an expansion pack that exceeds that of Resurrection of Evil and the Lost Missions. To elaborate on this, it has been a year since we played the fan-made mod/game Black Mesa. Anyone who has played this will recognize and appreciate the amazing work that went into creating it and the breathtaking quality that - in many places - are apparent. We were as inspired by this as any, but a year back while we were hammering away at rough roads, garages and caves for E1M2, this kind of quality seemed unreachable for a team our size. Now we can safely say that it’s not entirely unrealistic that we will have the same level of quality in our work, if not greater yet. It certainly is our intention to try. In many ways we are attempting to have Doom 3 Phobos be to Doom what Black Mesa is to Half-Life. A solid, high quality product that further nuances an existing base game. The biggest difference is that the story and events in Phobos are all new.
A part of the vision and the improvement of quality is also to differ from our base, Doom 3. While it was a good game, we feel there are lots of ways to improve. We are putting back a wider array of colors, we’re brightening up the place, we are improving the sounds and the general action & interaction with enemies. We are deepening the story. Our levels are larger, less linear and more varied in style and theme. We’re aiming for a less depressing audio side. We have more action. All monsters won’t be grey. Betruger is taking a vacation in our mod (He won’t be laughing at you, locking and unlocking doors). Progression and game events are based on your actions, not the current area’s monster count or developers unlocking doors after a monologue. Great care and detail is put into the world around the player to make it feel like a real place you can interact with rather than a pretty backdrop with 6 ft. tall clip brushes.

We don’t have a lot of manpower for this vision though, as times are rough for Doom 3 modding in general and our team specifically. We are down to 3 active members as our long time level designer, DoomUK, decided to call it quits for personal reasons. We wish him the very best on his future endeavors and thank him for his wonderful contributions to the mod.

While we make progress every day and all-in-all our work rate is really good, we would benefit greatly from new talent. We are looking for practically anyone with a decent skill set and - almost more important - the will to work his or her ass off and the enthusiasm for getting better, improving the skill set and be willing to take on different assignments. It’s a free mod, so we can’t offer any monetary benefits, but you’ll get the chance to work on something that will actually be completed and released. It’s no longer a pipe dream with this project, it is reality. You’ll be working on something with high, aiming for higher, quality. If you think you fit this description, don’t hesitate to send us an email at with your background, area of expertise and examples hereof.

Furthermore, we would appreciate any help we get with the public aspect of this. Tell your friends about us, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. There is something special in the works and we’d like to reach as many people as possible with it.

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Devblog #13 - Realization Time

Devblog #13 - Realization Time

News 10 comments

As Lead tester on Phobos, I've been asked to write this Devblog about our testing process, what goes into it, what comes out of it, and, more often than...

Teaser trailer and Q&A

Teaser trailer and Q&A

News 2 comments

We have been working on this mod for so long. It took us 5 years to get to the realization that we needed to radically change our work structure. 2½...

Twitter, Facebook, Website and Moddb update

Twitter, Facebook, Website and Moddb update

News 0 comments

Just to let you all know we made a Twitter and Facebook page for ourselves. And also updated our website and our Moddb page.

Devblog #12 - The Greater Good

Devblog #12 - The Greater Good

News 16 comments

After having been locked in a basement for 10 months, we're finally back - and we've brought goodies! In this devblog we go through the inner workings...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 230)

I really hope this plays better than Doom 2016

Keep up the good work guys this looks amazing

How much time will take to finish the Campaign (gameplay time i mean) as much as i am exicted ...i'm afraid it will be too short 8 maps doest sound long enought

will this have multiplayer ?

If so can we have Bot support please

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shaviro Creator

1) Depends on what you're looking for :)
2) Thanks!
3) It's not going to be a superlong 20 hour game, but hopefully it'll be enough :)
4) Nope, sadly

Reply Good karma+1 vote

Still alive, hell yeah!

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So how close is it to being done?

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As far as I know, this mod in quietly in flux. I feel that people forget that a really good mod takes a long time to complete. You really cannot rush this kind of thing especially when modding is just a hobby and people have their own personal lives to deal with which drastically slows down the process. Besides, I would prefer to have a mod released that's completely finished rather than playing an early alpha and waiting ages for the next update to release.

But saying that, more updates and announcements and perhaps a short demo would definitely be nice instead of keeping quiet to the point where people will lose interest and believe the mod to be dead which happens a lot.

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Another cool mod that is dead, what a surprise .

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes

This mod isn't dead. It's alive, just talk to Shaviro or any of the other members that still sorta hang around on the DoomWorld forums.

They do have a projected time of release.

Doom: Phobos is the Black Mesa of the Doom universe.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes

this is never gonna happen or is it? Oh well guess I'll wait for doom 4 then.

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Any planed updates on Your work? I would love to see some new shoots :)

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I hope it comes out before Doom 4.

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shaviro Creator

It won't unless Id Software has a big delay. Why is it so important?

Reply Good karma+2 votes
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Latest tweets from @doom3phobos


Aug 3 2016

#Gamedev Music originally create for our former #DOOM project #RTC-3057 by Marc Pullen.

Jul 31 2016

Fun fact: #Phobos has twice the amount of brushes #Doom3 has #gamedev #leveldesign

Jul 29 2016

#gamedev #leveldesign Working on/off on level that has caused trouble for years it's awesome and surreal to be putting final touches on it!

Jul 25 2016

Great article on the excellent #idtech6 with @idSoftwareTiago #DOOM Can't wait to see where the engine is taken next

Jul 24 2016

Can't believe how many pages we've churned out for this mod. It's more than an action game! #DOOM #WritersRoom #GameDev #gettingthere

Jul 16 2016

Workshop weekend with geX and Shaviro has just begun at Shaviro' place. Working on our selftitled roamplay #gamedev #WritersRoom #Doom @DOOM

Jul 15 2016

Stunning stuff! #DOOMPhotoMode

Jul 9 2016

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