DOOM II, Level 07, Ultra-Violence, starting with a pistol, ending with 100% everything, 200% health and 200% armour. This is the sort of thing that the DHT is about. If you play like this, the DHT is right for you!
DHT5 is the latest revision of the rules. After going to press (well, I suppose you can call ZIP a press in some loose sense...) it has been integrated with a few very minor amendments, which you can find here.
Ignoring all the details, there are basically two things that will affect you:
When you think your DOOM skills are solid and that no monster in hell can be a match for your shotgun, you have two basic ways of getting street credit. One is to win lots of DeathMatches against well-known players, and the other is to get one or more "DOOM Honorific Titles".
The DHT is a rating system that awards top players with standardised and universally recognised titles. If you feel proud and/or silly enough, you can include the relevant letters after your name in your .sig and impress your fellow DOOM players.
From the introduction to the rules:
DOOM is definitely one of the best computer games of all times, one of the few that will be remembered and quoted ten or twenty years from now. For so many nights, all over the planet, it has glued millions of people to their networked computers. As well as being tremendously addictive and technically excellent, it has an open architecture which has spawned innumerable add-ons, most notably the level editors with which other gifted designers have produced hundreds of excellent WADs. An exciting feature of the game is the ability to record the player's input in a form that can be replayed later, like a movie. The file containing the recording, known as a LMP, can then be sent to other people for viewing.
The DOOM Honorific Titles, based on LMP recording with an authentication mechanism, are the means by which good players can objectively prove to the world that they are as good as they claim. The DHT system also has the beneficial side effect of promoting the production of amazing LMPs - if you want to see some superior DOOM action, turn to the ever-growing repository of DHT exam files.
Ok, so you think you're good; how do you like the idea of calling yourself, say, a DOOM 2 Grand Master? You'll have to fight legions of monsters and record your performance for posterity. If you're up to the challenge, you earn your Title. To prove that the recording was not a fake, there is a PGP-based authentication mechanism which marks the LMP as yours and allows public verification of the title without having to trust a central examining authority. With the DHT scheme, there is no need for a judging commission: as soon as you complete the requested levels, you get your title automatically. Anybody who likes can watch the LMPs and verify that you really deserve your title.
All titles, except some of the Techno ones, are available for both DOOM (D1*) and DOOM II (D2*). The title of Master is also available for Heretic. Note that the following descriptions are for purposes of illustration only: the formal requirements for each title are stated in the "Official Reference" section.
Master (D1M, D2M, HM): Can do any level from scratch on UltraViolence
(or Black Plague) with 100% kills.
Speedy Gonzales (D1SG, D2SG): Can do any level from scratch on Hurt Me Plenty under par. No lower threshold on kills.
Tyson: (D1T, D2T): Like Master, but only using these weapons:
fist, berserk, chainsaw, pistol.
Incubus: (D1I, D2I): Can do any level from scratch on Nightmare. The only constraint is to get to the exit alive: 100% kills or similar stuff is not required.
Grand Master (D1GM, D2GM): Like Master, but with the "-FAST" command line option which makes monsters as fast as in Nightmare.
Lightning (D1L, D2L): Can do 9 consecutive levels on UltraViolence,
all under par.
Schwarzenegger (D1S, D2S): Can do the whole game consecutively on Nightmare, one big LMP for the lot.
LMP Doctor (D1LD, D2LD): Although using artificial expedients
(a.k.a. cheats), has the technical ability to produce a LMP of any (and
I mean any) level on Nightmare with 100% kills.
Hacker (DH): Can write a program that writes out a LMP of itself getting to the end of a particular level on Ultra-Violence with 100% kills. Trivial solutions, like prerecording the LMP, are obviously excluded.
Master Hacker (DMH): Can write a program that can impersonate a player in a cooperative two player setup and that, if the other player is left untouched, can finish any level on Ultra-Violence with 100% kills without ever missing a shot.
The titles are awarded by passing an examination. As with most examinations, this will only be a random sampling of your capacity. You won't be required to complete all the levels in the game to prove that you can do it.
You will be your own judge for the results. You will receive the text of the examination, which tells you what to do to be awarded the title you think you deserve; from then on you just have to produce the corresponding LMPs and upload them to a specific public place in a specific format to be able to add the appropriate title after your name. There is no time limit. The LMPs must be produced especially for the examination - you can't just send in your old ones. This is because there is an authentication mechanism, based on PGP, which prevents people from recycling other people's LMPs.
Get a copy of the rules (see above), read the "quick start" bit and then mail me a request for a challenge; you'll find a form for this in the ZIP containing the rules.
NO LONGER NEW: You might seriously risk a CRAP if you don't follow the rules carefully. Please read these horror stories and meditate.
Here are some follow-ups to these: a letter I wrote to Daniel Lindgren and another one to Oliver Mertlich.
Will there be any DHT stuff for hexen? strife? duke nukem? QUAKE? The answer is: very probably YES for Quake, but not for the others. However this will only come when I get round to doing a major overhaul of the practical implementation of the DHT (this was planned a VERY long time ago but never done), whereby you'll ask for a challenge by filling in a web form and you'll receive it immediately on the spot, without having to wait for me to process it manually. The rules will require adjustments so that things that I normally now check by hand won't have to be checked any more. I'll take this opportunity to do some extra cleanup like dealing with the advanced and epic titles that are now more or less full, as well as adding in something for the Ultimate Doom levels.
NEW: The level sets for DOOM 2 Speedy Gonzales have been changed to a
much more accurately calibrated set, thanks to the joint efforts of the
three DOOM experts Yonatan Donner, Mike Pratt and George Bell. (Anyone
objecting to my use of "experts"? Just check for yourself where they are in
the DHT Hall of Fame...) Without question, this is the most thoroughly
researched and most accurately presented contribution that I ever received
for the DHT since I started it in 1994.
I was already shocked by the amount of work that had gone into Mike's "scientific dissertation", as I called it at the time; to merge it with the other contributions, I asked him to coordinate the three of them as a working group with the task of coming up with the definitive set for D2SG. They all did a splendid job. But I would have never guessed that the best was yet to come: Mike then sent me the complete documentation of all their work, neatly formatted in HTML. So here it is - an outstanding PhD study in DHTism. It makes all the other level set decisions (which were mostly my own) look amateurish in comparison.
NEW: The Speedy Gonzales titles will evolve to using UV instead of HMP, but until DHT6 comes out this will be optional. Read the official amendment to find out more.
NEW: As highlighted in the excellent document
prepared by Uwe Girlich, Quake's LMP format (called DEM) is much more
easily editable than DOOM's. As such, it will not be possible to issue
Honorific Titles for Quake based on exactly the same principles as I did
for DOOM since 1994: it would be pointless to go through pgp
authentication of the challenge when the exam file itself could be made
up from scratch!
I thought a lot about this, envisaging many possible scenarios (one of them being: no QHT at all) and the solution I am happiest with is to base the Quake titles entirely on the honour system. They will NOT have a dance, to make it clear that they don't have the same level of authenticity and certification as the DOOM ones. But apart from that there will be challenges, free interps and all the rest of it.
There have been a few minor amendments to the rules after I issued DHT5. They weren't worth the hassle of me producing yet another (DHT6?) version and of you printing another 20 pages worth of stuff, so for now they are only accessible through here.
The date found on the last line of the log is the last time I issued any challenges. If you requested one after that date, you won't be in the log. If such is the case, don't panic: I generally issue a new batch every fortnight.
"Can I see somebody else's exams?" I hear you say? Of course! Just go to the repository or one of its many mirrors:
(Note that this list has been generated from a r.g.c.d.announce posting that is supposed to list all the current mirrors, but some of them may be down at the time of your visit. Also, only those with the star work as web servers too, the others are just ftp.)
These links send you to the all-new "DHT Hall of Fame" page, which indexes all the exams marked as DONE in the latest log. The exams are sorted according to various criteria (by title, by author, by date, by who's got the most titles...) and for every exam you get two links: one to read that exam's description online and one to download the exam. The good news is that these links are all relative, so they work right on the mirror that you choose to use.
If you have 5 or more titles marked as DONE in the log, you have the right to put your picture and/or a link to your web page in the DHT Hall of Fame! Mail me for more info if you qualify and I'll tell you what to do.
For history, the first organised attempt I can recall is that of Chris 'Strunoph' Norman (email@example.com, Christina Norman in real life - she went by Chris at the time only as an experiment to see if people would treat her differently on the net), who in January 1994 started the LMP Hall of Fame. The completed collection can be found on the main DOOM ftp site. I don't think she accepts any more LMPs.
I think that my own DHT, started in May 1994, qualifies as the next significant initiative. The LMP Hall of Fame was inspirational to me, but I felt it missed something in that you could never be sure that the LMPs belonged to those who had sent them. Pondering on this I eventually came up with the idea of the authentication dance and of the PGP-signed challenges, which are the conceptual bases of the DHT.
Another initiative is that of Simon Widlake (firstname.lastname@example.org), who in December 1994 opened an ftp site (ftp://brains.cc.rl.ac.uk/ftp/pub/DoomLMPS) dedicated especially to LMPs. This was originally prompted by the fact that, at some point, the main DOOM ftp site (then infant2.sphs.indiana.edu) closed its doors to LMPs because they were short on disk space. Simon proposed a few challenges to be met and invited people to submit their LMPs. This competition is still open at the time of writing, but its home has now moved to the main repository, ftp.cdrom.com. There are several categories of LMPs, some rather similar to those of the DHT and some original. There are also categories based on improving a minimum time to complete the level, so that unlike what happens in DHT you can definitely say that you're (so far) the best of all those who entered. The system is quite open and you may even suggest new categories if you have a good idea. For more info, pick up the rules from the site itself, or mail Simon.
Another initiative was an International DOOM LMP competition, started by Mark Gundy (Mag8@aol.com) of H2H BBS and others in May 1995. It was supposed to be a real competition, with real prizes offered by sponsor companies. It looked very good indeed and was well organized. It went on for three months, during which the organizers kept everybody informed of what was going on by issuing frequently updated logs. Maybe you can still find something at ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/doom/lmps/H2HMud/info/H2H-pack.zip and on the official H2H web page. However H2H turned out to be a rip-off: I, for one, won some prizes (2 CDs and other stuff I've now forgotten about) and got e-mail telling me so; however, notwithstanding repeated reminders from me to them and repeated assurances and apologies from them to me, I never actually received anything. Almost a year later, completely fed up by this attitude, I posted a query to the doom .announce newsgroup to poll other players, asking anybody who had received anything from H2H to please let me know. But no one ever sent me an affirmative reply. So there.
This section has been made obsolete by the introduction of the "Best of the Best" section in the Hall Of Fame. If you want to look at absolutely exceptional stuff (including, at the time of writing, three out of four Epic titles), go there. But I thought I'd keep the old text of this section around, just for history.
E1M3 on nightmare. They said it couldn't be done. Well, someone did it. I think he's the greatest nightmare player in the world-- Steffen Winterfeldt. Here is his LMP. You'll need DOOM 1.2 to play it back. It's not a DHT thing, he just sent it to me privately. And here is the description he sent me.
I wrote on this page that Steffen had also sent me a nifty MAP07-NM under par, which I couldn't find any more. Tom Mustaine took up the challenge and produced one: look at the free interpretation of his D2SG-TWM exam.
Other virtuoso performances I'd like to recommend are part of the DHT exams: DM-TJV (the first "tyson-style" performance), DT-PK (the first and only Tyson title conquered under the old, tougher rules) and D2GM-JRM (the first "Grand Master" ever awarded, and in fact the first advanced title that was conquered under the new rules).
But I particularly want to mention the outstanding work of Jonathan Hoof: he was the first DOOMer in the world to conquer an Epic title (you know, the ones that are once-only). Check out D1L-JRH, and you'll find that he wildly exceeded the required specifications: he did all three episodes as Lightning! As if this wasn't enough, he also graduated to D2L-JRH and now owns no less than twelve DHT5 titles.
Coming close behind him is Phidias Bourlas with nine DHT5 titles plus a DM from DHT3. And all this with keyboard only and a 386! His brilliant recordings really put us mousers to shame.
And I still haven't seen all those that sound worth checking from their description! But, at last, I've written a filter that looks at the DONE entries in the log and compiles a Hall Of Fame. Check it out, it's well worth it!
Putting Java to work, you can cage DOOM monsters inside web pages in such a way that you can rotate them with your mouse to have a good look at them from every angle.
This was my first applet, written in September 1995, when the only browser that would display it was the crappy and crash-prone HotJava. But it was such great fun to be there with the pioneers! Then the Java toolkit changed, and the applet stopped working.
It took ages, but I finally sat down and converted it. Have a look if you like.
Note for the humour impaired: please DON'T send me requests for such titles! You'd think that such a warning would be superfluous, but then you haven't been managing the DHT mail for more than a year...
The creative self-irony of George Bell (email@example.com) generated the following, which I found amusing, so I decided to put it here. He emailed me saying:
I have been honing my DOOM skills to try out for a DHT, and I think you might want to add some new titles for those of us who aren't (yet) DOOM Gods ... ;^) What do you think?
Moron: Can do any level from scratch on "I'm Too Young To Die", finishing in over an hour with no ammo, <50% Kills, 0% Secrets, <10% Health and 0% Armor.
Grand Moron: Like moron, only with the -nomonsters option.
TightWAD: Can do any level in the shareware version from scratch in Ultra Violence but has never paid for or played the real game.
Slasher: Can fire the BFG in a room full of monsters at least 6 times in a row aiming at them but without killing a single one.
Trigger Happy: Dispatches 4 Imps in a row at point blank range using rockets without dying (yes, you can start at 200%, 200%).
Wimp: Can start any level from scratch on "I'm Too Young To Die" and die in under 10 seconds.
Gumby: Can do any level from scratch on Ultra Violence without using the strafe buttons.
Grand Gumby: Like gumby but without the speed button as well.
Supreme Idiot: Has managed to die at least twice in god mode.