In the course of writing articles for the Spotlight, I’ve been playing all sorts of mods that use the GZDoom engine to create things that can be miles away from the hellish ordeal that started it all. I’ve been transported into entire tributes to other games, fought razor-frisbee-wielding lizard jesters, stolen crystals from cheerful block castles, defeated fascist cats… I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m running a retro-themed cafe on Phobos or playing a demon dating simulator. But not all mods have to go to such lengths - FragTrak by TapWave is a nice reminder that some clever scripting can still breathe new life into the levels that we’ve all played a million times.
The focus of this mod is not new levels, graphics, sounds or enemies, but statistics. By setting up a ton of ZScript classes and variables, FragTrak lives up to its name by keeping track of every frag you’ve scored on each monster type with each weapon. At the press of a specially bound key, you can view either in-depth statistics on the number and percentage of monsters that you’ve dispatched with your currently held weapon, or a summary of your entire arsenal - showing very easily what your weapon preferences are for each monster or how much you over-rely on the super shotgun.
There’s also a limited element of experience and levelling up included - for each monster sent back to hell, both you and your currently held weapon gain some points, promoting you through ranks in the space marine hierarchy and granting your weapons more impressive titles, from “Strange” and “Uninteresting” up to “Ultraviolent” and “Face-Gibbing”. After gaining a certain amount of experience on a weapon, you can cash it in for Prestige, which earns you yet another number and rank on the statistics screen.
The whole thing is kept track of through a sleek but initially confusing HUD (though you can turn bits off individually to make it slightly less overwhelming) - you’re given the standard ammo and health counters along with the useful additions of armor type and berserk indicators, and then a whole host of other buttons and pulleys to display your current rank, progress towards the next level and statistics of your current weapon.
Because the mod uses CVARs, it isn’t limited just to tracking your progress through one megaWAD - your statistics are saved in your GZDoom INI file and will follow you between WADs as long as you load FragTrak along with whatever you’re playing. In doing this, it becomes a nice record of your habits across multiple plays, and encourages you to try varying your style a bit so that you can level up your less-used weapons and tot up those ultimately meaningless but tantalizing prestige points.
My favourite part, though? The little FragTrak™ logo on the HUD and the introduction in the forum topic itself - as if this whole mod is a little device that Doom marine is carrying around on a belt loop, like a pedometer for demon slayers. It’s a great addition to Doom that builds something on top of the classic gameplay without replacing any of it.FragTrak forum topic