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HWE with basic ECWolf support 2015-03-27 16:47:30

Just a quick update here since Havoc informed me that HWE now includes WAD support. Making it the first Wolf3D editor with some native ECWolf support.

Macintosh Wolfenstein Work 2015-03-09 00:36:31

Some of you have already noticed that development versions of ECWolf contain support for Macintosh Wolfenstein missions. At least to a certain extent. I did seem to just hit one set back: My PowerPC Macintosh died. The "good" news is that it is a Performa 6220CD which is pretty much the worst Macintosh ever made according to some of the sources I've seen. The symptoms are the machine doesn't even attempt to power up, which given that I've been using with with a dead 4.5v PRAM battery for awhile now suggests that it could be the issue. However, replacing it with 3 AAA batteries didn't seem to work. I still need to get a volt meter and double check that the solder job is correct, but it doesn't look like there's much hope for the system right now. I'm not exactly in the position to be buying a replacement right now, so further work here may be on hold.

With all that said, for those interested to know exactly where the support is, the levels are basically playable. There remain some big issues including the game running at the wrong speed (70Hz vs 60Hz) and the lack of a menu interface. The released source code for the Mac version was for the second encounter, which is missing a tiny bit of information. Specifically I need to figure out how to translate the pac man ghost behavior, which it sounds like Rebecca Heineman may be able to help with, we'll see. Otherwise I need to get a working Mac so that I can do a visual comparison or something like that. Third party missions basically work as well, but they often seem to include some unknown data. I suspect it's just editor markers, but I need a working Mac to look at the missions in an editor.

On a more general note there is one issue I'm not entirely sure how to solve, and that is the recommended legal way for people to obtain the game. Specifically how does one extract the game from whatever disc they may own. Fortunately Intel based Macs still include support for the old discs and include a macbinary program out of the box. However, there are a lot of people that probably have an interest in playing the game and do not own a Mac. If anyone has a solution to how one would legally obtain a macbinary of their game data with only Windows or Linux, do send me an E-Mail or post on the forums. If you would like to know how to run the game with the latest development binaries so you can test your solution, it looks for the third encounter binary as wolf3d.bin and the second encounter level set as wolflvls.bin. (Throw those files in with your wl6 files and the "IWAD" picker should detect them. You will need to provide your own font set as a shim to get the engine to start though.)

Edit: Solder job seems to be correct, so it looks like the next suspect part is the power supply. Replacing said part appears to cost more than if I were to just pick up a OS 9 capable G4.

ECWolf 1.3.1 + Doomseeker 0.12.2b 2015-01-09 18:36:59

Well I've been promising this release "next week" for a long time now, but ECWolf 1.3.1 is finally here. This should fix a few issues that some users were experience with ECWolf having trouble with creating or saving settings, among other bug fixes and improvements. More importantly it includes a custom SDL_mixer (statically linked so you can delete all the DLLs in your ECWolf install except for SDL.dll), which allows ECWolf to finally have sampled music playback including loop points. It even has support for the Opus codec, which in turn means the resampler works!

The wiki has an itemized changelog.

Also, Doomseeker 0.12.2b has begun rolling out. The direct download packages are not up yet, but it's available through the auto updater. It includes fixes for Chocolate Doom support, which apparently regressed to the point where it was impossible to join a server.

Discuss on the forums.

Back in school already?! 2014-10-06 01:07:41

Well I definitely fell behind on updating this website didn't I? I ended up in a vicious cycle of having news coming up in just a few days that I held off for and by the time that was ready to be announced, another thing came up. In the end, the original news was old so I didn't really feel like reporting on it, but I suppose I should anyway. A good problem to have I suppose?

First, I should give a status update on the Super 3D Noah's Ark greenlight. (For those of you who have missed that news, it's on greenlight now!) What I have to announce about that is: I was wrong. The game currently has just over 2,400 yes votes and is sitting at a 37% approval rating. From what I've heard, and comparing to the other game Piko Interactive has up, these are pretty good numbers for a green light campaign. I honestly expected much worse, although a lot of the comments there are precisely what I was expected. In any case, if you haven't voted for the game please do so!

Now as for ECWolf, the 1.3.1 release is still cooking. It's taking a bit longer since Havoc submitted support for sampled music. The original plan was to get it in and let the limitations be (including not supporting AdLib sounds and sampled music at the same time) as it would be better than what 1.3.0 has. However, I quickly got fed up with some SDL_mixer silliness and decided to go about fixing things up. So, I've started working on a special version of SDL_mixer which includes Opus support and loop tags for Vorbis, FLAC, and Opus. The primary reason I'm going through all this effort is to get the SC-55 music pack for S3DNA working. I do intend to include that with an update for the 20th Anniversary Edition. ECWolf also now has MIDI playback, although do to issues with SDL_mixer it will not really be supported. I intend to replace that with ZDoom's MIDI code at some point in the future, as I'm sure I've announced before.

Also new in the upcoming 1.3.1 is that Beloko's Android port is now officially merged in and can be built with CMake. Yes, it is indeed possible to build an Android APK with CMake including both C++ and Java code. Surprisingly easy to do, although the developer experience is a little sub par. It gets the job done though, and most importantly I don't need to put up with Eclipse or Android Studio. So with that, if you're a customer for the game on itch.io, you may be wondering about the Android port. I do intend to get it up with the 1.3.1 release, but do know that the build will be labelled as unofficial, I don't know if I'm at liberty to discuss why exactly.

The last thing to talk about here is that I did finally get around to hacking together a demo of "true 3D" in ECWolf. It's similar to demonstrations I've done before in concept, only this time I hacked up a few test levels. Makes the screen shots look way more impressive. The screen shots I have released are indeed staged, but I do assure you that the engine is actually rendering 3D, it just currently has the exact same limitations as stacked sectors in ZDoom. The good news is, the issues should be completely fixable. There is one problem I don't know how to fix at the moment, we need a 3D capable editor. For the demo I did some hard coding to show that it is indeed possible, but I don't want to add a series of hacks to the engine in order to do something that can be done more efficiently with the textual map format UWMF. The problem is there are no UWMF capable map editors in active development, and I'm not even sure there is a Wolf3D editor in active development. To make matters worse, they're all closed source.

Moving away from Wolfenstein 3D, my involvement with Google Summer of Code has more or less ended, but the project continues! I didn't end up working on the exact feature that I proposed, but rather worked on getting the concepts branch of GCC in a state capable of supporting that feature. This turned out to require an implementation of variable templates, which will be coming in GCC 5.0! I just received word from my school that the project was approved for my honors research, so expect to see more from me in the realm of Concepts Lite and separate checking. On that note, I should be attending the upcoming C++ standards committee meeting, which should be interesting. Even when I started the ACC++ project, I never thought I would be looking at a career in compiler development, but that is the path I'm going down at the moment.

In other news that you probably already heard about: The Commander Keen in Keen Dreams source code was released. Probably stole a bit of id Software's thunder there as some news outlets were forgetting to mention that the source was only for the one game in the series. Nevertheless it's cool to see the repository being more popular than some of id Software's own repositories and that some source ports have already started popping up. I've made some contributions to sulix's port since he seemed to be working in a similar manner to how I would have done things. Not that I plan on maintaining a port of Keen Dreams, but I did make some promises that I intend to keep.

Finally I will close this by mentioning that a new version of Zandronum is out. It includes the database system, so I shall now stand by and wait for the "I told you so" moment when it turns out to be a disaster (I could be waiting a long time, but when that time comes!), but at least it defaults to being non-persistent so it shouldn't do too much damage. Maybe I'm the crazy one, but I don't really see the point in giving everyone that level of control. There's a certain line that I feel goes in the category of "just modify the server" and the typical use case for the database (stat tracking) is indeed over that line in my opinion. Obviously the rest of the team disagrees with me, and so be it. There's also an account system now, but details are still being ironed out there. Eventually we'll have an auth server up on zandronum.com and that "awful avatar system" will get somewhere!

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