Porting from DOS: Catacomb 2 2014-07-11 03:57:41
As some/most of you already know, I played a part in getting the source code to the early id Software games Catacomb and Hovertank released by Flat Rock Software. Part of the deal was that I promised that I would do source ports of the games, but that there would be no time pressure to do them. Well yesterday I, with some help from Havoc, released the first port for Catacomb 2, also known as The Catacomb, CatacombSDL.
I didn't really expect to get this out so soon, but due to a series of events, I needed some code base to prove that porting from DOS to Linux, Windows, and OS X could be relatively easy to do in one step. The end result is I had the game mostly functional in just a few days worth of work. The whole port probably consists of a weeks worth of work, although the actual process was spread out longer than that due to our work schedules. The end result though is that we have a port that is more or less a drop in replacement for the DOS executable with only a few minor fixes (most notable being the help screen working properly in CGA mode). The release notes have more to say on that.
For me, the project is basically where I wanted it to be, so don't expect very active development. However, there are a few points listed in the release notes I'm considering doing. The most likely is merging the original Catacomb code. The two games use the same engine, with the programming language really being the only difference between the two. I also have some interest in switching the code over to C++, as there are some ways to make things more maintainable if it was. So we might be looking at about 2 more releases before I leave the code alone for someone else to take over if they so desire.
As for the other games. I don't have any specific plans at the moment. Obviously if enough time goes by and no one else has taken care of them, there's a good chance Havoc and I will team up again to tackle the 3D games. I know he has more personal interest in those games. My interest in the 3D games is mostly limited to providing a reference platform for a future implementation within ECWolf.
For anyone curious about the process of porting DOS games to modern platform, I wrote up a new article on the topic.
ECWolf 1.3 Finally Released + More 2014-05-26 07:07:56
ECWolf 1.3 is finally released! Once you go through the highlights you'll find that this is a fairly major release for the project for more than one reason. Surprisingly, I was able to keep more or less full backwards compatibility with mods this time around. There are a few corner cases where things still break, but for the most part this is mod and save compatible with the 1.2 series. I do know that this won't be the case for all future releases, but it's cool to see this happening already.
First I would like to announce that Wisdom Tree has endorsed a new release of Super 3D Noah's Ark. The new version using a rebranded version of ECWolf, and I highly encourage anyone with slight interest in the game to purchase a copy (if you don't have one already that is). It is a very under rated game. Most of the purchase price goes to ECWolf and the licensing fee Wisdom Tree offered is a fixed amount (so if you choose to pay more than the suggested price it will all go to ECWolf). If that isn't enough to encourage you, to celebrate the release, the minimum price for the game will be $3.49 for
one week two weeks! For the purists, the release does come with the original DOS binary.
Because of the above, ECWolf now defaults to the GPL license option. Highlights for this release:
- Mostly complete support for Super 3D Noah's Ark. (Needs additional wad for music.)
- The highly requested automap! Similar to the one Super 3D Noah's Ark, Rise of the Triad, and Mac Wolfenstein.
- Spear of Destiny shows map names from hint book.
- Performance increase on many systems.
- 64-bit Windows builds are now officially available since I noticed a performance increase with them while testing S3DNA.
- Improvements to Steam auto detection including virtual fixing of Spear of Destiny data (so that it actually works).
- Changes to file locations. See the table here for transitioning. Also fixed issues with foreign characters in file paths.
- Gamma correction with F11.
- Support for backpacks, map revealers, secondary fire, zooming, reloading, ripping projectiles, among other decorate features.
- Support for sound sequences.
- Function points in the first state of an actor is no longer ignored.
- Map lighting can be finely tuned in MAPINFO instead of requiring the ROTT mapping features.
- Demo loop sequence can be modified.
- Fixed that annoying cosmetic issue where status bar graphics were scaled off by one.
- Fixed health for Otto and Fatface on Death Incarnate
- Mostly fixed the issue where wide screen resolutions increased the size of enemy hit boxes (still need change it to real geometry, but for now it's only off due to precision issues).
- Improvements to 3D sound positioning.
- Experimental support for Rise of the Triad elevators.
The Android version will be updated very soon.
Now to give an update on the future of ECWolf. Some of you may already know that I've been accepted into Google Summer of Code. My free time this summer will be limited because of that so I do need to change some of my projections, but since it just started I can't announce those changes just yet. One thing for sure is that a 6-month release schedule is too much to keep up with, so expect 1.4 to come out about a year from now.
Almost there! 2014-05-04 19:13:09
While subject to final approval, I have worked out a deal with Wisdom Tree to publish Super 3D Noah's Ark. At the moment we will probably be using itch.io to publish the game for $4.99. Wisdom Tree offered the game for a very low licensing fee so most of the proceeds will actually be going to ECWolf!
Now the question is when will I actually release 1.3. Since I'll be going on vacation next week, it's probably not a good idea to rush it out now. The current plan is to release the new stable version the week of the 19th. (Coincidentally the same week as the new Wolfenstein game.) If the Humble Bundle people get back by then saying they would like to publish the game, we'll probably go with them since they're more visible. I did consider publishing through Desura, but I'm not sure I like forcing people to download a client to get the game.
Finally, for those who missed it. For school I had to implement some basic peer-to-peer networking into ECWolf. I have a video of it working below using Woolie Wool/Executor's work in progress mod. (I think this is the first time in years I've posted media on my weblog!) The only modification I made to the mod is make the player non-solid so that I could move out of the starting position.
The plan is to merge this code into 1.4. There are a variety of issues left to solve in the net code, so it will be an unsupported experimental feature for awhile. The point, however, is to ensure that the code doesn't rot and that the engine continues to move in the right direction for multiplayer support.
S3DNA is done! 2014-04-01 02:01:05
Just a few days ago I sent off the initial builds of a customized version of ECWolf off to Wisdom Tree. For those curious, the customizations come down to changing the branding, removing features not needed by S3DNA for optimization purposes, and some minor initial user experience tweaks. If all goes well, these builds will be sold with new copies of the game along with the original DOS binary for the collectors/purists.
This is great news for everyone, including those who don't really care for Super 3D Noah's Ark. This basically means that ECWolf 1.3 is about done and all that remains in tying up a few loose ends. It should be released soon, but as we all know soon can drag on for awhile. In any case check back here next month and hopefully I'll have something way more exciting to say.
Edit: Well look at that. The server is already in April. I guess by next month I mean later this month then.