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Still working! 2014-02-21 14:04:57

Well this is taking much longer than I had hoped. I still need to finish off some big features before I can release ECWolf 1.3, but hopefully it won't be much longer.

On a side note, I'm also working with Wisdom Tree to try to get a digital version of Super 3D Noah's Ark available (this year is the game's 20th anniversary by the way). So far I pitched the idea to GOG and got rejected since apparently they can't make time in their release schedule for something this low volume, but it would probably help if anyone with even a remote interest in the game voted for one of the wish list entries. By help, I do mean ECWolf as well since Wisdom Tree has offered to contribute part of the profits back to the project. (Of course, honestly, I expect more sales will come from that fact than people dying to have a copy of the game no matter how underrated I say it is. :P)

But nevertheless, there are a few other places I could try. I just learned that Amazon has, what appears to be, a self published market place for Windows and Mac games so worst comes to worst I can probably get the game there if Wisdom Tree is willing. If I can make something work, I'll definitely be switching ECWolf's default license option over to the GPL since I would like to market it here as a way to support this project. (Besides, I noticed a number of people compiling ECWolf themselves use the GPL option.) This is something that may delay the 1.3 release a little since I would definitely like to announce the results in the release announcement.

I still can't say much about what this means for the Blake Stone branch, but I would say it's highly likely it will be delayed a little bit as well. The overall plans haven't changed so expect to hear more following 1.3.

ECWolf 1.2.3 Released 2013-12-24 06:29:45

ECWolf 1.2.3 is available today and is another bug fix release for the 1.2.x series. It should be fully compatible with 1.2.2 includes saves so it's recommended that everyone upgrade! The release fixes a few major (embarrassing) transcription issues and some bugs in sound traversal (which in turn led to the zone links table being optimized). This release also marks the first ECWolf release to support PowerPC Macs, so it should run on any Mac running OS X 10.4 or later.

The release does contain one new flag for DECORATE actors: OLDRANDOMCHASE. This flag changes the monster chase AI to use the old random number generator table instead of the mersenne twister. Normally this would not be an issue I would concern myself with since changes in the RNG typically go unnoticed except for those who know the game frame by frame. Especially since the old random number generator is exceptionally horrible. For those who aren't aware it's a 256-entry table randomly filled with numbers between 0-255 (non uniform distribution). Compared to Doom, however, Wolf3D calls the monster AI function at a significantly greater rate (up to 8x as often) and so it is capable of cycling the 256-entry random number generator. This causes a noticeable change in aggressiveness at long distances (roughly 6 tiles or more) where monsters can be expected to fire at a nearly constant rate instead of randomly. Note that this doesn't make ECWolf identical to vanilla since the number of times the RNG is called is different and the index is not affected by all the other code that will still use the mersenne twister, but it's closer.

Looking ahead, this should be the end of the 1.2.x branch. The plan is to focus on the remaining features that need to be completed for 1.3 and hopefully get that out in the next month or two. Unfortunately, I didn't get to work on it much during the school semester so there's still a bit to get done including saving the automap state, automap controls, ROTT elevators, and most importantly completing Super 3D Noah's Ark support (sans MIDI music)!

In related news, meleemario searched the depths of the Internet and managed to turn up what should be an unmodified copy of the Mac Wolf source which I thought was lost (well I knew Rebecca "Burger" Heineman still had a copy somewhere). I put a copy of the code on GitHub for those interested. It's not a whole lot different from the "4th encounter" version that can be found easily, but it's nice to have original around for completeness. (Fun fact, the archive was on Greg Ewing's site, but it's not linked.)

I've also completed mapping out the disassembly for Aliens of Gold in IDA Free. The good news out of that is there does not appear to be much lost in the Planet Strike source release. For the most part the changes come down to the status bar and some numbers. There are two functions related to warping that I haven't figured out the exact purpose of, but that's probably more because I don't know the game very well yet. If anyone is interested here's the project file for AOG. I suppose I can throw in the project for Noah's Ark as well.

ECWolf for Android 2013-10-21 15:38:47

Might as well post this here since I know a few people are subscribed to the feed: ECWolf has been ported to Android by Beloko games. Wolfenstein 3D Touch is based off the development version of ECWolf, but should still be compatible with all mods. Requires Android 3.1 or higher.

I will, of course, be looking into getting the changes integrated into the main repository. It might take awhile though (see last weblog entry).

Back to school 2013-09-21 20:21:53

Because it's been a month and to make sure everyone is on the same page: School has started up again so that means productivity on ECWolf is going to be much lower than it was during the summer. I actually didn't plan on spending last summer working on ECWolf constantly like I did the summer before (I have some private projects and I still intend to complete the ACC++ project), but of course various exciting things meant that how things played out.

Honestly, I didn't expect this semester to slow things down as much as it did, but I'm not the type that needs to spend all day studying, so hopefully things will pick up a little more once I figure out how to best schedule all the work that needs to be done. As far as the already announced plans go, at this point I see no reason why I shouldn't meet the deadlines. The heaviest feature promised, in terms of workload, is the auto map and that has already been started. Still a bit of work to go on it though since there are still no controls and there's a handful of things to do to make it suitable for Blake Stone's mini map. After the auto map is done the only remaining big feature I need to do before 1.3 can be released is implement the quiz for Super 3D Noah's Ark (some variant of the USDF format I'm thinking). The rest is basically just cleaning up some of the differences between S3DNA and Wolf3D. I don't think those little features will take too long to do.

As for the Blake Stone port, I believe it's on schedule, but it's too early to say for sure if I'll meet the target of some time next summer.

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