Blake Stone source code has been released! 2013-07-08 14:28:20
For those who haven't yet heard the Blake Stone Planet Strike source has been released! As a bonus for those who keep track of these kind of things, it's released under the GPL as well. As a result, I've started a branch for Blake Stone support in ECWolf. (Kind of weird the Planet Strike commits go before the release huh? ;) ) Supposedly one of the reasons it wasn't released before is everyone was just assuming it was lost.
But wait, ECWolf is dual licensed isn't it? At this time, I do not think the Planet Strike source release will be changing that. As far as code that can be cut and paste into the ECWolf code goes, I don't think there's a whole lot there. While ECWolf still uses Wolf3D code at its core, a lot of important systems have been rewritten in order to allow run time scripting or remove limits that it would likely take just as much time to adapt the old code as it would be to rewrite from scratch. What this does allow is providing far more accurate context than a disassembly can provide.
Now it does seem to be the case that the Aliens of Gold source was lost, but that shouldn't be a huge deal. Some of the AOG code seems to be in the Planet Strike source either hanging around dead or commented out. One again though, this does provide more accurate context for the disassembly. This will mean that Planet Strike support will be added first though.
So you may be wondering, what exactly are you working on now (with regards to ECWolf)? The plan still remains to support Noah's Ark as soon as possible. This is being developed in the main branch and eventually Mac Wolf will be developed there to. Simultaneously I'll be trying to churn out a Blake Stone port in the ECBlake branch (horrible name considering where "EC" comes from). When the branch is merged ECWolf will bump major versions again to 3.0. The reason for the branch at the moment is I want to get a port out faster than I can add adequate modding features to properly support the game.
Also, I would like to give a shout out to Svecke who donated the Wolf Pack on Steam as well as a pre-order of the new Rise of the Triad (which of course, includes the Apogee Throwback pack). I should now be able to actually test the automatic lookup code and expand it to Blake Stone myself. More immediately, due to a packaging error on Apogee's part, the pack includes Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold 1.0, so I was able to update my patching utility to work on all versions of AOG!
ECWolf 1.2.1 2013-06-11 23:57:00
My apologies to the 40 some people who downloaded ECWolf 1.2. A critical bug with saving was identified so a new build is up.
ECWolf 1.2 Released 2013-06-11 01:36:23
ECWolf 1.2 was tagged yesterday and is now available for download on your OS of preference. This is a fairly big release and comes with some mod compatibility issues, so be sure to update your mods! As always I feel the need to remind everyone that ECWolf will not be keeping mod compatibility until 2.0 is released.
The updated techdemo is available from the downloads page and now includes the depth fog feature. An updated version of Executor's port of Gary Ragland's Assassinate Hitler mod is available here as well.
Lets take a look at the highlights for this release:
- ECWolf will now look for *.sd1 files and if it finds them attempt to set SOD back to the original state.
- Command prompt window should now be held until the user dismisses it when an error occurs.
- A map translator can be set in the gameinfo section of mapinfo. Also translators can include the base translator via include "$base".
- Removed depthfog as an option because...
- ECWolf can now partially load RTL and RTC map sets with a little bit of work. What this does mean is some features from the ROTT map format are supported including touch plates, switches, and changing the light level. These features can be used in standard WDC format maps, the ROTT info plane is stored in the 4th plane in that case.
- Support for high resolution floor/ceiling textures (limited to powers of two).
- 1920x1200 and 1600x1200 will aspect correct the menus as well since the scaling factor can be a whole number in both directions.
- Added support for flash states.
- Added WeaponGiver
- Added decorate properties: scale, xscale, yscale, player.viewheight, player.forwardmove, player.sidemove
- Added A_Explode, A_AlertMonsters, A_GunFlash, and A_Light
- Added actor flags WEAPON.NOALERT, WEAPON.ALWAYSGRIN, INVENTORY.ALWAYSPICKUP and RANDOMIZE
- There is now a primitive status bar configuration script LATCHCFG. This is for assisting in porting classic mods to ECWolf, but will be removed once a proper scripting solution is available.
- Fixed issues with fast moving projectiles.
- Fixed mission pack save games could be loaded in normal Spear of Destiny and vice versa.
- Fixed weapon cycling skips on lower frame rates.
- Fixed various minor vanilla fidelity issues regarding animations, sprites, and sounds.
- When using an exit switch in a boss map, go to the next map and not the victory sequence like in vanilla.
- Some items can now always be picked up even if you don't need them like in vanilla. Also the gibs can be used as health like in vanilla as well (as opposed to only the blood pool).
- Fixed issues with deathcam animation and ensured proper delay.
- Fixed high resolution sprite rendering issues.
- Fixed issues with movement bobbing and victory sequences.
- Fixed issues with Mac OS X's case insensitivity.
- Fixed issues with save game versioning.
- Improved joystick support by allowing axes to be bound to any function.
- Weapon is re-raised on level transitions like in Doom (only applies for non-instant switch weapons of course).
- Partial support for loading Macbins.
- Partial SDL2 support (you'll still want to use SDL 1.2 though).
- The SDL directx driver isn't forced on Windows and will now default to windib.
The wiki will be updated with documentation for all of the new features once I get some time. Also if anyone finishes a mod for ECWolf, I'd be happy to host it on this site as well.
To make a quick note on the renderer changes and the directx vs. windib points. It seems like I've been able to the optimize the renderer to be faster while still allowing floor/ceiling textures to change scale. However, on some hardware configurations the windib back end will result in a lower frame rate and on others a higher frame rate. If the directx back end worked for you and you are getting a lower frame rate with ECWolf 1.2, you may set the back end manually through the SDL_VIDEODRIVER environment variable.
What's next for ECWolf? As I've detailed before, I'll be working on porting Super 3D Noah's Ark. There's no schedule set in stone for that yet of course, but given that I want to do releases approximately every 6 months, we'll hopefully see Noah's Ark support within a year.
Super 3D Noah's Ark 2013-05-13 19:46:30
So I wanted to write about this a little while ago, but due to a pending server migration I've been putting it off. With that complete, time to write.
As the title of the post suggests, I would like to take a moment to thank Wisdom Tree for sending over a copy of the game and some loose source files. After ECWolf 1.2 is released (hopefully in the next few weeks) I plan to start adding support for the game. I've already mapped out the entire executable in a disassembler so it should be a fairly straightforward process, but we'll see how long it takes before it becomes a proper port.
Before discussing some of the technical details of the game, let me first review the game as I have taken some time to play through it entirely. To my surprise the game is actually quite fun. In fact, I would even say the game is more fun than Chex Quest since Wisdom Tree didn't tone down the difficulty because the game was for kids. The level design isn't anything spectacular, but a majority of the secrets are marked in some way so it's obvious that some thought was put into the game. The graphic design is questionable in a few places, but overall it's what you would expect from a kid's game. Once you get over any preconceptions over what it is, it really is fun for all ages. At least the DOS version any way. If you're interested, the DOS version of the game is available for purchase from their website.
Now for the part that people come here for: What's new in the Noah's Ark engine (over vanilla Wolf3D)?
- Texture mapped floor/ceiling - Like most of the games based on the engine. Noah's Ark has textured mapped floors and ceilings, but only allow one texture for the entire map (similar to Blake Stone and ROTT). ECWolf already supports this via the defaultfloor/defaultceiling properties. If I recall correctly any way, the texture used is defined in code.
- Automap - Uses an automap similar to that found in the SNES version of Wolf3D (make sense) or ROTT. I know a lot of you are waiting for this.
- MIDI music - This one surprised me. From the loose files it looks like the SNES version of Wolf3D used MIDIs converted to a custom format, so they added native MIDI code to the DOS version. This may be the single feature that holds the full port back from 1.3, but we'll see. Obviously at some point the sound code will be addressed as the Mac version of Wolf3D and ROTT use MIDI as well.
- Projectile weapons - Based loosely on the flame thrower and rocket launcher in the SNES version of Wolf3D. ECWolf supports player missiles, although I may need to check for game play differences.
- Cast call - Uses a zoom-in effect of sorts. Also used for the Game Over screen if I recall correctly.
- SNES like status bar - Basically it includes an item (fruit) counter. Probably would be wise to have status bar scripting ready.
Overall the engine is quite similar to the DOS Wolf3D code. Even the actor states are only slightly modified from the Wolf3D counterparts as they generally only touch the death animation (sleeping) although there are a few exceptions. There may be a few other changes, but those are the ones that are notable. One last comment on the game is that the DOS version is obviously a conversion of the SNES game as monster placement sometimes has monsters facing in odd directions (the graphics are directional in the DOS version unlike the SNES).
Two quick hits to wrap up this post: Doomseeker 0.10b was released a few days ago. I would link to the site, but it's being transitioned to a new server as well at the moment. Secondly, Woolie Wool/Executor has released a port of Gary Ragland's Assassinate Hitler for ECWolf.