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Rise of the Triad 2013-02-17 16:08:16

This post probably won't be new to the 5 people who hang out on the IRC channel, but I guess I should probably be posting my ramblings here a bit more often.

First off, I would like to give shout out to Sherbalex for his donation. With it I finally got to play Rise of the Triad. I have played a few level from the shareware before, but having the retail game gave me an excuse to actually sit down and play through the game. In some ways the engine is both more impressive and less impressive than I thought it would be. For example, I never noticed that the game had a primitive dynamic lighting system in it. On the other hand, collisions with push walls is often lacking and it's quite easy to get stuck inside a wall.

Linking this story to ECWolf, I've taken the opportunity to do a little more research on how things work in ROTT. I was a bit surprised to see that ROTT only allows one floor/ceiling texture for the whole map, but I was more interested in how the switches and semi-scripted actions work. Turns out that they're using the 3rd map plane to assign tags. In all, it appears that the system works somewhat in reverse to how Doom does things. In Doom a switch is given an action to perform on a tagged object, where as in ROTT the object is assigned the action and then linked to the activating switch. There's still more for me to examine here, but given that I plan to support ROTT in the future, I hope to enable a 4th map plane in ECWolf which behaves identically to ROTT's 3rd plane. Unless something gets in the way, this should appear in version 1.2.

I've said that the next game I plan to support in ECWolf is the Mac version of Wolfenstein. I've found all the information I needed to read Mac binary files (for those who may be looking for how read these files, my resources were: Macbin spec, Resource file format). While it was probably determined to be the wrong way to do things since Apple is effectively deprecating the resource fork, it is kind of interesting how this meant that Mac Wolf could get mod loading for free. It simply loaded the scenario's resource fork over the main binary's fork and that allowed graphics, maps, etc to be replaced at the OS level.

With that research done, I believe it is safe announce that ECWolf will be fully compatible with all Mac scenarios. All the user needs to provide is a macbin of the game executable (technically only the resource fork is needed) and a macbin of the scenario files. There's a lot of work to do here, so while I've already written the code to load the macbin files ECWolf is still a far ways off from being able to play the Mac stuff.

I may have lied a bit about Mac Wolf being the next game to be supported. That may actually end up being Super 3D Noah's Ark. I've been in contact with Wisdom Tree Games and they have the source. Currently waiting for them to send it, but some external issues have been dragging the process out. I'll be sure to post an update when I receive the game and source to announce the plan going forwards.

ECWolf 1.1 Released 2012-12-17 22:43:59

While a little overdue (after all the ending to Spear of Destiny was embarrassingly broken), ECWolf 1.1 has been released! This is first and foremost a bug fix release, but there are some major features in there. For one, I've lifted the weapon and movebob code straight from ZDoom. While working on that I managed to also accidentally implement y-shearing, so mouse look is also implemented. It is locked behind a cheat code since there is no Z-axis at this time. (Use Tab+M to enable it while in debug mode.)

Executor/Woolie Wool has also updated the techdemo for the release (it is worth mentioning here that there are a few steps required to run any existing mods on 1.1). The new release utilizes a few of the new features including enabling the weapon bob.

See the release thread for a full changelog. Then head over to the ECWolf page and download it. Be sure to check the revised release notes as well.

Update December 23rd, 2012: ECWolf 1.1.1 has been released. This release fixes a few game breaking issues especially with Spear of Destiny. Thanks to BaronOfStuff for finding most of the bugs.

ECWolf is Released 2012-09-20 09:19:35

So it has been about one month since my last post here already. I sure have been keeping myself busy (which is why it took 2 days for me to write this). Anyways, on Tuesday I released ECWolf 1.0 (although I forgot to bump the version number so it says 0.9999 in the executable, guess I'll pretend it's a homage to Doom's 0.99). Besides a few minor issues the release seems to be going about as smoothly as a 1.0 release can go. If you would like to give it a try, click the ECWolf tab on this site. If you don't have Wolf3D, the shareware version is provided on the downloads page.

There are a few things I would have liked to have up by this release, but didn't have time for. The patching utility isn't working on Windows at the moment. I have an issue with the bzip2 library symbol resolution that I can't quite figure out. Fortunately most people seem to have the correct release of Wolf3D (the one shipped on Steam, included with Return to Castle Wolfenstein, among other sources). The other issue being I didn't have time to document the mod APIs available. An observant person could likely work out most of it by studying the scripts in ecwolf.pk3, but obviously I can't expect people to be willing to do that. This is partially what happens when you schedule website maintenance within the launch window of another project!

In the mean time it should work well for playing the game. On the downloads page is a tech demo which Woolie Wool/Executor produced for the release. I think it does a good job of showing off many of the features available in the current version (it is by no means exhaustive), and it is quite fun to play as well. I believe it requires the registered version of Wolfenstein 3D to play (so the shareware data won't work).

Speaking of the website maintenance. Zandronum actually has a real website now. The only comment I have to make about the design is that it seems to look a lot better on IPS monitors. It is horribly purple on my Dad's cheap monitor, but there's not much I can do about that. (No I didn't do the artwork for the website, I just did the coding.)

Eight Years 2012-08-26 16:35:19

So according to the Internet archive. Eight years ago today I first published my website. (As the weblog you see here anyways, I know I was making random web pages for awhile before then. In fact I know my first publicly visible web page was roughly 11 years ago, but the Internet archive never cached it.) Not at this domain of course since I didn't register that until a bit later. This is about the point where most people would talk about time flying and what not, but it actually seems that long to me. Mostly since I was too young for time to fly eight years ago!

I know you all want to see my website as it was at the time, but I'm not giving the old URL. I will tell you that it looked basically the same as it does now besides some minor modifications that I've made to the design over time. Most prominent being the white border that I removed some time ago. It didn't use CSS (I'm not even sure how common CSS use was back then) so a edge-to-edge layout wasn't really an option. Remember when we used tables for layout and font tags?

Well, enough rambling about that, on to the new stuff: Zandronum did its first release recently and with that came Doomseeker 0.9 Beta. Not sure what to say about that either. The Zandronum release took about 2 years so there's a ton of stuff in there. Doomseeker's release is mostly a bug fix release with some minor new features. Just check out the release thread for more specific information.

I'm sure a few of you are waiting for the big announcement with ECWolf. The good news is the code base is basically ready for release. I'm waiting for the tech demo to be finished and then I'll be sending out release candidates to the testers. Shortly thereafter will be the public release. That has pretty much been what I've been up to this whole summer which is why I missed out on updating last month. (I really need to get into the habit of rambling here more often.)

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