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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.


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