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ECWolf 1.4.0 and WolfstoneExtract 1.2 2023-01-18 07:48:57

ECWolf 1.4.0 is now available for download! The full list of changes is available on the wiki.

The big highlight feature is of course rudimentary LAN multiplayer. At this stage it's kind of a technical preview as the community will need to develop assets for a proper user experience since Wolf3D for example doesn't have a player sprite. For those interested in this feature read the multiplayer notes. Expect a fairly raw minimum viable product experience, but should there be interest in the feature this should improve over time.

This release also supports the Wolfstone 3D game data from Wolfenstein II and Wolfenstein Youngblood. Version 1.2 of the extraction tool is also available which most notably sets the pushwall movement distance to 3 tiles for these games as the Elite Hans levels and some of the modifications to the Wolfenstein 3D levels were made with the 3 tile movement glitch in mind. It also now automatically find the GOG Wolfenstein II data if installed.

Steam and GOG support has been updated to support the new releases of Wolfenstein 3D. The Steam detection code on Windows is also aware of any additional Steam libraries that may have been setup beyond the default. This change also applies to WolfstoneExtract.

As one might expect from the version bump, this release comes with a bunch of new modding features which mod authors have already been taking advantage of over the past few years. Some highlights include visual z-heights and parallax skies. Billboarded "3D sprites" common in Wolf4SDL mods are also now supported.

The MIDI to OPL code from vanilla Super 3D Noah's Ark is also integrated (thanks to NY00123) with a fix for playing back at the correct tempo (according to the MIDI files). This process is fairly limited in capabilities so really only useful for playing back the Super 3D Noah's Ark music as it would be heard in DOS. Other MIDIs may produce hilarious results.

This release is mostly backwards compatible with 1.3 mods, but there are a few that have broken due to conflicts with the partial/hidden Blake Stone and Mac Wolfenstein support. Most notable break is Operation Serpent. It is trivial to fix by renaming the problematic actor in the DECORATE code, and hopefully the author of these mods will release an update.

Starting with this release ARM binaries are being provided for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. The macOS binary is thus now a four way universal binary supporting Apple Silicon, Intel 64 and 32-bit, and 32-bit PowerPC. The Android binary has been updated to use latest SDL2 and work on current devices. You may be prompted about the app being built for an old version of Android, which is due to some dependencies on legacy permissions but this has been tested to work on Android 12 at least. The signing key for Android has changed so the old version may need to be uninstalled before the new one can be loaded. Although given that 1.3.3 was broken on the last few versions of Android this probably won't affect many.

Looking towards ECWolf 1.5, as I've mentioned here before, the code base will finally be migrating to modern C++. At the moment the plan is to target C++17. It is not believed that any platforms are on the chopping block at this time since C++17 tool chains exist for all of them. (However official 32-bit Linux binaries may come to a close as Ubuntu 18.04 is due to go end of life soon taking 32-bit support with it.) In order to try to prevent a multi-year release drought, I'm setting the goals for 1.5 fairly small and primarily want to look at the LZWolf feature set and see how much can be accepted back and close the delta (which in turn I hope will allow Linuxwolf to refork from the latest code). This should lay the foundation for getting back to more interesting features in 1.6 and beyond.

For real, ECWolf 1.4 is almost here 2022-07-18 03:19:23

For those who don't hang out in the Matrix room, I quit my job with Fortinet and having reclaimed 8 hours a day I set a goal for myself to have ECWolf 1.4 feature complete during the interim between jobs. The good news is that goal was a success and I'm proud to announce that ECWolf 1.4 has been feature complete since June 30th with just some refinements and bug hunting to go. That means multiplayer is working in the development builds! I'm still working through a few bugs so it's not time for release just yet, but it's exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For those interested in testing, I have written some notes about the multiplayer feature.

WolfstoneExtract - Play Wolfstone 3D and Elite Hans in ECWolf 2020-07-25 17:59:09

Although it took me longer to get the final touches in, I'm pleased to announce that my Wolfstone extraction utility is complete! With this tool you can pull Wolfstone 3D out of Wolfenstein II or Elite Hans: Die Neue Ordnung out of Wolfenstein Youngblood.

For those who are not aware, these two games contain arcade machines with a parody of Wolfenstein 3D set in the alternate history world of the Machine Games Wolfenstein series. Effectively Wolfstone 3D is Wofenstein 3D with the roles, specifically in regards to symbolism, reversed. Elite Hans is a new set of 18 levels of dubious quality.

Conveniently, the developer chose to emulate the original engine down to even using the same wl6 file formats. This makes them easy to load in ECWolf or even in vanilla, but some subtle tweaks made required a few things to be added to ECWolf for the full experience. Thus once extracted the development version of ECWolf will be required to play (and it will detect the pk3 files along with the other supported games). It is important that I note that the extraction utility does only what it says, extracts the game into a form readable by ECWolf. It does not perform any alterations on the game data. The sound quality is horrible, but that's because the processing to make it sound like it was being played on an in game arcade cabinet was baked into the sounds. Not anything of my doing.

The tool can be found on the ECWolf downloads page. Binaries are available for 64-bit Windows and Linux since those are the platforms you can install Wolfsentein II and Youngblood on.

This tool has been made possible by the work of emoose (idCrypt), Adam "hcs64" Gashlin (ww2ogg), powzix (ooz), and the XeNTaX and ZenHAX community. Although I did a little bit of reversing myself, WolfstoneExtract is largely an assembly of those tools and knowledge into a nice integrated package.

Edit 2020-07-27: Realized my musicalias implementation was backwards so corrected extraction tool accordingly as 1.1.

Sometimes Apple surprises you with freedom 2020-05-12 02:33:49

For all two of you that wondered, Apple will actually notarize a universal binary with PowerPC support. Actually was a bit surprised since you're supposed to use the 10.9 or newer SDK but apparently if you lipo older binaries with an x86_64 one that complies they'll be happy with that. This particular binary was built with 10.11 for x86_64, 10.6 for i386, and 10.4 for ppc.

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