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While it's been out for a while, it recently received a big update, and in promising news may get another one soon; right now you need a copy of Doom 3 to play it, but with Doom 3's source code about to hit the public domain, its makers are looking to take that code and turn The Dark Mod into a standalone title.
This year has been unusually rich in the kind of game that I most enjoy: those that are open-ended, or provide a sandbox world for me to mess about in. We usually get a couple of these every year, but in 2011 we seem to have run into a minor bounty of the open stuff, which is good news for explorers and meanderers alike. I’ve gone into a bit more detail about why this pleases me below. >
Rage developer id Software has released the entire source code of its seminal shooter Doom 3.
Aspiring developers can now download the code completely free, id co-founder John Carmack tweeted last night.
Doom 3's inner workings were ready to go at the start of the month, but last-minute legal issues temporarily held up its release - Carmack was forced to re-write some of the code to placate "skittish" lawyers nervous about the release of a particular section.
The release was announced by Carmack during his keynote speech at this year's Quakecon event, where he expressed the wish for other developers to follow suit.
The full code is available to download from Github.
id Software last night released the engine source code for Doom 3 under a GPL3 license, letting all and sundry get their hands dirty and bend it to their will. You can download the code here at Shacknews. Let the coding commence!
So what can we expect to see this code used for? When previous id engines were open-sourced, the first new releases were typically simple patches fixing long-standing bugs and niggles, but once the base source is up to scratch, the exciting work begins.
Graphics overhauls are always popular, cramming years of new rendering techniques into aging engines. Mods can become standalone games--though this is trickier for those relying heavily on Doom 3's assets, as those still cannot be legally redistributed. In the long run, we'll likely also see the source used to make brand new games.
You may very well be wondering how id overcame the legal hurdle caused by 'Carmack's Reverse.' As ever, chief technomancer John Carmack was only too happy to explain.
"Where it can't be shown the player is outside a shadow volume, I used the "preload" technique from http://kb.cnblogs.com/a/28036/," he said on Twitter, adding, "The preload shadow technique may have some other utility--you can use it with a rear clip plane projection, unlike depth-fail." And now you know.
"The demo presents a slice of the early game, giving players a chance to explore the town of Wellspring and participate in races, games and other attractions. When you've had your fill there, you can head out to deal with some Ghost Clan raiders. Shooting might be involved."
For those of you who haven't picked up the game yet the demo is available now on Xbox Live and will hit the PS3 on Dec. 6. In the meantime check out my review if you want to read my take on the game. I fell into the first category.
Legal issues have held up the planned release of Doom 3 source code.
According to a Tweet from id Software co-founder John Carmack, as reported by Shack News, the studio's lawyers are concerned about the patent for a stencil shadowing technique used in the game known as 'Carmack's Reverse'.
"Lawyers are still skittish about the patent issue around 'Carmack's Reverse,' so I am going to write some new code for the Doom 3 release," he explained.
Carmack didn't mention exactly how long that might take.
Id announced its decision to make the code public at this year's Quakecon, explaining that it hoped it would help aspiring developers learn their trade.
Before it could release an open-source version of the Doom 3 engine code to all, id Software had to run it by the lawyers. But, their fierce eyes have spotted a slight problem. Chief id technomancer John Carmack is now writing new code to dodge legal issues surrounding the rendering technique, "Carmack's Reverse," which gave Doom 3 its lovely shadows.
"Lawyers are still skittish about the patent issue around 'Carmack's Reverse,' so I am going to write some new code for the Doom 3 release," he explained on Twitter yesterday.
"Carmack's Reverse" is a stencil shadowing technique invented independently by several people, including Carmack, but ultimately patented by Creative Labs. While id struck a deal to use it in Doom 3 without paying Creative, evidently the lawyers would err towards a safer, less potentially litigious solution.
Carmack mentioned back in 2004 that, if a deal hadn't been struck with Creative, "We were prepared to use a two-pass algorithm that gave equivalent results at a speed hit." Given how much faster today's computers are than those from 2004, that approach would certainly be less unattractive nowadays. Or perhaps Carmack has brewed up some fancy new rendering tricks over the past seven years.
Wikipedia has more technical details on the Reverse, if that's your bag.