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As it does so very kindly like to do, id Software has released another dollop of engine source code. This latest is somewhat less exciting than many, simply offering the updated Doom 3 source from the BFG Edition but hey, now the folks at home can make the best and shiniest Doom 3 games yet.
As with id's other recent source releases, it's up on GitHub for your coding conveniences. Or you can download the full pack from Shacknews. Of course, just because the engine source has been released, it doesn't mean BFG Edition is free--all the game data and assets are still protected.
Id has also dropped a new patch for the BFG Edition on PC, bringing fixes and a whole heap of new menu options to play with.
It's the season of heavy holiday hitters for the games industry, but if you're more of a classic connoisseur you might prefer strolls down memory lane. To that end, a "Doom Classic Complete" set is hitting the PlayStation Network today, and it packs three of the hell-heavy titles together.
Since Bethesda Softworks bought id Software, the publisher has been keen on making use of its old franchises. This will be the second Doom in just over a month, after the recent release of Doom 3 BFG Edition.
Ah, FPSs! They don't make them like they used to, do they? No, in many ways and for a number of reasons. But if you find yourself nostalgically longing for The Good Old Days and sniping at the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, then have I got the Doom 2 parody mod for you!
Released on the same day as Cod Blops 2, Call of Dooty II: Green Ops crams waypoint markers, regenerating health, cutscenes, flashbacks, nonsense conspiracies about Russians, popup hints, and other foolishness into id Software's classic FPS.
"Let's face it: Shooters today suck. Their levels are too linear, they aren't challenging enough, and they play more like interactive movies than the experiences we once loved up until the mid-2000s," creator 'Chubzdoomer' says in the readme file. "Call of Dooty is an ode to the terrible shooters that now inhabit the market and have taken over the gaming industry by storm. This WAD isn't supposed to be fun to play - it's here to make a statement."
Call of Dooty II is fittingly the sequel to last year's Call of Dooty, which was itself inspired by kmoosmann's 'If Quake was done today.' Annual sequels to mods parodying games suffering annual sequelitis, how glorious!
Of course, this being a modern linear FPS, multiple editions are a must. There's a plain old Standard Edition for proles, a Limited Edition with the original Call of Dooty and some before/after screenshots, and a Special Edition which also adds the soundtrack, ringtones, and achievement icons. Any true Call of Dooty fan will want the Collector's Edition, which packs all that plus the papercraft marine, 'making of' document, and the Green Ops Armor DLC. It's a small touch which means so much.
The last we heard of a movie based on Wolfenstein was five years ago, when the Writers Guild strike gummed up the works. But you can't keep a good bad idea down, because distributor Panorama Media and producer Samuel Hadida have announced that Castle Wolfenstein is back on-track.
Canadian director Roger Avary, who won an Academy Award for co-writing Pulp Fiction, is slated to direct the film. His other work hasn't been as highly regarded, consisting of writing credits for Silent Hill and directing credit for Killing Zoe, which was executive produced by Quentin Tarantino. Avary has been attached to direct the film from the beginning, but by the time the WGA strike ended in February 2008 he was facing a charge for vehicular manslaughter, to which he later pleaded guilty.
The movie will follow two lead characters, a US Army Captain and British Special Agent on a top-secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein. Hitler himself is paying a visit to the titular castle to debut a new weapon to his Nazi buddies. The two strapping lads have to fight Hitler's SS Paranormal Division, and presumably destroy the weapon so that Hitler can't take over "ze vurld."
The announcement claims the film will be an action-adventure reminiscent of Captain America and Inglorious Basterds. It seems a little counter-intuitive to acknowledge the existence of Basterds, though. At that point, why would a Wolfenstein movie need to happen at all?
Why, it seems like only yesterday that we were all jazzed about the launch of Doom 3, but at almost eight years old (eight!) it's now being remastered for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The BFG Edition of Doom 3 includes its expansion pack Resurrection of Evil, a new seven-level mission, the first two Doom games, and changes including... an armour-mounted flashlight!
Doom 3, RoE and the new 'Lost Mission' boast "improved rendering and lighting," a check-point save system, and support for 3D displays, head-mounted displays and 5.1 surround sound. Yes, head-mounted displays, a pet passion of id Software's rendermancer John Carmack.
"DOOM 3 was enthusiastically embraced by gamers worldwide at its release," Carmack said in today's announcement. "Today, the full experience has been enhanced and extended to be better than ever, and is delivered across all the platforms with a silky smooth frame rate and highly responsive controls."
Doom 3 BFG Edition is scheduled for release this fall, published by Bethesda. There's no word yet on how much it'll cost. Perhaps, off the back of this, 2012 may be the year we finally hear about Doom 4 at QuakeCon.
Gamers have been waiting a long time since Ken Levine and company unveiled BioShock Infinite. And the wait is only getting longer, with the game now delayed to 2013. Could a new multiplayer mode be behind the lengthy delay? Then, the creators of Ratchet & Clank and Resistance spread their wings to social games. Outernauts is a new effort from Insomniac... but why does it sound so familiar? Finally, the classic FPS Wolfenstein celebrates its birthday by going completely free to play.
Check out today's episode of Shacknews Daily.
What did you get yer old pal B.J. Blazkowicz for his birthday? Come now, surely you didn't forget that it's the 20th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D's launch this month? Luckily, id Software and Bethesda haven't, and have given us all a free browser-based version of its seminal shooter. John Carmack has also given a director's commentary, full of the usual fascinating Carmackchat.
You can play the snazzy HTML 5 version of Wolf 3D if you're browsing in Firefox 10, Chrome 16, Internet Explorer 9, Safari 5, or newer. Fingers crossed that your work computer is updated vaguely frequently.
The iOS version is also going temporarily free in the App Store some time later today.
id Software got distracted by Doom and Quake after the release of a Wolf 3D prequel, but the series returned in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein from Grey Matter and Nerve Software. Splash Damage followed this with the superb free multiplayer spin-off Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, then the last entry in the series was Raven's Wolfenstein in 2009.
Here's Carmack's commentary on Wolf 3D:
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.
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.
Sometimes legal disputes are settled out of court, but rarely are they settled via old-fashioned video game showdown. That's the solution proposed by Markus "Notch" Persson, whose company Mojang was recently targeted for legal action over the title of their upcoming Scrolls. Bethesda parent company ZeniMax claims it infringes on their trademark, due to its similarity to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
After returning from his recent honeymoon (mazel tov!), Persson blogged about his plan. "The only negative thing going on at this moment is the Scrolls trademark lawsuit nonsense, and I think I came up with the perfect solution," he wrote. "I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins."
And the prize? "If we win, you drop the lawsuit. If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you're fine with. Regardless of the outcome, we could still have a small text somewhere saying our game is not related to your game series in any way, if you wish." And lest someone think this is Persson cracking a joke, he closes with: "I am serious, by the way."
It's important to note, though, that while Persson addresses Bethesda directly, the initial legal letter came from "a representative of the company ZeniMax Media." ZeniMax Media owns Bethesda and Quake-developer id, which should theoretically give ZeniMax an upper hand if the match were to go through.
Of course, the chances of anyone at ZeniMax or Bethesda actually taking on this offer are approximately 0.0%. But you can't fault a guy for trying.