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Marnetmar

A Dark Arena Remake?

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Most probably haven't heard of the really bad GBA-exclusive first person shooter known as Dark Arena:



Looking at it, the game seems like it could have had a lot of potential, but a Jaguar version of the Doom engine and what must have been a very inexperienced development team completely killed it.

So, I'm not proposing anything, but does anyone think that a Dark Arena remake, kind of like what Xaser did with HacX would be a good idea? I personally wouldn't mind seeing an attempt to unfuck this game myself.

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I believe some of the people responsible for this game are forum regulars. You're probably not winning people over by taking the "this game is shit" angle.

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I remember trying to find out what game it was from a screenshot in a gba magazine which didn't say the name of the game at all, until I found out the name and that it wasn't based on an old pc game at all.

I'd love to see it made as a Doom 2 mod using it's same textures from the texture wad already available, but with a modded palette to fix the textures messed up by Doom's palette.

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Step 1 would be providing a PC port in some engine, which IIRC should be not-so-bad given a ROM dump since it uses Doom format maps n' whatnot. I'd be interested to see that.

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Bucket said:

I believe some of the people responsible for this game are forum regulars.


Map design, yes.

Basically, someone from the studio contacted a bunch of active community mappers asking them if they'd be interested in making maps for a GBA game using the Doom engine.

I myself was contacted, then sent a sample map and was enthusiastically 'accepted' as a mapper. But I heard nothing after signing and faxing (yes, faxing -- at their request) an NDA. I think another British mapper (again, memory is a little shabby -- Nick Baker/Nightamre?) reported the same thing.

One mapper I think got accepted was Maonth/Shaviro - and he said that mapping was an awkward affair, done without a resource WAD (but like, a texture list or something?).

Shit game or not, I'd have loved to make maps for it.

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After reading some other thread I got an impression that this game is a direct Doom clone with redrawn graphics and new maps. However, when I've finally tried it out, it turned out to behave quite differently. No textured floors/ceilings (random noise instead of flats), weapons are a little different, and, most notably, different enemy AI.

What was left untouched anyway?

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But yeah, I'd love to see a remake as long as it's not ZDoom-based. ZDoom likes to make my laptop overheat.

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Jayextee said:

I myself was contacted, then sent a sample map and was enthusiastically 'accepted' as a mapper. But I heard nothing after signing and faxing (yes, faxing -- at their request) an NDA. I think another British mapper (again, memory is a little shabby -- Nick Baker/Nightamre?) reported the same thing.


I also had this exact experience. I was asked, sent a sample map, was accepted, signed an NDA, and never heard from them again. They must have contacted a huge number of mappers considering how many seem to still be around here.

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Yes please!

franckFRAG said:

Hi,

I know a person who has create last year a Dark Arena's map. It tried to be the most faithful possible by using textures of the game. (She can't post herself, because she forgot her login).

DL=> http://www.mediafire.com/?uv9bqx5ixunq9c4


This is gold! Thanks for providing this!

Bucket said:

I believe some of the people responsible for this game are forum regulars. You're probably not winning people over by taking the "this game is shit" angle.


You are correct. The thing is, every forum regular I've seen that mapped for Dark Arena actually seems to agree that the game turned out pretty bad.

Plus, from playing the map in DARNATEX.WAD, it would seem that the map design itself actually wasn't all that bad, moreso the original game's mechanics.

On a different subject, now that we have a resource WAD, maybe this could provide a place to start? Of course, the palette, textures and sprites would need to be massively reworked.

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That resource wad was already available years back on idgames which is what that map was made with.

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The intro was cool, but otherwise it looks like a generic DOOM clone with serial numbers filed off. I'd rather just play the GBA DOOM, or some Hacx maps.

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Now that ive actually watched the video in the first post, that actually looks like fun. I wish I'd known it was a DE game back when it was available.

I'd love to see a standalone IWAD of this.

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Da Werecat said:

After reading some other thread I got an impression that this game is a direct Doom clone with redrawn graphics and new maps. However, when I've finally tried it out, it turned out to behave quite differently. No textured floors/ceilings (random noise instead of flats), weapons are a little different, and, most notably, different enemy AI.

What was left untouched anyway?


Mostly it was linedef specials that behaved like Doom's; also damaging sectors worked in a similar manner. During developement we had to use roughly 20-30 specific linedef specials instead of the full range. I can't remember if we were limited to certain monster types (I think we were); also I think the Gameboy engine could use Doom's sky tricks (at least the second proposed game from them could--note this wasn't a sequal to Dark Arena). I also remember using a texture list for the first few days before the texture pack was made for us. the developer's also hadn't established how detailed the maps could get as they weren't certain at the time, which led to some simple maps. Reception initially was "yeah it's a Doom clone".

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Not to mention ZDoom. I love opening it and seeing four Dooms, the Raven games, HacX, Strife, Harmony and Chex Quest 3 in one big list of choices

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Ragnor said:

Not to mention ZDoom. I love opening it and seeing four Dooms, the Raven games, HacX, Strife, Harmony and Chex Quest 3 in one big list of choices

Same except I don't have harmony, I don't think I have ever heard of it before now.

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Avoozl said:

Same except I don't have harmony, I don't think I have ever heard of it before now.


It's a standalone level set, not a licensed game like the rest, but its still good.

EDIT: Whoops, Gez had already linked to it, go figure

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Fun fact: there is no IWAD anywhere to be found in a raw dump of Dark Arena. I've found something that looks like it could be similar to a LINEDEFS lump at 0x9FBA, but other than that, I don't have any time to look into it.

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I have an impression that it's a different engine after all. Maybe they were using Doom map format, but the renderer seems quite unique to me. Look at those texture distortions when close to a wall, for example.

joepallai said:

I can't remember if we were limited to certain monster types (I think we were); also I think the Gameboy engine could use Doom's sky tricks (at least the second proposed game from them could--note this wasn't a sequal to Dark Arena).

I've just stumbled upon an interesting view:



Apparently, the mapper was going for a tall building effect. It didn't work. And no one have noticed. I can see that there wasn't much cooperation between devs and level designers.

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Hi, i'm the one who remade the map that Franckfrag has provided the link for download^^

If someone want to do a TC of Dark Arena, I would be more than happy to help them, unfortunately i'm rather busy at the moment.^^

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@Werecat, certainly a possibility I hadn't considered. It's also entirely possible that the engine is still Doom's, but some renderer checks and other math related functions were cut down for performance reasons. The Jaguar Doom source does this.

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