Using attic and Phase 2 secret level resources to make a FreeWolf3D

Since ECWolf is now quite far along, and given that a partial "FreeWolf3D" has already been created in the course of making FreeDoom Phase 2, perhaps it is worth considering a FOSS Wolf3D content project. Does anyone think this would be worth pursuing?

It might be a good way to put old attic resources to use. I nominate the old Scuba Steve demon for the dog replacement.

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if it is going to happen it would be better if the enemies where designed specifically for it, you dont want a repeat of freedoom's patched together appearence ;)

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I consider the patched-together appearance one of FreeDoom's charms, and I think that Doom itself has a similar appearance. Compared to Wolfenstein and Quake, Doom is easily the least aesthetically unified, throwing together pixel art, photographs, and claymation (replace claymation with rendered 3D models and the description works for Heretic and Hexen, too). This mixed-media look strikes me as wonderfully '90s.

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I actually remember thinking about a potential Freewolf a couple of years back, but didn't think there'd be enough interest in the idea.
If it were me doing it I don't think I'd want it to be a patchwork of Freedoom rejects. I'd want it to have it's own story and unique visual identity. With Wolfy readily available on Steam and GOG, it would work better as it's own thing. A 21st century game made with the Wolf3d engine. :P

I've toyed with ECwolf myself, but I don't know if the PK3 format can be used as an IWAD replacement. I also don't know any good ways of making WL6's from scratch.

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Please don't actually call it Freewolf (or any of the variations). Freedoom somewhat rides off of the pun of being close to the word "freedom," but it often undersells the project (and causes people to spell it "FreeDoom" like it's literally a cheap knock-off of Doom). It'll be harming the potential project to actually name it like this.

As for the project, I don't think it's bad at all. How many unique resources does Wolfenstein 3D have, and is mod compatibility desirable (how many mods are there for the game)? One thing that Freedoom only somewhat expands into is including extra content that doesn't exist in its compatibility target; I think a free game on the Wolf engine should take liberties in being much more expansive than id's title.

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chungy said:

Please don't actually call it Freewolf (or any of the variations). Freedoom somewhat rides off of the pun of being close to the word "freedom," but it often undersells the project (and causes people to spell it "FreeDoom" like it's literally a cheap knock-off of Doom). It'll be harming the potential project to actually name it like this.

As for the project, I don't think it's bad at all. How many unique resources does Wolfenstein 3D have, and is mod compatibility desirable (how many mods are there for the game)? One thing that Freedoom only somewhat expands into is including extra content that doesn't exist in its compatibility target; I think a free game on the Wolf engine should take liberties in being much more expansive than id's title.


This makes a lot of sense. It should add to the Wolf engine and create less of a Wolf-clone and more of an original Wolf experience. I am totally in support of this.

However I think using Attic Freedoom resources might look quite off putting if used in a new standalone game. I think it would cheapen the experience.

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chungy said:

Please don't actually call it Freewolf (or any of the variations).

How about Freiheit? Google Translate informs me it's German for Freedom.

chungy said:

Is mod compatibility desirable (how many mods are there for the game)?


Most mods for Wolfenstein 3D rely on source code modification and editing of the actual WL6 assets in the game. Unless someone comes up with an ingenious patching mechanism, "Freiheit" will never be compatible with the majority of mods out there. It could, however, be compatible with the PK3 patches made for ECwolf. We'd have to decide if we wanted to accommodate those (there aren't a great many out there AFAIK).

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Jewellds said:

How about Freiheit? Google Translate informs me it's German for Freedom.

I'd be uncomfortable using such a common word, especially in such a common language as German. It'd be difficult to search for, and it may also provide some unfortunate ties to Wolfenstein 3D (or Nazism) itself.

Jewellds said:

Most mods for Wolfenstein 3D rely on source code modification and editing of the actual WL6 assets in the game. Unless someone comes up with an ingenious patching mechanism, "Freiheit" will never be compatible with the majority of mods out there. It could, however, be compatible with the PK3 patches made for ECwolf. We'd have to decide if we wanted to accommodate those (there aren't a great many out there AFAIK).

This is probably a good enough reason to just stick to a free game that happens to have a common engine ancestor with Wolfenstein 3D. It could potentially expand its own modding community. :-)

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Wolfenstein 3D has very few textures and half of its textures are shaded derivations of the other half*. Freedoom Phase 2 already has 18 (or 36 with shading) textures completed. Wolf3D also has only four weapons and five non-boss enemies. A FOSS content project seems very doable. While targeting compatibility with past mods is likely, ECWolf's Doomlike framework should make compatibility with future mods easy.

I agree that FreeWolf would be a terrible name, but retaining the word "wolf" might be okay. "Operation: Direwolf" sounds like a '90s FPS to me.

*Wolf3D textures:

Spoiler

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Freiheit would be too generic. It's just the generic German word for freedom. And if you give it its own identity, instead of being Shooting Nazis In Blocky Corridors, there wouldn't be much relevance between the title and the actual game. The only link would be that it's a clone of a game where you shoot Germans...

I think it's fine to call it Freewolf as a working title until the game develops its own identity. Or you can call it Dogstone. :p

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Yeah, perhaps Freiheit is a crappy name. I was speaking off the cuff. :P
I agree that it'd be better to come up with a name once there's an actual project with an actual identity. Any names we come up with this early on would be... unimaginative.

I think the biggest hurdle that needs to be resolved is can ECwolf be used to make replacement IWADS? I think the person we'd need to talk to would be Blzut3.

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raymoohawk said:

if it is going to happen it would be better if the enemies where designed specifically for it

I believe that MarlboroMike2100's human(oid) enemies could be usable, provided that he agrees to license them for such project:
http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15080&start=20415#p838604
http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=46456&start=285#p789545
http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=15080&p=750829#p750728
http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15080&start=3975#p565634
http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15080&start=12690#p743434

If the Wolf3D FOSS project ever launches, I think it would be wonderful if it could be used to create completely original derivative games on the same engine. There are some very interesting Wolf3D mods/TCs (like Trench Warfare or Operation Serpent) which push well beyond the original game's limits. However those projects still include some original Wolf3D assets (or other non-libre media), which undermines their well-deserved status as stand-alone original games.

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I thought about it before(aswell as a free strife, but let's not go there). I have no idea how Wolfenstein modding works though. Would making custom WL6 files allow for the same level of compaility that a custom iwad has? Lso, what would be the overall style of this project? Would it still be about WWII, or maybe something else?

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HorrorMovieGuy said:

Would making custom WL6 files allow for the same level of compaility that a custom iwad has?

No. Most Wolfenstein mods are modifications of the game's original WL6 files. There is no real way of achieving a good amount of mod compatibility with this project.

My personal preference is to use a PK3 file for ECwolf. While this would limit the project to ECwolf, if we did that, we would be mostly unshackled from the limitations of the original Wolfenstein code. We could make custom enemies with DECORATE, and have all the modern luxuries such as floor and ceiling textures and scripting. The game could be it's own thing, rather than a derivative reskin.

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I've PMed Blzut3 asking about the possibility of using a pk3 as an "iwad" in ECWolf, so hopefully he will post here to clarify. If using a pk3 is possible, then I think ECWolf is the obvious choice for a target engine.

MarlboroMike2100's art is great. His sprites remind me of Operation Body Count:

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Jewellds said:

My personal preference is to use a PK3 file for ECwolf. While this would limit the project to ECwolf, if we did that, we would be mostly unshackled from the limitations of the original Wolfenstein code. We could make custom enemies with DECORATE, and have all the modern luxuries such as floor and ceiling textures and scripting. The game could be it's own thing, rather than a derivative reskin.

I also like the idea of using an enhanced port in this case. There doesn't seem to be a real reason to support all existing ports, especially since the original game does not feature flexible mod support unlike Doom.

I think that more advanced features like floor and ceiling textures, or open area levels, would be quite welcome as well. Sticking to the original game's restrictions would probably make the result too limited.

I wonder if folks from the Wolf3D modding communities would be interested in joining the project. Granted, many mods use edits or original Wolf3D assets and/or assets from other games, but there should be some interesting original art as well.

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Of course ECWolf can use a PK3 as an IWAD. The latest development versions have some support for it out of the box (modify IWADINFO). Ultimately though, the resource loading code is straight from ZDoom.

Mod compatibility is a bit of a moot point. Vanilla mods modify the WL6 files directly and pretty much every mod is stand alone. There are some mods which don't touch every WL6 file and thus need parts of the original data, but these aren't especially common these days. Especially since mods started touching the source code directly. The Wolf3D community prefers to distribute mods stand alone (even with the shaky legality) as it's simpler to just extract and run the exe vs load a mod over the base game data. (One of the biggest criticisms of ECWolf in that community is it being confusing to load mods.) As far as I know, the community even considers shareware moding acceptable, but again with source mods leading to virtually all mods being stand alone this practice has fallen by the wayside.

Another big issue there is that the layout of the WL6 files changes between versions of the game, although for the most part it's either the Apogee 1.4 or Activision 1.4.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that using ECWolf for this kind of a project is a good idea since it wouldn't have much of a point of existing otherwise. It would just be another Wolf3D mod in the sea of content already out there. Being truly free wouldn't matter much since the Wolf3D community doesn't value that at all.

If you do choose the WL6 vanilla compatible route there are tools out there to compile WL6 files from loose files. If I recall correctly, that was the original purpose of WDC (Wolf3D Data Compiler). For what it's worth, ECWolf does also support loading WL6 files from a zip which also contains an ECWolf support patch (which can be a PK3 file).

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HorrorMovieGuy said:

I thought about it before(aswell as a free strife, but let's not go there). I have no idea how Wolfenstein modding works though. Would making custom WL6 files allow for the same level of compaility that a custom iwad has? Lso, what would be the overall style of this project? Would it still be about WWII, or maybe something else?

Wolf 3D has a complicated setup where data is spread in several different files.

AUDIOHED = data on how to open the AUDIOT file
AUDIOT = audio data. PC speaker sounds, Adlib sounds, and IMF songs. (Digitized sounds are not placed here, even though theoretically they could.)

VGADICT = dictionary to uncompress VGA graphic data
VGAHEAD = offsets and sizes for VGA graphic data
VGAGRAPH = VGA graphic data. Fonts, menu graphics, skill and episode selectors, status bar, mugshot, "get psyched" and other miscellaneous interface stuff.

MAPHEAD = data on how to open the GAMEMAPS file
GAMEMAPS = map data. Each map is made of four lumps, a map header with 38 bytes of data, and three "planes".

VSWAP = the closest thing Wolf 3D has to the WAD format. Only one file, no separate "head" and "dictionary" files. Contains wall textures, sprites, and PCM sounds.

One thing to note: none of the data formats in Wolf 3D/Spear of Destiny allow to give names to lump. When data files have names (as is the case for maps and IMF songs), these names are written in the data lumps themselves, not in a directory, and the game executable does not actually make use of them. For this reason, in vanilla Wolf 3D, every lump is accessed by their index. This means that everything is hardcoded to death: if an enemy is said to use the 79th sprite for its spawn state, it uses the 79th sprite. If you edit VSWAP and insert a new sprite, all the sprites after get offset.

And this is even worse because after sprites you have sounds, so when something tries to use the first sound, because you've inserted a sprite before, the first sound will get to be the last sprite instead. If that doesn't crash the game, you'll hear some horrible ear-splitting garbage.

All this hardcodedness means that when people want to make Wolfenstein mods that are not pure 1:1 reskin of the original data, they have to change the source code and recompile, and distribute their mod like this. This also means that if the mod contains some new music, a different status bar, new sprites and sounds, and of course new maps, well what they have to distribute is pretty much all the game data (including any unmodified game data from the original game that they reuse) and an exe. So a lot of Wolf/Spear mods are actually standalone games with a good portion of technically warez data.


All this explains the sorry state of Wolf modding, and also illustrates why ECWolf is the bright light of sanity shining at last on a desolate wasteland. (This is also why Wolfenstein purists hate it, of course.)

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Gez said:

All this explains the sorry state of Wolf modding, and also illustrates why ECWolf is the bright light of sanity shining at last on a desolate wasteland. (This is also why Wolfenstein purists hate it, of course.)

These words might be a little strong, but it does convey the general point I guess. The community doesn't hate ECWolf so much as they don't understand why it's better to do things that way.

The status quo doesn't involve ever having to explain to newbies how to run their mod and they have no real limits since they can program whatever they want instead of working within a framework. Now someone is going to come along and say that they should substitute those advantages for different set which includes stuff like better controls and automatically cross platform. But they have been putting up with the old controls for so many years and they all use Windows so did I really give them anything?

ECWolf easily has more players than there are people in the Wolf3D community, but that also doesn't matter since the Wolf3D community is populated with people that prefer the dynamics of a small community (everyone knows everyone). To them the Doom community is filled with elitists. While they may be right, in my opinion most of the apparent difference has to do with the fact that we simply have more people.

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Blzut3 said:

I guess what I'm trying to say is that using ECWolf for this kind of a project is a good idea since it wouldn't have much of a point of existing otherwise. It would just be another Wolf3D mod in the sea of content already out there. Being truly free wouldn't matter much since the Wolf3D community doesn't value that at all.


Given the info Blzut3 and Gez posted, I agree. And, aside from traditional non-standalone mods, perhaps a "FreeWolf" could become the basis for future standalone mods, avoiding all those infringement concerns.

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I've got a few questions.

1. One of ECWolf's features listed on the website is "Support for high resolution textures and mixed definition". Does this mean that the "recycled" Freedoom textures and sprites don't have to be downscaled to work with the replacement data set, and using them will not disrupt theoretical mod compatibility?

2. Would it be possible to (optionally) use digitized sounds instead of synthesized sound effects (wall bumping, item pickup etc.)?

3. Is there a possibility of MIDI music support? IIRC there's some MIDI related code that has been discovered with the reconstruction of the DOS executable of Super 3D Noah's Ark.

4. What about Blake Stone enhancements to the engine, like floor/ceiling textures, diminishing lighting and friendly NPCs? Can this be implemented as optional features?

5. I remember a certain official console port (or ports) added two new weapons to Wolfenstein 3-D. Is any code for those weapons available (or has it been recreated) in ECWolf or other PC port?

Also, do you think that the Wolf3D community people would cooperate on this, perhaps provide some original art or other assets?

On a different note, I just thought that fredrik's old centred shotgun could be used as an MP-40 replacement (or at least a base for one), if a more suitable alternative is not found:
https://github.com/freedoom/attic/blob/master/fredrik/oldshotgun/shtga0.gif?raw=true https://github.com/freedoom/attic/blob/master/fredrik/oldshotgun/shtfa0.gif?raw=true https://github.com/freedoom/attic/blob/master/fredrik/oldshotgun/shtfb0.gif?raw=true

BTW, IIRC one of the console ports actually does use edited Doom weapons.

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1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes. Noah, but also Mac Wolf and Rise of the Triad use MIDI format. (Mac Wolf also had the weird idea of using its own instrument mapping and sound banks instead of the General MIDI standard, so its MIDI music currently sounds extremely odd in ECWolf, unfortunately.)
4. Yes, that stuff is either already possible or planned.
5. You can have custom weapons already.

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MrFlibble said:

3. Is there a possibility of MIDI music support? IIRC there's some MIDI related code that has been discovered with the reconstruction of the DOS executable of Super 3D Noah's Ark.

ECWolf technically can play MIDIs right now, but I don't recommend using the code (it crashes all the time thanks to SDL_mixer). Prefer Adlib or Opus sound tracks.

MrFlibble said:

Also, do you think that the Wolf3D community people would cooperate on this, perhaps provide some original art or other assets?

Once you have something going, feel free to post about it on Die Hard Wolfers (if you can manage to get an account there) and Wolf3D Haven. I wouldn't go in with high expectations, but it never hurts.

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I fully agree with the idea of a free wolf esque project. I do however, feel that it would probably detract from the other projects going on. Instead of Germans, you could probably set it up in a parallel universe where the Russians are still in cooperation with the Axis and face Stalin instead of Hitler, just a thought I have. I have to agree that it would need another name than Free Wolf the same reason why I think Free Doom was a bit of a silly and off-putting name but I can see the pun in Free Doom. How about Ausgebombt? Which translates to bombing out, I think.

I forgot to mention, it's probably worth setting it up to the free equivalent of the mac family ports albeit with a complete set of sprites for each character. Also this would allow more creative ideas with weapons, in my opinion.

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i think the enemies should be of a fictional nationality to avoid demonizing a country's population. this would also allow for greater creative freedom

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One could pull a medieval theme and use Dungeons. Heck, since like 98% of your rooms in Wolf are long narrow passages and corridors, a cave or dunegon system seems relatively fitting to say the least.

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Springy said:

I forgot to mention, it's probably worth setting it up to the free equivalent of the mac family ports albeit with a complete set of sprites for each character. Also this would allow more creative ideas with weapons, in my opinion.

ECwolf uses DECORATE, like Zdoom, so we'd have near complete creative freedom with the weapons.

raymoohawk said:

i think the enemies should be of a fictional nationality to avoid demonizing a country's population. this would also allow for greater creative freedom

I agree with this. There's no reason we should use a real enemy or emulate a real-world conflict. I think the game should have its own story and themes.

An example story I just came up with:
You play as a scientist in the not too distant future, who invented a time machine and used it to study the past. While researching the cretaceous period, the military show up, capture you and begin exploiting past earth's natural resources - completely messing up the timeline. You alone must defeat the soldiers in order to restore the world's balance.
Each episode would take place in different time period, going further forwards in time, but with the same enemy (the military). The final episode would require you to defeat the military in their own time, and prevent yourself from inventing the time machine in the first place.

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Jewellds said:

ECwolf uses DECORATE, like Zdoom, so we'd have near complete creative freedom with the weapons.

I, like everyone else who follows the development of ecWolf are aware of this. What I should have said was extra weapon slots that can be used as I personally found that only four weapons limited the enjoyment of Wolfenstein greatly once I played the Mac edition. I wasn't trying to demonise anyone, it was just an idea but I definitely agree that the made up nationality would be better I used the example so it was still close to Wolfenstein yet it's still different.

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Maybe go the Wolfenstein SNES port route and just have the enemy be called "The Opposition" or "The State".

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Yes, please no references to real life nations (past or present). IIRC, Wolfenstein 3-D is still on the banlist in Germany (because of the use of NSDAP references which are illegal in Germany). It wouldn't do for a free open source, open content game to allow for even a theoretical possibility of a similar situation.

While I find the time travel plot an interesting concept which may very well be worth exploring, it seems reasonable to keep the details sketchy. That would also be in line with many late 80s/early 90s action games that relied on excuse plots to pit the main character against an overwhelming nondescript (para)military organization.

If MarlboroMike2100 agrees to donate his art to the project, he also has some robots there, which I hope do not resemble the Terminator too much to be potentially copyright infringing. Some of those could be used as bosses and/or episode 2 zombies, providing for a theme of some clandestine organization bend on world domination that is building a doomsday robot army (at least, in one episode). That would also be somewhat of a reference to the plot/setting of Rise of the Triad.

As for the dungeon/medieval setting suggestion, perhaps save that for secret levels? After all, there are the Catacomb series games running on the same engine. In fact, I guess there could be references to the other Wolf3D engine games as themes for secret levels, with fantasy and sci-fi settings.

Glad to hear new weapons are possible. Perhaps the Polaric Energy Cannon could be edited into a flamethrower?

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