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A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

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A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Dybdal » Thu Dec 20, 2012 14:40

Hey..

Just wanted to pop in and thank whoever it is that made ECWolf. (Information on who it is, seems hard to come by on the website)
Saw someone talking about the mod on the Steampowered forums and i've got to say im just as impressed by this source port as the most popular doom source ports, its really impressive stuff you have achived here.

And what really tickled my insides was reading your plan for ECWolf (in regards to support of other games that makes use of a modifyed Wolfenstein engine)
But how realistic is support for Blake Stone really? as far as i know the source codes for Aliens of Gold was found at Jam a few years ago but had severe bit courruption, and Planet Strike's source code allthough found isnt being released because of legal issues between GoG, Jam and Apogee!

Would reverse enginering the entire thing not take ages to acomplish? and if you really are deadset on attempting to reverse engineer it, i'd like to help with whatever i can as this somewhat lost Apogee GEM of a game has been forgotten long enough and i just know a ECWolf'ish treatment with a updated controll scheme would absolutly put this game on more people's computers. (Just a simple thing as removing the strafe modifyer effecting the mouse, or implementing actual strafe keys so you can have the same controll scheme as in ECWolf, would do wonders for Blake Stone)

Anyway.. love the work thats been done allready and really hope that Blake Stone support matirializes soon'er rather than later
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Gez » Sat Dec 22, 2012 15:47

Dybdal wrote:Just wanted to pop in and thank whoever it is that made ECWolf. (Information on who it is, seems hard to come by on the website)

Just look at the copyright notice at the bottom of the page: "© 2004-2012 Braden "Blzut3" Obrzut", or look up the wiki page.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 19:39

Glad you're looking forward to Blake Stone support. Reverse engineering it shouldn't be all too difficult I would think. Not too long ago Quasar (of Eternity Engine) and Kiaser (SvStrife and Doom 64 Ex) litterally reconstructed the source code to Strife for Chocolate Strife and of course that game was reversed engineered by Kaiser, Randy, and I think a few others before then. Not to mention the XL Engine is reverse engineering whole games that are more complex then those on the Wolf3D engine. That said, the Wolf3D engine does have a lot of assembly code that could make things more difficult. The main thing I'm concerned about is finding the actor state table as that's the only thing I can think of off hand that has precise timings, but the more code that can be recovered the better. (The rest could probably be extracted with resonable accuracy by just having someone nitpick the game for accuracy. On a side note I think Adam Biser did some initial reverse engineering work on Corridor 7 for WinWolf3D.)

When the time comes my plan is to hopefully get some help from Quasar and Kaiser to get me started on how to find such information in a disassembly, so we'll see. I'll of course keep the release notes updated as any progress happens in this area, but don't expect much from me until after 2.0 is released. Of course, if you know how to do disassembly or other reverse engineering then be my guest.

Outside of probing around in a disassembly, there are other things can can be done to help. Blake Stone likely modifies the map format. These changes are probably mostly known as I think some of the Wolf editors can edit Blake Stone maps (but of course they're all closed source). Knowing how things are represented in the maps would help a lot. Likewise any changes to the data file format? With that the other thing that can be easily done is assigning names to all the chunks in the game. See the WL6/SODMAP in ecwolf.pk3 for what I'm talking about. This is just a task of going through the data file chunks one by one and giving an arbitrary name. The only real catch here is avoiding conflicts with Wolf3D/Spear and preferrably following any naming conventions established there.

Of course I can make no promises on time frame either way, but the less I need to do the faster it can get done. :)
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby printz » Thu Jan 03, 2013 19:31

Blake Stone might get des-engineered? Awesome! I'll have a larger pool to try my automatic ports on, though I do admit that making a bot that can screen-scrape (via DOSBox fork?) closed source games like Blake Stone would be a more interesting challenge.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:41

I had to use IDA for a class in school, so I've found the state table.

Not anywhere close to being able to support Blake Stone, but I do now have a job someone with enough patience (but not necessarily programming skill) could do to help things along. Basically I need to give a name to each of the states (so they're easier to follow than stru_xyz). There is a bit of a learning curve to using IDA so I'll probably end up having to do it myself, but the offer is out there for anyone interested.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Ghostbreed » Mon Jun 03, 2013 17:54

Will Corridor 7 also be supported in the future? Pretty please! :lol:
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:00

Of course.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Ghostbreed » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:12

:)
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Gez » Thu Jun 06, 2013 21:56

Blzut3 wrote:I had to use IDA for a class in school, so I've found the state table.

Man, I wish IDA had been covered in the CS classes I took.

Not that I could use the free edition of IDA anyway since what I'd like to (try to) disassemble is a DOS/4GW program, and apparently it's something IDA only supports since 6.0 while the free edition is 5.0.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 22:51

Gez wrote:Man, I wish IDA had been covered in the CS classes I took.

Well IDA wasn't really covered in class. But it's amazing what can be done with a 5 minute introduction. :P
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Svecke » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:13

I also wanted to give my thanks for this port. It's even more awesome that you have the future goal of adding Blake Stone support.

Just one question: do you have a paypal account or any other way for us to offer donations?
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 18:19

Thanks. I'm glad you're looking forward to Blake Stone support. :)
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby shorty1k » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:43

Hey I registered just to throw in my thanks too. Blake Stone was my favorite dos game as a kid and I've always wanted to play it on a modern sourceport with proper strafing. I'm also very much looking forward to Rise of the Triad support, as I had a ton of issues with winrott. If only Blood would get completely reverse engineered, my oldschool FPS thirst would be fully fufilled.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby Blzut3 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 21:05

shorty1k wrote:Hey I registered just to throw in my thanks too. Blake Stone was my favorite dos game as a kid and I've always wanted to play it on a modern sourceport with proper strafing. I'm also very much looking forward to Rise of the Triad support, as I had a ton of issues with winrott.

I'm finding that with the way things are going, support for the other games may not be as far off as I used to think. We'll see though. Rise of the Triad is a weird one since it's definitely on the tail end of the list of games to support, but there are a lot of features that you'll see creeping into ECWolf in the mean time.

Although no one really asks about it: I have also started reverse engineering Corridor 7 as well. My plans there are currently to reconstruct the lost source code (either DOS or more likely 4SDL) and then merge whatever into ECWolf, but that could change. Once that's done, the results can be used to find the changes in Operation Body Count.
shorty1k wrote:If only Blood would get completely reverse engineered, my oldschool FPS thirst would be fully fufilled.

Doesn't the XL Engine have it mostly reversed engineered at this point? I haven't really been keeping up to date on it.
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Re: A simple thank you & questions about Blake Stone

Postby shorty1k » Fri Jul 05, 2013 22:49

Blzut3 wrote:Doesn't the XL Engine have it mostly reversed engineered at this point? I haven't really been keeping up to date on it.

It seems like it's a very long way from being released. The BloodCM team is reverse engineering using the Eduke32 engine with two episodes finished so far. It must be a massive undertaking if its had this many problems and teams trying to tackle it.
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