Blake4SDL Released

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KS-Presto
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Blake4SDL Released

Post by KS-Presto »

Blake4SDL is an open-source port of Blake Stone to the cross-platform multimedia
library Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL).

Currently supported operating systems are:
- Windows XP and later (32 & 64 bit)
- Linux

Currently supported game versions are:
- Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold 2.1R
- Blake Stone: Planet Strike

Some features include:

- Modern control scheme support. WASD + mouse is available by default, but arrow keys + strafe is still available for old schoolers. And yes, the HORRIBLE hard coded special keys are no longer a thing, there is a new menu screen where they can be redefined!

- Any screen resolutions that are multiples of 320x200 or 320x240 are supported. There is a new menu where you can conveniently change the display to suit your preferences (based on insurrectionman's tutorial for Wolf4SDL).

Source code can be found on Bitbucket.

Compiled binaries for Windows:
- Aliens of Gold
- Planet Strike

Windows users will need the SDL2.dll & SDL2_mixer.dll files. Either place them in the game's directory or set the Path environment variable to include their location.

Please note - the source compiled perfectly in Ubuntu 22.04 using WSL, but the lack of hardware drivers made it impossible for SDL to initialize, so be warned that it might not work properly on Linux yet (I managed to get to the menu using VcXsrv for graphics support, but there was no input processing available to go any further). If you try it, please let me know of any issues, and/or feel free to contribute the code yourself! It was a lot of fun trying out a Linux environment for the first time, but I'm primarily a Windows user, and it might be a while before I can get a Linux system fully up and running.

Check the Options.txt file included with the executable for launch parameters. This readme has some more information about the port, including a list of known bugs.

Although similar in name, Blake4SDL doesn't use Wolf4SDL as a base, but there are several bits of code used, and the sound manager is mostly a straight rip from it. So credit to the legendary Moritz "Ripper" Kroll! This port wouldn't exist without you! ^^+

A huge thanks goes to @NY00123 for his incredible work restoring the original Aliens of Gold source code (among other games), without which adding accurate support would have been very difficult.

Thanks also to Apogee Entertainment (formerly Apogee Software) for releasing the Blake Stone source code, making this port possible to begin with. Although greatly overshadowed by Wolfenstein 3D (not to mention Doom), Blake Stone has always been an underrated gem, and I'd be very happy to see some mods developed using Blake4SDL.

~ Happy Jammin'!
Last edited by KS-Presto on Sat May 18, 2024 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

I was planning to make such a port, but wow, seems like you did beat me to it. lol
And I am glad that it is not tucked into the Wolf4SDL source port like how ECWolf did it making the whole source code look like a huge pile of mess. I am also glad to see some Blake movement going on in the community, it was about time.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

Reporting in!

I'm up to map 5 and found a couple of issues with the informants (who else, it's always them). I have had one screaming at me then proceeded to run straight into a wall with no stop, but not even trying to attack me. Once I killed him he shouted "NOOOO!" and it turned out he was still an ally and it decreased my informants alive ratio.
ImageImage

The second issue happened in the secret levels once I teleported back to the start of the level I managed to merge with one of the informants. I guess this could happen in the original game as well? Not sure. Never happened to me before. Using the teleported again and wait for the informants to move his ass away from the teleporter solves the problem though.
Image

That's all I have so far. But will continue to play and see if I can find more. It certainly plays and feels better than Bibendovsky's port so that's already a huge advantage.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Very happy about this. I still crack open Blake Stone once or twice a week. Thought about designing more levels but keep having issues with various editors. Will definitely give this a test drive over the weekend.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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ack wrote: Thu Apr 25, 2024 7:03 pm Very happy about this. I still crack open Blake Stone once or twice a week. Thought about designing more levels but keep having issues with various editors. Will definitely give this a test drive over the weekend.
Hi ack! Great to see that you're still interested in Blake Stone! I tried playing your BSE90 mapset with Bendovsky's BStone port, but unfortunately it bombed with an error after coming back from certain levels. Not sure why, but I suspect it's related to the barrier table, maybe one of them isn't connected to anything? Planet Strike quits with an error in those cases, but Aliens of Gold doesn't, so it's possible.

@Wolf3DGuy Can you consistently recreate this scenario with the informants and send me a savegame? I already fixed an original bug with linked informants having the FL_INFORMANT flag removed while keeping their 1 hp and seek tile (check the start of level 8 in original Planet Strike to see what I mean), but it's possible the solution broke something else.

Also I believe the player getting stuck in actors when teleporting is due to the lack of a blocking floor code on that spot. It's just a mapping oversight. At least there's a solution, as you pointed out.

In what ways do you think this feels/plays better than Bendovsky's port? I haven't used it much, so I'm not very familiar with it.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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KS-Presto wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 3:53 pm Hi ack! Great to see that you're still interested in Blake Stone! I tried playing your BSE90 mapset with Bendovsky's BStone port, but unfortunately it bombed with an error after coming back from certain levels. Not sure why, but I suspect it's related to the barrier table, maybe one of them isn't connected to anything? Planet Strike quits with an error in those cases, but Aliens of Gold doesn't, so it's possible.
I hadn't heard of any issues with Bendovsky's port, but now that'll give me something else to check out. Thanks for letting me know.

Now I hope this isn't a silly question, but I'll fashion a guess. I don't know if I have ever heard the expression 'barrier table' before. Is that a table in reference to the various barriers that are switch controlled? I'm wondering if you're referring to barriers I used that were permanent, that is, not affected by a switch. That could be an issue. Just curious. :)
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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KS-Presto wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 3:53 pm @Wolf3DGuy Can you consistently recreate this scenario with the informants and send me a savegame? I already fixed an original bug with linked informants having the FL_INFORMANT flag removed while keeping their 1 hp and seek tile (check the start of level 8 in original Planet Strike to see what I mean), but it's possible the solution broke something else.

Also I believe the player getting stuck in actors when teleporting is due to the lack of a blocking floor code on that spot. It's just a mapping oversight. At least there's a solution, as you pointed out.

In what ways do you think this feels/plays better than Bendovsky's port? I haven't used it much, so I'm not very familiar with it.
I have tried many times to recreate it, but I couldn't. I have no idea what caused it. Funnily enough it happened on my very first attempt of playing the port.

There's also more to report.
Image
I am not sure if I should get a new pair of glasses or is the left Sentinel really looks brighter? Looks like something is up with the shading here because that enemy isn't any closer than the other two on the right.

I also want to point out that it was good to see the turbo rotating volatiles, they are still fun.

My main grip with Bibendovsky's port happens to be the weird pathing for the scientists (yes it's still them... always) they seem to get in your way more often without moving away and they sometimes make actual 180 clockwise turns which really look off to me, it's weird to see. I have also noticed that some of the crates drop stuff that should not even appear in the game. Like this thing from Planet Strike for instance.
Image
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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ack wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 8:58 pmI hadn't heard of any issues with Bendovsky's port, but now that'll give me something else to check out. Thanks for letting me know.

Now I hope this isn't a silly question, but I'll fashion a guess. I don't know if I have ever heard the expression 'barrier table' before. Is that a table in reference to the various barriers that are switch controlled? I'm wondering if you're referring to barriers I used that were permanent, that is, not affected by a switch. That could be an issue. Just curious. :)
Yes, the barrier table is where all the info for the barriers is stored. I won't get too technical here, but basically, there are times when the game will check if a barrier is connected to other barriers:

Code: Select all

/*** BLAKE STONE: ALIENS OF GOLD RESTORATION ***/
#ifdef GAMEVER_RESTORATION_AOG
		CheckAndConnect(Barrier->coord.tilex, Barrier->coord.tiley, GAMEVER_RESTORATION_BARRIER_CODE(level,num));
#else
			if (!CheckAndConnect(Barrier->coord.tilex, Barrier->coord.tiley, num))
         	AGENT_ERROR(BARRIER_SWITCH_NOT_CONNECTED);
#endif
In this original code, Aliens of Gold doesn't care whether the barrier is connected to a switch, but Planet Strike does, and will quit the game with an error if it isn't. I know that in the old version of Bendovsky's port that I played it only has the Planet Strike behavior, so it likely was the cause of the error when I tried playing your mapset with it. However, it looks like he fixed it in a later version of his port, so hopefully it's no longer an issue.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about the cause, so feel free to check it out yourself.

@Wolf3DGuy OK, thanks for letting me know about it. As for the shading thing, you're right, it looks like his lighting didn't get reset after shooting or something. I'll look into it.

I had to fix a lot of problems with the bio-techs, so I'm not surprised if he missed something. Having "friendly" actors in a Wolf3D engine game doesn't really work out too well, since they tend to get in the way a lot. I also have no idea what that item is.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

I have finished the game yesterday and other than the issues I mentioned, I have not found anything else. Perhaps the outro cutscene plays too fast I think?

Playing this game with this port felt and played just right even with all the issues, even though the original game had issues with the informants at times. Before I forget, this was also the first time I ever noticed that the player can blow up the doors with the BFG. knowing the game for more than 10 years, I have never seen that before. lol
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Wolf3DGuy wrote: Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:04 pm I have finished the game yesterday and other than the issues I mentioned, I have not found anything else. Perhaps the outro cutscene plays too fast I think?
You're right, it plays way too fast.
Playing this game with this port felt and played just right even with all the issues, even though the original game had issues with the informants at times. Before I forget, this was also the first time I ever noticed that the player can blow up the doors with the BFG. knowing the game for more than 10 years, I have never seen that before. lol
That's good to hear! As with Wolf4SDL, this port is intended to preserve the look & feel of the original game while fixing some of the issues that it has (like the informant bugs!). And yes, you can blow up the doors with the BFG, but did you know that you should also be able to disable the arc barriers with it? However, they made a mistake in the code that prevents it. I'd like to fix the bug, but it might allow the player to take unintended shortcuts, so I don't know if I should.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

I haven't looked that much at the code, in fact I have mostly looked at Bibendovsky's source which ultimately scared me away. So I had no idea about that either lol. But it really puts you thinking, what if in early development it actually disabled them, but later they decided against it and that's why they made that mistake, but forgot to take out the flag? One thing for sure, speedrunners would love such a thing. The story behind it is a bit clouded, I could ask Scott Miller about this, he might know something about it.

One thing for sure, I am waiting patiently for Aliens of Gold, but that would take me a lot of time to finish. Right now I have everything, but free time.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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I have been meaning to to finish playing through Planet Strike at some point. Maybe I should give this a go.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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i recall attempting to do this almost 10 years ago with SDL.

I don't believe that it ever was finished, and it was using the wolf4sdl 1.7 as a base.

It's nice to see that a fresh port has come up.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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I am still hoping someone will eventually try porting over Corridor 7 to Wolf4SDL, even if it would need to be reverse engineered
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Technopeasant wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 12:26 am I am still hoping someone will eventually try porting over Corridor 7 to Wolf4SDL, even if it would need to be reverse engineered
I suppose there is this: https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/5 ... vasion-tc/

And Dosbox of course
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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insurrectionman wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 5:59 pm i recall attempting to do this almost 10 years ago with SDL.

I don't believe that it ever was finished, and it was using the wolf4sdl 1.7 as a base.

It's nice to see that a fresh port has come up.
Hi insurrectionman! A long time ago I started an attempt to finish your port, but it didn't get very far. I did learn a couple things from it that were helpful, however. By the way, I realized that I forgot to credit you for your display menu tutorial, which Blake4SDL's is based on. I'll add your name to the readme credits in the next update (coming soon!).
Technopeasant wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 12:26 amI am still hoping someone will eventually try porting over Corridor 7 to Wolf4SDL, even if it would need to be reverse engineered
I never really got into Corridor 7, but maybe someday? Adding the deathmatch stuff would be fun, and is something that Wolf4SDL could use too.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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I seemed to like Blake Stone a lot more than Wolf3d.

Are we going to see tips and stuff for Blak4SDL this time? :)

Blake Stone had so much potential back then and always wondered what if something big for it came out, especially after finishing Doom 3.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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I do think a pulpy Buck Rodgers/James Bond style shooter could fit well into the modern boomer shooter scene.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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KS-Presto wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 10:33 pmI never really got into Corridor 7, but maybe someday? Adding the deathmatch stuff would be fun, and is something that Wolf4SDL could use too.
Not going to lie, Wolfenstein 3D deathmatch sounds kinda awesome. :lol:

EDIT: Just looked this up. https://wl6.fandom.com/wiki/SplitWolf-DM-Edition

Also this for GZDoom... https://www.moddb.com/mods/wolfenstein3d-coop-dm/
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Not sure how it could be pulled off in the vanilla game without altering the vswap file to add the player sprites. Maybe include a new .wl6 or .sod file that stores the deathmatch sprites or make the game load each sprite image externally from some folder... sounds like a pain.
Maybe it's going to be a feature for mods only and we'll wait till somebody makes a deathmatch wolf3d+spear mod.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Well... riddle me this, in Aliens of Gold this happened to me once
Image
I am pretty sure it has something to do with the pushwall moving, once the pushwall stopped everything went back to normal. Just a strange glitch. Just letting you know, maybe you can find something to avoid it from happening in Blake4SDL.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Blake4SDL v1.1G release:
- Added Aliens of Gold 2.1R support
- Added the ability to determine shading via map tiles
- Added the ability to determine level song via map tiles
- Added the ability for Planet Strike to use alternate vswap (if it exists) with textured floors turned off
- Added heartbeat sound toggle to the custom special keys menu & moved toggle info area to the HUD section
- Changed the show all on overhead cheat key to backspace to avoid alt+tab conflict
- Made ShapeTest available in Planet Strike as well as Aliens of Gold
- Boosted max number of actors (250), statics (1000), visobjs (150), and barrier switches (150) per level
- Fixed crash caused by dying with a NULL lastattacker
- Fixed unskippable stat percent printing
- Fixed movie sequence timing, scaling, & fading issues
- Fixed silent crate explosions
- Fixed being unable to interrogate bio-techs near the map borders
- Fixed PM_GetPage error caused by incorrect tilemap bitmask being used to test for pushwalls
- Fixed CheckLine using the destination tile coordinates for the object being traced to
- Fixed treating Goldfire as a boss on Planet Strike map 10
Aliens of Gold support is finally here! In order to avoid littering the code with too many #ifdefs, I allowed it to share a lot of the enhanced code from Planet Strike, which among other things fixes the absurdly slow animation speeds of stuff like explosions and morphing enemies. However, gameplay specific stuff has remained separate for both games. Aliens of Gold uses the original Wolf3D damage calculations for your weapons as well as giving enemies a bit more HP, so it's just as difficult as it was originally! All of the levels in each episode have been tested and beaten with 100% in all stats on Expert Agent.

Among the general enhancements, you can now set shading and level music via the map! For anyone familiar with Blake Stone level editing, the method is simple enough. To set the shading, you must place a tile with the value of 62976 (0xf600) to signal that it's a shading flag, then immediately to the right of it a tile containing the shade divisor and shade max values. The shade divisor is in the high byte and the shade max value is in the low byte; or if you're more comfortable with decimal, just multiply the values 1-12 by 256, then add 5-63 to the result. Be aware that any values outside of the specified ranges are invalid and will cause an error. For example, if you wanted to use the shading values in Planet Strike:

- 292 (0x124) = shade divisor 1, shade max 36
- 1587 (0x633) = shade divisor 6, shade max 51
- 830 (0x33e) = shade divisor 3, shade max 62
- 1087 (0x43f) = shade divisor 4, shade max 63
- 274 (0x112) = shade divisor 1, shade max 18
- 564 (0x234) = shade divisor 2, shade max 52

Note that this is currently only available in Aliens of Gold; Planet Strike uses a hardcoded array to determine the shading. This will eventually be changed. If no shading tile is used, the game will use the original default for that level.

To change the level music, place a tile within the range (inclusive) of 63232 to 63250 (0xf700 to 0xf712) for Aliens of Gold, and 63232 to 63252 (0xf700 to 0xf714) for Planet Strike. The low byte should match the zero-based index of these lists:

Aliens of Gold:

Code: Select all

enum musicnames
{
    S2100A_MUS,
    GOLDA_MUS,
    APOGFNFM_MUS,
    DRKHALLA_MUS,
    FREEDOMA_MUS,
    GENEFUNK_MUS,
    TIMEA_MUS,
    HIDINGA_MUS,
    INCNRATN_MUS,
    JUNGLEA_MUS,
    LEVELA_MUS,
    MEETINGA_MUS,
    STRUTA_MUS,
    RACSHUFL_MUS,
    RUMBAA_MUS,
    SEARCHNA_MUS,
    THEME_MUS,
    THEWAYA_MUS,
    INTRIGEA_MUS,

    LASTMUSIC
};
Planet Strike:

Code: Select all

enum musicnames
{
    CATACOMB_MUS,
    STICKS_MUS,
    APOGFNFM_MUS,
    PLOT_MUS,
    CIRCLES_MUS,
    LASTLAFF_MUS,
    TOHELL_MUS,
    FORTRESS_MUS,
    GIVING_MUS,
    HARTBEAT_MUS,
    LURKING_MUS,
    MAJMIN_MUS,
    VACCINAP_MUS,
    DARKNESS_MUS,
    MONASTRY_MUS,
    TOMBP_MUS,
    TIME_MUS,
    MOURNING_MUS,
    SERPENT_MUS,
    HISCORE_MUS,
    THEME_MUS,

    LASTMUSIC
};
Make sure the low byte of the tile does not exceed the index before LASTMUSIC, otherwise the game will quit with an error. If no music tile is placed, the game will use the original default for that level. This upgrade will allow you to set the desired mood for your custom levels, as well as set the music for the 5 unused levels in each episode, without having to recompile the executable!

One more thing: in order to avoid complicating things too much, Aliens of Gold now shares the barrier table code with Planet Strike. Since the former allows you to toggle barriers on other levels, it was necessary to make the barrier table in both games maintain its state across all levels. This means that you no longer have a fixed limit of 40 barrier switches per level in Planet Strike, but an overall limit of 150 barrier switches across all 24 levels. Make sure you don't exceed this limit, or the game will quit with an error when it fills up the barrier table. The same limit also applies to Aliens of Gold, though you now have twice the maximum barriers available across the entire episode. Note that barriers not connected to switches DO NOT count towards the barrier table limit; you can have as many of those as you want provided you don't overflow MAXACTORS (250). Also note that the requirement for Planet Strike's barriers to be connected to switches has been lifted, however you cannot currently toggle barriers stored on other levels in that game, only in Aliens of Gold. This is necessary to maintain compatibility with the original maps, since the method is somewhat different in both games.

Links to the updated source & binaries are in the first post.

That's all for now. Happy Jammin'!
Last edited by KS-Presto on Sun May 19, 2024 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by ack »

Very happy - many thanks!
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

lol I did not remember Aliens of Gold to be this hard on expert, but it definitely kicks my ass. Some of the enemies feel like bulletsponges and the Plasma Discharge Unit has to be the weakest weapon in the game, one direct hit can't kill most of the enemies and the projectile sometimes passes through enemies, it's very funky. Just like in the original.

Can't wait to blaze through this one too. Thank you so much for this!
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Wolf3DGuy »

I have encountered one small visual glitch with dead bodies disappearing and popping up when a door closes and opens. Here's a save file in case you wanna look.
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Re: Blake4SDL Released

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Wolf3DGuy wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 12:04 pm I have encountered one small visual glitch with dead bodies disappearing and popping up when a door closes and opens. Here's a save file in case you wanna look.
Ah, so THAT'S why it checks 9 tiles for a visible object, because the object's shape can overlap multiple tiles... obviously. It got changed to use scaled global coordinates to be more efficient, but that was a bad call. Thanks for catching this one!
re: deathmatch wrote:Not sure how it could be pulled off in the vanilla game without altering the vswap file to add the player sprites. Maybe include a new .wl6 or .sod file that stores the deathmatch sprites or make the game load each sprite image externally from some folder... sounds like a pain.
Maybe it's going to be a feature for mods only and we'll wait till somebody makes a deathmatch wolf3d+spear mod.
You wouldn't need to add player sprites, just have each player be one of the enemies. That would look a lot cooler than generic recolored BJ sprites. Still, it probably would be better to create a separate executable for it rather than trying to fit it into the base game.
lol I did not remember Aliens of Gold to be this hard on expert, but it definitely kicks my ass. Some of the enemies feel like bulletsponges and the Plasma Discharge Unit has to be the weakest weapon in the game, one direct hit can't kill most of the enemies and the projectile sometimes passes through enemies, it's very funky. Just like in the original.
To be honest, Planet Strike feels way too easy, with the reduced enemy HP and buffed player weapon damage. After playing through every level of Aliens of Gold, I don't think there was a single moment that I would consider to be unfair. The start of E4M1 is probably the closest that comes to it, but there's a PDU and ammo in the first room on the left after entering the corridor with the Mech-Sentinels.

Maintaining the original difficulty of Aliens of Gold is something I believe to be important.

@ack Just a heads up, I quickly tried out BSE90 with the port, and I'm aware that the teleporters do not work properly. The reason is because I wanted to remove the annoying limitation of forcing the player start to be in the same position each map, so I had it use the new Planet Strike method of saving the player's old location. It works, but it breaks some of the level design in BSE90, because it just reloads the player's old position when warping to secret levels that you've already been to. I'll see if I can fix this in the next version.

Another issue with BSE90 is that some maps are missing a floor/ceiling texture info tile, so the port just loads page 0 for both. The maps should probably be updated, but I'll make the port use the old default as a fallback as well.
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ack
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Mapping Master
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by ack »

KS-Presto wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 1:00 pm @ack Just a heads up, I quickly tried out BSE90 with the port, and I'm aware that the teleporters do not work properly. The reason is because I wanted to remove the annoying limitation of forcing the player start to be in the same position each map, so I had it use the new Planet Strike method of saving the player's old location. It works, but it breaks some of the level design in BSE90, because it just reloads the player's old position when warping to secret levels that you've already been to. I'll see if I can fix this in the next version.

Another issue with BSE90 is that some maps are missing a floor/ceiling texture info tile, so the port just loads page 0 for both. The maps should probably be updated, but I'll make the port use the old default as a fallback as well.
Removing the mandatory start point in AoG is a good idea. Sorry to hear about the extra work regarding the secret levels. I appreciate your attention to detail.

Yeah, some maps are missing floor and ceiling tiles. I figured something was up when I saw steel floors and ceilings on a few levels. I'll try to fix that if I can.
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Technopeasant
Necromancer
Posts: 317
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:45 pm
Location: Stony Plain, Alberta

Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by Technopeasant »

Good work on getting AoG added.
Currently Playing: Des Mannes bester Freund

Last Played: https://wl6.fandom.com/wiki/User:Techno ... #Completed
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BlakeMaster
DieHard Guard
DieHard Guard
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2022 6:18 pm

Re: Blake4SDL Released

Post by BlakeMaster »

I want tips for seamless level flow in Blake4SDL plus adding new weapons.

Imagine Blake Stone having a plasma or laser cannon.
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!