Doom, Marathon back from the gaming grave

Play it again, Sam...

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Doom, Id Software's classic first-person shooter, is back on the Mac. To be fair, it's never really gone away, but the new release, MacDoomLegacy 1.0, brings it bang up to date with support for 3D graphics cards.

The release follows Id's decision to open up the game's PC-oriented source code back in 1997. Since then, the code has been ported over to the Mac by Calum Robinson, who's been working on it for nearly a year.

And a good job the boy's done, too. MacDoomLegacy 1.0 supports all Id's versions of the game, plus various mission add-on packs, all rendered in gorgeous OpenGL'o'Vision™ at resolutions up to 1024x768.

Add to that a Quake-style command console (which makes switching options and loading in maps much easier than before), a true 'mouselook' option, a Lara Croft-style third-person mode and a split-screen display for console-style two-player games, and MacDoomLegacy becomes far more than the original without losing any of the playability or visceral intensity of Id's classic.

And while we're off in gaming nostalgia territory, we've been playing around with our old favourite, Marathon, also lovingly brought back to life with smarter, modern features, courtesy of the Aleph One development team.

Bungie - now owned by Microsoft - released the Marathon 2 source code a couple of years back. After a quick patch to make the code easily compilable, the Aleph One developers have been souping the whole thing up to support modern gaming systems. That includes OpenGL graphics support, so the game now works with 3D accelerators, plus the addition of the game environment controlling, XML-style Marathon Markup Language and Pfhortran, a scripting system to add a new level of interactivity to game levels.

That's music to the ears of an old map maker like yours truly, who once - if I say so myself - had something of a following for his Origin of Species series... ah... them were the days...

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, all those sumptuous textures - Marathon 2's remain our firm favourites, way superior to their Marathon Infinity replacements - are being adapted for the 32-bit colour world of 2001 from 1994's 8-bit originals.

Developed for the Mac, Marathon's first sequel was ported over to Windows, but was pretty much left to die. Fortunately, PC support has been picked up by the Aleph One guys, porting it to Windows and to Linux (x86 and PowerPC). There's even a BeOS port for both platforms. ®

Related Links

MacDoomLegay's home page is here and code can be grabbed from the site's download page. The PC version (Windows and Linux) is available here.

Aleph One - in all its versions - can be found here


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