Classic FPS PC source ports for beginners
First Person Shooters are rubbish these days. Of course, the classics such as Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and the like are somewhat laughable these days. I'm about to give you hints and tips how you can make a classic FPS playable for the modern age thanks to the great user community of classic PC FPSes that REFUSE TO DIE. You see, kitting out these classics and playing them is a hobby of mine. I'm going share with you how to do this, because of the recent shock of finding out others don't know how to do this, people haven't played Marathon and a recent Eduke article.
Did you know because of rebuilds and added features in source ports of engines, people are still gladly playing Doom and Duke Nukem 3D and these are actually better than the subsequent releases on XBLA and PSN and vastly improved?
So, all that you'll need to run most of these games is a copy of the original game, or the game files, most of the developers still sell digital copies of the games online, Good old Games, 3D Realms and Id's website would be a good place to start if you want to do this totally legally, even Shareware versions work or you can find them on questionable abandonware networks.
Your PC needs to at least have Windows XP, a Pentium 4 or the equivalent of power or higher, Geforce 4 standard graphics should be fine. Basically if you're surfing the internet, can play UT2K4, Source powered games made by Valve, you won't have a single problem with doing any of this, you're just plain spoiled if you can play Crysis.
I've personally found and discovered that some of these games in the heyday must have been excellent and the game mechanics and designs are still perfectly playable today. This is probably going to be the longest blog I've ever submitted to N4G.
Doom is still recited as a classic game today, a website used to exist just based on the existence of source ports of Doom, it seems to be a landmark of a machine running homebrew, if it can run Doom, it's full potential has been discovered.
If you've never played Doom, I'm not quite sure how I could explain it, I guess that if you've played run and gun FPSes' such as Serious Sam and Painkiller, it's that kind of game after all, those two are basically using the same tried and tested template as Doom. Here is how to set up to play Doom on a modern day machine.
1. Get the WAD. WAD files are the game files and the EXE has nothing to run without these files, basically there isn't a game without a WAD. To have a quick try of a WAD in a legal manner, you can download the shareware copy of Doom with the first episode only 'Knee Deep in the Dead'.
2. The next step, I'd suggest is to download a source port called 'Doomsday Engine.. Doomsday Engine is based on a core source port called JDoom and based on the released source code Id released in the late 90s. A brilliant guy called Skyjake seems to be the lead of developing and updating the Doomsday engine. It has also been updated to run Doom 2, Heretic and Hexen and runs many user made WADs.
3. Now you should find yourself with the Doomsday Engine. Most versions of DE end up asking you for the directories of the WAD files as it installs, you may not have all WADs, but just tell it the ones you have on your harddrive, if you get the other WADs for the other games later, just add them in the menus later.
4. Depending on the version of DE again, there should be tabs that allow you to change the graphical resolution, particle effects, lighting etc. You can also do this on the start menu of Doom which inputs the Doomsday Engine controls into Doom, so no worries. You'll just have to boot it up again. You can also easily change the controls, even to a standard of mouselook and a jump feature (if you decide to defy the way Doom SHOULD be played.)
5. Now you should have a version of Doom that looks familiar to the graphic quality of the original Halflife, with enemies and items still being sprites in the games. Which is perfectly playable in 3D.
This is where the optional stuff comes in;
6. Doomsday can be 'modded', user mods can replace textures, sky boxes. The community has even made 3D models that replace items, enemies and even to the standard of changing the whole GUI and menu screens of Doom.
Here you can find the addons and instructions where to put the files, I'd suggest signing up to New Doom. I'd keep a back up Doomsday and all the WADs at all times as I've VERY easily messed up Doomsday in the past.
All this information I've given can also be applied to setting up Doom II, Heretic and Hexen with their own individual addon packs made by the community. Here's your basic 'shopping list' for addons for all the Doomsday supported games. Addons are usually .pk3 files and can be read in .Zip and .RARs by Doomsday.
Doom & Doom 2
Abbs Pack 5.0
jDoom Resource Pack
New Interface (jdoom).pk3
jDTP Textures Doom 1 & 2
jDTP Final Doom
Wolf3D looks a bit lame these days. It's still playable, but bear in mind this was made by Id pre-Doom. It's one of the first examples of a FPS and arguably the first that set the genre alight.
1. Have the game files for Wolf 3D
2. Download NewWolf GL
3. Load up NewWolf GL, tweak about with graphics and sound...done!
4. Optionally, if you want addons for Wolf3D such as 3D models for guns, items and enemies, higher textures etc. You can find those on the link provided above and click on the 'Data Files' directory.
Before Halo, Bungie made a series of FPS games under the series 'Marathon' mainly for Macs, most Marathon players consider Halo to be a spiritual continuation of Marathon, even suggesting set in the same universe. There are a few references in Halo which Bungie supposedly put in, probably for fan service, but there is quite a lot in common with Halo and Marathon and it's quite interesting to play.
The basic plot is about 3 computers on a spaceship which was made by mining out Deimos one of the planets of Mars, supposedly evil (a bit like Doom), the ship goes under attack and the computers start becoming self aware, they wake you up from stasis. The complex plot of the whole game is told through the different computer terminals from the three AIs, which are constantly trying to manipulate you and destroy each other in a war over the ship and trying to become higher entities, all the while the ship is under attack from aliens.
1. Download the game files which Bungie released for free prior to MS buying them and Halo. These can be found on Aleph One Wiki.
2. Just follow the steps on the Wiki which lays out how to do everything, download the addons, start the game, change the options and play a little bit of forgotten history pre-Halo.
Quake is an odd franchise. Hardly none of the games in the main series by Id have nothing to do with each other. Quake is basically a tale about a marine jumping through an alternate dimension. It's a bit like Doom, basically, except this time it mixes fantasy, gothic and dark sci-fi together.
1. Get the game files. Again, a shareware version of Quake should work if you don't have the full game.
2. Download Darkplaces
3. Download both the packs for Quake Revitalization Project.
4. Boot up Darkplaces, should be already to play, enjoy Quake with better graphics!
Shadow Warrior is a tongue in cheek game made with the same engine as Duke Nukem 3D, Build and by 3D Realms. This time it has you playing as a stereotypical samurai/ninja character called Lo Wang. It's basically a kind of spiritual Duke 3D sequel. You have a sword and can use that to comically chop apart people you also get some great guns and explosives to kill enemies.
1. Get the game files.
2. Download JonoF's (Creator of the base of JFDuke which runs EDuke 32) JFShadowWarrior
3. Should be ready to play.
I've currently been trying to get source ports of Blood, Blood 2 and both the System Shock games to work and I've been tweaking with Quake 2 and 'Arena, I'll be quite glad if someone else has figured out how to make these work without crashing and configure these and tell me in return, my machines aren't too powerful and the last game that ran on top settings was Doom 3.
Also, enjoy the classic FPS games and play as many of the user made mods for the original game, as custom made maps, campaigns all work in these source ports, like the original game. They still stand pretty well when given a great community (of which I would LOVE to thank), new technology and features.