Wolfenstein 3D ported to Sega Genesis

Apr 8, 2014
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#1
Posted about this in the Genesis community thread a while ago but I figure this is thread-worthy.

GASEGA68k has been toiling away on a complete port of Wolfenstein 3D for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. There was also an earlier homemade port being made on the 32X, but this is being developed purely for the vanilla hardware. It's an extremly impressive achievement considering how well it runs.

You can compare the first demo from August 2013 here to the latest stress test video where performance is tested under extreme conditions after a lot of optimization.

In the last build I played a few months ago it seemed like the full first shareware episoe had been implemented and in the latest videos it seems even more are on the way.
 
Aug 25, 2014
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#13
While i'm sure this is probably real, how do we know he's actually running it on a genesis or genesis emulator? I could fake this with any game using Vegas or After Effects. It'd be super neat to see him export this to a genesis cart and show this working on an actual TV.
 
Jun 7, 2011
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#15
Honestly, I find this port to be more impressive than the original SNES release of the game.
IIRC, the SNES version was a rush-job by Romero and co. after their external contractor fucked it up; I think they got it done in under two months (EDIT: three weeks!). I'm sure they could have done better given more time and focus.

That's not to take away from this new MD port, which is really impressive and would easily have been worth buying in its day.
 
Apr 8, 2014
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#17
Wow, looks better than Doom SNES. Only real visual problem is the weird vertical "scanline" thing going on, not sure what that's about. But crazy good stuff
The vertical lines are a trick used to mitgate the restrictions of the low color palette. It was commonly used in very late era Genesis titles since the inaccurate video signals on TVs at the time would often bleed the lines together and could be exploited to fake extra shades or transparencies.

I believe you can actually switch between different rendering methods in the graphics options.

While i'm sure this is probably real, how do we know he's actually running it on a genesis or genesis emulator? I could fake this with any game using Vegas or After Effects. It'd be super neat to see him export this to a genesis cart and show this working on an actual TV.
It's real. Other people have put the ROM on a flash cart and recorded footage from actual hardware.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS5HJFmCIUE
 
Jun 7, 2011
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#19
While i'm sure this is probably real, how do we know he's actually running it on a genesis or genesis emulator? I could fake this with any game using Vegas or After Effects. It'd be super neat to see him export this to a genesis cart and show this working on an actual TV.
He's released a bunch of public builds that you can play on real hardware using a flash cart, or in your emulator of choice. It's legit.
 
May 27, 2014
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#23
I remember an interview with John Carmack back in either EGM or Game Players where he claimed this wasn't possible and was considering a Sega CD port instead, this was right around the time the SNES version was released.

Then again, John Carmack also claimed it was impossible to get Doom going on an Amiga, and that also wasn't true.
 
May 27, 2014
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#24
It seems to be using a C2P trick (chunky to Planar), it looks like what the scene did on ECS amigas a while back with their port of Wolfenstein.
The Genesis doesn't use a planar format, actually, it uses packed pixel, no conversion really necessary.

I remember the CD32 actually had a Chunky to Planar chip inside that did conversions automatically, shame almost nothing used it (and no other amiga hardware had said chip.)
 
Jan 12, 2012
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#25
Aug 30, 2007
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#27
Think how amazing technical tricks programmers would have had to do if we never got new console hardware after the 16-bit era. We already started to get pretty good looking faux-3D games late in their lifecycle.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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#28
Very cool stuff! The framerate obviously struggles with lots of stuff on screen, and everything is horrendously dithered, but those issues are inevitable if you don't use the 32X, I'm sure. Great work for a Genesis game for sure.

Wow, looks better than Doom SNES. Only real visual problem is the weird vertical "scanline" thing going on, not sure what that's about. But crazy good stuff
No it doesn't, SNES Doom is way more impressive! Remember how much more advanced a game Doom is. Compare this to SNES Wolf 3D, which other than the low resolution and massive censorship actually is a pretty solid port.

IIRC, the SNES version was a rush-job by Romero and co. after their external contractor fucked it up; I think they got it done in under two months (EDIT: three weeks!). I'm sure they could have done better given more time and focus.

That's not to take away from this new MD port, which is really impressive and would easily have been worth buying in its day.
I've never heard of id having anything whatsoever to do with SNES Doom, no. SNES Doom was made by Sculptured Software, not id. It's easy enough to tell this because the game is based on PC Doom, not id's Jaguar Doom, unlike all other '90s console versions of Doom. id would, I'm sure, have based it off of the Jaguar version, just like Carmack did in his 32X port of the game (is that what you're thinking of?).

Also, the SNES version is really impressive. It's even got stuff the Jaguar version didn't, such as the correct lighting, light changes, collapsing ceilings, and such. Sculptured Software did a great job! Of course, Doom is a much more technically demanding game than Wolf 3D, even if the Genesis can do Wolf this good that doesn't mean it'd run Doom just as well. Compare SNES Wolf 3D to SNES Doom, for example -- Doom needed a Super FX 2 chip to have a probably worse framerate than the addon-chip-free SNES Wolf 3D mostly because of how much more complex Doom is (thoguh the resolution also might be higher).

Sculptured Software had previously made a SNES Super FX game, the also pretty good Dirt Trax FX. Like Doom that game plays in a black border, but has a higher framerate than the other Super FX 1 games (Star Fox, Vortex, Stunt Race FX), and I find it pretty fun, while I don't like Vortex or Star Fox in part because of their framerates.

The rush job was 32X Doom, which is super shoddy because Sega rushed it out the door in time for Christmas '94, even though it was basically only two thirds of a game (all of episode 3 is missing!) and the audio is terrible. The SNES version took longer, it didn't release until fall '95, but it's more complete as a result.
 
Jul 27, 2014
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#31
Think how amazing technical tricks programmers would have had to do if we never got new console hardware after the 16-bit era. We already started to get pretty good looking faux-3D games late in their lifecycle.
Yeah, it would be really interesting if some studio made a AAA game on old hardware to see what they could squeeze out.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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#34
Dude was talking about SNES Wolf, not SNES Doom.
Sorry, you're right. The other post I quoted did mention SNES Doom, though... so it's a response to that then. :p I really like SNES Doom, it's pretty great considering the hardware! And yes, I like Dirt Trax FX more than Stunt Race FX, too.

As for this vs. SNES Wolf, the SNES game has a lot more colors of course (that dithering looks awful!), but the Genesis one looks like it runs at a higher resolution. I'm not sure about framerates, that's hard to judge based on Youtube.

EDIT: just to be clear, they talk about SNES Wolf in that video I linked, skip to the section '"Disaster Struck: All Work Stopped".
Okay, that's helpful. I didn't want to watch that whole long video just to find one bit...
 
Jun 7, 2011
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#39
Sorry, you're right. The other post I quoted did mention SNES Doom, though... so it's a response to that then. :p I really like SNES Doom, it's pretty great considering the hardware! And yes, I like Dirt Trax FX more than Stunt Race FX, too.

As for this vs. SNES Wolf, the SNES game has a lot more colors of course (that dithering looks awful!), but the Genesis one looks like it runs at a higher resolution. I'm not sure about framerates, that's hard to judge based on Youtube.


Okay, that's helpful. I didn't want to watch that whole long video just to find one bit...
It's cool, I just didn't realise what I'd said that warranted that wall of text. I'd have linked directly to that part in the video if I could, but no dice. Don't sweat it!

It's hard to really compare the two versions, not just because of all the practical constraints behind the SNES version (time, censorship, unfamiliarity with the hardware, etc) but also because they made a bunch of changes and additions to the game when porting it to the SNES, both positive and negative, whereas Wolf MD is a deliberate attempt to try and bring over the PC version as-is and adding those later features isn't really the focus of his work.

There was a commercial Wolf MD port underway, back in the day: it was being handled by Tiertex, presumably for Imagineer, but I don't know why it was cancelled and don't even remember if it was officially announced. It was based on the SNES version and was alleged to be 90% complete.
 
Sep 3, 2013
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#40
Think how amazing technical tricks programmers would have had to do if we never got new console hardware after the 16-bit era. We already started to get pretty good looking faux-3D games late in their lifecycle.
Neo-Geo is telling indicator of this. For a console to debut in 1990 and last until 2004.

Look at early titles such as Magician Lord which could probably done on the SNES or Genesis without much difference in sprite quality and compared to more exotic titles even using pseudo 3D cgi graphics such as Pulstar and super detailed animation in Garou: MOTW.

Also to note both the Neo-Geo and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive both used the Motorola 68k as it's main processor and Zilog z80 co-processor (in the Genesis, which was mainly used for audio.)

Main differences however was that the CPU for the Geo was clocked at 12Mhz (compared to only 7Mhz for the Genesis) the biggest thing though was the Genesis only having 72kb of system ram and 64kb for video.

The Neo-Geo having a much larger 214kb of Ram and 84kb for it's video.

So just imagine what sort of hardware tricks could have been done on the Genesis if it was pushed to it's absolute limit like the Neo-Geo was. Hell if the Genesis had slightly highly higher clock speed and ram, the probability of scaled down Neo-Geo ports wouldn't have been out of the question either.
 
Apr 8, 2014
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#41
So just imagine what sort of hardware tricks could have been done on the Genesis if it was pushed to it's absolute limit like the Neo-Geo was. Hell if the Genesis had slightly highly higher clock speed and ram, the probability of scaled down Neo-Geo ports wouldn't have been out of the question either.
Generally, it was the cartridge space which was the great equalizer for systems back in the day. I think Final Fight on the Sega CD is a good showcase of this. The size of the characters, variety in background tiles and animation frames etc is almost on par with the arcade version. The SNES version was on cheapest tier of cartridges and that's where most of the concessions in content and quality comes from.
 
Jun 29, 2011
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#43
Posted about this in the Genesis community thread a while ago but I figure this is thread-worthy.

GASEGA68k has been toiling away on a complete port of Wolfenstein 3D for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. There was also an earlier homemade port being made on the 32X, but this is being developed purely for the vanilla hardware. It's an extremly impressive achievement considering how well it runs.

You can compare the first demo from August 2013 here to the latest stress test video where performance is tested under extreme conditions after a lot of optimization.

In the last build I played a few months ago it seemed like the full first shareware episoe had been implemented and in the latest videos it seems even more are on the way.
This is really impressive. Holy.
 
Apr 29, 2013
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#45
Thanks for sharing, this is amazing! I particularly like how the comments point out the original engine had a limit of 50 visible objects on screen, whereas this version has no such limitation.
 
Oct 4, 2009
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#47
Neo-Geo is telling indicator of this. For a console to debut in 1990 and last until 2004.

Look at early titles such as Magician Lord which could probably done on the SNES or Genesis without much difference in sprite quality and compared to more exotic titles even using pseudo 3D cgi graphics such as Pulstar and super detailed animation in Garou: MOTW.
I dunno, the difference would be noticeable IMO.
Magician Lord have more colors compared to what MD could display.
SNES could match the colors on screen for ML but sprites would be noticiably reduced in in size, not to speak of the instance in the games where a big numbers of enemies are spawned that would put the SNES in kneel.
The details on the backgrounds would be far reduced on MD/SNES too due in large part to the small rom size.

Just a silly example (still screenshots won't be good comparison of course, only running the games will give you the right impression)
 
Jan 12, 2012
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#49
Very cool stuff! The framerate obviously struggles with lots of stuff on screen, and everything is horrendously dithered, but those issues are inevitable if you don't use the 32X, I'm sure. Great work for a Genesis game for sure.
There is a Wolfenstein 3D home brew port for the 32X: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEf9SuRuRZM

This one is an engine port and requires the original PC game files to run and there's no music because the 32x can't run the midi files directly and nobody made custom music tracks for this version.

IIRC, the SNES version was a rush-job by Romero and co. after their external contractor fucked it up; I think they got it done in under two months (EDIT: three weeks!). I'm sure they could have done better given more time and focus.

That's not to take away from this new MD port, which is really impressive and would easily have been worth buying in its day.
Yeah, two years ago John Carmack played through Wolfenstein 3D for a 20th anniversary retrospect and he mentioned that he was the coder on the SNES version of the game.But apparently they rushed that port because they were working on Doom at the same time. The video here of him talking about it.. Though he doesn't go too much into detail about the SNES version.


The megadrive was really good for its time. Yeah the SNES could do more colours, and access to some hardware supported effects like rotation and scaling, but the CPU in the megadrive just allowed it to match or surpass the SNES especially when it came to having lots of sprites at once and stuff .
The SNES doesn't really have hardware scaling or rotation though. It is only really capable of producing one flat 3D playing field through hardware, which is generally known as Mode 7. It can't scale sprites through hardware.