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Unofficial mods and add-ons to demo/shareware versions

User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#1

A while ago I was Googling info on the StarCraft shareware/demo, and learned of the so-called ultimate patch which essentially allows to play various extra single- and multiplayer maps in addition to the default set, as well as to launch various mods. Of course this is a violation of the StarCraft shareware EULA, but I find this an interesting historical curiosity, especially considering that apparently there used to be (still is?) a pretty active community that would prefer to play the shareware and not the retail game. As a result, the shareware version effectively evolved into a little game of its own.

I'm sure there are other examples. IIRC there's a hack for Quake multiplayer test version which adds monsters, and Wolfenstein 3-D was apparently pretty popular for various unauthorized mods and replacement level packs for the shareware version. I also remember reading about an add-on scenario for the Breed demo, although I have never been able to find it and have no idea if it was official or not. A brief check with Google also suggests that there's an unofficially modified multiplayer demo version of Codename Eagle with extra maps and some fixes.

Can you name other examples? I would be especially interested in cases when such a demo was (or is) played by a relatively wide community and/or the users created extra content (e.g. levels or mode) specifically for such version. What I'm not interested in though is hacks that allow to convert a demo/shareware into the respective full game, either bypassing an activation code or making use of resources that the developers for whatever reason did not remove from the demo/shareware.
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User is offline   HulkNukem 

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#2

I'm pretty sure you could play custom scenarios on the original Age of Empires trial version for Mac.
It had a folder with the only multiplayer demo level, and simply replacing it let you play custom maps from online. The only caveat to this however was it couldn't have any of the full game's troops, like the elephants and upgrade catapults, etc, as they weren't actually in the game.
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User is offline   Tristan 

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#3

Wolfenstein 3d has a huge amount of shareware content. A lot of people make addons for the shareware because they don't want to make a full 60 levels.
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User is offline   Lunick 

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#4

There are a lot of Commander Keen mods that use either Episode 1 or Episode 4 as a base which are shareware.

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User is offline   Fox 

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#5

 gerolf, on 08 April 2016 - 07:01 PM, said:

Wolfenstein 3d has a huge amount of shareware content. A lot of people make addons for the shareware because they don't want to make a full 60 levels.

I suppose the limitation of the shareware versions are also challenging.
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User is offline   deuxsonic 

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#6

Didn't Quake have some kind of mechanism where the binary would look for something in the game data and if it determined it to be the shareware data, it would somehow prevent mods from working?
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#7

 deuxsonic, on 08 April 2016 - 10:10 PM, said:

Didn't Quake have some kind of mechanism where the binary would look for something in the game data and if it determined it to be the shareware data, it would somehow prevent mods from working?
Sure, most Apogee model shareware games that allow to run custom content have this feature disabled in the shareware version. Interestingly, Doom shareware up to v1.2 allows to load PWADs with the -file command line parameter. This is in addition to the licences which in most cases explicitly prohibit distribution of add-ons for shareware versions (although I believe this clause was primarily aimed at preventing vendors from selling unauthorized third-party mods and level packs).

There's only one example I know of when the developers officially allowed users to create and distribute extra levels for the shareware version - Abuse. Starting with the earliest shareware release, there's a built-in level editor and a license to freely distribute custom shareware levels. However when EA got the publishing rights they disabled the editor in the demo, as well as reduced the number of levels from four to three (not counting the tutorial level). I'm not sure if there are any other non-freeware games that allow to create custom content for their respective demo/shareware versions.

 HulkNukem, on 08 April 2016 - 07:00 PM, said:

I'm pretty sure you could play custom scenarios on the original Age of Empires trial version for Mac.
It had a folder with the only multiplayer demo level, and simply replacing it let you play custom maps from online. The only caveat to this however was it couldn't have any of the full game's troops, like the elephants and upgrade catapults, etc, as they weren't actually in the game.
This is probably the reason why the trial version of Age of Empires II uses a map format different from the full version, as mentioned here.


This post has been edited by MrFlibble: 08 April 2016 - 11:45 PM

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User is offline   Daedolon 

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#8

 MrFlibble, on 08 April 2016 - 11:40 PM, said:

However when EA got the publishing rights they disabled the editor in the demo, as well as reduced the number of levels from four to three (not counting the tutorial level).


Would you have a complete version listing (pastebin or something) of all the different versions we know of with some descriptions?

Lunick: I can't believe you can pre-order Duke Nukem 3D in 2016
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#9

 Daedolon, on 09 April 2016 - 03:03 AM, said:

Would you have a complete version listing (pastebin or something) of all the different versions we know of with some descriptions?
I have posted the list of all currently known versions (with download links where available) here (it's hidden under a spoiler). The latest pre-v2.0 shareware is Linux v1.10, which has a changelog (I just realised that I've actually posted it here), while DOS shareware versions higher than v0.33 don't, for whatever reason.
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#10

Not a mod or add-on, but there exists an unofficial editor for the demo of Star Wars: Dark Forces that allows to change the type of weapons, items and enemies placed in the demo level (including randomizing the placement of all changeable items). Apparently, the demo contains data for all enemies and weapons from the full game. Here's what appears to be the latest version of the editor: DFED171.ZIP.
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User is offline   leilei 

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#11

Deus Ex demo had an official addon to expand it to Battery Park a little later.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#12

Yeah, I remember that one. There's also a couple of (official) extra MP maps for the Dominion: Storm over Gift 3 demo (which I think generally contains levels not found in the retail version, but haven't checked that).

Also IIRC the second demo of Breed was supposed to come in two parts, but this never happened.
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User is offline   Tristan 

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#13

 Fox, on 08 April 2016 - 08:17 PM, said:

I suppose the limitation of the shareware versions are also challenging.


Well, yes and no. Believe it or not, the first 3 episodes all used the same textures found in the shareware. All the textures that aren't in the shareware were just used for episodes 4-6. So the limitations really are just making the set interesting with only having 3 different enemy types. A lot of people pull it off, though.

Also, I don't think any of the BUILD games let you work with the shareware program. It'll let you make maps with the shareware, but you can't play them unless you have the registered game. I'm not sure about Doom, but AFAIK Wolfenstein is the only one I've worked with that you can work with the shareware program directly.

This post has been edited by gerolf: 16 April 2016 - 11:28 PM

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