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Reputation: 454 My posts turn threads into gold
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Topics I've Started

  1. Browser version of EDuke32?

    02 December 2017 - 02:50 AM

    This is just a thought that occurred to me when I recently visited the site of JS-DOS, which is a browser implementation of DOSBox. I was trying to figure out if it had better performance compared to EM-DOSBox, or whatever stuff is used by archive.org's online Classic PC Games collection. JS-DOS happens to have a playable shareware version of Duke3D on their site, which I played a bit to get an idea how well it worked (the answer is: pretty slow), as well as Doom which I then compared to the archive.org version (it seems that JS-DOS is faster in this case).

    Anyways, some time after this it suddenly occurred to me that, given that the source code of Doom is available, there's no reason why a browser-based version should be using an implementation of DOSBox with its obvious performance drawbacks (apart from saving the effort of writing the browser port). After all, there's the official browser version of Wolfenstein 3-D (it doesn't have the aspect ratio correction option sadly). From this, the idea of a browser version of EDuke32 was an obvious logical step further.

    So here's my question: is a play-in-your-browser version of EDuke32 possible? I Googled the topic a bit and did not get any immediate results pointin to the existence of such version. If implemented, would it be as robust in performance as the regular OS-based builds? Personally I think it would be a nice thing to have because such a version is potentially more accessible to many users than other options. A version running on the official site with the shareware episode could become an excellent way to introduce new players to the game. What do you think?
  2. A way to remove some JPEG compression artefacts from old screenshots

    19 September 2017 - 12:08 AM

    The invention of JPEG image format, while bringing many advantages in the era of slow Internet connections, also resulted in a lot of damage to video game screenshots published online back in the day, especially of games using 256 colours or less in their palettes.

    For example, here's an old screenshot from Shadow Warrior (magnified at 2x using nearest neighbour method for better visibility) which was available at 3D Realms website in 1998 (Wayback Machine link):
    Posted Image

    The image is extensively distorted by various JPEG compression artefacts, including one known as "mosquito noise"

    I've been trying to figure out a way to reduce these kinds of artefacts, and came up with the following method using GIMP. The result is shown below:
    Posted Image

    The image is now cleaned up of most of visible mosquito noise while preserving the details. Described below are the steps to achieve this:

    1. Import the source image into GIMP. Personally I prefer to first convert it from JPEG to a lossless format prior to importing but I'm not sure if this makes any difference.

    2. Scale the image to 400% of its original size (which is 1280x800 in the case of a 320x200 image) setting interpolation to None (other software may call this the nearest neighbour interpolation).

    3. Apply Median filter at the redius of 2. To do this, go Filters -> Enhance - > Despeckle, in the dialog box uncheck Adaptive and Recursive (if checked), set Radius to 2, Black level to -1 and White level to 256. In Photoshop, just use the Median filter with the same radius. This will reduce some of the mosquito noise.

    4. Apply selective Gaussian blur (Filters -> Blur -> Selective Gaussian Blur). The Radius and Threshold levels might need to be adjusted for each image individually to achieve adequate mosquito noise removal. For the image above, I used Radius 4 and Threshold 25.

    5. Apply the Pixelise filter (Filters -> Blur -> Pixelise) with pixel width and height both set to 4. This will effectively revert the image to its state when it was scaled up from the original size at 400% with the nearest neighbour interpolation.

    6. Scale the image down to its original size. The Sinc3 interpolation method seems to produce good results here.

    Note that wile this method reduces visible mosquito noise, it does not address other distortions resulting from JPEG compression, such as discolouration, colour distortion, blurring and loss of image detail due to the former. Thus, better quality source images will
  3. Alien Rampage now available from GOG.com

    22 August 2017 - 10:28 AM

    https://www.gog.com/game/alien_rampage

    You can get a seven-level shareware here:
    https://www.classicd...en_Rampage.html
  4. Interviews etc. with Apogee/3DR people

    24 June 2017 - 03:20 AM

    Over the recent years I have come across various interviews with game developers, including people related to Apogee/3D Realms. Some of these are still online, some are only accessible via the Wayback Machine. It seems reasonable to keep track of them as potentially interesting information can be obtained from these documents.

    Currently the idea is to sort links by person, and by publication date for each person. I'm not listing the Apogee Legacy Interviews as they are already neatly organized on their own.

    George Broussard
    GameSlice Interview (w/ Scott Miller) (1996)
    Gamecenter.com Shadow Warrior Q&A (late 1996)
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (22 March 1997)
    PC Games Shadow Warrior Guided Tour (1H 1997)

    Richard "Levelord" Gray
    Ritualistic Interview (8 April 1998)
    Ritualistic Interview (25 December 1998)
    Gamedesign.net Interview (1999)
    GameSpy Interview (2000)
    Shacknews Interview (20 August 2012)
    TesAll Interview (30 January 2014)
    duke64nukem.com Interview (8 October 2016)
    Lecture at the Geek Picnic event (10 July 2017)

    Jason Hall
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (31 March 1997)

    Tom Hall
    GameSlice Ion Storm Interview (w/ John Romero) (1997?)
    DOS Games Archive Interview (ca. April 2002)

    Lee Jackson
    GameSpy Interview (7 July 2000)
    The Cyber Den Interview (27 January 2016)

    Bobby Prince (blog)
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (12 October 1997)

    Scott Miller
    GameSlice Interview (w/ George Broussard) (1996)
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (11 May 1997)
    Gamasutra Interview (21 August 2009)
    Arcade Attack Interview (22 April 2017)

    Nick Newhard
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (26 April 1997)

    John Passfield (official website)
    Tsumea Interview (12 October 2002)
    RGB Classic Games Interview (31 October 2005 - a fitting date for a talk with the author of Halloween Harry)
    1 More Castle Interview (July 2012)
    Gamasutra Blog Post (1 June 2015)

    John Romero (official website)
    Next Generation Online Interview (13 May 1997)
    GameSlice Ion Storm Interview (w/ Tom Hall) (1997?)

    Paul Schuytema
    Online Gaming Review (OGR) Interview (1998?)

    Joe Siegler (blog)
    RGB Classic Games Interview (31 January 2006)

    Ken Silverman (official website)
    RGB Classic Games Interview (21 November 2005)
    Arcade Attack Interview (1 May 2017)

    Jon St. John
    Arcade Attack Interview (15 May 2017)

    Charlie Wiederhold
    Gamedesign.net interview (1999)

    Sunstorm Interactive (official website)
    The Adrenaline Vault Interview (26 July 1997)
    Online Gaming Review (OGR) Overview & Interview (1998?)
  5. EDuke32 website still links to the GOG.com Duke3D page

    02 April 2017 - 03:45 AM

    I just noticed that eduke32.com still makes references to the no longer existing Duke3D Atomic page at GOG.com. Surely this must be either removed or replaced with the new version's page link?

    On another note, the EDuke32 page makes no mention of the shareware version (with the sentence "Remember, you need a legal copy of the game to use EDuke32 to play Duke Nukem 3D" linking, again, to the absent GOG.com page). The shareware version is only referenced on the wiki page (as the "shareware demo"). I think it would be nice to have the shareware download perhaps in a more widely used format than 7-Zip, such as plain zip right on the eduke32.com page, or at least the "need a legal copy of the game" part could link to the wiki page mentioned above instead of the GOG.com page.

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