The Wolf3D Engine is a raycaster engine developed by John Carmack for the hit FPS game Wolfenstein 3-D. It features smooth scrolling with textured walls, variable screen-size, and sprites. Designed for mid-range 386 computers it was one of the fastest texture-mapped 3D engines to be made available for licensing at the time (1992).

It was officially licensed to JAM Productions to make Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold and Blake Stone: Planet Strike, licensed to Apogee to make ROTT (originally slated to be a Wolf3D sequel), and licensed to Capstone to make Corridor 7 and Operation Bodycount.

It also inspired similar shareware and commercial "doom clones" of the mid-90's.

Game engine features:

  • Local high scores board
  • Episode system (usually up to 6 episodes with 10 levels each)
  • Help and readme screens, scripted, with graphics
  • Animated status bar head
  • Runs in real mode

Graphical system features:

  • Renders in VGA 320x200 256 colors
  • Smooth framerate, not deliberately capped below refresh rate
  • Tile-based maps, of 64x64 size
  • Horizontal-moving doors
  • Screen effects such as random pixel wiping
  • Smooth movement of actors
  • Screen tinting and flashing
  • Variable width game font

Audio system features:

  • Digital audio playback for Sound Blaster cards, and compatibles
  • 1 digital sound channel
  • Adlib (OPL2 FM) support for music and sound effects
  • PC speaker support
  • Disney Sound Source support
  • Smart and immediate auto-detection, eliminating the need to run a seperate program to configure sound.
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Ah the 90's, the most important decade for the videogames. Better and new consoles, better games, revolutionary games such as Doom, Quake and of course Wolfenstein. But I'm here to talk about Wolfenstein 3D and why it became what it is today.

First of all, Wolfenstein 3D was launched in 1992 originally for DOS, developed by Id Software. Wolfenstein was another "BOOM" of the videogame industry, it has brought a new taste to the games, it was considered the first 3D game and also the pioneer of the FPS genre.

The game starts with you controlling William "B.J." Blazkowicz, an captured allied special agent during the WW2 in the Castle Wolfenstein, the name of the game. B.J needs to escape the prison, killing the guards, retrieve intel, destroy projects of biological weaponry and also destroy evil experiments againt humans, the game also has final boss fights, which put you to fight with key persons of the nazi army, like Hitler. You have the option to use three weapons, a pistol, a machine gun, a chaingun and a knife. To pass through the levels you have to make your way through the map to an elevator, that brings you to the next level.

Wolfenstein is probably the biggest idea in the history of videogames, with it's innovative engine, introducing a rendering to the walls in pseudo-3D, the game uses ray casting. This technique emits one ray for each column of pixels, checks if it intersects a wall, and draws textures on the screen accordingly, creating a one dimensional depth buffer against which to clip the scaled sprites that represent enemies, powerups, and props. Nothing was modelated, everything was in 3D, everybody that played this game in that time must have had the sensation of really being in a room.

Although, the lighting effects are pretty simple, the use of brightness is the same in every corner and the terrain is always flat, there's no stairs of elevations as we see in Doom, but that's another story.

Also , Wolfenstein 3D was innovative in a genre never seen before, bringing what every game has today, HUD. Wolfenstein 3D is not the first game using this kind of 3D, there were also Catacomb 3D and Hovertank 3D , but not so much revolutionary and good as Wolfenstein 3D had to offer, much action, challenging bosses, good variety of levels even for DOS and also brought one of the first "real" violent kills we saw, there is an explicit view of blood getting out of a person, today we say "damn how it's awful", but in that time violence and blood was something pretty hard to find.

Another polemic thing about Wolfenstein 3D is all the nazi simbols we see through the game, flags and Hitler pictures all over the levels and represent another thing not usual to see in the videogames.

Wolfenstein 3D had a sequel, named Spear of Destiny, also developed by Id Software. It passes before Wolfenstein 3D, where Hitler seeks for the Spear of Destiny, which was embedded in the chest of Jesus when he was on the cross. According to the legend, the person who has it will have invincibility to him and his army, and it's up to B.J to stop him.

The fans of Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny also made mods for them using the same engine, some of them have more weapons and variety of maps than the original ones, some maps we can give as example is Coming of the Storm and Chokage, as well as many others.

Wolfenstein 3D for me is more than a game, is "The Game". It has brought a new genre of game, revolutionary changes to the games like teh use of HUD screen with bullet, weapons and health indicator better exposed, also with it's polemic violence, it was essential for the development of another game by the same developers, Doom. Wolfenstein 3D is another example of game that turned everybody's head a way nobody ever did, also, is so innovative his legacy will continue , and growing up, because everybody has to know that most part of the games we see and will see, began on the surfaces of this one.

New mod DOOM: Legions Revisted

New mod DOOM: Legions Revisted


This is my newest mod, runs on Wolf4SDL. Many new features, 8 sound channels, runs in Windows, including Vista. Ingame screenshots will come in time.

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Comments  (0 - 10 of 14)
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Rus_Demo - - 70 comments

A game Doom Engine and Wolfenstein 3D Engine nice!

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TheDoommer - - 13 comments

Wolfenstein 3D was an obvious revolution in his time , but Doom is now many many times more popular and strong. So why should we design maps and mods with this engines while people brought Wolfenstein in Doom Engine ?

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szemi - - 131 comments

Wolfeinstein is amazing game after Commander Keen!

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brunocar - - 1,158 comments

why isnt blake stone and corridor 7

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VitorHunter - - 691 comments

the first fps game :D

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JFreakXD - - 275 comments

actually catacomb 3 is, but this was more popular.

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Lenji - - 8 comments

Looks like RayCasting Game Maker

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Rigelblast - - 220 comments

The Wolf3D engine was one of the best 3D engines in the early 1990s. It was also fairly popular. While the engine was rather "simple" (not many features) in Wolfenstein 3D, the companies, who it was licensed to, implemented lots of new features such as texture mapping for floors and ceilings and lighting. There are many good games that use this engine.

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