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Wolfenstein 3D 'Officially' Ported to iPhone

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 19 comments
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For many aging (sorry folks, it’s true) PC gamers, Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first truly compelling computer action games. Doom also fits into the same category, but Wolf3D was the grand daddy of it first-person shooters.

Now, 18 years since its release on 286 computers in 1991, Wolfenstein 3D has been ported to the iPhone by its original creator John Carmack.

Carmack has made it no secret that he wanted to have an iPhone game for launch of the 3G model and 2.0 firmware in July 2008. Due to time constraints, that never happened, but Carmack never stopped looking at the Apple device as a viable gaming platform. Of course, it also helps that he owns an iPhone.

“I had been frustrated for over a year with the fact that we didn't have any iPhone development projects going internally at Id. I love my iPhone, and I think the App Store is an extremely important model for the software business,” he said.

Electronic Arts was set to bring mobile game Wolfenstein RPG to the iPhone, but Carmack explained that he was unhappy with the software renderer that an EA team came up with.

“Using the iPhone's hardware 3D acceleration was a requirement, and it should be easy,” Carmack explained, and later continued, “The developers came back and said it would take two months and exceed their budget.”

“Rather than having a big confrontation over the issue, I told them to just send the project to me and I would do it myself,” said Carmack, going on to prove that he’s more than just a cut above the rest. “Cass Everitt had been doing some personal work on the iPhone, so he helped me get everything set up for local iPhone development here, which is a lot more tortuous than you would expect from an Apple product. As usual, my off the cuff estimate of ‘Two days!’ was optimistic, but I did get it done in four, and the game is definitely more pleasant at 8x the frame rate. And I had fun doing it.”

The id Software lead programmer then went on to apply his work to Wolf3D Redux, an upgraded “true 3D” version of his original built off the source code. The result we have today is an ‘official’ port of Wolfenstein 3D done by the series’ original creator, made for the iPhone.

You won’t find the it on the Apple App Store, however, as Carmack released it as a simple package for jailbroken iPhones. Also included is the source code, and Carmack encourages other able programmers to see if they can improve upon his work.

While the Wolfenstein 3D for iPhone is very faithful to the original of 18 years ago, there have been several changes -- not only to stay better in tune with modern gamers, but also for reasons surrounding the radically different hardware and input method. For one, the “open door” button has been done away with in favor of automatic doors. Ah, technology. The UI has been tweaked for the iPhone screen as well as the addition of an auto map, so that new players wouldn’t feel as if they were lost in a maze. Both lives and scores were also taken out, now replaced with “achievements” for 100 percent kills, 100 percent secrets and 100 percent treasures.

Check out Voodoo Extreme for the full 5,100 word release document from John Carmack detailing almost everything you could imagine. Download the iPhone port and source here, though it’s reserved for those who are knowledgeable about poking around an jailbroken iPhone.

Perhaps the best news of all is that this won’t be a one-off thing. Carmack said that if there is enough interest in this port, he shall make available the entire Spear of Destiny expansion. And even better, we’ll be getting Doom.

Carmack said in closing, “I'm going back to Rage for a while, but I do expect Classic Doom to come fairly soon for the iPhone.”

Display 19 Comments.
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  • 2 Hide
    apache_lives , March 24, 2009 8:36 PM
    haha so in 10 years we will see games like oblivion, farcry2 and others on phones?
  • 6 Hide
    shabodah , March 24, 2009 8:44 PM
    Everyone seems to want to insist that the iphone is more powerful than the psp, yet, the psp has been running Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, Doom 2, Heretic, Hexen, and Quake for years without framerate issues.
  • 1 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , March 24, 2009 8:51 PM
    Shame we can't get it on the app store. :( 
  • 7 Hide
    jsloan , March 24, 2009 9:10 PM
    wow, the good old days, what about duke nukem 3d, that would be sweet...
  • 0 Hide
    spanner_razor , March 24, 2009 9:12 PM
    He's a legend, sure he doesn't have a hip hair cut like Romero but Romero is stuck doing phone games because he has to not because he wants to.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 24, 2009 9:31 PM
    My over-a-year-old Nokia N95 8GB can run Quake 3 without a hitch. The PSP can't, and neither can the iPhone (Not in the technological sense, but in the availability). Perfectly playable, and can be controlled by any combination of the following input methonds: Phone keys, Accelerometer, Bluetooth mouse, Bluetooth keyboard.
    And, of course, you can run Quake 2, Quake 1, Doom/Heretic/Hexen and Wolf3D too. Oh, and Duke Nukem 3D.

    Doom has been around on Symbian phones since 2002...
  • 5 Hide
    TheFace , March 24, 2009 10:18 PM
    HILARIOUS that he would make it available to only HACKED iPhones!
  • 1 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , March 24, 2009 10:36 PM
    hmm I would buy it, maybe he should put it on the app store lol
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 25, 2009 2:47 AM
    It is now on the App Store.
  • 5 Hide
    city_zen , March 25, 2009 4:47 AM
    jsloanwow, the good old days, what about duke nukem 3d, that would be sweet...


    Fret not, it's been rumored that Duke Nukem Forever will be released simultaneously for the PC and the iPhone

    And that should happen ... any decade now :D 

  • 4 Hide
    tayb , March 25, 2009 5:00 AM
    This game is clearly available on the application store for $4.99 and has been since March 23rd...

    Typical TH reporting as of late. It must have been too difficult to find someone with an iPhone or better yet ANY computer with iTunes and do a quick app store search to confirm...
  • -1 Hide
    smfrazz , March 25, 2009 5:34 AM
    YAWN....This is an embarassing story for Tom's. I'm disappointed. I used to expect more from Tom's. Now an article about Wolfenstein on the iPhone. Big Deal. Leave this crap for Engagdget or Gizmodo.
  • 1 Hide
    cl_spdhax1 , March 25, 2009 6:18 AM
    i tried doom and quake3 for the iphone, both were kinda hard to play, but A+ for the porting efforts!
  • 1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , March 25, 2009 6:24 AM
    Wolfenstein 3D was a great game and I don't think anyone who played it back in the day will deny it. However I really don't see it becoming a popular game even on a iphone with the people not old enough to enjoy it when it first came out.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 25, 2009 7:02 AM
    Review with screenshots at http://www.iphoneappratings.org
  • 0 Hide
    doped , March 25, 2009 12:36 PM
    “Using the iPhone's hardware 3D acceleration was a requirement, and it should be easy,”
    “Rather than having a big confrontation over the issue, I told them to just send the project to me and I would do it myself,”
    “Cass Everitt had been doing some personal work on the iPhone, so he helped me get everything set up for local iPhone development here, which is a lot more tortuous than you would expect from an Apple product. As usual, my off the cuff estimate of ‘Two days!’ was optimistic, but I did get it done in four, and the game is definitely more pleasant at 8x the frame rate. And I had fun doing it.”

    +open source
    +first available to hacked phones

    carmack is so f*cking awesome!! i love his spirit and skills!!!
  • 0 Hide
    kingnoth , March 25, 2009 2:15 PM
    Hey, what about "M I L" ????
    I would definitely miss that....
  • 0 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , March 25, 2009 2:32 PM
    When I made my post above it was not on the app store
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 25, 2009 8:19 PM
    It's on the App Store for $4.99, or you can get it for free at http://www.iphoneappratings.org without having to jailbreak!