Lucas Smarts: Jedi Knight 2 And 3 Source Code Released

By Nathan Grayson on April 5th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

g_saberrealisticcombat. Never forget.

LUCASAAAAAAAARTS WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I know, I know, the once brilliant adventure factory stumbled and fell into an infinite, severed-hand-filled Death Star abyss years ago, but I still can’t help but mourn the legendary studio’s loss. For its part, Raven Software’s in a similar boat, but unlike me, it’s been jealously clutching the source code to two major Star Wars videogames for years. (I, meanwhile, have only been jealously clutching the source code to my special ice cream soup recipe, my most valuable possession.) So, in the process of pouring one out for the Disney dismantled titan, it’s released the full source code to one classic, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and one, er, whatever Jedi Academy was. You’re now free to tinker to your heart’s content with the entrails of either, or just jam a hypothermia-ridden Luke Skywalker in there, if that’s your thing.

Raven explained the surprising, much-appreciated gesture in a statement to Kotaku:

“Raven is sad to hear about the closing of LucasArts today, we respected them and enjoyed working with them over the years. We wish the best for all the talented people who were let go and hope they find good work in studios in the industry.

“We loved and appreciated the experience of getting to make Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy for LucasArts. As a gift to the persistently loyal fanbase for our Jedi games and in memory of LucasArts, we are releasing the source code for both games for people to enjoy and play with.”

It is, however, worth keeping in mind that Raven hasn’t developed any additional, more fan-friendly tools, so expect a bit of a learning curve. Also, both games’ retail versions aren’t made to interface directly with modified source code, so modders will probably have to solve that puzzle if they want everything to nicely click into place.

Still though, source code is source code, and this is a pretty exciting development. I’d love to see it happen to beloved, non-id-Software classics more often – preferably, you know, without us having to sacrifice an entity that molded our childhoods first. But, er, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.

At any rate, for those interested, here’s Jedi Knight II, and here’s Jedi Academy.

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83 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Counting down the Days till an HD mod is made.

    • Hahaha says:

      *yawn* so much more could be done….

      • Dowr says:

        Yes, but adding more H’s to the game’s D’s is never a bad thing.

        • shehzadjaa says:

          before I saw the paycheck that said $7571, I be certain …that…my neighbour could trully making money part time from there labtop.. there neighbour haz done this for less than 20 months and just took care of the morgage on their villa and bought a top of the range Lotus Elise. go to,,, http://wow81.com/

      • Anguy says:

        Could anyone explain what exactly is possible when you have access to the source code? I seriously have no real idea and would like to know.
        Isn’t (pretty much) anything possible through mods already?

        • GallonOfAlan says:

          Porting to other platforms.
          Easier to replace assets like graphics and audio.
          Fixing issues with the rendering/sound subsystems that might be causing problems on more modern versions of Windows.

          • Lemming says:

            I think it’s more being able to alter the guts and systems in the game. The graphics and audio were always moddable easily because they were all in quake3 pak files. Modders had already been making that stuff for years.

            All ‘HDing’ would be, is make higher resolution textures and possibly models. That’s been possible since the game came out.

            Just an exercise, I remember getting and converting the old Jedi Knight levels to the newer bsp format and it worked. I wasn’t clever enough to try and get them playable, but I got the whole wireframe of the map sitting in hammer at the time.

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          mrwonko says:

          “Anything is possible with mods”? Nope. Mods could just change the gameplay, and even that only to a limited degree. Now we can do anything.

        • Apocalypse says:

          With the source code you can do literally everything. And you can do it in an easy and effective way.
          Mods are often stuff that tries to bend the engine of a game into something you want. With the source code available you can build new stuff from scratch and re-build other things to do what you want.

          This means that you can do now everything with the game and its engine, this includes building new and easier mods, replacing parts of the engine, change anything that may be hard-coded into the game, write new … etc. The ability to change anything gives a damn long list of new possibilities.

        • MrMud says:

          A good reference would be what the Freespace community has managed with the Freespace open source project. http://scp.indiegames.us/

        • Shadowcat says:

          Anguy: Put it this way: If you ignore all the audio-visual assets, the differences between two games (and I mean literally any two games) essentially comes down to their source code. So once you have the source code you can (with enough time and dedication) do anything from making a minor tweak, to making a completely different game.

          To my mind, the best use of game source code is to keep games running on new PCs, and/or to make them run on machines on which the original game was never available in the first place.

          Genuine improvements and bug fixes are always very welcome too, of course :)

        • jalf says:

          By modding you can basically do what the developers want modders to be able to do. They have to define hooks for your mod to attach to (if my mod wants to know how much health the player has, they have to expose some kind of “getPlayerHealth()” function for modders to use.) So mods can generally only do what the developers thought mods should be able to do.

          If you have the source code, you can, in theory, do anything the developers could do.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      So many possibilities!

      I still see these two games as the pinnacle of video game light saber combat. Many games have tried to do lightsaber combat over the years, but only the Jedi Knight games ever actually nailed it.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Jedi Outcast had a few too many long canned animations that were locked into the movement keys, but other than that I think you are right. I still hold a small grudge against Jedi Outcast for all the times it made me watch a thermal detonator slowly descending on my head while I was trapped in an accidental reverse stabbing motion.

  2. devioustree says:

    “Use the source, Luke!”

  3. Soulstrider says:

    “special ice cream soup recipe”

    Release it now, the people demand to know

    • MattM says:

      Pour a can of Campbells mushroom soup into a pot and heat to a boil on the stove then reduce heat. Add 5 scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream (any kind will do, Blue Bell brand works well). Simmer over low heat for 4 minutes. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Tabasco hot sauce before serving.

      • MiniMatt says:

        I’m unsure as to whether this recipie is the product of genius or the most disturbed lunacy. Or both. Experimentation is in order.

        (incidentally, Red Dwarf’s recipie for a double fried-egg, cheese & chilli-chutney sandwich is, experimentally proven, genius)

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      Jackablade says:

      Is icecream soup an actual thing? I thought that was just a Simpsons joke. Kinda makes that joke less amusing.

    • Liudeius says:

      - Ice cream
      - Thyme

    • cptgone says:

      i was trying to come up with a suitably vile recipe and then it hit me: where do you go for a thoroughly disgusting definition of a word, any word?
      urbandictionary, of course – and it didn’t disappoint.

  4. bill says:

    How fitting. The games that marked the start of the decline of Lucasarts are released to commemorate it’s passing.

    • Low Life says:

      These games were not developed by LucasArts.

      • bill says:

        Never said they were.

        • Low Life says:

          Then I’m not sure I understand what you’re implying. Or are you saying that they marked the decline of LucasArts for that exact reason, because they were not LucasArts games (and as such, LucasArts was no longer relevant)?

          • bill says:

            Well, one point is that both were products of the strategy to start outsourcing games to other studios rather than making them internally. Jedi Knight was made internally and was awesome. Elite Force 2.5 Jedi Knight 2 was outsourced to Raven who knocked out a cheap doom conversion in under a year. It was stunningly average in every way.

            But I really just meant it in terms of the timeline.

            —-Many great lucasarts games—->JK2—–>Many mediocre lucasarts games–>Many mindless prequel star wars games.

            If you plotted lucasarts games quality on a graph, JK2 and the other one would be just at the beginning of the massive downward slope.

          • Low Life says:

            Looking at it that way (and looking at the Wikipedia list of games published by LucasArts), I’d push that back a few years to the release of Episode I in 1999 and all its tie-ins.

            But yeah, somewhere around the turn of the millenia. I guess anything with Star Wars on it sold more than proper good games.

        • Twitchity says:

          X-Wing and TIE Fighter weren’t developed at Skywalker Ranch.

          Yoda Desktop Adventures, on the other hand, was totally a LucasArts joint.

          • Syphus says:

            What this guy said. Totally Games made X-Wing, TIE Fight, XvT, X-Wing: Alliance, possibly the best grouping of Lucasarts games that existed.

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      RedViv says:

      Where’s the Grim Fandango source code?

  5. Prime says:

    I enjoyed both of these immensely. While perhaps not as balls-out awesome as the first two Dark Forces games they were still great fun. Academy’s double-sabering was a particular highlight, as was that level that was practically all vertical, a descent into some Sith tomb or other. A Force Jump paradise.

    I always enjoyed Cheating the games to grant me full Jedi powers from the start. The Ultimate Power Fantasy!

    • Anguy says:

      It was great fun indeed. In addition I liked to set the command saberrealisticcombat 100 (or something like that) which resulted in basically 1 or 2 hits from a lightsaber would kill you and your opponent as well. That made it really challenging but also pretty realistic, as the command indicates.

      • cyrenic says:

        That has to be the best cheat command I’ve ever used in a game.

    • fwfulton says:

      I would love to see these recompiled in DirectX 10 or 11; I can’t wait, I am so excited to be able to weld lightsaber again – Not to mention the Force

      • othello says:

        Why would you want to see it in DX10 or 11? That will change absolutely nothing about how it looks (sorry for being snarky but this is a common misconception brought on my Microsoft’s marketing for windows Vista that really annoys me).

  6. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    severed hand wasn’t on the Death Sta *SMACK*

    IT’S OVER! YOU DON’T GET TO BE A GEEK ABOUT IT ANYMORE! IT’S DEAD! LIVE WITH IT!

    [EDIT]Robot hand. Fair point. Out geeked /tiphat ^^

  7. Yosharian says:

    Jedi Knight 2 with g_saberrealisticcombat on… fucking epic shit man.

    Jedi Academy was utter shite.

  8. Alexrd says:

    Jedi Academy was a great game as well. What it lacked in story (when compared to Outcast), it compensated on gameplay and customization.

  9. Lemming says:

    one, er, whatever Jedi Academy was.

    Hey, JK2 was good, but Academy was pretty special! For once you weren’t some bearded gimp with a stupid name. You were a Jedi apprentice in a new order, doing galaxy saving one mission at a time -OMG Chewy! – *ahem* That’s what being a Jedi was always supposed to be. Not finding another reason to be ‘the chosen one’ again. You were the embodiment of a Star Wars fan, living out your fantasy and -OMG It’s Luke! – and er…it had the best lightsaber combat of the lot.

    I loved that each mission was a little vignette leading to a story-related mission later on. It felt like you were in your own Jedi TV series. And lets not forget you could play A FEMALE if you so chose. An option that came without much fanfare in those days. Cleverly, your character was given a unisex name so it didn’t matter.

    • Berzee says:

      I agree with everything you said except for the part where you said JA didn’t give you a stupid name; because your name in that game is Jaden.

      The pattern of “Main quest, sidequest, sidequest, sidequest….main quest, sidequest, sidequest, sidequest…etc” gets a little bit weird when you’re getting the missions from a menu screen instead of from loitering NPCs. The weird thing is that I keep beating Jedi Academy and then forgetting I ever played it…it’s very fun (and much better paced than Jedi Outcast, probably) while I’m playing it, but until I reach the mission where you have to run on top of the train with the wind in your face, I always think it’s the first time I played it. :P

      Oh, the other memory that stays with me is of a crazy graphical glitch on my laptop that gave Luke Skywalker these like, ghost eyes, that were completely black and would sometimes experience polygon tearing so that large black spikes sprung out of them…. gah. O_O

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        You realise Lemming’s real name might be Jaden? For all we know, Lemming might be battling depression brought on by being named Jaden, teetering on the brink of despair, fighting every day to earn respect and love despite the name, and your callous remark, Berzee, could be all it takes to push Lemming over the edge into a bleak, horror-filled existential dread that can only be relieved by the shedding of gallons of innocents’ blood.

    • Jahandar says:

      The multiplayer in Academy was also pretty great, I played it for years.

  10. MattM says:

    JK II is one of the few games that I periodically replay. When I first played JK III I liked it, but it didn’t seem as good as JK II and I couldn’t put my finger on why. The sabering was improved and there were more enemies that could put up a decent fight vs the saber. When I replayed both in quick succession the difference was more obvious. The level design in JK II was much much better. JK II levels remind me a bit of doom, large, many rooms of varied shape and size, and a little non linear. They also felt a lot like the places they represented. The JK III levels tended to be smaller and less varied in design. Even though JK III took place in varied environments, the room shapes tended to be simple and the paths connecting them were pretty linear. I liked both games, but I think JK II is a classic that will be remembered far more fondly than its sequel.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If Jedi Knight III is Jedi Academy, I tend to agree with you. JKII was a tighter, better experience. Both were fun though.

    • hitnrun says:

      I noticed this on my one playthrough as well. It jumped out at me (along with the absolutely atrocious story with its unigender mannequin character) because I often had reinstalled and played JK2 (and still do). I have a save at all the major lightsaber fights.

      JKIII’s idea of an puzzle was a rock in the way. Yet you still could get lost because it was pathed so lazily. I remember trying to spend 3 minutes trying to get over some fallen log or root in the first level. And is bringing back Tavion as the Big Bad *really* the best they could do with that moment in JK2 that should have been a Dark Side/Light Side choice?

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    lowprices says:

    Ice cream soup is a thing? I must know how it is made. I WILL LEARN YOUR SECRETS GRAYSON.

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    mrwonko says:

    For those interested in contributing, the main project for this is OpenJK, which aims to basically be what ioquake3 is to quake 3.

  13. hitnrun says:

    Jedi Knight 2 is so much better than modern action-em-up games, it isn’t even funny.

    Unlike the usual nostalgia guff, I don’t mean “for its time.” I mean I would recommend spending $49.99 *right now* on a 10 year old game rather than on any take on Star Wars action since.

  14. Azazel says:

    Jedi Knight 2 – I too used to give myself all the force powers and fill the final arena sp level with EVERYTHING. Fighting an army as a Jedi god of death.

    The normal game was insta-death falling off things every two minutes.

  15. Unruly says:

    To anyone who thinks that Jedi Academy had better lightsaber combat than Jedi Outcast – You are wrong.

    So many hours of lightsaber duels online, both with and without force powers enabled, in Jedi Outcast. Lots of footwork, tons of well-timed attacks, and a lot of style-switching to force openings in defenses. Then comes Jedi Academy, and footwork felt like it became useless because all anyone would do was just charge straight at you and mash their attack, hoping to get a lucky hit. Gone were the days of strategy and timing, in came the button mashing…

    • Apocalypse says:

      Funny that you mention this, I felt the same way when Jedi Knight 2 was released and tried to replace my beloved Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight.

    • Nim says:

      Seems like someone has been bitter for the last ten years or so. Good news is that you can fix it yourself now.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Is there a game mechanics reason why this changed or was it a cultural change brought on by lots of Johnny-Come-Lately noobs who wouldn’t know footwork if it was shoved up their arse? I’m not familiar enough with either game to know what happened.

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      Cinek says:

      You picked wrong servers.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Eh. Players that used the Katas were really, really vulnerable while using them. The two-handed less so than the dual-sabers. If you scored a lucky hit you could kill a person, but it became pretty easy to dodge and then wait to use any one of the slow instahit kills.

    • othello says:

      In JKA at least there was an interesting bug where saber velocity helped determine the damage. So you could 2-hit someone and bypass their defense if you have a high enough attack and very high mouse sensitivity. This was kind of hard to do properly and I don’t think it could be done in JKO, so maybe you just weren’t used to it.

  16. JuJuCam says:

    One of my most memorable gaming moments ever was in Jedi Academy, when I somehow managed to sever an enemies sabre hand without killing him. The AI was not prepared to handle this seemingly unique situation, so cue a good 15 minutes of me in giggling fits while he leapt around the room waving his stump and refusing to accept defeat.

    God I wish I had FRAPS back then.

  17. killmachine says:

    hm, my memories seem to be really fucked up. i remember the jedi outcast source beeing released a long time ago. pretty certain…

    i do know that the mod tools are out there for ages. did use them myself for quite a bit. and it got more than just the radiant level editor.

    • Premium User Badge

      mrwonko says:

      That was only about 20% of the source code – the multiplayer game code. That’s what made mods like Movie Battles and japlus possible. This new release, besides enabling singleplayer mods, lets us do anything.

  18. Berzee says:

    I love these games, so much so that I want to poke around with them…but I can’t actually think of anything useful to do with the source code assuming I became familiar with it. =T

  19. bill says:

    JK2 was painfully average and not a patch on JK. (plus it had the ridiculous romance). That might not be entirely Raven’s fault as they were emplyed to churn it out on a very short schedule.

    JA was a better game, but with some kind of strange plot that seemed to mix in parts of teen dramas. I think… i mostly tuned out the plot. It did have the improvement of picking your loadouts for the (mostly unconnected) missions.

    But the real problem with both games was that the levels weren’t up to much.

  20. kikito says:

    In Jedi Academy you can play as a Rodian.

    Hence, it is the best Star Wars game ever.

    Q.E.D.

    • Lemming says:

      That title is reserved for whichever Star Wars game lets you play as an Ithorian. Embarrassingly, that’s only Star Wars Galaxies at the moment.

  21. Wedge says:

    Eh. These games were already QIII based, and I can’t imagine have any huge issues running on modern systems. Not really sure what the benefit of this is. Now if we could get the source to the original JK that was a (pretty impressive) custom in-house LA engine…

  22. Highstorm says:

    That alt-text brought a warm, nostalgic smile to my face.

  23. Universal Quitter says:

    Great, so now I gotta be the only one that liked Jedi Academy, and never touched the Multiplayer?

    I was 14! I didn’t know!

  24. uh20 says:

    this is going to be a great help for me to learn more coding skills, as it is most likely the first blockbuster game to go open source with linux code.

    still, sad to see lucasarts go.

  25. Forceflow says:

    Here’s a github with fixed up code so it compiles on more modern systems: https://github.com/PJayB/jk2src