Patchy Like It’s 1998: Unreal 1 Updated

We don't need no tessellation

D’awww! My cockles are forever warmed by communities keeping olden games alive, and so it is that an email declaring the latest release of a fan-made, Epic-permitted patch of the original Unreal brought about my first smile of this dingy day. OldUnreal’s Patch 227 has been kicking around in various forms since 2008, but yesterday brought the first update to it in over a year.

The list of fixes upon fixes are too long to mention here, but the essential purpose of v227 is to add DirectX9 and OpenAL support as well as mending everything that needs mending. Epic are aware of and permit the patch, though that’s not quite the same as an actual endorsement I suppose.

227 is aimed at technical rather than sweeping changes, however – “The general gameplay and the game itself was not touched and it should remain 100% compatible to old mods and maps.” v227i arrived yesterday, and while I don’t entirely understand 99% of its claimed under-the-hood changes, I think we can all get behind “Added support for localized female death messages.”

See here for the full list of changes across 227’s four-year history, and download the latest version here. Good work, that modder.

Entirely appropriate too, for let us not forget that UNREAL IS THE FUTURE:

Thanks, Lowenz.


  1. Donncha O Caoimh says:

    Wow, I have a boxed copy of this somewhere. I must try dig this up again.

  2. Inigo says:

    Is there any chance it’ll work with Kentie’s DX10 renderer?

    • RobinOttens says:

      “Tested with Unreal 226final and Steam version of Unreal Gold (226). The renderer does not work with the version 227 fanpatch for various reasons.” it says on that page you linked there. Right below the screenshots.

  3. Lydia says:

    I was dreamin’ when I wrote this.

  4. JovaZmaj says:

    Well I’m not suprised. I’m guessing some games will never lose support. Look at Killap’s Fallout 2 restoration project, for example. Or Jagged Alliance 2 community efforts.

  5. bitbot says:

    That game was awesome on my old Voodoo 2 video card.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Voodoo 2! Best Christmas present ever!

      I have never been more amazed by graphics than when you first stepped out the crashed ship and saw that valley, and waterfall and lush loveliness everywhere. Nothing. Nobody takes bleeding edge tech and makes something colourful nowadays, it must be brown and realistically light saturated. Bah humbug,

      • kalirion says:

        For me, Crysis demo comes to mind. When the sun comes up and you step out of the jungle to see the bay – this was around 2am local time for me, and I actually felt as if it was morning! On a 15″ CRT as well…

      • HumpX says:

        Only one thing better than a voodoo2…..

        2 Voodoo2 s’!!

      • InnerPartisan says:

        Oh man, Na Pali Falls. That one fatefull day in the summer of ’98, my lower jaw hit the ground so hard it literally shattered to a thousand pieces.
        I’ve got one of those metal thingies now, Darth Malek-style. Looks cool, but I can’t process solid food.

  6. RobinOttens says:

    Aw, now I want to go and play Unreal again.

    I don’t remember encountering any bugs when playing Unreal Gold a few years back, and it’s not like this patch is one of those graphics overhauls or really doing anything to make it more modern and shiny looking. It’s always great to see the internet-people working to keep older games alive. But I’ll skip this one.

  7. Skeletor68 says:

    My God I loved this game when it first came out. Fantastic atmosphere.

  8. Loopy says:

    Just seeing “Hyper-realistic environmental effects” made me smile, I’ll have to dig out my box copy again some time. :)

    • Stense says:

      Me too. Selling points on the back of boxes and in trailers were pretty full on with the hyperbole back then! Good times. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look up the Unreal soundtrack on YouTube…

  9. Adriaan says:

    Hey, shaders, leave our mesh alone!

  10. GallonOfAlan says:

    Picked this up when it came out on GOG. Hasn’t aged anything like as well as Quake has, despite being technically shinier when it came out. Quake just has that evil, visceral impact, and great meaty weapons (matron), while this always had sort of crappy guns and stupid hippy Nali.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I feel like Unreal is the Disco Techno side of old school FPS and Quake is the Power Metal and Blood sacrifice side. In trying to play Unreal for the first time about a year ago, I just wanted to get Quake going (but can’t bring myself to buy it because I did buy it, back when it was released. And lost the fucking disc).

    • Lemming says:

      It’s not surprising. Unreal’s weapons were always shit. The great thing about Unreal is that it was good despite the shoddy weapons. The game goes on forever!

      • crinkles esq. says:

        Well, to each their own opinion. I never thought Unreal’s weapons were shit. They were inventive. Perhaps the fancifulness of the weapons didn’t always work out in reality, but at least they tried to be creative.

        I will say the netcode in Unreal was pretty terrible. But UT99 fixed that and the weapons…

  11. thedosbox says:

    Impressive stuff, but it’s a little depressing that they felt the need to add new anti-cheat checks in such an old game.

  12. PsychoWedge says:

    lol, them old trailers. good times… :D

  13. Jigowatt says:

    Unreal is still one of my all-time favourite games (and probably my second favourite FPS after Half Life). Nothing has come close to rivalling the atmosphere this game created. Plus, with the HD texture patch, it’s still beautiful – and I personally think it’s aged very well. Oh and it has the best soundtrack of any game, hands down (still listen to it all the time). Glad to see the fans are still supporting it!

  14. frank3n says:

    There’s no place like home.

  15. povu says:

    Deus Excellent news.

  16. Flint says:

    Still the best Unreal and one of my favourite FPS games. Really wish they released another one like this instead of focusing on the multiplayer stuff, but extremely doubtful it’ll ever happen.

  17. says:

    It took me 20 minutes of browsing and switching back to this tab to realize that it isn’t say “Party.”

    Unreal definitely *felt* unreal for its time, as my first exposure to it was at a friend’s house. The friend’s system was my first exposure to “real” gaming rig, though it probably only had a 300 or 400mhz processor and some 3DFX video card.

  18. Casimir Effect says:

    Bought this game about a year after discovering and loving UT’99. Loaded it up, got terrified by the prison ship intro, never played it again.

    Did see a friend play it a while later but by then I realised that, even if I had persevered, I wouldn’t really have enjoyed it – the old style of FPS was never for me.

  19. lowenz says:

    Not only DX9 and OpenAL, we got shadows men, *simple but real time shadows* (if you enable them).

    And yes, I’m the lowenz of the news.

  20. Uglycat says:

    Ahhh, Deck-16

  21. buzzmong says:

    You know, watching that old trailer reminds me just how groundbreaking Unreal was when it first came out on the graphics front.

    I never really played it much either due to Total Annihilation taking up a good chunk of the first part of the year and Half Life and Sin coming out in 1998, might have to rectify that.

  22. MadTinkerer says:

    The best part of this story is that I already have it installed. Unreal doesn’t take up much room at all compared to current-gen games, so it’s really far down on the uninstall-to-make-room list.

    “add DirectX9 and OpenAL”

    Oh wow. This is particularly important since some pre-DirectX9 features are being slowly phased out of current-gen hardware. In fact, I hadn’t realized that the previous version of Unreal wasn’t running on DX9. Evidently my graphics card is old enough to handle it pre-patch!

  23. Cytrom says:

    Damn, why aren’t there games like this anymore? Oh, right. Thanks CoDtards for ruining the fps genre for the rest of us.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      There are a few contemporary games that are similar to Unreal. Gamers like you won’t be happy until each and every FPS that comes out is a Doom/Unreal/Duke Nukem 3D knockoff.

      • Ridnarhtim says:

        Well, I sure can’t think of a single one….

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Serious Sam and Hard Reset. Not completely similar to Unreal, but damn close enough. It’s not like Unreal’s gameplay is so unique as to set it apart from the majority of shooters anyway.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Hard Reset is not half as “old-school” as it thinks it is. It’s slow and trudgy and doesn’t want you to ever jump the rails.

          • Ridnarhtim says:

            As much as I love Serious Sam (and I really, really do, especially FE/SE), I wouldn’t compare them to Unreal. They’re fun, mental, fast paced. Unreal is atmospheric, immersive, and has created an unbelievably beautiful and captivating world. I have not played a single game that has elicited the same kind of emotions in me as Unreal did (and still does every time I play it).

          • Mman says:

            In modern first-person terms Unreal has more in common with something like STALKER or Deus Ex: HR. While the general gameplay is nothing alike-and it’s more biased towards shooting overall-like those it has almost as much focus on exploration and environmental storytelling as shooting stuff.

  24. coldvvvave says:

    Old men

    are the future.

  25. Azazel says:

    I too have a box copy of this lying in the garage somewhere. I’m fairly sure I also have a school ruler with a poorly lettered Unreal logo scrawled on in teenage hand.

  26. Mo says:

    Next shot: generic medieval castle.

    • MiKHEILL says:

      It was probably referring to the graphics.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      But that isn’t a castle. It’s some sort of corridor, leading to a monastery.

    • Mman says:

      The true punchline of that is that in recent FPS the idea of a fully explorable castle like Unreal has really is “beyond imagination”.

  27. Ridnarhtim says:

    Still the best game on Earth =)

  28. MistyMike says:

    Unreal was overall a very good game with wicked AI and sprawling levelsto explore. But it did suffer from overuse of some typical late-nineties design tropes: the endless succession of locked doors and levers which would open these doors (sometimes across the enitre level).

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  30. HumpX says:

    lol, I remember the biggest criticism that Q2 players could level at Unreal was “COLORED LIGHTS ARE GHEY!”

  31. crinkles esq. says:

    Unreal was the first FPS game to really astound me since the Marathon series. It had that same ability to plunge you fully into its world. iD didn’t care about building that kind of experience (at least not after Romero left); it was focused fully on the mechanics of shooting things. But Unreal felt like a world — NPC characters, animals doing they’re thing. And the vibrancy of the level design. It did have flaws as a game, but the experience of it was greater than the sum of its parts. And as brilliant as Unreal Tournament was, its own success meant the death of Unreal as a form of gameplay Epic was interested in.

    I’d also like to give a shoutout to Tim Sweeney. He never really gets the respect he deserves, nor the fan reverence of a Carmack. But Tim Sweeney wrote that engine from scratch. Those of you who are too young to have gamed in that era may not recognize how groundbreaking the features were compared to Unreal’s counterparts. AND they worked in the fallback software renderer. And UnrealEd and UnrealScript were so far ahead of what was available for Quake editing. I believe he wrote most all of that also. The guy is just an amazing programmer.

    The first (and only) “total conversion” I worked on for a game was for Unreal. It was called SkaarjCorps, and was a multiplayer, multi-class affair. All the classes were based on Unreal enemies, so everything was custom models, custom sounds, custom levels (which I worked on). Unfortunately the lead programmer “GreenMarine” got hired by Epic — in some part due to the work on SC — and thus SC never got finished. Still have the source code on my hard drive. Not sure if GreenMarine is still at Epic. Fun times. It’s sad that most games these days don’t come with that kind of ability and encouragement from the developers to mod and create with.

    • fooga44 says:

      Sweeney is a greedy corporate douche, Carmack is high above him, even with his mis-steps. You’d never see EPIC open source unreal engine. Carmack open sourced all his engines, even though they licensed them! That is fucking LEAGUES above Tim the greedy unreal engine licensing bastard.

      Carmack allows up and coming developers to see how games are made and play with the code because he knows fundamentally the code is just the boring parts of the game, the art, and actual people behind a game are more important then technology you use.

      If you doubt that consider many high watermark PC games that have not been surpassed by any modern game.

      • crinkles esq. says:

        What? I said nothing about the moralistic virtues or failings of Tim or Epic; it’s irrelevant. I said Tim Sweeney is a great programmer, and he is. Period.

        • fooga44 says:

          He also promised to open source the earlier unreal engines then he RENEGGED. That is a total douche thing to do and that is why Carmack is respected and that is why Sweeny is not.

          You’re just too uninformed about the game industry to know how much of an ass Sweeny is.