View Full Version : Ports of old game engines to new systems

17-01-2012, 03:16 PM
(Rant below, feel free to skip)

gog.com annoy me; the recent announcement of Syndicate got my back up again. Maybe they'll have done more this time, but their releases of pre-2000 games tend to be "the MS-DOS version of the game packaged with DosBox plus a very limited config program"

Put simply, if you have the original game on disc, they do nothing for your money that you couldn't do in 10 minutes with a proper DosBox manager like D-Fend: http://dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net/
And with something like D-Fend you'd have a whole load more options available to make sure it ran just right on your own system

(Rant over:)
So, what ports do people know of?
Ports where older games have been re-built to run on windows or modern PCs, without using an emulator? And not open-source copies or free 'remakes'. Ports which use the original material, they just replace the platrform-specific executables.
The upshot of this is usually higher, custom resolutions, greater customisability in general, different input options, etc etc.

Given syndicate is Bullfrog, these are the Bullfrog ones I know:
http://swars.vexillium.org/ - Syndicate Wars running on windows.
http://keeper.lubie.org/html/dk_keeperfx.php - Keeper FX puts dungeon keeper on windows with custom resolutions (be sure -only- to change the reoslution of the main game, do it for menus and it'll crash). Why gog didn't use this for their DK release, i do not know.
http://freesynd.sourceforge.net/dl.php - An open-source version of syndicate that can use the original dame data if you have it. Been a while since I checked this out, and it got an update last year. Before then it was somewhat incomplete, but saving is now possible...

The myriad of Doom and quake ports are obviously part of this - but there's so many!

Something OpenTTD deserves a mention here. It's more of a re-make, but using the original data it's near as damn it a port...

There are better ways to play our old games on new systems than using gog.com. So let's share them...

17-01-2012, 03:30 PM
Aleph One (http://source.bungie.org/), a port of Bungie's Marathon engine to modern systems & OpenGL. Goes very nicely with Bungie having released all three of the Marathon games for free a few years back. Really good 90s FPS with great stories, for anyone who's never played them.

17-01-2012, 03:33 PM
For the sake of completeness, let's mention Freespace 2 - Open Source Project (http://scp.indiegames.us/) even if everyone knows about it already :)

PS: BTW I remembered there's a page on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open_source_games) about open source games where many of these projects are listed.

17-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Ooh, another Bullfrog port:
Theme Hospital, open source, running on new computers. Very beta though...

17-01-2012, 04:09 PM
xu4 (http://xu4.sourceforge.net/) - Ultima IV engine recreation. Requires the original game data to run.
Exult (http://exult.sourceforge.net/) - Ultima VII engine recreation. Requires the original game data to run.

17-01-2012, 05:08 PM
I still get a kick out of playing the original Civ from time to time. Does anyone know if a similar thing has been done to it? I have the original game on two 3.5" floppies (LOL!), which I saved to a folder on my data drive when I stopped installing floppy drives, so I still have all of the data.

Edit: It works great with DOSBox 0.74. 8-)

17-01-2012, 05:48 PM
Is more of a remake, but it comes with customisable rulesets, one of which is an exact replica of the first civlization.

Have a hunt around and you may be able to get a tileset for Freeciv that uses the original graphics.

17-01-2012, 05:49 PM
Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters (http://sc2.sourceforge.net/). Both free and open-source (the original content was released under a CC by-nc-sa license; the code was released under the GPL). It's actually a port from the game's 3DO release, which means you also get many of the 3DO version's advantages like voice acting and prettier graphics.

17-01-2012, 05:57 PM
Silent Hill 1 has been ported to pc with a custom installer and ePSXE installation tailored to that game specifically. You actually get a pretty impressive amount of graphics options including higher resolutions. The legality is dubious to say the least, but you can find it by googling Silentscape Studios.
I should also mention that I know for a fact it works on XP, but Windows 7 might a bit trickier.

The game itself is still surprisingly good. The graphics are of course terrible, but the devs took advantage of the enveloping fog (which was necessary at the time) to turn the game world into an incredibly claustrophobic space. Still quite a scary game that is good at making the player feel vulnerable.

17-01-2012, 06:01 PM
Exult (http://exult.sourceforge.net/) - Ultima VII engine recreation. Requires the original game data to run.

Awesome, thanks for reminding me of this.

17-01-2012, 06:01 PM
Baldur's Gate Tutu and Baldur's Gate Trilogy, both port Baldur's Gate 1 to the BG2 engine, thus allowing a lot of people to do more with mods. Such as adding BG2 characterization to BG1 characters, or add lots of new stuff, or make a mod that makes the game a lot harder by improving the enemies' AI.

Oh, and you can actually play the game in a good resolution. And the widescreen mod works a lot better with it.

17-01-2012, 06:03 PM
So for the listed engines for DOS games, what benefit do they provide beyond DOSBOX?

17-01-2012, 06:09 PM
So for the listed engines for DOS games, what benefit do they provide beyond DOSBOX?
Speed improvements, plus whatever the developers wanted to add. Usually, this means it's available on a wide variety of platforms. Sometimes, there's added netplay or some cool graphical features.

Aliens versus Predator: http://icculus.org/avp/
Duke3d: http://eduke32.com/ / http://icculus.org/duke3d/
Descent 1/2: http://www.dxx-rebirth.com/ (Dxx-rebirth) or http://www.descent2.de/ (Dxx-RL)

17-01-2012, 06:39 PM
So for the listed engines for DOS games, what benefit do they provide beyond DOSBOX?
xu4 - Ability to switch between tile sets. Scalers. Smoother frame rates. Bug fixes. Optional gameplay and interface improvements from Ultima V. Actual midi music converted from the C64 and Apple II originals.

Exult - Ability to smooth the framerate. Many bug fixes. Faster on modern machines. Higher resolutions. Mods. Optional Serpent Isle improvements in The Black Gate.

18-01-2012, 12:37 AM
Site containing many FPS ports


DarkXL (Dark Forces), DaggerXL (Daggerfall) and soon OutlawsXL (Outlaws) and BloodXL (Blood).


Blood remake:

Blood under eDuke32 project

18-01-2012, 08:21 AM
A few that spring to mind:

Doom64 port over to the PC sourceport versions of Doom2: http://www.doomwadstation.com/doom64/index.html

Ultima VI Port over to Dungeon Siege engine: http://u6project.com/

18-01-2012, 08:30 AM
Doom64 port over to the PC sourceport versions of Doom2: http://www.doomwadstation.com/doom64/index.html
I had no idea that Doom 64 was an entirely original game. There's a gap in my Doom collection that did not exist several minutes ago now. I don't know whether to thank or to curse you.

18-01-2012, 08:33 AM
Doom64 port over to the PC sourceport versions of Doom2: http://www.doomwadstation.com/doom64/index.html

Or alternatively, Doom64 EX (http://doom64ex.wordpress.com/) although it technically isn't a source port.

18-01-2012, 09:36 AM
GLFrontier (http://tom.noflag.org.uk/glfrontier.html) Probably the best game in the Elite series, updated so that your eyes aren't cut to shreds by 'orrible jaggies.
Tenebrae for Quake (http://tenebrae.sourceforge.net/) not really a port or anything but I always thought it was a pretty impressive graphics engine update.

18-01-2012, 09:50 AM
Darkplaces (http://icculus.org/twilight/darkplaces/) is very similar to Tenebrae. It's used in Xonotic (http://www.xonotic.org/) to produce the pretty effects.