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The source code for many games in the Wolfenstein series has been released to the public by the developers at id software. This means that fans can observe the human-readable computer language that has been passed through a compiler to produce a usable executable file. The executable file is basic machine code which is unreadable by humans, so the release of source code provides valuable information about a game and opportunities to port it.

Benefits of source codeEdit

Much about the Wolfenstein universe would not be known without viewing the source code. Not only does it reveal interesting facts about the game, it also provides technical data (hitpoints calculation, gameplay mechanics) that would not be known otherwise.

In addition, access to basic mechanics and source code often makes it possible to port the games to other platforms. The permissive license of the games allows these ports to be publicly released.

Wolfenstein games that have been open sourcedEdit

id software has open sourced many of their games, but this section only follows those games that are part of the Wolfenstein universe. Whether they are Wolfenstein related or not, they may be found on id software's page on github.com.

Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of DestinyEdit

The source code for the original MS-DOS version of Wolfenstein 3D and for Spear of Destiny was released on July 21, 1995. Unlike other Wolfenstein games, the license of these files appears to be in question. The installer proclaims that the source code is a "Public Domain Release"[1]. However, there is also a LICENSE.DOC[2] which gives a more specific license, the "Limited Use Software License Agreement". An actual public domain release would be wholly incompatible with this, but it appears that the Limited Use Software License Agreement was the intended license and the "Public Domain" proclamation was only a misunderstanding by id software.

The same source code files cover both Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, due to large amounts of overlap between the two. Code for each game is intermixed, and the compiler checks if a variable named "SPEAR" is defined to determine which code is compiled.

The source code for Wolfenstein 3D Classic, the iOS port of the game, is also available.

Return to Castle WolfensteinEdit

The source code for Return to Castle Wolfenstein is segregated into two parts: that for the single-player executable and that for the multiplayer executable. Unlike Wolfenstein 3D, it was released under the GPL, a popular license which has been applied to thousands of programs. It has been open source since August 12, 2010.

Wolfenstein: Enemy TerritoryEdit

The source code for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was released on the same day as that of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, August 12, 2010. Also like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, the game's source code was released under the GPL.

ReferencesEdit

  1. WOLFSRC.DAT from the Wolfenstein 3D source code on github.com
  2. WOLFSRC/README/LICENSE.DOC from the Wolfenstein 3D source code on github.com

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