Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wolfer Q&A: Andy_Nonymous

NickName: Andy_Nonymous
Location: USA

Q. Where did your nickname come from and why did you choose it?
A. It was kind of a joke. I wanted to remain anonymous when I sent Brian my first addon, and decided I would call myself A. Nonymous, which can be read in the Dome News archives of 1999. Later, I would “soften” it to Andy Nonymous, sometimes just Andy.

Q. When did you first play Wolfenstein 3d?
A. After I bought my first computer in early 1995, a friend of mine introduced me to his DOS games, the most impressive being Wolfenstein 3-D. What he really had was the shareware patch "Barneystein" with some Quazi levels on a floppy disk he bought at a computer show. I thought it was the actual game, and couldn't fathom what he meant by "it was changed from the original". Until I saw the original - then I was blown away by the concept of "modding" and tried to download as many mods as I could find on CompuServe, AOL, and ftp sites. The worldwide web was mostly text files back then. Doing a search for Wolfenstein would return many technical papers by professors and doctors named Wolfenstein.

Q. How did you come to be part of the Wolfenstein 3d Community?
A. My love of mods made me want to make some too. Back then, changing the EXE wasn't even a consideration, all we had were simple tools like Mapedit, Wolfedit, and Wolfsnd. I tended to make graphics patches for the shareware version, as that was all I owned until mid to late 1996. I managed to hack the Blake Stone, Corridor 7, and Operation Body Count shareware/demos, and make wolf3d graphics patches of them. Converting the colors was quite a chore. I had no clue about color palettes, so I did the conversions by trial and error, using QuickBasic to change ranges of hex values.
At my cousin's house on Thanksgiving 1998, he showed me his new Win98 computer with Internet Explorer. He said to try it out. I did a web search for Wolfenstein (which was the first thing that came to mind for some reason), and this time there were a couple of game-related results: Colonel Bill's shareware add-ons, and Mr Lowe's Wolf 3-D Page.
I became part of the community when I sent my “BlakenStone” graphics patch to Brian early in 1999. He made levels for it and made a real nice game out of it.

Q. What is the best part about being involved in the Wolf 3d Community?
A.
The sharing of information and mods, having occasional chats, helping each other out on projects, working as a team. And you meet people from all around the world. Our community is a reasonable size, and we all tend to be friendly with each other.

Q. What was the WolfMenu project you were working on and how did it work?
A.
Well, my love of mods led me to try some programming to make it easier to switch between mods. I was a DOS user, did not use Windows 95 until 1999 (yes, I am a late adopter), so rather than do all those \cd and rename commands, I wrote simple bat files to make things easier and present the choices to me.
Later, I would also add color to these bat file 'menus' using ANSI commands. The next step in this evolution was to make compiled EXE screens using QuickBasic that the bat files would call, eliminating the need for ANSI commands (and the ANSI TSR that would take up valuable DOS memory).
In 1999, I started a full-blown QuickBasic program that would present the menu screen and do all of the under-the-cover shenanigans. Unloading the program to allow Wolf3d to play and bringing back the menu again afterwards as if it was never unloaded was done using a bat file. So the roles of the bat file and the QuickBasic program were reversed in the end.
WolfMenu's original purpose was really to be a patch-swapper program. Standalone add-ons were in their infancy; before Chokage, all mods used an existing EXE made by id Software. Even by 1999, there weren't that many “standalone” mods, but I did have an entry in WolfMenu to launch those too. Again, today the patch swapper vs. standalone roles have completely reversed.
I use WolfMenu to this day to “house” my collection. It can launch SDL mods too, using the same command you would use from a prompt. That's why I still use Win98 for my wolfing needs: it can run DOS mods, SDL mods, plus I can launch both from WolfMenu.
Recently, I've debugged WolfMenu so it will run in DOSBox. I've released versions to the Dome about 2-3 times, but I believe probably no one else uses it! Which is fine; I use it, and my friend who introduced me to Wolf3d uses it to play off the CD-ROMs (and now DVD-ROM) I made for him of my Wolf3d collection.

Q. You have released a number of Mac related Wolf conversions. What is the appeal of the Mac versions of Wolf that made you want to port them to Windows?

A. I was aware of the Mac version and its supposed superiority, and noticed some graphics and sounds from it in some mods. I thought that would be another nice thing to make a mod of, but had no clue where to start. Conner94 announced he was working on MacWolf, which intended to accomplish this, and at one point, I wanted to join his team (which included Born4battle), but by then Conner94 wasn't around anymore. IIRC, Born4battle sent me what they had worked on to that point, and just playing around with it I thought, I can do this!
So I started from scratch, using Ripper's Hi-res VSWAP and Tails *ORIGINAL*'s macgraphics5pz.gif file, and learning from all the tutorials I could find. What I couldn't find, I posted on DHW for help. I also got some direction from Phroggy, who showed me how to use ResEdit to extract the midi music from the Mac data.
When Ripper announced Wolf4SDL, at first I was like, “Oh no, another Windows port, they will kill DOS Wolf3d modding for sure now!” I was prepared not to like it. But playing around with it, I realized I could do Mac-enstein justice, with better screen resolution and sound. So I developed the first SDL Mac-enstein while Ripper was developing Wolf4SDL. He did a great job beta-testing, and came up with quite a bit of code to support my effort, such as the size 20 screen.
AlumiuN's Advanced Sound Manager was another development that spurred me to improve Mac-enstein – now I had authentic-sounding music in OGG format.
The whole point for me was to make a port with gameplay that was as similar as possible to the Mac version.

Q. You've also released conversion packs of the files from Noah's Ark 3d and Blake Stone. Why do you feel it's important for these to be available to Wolf 3d mod makers?
A. I tend to focus on details, and wanted to figure out what was what and preserve it in case someone, maybe me, would want to make new levels for Noah3d. I was quite surprised when Adam Biser asked to use the information in WDC. No one has made any levels for it to this day, though.
It wasn't me who made the Blake Stone one, though.

Q. Do you have any plans for another Mac Wolfenstein mod?
A. Eventually, but there's too much going on right now to even consider starting anything. Plus I need to take a Mac-en-break!

Q. You've written a number of the Wolfer Spotlights on the Wolfenstein 3d Dome. How did they come around that you were doing them and do you have plans to submit any more in the future?
A. It was an idea of mine to group people's mods together, and include an overview article, calling it a “spotlight” because “profile” was already taken. Brian liked the idea, and I started feeding him articles at a frenetic pace. Unfortunately, I ran out of gas and inspiration after several months. I've been meaning to do one on Kyo Kusanagi (now Richter Belmont) for years now, since he has released so many mods. Maybe some day...
The section you are putting after your Q&A's actually fulfills the purpose of the Wolfer Spotlight articles.

Q. You've uploaded and had a good look at the Wolfenstein 'Super Upgrade Pack'. Can you perhaps tell us a little about how it came to be and what some of the features in it are?
A. I was not the author of it, but I did a WolfMenu conversion of it. I found the original WolfMaster program by Carlton Griffin a bit cumbersome to use – the information was all over the place. In WolfMenu, the mod's name, author, and number of levels is right there. A ? keystroke shows you the associated readme file, and to play just hit enter. In WolfMaster, each of these items was in a different menu.
The content of the package is all level sets from 1994 and earlier, the best probably being BJ Rowan'sThe Renovation”. Almost all of the levels have been released individually via Brian's web sites, though a few are exclusive to the Super Upgrade Pack.

Q. You seem to be a big exponent of Ripper's 4SDL engine. What do you see as being the main advantage of using it?
A. Well, it made it possible to faithfully recreate the Mac Wolfenstein gameplay. The main advantages are its playability in Windows Vista and 7, the multiple sound channels, and the higher display resolutions. And no 640k DOS memory restrictions!
I was wary of it at first, but once I saw how faithfully Ripper reproduced the original engine, I accepted it. It helped a lot that I could use WolfMenu to launch SDL mods via the command line. NewWolf has that strange floating blood animation and the fuzziness when you get close to things, which I didn't care for.
I still think modders should simultaneously develop a DOS version, when possible, when they make SDL mods. Worldwide, there are at least 3 people who prefer the DOS version!

Q. You've taken over coordination of the DieHard Wolfers Total conversion (DHWTC) set that has been in the works for many years. Why do you feel it is so important to have this see a release?
A. Too much work was already done for such a project to be allowed to die, and it was dying of years of neglect.

Q. What are some of your favorite Wolf 3d mods that you've played?
A. Halls of Stonehenge, Spear Resurrection, End of Destiny, Orb of Dilaaria, Spear of Destiny Reloaded.

Q. Where would you like to see Wolf 3d go from here?
A. I'd like to see more new people joining DieHard Wolfers forum, and some of the older members come back, though the oldies returning isn't likely due to their growing up, or something!
I find it a bit funny that Wolf3d Haven is so easy to join, yet I cannot recall them ever having a spam problem. DHW membership process is much more restrictive, yet they have often had ads and other junk posted. Does the Wolf3d Haven have a special anti-spam shield, or are they that much more unattractive to spammers, or do the spammers just like a challenge? :-D


Q. Why do you feel that Wolf 3d has such a long lasting legacy being it was released so long ago?
A. Speaking for myself, it's such a beautifully simple engine, and I love seeing what people can do to make something different or new with it. Little things like the office partitions in Wolfendoom, the trees in Trench Warfare, are too cool for words.
A mod was just released by someone outside the community, called “Life in the Streets”. The artwork, music, and storyline are quite inspired.
In general, it's relatively easy to mod, and it is humanly possible to collect all the mods in existence. I think I have them all – at least, I've tried to collect them all.

Q. Any words of wisdom you would like to leave us with?
A. If you are a beginning modder, start small and release your finished work to the Dome. Always back up your work on a daily basis. And if you're a fan of any DOS-based game, get an old computer and install Win98 on it.

Andy's Wolfenstein mods and contributions
Here's stuff I've made. The early items are either v1.0 to v1.4 shareware conversions, or registered to shareware conversions – the purpose of course to make more patches to swap in my patch swapper programs! I think all of the v1.0 to v1.4 level conversions were sent to Brian. Only the post-1999 shareware graphics patches were released.

Wolfcool 09/05/95 sw gfx by Milton Lee

DOOMenstein 09/13/95 sw gfx by Loren G. Dobert

Zap Map 09/17/95 sw lvls by The Brick

Wolf 3:16 09/29/95 sw gfx by John Edivards

Pac Man and Friends 10/09/95 sw gfx

New Blood 11/03/95 sw gfx

Astrostein 12/21/98 sw gfx by WolfAddict Software

BlakenStone / Blake Wolf 01/13/99 sw levels by Brian Lowe

Corridor 7: Alien Wolf 02/05/99 sw gfx

Wolf1 #1 03/01/99 sw lvls by The Kid

Wolf1 #2 03/01/99 sw lvls by The Kid

Street Fighter 2 03/02/99 sw by The Byterunners

WolfMM 03/22/99 sw lvls author unknown

DarkStar 04/13/99 sw lvls by DarkStar

Bonkenstien3D 04/13/99 sw gfx by Bantolph and Vorpal

Operation Body Count 04/26/99 sw gfx

Extension Set One 12/14/99 sw lvls by Shannon Rysewyk

Wlfnewgr2 12/14/99 sw gfx by Spam

Death Maps for Wolf 3-D 06/09/00 sw lvls by Chris Gregg

Barney 3D 06/09/00 sw gfx by -=ALTAIR=-

Nat's Wolf 3D levels 07/22/02 sw lvls by Nat Rudiak-Gould

Wolfenstein Reloaded 27/07/06 Enemy sounds by KFH Games

Mac-enstein 3D 03/05/07

Mac-enstein 2nd Encounter 06/01/07 Dome Award June 2007

Triumph of the Will 08/30/07 levels by ponz

Mac-enstein 2nd Encounter SDL 06/07/08

BlakenStone / Blake Wolf SDL 05/13/10 sw levels by Brian Lowe

Mac-enstein 1st Encounter SDL 2 11/20/10

Mac-enstein 2nd Encounter SDL 2 12/15/10

Mac-enstein 3rd Encounter SDL 2 01/03/11 episode one

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