Nasir Gebelli Interview on YouTube

I just uploaded the interview that I did with Nasir Gebelli in 1998 at my company, Ion Storm, during an Apple II Reunion that I hosted. There's a lot of great information about his history in the industry and how he got started.

Nasir wrote games entirely in assembly language and did not save source code. He didn't even have a printer to look at his code! He wrote all his NES games on an Apple II and cross-developed them to the NES hardware. Even the SNES game, Secret of Mana, was coded on an Apple II, in 65816 assembly with no source.

I've been talking to Nasir recently about doing an in-depth interview. If you have any particular questions you'd like answered, please put them in the comments or email me at john at romero dot com.

Site Updating

I just got some stub pages up for the bigger games like Wolf 3D, DOOM, Quake, etc. I rescued a few of my oldest game entries from the Wayback Machine, too: Crazy Climber, Alien Attack, and Bongo's Bash.

I decided to update the game pages and put gameplay video of the games on them (as well as download links for emulators). It's crazy to think that I can play a game I wrote in 1982 in an Apple II emulator, inside a Windows 10 emulator, on my macOS (Mac Pro), and record video of that from a macOS app. Gotta love it!

I figured the gameplay videos are nice for people wondering what my oldest games looked like in case downloading and setting up an emulator is a hassle.

Happy 26th Birthday, Commander Keen!

Man, 26 years. Seriously? Ok, well, I better deal with it. I've told the story several times before about how much fun we three had making the first Keen games (me, Tom and John). Here's something that I've never talked about before.

In early January 1992, before we decided to make Wolfenstein 3D, we planned on making the third Commander Keen trilogy, "The Universe Is Toast!". This is the VGA parallaxing technology demo that used VGA versions of Keen 4's background texture. The project was actually seriously underway with entire directory hierarchy and 230 files in it before we decided to make Wolfenstein 3D instead.

The demo only shows one level that we made with parallaxing graphics. We only worked on this project for a couple weeks before switching to Wolfenstein 3D.

Happy 23rd Birthday, DOOM!

It's that time of year again, where we say Happy Birthday to one of my most favorite games, DOOM! Every year I try to reveal something about the game's development that hasn't been documented to death. Believe me, DOOM has been documented more than most games. But never fear, I have so much stuff that no one has seen that I could do this forever. Of course, I'm limited in what I can release, so it's going to be something simple and maybe known already.

When we decided to create The Ultimate DOOM, we had a name for it internally since the title "The Ultimate DOOM" wasn't created until just before we released it in 1995. Internally, we called it The Special Edition. On our development drive we had a directory during original DOOM development called "data" that had all the game's data files (level WADs, palette, text screens, etc.) The directory for The Ultimate DOOM was "data_se" for Special Edition.

We had a utility called WADLINK that read a script file and put a WAD together. Yes, our Novell Netware file server directory was called FLEM. Um, yes, the $shootwad command really happened. Here's a little of the beginning of that file:

;===================================================
; SPECIAL EDITION!
;=== WADLINK.WL -- This links all of Dooms WADs. ===
;===================================================
$WADNAME        /flem/doom/data_se/doom

/flem/doom/data_se/playpal.lmp
/flem/doom/data_se/colormap.lmp

/flem/doom/data_se/end2/endoom.bin
/flem/doom/data_se/demos2/demo1.lmp
/flem/doom/data_se/demos2/demo2.lmp
/flem/doom/data_se/demos2/demo3.lmp
/flem/doom/data_se/demos2/demo4.lmp

;===================================================
;======================= MAPS ======================
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m1
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m2
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m3
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m4
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m5
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m6
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m7
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m8
$shootwad      /flem/doom/data_se/e1m9

As you can see, this script put together the WAD file for The Ultimate DOOM. Sorry this post was mostly for the tech-minded DOOM fans!