A few days ago, the czech gaming magazine Score published a full preview article of Blade of Agony's Chapter 3 release after we've given access to a release candidate version to them. What can I say - it was worth it and the whole team is totally excited by the article, the kind words and the overall score of 92%. It is a great honor to see interest in our project and that even professional gaming journalism takes care of this.
If you aren't speaking czech yourself, don't worry - click on details for a full translation of the article done by MuadDib90, no spoilers included.
One of the most important ingredients of a good game is to make it accessible to a large audience of people. Using English as the base language for Blade of Agony was already a step towards this, but before starting with the development of the third and final chapter of our project, we thought about making it available in other languages as well - common languages for people who aren't native English speakers, or who have problems with enjoying a game written in a different language - other than their mother tongue.
The developers behind the game can be considered a potpourri of nations, from countries all over the world, so why not use this to our advantage? Said and done. The final version of Blade of Agony will be translated into over 10* different languages, including German, Italian, Russian, French, Spanish and many more. Our team and numerous volunteers spent months manually translating every single sentence, every single word into the appropriate target language, giving the opportunity to almost everyone who wants to enjoy the game in their native language. Viel Spaß damit!
*a few languages aren't completely finished yet. If you want to help us, check our Google Spreadsheet and drop us a line!
The war is balancing on a knife's edge. It's not taking much longer for one side to win. Both sides have exhausted their forces, their morale is down to earth, and it's just a question of time when the war ends. While the Allied Forces have been leading their efforts successfully against the Thor's Hammer project and Hitler and his scientists continued to examine the Spear of Destiny, the only thing you are looking for is revenge...
Wolfenstein | Blade of Agony's Chapter 3 (including an completely overhauled Chapter 1+2) will be released in the first quarter of 2021. For now, check our teaser trailer at YouTube or on our media section, we are looking forward to your comments. Stay tuned, get psyched!
Video by Twitter @theswabiangamer, Thanks so much for your effort and dedication!
After almost 6 years of being in development, we reached a special milestone today. With the latest commit on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, the mod is fully playable, that means: all chapters can be played through from start to finish.
Because any of us in the dev team lives several thousands miles apart from each other (not to mention COVID-19 restrictions), we had to celebrate this with some good old German beers in our chat group, exchanging a few photos and videos to make sure everyone was drunk to celebrate this glorious moment - well it wasn't that glorious anymore after beer number then but... well, we had some fun, now on to the news people are waiting for.
In the middle of the year, we were certain that a release in the fourth quarter of 2020 was realistic. But during our own playtests, a large number of issues came up, and we needed to adress those first. This was also the reason why finishing the maps took us longer than expected. We fixed game-breaking bugs, we improved the storytelling, and we added new content to the first two Chapters - we polished like crazy.
Now that all of the maps are done, we will start to balance, fix, and finish the mod in order to make the best possible experience available for all you players out there. This also means that we need to spend some more time on the mod in order to achieve that. As of now, we are confident that a release in the first few months of 2021 is a reasonable target. Until then, we will make sure to keep you informed and entertained when it comes to Blade of Agony.
I recommend subscribing to our YouTube channel. We will be posting some interesting content on our YouTube channel over the next few weeks for those who are really impatient. Until then, stay safe, and have a good time.
Public inactivity doesn't necessarily mean inactivity behind the curtain. After months of tireless commitment, we can finally announce that the third chapter of Blade of Agony is finished - well, at least the rough outline. Chapter 3: The Final Confrontation, renamed for story-consistency, as well as an homage to the original Wolfenstein 3D, is playable from start to finish now. I admonish people not to cheer and ask for the download link though.
Even though we are making big steps towards the release of our game, there is still a lot of work left to do: Translations, ensuring plot and lore consistency, gameplay testing and implementing further improvements for the best possible experience.
A few days ago we added a custom help and info system directly into the game, that resembles the areas of our page. This will definitely come in handy for all those playing the mod for the very first time but somehow missed the website. On top of that, a new epilogue and cutscene system has been implemented, beautifying the old text displays with a nice frame and some custom art images.
Well, we don't want you to visit this page for paragraphs of boring text, do we? We've added 18 brand new screenshots of chapter 3 to the media section, so before you leave, you might want to check these out - and stay tuned!
People who are familiar with the id software universe already know that Commander Keen, Doom Guy and B.J. Blazkowicz are somehow related to each other. For anyone else not in the know: Billy "Blaze" Blazkowicz aka Commander Keen is William "B.J." Blazkowicz' grandson.
It's obvious that this fact is the perfect hint when it comes to the question: "What kind of secret levels does Blade of Agony offer?". Ever since the Chapter 1 release, there was a game console prototype in Professor Gutenberg's lab, but it did nothing. For the release of Chapter 3, you will finally be able to do something with it. In all 3 episodes, the player can find a single, unique prototype of a game cartridge that can be put into the console, and you will be able to do the impossible: Play a game based on your future grand son's destiny. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
For the development of these levels, AFADoomer analyzed the reverse-engineered source code of Commander Keen - Goodbye Galaxy, and with the help of the dedicated and skilled community of the Public Commander Keen Forum, we were able to replicate the look and behaviour of all the items, enemies and game mechanics from the Shadowlands, and implement these into our game using ZScript. After making some mapping magic happen, we believe it truly feels like a 3D Commander Keen title. We are proud of what we've achieved by working with the Commander Keen fandom, and we can't wait to hear your feedback on the secret missions. Stay tuned, it's closer than you might think.
After the past three months have been pretty silent when it comes to public news, the team had been working unweary on the final chapter of Blade of Agony. We made huge progress leaps in the mapping department and there is only one map left to be finished in the main part of the third chapter - Airport Berlin Tempelhof (without mentioning our secret operation and the three specials that can be played at the console, but more about that in the future). After that we will concentrate on polishing the storyline and the structures, adding sidequests and making sure everything works without any flaws and is playable from the start to the end.
"And what comes next? A release?" Well, it's not as easy as that. One of our additional goals for the final release is the localization and the voice acting. For the localization we plan to release the game in various different languages (german, italian, russian next to english) to reach a wider audience. On the other side, we want to improve the atmosphere with a special audio addition, therefore we plan to add voice actings to the briefing, the dialogues and the ingame messages. But this all can only be done as soon as most of the game is set in stone to avoid gaps or redundancies. Anyway, we won't be able to do all this on our own.
So if you are used to translating texts in the languages we aim for, or if you are interested and skilled in doing some voice acting for a specific character in the game, drop us a line, get in conctact over the forums and let us know. We are looking forward to any kind of support in this area.
From the beginning, we followed a certain philosophy when it came to map design: "Every mission has to be unique." Taking a look at the first two chapters which have already been released, I can say we managed to keep up with that. From a desert excavation in Tunis, to a snow-covered volcano in Iceland, to the liberation of Paris - no single mission is like another; there is so much to discover, and I can still promise you that there is little or no repetition through all the places you have already visited.
Chapter 3 doubles down
Ideas for the first chapters have been quick at hand. For the third and final chapter, things have been more difficult at first - that's why we can't estimate a release date yet. How can we go above and beyond peoples' expectations for missions like Operation: Astrostein? Don't restrict your imagination. For The Final Confrontation (the new title for Chapter 3, as well as an homage to Wolfenstein 3D), we will push GZDoom to its limits once again, but we're still staying within the limits of what GZDoom can reasonably handle. In the upcoming version of Blade of Agony you can expect the unexpected.
The process of bugfixing and improving our previous chapters of Blade of Agony is something that we have already written about. We want a polished final product with the release of Chapter 3. This also means that we are considering ways to enhance the replay value of our project. Youtube and Twitch have revived the competitive spirit of gaming, and encouraged players to out-perform each other, no matter whether it is by speedrunning, or just maxing out their kills, loot, and secrets. So how can we implement features that support these kind of people?
At the beginning of the development, I decided to get rid of the intermission sequence because it ruined the atmosphere which is so important to this project. Regarding the aspects from the introduction paragraph though, I was considering renewing the concept of showing your stats at the end of the mission, but in a way that is more integrated with the game just as most of the other aspects are - that's our philosophy. The idea of a mission summary in the Allied Headquarters was born, and AFADoomer brought these ideas into a working implementation.
After completing each mission, you will be able to check this blackboard in order to find out: Did I kill everyone? How much loot did I collect? How many secrets did I find, and how long have I been playing this game? It's competition time! Share your results with a screenshot, or just try to do better on your second or third run. Maybe you will even find a hidden bonus if you are good enough...
No, your eyes are indeed working properly.
Wolfenstein: Blade of Agony Chapter 3 will now be releasing exclusively on the Epic Games Store. There will be no release of Wolfenstein: Blade of Agony Chapter 3 on Flathub, Snapcraft, Steam, Itch.io, GOG, ModDB, or even this website, at least until next year.
Tim Sweeney saw what we were doing, and saw how our game could become a major attraction to the Epic Games Store, and offered up a grand total of $2 million to us, in order to convince us to release exclusively on the Epic Games Store, as well as help us migrate from GZDoom to Unreal Engine 4.
This wasn't an easy decision for us to make, but after a lot of careful consideration, we decided we could go through with it. For those disgruntled fans that donated to us in the past, but are displeased with our move to the Epic Store, you can ask us for a refund by clicking here.
Thank you - and click on "Details", it's worth it!
In the process of creating a project with the kind of scope and scale of Blade of Agony, you tend to try out things that haven't been done before. Having a kind of Metal Gear Solid-style introduction to Chapter 2 where William breaks out of a prison was a brave, but dangerous undertaking. Will players like a completely new mechanic in a Doom mod, or will they hate it? The community's response was mixed - some people liked what we did, but others said that we were wrong to make such decisions. To be honest, we didn't find it as enjoyable as we hoped, but we believed that after some fine tuning and improvements, we can make the new gameplay mechanics a lot more enjoyable. And so, we started all over again...
Sneak Mode Improved
AFADoomer spent a very long time improving the stealth mechanics for Operation: Ausbruch (C2M1), and I remember it taking me almost the same time to play the map over and over again after changing things and editing actor placement and structures in order to make the map benefit from the script changes. We can firmly say that the escape is a lot more intuitive now, and many things that felt like they were totally "random" can now be controlled from the player's point of view. We didn't want to make it too easy, so we added a few interesting mechanics like alarm switches that can be activated by guards to draw other guards' attention towards you. Since it is a waste of effort for only one single map, you can expect some more of that gameplay in Chapter 3 - this time the way it is meant to be!
Shaders being added to the GZDoom engine opened a completely new dimension of special effects to mods. We have already introduced the power of Post Processing Shaders with noise, flares or motion blur, but this is only one part that can be controlled by the player. Shaders can also be used to enhance the atmosphere and realism of a project, and this is what we took advantage of.
Imagine a long endless street in the desert, it's daylight and the sun is boiling the ground without mercy. If you look closely, you can not only feel the heat, you can see it on the asphalt, and in the distance on the horizon. You can see the heat in the air. This is one example of an effect we've added to various hot places in the game (e.g. lava rivers, hot engines). Another addition is the distorted player view when you are hit by the shockwave of an explosion. Instead of seeing clearly, you need some time to recover from the shock and see clearly again. These changes also affect the gameplay, but it's a very realistic and interesting addition that makes the environment and the battles more intense.
And with some slight tweaks, these shaders can even be applied to textures, which will give you a totally new experience in the briefing room at the HQ. Finally, we have those scratches and flickering light that every diascope has had in the 1940's.
While mapping is a very organic progress, you sometimes lose the objectivity when it comes to size and length. Instead of knowing when it's time to stop adding more, you simply think "Wow, this is something I could add here as well". This is what happened to a lot of maps in Chapter 2, especially Operation Schlangenkopf (C2M3). While we were watching various gameplay videos on Youtube (specifically ZikShadow and MrIcarus), we simply went overboard, putting more and more stuff into one single map. Players needed almost an hour to complete one map. This is simply too much and absolutely not satisfying.
We needed to check all the maps (from the beginning of Tunis up to the Astrostein missions), and find out what areas are needed to keep the tension and gameflow, and what portions of the map could be removed because they do not add to the overall experience. C2M3 was a very good example. As soon as you collect the yellow key, you enter a huge area of containment and underground labs that just doesn't add anything to the story or the gameflow. It's just there. Removing it was the logical consequence, and that's what we did with a lot of places. Instead, we tried to add something in the spirit of the map, or tossed areas around to make the progress more fluid and organic.
Sometimes, if you play your own maps again after a while, you start to think of different approaches, different solutions, different possibilities that will make your original vision more convincing. The second half of Operation Astrostein is a very good example of how a map can still improve, despite it already being finished (Yes, this is a spoiler; I hope you've played Chapter 2 already). When I first created the map, I had a very clean futuristic design in mind, just like the original Astrostein episodes. After visiting New Berlin again however, I thought that this approach wasn't realistic. I imagined this place to be more dirty, more dangerous, something between Coruscant and Los Angeles from the blockbuster movie Blade Runner. And that's what I turned it into - and it's worth a second visit, I promise.
Believe it or not: I actually watched almost every Wolfenstein Let's Play video on Youtube - at least those in a language I know (sorry for skipping the Polish, Czech and Russian ones), and for me this is the most useful feedback you can get on your own maps. You can see and hear how people react in certain situations, what they think and how they approach your creation. We listen closely to the feedback we get and there are hundreds of changes and improvements that we made in order to improve our players' experiences. So thanks a lot to all of you for sharing that - it got noticed!
How terribly insulting it was for us to hear that most of the people playing the second chapter of Blade of Agony hated our friendly NPCs: Douglas and Ryan (well, the latter still for a reason) were a pain for the players. Instead of helping you, giving you cover, and being a new and interesting gameplay feature, they just - well - sucked. It was about time to change something here.
Improvements for friendly NPC followers
AFADoomer took the community's feedback very seriously, and started re-writing most of the code in order to improve sidekicks like Douglas, Ryan and Ascher, so that they were actually useful companions, rather than annoying obstacles that get in your way instead of covering you. They will now try to avoid being in your line of sight, they will try to move away from you if they are in your way, and most importantly, you can interact with them. Just like in Half-Life 2, you can "use" them once to make them hold their position, and then "use" them again to make them follow you. So if you want a sidekick following you, just leave everything as it is, and if you are more of a "James Bond" special agent who doesn't need or want support, simply leave them behind; it's up to you.
In the past releases of Blade of Agony, the compass seemed to be a bit rudimentary - a feature we added for the sake of being added, but not really worth using. We always thought that we should either remove it, or re-work it as to make it worthwhile, and that's what AFADoomer took care of.
The new compass item
The completely reworked compass is now available as an item that can be bought during Chapter 1, and is part of your inventory from the beginning of Chapter 2. It now works very intuitively, and not only shows the locations of the mission objectives (both primary and secondary), but also shows you the location of important objects, such as mission elements that must be collected, as well as the locations of treasure chests and the keys to open them, and even optional stuff that can be gathered.
Objects that are far away will be barely visible on the compass, but as you get closer to such objects, they will fade in and move closer to the center. Now it really makes sense to get a compass and use it, as it will be helpful for finding your way through larger maps. You won't ever get lost again... as long as you have hoarded enough gold to buy the item.
Shaders are something that is already part in modern games for some time now: Motion Blur, Vignette, Lens Flares, Film Grain and many more features. These additions have lately been showcased by Total Chaos, an amazing mod by wad'a'holic which makes you ask yourself: "Am I still playing Doom?". These shaders have been implemented and developed by Nash - and yes, Nash is part of our development team. We only had to see if it enhances the gameplay experience and if it fits our philosophy, or if we only want to add these features for the sake of having them.
Post Processing Shaders
Remember old videos from World War II, most of them have scratches, noise, a vignette and are black and white. Whereas greyscale and scratch effects will not work well in a first-person shooter game (I mean c'mon, where does all the beautiful gore go?), we felt that film grain and a vignette perfectly fits the game design philosophy and makes for a fitting feature. The decision was easy to make.
For the lens flares, it took a while though, same goes to the motion blur. Both effects are aesthetic and visual. In some places, it greatly improves the experience (just take a look at the effect in the screenshot; the fire feels extremely bright and blinding). We were not sure, but considering that all effects can be adjusted or totally turned off to your desire, we have decided to add what we have for those who want it. If you are a purist though you can still deactivate all of it, including the noise and vignette, set your resolution to 320x200, and enjoy the mod in its 1994'ish glory.
First of all, happy new year to all of you out there. Since our last news item, it's been almost a year, and even longer since the release of Chapter 2, so I thought it was about time to let you know: We are still working very hard on Chapter 3. The past 12 months have been a hard time for us developers, since some of us had to struggle with job and family issues. Despite the slower progress, we kept working, not only on the 3rd chapter of Blade of Agony, but we have also been improving what we have already released. Why? We are listening, and we take your feedback seriously.
Shadows of the Reich has received mixed reviews. Some people loved it from the beginning to the end, but there have also been others who had some gripes, and made a good point. Therefore, we wanted to make sure that these issues were sorted out, and with the final release of the game including all three chapters, we wanted to ensure you have the best possible game experience that we are capable of creating.
With the upcoming development blog entries, we will talk about what we have been doing "behind the scenes", giving you an inside scoop on the things we have been working on, and stuff we have improved and added. Hopefully, that will make waiting for the final chapter a bit easier. This is the first entry out of many more that will be posted, so stay tuned and make sure to come back from time to time; It's worth it!
One of the problems we've faced in the past is the AI (artificial intelligence) of the soldiers. The code of every enemy soldier is based on Doom's demons and zombies - no need to be pretty smart, it's simply "walk, aim, shoot/bite, loop", nothing less. We are aware that human beings (even though they are Nazis) should act a bit less predictably, and that's where we started to make improvements. First of all, we gave the AI a few new tricks - now, the enemy soldiers can try to dodge your attacks from time to time (this is what you can see in the screenshot above). In addition, enemy soldiers can now try to take cover or run away if you toss grenades at them, or if they are wounded. Makes sense, doesn't it? Last, but not least, some enemies will not leave their covered zone until you get closer; instead, they stay where they are. It's not much, but it adds new dynamics to the combat, and feels like an appropriate change. Let's see what our coders AFADoomer and Ozymandias come up with over the next few months to make the gunfights even more interesting - stay tuned!
Wolfenstein: Blade of Agony is now available as a snap package for GNU/Linux Distros that support it. Thanks to mcphail, installing and playing Wolfenstein on Linux has never been easier.
For those unfamiliar with snaps, a snap package is a GNU/Linux app in a container. A container is a self-contained environment for running apps. All of the libraries the app needs to run are bundled inside the container with the app. If the app requires a library that is not included in the snap (such as graphics drivers), it is used from the host system. Detailed information about installing and playing the Wolfenstein snap can be found in our F.A.Q.
We did it! After polishing the second chapter of Blade of Agony for the past 3 weeks we are here to proudly present the release of "Shadows of the Reich", an all new episode that directly connects where the thrilling action and plot ended in "The Staff of Kings", which is also included in the release with a lot of improvements and additional surprises. So what's new?
- High-resolution sprites for all actors (monster,npc; not only upscale, real detail) as well as completely new enemies
- A total of 11 new maps (as well as all maps from chapter 1)
- Improved effects and features (dialogue screen, npc ai, doors, cutscenes, skins, models)
- Introducing GZDoom's latest new engine features (ambient occlusion, lense distortion, shadow maps, bloom effect)
- Exciting and interactive plot with a lot of surprises
...and that's only a fraction of all the things to come. Don't waste any more time, get psyched, get "Shadows of the Reich" just now!