Tonight's game on OpenPOWER: Blake Stone Aliens of Gold

Everything is awful, so now that we've rescued a Blackbird let's go shoot more aliens. One of the more entertaining games based on id's Wolfenstein 3D engine was Apogee's Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold from 1993, developed by yet another set of apparent refugees from Softdisk, but that's another story for another day. It kept the basic formula but added subtle lighting effects and ceiling and floor textures, along with more varied environments, lots of (cartoony but fun to shoot) monsters, and a very helpful automap.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be worth a mention; that's what we have DOSBox for (see our article on adding an OpenPOWER JIT to DOSBox). Despite the fact that DOSBox does support this game, however, I do actually own a retail copy of Blake Stone from back in the day and it runs like dried snot even with a JIT.

Fortunately, the source code to Blake Stone was released back in the day as well after it was long believed to be lost, and an excellent SDL/OpenGL port called BStone is available which adds many graphical improvements, mouse look (well, side to side, anyway), and 16:9 modes as demonstrated in the screenshot. It also supports the IMHO inferior sequel, Planet Strike.

To start saving mankind, you can play the shareware version, but it's more fun to play with a retail copy (mine is the 1994 FormGen release, but the one you can still buy from Apogee will work), or extract the game assets from the DOSBox-based GOG installer. The CD or 3D Realms downloads are easiest to work with, as you can just copy the contents into a folder.

Clone the BStone Github project. You will need CMake and SDL 2.0.4 (or better) development headers and libraries. The CMake build recipe assumes that your SDL has a static libSDL2main.a library, which apparently the ones from Fedora, Slackware and possibly others don't, which may require modifying the SDL CMake component that comes with it (I had to). Then mkdir build, cd build and cmake .. to kick it off.

Once built you can start the game either from the directory where your Blake Stone files are (I have cd ~/stuff/dosbox/BSTONE && ~/src/bstone/build/src/bstone), or pass bstone the --data_dir option with a path (if it fails to detect the correct game, try passing --aog, --aog_sw or --ps). If you don't have OpenAL-capable hardware, disable OpenAL sound from the in-game configuration menu, or you may get random crashes during play. Don't shoot the informants.