The Art of Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Bethesda and Dark Horse Books will release on 20th June 2020 the book “The Art of Wolfenstein: Youngblood“, with all the concept art and pictures of the environments and characters of the game:

Filled with amazing art and exclusive commentary, this gorgeous hardcover art book invites its reader to delve deep into this superb collection of production material from the latest romp into the world of Wolfenstein. This item is a must-have for sisters, brothers, and all other champions for the cause!

You can preorder the book on Amazon US for $49.99 US, on Amazon Canada for $65.33 CAN, on Amazon UK for £36.95, and on Amazon France for 47.70€.

The RTX patch of Wolfenstein: Youngblood out this week (updated)

nvidia and Bethesda have announced that the long-awaited patch of the game Wolfenstein: Youngblood enabling the ray-tracing technology on nvidia RTX graphic cards will be released in the upcoming days, 6 months after the release of the game. They have also released a new video showing the difference in the game when the technology is on and off:

The patch will also enable the DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology that will improve the performances of the game thanks to a special trained AI deep learning algorithm that will dynamically adjust the aliasing of the graphics of the game.

These options can be enabled in the graphic settings of the game, provided you have a Geforce RTX graphic card. You can find more details about the patch in this post.

Update: the patch of the game has been released last Thursday along with new nvidia drivers 441.87 released earlier, needed to get the feature working correctly on nvidia Geforce 2060 cards and above.

With the RTX technology in the latest Wolfenstein game, it’s always good to remember where we come from with this video of all the enemies of the Wolfenstein games, from Wolfenstein 3-D to Youngblood, recorded by the Games Intros & Finales youtube channel:

 

The story of Silas Warner

Polygon has posted a long and very interesting article about the life and work of one of the greatest but unknown pioneers of the video games industry, Silas Warner (1949-2004), who created the games Castle Wolfenstein (1981) and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein (1984) on Apple II, Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64, and thus started the Wolfenstein series.

His company, Muse Software, released several games in the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s on various platforms – including Maze Game, Escape!, Tank WarThree Mile Island, RobotWar, Titan Empire,  while also having a shop next to their studio in which they were selling their own games in Baltimore, USA. The company bankrupted in 1985, and Silas joined MicroProse (with Sid Meier, the creator of Civilization games) and then Virgin Interactive. In 1992, the Wolfenstein franchise was sold to id Software for just $5000….

Castle Wolfenstein, Muse Software (1981)

Wolfenstein 3-D is available in Germany

At last! 27 years after its release in the rest of Europe, Wolfenstein 3-D can be now also bought in Germany!

pc-015

As reported in this news about the release of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the attorney general of Germany challenged in 2018 the rule forbidding any representation of the imagery of the Third Reich in games, as it is allowed in other forms of art like movies (complete report here). And soon after, the USK rating board announced that it will examine each game case by case, with a more open mind, as the age rating in games have been introduced in 2003, and help avoiding children to be exposed to such imagery. This week, the banning applied to Wolfenstein 3-D in 1998 has been lifted, and the game can now be sold in Germany too.

John Carmack awarded for his work on VR… just before leaving Oculus!

Last Monday, John Carmack received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the VR Awards, and in his recorded acceptance speech, complained about the slow pace of progress in VR, knowing that there are still many things to do in that domain…

… but he won’t be the guy who will implement his long TODO list, as he announced today that he will leave Oculus, going from being the full-time CTO (since 2013 after his departure from id Software) to a “Consulting CTO” role for the company. He will work in research related to the “Artifical General Intelligence” – AI with some kind of real reflexion and learning.

Starting this week, I’m moving to a "Consulting CTO” position with Oculus.I will still have a voice in the development…

Posted by John Carmack on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

 

He was already talking about his interest in the domain in this long – but very interesting! – 2 and a half hours interview he gave to Joe Rogan in August about his past and future work, including long segments about VR and id Software:

We can be sure that with the intelligence of John Carmack, this domain might evolve more quickly in the upcoming years!

Patch 1.0.7 for Wolfenstein: Youngblood with new content

Bethesda and MachineGames have released the patch 1.0.7 for Wolfenstein: Youngblood with some new content for the game: a new mission called “Treasure Hunt” in a secret place of the Da’at Yichud in Paris, new enemies, new abilities and signals, and new skins – check this page on the blog of Bethesda for more details. It is already available on PC, XBox One and PS4, and will come soon on Nintendo Switch.

Bobby Princes sues Gearbox and Valve for Duke Nukem music

The composer of the legendary music of Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom and Duke Nukem 3-D has filed a lawsuit against Gearbox and its CEO Randy Pitchford, and also Valve (for Steam) – because they have used the music he had created for the game in the “Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour edition” of the game w/o asking him and paying him his royalties! According to PC Gamer:

In a document submitted to U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee, Prince’s attorneys described how 16 songs he wrote were used in 1996 shooter Duke Nukem 3D under an agreement with developer Apogee. “Apogee had a limited right to use Mr. Prince’s music in Duke Nukem 3D in exchange for a royalty equal to $1 per unit sold,” they said. Prince had registered the copyrights for the songs.

Gearbox Software purchased certain rights to the Duke Nukem games from Apogee in 2010. Prince claimed the company went on to use his music in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour, the 2016 update to the shooter, without his permission. “The electronic files for the music within Duke Nukem 3D World Tour include text specifically stating that Mr Prince owns the copyright to the music and has reserved all rights to the music’s use,” the court document read. “Yet Gearbox incorporated the music into the game without ever contacting Mr Prince and without clearing the rights expressly mentioned in the electronic files.”

Furthermore, Prince claimed he contacted Randy Pitchford requesting royalties for the music in the 2016 game, and was told he would be “taken care of”, but never received any money. Pitchford also “refused to remove the music from the game”, Prince’s attorneys said.

Prince also contacted Valve, he claimed, regarding the distribution of the game on Steam. “Valve ignored a takedown notice, thus waiving any immunity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and continued distributing infringing copies of the music despite knowing that Mr Prince owned the copyrights in the music,” the document reads.

Gearbox Software, Gearbox Publishing, Randy Pitchford and Valve have been given 21 days to respond to the summons.

Gearbox and Valve haven’t responded yet to this dispute, but Pitchford has recently found an agreement for another legal dispute with one of his former lawyers for some bad usage of the company money…

Bobby Prince in 1992

On his side, and even if he has been retired from the game music industry for years – Wrack was the last game he worked on in 2014, Bobby is still blogging about music and other stuffs, regularly posting very interesting articles about his career in the game industry. He battled a cancer several years ago, with the help of many people through public fundraising, and was cured successfully.

 

A TV series about Masters of Doom is in development

The book “Masters of Doom”, which describes the story of John Carmack and John Romero until they found id Software and create iconic games like Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom and Quake, will be adapted to a TV series by USA Network (Mr Robot, Suits, The Purge, …), with the pilot episode that will be shot soon. The cast is composed of Eduardo Franco (Booksmart) as John Romero, and Patrick Gibson (The OA) as John Carmack.

The cast will also be composed of Jane Ackermann (Neptune) as Hannah Romero, the first wife of John Romero, John Karna (Scream: The TV Series) as Tom Hall,  Peter Friedman (Succession) as Al Vekovius, the boss of Softdisk, who recruited all these geniuses in the 80s before they left and created id Software, and Siobhan Williams (Deadly Class) as Stevie Case, a famous pro-gamer and the girlfriend of John Romero later in the 90s.

Tom Hall reacted to this annoucement in his own way!

Stevie Case too! (and her actress)

And the creator of the book:

… while John Romero was celebrating the birthday of Spear of Destiny (27 years old!) and admiring his own portraits in Ukraine! ^^

… and John Carmack was doing some tech conference about the Oculus VR set…

 

 

 

 

Two former MachineGames developers open their new studio

Two former technical artists who worked on Wolfenstein games, Michael Paixao and Joel Jonsson, have open their own game development studio called Bad Yolk Games in Sweden (in Uppsala like MachineGames), according to Game Industry Biz, after some legal disputes with the owner of their former employer, ZeniMax Media. They promote a more healthy work environment for employees, unlike MachineGames were the culture of “crunches” and overtime was quite usual. Paixao has previously worked in Ubisoft Massive on The Division, were the crunch culture was quite the same – unlike Ubisoft Montreal where I work, where the crunches are less frequent. We’ll see how these great principles will face the reality of small studios and short plannings and funding…

Their first project made with Unreal Engine 4 and Houdini (for 3D animations) has been revealed at the GamesCom : Main Assembly. It’s available in Steam Early Access. Here is the trailer of the game:

Wolfenstein anniversary & Youngblood updates

Bethesda has released the patch 1.0.3 of Wolfenstein: Youngblood at the beginning of the month with some improvements and crashes fixes, while the patch 1.0.4 has been published some days ago, with the possibility to pause – at last! – the game in solo mode.

Note that the following patch 1.0.5 will add some extra checkpoints and difficulty adjustments in the game, especially for its final boss – waaay to difficult! The support of the ray-tracing for Geforce RTX cards will be enabled in a later patch.
Edit: The patch has been released today August, 28th. Here is the release note.

And this week we celebrate an anniversary: ten years ago, Wolfenstein was released by Raven and id Sofware! A decade before Youngblood, this was the first attempt to make a Wolfenstein game as an open world, with a hub and missions to complete… It also led BJ to some alternate dimensions like the Veil, where he could use his powers to defeat his enemies, while facing some creatures full of energy from this dimension. The boss fight again Hans Grosse was also quite memorable! Here is the launch trailer of the game: