Wolfenstein 3D Clone Makes Arduboy Debut

The 8-bit Arduboy isn’t exactly a powerhouse by modern gaming standards, or even really by old school standards for that matter. But for the talented developers that produce software for the system, that’s just part of the challenge. To date the monochromatic handheld has seen miniaturized takes on many well-known games, with several taxing the hardware beyond what most would have assumed possible.

But the latest entry into this catalog of improbable software, WolfenduinoFX, is easily the most technically impressive. As the name implies, this is a “demake” of 1992’s iconic¬†Wolfenstein 3D. It features 10 levels based on the original game’s shareware release, with the enemies, weapons, and even secret rooms lovingly recreated for the Arduboy’s 128 x 64 OLED display.

Arduboy FX Mod-Chip

Now, those of you who have experience working with the ATMega32u4 microcontroller at the heart of the Arduboy might think this is impossible…and you’d be right. The only way developer [James Howard] was able to pull this feat off was by leveraging the extended flash memory offered by the Arduboy FX.

This upgrade, which was developed in conjunction with the community, allows the handheld to hold hundreds of games by loading them from an SPI flash chip. For WolfenduinoFX, that flash chip is used to hold graphical assets for the game that would otherwise be too large to fit on the MCU alone.

When we looked at the Arduboy FX back in 2021, it was clearly a must-have upgrade, so it’s no wonder that the newest version of the handheld has the capability built-in. Now that games are actually requiring the expanded flash to function, it seems we’ve officially entered into a new era for the quirky little handheld that [Kevin Bates] first sent our way nearly a decade ago. Long live the Arduboy!

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Wolfenstein 3D, As You Never Imagined It.

When tracing the history of first-person shooting (FPS) games, where do you credit with the genesis of the genre? Anyone who played 3D Monster Maze on the Sinclair ZX81 might dare to raise a hand, but we’re guessing that most of you will return to the early 1990s, and id Software. Their 1992 title Wolfenstein 3D might not have been the first to combine all the elements, but it’s arguably the first modern FPS and the first to gain huge popularity. Back in 1992 it needed at least a VGA card and a 286 to run, but here in 2023 [jhhoward] has taken it back a step further. You can now slay virtual Nazis in 3D on an 8088 PC equipped with a lowly CGA card.

Whether the gameplay survives in the sometimes-bizarre CGA color schemes and whether it becomes too pedestrian on an 8088 remains as an exercise for the reader to discover, but it’s a feat nevertheless. The textures all need converting to CGA mode before they can be used and there are even versions for the shareware and paid-for versions of the game.¬† It’s possible that an 8088 may never be able to say yes to “Will it run DOOM?”, but at least now it can run the predecessor.

Wolfenstein In 600 Lines Of Code

What’s more impressive, the fact that this Wolfenstein-like game is 600 lines of code, or that it’s written in AWK?

AWK is a language primarily used for text processing. But if you can write code the world bows to your wishes. [Fedor Kalugin] leverages the ability of a Linux terminal’s color options to draw his game. The 3D aspect is produced through ray-casting which generates a 2D image from 3D coordinates.

Trying out the game is extremely simple, install gawk, clone the repo, and play:

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