If you have fond memories of mowing down unfortunate pedestrians in Carmageddon or assembling a cinematic masterpiece in Windows 95, we have good news: they’re finally freed from the shackles of closed-source development, along with other old-school games.
Archivist and software developer @Foone announced on Twitter that Jez San, the former CEO of Argonaut Games, had agreed to release the company’s BRender engine as an open source project.
Give it back — It is the engine that propels Carmageddon, Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now (yes, actual title), the mascot platformer Croc: Legend of the Gobbosand Microsoft 3D Movie Creator. It’s quite the assortment of late 90s esotericism.
Microsoft 3D Movie Maker is probably the best known of these creations, a primitive version of Windows Movie Maker that let you create jerky video art that probably looks much better in your memory than it does in real life. (He’s probably best known for popularizing the Comic Sans font. Sorry for that.) Microsoft even implemented an official GitHub page for the open-source release of the game’s code, along with an announcement from Microsoft Community Manager Scott Hanselman.
Open all sources! — So what sparked this unlikely move by a software titan like Microsoft? Well, Foone tweeted the company and asked for it. I guess the direct approach sometimes works. It’s not just empty gesture either – Foone says there are plans to release updated versions of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker which will add features such as better color support and improved stability on 64-bit operating systems.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done to make BRender games work well on your computer, as one of the four or five fans of crocodile and Crocodile 2 there, I wish I could play them with a modern controller. Then again, it’s also 3D platforming with tank controls, so maybe it’s a childhood favorite that we should leave in the past. (As far as I’m concerned, though, I’ll definitely give it a try anyway.)