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The State Of XReaL, OpenWolf Game Engines

Gaming

Published on 01 December 2012 11:28 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Gaming
10 Comments

While this week saw the release of the Doom 3 BFG source-code and word that a Sauerbraten update and a major Alien Arena advancement advancement are forthcoming, what's the state of the impressive XReaL open-source game engine and the similar OpenWolf engine?

OpenWolf and XReaL really haven't been talked about in months, but that's not because I dropped the ball, but because both open-source game projects have unfortunately stalled.

XReaL, an advanced fork of the id Tech 3 engine, back in 2009 was almost looking like it could be the most advanced open-source game engine. It was really great back then with an OpenGL 3.x renderer being worked on by the engine's main developer along with a horde of other visual improvements to the open-sourced id Software engine.

Originally the plan for XreaL was to have its own standalone game too, but its main developer was more concerned about just advancing the technical side of the game engine and worrying less about art assets and other game-play aspects. Ultimately, it was just a playground for experimenting with engine improvements. Even so, last year saw the release of ET-XReal when the XReaL modifications were merged with the open-source Enemy Territory code-base.

There really hasn't been XReaL engine adoption elsewhere and sadly its development has stalled, at least in the public-facing repository. The last commit to the XReaL SVN repository was back in August. Among the activity to XReaL over the summer was re-enabling cube-map generation during map loading, refactoring the GLSL shader construction, fixing the GLSL optimizer, GL Shading Language caching support, updating GLEW, and merging some features from the OpenWolf GL renderer.

A similar project has been OpenWolf, which had been making strides to modernize the Enemy Territory code-base and become the "perfect combination" among the id Tech 3 engines out there like ioquake3 and XreaL. Among the features to OpenWolf were 64-bit support, a modern OpenGL 3.2 renderer shared from XreaL, MySQL database support, Newton game physics support, IPv6 handling, Ogg vorbis audio, an SDL back-end, multi-user support, multi-view support, Mumble positional audio, and a whole lot more.

In a similar state to XReaL, the OpenWolf Git repository hasn't seen any new activity since September.

Hopefully XReaL and OpenWolf (along with the more recent id Tech 4 open-source projects) will see a revival, ideally with some new contributors too, so that these open-source game engines can advance and perhaps one day prove to be competitive with the proprietary competition.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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