The precursor to the Jedi Knight series, Dark Forces, recently received a remaster, thanks entirely to modders. The independent software developers known as LuciusDXL, Winterheart, and Gilorem560 just released the first complete build of their Force Engine, an open source version of Dark Forces featuring high resolution graphics and support for current generation hardware.
The first-person shooter by LucasArts Dark Forces came out back in 1995, immediately drawing comparisons to the genre defining Doom. The game follows Kyle Katarn as the character assists the Rebel Alliance in dismantling the top secret Dark Trooper Project being carried out by the Galactic Empire. Dark Forces received largely favorable reviews upon release, going on to sell over a million copies by 1999. The success helped to launch the Jedi Knight series, beginning with a sequel in 1997, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2.
“After three years of development, I am ready to announce the Version 1.0 release of the Force Engine,” the development blog announces. “The Force Engine is a project with the goal to reverse engineer and rebuild the Jedi Engine for modern systems and the games that used that engine, Dark Forces and Outlaws. For Version 1.0, Dark Forces support is complete, but Outlaws is not yet playable. Full Outlaws support is planned in the future for Version 2.0.”
Similar to Dark Forces, Outlaws was a first-person shooter released by LucasArts back in 1997. The game follows James Anderson as the character brings justice to a band of criminals who killed his wife and kidnapped his daughter. Outlaws made use of the same engine as Dark Forces, the Jedi Engine.
“For Dark Forces, the goal is for the Force Engine to act as a viable replacement for DosBox and the original executable for most players,” the development blog explains. “The Force Engine provides modern conveniences and control methods and removes the need to set up DosBox and deal with cycles based bugs such as getting stuck on ice or having the missiles that the final boss fires move too fast or not move at all.”
According to the development blog, the Force Engine “supports modern graphics processing units and high resolution software rendering,” but also features “the original 320×200 fixed-point renderer” in order to keep “the DOS experience for those who want it.”
When it comes to installation, similar to a “traditional source port, you need the original game to play,” the development blog remarks. “The Force Engine replaces the executable, not the game.”
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