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Warcraft 3: Remastered Will Work with Old Custom Maps (playwarcraft3.com)
256 points by axython on Sept 14, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 146 comments

I was the QA Lead for Grapics on WarCraft3. This was Blizzards first 3D game and the early engine was very error prone but with the meticulous attention to detail and the sheer amount of time we spent polishing. This game turned out flawless for its time. Early on there were many models that would glitch and there was a massive artifact issue that would happen in multiplayer games. I’m sure the developers found it very frustrating but we fixed it! The solution was hand crafted per model every time. There were ~800 bugs in graphics.

I suppose the QA teams always have a very acute awareness of the flaws compared to the users. From the perspective of someone who played the game, I thought it was amazing.

Props on the game - it is one of my all time favourites.

Yep. Very true. I have a hard time enjoying WarCraft3 and WoW. Those were work projects. But I shared this feeling playing WarCraft2.

I've played the first retail release version of WarCraft3 and it was indeed flawless, I haven't noticed a single glitch. But I have never tried the multiplayer mode.

Cool thing was it played nicely on my Pentium-II with a Matrox G550 video card which is famous for being great at 2D an very bad at 3D graphics.

Props to the compatibility lab at Blizzard. They worked a lot of overtime with me. I owned a Matrox Millenium card myself for 3DSmax and TruSpace. There was no such thing as truly dedicated gaming cards. Only high end cards for CAD. The gaming card evolution only came after the first GeForce.

I disagree.. There were quite a few gaming-focused graphics cards released during the development of Warcraft 3. - 1996 : 3DFX Voodoo(1) - 1997 : Nvidia Riva 128, ATI Rage Pro, 3DFX Voodoo Rush - 1998 : Nvidia Riva TNT, 3DFX Voodoo2, Banshee, S3 Savage 3D,Matrox G100/200/300, Intel i740, ATI Rage 128, Rage 128 Pro, Rage Fury Maxx - 1999 : Nvidia Riva TNT2/Pro/Ultra, S3 Savage 4/Pro/2000, Power VR, 3DFX Voodoo 3, Nvidia Geforce 256, Matrox G400 - 2000 : 3DFX Voodoo4, Voodoo4, Matrox G450, Nvidia GeForce2/MX/GTS/Ultra, ATI Radeon, etc

Believe me I know, I also loved my monster voodoo card but Nvidia changed the game with GeForce 1 and the record breaking scores in 3Dmark. Nothing really was able to deliver spectacular graphics a̶p̶p̶r̶e̶c̶i̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶f̶o̶r̶m̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ particularly the frustratingly popular rage and embedded intel cards.

That's such a pity people mean spectacular 3D graphics under "appreciable gaming performance". IMHO that's very far from the most important part of a game.

This is a highly subjective opinion.

I played a considerable amount of 3D games on the cards listed prior to the Geforce256's release.

Hardware Transform and Lighting was nice but it wasn't as if the industry didn't exist prior to it's release.

I owned a Riva 128 and I can hardly name it a gaming-focused graphics card. I could play no game in hardware 3D mode with it. The only real 3D cards during the days were 3DFX Voodoo 1-2. And this was many years before WarCraft 3.

Well, there was 3dfx Voodoo before that.

Not sure when development started, but when the game was released the geforce was out for 3 years and the geforce 4 series was already launched.

Modern 3D with modern graphics cards already existed in 1998 with games like Unreal and Half-Life, imho, on the Riva TNT (not the Voodoo with its 16-bit color ;)).

Of course indeed there still was a larger variety of types of graphics cards and drivers then so indeed more work.

It was very important for us to deliver the “WarCraft” experience no matter what computer or language you played. It’s true that it was not the most groundbreaking 3D game in term of what was technically possible i guess.

Was going to say something similar - but thinking about it, games from that time just didn't have many glitches. I don't know if games are just so much more complex now, or there was extra love and attention back then?

>games from that time just didn't have many glitches

What do you mean? It was pretty standard for a game to work on select few(3dfx, nvidia and maybe ATI if you were lucky) graphic chips and glitch/crash on the rest. You often waited 6-12 months for fixed drivers. Original Unreal just crashed on stock Nvidia TNT2 drivers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFqqsYoT4hk

What can I say, my experience was different, or it could just be nostalgia :shrug:

Pre-3D graphics cards I really don't remember having issues like modern games seem to.

Once 3D graphics cards first became a things, maybe I just got lucky with my choices (Voodoo, then Voodoo 2,IIRC).

I'm not saying I had no issues, and downloading large patches over dialup wasn't exactly fun, but I recall bugs being far less frequent.

pre 3d compatibility nightmares: https://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

Gaming graphics indeed is by orders of magnitude more complex today. Insane numbers of polygons, huge textures, lots of effects impossible to render on a CPU. Back in the days I played everything with software (CPU, also very weak as compared to those of today) rendering (as I've never had a Voodoo) and was ok. I wish today games had graphics this simple.

Any other stories from that time? I think a lot of people here would love to hear them.

Ok, one story you'll only hear on HN. There was one notoriously very high payed engineer behind Battle.net. (I think they payed him $500k per year) Anyways, he loathed coming down to QA and intermingling with us minions. But one day he needed to come down and check out a bug in person. He pointed his arms like he needed to take a seat and look at the computer screen. He then pointed at me and without thinking I scurried to find him the nearest chair I could. But there was no such thing as a working chair on the QA floor. And as he sat down the entire chair collapsed and he fell back first on the floor. The QA manager gasped like I dropped the most expensive decorated egg in the world. But it was the most hilarious thing we've ever witnessed down there. After the incident he even stayed and played a round of X-Men vs StreetFighter so it was cool.

> There was one notoriously very high payed engineer behind Battle.net. (I think they payed him $500k per year)

How times have changed. When I hear about an experienced engineer at Google, Facebook, or Microsoft pulling down $500k today, I barely bat an eye.

Industries, not times. Gamedev works in a different pay scale.

Another interesting story is that the engine came from an engineer at Nihilistic who made Descent, a PC pre-cursor to StarFox. It's just that it was never put to work as complicated before, Descent had just 4 perspectives and only a handful of models. WarCraft3 was another beast entirely.

Wow, Descent, man that one just took me way back. I remember one thing: PC struggled as much as I did to go through the game, haha. I can't believe that engine eventually made it to WC3, such a small (and wonderful) world. Thank you so much for the memories, and for sharing!

Yeah, that one took me way back, too. Descent was the first time I'd ever done multiplayer gaming on a computer. I was maybe 12 or 13 and a guy in my neighborhood was some kind of software developer who would take me and my friend to his office on the weekends sometimes to play it on their networked computers.

Good times!

I used to play it with my brother - one of us would aim and the other would move and shoot. Somehow that was easier than playing solo for us.

Years later I revisited the game and discovered it had music! Our old sound card had not been compatible.

if you ever decide to write a collection of these memories.... like a little blurb for reach story, and the things like 40 pages of 40 small stories or something. please put them on gumroad or some easy site where we can buy them . Id' gladly drop a 5$ bill to read a bunch of these on my way to work.

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll strongly consider it and let you know what I can come up with.

Same! I'd be happy to pay for these small nuggets of blizzard history

What was the office like?

It was one medium sized building in an Irvine office park next to the UCI campus. Basically you had an auditorium that opened to QA with 3 awesome coin-ops in free play. I’m still having a hard time finding exact replicas of these games in any arcade. Then you had a small upstairs section with a few offices.

I’ve always been curious - what would you say was the driver internally behind the legendary “Blizzard polish” back then? What made that happen?

I recommend the World of Warcraft diary. It's 300 pages, has some awesome stories and pictures, and just as a good job of telling how blizzard made WoW have in 2001-2004.


The author did an actual diary and interviewed people back while the game was being produced and immediately after it shipped. He wrote most of his book back in 2006 but didn't publish it until this year.

A tireless focus on delivery.

The QA manager came out of his office one day with a critical announcement. He was angry that we started taking a more quantitative approach to QA, producing lateral results and accomplishing little to nothing. Remember guys you’re number one task is to have fun. This was quite the eye opener for me. So wait I’m supposed to work at Blizzard and have fun? That just didn’t seem right so I just focused on the graphics.

People would come into QA with an ambition to join another budding internal team like cinematic’s and sound and did their best in QA to showcase their work ethic and ambition.

Team members were often treated to company goodies and publicly acknowledged for hard work.

In short we felt important.

I tried to break the war3 engine as a youth, pushing it to weird limits in the map editor. Can confirm war3 doesn't break. Will forever be a staple game in my library.

I've always been quietly impressed how well war3's JASS and map editor works as an introduction to programming and how games work. The sc2 editor is too complex for teenage fun IMO.

i still play tft on battlnet. its small now, not many games hosted, but you can still find cool stuff. i was always impressed when the game was big how smooth the game played when custom maps added custom abilities and spells. dota (2005/2006) would add new heros with each release and the game performed well. it still has great animations

The story of making the Starcraft 1 custom maps work on the remaster is pretty amazing:


Basically a lot of the maps were using a buffer overflow in the scripting to read and write all kinds of internal data structures in the game engine. If you're rewriting a game from scratch, how can you possibly make the new engine bug-compatible with the original to this extent? A single data structure's layout or a single variable's location changing will break everything.

I wonder whether there are any similar landmines in Warcraft 3?

No. We mostly played by the rules in wc3. Back in the day we used the so called return bug which years later was shown to be able to be used for arbitrary code execution. This was quickly fixed but we got new natives to account for this loss. [1] Not as long ago there was another bug found which could be abused to run arbitrary bytecode [2] but that again was fixed a patch or two later and nowadays i don't know of any way to run any non-jass/non-lua code. We mostly get changes in the natives provided by wc3 in newer patches which sometimes break backwards compability. [3]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JASS#Return_Bug_Security_Vulne...

[2]: https://www.hiveworkshop.com/threads/accessing-memory-from-t...

[3]: https://www.hiveworkshop.com/threads/1-28-x-era-versions-bre...

> If you're rewriting a game from scratch, how can you possibly make the new engine bug-compatible with the original to this extent?

Well you have the original source so you can derive the memory map and then just create an artificial "buffer overflow area" where the maps can write to that you then copy into the actual game data.

According to the slides that plan fails already at step 1 :)

> Unfortunately, we did not have private or public symbols for StarCraft 1.16.1.

And then there are all kinds of complications that make the naive approach insufficient. Ok, you have a static memory map. But that's not really enough when the buffer overflows are being used to poke at dynamically allocated data structures (e.g. linked lists and GUI elements).

So you need to basically emulate the full original game and constantly sync the state (in both directions) between the emulation and the real game.

Yep, and that's exactly what StarCraft: Remastered did, according to that PDF. It wasn't easy, though.

Art and creativity thrives with constraints, this is truly an impressive feat of breakout artistry. It reminds me of that tool-assisted speedrun of Pokemon where they reprogram the game to become Super Mario.

Do know where these slides were presented? I'd like to find a recording if possible.

At REcon Brussels, in 2018: https://recon.cx/2018/brussels/talks/Starcraft.html

If you find a recording, I'd love to see it too.

~20 min of googling didn't turn anything up unfortunately - I could only find recordings from the year before.

Wow, really enjoyed reading that. Thank you!

I feel torn in so many dimensions.

On the one hand, one of the greatest games of all time gets remade. And I feel humbled that we're able to make giants over decades — Star Trek, Cobol, Warcraft have my respect.

But on the other hand, it also speaks of a dire lack of creativity as we speak, or boldness, maybe both. The general trend of remakes is also about fixing problems we too often created for ourselves in the first place..

cough DRM — cough solo/LAN requiring online servers cough

Ahh, why can't it simply be WC4, all new and shiny and yet with better mechanics and player/customer freedom than any previous installment? I'm a simple man, I just ask for evolution.

Still confused whether I should be thrilled or disheartened or just 'meh'.

I think we’ve seen this with films as well; everything’s a remake, a sequel, or at best based on an already successful property from another medium. I’ve always assumed it’s a risk thing; as the budgets and visual expectations for games and films have skyrocketed, risk aversion has increased (if you’re spending a few hundred million, it MUST sell) and the victim is design for games, and storytelling for both.

> Still confused whether I should be thrilled or disheartened or just 'meh'.

Most remakes and remasters I'm usually just "meh". But every once in a while a truly special one comes along that thrills me.

I'm not sure if WC3 is one of the special ones; but I am fairly certain that the new Zelda: Link's Awakening for Switch is! Another special one that thrilled me was AM2R (Metroid 2 remake).

My theory is many great people left from blizzard.. they're trying to milk what they can with as low as budget and a team as possible.

I think it all started with WoW, when they realized how much more money they could make by going for things with the most mainstream appeal (which is why they now have Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm and such). It's way more bang for their buck compared to making a true improvement on a classic like Warcraft. Many other entertainment companies have realized the same, once they've gotten big enough.

Starcraft 2 is still quite good, though, IMO, and they still pay a lot of attention to keeping it as balanced as possible. I still find the high-level tournaments very entertaining to watch.

Things did change during wow. Three of the top guys left to do Guildwars. Blizzard North slowly collapsed after D2 and wow. Now blizzard is more the Anaheim guys than anything else.

Eh my friends and I generally don’t have the time/patience to get good at a new RTS, so its hard to get everyone excited for one, but we have been thoroughly enjoying revisiting Starcraft 1 with the remaster, and it’s something we all know how to play. So this is one of the cases where I think it’s warranted (especially since it brings higher res and aspect ratio support in that case, unsure if WC3 needs it).

I'm in the exact same boat. I feel like the game industry has made this really distasteful shift, of the big AAA companies just adding shoe-shine on existing projects -- whether that's servicing a SaaS like League of Legends or World of WarCraft, or doing remake after remake of Age of Empires, Homeworld, StarCraft, Final Fantasy, etc, while leaving all the innovation and creativity to be explored at the expense of indies, mod creators or mapmakers. DOTA2, LoL, and the entire MOBA craze was spawned because of the success of a custom WC3 map, and since then AAA have 100% adopted this as an R&D strategy. DayZ/H1Z1 from the mod community spawning battle royale, DOTA Auto Chess custom map spawning DOTA Underlords, TFT, and Epic Games' Auto Chess (the newer big trend).

Once in a half decade we get a AAA game with a novel concept or a new IP (Overwatch, Fortnite maybe?), but even sequels are starting to just feel like polishing phases or DLCs on a tested IP and gameplay formula.

The indies used to look to the AAA for inspiration and something to aspire to, but the tables have turned in a way exemplifying the capitalism and diluting the art of the medium.

Overwatch is a riff on the class-based FPS genre, which was pioneered by Team Fortress, a game that started its life as a Counter Strike mod.

Team Fortress started as Quake1 mod, which then Valve made to a Half-Life mod TFC, and later as the TF2 [1]. Also Counter-Strike was a mod as well which again Valve made official versions of.

I started with the Quake TF and now still pay TF2 sometimes. Basically been playing the same game for ~20 years.


Some games are just good so you can play them for a long time. As long as there is a community. I occasionally fire up HL deathwatch and have people playing. Plus CS:S is almost 15 years old and that is quite active (surf communities anyway)

* Quake mod

Fortnight was a rip off of PUBG which was arguably developed from Arma as a mod originally (spun off of the DayZ mod there was a sort of Battle Royale mode).

No argument/doubt, Brenden Greene was the guy behind all those in some manner, shape or form.

The bigger the budget the smaller the risk taken. This is pretty natural. AAA studios don't take risk because budgets have ballooned so much. The team that made Warcraft 3 would be considered a "medium sized AA team" roughly akin to Dauntless today.

Blizzard is a shadow of its former self.

"I feel torn". This is the power of exploitation. Why create anything new when you can just remaster your old products? Blizzards latest business venture has been reselling memories.

I guess they're jumping on the nostalgia train that's been chugging along for the last few years (so many remakes!).

Perhaps they're testing the waters for a Warcraft 4? It's been since 2004 when Warcraft stopped being an RTS, yet Classic WoW made a lot of people return.

I'm slightly hopeful.

I recently pre-ordered and got access to the original wc3 which they've since patched with updates.

I started working on a new custom map, which now has support for Lua and all kinds of new natives like UI natives that allow you to completely customize the UI.

Unfortunately, the debugging tools are abysmal. There is currently a player desync happening in multiplayer in my map (somehow different players disagree with their local emulation), but I am given absolutely zero information about it. No stack traces, there's no way to add breakpoints or logs, prints slow things down to a crawl and so aren't really reasonable to try to debug with either. I've done manual tests slowly by removing parts of code, but due to the random nature of the desync, it's really challenging to solve anything this way. Even if I remove some modules and can't get a desync anymore, doesn't mean it's fixed - it's possible I just never hit the specific circumstance that causes it.

Whenever errors occur during load, I just get an error dialog with an empty box. Whenever errors occur during runtime, it just stifles the error and continues without logging or warning or anything. Lua has `debug.traceback()` but it seems Blizzard has prevented calling it. It's like trying to code without a compiler, without stack traces and without a debugger. Very challenging.

I'm extremely excited for reforged, but I really hope there are better debugging tools added for Lua (perhaps for JASS as well, although I'm not as familiar with the need there). If anyone from Blizzard is reading this, I'd say that's my number one concern right now.

The first thing I do is to wrap the entire Lua script in a pcall in order to intercept and display occurring exceptions.

As for desyncs there is https://www.hiveworkshop.com/threads/desync-checker-for-jass...

The archive contains text files which are very helpful in understanding which functions are responsible for desyncs.

The `pcall` thing is interesting, didn't think of that. Will it apply to anonymous functions as well? For example, if I wrap my main in pcall, and then set up trigger calls, I expect the pcall won't apply to whenever the trigger callbacks are hit.

As for the desync checker, I've been down that rabbit hole - I removed every async method from the codebase and still had desync issues. I am starting to suspect its an issue with some new native that I am not thinking of, but it's a very slow process to track it down, since I need to get ~5 random players in my game every time to test it, and even if no desync happens it doesn't really mean its solved.

Yea the trigger actions need to be wrapped in a pcall too.

Because of that I made a function for trigger creation which wraps the provided action in a pcall.

How did you get access to the original w3? I mean where did you get the keys?

Once you pre-order, you can log in via your battle.net account to get access. You can download the game from here: https://www.blizzard.com/en-us/download/

The issue is that it doesn't show in my Battle.net launcher. After I downloaded the game I was asked to enter the Key. Anyway I've purchased a key from a 3rd party seller/marketplace(g2a).

You can (could?) buy it straight from Blizzard, I did that a couple years back. It doesn't show in the Battle.net launcher, only in your games list on the website.

I Still have all my original copies of all my blizzard games with CD keys from the original Warcraft and diablo up to Warcraft 3. I enjoyed Warcraft 3 but I always liked 2 and its exapansions better. I wasn't a big fan of the the expanded RPG elements and to be honest i never really liked the way the story went. I also never got into WoW so I was kind of sad to see the franchise change so drastically after and still hope, fruitlessly I feel, there'll be a Warcraft 4 with a return to the solid RTS roots of the first 2 games.

Warcraft was the first RTS I ever played and the first game I remember going to a computer store to buy. I remember seeing the box and that was the game I wanted. I read through the manual, eagerly awaited the never released Warcraft adventures and played Warcraft over and over. When the second one came out it blew my mind. It made everything about the first one better and expanded the story pretty well. It introduced other races, increased unit speed drastically, added aerial and naval combat, got rid of the ridiculous road system and just felt like such an awesome improvement. It was the first game I played over lan. I remember playing with my cousins and my brother when we got a newer computer and had the old one hooked up still. It was amazing to me.

I never felt the same way about Warcraft 3. The 3d graphics were cool, though I didn't really like how cartoonish it all became, I enjoyed the additional races, but it didn't really feel the same. It felt like they took those really annoying maps from the first Warcraft where you had a hero and had to go through those dungeon cave things and made an entire game around it. I played through it all and the expansions, but I don't remember it as fondly. It may have just been that point in my life where I was becoming more disenchanted with video games overall, but the series is still one of those special ones to me. Even if I probably spent far more time with StarCraft and diablo 2. I was addicted to diablo 2 for a while, I can't play games like that any more.

The hero mechanic is what made WC3 WC3... If you weren't a hero-guy, go with undead, their heros were 50% supplementary and stupidly weak, and you could just focus on your army. Orc was like 90% hero action though, with a single Blademaster being the equivalent of an entire army at the cost of the fact that orc armies were stupid expensive and their air-force was laughably horrible (except the year or so when wyvern poison was massively overpowered)... And this was representative of the racial strengths as a whole, orc grunts were the most expensive, and most powerful of the tier 0 fighters, and undead ghouls were the expendable zerglings. It's one kind of rush to see two 300 apm pros go at it in SC with max-food armies, and entirely another to see a level 10 demon-hunter face off solo against a lv 6 archmage, lv5 mountain king and lv 3 paladin. Additionally adding in terrain hazards of creeps and day/night and manipulable trees made battlefield mechanics so much more interesting than the colonial line-warfare of SC. The decision to drop food limits in WC3 compared to SC (dramatically limiting max army size) was purposely done to enhance this difference. The inclusion of items was less about RPG elements and more about tactical versatility allowing heroes mercurial abilities to shift roles at the drop of a hat.

The addition of heroes made early game harassment, specifically the sub-2 minute fastbuild archmage rush, possible and exciting, much more interesting than zergling-rushes.

It was a new game, WC2 was great but it was chess, all sides exactly equal in all cases (except I think 1-2 ogre-mage vs paladin spells). SC was an incredible feat because each race was distinct yet balanced. WC3 was just as much a feat because they maintained that balance (with notable exceptions, like the year or so when sorc-rushes just dominated all levels of competitive play) with the introduction of super-units.

Also WC3 is definitely RTS more than RPG, I mean one of the first basics one learns is peasant pathing with farms to optimize gold-flow... or fog-of-war manipulation to distract the enemy by popping a single unit in and out of their sightlines while you're busy elsewhere... If you watch pros playing in first-person camera-mode you'll see that 50% of the action during battle is base-management. Battle could conceivably be considered more distraction than main-thrust.

Replying here because you mentioned WarCraft 2.

For whatever reason, while I love watching others play 3D MMORPG, I personally prefer to play 2D or 2.5D (Diablo 2, Dungeon Keeper, old school FF Tactics).

FFT is one of the greatest games of all time. It has a little community of people making custom mechanics / storylines / etc.: http://ffhacktics.com/

Thanks. That's very encouraging.

I love the UI, mechanics of Polytopia on iOS. I'm eagerly awaiting a Final Fantasy Tactics with a similar touch-centric UI.

I think you're SOL, it seems like StarCraft is their "pure" RTS brand and Warcraft is their hero-driven brand.

Unfortunately I doubt it will still have LAN.

A sorely missed feature that makes a game really feel like it's yours after purchase rather than just on lease until the servers shut down.

I'd be happily corrected about this though.

This is Blizzard. They're still running the "Battle.net" servers for games they released over 20 years ago.

What about when Blizzard doesn't exists anymore ?

This summer with a group of friends we wanted to play Battlefied 2 (2005), official support for that game ended years ago, and even with the unofficial patches, we couldn't play in a fully offline LAN, the game needs to ping a specific server to enable, even local, multiplayer.

Blizzard already doesn't exist, it's all Activision and the future of their games is to take all the dark patterns they can think of and run all the players through a funnel of obfuscated currency and gambling and call the ones who emerge spending thousands "whales".

A depressingly accurate description for most AAA publishers these days.

Not that this is really new, but thanks to MTX it's been pretty much-raining money for them, massively rewarding them for these anti-consumer methods.

By now stuff that used to be reserved to F2P skinnerware, has slowly been creeping its way into full-priced games as "extra" monetization.

Add Google Stadia, with every big name in gaming following the trail, and people won't even be owning the hardware the game is running on anymore. It's all quite dystopian..

Heh, from the looks of things, there are a number of people interested in playing BF2 in this day and age, even if only for nostalgic reasons. It's quite a pity that EA doesn't offer us that satisfaction, I'm quite sure a number of us would all go "Shut up and take my money!" about it.

If you go to the official BF2 website (I was surprised it still exists and is hosted) and click on "Buy", they redirect you to the 2016 "Battlefield 1" game.

...no EA, that's not how it works, then don't have any money from me at all.

An interested group will reverse engineer and reimplement the server-side components.

Even if, like for BF2, you can patch (cough hack intellectual property) the game to change what server it has to ping to enable "online" play, it will still needs a, as you say, third party benevolent group and we still won't be able to do what I was trying to do, which is a basic, fully offline LAN gameplay.

My friends and I often play BF2 remotely on a vLAN through a VPN, so we are quite used to BF2 networks tricks, and I thought we could trick the game, no luck.

If you can get your hands on the very first, unpatched version, it should work. I got that to run in an offline LAN setting.

EDIT: I remember now what the problem was, running a co-op local game. They'd allow you to do a LAN game, but not with bots. A friend of mine played it locally in single-player, and I'd use my online account to connect with IP, a button which was only unlocked if you used an online account. You may be able to work around it by specifying the IP address to connect to in the windows shortcut for launching the game.

EDIT2: I may or may have not been using a crack at the time, not sure if that has anything to do with requiring an online connection...

Where's the reverse-engineered server for bf2?

AFAIK, vanilla BF2 has more or less been abandoned by the BF2 community for this.

I'm not sure how they reworked the entire thing, so I'm guessing you might find the source-code/reverse-engineered stuff somewhere.

"Project Reality: Battlefield 2 is a free-to-download single and multiplayer game modification for the Battlefield 2 (BF2) retail Microsoft Windows PC game. Project Reality installs alongside your existing Battlefield 2 game installation, allowing both the original game and Project Reality to be played separately without conflict."


Question - is it really that hard to achieve this? Seems like something you could throw in a VM and call it a day. Especially with the way things are scaling vs 20 year old games. Presumably you can run the entire world's worth of 20 year games off a crappy VM

It's additional attack surface which they have to maintain. Consider that those servers probably need access to customer's personal information for licensing and authentication reasons.

SC Remastered has a LAN mode, we used it earlier this week. So there’s some hope, at least.

It's kinda strange that the LAN feature keeps not being added to new games, since setting up a LAN nowadays is super easy compared to the late 90s.

Well, the old games are still around and still fun. Also, there's open-source games, which generally do multiplayer via LAN only.

At my last LAN party, we were six people in a room without internet connection [1]. I brought a bunch of open-source games and ZIP archives of classic games with No-CD patches and put them on a plain HTTP server for distribution. We mostly played WC3 (with the original Dota map) and Widelands (a Settlers 2 clone), but everyone's favorite was Empty Epsilon (the OSS clone of Star Trek Bridge Simulator).

[1] #Neuland :)

One thing I don't see mentioned here is how important for history it is to be compatible with those old mad. WC3 was where the tower defense game was invented, where DOTA was invented, and where a dozen other smaller sub-genres of games were invented. Being able to play those again will be incredibly important for future generations.

I think tower defense was originally a SC custom map? I might be wrong. It got huge with... WC3s Wintermaul?'s version? I think... I'm disappointed most modern versions are pre-pathed instead of build-a-pathed. Build-a-path adds a whole new element to your strat depending on your faction. Zerg-like factions thrive on building ultra-long linear paths, protoss-like factions are good building wrapping paths leading the enemy past expensive cannons multiple times. In desperate times you can block the path and take enemy assault to the towers instead of letting them walk. So much more depth than pre-pathed nonsense

Not sure if it'll be important but it'd be fun for sure! Think I'll have no luck on Linux though.. blizzard does not give Linux any love :(

The original works great in Wine!

Oh I’d be thrilled to play WC3 Tower Defence again. Those were loads of fun.

Amazing how WC3 maps were responsible for both MOBAs and Tower Defence, two of the most popular genres of all time, both moreso than conventional RTSs at this point

Tower defense maps were a thing back in the Starcraft days too, but the game engine was a big limiting factor. WC3 opened things up a ton.

Aeon of strife was moba games in sc1 too. Its interesting to watch game modes develop over decades.

Pretty much any genre you can imagine was emulated with WC3 custom maps.

Proto-MOBAs and tower defense games were basically singlehandedly popularized by WC3, of course. Some of the WC3 TDs, like Wintermaul Wars, were way more complex than the mobile games you see today, though -- they involved strategies like building truly gigantic mazes to expose enemies to more tower fire and precisely angled walls that took advantage of quirks in the pathing AI to confuse enemies and keep them in the kill zone juuust long enough. Some of them were really unique, too. Battle Ships combined MOBA mechanics with the auto-firing of a tower defense game. Skibi's Castle TD had a ton of unique Mario-Party-style minigames that you'd play against the other players between waves.

There was also a whole genre of reverse tower defense games, where you would buy and upgrade tons of units that would automatically march into the middle to battle enemy units, until one pushed far enough to take out the enemy's bases. Or until there were so many units on the map that the game crashed. But what a spectacle it was.

There were games that were sort of a mashup of RTSes and Betrayl/Secret Hitler, in that every player built villages but one was secretly a "werewolf" whose goal was to convert all the other players.

There was a game called Darwin's Island and other similar ones in an "evolution" genre, which were basically prototypes of Spore.

There were games similar to Civ/Risk played on a map of the world.

RPGs based on popular books and movies were super common, and some were as as good as or better than missions in the WC3 standard RPG campaign. Some the multiplayer ones incorporated a system where you could serialize your stats as a code that you could copy and paste into the next game you played to start were you left off.

There was a CTF-style game called Tree Tag where one player was an infernal who had to tag the other players (treants), who could build defenses and countermeasures as they hid. Then if they got tagged, they'd be sent to jail, where other players could rescue them.

Board games like chess and checkers were common too.

There were platformers like Run Kitty Run.

Even micro-MMOs like Life in the City where you basically just hung out, got a "job", and played some resource gathering minigame. Some of them were crazy complicated, several-megabyte maps with some players playing as institutions and others as citizens. Of course there were fantasy and sci fi themed ones as well.

The best part was that there was zero quality control, because anyone could edit anyone's map, so you constantly encountered variations and remixes of popular maps. Apart from a handful of very popular main maps, you often had no idea what you were going to get.

>The best part was that there was zero quality control, because anyone could edit anyone's map, so you constantly encountered variations and remixes of popular maps. Apart from a handful of very popular main maps, you often had no idea what you were going to get.

Absolutely the best part. It was so easy to modify maps and just try stuff. You could play a brand new game every night. So much creative flourishing, constantly inventing multiple genres. You might even give it credit for AutoChess since the Dota mod was inspired by a similar Pokemon WC3 map.

It looks like the most comprehensive map archive site went down and never came back up -- all those maps will be lost in time.

>It looks like the most comprehensive map archive site went down and never came back up -- all those maps will be lost in time.

epicwar.com's first map was uploaded in Feb 2005. And now there's wc3maps.com, which automatically archives ~all hosted maps.

Wow man, so many good memories on that post. I used love a coop tower defense called "Autumn Crossing TD". It was awesome. There was also a Dragon-Ball themed RPG map that was so so much fun.

One that you didn't mention and I used to play a lot was Hero Line maps. Those were super fun as well. Thanks for the throw-back!

> because anyone could edit anyone's map

Unfortunately, a lot of people started "protecting" their maps, which made it a lot more difficult to truly edit other maps (still easy to insert cheats and somewhat easy to fix bugs).

and LOL

LoL is a moba.

“Probability of success: zero.” “An elf would have thought of something better.”

Came here to say this. That was my favorite part of all of WC3, trying out all of the wacky TD coop mods

Never tried it. Link?

They came in many flavours, but Cube Defense is fairly representative.

It's a bit like Tetris, in that the game proceeds in levels. Each level, a wave of enemies would run from their spawn point to the centre of the map. All you can do is build defense towers to kill them off as they run through your build area.

Most waves are ground units, and you can arrange your towers in such a way that those units must spend more time walking through your area, which means each of your towers can fire more times. Every so often there would be an air unit round, and this maze approach doesn't work. Some towers have special attributes, like slowing an enemy unit with cold damage.


Thanks a lot!

He talking about any TD like famous Green TD:


Thank you!

Interesting - will they only work with the latest patch (1.12 I think?) as custom maps did? There were some breaking changes that meant you couldn’t use older versions of maps.

I’m very excited for this - so much creativity flowed out of that map maker - it created (or rather, popularized) multi billion dollar genres in MOBAs and tower defense. Hope wintermaul wars gets popular - that was one of my favorites.

Island Troll Tribes was one of my favorites. I wonder if this will also create a DotA 1 scene (though IceFrog will not work on it).

Hi! I am the original author of Island Troll Tribes and I’m glad you like my map! Fun fact: I started making that map in 9th grade and eventually handed it over to another dev during my freshman year of college. Now I’m a lead software engineer; its amazing how time flies. Maybe I will pick it back up again, who knows :)

we used to bot the hell out of battle net so we could do private leagues or private lobbies with ban lists for people who left early or trolled or were abusive. It was a better random player experience than they currently have in dota2 and league of legends

A similar story about Blizzard adapting WoW's original art assets and game data to a modern game engine for WoW Classic:

"Restoring History: Creating WoW Classic Panel Recap"


While a new story and characters ie Warcraft 4 would be awesome I actually really like this idea. WC3 is a perfect game, refreshing graphics is the only thing I really want and maybe this will get some younger people to try a game they might have written off otherwise.

I don't care about the graphics, I just want support returned. I quit when they dropped support because ladder just became a maphack infested hot mess

This is incredible news. So many genres of games came from these.

I am looking forward to this release. I really like some of the older strategy games (Dark Reign, Total Annihilation, Warcraft) but they don't "age well" relative to newer games and it is nice to be able to re-create that feeling of amazement but now on a 2K or 4K screen rather than on a 1280x800 screen.

Very very cool, though I remain a bit sad about the lack of love from Bliz to Warcraft 2. :(

Previously they said they weren't interested in any remasters because they didn't think anyone would play it.

It's a nice simple RTS game. We wouldn't be where we're at now in the genre without it!

Bit of a mixed bag here. The editor updates are nice, but they break all of the superior community created tooling. And a custom map I made a decade or so ago now seems to crash regularly, along with having a few minor but important pieces of it broken.

Blizzard is now doing only remasters? Starcraft, World of Warcraft and now Warcraft 3.

Where on the page does it say that it will work with old custom maps?

This is great, but I assume we now have to deal with Blizzard’s always-online DRM shenanigans.

I would like to be able to play games on LAN and not be required to connect to the web all the time.

Visuals looks awful compared to what Valve achieved with source2 and dota2, but not sure if this fair comparison.

Sweet, hopefully we can get some footies games going, I always thought it was far more enjoyable than dota.

Activision & Blizzard is scam & spy business.

You are the product for the shareholders & CEOs.

Learning that there will be a C&C remaster and a WC3 remaster made my day

Would be nice to get a Warcraft 2 remastered. Like we have for Homeworld

Does anyone remember "Tides of Blood"?

Hope to find some Dota Classic 3.76b games!

Release date?

Ugh this looks so addicting

dota lives

When I was tinkering with dota map, it used abysmal number of various hacks. I doubt that it'll work.

Blizzard knows their audience. I fully expect that the DotA maps are among their test cases. :)

wintermaul lives!

Legion TD Mega lives!!


A little refresh on actual HN guidelines:

"Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it. "


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