Dark Realms
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4/7/17: After 10 years of hiatus, Dark Realms is back!

Ten years ago, after having released version 3.0 of my Hexen mod, I quietly shelved it for a variety of reasons. Now I have decided to revive this old project and complete it once and for all. Hexen remains one of my all-time favourite games, and the fact that, 20+ years after its release, a sizeable community is still modding with it, testifies to its status as a classic. In fact, seeing all these new Hexen mods coming out definitely inspired me to return to modding.

Today's release, version 3.1, sees substantially improved map design, more direct and mature dialogue, and some major bug fixes. One of the maps has been entirely redone from scratch, making it much more exciting. Many other maps have been expanded.

FOR THE NEWEST VERSION OF DARK REALMS, CLICK HERE: http://www.moddb.com/mods/dark-realms/downloads/dark-realms-v31-latest-release

Fans can absolutely expect further releases in the future. I can cautiously predict a version 3.2 towards the end of this year, which will feature more advanced coding that takes advantage of ZDoom's capabilities. Following that, a version 4.0 would include, at long last, the fourth hub which will wrap up the project. Fans can expect that around mid-2018, but hey, maybe you will get lucky and see it sooner.

From now on, all future releases of Dark Realms will also include a bonus mini-mod: The Elven Gathering, the official prequel. Today's release thus includes version 1.1 of TEG, its first update in almost 11 years. This mod was feared to be lost forever, but miraculously I was able to recover it. Aside from some minor texture and dialogue tweaks, it remains nearly identical to the previous 2006 edition. The next edition will be much bigger.

Take care everyone!

1/31/10: Management relegated to Necromancer
From now on, this project shall be carried out under the direction of Necromancer, an avid fan of the Korax' Heritage and a frequent visitor of the forums.  All blueprints and files of Dark Realms have been granted to him and he shall - presumably - finish the project as his creativity sees fit.  He may be contacted through the KH board.  I, on the other hand, am retiring from the video game scene in order to pursue other life interests.  Best wishes to Necromancer and the fondest of memories to Dark Realms.

12/31/07: I failed you -_-
Sorry guys, no release.  But anyway, screw that 3.1 update, I'm just gonna rush ahead with the 4th hub and finish it whenever it's done.  But happy new year! And here's proof 2008 will be a prosperous year:

2008: 2 + 0 + 0 + 8 = 10
10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1 = 55
5 + 5 = 10

Even better,
4+3+2+1 = 10

Note that 4, 3, 2, and 1 form a triangle

And a triangle has 3 sides.  3 is a harmonious number in the universe.  After all, 3 is the magic number in jokes, and there is the time signature 3/4 in music, common in the waltz.  There are 3 classes in Hexen.  Blablaba.

So, 2008 is going to be a prosperous year.  And that doesn't surprise me: the numbers fit.

8/31/07: There will be a 3.1 before a 4th hub
While playing the third hub again, I encountered a critical crash and so am compelled to investigate it to ensure the stability of the existing maps.  I also have discovered several minor bugs, which accumulate and so must be addressed.  Of course this will delay progress towards the new hub, but I've been giving it some thought and I do think some of the existing maps (especially the Ice Pits) could use a makeover.  No release date yet, but the current goal is this coming December at the latest.  In the meantime, feel free to drop me any advice you have either in terms of bug-fixing, map-refining, or whatever.

After 3.1, progress will resume on 4.0 as usual.

6/20/07: Fourth Hub is in progress!
As promised, Dark Realms will contain four hubs, three of which are complete, and the last of which is now under construction.  Of course plans may change regarding what goes into the new one, but here is how it looks so far:

  • 4 new maps.  However, 1 of them is divided into 6 map parameters, for reasons explained in the next bulletin.  Therefore, while there are only 4 levels, there will be 9 new maps.
  • These 6 maps take place on a giant spherical object in space, like a moon or a small planet.  You will be able to walk across the entire circumference of this object, in any direction.  Hopefully this diagram explains well (each face of this cube represents one of the 6 maps, and the edges represent the one-sided linedefs that you cross in order to enter another map):
      /|     /|
      / |2  6/ |
    /__|___/  |
    |3 |___|__|
    |  1   |4 /
    | / 5  | /
  • Since the 3rd hub has 3 different endings, the 4th one will have not only 3 different endings, but also 3 different beginnings.
This is all the concrete stuff at the moment.  More to come as progress continues! And unfortunately, because of my hectic summer plans, topped with this hub not being the most forgiving of ambitions, you may not see it for at least 6 months.  :(

Also, a reminder to all of you to report ANY mysterious behaviour in the latest release! If it turns out to be a bug, it must be fixed!

5/10/07: At long last, DRv3.0 is released! (Re: 5/12/07) (Re2: 5/31/07)
Ah, the sweet smell of glory.  The Third Hub is finally done, and I am very pleased to share it with you all.  As promised, you will find all of the "teasers" I talked about last March, in the news post just below.  There are no doubt many bugs in this release, so please report ANY mysterious behaviour!

Now that the preliminary release is public, work will shift to updating the walkthrough, which I hope to finish some time next week.  I will also be sending out the soundtrack in time for anybody who doesn't really care that much about Hexen, but still enjoys good music!

As far as future goals for Dark Realms go, I have even more ambitious news: there is still one last hub, a fourth one, to be made! This will be the final hub, after that, you will have successfully completed DR.  And since the third hub has 3 different endings, the fourth one will of course have 3 different beginnings AND endings! Work on the fourth hub will begin once the walkthrough and soundtrack are done, plus, if necessary, a v3.1, to correct any found bugs.

As for The Elven Gathering, that project hasn't been touched in ages, but it still was supposed to have 2 more levels, so you never know.

(Re: The Walkthrough is now available)
(Re2: The Soundtrack is now updated)

5/1/07: Trailer up and running!
I just finished mastering the promotional trailer for the next release, and it's now available on YouTube! To watch the trailer, click here.

... Oh, and did I mention it contains music by Fates Warning? |m|(`o)|m|

4/23/07: Coming soon: Third Hub sneak peak
Yes, I have been working quite regularly on the new hub since the last news post.  I'm very optimistic that it will be released within the next month, but first I've come here to report on the "sneak peak" that I am also working on.  Instead of just posting screenshots, I am making a short (max. 3 mins) video trailer that will contain actual gameplay footage from the new hub.  The recordings are taking place, and I have about 12 mins of material to choose from.  Once it is done, I will upload the trailer onto YouTube and will provide the link.  The hub itself should be released within a week from the release of the trailer.

On a side note, I have a cute story to share in that my 13-year-old sister has volunteered to betatest the hub before it is released!

3/10/07: Road map for the upcoming release
(EDIT: This is the first time in the history of this website that a blog has been posted in the month of March!)

Progress on the next Dark Realms release is coming slowly, but smoothly and steadily.  I cannot confirm a specific release date, but again it looks highly promising it will be released sometime this year, maybe even in the summer.  I'm excited as ever towards getting this done, and I thought I'd come on here and share a few "teasers" with you regarding what you can expect on the upcoming release, DR v3.0:

  • 1 new hub with 6 new levels.
  • Of course, more puzzles (this time I hope they will be more clear, but still very challenging, in the sense that you know WHAT you must do - just not HOW to do it.  I realize that in earlier puzzles they did neither, thus being a major turn off for most players, and as a casual Zork fan I can symphatize).
  • More outdoors environments (due to complaints of poor map design, I figured I would stretch my wings a bit and stretch all my knowledge of the DOOM engine to its limits).
  • More fluid maps (in the sense that you will feel like you are travelling in one gigantic world, and not just many small worlds.  For the best example, think Strife, or the Northern Dwarven Mines episode in Heretic).
  • More dialogue-oriented/plot-oriented environment.  There may not be as much FPS action as there was previously, because here is where the RPG influence will be most prominent.  Still, there will of course be monster-killings.
  • There will be 3 different endings in Dark Realms.  Thus, there will be 3 different ways to play the new hub, each bringing a completely unique series of events.
  • There will be a (crude) train that links 2 levels together.  To travel between these 2 levels, you must board the train, which arrives and departs in real time.  And yes, you do get to ride it in-game, with a great view of the map sailing away in the distance as you leave to the next level.  This is probably the first horizontal lift (as opposed to vertical) in Doom-engine history!
  • One of the levels acts as a "tribute" to Betrayal At Krondor.
  • There will be a shooting range where you can brush up on some target practice, and some dodging practice.
I hope, after reading this list, you are now drooling to the point of drowning.

2/2/07: Soundtrack available
The MIDI songs used in the latest Dark Realms release (v2.3) are now available for download.  Every MID file is included, including the original theme song from the beta version (v1.0).  Altogether, there are 14 songs, in total providing about 34 minutes of listening enjoyment.  Once the new Dark Realms is released, then this link will be immediately replaced to include any new works.

1/1/07: One year, one goal
Happy New Year! Wow, one more year after the Industrial Revolution and we still haven't blown ourselves to smithereens yet.  Well, don't worry about it, I'm sure the Earth will rid of the stupid human race before we can cause so much damage as to terminte her life capacity. 

Anyway, with the passing of 2006 marked a rather interesting history for this project: it marked not only the death, but the renaissance, of Dark Realms.  Around April I cancelled development because of (then) lack of commitment, and then brought it back to life with a vengeful vigour in August.  Now there's no turning back.  This project MUST be completed, now or never - before the Hexen community fades away into a dim memory.

That is why, plain and blunt, 2007 brings forth only one goal for this project: finish the Third Hub.  Anything beyond that is a huge bonus.

For any newcomers, if you have Hexen you can try out the latest version here.

Since July 29, 2004, you are visitor #

Dark Realms is a stand-alone wad for Hexen, which is copyright () 1995 by Raven Software, Inc. Hexen, Hexen logos, and Hexen likenesses are trademarks of Raven Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

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