Building Descent 1 from source

Descent I

Descent I

I never was good at this game.

As a matter of fact, I was terrible.

Apparently I get lost in 3d worlds like this, and I get dizzy and need to lie down.  Something about these kinds of 3d virtual worlds.  At least it doesn’t pertain to virtual machines.

While browsing around, I came across the source code.  From their notes they built the thing using:

  • Watcom C/C++, version 9.5
  • Microsoft Macro Assembler, version 6.1x
  • Opus Make, version 6.01


I was unable to find Opus Make, however with a little bit of tweaking, Microsoft nmake can happily read the makefiles.  The other small snag largely was due to MS-DOS not being able to process massive commandlines, and having to build response files to the librarian and linker in various parts.  But all in all it was thankfully a trivial amount of work to get a working executable.

I only tested it for a few minutes until I was feeling out of it again.  I guess it isn’t surprising, I had issues when it was full screen back in 1994, but in a tiny window in 2013 it is unbearable.

For the two or three people who care, here is my VMDK that I used.  It works fine with Qemu probably other emulators that can read VMDK’s.


3 thoughts on “Building Descent 1 from source

    • maybe if they controlled it from MS-DOS that’d be interesting. Although all the controllers in the world won’t help me feeling dizzy playing the game.

    • It’s a shame 6DOF and Flight Sims died out – now that much much more people have controllers (with even more axes) they should be easier

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