id Software’s Games Produced For “Softdisk” Becoming Available Via General Public License
When you hear the name “id Software”, you almost automatically think about such gaming classics like Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake. But what some people may have forgotten is that it has some interesting roots to the retro computer community. “Softdisk” was the company where John Carmack, John Romero, and Adrian Carmack had originally met, having developed games for the “magazine on a disk” that was “Softdisk”, before founding id Software. We recently learned that some of the original Softdisk game titles are now being open-sourced under the General Public License.
“Softdisk” was founded in 1981, and its original products were disk magazines (which they termed “magazettes”, for “magazine on diskette”). These were basically your standard magazine, with articles and sometimes some minor 8-bit computer pictures within. Some of the productions that were created included “Softdisk” for the Apple II (as well as a “Softdisk GS” version), “Big Blue Disk” for the IBM, “Loadstar” for the Commodore 64 and “Diskworld” for the Macintosh. Aside from the written word, the magazines also offered a variety of interactive features, most of the time including new original games for the computer, or at the very least some demonstration programs.
The original Softdisk games created by the id Software founders are now owned by Flat Rock Software. According to John Carmack’s official Twitter feed, some of these classic id Software games are now under the terms of General Public License, and are beginning to become freely available via Flat Rock Software’s GitHub, as they have decided to open-source some of these retro computer classics. As with other id Software source releases, the engine is open-sourced, however the game data still requires having a licensed copy of the content. Currently, the games that have had their sources available, are Catacomb Armageddon, Catacomb Abyss, The Catacomb, Catacomb 3D, Catacomb, and Hovertank3D. Granted, it is not a lot of titles to start off with such a launch, but with time, others could follow.