Wolfenstein Rises Again

id Software's classic shooter gets a makeover.

1 min read

I just got my copy of the new Wolfenstein game.   Hard to believe it's been 17 (!) years since Wolfenstein 3D, the classic first person shooter from id Software (that game, of course, was based on the classic Apple II hit, Castle Wolfenstein). 

I haven't had a chance to dig into the new game yet, but it did get me thinking about how much game development has changed in the two decades.  When Wolf3D came out, it was the essence of garage band gaming - a small group of geeks in a small apartment churning out something amazing.  Breakthrough games (LittleBigPlanet, Halo, etc.) are still possible on consoles, but I keep hearing developers moan about the unwieldly size/complexity of game making teams.  Maybe the new world of iPhone apps will usher in second golden age for indie development. 

In the meantime, here's a video that id co-founder John Romero posted, capturing the id "band" in their heyday - coding Doom, the follow-up to Wolf3D, in their new offices in Mesquite, Texas.



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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

5 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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