Descent 3’s source code has been released for free use

Screenshot from 1999's Descent 3.

Image via Outrage Entertainment/Interplay.

The source code for 1999’s Descent 3 has been uploaded to Github for everyone to use, free of charge.

Uploaded by programmer Kevin Bentley, who worked on the game back in the day, the code includes the unreleased 1.5 patch he and Jeff Slutter made years prior. The only thing missing, he continued, were some proprietary video and sound libraries.

“I have that code if someone wants to help make a converter so the old cutscenes work,” said Bentley. “It’ll take some effort to stub out that code so it compiles.”

Bentley also admitted the code “needs to be cleaned up some” and asked for some grace, since it was made by a team “much younger and less experienced back then.”

“If you’re interested in helping maintain it, please send me a message,” he said. “Thanks to Jeff Slutter, who did most of the work modernizing the code from the 90’s. I’m looking forward to seeing what the community does with it!”

Descent 3’s legacy

Descent 3 released on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and was the debut title of developer Outrage Games. The series’ original creators, Parallax Software, split into Outrage and the recently defunct Volition.

At the time, Descent 3 was noted for its artificial intelligence and outdoor environments. It also became popular enough for its level editor to be used in a 2002 study of hawkmoth flight activities.

Despite strong reviews and an expansion pack, the game was a commercial disappointment. The Michigan-based Outrage only released one other game, 2003’s Alter Echo, before closing down.

In 2015, all three Descent games were pulled from GOG due to a royalty dispute between Interplay and Parallax. The issue was later resolved, and all three games are now purchasable on digital storefronts again.

In 1999, Game Developer held a post-mortem on Descent 3 with programmers Jason Leighton and producer Craig Derrick, which can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don’t ask him about how much gum he’s had, because the answer will be more than he’s willing to admit.

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