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Desperate Measures (2007+)


Back to Basics.

The first entirely new Wolfenstein project from this author in seven years, Desperate Measures seeks to be a spiritual successor to my own Conflict In The Fatherland. Inspired by simple yet effective add-ons like Acktung, it abandons the glitz and glamor of too many custom graphics, revolutionary engine changes and massive storylines, and instead delivers classical Wolfenstein at its very best.

Totaling an ambitious 60 levels, Desperate Measures will be released by-the-episode, providing gamers with an ongoing pipeline of new material. Featuring reimagined stories based on the original Wolfenstein episodes, minimalist source code changes (tilemap control of ceiling colors and music, dynamic secret elevator back maps, bug fixes, etc.) and a return to the classical level design techniques of yesteryear, Desperate Measures is out to prove that less truly is more.

Update 2012.04.29 — EPISODE TWO Released!

The continuing saga of Desperate Measures is actually continuing! Download episode two and blaze your way through ten new levels set in Erlangen, where B.J. Blazkowicz is chasing down the Nazi bioweapons that escaped his grasp at the end of episode one. Can you prevent the Giftkrieg from launching? Full details are included in the readme, or see the online documentation.

(Your download of Desperate Measures episode two also includes episode one.)

Getting Priorities Straight.

I had always intended to transition from Project Totengraeber directly into a new add-on, even leaving players a hint about “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures” on Totengraeber’s end art screen. That was almost a decade ago, and my life has changed almost completely since then. Marriage, a career, and a future have largely taken the place of games.

But in 2004, I rediscovered the Wolfenstein community, and much to my surprise, learned that some of the old greats were still out there. I reintroduced myself briefly, but once again found I didn’t have the time to seriously pursue the hobby. Still, something nagged at the back of my mind — something that told me to dust off my cobbled-together DOS rig, fire up Mapedit and relive the past. And so, Desperate Measures were undertaken after all.

Following the reckless ambition of Project Totengraeber, and a long hiatus from Wolfenstein, I decided that a simpler approach was needed for my next add-on. I had recently discovered Acktung and felt it was one of the greatest add-ons I’d ever played — despite it being only a simple set of levels without any ancillary additions. It felt good to get back to basics, and that’s what I decided I must do.

Explosive development on episode one commenced in 2004 and wrapped up a few short months later. The complete episode was even playtested by a friend. Yet, unsure of my delivery strategy, or whether further development could be sustained, I let the game sit on my hard drive untouched for three more years.

Enter 2007. With another burst of Wolfenstein-themed creativity coursing through my neurotransmitters, I dusted off Desperate Measures and decided to get even further back to basics. I had introduced a new guard, some new treasure items and a host of other source code changes during my initial development in 2004, and I decided that all of it had to go. I reverted back to a clean copy of the original source code, then made just a small handful of selective additions that changed only the core components of the game: Ceiling colors, background music, secret elevator locations. I then decided that level design was going to be my only focus from then on.

Furthermore, I decided that I was going to create a new Wolfenstein website and promptly release the first episode of Desperate Measures simultaneously. Work on episode two was already underway when the site, and the add-on itself, officially launched.

Scope Creep.

As much as I wanted to resist the urge to touch anything other than MapEdit for the remainder of Desperate Measures’ development, I ended up succumbing to it midway through episode two. The additions are in keeping with the minimalist theme, though — featuring new wall textures culled from Spear of Destiny as well as a few minor additions of my own, plus a smattering of improved sound effects. I also went back to the source code and fixed a few bugs left over from id Software’s development, most of which were sussed out by the Wolfenstein community.

Believe it or not, episode two was 99% finished in 2008 and sat on my hard drive for the entire intervening time. After suddenly falling into a Wolfenstein mood in early 2012, I put the finishing touches on the episode and posted it for release.

As for episode three, development is already underway.

Untold Secrets.

  • Originally titled Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, I decided to shorten the name of the project for simplicity’s sake. Codenamed BJW60IV, it can also be abbreviated BJDM.
  • The original engine I developed for this project featured a new “shock troop” guard (replacing the mutant), the jewels pickup from the Wolfenstein alpha, a new set of hand-crafted wall textures and much more. I later decided that these changes weren’t in keeping with my minimalist approach, and they were all scrapped. Rather than just toss them, I shunted them into a potential “next project” folder, codenamed BJW60V. Hey, you never know.

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