A History of Wolf3D Level Editors (Part 2)

Written by Profile picture for user Zombie Zombie. Published Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 02:53

The Introduction of Editing Suites (FloEdit)

On the cusp of the millenium, something new and innovative in the world of Wolf3D would come in the form of FloEdit, a new editor developed and released by Florian Stohr in the final months of 1999.

The map screen in FloEdit 1

The map display in FloEdit appears almost exactly like MapEdit, presenting an easy-to-understand layout for users familiar with mapping. While familiar in many ways, FloEdit proved unique from previous editors in two significant ways.

    Firstly, unlike most other editors, this was one of the first to be created for Windows instead of DOS, which would prove beneficial as Microsoft slowly distanced itself from MSDOS. By virtue, this also meant the program was placed in a window instead of running as a fullscreen application, meaning a user could also utilize other programs alongside FloEdit easily.

    Second and perhaps more importantly were the program's editing capabilities. Rather than be confined to working with just one element of the game (Such as the way WolfEdit is a program specific to the game's art), FloEdit presented itself as an Editing Suite.
    While it was only compatible with Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny (The other Wolf3D games would still require MapEdit for projects), the program was capable of editing the sounds and sprites of the game in addition to the maps, all from within one program!
    This comprehensiveness set FloEdit apart from the editors of prior years, as users could work on their projects with the convenience of not having to switch between multiple separate (DOS!) editors.

    For these reasons and many other quality-of-life features (Such as the ability to edit "map definitions" from within the editor), the early 2000s saw FloEdit catapult to being one of the most worked with editors in the Wolf3D community.

    FloEdit 2.0

    The program saw continued development for a few years with a few patches coming out over the years leading to the release of FloEdit 2.0 in 2003. This new version fixed some bugs from earlier versions alongside adding even more editing capabilities. Now modders could even change demos, EndArt text, and fonts!

    FloEdit 2 FloEdit

    Being capable of even more than before, FloEdit continued to be a staple among the Wolf3D modding community, though it did not exist without issues. Prevailent bugs and crashes quite often souring the modding experience for users.
    Being the only complete editing suite to exist in the community at the time though, it was still highly recommended as the editor of choice by many (as long as you saved your progress regularly!).

    FloEdit was beloved, and as late as 2008 people were still in contact with Florian about the source code for the program in hopes of fixing it and updating it. However, allegedly due to the copyright attached to various dependencies for the program, it seems nothing could come from it legally.

    It's various issues proved a blessing of sorts, becoming the catalyst that would lead to a new generation of editing programs for the game in the years going forward, some of which were already in development before FloEdit 2.0 was released!