Descent 3's Source Code Made Available for Free Use

The source code for Descent 3, released in 1999, has been shared on Github for free use by the community.

Kevin Bentley, a programmer who worked on the game, uploaded the code, which includes the previously unreleased 1.5 patch he and Jeff Slutter developed years ago. The only components missing are some proprietary video and sound libraries.

Bentley mentioned that he has the missing code for the old cutscenes and welcomed help in creating a converter to make them work again. He acknowledged that some cleanup is needed in the code, as it was created by a less experienced team back in the day.

If anyone is interested in assisting with the maintenance of the code, they can reach out to Bentley. He expressed gratitude to Jeff Slutter for modernizing the code and is eager to see how the community will build upon it.

Descent 3's Legacy

Descent 3 was originally released for Windows, Mac, and Linux by developer Outrage Games. It was the first game developed by the team after the original creators, Parallax Software, divided into Outrage and Volition, which is now defunct.

The game was praised for its AI and outdoor environments, gaining popularity and even being used in a study of hawkmoth flight activities in 2002 due to its level editor.

Despite positive reviews and an expansion pack, Descent 3 did not perform well commercially leading to the closure of Outrage after releasing only one more game, Alter Echo, in 2003.

The Descent games were briefly unavailable on GOG in 2015 due to a royalty dispute between Interplay and Parallax. However, the issue was resolved, and the games are once again available for purchase on digital platforms.

In 1999, a post-mortem on Descent 3 was conducted by Game Developer with programmers Jason Leighton and producer Craig Derrick. The post-mortem can be accessed here.