Calling All Wannabe Devs – Come Update The Original POSTAL

p1_communityrecruitment

Late last year (so, like 2 weeks ago) we stunned the world by finally unleashing the source code of the original POSTAL. We really enjoyed seeing all you fine people cracking the code open and discovering the insanity that awaited inside. This event, and the community response to it, reignited a love and passion for the original POSTAL in all our hearts, and we feel like there is still some work to be done in order to bring the current version of the game up to the highest levels of content and quality possible. Even with POSTAL Redux out, we know that there are still a lot of our fans to whom the original holds a very special place in their hearts that can’t be replaced, and we want to make sure, for both them and ourselves, that the classic title is the best game that it can be.

There is a problem involved, however, and we’ll level with you about it – we simply don’t have any time to work on POSTAL 1, right now. You may be aware that we are currently working on a brand new series of games, with two titles already in the works. We’re a relatively small studio, so this is already quite a load for us. We’ve been stretching ourselves thin with updates to POSTAL Redux and POSTAL 2 for the last few months, as it is. So, despite the fact that we’d like to, it’s just not realistic for us to dedicate any time or resources to POSTAL 1. But then we considered the amazing response we got from the community to the game’s source code, and we started thinking…

So now we propose this scenario: what if we asked you guys – the community – to try and update, fix and improve the game yourselves? We know that there are a lot of really talented developers/programmers/coders out there among our fans. We’ve seen the amazing work you guys have already done. We also know that there’s a lot of you who are still training your skills and are hoping to get a chance to try out a real project, so we’d like to give you that chance. Below is a ‘wishlist’ of different changes/fixes/updates to POSTAL that we would like to do, if we had the time. If any of the items on the list look like something that you would like to try doing, then we invite and encourage you to do so! Your work would be added to the latest official versions, and experienced by all owners of the game. We’re not going to take credit for your labor, either – you will receive full credit for your work in the in-game credits! So, if you’re looking to leave your mark on the series, or if you’re a learning developer looking to get your foot in the video game industry and to have something significant to put in your portfolio, then we encourage you to jump right in!

Now you’re probably sitting there wondering: “Why should anyone else be updating your game? Isn’t this your job?” and that’s a perfectly reasonable question to have… In fact, you’re probably right! But look at it this way – either we put this call out now and give you all the chance to have the game updated, or we simply don’t do anything about it and POSTAL 1 stays the way it is for the foreseeable future. We thought it best to present you all with this choice directly. You’ve been given all the necessary tools, and you can communicate and coordinate with us. We’ll do our best to lend assistance to your work, whenever we can!

Do our work for us, and make us proud!


POSTAL Updates Wishlist

If you are interested in getting involved in any of these items, then let us know by e-mailing our Web/PR monkey Rich, at rihards@gopostal.com. He’ll coordinate with you, help you wherever possible, and pass along your messages to the people that actually know what they’re doing. We’ll provide you with any information and resources required, as best as we can.

p1_japanese

1. Adding the levels from ‘Super POSTAL’ to the main game

TASK COMPLETE
As you may or may not know, POSTAL received an exclusive retail release in Japan, commonly referred to as ‘Super POSTAL’. This version not only featured Japanese voiceover, but it also featured two exclusive levels – Tokyo and Osaka. These levels, in their original form, have never seen an official release outside of Japan, though updated remakes of them were included in POSTAL Redux. It would be nice to have these levels added to the main game, to finally give players the complete POSTAL package. The job here is to take the existing levels and add them to the main menu as a separate campaign option, just like the ‘Special Delivery’ levels.

Game content will be provided, if required. You know, in case you don’t just happen to have a copy of Super POSTAL just lying around the house.

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2. Putting Multiplayer Mode back in + Moving coat color change

POSTAL originally shipped with a Multiplayer mode, for both LAN and online play. Unfortunately, the online mode ceased to function properly on modern systems, and so we removed this option from the latest versions of the game. We’ve had a change of heart on this decision since then, considering that the mode still works fine over LAN. If people ever decide that they want to try and have a POSTAL LAN party, then who are we to stop them? So, adding Multiplayer Mode back to the game’s main menu would be a welcome return.

A separate but related issue to this is that the original Multiplayer menu was where the player could change their in-game coat color for The Postal Dude, for both Multiplayer and Single Player modes. This option got removed along with the rest of the Multiplayer options, and now can only be done by modifying an .ini file. So, in addition to putting the Multiplayer menu back where it was, it would be a nice touch to move this option outside of the Multiplayer options, since it affects the player in Single Player as well.

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3. Fixing Online Multiplayer

In addition to adding the Multiplayer mode back to the game for LAN purposes, if anybody thinks they could take a stab at fixing the game’s Online Multiplayer issues, so that people can effortlessly play the game over the internet again – that would also be fantastic!

This is a more difficult task, and will require working with the game’s netcode. From our testing, we know that connections over LAN still work fine. Connecting to a hosted lobby over an online connection still works as well – players can all connect to the lobby and chat with each other. The problem starts when the host actually begins the game – the game refuses to load for all parties, until all clients disconnect, at which point the host’s loading immediately finishes and the game starts… for the host alone. Do you think you could figure this out?

p1_leveleditor

4. Adding the Level Editor back to the game

POSTAL shipped with a Level Editor feature that allowed players to edit levels, and create their own variations of them. Sort of like Forge in Halo. We removed this feature from the game’s menu, for reasons that we don’t fully quite remember. We’re somewhat certain that it has something to do with the fact that we moved the game over to SDL2, so that we can use the Steam overlay. This may have conflicted with either the Editor’s own interface, or (more likely) the Windows File Browser interface that it uses for opening files. Maybe. It would be a significant improvement to the current version of the game, if this Editor could be brought back and made to work. It might be a daunting task, but hey – shoot for the stars, kid!

p1_levelselect

5. Adding the Level Select back to the game

TASK COMPLETE
The game originally shipped with a Level Select feature, that was stripped out of the latest versions, possibly for the same reasons as the Level Editor – it also used the Windows File Browser, and so it might have caused problems with SDL2. Possibly. Having a Level Select seems like a no-brainer, especially since we had one before, but this means that a new menu will have to be built for the job of replacing the horrible old File Browser interface. Are you up for it?

p1_challenges

6. Returning Challenge Mode selection

In addition to the Gauntlet campaign, which allows you to play all Challenge maps in order, older versions of POSTAL shipped with the ability to select each individual Challenge level, by category. The problem here was, once again, the fact that selecting the Challenge level used the Windows File Browser, which may have conflicted with SDL2, we think. But we dare you to go that extra mile and build a new menu for the different modes, that makes it easier for players to select the specific Challenge mode they want to play, in addition to having the Gauntlet mode.

p1_mouseoptions

7. Adding functional mouse-aiming

One thing that the game has always lacked is proper mouse support. The game allows the use of a mouse, but unfortunately it still uses the same old tank controls from the original control scheme where all you could do is use the mouse to rotate your character clockwise or counter-clockwise, making mouse control extremely awkward. Proper mouse-aiming to the game (similar to how it works in POSTAL Redux) would be an excellent addition, to improving the playability and enjoyment of the game. Since we’ve added twin-stick aiming to the game in recent updates, the easy solution here may be to bind those aiming controls to the mouse, allowing the player to aim in whatever direction they move the mouse. Can you make it happen?

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8. Adding The Santa Patch as a Holiday-specific feature

TASK COMPLETE
We recently came to realize that the old Santa Patch from 1997 still works perfectly well with even the latest versions of the game. We thought it would make for a fun addition, if this could be added to the main game proper, and be triggered by the player computer’s time & date for The Holidays, similar to how we do the holiday updates for POSTAL 2. Is anyone out there willing to bring a little Holiday cheer to this lonely old title?

p1_ingamedemo

9. Adding ‘Demo’ mode back in

TASK COMPLETE
Remember gameplay demos? Not to be confused with those free things you download and play, and they give you a small fraction of the game to try out. No, I’m talking about game demos that play when you idle on the main menu for long enough, and then you suddenly get to watch a demonstration of the game playing itself. Yeah, those. We used to have that in POSTAL 1. We also had an option in the main menu to watch them on-command. Both of these we removed for… some reason. Now we want them back. Are you the one who will bring this back to us?

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10. Set up an option to play ALL the levels in order

TASK COMPLETE
If we get the Super POSTAL and/or The Carnival levels into the game, players might find it more enjoyable to play all the levels in order, as one campaign, similar to how the ‘Excess Postage’ mode works in POSTAL Redux. There was an option for this in older versions of the game, but was subsequently removed because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The job here would likely be to reinstate the old option, and adjust it to account for the new levels.

redux_carnival

11. Creating a version of ‘The Carnival’ level from POSTAL Redux

This is an extra-heavy task, that we would like to see done, but we don’t even fully know if it’s possible or not. This is not for the faint of heart, but we will be incredibly impressed with anyone who wants to tackle it head-on! So, here’s what we do know:
A brand new addition, exclusive to POSTAL Redux, is a brand new level called The Carnival, but we think it would be interesting to see if a version of the level could be created for the original game, as well. There are numerous problems involved, though. For starters – we don’t know how to create a brand new level. As we stated in the Level Editor task, the Editor is not capable of creating new levels from scratch, either – just create variations of existing ones. The only thing we have to go on is the full source code of the game, which you are welcome to dig through, for answers, and this quote from former RWS designer Steve Wik, on the subject:

“And while making your own maps from scratch is theoretically possible, it requires a bunch of software that mostly isn’t even made anymore and a bunch of in-house utilities that we lost years ago and the process is absurdly complicated and I forget most of it anyway.”

So that’s what the situation looks like, right now. It may be possible to find other ways to get it done, though. Especially considering that the game is open source now. Reverse engineering and creating a custom third party app may be required. It is a truly daunting task. Is anyone out there brave enough to take it on?
.PSD files of the level artwork will be provided, when required.

12. Creating a Debugger

A hearty task to be sure, but possible the most valuable of them all, as having a working Debugger for POSTAL 1 might be just the perfect thing for helping solve some of the many problems plaguing the rest of the bullet-points on this list, such as the online multiplayer issues, which are so bizarre and make so little sense, that it’s driving us all mad, and we just want to understand what’s going on.

We welcome anyone willing to lend a hand to this!