Growing up one of my favorite games to play was Tomb Raider, most of the series in fact is enjoyable. For some odd reason I decide to do a little research on the development of the game after listening to the developer commentary in the remake, Tomb Raider Anniversary. Here is one video example of the developers discussing design through Palace Midas:
Tomb Raider 1 was made around the same era as Doom, a few years afterward, and had beautiful graphics and a 3d rendering engine at the time. Levels, that at the time, were breath taking that had music to trigger emotional feel and effect. None the less I felt compelled to explore anything that people may have found on it.
Forums are everywhere on the internet and full of enthusiasts, it always amazes me that there are members that have tens of thousands of posts on a niche forum.
On the tombraiderforums.com and the web I found a game called Tomb Viewer, an engine that allows people to load the Tomb Raider level files in which you can move through using a first person camera. If you ever doubted a missing secret or parts of a stage, this is your opportunity to search every nook and cranny in the level.
It’s always fun to get an old program up and running, what made it gratifying was for me to fly through walls and look at the underside of specific rooms and even see level bulges where certain secrets lay.
I managed to pull out the level files from an original tomb raider demo I found online along with the levels for Tomb Raider Unfinished business and Tomb Raider 2, I had to find the PC versions as the Playstation versions had .PSX file formats which I could not read.
Enough of the program was layed out that I contacted the author http://www.geocities.ws/jimmyvalavanis/applications/tombviewer.html
He even gave me the source code to look at, despite the difficulty of getting it to compile. I was still grateful and thought it really need in what he had done.
It’s gratifying to authors if you: read their work/tutorials, try it out and get the code to work, and then email them upon success. This is a great way to build up you network with people who’ve done some really cool things.