Clayworks 3.0 for DOS © Tim Lewis 1997-2020

Developed between 1997-1999 this DOS version 3.0 was a rewrite in C++ of the earlier version 2.x series of releases.

This version also made use of the then new true colour modes, as opposed 16 colour palette of earlier versions.

The move to full colour allowed the development of a new rendering engine, capable of texture mapping, smooth shading, multiple light sources, environment mapping, transparency and more.

As the 90's drew to a close, hardware acceleration became increasing ubiquitous and this left Clayworks in a limbo - whilst software rendering was still far more flexible than the fixed-function 3D cards of the day, even the most efficiently programmed rasteriser couldn't compete with the throughput so further development on Clayworks 3.0 was shifted to windows and Direct3D.

Using the magic of emulation, we can now run DOS versions of clayworks in the browser but we can't yet do that for windows versions (at least, not legally).

In retrospect, it would've been good to complete 3.0 as a self contained DOS version; At the time, it seemed clear that to keep the work current, it was neccessary to shift development to hardware acceleration and windows. With the benefit of hindsight, that now looks like something of a trap - fixed function pipelines had a limited shelf life, DirectX made cross platform support a pipe dream and the as-yet-unknown art of shader programming would end up looking a lot like the software based rasterisation demonstrated here (only much, much faster).

As I progressed with the windows version, I found that changes made to the OS would frequently cause compatibility problems with Clayworks (possibly due to my reliance at the time on 'DirectDraw', which microsoft deprecated). This led to my reluctance to release the software. Perhaps in time versioned (and legal) emulation of windows will become possible in a browser and if so, I'll put up a later build of 3.x

Please bear in mind, this particular version was never intended for release: it's a development snapshot that I recently dug up from an old zip-disk. You can see the initialisation screens at start up, which are various tests I was working on when I made this copy.

The speed of this emulation is generally slower than that on a the native machines circa 1999 but still usable. Download the zip file to run in DOSBOX at better framerates. The source code, such as it is, is included in the zip file.

I've recently restarted Clayworks development, now implemented in Totga Game's cross-platform games and application engine (including for the web), Anthracite.


  • Pan Hold down shift key, move mouse
  • Rotate (in perspective view) Hold down shift & control, move mouse
  • Zoom hold down control, move mouse up and down
  • Buttons Grid lock, grid visibility toggle
  • Buttons Undo/redo - not implemented, sorry
  • Buttons Various - toggle lights, bottom right saves screenshot (takes a moment)
  • Menu Load/save - you can load and save objects here but it's temporary storage
  • Menu Save-as/merge/copy/paste/selected/window - not implemented, sorry!
  • Menu Exit - exit Clayworks for DOS, like in ye olden days!
  • Create shapes Choose shape in tab, left mouse down and drag to size
  • Selection Click select tab, choose vertex or polygon (others don't appear to work) then drag a box around your shape
  • Extrusion The behaviour is a bit odd in this version: every time you move your selection with this mode on, an extrusion is made.
  • Copying Same behaviour as extrusion.
  • Mouse issues - DOSBox for the web has some mouse pointer issues: you might find the cursor lags behind in some instances