MapEdit is a mapping tool originally developed by Bill Kirby in 1992. One of the earliest public editors, it was one of the most widely used until the mid-2000s (with the introduction of native Windows editors), and still sees use today.
Following the shareware release of Wolf3D in May of 1992, Bill Kirby immediately set to work and released his editing tool that same month.
Initial versions of MapEdit were limited, but Bill worked over the next few months to update the editor and fix these issues.
The source code for MapEdit was initially released alongside both versions 4.0 and 4.1 of the program, and aligned with Bill Kirby stepping down from development. Version 4.1 of MapEdit, which released in August 1992, brought support for the full version of Wolf3D, as well as support for Carmack Compression.
Once MapEdit went open source, a handful of different developers came forward with their own updates to the program. These ranged from minor quality of life and tweaks to menus, to compatibility with Spear of Destiny. Each developer gave their version it's own individual arbitrary update number.
Up until this point each developer had been using the source from earlier releases, creating their own individual forks of the program. Development became more streamlined once "Version 5.0" was released by Bryan Baker, with all future releases of the program building off the same fork.
Updates occured sporadically over the next few years by a chain of regular developers including Bryan Baker, Dave Huntoon, K. van den Helm, and Matt Gruson. These updates mostly consisted of refinement and addition of editing features.
Version 7.2, which added compatibility for the demo of Spear of Destiny as well as an F1 Help function, was the last version to include the source code.
MapEdit development became a collaborative effort from Version 8.0 with Bryan Baker, Dave Huntoon and Warren Buss all credited. Version 8.0 saw the first of many compatibility changes. After a request from Apogee Software that people stop editing the shareware versions of their titles, the ability to do so was removed to comply. However, this update also made MapEdit compatible with Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold.
From Version 8.0, these updates no longer included the source code. Though the official reason is unknown, it is speculated to be part of their attempt to comply with Apogee's requests.
In 2005, Chris Chokan released a small update to MapEdit. Version 8.5 removed the requirement to run another patching program before the editor could run.
A fork of MapEdit based on the source from Version 7.2 was developed by BrotherTank in 2007 with a goal of reaching feature parity with Version 8.0, then expanding on what was offered to better suit the modding needs of the community. Named Version 9.0, this update never saw an official release. However, it was found by Chris Chokan inside a download for Turbo Pascal on the DieHard Wolfers message boards.
Despite his goals, BrotherTank had no plans to add compatibility to the other games. Instead, it had been officially planned to be used for the message board's mapping competitions.
There are 18 confirmed public releases of MapEdit released over the years, with MapEdit Version 8.5 considered the current version.
As MS-DOS support was removed from modern versions of Windows, MapEdit is generally only able to be run through emulation provided by programs like DOSBox.