Mac Heroes IV A Possibility?
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
A little over a week ago, the first screen shot from 3D0/New World Computing's upcoming title Heroes of Might and Magic IV appeared on the 'net. Judging merely from appearances, this fourth installment in the turn-based strategy series seems quite different than the previous incarnations in look and function, and fan sites report that this sequel is built upon an entirely new engine. As Heroes 1, 2, 3 and Complete (as well has the first title King's Bounty) have all appeared on the Mac platform, it is natural to wonder if a Mac OS version of this new title -- still in development -- is a possibility.
Upon hearing that Heroes IV was based on a new engine, we conjectured that this made a port unlikely; however, it appears just the opposite is true. John Morris of Evolution Interactive, the programmer who ported Heroes 3 and Heroes Complete to the Mac OS, dropped by our forums to clear up some issues and raise Mac gamers' hopes about the possibility of yet another Heroes title coming to our platform. It turns out that both Heroes 3 and Heroes Complete were ports from "scratch," so another port from square one is not ruled out. And this time around Morris is communicating with the team as they are building the engine for Heroes IV, making sure they make allowances for cross-platform issues -- including networking.
Here is Morris with more on these issues. First, he addresses the fact that Heroes IV is being built with a brand-new engine:
Actually, this will greatly IMPROVE the chances of porting it over. Heroes 3 (as well as 2 and 1) has legacy code in it that goes all the way back to Kings Bounty. When I ported Heroes 3, I did it from scratch (not using any of the Mac code from 2), so doing another port from scratch is not an issue. The Complete version was almost a total re-port as well since 90% of the code had been changed or modified. And to be frank, it is amazing that the current game works at all considering how it is a complete mish-mash of styles, with all of the different programmers that have worked on it.As IMG's review and the user reviews of Complete have shown, John's work with this "mish-mash" was a success. He goes on to address other issues affecting the port:
The new engine is much cleaner and I have been talking with the development lead to make sure that cross-platform considerations are made at all levels. It looks like the editor may get screwed again since they are looking at keeping the new version in MFC [ed note: Microsoft Foundation Classes, a Windows-only method of building programs from premade parts]. But, if we are lucky, they will agree with me and make networking cross-platform. We'd like to echo John's statements that at this point it is far too soon to say that a Mac port is certain, or even a strong possibility. John does mention in another post that past Heroes ports have made money on our platform, despite 3D0's nonexistent marketing efforts.
These statements in no way represent that the port WILL happen, since that is a business issue mostly. We also need to see what 3DO can muster since they have really taken it on the chin recently and had to fire a large chunk of their people. NWC wasn't affected much by the layoffs, since they are one of the few subsidiaries that make some good money.
Heroes III Complete Demo (105.4 MB)
In any case, Heroes 3 Complete seems to have been quite a success so far; with a 9.5 user rating from IMG readers, 6500+ downloads of the demo from MacGameFiles (despite the gargantuan size of the file), and an astounding 4.5 joystick rating (out of 32 user reviews) from MGF users, there is ample proof that Mac gamers are interested in the Heroes style of gaming. Here's hoping this sequel is a radical departure in visuals only -- don't touch the gameplay, Mac users are already sold! As more details about this title in development are revealed, you can be sure to find them here. Heroes IV is due for release in September, for PC.
Review: Heroes III Complete
John Morris' Posts on IMG Forum
Heroes of Might and Magic IV Image at GameSpot
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