All this is already history … And I even wrote about it (not on Habr). So maybe some of you are familiar with it. I didn’t think that it was worth writing something like that here, but I see that fans of Heroes 3 (and the HoMM series in general) are obviously present here, so I’ll take a chance …
Time: 20 years ago.
Location: Uh… the world wide web.
Gus Smedstad – programmer of Heroes 3 and lead programmer of Heroes 4.
Angelspit – owner of the largest website (at the time) http://www.celestialheavens.com
Denis “Kiar” Markov – some shit
Slava Salnikov (aka ZVS) is the leader of the WoG team and lead programmer of WoG.
Background (those who know can skip).
WoG (In the Wake of Gods) – amateur addon for the game Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (placed on top of SoD). I will not go into the details of its creation here (Wiki would say better: About WoG on Wiki ), but, I note that only from the official website (free resource) WoG was downloaded half a million times in the first few months (further it is difficult to estimate the scale, but I think several million have at least tried it).
The main idea that I want to voice here is that I have never did not have sources Heroes 3. WoG is written as a separate EXE file, which is “attached” by my utility to the finished Heroes3.exe (purchased English version of SoD), intercepts control and “penetrates” into the body of SoD at startup in order to set a lot of call backs. Further, SoD works, not knowing about the existence of a “superstructure” in the form of WoG, but, of course, it is controlled by it. In simple terms, WoG is a virus on the body of SoD.
Now the story itself.
one. WoG has already been released for about a year and no one objected to its existence, although if desired, 3DO (which included NWC at that moment) could cover it up simply by contacting us with a demand, because. in principle, this is illegal (although there are nuances – see below).
2. Some of our compatriot Denis “Kiar” Markov, in order to promote his site, got the address of Gus Smetstad (see who he is above) and wrote him the following letter:
Did you like Heroes of Might and Magic 3 unofficial add-on In Wake of Gods?
It’s interesting to know, what do NWC and 3DO think about it…
Denis “Kiar” Markov
3. Gus answered him. And Markov posted his letter and Gus’s response on the Celestial Heavens website (see above). Here is the text:
11/26/2001 / 10:48 PM / Developers’ opinion about WoG / Kiar
It was interesting to me to know: what do HoMM3 developers think about H3 unofficial add-on – In the Wake of Gods.
I sent a following letter to Gus Smedstad:
Today I have got a reply:
I’m actually very unhappy about it, because someone clearly leaked the source code to these guys, and they’ve modified the source and recompiled to make the changes they’ve made. In my book, making changes to someone else’s source code and then redistributing the result is piracy.
Quite interesting, as you see.
PS If anyone of WoG team wants to explain something to everybody and/or Gus, my e-mail is email@example.com. E-mail me your points of view and I will forward them to Gus then.
4. Angelspit (see above) wrote me a letter:
A smart-ass from a Russian fan site who could not keep his mouth shut told Gus Smedstat about Wog, and below is the reply he got…
You will have to be *very careful* about how you reply to 3DO if they contact you, or if you decide to post comments on your site. Contact me by ICQ if you need help with the English wording. Again, you need to be VERY careful about what you say. The future of the mod depends on it.
Keep me posted.
5. Any sane person should understand that with such questions he does not just muddy the water, but calls into question the very existence of WoG. Angelspit understood this very well, and only our dol….would like Markov can’t think at least 2 steps ahead.
6. It would be necessary to be silent here so that everything calms down, but, unfortunately, Gus rode over me, calling me a thief, which is a compliment, and I answered. Angelspit kindly posted the text on the site:
We have heard that Gus Smedstad said the next words about our team: “I’m actually very unhappy about it, because someone clearly leaked the source code to these guys, and they’ve modified the source and recompiled to make the changs they’ ve made. In my book, making changes to someone else’s source code and then redistributing the result is piracy.”
So if he really told this, the answer of the leading programmer of WoG, Slava Salnikov, would be: “No one clearly leaked the source code to us. We have no source code now and never had it at all. We did not make any programmer who understands the structure of windows executable file can check it (H3WOG.EXE) anytime. without a reason is a slander.”
7. At the same time, I wrote a private letter to Gus describing the technology of how WoG functions. I won’t include it here, it’s too long. I’ll give Gus’s answer and my answer to his answer (suddenly someone is not familiar, GS> means Gus text):
From: Slava Salnikov
To: Gus Smedstad
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2001, 12:09:30 PM
Subject: Posting private email
===8<==============Original message text================
Wednesday, November 28, 2001, 1:05:15 AM, you wrote:
GS> The remark that you have posted on your website
GS> (http://www.strategyplanet.com/homm/) was in a private reply to an email
GS> from Markov Denis.
Ok, now you know who IS that person.
GS> That is indeed what I said to him, and that is how I
GS> feel about the subject, but I did not wish to create a public debate over it.
We didn’t start it. But when one say that I am a thief in public, I cannot afford to leave it without a public answer.
GS> We at New World have been aware of the “Wake of the Gods” project for some
GS> time, and it was the decision of the General Manager, Jeff Blattner, and
GS> others at 3DO not to comment publicly about it. By posting what I believed
GS> to be a private email publicly, you’ve put me in a rather awkward position.
GS> I don’t wish to retract the comment, because I believe it to be true.
I can only regret that even for the second time you wrote a WRONG statement about WoG.
I expected you to be a good programmer but now I begin rather question it.
1. If you cannot see the obvious think that I pointed, so, yes, my students know this better. In this case I just can recommend you to take a couple of my courses in University.
2. If you have no time or intention to take a look at H3WOG.EXE so be honest, say the truth instead of saying the lie.
3. Anyway your professional skills is not my business until you blacken my reputation and speak out false declarations.
Senior Lecturer, PhD in CS, Slava Salnikov
eight. Morality. Gus didn’t understand. He remained of the opinion that we source files were stolen. This level of understanding of issues directly related to programming, let’s say, somewhat upset me. You always want to think that games (popular, interesting and beautiful) are really written by professionals, the elite, so to speak, of the army of programmers, who understand everything, even that which is not directly related to the game. An no. Here’s more proof for you. Yes, he is a programmer, probably good in his field, but… not an elite.
PS I re-read my text many years ago and I see a lot of things that should be changed from English to too harsh my own reaction (now I would communicate differently and draw conclusions). But it is worth considering that I was about 30 years old, until recently we were all locked behind a curtain in the USSR and the experience of leading, albeit an amateur, but international team, I had somewhere around null.
But I decided to leave the text as it was without modifications.
PPS Regarding the legality of WoG. This is also my answer from that time:
Because We had a lot of questions on the topic of copyright for 6 years, so we even asked a volunteer (WoG fan) American – a lawyer to study the issue. He spent quite a lot of time and said that in similar cases he could not unequivocally say whether we had the right to such development or not. The only thing he said (which we ourselves assumed) is that as long as we distribute the addon for free and as long as SoD is needed for its operation, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to fuck us even through the court. So we continued like that.