Andrew Henderson sent in the following article:
Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, Kohan: Ahriman’s Gift, and the Special AwardsEdition of Kohan will be published/maintained for the Linux platform byTransgaming. Timegate Studios (the developers of Kohan) announced this intheir June 2002 newsletter (which can be seen in HTML format athttp://www.icculus.org/~hendersa/newsletter.html). Also, a quick oneliner about this deal, as well as an image of the Kohan box, has appearedon the front page of the Transgaming web site.
As it stands now, Timegate is planning on having Transgaming make theLinux ports of these games dependant upon Transgaming’s WineX and Winelibtechnologies. This seemed rather odd to me, since there is a perfectlyspiffy Linux-native codebase for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns that Lokideveloped. So, before I jumped to any conclusions, I e-mailed thebusiness manager of Timegate Studios in order to get some clarification onthe situation.
It was explained to me that the nature of the contract between TimegateStudios and Loki may not allow the Linux native codebase of Kohan torevert to Timegate after Loki’s bankruptcy. Before anyone jumps up andsays that the other Loki codebases has reverted back to the originators ofthe Win32 codebases, please remember that each contract was negotiated ona case-by-case basis and that the contracts were typically negotiated withpublishers, not with the studios themselves. The contract negotiated forKohan was between Loki and Timegate Studios directly, not through apublisher. Therefore, Loki could have possibly slipped in a clause or twothat states the Timegate would not receive the rights of the Linuxcodebase.
When faced with the prospect of porting Kohan to native Linux from theWin32 codebase AGAIN, I see why Transgaming would take the faster,non-native route. It’s also an opportunity for Transgaming to showcasetheir technology. At the very least, Kohan will once again be on theshelves and available for sale with Transgaming publishing the Kohantitles.
The only problem I see is that the lower-level routines in Kohanthat are pertaining to blitting and floating point asm calculations werehand-ported in order to maintain cross-platform network compatibility andoverall game speed. A blanket Winelib port would be a little on the slowside unless all that asm is ported once again. We’re talking about 20,000to 25,000 lines of asm, some of it self-modifying, plus some asm-levelmodifications to control the floating point control word. These are nottrivial things to implement and hand-tune.
As an aside, I’d be interested to see how Transgaming’s Winelib version ofKohan will do against the native port of Kohan that Loki created. Thebenchmarks of the two should be interesting to compare.
As to my own opinion on this issue, I’m torn. I’m glad to see TimeGate still interested and actively trying to support the Linux platform, but I’m saddened to see people who purchased the native Linux version of K:IS developed by Loki seemingly left in the lurch if they want to be able to play version 1.3.4. Moreover, it seems to violate TransGaming’s earlier promise not to impact existing native ports.