I like to keep Heroes III around for the old times’ sake. I have the Complete edition, which unfortunatelly has no Linux version. The Complete edition can be installed and played via WINE, but it is not stable and keeps one of my CPU cores constantly at 100%. I looked for another option and came across the VCMI project, which seems quite promising.
The people behind VCMI aim to rewrite the entire Heroes III engine giving it new possibilities. VCMI is an open-source project and can be compiled for Linux. Great!
In fact, vcmi can be easily installed on Slackware, as it is available at SBo., maintained by Dimitris Zlatanidis. At the moment, the version at SBo is 0.97, while the newest one is 0.98. In my experience, the 0.97 release had problems: it would often crash and had issues with AI (the computer player just does nothing for many turns). Therefore, I decided to try the 0.98 release and modified the vcmi.SlackBuild:
Comment out the following:
# remove static library #rm $PKG/usr/lib/libfuzzylite-static.a # fix lib path #if [ "$ARCH" = "x86_64" ]; then # mv $PKG/usr/lib/ $PKG/usr/lib64 #fi
You can get the modified SlackBuild from here. The source download for version 0.98 is here. This release requires an additional dependency, fuzzylite also available from SBo. Therefore, the complete build order is as follows (and you can get the queue to be used with sbopkg):
SDL2 SDL2_ttf SDL2_mixer SDL2_image x264 lame ffmpeg fuzzylite qt5 vcmi
Due to some reason, the compilation of QT5 in a virtual machine broke… Therefore, I downloaded the precompiled package available at SlackOnly. Seems to work just fine, at least here. Later I managed to compile QT5 on my host system without any problems. Weird!
Once everything is installed it is time to copy some data, either system-wide or locally. I prefer the local approach, so place the following for your user in the locations listed below.
- Data, Maps and Mp3 from Heroes III: Shadow of Death or Complete edition go here:
- Unpack the core vcmi data and the unofficial WoG addon here:
- The extraResolutions and bonusIcons.
By default, there will be no music, because the SDL_mixer package built from SBo is compiled without mp3 support. To make music work, the files should be converted to ogg. The
vcmibuilder can do this for you:
Keep in mind that this will also delete the original mp3 files, leaving only the converted ogg. Of course, you could compile SDL2_mixer with mp3 support, but this needs smpeg2, which is not available from SBo at the moment. I have not tried this!
Now it’s time to start the game! The VMCI project has a neat graphical interface that allows you to easily download Mods and change settings:
The “High-res menu” option is a nice touch. A very useful enhancement is the option to run the game in a number of extra resolutions. You can even set it to 1920×1080 in fullscreen mode. I just choose the 1280×800 pixels resolution to be run in a window:
The game works quite well, but still crashed once, so I got the habit to save it regularly. The AI players are active, although they seem a bit stupid. However, I have not had the time to play long enough to be sure.
I hope the VCMI project continues and reaches high stability!
For convenience, I uploaded the modified SlackBuild and all downloads (except the original game data, of course) here.
Original HowTo and forum discussions: