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The Everett Kaser Software FAQ

[2.2.4] MESH: Hero's Hearts

In April of 1997, Everett Kaser and I ("I" being the author of this FAQ,
Samuel Stoddard) were conducting a long email conversation about the DOS
version of Hero, new levels, and so forth.  In the course of this conversation,
Everett asked me, "So, if you had a 'programmable' version of Hero (where
you could not only edit the levels, but add new objects with new behaviors)
what kinds of objects would you add?"  I told him he shouldn't go around
asking such exciting questions like that unless he was prepared to follow
through.  ("Oozingly tantalizing" I believe my exact words were.)

At the time, Hero was the third best selling Everett Kaser Software game,
behind a more or less tied Solitile and Sherlock.  At that time, he had
finished Windows ports of those two games and was well underway with the
Sherlock sequel, Dinner With Moriarty.  A Windows version of Hero was an
idea that had been churning about in the back of his mind for some time,
and one of the earliest ideas he had was to provide with it an "object
editor," so that you could not only construct new levels with the game, but
program new objects with new behaviors.  Actually this functionality was
intended for the original DOS version of Hero, but the speed of the computers
of the day (and his programming skills, less advanced at the time) kept him
from implementing it then.

I answered his question, immediately excited by the very prospect of an object
editor (Hero was one of my favorite games, and I had already pretty much
exhausted my level-making ideas with the original set of objects).  I came up
with four or five different ideas such as fans and hoses and hearts that fall
like boulders.  Everett liked the ideas, and I think -- maybe it's just wishful
thinking on my part -- that our discussion aroused his interest in such a
project and encouraged him to do it sooner.

But our conversation tapered off in the weeks that followed.  In December
of that year, I heard from Everett Kaser again, out of the blue.  He had an
alpha version of a Windows Hero port he wanted me to try out, complete with
a programmable object editor.  I was ecstatic.  The original alpha version
was extremely primitive -- not much like the final product in terms of
functionality -- but it was a blast to tinker with.  Immediately, I set about
implementing the new objects I had proposed months earlier, and doing so
exposed some bugs and weaknesses in the engine that I mentioned to Everett,
who fixed them.  He sent me new alpha versions as he had them ready from then
until the following March, when he posted a beta version to his web site for
more users to test.  The complete game was released in April and contained
all the levels from the original DOS Hero game, plus almost all the levels in
all four of the accessory disks, plus a few more.  Many of the levels had to
be tweaked from their original incarnation in the DOS game, though; the
engines of the two games are completely different, and as such, they process
the actions of objects in a slightly different order sometimes, which,
consequently, causes certain complex interactions to act differently in one
game than they do in the other.  But all but three or four of the original
levels could be ported to MESH: Hero's Hearts in some way.

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