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[url=https://amigafuture.de/app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=279&sid=29043902b23f2558ccee87b32876c9d9]Artikeldatenbank - Interview with Hyperion[/url]
Interview with Hyperion
Editor: Andreas Stürmer
Can you give us a short description on how Hyperion Software was founded?
Hyperion Entertainment (we changed the name for legal reasons) was founded in March of 1999 in response to the rather depressing fact that PPC hardware and 3D hardware was available to Amiga users but that there was no software making use of this potential. The Belgian lawyer Ben Hermans, long term Amiga fan, wanted to start an upgrade cycle whereby people who sell their 68K based hardware in favor of more powerful PPC hardware. He decided to approach Steffen Haeuser to examine the possibility of doing some ports of high-end games for the Amiga. Steffen brought in the Frieden brothers, authors of Warp 3D and Hyperion was a fact.
Where is Hyperion Software located? As I can see on your website there are people from several different countries working at Hyperion.
The administrative seat of Hyperion Entertainment is located in Belgium. Most developers are Germans but we do have people from other countries working for us as well. The internet makes this a possibility.
What was the reason to choose "Hyperion" as your company's name?
Ben Hermans studied ancient Greek for 5 years (Hyperion is a figure from Greek mythology) and is a great fan of science-fiction, one of his favourite books is "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons.
Why have you chosen the Amiga as one of the destination platforms for porting games beside Linux and MacOS?
Everybody at Hyperion has his roots in the Amiga community and all are great fans of the Amiga operating system because it is responsive, flexible and has a very small footprint in terms of CPU power and memory. Besides, we all love a challenge.
As many Amiga users know Hyperion Software is porting famous games. How does it came that you have specialised yourself on porting games?
Remember why Hyperion was founded: to get people to upgrade to PPC hardware. The best way to show the benefits of high CPU power and fast 3D hardware is games. It's games that drive the upgrade cycle on the PC as well. People upgraded to play Doom and Quake and Half-Life.
Titles like Heretic 2 or Shogo M.A.D. are well-known on the PC market. How did you get the licenses to port this games to Amiga?
Hyperion Entertainment is a professionally managed company. Its founder Ben Hermans is a legal consultant and is used to negotiating agreements, that's his job afterall. Combined with the top-notch quality of the Hyperion developers we can put forward a convincing proposal to even the biggest PC companies. Money is the most important factor though, most licenses cost around 40,000 to 50,000 USD. Needless to say the current Amiga market is not large enough to recuperate the license fee. We hope this will change again in the near future but meanwhile we would like anybody who wants the Amiga to have a place in the future to support us and other Amiga companies.
The 3D shooter SIN will make his way to the Amiga market soon. How many people were working on the Amiga version of SIN and what was the toughest piece to port of this game?
After our experience with Heretic 2, SiN was fairly easy to port. The biggest part of the work on SiN was done by the very talented developer Peter Annuss with help from Steffen Haeuser. Peter and Steffen also did the Linux (x86 and PPC) port of SiN. Unfortunately we discovered that the current PPC hardware (especially the slow memory access) is not powerful enough to run SiN. You will have to wait for the Amiga One. Part of the problem was that the original PC system requirements for SiN were very low (133 Mhz Pentium) but the Artificial Intelligence was very buggy and was subsequently rewritten. The "patched" version of SiN on Windows now has much higher system requirements than the original version that was released.
Which sourcecode was the toughest to port from all games you developed?
This must without a doubt be Shogo. The LithTech engine is a very complex and large piece of C++ code with very high dependency on Windows and totally endian unaware. We ported Heretic 2 in less than half the time to port Shogo. We did however develop a lot of new technology which will be used in future projects and will speed up the porting process.
Will you develop "own" games in the future or is Hyperion specialised on ports forever?
We are focusing on ports for now because of the very long development cycle and high budgets required to develop new 3D games. Keep in mind that we also don't have any content developers working for Hyperion like graphicians and level-designers. We are also still working on Realsoft, the high-end rendering and modelling package. Furthermore, we will supply certain key components for OS 4.x (Mesa OpenGL implementation, Matrox G450/G550 3D drivers) and Amiga DE.
Are there any future releases planed at Hyperion Software, any games for the AmigaOne?
We intend to remaster our current games for OS 4.x so that they take full advantage of everything the Amiga One has to offer. Hopefully cheap bundles with the Amiga One will be possible. Upcoming releases include Freespace and Majesty.
Interview done with Andreas Stürmer