To Sam at Blizzard

Hi Sam,

Now that you’re working for the almighty Blizzard Entertainment, I was
curious to find out if you would be at liberty to share any information
about their products from a coding perspective? I’m particularly interested
in Warcraft III, though if that’s off limits to talk about at all because
it’s so new, I understand.

So, I’ll phrase my questions this way: I know I will never get my hands
on the source code itself, but if I were granted as a birthday present the
answer to ten questions about the Warcraft III source code, here is what
they would be:

  1. How many lines of code does Warcraft III require?
    (I was guessing ~ 1 million, but I realize that program length depends a
    lot on the language used and the programming style).

  2. How do you guys make the framerates so high? I have trouble getting
    high framerates in my OpenGL game (though it is very playable on a
    GeForce card or better), although I don’t have much experience yet with performance

  3. Is it difficult or relatively straightforward to simultaneously keep
    both Macintosh OS, OS X, and Microsoft Windows releases of the product
    working correctly and in nearly the same way?

  4. Is SDL used at all for the cross-platform maintenance, and if so,
    could the game be ported to Linux fairly easily if Blizzard were willing
    to do so? (Sorry if this is a bold question, but this is a wish-list
    after all).

  5. Is the source code C or C++?

  6. Is the programming paradigm procedural or object-oriented?

  7. How much of the game’s source code was borrowed from its
    predecessor, Warcraft II?

  8. Did Blizzard write all or most of the source code themselves, or does
    the game make extensive use of multimedia libraries (for example, higher level
    than OpenGL itself), and if so, which ones?

  9. Did Blizzard write a “game engine” as the foundation for Warcraft
    III that could potentially be purchased by another game company to write an
    RTS based on the Warcraft III “game engine” in the same way that Lucas
    Arts bought the Age of Empires II game engine to more easily implement
    Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds?

  10. Would you consider the game’s source code to be well-designed or
    hacked? Basically, what I’m asking you here is whether the source code
    is designed well from a maintenance perspective, and whether it is
    well-organized and readable enough so that it would be possible for a person
    who didn’t write it to figure out, at least in some overall sense, how it

You’re probably wondering what the purpose of this message is. The
questions are mostly for personal curiosity. But I’m also interested
in finding out just how much goes (from a true professional
game programmer’s perspective) into a project of the size and complexity of
Warcraft III–it seems absolutely mind-boggling when I think
about it–and how a project of such a grand scale can actually be made to
work. I think it would be interesting for a lot of us game programming
hobbyists / amateurs to have a sense of what the pros do in approaching
the development of a gargantuan and wildly complex computer game like
Warcraft III.


  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
*   Curtis S. Cooper, Graduate Research Assistant         *
  • Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona *
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  • 1629 E. University Blvd., *
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