Might and Magic 3— Isles of Terra
Might and Magic 3 will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart. It was the very first RPG that I played that was not developed with a console in mind, and though it was later ported to the Super NES, I don't believe that any version of MM3 was nearly as good as the PC version. Gameplay was simple and intuitive, exploration was exciting because you always wondered if you'd stick your neck around the wrong corner and get obliterated, and there were oh-so-many items to uncover.
So, naturally, since I can't seem to leave any game that I love alone... I thought I'd take a look at the internal workings of Might and magic 3 to see what I could see. I figured that since the World of Xeen has been rather thoroughly documented, and some have deciphered the ins and outs of the .CC format, that Might and Magic 3 would be a similar creature.
Boy, was I wrong.
Turns out that MM3 was released in 1991, at a time when, if I remember correctly, hard disk space was at a premium... to the tune of 1 MB per $1.00. Nowadays, you can get Solid State Drives for less than that! So, New World Computing, the developers of MM3, were kind to the consumer and compressed the game's data .CC, in an effort to save disk space. That, of course, has two rather inconvenient side effects:
- The game runs somewhat slower than it would otherwise, as every time a file is loaded, MM3 must uncompress and decrypt the file on the fly, and
- It keeps people (like yours truly) from opening up the .CC and determining the file's contents... even if you know a thing or two about the .CC structure. It turns out that this algorithm has been a particularly tough nut to crack, and no one has come up with a viable way of decrypting the data.
I decided that if the best and brightest in the Internet Might and Magic community haven't been able to come up with a reverse engineering solution, I probably wasn't going to have much luck either. I can't beat MM3, so I decided to "join it"... with a debugging emulator and a bit of a working knowledge of debugging, I was able to get MM3 to decrypt the files for me, which I dumped directly from emulator memory into files, and thus re-constituted them from scratch. I repacked them with the help of Cedric Busch's excellent World of Xeen tools, and then modified the MM3 executable to load the decrypted files properly (not a particularly easy task).
Hence the reason for this resource page... I offer these files as a service to the Might and Magic modding community, as well as a tribute to a beloved franchise that has offered many fans (including me) countless hours of entertainment. I hope Might and Magic 3 will continue to live on as others with a will and a way develop new content for its engine.
World of Xeen (Might and Magic 4/5) resources
As World of Xeen uses basically the same engine as Might and Magic 3 does (albeit with a few enhancements here and there), much of Might and Magic 3's conventions are similar to World of Xeen. The event files that are in the save game file are much more of a mess to try to decode and read however, let alone mod. These two sites deserve huge kudos for their usefulness in modifying World of Xeen, and they can help point modders address Might and Magic 3 as well.
- WizardStan's Xeen wiki— Your one-stop go-to guide for all info that's related to World of Xeen data or mechanics. Quite literally, if it is known, you will likely find it here.
- Cedric's Xeen tools— Cedric is a coder who has put together some very good modding tools for Xeen. As of 9/20/2011, he has a CC file lister, a CC file packer, a demo for an outdoor map editor, and a save game editor, and he adds to his resources periodically. Go check them out.
Might and Magic 3— Isles of Terra downloads
- Purchase MM3 Isles of Terra legally and DRM-free on GOG.com
- Browse the MM3 modding resources
- Learn about Ludmeister's Isles of Terra Monster Spawn Mod
Copyright notice/disclaimer/placating remarks
MM3 was originally copyright 1991, by New World Computing, Inc. The rights to Might and Magic currently are owned by Ubisoft. The files provided on this site are provided in the hopes that MM3 can be further maintained by the active Might and Magic community. I do not intend to go into competition with Ubisoft, nor do I make a profit off of the Might and Magic name. If Ubisoft objects to the existance of these files on my site, I will remove them promptly.
These patches are obviously provided, freely, as is... without any warranty or guarantee that they will work for you on your particular system/configuration. When in doubt, make a backup. Modding is not a risk-free enterprise