As Eternity nears a new release, I would like to discuss plans moving forward on this release in terms of the MinGW (Win9x) builds.
I started doing MinGW builds as a personal exercise to see if I could get Eternity to run in Windows 95. As you all know, Team Eternity managed to accomplish this - a binary that could work in all versions of Windows from 95 to 8.x, at least, that we know of. With OpenGL disabled, it's possible to play Eternity on old NT machines.
However, there are some issues in terms of SDL support and Aeon support:
SDL should be fine for now, but in the future we may have issues with DLLs not working because there is no solid system in place for building these. I received some new DLLs from the Odamex team, but they are quite flakey , with Sdl_Mixer being one of the worst offenders. The DLLs packed with the upcoming release will still be working in all Windows versions, but this may not be the case in the future. I wish to prevent that, so if anyone can help us with MinGW 4.7.2 (32-bit) builds of the libraries Eternity uses, this would be a tremendous help to the project.
Aeon support is still in implementation stages, but the likely candidate languages will be difficult to compile for MinGW, mostly due to lack of support from developers. There are several projects on the Internet to fix these issues (most notably Python-mingw), but even then, it might be difficult to port. This will require a group effort, so if you are willing to help with the porting work as soon as a language is set, please let us know.
I want to continue the MinGW side project as long as possible, most notably for the fact that MinGW is one of the few solid, Free implementations of a compiler toolchain for Windows. With the state of Windows development up in the air, and the fate of Visual Studio as a whole, it might be in the port's best interest to have a "Plan B". VS 2010 and VS 2012 work for now, but none of us can be sure of what future versions will be like, and what Windows versions will be supported, or if VS Express will be around a few years from now.
This is no problem for this release, however. a MinGW build will be available alongside the MSVC build, with a few changes:
The most notable part is that there are no code changes required for EE to compile with MinGW, so no special sources specific to said build will be included. The other thing to note is that I will no longer be making builds for specific processors, as this is no longer needed. That being said, the bare minimum will be a 200 MHz Pentium MMX processor, as the new sound code may lag on anything below that.