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Author Topic: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?  (Read 6622 times)
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2006, 04:31:13 pm »

..Rancid Meat's Duke3d Port still uses the original lvl files.

they ported Duke3d??! what!! where!!

 Cheesy
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2006, 04:32:52 pm »

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So Doom and Quake or released under GPL and can be ported, but you cannot actually donload the port unless you own the game? Meaning that basically, if you download the port without owning the original, you should somehow be able to pay iD software (or whoever they are nowadays) for it?

My understanding is that in this case, you can do what you wish with the engine (iow, the code) but the monster sprites, sound effects, etc., are not for you to use unless you bought the game from someone (I doubt they sell doom themselves anymore.)

The reason for doing it this way is probably to protect their art concepts (since there is no longer anything worth protecting too fiercly in the code anymore.) Newer versions of these games wouldn't be as interesting if every other shooter was using their formerly unique monsters, because they released them into the public domain.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2006, 04:38:02 pm »

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they ported Duke3d??! what!! where!!

Searching soureforge for "Duke 3D" turns up 2327 results, so a lot of people, apparently. Smiley

http://sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=soft&words=duke+3d


This one has a lot of hits, looks good:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/eduke32
« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 04:40:04 pm by Deus_Siddis » Logged
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2006, 04:52:10 pm »

My understanding is that in this case, you can do what you wish with the engine (iow, the code) but the monster sprites, sound effects, etc., are not for you to use unless you bought the game from someone (I doubt they sell doom themselves anymore.)

Meaning that the whole process is still dubious at best (in my opinion of course), unless you use completely different graphics and sounds, in effect renderign it a new game rather than a port.

Assuming I've understood this correctly, that still makes a port of say Doom dubious at best, seeing as anyone downloading it without owning the games is technically doing something illegal.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2006, 06:14:10 pm »

I'm still slightly confused here. So Doom and Quake or released under GPL and can be ported, but you cannot actually donload the port unless you own the game? Meaning that basically, if you download the port without owning the original, you should somehow be able to pay iD software (or whoever they are nowadays) for it?
You can download the port, change it and redistribute it, but it's just a bunch of code; the graphics, sound and other content are not included; you have to get that some other way (e.g. download the shareware version and use the data files from there or buy the commercial version). Combining, for example, a modified executable with the original data and distributing that would be illegal. However, creating your own graphics, levels and so on and combining that with the GPL:ed source code would be legal.

The tricky part here is that that the source code (from which the game executable or a functional replacement can be easily reconstructed) is released under one license (often GPL) and the game content under another (part of the original game, which is usually under a "do not copy this to anyone ever" license).

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But in order to run a game on the ScummVM system ,you must still purchase or own that game right? Or have they released their older games as well?
SCUMM games are essentially programs written in an interpreted language; these scripts (including most of the gameplay logic) are stored together with the graphics and sound in data files. The main game executable is an interpreter that executes the game stored in the data files; it can also be considered to be a virtual machine (this is where the name ScummVM comes from). To run a game with ScummVM, you buy (or otherwise acquire) the original game and then use the data files with ScummVM, which essentially replaces the main .exe.

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Forgive me again if I don't undesrstand again. Even if the code of somethign is reimplemented, doesn't graphics and suchlike still have an inherent copyright? I mean ,even though porting SC 2 to a new format changes (I assume) the code beyond recognition, all gfx and suchlike are still originals. Wouldn't this hold true for any title you port?
The point here is to not redistribute the data files (in the case of ScummVM, any of the game itself), just the modified source code (which is usually licensed under GPL). ScummVM is just a bunch of code released under GPL by the people who wrote it; the fact that it happens to implement a virtual machine compatible with SCUMM is, while by no means coincidental, irrelevant from a legal point of view as implementing a specification or deriving a specification from an implementation does not constitute creating a derivative work.

Without the explicit permission of TFB to distribute the content together with UQM, UQM would only be legally distributable as a program (based on the GPL:ed source code) lacking the game data; you'd need a copy of SC2 to run it (a 3DO CD to get voices, et.c.). The situation with UQM's 3DO videos is similar to that of most open sourced games; the playback code is freely available (reverse engineered from the Duck codec) but the content isn't.

The SCUMM case is particularly interesting as it has strong parallels to e.g. Java virtual machine technology. Essentially, the game data files (including scripts) are roughly equivalent to a Java archive containing an applet (and additional data used by it), SCUMM to Sun's JVM and ScummVM to a rival JVM (e.g. Kaffe).

For similar reasons, most emulators are legal but may require copyrighted parts of the computer to emulated in order to run. For example, Sinclair Spectrum and Amstrad CPC emulators can legally be distributed with dumps of the system firmware (permission from Amstrad)
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2006, 07:48:00 pm »

You can download the port, change it and redistribute it, but it's just a bunch of code; the graphics, sound and other content are not included; you have to get that some other way (e.g. download the shareware version and use the data files from there or buy the commercial version). Combining, for example, a modified executable with the original data and distributing that would be illegal. However, creating your own graphics, levels and so on and combining that with the GPL:ed source code would be legal.

I see. Thank you for clearing that up. So essentially, you cannot download a ported version of Doom from the internet. You can download the ported game engine, but must find the rest in other places. It just seems a bit silly to call it a port of Doom if it is, technically only a port of the engine and does not contain any of the data that makes the game Doom. But then I do know very little of standards within the computer industry, so it might be just me.

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SCUMM games are essentially programs written in an interpreted language; these scripts (including most of the gameplay logic) are stored together with the graphics and sound in data files. The main game executable is an interpreter that executes the game stored in the data files; it can also be considered to be a virtual machine (this is where the name ScummVM comes from). To run a game with ScummVM, you buy (or otherwise acquire) the original game and then use the data files with ScummVM, which essentially replaces the main .exe.

So essentially, the ScummVM program works like an engine for all LucasArt games. The same way that you could run the downloaded Doom engine with any number of permutations to create a different shoot-em-up?

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For similar reasons, most emulators are legal but may require copyrighted parts of the computer to emulated in order to run. For example, Sinclair Spectrum and Amstrad CPC emulators can legally be distributed with dumps of the system firmware (permission from Amstrad)

So this is why Amiga emulators require a certain start-up file to work? I see.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 10:29:53 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2006, 08:21:33 pm »

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Forgive me again if I don't undesrstand again. Even if the code of somethign is reimplemented, doesn't graphics and suchlike still have an inherent copyright? I mean ,even though porting SC 2 to a new format changes (I assume) the code beyond recognition, all gfx and suchlike are still originals. Wouldn't this hold true for any title you port?
For clarification on this issue- remember that something can be copyrighted, and released under a copyright license such as the GPL or Creative Commons, which gives permission for specific uses of the copyrighted work.

So for a game like tremulous, the code and the content are copyrighted, but the code is GPL since it's based off the Quake 3 engine, and the content is Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike. They've explicitly granted you permission to copy and make derivative works from the code and the media of the game, under certain conditions.

For UQM, the game is GPL and we have permission from TFB to distribute their copyrighted content with UQM, but not for people to make derivative works. So, you can download and play UQM, but you can't, in the strictest legal sense, take the ur-quan and put them into your new space game. (This is also partly a property rights issue, which I won't go into here.)

For a game like doom, duke nukem, or descent, the code is GPL'd but, as mentioned previously, the content is not under a free license. Thus the "bring your own WAD" requirement for the strictly legal distributions of 'Doom ports' and the like.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2006, 08:46:42 pm »

Thank you for the explanation, even though I got the gist of it from Novus post already.

It is a good day when you learn something new.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2006, 09:22:07 pm »

We've actually heard from TFB about a new open content license a while ago, but there are still some questions we need to ask them. But for 0.6 you can expect a new, more liberal, license.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2006, 09:43:01 pm »

I see. Thank you for clearing that up. So essentially, you cannot download a ported version of Doom from the internet. You can download the ported game engine, but must find the rest in other places. It just seems a bit silly to call it a port of Doom if it is, technically only a port of the engine and does not contain any of the data that makes the game Doom. But then I do know very little of standards within the computer industry, so it might be just me.
Actually, since the released Doom source code contains most of the gameplay logic (physics, weapon and monster behaviour, et.c.), referring to a port of Doom is justified. The expression "game engine" is usually reserved for the generic (not game-specific) part of the code. If the data is easily combined with the ported code (usually a matter of putting the new executable in the right directory or telling the executable where the game data is), the user can easily get a functional ported copy of the game from the separate code and content.

In some cases, the modified executable runs on the same system as the original, in which case the word "port" is, naturally, not applicable.

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So essentially, the ScummVM program works like an engine for all LucasArt games. The same way that you could run the downloaded Doom engine with any number of permutations to create a different shoot-em-up?
In a way, yes. Many "Doom" ports run several other Doom engine-based games (Heretic, Strife, et.c.) with quite small amounts of added game-specific code (although quite a lot of the gameplay logic in these games is in the executable, not the game data, necessitating some reverse engineering to get e.g. Strife flamethrower behaviour right). In the ScummVM case, there is a much clearer separation of game-specific code from the underlying engine, although the SCUMM engine changes enough from game to game to make supporting all revisions a bit tricky.

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So this is way Amiga emulators require a certain start-up file to work? I see.
Whoops. Lost the last part of that sentence (forgot to proofread the last revision). Yes, I was going to use the Amiga Kickstart ROMs ("BIOS" in PC parlance) as an example of emulators that are essentially useless without a ROM image that is not freely available; you have to dump one from your own Amiga or buy a licensed copy.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2006, 11:07:57 pm »

When I talk about a "revival company" I mean re-releasing lost classics like M.U.L.E., 7CoG, Starflight (Did you see how good it looked on the Sega Genesis? Wow!) Sundog, Wasteland and so forth as actual, legit retail or downloadable products for new generations of gamers to enjoy.

I'd prefer retail for the inclusion of hard goods like box art, manuals, maps, etc.

All this ScummVM and WAD talk is nice as far as it goes - hell, it's better than nothing - but it often doesn't go far enough. UQM is the fortunate result of positive involvement by the original creators (and bless them for it) and a lot of amateur effort (in the literal sense of amateur; one who woks for love rather than money).  The stars aligned for UQM, thankfully. But for many other revival projects things don't work out so well. Had the ownership of SC2/UQM panned out differently, the project might well have been squashed like a bug by some EA-style corporate greedpigs; this has been the fate of a number of revivals of older Ultima games. I suspect that a A M.U.L.E. revival, for example, would be stopped in its tracks by EA regardles of how promising it was.

I don't want the classics to live on in some demimonde of emulators and hacked conversions. I will settle for that if I have to, but that should not be the goal.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2006, 12:24:27 am »

Well, M.U.L.E. has been remade lots of times (e.g. Space HoRSE; see also a list of M.U.L.E. clones) with various degrees of success and originality, and the game itself works fine on lots of emulators.

I guess an official updated version (same or highly similar gameplay, carefully updated graphics/sound) is what you want, Brain? Otherwise, I don't see what you're missing (apart from easy and legal access to the original).
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2006, 02:46:14 am »

Well, M.U.L.E. has been remade lots of times (e.g. Space HoRSE; see also a list of M.U.L.E. clones) with various degrees of success and originality, and the game itself works fine on lots of emulators.

I guess an official updated version (same or highly similar gameplay, carefully updated graphics/sound) is what you want, Brain? Otherwise, I don't see what you're missing (apart from easy and legal access to the original).

Well, yes. Apart from the necessary changes (DirectX for WinXP, for example), I want the games brought back to life under their own titles, properly crediting the original creators.

My Plan B after winning the lottery is to buy the rights for some of the titles and then 'public domain' them once and for all. That way even those games which might not sell well enough to warrant an outright commercial revival can still be available for anyone wanting to start an UQM-like project - this time without the fear of C&D hate mail from corporate lawyers.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2006, 11:28:29 am »

Well, yes. Apart from the necessary changes (DirectX for WinXP, for example), I want the games brought back to life under their own titles, properly crediting the original creators.
If you just want "necessary" changes (same old blocky graphics et.c.), the easy way (from a development point of view) would be to convince EA to release M.U.L.E. disk images and/or emulator snapshots as freeware. Emulators are the best way to recreate the original experience on modern hardware, and creating an official disk image would be easy.
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Re: WHY isn't there a "revival" company?
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2006, 12:09:55 am »

There's another obstacle to these pipe dreams: some older developers had the unfortunate habit of losing the source code during corporate shuffling-around, so even if you get the rights, you might still have to remake the whole game from scratch... which, with a little creative name-changing, is (probably) already legal.
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