Hi Neo,

Well, to be honest there is a presedents for being a little
antagonistic  towards game companies and their products. I myself have
been at the receiving end mor than once.

For example, in 2004 a person named James North was in the process of
making a retro remake of Montezuma's Revenge for the Vi community. In
2006 he decided to get out of the game business and I took over
several of his products. Early in 2008 I had pretty much completed
Montezuma's Revenge when I got a notice from the copyright holder to
stop all production of the title. Since I had just put two entire
years into that project I was reasonably angry with them. All the same
I agreed to the terms and started over, from scratch, with Mysteries
of the Ancients.

I think what burns my tail more than anything is Montezuma's Revenge
had been put out by Parker Brother's in 1984 for the Atari 2600 and
later for the Atari 5200. It did well for the time, but let's face it
that game hasn't been sold in over 25 years. Creating a retro remake
of that game would have not hurt their profits, nor effected the
company in anyway.  Still they insisted on enforcing their copyrights
even though the game itself is dead. Anyone with sight can just grab
the rom for the original Montezuma's Revenge from an Atari fan site
and fire it up in Stella whatever. I think the copyright holder in
that case is just being a jurk.

So you ask why I'm a little antagonistic   towards Lucas Arts and a
trademark like Star Wars. Well, about three or four years ago I
tracked down contact information for Lucas Licensing about properly
licensing the Star Wars trademark and to get official permission to
produce accessible versions of some of my favorite Star Wars games
like Jedi Knight, Rebel Asult, Dark Forces, etc. Well, they gave me a
load of crap about how those titles were exclusive to Lucas Arts and
if I wanted to properly license the Star Wars trademarks and names I'd
have to basically end up owing them thousands of dollars in licensing
fees. When I try to explain to them I was a blind developer, was only
expecting to sell maybe 1,000 copies, and wouldn't be able to raise
the kind of money they are expecting they gave me a flat out no. When
I asked them if I could release the games as freeware they still
wanted me to legally license the trademark weather I sold a single
game or not.

Ummm...Isn't there something wrong with this picture? Now, I think I
have good reason to not only be antagonistic  but outright upset with
that sort of treatment. I'm not out to make millions off their
trademark, but I do want to create some free or commercial Star wars
games for a very limited nitch market without the threat of being
sued. Doing so would not effect Lucas Arts or any other branch of
Lucas Film financially as they obviously don't consider us a target
market else they would have made all their games accessible already.

The point I'm getting at is unlike modding your favorite game using
their tools, their engine, etc they force me to write the entire game
from scratch without a dimes worth of financial compensation. Further
more if I do so without the trademark being properly licensed I can
technically be sued for copyright infringement.  Weather they actually
go through with it or not is beside the point. They could have at
least approved it as long as it was free or something like that, but
clearly I didn't have the money they wanted so their attitude was "get

However, I do agree with you about criticising through creation. I do
feel if I took one of Lucas Arts games, say Dark Forces, and make it
accessible it would be an excellent example of how one of their older
games can be updated and improved. After all, that game was designed
for Windows 95, uses DirectX 6, and hasn't been in stores for at least
12 years.  In fact, all of the Star Wars games I remember from high
school Jedi Knight, Jedi Knight II, Dark Forces, Rebel Assault, you
name it were all games from the early to mid 1990's. Creating a free
updated version isn't exactly going to hurt Lucas Arts sales any since
they aren't currently selling them anyway. They have no reason to get
anal about the whole thing.


On 11/30/10, neoph...@inthecompanyofgrues.com
<neoph...@inthecompanyofgrues.com> wrote:
> Okay, so I'm not entirely sure why the tone in a lot of messages regarding
> brands, such as Star Wars, is antagonistic, especially given sites such as
> this one:
> http://www.starwarsfanworks.com/
> The real problem of copyright comes from making money from brands that
> aren't yours, or directly causing a loss of sales (for example, uploading
> a pirated version of a game they have for sale to a torrent site).
> Most companies are more than happy for people to engage with their brands,
> so long as they are respectful of them, and aren't attempting to rip them
> off commercially.
> If you really want a game dev to take notice of you, make something
> extraordinary with their brand or their tools. That's how half the stars
> of the modding community get tight with devs such as Valve or Bungie.
> There's a saying I've become particularly fond of lately:
> Criticise through creation.
> Don't tear people or companies down through criticism. Show them what can
> be done by being creative.
> Cheers,
> Neo

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