Sign in to follow this  

Unity Saving Acclaim's Summer Heat Beach Volleyball

Recommended Posts

dwhite601    122
Hello, I recently learned that rights to Acclaim video games are being auctioned. After several weeks into the auction, no one has made a bid for Summer Heat Beach Vollayball. I am interested in acquiring this game, porting it to the PC platform, and releasing the code under open source license. I have experience in 3D graphics on several systems. I ported my 3D dance animation program to Sony's consumer developer kit, Net Yaroze, so I have had some exposure to console development. Before I bid on Summer Heat Vollayball, I need to find out what the nature of the code is likely to be. Is there anyone in your community that could tell me roughly what would be involved in porting this Play Station 2 game? Thanks in advance for your time David

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
S1CA    1418
1) Are they selling the source code and source assets at all?

To me, that list reads like they're only selling the rights to *publish* and *re-publish* the existing titles on their original platforms. From that my impression is you won't get /any/ source code or assets, only the gold master and a contract of ownership.

Before bidding, contact them to ensure (at least):

a. the publishing rights include the right to port and publish on other platforms.

b. those rights include any licensed assets/IP; for example if you bought the publishing rights to "Bubble Bobble", how does Acclaim's license with Taito who own the Bubble Bobble IP fit in; likewise with the other license; Likewise with any product placement references in Summer Heat Beach Volleyball; Likewise with any licensed music.

c. the publishing rights include ownership of the source code and source assets, and all of it, including any middleware used.

d. the publishing rights include all worldwide territories, particularly North America and Europe.

e. the publishing rights include the right to publish for the original platform. For example, Sony might not legally allow you to re-publish the PS2 version again unless you yourself are a Sony licensed publisher - the rights to a game are unlikely to give you the all rights of Acclaim...

f. that the *complete* source code, *original* source assets, *complete* tool pipeline (and source code), *complete* build environment, and converted assets are intact and supplied with the deal; preferably you should get a period of due dilligence to check that for yourself.

2) If I were in your shoes, I'd seriously hire an IP specialist lawyer with games industry experience to go through those contracts with a fine toothcomb - otherwise you could very easily be left with a worthless piece of paper and a hole in your pocket!

I worked at Acclaim (at the Manchester, UK studio) at the time it went down, trust me, the legal dealings and relationships between the various studios, the publishing division, and the subsiduaries is complicated and a legal minefield (for example: many of the studios were previously independent developers that Acclaim bought, so the rights to some things may have reverted to original owners now Acclaim is gone).

3) At best, you'll get a bunch of CDs/DVDs/tapes/HDDs with:
a. a full backup of the source control tree for the project at the time of gold master, with labels/branches for each territory release and each milestone.

b. a full backup of the asset tree in whatever version control system they were using.

c. the game design document and technical design document.

d. a full backup of the build machine (or the machine itself) from the day the project ended. If you don't have this, expect at least a few weeks of trying to recreate the exact build environment - workarounds for compiler bugs, interoperability between tools etc is a nightmare if you don't have that archive.

e. all proprietary tools *with* source code. Otherwise you'll have a lot of fun reverse engineering custom **studio (and even game) specific** file formats and the like.

f. clean, modular commented and documented source code.

4) At worst you'll get:

a. the assets in final converted format

b. badly commented source code to the game itself with last minute crunch time "fixes" and no source code to the engine or any of the tools (executable and library/archive files to the engine if you're lucky).

5) As for porting to the PC:

a. if the original game was ever cross-platform at any part of its development, then much of the engine should have been abstracted suitably that re-writing the renderer and other core tech for PC will be all that's required coding wise.

b. if the original game was only ever single platform, there's a danger that techniques used for things like the graphics engine were very PS2 specific. Even worse, you may find VU math code and even hardware register pokes scattered through game code itself.

c. some understanding of the PS2 architechture would be advisable before attempting a port. For example, you might very likely see code reading and writing directly from a memory address around 0x70000000; do you know what's so magic about that address?. And documentation for VU microcode would be an essential for porting the graphics engine.

d. the biggest initial hurdle will be getting the code to compile for a target other than PS2. Expect to have to write PC stubs for every PS2 engine function that isn't a library call.

e. the next biggest hurdle is sussing out the inputs and outputs of all of those stubbed functions (assuming it wasn't cross platform); bearing in mind that many of them may hit PS2 hardware registers directly to start things like DMA transfers and IOP programs going.
You'll really need to be able to understand what the functions are doing to be able to write PC equivilents. To do that, you *will* need the developer documentation for the PS2, and ideally a PS2 devkit to run the code on to see what the code does in practice; a PS2 Linux kit /might/ be enough.

f. PS2 is little endian, as is PC, so much of the file format code will at least still work. But texture files will have been converted to PS2-native formats. If you have the source assets, re-do the loading code and use something like DXT for textures; otherwise you'll have to write something to convert format.

g. console games usually do "in-place" loading where a block of data is read off disk and used at the point where it's loaded rather than "converted". So you won't find "CreateTexture" type calls, just a load, some pointer fixups and use in place.

h. I could write a book on cross platform development and porting here. But I don't have the time. [wink] Besides, someone else already has:

6) In general: be sure you're not biting off more than you can chew & make sure you know exactly what you're getting before you pay a dime.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
dwhite601    122
Thanks for your reply. The auction house was a bit vague last week when I asked about what's included. They mentioned getting about getting 400 boxes of 'stuff' in the next few days. I suspect they might not know how to sort out all of the related components.

Before I asked them more detailed questions, I figured I should determine if this project was over my head. It sounds like it might be.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
wolfgangw    139
What I would do with those rights: develop a 1:1 clone for mobile phones and then offer the publishing rights and game to publishers. Rereleases of arcade classics are mostly a big success on java phones.

My god, the highest bid so far for the rights to 'Bubble Bobble' is $5,100. That's a fraction of what a java cell phone version of that game could earn you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Partner Spotlight

  • Similar Content

    • By Spronx
      Hi guys,
      I'm Andy from StriX Interactive and we are
      to join us on this incredible adventure of developing Blood Oath. Open world fantasy 3rd person RPG in the style of The Witcher.
      We plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign by the end of the year. So it's not a paid job yet.
      We need someone capable of making terrain according to the world map that we have and over all level design. We have a great team and want YOU to be a part of it.
      Contact us on our facebook page

    • By Java Nigga
      Hi there!
      We are JN Studios, we are looking for people to work with us in our project.
      About US:
      JN Studios is a 2 people amateur studio. we have like 1 year making games, but this is our first professional project to show it to the public. We are a programmer guy(Me) and a 3d modeller.
      About the game:
      Strategist Sniper is a RPG/FPS game, yes RPG and fps :v you awake in the middle of the unknown and a small voice tells you that you have to go through the world killing other snipers to get out of there. the mechanics of the game are based on the basic controls of games like League of Legends and in FPS games like Counter Strike.
      What we are looking for?
      actually we are looking for another c# programmer, a musician and an artist(for game illustrations for the marketing of the game).
      Profits Share:
      when the game is in a stable alpha phase we will create a campaign in Idiegogo to obtain money to finance the game. each of the project participants will receive a percentage depending on the work done.
      How to apply?
      just send us a email with a portfolio and in what you can help our team -

    • By cursetalegame
      Hello! I am building the main scene in Unity for a 3D cards game. My goal is creating "card slots" to place the different cards from a deck and use it as "buttons". The image below represents somehow what I want to develop. I have been reading and I think that I have to generate a canvas and place in my scene the slots where I want to place the cards, but I am not sure about it. Also, to use the cards, I don't know if setting buttons is the best option (maybe I should use images instead).
      All recommendations and tips are welcome

    • By cursetalegame
      Hi! We are looking for a unity 3D developer to join our small "beginners" team. We are 3 artists (illustration, concept and 3D modeling), 2 designers and 1 programmer (me). We are developing an online video game that we have already designed. Our goal is to create a small studio and build up this game to take it to video game events around Europe and try to find publishers. Also we want to learn step by step how to develop games, so, is better if you don't have a huge experience in developing
      For more information, or any question, you can send us an email to 
    • By ilovegames
      The legendary UAZ SUV is off in an unprecedented expedition on the picturesque,
      yet rugged regions of Russia. Powerful domestic cross-country vehicles have to go through many trials in the expanses of the country! There are three game modes (Exploring the world, Delivery and Checkpoints).
      Explore the vastness of Russia, perform tasks, and feel the power of the legendary UAZ!

      - Large Map.
      - Diverse terrain (mountains, villages, fields, etc.)
      - Modern graphics and effects.
      - Pleasant music.
      - 11 types of camera views.
      - Different weather conditions (fog, rain, etc.)
      - Game modes (Free Driving, Delivery & Checkpoints)
      - 3 models of the legendary brand.
      - And much more!

  • Popular Now