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arcxl

Remaking Legal Issues Nonprofit

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Hey guys, I'm hoping someone can give me good news to condone my actions. I am remaking a game that is owned by vivendi. The game I am remaking is labeled as an unsupported game for the past 4 years. It lost support during the reign of Sierra. I want to remake it because no one will ever develop it again. They leave the servers up to play on without any administration on their part. I think if they ever found out they were there now it would be shut down for wasting bandwidth. The game I am remaking is a 2 meg DirectX3 freeware 2d action fighter - it was never sold in stores. The game was free for download from the very beginning, and was created originally by PopCap before the name popcap even existed (Hoopy). I have attempted to contact vivendi regarding this several times and they do not want to talk to me! I have actually cloned 75% of this game using the original GFX and game play, however I was ostracized by the game's community because it was illegal (real reason being the game moderators were jealous and the community has turned very sour like). However I have recently became aware of another game made by this community using the same game play but with different GFX, and is being totally supported by this community. However, the game is never going be successful since it does not look the same (there is no one playing in the servers right now while there are 50 people playing on the original game at 1 AM est). There is no remake unless it looks like the original and I wouldn’t want to play anything but an exact clone. Could anyone suggest any possibility of me posting some sort of legal form giving me the right to recode this game so I can show everyone that what I'm doing is legal? I submitted my remake builds to sierra many times. I have run the game publicly. Yet they would never even talk to me on the phone or emails about this. I find it hard to believe that a game that is unsupported, NEVER produces proceeds (no advertisements - is not even advertised - was bought and hosted by WON (Sierra) (before vivendi bought Sierra) as a favor to the popcap developers (friends)), and would never raise a legal interest, could be void from any legal term to give me the right to remake this so the community has no excuses to destroy my efforts in procreating a wonderful simple game idea. thanks for any advice. Jump to the URL below to read the Game’s EULA in case anyone is interested! I simply love this game and want to remake it with all my heart. As anyone will see the EULA prohibits me from doing what I wish, but there must be some way!? http://www.arcxl.myarcing.net/EULA.txt

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Quote:
Original post by arcxl
[...]I have actually cloned 75% of this game using the original GFX and game play, however I was ostracized by the game's community because it was illegal (real reason being the game moderators were jealous and the community has turned very sour like). However I have recently became aware of another game made by this community using the same game play but with different GFX, and is being totally supported by this community.
[...]
Could anyone suggest any possibility of me posting some sort of legal form giving me the right to recode this game so I can show everyone that what I'm doing is legal?

Sorry, but the game's community is unfortunately correct, what you're doing is illegal. Whether or not you make profit makes absolutely no difference, as does whether or not the original made profit.

For it to be legal you'd either need to get permission, the game would need to have a licence allowing what you were doing, or it would need to be released into the public domain. You very likely won't be able to get permission. The licence doesn't allow it. The product won't automatically be released into the public domain for a long time, and it isn't likely they'll decide to do so.

It is legal to make a clone which has the same gameplay but different audio and visual assets and doesn't infringe on any copyright or trademarks (so different character names, etc. as well). You could also legally make an engine which can load the datafiles of the game if you don't distribute the datafiles yourself (so players would need a copy of the original to play) if you didn't do anything illegal (such as disassembling the orignal executable) in the process.


I think you'll find though that a clone which doesn't use the original game assets would be a lot more succesful than you think; you personally may not like it, but as you've said, there's such a project out there already and it's recieving community support, suggesting it will be popular.


So sorry, but no, I can't really tell you what you want to hear. Your options as I see them are to produce a clone using original artwork, etc. or to produce an engine which is capable of loading the original datafiles but not distributing any of the files yourself.

Hope that's of some help.

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Original post by arcxl
I am remaking a game that is owned by vivendi. The game I am remaking is labeled as an unsupported game for the past 4 years. [...] I have attempted to contact vivendi regarding this several times and they do not want to talk to me!


If they do not want you to, you have no legal recourse. Regardless of what they are or are not doing with it, it is their game, not yours.

Read this now.

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What is the point of creating an exact clone of a game?

Just play the original. :p

And yes, remaking a game with the same graphics is illegal. Whe you could do maybe is make your game a MOD to the original game, to get the original up to speed again.

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Thanks for the replies. The main reason for cloning it is because the game has cheaters and server crashers. Thanks again, I wish I could find another project to work on now - what a waste of time..

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Original post by arcxl
I am remaking a game that is owned by vivendi.
That kind of says everything you need to know.
Quote:
The game I am remaking is labeled as an unsupported game for the past 4 years. It lost support during the reign of Sierra. I want to remake it because no one will ever develop it again. They leave the servers up to play on without any administration on their part. I think if they ever found out they were there now it would be shut down for wasting bandwidth. The game I am remaking is a 2 meg DirectX3 freeware 2d action fighter - it was never sold in stores. The game was free for download from the very beginning, and was created originally by PopCap before the name popcap even existed (Hoopy).
None of this has anything to do with it. Vivendi own the IP (intellectual property rights) and it is for them to decide what happens with it. If they want to make use of it they will. If they want to bury it in a hole in the ground that is their choice.

4 years is nothing in relation to IP. There was a ten year gap between Alone in the Dark 3 and 4.

Quote:
I have attempted to contact vivendi regarding this several times and they do not want to talk to me!
How did you contact them. Did you phone their legal department to discuss licensing or just send an email to info@vivendi.com (or some other non-specific email) and hope that it would land on the right desk.

The fact is that some companies do allow people to make use of their IP for non-profit fan titles but you actually need to get their permission which mean you don't give up after trying to contact them once. You keep on going until you get the right person and then you present your proposal in a clear manner so that they can see the value of it.

Quote:
Could anyone suggest any possibility of me posting some sort of legal form giving me the right to recode this game so I can show everyone that what I'm doing is legal? I submitted my remake builds to sierra many times. I have run the game publicly. Yet they would never even talk to me on the phone or emails about this.
You can't simply take someone else's IP. If they don't want to talk to you that is their right.

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Original post by arcxl
Thanks for the replies. The main reason for cloning it is because the game has cheaters and server crashers. Thanks again, I wish I could find another project to work on now - what a waste of time..


You could join that project that is working with their own graphics. The time you have spent re-implementing the game on your own would thus not be completely wasted.

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As i believe the mayor legal problem in here are the images, graphics, and names that you are using, beside that i dont bilieve you got most problems :/ still i would say just go and make a different one or get the permission nessesary; which in a case would include paying royalties to the owners, i can be corrected if wrong

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Original post by arcxl
However, the game is never going be successful since it does not look the same

There is no remake unless it looks like the original and I wouldn’t want to play anything but an exact clone.
I don't understand why it's important to have an exact copy of the graphics, rather than redone graphics?

One possible idea is to make it so your game can use the graphics from the original game, but don't distribute these with your game (i.e., the user needs to obtain the original game). Either you could just ship the game engine and require the user to have an installation of the original game, or maybe distribute an alternative set of graphics with the game, but have the option to use original graphics if available.

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But, I would need some sort of proprietary original gfx with my game for that to work. Could I call it an Add-on game? Meaning it install a .exe into the real Game's folder and uses its GFX and data files that way?

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