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uwAbyss

How to contact Richard Garriot?!

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Hi! I am working on a Ultima Underworld 1 Remake as a non-profit hobby project. See: http://www.ogre3d.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=24625 Anyone knows how to contact Richard Garriot or Origin or whoever is owning the rights to this classic game, because i am using his (their) intellectual property and dont want to get into any trouble. Thanks, uwabyss

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Origin were bought around 1992 by Electronic Arts (EA).

It's very likely EA own the current rights to the whole of the Ultima series.

Other people have been up to similar to yourself, it might be worth teaming up with them http://uwadv.sourceforge.net/


Final note: if your project is only for personal satisfaction and you have no intention of publicly releasing/distributing it, then go ahead, there's ~0% chance of you having any problems; however if you intend on releasing it for profit or even free, then permission should be obtained from the copyright holder.

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Yes,

You need to contact Electronic Arts. They definitely hold the IP rights. As the above poster suggested don't worry about it if you don't plan on releasing it. However, if you do plan on releasing it, be warned that there's a 99.999999% chance that EA will say no.

-me

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Well, dont just ignore Richard Garriot just because he doesnt have the rights you seek...

Maybe he could use a nice letter anyway.

Insensitive clods.:P

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Summoning Richard Garriott requires five druids, a full moon, and the blood of a virgin hart.

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Thanks!
I have contacted EA about this issue. They have a special email address for these kinds of requests...
Let's see if this project will ever see the light of day :)

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What I'm doing for a game I'm remaking is to not include any of the original graphics etc in the distribution, and make it so that the user has to obtain a copy of the original game. My version then loads in the graphics from the original game.

It makes installation more fiddly, and this assumes that the original game can be obtained somehow (in my case, there are plenty of "abandonware" sites with it on...), but it means you can distribute something which doesn't contain their IP.

Long term, trying to find someone who is able to redo the graphics might seem more worthwhile than trying to obtain permission to use the original files?

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Quote:
Original post by uwAbyss
I have contacted EA about this issue. They have a special email address for these kinds of requests...


Hehe, the one with the autoresponder that replies "No" to every incoming eMail?

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Quote:
Original post by Thygrrr
Quote:
Original post by uwAbyss
I have contacted EA about this issue. They have a special email address for these kinds of requests...


Hehe, the one with the autoresponder that replies "No" to every incoming eMail?


Heh, seems like they will be simply ignored atm ;)

mdwh:
Sounds like a good idea. I think i'll do it in a similar way (not distributing any of the original files/graphics/whatever), the data needed can then be generated from the original Underworld data files. Thanks.

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Quote:
Original post by uwAbyss
mdwh:
Sounds like a good idea. I think i'll do it in a similar way (not distributing any of the original files/graphics/whatever), the data needed can then be generated from the original Underworld data files. Thanks.


You're still a derivatory product, and they can still shut you down for infringment. Just look at how the recent fan games of LucasArts, Kings Quest IX and Space Quest III got shut down, after putting in a great piece of work.

http://www.fangames.co.uk/V6/

Why not just do your own game instead?

Allan

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Quote:
Original post by __ODIN__
You're still a derivatory product,
In what way is it a derivatory product?

I guess to some degree this depends on the style of game - a fan game which covers characters would be, in the same way that fan-fiction is strictly speaking copyright violation (even though the story is original, it uses the characters). On the other hand, many games don't involve specific "characters", but simply "some guy with a gun/sword", or a tank.

I guess a particular problem with "Ultima Underworld" would be if the storyline/characters/levels are part of the game code/files that have to distributed. Is it possible to get access to this via data files of the original game? I'm sure I came across an open source version of a later Ultima version, which seemed to take this route.

In fact, there are quite a few: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima#Related_projects - maybe see how these guys are approaching the issue?

The websites for the examples you give appear to be removed, so I can't comment whether they were targetted simply because they were remaking it, or because they infringed in more specific ways.

But whilst some fan games may have got shut down, there are plenty of clones out there (e.g., FreeCiv); there are also plenty of game engine reimplementations, which reuse the original game files.

Quote:
Why not just do your own game instead?
I often hear people say this. But this strikes me as odd: to someone learning game programming, it's commonly given advice that reimplementing existing simple games is better than embarking on your own project which may not work. So you start off with something like space invaders, and I don't think anyone worries about being sued. Once you've mastered that, stepping up to a clone of more complex games seems reasonable.

Yes, it's good to be original, but if you're learning programming and less bothered about being a game designer, it can be offputting to spend months or years working on an original game, only to find the game is hopeless unplayable - not because the programming is poor, but there is no playability. Also, I think working with existing games gives you more insight into what does and doesn't make a game playable. So then you're in a much better position to go onto program original games.

One possible compromise is to follow an existng game, but be less bothered about being an exact remake. So you could put in your own original levels, if that was going to be a copyright issue.

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Quote:
Original post by __ODIN__
Why not just do your own game instead?


My intention was (and still is) it to write a flexible data driven game engine, which i can use for further projects. I just needed a set of quick data for my work (i am no artist or leveldesigner) and because i am a fan of the old ultima underworld i decided to use them mostly for testing my routines. I am now at a point where parts of underworld are nearly playable in my engine and i think this great classic deverses a remake :)

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Quote:
Original post by mdwh
Quote:
Original post by __ODIN__
You're still a derivatory product,
In what way is it a derivatory product?


It's a derivative work in the legal context:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

USCO has this to say about copyright, and derivative works. Some companies, perhaps specially in Japan, has been supportive of non-commercial derivative works; for example Enix. This may have a background in the longer tradition of Fan Fiction. This is more unusual in the US, perhaps because the company legal councel has a lot more direct involvement in daily affairs.

Quote:
Original post by mdwh
I often hear people say this. But this strikes me as odd: to someone learning game programming, it's commonly given advice that reimplementing existing simple games is better than embarking on your own project which may not work. So you start off with something like space invaders, and I don't think anyone worries about being sued. Once you've mastered that, stepping up to a clone of more complex games seems reasonable.


My point isn't that you shouldn't do a UU style product, or even that you shouldn't use their art while tinkering initially with your data-driven engine. My question deals more with making your own setting, rules and story... and making sure to replace any and all UO-originated assets before you ever distribute it (i.e. using them only for placeholders).

Good luck,
Allan

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