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Maniac Mansion Creator Supports Indie Ports

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the he's-not-that-grumpy dept.

Portables (Games) 36

trueneutral writes "SCUMMVM is a project that has ported a large number of the Lucas Arts adventure games. But what's amazing, is that Ron Gilbert of Grumpy Gamer, the creator of the majority of these games, actually supports it. He applauds their efforts, and seems to have no problems with the project. It's really refreshing to see a good attitude about these things. I think Gilbert realizes that this is a fan based effort to play his games on modern platforms. From the article: 'As the person that created SCUMM and along with Aric Wilmunder coded the original system, my hat is off the SCUMMVM team and contributers for this undertaking. I am in awe. Especially since I could never get anything to run from one version of the system to the next...'"

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Slashdot moderation is broken (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13231599)

I'd appreciate if the editors and/or admins would at least inform people about the situation, unless it's a scheme just to let slashdot as a website collapse and they plan to close it down.

Annoying that /. admins never inform anyone.

Re:Slashdot moderation is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13232731)

It seems that only the -1 Offtopic mod is working.

I think... (3, Insightful)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231604)

...that a lot more developers of these classic games feel this way, but just do not comment on it.
Most of the developers that I've met think that creating ports of older games or emulators for older systems is a testament to the quality of what they made.

Re:I think... (1)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231793)

However, it is not time to breathe a sigh of relief. It is not time to think there's diminished legal risk in making ports and emulators.

That the developers feel this way affects the legality of the situation not at all, since it's extremely rare for the developers of the IP to be the owners of the IP.

Not that I approve of the situation; but it would be foolhardy to attempt to use TFA as a justification for violating IP legal rights.

Re:I think... (1)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231868)

Clarification: I don't think ScummVM is a problem, as I have no evidence that it was made by violating a legally enforceable clause of the software license.

Such a violation might be if (a) anti-reverse-engineering clauses are enforceable, (b) the game's license includes such clauses, and (c) the port was made by doing said reverse engineering.

That's the kind of legal risk I'm talking about.

Re:I think... (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13236718)

Whether or not LucasArts would have any legal basis to sue probably wouldn't affect them if they wanted to unleash their attack lawyers. It's a rare open source project that can afford to fight off a legal challenge, even a baseless one.

Re:I think... (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 9 years ago | (#13232016)

not saying that, I was merely pointing out that most of the developers that I know appreciate this sort of thing. Introducing IP law brings in an entirely new discussion, but knowing that the people who spent the time making the products enjoy when others extend the life of their work might sway a few of those who think that IP laws are perfect in their current form away from the beliefs that they currently hold.

Same with Exult (1)

DoctaWatson (38667) | more than 9 years ago | (#13232675)

I remember years ago Richard Garriot ("Lord British") giving the Exult (Ultima 7 Remake project) a thumbs up, and a few of the other original devs gave the Exult team some insights to the game engine. How EA feels about Exult is another story...

exult.sourceforge.net

Examples (1)

aNonniMouse (901548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231716)

So that would include Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, the Indiana Jones ones, that motorcycling bad dude one (what the heck was that called?), etc.?

Re:Examples (1)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231749)

The motorcycle one was called Full Throttle. Played it way back in the day. Came with our first CD-ROM drive as a matter of fact.

Re:Examples (1)

PhilippeT (697931) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231799)

your thinking of full throttle

Re:Examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13231874)

Don't forget THE DIG. Duh-duh-duuuuh!!

Re:Examples (1)

typobox43 (677545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13232259)

Don't forget Monkey Island.

Why wouldn't he? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13231762)

It's not like SCUMMVM helps you infringe on anyone's copyrights. It just makes the old games you already own playable on modern hardware. Apparently LucasArts isn't the only one confused [slashdot.org] by this project.

BASS (3, Insightful)

brilinux (255400) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231770)

My friend one night told me that he was playing Beneath a Steel Sky, and it seemed like it might be interesting, so I gave it a try. Well, I ended up getting four hours of sleep that night because I was addicted, and kept playing the next day while working until I finally beat it. I do applaud the work that these guys have done and how it works cross platform, considering that I started that night on Mac OS X and moved the savefiles and images over to my laptop with FreeBSD and finished playing in that. It is good stuff.

ScummVM isn't "ports"! (4, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231790)

It's an interpreter, allowing the data files to be run on new hardware, much like projects such as Frotz allow running Infocom's .z5 games ("interactive fiction") on almost every platform imaginable.

As such, this project has little to do with real or perceived copyright infringement, just platform shifting, so there's little reason not to "support" it, whatever that means.

Amazing? (4, Insightful)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13231907)

But what's amazing, is that Ron Gilbert of Grumpy Gamer, the creator of the majority of these games, actually supports it. He applauds their efforts, and seems to have no problems with the project. It's really refreshing to see a good attitude about these things.

Why is this amazing? Cool, 'yes', but not 'amazing'. Not everyone is a greedy, scum-sucking IP parasite.

Lots of authors of old games are totally fine with fans reviving their creations. Some of the original members of Binary Systems have worked as consultants for the fan-made Starflight III [starflightcentral.com] , for example (though the game may as well be called "Starflight Forever"). I've even received a personal email from one of the author's of the card game Rampage complimenting me on tribute to the game [kaejae-worx.com] .

It seems to me that most game designers for old games are completely okay with this kind of thing. What would be amazing if you found some EA suit who was as supportive of a fan made version of a two year old game.

Re:Amazing? (1)

soniCron88 (870042) | more than 9 years ago | (#13235509)

"Not everyone is a greedy, scum-sucking IP parasite."

I think you mean, "Not everyone is a greedy, SCUMM-sucking IP parasite."

Re:Amazing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13236627)

ScummVM did try and work with EA to arrange something regarding one of their old titles.

They were 'receptive', particular a few suits, but nothing ever actually got DONE. Probably because this was just before all the sh*t hit the fan about EA and Overtime.

I blame slashdot and the media for causing such trouble :)

Re:Amazing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13236736)

Ummm... which EA title does ScummVM support?

Similiar Positive Experience (3, Interesting)

th0mas.sixbit.org (780570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13232205)

After growing up losing countless hours of sleep playing SkyRoads [bluemoon.ee] , last fall a friend and myself decided to extract the level data from the game and port it to SDLRoads [sourceforge.net] , a rather faithful recreation of the game.

We ended up running the game via dosxbox in gdb, dumping the entire memory region, and searching the heap for the levels. It didn't take all too long before we had the raw data converted to the SDLRoads native format.

We passed the levels off to the SDLRoads guys, and they got permission to use the original levels in their port. Thanks BlueMoon!

Re:Similiar Positive Experience (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#13239459)

If you're porting Skyroads to Unix, i'll worship thee. Seriously. I'll even build a statue.

Re:Similiar Positive Experience (1)

th0mas.sixbit.org (780570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13239753)

Checkout SDLRoads [sourceforge.net] . It's a relatively true recreation. Otherwise we've had pretty good success playing the game through dosbox (even on our modded xbox, we played most of thet game via dosxbox.. it played sweet.)

Re:Similiar Positive Experience (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#13240551)

Just did - it's still an alpha, but it looks like it's shaping up just fine! I tried the game on DOSBox and it runs just fine (it's still as fun as it was back then), but a native version of the game would be amazing...

    By the way, impressive work with the original SkyRoads and the level data! My hat's off to you guys.

The Grumpy Gamer has been Slashdotted! (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 9 years ago | (#13233301)

Geez, Think how grumpy he must be now.. :P

That's nice (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13236277)

The important question: what does the content owner think about these ports?

Remember, with IP law, what the creator thinks doesn't mean jack.

Re:That's nice (1)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#13242063)

Scummvm is not a port of the gamedata, it's just an engine that lets you use the game data on more recent OS/Hardware.

What they (the IP holders) think about it does not matter, as I have purchased all these games and they are SOL due to that.

Grim Fandango (1)

sockdoll (828227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13236771)

Whenever I see something about classic LucasArts games I check to see if Grim Fandango is mentioned. It's not quite as old as some of the other LucasArts titles listed here so it made use of a newer engine, GrimE, the successor to SCUMM, and it isn't currently part of the project. (Though there is a passing mention of it on the ScummVM website.)

Many of the older games are a whole lot of fun, but Grim Fandango holds a special place in my heart - bugs, quirks, and all...

Re:Grim Fandango (1)

fwitness (195565) | more than 9 years ago | (#13237367)

Fandago was one of the jems I missed when released, but was able to pick up on the cheap one day since I heard the fan rumblings.

To my suprise, it actually played in Win2k, and it is by far among the most excellent of graphic adventures.

Although Grim Fandango is almost an homage to the quiet death of the graphic adventue, oh how I wish the genre could have survived.

Re:Grim Fandango (2, Informative)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 9 years ago | (#13238067)

The genre is not quite dead.

The Adventure Company [adventurec...ygames.com] , a division of Dreamcatcher Interactive, still publishes new ones. I don't know how good they are in any objective sense, but I've enjoyed the ones I've played.

Ubisoft is still publishing new entries in the Myst series; Myst 4 came out quite recently, and Myst 5 is in production.

The genre no longer rules gaming as it once did, but it's by no means dead.

Re:Grim Fandango (1)

fwitness (195565) | more than 9 years ago | (#13256214)

I haven't played Myst since the first one. I didn't really qualify as a graphic adventure in my book. Mostly just logic puzzles. Don't get me wrong, I will not doubt Myst's creativeness (despite not being a "game" in the hardcore lexicon) but it just doesn't give me the sense of purpose that the old point and clicks did. Or even the (dating myself) type and enter games.

Oh how I miss thee, Planetfall, AMFV, * Quests.

Re:Grim Fandango (1)

efutch (155454) | more than 9 years ago | (#13244616)

It also works on WinXP, there's also a patch to version 1.01 or something in the Lucasarts site.

Re:Grim Fandango (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13237558)

If you check residual - scummvm's GrimE clone - out of scummvm CVS and try it out, it looks quite promising; I played through the first bit of the game without any problems.

I ended up giving up at that point and playing it in WINE due to residual not liking the nvidia drivers I had on my desktop machine at the time and my boyfriend not really being willing to give up his machine for any more of the day, so I can't tell you more than that.

Re:Grim Fandango (1)

sockdoll (828227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13244521)

Thanks for pointing that out - I'll take a look at it.

Re:Grim Fandango (1)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 9 years ago | (#13238049)

I have this working in WinXP right now, no ScummVM needed. Just a sec while I pop in the CD... ...yep. Just changed ********* so I can get the work order signed.

All I had to do to get the game to run was change the compatibility mode to Win98/ME.

Does he own the game? (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13238520)

It's pretty easy to support Open Source efforts if your own money and rights are not on the line. Does he actually own the rights to the games or has he just been working on the team? People here seem to think he owns the game if he has programmed it...
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