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Star Wars Galaxies Emulator Test Server Hits Alpha

timothy posted about 8 years ago | from the star-systems-through-slippery-fingers dept.


CoffeeHedake writes "The SWGEMU (Star Wars Galaxies Emulator) Team has successfully run their first Alpha stage test of a reverse-engineered version of Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars Galaxies server software. An announcement was made on the SWGEMU bulletin boards that something special would be shown in their IRC channel at 12:00AM EST Today. A hosted video montage of the successfully connecting the SWG client to an emulated server, loading a character, zoning from one area to another, and other huge leaps were shown in the clip." Read on for more information, including links to the video clip.CoffeeHedake provides a pointer to the forum and current announcement, and links to the video at several mirrors:

CoffeeHedake continues "This all comes after much very bad press for SOE, after completely changing the game mechanics of Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. The game has had a rocky history, with nerfs and bugs abounding, but the latest 'NGE' or New Game Enhancement patches have led to the detrimental decline in player population. SWGEMU was formed with the hopes of allowing players to 'roll back' their experiences to a Pre-'Combat Upgrade' state of the game, months before the ill-fated NGE was implemented."

"The SWGEMU will allow private, emulated game servers to be run by anyone with the hardware and bandwidth to support the load, possibly allowing customized environments, and game mechanics, as well as a 'dungeon master' control of the server, possibly even over a LAN."

"News has spread, even throughout the Sony Online Entertainment forums of SWGEMU's latest success. No word from Sony, as of yet."

cancel ×


I'll give odds (4, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | about 8 years ago | (#15607842)

That this goes the same way that the everquest server emulator went.

Re:I'll give odds (3, Insightful)

IflyRC (956454) | about 8 years ago | (#15607976)

They'll get hired? Either the EQ Emulator people or the guy who cracked the EQ encryption was hired by SOE. I don't remember which.

Re:I'll give odds (4, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | about 8 years ago | (#15608022)

The people got hired, the project got mothballed.

One years salary is cheaper than a lawsuit, and does not set a precident the same way losing a lawsuit might.

Re:I'll give odds (1)

Alkrun (960306) | about 8 years ago | (#15608204)

After contributing a few minor additions to eqemu, the fact that SoE would hire those guys further harms my opinion of SoE (and that's saying something). The guys were obviously very solid reverse engineers, but questionable developers and what use does a software house like that have for a reverse engineering team?

Re:I'll give odds (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 8 years ago | (#15608858)

"The guys were obviously very solid reverse engineers, but questionable developers and what use does a software house like that have for a reverse engineering team?"

For nonquestionable purposes that have nothing to do with reverse engineering, I would imagine. No sarcasm involved, there's always going to be some kind of coding they can provide SoE.

Re:I'll give odds (2, Informative)

Alkrun (960306) | about 8 years ago | (#15608883)

"there's always going to be some kind of coding they can provide SoE."

That's my point though... their code was of "script kiddies" quality. I'm not trying to sound like too much of a jerk, but any developer that wants to go take a look at that code will back me up. It was a bit scary.

Re:I'll give odds (1)

TenLow (812875) | about 8 years ago | (#15609470)

You're missing the point about it being more of an out of court settlement than anything else. If you sue someone, it's major bad press. If you hire them, you can bind them with a non disclosure agreement and the problem goes away after a few paychecks.

Re:I'll give odds (3, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15608007)

> That this goes the same way that the everquest server emulator went.

"Execute Order 66. Wipe them out. All of them."

Then again, considering how the SWG game has (de)volved over the past couple of years, maybe "Do Not Want" is the appropriate snarky one-liner to use here.

Sony could do the gaming world a lot of good if they laid the smackdown on the NGE (sucky thing in current release) and permitted the pre-CU (the "live beta" that got released for the first couple of years) codebase to be emulated. They've gone on record as saying they'll never revert to pre-CU gameplay, so why not put the pre-CU game engine to good use? With decent scripting, you could make a pretty good game out of that. The reason SWG sucked donkey cock wasn't really the fault of the engine, it was that SOE never grasped (and still doesn't understand) that Star Wars is a story, not a skin for an FPS.

Re:I'll give odds (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 years ago | (#15608959)

They've gone on record as saying they'll never revert to pre-CU gameplay, so why not put the pre-CU game engine to good use?

Because then there would be an alternative for people who want a Star Wars Themed MMORPG.

Re:I'll give odds (1)

surefooted1 (838360) | about 8 years ago | (#15608576)

There are private Warcraft servers too.

How To Resolve Links! (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 8 years ago | (#15607844)

You might notice that if you click a link with a base, it redirects you to Crayola, Teletubbies or Lego's site. This is because of how the hosting service is implemented. Almost all the swgemu sites I go to require me to cut and past links into the browser and to make sure they are preceded with http://./ [.] So for instance, paste " 081" into your browser and you should see the linked forum.

This is, of course, with the exception of the screenshots hosted by gamerspace [] or the video [] (which really just seems to be a transition of the stills). Note, I'm not sure if the YouTube video is the same as the one from the mirrors, I'm still downloading that.

I should also point out that the forums are tightly moderated as swgemu is not looking for trouble with legal issues regarding SOE. I think they've had tangles with them in the past and don't enjoy discussing it. I don't actively post on swgemu but am thrilled by the idea of what they are trying to create. The concern by SOE is not only stealing paying customers but also the fact that if this is open sourced, then anyone will be able to see the reverse engineering work which means a whole lot more attempts on hacking the servers.

Most importantly, there are no dates set whatsoever for this project. I am just sitting back and waiting for hopefully a chance to play a game I once knew and loved. A game that exists no more. Pre-CU SWG.

I guess it had such a huge client that most of the functionality had to be sitting on each client machine and the server required some interaction. Hopefully this reverse engineering provides a stable alternative. If you'd like to contribute, help them with the datapack [] done in a Wiki format! If you're interested in development for the team and know C/C++, check out this post [] .

Re:How To Resolve Links! (2, Informative)

daranz (914716) | about 8 years ago | (#15608071)

You might notice that if you click a link with a base, it redirects you to Crayola, Teletubbies or Lego's site. This is because of how the hosting service is implemented. Almost all the swgemu sites I go to require me to cut and past links into the browser and to make sure they are preceded with http://./ [.] [.] So for instance, paste " 081" into your browser and you should see the linked forum.

Actually, it seems like they redirect you if you send an invalid referer (one from an external site). I have no idea why they do that (fear of slashdotting? attempts at secrecy? attempts at being funny?). You can disable sending any referers at all (set network.http.sendRefererHeader to 0 in FF), or use something like the refspoof extension to get around it more eaisly.

Of course, not sending a referer works only until they start requiring valid referers... Most sites don't implement such a scheme, though, as it's a pain in the ass for everyone.

Bets anyone? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15607847)

That they will see their first take-down demand by EOD?

same fate as bnetd? (5, Insightful)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about 8 years ago | (#15608072)

I am curious if the developers have done anything to avoid suffering the same fate as bnetd [] , which the courts found to have violated the DMCA and the EULA. Blizzard's main complaint appears to have been that bnetd did not verify CD keys. Does the same issue exist here?

In other news.. (4, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15608131)

The lead programmer for the SWGEMU (Star Wars Galaxies Emulator) Team was found dead in his home today. Coronary exams reveal that he died of acute and forceful asphyixiation but no sign of breaking and entering was found. Police were baffled but after an anonymous tip from a young moisture farmer they are now on the lookout for a man in black who is said to breathe very loudly.

Countdown to lawsuit initiated... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15607852)


Why? (0, Flamebait)

cbqwinner (152547) | about 8 years ago | (#15607853)

Dear god why would they do this? Are they going to make is suck any less than the SOE version?

Re:Why? (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | about 8 years ago | (#15608052)

it worked for UO [] , so i'm looking forward to it.

In other news... (3, Funny)

gasmonso (929871) | about 8 years ago | (#15607859)

Sony files lawsuit in 3..2..1.. []

Re:In other news... (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15607943)

Sony's priorities are so outta whack right now they'll probably make sure they file that lawsuit before they release the PS3.

Re:In other news... (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 8 years ago | (#15607998)

To be honest, as much as I dislike certain Sony tactics, the target market for this emulator isn't going to affect or influence the PS3-buying demographic significantly.

Re:In other news... (1)

Mike Savior (802573) | about 8 years ago | (#15608262)

Reread his post, think about what you just said, and his point is proven.

Re:In other news... (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 8 years ago | (#15608571)

I get your point, but while that's true as well, I also don't think harrassment of those who create shards would end up biting Sony in the ass. This isn't really a bnetd sort of situation we have here.

Re:In other news... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608441)

Sony Online Entertainment != Sony Computer Entertainment

That's great news! (3, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 8 years ago | (#15607860)

For the two people that still have the client installed!

Oh dear god... (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 8 years ago | (#15607890)

Well, that definitely opens SWG up for continuation for when SoE decides to flush the project, and it makes it possible to implement some of the changes that people have been clamoring for forever, unhindered by Sony's jackassed design philosophy

And it's going to make it possible for Sony's legal team to achieve their "absuive lawsuit quotient" months ahead of schedule.

Seriously. It's like they're begging to be crushed. I can't think of a company with less sense of humor than Sony, and I really can't think of anyone who protects his IP better than Lucas. They're going to combine to form some sort of mega-legal-robo-proctologist, and they're not going to stop until they get to the back of the SWGEMU team's teeth.

I guess I'm happy and sad for them. They're like happy little lemmings.

Re:Oh dear god... (4, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#15608160)

They're going to combine to form some sort of mega-legal-robo-proctologist, and they're not going to stop until they get to the back of the SWGEMU team's teeth.

Oh dear God indeed - my mind's eye! That's an image I *really* didn't need!

Re:Oh dear god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15609418)

Oh dear God indeed - my mind's eye! That's an image I *really* didn't need!

Would that be, ahem, "A Splinter in the Mind's Eye"?

Sick 'em Sony... (5, Funny)

PixelPirate (984935) | about 8 years ago | (#15607913)

When I read that title, all I could see was eight well dressed lawyers also wearing the garb of the village people dancing to the tune of YMCA, but instead shouting "DCMA!" "I make use of the DCMA!"

Re:Sick 'em Sony... (4, Informative)

joranbelar (567325) | about 8 years ago | (#15608077)

Lawyers make use of the Defense Contract Management Agency? Perhaps you mean the DMCA ;)

Re:Sick 'em Sony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608377)

I prefer to think of it as the new corporate slogan:Destroy Customer, Mangle Announcements...

And quit attacking my aixelsyd, uoy evitisnesni dolc!

So what? (4, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | about 8 years ago | (#15607925)

To be honest, a big fat SO WHAT.... truth is, SOE screwed the game over so hardcore that even die-hard star wars fans have already moved on. It's splendid that they're creating an emulator, kudos, BUT I seriously doubt they'll see the fan support required to grow further than a curiosity to gamers.

Those of you weeping over this, try [] Sure it's nothing like SWG, but it's a MMORPG that actually seems to give a damn about it's userbase and isn't catering to the largest $$ segment of the population.... Not that I'm bitter or anything! (Rest In Peace SWG.... Rest in Peace).

Re:So what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608076)

To be honest, a big fat SO WHAT.... truth is, SOE screwed the game over so hardcore that even die-hard star wars fans have already moved on. It's splendid that they're creating an emulator, kudos, BUT I seriously doubt they'll see the fan support required to grow further than a curiosity to gamers.

A big reason why the SWGEMU crew is trying so hard to pull this off is so that they can get private servers up at the stage where the game was still fun to play. You know, before SoE started teleporting people into space for complaining over massive changes that essentially disemboweled the game they signed up to play.

Those of you weeping over this, try [] Sure it's nothing like SWG, but it's a MMORPG that actually seems to give a damn about it's userbase and isn't catering to the largest $$ segment of the population

Amen to that. EVE has a very steep learning curve, but that's been a blessing in disguise to me - the amount of griefers, kiddies, and general idiots is far, FAR below the MMORPG average. Having an unsharded universe also helps that ... no need to worry about being on a different server than your buddies. And the developers are active on the game boards as well, which gives you a lot more sense that you're actually helping to shape the way the game is played.

I still miss my old Kestrel+Cruise setup though.

Captcha in a post about MMORPGs = lifeless. How appropriate. :)

Re:So what? (1)

space_jake (687452) | about 8 years ago | (#15608145)

Eve was cool but the devs still wanted to give us new stuff rather than fix core elements like chat channels! I was playing the game in January '05 and I was still periodically not seeing my corp's CEO or someone else chatting.

Re:So what? (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | about 8 years ago | (#15609289)

Actually you're in luck - the problems have been solved.... Of course there are other issues, as there always are with MMORPGS - but the dev response is accurate and insightful if a bit slow sometimes. In either case, they're honest about what they're doing and really don't act like a the faceless corporation that SOE seems to like being lately.

Re:So what? (1)

Winterblink (575267) | about 8 years ago | (#15608191)

EVE rocks, yes.

Re:So what? (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | about 8 years ago | (#15608413)

so does winterblink, but he's too modest to say so ^^

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 8 years ago | (#15608227)

Here's the so what - everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. SWG players, or ex-players, complain about what Sony has done to their game.. well, here's a chance for the gamers to do something about it. They'll get to run their own version, that works the way that they want, without being teleported into space for daring to want things to run in a better way than they are now. It's easy for someont to bitch the way something is done, but it can be damned complicated to go out and fix it yourself.

I think of all the talent and passionate hacking involved in an effort like this, and it breaks my heart to think that it'll probably get shut down by lawyers.

Re:So what? (1)

CCFreak2K (930973) | about 8 years ago | (#15609535)

Here's the so what - everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

It's not like we can all just go construct and live in biodomes and hope Mother Nature caves and gives us more sunny days.

Eve astroturfing? (1, Interesting)

Wind_Walker (83965) | about 8 years ago | (#15608734)

Why is it that every single MMORPG discussion on Slashdot ends up with a 5-rated post espousing the virtues of Eve-Online? I'm not saying you're directly to blame, but it seems to me that Eve-Online has some great PR people who constantly beef up their sales, always with a link to the site.

Kinda upsets me a bit.

Re:Eve astroturfing? (1)

NBarnes (586109) | about 8 years ago | (#15609262)

I've really noticed this myself. I don't think it's astroturfing, I think it's just that EVE is the sort of game that produces that particular sort of fanaticism in the players it works for. Also, the EVE player culture, because EVE is small, actively encourages people to evangelize; it's not like WoW needs its players to go out and tell players the Good News. Everybody already knows about WoW.

Re:Eve astroturfing? (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | about 8 years ago | (#15609279)

Or perhaps it's simply users who love the game? I am in no way affiliated with EVE - I'm simply a convert. Biased? Damn straight, and with good reason. Opinions aren't always a bad thing you know :)

Let's Just Say The Obvious... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15607952)

May the Emulator be with you!

Unless Sony's legal department shows up with the police, then you may want to ditch the Emulator instead.

Great! now bring back EnB (1)

ClassicComposer (916856) | about 8 years ago | (#15608224)

Ive been waiting for years, either someone emulate it or buy it from EA but please please bring Earth and beyond back.


Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15607955)

You're dead to me SWG, DEAD to meeeeeeeeee

history has proven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15607964)

Sony will most likley disavow and attempt to stop it. Just wondering if anyone from that team has contacted any of the project managers or legal folks to make sure that this is ok?

Re:history has proven (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | about 8 years ago | (#15608766)

I'd think that the emulator would be considered a derivative work, not the original work itself. But, I am not a lawyer. You'd think that Sony would be more than happy to have the pre-CU crowd of their servers, and their forums. /yeah, I'm one of those guys. //I give em hell.

Whats up with the random redirections? (1)

therealking (223121) | about 8 years ago | (#15607968)

I've been sent to teletubbies and lego websites.

Something is amiss

Re:Whats up with the random redirections? (1)

supremespleen (915534) | about 8 years ago | (#15608089)

Yeah, I got sent to Power Rangers Central. Must be some sort of /. defense mechanism. If you're in FireFox, right click, copy link location, and paste it into your address bar.

Star Wars Galaxie on the DEC Alpha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15607975)

64bit here we come! Oh yeah!

  The Alpha Troll

Wow (2, Insightful)

cpu_fusion (705735) | about 8 years ago | (#15608017)

Imagine the interesting content and rulesets that could be created by people not bound by the revenue-focus of Sony.

Re:Wow (1)

IflyRC (956454) | about 8 years ago | (#15608040)

Right, like if the timeline is post Episode III -pre Episode IV (as SWG was originally intended) the only Jedi Padawan was Luke SkyWalker and the only Jedi was Yoda.

Re:Wow (1)

MBraynard (653724) | about 8 years ago | (#15608411)

Two corrections:

Luke was not a Padawan until IV, and there was another Jedi: Obi-Wan.

I'm really not much of a nerd. Please tell me I am wrong and don't know what I am talking about.

Re:Wow (1)

IflyRC (956454) | about 8 years ago | (#15608461)

I actually meant between IV and V, oops. For some reason SOE's mangling of the timeline caused me to subtract 1 from each episode.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608773)

I can't wait for the first porno version. Imagine finally being able to witness Luke fucking his own sister or seeing the homosexual affair between Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Mmmmmmmmmmm, gay sex.

Great Interest by SWG folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608097)

I moved on from SWG to play WoW with my old SWG guild. On my server, there are about 6-10 SWG guilds playing ... going through thier forums, they have a huge interest in this emulator. As a rough estimate, 80% are saying they will come back. Even if half these people come back, that is nearly 500 players. I woulnd't be so naive to think that if this gets running, you could see a large return of userbase - afterall, even on the official SWG forums, the devs are repeatedly deleting threads about this. If you read the SWG forums, you will see that a tremendous number of them prefer pre-cu SWG above anything after it. There were only a few things that needed fixing - namely Doctor Buffs, 90%resist armor, extreme dots, and inability to heal mind. If you fix those four issues much of the playerbase will be happy to return. Maybe SWG should read thier forums more than to just delete negative threads, but actually notice how you have four pages of poeple saying they would recommend pre-cu(pre-combat upgrade) SWG to friends, but not the NGE(new game enhancements)-SWG to friends.

By the way - the SWG-Emulator team says they have the resources and means available to host 3000 player-limit servers - thats is - 3000 simultaneous users at a time.

The Rebellion needs to hide the plans!!! (3, Funny)

Fei_Id (937827) | about 8 years ago | (#15608115)

Its just like Ep 4 ANH. Lucas is the Emperor and Sony is Darth Vader. Ironic and funny that the shoes on the other foot now.

Re:The Rebellion needs to hide the plans!!! (1, Insightful)

IflyRC (956454) | about 8 years ago | (#15608189)

Are you sure about that? SOE and Lucas Arts have done nothing truly criminal. Per your comparison, SOE and Lucas Arts would be committing murder, deprivation of rights (oppression) and numerous other "crimes against humanity". Do you really feel that way about them? Fact of the matter is, if these guys with the emulator are using reverse engineered client code that rightfully belongs to SOE, THEY are the criminals here. It has nothing to do with a fictional rebellion but a factual theft of intellectual property.

Re:The Rebellion needs to hide the plans!!! (1)

nadamsieee (708934) | about 8 years ago | (#15608877)

Reverse engineering [] is perfectly legal.

Re:The Rebellion needs to hide the plans!!! (2, Insightful)

frogstar_robot (926792) | about 8 years ago | (#15609434)

Tell that to the bnetd guys.....

Re:The Rebellion needs to hide the plans!!! (2, Funny)

TheRealFixer (552803) | about 8 years ago | (#15608823)

Vader grabs developer by his neck

Vader: Where is the source code you wrote?

Vader lifts him off his feet

Vader: What have you done with those binaries?

If Sony comes after them... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608118)

*Waves hand*

These aren't the emulated servers you're looking for.

Yoda says.. (5, Funny)

saboola (655522) | about 8 years ago | (#15608129)

Allowed by lawyers, this will not be.

Re:Yoda says.. (5, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | about 8 years ago | (#15608270)

Allowed by lawyers, this will not be.
Y'know, I was gonna comment on your phrasing and sentence structure, but it suddenly dawned on me that if I'm arguing the semantics of Yoda-speak, it's time to go outside for a little bit.

*this is not the post you're looking for*

Re:Yoda says.. (2, Funny)

Verminator (559609) | about 8 years ago | (#15608428)

... it's time to go outside for a little bit.

BLASPHEMY! Good God, man!

The radiation! The solar radiation!

Re:Yoda says.. (1)

Dster76 (877693) | about 8 years ago | (#15609028)

Y'know, I was gonna comment on your phrasing and sentence structure, but it suddenly dawned on me that if I'm arguing the semantics of Yoda-speak...
You mean the syntax of Yoda-speak.

Re:Yoda says.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15609031)

Ill do it then.

By lawyers, allowed be, this will not.

Can they rollback all the suckage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608188)

I'd be really into this if I could run a server on the builds prior to the the various CUs.

I think if they had just quit screwing with the core game mechanics/dynamics and instead focused on bugfixes and added interesting content, this would have been my favorite MMORPG ever. As it stands, I gave up for good on my third time re-activating my account shortly after the final CU before they completely raped the game.

This will upset Sony-Bony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608212)

Sony-Bony will sue, as they want to have rootkits installed on every computer in existance.

it was a good game (3, Interesting)

xeithmazz (932003) | about 8 years ago | (#15608229)

i played this game several times for a couple months at a time (launch, during the CU, during the NGE) and all they did was make it suck more and more as time went on. sony killed the star wars mmorpg, let it be dead.

Ok, seriously (5, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | about 8 years ago | (#15608234)

Reverse engineering a SWG server is like staring at someone's poop to guess what they had for dinner.

Re:Ok, seriously (1)

Knifethrower (765840) | about 8 years ago | (#15608318)

But when done by people with training and with the right tools that can be done.

Re:Ok, seriously (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | about 8 years ago | (#15608824)

Nothing imposible about that. It is especially obvious if someone ate some corn.


Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608264)

Is it really that had to Emulate a very, very buggy piece of software? Honestly, if you that junk and Emulate it and it comes out as junk... is it due to the emulation or the fact that you started with junk? I'd say it's not that had to start from scratch and make something nicer than SOE's junk that they called SWG.

IP already paid for?! (4, Interesting)

PWNT (985141) | about 8 years ago | (#15608315)

I am not entirely sure the correctness (and want someone to clarify if I am incorrect) of these next few statements. Purchasing the game is different than playing online in the SWG servers. Some may find there is no distinction, however Sony sells the game, and bundles a FREE 1-2 month pass to the servers. The game is sold separately. From a contractual standpoint, does this not mean the consumer has ALREADY paid for liscensing costs for SWG? The server does not manipulate the actual Lucas Arts IP, mearly gameplay aspects. Adding to the fact that this should fall under "fair use" exemptions, so long as the core Lucas IP is not messed with. Sony mearly provides some algorithm development and a data storage/serving SERVICE for a FEE. Supposing it was all clean room reverse engineered, as stated above, so long as the actual data on the install CD's (or updated to whatever patch #) are not altered, we should be in the clear. The instructions residing on the server are probably not covered by copyright. Am I wrong?

Re:IP already paid for?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608467)

You do not own the game when you buy the disks. You purchase a license to play the game, subject to the restrictions listed in the TOS, one of which is not to reverse engineer the game (hence, the troubled times ahead for the EMU-developers), another of which is to play on SOE servers (which is why owning the game does not give you the right to play it on a non-sanctioned server). Absent the written consent of LucasArts and Sony to proceed with this project, those involved are in violation of the DMCA at the very least. Personally, I hope SOE/LA will either consent to or ignore this EMU. Realistically, I do not see that happening.

That's what the DMCA's for (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 years ago | (#15609013)

it clears up those messy 'fair use' issues with an iron clad rule that circumventing any sort of copy protection is illegal. Just checking the CD-Key is enough.

This would be great.. (1)

DoctorDyna (828525) | about 8 years ago | (#15608316)

I can see it now, the game morphs into Tribes.

Seriously though, from a player's perspective.. is anybody going to get on this server and play, and build up a character, just to find out in a few months that the lawyers sent a nastygram to sombody and the servers get turned off? Or, are you going to end up with modded servers that just are not fun to play on because they are only hosted on some cable modem somewhere?

Meh, I dunno. If they can really hold 3000 people, thats great. If they can stave off Sony's lawyers for a few years, they may even be able to breathe life back into this game.

One Big Problem (0, Troll)

Holdstrong (647528) | about 8 years ago | (#15608330)

The original game sucked too.

People wax poetic about the pre-NGE days but they seem to forget that those changes came because the game was a mess and everyone was crying for a change. Just because the changes made the game worse, doesn't mean the game was good to begin with.

I like the idea of a reverse engineered MMORPG emulator from a geek point of view, but this game sucked no matter who hosts or controls it.

Re:One Big Problem (1)

novafire (263854) | about 8 years ago | (#15608628)

Not everyone thought the original game sucked. It had plenty of bugs and needed content and rebalance, but many players found it fun and saw its potential. Had the last 3 years been spent on balance and enhancement of the original system, this game would be in far better shape today. Instead they added more bugged content that Lucasarts wanted tied into movie and DVD releases (EPIII) and SOE changed around the dev team more times than they will even admit. The orginal game may not have been everyone's idea of what a Star Wars MMORPG should be, but atleast the original developers cared and had a vision and a large portion of players enjoyed that game and its mechanics.
The most recent revamp last Nov. left professions gutted; collections of resources, items, and loot useless; leaving veteran players with little to hold on of the original game they once enjoyed.
The game has never been complete, but the orginal game was similar to a skeleton needing fleshing out, while the current game is a pile of broken bones from several different animals.

Re:One Big Problem (1)

Holdstrong (647528) | about 8 years ago | (#15608935)

Of course not everyone thought the game sucked... just like not everyone thinks the changes sucked. You will always find a few people who are happy with anything. Out of my guild of 40 some people I recall one dude and his son who were really pleased with the state of the game. But they were more star wars fans than video game fans.

Anyway, I was very active in the community on my server and on both the official SWG forums and the stratics forums, and one thing was very very clear.... most people were not happy with that game pre-NGE. Everyone was crying out for changes to be made. The events that lead us to this news item stand on their own. This was a disaster of a game from day one.

Re:One Big Problem (1)

smbarbour (893880) | about 8 years ago | (#15609353)

I've never played SWG, but...

My analogy would be buying a broken PS2 on eBay for the purpose of fixing it.

SWG post-CU post-NGE is a broken PS2 hit with a sledgehammer. You can try to put it back together, but it will be a serious pain in the ass and probably won't be worth the effort.

SWG pre-CU pre-NGE (aka SWGEMU) is just a broken PS2. Probably not too hard to fix, and in the right hands, could be made better than the original.

Okay, so maybe it's a bad analogy, but it's at least funny and kinda describes the situation.

It took them this long because... (3, Funny)

Prototerm (762512) | about 8 years ago | (#15608347)

It took them this long to get it to Alpha because they couldn't figure out how to implement the Sony root kit inside the original (joke, joke).

yuo f4il it.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608457)

used to. SHIT ON cou8t3rpart,

NGE IS HEAVEN compared to the prior state (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | about 8 years ago | (#15608477)

Let me tell you what the prior state of the game was - it was GRINDING HELL.

Soe was MILKING the players by putting goals that is hard and far to reach constantly.

So that game was turned into a question of 'when, how, and where do i grind ?' - Nothing star wars.

The crowd that started the game in fall 2003 had already cancelled by then as the game had nothing star warsy left.

With nge, the "uber godmode" players, the powerplayers, Item sellers, sith wannabees (and they were a many of them) have lost their 'godly' status, as the grind was almost halted.

From what i understand, the poster of this article is just another biased powerplayer.

It is PLAIN stupid to come back from 8-hours long workday and KEEP ON WORKING IN A GAME THAT YOU PAY, instead of playing the 'feel' that you pay for.

Crap, in short. Star wars is way better now.

And that is Sony's entire problem (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#15608918)

Who to please. Although the opinion above is in the minority, at least here on slashdot, it is a valid one. You can't please everyone. Personally I belong in the pre-cu camp but that is my personal taste, the above poster has a different taste. Might as well argue on wether tea should be drunk with or without sugar.

The only defence I got for my taste is that it was a unique game, the above poster could have simply moved to WoW and found the game he wanted. Or even Everquest 2.

As for the grind accusation, well that is partially true. If you wanted to be a jedi pre-nge you had an ungodly grind ahead of you.

For the longest time in SWG the way to unlock jedi was to master a number of random and unknown proffession to master. This lead to a lot of people grinding to jobs they didn't want. For instance you character might require you to master chef and commando and doctor. Not exactly a logical combination.

This unlock method did give the game something unique though. It had lots of experienced players in the end game giving up their high levels in job X and starting over in Y. This made for a very dynamic game with more people in mid level then you will find in other MMO's.

But they changed this and unlocking Jedi became a pure XP grind. You had to convert your various XP points into jedi XP points at a bad exchange rate. This meant a couple of things. First nobody grinding for jedi bothered with learning new jobs. Because of various game mechanics people just grinded the easiest proffesion to master and then grinded XP like mad. They needed a truly unholy amount of XP too. Far more in fact then you needed before to grind different proffesions. And while before you got to experience different types of playing you now had to grind XP in one job.

So before to unlock jedi you played a scout, then became a dancer and then went on to craft weapons for lets say two months. To unlock Jedi after the village was added you just grinded XP in a combat class for six months. Whoo!

Ah! but you don't need to grind a Jedi at all do you? Well no, and before the village if you avoided the jedi/holo grind you could have a really fun game playing the mixed job you wanted and if you wanted a change, well there were plenty of holo grinders around to make sure that the game was very welcome of job changers.

SWG was far more a sandbox game and the holo grind that a lot of people choose helped in that aspect by supplying the game with a load of mid level players. Imagine a WoW or EQ where 50% of the players are NOT at the top level. This would mean that you no longer need to race for the top. That it is the mid level game that is most important.

Sadly SOE never managed the game well, all the "special" stuff was very high level indeed. It ain't just SOE fault, I don't really know of any MMO that adds extra mid level content.

But the NGE changed all this. It is now far more like an EQ or WoW game in that you choose a proffesion and then just ride it to the top and sit there running the same high level content until a new expansion comes out wich adds a few levels.

Offcourse some people prefer it but they are not "right" they just got different tastes. My beef with them is that they already got plenty of games for them. Why did SWG have to become another run off the mill MMO like all the others.

Imagine if I said that America Football would be better if you couldn't touch the balls with your hands, except the goalie, and the goals should be smaller and the balls should be round. Would you not say to me, go play soccer?

SOE turned SWG into a WoW wannabe probably because they wanted the WoW subcriber numbers. That is understandable except that it didn't work and never could work. First of WoW is already WoW and trying to out WoWing WoW is as likely as say out Coca-Colaing Coca-Cola. There is a market for clones but if you really want to stand a chance you usually are better of making a product that is unique or at least offers a safe heaven for people who do not entirely like the other product.

Pepsi is NOT Coca-Cola, it is marketted differently and the taste is different. The dutch supermarket chain AH does very well with its own house brand goods wich tend to be closer to my taste then the big brand names, peanut butter especially is a market improvement over the a-brand Calve. This one was actually rated higher in a consumer test then the a-brand.

They went with their own taste and won, had they simply attempted to copy the a-brand they would have been just that, a copy.

SWG is now a copy of WoW but with a horrible aftertaste added by the fact that the game is now trying to do things for wich it simply wasn't build.

The new combat system just doesn't work for the same reason that you couldn't make a flightsim out of quake. The entire engine just isn't build for it.

Sony gambled that the above poster represented the majority of gamers, they were wrong.

They listened to a vocal minority.

The biggest problem SOE faced was perhaps that the original game just never had mass market appeal. SWG strangely enough was never about grinding. If you didn't go for Jedi you never had to grind a single day in your entire live.

When the game doesn't require grinding and people still grind is that the games fault?

SWG was a unique game with a unique way of playing. Sony changed this and lost the people that played SWG for being SWG and is now left with the people that really want to play WoW.

I only drink Pepsi if they don't sell Coca-Cola.

Re:NGE IS HEAVEN compared to the prior state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15609158)

Well, with an emulator comes the ability to tweak things like EXP rate, credit gain, skill requirements. So, the game can be FUN again, without having some artificially-imposed timesinks meant to keep people paying subscription fees for years on end.

Re:NGE IS HEAVEN compared to the prior state (1)

Maian (887886) | about 8 years ago | (#15609175)

I never played SWG, so I don't know whether NGE is a good thing or bad thing (and I treat game player opinions with a heavy dose of skepticism). However, regardless of whether NGE is a good thing or not, Sony should not have introduced such a huge change that turns the gameplay over on its head. Unless the changes also cater to the old playerbase, no matter how good the new game is, they're bound to piss off a LOT of people.

In fact, I'll say that I think the NGE improvements sounds promising. Even though it seems like the new action-oriented gameplay is completely half-assed, I'm interested in MMOG action games, and one set in a familiar sci-fi universe is a bonus. But they should have created a new game instead of royally screwing over the current playerbase. The SWG producer is an idiot if he thinks he can save money by just changing the game instead of creating a new one. Just consider all the bad publicity and all the disgruntled customers leaving the game. It's definitely not worth the cost.

Good time for Sony to make nice (2, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | about 8 years ago | (#15608529)

After all their pissing consumers off, this would be an ideal time to make nice and put a foot forward to explore user-run servers as a wave of new interest, rather than an assault upon their business model.

Cease and desist is imminent... (1)

rdean400 (322321) | about 8 years ago | (#15608583)

If they used content from the other servers. It's probably imminent anyway.

SWG was a big steaming pile of poop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15608815)

Wow, it amazes me that someone took the time to do this for what was such an overhyped major letdown. This is quite possibly the most terrible MMORPG ever made and I wouldn't play it for free, even though I might be able to soon.

This is your second chance people... (2, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about 8 years ago | (#15608906)

Everybody recall BNETD [] ?

If you want anybody to be able to reverse-engineer things for compatibility purposes then you better speak up right now. Otherwise this will be smacked down as hard as BNETD was.

And BNETD wasn't even substituting for a pay-to-play service so you can imaging what Lucas The Hutt's lawyers will do on this one.

You thought Vivendi was bad...

Hologrind (1)

tehgimpness (984446) | about 8 years ago | (#15609058)

I've been waiting so long for the day I can AFK macro in Coro cantina again all because my holo says "Master Dancer". I'll pwn those Rebel nubs, I'll pwn them with /startDance exotic2.

Pre-CU SWG was the game with the potential (4, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 8 years ago | (#15609129)

The CU and NGE versions bled that potential away. When SOE decided back in 2004 to scrap the core game rather than to fix bugs and inconsitencies and add content to it, they destroyed SWG's growth, and laid waste to the best MMO engine ever produced.

In Pre-CU SWG, you could NEVER SPEND A MINUTE in combat and still be just as vital a part of the game community as a Jedi Master. It had a combat system and UI that was awesome, you spent time on strategy, not toolbar watching and button mashing. It had no levels, only skills.

The CU took the heart out but left the body mostly intact. It was a boring and slow combat engine and nerfed player power to the point of requiring a group to do mundane things like level grinding. Non combat roles got marginalized at that time as anti decay kits and uber loot rewards from the expansions replaced crafted items.

The NGE then destroyed the body, taking away the skill system completely and reducing 32 mix and match professions to 9 static ones. Jedi ceased to be a long term game aspiration and became selectable on startup. There ceased to be anything at all to work towards.

Throught ALL of this we have been screaming for classic servers, which would make the pre-Cu vets like me very happy. No, says SOE, play THIS or else.

Well, even John Smedley admitted on the SWG forums that SWG players have been voting with their feet and that subscriber numbers have been falling since the NGE. Their response has been to shove half assed versions of stuff taken away since NGE back into the game slowly but surely. Rumor has it after the latest combat revision (yes, they are STILL changing the combat system every 6 months) that subscriber levels dropped even more, and consequently, the lead developer recently posted about bringing back turn based combat with a target lock (like all other MMO's use).

So now we have the pre-Cu emulator. The time has come for SOE to either give us our game back, or else, we will take it out of their hands. The Emu project is about to go open source, and no matter what they do with lawyers, just like DeCSS they won't be able to stop it once that code is out there. /target Smedley /rude /db

Ohh, No! Stupid, stupid, stupid! (3, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | about 8 years ago | (#15609186)

Please don't tell me this is true? You've wasted your braintime on the most milked franchise in the history of mankind only to be sued to chunky kibbles by Sony/LucasArts/YouNameIt the instant this goes gold? Please, no, don't tell me this is true.
If only they had put their efforts into Planeshift [] to get it on with a viable open source alternative to WoW and GuildWars. But, no, they had to ripp a commercial product. Great. Wonderfull.
What a waste of brainpower.

How Quaint (1)

VonSkippy (892467) | about 8 years ago | (#15609208)

Who uses IRC these days?

Wasted effort (1)

Psychochild (64124) | about 8 years ago | (#15609367)

It's a bit sad to see projects like this happen. As someone else mentioned, there's a lot of serious work going on when making an emulator.

Unfortunately, it's wasted effort. Consider that in this case the emulator writers are facing two companies not known for their patience in dealing with people violating their intellectual property: Lucas and Sony. It's only a matter of time before the lawyers come knocking.

I'm a small-scale online game developer myself, and I appreciate the work that goes into this type of effort. But, really, all that work would be better used if people would write their own games instead of trying to build emulators for existing games. Yes, it takes a bit more time and effort to write your own game, I will admit. But, we really need a wider variety of games out there. Coding a server is still a bit of deep magic. Anyone working on an emulator project would help the industry more by finding other developers able to fill in the missing pieces to make a full game. You don't have to work for years to make a WoW-killer; smaller games like Bang! Howdy [] can be made on a relatively modest budget and schedule.

In the end, we see more opportunities for innovation if this happens. So, please, stop focusing on making emulators and start focusing on making new games. Or, at the very least, start an open source project to make basic technology. It'll help everyone more in the long run.

My thoughts,

UO (1)

ToyImp (972667) | about 8 years ago | (#15609531)

I used to play on some of the shards for Ultima Online when a lot of them were running. They were just servers that ran by regular people in their own home. I could see this happening with
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