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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Team Not Art Thieves

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the in-the-clear dept.

Games 62

Via Kotaku an Inquirer article reports that, despite earlier claims to the contrary, it looks like the folks behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. title are not guilty of art theft. It seems both Half-Life 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. use textures from a pack produced by Marlin Studios. The similarities are there because both teams used pre-canned materials for their titles, not because of any tom-foolery on the part of GSC GameWorld.

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62 comments

Good thing (5, Insightful)

fishybell (516991) | about 7 years ago | (#18787627)

Good thing we all jumped to conclusions.

Re:Good thing (5, Insightful)

Hsensei (1055922) | about 7 years ago | (#18787681)

Goes with our guilty until proven innocent society, and even then your ruined for life becuase no believes your innocent.

Re:Good thing (4, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | about 7 years ago | (#18787737)

Excuse me for a moment if I quote a person of great wisdom, myself, from when this story came around the first time.

Remember this is a Zonk story.
It is a allegation that stalker may possibly use the same assets as are used in HL2 or D3, and an assumption that they did not pay for the rights to use these (through purchasing the same developer tools, or simply paying eachother off).

Good ol Zonk, posting a story that is not just an assumption, but an assumption of an assumption.

Re:Good thing (1)

BeansBaxter (918704) | about 7 years ago | (#18788749)

It gets easier when you just accept that no one is innocent. My favorite line from troops: "All suspects are guilty period. Otherwise they wouldn't be suspects would they?"

Re:Good thing (1)

renegadesx (977007) | about 7 years ago | (#18790285)

Pre-Canned Art only $9.95! Act now and we will throw in a free lawsuit! Call now! No payment required for 6 months!

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18787683)

Hmm, that gives me a great idea for a patent.

I can't tell you what it is until the paperwork is done, however.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18787733)

Office Space fan, are you?

Re:Good thing (3, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 7 years ago | (#18787691)

Indeed! I always find it interesting to hear about the little things that go on behind the scenes of game development. Had no one jumped to these conclusions, I never would have known about this interesting Marlin Studios.

Re:Good thing (2, Funny)

RedElf (249078) | about 7 years ago | (#18787703)

I know, we could make a jump to conclusions matt...

On a related note to the article, this is good news.

Re:Good thing (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 7 years ago | (#18787755)

Not me. I stayed out of that story. From what I saw on the Firehose before, I suspected the elements to be public domain or algorithmically generated by another program, such as Difference Clouds in Photoshop, that used the same seed value. A common asset producer makes even more sense.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18787823)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us]. Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:Good thing (1)

Synic (14430) | about 7 years ago | (#18789609)

Slashdot - Torch bearer of investigative journalism! They check facts almost as much as Wikipedia!

Damnit. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18787693)


I bought all 38 copies of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. from the local Best Buy thinking it'd be a good investement.

In the minds of the consumer (-1, Troll)

Clever7Devil (985356) | about 7 years ago | (#18787779)

So... they're not thieves, just as unoriginal aesthetically as the other major players.

I don't really think the sales of this title would be much different either way.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (2, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | about 7 years ago | (#18787793)

Do you have any idea the hundreds of thousands of hours that would be wasted if every game made all of their own unique textures. How different do you want that crate to look from game to game? What about that door? Or how about on a smaller scale, what about the trash texture used to cover the top of a garbage dumpster, do you want to recreate that for every game just to give it another point of difference that nobody will notice?

Re:In the minds of the consumer (2, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 7 years ago | (#18787875)

Exactly. Time spent creating Unique_Wall_Texture_37 takes time from creating Unique_Mob_Texture.

I mean, I know every time I go through Half-Life 2, I spent hours looking at wall textures wondering how each would look as wallpaper for my room. I could care less about the striders, the bugs, Dog or Alyx.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (1, Interesting)

Clever7Devil (985356) | about 7 years ago | (#18787921)

When it's so noticeable that the creators get accused of stealing artwork? Yeah.

I understand the concept of using tools (Engines, Texture Sets, etc.) to create games. I also understand that it is unfeasible for studios to reinvent the wheel every time they make a title. But when a game is accused of stealing artwork because its graphics are so rehashed, I think it is indicative of a problem. Like I said, these things won't likely affect sales.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (1)

CogDissident (951207) | about 7 years ago | (#18787955)

By "so noticeable" you mean that nobody noticed until someone HACKED the game files and found the water texture raw files?

Re:In the minds of the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18792871)

If by "hacked" you mean "browsed some directories," you fucking jackass.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (1)

Synic (14430) | about 7 years ago | (#18789679)

A game without crates would be dreamy! Time to crate for STALKER? 2 minutes. Pretty good!

Re:In the minds of the consumer (1)

MozillaMike (889339) | more than 6 years ago | (#18798957)

I agree, why re-invent the wheel? If it ain't broke don't fix it. It's like using stock photos, music, and sounds. Besides, you can have all the fancy graphics in the world but if the game play bites, what's the point.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 7 years ago | (#18787803)


just as unoriginal aesthetically as the other major players.

Nah, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s dark brown halls look much nicer than DOOM 3's dark brown halls.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788249)

These "textures" were things like the light attenuation pattern of a flashlight. You buy this stuff from a specialist because you can't afford the time it'd take for one of your artists to even figure out how to make something like this, let alone perfect the process to where it's going to look as good as the ones you can buy. This is totally different from the world/object/character textures that your artists are trained to do.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#18795895)

These "textures" were things like the light attenuation pattern of a flashlight. You buy this stuff from a specialist because you can't afford the time it'd take for one of your artists to even figure out how to make something like this, let alone perfect the process to where it's going to look as good as the ones you can buy.

Point torch at white-painted wall. Take photo. Adjust levels in Photoshop or nearest equivalent so that white-painted wall is now black, and pattern from torch is only thing visible.

Oh no, really difficult!

I seriously doubt the textures in question (lights, and animated water textures) are from Marlin Studios. Why? Well, they don't appear to have such things for sale, and the idea that two companies would independently end up with pixel-perfect copies of a du/dv map [valvesoftware.com] for rendering water refractions in DirectX 8, when this texture library company isn't even selling such a thing, seems a bit unlikely.

Re:In the minds of the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788361)

So... they're not thieves, just as unoriginal aesthetically as the other major players.

It's worse than that. None of them wrote their own production software or even operating systems. They didn't even grind their own sand to make their chips!

Re:In the minds of the consumer (3, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | about 7 years ago | (#18788587)

So... they're not thieves, just as unoriginal aesthetically as the other major players.

Yes, because games sharing the textures for some of their lamps are then all junk. :-s

Give me aesthetically innovative lamp textures, goddammit!

Re:In the minds of the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18790025)

'cuz it's important for each light bulb texture to be unique.

oh, and led lights need to be unique, and grass textures. and bathroom porcelain.

Fantastic News! (5, Interesting)

Murrdox (601048) | about 7 years ago | (#18787827)

I'm a big fan of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

The game is very original, and I see a lot of promise in this game in the way of mods, expansions, and sequels. This game is so good it made me feel like I was playing a first-person-shooter version of Fallout. In fact, I recently reinstalled Fallout, and am beating it again. If S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is good enough to remind me of such a golden age game, they must have touched on the right nerves.

Hopefully any previously mentioned projects will take less time to develop than the game itself did! :)

I sort of doubted the original allegations were true, and figured that some kind of licensed or public domain material must have been involved in this. Glad to hear that is in fact true.

This developer shows promise, and it would be unfortunate if its reputation were inappropriately tarnished.

eine minute bitte - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788307)

The game is very original... it made me feel like I was playing a first-person-shooter version of Fallout
I'm confused... and maybe I'm missing the point, but doesn't originality set the stage for things to follow not to start the nostalgia train?

Re:eine minute bitte - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788945)

How can any game be called original, and then labeled as a "first-person-shooter"? If it was original, then it wouldn't be the 4000th first-person-shooter.

Re:eine minute bitte - (1)

robson (60067) | about 7 years ago | (#18792915)

How can any game be called original, and then labeled as a "first-person-shooter"? If it was original, then it wouldn't be the 4000th first-person-shooter.
It's not hard for a label to be an oversimplification, as is the case with STALKER. It does use an FPS mechanic, but it has some significant differences and can't really be played like a normal FPS.

Re:eine minute bitte - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18801075)

Most notably, it's not so much a "SHOOTER" as it is "put some bullets in your hand and throw them at your enemies to achieve greater aim and steadiness."

That game couldn't decide if it was an RPG or an FPS and did both badly.

Re:eine minute bitte - (1)

Murrdox (601048) | about 7 years ago | (#18789081)

You're correct, I'm being a bit contradictory here. The originality of the game for me stems from the A.I., which is very unpredictable. It's refreshing to transverse areas of the game and run into a fire-fight between different factions that you can either take part in, or avoid. You will see creatures grabbing corpses and dragging them away. Random patrols. An outpost might be captured by the enemy, but then the next time you visit, it's been re-taken by your allies. The game has a fluid nature to it which I can appreciate. I also think the game premise, some of the sub-plots, the idea of the anomalies, the gun realism, the sounds, and other aspects of the game were well done as well. The nostalgia feel that makes me remember Fallout is mostly a result of how WONDERFUL a job they did on the environment, in terms of constructing bombed out and ruined cities, outposts made out of rusting cars, junk piles, radioactive pools, etc. I haven't seen a game get its environment so SPOT ON in a long time. I don't think Half Life 2 did as good a job on environment as STALKER did. That's saying a lot. Granted, Half Life 2 is a very linear game compared to STALKER, and it's not really possible to make a city in a linear level feel like a real city. STALKER has open levels, which adds a lot to the immersion. Just my opinion. STALKER isn't the best game ever by a long shot... but I'm going to keep an eye on this game developer and see what else they come up with down the line. I'm hoping maybe we'll see a European incarnation of Bioware or Black Isle or Looking Glass.

Re:Fantastic News! (2, Interesting)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | about 7 years ago | (#18788509)

I'm a big fan of Sci-Fi. I had some hopes that STALKER would indeed be a FPS version of Fallout, and indeed it does give me that sensation as I play it from time to time. Unfortunately, this game fails because of some seriously surprising oversights. I am constantly finding the AI doing incredibly stupid things; I took out a small army of military from the third floor of a building with my handgun, for example. I've tricked squads of soldiers by hiding in a bush in front of them and shooting as they sneakily approach. I dont even want to talk about the 4 foot barbed wire fence which i cant seem to climb over, or the bugs i keep discovering.

Perhaps my hopes were too high for this game, and I do intend to keep playing it until its finished, but I cant recommend this game to anyone.

Re:Fantastic News! (1)

Murrdox (601048) | about 7 years ago | (#18788981)

The game IS buggy. And it does have its flaws. And the plot isn't as coherent as I would like. However, it is the FEEL of the game that keeps me playing it. That, and it is also refreshingly challenging. I'm hoping the developer keeps improving. Hopefully they've learned from making S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and we'll get a well-polished, bug free, and more coherent sequel.

Re:Fantastic News! (1)

robson (60067) | about 7 years ago | (#18792973)

The game IS buggy. And it does have its flaws. And the plot isn't as coherent as I would like. However, it is the FEEL of the game that keeps me playing it. That, and it is also refreshingly challenging. I'm hoping the developer keeps improving. Hopefully they've learned from making S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and we'll get a well-polished, bug free, and more coherent sequel.
Agreed on all counts. They successfully capture the atmosphere of a damaged world full of damaged people and animals, both via aesthetics as well as through gameplay.

I didn't care for the actual storyline, but I really liked the implied storyline (basically, what you think is going on for most of the game). And the intended storyline didn't get in the way.

Frankly, I haven't been this engaged by a game in a long, long time.

WE ALL KNOW what stalker stands for (2, Funny)

GonzoTech (613147) | about 7 years ago | (#18788101)

Stealing Theiving Appropriating Looting Kleptomanias Extortion R... ER... wait.. doh!

Tarkovsky (1)

pluke (801200) | about 7 years ago | (#18788273)

Anyone who has seen the original 1979 movie that i imagine is heavily influencial to this, may well disagree. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079944/ [imdb.com] But then again, will have to play the game first.

Re:Tarkovsky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788475)

If you're going to be a pseudo-intellectual wanker, why not go all the way back to the book [wikipedia.org] that inspired the film?

Re:Tarkovsky (1)

ringm000 (878375) | about 7 years ago | (#18789121)

Btw, the book doesn't have much to do with the film. Boris Strugatsky (who took part in writing both the book and the script based on the book) said it was extremely hard to work with Tarkovsky. He declined a dozen variants of a script or so. He has even filmed the one which was rather close to the book, with a 'tough guy Stalker', he filmed it completely, then decided to put it down the drain. In a coincidence, the footage was destroyed in a processing lab, Strugatsky brothers wrote a new script with 'God's fool Stalker', and Tarkovsky shot everything from scratch with a new script, creating the masterpiece we all know today.

Re:Tarkovsky (1)

BlackRookSix (943957) | about 7 years ago | (#18789345)

The basis of the game seems to come from that movie/book, yes. It is about a man penetrating a guarded, dangerous area (the Zone) in order to reach a wish-giving room. This is the main plot point of both the movie and the game. From IMDB: "Near a gray and unnamed city is the Zone, an alien place guarded by barbed wire and soldiers. Over his wife's numerous objections, a man rises in the dead of night: he's a stalker, one of a handful who have the mental gifts (and who risk imprisonment) to lead people into the Zone to the Room, a place where one's secret hopes come true. That night, he takes two people into the Zone: a popular writer who is burned out, cynical, and questioning his genius; and a quiet scientist more concerned about his knapsack than the journey. In the deserted Zone, the approach to the Room must be indirect. As they draw near, the rules seem to change and the stalker faces a crisis." Spoiler alert: The game has you working your way to the Nuclear Power Plant of Chernobyl, which houses a psionic item called the Wishgranter. The ending of the game is based on what you achieve and how you make your way. I like it. I wish I could watch the movie.

How do they explain the Doom3 specific filenames? (0, Redundant)

Anjow (1052452) | about 7 years ago | (#18788523)

How do they explain the Doom3 specific filenames?

Re:How do they explain the Doom3 specific filename (2, Informative)

ZipR (584654) | about 7 years ago | (#18788677)

From the last sentence of the article: "the IMP_Light texture that it was thought could have been pilfered from Doom 3 was, in fact, just a standard Impact Light texture, rather than referring to the Doom 3 monster."

Re:How do they explain the Doom3 specific filename (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18789549)

I was more concerned about the "Hellgate3" texture. Though I suppose it's still not a direct reference to Doom.

Re:How do they explain the Doom3 specific filename (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18788699)

RTFA.

I like this (2, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | about 7 years ago | (#18790345)

So, game developers are not constantly re-inventing the wheel... this is great. How many times in an FPS have you burst into an office, seen a desk, a chair, etc, then wondered how long it took developers to model it, texture it etc? Probably not many. But I have! Really, a few good chair models is all we need. This will hopefully free up development time for more important things like design, AI, plot and innovation.

Even better, these kinds of resources need to be made available to small time and independant developers. Writing a 3D game would be a lot easier if a huge number of the objects were already done.

Re:I like this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18790979)

Really, a few good chair models is all we need.
Don't worry. I hear that Ballmer of Microsoft is planning on cornering this market.

Re:I like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18799117)

Yeah, because a 3d model maker also does the AI for a game :-)

Well, maybe on an indie project, but not at EA anyway.

Instead of doing chairs, s/he could be modelling extra pillar capitals or painting frames... not likely doing game design (much as s/he would like to).

Re:I like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18808669)

Easy.

EA could fire the extra graphic artist and hire another coder.

Pff, so the STALKER dev team's innocent... (3, Funny)

CaseM (746707) | more than 6 years ago | (#18797935)

But someone ought to take a good look at Marlin Studios. Apparently some of their textures were lifted straight from HL2!

Re:Pff, so the STALKER dev team's innocent... (1)

LordBafford (1087463) | more than 6 years ago | (#18799981)

apparently you can't read, valve bought content from marlin so marlin didn't take anything from HL2

Re:Pff, so the STALKER dev team's innocent... (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 6 years ago | (#18800107)

Apparently Marlin also stole your sense of humor.

Re:Pff, so the STALKER dev team's innocent... (1)

LordBafford (1087463) | more than 6 years ago | (#18810035)

Bad attempt at humor, it just makes you like you didn't read. Or maybe you weren't trying to be funny at all and since you got called out on it you are saying it ws supposed to be funny to try to et off the hook, which is probably the case.

Re:Pff, so the STALKER dev team's innocent... (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 6 years ago | (#18812361)

Nope, it's modded correctly. Get the stick out of your ass.

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18801651)

everyone knows that prepacked stuff is used in games all the time. There's a whole industry based on it. Check out http://www.turbosquid.com/ [turbosquid.com] sometime. I sell a lot of stock photos of ashpault on there quite a bit. I suspect most folks buying those are game designers working on car related video games...

Doom3's textures were stolen indeed (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 6 years ago | (#18802345)

Kenneth Scott made the light images himself and he knows it. Not licensed. :)
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