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FreeCraft Cease and Desisted by Blizzard 808

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the calling-it-quits dept.
mandreiana writes "As of June 20th, FreeCraft is shut down. The development team received a cease and desist order due to the name 'FreeCraft' causing possible confusion with the names StarCraft and WarCraft, and also some of the ideas within the engine were too similar to WarCraft 2. There will be no more updates to this game, and it is no longer available for download." Way to go, Blizzard, now the only competitors to worry about are the ones who can afford lawyers and actually hold competing market share. Of course, not using a *Craft for a game project might have kept it under the radar a while longer.
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FreeCraft Cease and Desisted by Blizzard

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  • by HanzoSan (251665) * on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:31AM (#6261001) Homepage Journal
    Blizzard is not responsible for this, I'm 100% sure this is Blizzards parent company, who owns Blizzard, Universal or one of those big Music/Media companies who is part of the RIAA.

    This is an RIAA/MPAA thing. FreeCraft will live on, they cant stop it just like Unix owners cant stop Linux.

    I see it like this, this gives FreeCraft more publicity, the codes already out, so go ahead and make martyrs of them. Go ahead Universal or whichever french company owns them
    sue them, lock the developers up, please, do us all a favor and do it, all you will do is bring open source to the masses, cause hundreds of thousands of people to work on the code who didnt even know about it before, and start a whole Linux game development movement.

    Didnt you learn from Gnutella?
  • by beesmambo (626001) * on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:34AM (#6261007) Homepage
    Either way it's the last Blizzard game I will buy!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:34AM (#6261008)
    I think it's Vivendi International
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:34AM (#6261011)
    You cannot just key off someone else's name like that. If your game is good, invent your own name and identity. Knock-off 'free' versions of commercial products are unimaginative, and a business *must* protect its trademarks, or it loses them.
  • This is bad, but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tpengster (566422) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:36AM (#6261023)
    I can't feel too sorry for the FreeCraft people. Open source projects need to think of more creative and original names instead of just ripping off someone else's name and making a "clever" modification
  • by HanzoSan (251665) * on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:39AM (#6261028) Homepage Journal

    Vivendi Universal is the owner of Blizzard. Vivendi Universal hates the free software movement, why? Because its assosiated with the Mp3/FileSharing movement.

    I think people need to consider certsain media companies to be a threat to open source, and a threat to our personal fair use rights, Vivendi Universal is one of these companies.

    Microsoft takes alot of heat, but I think even more heat should be given to companies like Vivendi Universal who sue anyone and everyone who is a threat to their monopoly power and business.

    They sue file sharing companies who create new ways of distributing music, they sue open source companies who create new ways to play games, they will sue you and I if we use these networks, even if they dont know why we are using them.

    Its not about piracy anymore, its about competition, if they cant own all the code, and all the distribution companies, they sue.
  • by jmv (93421) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:40AM (#6261035) Homepage
    This is a bit different. It's one thing to pass a file using P2P, but it's another thing to patch it and make it evolve. How to you replace the old version with the new one and track changes?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:44AM (#6261060)
    Did anyone download the source before this thing .. and how close to the latest version?

    Usually people dont bother downloading sources of open source software. Let this be a lesson. Download the source of all your favorite open source software (no matter if you think it's popular and mad people have the source) and burn a copy to CD, and keep that CD in a safe place. Cause you never fucking know when shit like this may happen.

    I'm not just talking about software such as Samba, gnutella etc. Even Open Office, Gnumeric etc. You never know when The Nazis will shut them down. More copies out there the better.
    Nowadays it's easy to claim patnet infrignement etc. The patent system is fucked up, and so is the judicial system. This applies to every country, not just the one you live in. This a global phenomenon.

    Call me paranoid but when it was predicted over 3 years ago in n=2000-02-22-004-05-NW-0003 that SCO may eventually start suing people everybody laughed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:50AM (#6261086)
    In many ways, it seems like a reasonable thing for Blizzard to do -- they're protecting their investments and working (in their eyes) to do what is best for their company, their employees, private investors, etc.

    I don't completely agree with the actions taken by either side, mind you.

    First, the Freecraft project probably shouldn't have tried to so closely mimic Starcraft in name and graphics. Surely, the developers MUST have realized that something like this was bound to happen, especially given Blizzard's propensity for shutting down free "stuff" (e.g., bnetd servers). In the very least, they should have called the project something different.

    Second, while I'm not a lawyer, I would think it reasonable for the project to open itself back up again under a different name (and after changing its races names, graphics, or whatever else Blizzard thinks might be infringing on their rights). The underlying engine is sound, and it wouldn't take long for the developers to resurrect it, free of legal issues.

    Third, I think that Blizzard should have taken the stance of warning the project developers first (e.g., "advising" them to change names) before resorting to their big guns. But, again, I'm not a lawyer (and not well versed in such contemptable American corporate law).

    Finally, I would suggest the following: if you disagree with Blizzard's actions, don't buy Blizzard products. I, for one, am not overly surprised, and am not "incensed" by Blizzard's actions. I believe Blizzard to have acted reasonably given the circumstances, though I think that their legal actions could have been executed more cleanly.
  • by MaestroSartori (146297) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:51AM (#6261091) Homepage
    Disclaimer: IANAL, but I am a games programmer...

    Why didn't the project team just:

    1) Change the name of the project, removing the source of the confusion with the Blizzard titles


    2) Remove anything which looked like it might directly infringe on Blizzard's IP (I'm guessing there's things like similar artwork here, since gameplay mechanics cannot be copyrighted).

    This would leave the cease-and-desist without a legal leg to stand on, as the grounds it had been sent under were no longer valid. After all, plenty of people out there clone other games, it looks like these guys just cloned *Craft a bit too closely and have annoyed someone with a lawyer...
  • by damiam (409504) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:53AM (#6261100)
    theres plenty of open source game engines to use

    There are? I can think of CrystalSpace, and Quake II as the only decent open-source FPS engines (and none of them is that good, compared to the likes of DoomIII, HL2, Halo2, etc), and Freecraft was the only decent RTS engine. Is there some secret 31337 open-source engine repository I'm missing out on?

  • Oh PLEASE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geckofiend (314803) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:54AM (#6261101)
    Only an idiot would start a project to produce a RTS with a name that's only a few letters away from an established line of RTS games.

    I have ZERO sympathy for these people. It takes about 30 seconds to realize that maybe the name + genre was a bad idea. But hey we get folks starting projects all the time based on TV shows without permission. Then they come and cry months into the dev cycle when they get a C&D.

    Coyboy Neal & Co, how would you feel if YOU were Blizzard and someone was trying to ride on the coattails of the brand you worked your ass off to build?
  • by suntse (672374) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:55AM (#6261107)
    Will you all remember this when the next big blizzard game comes out? Or will you all just run to the store to buy it, just like Warcraft 3?
  • by Obiwan Kenobi (32807) * <evan@ m i s t e r o> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:59AM (#6261125) Homepage
    An old saying, but damn, has Blizzard become anti-community or what?

    Me and my friends, who have bought every game Blizzard has produced (all the way back to Blackthorne/Lost Vikings), use PVPGN []. Why? Because its nice to host your own servers, to have your own games, to not have to worry about who is on there, to have total control. It's a nice thing to have, and to play around with.

    Of course blizzard shut it down, because you don't need an "official" key to use it. The honor system has become suprisingly worthless nowadays.

    Galactic Civilizations [] decided to (*gasp*) TRUST their customers and not put SafeDisc or any other type of copy protection on the install discs. A lot of people have problems with these types of anti-piracy methods and generally it just hurts your end user, not that pirates who can get around it with various cracks/hacks/or cd copying programs. Its this kind of trust who now, unfortunately, seems to the be the odd man out. id software did the same thing with Quake3. It was either the first or second patch that took out the cd check, because it annoyed the user more than it actually helped anti-piracy.

    I think the worst part is that Blizzard now requires you to buy a "gaming site license" for any gaming venue in which you charge a fee to enter, even if every user has their own, official, bought and paid for copy. This is just sad. You don't see Valve having a fit over Counter Strike players and their LAN habits, yet Blizzard needs more and more cash for reasons that just don't make sense.

    Here's the irony: Blizzard is owned by an asshole, very profit-driven company (Vivendi International, AFAIK). The developers have generally been very cool, and sometimes even listen to the community at large (they ignored War3 beta testers, but seemed to actually listen when I participated in the Frozen Throne beta). Even though they might be great people who make some really nice games, this is like PR hell. Give the gamers something great, then stab them in the back once you have their money.

    They can't cry "we're just a small developer!" anymore. Not with millions upon millions of sales, and huge development houses around the country.

    I say screw this "Don't blame Blizzard, they've got a bad parent company." No, if the Blizzard heads really wanted to dig their feet into the dirt and stand their ground, they would. If they got fired, and worked the press releases well enough, they would start another gaming company and all those brilliant minds would go there, instead of suffering through this idiocy in the name of cash.

    Sigh. Dare to dream, folks.

  • by Qender (318699) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:01AM (#6261131) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me? or is freecraft a blatant ripoff of warcraft. I saw a screenshot that could have come from warcraft. Little green orcs, harvesting gold and lumbar. There was even the building with the telescope in it. It's not hard to start a computer company, it's just hard to start a company called "Mikrosoft".

    Make up your own damn game. Don't remake someone else's.
  • Re:Read Slashdot!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Uart (29577) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:01AM (#6261132) Homepage Journal
    FreeCraft was a threat, a threat to their trademark. If you don't defend your trademarks, then you stand to lose them. Thats why you can't open a small coffee shop and call it Starbucks, or a courier service called FedEx.

    Its called "dilution" when the infringing title is similar. There was a famous case where FedEx sued a NY State coffee shop called FederalExpresso for trademark dilution. I think they won, (That was a far-fetched case, obviously).

    IANAL, but I think the law requires them to do this. I doubt they can stop FreeCraft from changing their name and continuing development though.
  • Re:name change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Morgahastu (522162) <bshel@WEEZERroge ... fave bands name > on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:20AM (#6261214) Journal
    FreeCraft did not only have a similar name, but similar gameplay, ui, units, etc.

    It was trying to be an exact clone of warcraft. You could even play it with the WarCraft graphics.

    It you replaced the graphics with the WarCraft ones it was the same game.

    I can understand why Blizzard or Vivendi would be upset.

    Anyhow it just shows how unimaginative FreeCraft was.
  • by GnuPengwyn (629868) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:23AM (#6261228) Homepage
    Why, exactly, does the purpose of supporting a -game/company need to be to hurt and kill another?
    Although, I sniped out what you were refering to, I think you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, why does Blizzard need to "hurt" FreeCraft. And why did they wait so long!? FreeCraft didn't harm anyone. Blizzard did.

    admit it- Blizzard makes kickass games that LOTS of people love.
    But ask yourself, how much longer until they reach the point of diminishing return, by pissing off the very folks that buy their products. WC3 was a piece of bloated buggy crap. (wouldn't even install correctly on two different boxes) And that was $50.00 a pop at COSTCO! The support was crap, and then won't let you logon (even with the right password.) They have too god damn much personal information about those using Bnet. They Killed the Open Source Version of BNet Servers. That pissed more people off.
    Now they killed FreeCraft, yet pissing even more folks off, what next? Who are their lawyers going to screw next? What products will they ruin next.
  • Re:name change? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fembot (442827) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:28AM (#6261253)
    I thought that freecraft allowed me to, having bought the warcraft 2 cd, play warcraft 2 (well basicaly warcraft II anyway) under linux/unix, and thus could be considered an ineteroperbility product which I belive the DMCA actualy allows explicitly??
  • by Grog6 (85859) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:37AM (#6261293)
    or has everyone forgotten about the Open Source alternative to battlenet?

    That's why I'm STILL not buying Blizzard anything.

    BTW, does no one get the cocaine reference in 'Blizzard"?

    That was the origin of 'Blizzard of Ozz', the insiration for their name.

    Buncha damn powderheads.

  • by Titusdot Groan (468949) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:38AM (#6261303) Journal
    Why do open source products have to name their products as close as possible to the product from which they are ripping all their ideas off?

    This wasn't supposed to be the ideal of Open Source -- it's not to make mediocre and blatant copies of commerical products, complete with a "punny" name like FreeCraft, FreeCiv, Lindows or ...

    We're supposed to be making better, faster, original stuff. Either just plain better (compare the GNU Unix tools against the Solaris versions) or new and better, leading edge stuff like emacs (which was amazing when it came out; although I prefer Vim :-), perl, tcl, python, ...

    And, damn it, pick a name that doesn't attempt to ride the coat tails of the commercial version so you get free marketing name association. If you're too lazy to market it yourself than you deserve to be ceased and desisted.

  • by I Am The Owl (531076) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:43AM (#6261323) Homepage Journal
    Way to go, Blizzard, now the only competitors to worry about are the ones who can afford lawyers and actually hold competing market share.

    Yeah, now only the people with original ideas will be able to compete! What a crock of shit!

    Seriously, will OSS ever produce an original idea, or will it all be about copycat-ism?

  • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:43AM (#6261324)
    Aren't you overestimating the influence of Slashdot just a tad? The overwhelming majority of Blizzards customers don't even know Slashdot exists and even the ones who do don't always agree.

    Take me for example. I'm a Blizzard customer and a Slashdot user. But I hardly ever agree with the Slashdot groupthink. I see nothing wrong with Blizzard's actions today and will remain a customer for years to come.


    Because I like GOOD video games and Blizzard makes em. I don't want to have to wait 2 to 3 years for an open source half-assed equivalent to come out. Some of the very BEST open source games look like something that was first introduced 5 years ago. And before anyone goes off on a rant about how GOOD games don't always need the best graphics well I agree. But that doesn't mean I also want to be a second-class citizen on the video gaming front.

    For the love of GAWD can't you pedantic nerdy geeks keep politics out of ONE realm of your lives? Folks just want to play games not stand on idealogical grounds for or against something. Whatever happened to just appreciating good work without an alterior motive?
  • by stewby18 (594952) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:46AM (#6261341)

    On the surface, this is really nothing alike. On one hand, we have a company making sex toys, with a name sounding like a company that makes underwear. (I'll grant there could be some overlap, but they are basically distinct industries). On the other hand, we have a real-time strategy game with a very similar name to an established family of RTS games.

    Any judge who found that there wasn't a possibilty of confusion ("Sweet, Blizzard released a new *Craft game!") would have to be insane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:50AM (#6261359)
    When are you lot going to learn, that on the list of people who software companies care about pissing off, Slashdot readers rank just below Brazillian shanty town inhabitants.
  • by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot AT suppafly DOT net> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:02AM (#6261417)
    how many of those engines you've listed are actually done enough to make a decent game? the problem with opensource is that people quickly get in over their heads an abandon project before they complete enough to mention.
  • by CommandNotFound (571326) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:08AM (#6261440)
    the problem with opensource is that people quickly get in over their heads an abandon project before they complete enough to mention.
    Sorry, as a developer of almost 10 years I have to comment. I can't count how many closed-source projects I've seen (some I have been a part of, unfortunately) that never saw the light of day for the same reasons or due to internal politics. It's not an open-source development problem, it's a development problem. With closed-source, however, the projects sit and rot on a company's hard drive. At least with OSS someone can pick up the code later and make another go at it.
  • by Snaller (147050) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:10AM (#6261449) Journal
    ... that Blizzard actually makes quality games - they would be easier to hate if they were also incompetent (like say, Westwood)
  • by RickHunter (103108) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:13AM (#6261455)

    No, game mechanics can't be copyrighted. But in case you haven't been paying attention to the whole DMCA fiasco, that doesn't matter anymore. Big companies use the law like a hammer - and it doesn't matter if you're in the right, because they're the ones with deeper pockets and crack teams of trained attack lawyers. They can force you into bankruptcy long before you've had a chance to "prove your innocence". Which is, BTW, exactly what you have to do, as most judges will rule in favour of big corporations by default, and the corp gets their choice of corts to sue you in.

  • by Snaller (147050) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:14AM (#6261461) Journal
    And? Were any of them shut down by Blizzard?
  • Re:Read Slashdot!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Creep73 (647258) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:35AM (#6261563) Journal
    Sorry but blizzard isn't going to be hurt by anything they do. You may not like the company but very few people care enough about the issues to actually inconvenience themselves. They will continue to by blizzard products just like they continue to buy music from these companies. When was the last time you bought a CD or a game associated with universal? When large companies put out good products they can do what ever they want because people just want to play that new cool game.If they read slashdot will they care? No, because they know that there market share is secure. People like you are me do not decide their success. Its the masses of people who are driven not by the ills of the world but their own desire to have fun and have conveniences.
  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:37AM (#6261579) Homepage
    Attention moderators, this guy is just plain wrong. Worse still, he's pure FUD. Must work for Blizzard.

    The purpose of the FreeCraft project is to create an open source WC2 implementation that can be played on any platform. If you own a legal copy of WC2, you can use the datafiles from the CD for artwork, music, and so forth. If you do not, there's a rather low-quality substitute that is entirely free for anyone to use. This project is great because you might own WC2, but you may not be running Windows (anymore). Wouldn't it suck that your money would have to go down the toilet just because you chose to run a differerent (superior) OS? That's bullshit. FreeCraft is interoperability software and it's perfectly legit. I could see an argument on the name, but there's no reason they can't build a clone of the engine.

    If anything, just stop and think about the basics of the situation. You have a group of volunteers creating a program for free who are being shut down by a greedy mega-corporation. Do you really think the FreeCraft project is so evil and Blizzard is justified?
  • by thdexter (239625) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:47AM (#6261629) Journal
    Kudos to you for being a subscriber, but how is
    the free software movement [...] assosiated[sic] with the Mp3/FileSharing movement
    ? Proprietary systems don't run under the same rules that OSS does; creating a WCII workalike and calling it *Craft is as much a troll as I suspect your post is.
  • by fenix down (206580) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:47AM (#6261630)
    There was every chance of confusion. I'm sorry to see Freecraft go, but it really was a stupid name. FreeCiv is fine because the Civilization people don't have a consistent naming pattern along the lines of WarCiv, StarCiv, etc. If you walked up to some random gamer kid and said "Freecraft" he'd be thinking of a new Blizzard game, maybe sligtly put off by the prefix being "Free", but not much.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:57AM (#6261681) Homepage

    If this is a correct screenshot here [], it looks like a hell-of-a-boatload of copyright infringement, as the artwork looks to be directly taken from Warcraft 2, which is a BIG no-no.

    This is a large company protecting its copyrights, not just trademarks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:59AM (#6261688)
    I see all these comments with peoples' panties in a knot. "BLIZZARD IS ANTI OSS!" "DONT BUY BLIZZARD GAMES! BOYCOTT!"

    Well thats all fine and dandy, and is the /. way, but lets get some things straight:

    Freecraft's goal was to recreate Warcraft 2 exactly. I know this firsthand as well, because I have played freecraft extensively. The UI is similar to Warcraft2, ALL the gameplay is EXACTLY the same. That means peons, gold mines, lumber, oil, etc. All the buildings are the same, perform the same duties, units cost the same, etc. All this is identical to Warcraft 2. You even have the option of sticking in your war2 cd and it will rip the art from the CD and use it with freecraft!

    Blizzard is only protecting their IP which they rightfully own. Freecraft's goal was to make a free version of War2 that plays exactly the same. Like it or not, they are still ripping off war2 completely. And War2 is still a product that Blizzard sells and supports on so they have a vested interest in protecting the IP of this game (so you cant use the "rom" argument where its an old game that isnt sold anymore)

    If you still don't believe me, try a warcraft 2 cheat code in freecraft and see what happens :P

    Its clear that the intent of freecraft was to totally rip off Blizzard's IP. Don't go crying and start a jihad against blizzard without at least getting all the info.
  • by f0rt0r (636600) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:03PM (#6261707)
    Ok, two points. First, I don't think of Blizzard when I see a name ending with "craft". Instead, I think of the war as the "art of" or "way of" doing/working with something. Like "Stonecraft" would mean the way to work with stone (stonemasonry is the proper term, I think ), but I hope you see what I mean. Another way to interpret it would be "a
    craft for traveling through a medium", with the medium specified in the first part of the word, such as "watercraft", "spacecraft", etc.

    Second point, it looks fairly obvious why the project was named "freecraft". It was to denote that this was an opensource (free) version of WarCraft, but you can't just copy someone's idea verbatim without at least asking for permission or giving them credit. Well, I am talking about my personal criteria, anyhow. On the other hand, I think it's wrong to prevent people who want to make an improved version of an old (read "dead" ) project of yours on their own. Especially if they were courteous enough to ask. Like, "it looks like you arent' working on this anymore, can I pick up where you left off?".

    Now, if they had called their program "FreeCraft" and the name made some kind of sense, like being about freeing people from captivity, for example, then I could see where Blizzard's argument wouldn't hold any water.

    My $.02

  • by Pxtl (151020) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:10PM (#6261739) Homepage
    Storyline is for single-player masturbation games like RPG's. But anyways - I'm working on a game engine, and even with DirectX taking most of the graphics load off of us (yeah, we're win32 bitches) its still a fuckload of work.

    He's not saying that the engine is the hard part, or the most important part (the amount of quality games for the Half-Life engine shows that a shitty engine can produce quality games) its just that its a buttload of work that is being reinvented over and over.

    That being said - like the OS world is great at code reuse and building projects. I find that OSS coders are just as bad about reinventing the wheel as professional devs. Unless the project is famous and easy to embed (STL, Python, etc) then they'll work from scratch.
  • Sorry, as a developer of almost 10 years I have to comment. I can't count how many closed-source projects I've seen ... that never saw the light of day.....

    The difference between open-source projects and closed source projects like this is that the self-destruct process is just as public as the code is.

  • by _UnderTow_ (86073) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:17PM (#6261764)
    WC3 was a piece of bloated buggy crap

    What exactly makes WC3 bloated? Even with the expansion beta installed the whole thing only takes up ~750mb. Which is about the average a game takes up. And I have never, not even once, had WC3 crash on me, not even during 3 months of beta testing the expansion. I have installed the game on numerous machines and never had a problem. The game works under wine for fucks sake, and has since wine version 2.

    And as far as accounts go, they get deleted after 90 days of inactivity.

    I guess I just have to conclude from your comments that you're a congenital idiot, and therefore too stupid to install and use the game correctly.
  • by cenobita (615440) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:39PM (#6261885)
    Not to mention, it might've been smart to at least *try* to make the game a little different than WarCraft.

    Personally, I fail to see how enforcing IP rights on this is such a barbaric thing. People are up-in-arms because it's an open-source project, but I doubt any of you would be too happy if you were running a small dev studio and saw people copying your work and passing it off as their own. It doesn't matter if the game is old or not, it's still *your* creation.
  • by dnoyeb (547705) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:41PM (#6261908) Homepage Journal
    This would not hold water in a court of law. Any other major company could produce a game called FreeCraft and Blizzard could try, but they would be unsuccessful at stopping them.

    Just look at the look-a-like perfume industry for a clue about that.

    Of course you are correct in that as open source lawyer-less group, they should have known better. but it really wouldnt matter, blizzard or any RTS company could try to shut them down for any reason. Thats why we have the FSF, etc. to try and protect our freedoms.
  • by PhoenixFlare (319467) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:43PM (#6261921) Journal
    Although, I sniped out what you were refering to, I think you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, why does Blizzard need to "hurt" FreeCraft. And why did they wait so long!? FreeCraft didn't harm anyone. Blizzard did.

    Simple. FreeCraft offers/offered a version of WarCraft II that plays, sounds, looks, and feels exactly like Blizzard's version. Like it or not, they should have asked for and gotten explicit permission before porting it in the manner they did.

    Sorry, but just because you hate the fact that something isn't free or under a less restrictive license....That doesn't give you free reign to do whatever you want with it and escape consequences.

    But ask yourself, how much longer until they reach the point of diminishing return, by pissing off the very folks that buy their products. WC3 was a piece of bloated buggy crap. (wouldn't even install correctly on two different boxes)

    Mmhmm...And was this under a real installation of Windows, or using VMware/WINE/another Windows replacement? Was it possibly a hardware/software problem on your part, and no fault of Blizzard's? Did you actually try and contact Blizzard for support?

    And that was $50.00 a pop at COSTCO! The support was crap, and then won't let you logon (even with the right password.)

    Again, were you trying to log on to using WINE or something similar? Myself and hundreds of thousands of other people have been able to use perfectly fine, more times than I can count, so I question whether you're just pulling an isolated incident out of your ass and trying to make it into a bigger issue.

    They have too god damn much personal information about those using Bnet.

    The only personal information they have is what you give them. You don't want them supposedly spying on you, put fake info in the profile, or don't put anything there at all.

    They Killed the Open Source Version of BNet Servers. That pissed more people off.

    I tried some free servers for both Starcraft and Warcraft, and frankly, I thought they were crap compared to the real, free Not as many players, just as much rudeness, and a severe lack of gmes being hosted.
  • by kangasloth (114799) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:43PM (#6261925) Homepage
    You do realize that that's basically the definition of hypocrisy, right?
  • by G-funk (22712) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:52PM (#6262007) Homepage Journal
    Oh quit whinging... with a name like FreeCrat, OF COURSE they're trying to hitch a free ride on blizzrd's trademarks. You know, freecraft... obviously, it's like warcraft, but like, free. They deserve to be shut down.

    If you want to clone a popular product, do so. But don't brew up some FreeWeisers, or try and write Freedows, a band called freetallica or a game called freecraft. You're just asking for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:55PM (#6262026)
    the hardest part of making a game is writing the code, not the artwork, not the music, its the code

    This statement couldn't be more wrong. Take a look at the credits for any decent modern game out there. You'll see fifty names, maybe five of which are actual programmers. The rest are artists and musicians. Games stopped being the product of a couple of hackers in the basement a long time ago. Now, it takes an entire diverse team to produce a major title.

    I'd opine that the hardest part of making a game is designing the game. Not designing the code, but the game itself independent of the implementation, the rules and relationships that make it work.

  • by Qender (318699) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:04PM (#6262101) Homepage Journal
    microsoft word = warcraft II
    Word processor = RTS
    Anyone disagree?

    It's illegal to make microsoft word if you are not microsoft, you can still make word processors. Now, word processors are usually very similar, so yeah, it might look like every word processor is an imitation of the others. But games have a lot more variation than word processors do. It seems as though freecraft has identical game dynamics to warcraft II, the only difference being the graphics.

    Some versions of simcity have exchangable tilesets, is it legal to distribute copies of it without the tilesets? no. Maxis owns the whole game. Not just the pretty little pictures.
  • by thumperward (553422) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:05PM (#6262113) Homepage
    While I think this is a bit of a shame, you have actually answered your own question. For a twenty-player LAN game, you need exactly one WC2 CD to get the media from, which is 19 less than Blizzard implied in the license. Further, it clearly states on the box what the minimum system requirements are to use the CD, and they include Windows. If the Wine project was just about duping Windows kernel functionality and expecting the end user to copy all the cabs off of a Windows CD for decent fucntionality, I'm sure Microsoft would be unimpressed as well.

    - Chris
  • Change the name? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom_Anor (442769) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:14PM (#6262187)
    Is it just me, but why don't they just change the name of the game?

    After all, the "ideas within the engine were too similar to WarCraft 2" argument doesn't stand on its own; almost every RTS released since WarCraft 2 contain similar design ideas...
  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:15PM (#6262196)
    you don't need a dedicated Game Engine to write a game - choose all the bits that make up a gameengine from free libraries that are out there.

    Eg. I use SDL for the windowing wrapper, OpenSceneGraph for the scene graph engine, PUI for the GUI... there are loads of such libraries.

    The reason I do this - none of the game engines have all the pieces I want, or have them fully implemented. By mixing and matching libraries I can take the best, or more appropriate ones for me.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:32PM (#6262306)
    I keep my personal fun and my politics separate.

    I'll be one of the first ones in line to buy their next game.

    Then you will be one of the fools responsible for our complete loss of digital rights.

    It is hedonistic, short sighted fools who put their own immediate gratification over their own medium and long term interests, and worse, over the interest of their community at large, that are responsible for this sort of behavior not only working, but being richly rewarded.

    Keeping your "personal fun and politics separate" when the two clearly collide like this, is remeniscent of the demise of the Tram manufacturers in America. If you are a student of history, you'll recall that they kept their quarterly profits firmly separate from their long term survival. They sold every tram they built for a number of years to the automobile companies, who were willing to pay more for the trains than were the cities. But the cities needed the trams to keep their mass transit systems running. The tram manufacturers ended up surprised when the automobile industries stopped ordering and scrapping their product (go figure) leaving none of the cities with no tram systems, and the tram manufacturers with no customers.

    Go ahead and put your immediate need for gratification ahead of your interest in having access to free software and software freedom, and enjoy the fruits of that shortsighted decision just as the trams companies of America enjoyed thei fruits of their decision to sell their product to their competitors for scrap metal and leave their customers in the lurch did, when they went out of business completely less than a decade later.

    Just as we have no trams as a result of the tram manufacturers incredibly shortsighted decision, if enough people like you take this approach, we will have likewise little or no have no free software.
  • by GlassHeart (579618) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:40PM (#6262358) Journal
    For the love of GAWD can't you pedantic nerdy geeks keep politics out of ONE realm of your lives?

    I don't actually have an opinion on the Freecraft issue, but if you can keep it out of just one aspect of your life, then it's not a principle.

  • by EllisDees (268037) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @02:24PM (#6262596)
    Just like you shouldn't make a linux system and call it Lindows?

    Oops. You're wrong.
  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @03:06PM (#6262857)
    Look, they didn't just call themselves freecraft, they explicitly tried to copy warcraft while making a generic engine. This was an undisguised goal, they SAID this was their objective and have for years. When are people going to learn you just can't legally copy someone else's game wholesale like this, it doesn't matter how much of a fan you are.

    As for only corporate interests being able to fight Blizzard off, corporate interests would NEVER have done this. Sure they may have similar games and concepts, but they have very different names, and they have very different content and even a few original ideas of their own.

    Make your own engine, make your own name come up with your own scenarios/world/content. They didn't do at least two of these.

    There's no need to kill freecraft. Simply ditch the current content and change the name, then come up with your own units etc, and no this doesn't just mean Blizzard's units with your bitmap. All this falling on your own sword is overly dramatic, it ain't Blizzards fault that you decided to copy their game.
  • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @03:44PM (#6263047) Homepage
    You're missing the fundamentals here. If someone releases an RTS game in a medieval setting and calls it *Craft, it's clearly intending to call to mind the Warcraft name and ride those trademarked and copyrighted coat tails. If, on the other hand, someone opens a burger stand and calls their restaurant "Meat Craft" it clearly has nothing to do with the Blizzard video game.

    You can continue coming up with similar examples. Taking the above further, if I open a burger joint and my name is Bob McDonald I still can't call my place "Bob McDonald's" because the McDonald's name is already trademarked and it would be argued that I'm trading on the well-known corporate brand. If I instead open a hardware store and call it "Bob McDonald's Hardware" I'm in the clear because I'm not using the name in association with fast food.

  • by mandreiana (591979) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @04:09PM (#6263141) Homepage
    To all who agree with Blizzard: I think you are right a little, but still why not try to replicate what you see if you don't steal any code/graphics? Your replica might be worse or better. What if the first automobile company tried to shut down any other initiave to make automobiles?

    What about OpenOffice vs. MS Office? Their names are similar, they look a lot the same, Open Office can read/write MS Office files. Should Open Office be required to change names, UI and support for MS Office files?
  • by Executive Override (605018) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @05:15PM (#6263445) Homepage
    Seriously, will OSS ever produce an original idea, or will it all be about copycat-ism?

    You mean, like Warcraft was an original idea? How about games like Dune II [] that came before it?

    I don't now about OSS, but Free Software is about freedom. Therefore the idea of improving your favorite game instead of making a completely different one is central.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @06:34PM (#6263746) Homepage
    Agreed. Once again, I am reminded of my favorite Heinlein quote:

    "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit." -- Robert A. Heinlein
  • Man, I had to give up modding you as a troll to chew you out.

    hyÂpocÂriÂsy ( P )
    n. pl. hyÂpocÂriÂsies

    1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

    2. An act or instance of such falseness.

    The guy professed that he keeps his political views and personal fun seperate. This means that while he doesn't support Blizzard, he holds no bias towards things that he finds fun because of said company's actions. Therefore, he's going to buy Blizzard's next game because it is fun; not because he finds Blizzard Entertainment's business model to be lucrative.

    Hypocrisy? No. Hypocrisy is an insult for a reason, it used to be because everyone knew what it meant and would use the word in a like manner. With idiots like this running around that don't know what "practice what you preach" means, I can't trust a person's use of it anymore.
  • This is lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim Sweeney (59452) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @07:10PM (#6263894)
    Given that Blizzard is using the trademarks "StarCraft" and "WarCraft" in this very specific market (realtime computer strategy games), their claim that "FreeCraft" infringes on their copyright is reasonable and very likely winnable in court.

    So, no problem, just rename FreeCraft to a unique name that clearly isn't derivative of Blizzard's product. And don't be mad that they asked you to do this, because they have the right and obligation to protect their copyrights.

    On the other hand, unless you've physically ripped code or content out of StarCraft or WarCraft and put it in your game, any claim that your game is "too similar" to theirs seems absurd and almost certainly has no basis in copyright or trademark law. If you ignore them on that issue, then they are almost certain to go away.

    And if they don't go away nicely, the resulting outrage over their persecution of the open source community would almost certainly force them to go away ashamedly.

    But if you just cave in, and you fail to stand up for your rights when presented with this sort of threat, then you are certain to lose your rights.

    If a person asks you to get out of his seat, you move. If a bully asks you to give up YOUR seat, you fight.
  • by MarkCollette (459340) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @07:13PM (#6263912)
    I wish open source developers had a bit more business sense. They make some software that works in conjunction with commercial software, but get themselves caught in a situation where they're at risk of getting sued by the makers of the commercial software. I bet it never occurred to any of them to simply approach Blizzard with their code, offer to sell it to Blizzard, and have it put on the official CDROM so Blizzard can say it supports Linux/Solaris/etc. Hell, it's GPLed, so Blizzard wouldn't even have to pay, they could just do that themselves.

    But no, they're incompetent, and now they're just throwing their whole project away.
  • Off: WC3? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheAvatar666 (670893) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:56PM (#6265137)
    Can u guys stop using the name of the great Wing Commander 3 for such a lame game as Warcraft3? Use War3 instead of WC3... Yes.. Mod me troll... :p
  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Sunday June 22, 2003 @01:14AM (#6265441)
    How is it moral to copy someone's work instead of doing your own?

    You can't rip off other peoples games. Tough luck, Blizzard is not in the wrong here.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.