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Portables (Games) Classic Games (Games) Emulation (Games)

Maniac Mansion Creator Supports Indie Ports 36

Posted by Zonk
from the he's-not-that-grumpy dept.
trueneutral writes "SCUMMVM is a project that has ported a large number of the Lucas Arts adventure games. But what's amazing, is that Ron Gilbert of Grumpy Gamer, the creator of the majority of these games, actually supports it. He applauds their efforts, and seems to have no problems with the project. It's really refreshing to see a good attitude about these things. I think Gilbert realizes that this is a fan based effort to play his games on modern platforms. From the article: 'As the person that created SCUMM and along with Aric Wilmunder coded the original system, my hat is off the SCUMMVM team and contributers for this undertaking. I am in awe. Especially since I could never get anything to run from one version of the system to the next...'"
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Maniac Mansion Creator Supports Indie Ports

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  • I think... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @12:49PM (#13231604) Homepage Journal
    ...that a lot more developers of these classic games feel this way, but just do not comment on it.
    Most of the developers that I've met think that creating ports of older games or emulators for older systems is a testament to the quality of what they made.
    • However, it is not time to breathe a sigh of relief. It is not time to think there's diminished legal risk in making ports and emulators.

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

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

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

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

        That's the kind of legal risk I'm talking about.
        • Whether or not LucasArts would have any legal basis to sue probably wouldn't affect them if they wanted to unleash their attack lawyers. It's a rare open source project that can afford to fight off a legal challenge, even a baseless one.
      • not saying that, I was merely pointing out that most of the developers that I know appreciate this sort of thing. Introducing IP law brings in an entirely new discussion, but knowing that the people who spent the time making the products enjoy when others extend the life of their work might sway a few of those who think that IP laws are perfect in their current form away from the beliefs that they currently hold.
    • I remember years ago Richard Garriot ("Lord British") giving the Exult (Ultima 7 Remake project) a thumbs up, and a few of the other original devs gave the Exult team some insights to the game engine. How EA feels about Exult is another story...

      exult.sourceforge.net
  • So that would include Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max, the Indiana Jones ones, that motorcycling bad dude one (what the heck was that called?), etc.?
  • Why wouldn't he? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:05PM (#13231762)
    It's not like SCUMMVM helps you infringe on anyone's copyrights. It just makes the old games you already own playable on modern hardware. Apparently LucasArts isn't the only one confused [slashdot.org] by this project.
  • BASS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brilinux (255400) <kg4qxk@aGAUSSrrl.net minus math_god> on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:05PM (#13231770) Homepage Journal
    My friend one night told me that he was playing Beneath a Steel Sky, and it seemed like it might be interesting, so I gave it a try. Well, I ended up getting four hours of sleep that night because I was addicted, and kept playing the next day while working until I finally beat it. I do applaud the work that these guys have done and how it works cross platform, considering that I started that night on Mac OS X and moved the savefiles and images over to my laptop with FreeBSD and finished playing in that. It is good stuff.
  • by lightspawn (155347) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:07PM (#13231790) Homepage
    It's an interpreter, allowing the data files to be run on new hardware, much like projects such as Frotz allow running Infocom's .z5 games ("interactive fiction") on almost every platform imaginable.

    As such, this project has little to do with real or perceived copyright infringement, just platform shifting, so there's little reason not to "support" it, whatever that means.
  • Amazing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:21PM (#13231907) Homepage Journal
    But what's amazing, is that Ron Gilbert of Grumpy Gamer, the creator of the majority of these games, actually supports it. He applauds their efforts, and seems to have no problems with the project. It's really refreshing to see a good attitude about these things.

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

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

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

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

      I think you mean, "Not everyone is a greedy, SCUMM-sucking IP parasite."
  • by th0mas.sixbit.org (780570) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:50PM (#13232205)
    After growing up losing countless hours of sleep playing SkyRoads [bluemoon.ee], last fall a friend and myself decided to extract the level data from the game and port it to SDLRoads [sourceforge.net], a rather faithful recreation of the game.

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

    We passed the levels off to the SDLRoads guys, and they got permission to use the original levels in their port. Thanks BlueMoon!
  • Geez, Think how grumpy he must be now.. :P
  • The important question: what does the content owner think about these ports?

    Remember, with IP law, what the creator thinks doesn't mean jack.
    • Scummvm is not a port of the gamedata, it's just an engine that lets you use the game data on more recent OS/Hardware.

      What they (the IP holders) think about it does not matter, as I have purchased all these games and they are SOL due to that.
  • Whenever I see something about classic LucasArts games I check to see if Grim Fandango is mentioned. It's not quite as old as some of the other LucasArts titles listed here so it made use of a newer engine, GrimE, the successor to SCUMM, and it isn't currently part of the project. (Though there is a passing mention of it on the ScummVM website.)

    Many of the older games are a whole lot of fun, but Grim Fandango holds a special place in my heart - bugs, quirks, and all...
    • Fandago was one of the jems I missed when released, but was able to pick up on the cheap one day since I heard the fan rumblings.

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

      Although Grim Fandango is almost an homage to the quiet death of the graphic adventue, oh how I wish the genre could have survived.
      • Re:Grim Fandango (Score:2, Informative)

        by dbhankins (688931)

        The genre is not quite dead.

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

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

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

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

          Oh how I miss thee, Planetfall, AMFV, * Quests.
      • It also works on WinXP, there's also a patch to version 1.01 or something in the Lucasarts site.
    • I have this working in WinXP right now, no ScummVM needed. Just a sec while I pop in the CD... ...yep. Just changed ********* so I can get the work order signed.

      All I had to do to get the game to run was change the compatibility mode to Win98/ME.
  • It's pretty easy to support Open Source efforts if your own money and rights are not on the line. Does he actually own the rights to the games or has he just been working on the team? People here seem to think he owns the game if he has programmed it...

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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