The folks behind the now shut-down Halogen Halo mod noticed your concerns in the comments for Saturday's story. Adam Saltsman, a team member, took the time to answer some of the questions you posed. He touches on why they bothered to do it in the first place, and the much discussed issue of 'getting permission from Microsoft'. From his comments: "MS Games is, not surprisingly, a game company. Therefore, they will happily and cheerfully support machinima ads for their own game made for free by other people. However, they are quite touchy (to an extent that we did not previously understand) about people making GAMES about their games." Many thanks to Adam for putting this together for us. Read on for his complete response.Hi, my name is Adam Saltsman. I created all of the infantry units and weapons for Halogen, and I was hoping I could answer some of the outstanding questions/assumptions made by many of the commenters on Saturday's post.
- "Why did they even bother making a Halo mod?" A multitude of reasons. One, we are only about 5 guys. Who all work fulltime, and some of which were also attending school. It's not like we had the time or ability to create a whole universe ourselves! While we did bring a lot of original content to the mod, it was all extended or heavily based on Bungie's concepts. This was fun for us, because we really enjoyed the designs (despite not enjoying the games THAT much) and it was a HUGE time saver. Also, there were a LOT of people out there (in the tens of thousands) that wanted a Halo RTS, and Microsoft sure wasn't filling that need. We thought that if we approached it professionally and seriously that maybe they'd let it slide; obviously we were wrong.
- "If they were going to make a halo mod, why didn't they just ask for permission?" With our magical powers of hindsight, sure we would have done certain things differently. Basically our plan was something like this: just make it, and hope that we get it either finished or to a level of completion where people would be really impressed with what we'd managed to do with a 5yr old engine and some severely limited FPS IP. Also, in a lot of ways, we just wanted to play a Halo game that we felt was big and galactic and really felt huge like Halo should (rather than like a rail shooter, for example). We thought that if we asked MS Games that would just shoot us down without being able to see how great it could be. Our intent was never to sell this thing, but we still treated it like a very, very careful publishing pitch. Why on earth would MS ever grant dev rights to 5 people spread all over the world to develop something as resource intensive as an RTS? Just seemed far-fetched. However, if we showed them how good a game it could really be...
- "Well they should have kept this on the lowdown, so MS wouldn't have noticed and canned them just to protect its IP from ravenous adoring fans." Its not like no one knew about this mod; we were slashdotted a year ago, were on the front page of RvB, Bungie definitely had their eye on us, we got mentioned in a couple print mags...we were not shut down because we got "too big" or "just got noticed". I think I know why MS Games canned us, just need to wait a couple of weeks to make sure, so I'm not really comfortable writing about it yet. But I'm 95% sure it had nothing to do with "spontaneous noticement", and very little to do with "MS are teh jerks and will do anything to stop their IP from being Xploited!!"
- "Microsoft lets Red vs Blue do their thing; if these guys had just asked for permission, then there would be no problem." Erm, not exactly. MS Games is, not surprisingly, a game company. Therefore, they will happily and cheerfully support machinima ads for their own game made for free by other people. However, they are quite touchy (to an extent that we did not previously understand) about people making GAMES about their games. When the 2d sidescrolling halo fangame was released and apparently had no problems, we thought maybe they'd let our RTS do its thing too.