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Portables (Games) Real Time Strategy (Games)

Early Work on Homebrew StarCraft for the DS 78

Posted by Zonk
from the excellent-craft dept.
Via Buttonmashing, news of early work on a homebrew project to port Blizzard's StarCraft to the Nintendo DS. "Since no official plans were ever announced from Blizzard, two French homebrew developers have taken it upon themselves to create a port of the popular PC game, StarCraft, for the Nintendo DS, calling it StarLite. Because they've only been working for three weeks, the game is a bit limited right now and still needs a lot of work."
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Early Work on Homebrew StarCraft for the DS

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  • Is this legal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @10:49PM (#21937790)
    Not that I don't love Starcraft and wouldn't love to see it find new life on other platforms, but isn't this a cease and desist waiting to happen?
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Real hackers don't care [sf.net].
    • Yes. Next question?
      • No, I think we need to go back to this question. Because the answer is: no. Not as long as they're distributing graphics files lifted directly from the game. That's not going to fly under anybody's copyright laws anywheres. Somebody elsewhere stated the plan is at some point to not distribute those files and have people to use the graphics files from Starcraft CDs they own legally. I'm not sure if that'll be legal or not, but that's not what they're doing now. What they're doing now is clearly distrib
    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:4, Informative)

      by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:42AM (#21939540)

      Well, to clarify...

      1 - As long as they are not distributing Blizzard artwork, or using Starcraft's trademarked name in their own product, they should legally be in the clear. Note that they must also avoid mentioning any trademarked properties directly also (Aiur? Tarsonis? Vespene Gas? Any one of those things may or may not be trademarked)

      2 - It *will* be shut down (unless the authors are clever enough to obey #1, but they don't seem like it). Back in the day when I did mods for HL1, we had a term in the community: "foxed". It came from Fox being very zealous in shutting down mods of their properties. EVERYone making a licensed mod, whether it's Stargate, Star Wars, or just Dragonball Z, was foxed. This has NO chance.

      I personally have zero sympathy for people who develop their own products on top of the work of others, whether intending to profit or not. Why waste your time and effort on something that will eventually be shut down, and will never see the light of day? (or if it DOES, will result in your ass sued from here to Norway?) Why not take your coding chops and make a Starcraft-inspired RTS of your own?

      • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
        Your latter point is extremely valid, still the sentimental part of me wishes them the best of luck. They are trying to recreate a classic work of art in a new medium, and I believe similar to Warhol and Campbells soup that they should be allowed to do just that. My head agrees with you, my heart wishes this to happen. If the world was a different place this effort should have earned them employment at Blizzard.
      • by runderwo (609077) *
        Copyright power was established to "promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts". Building on top of the work of others is essential to that progress. If copyright laws are used to stifle people building on top of the work of others, then those laws are not serving the intended ends of copyright and thus should be abolished.
        • by p0tat03 (985078)

          This is one of those cases where I agree with copyright in its current state. Allowing these guys to build their game is downright dangerous for Blizzard. If their work is sub-par, but uses the Starcraft name and artwork, it can contribute to consumer confusion in the marketplace, and affect Blizzard's own reputation negatively for no good reason.

          Building on top of the work of others is creating your *OWN* RTS, but taking the mechanics that make Starcraft so much fun and making them your own. It is *NOT*

          • by runderwo (609077) *

            If their work is sub-par, but uses the Starcraft name and artwork, it can contribute to consumer confusion in the marketplace, and affect Blizzard's own reputation negatively for no good reason.

            You have jumbled trademark and copyright law. No one is suggesting that someone be able to legally pass off something under Blizzard's brand. (However, the idea that Blizzard can claim a trademark on the entire *Craft name space [slashdot.org] is equally absurd.)

            Building on top of the work of others is creating your *OWN* RTS, b

            • by p0tat03 (985078)

              (However, the idea that Blizzard can claim a trademark on the entire *Craft name space is equally absurd.)

              Yes, but in this case the project has clearly used the "Starcraft" name, as opposed to coming up with a clever derivative name.

              Who is "stealing" anything, when it's a game engine that simply REUSES the game data from your purchased version of Starcraft? Totally absurd.

              Except... the project is distributing art files WITH the download (as opposed to converting them from your existing SC disc), so yes, it is stealing (or infringement, if you want to be anal about it). Further than that, though, as an amateur game developer I consider it poor form to use someone else's fame to attempt to elevate your own. While certainly not illegal in any sense

  • http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/03/04 [penny-arcade.com] Those who failure to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Brendan
    • Fuck that. Fight that shit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are no legal grounds that prevent them from constructing code to emulate a PC on the DS system, or "port" the Starcraft executables to another system.

      But even if I am wrong, fuck them anyway. I love Blizzard, they make wonderful games, but this corporate overruling of people's hobbies/freedoms to create has GOT. TO. STOP. Fight it, even if it is "illegal", the system of laws is just a man-made constriction on reality anyway. Fight it, you c
  • Perhaps blizzard learned with their N64 port that RTS ports generally don't work on consoles/handhelds. Especially when the game is already so cheap, has great online play/community, and is playable on almost any computer today.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Perhaps blizzard learned with their N64 port that RTS ports generally don't work on consoles/handhelds.

      Yeah, but did the N64 have a touchscreen?

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        But the DS has an extremely small screen. So either there's going to be major problems selecting individual units, or you're not going to get as wide of a view as you did on the PC. Unless there was some functionality for zooming in and out. I could see it working ok, but it wouldn't be quite as good as it would be on the computer.
        • by edwdig (47888)
          The DS screens are small, but there are two of them. The bottom 1/4 - 1/3 of the screen in Starcraft was mainly status information, which can be handled on the 2nd screen. This port seems to be using popup overlays to handle the parts of it that you need to interact with.

          If they scaled the art by 50% in each dimension, the DS screen would show approximately the same area as the original game did. I only briefly played Starcraft, and at that back when it was fairly new, so I don't know if the original art i
          • If they scaled the art by 50% in each dimension, the DS screen would show approximately the same area as the original game did. I only briefly played Starcraft, and at that back when it was fairly new, so I don't know if the original art is large enough to make that a feasible option.


            Starcraft wasn't exactly hi-res to begin with. It ran at a resolution of 640 x 480, the ds has 2 screens at 256 x 192. I'm sure it's doable.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              The number of pixels has nothing to do with it. My IPod Nano has the same resolution as a standard TV. That doesn't mean it's as well suited to watching movies on as my 30 inch TV. I still watch movies and TV shows on it, because it's a lot easier to carry on the bus, but I'm not going to kid myself and think that it's just as good as watching on the TV. When the zergs are only 2 mm wide, it would be quite hard to select the ones you want to.
        • But the DS has an extremely small screen.
          So did Warcraft 1 and other RTS games from that era. Compare the 320x200 pixels of Mode 13h to the 256x192 pixels of each DS screen.
          • by gauauu (649169)
            But unfortunately, Warcraft 1 looked like poop compared to Starcraft.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            There's a difference between low resoltion, and small physical size. It's hard to select units when they are only 1 mm across.
        • by Kalriath (849904)
          I gotta admit, I've played the port/rewrite of Age of Empires for Windows Mobile, and it runs fine. If that can be converted, and it uses virtually the same resolution and object size as Starcraft, I can see a Starcraft port/rewrite working fine on a slightly larger screen.
    • by T-ice (1069420)
      It doesn't work with a console/handheld eh? Well, I personally don't think snake worked on my first cell phone. But, ever picked up someone at the airport and they're flight got delayed. Maybe played tetris on the ol' cell phone then? Same concept, take a game people like and try to make it more convenient. If I had a ds, I would play it. Oh, and the touchscreen might help, but everyone already mentioned that.
    • I loved SC on the N64
    • by trdrstv (986999)

      Perhaps blizzard learned with their N64 port that RTS ports generally don't work on consoles/handhelds. Especially when the game is already so cheap, has great online play/community...

      Starcraft64, for what it was, wasn't bad. The graphics were fine, the controls were streamlined so they made sence for a console, and the balancing was still "Starcraft". The primary issue was the fact that it wasn't online. There were no new maps, no mods, and it was limited to splitscreen (same screen) multiplayer for 2,

      • Almost?


        I suspect GP was just hedging his bets, but the fact remains, a large number of old games designed for old computers will not run correctly on modern machines that are 20-40 times faster.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        "Almost" because this is Slashdot and pretty much everyone here has 1-2 working but ancient computers that would have no chance of ever running Starcraft, like my little 386 laptop "skullcracker"...
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @11:09PM (#21937906)
    Currently, the only thing that works is the ability to spawn more overlords. It's a good thing that's the most important part of the game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kpansky (577361)
      Not if we require additional pylons.
      • Listen guys, we can deal with both of those problems after we deal with the real issue at hand:

        YOU REQUIRE MORE VESPINE GAS
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I heard that in order to stay out of litigation and make the game different enough, you need to order beans from within the game to produce more vespene gas.
  • Because they've only been working on it three weeks, they haven't gotten their cease and desist yet. I remember at least one group making a SC mod of Warcraft3, and they got theirs.
    • by JimboFBX (1097277)
      Someone did that for Zero Hour as well and got very far on it before being forced to shut down.
  • from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porting):

    The term is not generally applied [...] to the rewriting of source code in a different language (i.e. language conversion or translation).

    This is not porting. This is reimplementation.

    Like the remake of TA called TA3D (http://ta3d.darkstars.co.uk/home-en.php) and someone already mentioned FreeSynd (http://freesynd.sourceforge.net/about.php)
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Indeed. There was some guys who were doing a port of Syndicate Wars (sequel to Syndicate) from a disassembly. All they were "rewriting" was the video and sound systems to use SDL. They seem to have disappeared though and taken their code with them. It's an interesting hybrid. A number of these old DOS games use DOS4GW and other extenders so the executable of interest is actually a COFF file with 32 bit instructions in it.. so running the bits as they are in the exe as-is can be done on modern 32 bit op
  • After I modded my original Xbox I put as many party games on it as I could, I played only on my PC but I tried to cater to guests.

    It had an RTS [gamespot.com] and it was horrible, not horrible like FPS on a console but pretty bad...

    Now I'm a long time FPSer, I played back before you needed a mouse (Wolf3D etc) and the mouse is the best controller for a first person perspective yet, others may pshaw fps games as simplistic but they are the closest thing to a human perspective, that being said their simplicity has been
  • I played it before they started their "get tough" policies and general copyright bullshit.It was a breaking point when
    they started to ban players for hacks(even harmless third party hacks),
    Ruined the game with buggy patches(practically everything after 1.09)(damaged maps and third party software compatibility),removing useful glitches (the Death counter memory overwrite which allowed map manipulation on many levels,in real-time),they added spyware which downloads and executes stuff from blizzards se
    • You have yet to give a valid point about how or why Starcraft is dead. You just complained how Blizzard patched the ability to use hacks in multiplayer games and bnet. None of the Blizzard patches ever really annoyed me, but that's probably because I don't hack.

      Considering Starcraft is a decade old, and I can still hop online and easily find plenty of different games to play, it's amazing that it isn't dead yet. Starcraft is still going strong, and it's one of the most popular games for professional gami
      • Blizzard doesn't care about it anymore.
        Its like software project where everyone stopped contributing after major source revisions
    • by brkello (642429)
      So Starcraft is dead since you can't grief people with your hacks anymore? Plenty of people are still playing it. It boasts more players than a lot of games that came out a few years ago. How is that dead?
  • When a team tried to unlicensed port Chrono Trigger to the PC [slashdot.org], they didn't last very long [opcoder.com]. Given Blizzard's history [slashdot.org], I don't see it lasting very long.
  • Love my R4. I downloaded this thing last night before I saw it on slashdot. It's pretty amazing. All they have ready so far is the GUI and basic gameplay. You only have two buildings (terran command center and a barracks) and you can only build SCVs and marines. There's a few enemy marines on the map to kill, and that's about it...

    But it works amazingly well. The controls are more smooth and precise than so many other official DS games I've played. Basically, you tap on a unit to select it, and tap on somet
  • are a dime a dozen, and rarely go anywhere. Projects that do go far, are often taken down with cease and desists.

    From screenshots it looks like they've accomplished a lot though. I hope they don't run out of steam before the job is finished like 90% of the fan projects out there (remember freecraft?). A lot of developers become happy when a game is "playable" but still contains major bugs that insure that no one will actually bother playing it.

    As a side note, one of the cooler fan projects I've seen is a ro

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