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LucasArts Embraces Game Mod Community 183

An anonymous reader writes "LucasArts has taken a great step in promoting the modification of their titles and supporting the communities that love them! According to this press release, LucasArts has teamed up with LFNetwork to open The site is dedicated to all files that fall in the LucasArts realm." Given competing games like Neverwinter Nights, which have a phenomenal amount of user-created add-ons, this is a very smart move for LucasArts.
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LucasArts Embraces Game Mod Community

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  • CS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirvish ( 574948 ) <> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:36PM (#4877332) Homepage Journal
    Very smart indeed! Just think about how successful Counter-Strike is. Sierra/Valve doesn't make anything from Counter-Strike but they make boat-loads from the Half-Life game that you need to run Counter-Strike.
    • Re:CS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by koko775 ( 617640 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:50PM (#4877422)
      they make boat-loads of money off of CS as well. About four in every five people at my school don't know what the hell half-life is, yet 100% of them know what CS is, and roughly 50% of them play it.

      CS-Retail is utterly stupid but, knowing the nature of people who play cs (there are a great many lamers), it's utterly successful as a standalone game.
      • Re:CS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dirvish ( 574948 )
        True enough. I think the CS CDs that are in stores are about the same price as the Half-Life only CDs. So, either way they are selling just one CD (at roughly standard price) per or not.
        • Re:CS (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mobets ( 101759 )
          I use retail because it was cheaper that way. Wy brother and I both wanted it. We got the Half Life collecters pack or whatever. He downloaded the mod, I installed retail.
          • Yep, after they started releasing all those half-life mods, old, cheap retail versions of half-life vanished off the shelves. Coincidence......
            • Re:CS (Score:4, Insightful)

              by shogun ( 657 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:45AM (#4877948)
              Yep, after they started releasing all those half-life mods, old, cheap retail versions of half-life vanished off the shelves. Coincidence......

              Nothing suspicious about that at all, people needed the basic to play the mods so they got sold...
              • I don't think so; the people who didn't already have half-life + mods would tend not to know they could download them.
    • Yeah, but just wait until one of the mods does anything they don't like. Poof, it'll be gone. Lucas[Film|Arts|*] doesn't have the courage to let people freely change and add to what they have done - just look at how they have gone after fansites and other fan-created things in the past. I don't know how they expect this to work.
  • by Foxxz ( 106642 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:36PM (#4877335) Homepage
    And the first and highly game mod will be a re-skin for Jar-Jar Binks so he doesn't look like a walking poop-stain!
    No. of downloads: 8732
    Rated: 10 stars
    Description: Highly requested! Jar-Jar replaced with a baywatch babe!

    This is not a troll, this is a pleade for it to be done :)

  • The only current game that I can imagine there are fan files for is the Galactic Battlegrounds, an average real-time strategy. Unless LucasArts prepares to release a strong single-player roleplaying game or strategy (single- or multi-player), I see absolutely no reason for them to have a mod community. Why single player, you may ask? Because in the world of RPGs, modding can affect characters in a profound way and can be considered cheating.
  • Preemptive PR? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobz ( 1527 ) <bobzimbinski@m[ ]om ['e.c' in gap]> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:39PM (#4877362)
    Conspiracy theory of the day: Lucasarts puts up a "fan community" site to garner lots of good karma in order to offset the hit it will take when it serves more legal papers to ScummVM [] (a Lucasarts adventure game interpreter), who just days ago produced another release...
    • Re:Preemptive PR? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Perhaps if you kept track of the development lists, and/or read the news over the past few months, you'd realize that scummvm has maintained contact with lucasarts and wouldn't post such a sensationalist post.

      The following is taken from the June 25th news posting (yes, almost 6 months ago):

      "Their message requesting the removal of the site is based on the presumption that we are distributing LucasArts own engine on this site. Of course, ScummVM is a fully original work based equally on reverse engineering and original decoding work by many different people in the community, so this request doesn't really affect us."

      Later, in their October 17th, State of the Scumm address:

      The main issue at the moment is their requirement for a 'non-profit' clause. We need to push this clause to prevent any -direct- profit from being made by selling ScummVM itself (seriously, who would want to anyway? geez :)... but try and convince LucasArts to still let commercial distribution in a package of other software, such as a Linux distribution. This is required to ensure we are at least DFSG and OSD compliant.

      "Hopefully I can knock some sense into them, and convince them that there's nothing wrong with this, otherwise this whole negotiation period - and it's being going on for months - will be pretty pointless. Basically, we need to have their permission to use an Artistic-license style clause."

      Finally, in their December 7th update:

      "To date, LucasArts has not been able to give us any firm complaints regarding ScummVM, besides some vague claims that if they didn't enforce these conditions on us, it would effectively give up their rights to their own Intellectual Property. We do not believe this, there certainly have not been any documented cases of the GPL leading to such a challenge in the past..."

      At least pretend like you're writing a balanced reply.
    • Re:Preemptive PR? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ndr_Amigo ( 533266 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:02AM (#4877774)
      Actually, we havn't heard a single word from LucasArts legal in two weeks (besides a promise two weeks ago that I would get a phonecall first thing that monday. I didn't so it was time for another release :)

      - Ender
      Leader Type Person,
    • by cyberon22 ( 456844 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:36AM (#4878573)
      LucasArts attitude towards fan developers (who are probably its best customers) is astonishingly short-minded and sometimes insulting.

      I'm thinking particularly of their shutting down the Star Wars Modelling Alliance [], a fan site devoted to developing (surprisingly good) models of Star Wars characters and creatures. The sheer amount of creative work that came out of people using those models was astonishing. In additional to publishing a lot of great freeware models the site would also post some of the "pictures" and "films" that people had made, etc.. Some were complete gems - one that sticks out particularly in my mind involved a few ATSTs rampaging around urban London.

      Perhaps there is someone associated with the site here that knows better, but I was always under the impression that their persistent and long-lasting "hardware difficulties" which started shortly after E1 came out boiled down to letters from the legal department at LucasFilm.

      It is a real pity that existing law is structured such that market-regulation can be used to crush non-market creativity.
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:40PM (#4877370)
    Given their ongoing (but apparently lapsed) dispute with LucasArts over their replacement .exe for the old SCUMM games - maybe this signals a more enlightened approach across the board? Maybe LucasArts will actually start giving the ScummVM developers some pointers on how SCUMM works, and we'll get 100% compatibility much more quickly?

    (For anyone who doesn't know, ScummVM [] is a replacement .exe for old games like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island; it uses antialiased graphics and hardware MIDI to dramatically improve the picture and sound, and runs on any platform SDL does - unlike the old .exe's that come with the games, which struggle to run on modern machines. LucasArts seem to have mistaken ScummVM with an abandonware site...)

    • by Ndr_Amigo ( 533266 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:09AM (#4877799)
      hahahaahahaha. Yeah, right. Ahem. Pesimism mode, off. :)

      Seriously, I can probably talk about this now the site has been announced. The original 'proposal' from LucasArts to deal with our 'problem', was (this was suggested to us about 7 months ago) to be hosted by 'their upcoming mod site' - what is now known as LucasFiles..

      This would apparantly have solved the legal issues they have with us (which they have never really explained or clarified except in vauge terms).

      But basically, all LucasFiles is supposed to be is a host for FPS mods. Big whoop. The LucasFiles people didn't want us (I gather), and the whole idea was completely torpedoed when I pointed out that moving from SourceForge would require work on their part - eg, we'd need equivilant services like CVS ecetra.

      Anyway. It was suggested, it never worked.

      As for sharing technical details, the last time I asked their response was "We're not intrested in doing so at this time, maybe we can discuss it MUCH (their verbal emphisis) later."

      - Ender
      Head Monkey Wrangler,
      • Now Endy, come on here. LucasFiles is more than just an FPS mod dumping grounds. And I thought the "come make your home on LucasFiles" offer was more or less LEC trying to tighten the leash, not save scummvm.

        Just because LucasArts PR is pushing the game mods aspect of LucasFiles... well that means nothing. Yes, there are mods hosted there... k. There's also a Fan Games section and a Classic LucasArts section. You know that I'd love to put ScummVM up there too... I'm tempted to but I fear the nasty letter of doom. Bah. LucasFiles isnt perfect but its silly of you to fall for marketing.

        channel toadie, #scummvm
  • NWN, great concept...poor execution.

    Until they fix the camera angle, I'm sticking with EQ. Above all I need to be able to play w/o contracting chronic nack/back injuries from trying to see what's 15 feet in front of my character all day.

    No, Bioware did not deliver on this one folks. They highly restricted the user environment, and there is very little customizability in the game at all(except hot-swappable keys which have been around almost a decade).

    Game mods have been been a huge benefit to gamers(Half-life being the best example). But it's going to be someone else that runs with the fantasy genre.
    • by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:44PM (#4877390) Homepage
      Until they fix the camera angle...

      There are plenty of user made mods that free the camera, along with tons of other mods that expand and extend the game. The _usermade_ Pool of Radiance mod is better than the recent standalone game!

      This is exactly the kind of thing that makes NWN great, and probably why LucasArts is so interested.
      • Is that one of the original modules from D&D? It sounds very familiar.
        • pool of radiance is the original rpg from which all the 'gold box' rpg's (curse of azure bonds, secret of silver plates(?), champions of krynn and a shitload of other games) originated.

          pool of radiance also had a great story, deepness, great gameplay, great character advancement(from killing 8 kobolds into going to superheroes capable of killing 300+ kobolds at battle) and generally everything the remake lacked.
      • I'm curious, I've never seen such a mod. Off the top of your head, could you point us to one?
    • by eddy ( 18759 )

      They're not going to "fix it", but there's a Mod that does release the camera, so if you really want it, you can have it.

      I won't spend time countering your "no customizability"-statement, but I can agree that NWN was nowhere as good as I should have been.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Until they fix the camera angle, I'm sticking with EQ. Above all I need to be able to play w/o contracting chronic nack/back injuries from trying to see what's 15 feet in front of my character all day.

      I think you have a chronic brain injury if you're trying to look around corners on a monitor by moving your head.
    • by Len ( 89493 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:19AM (#4877845)
      NWN, great concept...poor execution.
      I don't think you understand the concept. NWN was never supposed to be "EverQuest without the fee". It was supposed to be "D&D online" and BioWare sure delivered on that.

      Personally I'd much rather play D&D with a good dungeon master than EverQuest, so I like NWN. I don't see why the camera angle is such a big deal; I can see more than far enough to cast a fireball without toasting the rest of the party. And I really don't get the "little customizability" comment - I can customize the whole damn game!

      It's not EverQuest, and you don't have to like it, but NWN already has about 1800 published mods. Clearly a lot of people think it's a good game for modding.

      • With the limited range of vision the camera affords you (I haven't see the mods that change this yet, can you give me a link?) the monster is usually on top of you by the time you're done casting, if the other party members haven't finished it already.

        The camera, besides creating a "stiff" feel, and the real-time aspect make the game feel more like a twitch game and far less tactical than Baldur's Gate and real D&D.
        • Me: Hey, Google. Let's do some free association. What do you think of when I say "NWN Camera Hack"?

          Google: 389795.shtml []

          Amazing, no?

          And as for wanting a more tactical game, why not just make liberal use of the pause key? I mean, that's basically what you did in BG, right? (except you could tell it to auto-pause every round, but that's clearly overkill when you have only one character).

          NWN was never supposed to be like Baldur's Gate, but it really is the closest anyone's come to "real" D&D on a computer. Forget the official campaign. It's sort of fun, but if that's all you've done, no wonder you're disappointed. Try playing a highly-rated custom module online with a group of friends.
      • You're right.
        The camera angle make it more rpg like, where you don't really know whats ahead of view and often get surprised by the next troll around the corner.
        It also gives sense to stats like listen, or spot.
  • by svvampy ( 576225 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:44PM (#4877386)

    I mean he's ignored the fans for how long?

    But surely this will be the one true mod site. As in, 'If you don't want to play by our rules (No killing Jar^2) or else..

  • Great but, (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vladequacy ( 633590 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:49PM (#4877409) Homepage Journal
    Great but, who owns the content? Look at the Terms of Use Url [].

    To the extent the Fan Games contain material that consists of or is derived from Source Material (as defined in Attachment B to these Terms of Use which is incorporated herein by this reference) and to the extent LF Networks agrees, in its sole discretion, to allow such use, you acknowledge that the Fan Games are in whole or in part derivative from the Source Material, that you have no right, title or interest in and to anything contained in or derived from the Source Material, and that you irrevocably assign to LF Networks any and all right, title and interest you may be deemed to have in any materials contained in or derived from the Source Materials.
    • They've done it before, see. This article shows how they at Lucasart have appropriated users works Url [].
    • by Xandar01 ( 612884 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @11:17PM (#4877557) Journal

      If this Officially Sanctioned site follows Lucas Arts policy in any way it will be up for grabs once you post. If they borrow from your idea, you won't get anything for it. Sure you might get bragging rights, but that's about it.

      Take a look at the Submission Release [] (.DOC) that you must submit when applying for an Art Position ( FX ARTIST 2 [] ) with the company.

      For those without Word or Open Office:

      2. I understand and acknowledge that because of LEC's position (i) it receives numerous submissions of artwork and music from third parties, and (ii) it is constantly developing in-house ideas, formats, stories, concepts, artwork, music, and the like, and that many such submissions and/or developments heretofore or hereafter received and/or developed by LEC may be similar to or identical to those contained in my Submission. I understand and agree that LEC's use of material containing elements similar to or identical with protectible property contained in the Material shall not obligate LEC to me in any manner if LEC shall have developed or obtained such material either heretofore or hereafter independently or exclusively from sources other than from me.

      • If this Officially Sanctioned site follows Lucas Arts policy in any way it will be up for grabs once you post. If they borrow from your idea, you won't get anything for it.


        If you create a derivative work based on and requiring use of a LucasArts game, shouldn't LucasArts be the one that stands to benefit financially because of it?

        This seems like a pretty standard and harmless working arrangement to me.
    • " irrevocably assign to LF Networks any and all right, title and interest you may be deemed to have in any materials contained in or derived from the Source Materials."

      All your mods are belong to George!
    • Yes, LFN is a group of fans. LFN is not LucasArts. Still shady, but its probably better that six fans who dont give a crap about "owning" your idea now "own" it instead of it being owned by LucasArts.
  • by mkweise ( 629582 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:49PM (#4877415)
    You hereby grant to LF Network the royalty-free, non-exclusive, transferable right and license to use and exploit all rights in copyright in and to Your Posted Material throughout the universe in all forms of media, whether now known or later developed or created. Accordingly, among other rights, LF Network may reproduce, modify, publish, translate, distribute, sell, perform, and display Your Posted Material alone or as part of other works in any form, media or technology.

    Furthermore, the terms of submission incorporate by reference Attachment A [], which reads:
    Fatal error: Call to undefined function: latest() in /usr/local/psa/home/vhosts/ /ssi/right.php on line 10
  • shameless plug (Score:2, Informative)

    I love moddable games. EU2 and HOI from strategyfirst and paradox are the most moddable games I have ever seen. I have been playing games for 20 years and these would be my top 1 and 2. Coming in #3 would be nethack(rogue). These 3 would probably be the top 3 best games I have ever seen, as well as the top 3 most moddable. Coincedence?
  • Yeah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ridge ( 37884 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @10:53PM (#4877435)
    Just wait and see what good ol' Georgie's lawyers will say when someone takes Jedi Knight 2 and creates Dirty Wookie Lovin' involving a few dancing blue women, Princess Leia in her sail barge outfit, and one well-endowed Wookie...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    what ever happened to the -great- starwars themed Doom Total Conversion mods for Doom and Doom II?

    one of 'em had you going around inside the friggin death star! it was great.

    so was the Aliens Total Conversion mod for that matter. scary as fuck with the sound clips.
  • Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda wanted a site for geek news that facilitated user discussion about recent important events in the free software world.

    Modifications of Slashdot's intrinsic features began to crop up. Rusty Foster's Scoop project turned into Kuro5hin, a site for green party members and graduate students. A bunch of Nuke-based software turned up to, such as PostNuke.

    Game mods are just like weblog software -- they facilitate community building. There's a great community of LucasArts gamers consisting of developers, game mod creators, artists, musicians, and gamers. In relation, there's a great community of weblog sites like Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Metafilter, and Monolinux.

    Don't overlook the often overlooked. Give some credit to Rob and other webloggers. That's my message, basically.

    Thanks for reading.
  • Sweet! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Xaroth ( 67516 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @11:11PM (#4877525) Homepage
    I'm totally modding my PC now so I can play burned LucasArts games!

    Oh, wait.
  • I think the first thing I will do is write a mod to remove the Dewbacks and have a large Ewok celebration everytime I blow up a deathstar. Some things you just shouldn't touch.
    Long live the original trilogy, the way it should be.
  • This is one of those things that was on my "Never going to happen" list. After that Episode I DVD debacle, I thought George Lucas was as dumb as a bag of bricks (to this day, no one I know owns the Episode I DVD). It turns out I may have been mistaken.
  • Hopefully this means good things for jk2. Something for gunners and ctf players would be really nice.
  • A lot of their files were found to be in the "open" already. Granted mostly to collectors and not gamers though.
  • maybe.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dylan_t_p ( 630258 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @11:57PM (#4877751) Homepage Journal
    they should team up with these guys [] or these guys [] or even these guys [] becuase they have been doing lucas arts mods for ages

    This could be a cool thing just so long as the lucas guys started to release bonus packs kinda like the Unreal guys, that and if it hasn't already happend a new big fluffy pack(aka bfp3) for jedi knight 2 if there isn't already one......

  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:22AM (#4877859) Journal
    But not by lucasarts, by whatever copyright they might step on.

    New maps, more wookies, flying yodas, etc will probably be tolerated. How would they feel about Jedi Starfighter being turned into a Star Trek game?

    But if someone did something like a total conversion mod, say about Dragonball Z or the such, and they gave it some name like Bid for Power, and it was really really cool - much better than any official DBZ game ever created - FUNimation would send out cease and decist orders.

    This is a good step, but the modding communities options are still extremely limited.
    • by Photon Ghoul ( 14932 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:11AM (#4878039)
      Which is why the modding communities should maybe make something based on original content instead of other's copywritten works?
  • I may be alone, but I really liked that game. At first I didn't, but then I bought a cheap steering wheel with pedals and it was great (I think all racing games suck without a steering wheel).

    Anyways, I didn't see anything for Racer at the new mod site. Maybe it's time I make the time for it. It was never an 'open' game, but there is very often a way...given persistence. Sometimes all you need is a laid-off engineer. Hmm, like me.

    I'd start with figuring out how to add pods (kinda like the car models you can add to 'Need For Speed'). Then tracks and other fun stuff.
  • by Nathdot ( 465087 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:11AM (#4878038)
    Obviously what's called for here are some high definition Star Trek Mods.

    Just imagine Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty and Uhura all flying around in an enterprise-skinned millenium falcon. It'll take the concept of nerd-to-nerd combat and make it a high artform:

    Mesa no lika vulcans.
    Set Phasors to kill.

    On another note, surely LucasArts realise that their new MMORPG universe will be 95% populated by naked Natalie Portmans.
  • enuff FPS already! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delong ( 125205 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:25AM (#4878110)
    You know what the gaming community really needs? Some real-time strategy and strategy dedicated server binaries. EVERYTHING is FPS. A game company releases a RTS, they put up their own "company" servers only and/or peer to peer. Lame. I'm the game server admin for a US national ISP. I have a dedicated subnet with a dedicated OC3 with a bunch of dedicated boxes used only for games. And they're all FPS, because that's all that's out there. Boring. How about a dedicated binary for Galactic Battlegrounds or something George?

    • Yeah, but if they dedicated their dedicated binary to your dedicated OC3, and you dedicated a server on the dedicated OC3 to the dedicated binary, you could dedicate your dedication to the dedicated program. You're just so..dedicated!


  • - Why don't you download my mod?
    - I have no reason to download your mod, but I do have many players.
    - Why do you have many players?
    - I learned how to win players from Bioware. Why don't you download me?
    - Are all things are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always are not always you need to know you learned from Bioware?
  • WTF LucasFiles? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ja2ke ( 633770 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:41AM (#4878202)
    Just writing to let those interested know that while LucasArts put out the press release, and supports the site, LucasFiles was conceived and created by, and is and will be maintained by the LucasArts fan community. They didn't make it, they don't run it, and for the most part they don't dictate what we choose to and choose not to post.

    Yes, we have been talking to them along the way, and bits of the site was made in a way that would suit the notorious Lucas Legal (most importantly the disclaimers you agree to when uploading and downloading a file). That "little bit" aside, it's our site.

    That doesn't mean they can't decide how they're going to promote it. Their press release and the small blurb on the main page of says that it's "home to mods of LucasArts games," but that's not the limit of the scope of LucasFiles.

    In addition to mods, we can also host full-on fangames that don't require, say, Jedi Outcast, to run. Odds are we could host fan games that aren't even related to Star Wars (probably not fan games of the sequel-knockoff variety, I'm talking original stuff)... And, we're also working to reach into the depths of our hard drives and long abandonned file download areas to find some classic stuff that was formerly hard to get your hands on (for instance, old promos and demos relating to Sam & Max hit the road, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, the Monkey Island series etc etc etc as well as some Lucas titles that are "classics" for entirely different reasons... like Force Commander and Yoda Stories ).

    Anyway, by limiting LucasFiles to "another Mod site" or claiming it is LucasArts's own site, made in an attempt to woo you into not noticing some other evil, for one you're wrong, and for two you're really pigeonholeing something the fan community's been after for quite some time. Its amazing to see LucasArts as excited about it as we are (and they are).

  • by Anonymous Coward much the same way MS embraces Java, I imagine. Once the mod community stops representing a potential source of profit for LA (2 years after the game's released? 3?), the mod community will be getting a little thing I like to call "the shaft".
    • Yeah, thats why LucasForums (which, like LucasFiles, is run by fans at, not lucasarts) still has Jedi Knight, XWing Alliance, Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, and (oh my) SCUMM hacking... Oops, they're run by fans of the old games, not by LucasArts.
  • Women Embrace Case Mod Community: pimpled teenagers and graphic artists with too much free time [] rejoice. Slashdotters glad to see Thinkgeek's "Chicks dig Case Mods" banner ad finally come to fruition.
  • Yeah, baby! I was going to write something about collecting all the cool DarkForces MODs (which I still have on a couple of 3.5" disks somewhere)... and I really hope they will do this. But then I discovered a link to this site: []. This is almost too cool to be true. Hope, they will do a great job. And why not re-creating DFII / Jedi Knight as a MOD for Jedi Knight II? The graphics of DFII/JK really sucked. Guess, it was too early for using real 3D, back then. But now... Hmmmm, storm troopers...
  • Now that would be cool! Disturbing, but cool.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972