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Real Time Strategy (Games) Entertainment Games

FreeCraft Cease and Desisted by Blizzard 808

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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  • 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
    • Either way it's the last Blizzard game I will buy!

      • Perhaps if you spent some of this money buying or donating to Freecraft not only would we have better games, we'd have free games. Free games would hurt Vivendi Universal and Blizzard more than anything else. Free Games that are good would kill them.

        We need to set up a way to support development of games, perhaps a transgaming style game development company, where people subscribe, vote on the type of game they want and its features, and then the coders code it out.

        They'd only have to charge 5$ a month,
        • 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?

          • by HanzoSan ( 251665 ) * on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:12AM (#6261188) Homepage Journal

            Theres dozens, theres a few that are pretty good, no they arent as good as Doom3(until ID releases the source) or Turbines engine, but they dont have to be, they just have to be good enough to make PS2 quality games.

            Most of these games would look better than anything on the PS2. There is an open source game repository but are you willing to donate money to make these games good? Or will you complain about quality when you dont pay?

            Well here are some engines.

            Genesis3d [genesis3d.com]
            Nooface [nooface.net]
            WorldForge [worldforge.org]

            Reality FactoryM [t-online.de]

            Ogre [sourceforge.net]

            Obsidian [zog.net.au]

            More at LinuxGames [linuxgames.com]
          • "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?

            Yes, there is Neoengine [sourceforge.net]. It's decent, check it out.
          • 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 PhoenixFlare ( 319467 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:06AM (#6261150) Journal
          Perhaps if you spent some of this money buying or donating to Freecraft not only would we have better games, we'd have free games. Free games would hurt Vivendi Universal and Blizzard more than anything else. Free Games that are good would kill them.

          Why, exactly, does the purpose of supporting a game/company need to be to hurt and kill another?

          Even if you hate them personally, or they (or their parent company, more likely) do nasty things sometimes, admit it- Blizzard makes kickass games that LOTS of people love. Starcraft is 5 years old, and yet there's still around 10,000 people playing it on Battle.net at any given time.

          Imagine what could be done? But we first need a way to fund enough games to get millions of people interested. The best way to make these greedy companies pay is to setup a whole open source PC game movement, on a large scale, and let the gamers fund it.

          Imagine what could be done? But we first need a way to fund enough games to get millions of people interested. The best way to make these greedy companies pay is to setup a whole open source PC game movement, on a large scale, and let the gamers fund it.

          Starcraft Battle Chest: $20

          Diablo II: $20 each for the main game and expansion.

          Warcraft II: $11.99

          Battle.net: Completely free.

          Yep, they're sure being greedy alright.

          It makes no sense for us to use the outdated old business model for open source products. Its proven that it doesnt work, the transgaming model is proven to work.

          So you're saying that games without monthly fees are outdated? Thanks, but no thanks. I have enough monthly fees to pay already.
    • 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 alienw ( 585907 ) <alienw DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:28AM (#6261257)
      No, Blizzard was an extremely litigious and scammy company right from the start. I remember an interview in boot magazine (circa 1997, before they were bought by anyone) where people complained that their games uploaded tons of information about their computer to battle.net without their permission. Supposedly, it was a tactic to stop pirates. They later stopped doing it after being criticized by virtually everyone in the gaming community.
      • With the exception of most recent history Blizzard really pisses off the macintosh community. Every week they would say "oh the mac version is coming out RSN, and of course it really took them month and months, everytime recommiting themselves to the cause.
      • Blizzard has been around a _lot_ longer than just since 1997.

        In the case you mention, they were not trying to stop pirates, they were obtaining names and email addresses for the purpose of supporting their Starcraft customers who were having issues connecting to Battle.net.

        Nor did they stop because they were "criticized", they stopped because they lost a lawsuit over it.

        Relevant link. [cdmag.com]

        In more recent years, to better judge the hardware capabilities of their customer base, they've started an opt-in pro

      • by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:21PM (#6262244) Journal
        ... StarCraft [starcraftrv.com]?

        I know every time I see one of these these lumbering down the road I get confused and think maybe its a roving Blizzard expo, or promotional thing for the next installment of the tired ol' RTS genre.

        I wish Blizzard et al would go after Starcraft RV too to protect me and all the other mindless drone comsumers from the risk of confusing two obviously different products with each other... what about Mastercraft [mastercraftboats.com] boats, Chris*Craft [chriscraftboats.com] boats, etc? Blizzard sure has a lot of work to do, I'm glad they are looking out for us easily confused consumers.

        On a serious note, I think I'll stop buying Blizzard products all together. My entertainment dollars will go to a company with less intellectual property fascists on staff.

    • by logout ( 20612 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:46AM (#6261343)
      No, this will kill FreeCraft, as bnetd was choked to death under the same situation.

      Bnetd was a promising Battle.net clone server with additional capabilities that Battle.net did not provide. In the last moment of bnetd development, bnetd developers were implementing their *own* protocol which will enable multiple bnetd servers to communicate to each other. As a former Bnetd Free server administrator, I was anticipating for this feature but it just had to die out.

      What Blizzard did with Bnetd project was simple. They just *threatened* to sue the main developers. Actually, they did not sue anybody. But the threat was enough for the developers to give up their projects because they were not legal experts, nor did they have enough money to hire lawyers.

      Did they do anything wrong? Absolutely not. Blizzard would have lost the case if both parties had gone to the court.

      In fact, Blizzard could have participated in the Bnetd project and run their second-tier Battle.net servers with bnetd. That's the good thing with opern source. However, Blizzard just killed the project, thrasing all the efforts and achievements with it.

      I am afraid the same thing will happen to the FreeCraft project. I haven't played it, but I am sure FreeCraft has something different or even enhanced from the original WarCraft. Does Blizzard have the right to kill these features too? I don't think so. If Blizzard wants its copyright respected, it must honor other's.

    • Use chess as an inspiration ... it has knights, kings, war etc. as the motif. Adding more complexity and technique to the warfare isn't violating anyone's IPR And evil "we own everything" patents on general ideas like "networked gaming" will fail: prior art is over a 1000 years old.

      And "saving" a game and playing it back is cool too ... (in chess there's a notation that can be printed in newspapers etc.) then fans can watch 2 masters duke it out ...
  • 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.
    • by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:41AM (#6261044) Homepage Journal

      So, why hasn't FreeCiv been sued out of existence then? Seems to me that there was some precedent to a game calling itself 'FreeSomething' and it being OK.

      There was no chance of trademark confusion here.

      • Probably because FreeCiv is targetting a 10+ year old game.
      • 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.
        • 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 free
    • by CrazyDuke ( 529195 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:12AM (#6261182)
      I expect trademark law to be used to protect the integrity of a specific brand, not to curb stomp anyone with a vaugely similiar idea off the market. "Freecraft" was just an engine so one could play Warcraft on Linux without emulation. It required the content off the original Warcraft CD's to be used in order to work. It is not like it was a competing game. Even with that considered, claiming the -craft suffix is as broad and overeaching as Microsoft's trademark on "Windows." This would be similar to Microsoft putting the axe in X-Windows for trademark violation.
  • How original was warcraft then?
    I have no idea myself, but I have the feeling this wasn't the first game in it's genre.
    • Re:I'm wondering (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dysproxia ( 584031 )
      I have this old review of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans that says:

      "Others steal toilet paper from their work place, others steal ideas from popular games. Toilet paper thiefs go to Hell [gamesdomain.com], idea thiefs to sales charts, especially if they are as good as Blizzard with Warcraft"

      Obviously, the game before Warcraft was Dune II from Westwood.

  • name change? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by d_strand ( 674412 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:35AM (#6261016)
    why not just change the name?

    Blizzard doesn't hold the rights to the whole RTS genre, if that was the case then C&C and AoE and lots of others would be in trouble..
    • Re:name change? (Score:2, Informative)

      by colinemckay ( 610522 )
      IANAL, but looking at the web page, something more substantial than a name page would be required. o the name is similar (Warcraft/Freecraft) o the game plays in a similar fashion (I don't know the details on this, never having played Freecraft, but this is stated in the article) o the artwork is very much like Warcraft (look at the screenshot on the website - it just screams Warcraft in style) To me, it appears like a direct knockoff, with perhaps a few things rearranged, but no original work.
    • Re:name change? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Morgahastu ( 522162 ) <bshel@WEEZE3.141 ... emove my fave ba> 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.
    • 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??
  • This is bad, but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tpengster ( 566422 )
    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
    • What about if they called it "PhreeKrapht", or even "WahrCrapht"? Can you trademark a phonetic identity?
    • by LoadStar ( 532607 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:47AM (#6261074)
      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

      Another project that frankly I'm surprised has made it this far is FreeVo - obviously a name in the same thought process as FreeCraft. I fully expected TiVo to crack down on them too.

      I'm still unclear however. Was the main problem the name? It sounds like it, and if so, it was just a move to protect their trademark. If you don't defend your trademark (and those that may dilute your trademark) you lose it, so this Blizzard and their parent companies had to do this.

      What isn't clear is why they didn't just change the name like Blizzard et al wanted and go on with life. Everyone is making it sound like Blizzard shut this project down, when it just looks like they wanted the name changed and the FreeCraft shut the project down all by themselves.

  • by vegetablespork ( 575101 ) <vegetablespork@gmail.com> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:37AM (#6261026) Homepage
    "Whorecraft" Let's see them threaten over that being "confusingly similar."


  • 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.
  • Um . . . (Score:4, Funny)

    by WalterDGeranios ( 678649 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:39AM (#6261030)
    due to the name 'FreeCraft' causing possible confusion with the names StarCraft and WarCraft

    Sorry if this is a stupid question--but which one of these was the open source game, and which were the Blizzard games? I can't ever keep them straight.

  • by SlamMan ( 221834 ) <squigit AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:39AM (#6261032)
    What did they expect? It's like starting a company called 'Appel' to sell a photo editing prodocut called 'ifoto'.
  • by LuxFX ( 220822 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:40AM (#6261039) Homepage Journal
    C'mon guys, here's where you have the advantage because you can do something that big-shot software companies can't. Just make a few minor changes in the game artwork, and rename the game. re-release it as a "different game" and under a different company logo if you have to.

    the advantage you have that Blizzard doesn't have is that you can move faster than they can, and you're not as tied down to a name/branding.

    fly like a butterfly....
    • by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:02AM (#6261133) Homepage Journal
      rename the game
      Duh. That would be too easy. Most likely, they panicked when they got the C&D letter, and instead of talking to a lawyer, they said, "Heck with it," and shut down.

      C'mon, people, you can find a lawyer very [lawyers.com] easily [findlaw.com]. Most offer a low price for the initial consultation. It is in your best interest to talk to one before you take any action, so that you understand the consequence and any repercussions that will arise from your decision. Even capitulation may have dire consequences [kansascity.com].

      I talked to laywer regarding an IP issue a while back and it only cost me $20 for a 1/2 hour (it would've cost $200 for the next hour---it would have been worth it---but I didn't need that long).

  • What would happen if they continued to work on the project, releasing it over Gnutella or something similar, but without specifically taking credit for the coding? How could Blizzard ever prove WHO was actually writing the code? Without a target to send a cease and desist to, how can they sue for trademark damages? They can't feasibly C&D every person on a P2P network. And this isn't a case of copyright infringement. What could they possibly do?
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:42AM (#6261049)
    # emerge freecraft freecraft-fcmp

    Yep, here it comes. I'll cease and desist downloading this right now, of course...

    • That emerge command grabbed the source from http://gentoo.oregonstate.edu/distfiles. You're after freecraft itself and fcmp, the additional media packs that let you play it without having to actually buy Warcraft.
  • by leonbrooks ( 8043 ) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:45AM (#6261062) Homepage
    Be kind to it, only fetch if you're going to do something useful with the code. Some of the real mirror sites are still up (wayback [archive.org] is your friend) and may be faster if you're in the USA or Europe. Of course, if you're hitting my ISP from WAIX [waia.asn.au] then ArachNet won't care about bytes, so go for it [arach.net.au].
  • by dh003i ( 203189 )
    So, because these jack-offs chose to put the word "craft" in their game -- a common every-day word, to describe something -- they get to sue everyone who uses the word "craft" as part of their game title?

    This is fucking bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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
  • Why did the FreeCraft people choose a *Craft name? Because they were trying to horn in on some of the success of Blizzard, obviously. They wanted there to be a strong name association between their project and a branded one that Blizzard created.

    You guys making FreeCraft should have flown a bit more under the radar. Blizzard developed the brand, let them have it and create something of your own. Spending time in court over something like this seems counterproductive, if your goal is just to get good f
  • 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...
  • uhoh (Score:5, Funny)

    by jesler ( 683123 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:53AM (#6261099)
    Some personal projects I may have to rethink:

    BarCraft - Can you restore the broken supply line of ale for the underaged teens lurking in the carpark outside?

    DartCraft - The expansion pack for BarCraft. It's RTS darts, with uh... resources and stuff.

    ParCraft - Play 18 holes of golf while repelling invading loons in golf buggies.

    FarCraft - Like a regular RTS, but it'll take 3 and a half days to cross the map.

    RarCraft - You have to play with all game data (gfx, sound, etc) still in compressed form.

    LoreCraft - Get the Law School upgrade on your Fortress to produce a phalanx of patent-happy lawyers.

    BoreCraft - The only unit is a peasant. Buy the expansion for female peasants!
    • Re:uhoh (Score:4, Funny)

      by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:44AM (#6261331) Homepage Journal
      Don't forget:

      LaraCraft - Twice the fun, twice the action, twice the legal troubles.

    • Re:uhoh (Score:4, Funny)

      by suss ( 158993 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @02:30PM (#6262632)
      AssCraft - you practice proctology on Orcs, even though they don't want or need it.

      SlashCraft - you link websites on here and watch them blow up.

      SCOCraft - you try to sue a Dark Templar and die.

      The Craft - a movie with Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell who are witches'n'stuff.

      C-Raft - Strom Thurmond, Ross Perot and a pig are put on a Raft in the middle of the pacific, with a live satellite feed present. (Slightly more amusing than C-Span)

      DalCraft - you try and retry to connect to IRC servers while they are being DDoSed by the RIAA

  • 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?
  • C+D? (Score:4, Funny)

    by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... m.org minus poet> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:54AM (#6261103) Homepage
    happypenguin.org is struggling to come to terms with Slashdots own form of Cease and Desist :)
  • Sad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mikeee ( 137160 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:55AM (#6261104)
    I made some very minor contributions to this a couple years ago; it's pretty much playable these days.

    OTOH, I always thought it would have made more sense to build it as a generic engine, with at least one totally original theme, than a 100% clone of Warcraft mechanics. (In fairness, I think the plan was to move in that direction eventually).

    But like a lot of these, probably 70% of the code was written by one guy, I think, so if they've chased him off the project is toast. :(
  • 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?
  • Victor's Secret (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drdale ( 677421 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @09:58AM (#6261118)
    I am not a lawyer, but on the surface this case looks similar to one the Supreme Court just decided recently in which Victoria's Secret sued a sex-toy company called Victor's Secret for trademark infringement because of the soundalike name. Victoria lost---the Court held that you must present strong evidence of serious harm before you can sue for trademark infringement over a similar-sounding name. The CBS news story is here [cbsnews.com].
  • by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) * <evan&misterorange,com> 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 [pvpgn.com]. 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 [galciv.com] 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.
    • The artwork for that screenshot was using the warcraft 2 cd's art as far as I know. In other words, you have to own a legal copy of WC2 to make it look the same. For those that don't own WC2 there is a (IMHO) pretty bad looking art set available.
    • by Denor ( 89982 )
      It is a ripoff of Warcraft, yes. Their goal was to clone the engine, as a open-source way to play WCII in linux. The reason the art in the screenshot looked the same as the game is because it is the same; Freecraft came with a script which would take the art off of a WCII CD you had and put it in the game so you wouldn't have to use the programmer art they'd put in.
    • 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
  • Netcraft? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:27AM (#6261249)
    When should we expect to hear about Netcraft being sued?

    Obviously, netcraft is Blizzard's next hit, wherein the few remaining human loyalists valiantly defend their networks from the hordes of Zerg viruses. Those survey folks are just confusing people.
  • 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 fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @10:59AM (#6261400) Homepage
    A new on-line realtime strategy game from the makers of...um...food.

    Build a cheesy empire with Velveeta! Sail into battle with ChipsAhoy! Or tear down your opponent's battlements with an oreo trebuchet!

    Play as one of four exciting new races: Macaroni&Cheese eaters, The Salad Dressing-ites, StoveTop Stuffers, or People of the Jell-o!


    who's up for doing the box-art?
  • 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 f0rt0r ( 636600 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:44AM (#6261616)
    Witch Covens around the world are in a state of confusion after receiving threating "Cease and Desist" letters from Blizzard's lawyers for their product known as "WitchCraft"(c) which may be confused with "StarCraft"(c) or "WarCraft"(c).

    When a coven leader was asked how they planned to respond to the threat, she replied "We are split between a rare disease and swarms of insects, though a natural disaster at Blizzard headquarters is not out of the question. Oh, the lawyers won't be a problem, they work for for the same guy (putting hands to each side of her head to make a symbol of horns ) we do."

    In other news, Blizzard's CEO mysteriously hired a n exorcist to make a house call. More details at 11.

  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @11:57AM (#6261681) Homepage

    If this is a correct screenshot here [happypenguin.org], 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 Newtonian_p ( 412461 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @12:09PM (#6261730) Homepage
    You can still get the full source for a fairly recent version here (remove the space between freec and raft):
    http://http.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main /f/freec raft/freecraft_1.18.orig.tar.gz
  • by pr0c ( 604875 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:13PM (#6262168)
    I've been somewhat involved in the project for a month or so now so I have slightly more insight than the average person. As far as i can tell their is no fucking letter. This letter was sent to an Xdeveloper who has not shown it to anyone. This same Xdeveloper owns the freecraft domains and as soon as he wasn't involved with the project any longer he put them up for sale... hmmm

    Its all bullshit, there probably is no fucking letter. Any other project would have debated this and they would have posted the letter as well, i personally watched them just quit without discussion and fucking everyone else who was working on the project.
  • 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 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.
  • I knew it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) * <jessica@@@supjessica...com> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @03:23PM (#6262930)
    I had never heard of FreeCraft up until 2 days ago. I thought, "they're going to get sued". Then I noticed on the page they said "This is a free cross-platform real-time strategy game engine. It is possible to play over LAN, internet or against the computer and to build C&C, W*rCr*ft, St*rCr*ft or AOE like RTS games with it. Currently only a W*rCr*ft 2 compatible theme is available"

    Why did they censor WarCraft/StarCraft? Obviously to make it harder to find them by searching warcraft or starcraft in a search engine.. Sneaky, that's when I thought "yep they'll get sued".

    And 2 days later, this.

    Yay guess my brain does have amazing powers [slashdot.org], i'm a psychic!
  • by SmackCrackandPot ( 641205 ) on Saturday June 21, 2003 @05:52PM (#6263594)
    In a short press statement, Blizzard also announced that they had sent a cease and desist order to all American airlines, requesting that they no longer refer to their vehicles as "Aircraft", but recommended that they use the term "fossil fuel powered heavier than air flying machine" instead.
  • 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.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson