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PC Games (Games)

Derek Smart Lusting Rights To Freespace? 95

WMCoolmon writes "Derek Smart (of Battlecruiser 3000 AD PC space-sim fame) has started a thread on the Adrenaline Vault forums stating that he is looking into buying the Freespace rights from Interplay and building his own Freespace 3. (For those of you who have not heard of Freespace, it is a space shooter developed by Volition Inc. and Interplay in 1998, which has received almost univeral acclaim.) Discussion has turned particularly ugly following Derek Smart's post on the main Freespace 2 fan site. In addition, he has threatened to shut down the Ferrium Project (an open-source project meant to replace the aging engine of Freespace 2) if he gets the license. To quote Derek: 'I have FULL intentions of getting this license. If I DO get it, you and your teenny leetle friends on your Ferrous Oxide project, are effectively, shutdown because I don't piss around when it comes to IP properties'."
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Derek Smart Lusting Rights To Freespace?

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  • Just give'er Derek. It is your time to shine. Lets see a AAA title based on the FS Univers, that would rock!
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:22AM (#9723654) Journal
    I didn't think it was possible, but he is worse than Theo (OpenBSD).

    My goodness, he appears to have a chip on his sholder about 1000 miles wide and IIRC didn't it take years for BC 3000 AD to be patched enough to have the features listed on the back of the box?
    • NOOOOOOOO!!!!! his going to f$%k my favorite game!!!!! what a f!@king d@#k head!!!!!! If he goes though with it, im going to the US, go to a gun shop to buy a gun to "protect myself", find "Dr" Smart and use my new gun to "protect" the earth from what he could do to Freespace.
    • i actually bought BC3000AD and attempted to play it... the key word here is attempted, i even tried with all the most recent patches, it simply isn't playable and the manual seems to be talking about a different game half the time, the other half its talking about how cool something is.

      if the guy that made BC3000AD is making Freespace 3, then may god help us all, prefereably by having somebody put a contract out on this Derek Smart

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:27AM (#9723676)
    Extremely funny video made by SomethingAwful. The two relevant movies are at the bottom of the list.

    Linkage []

  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:30AM (#9723694) Journal
    When Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. is dead and gone (and within a week of release it was on a fast track to oblivion), one question will linger: Could it have been a good game?

    Was its creator's dreams and promises of a realistic, dynamic game universe where you could roam at will in a large ship, finding adventure, managing a complex crew, conducting ground warfare, and engaging in space combat, ever for real? Or were they just wishes sculpted in Jell-o?

    We will probably never know. Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. is now out, and as one of the games with the longest development periods in computer history (seven years), it will go down in legend as the most bug-ridden, unstable, unplayable pieces of software ever released. (And, yes, I'm counting Falcon 3.0 and Patriot.) Who exactly is to blame is a subject for another time and place, but it is sufficient to point out that Dr. Derek Smart said a year ago that the game was "done except for the manual" and turned in his code to Take 2, who were supposed to test and refine this code graphically and then publish it. Neither of them is immune from culpability in this farce. Maybe they deserve each other.

    Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. was planned as a universe simulator, without any real gameplay in the conventional sense, just a world to explore in a large starship that carried several smaller, faster fighter craft. Realizing that this was an unfulfilling structure for a game, the developers added a mission-based campaign, so that you actually have objectives and some sort of narrative. In the end, BC3K shipped with three modes of play: "Xtreme Carnage" is a jump-in action mode, Advanced Campaign Mode is a series of linked missions, and Free Flight is the free-range storyless mode in which you wander the galaxy looking for trouble.

    According to the hype, BC3K offers an exciting array of new features. With a set of systems - including a bridge view, a tacops screen, a navigation mode, and various screens which process and provide information - you can travel to different star systems, scan planet surfaces, send out shuttles and fighter craft, interact with aliens and distant empires, and conduct landing missions and ground combat with jet-pack-equipped space marines.

    Well, that was the plan. Little of it actually works, however. First, the game crashes constantly, more than any game I have ever played. Almost any action you perform will cause the program to go south. I didn't know what half the functions were or how to use them. Most of them don't work: going into orbit around a planet, using jump points, navigating to distant star systems, docking, and so on; the list is long. Objects pass through other objects. Ships don't do what they're told. Equipment won't work. I won't even go into the alleged ground combat mode because I couldn't make heads or tails of it, never got it to work, and haven't been able to find anyone who can even tell me if it's even in the game or not. Best of all, the campaign can't be played past the second mission, which is structured in such a way that it cannot possibly ever end.

    All of this is made a thousand times worse by a manual that is more like an un-manual. If I fed my dog a set of Scrabble tiles he could have crapped a better manual. Online information only clouds the issue, with a long, rambling set of designer notes from Derek Smart that make him look like a charter member of the Jodie Foster Fan Club (John Hinkley Chapter). Take 2 is promising a replacement manual (as well as extensive bug fixes) for all registered users some time soon, but by then it will be too late. Right out of the box BC3K is the single most impenetrable game since Patriot.

    The whole debacle is only aggravated by a core design that, even if properly documented and tested, was flawed from the outset. There is too much going on in too many places, and none of it is well-crafted. A messy network of screens, pop-up boxes, and function keys make managing even the most rudimentary functions a chore. Nothing is smoothly integrated or in
    • The reviews of his next game, Universal combat didn't look any better.
      So we have a bad game developer with a huge ego and online-Tourettes syndrome trying to buy the rights to one of my favourite space games of all time. Just great.
      • What makes me wonder is where on earth he gets his money. Don't the publishers realise what an utter liability he is? I mean the man is singlehandedly responsible for some of the worst games in computing history, who in the name of Great Cthulhu funds the loonie?

        It makes me furious that people (and I use the term loosely) like Smart can run around throwing money at things when real developers, software houses that have real potential and vision, are driven to the wall by financial pressures.

    • don't refer to Derek Smart as a Doctor, at least without putting quotation marks around the "Dr". He has admitted that the "institution" he obtained it from was not accredited, and it is impossible to earn a valid PhD from a degree mill.

      Furthering his delusions of grandeur is not something any sane person should be actively engaged in doing.
    • If I fed my dog a set of Scrabble tiles he could have crapped a better manual.

      I don't care if it's plagarism. I'm going to steal that line and use it frequently. Thanks.
  • Is this right? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:53AM (#9723762) Journal
    No, I can't talk about it because like most issues such as this, the settlement terms are highly confidential (a DC requirement). Outside of our attorneys, the company primaries and the judge, nobody knows - or will know - the details.

    FROM: opic;f=32;t=000156

    If DC is district court, isn't he lying? It would be up to both parties involved as to the release of the terms of the settlement/agreement, would it not?

    • The discrepancies on the BCM Gold sales stands at at staggering 62% shortfall. Once the legal briefing is filed in Canadian courts, I will ensure that they are not sealed and urge my attorneys to make the game deal points, LOI, LOI extension, contract drafts, final contract, royalty statements and indeed the projected corrected one they sent back in December, a matter of record. This will permit me to post them online verbatim.

      FROM: 0 1.html
    • If DC is district court, isn't he lying?

      It would seem from what he wrote that DC stands for DreamCatcher, and that they imposed the non-disclosure requirement.
  • Is Derek serious? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The_Real_GooberMan ( 698083 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @03:09AM (#9723824)
    How does he plan on shutting down the Ferrium project? The minute I read that, I instantly thought to myself that the fact that the source code for Freespace 2 has been available for some time [] which would be a huge dent in any attempt Derek tries to shut the project down. reveals that since the code for Ferrium isn't using any of the Interplay code it should be pretty safe. Of course, IANAL... []
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @03:45AM (#9723906)
    "The more you tighten your grip, the more games will slip through your fingers."
  • IP? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:01AM (#9724189)

    shutdown because I don't piss around when it comes to IP properties'."

    I assume he'll be getting the money for the court case from an ATM Machine after entering his PIN Number.

  • by bmnc ( 643126 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:32AM (#9724247)
    But I'm not convinced Derek Smart is the person to make that happen. I think his games are over ambitious, unfocussed and buggy. I bought BC3000AD and sequel, given that I thought the ideas sounded good, but neither was *actually playable*.

    While I love the FS series, and would love to know how it continues, I doubt Derek Smarts ability to do it properly, and I doubt he even has the inclination to make a FS3 game properly. I suspect he'd prefer to take over the IP and then make some sort of massive space sim game where you could command troops on planets, move armadas, trade, mine asteroids for ore, research new technologies, build the great library to steal inventions from the alien species, etc... you get my drift.
    • This can't be true. Here's my point: why would you buy the sequel (is there one?) if you'd bought the original? I think it's obvious, anyone having seen the original would *never* consider shelling out money again for that crap:)

      • I agree, if my purchase decision had been well thought out, and I had been much less naieve, I never would've bought it. Problem was, I was so full of hope, it was on special and it said it had fixed the first ones bugs as well as added opengl support, etc. LIES LIES LIES, it was also shit. Stupid filthy faeces game. Derek Smart owes me some money, or some free games that aren't shit.
  • You Know (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've always been curious to know just how Derek Smart avoids all the big sites that mention just how much of a joke he is to the gaming industry.
    I mean, really, if he looked outside forums once and while, he'll see that not only do gamers hate him, but the professionals in the industry use him as fodder for just about every big-ego-no-talent joke made.
    • I knew a guy like him in college. He didn't even hear comments that were in any way negative (which included constructive criticism). The best I can figure is that after a person has had their ideas stomped down for so long by teachers, co-workers and reviewers, they just filter out everything that isn't innanely positive and sugarcoated.
  • You know, that's the thing about Derek Smart. Just when he's almost set to become relegated to nostalgic net legend, like the flash Hamsters or dancing babies, he does something like this. Does this make him a living legend? I think so.

    Actually, people like Derek Smart make me wonder why we don't have video game comedians. Sure, we have Penny Arcade and Something Awful, and enough of the Old Man Murray cronies are floating around that their humor pops up now and then, but we really need a live, stand
  • I am a proud owner of two titles of the Battlecruiser series. I have owned BCMG for a over a year and Universal Combat for about 3 months now. I personally don't understand the gripes and complaints that people have against him.

    His games are great, and I am definatly glad that SOMEONE MADE THEM. The space-sim genre is so dead that if anyone were to make something ELSE then it would (sorry... "Should") be welcomed.

    Did you guys read the thread on Avault? After his query to the public, the large community HT
  • by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:45AM (#9724898) Homepage Journal
    Hello, I am also a Derek - Derek Meek, aka "Kazan" amongst just about everyone who knows me online. I am the project leader of Ferrium (the game engine project), and the Network programmer for the FreeSpace 2: Source Code project (i also do other various things for the SCP).

    So Mr. Smart posted his message asking if we were interested I stated simply and calmly "We will not accept anything from you, sorry but your work in the past has been less than impressive." (not an exact quote, but very close). He then proceeded to insult me in very childlike fashion, and I calmly corrected him on all his misinformation.

    That's when he threatend unfounded legal action by saying (direct quiote) "Let me assure you of one thing that you can go to sleep with tonite. I have FULL intentions of getting this license. If I DO get it, you and your teenny leetle friends on your Ferrous Oxide project, are effectively, shutdown because I don't piss around when it comes to IP properties. You would do well to ask around. I've sued publishers for less and I have attorneys around the world, literally on speed dial."

    This legal threat is laughable when it comes to the Source Code Project. The intellectual property he may be acquiring from Interplay does not include the rights tot he source code - they belong to Volition, Inc. and we have an unlimited license to do what we want with the source as long as we don't make money of it. Furthermore any game content we distribute is protected by the laws protecting fan fiction.

    When it comes to my project, Ferrium, they're downright laughable! Ferrium is a completely new game engine I'm designing from scratch and having members of the community right the code for. Neither Interplay or Volition have any claim to the intellectual property therein.

    This seems to be very typical of him from everything that i've heard of him.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Furthermore any game content we distribute is protected by the laws protecting fan fiction."

      What? You mean like no laws, right?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @04:23PM (#9726434)
      I'm anon so this will get disregarded as a troll even though it's true, but...

      Derek Smart's thread started out fine, until the forum raid from HLP. 15 year olds with egos got all pissed because he said he didn't have any reason to check out the source code project. But really, he's right. Aside from background knowledge of the Freespace universe (which I recall him saying HLP could be helpful with) he doesn't have any reason to check out the source code project, and yeah, it's irrelevant to anything he did. From this point all the kiddies got super pissed and read everything he said out of context, then went off and fumed in the HLP forums.

      Enter Kazan, who says "One Derek to another, do NOT make this game" implying some sort of threat. After getting shot down with a "who are you again?", Kazan responds with "My dick is bigger than yours", or in the actual words "How long have you been programming, since you were 19 or 20? I've been programming since I was 10". That's a pretty petty and pointless boast.

      In short, HLP are the ones that started it, and I'm not sure what's worse... Derek Smart rising to meet the flamewar challenge or Kazan pretending he has moral high ground.


      Smart's threat to shut down Ferrium was stupid and I'm starting to agree that he is a dick (when provoked). Anyway, everyone in the thread acted like a child so it's stupid to pretend someone won.

      • If you want to use direct quotes - use _ALL_ direct quotes The point of my comment about when I was programming from: A shot at his galatic ego which needs to be deflated
  • I fear Derek Smart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThePyro ( 645161 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @11:17AM (#9725020)
    In a forum thread, Derek Smart mentioned plans for *mouse control* in flights, and *planet side missions* (As in, get out of your space fighter and run around on foot).

    If those are his "revolutionary" ideas for the Freespace universe, then I fear that he doesn't understand what makes a space combat sim truly enjoyable. At the very least, someone should force him to play all the way through the previous game, and maybe Descent 3, using a really good joystick...

    Rolling, banking, afterburning all over the place, laser fire screaming past you, dodging homing missiles left and right, huge beam weapons slicing capital ships apart in the background... THAT's a space combat sim. Not running around on a planet somewhere collecting goo. Not constantly picking your mouse up because you ran out of mouse pad.

    • You should try X2 The Threat. It's a pretty good space combat sim. It's got a decent story and mission based campaign, but you can fly around and do what you want as well. You can even buy a huge fleet of ships including capital ships. In the next patch (update) they are putting in a lot of cool features.

      Also, they're working on a MMORPG based on the X2 universe with a lot of the same properties of the game. Looks promising.
    • I'd take Wing Commander (or Freelancer) style mouse based control over joystick anytime.

      The typical way of simulating the joystick in space sims is not so good (as you say it causes mousepad-too-small problem)
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @01:17PM (#9725564)
    I remember reading countless Usenet threads dealing with this guy, egos, and Coke machines way back in college (95-96). Funny thing is, that quote sounds exactly like what he would have said back then too.

    I guess some people are just assholes from cradle to grave.
  • by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @04:06PM (#9726337) Homepage
    Is this the same series that started with Descent: Freespace? Because that's the only one that comes to mind. I loved those old Descent games and I think they were from Interplay, right?
  • No Derek Smart thread can be complete without the classic Taco Supreme Commander [] thread.
  • by Ath ( 643782 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:51PM (#9727288)
    The following schedule milestones have been defined for the new Freespace 3 game from none other than Derek Smart:

    • 07/01/2009 - Initial release
    • 01/01/2010 - Patch to make the installer work.
    • 06/01/2010 - Patch to allow the game to start.
    • 09/01/2010 - First draft of the manual.
    • 10/01/2010 - First lawsuit from Mr. Smart against the publisher.
    • 12/01/2010 - Class action lawsuit from the game purchasers against Mr. Smart.
    • 01/01/2011 - Class action lawsuit from Mr. Smart against the game purchasers for slander.
    • 05/01/2011 - Patch to the game released that allows the intro screen to function.
    • ...and the list could go on and on...
  • thread :

    but just to be sure : : For a very very entertaining look at the guy calling himself Derek Smart (in the end , he doesn't seem to be -THAT- smart )

  • by RotJ ( 771744 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @08:28PM (#9727826) Journal
    Derek Smart wouldn't have the reputation he has if he didn't go out of his way to feed the trolls. An earlier poster though "Derek seemed nice, wanting to keep the original series, and open to suggestions" in the Avault thread. But when people started bashing him on the HLP forum, he started shooting right back. If he responded to the reasonably thought out criticisms [], it wouldn't be so bad. But he seemed to focus mainly on the juvenile "DEREK SMART?? MOR LIEK DEREK STUPID LOL!!!111" type of comments. First thing Mr. Smart does, of course, is insult everyone on the forum []. As an added bonus, he ends the post with "That is all. As you were." Talking to people as if you are their military commander when you are in fact not their military commander does not instill them with loyalty and respect for you.

    Let's also examine this exchange:

    quote:Originally posted by Unknown Target Derek,
    we're all trying to calm down now. Please don't instigate people to flame again. This community is 99% proffesional, and everyone that's been here for more than 1 or 2 months acts very mature. If you'll look through the other threads, you'll see this to be the truth. It's just this whole...issue has raised tempers somewhat.

    Wot? You finally decided to take your meds? I'm not inciting nor flaming anyone. Thats not my style unless the other side (like you for instance) starts first. I'm an equal opportunity jackass.

    You see, to imply that someone has a psychological problem for which he needs medication is to incite an angry response. Maybe the social context is different in Florida or something.

    It is generally unwise for the public face of a game company to start flamewars with the potential fanbase. Hence, you don't see Gabe Newell showing up and talking smack whenever someone makes a fat joke. It is also unwise to believe this statement: "Gents, some of the posts in this thread, are EXACTLY the reason why game developers AND publishers hardly pay attention to a game's fanbase." Game developers and publishers don't stop paying attention to its fanbase because a few people start spewing vitriol about them. They simply learn to ignore their anti-fanbase. Derek Smart, on the other hand, pays way too much attention to his anti-fanbase.

    Battlecruiser 3000AD is not as horrible as everyone makes it out to be. The initial reaction was mostly the fault of Take 2's decision to release it in a buggy, unplayable state. But because of the Derek Smart mystique (somewhat akin to the John Romero mystique), people get in on the running joke without really knowing anything about the game. Then again, were Mr. Smart not so outspoken, he probably wouldn't have as much name recognition as he does now. (Does anyone know who the lead developer for Extreme PaintBrawl [] was?) Maybe Battlecruiser would have just faded away if he hadn't kept himself in the news. So I guess it works for him.

    • Agreed, if he was smart (pun not intended), he would've ignored the trolls and made them look like idiots. Instead he felt it necessary to stoop down to their level and flame back. I expect to buy a game from a professional, not a childish bully Smart is making himself out to be.
  • This is getting so much press because everyone loves a Smart FlameWar (tm) ... not so much about the license, which there's not much indication he'd actually get (and has made it clear he is getting it regardless of what the fanbase thinks)

  • This history of Derek Smart's Usenet Flamewar.

    The funniest thing I've read in a long time.

    The guy's a douche. They say if you say his name 3 times he'll come and start flaming...

    Derek Smart, Derek Smart, Derek Smarth!
  • BC 3000AD Support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eberry ( 84517 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:32PM (#9732521)
    This guy has to be the biggest ass in gaming history. Just look at the support forum for his last game, BattleCruiser 3000AD.

    So-called Support Forum []


    1) Now that this major patch has been released, starting from now on, all subsequent patches will only be available via the registration downloads page.

    For this reason, you must register the game and ensure that your profile contains correct, accurate and useful information.

    Today, a large number of records have been DELETED from the database. These range from single letter first/last names, to completely empty profile info. Now, those people will have to re-register. And if the same problem occurs, the database will again flush these records every week. After three such deletions, the CDKEY will be invalidated and you will no longer be able to register it.

    I paid a LOT of money for this system and I don't like people making a mockery out of my system.

    So, now would be a really good time to login to your profile and update it accordingly.

    [ 05-10-2004, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: Supreme Cmdr ]

    2) From now on, ANYONE posting ANYWHERE on this site without their valid sys info in their signature, will be site banned. If you don't know what a site wide ban is, read this.

    There won't be ANY warnings whatsoever. And once you are site banned there is absolutely ZERO chance of coming back here. Ever. If you feel so bad about it, next time you see my games on the shelves, just walk on by.

    And this is how the guy talks to customers! Why would any company put up with this asshole?
    • Re:BC 3000AD Support (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Seeesh, with his attitude I am amazed that he actually has people who buy his products, post on his forum, and support him. Sounds like the short tempered DS is quick to ban even his loyal fanboys.

      Here [] is a collection of some "insightful" DS quotes.

      "Just because a disgruntled few can't run it due to bugs and crashes does NOT make it a bad game."

      A "disgruntled few?" I think it was a lot more then "disgruntled few" would couldn't get your shoddy "game" running.

      "I did not want to make you all testers
      • by eberry ( 84517 )
        I should have posted as AC too. Now I'm banned from his forums!

        If, for some reason, this guy still has fans; I think they might be suffering from Stockholm syndrome [].
  • "When I saw that Interplay had seemingly started selling off IPs, rather than see the Freespace IP fall into the WRONG hands, I thought it would be nice to TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT and which is totally BELOW my current skill levels and experience."

    Why does this seem so oddly familiar? Oh, that's right, he's said it before []:

    "I'm used to developing and coding high-end migraine inducing modules for my games, therefore, going to a streamlined and less hardcore game, just gives my brain some breathing room.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.