Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Nexuiz did not become proprietary or: "Silly names in Games"

Some company will use LordHavoc's DarkPlaces engine (DPE) to publish a game on some game console(s). The development team includes "a number of Nexuiz developers, and previous Quake1 community developers". Nexuiz is a (or rather "the") FOSS FPS that uses DPE.

As far as I can tell, no assets of Nexuiz will be used. On the other hand, the soundtrack playing on the console-DPE-game homepage sounds like a remix of a Nexuiz track. I will just assume that the composer agreed to this and that the same might happen to other high-quality Nexuiz content and that it will all be legal. Lee Vermeulen (Nexuiz' lead developer) is no license-n00b after all. Also, the console game will be using Nexuiz' gameplay, which I assume means "game modes", "movement/physics" and "weapon functions/balancing".

There is one problem though: this console game has the name "Nexuiz" (please call it "console Nexuiz") and its homepage is nexuiz.com.

Why did the developers have to pass the name? Heck I don't know. Perhaps they thought every Nexuix player with a console would want to buy console Nexuiz if they gave it that name. Perhaps they wanted to use the resulting confusion to make the name known. Perhaps they just couldn't come up with a good name (very common problem you know). I can very well imagine that it will only be a development name and that the release version will be called something like Nexuiz: Frag of the Unknown. or maybe there won't be any "Nexuiz" in the final version of console Nexuiz.

Here is Vermeulen's news post about console Nexuiz (did you know that every news page that has no atom/rss feed sucks?). The essence of the post is this:
  1. Nexuiz development will continue
  2. Console Nexuiz' assets will not be open source
  3. Console Nexuiz' code improvements will be open source
  4. Nexuiz' developers ("Alientrap") will receive royalties if console Nexuiz creates profit. It is not yet clear who will get what percentage but Alientrap intends to be transparent about it.
Here is the announcement by the company behind the console Nexuiz and a long discussion. (The company's name is illfonic, but that hardly matters.)
Here is a blog post that provides much more information about console Nexuiz.

No more console Nexuiz talk below this line.

I noticed a nice feature of the Nexuiz 2.5.2 release announcement:
Some of the biggest changes are:
  • New gamemode: CTS (get from A to B). With map "CyberParcour01" by sev, and a nexrun map "Piece o' cake" by FruitieX
  • Aggressor and stormkeep retextured by FruitieX
  • Tutorial map by FruitieX
  • TraK4-mit and TraK5 texturepacks by TraK
  • New HUD by FruitieX and -z-
  • New Scoreboard style by terencehill
  • Weapon accuracy statistics by Dib (ALT key by default)
  • Rocket guidance by holding down the primary fire button (seeker removed)
  • Level Of Detail on all playermodels
  • Video settings only show the allowed resolutions reported by your OS
  • (not availible in AGL)
  • Motion blur and damage blur by Samual
Did you notice it? I'm talking about the names behind each feature item. It makes new versions so much more personal. Well, a little bit. What I really would like to have as attribution/credits features is having a game mode where author name, license name and optional short description flow above each asset in a map while playing it.. I know, crazy talk.. Or something like Half-Life 2's developer's commentary?... ah, a man can dream..

Ok, back to Nexuiz. "Tutorial map"? Well! This can only be disappointing, right? :D *watches video*

Well, that wasn't too bad! Even a bit entertaining! I was expecting some text-only hour-long explanation how to press the arrow keys for movement. Yay for voice acting! Yay for expecting player to know the basics! Yay Nexuiz tutorial!

One could enhance the tutorial by making audio tracks skip, when the player has succeeded in reaching the goal described in the current audio track. Also I'm curious what kind of sarcastic comments will result from death/suicide/failure (if at all possible).

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Illfonic? Aren't those the guys who got mistakenly raided by the cops a few weeks ago?

qubodup said...

Lolwuuut? :D

Anonymous said...

aww, why make a FOSS game for linux/windows/mac be sold for consoles!? i dislike consoles, and it's even worse to improve a free game, then sell it.

Richard James said...

It seems they are the same developers that were mistakenly arrested, because the police had the wrong address.
http://shogungamer.com/news/illfonic-developers-handcuffed-due-police-error

adrix89 said...

Karma's a bitch

parasti said...

The whole deal with Nexuiz isn't as clear cut as it may seem. For one, "Alientrap" and "Nexuiz developers" are not the same entity. More info: summary (not by me), Nexuiz community statement, video.

qubodup said...

@parasti Thank you for these links!

parasti said...

BTW, Nexuiz just got forked under the name Xonotic.

qubodup said...

wowsers

Ender said...

Since DarkPlaces engine and, therefore, Nexuiz game too, is based on GPL Quake, nobody can develop closed source game with it, if they do not have id Software permission.
Accordingly to GPL license, derived software should be released open source with the same license.
Of course I am speaking of source code; I don't know about media (models, textures, license) licenses.
I am reading the FAQ of Xonotic (http://www.xonotic.org/faq/) and I suggest everybody to read it. After reading the beginning lines, all of you can understand that the situation is quite obscure!
I think that many current and past contributors of Nexuiz have all the rights to be disappointed about what is happening.
And I think that there could be the basis for some legal action. But I am not sure because I don't know all the facts since I am only an observer of open source games panorama.

Ender said...

As an answere to my theory in the previous comment I found that the Illfonic Nexuiz will be based on different code then there will be no GPL violation as explained by DarkPlaces developer http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/03/24/070234/DarkPlaces-Dev-Forest-Hale-Corrects-Nexuiz-GPL-Stance

qubodup said...

Ender: you posted two comments and I approved them but I think something went wrong. Unless you deleted them.

I found them insteresting (and I have their content sent to me by blogger as emails) may I re-post them here?

qubodup said...

oh man. something is borked with blogger today. wasn't able to see ender's comments unless I posted myself. now can't even delete comments.

Ender said...

Hello qubodup, thank you.

Something might went wrong because, the first time, I did not see the text allerting that comments should be approved. Then, I thought that comment was lost and I tried to recover the first comment text using browser history.
That action might have caused some HTTP data re-post and then, caused some error with Blogger service.

I am sorry, if I was the cause of it all.

qubodup said...

No sweat, turns out my browser developed a half-allergy to cookies. :)

By the way, comments are only commented when the respective post is more than.. 7? days old.

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