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Shinook: It wouldn't surprise me if this goes away. I find it hard to believe that in 24 hours or less they managed to make this happen correctly and legally.
Considering the source code is wholly owned by Activsion and they were behind the release, I don't see how this could be anything but legal.
I think what you guys seem to be missing is that it was influenced by the closure of LucasArts and not able to happen because of it.
Post edited April 04, 2013 by johnki
Now if only Grim Fandango's Source Code released.
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Shinook: It wouldn't surprise me if this goes away. I find it hard to believe that in 24 hours or less they managed to make this happen correctly and legally.
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cogadh: Considering the source code is wholly owned by Activsion and they were behind the release, I don't see how this could be anything but legal.
I'm not necessarily advocating that it isn't, but it just seems like it is more complicated than dropping a source zip with the GPL attached when LucasArts goes under.

For instance, what was stopping them before? Was it LucasArts? Even though LucasArts is gone, Disney still maintains the rights to all their property and the situation wouldn't have changed much.
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Shinook: It wouldn't surprise me if this goes away. I find it hard to believe that in 24 hours or less they managed to make this happen correctly and legally.
a) A source code on the web can't just go away.
b) Why shouldn't it be legal? It probably didn't take more than a phone call for Raven to get a green light from Activision (if that was even necessary - maybe they were already allowed to do so all along and just hadn't until now)
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Shinook: For instance, what was stopping them before? Was it LucasArts? Even though LucasArts is gone, Disney still maintains the rights to all their property and the situation wouldn't have changed much.
Maybe nothing was stopping them? Maybe they just didn't think of it/weren't in the mood, maybe they wanted to keep some of their technology safe in case they would create another Star Wars action game someday, who knows...
Post edited April 04, 2013 by F4LL0UT
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Shinook: For instance, what was stopping them before? Was it LucasArts? Even though LucasArts is gone, Disney still maintains the rights to all their property and the situation wouldn't have changed much.
And the source code alone doesn't do much more than reference the property, considering Disney doesn't own the game.
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cogadh: Considering the source code is wholly owned by Activsion and they were behind the release, I don't see how this could be anything but legal.
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Shinook: I'm not necessarily advocating that it isn't, but it just seems like it is more complicated than dropping a source zip with the GPL attached when LucasArts goes under.

For instance, what was stopping them before? Was it LucasArts? Even though LucasArts is gone, Disney still maintains the rights to all their property and the situation wouldn't have changed much.
It really isn't any more complicated than that and I think you missed the point of the release. Nothing was stopping them from doing this before, but the closure of LucasArts was an event worth noting, so as an homage to the now defunct studio, they released the source. Disney does still retain all of LA's rights, but those rights never covered the source code, only the game assets (characters, music, etc.). Since this release doesn't include any of the assets, Disney has no say whatsoever over what Activision can and cannot do.
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cogadh: Disney does still retain all of LA's rights, but those rights never covered the source code, only the game assets (characters, music, etc.).
Note that one article on Kotaku says that "Raven was hounding LucasArts" in order to release the source code.
I say that's bullshit but well, at least one source suggests that LA WAS holding them back.
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cogadh: Disney does still retain all of LA's rights, but those rights never covered the source code, only the game assets (characters, music, etc.).
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F4LL0UT: Note that one article on Kotaku says that "Raven was hounding LucasArts" in order to release the source code.
I say that's bullshit but well, at least one source suggests that LA WAS holding them back.
Considering the copyright on the code clearly states Activision is the rights holder, I definitely have to call bullshit on that. They may have wanted to get token permission, out of respect for LA's ownership of the overall IP rights, but they were never legally required to get it.
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cogadh: Disney does still retain all of LA's rights, but those rights never covered the source code, only the game assets (characters, music, etc.). Since this release doesn't include any of the assets, Disney has no say whatsoever over what Activision can and cannot do.
So what if the game sources reference characters and other Star Wars franchise assets directly? The existence of those assets in game happen because of a combination of resources, including images, music, sounds, and references in the sources.

If the rights for the external resource data (textures, images, dialogue, etc) are retained by Disney and that would restrict a source release, I don't see how the source on it's own is any different. The existence of the character or asset in the game is a result of several pieces working together, not just the external data itself. The code provided in this release is very obviously part of the Star Wars universe, I have a hard time believing that Disney or LA has no claim or right over that.

For example, the sources define AI behavior for various enemies that are clearly a part of the Star Wars universe. Why are the images, sounds, and external (e.g. not source) data for these enemies owned by Disney, but not the behavior patterns they exhibit in the game? In the few files I looked at, it wasn't generic AI behavior, it was specifically named and defined based on each enemy type.

I could see someone making the argument that the digital information associated with the characters you encounter in the game are made up of several components and can't be separated from the sources, giving Disney rights over them, just like they supposedly have over the images/sounds/etc.

FWIW I'm not necessarily advocating this position, just trying to wrap my head around how this whole thing works.

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Shinook: It wouldn't surprise me if this goes away. I find it hard to believe that in 24 hours or less they managed to make this happen correctly and legally.
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F4LL0UT: a) A source code on the web can't just go away.
I'm aware of that, I meant it would be removed from SourceForge and no longer an "official" release.

This is an important distinction because it could allow forks to continue development, but if the release wasn't legal in the first place, that wouldn't be possible on a broad scale.
Post edited April 04, 2013 by Shinook
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cogadh: Disney does still retain all of LA's rights, but those rights never covered the source code, only the game assets (characters, music, etc.). Since this release doesn't include any of the assets, Disney has no say whatsoever over what Activision can and cannot do.
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Shinook: So what if the game sources reference characters and other Star Wars franchise assets directly? The existence of those assets in game happen because of a combination of resources, including images, music, sounds, and references in the sources.

If the rights for the external resource data (textures, images, dialogue, etc) are retained by Disney and that would restrict a source release, I don't see how the source on it's own is any different. The existence of the character or asset in the game is a result of several pieces working together, not just the external data itself. The code provided in this release is very obviously part of the Star Wars universe, I have a hard time believing that Disney or LA has no claim or right over that.

For example, the sources define AI behavior for various enemies that are clearly a part of the Star Wars universe. Why are the images, sounds, and external (e.g. not source) data for these enemies owned by Disney, but not the behavior patterns they exhibit in the game?

I could see someone making the argument that the digital information associated with the characters you encounter in the game are made up of several components and can't be separated from the sources, giving Disney rights over them, just like they supposedly have over the images/sounds/etc.
I don't think you understand how IP rights work, what source code includes or what the assets really are. Intellectual property specifically covers concrete things like the image of a character or its name, not abstract concepts like how they behave based on the AI in a video game. Simply referencing a IP protected name within the source code does not restrict it in any way and honestly, a particular character is not very likely to be referenced directly to begin with (any references would likely be to a not obviously connected variable or file name, not the character itself). Character references might be common in the mission scripts or dialog files, but those aren't part of the source code. Source code (in this instance) is simply the infrastructure that reads and connects the actual assets, like character models, sounds, mission scripts, etc. In fact, for this game, the source is mostly the Quake 3 engine, which has absolutely no connection to LucasArts or Star Wars.
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cogadh: Source code (in this instance) is simply the infrastructure that reads and connects the actual assets, like character models, sounds, mission scripts, etc. In fact, for this game, the source is mostly the Quake 3 engine, which has absolutely no connection to LucasArts or Star Wars.
That's not accurate, look through the sources and you'll find it's very much tied to Star Wars. You are operating on the assumption that game engines act as some sort of framework for loading and rendering outside resources, which is accurate in some cases, but not in this one.

You are right in the sense I don't know much about IP law, which is why I'm asking these questions. I actually spent time looking at the sources, mostly because I like seeing how games work, and I found a lot of direct references to Star Wars universe characters and themes.

Unlike other game engines that just load outside assets and references (dialogue scripts, behavior scripts, images, etc), much of the behavior of these two games is hardcoded. You will find code that explicitly defines behavior for different types of enemies and characters. In other words, the engine isn't just some framework that loads outside resources to define what you see in game, it's very saturated with Star Wars universe definitions.

So again, if that's the case, how can they be separated from the other content?
Post edited April 04, 2013 by Shinook
The one big problem with this release?

It contains Xbox-specific code. Maybe even including stuff that's confidential and related to the original Xbox's encryption.

Whoops!
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cogadh: Source code (in this instance) is simply the infrastructure that reads and connects the actual assets, like character models, sounds, mission scripts, etc. In fact, for this game, the source is mostly the Quake 3 engine, which has absolutely no connection to LucasArts or Star Wars.
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Shinook: That's not accurate, look through the sources and you'll find it's very much tied to Star Wars. You are operating on the assumption that game engines act as some sort of framework for loading and rendering outside resources, which is accurate in some cases, but not in this one.

You are right in the sense I don't know much about IP law, which is why I'm asking these questions. I actually spent time looking at the sources, mostly because I like seeing how games work, and I found a lot of direct references to Star Wars universe characters and themes.

Unlike other game engines that just load outside assets and references (dialogue scripts, behavior scripts, images, etc), much of the behavior of these two games is hardcoded. You will find code that explicitly defines behavior for different types of enemies and characters. In other words, the engine isn't just some framework that loads outside resources to define what you see in game, it's very saturated with Star Wars universe definitions.

So again, if that's the case, how can they be separated from the other content, if that is the case?
Think of it like this: if a college student writes a dissertation on the social themes present in the Star Wars universe, does that dissertation belong to Lucas/Disney because it includes references to a Lucas/Disney property? No it doesn't. Simply writing "Darth Vader" in a sentence does not attach any IP ownership to it, the content of that dissertation will always belong to the writer of the dissertation, not Lucas/Disney. The same concept applies to the source code, the rights to it belong to Activision through Raven, the writers of the source code.
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Foxhack: The one big problem with this release?

It contains Xbox-specific code. Maybe even including stuff that's confidential and related to the original Xbox's encryption.

Whoops!
Now that could be an issue, much more so than any possible conflict with Lucas/Disney over references to Star Wars characters in the code.
Post edited April 04, 2013 by cogadh
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Shinook: That's not accurate, look through the sources and you'll find it's very much tied to Star Wars. You are operating on the assumption that game engines act as some sort of framework for loading and rendering outside resources, which is accurate in some cases, but not in this one.

You are right in the sense I don't know much about IP law, which is why I'm asking these questions. I actually spent time looking at the sources, mostly because I like seeing how games work, and I found a lot of direct references to Star Wars universe characters and themes.

Unlike other game engines that just load outside assets and references (dialogue scripts, behavior scripts, images, etc), much of the behavior of these two games is hardcoded. You will find code that explicitly defines behavior for different types of enemies and characters. In other words, the engine isn't just some framework that loads outside resources to define what you see in game, it's very saturated with Star Wars universe definitions.
I found this to be absolutely hilarious. Judging by what you're saying, if I made a game that I sold for profit and released the source code with it, I could get in trouble for calling a unit a "Stormtrooper" in the code because of superficial similarities best summed up that way before I have an original name for them. They may not even be clones, or bad guys, but they have superficial similarities and that's what I decided to call them in the code.

How an AI in a game acts can't be "owned", per say. Many AIs may act similar. I guarantee a lot of the AIs in those games are similar. For example, the officers and stormtroopers in Jedi Outcast are probably nearly identical, if not the same script.

But OF COURSE THEY HAVE NAMES THAT ARE REFERENCES TO STAR WARS. It's a Star Wars game! But that's just it, all they are is references. Same as a Youtube video, the name of a song, a reference IN a song, or a thesis on the philosophical aspect of Lost.