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Author Topic: A Friendly Reminder About Our Content  (Read 23944 times)
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Phoenix
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« on: 2014-06-03, 00:34 »

We appreciate that people like the work we've done on our weapon models.  Unfortunately, some people have been taking this a bit too far and exporting these models to other projects.  That's fine if someone does this for their personal use, but it is not fine to distribute our content in this manner.  We've encountered several examples of this happening with other projects for Quake 2 in the past.  We were just recently informed of a .pk3 file made for GZDoom using our Doom weapons.  We take pride in our work, and while we would like to share our work inside the games they were based around, the current models in the .99f build are in an incomplete format and are not ready to be shared in this manner.  Please do not use our models outside of our project without our explicit permission.  This is in the EULA, and unfortunately we do have to uphold our copyright to our creative works.

Normally we try to directly contact the person in question as most people are just like us - fans of the games that just want to do something cool with it - and ask them in a polite manner to not use our content and explain why.  For the most part, we've had a great deal of success doing this.  Most people don't understand how copyright works, or they're new to modding and don't understand that using someone else's material in your own project without asking is not the way to go, and this provides us an opportunity to educate the modder.  We don't want to see someone start a project just to get shut down as happened with the original Generations for Quake 2, the Reborn mod for Quake 3, and others that have run seriously afoul of copyright law.  Unfortunately, in the case of the Doom models as noted above, there was no way to contact the user, only the host provider, and that only through a DMCA form.  We do not like having to do this, but when someone misuses our creative works without our permission and without even giving us credit for having made the models, there's little alternative.  We work hard to make Generations what it is, and it is rather upsetting to see someone else take our hard work and pass it off as their own.  We try to be helpful to other modders as we're all gamers at heart, but we do have to watch out for our own stuff.

So please... if you want to see our weapon models in another game, be patient!.  We have animated versions of the weapons and improved versions of some that are far superior to what's been released in the .99f beta.  Some time after Generations 1.0 is final, we most likely will grant permission for general use.  Until that time comes, we must insist that our models and textures not be used for any purpose outside of playing Generations Arena.  We're not out to get anyone here, especially aspiring modders.  We've been on the wrong side of copyright and intellectual property law before, and learned a long time ago how it works and how to do things the right way.  If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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« Reply #1 on: 2014-06-03, 14:33 »

man this takes me back
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MadTux
 

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« Reply #2 on: 2014-06-03, 14:36 »

Why? What happened last time?

EDIT: Oooh, Phoenix reminded me: I am making a zdoom mod like Generations Arena, so you can play doom as the doomguy, B.J. Blazthingy, Ranger or Bitterman. Am I allowed to distribute it, if I ever finish it? Or should I just keep it a private mod?
« Last Edit: 2014-06-03, 15:09 by MadTux » Logged

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Phoenix
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« Reply #3 on: 2014-06-03, 18:37 »

That falls into a very grey area of Copyright and Intellectual Property law.  Generations Arena is legal to distribute for the following reasons:

1)  All the characters we're using already exist within Quake 3 Arena.  Character trademark can be very touchy, and it depends on the disposition of the holder of the intellectual property, in this case, Id Software.... however, things have changed a bit since we got started.  Id Software is now owned by Bethesda, so while Id greenlighted our project, Bethesda may or may not wish greenlight a similar project even if Id is agreeable to it.

2)  Our models, textures, maps, etc, are all original content, or in the case of content such as maps or sounds that are not our original content they are used with permission.  The weapons resemble and function like weapons from other games, but the code that drives them is our own.  In the non-public beta there are particle systems heavily derived from Quake 1 and Quake 2.  This code is governed under the GPL license, along with the engine source to Quake 3 Arena.  That means we can do this so long as we make the source code to the engine available.  Notice I say engine, NOT the game logic.  We never moved the game logic over into the GPL'd game source logic that accompanied the engine.  The game logic is governed under the original Q3A 1.32 Point Source license, which means while the engine will be open source the game logic can remain closed source.  That helps to make it more difficult for players to cheat.

3)  All of this was discussed with Id Software PRIOR to our start on Generations Arena, and Id Software gave us explicit permission to put this project together.

That's why Generations Arena is a legal project, whereas other projects with a similar vein have not been.  All of the intellectual property for the characters is Id Software's.  Our content falls under our own copyright, since we've made the models, textures, etc.

Now, why the long dissertation?  Releasing a Generations-ish mod without Id's blessing might run afoul of their intellectual property rights as you'd be taking characters from other games and placing them inside GZDoom.  This runs into the history of the old Generations mod for Quake 2, which unfortunately, requires another long dissertation.

Generations for Quake 2 was designed to put the shareware episodes from Doom, Quake 1, and Wolfenstein 3D into Quake 2.  You could play as any of the four characters - BJ from Wolfenstein, Doomguy, Quakeguy, or the Quake 2 guy.  You could feasibly play through the entire shareware episode of Quake 1 using the Wolfguy, Doomguy, or Quake 2 guy.  Everything looked exactly like Quake 1 since the assets from Quake 1 were used, and therein was the problem.  Skid, the original programmer for Generations Q2 thought he had permission to do all this.  Well, Skid eventually left the project, and handed it over to Lee'Mon.  Lee'Mon liked the concept, but had some misgivings about its legality shortly after taking over.  After some emails exchanged with Id to clarify things, Lee'Mon was left with three options:  Redo Generations Q2 from the ground up with all original content, take the project underground and continue it without Id's permission, or cancel the project.  Reluctantly, Lee knew that option 3 was the only real choice, and that's what happened.  Generations for Quake 2 was scrapped, and the source code was made public.

Not everyone was happy about this though, and some fans of Generations Q2 decided to try to continue it on their own.  This resulted in two projects - one that took the project underground and continued it illegally, and the other that tried the legal route.  The first project was originally called iGen, later renamed to RSRC, or Resurrection.  This project eventually fell off the map and was never completed or released in any kind of stable form.  The second project was SOG, which stood originally for "Save Our Generations", and later, "Some Old Games".  This was the "legalized" release of Generations for Quake 2.  I'll reserve personal opinion of either project to focus on what was required of the latter.  SOG had to rename all the characters, create all new maps and environments, and all new textures.  They did the project the "right" way legally in that things had a look and feel of the old games, and no legal boundaries of copyright or intellectual property were crossed.

While this was going on, Lee'Mon was not finished with the Generations concept.  With the release of Quake 3 Arena, which contained all the original characters (Sans BJ, so we had to kind of invent Sgt. Blaze to be a "stand-in" for BJ, using the Sarge model) within a multiplayer deathmatch setting, Lee saw a golden light of opportunity.  He sent inquiries in to Todd Hollenshead, then CEO of Id Software, explaining what he had in mind, inquiring about the legality of it, and finally receiving Id's blessing.  After a rocky start, I joined the Generations Arena team after working on a side project that caught Lee's attention.  Shortly after, the project's coder went AWOL, leaving a void.  I knew a fellow named Warden from the old SIN clan from when I was playing Quake 2, and some other individuals interested in Generations, and we formed a new team to work on Generations Arena.  In the process I began to learn how to program in C, and after a few months when Warden was unable to continue helping as the primary coder due to real life concerns, I took over as the programmer while he still provided us with webhosting services, a game server, and an IRC server.  We recruited one hell of a talented texture artist in the form of Tabun, Renalicious and HedHunta helped to throw some gun models together in addition to my own, ReBoOt, Mykul, SpAwN (Now known as Thomas Mink) put together some kick-ass maps, and we found a bunch of other good maps on LvL world, ConfusedUs, Kenny.exe, and Doktor Jones helped with our site design, and Lee'Mon guided us and kept us legal and provided the glue that helped keep the team together, and several beta testers, including and not limited to Lilazzkicker, Angs7, Makou, and Vampira, have helped test and squash some rather nasty bugs.  I'm sure I left a lot of people out - they're in the credits - but that's how Generations Arena became a reality... if still a work in progress.  Most of the team has had to move on to other things, but I am blessed with being able to continue work on the project, so as long as I have internet and the data isn't lost things will continue.

To release a Generations-ish project for Zdoom, that's the path that would have to be followed.  Weapon models and textures, sounds, maps, etc would have to be original content or used with permission.  The characters would need to be renamed and original character models (or sprites) created, and if any code was duplicated it would have to be GPL.  If the code differed enough to be considered original, that doesn't have to be considered GPL, but this is kind of fuzzy area.  In our case, Q3's split engine, server, and client logic is so radically different from that of Quake, Quake 2, and Doom that we had to figure out how to achieve the similar results using very different logic.  For example, you can't copyright 1 + 2 = 3, since that's a basic mathematical concept.  How you GET 1 + 2 to equal 3 in your code can be another matter.  Wolfenstein we didn't have to worry about since Q3 and Wolf are so drastically different that nothing could even be considered close code-wise.  That complexity is also a huge reason behind why Generations has taken so long to program.  It's ridiculously complex.  It's not just a matter of having 46+ guns and 5 sets of movement physics.  It's having at least 36+ of those guns that look, feel, and act like they did in other game, plus 4 sets of movement physics where at least 3 of them have to look, feel, and act like they're from other games - and all of this has to work together and be balanced, and not have serious bugs.  I think I devote about 5% of my programming time to actual programming, and the other 95% to testing and debugging.  That's why Gen is not severely buggy compared to alot of other projets.

There's one other minor problem with releasing a Generations-ish mod as well, and that's the second part of intellectual property concerns - in this case ours.  While the characters are Id's intellectual property, Generations as a concept is technically Wirehead's intellectual property, but not in its entirety.  Quake 3 Arena put all the characters into one universe and game, but it's Wirehead that's taken the guns and physics from those games and put them together.  That complicates the matter, as while we're primarily concerned with not violating Id's intellectual property and copyright for our own project, we're the only team that's been given direct permission to use their intellectual property in this manner.  That means another project using the same idea with the same characters within the same serious of games could technically be violating Id's intellectual property rights by proxy while at the same time violating ours.  What this means is, while we might be able to tell someone else it's OK with us to use the Generations concept or even call it Generations, it might NOT be OK with Id Software.  That puts the prospective modder - in this case MadTux - at the same juncture we were at before Generations Arena was conceived as a project:  Needing Id's permission and clarification to proceed.

I know that's a pretty large wall of text, but Lee'Mon researched the complexities of all this long before Generations Arena was green-lighted.  If not, Id could have sent a cease and desist letter before anything got off the ground.  That's what happened with the Reborn mod for Q3.  The goal of that team was to use some high-quality 3D models of the Doom monsters and re-create the game play of the original Doom game from within Quake 3 Arena.  Even though the content was going to be all original, the intellectual property still belonged to Id, and at the time, Doom 3 was on the horizon.  Id sent their team a cease and desist letter, which they did comply with.  That's the kind of mistake we don't want to see someone else make - to put something really awesome-looking together, spend a lot of time and effort making it fantastic, and then find out that it's all for nothing.

So to do this there's a lot to think about, and there's also a hell of a lot of work involved.  Keep in mind Quake 3 Arena was released in 1999, Generations was announced shortly after, and we're still working on it 15 years later.
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MadTux
 

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« Reply #4 on: 2014-06-04, 11:13 »

Wow. That 15 years later bit doesn't matter to me so much, since Doom is over 20 now, and a lot faster to mod (no models, just sprites, easy mapping, etc.)

That intellectual property stuff looks interesting, and I had fun trying to contact Id last time (I found a mistake on their website). I will still go on making my mod, even if it has to be private, just for fun Slipgate - Laugh

But if it does ever get anywhere, I'll contact Id (and you) to ask. Thanks for the big text. Its very clarifying. Now, get back coding and debugging Slipgate - Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: 2014-06-07, 01:11 »

A very informative post, Phoenix!

I wonder if Id would (could?) be as accommodating nowadays, given that they are no longer an independent company. Surely ZeniMax would not be so forthcoming with the use of "their" IP. Slipgate - Sad

To me, Generations has always felt like what Q3A was supposed to be. You get a glimmer of that idea from the basic presentation of the game. The combination of characters and story elements. It's as if Id simply never took their idea to the furthest logical conclusion... but Wirehead did!
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Phoenix
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« Reply #6 on: 2014-06-07, 02:31 »

Thanks.  I've tried to remember everything Lee told me about how and why we're able to do this, and to help steer prospective modders in the right direction so they don't fall into the same trap Gen Q2 fell into.  Slipgate - Thumbs up!
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diegomula
 
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« Reply #7 on: 2014-06-15, 23:02 »

Is nice to see that you're still working on this mod, after so much years of the beta release, but the wait has been too long Banging Head against Wall. We need to know a date (or at least the year) of the 1.0 version of Generations Arena.

No offense but, at this moment... are most chance to play Doom 4 first than the v1.0 of GenArena. I hope I was wrong...

Thanks for all the dedication in this project  Doom - Thumbs Up!

(Sorry my bad english)
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Makou
 

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« Reply #8 on: 2014-06-16, 06:59 »

The official release date of Generations 1.0 has been, is, and will always be When It's Done, I'm afraid.
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Kajet
 

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« Reply #9 on: 2014-06-16, 07:51 »

Probably after Episode 3 comes out?
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Phoenix
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« Reply #10 on: 2014-06-16, 17:23 »

Is nice to see that you're still working on this mod, after so much years of the beta release, but the wait has been too long Banging Head against Wall. We need to know a date (or at least the year) of the 1.0 version of Generations Arena.

That's the problem with mod projects like this.  The workload is unpredictable, and free time to work on said workload is also unpredictable.  Setting a date and saying "We'll release it at X time" is not realistic.  I realize people get impatient, but what do you want:  A broken, buggy, half-finished game, or something that runs damn near perfect and can be enjoyed?  Remember the state RAGE was in when it released?  I can't justify releasing a broken build.  Remember, nobody's paying us to do this.  We're making this project because we want to, and for most people things like paying bills, working a job, taking care of family, etc, come first.  If you have any practical suggestions on how this can be done any faster, by all means, please share.  I'm always open to new ideas.

Until then, as Makou stated, "when it's done" has to be our official release schedule.  It doesn't mean we're not working on it, only that we can't predict when we'll be finished.  Now if you want to see some progress of what 1.0 will be vs .99f I'll try to whip up a little teaser video this weekend, time permitting.
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diegomula
 
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« Reply #11 on: 2014-06-16, 23:34 »

I'll try to whip up a little teaser video this weekend

Well, I understand all the points of the problems in real world, like taking care of family or working in job. Is because that I always appreciate the dedication of this mod.  Doom - Thumbs Up!

Anyways, I was playing this mod for too many years, in the 99f version, and any new video or material (like photos or screenshots or something) that you guys can share with us is very welcomed. That will give us hope on this project will be released someday, and you guys still working and expending yor free-time in this valious mod. Doom - Love

I don't want to offend to nobody. I'm just a little bit impatient. Banging Head against Wall
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Phoenix
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« Reply #12 on: 2014-06-17, 01:10 »

I understand, and we certainly do not intend disrespect towards any fans.  I want to get this thing finished so everyone else can play it.   Doom - Thumbs Up!

I do have some graphical goodies to show off, so I'll try to get some screenshots and video posted soon.
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« Reply #13 on: 2014-06-17, 21:09 »

Do you really only want to finish the mod so all of *us* can play it? Not for your self?

Anyway, I'd love some screenshots and videos.  Slipgate - Ownage
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« Reply #14 on: 2014-06-17, 21:12 »

Well, I actually used some content without your permission BUT, I only used it for a personal wallpaper. Let's take a look if you want.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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Phoenix
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« Reply #15 on: 2014-06-18, 00:53 »

That kind of thing falls under "fair use".  Anyone make wall papers, post videos of game play, take screenshots, etc.  Anyone can pretty much do anything they want for personal use, and they can even make videos, take screenshots, etc, of what they've done for personal use and show those off to anyone they want.  We're 100% OK with that sort of thing.  It's only the distributing of the actual models/textures for use by others in something other than Gen without asking us first where it becomes a concern.

Doom - Thumbs Up!



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MadTux
 

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« Reply #16 on: 2014-06-30, 12:35 »

What was that you said about graphical goodies?

:sweet phoenix chick face:
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Phoenix
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« Reply #17 on: 2014-06-30, 16:25 »

I suppose I should post those, shouldn't I?  Doom - Exclamation
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« Reply #18 on: 2014-07-08, 13:19 »

Patience is a virtue. I was just thinking about how long and how many versions if this I've played. My son just turned 15 this June and he was 2 or 3 when I first discovered this project.  Doom - Exclamation Wow... It's a wonder how time flies!
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