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Homeworld Source Editing Talk
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:49 am 
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This continues a discussion about the licence from Updating the website and accumulated accomplishments...:

BugsMenot wrote:
lmop wrote:
It's always tricky (legally) making data available in a form which was not originally available, even if that data was otherwise publicly released. So, yes, we could include, or provide access to, the publicly available demo installer. Extracting the files it contains and just distributing some/all of those is not so clear-cut.

There was a case when the game was released of someone explaining how to play the full game (near enough) by using the data in the demo. I must admit I'm a bit fuzzy with the details; I would have thought that would only be possible if the player pirated the main game binary too but at that point why wouldn't they pirate the data as well? (Please note that I am not condoning piracy of Homeworld, just recounting an early hack! The game is so cheap now there's no excuse for not getting a legitimate copy.) My point is that re-combining various bits of publicly released game data/code to achieve results not originally intended by the publisher could create grounds for legal proceedings.

I don't believe you can still buy the Sierra/Relic version, only the Euro Vivendi/Relic one, which has a different contract apparently.
The demo data don't have this limitation at all.


Quote:
The source code stills retains the hooks for the demo and I was working on getting it working again. The main issues are that the demo, Raider Retreat and the main game all use slightly different variants of the various data files because they were all produced at different points in development. Since they were all stand-alone and only the main game would be actively patched, that didn't really matter to Relic. It does make things tricky to fix for us, particularly since we don't have full code history; we start at the snapshot of code that Relic released and that post-dates everything.

Which part of the license do you think prevents cross-platform development? That's not an interpretation I've seen before and i couldn't see anything after re-reading it!


Correct me if I am wrong, but Sierra On-Line & Relic were the 'owners', then Sierra got bought out by Activision. That pretty much means that Activision would hold all the cards for doing more Homeworld games, unless that part didn't transfer over on the sale, and Relic still owns "Homeworld".
In any case, since it says "distribute the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and the MODIFIED SOFTWARE" which means the source code & anything you have done to the source code, and "solely for non-commercial purposes, and only to registered members of RDN-RELIC Developer's Network who have agreed to abide by the terms of this Agreement." means that it can't be made available to anyone but people on the now defunct RDN-Relic Developer's Network.

Now, you may be saying, that this means we are all screwed... but after reviewing the terms, this little nugget is included,
Quote:
3.1 Term. This Agreement shall become effective as of the date LICENSEE downloads or installs the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and shall expire five (5) years after such date.

It is now 2012, and so, this whole contract has expired, except for,
Quote:
3.3 Survival. Sections 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 7 shall survive any expiration or termination of this Agreement.

Which are:
1.4 Indemnity, 1.5 Trademarks, 2.1 Ownership, 3.2 Termination. RELIC may, at its sole discretion and authority, terminate this Agreement immediately upon notice including without limitation notice via email to LICENSEE, 4.1 NO WARRANTIES., 4.2 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY., 5.1 COPYRIGHT., and 7. General (too big to post)

This also means that Relic can do whatever they want with this now, which seems to indicate that if they don't want to be bothered with this, at worst, you can get a cease & desist letter *if* you include the original data (and not the demo's data).

In any case, this all boils down to section 1.1b is voided now, which means that this can be thrown up on sourceforge or githib or whatever else.
Assuming that the original data can't be distributed along with the source, then the only option would be to use the demo's data files, and release builds that way, but ONLY if it is for non-commercial purposes, which means you can't charge for it at all, so all apple stuff is out, since apple requires a charge, not really sure for android, but I suppose it might be a safer bet, but not sure if android requires a contract or not, to keep it active, and not a brick.

(Since I'm starting a new thread: I am not a lawyer and the following is my own opinion/understanding of the current legalities.)

THQ bought the Homeworld franchise from Sierra/Activision and now owns the copyright/trademark, so you can't just distribute what was released by Sierra as you want without consequence, including the demo. The safest thing to do is distribute the original demo installer executable, have the user run that, and then hook into whatever files it puts on disk. Even then, this only provides you with a "working in best faith" argument should legal proceedings be brought.

You may have seen some other posts regarding attempts to get clarification of the source code licence. This is because everything became very murky once RDN was discontinued. The requirement to only transfer code between RDN members would mean that no new persons could ever work on the source code, and there is no practical way to ensure that anyone is/was a member. The next best thing we could do to keep things alive was to password-protect the repository and keep track of who had access to the code which is the intent of clause 1.1b. However, since access isn't being tracked in the proscribed way (i.e. RDN) we could in principle be asked to shut it down at any time.

I'd forgotten about 3.1 (five year expiry) but that doesn't mean what you think it means. The licence granting us permission to use their software has expired. We cannot technically do anything with it until the licence is renewed. Relic retain: the trademark (1.5); own the original and modified software (2.1); copyright (5.1); in perpetuity thanks to 3.3.

Distributing for non-commercial purposes means you have to make it available for no charge. Cross-platform development is allowed under those rules. Mac applications do not have to be distributed through the Mac App Store; any web site will do. It can be ported to iOS too but would require the user to have a jail-broken phone and you couldn't include the original game data files, so you'd need an extraction utility and app-recombination utility for the user to run too.

So, in summary, the general consensus before was "we're screwed" given the terms of the licence and the non-existence of RDN. I'm now of the opinion, thanks to the expiry, that "we're really screwed". I now appreciate LCID Fire's desire to obtain an official stance on this by Relic/THQ, either in the form of a new/updated licence, or a statement to the effect that none will be forthcoming.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:09 pm 
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Well the desire is there - but I will say that in the case I get a, negative or b, no response I will quit all work on the Homeworld port I am working on and start a new project. Personally I would rather start anew with zip than eventually get bitten in the ass by the license.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Hmm... I can't say that I like the present situation either. Without a definitive statement from THQ (the present owners?), we are stuck.

As the 'controller' of the SVN repository, will you, Imop, continue attempting to contact THQ, with the intent to get a statement from them?

An alternative is to begin a New game development. That is a HUGE undertaking and I do not recommend it lightly. I doubt there are enough combined resources (NPI) among the members of this forum to do this, not to mention the lack of commit-able time. Does anyone have any viable alternatives to recommend?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:17 pm 
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I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest, but, how can we do anything with the source / data if the license was written in such a way that only lawyers would love?
Sure, you could ask people to install the demo, but for those people that don't have windows machines, then what ? That also adds another layer of complexity that isn't really wanted by anyone.

Doing some more digging, http://homeworld.wikia.com/wiki/Homeworld_3 mentions that THQ can *possibly* own the rights, or it can be Vivendi.
I am betting it is one of these things that nobody really knows who owns it now. :cry:

What about we ask for some help from SFLC ? http://www.softwarefreedom.org/about/contact/
I am betting they could shed some light on this as well.


twp wrote:
Hmm... I can't say that I like the present situation either. Without a definitive statement from THQ (the present owners?), we are stuck.

As the 'controller' of the SVN repository, will you, Imop, continue attempting to contact THQ, with the intent to get a statement from them?

An alternative is to begin a New game development. That is a HUGE undertaking and I do not recommend it lightly. I doubt there are enough combined resources (NPI) among the members of this forum to do this, not to mention the lack of commit-able time. Does anyone have any viable alternatives to recommend?

Making a RTS from scratch is pretty difficult, and it does require lots of time. Yeah, there are other FOSS RTS games, but none of them would be equivalent to what HomeWorld is, in terms of style, and playability.

BTW, how many other people that were on RDN, besides myself ?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Quote:
Making a RTS from scratch is pretty difficult, and it does require lots of time. Yeah, there are other FOSS RTS games, but none of them would be equivalent to what HomeWorld is, in terms of style, and playability.

BTW, how many other people that were on RDN, besides myself ?


Where a new game attempted, I would start with a current game engine and attempt to duplicate the "look and feel". Reading the fora, it seems a lot of time was/is spent making the old C code work on today's OS's. I will drop this topic as I don't want to hijack Imop's thread.

RE RDN, I was never a member (regret that, but...).


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:24 pm 
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LCID Fire wrote:
Well the desire is there - but I will say that in the case I get a, negative or b, no response I will quit all work on the Homeworld port I am working on and start a new project. Personally I would rather start anew with zip than eventually get bitten in the ass by the license.

Did you hear back one way or the other ?
If not, is there a specific timeframe for this, or are we all just screwed ?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:15 pm 
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I was a member, signed up just to test drive the HW source.

Quote:
Where a new game attempted, I would start with a current game engine and attempt to duplicate the "look and feel"


Well, top two cross-platform contenders for a graphics engine are irrlicht and ogre3d.

Overall if you have the manpower it shouldn't take long to get a prototype up and running. The actual hard part is getting the artists to do the modelings and textures.

Also, saw this statement in a thread in this forum...
Quote:
I need to do a status update with Relic on several issues anyway.... since I just found out that they acquired the Homeworld IP rights from Vivendi Universal at the beginning of the year


Is this true and if so how does it change things? If the community starts a petition drive does anyone think they will change the source license (code only not data/art) over to GPL? The game is old enough for it. Would be nice to see a HW clone out on sf.net

If you need a setting there is a huge amount of backstory in the Vega Strike universe that this style game could fit in several different places.

Also, Warzone 2100 (released same year as HW) is under GPL, though the WZ community was lucky enough to get everything under GPL from code to the Warzone 2100 name itself. I don't see Relic going that far but never hurts to ask. If anyone wants to read over how WZ was released regarding the license you can check it out here http://forums.wz2100.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1818

Last item. Is the contact email for the svn still valid or has anything changed on how to access the svn? I would like to see how much has changed from the original code. Maybe I can make some suggestions/changes or help out in some minor but annoying way ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:53 pm 
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But the problem is, nobody can get a response back from Relic, and since the license was written the way it was written, there isn't much hope for ever being able to do anything with the source.

Starting from scratch is one way of doing it, but even if you only do a minimal prototype, that is no where near getting everything done. Blitting images to the screen is easy, everything else (AI, path finding / RTS elements / scores / MP / and so on) is very time consuming and if you don't have a group of people that can help, then you will join one of the thousands of projects on github / SF / gitorious that never make it much past the prototype.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:30 pm 
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With the sale of THQ's assets, Relic got bought out by Sega.

Who knows, perhaps the new owners will take a look at the license, and finally release it GPL.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:13 pm 
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Gearbox has bought the Homeworld IP!

To see if they can fix the license problem, I have posted:
http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showt ... ost4010415

Wish them all the best!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:53 pm 
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Could it be released as BSD instead of GPL?

Free as in math? :)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:43 am 
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lmop wrote:
BugsMenot wrote:
...

This also means that Relic can do whatever they want with this now, which seems to indicate that if they don't want to be bothered with this, at worst, you can get a cease & desist letter *if* you include the original data (and not the demo's data).

In any case, this all boils down to section 1.1b is voided now, which means that this can be thrown up on sourceforge or githib or whatever else.

...


(Since I'm starting a new thread: I am not a lawyer and the following is my own opinion/understanding of the current legalities.)

...

I'd forgotten about 3.1 (five year expiry) but that doesn't mean what you think it means. The licence granting us permission to use their software has expired. We cannot technically do anything with it until the licence is renewed. Relic retain: the trademark (1.5); own the original and modified software (2.1); copyright (5.1); in perpetuity thanks to 3.3.

...

So, in summary, the general consensus before was "we're screwed" given the terms of the licence and the non-existence of RDN. I'm now of the opinion, thanks to the expiry, that "we're really screwed". I now appreciate LCID Fire's desire to obtain an official stance on this by Relic/THQ, either in the form of a new/updated licence, or a statement to the effect that none will be forthcoming.


What I don't understand is, if the expiry means we are no longer allowed to use the source at all, why have the survival clause? If parts of the agreement regulating how you use the source are still active after expiry/termination, you must still be allowed to use the source.

Most confusing is that the termination clause is still active after termination.

At the very least, there are some contradictions we could exploit here.

To me, the 5 year expiry only makes sense in the way BugsMenot interpreted it, after 5 years only Sections 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 7 remain binding.

But, I am also not a law student either so I really don't know


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:55 am 
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haliptu wrote:
Could it be released as BSD instead of GPL?

Free as in math? :)


sure... also under a Creative Commons License or even under (most liberal) public domain.

@BugsMenot: thanks for your relicensing initative over at the gearbox forum, participated there and voiced my support. :)
"We just ask that the already released source code be made available under a GPL V2.0 or higher license and hosted on Github.
Bouns points for allowing the data to be included as well. "
(http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showt ... ost4010415)

(@BugsMenot PS: maybe you could expand/change your thread title to something "re-licensing" containing? without looking in it might be missed in the forum thread tree with the title "Congratulations on the purchase of Homeworld IP!")


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:20 am 
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Good News! :)

Recently over at the gearbox forum one gearbox employee, BurlesonGBX, discussed the license question. Questioned about the possiblity of re-licensing the homeworld code he gave signals that this might be possible:
"If someone is interested in doing something under a different license using the old opensource code, there is always room to talk."
http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showpost.php?p=4553392&postcount=6

Maybe it's time for the homesource community (or the repository owner?) to get in contact with gearbox? :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Thanks for the update badhabit, and also thanks to your continued effort in trying to fix the license issues that we have with the source!

Some reason, I didn't get notified that we had replies in this thread. :(
I fixed the title as requested on the original thread @ gearbox, located here: http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showt ... p?t=273190


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:43 am 
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BugsMenot wrote:
Thanks for the update badhabit, and also thanks to your continued effort in trying to fix the license issues that we have with the source!

Some reason, I didn't get notified that we had replies in this thread. :(
I fixed the title as requested on the original thread @ gearbox, located here: http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showt ... p?t=273190


How we should progress here? We need to respond somehow to BurlesonGBX offer...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:13 pm 
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badhabit wrote:
BugsMenot wrote:
Thanks for the update badhabit, and also thanks to your continued effort in trying to fix the license issues that we have with the source!

Some reason, I didn't get notified that we had replies in this thread. :(
I fixed the title as requested on the original thread @ gearbox, located here: http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showt ... p?t=273190


How we should progress here? We need to respond somehow to BurlesonGBX offer...

Waiting for a reply from a PM.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:35 am 
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I've been watching the forum for ages off and on but finally registered to mention that homeworld is up for pre-order on amazon...

I asked if there would be official Linux versions on there as well.. I sort of expect there will :). Hopefully the gearbox guys appreciated the work done here and offer up a nice license.

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K6ZUOQE


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:09 pm 
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Like a lot of people here I think the grey areas in the license add's extra challenges which deter some uses of the released code.

Has anyone managed to hear any further news from Gearbox? I suspect they might be a little busy this month but they seem more interested in the Homeworld franchise than the previous owners.

In an ideal but realistic world I would like to see Gearbox release the original Homeworld source under a more permissive license allowing the source repository to be made public and in return what this project could offer Gearbox is a Linux and OSX Homeworld port which depending on the license would allow Gearbox to sell Homeworld to a wider audience (well technically they would be selling the data files and bundling it with the free game engine).

The best outcome from any negotiation would be to opensource the entire game however I think that would be much harder to sell Gearbox on. While it might introduce people to Homeworld it wouldn't offer any direct revenue streams to Gearbox, then again I can't imagine they would be able to charge much with the more desirable remake due out soon.

If anyone has any thoughts it would be great to hear of any proposals which could be put forward, if it hasn't already been discussed in the background.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:31 pm 
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I think we should see if Gearbox will re-license Homeworld under GPL V2. I think it's a bit unrealistic to ask them for a license that would allow people to sell a forked game. I would also like to see the Cataclysm sourcecode released, apparently one or more of the ex naughty dog devs might have it still.. I doubt we will see the homeworld 2 sourcecode released, at least not the current re-mastered version.

I think as an open source project HomeworldSDL should aim to update/implement HW1/Cata on Windows 64-bit/Linux/Mac 32/64-bit compatible with a proper cross platform editing suite of tools. This is something which open source engines should be aiming for, but as far as I'm aware only Quake has really accomplished so far.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:18 am 
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I agree gearbox wouldn't want anyone, except for themselves, to be in a position to use their sourcecode for profit. They might want a clause however that allows them to integrate any community contributions back into the commercial product.

Id have successfully released old game engine code under the GPL so it's possible considering the age of the code that Gearbox will be open to the idea.

Gearbox's contact page (http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/contact) does have a Business development/Licensing category which might be the correct way to put forward a proposal to have the license reviewed.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:15 pm 
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DanielRF wrote:
I agree gearbox wouldn't want anyone, except for themselves, to be in a position to use their sourcecode for profit. They might want a clause however that allows them to integrate any community contributions back into the commercial product.

Id have successfully released old game engine code under the GPL so it's possible considering the age of the code that Gearbox will be open to the idea.

Gearbox's contact page (http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/contact) does have a Business development/Licensing category which might be the correct way to put forward a proposal to have the license reviewed.


Well, the engine itself has little to no value now (outdated), and GBX can still sell HW1 even after release of the source code as opensource (under whatever license) if the assets are not released as freeware/public domain/creative commons etc.

Example of a game released open source while assets are still proprietary and is still sold, is Arx Fatalis.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:29 pm 
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Just wanted to say, that they (Gearbox) never responded back, even after multiple tries via forum & official contact mails.

They even purged the old messages in the forums, so those links are dead now.:(
Sadly, they just don't care, and Relic is out of the picture now, the whole IP was bought by Gearbox, thus, only Gearbox can fix the license.

I did see some brave soul upload the source to https://github.com/aheadley/homeworld, but, again, can't really do anything with it to advance the game, at least legally. :(


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