Author Topic: Status Update (November 13)  (Read 16221 times)

OzonePrime

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2012, 02:25:12 pm »
Thanks for the update! Helps to keep the spirits up! :)

Minotaur

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2012, 02:34:36 pm »
And what exactly would they tell us to cease and desist doing? Discussing possibilities on a forum?

The intent has never been to run or server or host anything on our site that would give anyone a target for something like that. That would be dumb.

If they want to send a C&D to Plan Z, there's nothing stopping them from sending one regardless of what else is going on. Anybody can write a letter just to be jerks.

OK, so what is the purpose of the reverse engineering project ? (something they may have civil remedies for as at least some the participants will have "signed" an EULA saying they wouldn't do it, I don't know how US contract law works, but I suspect they could do this in the UK).

What I'm seeing is a soft target for NCSoft to use in the publicity war "Why would you believe anything these guys say ? they signed an EULA not to reverse engineer the code and ...".

All I was saying was that they did have a go at the TR reverse engineers, I don't see them sending a C&D to plan Z, but they could to Titan Network if they appear to be officially involved in reverse engineering.

Rotten Luck

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2012, 02:38:32 pm »
I agree with Minotaur.  Thought someone else can develop the reversed engineered CoH the less ties to Titan Network the better. 

And thanks for the Update Tony! 
One way or another... Heroes will fly again!

Battle Ant

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2012, 02:39:22 pm »

If they want to send a C&D to Plan Z, there's nothing stopping them from sending one regardless of what else is going on. Anybody can write a letter just to be jerks.

I could see NCSoft watching this project with a microscope. No doubt wanting a little payback for the bad PR.

Codewalker

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2012, 03:29:50 pm »
Just want to point out that you could (and still can) download the client without ever agreeing to anything.

Also, a careful reading of the EULA reveals that it terminates with the game shutdown.

Depending on your jurisdiction, the DMCA provisions may override it anyway.

And again, if ncsoft want to waste resources chasing shadows, it can only hurt them. Not that I would condone elaborate decoy operations or anything like that.

Omega Mark V

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2012, 03:48:55 pm »
Thanks for the update tony!

We are indeed a family of gamers, that this MMO has brought together. As long as we don't give up, and work together, we can get things done!

We've made a big statement so far, let's keep it up!
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CFIndustries

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2012, 04:36:22 pm »
This really troubles me as the legalities are not in our favour. I'm not sure I can associate myself with an effort that is doing something which is IMO illegal. This needs to be COMPLETELY separate from Titan or Plan Z does, otherwise I will find it very difficult to participate. The way the law is, people have been extradited from the UK to the US for less than this and no I'm not joking.
This is why I'm considering CoX "dead," unless they get the IP. Even a "spiritual successor" is a legal minefield, so are emulators, so are using anything with a whiff of the existing system. I've been in gaming far too long, and worked in a career that involves dealing with the legal issues of branding too long, to go into this na´ve.

And unfortunately the system itself is part of what I enjoyed, as much as the writing, stories, and characters. I actually liked the enhancement system, I liked the slotting system, I liked the movement system, I liked all the costume pieces. In other words, what I liked are the unique things about the game that HAVE to go out the window if the game is to be reborn unless you own the IP.

Another case where I hope I'm wrong, but I'm all too afraid I'm correct.

It's as much about not wanting to get involved with something illegal (I have enough bad luck and general problems), but it's more about I don't want to get "involved" with another MMO, to invest in it, to have it just as abruptly killed as this one was. This one gets killed by "big evil corporation," the Plan Z has a high chance of being shut-down by "the lawyers of big evil corporation" (NCSoft's blunt use of their lawyers bothers me far more than NCSoft itself).

Last thing I need in life is a Tabula-Rasa cease-and-desists with some kind of RIAA-style witch-hunt in my life. ;-p

If I'm wrong, you can give me your "I told you so's" as appropriate. If you manage to get the IP rights, then you can have my money and support. :)

Segev

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2012, 05:04:50 pm »
We're actually taking great pains to use nothing that can rightfully be considered IP. While NCSoft could, theoretically, kill our project just by suing frivolously, it would take sufficient gall to risk dismissal with prejudice, I think and hope. We will be retaining legal counsel, and relatively soon.

The costume creator is of our own design, and we're taking great pains to make sure we're not copying anything that would be copyrightable by NCSoft in it by making our own costume pieces and deliberately avoiding having them resemble theirs in any infringing fashion. (Obviously it's hard to avoid having "spikes on the shoulders" not be vaguely similar in that they are spikes...on shoulders...but I don't think you can copyright the very concept thereof, so we should have plenty of clear latitude.)

The power sets, the UI, everything is going to be our creation. We're working to capture the feel of playing the game, but we're working hard to do it without copying anything directly.

Rotten Luck

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2012, 05:52:30 pm »
Costume parts would be something that would need to be studied so we know what not to make. 

Truth I'm with you about the reverse engineering thought treading on thin Ice.  Besides any Emulator would just be the basic game what made it special is Us the fellow players and the player community that would welcome a newbie.  Can't get that on a private server.
One way or another... Heroes will fly again!

BattlerockX

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2012, 06:17:11 pm »
Sean "Dr. Aeon" McCann confirmed today he is working on Star Trek Online over at Cryptic, at least according to his Twitter account.

Fortunately the STO timeline is such that there are no iconic characters alive for Sean to have killed off.

BattlerockX

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2012, 06:18:28 pm »
Thank you for the update Tony.

Minotaur

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2012, 06:19:48 pm »
We're actually taking great pains to use nothing that can rightfully be considered IP. While NCSoft could, theoretically, kill our project just by suing frivolously, it would take sufficient gall to risk dismissal with prejudice, I think and hope. We will be retaining legal counsel, and relatively soon.

The costume creator is of our own design, and we're taking great pains to make sure we're not copying anything that would be copyrightable by NCSoft in it by making our own costume pieces and deliberately avoiding having them resemble theirs in any infringing fashion. (Obviously it's hard to avoid having "spikes on the shoulders" not be vaguely similar in that they are spikes...on shoulders...but I don't think you can copyright the very concept thereof, so we should have plenty of clear latitude.)

The power sets, the UI, everything is going to be our creation. We're working to capture the feel of playing the game, but we're working hard to do it without copying anything directly.

Warhammer did "chaos spiky bits" on the shoulders long before NCSoft so they clearly couldn't have copyrighted that. I'm very comfortable with everything Plan Z is doing. I don't have a big problem with the reverse engineering project in itself, it's the problems it might cause for plan Z by association that I worry about.

And again, as Gangrel and I have said, the question is "If not for a private server, why reverse engineer ?".

epawtows

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2012, 06:25:10 pm »
Warhammer did "chaos spiky bits" on the shoulders long before NCSoft so they clearly couldn't have copyrighted that. I'm very comfortable with everything Plan Z is doing. I don't have a big problem with the reverse engineering project in itself, it's the problems it might cause for plan Z by association that I worry about.

And again, as Gangrel and I have said, the question is "If not for a private server, why reverse engineer ?".

I can point out one reason;  if you want to avoid PlanZ costume part looking too much like CoH parts, you need to know what the CoH parts look like.  We are trying to get screengrabs of everything, but I doubt we'll get it all by the end of the month.

Less sure about the copyright issued with the character creator itself.  Obviously you can't copyright the concept of designing character by selecting Female -> Lower Body -> Skirts; would need legal beagles to figure out the details.  Would help to know what other game's creators look like.


ahmpizzedoff

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2012, 06:38:23 pm »
Thanks Tony..

 Its not just a game.. I made a toon called Sunstroke in honor of my first child. Two years old and he would sit on my lap at the PC and press the space bar to watch His level 50 Shield/Fire tank jump up and down..

 Its not just a game to some of us..

Same here. Four years ago when my grandson was 2, I made him two characters, Just 2 and I'm 2, and he'd sit on my lap pressing that spacebar and giggle. He's been playing ever since and he's just as good as anyone out there with his now incarnate 50s. When I told him CoH was going away he was sad but as with any 6 year old he now has "other things" like his XBox.

It was always great fun "teaming" with him and watching his toon, as he used to say "Zoom to get the bad guys!" This wasn't just a game. It was family fun!
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Blackbird71

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2012, 07:34:28 pm »
With regards to the legality of reverse-engineering servers, it's probably a good idea to take a look at those who have done it before.  Two examples I've seen are Earth & Beyond and Star Wars: Galaxies (pre-CU).  Both of these have largely rebuilt the game servers, and offer them publicly with easy to find websites; and companies like EA, LucasArts and SOE are not exactly known for being light on litigation, so the emulator projects must be doing something right.

As I understand it, they get around the legal issues by only providing the server code, which is 100% original code.  In order to play with their servers, you are required to have a legal copy of the client; either original game discs or proof of a digital purchase and the corresponding installation files.  Players either have these from when the original game was live, or they pick up copies of the discs cheap on ebay.  As long as the emulator teams do not distribute the client, or alter it in any way, they can legally distribute their own server code and host it with no legal issues.

Of course, I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, so I could be mistaken, but I think this would be something worth looking into.

Segev

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2012, 07:48:23 pm »
That is for Project Z, but why (and this is my own opinion) would TonyV (or whoever it is) be reverse engineering the servers if it wasn't to indeed release a private server?

Now, you might say "So we know what we can and cannot do without infringing for Project Z", that is horse crap considering that you are using *off the shelf* components to make Project Z. If Project Z is liable to infringe for networking technologies, then surely *anything* that uses those components would also be infringing.
My apologies for not being clear. Yes, that is for Plan Z, and only for Plan Z.

We are in no way affiliated with any reverse-engineering efforts save for sharing the common forum with Titan Networks. We're using and adapting open-source server and client architectures to create our Plan Z products. If there is copyright infringement, it is likely highly coincidental and would get every user of the Multiverse server system in trouble. Any judge is likely to throw out an attempted suit over that technology with prejudice.

TinFoil

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2012, 08:54:18 pm »
Thanks for the update guys. While I think we're all hoping for a last minute reprieve, it is great to know the reverse engineering is going well.

I'm no lawyer, but unless someone opened up a server and charged people to join, I don't think it would be worth the time and effort for NCSoft to care. If/when the server code is released to the wild, as long as no one has hacked into NCSoft to steal code, would it really be worth it for NCSoft to fight? If I ran my own home City of Heroes server, would it make any sense for NCSoft to knock on my door and tell me to stop; or sue me?

I personally want to thank all the talented and devoted coders out there working on this effort. I want to be able to show people at least some of the wonderment that was City of Heroes.

Ammon

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2012, 10:07:51 pm »
I'm no lawyer, but unless someone opened up a server and charged people to join, I don't think it would be worth the time and effort for NCSoft to care.
Sadly, the thing with intellectual property and trademarks, etc, is that if you let it slide for one person, you lose the ability to hold the claim.  Someone could entirely rip off their code and if they could cite evidence in court that NCsoft had knowingly not protected its rights before, they couldn't be done.  That's an oversimplification, but the basis is that you have to actively fight all infringements, or you lose the rights to figh any.

CFIndustries

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2012, 11:14:30 pm »
Sadly, the thing with intellectual property and trademarks, etc, is that if you let it slide for one person, you lose the ability to hold the claim.  Someone could entirely rip off their code and if they could cite evidence in court that NCsoft had knowingly not protected its rights before, they couldn't be done.  That's an oversimplification, but the basis is that you have to actively fight all infringements, or you lose the rights to figh any.
This is correct, and is first-year training for any consumer goods product company employee, especially Marketing and Legal. One of the famous instances of this in practice is Xerox.

They never fought the generic use of "xerox" meaning "any photocopy" and then lost the ability to sue when larger companies started using it as a generic term. If I recall, Jello has similar issues.

It's why, on the flip side, Apple Computer was tooth-n-nail with Apple Records for so many years and why LEGO gets cranky about any use of it's name, as does PANTONE, as do many other companies. And that's just on a brand name. It goes deeper, such as the shape of the Clorox Bleach bottle, for example. Or as Apple pointed out, the "bounce" when you reach the end of a touchscreen. Every. Little. Thing.

So yeah, like it or not, if NCSoft is smart, they will, because they are essentially forced to by US Law, immediately whip out the lawyers at the slightest whiff of infringing useage. Which means the reverse-engineered server could be an issue. Not enforcing your ownership rights it is to tacitly approve of any engfringement, which NCSoft seems VERY reluctant to allow.

Now even with all that, the Plan Z ("spirit of CoX") effort sounds interesting. But I assume it's going to be a while before it's ready for prime time. I just hope y'all have enough marketing in the right places, or good word of mouth, so folks like me who drop from the scene will hear about it and give it a whirl. :)

TonyV

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Re: Status Update (November 13)
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2012, 12:12:42 am »
Okay, regarding infringement, I have to say this yet again.  We're not infringing on anything.  It's that simple.  Reverse engineering is not infringement.  It is not only legal, it is an extremely common practice used by a lot of reputable companies to provide compatibility with other products.  If we wrote a server that included the game's missions, characters, etc., that would be infringing.  But that's not what we're doing.

Regarding Plan Z, in case it's not clear, this is an entirely new game.  When I say "spiritual successor," I'm referring to the things that are commonly regarded as making City of Heroes a fun and engaging game--a fun community, an expansive character creator/editor, a focus on solo and casual aspects to the game, the superheroic theme, etc.  I am not referring to a literal sequel to the game using the intellectual property of City of Heroes.  In fact, we have had a few conversations in which we have agreed that doing that is out of the question.  NCsoft does not hold any kind of rights to a game with a fun community, an expansive character creator, a focus on solo and casual aspects to games, or superheroic themes.  In fact, it is a little known fact (or shoot, maybe you do know it...) that rules to games are specifically exempted from copyright protection, so even if we wanted to use the same slotting system, inspiration system, power progression, etc., we probably could although for the sake of avoiding IP infringement all of that stuff might be called something different.  But to my knowledge (I'm not personally involved in the mechanics of the game), we're not even doing that.  Again, spiritual successor.  NCsoft would be stupid crazy to sue us to the point that I'd probably countersue for frivolous use of the legal system.

The point is, though, that we are not engaging in any kind of criminal behavior.  At worst, we are breaking the Terms of Service by digging into the protocols that the client and server use to communicate.  And if NCsoft is bound and determined to, they can cancel the 16 days left on the contract if they so choose.

If NCsoft really gets a stick in their craw and they want to chase us down legally for some perceived harm, they are more than welcome to do so.  I hope they're prepared to prove in court that we are infringing on their IP and the breach of contract has caused them some material damage.  In fact, while I'm not looking to deliberately antagonize NCsoft, part of me would think that it would be kind of funny if they did come after us because I assure you that such a story would make huge waves in the press, waves that they are desperately trying to avoid right now because they're already suffering a PR black eye over this whole ordeal.  "NCsoft Sues Players Who Invested Thousands of Dollars in Game"--makes a great headline, don't you think?  Believe me, I would pull out all of the stops in making sure that everyone knows that the people being sued are the very same people who contributed greatly to the game's success for the better part of a decade.  If you're thinking of playing Guild Wars 2, Blade and Soul, or Wildstar (if it ever actually gets released, which I kinda doubt it will), that headline would probably catch your attention.  So yeah, even if NCsoft thought they had a case against us (which they don't), I seriously doubt that they'd be looking to press the issue.  To be blunt, I think that NCsoft has far bigger problems right now as a company than anything we're doing with reverse engineering and/or Plan Z.

I don't mean to belabor the point, but if you're worried about NCsoft coming after us, please put your mind at ease.  Even if they do, it won't affect you personally, and I am certain that anything they try would be completely without merit.