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Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the Situation
Posted By: Narcogen <>Date: 10/4/06 8:59 p.m.

In Response To: A Mod Developer's Take on the Situation (RedMoney999)

: I'm just confused because it seems that people who are taking Microsoft's
: side in this arguement are claiming that Halogen fans are upset that
: Halogen was shut down because "it was a unique realization of the
: Halo universe". I don't know where that arguement comes from as I
: don't know of any Halogen fans that are dismissing the fact that Halo as
: an RTS wasn't a new or unique idea. In my opinion, Halogen was unique in
: the fact that it was, at the time, the only RTS realization of Halo. The
: idea was not unique, but the implementation was.

Perhaps true, but I'm not sure what the importance of that is. Their realization of an RTS Halo was independently-created art based on Halo art and injected into C&C. You are right, it was unique. There could have been ten such mods, but there were not. There was one. However, the method of implementation in this case boils down to re-skinning units and modifying scripts. I don't think Slipstream invented that idea, either.

In short, as far as my limited understanding of intellectual property law is concerned, generally coming up with an idea first and proving you've had that idea is worth something, and is protectible. Taking somebody else's idea and implementing it first is not.

: In my opinion, as a developer of the Star Wars mod "First Strike"
: for Battlefield: 2142 (made by EA/DICE), I would be highly disappointed if
: after over a year of hard work making everything painstakingly detailed
: and accurrate LucasArts were to shut us down just because we were creating
: a mod that is in direct competition with one of their games (which it is,
: for example Battlefront I and II). As a fan of the Star Wars movies, I am
: working on the mod for the love of realizing a game that, while not
: unique, may be better than anything made by official game devs due to our
: unique love of the content that we are producing.

Your disappointment is understandable. However, it is my opinion that it is not actionable. If LucasArts did shut you down, would you be surprised?

Did you ever ask for permission to use their intellectual property?

If you asked for such permission, would you get it?

The entire mod community, when dealing with intellectual property that derives from third parties, seems to be living in denial. They know they don't have a legal right to do what they are doing. They know if they ask for permission, they won't get it. So they don't ask, and hope to be popular enough that people play the mod, but not popular enough to be noticed and shut down. If they're lucky, they're dealing with a property whose owner is lax enough that they are confident that any use of their property just spreads its popularity and therefore helps them.

However, not every property owner has that attitude, nor is it obvious to me that every property owner should.

Microsoft's actions were predictable and therefore Slipstream's problem was preventable. What I object to is the insinuation that this is not merely regrettable, which it is, but that it is somehow an injustice-- which it most certainly is not.

: I'm sure that it is easy for the Ensemble developers to claim that "they
: love the Halo universe" and that they enjoy playing Halo, but do you
: think that they loved Halo enough to painstakingly (yes there's that word
: again, making a mod like Halogen is very hard work) create an entire game
: other words, do you think that the guys from Ensemble would go through the
: time and effort of making something like Halogen without the benifit of
: $70,000+ a year? I hardly think so.

True, but I'm afraid I think it's rather irrelevant. You seem to be asserting that it is the love of the property by the developer that is the determining factor. It is not. The determining factor in this case is that Ensemble is a first-party developer, and like Bungie Studios, owned by Microsoft.

I seriously doubt any third-party developers were considered for the project.

Put it this way: I do not think this project emerged from the idea "let's make a Halo RTS... who can make it?"

I think it emerged like this: Bungie wants to quit making Halo games. Who else can carry on making them so Bungie can develop more original intellectual property, and what kind of game can that be?

Well, Microsoft has a good RTS developer in-house. They want to make an RTS game for the Xbox 360; MS wants that so they can extend the appeal of the console to new genres, just as Halo solidified the Xbox as a console for FPS gamers.

So Ensemble's Xbox 360 RTS becomes Halo Wars: two birds with one stone right there.

Who else? Well, Peter Jackson is working on the Halo movie, and wants to get into some sort of interactive entertainment. So have him work on story-based things in the Halo universe, plus some other stuff. Another two birds.

Bungie gets to finish Halo 3 and then move on. Everybody wins. Except, admittedly, Slipstream. But if most of (and I do want to emphasize "most of" and not "all") of their team is able to move on and release their mod as an original intellectual property I really can't see why most of the "fans" can't do the same.

: My point in all of this is that, while I understand the business practice of
: what Microsoft was doing in shutting down Halogen, I don't like it. Why
: can't Microsoft just allow Halogen to continue, and just make sure that
: Ensemble entice the public to buy Halo Wars simply because it is a better
: game than Halogen? While Microsoft has every right within the law to shut
: down Halogen, what about business ethics?

You seem to be misunderstanding the word ethics. About the only moral imperative you can set against Microsoft doing what it is legally entitled to do in order to preserve their control of their intellectual property is altruism-- the idea that even though it probably isn't in Microsoft's short-term best interest, it is good for the amorphous "community" and therefore in the long-term best interest of the Halo franchise.

That is a valid viewpoint, it just isn't the one Microsoft has taken. I, myself, agree with it. I think Halogen would have done little quantifiable harm, and leaving them alone would have avoided all this.

But another thing: all this controversy in the community, for all the sturm and drang, is also going to do Microsoft little quantifiable harm. Don't think somebody somewhere doesn't have an Excel sheet that calculated it.

: As for Narcogen's argument that EA would be making money off of Halogen, I
: find that highly unlikely and I would like to see evidence of people
: buying C&C Generals for the sole intention of playing Halogen. I think
: that most people that would be playing Halogen would be people that had
: bought C&C Generals long before Halogen was even announced (C&C isn't
: exactly a new game, and most of the people playing it today bought a while
: ago).

There have already been posters in this forum who have said they were intending to buy C&C Generals for Halogen. Some have gone ahead now and bought it anyway!

Even, however, if no specific individual purchased C&C for this purpose, there is still economic benefit. Mods like that extend the community for that game, give it a longer shelf life, keep that community alive, improve people's opinion of that game, and make it more likely to continue buying that franchise.

In short, there is indirect, but discernible benefit to the publishers of C&C that result from the production of a C&C mod. Just as there is indirect, but discernible benefit to the publishers of Halo resulting from the production of a Halo mod.

I'd say there is quantifiably less benefit, direct or indirect, to the publisher of Halo resulting from the production of a Halo-themed mod for C&C or any other game engine not published by the same company.

It's really very simple.

Your argument is that the benefits we are considering don't outweigh the community ill will caused by the closure from the personal frustration of the developers themselves who will see some (not all) of their effort wasted.

Microsoft merely disagrees with you. Moreover, while I don't agree with them, I can comprehend and understand their position. What I don't understand is that why more people can't understand this, as a business decision, even if they don't agree with it. Microsoft hasn't done this out of some sort of insanity.

: The only reason Microsoft shut down Halogen was because they were afraid that
: Halogen would have been better than Halo Wars (Halogen even has a better
: name, "Halo WARS"? What is that?) and would have caused them to
: lose a couple hundred potential buyers.

I'm not sure I understand this. Are independent mod authors able to produce a better product than professional developers, as you state above, or not?

As for the name-- unimaginative it may be. But "Halo Wars" adequately describes a product that anyone might buy. "Halogen" is a mashup of "Halo" and "Generals" and as such is only appropriate for a mod and only comprehensible if you already know what it is or have it explained to you.

: Props to Bungie for supporting Halogen when Microsoft was keeping its nose
: out, but Bungie should have kept its tight control over the Halo IP
: instead of allowing other studios to play with it. I can understand the
: movie (Bungie is a game studio, not a movie studio), but I think that
: Bungie is more than capable of turning Halo into an RTS, and I firmly
: believe that Bungie would have done a much better job with it than
: Ensemble ever could dream of.

They have answered this question: They don't want to.

If you think Bungie has the power, at this juncture in time, to tell Microsoft that they want to stop making Halo games and they don't allow anybody else to make any more Halo games, you are kidding yourself. I don't think they'd be allowed to do that at this juncture.

I think the only question was picking who would do the work. I also think it would logically have been limited to only first-party developers.

: ******************** A Bit of a Disclaimer *********************

: I do not fault Bungie for the actions of Microsoft in this case. I believe
: that Bungie supports its fan community fully, even if that means losing a
: couple bucks. I'm sure that if it were up to Bungie, then Halogen would be
: playing on hundreds of computers everywhere.

I agree with that as well. What I think is ironic is that what Bungie tried to do in order to soften the blow may have worked on most of Halogen's developers, but had the opposite effect on other segments of the fan base. It might have been wiser for Bungie to have taken no role in the action and just let Microsoft be the bad guy. Despite how forthcoming Dispraiser has been about it, it still seems there are people throwing around the "Bungie cancelled Halogen" line.

Russia Is Building The Marathon

Message Index


Halogen Beta?Sharkface217 10/3/06 2:37 p.m.
     Re: Halogen Beta?KP 10/3/06 2:52 p.m.
           Re: Halogen Beta?WortWortWort 10/3/06 7:39 p.m.
                 Re: Halogen Beta?WortWortWort 10/3/06 7:42 p.m.
                       Re: Halogen Beta?WortWortWort 10/3/06 7:53 p.m.
                 Re: Halogen Beta?N/A 10/3/06 8:01 p.m.
                 Re: Halogen Beta?DarkSim 10/3/06 8:17 p.m.
                       Re: Halogen Beta?WortWortWort 10/3/06 9:18 p.m.
                             Re: Halogen Beta?Narcogen 10/4/06 12:16 a.m.
                                   Re: Halogen Beta?Miguel Chavez 10/4/06 9:01 a.m.
                                         Re: Halogen Beta?UrsusArctos 10/4/06 9:20 a.m.
                                         Re: Halogen Beta?Matt 10/4/06 9:45 a.m.
                                               Re: Halogen Beta?Hawaiian Pig 10/4/06 10:40 a.m.
                                                     Re: Halogen Beta?Matt 10/4/06 2:39 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?Dry Ice 10/4/06 3:06 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Halogen Beta?Dry Ice 10/4/06 3:09 p.m.
                                               Re: Halogen Beta?Narcogen 10/4/06 10:56 a.m.
                                                     Re: Halogen Beta?Matt 10/4/06 2:37 p.m.
                                                     Re: Halogen Beta?Count Zero 10/4/06 3:00 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?Louis Wu 10/4/06 3:27 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?Hawaiian Pig 10/4/06 7:23 p.m.
                                         Re: Halogen Beta?Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) 10/4/06 9:56 a.m.
                                         Re: Halogen Beta?Narcogen 10/4/06 10:54 a.m.
                                               Re: Halogen Beta?Hawaiian Pig 10/4/06 10:58 a.m.
                                                     Re: Halogen Beta?Schedonnardus 10/4/06 3:26 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?Matt 10/4/06 3:42 p.m.
                                                                 Someone's been swigging the cough syrup again. *NM*Louis Wu 10/4/06 4:32 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?mercury 10/4/06 4:38 p.m.
                                                           Re: Halogen Beta?Narcogen 10/4/06 8:32 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Halogen Beta?Schedonnardus 10/5/06 11:06 a.m.
                                                                       Re: Halogen Beta?Endbringer 10/5/06 11:31 a.m.
                                                                       Nice!Miguel Chavez 10/5/06 12:41 p.m.
                                                                             Re: Nice!Sep7imus [subnova] 10/5/06 2:12 p.m.
                                                     This is what I meant, yesMiguel Chavez 10/4/06 5:44 p.m.
                                                     A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationRedMoney999 10/4/06 8:08 p.m.
                                                           Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationNarcogen 10/4/06 8:59 p.m.
                                                                 Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationMiguel Chavez 10/4/06 10:21 p.m.
                                                                       Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationSep7imus [subnova] 10/5/06 2:22 p.m.
                                                                 Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationRedMonkey999 10/5/06 11:18 p.m.
                                                                       Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationLouis Wu 10/6/06 4:45 a.m.
                                                                             Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationRedMonkey999 10/8/06 3:44 p.m.
                                         Re: Halogen Beta?Konrad 10/4/06 11:08 a.m.
                                               Heh! *NM*Stuntmutt 10/4/06 11:15 a.m.
                 Re: Halogen Beta?Narcogen 10/4/06 12:07 a.m.
                       Couldn't be said any better. *NM*Cocopjojo 10/4/06 1:22 a.m.
                       Re: Halogen Beta?BARBARIC RAGE 10/4/06 12:21 p.m.
                             Re: Halogen Beta?mercury 10/4/06 1:22 p.m.
     Re: Halogen Beta?mercury 10/3/06 4:43 p.m.
           Bungie didn't shut them down.58 10/3/06 5:40 p.m.
                 Re: Bungie didn't shut them down.Sharkface217 10/3/06 7:59 p.m.
                 Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownNarcogen 10/4/06 12:22 a.m.
                       Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownRox 10/4/06 3:07 a.m.
                             Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownNarcogen 10/4/06 4:14 a.m.
                                   Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownRox 10/4/06 7:54 a.m.
                                         Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownNarcogen 10/4/06 10:58 a.m.
                                   HBO: Waiting for Microsoft lawyers to shut us down *NM*Stuntmutt 10/4/06 8:44 a.m.
                                         They'll be sure to shut down One One Se7en firstUrsusArctos 10/4/06 8:47 a.m.
                                               Re: They'll be sure to shut down One One Se7en firUrsusArctos 10/4/06 8:50 a.m.
                                                     To clarify my position...Stuntmutt 10/4/06 9:18 a.m.
                                                           Re: To clarify my position...Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) 10/4/06 9:53 a.m.
                                                                 Re: To clarify my position...A of T 10/4/06 11:54 a.m.
                                                                 Re: To clarify my position...Miguel Chavez 10/4/06 3:45 p.m.
                                                                       Re: To clarify my position...Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) 10/4/06 3:54 p.m.
                                                                 Re: To clarify my position...Blck 10/5/06 2:27 p.m.
                                                           Re: To clarify my position...try starcraft :pvshields ash 10/6/06 4:25 a.m.
                                                                 Re: To clarify my position...try starcraft :pShortRoundMcfly 10/6/06 7:05 p.m.
                                                                       Re: To clarify my position...try starcraft :pUrsusArctos 10/7/06 11:53 p.m.
                                                                             Re: To clarify my position...try starcraft :pSparkamus 10/8/06 12:51 a.m.
                             Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownMiguel Chavez 10/4/06 9:03 a.m.
                             Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownVlad3163 10/4/06 9:48 a.m.
                             Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownShortRoundMcfly 10/4/06 12:58 p.m.
                                   Re: Bungie's role in Halogen shutdownNarcogen 10/4/06 9:02 p.m.
                 Re: Bungie didn't shut them down.mercury 10/4/06 1:09 p.m.
     Re: Halogen Beta?Quikthnkr 10/4/06 1:37 p.m.
     A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationRedMonkey999 10/4/06 8:17 p.m.
           Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationSharkface217 10/4/06 8:47 p.m.
                 Re: A Mod Developer's Take on the SituationThe 'Loot 10/5/06 2:47 a.m.
           Re: A Mod Developer's Take-meh...vshields ash 10/6/06 4:42 a.m.

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