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Yet another legal thread, Thief 1 and 2, the Enderal way


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#1 pyziroki

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:13 AM

So, as we all know Thief 1 and 2 remakes no can do because it is IP of Square Enix and they want to make measly 1-2$ dollars off these old classics from Steam. Well, maybe it can be done if we make sure the publisher gets to still sell their old classic games. 

They prohibit using any in game assets, and remaking in-game maps in new engine. Well it doesn't matter. What if a separate mod is made for each installment containing only the game i.e. Dark Mod: Thief 1; Dark Mod: Thief 2, where the key to playing these mods (which will only be downloadable through steam) will be owning the original games respectively. Because Steam now features a separate download and folder as well as an ability to allow mods to be download if a special requirement (in this case owning a particular title) is met. 

It is what Enderal did. 

So everyone gets what they want, people can re-create the originals in Dark Mod and distribute and publishers get more Thief fans as well as money. Probably will still have to pass this onto the publisher but this finally makes more sense to them to accept. I mean a free remaster of their games, hell they can even up the prices on their original games if they wish so and include the remasters in the store description as ways to play the game. 

P.s. The Dark Mod campaigns and maps are great themselves too, but it would also do Thief 1 and 2 justice if anyone ever remakes them this properply. But I take it nobody really wants to remake a game of that size because there is a mod for Thief 2 - Shadows of the Metal Age and I do not see any reason for it not being remade in this engine. 

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#2 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:20 AM

We already have a Thief quasi-remake/homage. It's called The Dark Mod.

 

Additionally, it is legally impossible to recreate these things in TDM. The rights owners would come down on TDM like a ton of bricks. And TDM is not something you can monetise in any way, nor create content for TDM that would be shared with the publisher-owned stuff. TDM is, at its heart, an open-source type of project, with the goal of creating a Thief-like game. TDM is not meant to be a slavish recreation of any of the Thief games.

 

Additionally, do you really think there are enough die-hard classic Thief fans out there ? There are, but not too many. The series has always been niche and liked by those who stumble upon it and discover it, without massive promotion.

 

TDM has also attracted gamers who hadn't played the original Thief games, so why should we continue to live in the past ? The original games are always there, available to buy and play by those who would like to do so. TDM is even better, as it's entirely freeware, no strings attached, and encourages constant iterative feedback to the developers. TDM is a DIY, hobbyist project, by a talented community.

 

Also, who is going to do all this work ? Basic work on TDM is already as time-consuming as it is, even just documenting all the changes being made, all the changes and improvements still needed, and so on. People would be better off not parasiting on Looking Glass Studios' original creations, and instead making new creations, expanding upon the basic concept/formula. Garrett and co. are LGS' children. The TDM community doesn't need to envy other people's children, it already has plenty of their own. The lack of a need to fixate on one central protagonist is what I consider one of the major strengths of TDM. Even fans or players who have never encountered Thief can get into TDM, without having to bog themselves down in Thief's in-universe lore.

 

If Otherside Entertainment or someone else ever buys the rights to Thief from Square Enix, then they'll maybe do an HD remake of the old Thief games, or something. The TDM community can't do that, because it's not even the goal of the TDM community, and we cannot accept anyone's copyrighted IP due to the open-source nature of the project.

 

P.S. If you want a TDP-style Pagan/wilderness/Maw FM, you can play Volta 2: The Cauldron of Gods. If you want to play a TMA-style rooftop-parkour-and-infiltration FM, you can play The Phrase Book. And so on. The spirit of original Thief missions is there, done in a fresh new way, without slavish recreation.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 24 February 2019 - 06:21 AM.

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#3 chakkman

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:25 AM

Also, Enderal uses entirely other assets and models than Skyrim does. Basically, it's another game. With the Skyrim engine. They hardly would allow a remake of it, using the same engine... if that would make sense anyway.


Edited by chakkman, 23 February 2019 - 10:26 AM.


#4 demagogue

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:28 AM

We definitely shouldn't do that because there's no sense in us needlessly playing with fire at this point. It doesn't matter whether it's technically legal or not; it matters if we piss them off enough they make legal threats and we can't pay to defend ourselves. This is aside from the fact that we already have our own universe developed, and we'd be throwing all of that out too. And even further, if you look at T2 FMs coming out these days, a lot of those themselves don't even really use the Thief universe!

 

All of that said, if somebody really wanted to do this, then they could make an independent fork and add that requirement (the code literally checks for the T1/T2 install) and go for it, as long as they were completely independent of us & bear all of the risk and responsibility. We're open source, so there's nothing stopping them. I'm not against the idea in principle for someone else to do. I just don't think it's the right thing for us, especially now, literally a decade already into our run.


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#5 jaxa

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 11:59 AM

The Dark Engine and DromEd are under active development. What's the point of exactly recreating Thief in another engine? Sure, you could get more advanced features and graphics than exist now, but it could take years to work out the kinks.


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#6 pyziroki

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:16 PM

Also, Enderal uses entirely other assets and models than Skyrim does. Basically, it's another game. With the Skyrim engine. They hardly would allow a remake of it, using the same engine... if that would make sense anyway.

And neither does Dark Mod use any assets or models from Thief games too. 

 

The Dark Engine and DromEd are under active development. What's the point of exactly recreating Thief in another engine? Sure, you could get more advanced features and graphics than exist now, but it could take years to work out the kinks.

Ah, Well I like Dark Mod as is but I always welcome more games to play. Especially as cool as this one. I only read a lot of threads about this and wanted to try and give a new idea if people wanted to do it but couldn't in a more easier way than was suggested before. But it is no biggie if you guys don't think it is viable or just don't want it :) just wanted to share. 

Some maps in Dark Mod give nice Dishonored vibe. Others feel like Dark Messiah or Ark Fatalis to me. 



#7 chakkman

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:44 PM

And neither does Dark Mod use any assets or models from Thief games too. 

 

They're very much in line with the original games, unlike in Enderal.


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#8 HMart

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 02:32 PM

IMO the problems with this idea are:,

 

One, even if steam would only let people download TDM, if they have any of the original thief's that doesn't prevent people from download from other sources. Unless the team makes it exclusive to steam and that imo is a very bad idea.

 

Two, many TDM missions are not based on Thief IP but their own thing and have them locked behind steam, because some missions are based directly on Thief IP is IMO crazy.  TDM lore even tho is similar to Thief, is not Thief, so again because one or two missions are based on Thief IP, then ALL TDM missions will have to be locked behind steam, even if they don't use the IP, why, because i'm pretty sure the IP holders will demand that.

 

Third the IP holders could get ideas if money is involved and shot down this game even if TDM uses a different lore the "look&feel" is there and sometimes that is enough to win in court. 

 

Like others said TDM is a free open source game, based on the look&feel of Thief but is not Thief, trying to make it into the later, is only wasting time and imo calling for trouble, specially because on gameplay you would not gain anything and its lore is IMO as rich as Thief lore, mission makers just need to make use of it and or make assets for it, if they don't exist. 

 

 

And afaik Enderal still uses plenty of Skyrim assets is totally not comparable to TDM.  


Edited by HMart, 23 February 2019 - 02:33 PM.


#9 Goldwell

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 02:34 PM

Coming from the point of view as an FM creator I think ultimately this is a lot of work with a decent risk.

On a creative level, being limited to recreating what someone else has already made would be boring. You would just have to open up Thief maps, pull those assets and then build the same way they did. Thats not very inspiring, its just monotonous work that would be really tedious.

Then you carry with it the risk of alienating thief fans, some might find it cool, some might be pissed off, but it might attract the ire of square enix who only see the dark mod violating their intellectual property. And even if thats not the case, who has the lawyers to prove that point in court.

Weve seen in the past AAA publishers are insanely over protective of their IP. With TDM we have managed to go entirely independent so they cant touch us. Following a project like this would open us up, even if you branched it out I cant help but think it might still cause problems.

Im not saying it wouldnt be cool to see, just the effort behind it and the risk it carries isnt worth it. Especially when that author could use that time and energy to create new FMs that arent limited creatively.
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Shadows of Northdale Campaign

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#10 pyziroki

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 03:24 PM

@hmart I didn't mean to restrict this mod like this. I was saying to use the engine from this mod an create Dark Mod: Thief 1 as a separate mod for Thief 1 game. Then Dark Mod: Thief 2 for Thief 2. Lock these mods to these games but not locking the actual Dark Mod to Steam. (That is if you can finally get Dark Mod to steam because I heard it is hard as you gotta prove every asset comes from a legal source).

@Goldwell Look at Black Mesa. It is a remake which started as a mod and it is not an exact copy of an original but still feels superior and true to it. Also look at Resident Evil 2 Remake. 

@all I don't see why Square Enix (who owns the IP right) would be angry if you approach it with the idea before actually creating the mods but I understand your fear and maybe apporaching Square Enix at all to get the "Eye of Sauron" fixed on you is not something you want. I just wanted to maybe give you all a new idea but honestly Thank YOU SOOO DANG Much with Dark Mod :) it is pure amazingness. I wish you made an Arx spin-off game too. This game Dark Mod by quality surpasses many AAA games :) !



#11 Goldwell

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 04:14 PM

One crucial difference is that both of those games you mentioned have larger teams behind them and they have funding too. Here we have a small collection of developers focused on other improvements to the engine and an even smaller handful of people who make missions.

Its a nice idea, but its not practical for this community and mod.
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Stand Alone Missions
Lord Edgar's Bathhouse | Spring Cleaning


#12 wesp5

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 05:36 PM

Look at Black Mesa. It is a remake which started as a mod and it is not an exact copy of an original but still feels superior and true to it.

Black Mesa still isn't finished after 7 years, so what kind of time table would you expect to remake Thief and Thief 2? Also Valve actively supported Black Mesa because it was part of their failed plan to get free money from publishing all mods on Steam, which I don't think anyone else wants...


Edited by wesp5, 23 February 2019 - 05:37 PM.

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#13 stumpy

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 08:59 PM

the only problem i see is the makers of skyrim and half life 2 are games companies that are still around while thief makers looking glass studio's are not so their ip is held by a business whos' sole interest is to make money anyway they can even if its less than a dollar. so for Valve and Bethesda they have more interest in people making remakes of their games because they don't have too, they don't have to fork out to do it while square enix will probably see a dark mod version of thief 1 and 2 as someone stealing money from them even more so if its free, as they will lose money from sales of thief 1 & 2 even if its only a dollar, 1 million sales at 1 dollar a unit is 1 million dollars.


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#14 demagogue

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:38 PM

He didn't say it was free. He said you had to have Thief 1/2 for the game to function, which is effectively saying it's DLC for Thief 1/2.

That's being smarter about it, and someone (else) might try that & be responsible for it. But it's still probably a bad idea for us to do it.


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#15 some1stoleit

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 12:17 AM

Surely Square Enix own the right to more than just the game assets when it comes to Thief, they own the trademarks, the name, the story, the characters, the world. Isn't that why we have Builder's instead of Hammers, so even if you did recreate every original game asset you would still get in trouble because you don't have the license to use to make a game set in the world of Thief with Garret, the Hammers and the Pagans.

 

I feel that even if there wasn't any legal issues, we'd have a situation like Deus Ex Revision where most of the older fanbase is ambivilant towards it or outright dislikes it because it's going to be a departure from the originals and potentially a huge one if the scope of the project isn't managed well. I don't think the Thief fanbase will receive a new version of Thief 1 and 2 which is like Revision nearly as well as the Deus Ex fanbase did. 


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#16 wesp5

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 03:14 AM

He didn't say it was free. He said you had to have Thief 1/2 for the game to function, which is effectively saying it's DLC for Thief 1/2.

That's being smarter about it, and someone (else) might try that & be responsible for it. But it's still probably a bad idea for us to do it.

A Bloodlines remake was stopped by CCP with a C&D letter and they too planned to check for the original game to be installed.


Edited by wesp5, 24 February 2019 - 03:14 AM.

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#17 zergrush

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 04:07 AM

Remaking Thief 1 and 2 is pointless for me. TDM already has its own universe and stories to tell. I'd be much more interested in a full original campaign for TDM than a remake of Thief missions at this point.

 

Spoiler


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#18 demagogue

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 05:14 AM

A Bloodlines remake was stopped by CCP with a C&D letter and they too planned to check for the original game to be installed.

 

Well there you go. And if you can't trust either Troika or Paradox (who bought that IP), which are about the most fan-friendly studios you could hope to find, it only gets worse from there, unless they have some angle for it like Valve which isn't actually all that fan-friendly in the end.

 

In fact, you should probably be suspicious if the company seems too friendly. Cf. the little contact we've already had with Square Enix. I mean they were ok to us -- we had a joint contest & they're fine with our existence and all (that's the good news) -- but they really didn't get what we we're doing and the whole interaction was awkward. I think I might worry if they started caring, even positively, and it's kind of nice to be at arms length. We let them do their thing in peace and they let us do our thing in peace lol.


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#19 Petike the Taffer

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 06:00 AM

I'll reiterate the whole open-source angle thusly:
 

 
Why make your own illegal rebuild of a commercially available tractor, when you can join a big international fan/hobbyist project and build your own open-source clone of that tractor, at a fraction of the price ?

While I don't doubt TDM development has also cost something financially, compared to what LGS or even the modern day Square Enix had to invest in the Thief IP development-wise, TDM has cost mostly "peanuts" financially. That, and the majority of the cost being people's time, willingness, dilligence and creativity.
 

Black Mesa still isn't finished after 7 years, so what kind of time table would you expect to remake Thief and Thief 2? Also Valve actively supported Black Mesa because it was part of their failed plan to get free money from publishing all mods on Steam, which I don't think anyone else wants...


All legal considerations aside, time and manpower and willpower would indeed be the main concerns.

I'm convinced outside of us long-term fans or newcomer retro gaming fans, there aren't a lot of people who'd go gaga over an idTech 4 (i.e. older engine) remake of a 1998 and 2000 stealth game with some rather intellectual, non-mass-appeal elements. Thief's following, while fairly big, has always been more of a cult following. You'd be amazed at how many people casually omit the series whenever talking about influential and groundbreaking 90s gaming greats.

 

There is interest, but not big enough interest. Why should the offer be of exquisitely high quality and many thousands of man-hours put into something that maybe even most of the Thief fanbase wouldn't embrace avidly ? There's just no point. If someone wants old-school Thief in a more modern and more flexible engine, TDM is already here, free of charge to download, play and contribute to.

 

I'll admit that I do find the opening post author's demands towards the TDM development team to be somewhat rude. You guys have been working on this project, on and off, for nearly fifteen years now. For someone to barge into these forums and start making demands á la "right, you guys now remake Thief 1 and 2, I have a fool-proof business plan that I thought about for maybe a total of 2 minutes" is, at least to me, rude to all the people who've contributed to the improvement and success of this awesome freeware project since its beginnings.

 

When TDM began, the goal was clear: This is not about remaking Thief. This is freeware stuff that's meant to recreate and improve upon the stealth-and-exploration gameplay pioneered by Thief. (I read as much in TTLG threads, already well before I also joined this forum, and this forum's earliest threads are also very clear that TDM was never about courting commercial gaming.) We should stick to that. Just like switching engines now, on a whim, would now be ludicrous, getting entangled in commercially, creatively and legally questionable remakes of any kind would be equally pointless.

 


One crucial difference is that both of those games you mentioned have larger teams behind them and they have funding too. Here we have a small collection of developers focused on other improvements to the engine and an even smaller handful of people who make missions.

Its a nice idea, but its not practical for this community and mod.

 

Precisely. I feel the community here, while full of talent, is still rather short of manpower.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 24 February 2019 - 06:25 AM.


#20 chakkman

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 07:53 AM

You know, different topic, but, i'm still waiting for other modders to pick up on the idea of The Dark Mod. I'd really love to have something like this for Deus Ex. I know there's some people here working on that, but, it really seems those projects are seriously lacking manpower. Unfortunately, i'm completely useless, because i neither know how to code, nor to make models, assets, or to map. So, my only hope is that a group of people comes together to make something like that. I think the Deus Ex world perfectly lends itself to something like The Dark Mod is for Thief.



#21 pyziroki

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 08:12 AM

 

I'm convinced outside of us long-term fans or newcomer retro gaming fans, there aren't a lot of people who'd go gaga over an idTech 4 (i.e. older engine) remake of a 1998 and 2000 stealth game with some rather intellectual, non-mass-appeal elements. Thief's following, while fairly big, has always been more of a cult following. You'd be amazed at how many people casually omit the series whenever talking about influential and groundbreaking 90s gaming greats.

 

I played Thief reboot or Thief 4. And I found it superb but this amazes me more because this is fan made and of such high quality, because it is as if the games of old have been thrust into the modern time. It amazes me because of if you put this and Thief 1 side by side you will see how much more Dark Mod is. I would agree that people won't go crazy about this. But I do appreciate how amazingly people bent idTech 4 to make this game.  I mean I don't just play thinking oh god this is a nice Thief-like game. I go and think oh dang this is another amazing modification of an engine and a game, something done and carved out with care by hand. I mean this is something no AAA studio can do :) that is why I love mods more than full games now, for the most part. 


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#22 wesp5

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 09:41 AM

 

Well there you go. And if you can't trust either Troika or Paradox (who bought that IP), which are about the most fan-friendly studios you could hope to find, it only gets worse from there, unless they have some angle for it like Valve which isn't actually all that fan-friendly in the end.

Small correction there, Troika went out of business directly after releasing Bloodlines and Paradox only bought the IP after the C&D action. But I think the problem would be the same: Big corporations just need to protect their stuff otherwise everyone would use it!


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#23 Abusimplea

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 09:07 PM

They prohibit using any in game assets, and remaking in-game maps in new engine. Well it doesn't matter. What if a separate mod is made for each installment containing only the game i.e. Dark Mod: Thief 1; Dark Mod: Thief 2, where the key to playing these mods (which will only be downloadable through steam) will be owning the original games respectively. 

The pseudo mod way of doing it looks okay to me - if you get them to understand what exactly you are trying to do.

If you fail at that it will not make any difference whether you are right or not as they have the resources to sue you into oblivion no matter what.

 

The team is definitely right on not daring to risk TDM's existance over some Thief remake while they already got over hundred missions out and have lots of ideas for improving the engine further.

So if you really want to do it, ask Square Enix for permission to do a fan remake based on a heavily modified fork of the id Tech 4 (Doom 3) engine wich will require Thief 1/2 to be installed.

And never use The Dark Mod's name for it and never mention it in your communication about your project.



#24 HMart

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 06:00 PM

Even Frictional Games one of the most friendly teams, that I know, towards modding, sent a C&D letter to a Penumbra based free fan game, being made on UE4, it was obviously because it was not being made on their HPL engine.

 

And this is the problem with making something based on comercial stuff, where the IP belongs to someone else, you are locking yourself and your time, to the state of mind of a third party and when they demand you to stop you better do it.   


Edited by HMart, 27 February 2019 - 06:01 PM.

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#25 chakkman

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 07:10 PM

IIRC, Square Enix know of the existence of The Dark Mod, and were fine with it, right?






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