Code Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

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Anyone here remember the game Startopia from 2001? The game had quite a few bugs but overall it was a nice experience in single player. The multiplayer mode however was super buggy and basically unplayable. As with all good games the developers stopped at fixing it and the game was left in this semi-broken state.

I was hoping that the source code for this game be published at some point or that someone would start reverse engineering it. However the game is now exactly 20 years old and basically I had given up all hope. Similar to Supreme Commander the IP for the game belong to Square Enix.

So you can imagine that I was quite surprised when I had a news article in my Steam UI telling me that there is a new beta patch for Startopia released in 2021. Usually the only party that can add fixes for these old games on Steam ist the original publisher. Fan patches would rather show up as mods or similar.

So I was reading the forum of steam. As it turns out one of the original developers bought the whole IP for Startopia from Square Enix and is continuing to develop it.

Essentially I'm still a realist. And my brain tells me play this is not going to happen for Supreme Commander. Especially are some additional things that are quite different to the situation of Supreme Commander. I guess the Startopia IP was not "as big" as Supreme Commander (which could be seen as Triple A + Expension + part 2). Also if you read the forum post you will see that the original developer always the source code and then he continued to keep it compilable on newer versions of Microsoft Visual Studio (C++ IDE). As far as we Know there is no developer left who kept the source code Supreme Commander (or at least they're all denying it) and it doesn't seem to be the case there is someone still keeping the original source code in a shape but it's still compiles in a modern environment.

But a man can dream, right?

Here is the forum post for those who are interested: https://steamcommunity.com/app/243040/discussions/0/2790494800085438116/#c2790495251254568347

"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
– Benno Rice

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Companies tend to hold onto any "AAA" IP no matter what, even if they obviously never plan to make a game with that IP ever again. I very much doubt anyone, or a collection of someones, could scrape together enough money to pay Square Enix for the rights.

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

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While that is true it's actually against shareholder value principles. As far as I can see all big companies value riskless earnings now much more than potential riskily higher earnings much later. 🤷

"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
– Benno Rice

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There is no harm in asking Square Enix, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. The worst they could say is NO. Who knows, maybe a deal could be made.

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This has been tried. Several times over several years. Also, they spent 35 million on the IP in 2007. They aren't going to be selling it to us unless we have a Russian oil mogul playing FAF.

In fact we DID have somebody willing to throw that sort of money around and Square Enix was still uninterested.

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But that was more than half a decade ago. Things might have changed. Also I guess the hardest part is even finding the right person to talk to in such a big company. I don't know if visionik ever found the right person.

"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
– Benno Rice

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The only way to get them to budge on that one is if we all stop playing and casting. We keep generating sales and until their sheets read 0¥ for awhile they probably won't shift position.

And heck this source code. If I had enough money to pull this off Square I'd have enough to hire devs and make something more modern to read in the blueprints and map files.

Otherwise look at obscure leftover laws that allows the seizure of assets held by foreign corporations.

You must deceive the enemy, sometimes your allies, but you must always deceive yourself!

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@kalethequick I doubt they'll even bat an eye for it, I worry more about the fact that they will sell it to someone else because they think it became obsolete

FAF = Femboy Alliance Forever

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FAF funds are so minor I doubt we even pay off the interest that the original 35 million could have been getting in a savings account, even if you assume literally every dollar of supreme commander since 2013 was due to FAF.

Square Enix bought it for cheap as a AAA title during a bankruptcy sale, they aren’t going to keel over from community action. In fact, we aren’t even certain if Square Enix themselves even HAVE the source code for this game and if they don’t the entire discussion is totally pointless because who cares about the ip.

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Even if we somehow had the money, and SE was willing to sell, it'd probably be better to just put that much money towards developing a new, modern game.

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@snagglefox said in Code Wars Episode IV: A New Hope:

Even if we somehow had the money, and SE was willing to sell, it'd probably be better to just put that much money towards developing a new, modern game.

That wouldn’t be very forever of forged alliance forever.

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@ftxcommando I care about the IP. This game is what got me through that one time I accidentally made ISIS. Sorry, Middle east...

Though I'm willing to abandon it if we made a community built knockoff. With the United Dirt Entente, the Cyberon, and Eon Glowocracy.

You must deceive the enemy, sometimes your allies, but you must always deceive yourself!

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Buying just the IP without source code would be already a major leap forward out of the legal grey area we are operating under.
We could not just distribute the mods, but Forged Alliance itself as all-in-one package.

Also theoretically we could reuse all assets in an open source rewrite attempt.
Using the original assets is an important aspect to keep the flair. If you rewrite something and use different assets, it's just a new game.

"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
– Benno Rice

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@brutus5000 Well, there is really only one way to find out, reach out to square enix and see what they say. I think this is their contact page https://www.hd.square-enix.com/eng/contact.html

Maybe a partnership deal could be made or something. We can speculate on what they might say or do but at the end on the day the best way to know is just to ask even if it is a longshot.