[Apr 21, 2008, 10:57 am ET] - Share - Viewing Comments
A new S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
trailer shows off DirectX 10 graphics
from the upcoming first-person shooter prequel from GSC Game World. The movie
looks at the game's soft water, volumetric fire, dynamic volumeteric smoke,
dynamic wet surfaces, rainmap shadow maps, water splashes, and water streaming
down surfaces (not to mention more shadows than you can shake a Chernobyl at).
The 36 MB clip is located on
, and Gamer's
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||S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky DirectX 10 Trailer
||Apr 22, 2008, 06:26
|Man, this argument is getting old. I think we can work this out though.
No arguments yet, let's just agree on some points first...
1) Whether something is legal or not doesn't necessarily define whether it is "right" or "wrong".
Ignore the fact for now that people don't always agree on what is right and wrong, lets just look at the law: Laws can have loopholes, which allow things to be legal that people feel shouldn't be, and vice-versa. Laws are amended all the time to try to make the law apply in all "correct" cases.
2) "Piracy" is illegal.
I put piracy in quotes because I want to define it: I think we can agree that in most modern legal jurisdictions, obtaining electronic copies of software without payment is illegal. That is, there is specific legislation that forbids the action, and prescribes punishment for it.
3) The word "piracy" is loaded - it has connotations of right and wrong built in. So to be separate the act from the emotion, for this argument, I'll refer to the act of downloading software without payment as "borking".
Now let's examine 2 imaginary people.
Person A borks lots of software he thinks he might like or use. Even if he likes it and uses it all the time, he never, ever pays for it. Person A is using someone else's output for their benefit, without rewarding that person for their efforts. I think that most people on both sides of the argument can agree that this is both illegal AND "wrong".
Person B borks lots of software he thinks he might like or use. If the software installs and initialises correctly on his PC, he immediately pays for a legal version of the software. If it doesn't install, or installs but doesn't run, he doesn't pay for it and removes it. Person B's borking is just as illegal as Person A's. But is it wrong?
If Person B can't install and run the software, it is not useful to him, and it doesn't seem like he is morally/ethically obliged to reward the software's creator. I would argue that in the *EXACT* situation described above, Person B's borking, IN ITSELF, is not "wrong". (Note that I'm NOT including indirect effects like "setting a bad example", just the act considered by itself.)
I suspect that most people would also agree that the behaviour, considered in isolation, isn't "wrong", although it is illegal.
Now here's the hard part...
When it comes to evaluating whether a real-world piece of software is "useful" (a utility) or "fun" (a game), more needs to be done than just testing that installation succeeds. For utilities, there is a grey area where "evaluation" becomes "use". For games, there is a grey area where "evaluation" becomes "having fun", or at least "passing time".
As a person's behaviour moves away from Person B's "ideal" and becomes more like Person A, the line of "right" and "wrong" becomes harder to judge.
What if Person C plays the first 5 mintes of an 8 hour game then decides that he doesn't want to play to the end? If he had some fun in that 5 minutes, should he pay for the whole game? Should he pay for some of it? None of it?
What if Person D plays through 1 hour of a 6 hour game before stopping, and sees it degenerate from OK to incredibly lame in that time?
The point is that we can never make enough rules to define what is "right" and "wrong" for every single possible case in the spectrum from Person A to Person B. Pointing out that someone borks software is not a valid justification for calling their behaviour wrong or right.
If a borker says that they are more like Person B, then, without knowledge of actual instances of borking and the evaluation that person made before making their decision to buy or not, all that can be said is "I hope you make those evaluations the way I would, otherwise, I would call your behaviour wrong".
That's all on the logic front.
For the record, my personal opinions:
1) I don't pirate software, games, or music.
2) I think there are far more people like Person A than Person B.
3) I think people like Person A stifle creativity and kill innovation in many creative industries.
4) I think using but not paying for software because "I can't afford it" is wrong.
5) I have no problem with people borking games for evaluation purposes, whether or not demos are available. I just hope that their morals are close to mine when it comes to the evaluation of worth.