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Sunday, Dec 03, 2017

  

Who Controls Star Control?

There is a bit of a feud underway between Stardock Entertainment and Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III, the development team also known as Toys for Bob and apparently Dogar and Kazon (thanks Rollory). The two entities are currently arguing over the rights to sell prior games in the Star Control space action/strategy series and to make new ones. Stardock is the undisputed owner of the Star Control name, but that seems to be the only aspect of all this that is not in dispute. Last year Stardock announced plans for a new installment called Star Control: Origins. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago (almost exactly a year after Stardock's news) Ford and Reiche announced their own a new game in the series called Ghosts of the Precursors. We initially called this an unofficial sequel, and they quickly wrote to correct us that this was very much an official to Star Control II -- The Ur-Quan Masters, except that they could not use the Star Control name. This seemed a little confusing, and the new dispute helps explain why. A post on the Dogar And Kazon questions what aspects of the IP besides the name actually belong to Stardock and whether they are allowed to sell the previous games in the series. A Stardock response calls the post "disturbing and unanticipated," says Stardock does have rights to sell the older games, and denies allegations they are using characters from Star Control II. Here are the posts reflecting the conflicting viewpoints. First up are Fred and Paul:

Unfortunately there appears to be a growing legal conflict between us and Stardock. We started out confused at what Stardock said and did. We tried to be reasonable and settle the problem quietly, but now after months of debate we are flat out mad! First, a little background information on just our side of the story:

  • In 2013, Stardock bought a limited set of Atari’s assets at a bankruptcy auction -- primarily the name and trademark Star Control® and certain original aspects of Star Control III, like the space cows. It’s our opinion that Atari’s rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before the auction and we contend that Stardock has zero rights to our games, including any code and other IP we created.
  • As far as we can currently tell, we have no relationship with Stardock that lets them sell the three earlier Star Control games without our permission, either bundled with their other products or separately. That permission has not been given.
  • Despite what Stardock's Brad Wardell has recently said, including in this Ars Technica article, our games’ universe has absolutely no connection, hyper-dimensional or otherwise, with Star Control®: Origins. (Note: We really don’t like other people putting our names in their diagrams without asking us first.)

Stardock now seems to think that not only can they use our aliens, ships and narrative without our permission, but thinks that we cannot make a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters without their permission -- this is where we got really, really angry.

When we started Ghosts of the Precursors™ we were looking forward to spending our time on fun, creative work, not fighting a legal battle to protect ourselves and our work. We have nothing but respect for the talented, passionate developers working on Star Control: Origins, but we apparently have a BIG problem right now with Stardock’s management. We’ve been waiting 25 years to make Ghosts of the Precursors for our fans and we certainly won’t let this stop us. Go! Go! Go!

Here's the response from Stardock's Brad Wardell:

We are disappointed that Paul and Fred, two people we have a great deal of respect and admiration for, have chosen to imply that we are somehow preventing them from working on their new game.

Stardock has been nothing but supportive of their new project and wish them the best. I personally made the post here on StarControl.com in support of it.

With regards to their contentions:

First, as many people know, the classic Star Control games have been available for sale long before Stardock acquired the rights from Atari four years ago. For the entirety of the time we have held the rights, they have been getting paid for those sales. If they had an objection to the games being sold this is something that could and should have been addressed before we were ever involved.

Second, we have stated, repeatedly and consistently for over four years that we are not using any of the aliens from the classic series. As we have stated, our position is that, to the best of our knowledge, the classic alien IP is owned by them.

We have also discussed, at length, why it wasn't commercially viable for us to attempt to continue or retell the Ur-Quan story. 25 years is just too long of a gap. This is one of the reasons why we have been so excited about Paul and Fred's project. Their game frees us to introduce new characters and a new story into the new Star Control while allowing fans of the classic series a way to continue the classic story. This strikes us as a win-win situation.

Lastly, when we acquired Star Control from Atari in 2013, many assets were transferred to us including the various publishing agreements to the Star Control franchise. The short version is that the classic IP is messy. We understand that this makes them "really really angry" but we weren't a party to that agreement. All we can do is try to put something together that releases them from the restrictions placed on their IP that they agreed to and transfer any and all rights and responsibilities to them. We want them to make Ghosts but we don't want any liability or association with it.

Given the disturbing and unanticipated post by Paul and Fred, we are persuaded more than ever that a clear and irrefutable document that makes it clear that we are not associated or involved with their new game is needed.

We have nothing but respect and admiration for Paul and Fred and wish them well in their new project.

Steam Top 10

Valve reports the following were the bestselling titles on Steam last week:

  1. PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition
  5. Call of Duty: WWII
  6. Assassin's Creed Origins
  7. Divinity: Original Sin 2
  8. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  9. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  10. NieR:Automata

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Sunday Consolidation

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

  • Rogue Trooper Redux on Wajeez.

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Pro Gaming i9 XE Motherboard on TweakTown.
  • Cooler Master MasterWatt 550W Power Supply on PC Perspective.
  • GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard on TweakTown.

Out of the Blue

Sorry about the late update today, I had a bit of a backwards day, and this was the fallout. Now I get to settle in and root for the Giants to gain zero yards today and for the immediate firing of the Head Coach and the G.M. Not that I'm bitter about the benching of Eli or anything.

Embittered Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Brick Breaker Intergalactic.
Stories: White House occupants complain about stuck doors, roaches, mice and ants. That's how you get ants.
Media: StarCrafts Season 6 Ep1 The New Terran.
MOST EPIC BARBIE JEEP CRASH COMPILATION. Thanks Hypothermia.
I do not fear your barrier.
Russian parents made you learn Piano: Improvise.

Saturday, Dec 02, 2017

Ultimate Fishing Simulator Early Access

Steam now offers early access to Ultimate Fishing Simulator, a Windows angling simulation that got its start via crowdfunding. Here's a cinematic trailer showing off the concept, and this video is the most recent gameplay trailer released by developer Ultimate Games S.A. Word is future plans include multiplayer support and console editions. Here's a description of what's currently in the game:

Ultimate Fishing Simulator is a high-quality fishing simulator, featuring realistic graphics, physics and gameplay. Cross the boundless seas and oceans, discover the deepest recesses of rivers and lakes.

Ultimate Fishing Simulator includes:

  • 4 realistic fisheries from all over the world
  • Dozen of fish species
  • Huge selection of equipment (rods, reels, baits, decoys, hooks, ...)
  • Dynamic weather
  • Ultra realistic water
  • Camera from the bait view
  • Sea fishing
  • Full daily cycle (day/night)
  • Boats

Continue here to read the full story.

Saturday Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy birthday to Redwood, the O.G. Quake webmaster. It's hard to believe it's been over 20 years since we met, since he was probably about 20 at the time. Red and his work were an inspiration for me, and he was an early supporter of this site, so you probably wouldn't be reading these words were it not for him. I'm raising a glass to you today, Redwood, even if I have to hire a cherry picker to get reach it up to you.

Inspired Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Contradiction.
Stories: This Scientist Wants to Bring Star Trek Values to Congress.
Waffle House Customer Cooks Own Meal After Finding Employee Asleep.
A man's 'Do not resuscitate' tattoo left doctors debating whether to save his life.
Science: Full Moon Sunday Kicks Off 'Supermoon Trilogy,' Including a Lunar Eclipse.
SpaceX will attempt to launch a red Tesla Roadster to the red planet.
After 37 years, Voyager 1 has fired up its trajectory thrusters. Time to get Captain Kirk on the case.
Media: The Rock Star Artist Carving Portraits Through Time.
Australian TV Host Nearly Killed By Coke Bottle Rocket. So close to a Darwin award.
Firebird Transition Startles an Audience Member.
Follow-up: DOJ: We want Martin Shkreli’s Enigma machine, Wu-Tang album, and $7.3 million. But mostly the album.



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