Oops… and now I just got an email from GitHub about the shutdown (since I had a fork).
Yeah, for such a “dirty-room” project, they definitely should’ve picked a more “pirate” host. Let’s see what they do next.
This is really cool! I’ve watched the video linked at the bottom and find the reversing-process itself to be very interesting.
Some reversers take the effort to try to generate byte-by-byte-matching binaries, but this doesn’t seem to be the goal here. I wonder if it makes sense to reproduce the exactly matching binary and then applying the bugfixes as a set of patches. Indeed, this makes the general process harder, but it would provide more insight from the outside which bugs were originally present in the engine and make it possible for people to do “speed runs” on confirmed vanilla-engines, just to give one idea.
Let’s hope Take-Two appreciates the fan-driven effort instead of trying to shut it down. I don’t think there’s anything in the engine one would still consider a trade-secret or bleeding-edge-development.
Reverse-engineering is the only way to keep old games alive, because you can’t compile or execute “intellectual property” on your computer as soon as the old binaries stop working. Thus, in my opinion, IP shouldn’t be valued so highly in such obvious cases, comparable to how I think patents should not be possible to be kept by those that don’t make use of them.
Game companies sometimes don’t want to keep old games alive, because if people are playing the old games they aren’t playing/buying the new ones, or they lose the opportunity to sell them again as cheap ports to new platforms (see Super Mario 3D All-Stars). I really hope that logic will not apply here!
Since you need to buy the assets anyway, I absolutely can’t see how that logic may apply, ever. Every alternative platform engine is a net gain from this perspective, since it gives motivation to buy the game for its assets to people who would never buy it otherwise.
Now please explain that Nintendo, Take-Two, Activision-Blizzard and friends, with mountains of dead fan ports in the backyard ;_;
In the recent decade even major strides of the modding community were killed off, even though modding is an “obvious” net-benefit to the game’s value as well…
Someone buying the PC port for $10 (or, more likely, pirating it and throwing away the DRM’d executable) to play is probably unlikely to spend $30 or more on an official port to a next-generation system. id Bethesda Microsoft isn’t likely to see me buy their new port of Dooms 1 or 2 because I’ve spent so much time with free source ports and the asset files I bought for $3 a decade ago.
Let’s take Mario 64 for instance. You already own it on N64, but your N64 is sitting unplugged on a shelf since it won’t even work on your new TV and your controller is broken. N64 decompilation project comes along, you paid for the assets 25 years ago, you can happily play the game on any platform you want. Why would you pay nintendo again for the switch emulator version? You already own the game, and you can now play it comfortably at 4K. Or you might be less inclined to buy a newly released game or console, since you are already busy playing these old games, with their new mods and all.
In a sense, videogame sales compete against other new games but also against all past existing games, unless those past games are unavailable due to system obsolescence.
It’s a bit more complicated than that.
A successful game title is valuable intellectual property. It would be irresponsible towards the IP’s once and future owners to let part of it “get away” and maybe be used in a way that’s harmful to the parent company. Obviously it’s not a big deal for Rockstar is someone makes a lewd version of GTA (but see the Hot Coffee mod!) but for companies like Nintendo it’s unthinkable.
I think that’s why GP wrote
IP shouldn’t be valued so highly
IP shouldn’t be valued so highly
because, yeah, perhaps people shouldn’t have to care what Nintendo thinks after all.
I was simply replying to the statement that “companies don’t free old games because they’d sell less new ones”.
I’m all for comprehensive IP reform personally, and hopefully efforts like this will work towards that.
The article doesn’t actually explain how they managed to avoid DMCA. This is especially funny since they just got DMCA’d.
It’s definitely an interesting project, but I just hate misleading titles like this one so much…
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Sadly this would not be any easier than (for example) merging an electric car, a diesel semi-trailer and a petrol lawnmower into the one vehicle. You effectively have to design something completely new (based off the ideas of the original vehicles), there are no valid ways of smashing these things together to make them overlap into one vehicle.
In game terms: the engines are vastly different. Physics loops will be so different they practically describe unique alternate universes with different ideas of how energy should (not) be conserved – you can’t even average the behaviours and expect entities not to zoom off into the sunset. Events & their trigger mechanisms could be complete inside-out concepts of each other (pre-timed, post-timed, frame/tick-timed, real-timed, collision-triggered, animation-triggered, garbage-collector triggered). Not to mention how every game engine describes entities to different levels of detail and in different struct/class/whatever hierarchies. Trying to merge all the engines would be insanity
Alternatively you can take assets from one game (eg maps, models, SFX) and move them over to a different game; but the original experiences & gameplay are lost. You can potentially try and recreate these behaviours by hand (re-implement them), but it’s a lot of work to get the “feel” to be the same.
Wreck-It-Ralph made it look easy, sadly you can’t walk from CS 1.6 into GTA and start flash-banging people.