Tagged: IllFonic

The FREE GPLed Arena FPS game Nexuiz from Alientrap has going trough some major changes …and it doesn’t seems good.

The founder of the Nexuiz project with many of it’s major contributors agreed to “sell” their domain and GPLed sources to IllFonic, LLC.
While the GPLed Nexuiz will remain free the “New” Nexuiz (which is developed for the consoles) will be closed source.

From the IGN article :

Illfonic Brings Underground Arena FPS, Nexuiz to Console Gamers
Cult futuristic based shooter coming to consoles in 2010.

March 2, 2010 – LOS ANGELES – Independent developer and publisher, IllFonic, announced today its plans to launch the futuristic arena first-person shooter Nexuiz across downloadable console platforms in 2010. Originally developed by Alientrap Software as a free open source shooter in 2005 for the PC, Nexuiz has been downloaded by over 4 million unique users. IllFonic’s remake of Nexuiz for console gamers features a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated.

“Since its launch in 2005, Nexuiz has become a cult hit with hardcore arena FPS players from around the globe”, said Chuck Brungardt, President of IllFonic. “With its unique setting, new features, and slick ranking system we are looking forward to bringing Nexuiz to a new community of console gamers.”

“IllFonic is not only introducing Nexuiz to an entirely new set of gamers, but also completely updating the graphics for the next generation while staying true to the gameplay refined over the years through open source development”, said Lee Vermeulen owner of Alientrap Software and creator of Nexuiz.

For centuries the Kavussari and Forsellians have waged a galactic war. Over time the two races entered into treaties with the Herald Accord, a union between different cultures in the galaxy. Even though peace settled across their planets, the seething hatred between the races kept the fire of war simmering under the fragile truce. Sensing their newest members could spread war throughout the galaxy; the Herald Accord gave the Kavussari and Forsellians a choice. Pit their warriors against each other in the arena rather than on the fields of war, or face total annihilation. The Nexuiz was formed, a series of battle arenas on the home planets of the Kavussari, Forsellian and the ruined planet of Atavirta.

Nexuiz is a fast paced Arena first-person shooter with extremely competitive game play made specifically for consoles. The game will feature a mutator system that allows players to change the rules of the match; as players rank, new mutators become available for them to use. Leader boards are designed for social networking, letting players feel more engaged with the community.

Nexuiz features a heavyweight soundtrack from artists including Flying Lotus, Dam Funk and Trisector. On launch Nexuiz will feature multiplayer modes including Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. New games modes, models, and maps will be available as downloadable content post release.

IllFonic will be showcasing Nexuiz at this year’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.

For more information on Nexuiz, go to www.nexuiz.com or www.illfonic.com.

About IllFonic:
IllFonic, LLC, was founded in 2007 by musician Raphael Saadiq, engineer Chuck Brungardt, and game designer Kedhrin Gonzalez. IllFonic is committed to delivering AAA games digitally to consoles and PC at an affordable price. IllFonic utilizes many avenues in pop culture to cross brand its products in film, television, sports, music, and clothing. With offices in Los Angeles and Denver, IllFonic has built a team of artists, developers, producers, and musicians that believe providing fun game-play means conveying the highest level of visual awe, an immersive environment and a sick soundtrack. For more information on the company, go to www.illfonic.com.

About Alientrap:
Alientrap Software was founded in 2002 by Lee Vermeulen and is an online community of international game developers. They are currently working on their second title, Capsized, for release to console and PC platforms through digital distribution.

Here is what Kedhrin Gonzalez the Lead Designer and Co-Founder of IllFonic, LLC has to say about that :

Hello all,

My name is Kedhrin Gonzalez, Lead Designer and Co-Founder of IllFonic, LLC. I know a lot of you in this community have a lot of questions as to what is going on with the recent announcement.

Before we get started, I’d like to forward you guys the official press release -> http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/107/1073381p1.html

Here is some press recently put up from Shogun Gamer -> http://www.shogungamer.com/news/preview … ect-nexuiz

You can view higher resolution screen-shots we released last night on gamespot -> http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/nexu … ow;thumb;3

So after we put the site up at Midnight MST (-8:00), I got on the #nexuiz IRC chat room to see what some of the concerns you guys in the community had. I’ll try my best to address as many questions as I can.

Firstly, I’d like to mention who I am. I’ve been involved within the independent community since 1997. I started off with Quake and moved my way through mod communities, eventually getting involved with independent full games – then getting into professional game development. I fully understand and can relate to the concerns you guys have about this project and how this effects the game you love and have worked on for so long. Some of you may have heard of my personal project ‘Quake 10 Year’ I was working on in 2006. With that said I want to support you guys as much as I can. Let me be very clear that it is not our intention to snuff the GPL Free Nexuiz out in any way.

IllFonic was started 2 years ago by myself, Charles Brungardt (President) and Raphael Saadiq. When we first started our studio, we focused on making a game called ‘Ghetto Golf’. This game is still in production, using Unreal Engine 3 as its backbone. Our team includes many Quake based developers – including Paul ‘Echon’ Jackson as our Lead Programmer (Author EGL Quake 2 engine and admin of Quakedev.net), Forest ‘LordHavoc’ Hale (Author DarkPlaces and huge contributor to GPL Nexuiz), Chris Holden as our Lead Artist, who started his professional career working on the Quake 2 Extremities mission pack. After playing Nexuiz, seeing it grow, I saw this project as being a great milestone for us to open our publishing arm to independent projects. Nexuiz has achieved a lot of great things, which you guys should be very proud of. This is the next chapter in the achievements you guys have accomplished.

Let’s be very clear on some specific bullet points.

- We’ve worked out the deals with Alien Trap and Dark Places for our version of Nexuiz. All parties are very supportive and eager to get behind bringing this to the console. I’m not the person to talk to about Legal stuff but we are definitely working together.

- Think of this Nexuiz as a 100% separate entity from the Nexuiz you guys know and love. The game play in our version of Nexuiz is very similar. However, in order to properly port it over to consoles we’ve tweaked a few things here and there – we want to make sure this is a different project (yet still similar) out of respect for your version of Nexuiz. There are no plans at this time to make content we make, including source code, open to the public. Please keep in mind we are spending a lot of money on this project, my team and I have been slaving away on this for the past 2 months – working 12+ hours 7 days a week in order to get it to where it is. We are very passionate about this project as well.

- I know this will come as a shock to some of you. I apologize for us having to keep this in the dark from you guys for so long. Some of you felt offended by this project being kept in the dark. Let me personally say this was not our intent. If anything, we want you guys to feel great about the things we are doing. We had to keep things in the dark until we locked in the rights from Dark Places and Alien Trap.

Here are some perks for you guys with what this project will bring.

- We are using a Licensed version of Dark Places. With that, a lot of the tweaks LordHavoc is doing will be brought to you guys in the engine. These include a lot of performance boosts, features, etc. Although right now the focus is getting this project running and looking great on consoles, there are a lot of things he will be able to trickle down into the GPL version of Nexuiz. Please note: not everything will be brought over but some will.

- We will be talking about the community and game you’ve developed over the years to Press and within our marketing material. It is even mentioned on the new web-site, which will be growing over time. We have this web-site as Nexuiz.com because we are launching a commercial product. Please keep in mind there will be a lot of new players, press and more coming to this web-site for information about our version of Nexuiz. The GPL Nexuiz is still linked on this web-site. This is necessary for the commercial marketing of the project. Our projections show you guys will actually get more players in the GPL version of Nexuiz through all of this than not. I know it feels like you guys are in danger of losing your community, but I trust you will see you are not. In time, I believe firmly you will see the benefits from this.

- AlienTrap is not empty handed in our deal. As much as I’d love to recommend things, it is not my place to suggest what you guys do with your version of GPL Nexuiz or AlienTrap. Concerns such as those should be directed at AlienTrap and not IllFonic.

Ok, let’s get into what exactly this project is…

The Name: We decided to keep the name ‘Nexuiz’ for this release because the audience coming to the console version of Nexuiz will mostly be new to the game. There is a great divide amongst the new FPS Console crowd born out of the explosion of recent mega-hit FPS games on consoles. I can’t mention here other mods and independent games turned into commercial games, but I’m sure some of you guys could name quiet a few. In my MOD days, it was always a dream to get your work picked up by a studio and turned into a commercial game. I know it’s not like that for all of you. Some of you pride yourself on your work and proving that an independent scene can still exist. Our version of Nexuiz is targeting console players only right now. I cannot go into specifics about my speculations, but a lot of great things are possible for you guys out of this.

Console: Some press reported we are targetting the Wii. This is not true. There is no way this game could be played on a Wii without drastically changing the game…. We have no plans for a Wii release at this time. With thumbstick play, what makes Nexuiz great can be lost. (I cannot discuss what consoles right now) Nexuiz is very fast paced, and if you play GPL Nexuiz right now on PC with thumb sticks – you will be dominated most of the time. There are no plans for Console Players and PC Players to be playing against each other at this time. No Mouse and Keyboard support will be available on the Console. . We want to capture that twitch game play still. Nexuiz is one of the fastest Arena FPS games out there. We want to make sure that vision is transferred over to Console game play. But, with that some things need to be adjusted. With console games, some players expect certain things and we have to adapt to those needs. While Nexuiz is a PC arena game These changes will be announced soon.

Artistic Revamp: The art in the new version of Nexuiz is done by a small team.We are 3 programmers, 1 Artist, 1 AnimatoHello all,

My name is Kedhrin Gonzalez, Lead Designer and Co-Founder of IllFonic, LLC. I know a lot of you in this community have a lot of questions as to what is going on with the recent announcement.

Before we get started, I’d like to forward you guys the official press release -> http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/107/1073381p1.html

Here is some press recently put up from Shogun Gamer -> http://www.shogungamer.com/news/preview … ect-nexuiz

You can view higher resolution screen-shots we released last night on gamespot -> http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/nexu … ow;thumb;3

So after we put the site up at Midnight MST (-8:00), I got on the #nexuiz IRC chat room to see what some of the concerns you guys in the community had. I’ll try my best to address as many questions as I can.

Firstly, I’d like to mention who I am. I’ve been involved within the independent community since 1997. I started off with Quake and moved my way through mod communities, eventually getting involved with independent full games – then getting into professional game development. I fully understand and can relate to the concerns you guys have about this project and how this effects the game you love and have worked on for so long. Some of you may have heard of my personal project ‘Quake 10 Year’ I was working on in 2006. With that said I want to support you guys as much as I can. Let me be very clear that it is not our intention to snuff the GPL Free Nexuiz out in any way.

IllFonic was started 2 years ago by myself, Charles Brungardt (President) and Raphael Saadiq. When we first started our studio, we focused on making a game called ‘Ghetto Golf’. This game is still in production, using Unreal Engine 3 as its backbone. Our team includes many Quake based developers – including Paul ‘Echon’ Jackson as our Lead Programmer (Author EGL Quake 2 engine and admin of Quakedev.net), Forest ‘LordHavoc’ Hale (Author DarkPlaces and huge contributor to GPL Nexuiz), Chris Holden as our Lead Artist, who started his professional career working on the Quake 2 Extremities mission pack. After playing Nexuiz, seeing it grow, I saw this project as being a great milestone for us to open our publishing arm to independent projects. Nexuiz has achieved a lot of great things, which you guys should be very proud of. This is the next chapter in the achievements you guys have accomplished.

Let’s be very clear on some specific bullet points.

- We’ve worked out the deals with Alien Trap and Dark Places for our version of Nexuiz. All parties are very supportive and eager to get behind bringing this to the console. I’m not the person to talk to about Legal stuff but we are definitely working together.

- Think of this Nexuiz as a 100% separate entity from the Nexuiz you guys know and love. The game play in our version of Nexuiz is very similar. However, in order to properly port it over to consoles we’ve tweaked a few things here and there – we want to make sure this is a different project (yet still similar) out of respect for your version of Nexuiz. There are no plans at this time to make content we make, including source code, open to the public. Please keep in mind we are spending a lot of money on this project, my team and I have been slaving away on this for the past 2 months – working 12+ hours 7 days a week in order to get it to where it is. We are very passionate about this project as well.

- I know this will come as a shock to some of you. I apologize for us having to keep this in the dark from you guys for so long. Some of you felt offended by this project being kept in the dark. Let me personally say this was not our intent. If anything, we want you guys to feel great about the things we are doing. We had to keep things in the dark until we locked in the rights from Dark Places and Alien Trap.

Here are some perks for you guys with what this project will bring.

- We are using a Licensed version of Dark Places. With that, a lot of the tweaks LordHavoc is doing will be brought to you guys in the engine. These include a lot of performance boosts, features, etc. Although right now the focus is getting this project running and looking great on consoles, there are a lot of things he will be able to trickle down into the GPL version of Nexuiz. Please note: not everything will be brought over but some will.

- We will be talking about the community and game you’ve developed over the years to Press and within our marketing material. It is even mentioned on the new web-site, which will be growing over time. We have this web-site as Nexuiz.com because we are launching a commercial product. Please keep in mind there will be a lot of new players, press and more coming to this web-site for information about our version of Nexuiz. The GPL Nexuiz is still linked on this web-site. This is necessary for the commercial marketing of the project. Our projections show you guys will actually get more players in the GPL version of Nexuiz through all of this than not. I know it feels like you guys are in danger of losing your community, but I trust you will see you are not. In time, I believe firmly you will see the benefits from this.

- AlienTrap is not empty handed in our deal. As much as I’d love to recommend things, it is not my place to suggest what you guys do with your version of GPL Nexuiz or AlienTrap. Concerns such as those should be directed at AlienTrap and not IllFonic.

Ok, let’s get into what exactly this project is…

The Name: We decided to keep the name ‘Nexuiz’ for this release because the audience coming to the console version of Nexuiz will mostly be new to the game. There is a great divide amongst the new FPS Console crowd born out of the explosion of recent mega-hit FPS games on consoles. I can’t mention here other mods and independent games turned into commercial games, but I’m sure some of you guys could name quiet a few. In my MOD days, it was always a dream to get your work picked up by a studio and turned into a commercial game. I know it’s not like that for all of you. Some of you pride yourself on your work and proving that an independent scene can still exist. Our version of Nexuiz is targeting console players only right now. I cannot go into specifics about my speculations, but a lot of great things are possible for you guys out of this.

Console: Some press reported we are targetting the Wii. This is not true. There is no way this game could be played on a Wii without drastically changing the game…. We have no plans for a Wii release at this time. With thumbstick play, what makes Nexuiz great can be lost. (I cannot discuss what consoles right now) Nexuiz is very fast paced, and if you play GPL Nexuiz right now on PC with thumb sticks – you will be dominated most of the time. There are no plans for Console Players and PC Players to be playing against each other at this time. No Mouse and Keyboard support will be available on the Console. . We want to capture that twitch game play still. Nexuiz is one of the fastest Arena FPS games out there. We want to make sure that vision is transferred over to Console game play. But, with that some things need to be adjusted. With console games, some players expect certain things and we have to adapt to those needs. While Nexuiz is a PC arena game These changes will be announced soon.

Artistic Revamp: The art in the new version of Nexuiz is done by a small team.We are 3 programmers, 1 Artist, 1 Animator and 1 Designer right now (Full-time In house) and have a motion capture animation system. Our characters/weapons are modeled by Art Bully Productions (http://www.artbullyproductions.com). Keep in mind our team is extremely small. What you’re seeing is the work from this team, and the hired backing of Art Bully Productions and a few freelancers in 2 months. I am very proud of our team and what we’ve pulled off here for the alpha test. And yes, this is running on a console. We made the content a more Victorian elegant Sci-Fi style. More information and content will be revealed over the course of development.

What’s Next:

This is clearly a post directed at you guys specifically. I cannot reveal too much about the game right now other than what has been released. I wanted to let you guys know that we do listen to you. We are not some big corporate mega company coming in who can’t understand where you are coming from.

GDC 2010

This announcement was intended for our build up to GDC this month. At GDC, we have a booth on the floor, here we will be showing press the game and doing a full announcement of the project. Lee Vermeulen and Forest Hale will both be with us during our Press, party and more at GDC. We are very excited to reveal this project to the public and get their hands on the alpha test we have to offer.

In the screenshots, you are seeing 2 character models of the 2 Factions in Nexuiz. The level they are playing on is ‘Strength’ with a new face lift and slight design modifications. The weapons you can see in the screen shots are the Machine Gun, Hagar, Nex, HLAC and Shotgun. There are a lot more things in production, but this is where we are so far.

I am sorry I cannot go into legal matters about our situation. I hope you guys enjoy the version of Nexuiz we are creating. We will be announcing more information soon, as well as putting our official IllFonic site back up soon.

I’d like to invite you guys to follow us on Twitter and Facebook (look up IllFonic). Also, you can add me personally on myspace via http://www.myspace.com/kedhrin where i post updates as they come from press, events, etc.

I will try to check back on this forum periodically. I am still very busy but wanted to take the time to introduce myself, IllFonic and what we’re doing. I expect there to be a tidal wave of questions asked when I post this. So please don’t be offended if I’m not able to get to them all and not in a timely manner. We’re still crunching for GDC, we want to make sure this looks as great as it can and we bring as many players to Nexuiz as we can.

Thanks,

Kedhrinr and 1 Designer right now (Full-time In house) and have a motion capture animation system. Our characters/weapons are modeled by Art Bully Productions (http://www.artbullyproductions.com). Keep in mind our team is extremely small. What you’re seeing is the work from this team, and the hired backing of Art Bully Productions and a few freelancers in 2 months. I am very proud of our team and what we’ve pulled off here for the alpha test. And yes, this is running on a console. We made the content a more Victorian elegant Sci-Fi style. More information and content will be revealed over the course of development.

What’s Next:

This is clearly a post directed at you guys specifically. I cannot reveal too much about the game right now other than what has been released. I wanted to let you guys know that we do listen to you. We are not some big corporate mega company coming in who can’t understand where you are coming from.

GDC 2010

This announcement was intended for our build up to GDC this month. At GDC, we have a booth on the floor, here we will be showing press the game and doing a full announcement of the project. Lee Vermeulen and Forest Hale will both be with us during our Press, party and more at GDC. We are very excited to reveal this project to the public and get their hands on the alpha test we have to offer.

In the screenshots, you are seeing 2 character models of the 2 Factions in Nexuiz. The level they are playing on is ‘Strength’ with a new face lift and slight design modifications. The weapons you can see in the screen shots are the Machine Gun, Hagar, Nex, HLAC and Shotgun. There are a lot more things in production, but this is where we are so far.

I am sorry I cannot go into legal matters about our situation. I hope you guys enjoy the version of Nexuiz we are creating. We will be announcing more information soon, as well as putting our official IllFonic site back up soon.

I’d like to invite you guys to follow us on Twitter and Facebook (look up IllFonic). Also, you can add me personally on myspace via http://www.myspace.com/kedhrin where i post updates as they come from press, events, etc.

I will try to check back on this forum periodically. I am still very busy but wanted to take the time to introduce myself, IllFonic and what we’re doing. I expect there to be a tidal wave of questions asked when I post this. So please don’t be offended if I’m not able to get to them all and not in a timely manner. We’re still crunching for GDC, we want to make sure this looks as great as it can and we bring as many players to Nexuiz as we can.

Thanks,

Kedhrin”

Some-Guy asked IllFonic, LLC this question :

Is there any chance that some artwork/code could be opensourced, maybe something like how id has done (release, after a while opensource the code) ?

And got this answer :
Right now releasing things to the public is uncertain. There are a lot of things related to the SDK’s for the consoles, etc. that do not allow for GPL usage. You have to keep in mind the content we are creating is a lot different than the content made for GPL Nexuiz. I know you guys would love to see it there. I just cannot give you a definitive answer on this right now.
In other answer he said :
At present we have no plans to change the Nexuiz name or distribute our content to the GPL Nexuiz.

Also they would contrebute parts of their code to the GPLed Nexuiz project :
I’m from the open source community. I know all about it, and where you guys are coming from and why you’re making the points you are. However, what we are doing is not open sourced. Yes this is a commercial project. Things are done differently. We’ve made up our minds on a lot of things. I want to discuss why we’re doing things specific ways where I can. Some things we can shift on that aren’t a big deal. Some things we cannot. That’s just how it is. I know there are hardcore, gun-ho open-source people in this community who pride themselves on being involved with a Free Game. I respect them I do, but at the end of the day I want to give players a great experience and support developers where I can. I cannot make everyone happy.

That’s why I keep saying we’re separate entities. We are not touching GPL Nexuiz in a bad way. But the benefits you guys will see from our development will be on the tech side. Game Design changes and features are my design and part of this new Nexuiz. There are a lot of things that will be coming your way that we have been working on with LordHavoc on the engine. You guys will see these changes and it will make your experience better on GPL Nexuiz.

If you’re concerned about you getting a gain from this deal because you contributed so much – IllFonic is not responsible for that.

…We have many things planned for the community existing, including giving away some of our hard work on the source code – for free, crediting the original community in the credits (as supplied by the community) as well as Beta Invites and potentially free copies of the game. These are things I can talk about and want to talk about. As well as much much more, including features, how we work, what our work flow is etc…The texture pack may not be relevant as most textures that could be used for BSP are rather simple. Almost all of our textures are made for custom unwraps, some are tiling but I don’t see how you could use them without a massive global revamp of all your assets (like what we’re doing). The player models may be possible – keep in mind when we acted these animations out we kept in mind the armor on our character concepts. So they may not be too good. However, we do have a shit ton of extra mocap animations that do require animations. We can also potentially offer tutorials on how to use the new animation system (which allow for upper and lower body blends as well as other improvements). This is further down the road, however.

About the legality of this move the main community contributors / project managers and IllFonic, LLC keep their silence as it’s under NDA.
But other FOSS enthusiastic had what to say…and it’s still doesn’t sounds good…

[First of all, a disclaimer: I’m nobody. I don’t play Nexuiz regularly, I can’t claim to be a member of this community, I’m not a developer, nor a contributor of any kind. I have no affiliations to anybody related to Nexuiz.

I’m just a guy with some understanding of the issues regarding the Nexuiz relicense and a hobby-level interest in FOSS and software licenses. I’m also part of a fellow game community (Tremulous) so I can empathize with you guys.

I’d like to share my knowledge. I’m hoping it will clear the air. I’m putting some time and thought into this so please read it through at least once. (If you don’t have the time, I’ve marked key ideas so you can skim through.) Thank you.]

1. IS WHAT HAPPENED LEGAL?

What makes up Nexuiz, the game:
* The engine (Dark Places).
* The game data (artwork, maps, models, textures, sounds etc.)
* The name.

1.1 IS TRANSFERING OWNERSHIP OF THE ENGINE AND DATA LEGAL?

Yes.

The engine and the game data fall under copyright law. Since Illfonic claims to have signed contracts with certain legal entities regarding the engine and game data, it automatically means (in order for the contracts to make sense) that the legal entities they signed with were the sole copyright holders for their respective stuff (source code, artwork etc.)

It has been mentioned above that SVN access to the Dark Places engine source code was conditioned by assigning all copyright to Forest Hale or Alien Trap (the company). That would make Forest Hale/Alien Trap and ID Software (the original developer) the sole copyright holders. Also, it has been mentioned in this thread that Illfonic got in touch and secured rights from the relevant copyright holders for the game data (maybe all of it, maybe just the parts that interested them).

If all that is true, it means that Illfonic now has a legal right to the engine and the game data. Of course, that may mean lots of things. The terms of the contracts are unknown; there may be more (or less) involved than full copyright transfer. There may be just licensees, with certain rights.

Nevermind. What it means is that Illfonic got a copy of the engine and data with which they can do as they please.

Note: If something slipped by and there are pieces of code or artwork for which Illfonic doesn’t have the rights, the copyright holders for those pieces may raise some legal claim. That is pure speculation without any proof. Occam’s Razor suggests that Illfonic will have taken all precautions. Then again, there’s human error, laziness and stupidity. If any of you wishes to investigate further, do so.

1.2 IS TAKING OVER THE “NEXUIZ” NAME LEGAL?

Yes.

Names/brands fall under trademark law, not copyright. To have the rights to a trademark, you have to register it, and you have to actively protect it, in order to be able to claim rights to it and not lose those rights by being idle about it.

AFAIK, Alien Trap owns a trademark for “Nexuiz”. Presumably, they have transferred it to Illfonic (or otherwise permitted them to use it, possibly exclusively). That means that Illfonic has a legal right to the name “Nexuiz”. You, the community, have none. You have a moral right, sure, but I’m afraid that doesn’t count, legally.

2. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

2.1 WHAT HAPPENS TO THE NAME “NEXUIZ”?

The trademark owner gets to decide who can and who cannot use the name. I have no idea what Illfonic intends to do, but please understand that as the trademark owner they could very well require everybody else to simply stop using “Nexuiz” dead cold. Even more, as a commercial company they will be forced, to at least some extent, to aggressively protect this brand they now own, from their competition.

If that happens, the community won’t be able to use it anymore. They will have to find another name. And Illfonic will be able, legally, to make sure it’s not too similar a name. Sorry. You have no choice in the matter. So you might as well stop proposing that Illfonic give up the name or let you use it. It. Won’t. Happen.

Of course, I don’t know what will happen. Since Kedhrin talks about a “GPL Nexuiz” it might hint that the community may be permitted to keep on using the name, at least for a while. Again, it might not.

Worst case scenario: the game you know and love as “Nexuiz” will have to be called something completely different in the future. Live with it.

2.2 WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ENGINE AND GAME DATA?

Nothing. Yes, that’s right.

Why nothing? You have to understand how licensing works.

A person (or other legal entity, such as a company) creates something (code, artwork, etc.) In most countries, the creator automatically becomes the copyright holder. You can also aquire the copyright from the holder (presumably that’s what Illfonic did).

The creator has full rights to the stuff they created, and other people have none. So, in order for other people to be able to do anything with that stuff, the creator gives them a license which allows them to do certain things.

The creator can give how many licenses he wants, and they can be different licenses for different people.

In this case, Alien Trap and ID Software already gave the world at large the Dark Places engine under the GPL license. Then they also issued another license (or transferred copyright ownership altogether, which would mean they stop being the holders) to Illfonic.

But the interesting thing is that copies of the stuff that was already distributed under GPL cannot be “recalled”. You cannot go back and say that you want all those copies destroyed, returned, require people to stop using them or developing them etc. Same goes for the game data.

Basically, there’s absolutely nothing anybody can do to stop the community from picking up from the last official release of Dark Engines and the release of the game data and keep on going.

Look at it like this. Nexuiz, as you all know and love it, is now twins. One brother goes to live with uncle Illfonic and one stays at home. They both start from the same place. They are identical. But they will evolve in different ways in the future. How — that depends on you, the community, vs Illfonic. Each party will take their twin in a different direction.

You haven’t lost anything. Illfonic cannot take anything from you. If their game becomes a success and yours dissapears it will be mainly because of what you do, not about what they do. Here’s hoping they both will do great.

2.3 WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WEB SITES AND DOMAINS?

Unfortunately, the trademark owner controls all kinds of uses of the brand. This includes domain names. This means that, worst case scenario, all domains that contain “Nexuiz” and are deemed undesirable by Illfonic can be asked to give it up or get sued otherwise.

Nexuiz.com is currently owned by Lee. I assume it will be formally passed over to Illfonic representatives. They own the website now and Kedhrin has already mentioned some of the plans they have for it. Be content with the small type mention of “GPL Nexuiz”. IMHO, it will be gone at some point.

alientrap.org is also owned by Lee, and the website too. This means the forum, the website etc. You, the community, have to ask yourselves what ties remain between you and Alien Trap. Because, should the worst come to pass, you may discover that you are now strangers on a stranger’s website. This means that an important part of what makes the community (the website) may cease to exist.

I’m not saying it will happen (soon, or ever). But it can and it might. You have to face reality.

3. WHAT SHOULD THE COMMUNITY DO

Please note that these are just mere suggestions.

* Keep the goodwill going between the community and Illfonic/Alien Trap. If for nothing else but for the fact that you can do a lot of harm to them and them to you. But it doesn’t need to be like that. They don’t have to wipe you out, and you don’t have to call them names and say they “stole” things.

* Identify your de-facto leaders. Then see which of them will take responsability in these trying times and are willing to actually lead you.

* Start thinking of a new name. Pick one ASAP.

* Get organized. You will need a domain name, a website, and a forum first of all. Get cracking on moving the forum contents from Alien Trap to your own site and your own install of phpBB (if Alien Trap will be willing to assist you). Start migrating contents (downloads, screenshot galleries etc.) to the new site. Then you will need all kinds of developer tools (code repository, bug tracker etc.) Here’s a suggestion: you can start at SourceForge, which offers all of these things (and more) for free.

* Learn from what happened here. If you don’t want this to happen again, make sure in the future that no single person or group of persons has full control. I don’t know if the Nexuiz community is big enough, strong enough and dedicated enough to put together a legal entity to represent their interests in the future. I’m talking about an organization, an association, a foundation etc. with a publicly elected board of directors. There are other FOSS projects that do this. It certainly would simplify legal matters and make sure the community is represented from now on properly. Or, you can put your trust in a handful of people and hope for the best. There’s even more FOSS projects that do that.

Thanks for reading.

The Nexuiz community however wrote an open letter to IllFonic, LLC :

To whom it may concern,

We, the Free, Open Source Nexuiz community, are writing this letter to all the people out there, who actually care. On the 1st of March 2010, we were all struck by very unexpected and sad news: Lee Vermeulen, the founder of our beloved open-source game “Nexuiz” had sold (//maybe: “given away” is better here) the domain “nexuiz.com” and licensed the title “Nexuiz” to the Colorado-based video game developer “Illfonic”. Illfonic is currently working on a first person shooter to be published under the name “Nexuiz” for consoles.

The founder of Nexuiz, Lee Vermeulen stopped contributing regularly to the project four years ago. The Nexuiz project evolved through contributions of countless developers, artists, musicians and player feedback into a game that is perceived as one of the most successful open source projects of its genre, making its way into official benchmarks of Phoronix and GPU producer NVIDIA.

(//is that (the NVIDIA part) really true? Heard about it, too lazy to verify myself atm.
// Nexuiz is part of the Phoronix benchmark suite. Can’t comment on nvidia having their
// own benchmark that uses nexuiz
// FruitieX: Yep, Phoronix part is sure, dunno about NVIDIA, really need confirmation for that

###Lee Vermeulen claimed he was confined by a Non-Disclosure-Agreement which he and “Illfonic” signed.//I’d say this is irrelevant because an NDA is something you agree to anyway.)

The community was told that there was something “great” about to happen to the main domain “nexuiz.com”. It was more than a shock for most people in the community to discover what happened on the 1st of March 2010: a group of software developers named “Illfonic” revealed that they are planning a console mockup of the game the Nexuiz community created with lots of love and passion over the years. Besides making use of community-developed code that was licensed under the GPL, giving rise to debates about license violations, Illfonic also intends to publish its console game with exactly the same title, while claiming it would be a good thing for the Nexuiz community to happen*.

//*= “be a good thing for tho nexuiz community as a whole”?
//*=it turns
It turned* out that some of the main developers had been asked if they would object to parts of their code being commercially re-used, and they gave their permission to such re-usage. None of the developers were informed that the commercial re-usage of the code would involve the commercial usage of the name “Nexuiz”.

On March 3rd in 2010 Kedhrin Gonzalez – “Lead Designer and Co-Founder of IllFonic, LLC” posted on the official Alientrap Nexuiz boards: “I know this will come as a shock to some of you. I apologize for us having to keep this in the dark from you guys for so long. Some of you felt offended by this project being kept in the dark. Let me personally say this was not our intent. If anything, we want you guys to feel great about the things we are doing. We had to keep things in the dark until we locked in the rights from Dark Places and Alien Trap.”

After the immediate uproar from the community, suggestions arose as to how a peaceful coexistence could be realised.* To avoid confusion it was suggested that Illfonic uses any kind of derivative name or a suffix in connection with the title “Nexuiz”. Any approaches on part of the Nexuiz community to reach a compromise were rejected and Illfonic refused to cooperate in any way:
//*This sentence does not flow well. Suggestion: After the immediate uproar, the community brought forward measures that could enable a peaceful coexistence.

“Unfortunately, I have nothing else to say on this thread. I’ve responded in a professional format, way more personal than I usually do in a public forum these days trying to connect with. Unfortunately, I will not listen…” // ( …to demands or snappy comments.”) I’d not quote this, as it suggests there were snappy comments, which I think weren’t (considering the circumstances…). // Don’t start editing any quotes here, leave that part in IMO. //I was referring to the entire quote :o)//well. I think we should not be the judge’s of this. I suggest we move around this issue by supplying urls to what we refer to in the end of the statement and let reality to speak for itself.

Illfonic also made clear that there is no intention of supporting Nexuiz – which Kedhrin Gonzalez began referring to as ‘GPL Nexuiz,’ – in any way. The only benefits for Nexuiz as a result of this deal will ostensibly be game engine updates by Forest “Lord Havoc” Hale, the developer of the Darkplaces engine who also has signed a Non-disclosure agreement with the Illfonic team.

When the thread started to get a high Google rank for the term “Illfonic Nexuiz”, it was locked by Forest “Lord Havoc” Hale, who still is a moderator of the Alientrap forums. This happened on request of Kedhrin Gonzalez. This is a short quote from the official Alientrap developer IRC channel, to show what the situation is about:
// the topic is now unlocked and Lord Havoc said he was also annoyed (for the lack of a better word) by the happenings in the thread. Meaning the reason was not solely Kedhrin’s wish. Of course, it does not mean Kedhrin’s wish was in any way more justified and the paragraph should reflect the immoral way the thread locking was done.

” locked that topic at Kedhrin’s request
-.-
Seriously?
yes
he said it’s the top result on google and looks like it will never end
Meh I think i’m — Meh.
he doesn’t mind people making other topics for it, just that one is becoming too much of a headache for him
Tell him to come to this channel, clearly you’re talking to him from somewhere.
so now he gets to moderate gpl nexuiz forrum?”

All this happened while Kedhrin was still claiming to respect the community. As a free software project, Nexuiz has always been a place of open-minded and respectful people and a place where rational discussion and free speech was held important. Abusing its connections to Alientrap forum moderators to limit or stop the ongoing discussion about the Illfonic project in this way is perceived as an affront and open gesture of disrespect by the Nexuiz community. // “towards the Nexuiz community” sounds better imo? mmh, not sure – I wanted to express that the Nexuiz community perceives this as an affront, not that the general public perceives this as an affront towards the Nexuiz community…
Please feel free to visit the thread that was locked at www.alientrap.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=6043 and find out for yourself if the nature of the discussion deserved this kind of treatment.
//mmm not quite happy with that wording. neither am I. Im pondering this.

This leads to the question, how we, the Nexuiz community, are supposed to feel great about all this? If Illfonic had good intentions like they claim, why did they not arrive and interact with the community much earlier and more openly? Why didn’t Illfonic discuss its plans with the Nexuiz community, the people that have made Nexuiz what it is today both through playing and creating? Without all the work and free time many people have contributed to this project, it would have never become what it is today. Yet, despite all reaffirmations of Illfonic’s goodwill, there was no room for a single compromise on any issues that were raised constructively from the Nexuiz community.

That being said, it is not surprising that the Nexuiz community is shocked and offended by the recent developments. The name “Nexuiz” has a value, which has been built up by community members like divVerent, esteel, Samual, [-z-], Morphed, FruitieX, MrBougo, tZork, mand1nga, Merlijn, C.Brutail and many more. Not to mention the collaborative brainpower of the community that went into this project in the form of feedback, suggestions and discussions about gameplay and game content. These things are of course lacking a ‘papertrail’ of commit logs in svn and such, yet they contribute to the value of the name Nexuiz.

The Nexuiz community objects to this value being sold without giving anything back to the community in return. Illfonic clearly stated there will be no contribution art-wise to the open-source Nexuiz. All the community can hope is that improvements to the Darkplaces engine, made by LordHavoc while porting it to the consoles under contract with “Illfonic”, will be useful on the PC platform. Not a big reward for the harm the whole action has done to the “free software Nexuiz” community.

The Nexuiz community also objects to the name being taken from its project. Having two games published under the same name is just confusing. In case Illfonic refuses to change the name of its project in even the slightest way, the Nexuiz community will be forced to use a different name for the Open Source Nexuiz project for no comprehensible reason.

We hope YOU are interested and willing to support our cause. Spread the word as much as you can on the web, the international* media and of course to your friends, because friends are actually what makes a community what it is.
//* Really? “media” would be enough in my opinion. Unlikely that the NY Times will pick it up.

As the direct communication with Illfonic seems to have failed, we really hope the pressure of publicity will be able to turn things around for the better as a last resort. The game is NOT published yet, so effectively Illfonic should still be able to get out of this situation by adding at least a suffix or subtitle to the game title.

Don’t get this wrong, we don’t think the console version of Nexuiz is a bad idea in general and we are not against Lee Vermeulen, LordHavoc and other parcticipating developers making a little profit out of Nexuiz. They have done great work for the community in the past and still today – Nexuiz would not be what it is without their achievements and contributions. We would like to express our respect and gratitude about their fantastic work.

// This next paragraph is confusing IMO, maybe leave out?
We are just disappointed and sad about the way things were handled. On one side, the Nexuiz developers, emphasize the community and the Free Software roots they are all coming from, and speculate about respect for all the members, fans and freaks around the Nexuiz scene, and in the end little to no respect is shown for what this community established over all the years. Effectivley hijacking its fine label for a commercial console port without telling a single word, until it was all set.

What are the Nexuiz community’s suggestions?
//Th

We suggest that both games don’t share exactly the same title. This would only result in total confusion and would definitely not only harm the community, but also the “commercial Nexuiz” (or FeeNex™, as it is now referred to by some community members), since the marketability of products suffers from such ambiguity. Confusion could be easily avoided by adding any kind suffix or subtitle to the title “Nexuiz”.

Also, we suggest to establish a portal site on nexuiz.com where both games are represented in an equitable way. It only has to be a single page giving the visitor the choice to visit either the commercial console port or the original ‘Free, Open Source Nexuiz’. That way confusion would be easily avoided and the connection between the two projects would become more transparent for the customer. Also, Illfonic’s Nexuiz for console would profit from the publicity and the image of the name Nexuiz all the same.

On behalf of the Free Software Nexuiz Community.


Although it seems legal as the contributors/community gave the rights to the Nexuiz project founders to do what they want with it, even to fork it under a different license, I still think it was morally wrong to do so on the back and hard work of the community.
It was done before with the Ogre3D engine which changed it’s license from GPL to MIT – it was legal, but was it moral ?

Alientrap did not sell the domain name, that’s why I put it in quotes…they simply gave it away.
But they did sell the GPLed source code in the sense that it now could also be used us closed source for their new project.
The original source code will off course remain free as it is.
But what they did sell is the community – which is worse.

I am 100% sure that if they made the community vote for it – the majority would not agree to sell their code.
It’s immoral and against the GPL spirit in the way that Alientrap sells them the code which was made in a big part by the community – and IllFonic, LLC don’t want to give the free project a reasonable share of their work.
They won’t contribute the art that Nexuiz (GPL) is so badly needs, nor major parts of their code – they will only contribute small parts of the engine code – which is pathetic.

I wouldn’t object if the agreement stated that they could use the GPLed code and obeying to it by releasing their game (code and art) as GPL.
Remember that they are developing their game for the consoles – so they have really nothing to lose.
I wouldn’t object if they built their game by themselves from the ground us – I buy proprietary games and see nothing wrong with it.

But when you take from the community – you must give back, if not by license (GPL) then by your morality.
I’m not that mad about IllFonic, LLC – it’s their business to develop and sell games, but Alientrap which basically sold the community – that’s something else.

The question should be how a GPLed project could come to the state of basically changing it’s license and forking the project ?
How can we be sure that the projects we contribute to, won’t fail us in this way ?
And why they let IllFonic, LLC to use the code without the obligation to give anything back ?
I’m not sure all the contributors to Nexuiz were aware of this step – I just can’t believe that all of them would agree to such move.

It’s indeed a sad day that raises much more questions and directly related to other FOSS projects.

It would be interesting to see what the future holds for this wonderful FOSS project and for the fork by IllFonic, LLC .

Links :
Nexuiz (GPL)
Alientrap
“New” Nexuiz
IllFonic, LLC
IGN article about the “new” Nexuiz
Alientrap Thread about Nexuiz Case