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AtariAge welcomes Philip Price, creator/coder of 'Alternate reality'


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#151 bfollett OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:30 PM

If I recall 1 or 2 items like the "dragon cuisine" not only cured your hunger but also gave you a food packet to go. Plus a lot of the cheaper items would taking several servings to fulfill your hunger needs.

Bob

#152 ggn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:51 PM

Firstly, it's great to read some insights from the man that set the standards for computer RPGs so high that I could (amost) never play another one because it was either inferior technically or lacking the depth the AR games had. Not an easy feat!

Secondly,

Although, the Atari800 emulator people had some legal issues with the Android market because (I think... my memory is terrible)
a lawyer for Atari sent out letters to everyone using the word 'Atari' asking them to cease and desist.
So the Android people banned the Atari800 people until it was resolved.
I'm not sure how it all worked out.


Since my brother is the author of the droid port, I can shed some light on this: Atari800 was shot down from google play (or market as it was called) without any prior notice. I think my brother got a mail informing him of that. In any case, he wrote an e-mail to Atari's lawyers, stating them the obvious (it's a non-profit product, it uses no Atari assets, etc etc) and if they would allow him to re-upload the app. After a few months of not receiving an answer, he went ahead and re-uploaded it but he renamed it Coleen.

#153 TMR ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:01 PM

After a few months of not receiving an answer, he went ahead and re-uploaded it but he renamed it Coleen.


Just got to butt in to say "well played" about the name. =-)

#154 MrFish OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:54 PM

Since my brother is the author of the droid port, I can shed some light on this: Atari800 was shot down from google play (or market as it was called) without any prior notice. I think my brother got a mail informing him of that. In any case, he wrote an e-mail to Atari's lawyers, stating them the obvious (it's a non-profit product, it uses no Atari assets, etc etc) and if they would allow him to re-upload the app. After a few months of not receiving an answer, he went ahead and re-uploaded it but he renamed it Coleen.


Just got to butt in to say "well played" about the name. =-)


Agreed, except that ggn spelled it wrong. :)

#155 Xebec's Demise OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:28 PM

A question just came up while playing Alternate Reality recently. In the official clue book for 8-bit it states:

Remember, it's OK to fight good and neutral life forms, but only if they attack first (don't ever Trick or Charm them though)!


From that it sounds like in order to have a good alignment, good and neutral life forms should never be tricked or charmed, even if they attack. Is that right? So for example, if a Mugger attacks first, you may attack him back, but you can never try to Trick or Charm him?

However, in the 16-bit disassembly it has been found that:

The character is surprised by the opponent.
Posted Image
No alignment penalty for charm, trick, attack and lunge action for the whole combat.
The character skips his first turn and can't parry until the next one.


An alignment penalty occurs if the character isn't surprised and he tries to trick, charm, attack or lunge the opponent.


This sounds like if your character is surprised then there is no alignment penalty for Trick, Charm, Attack or Lunge, even if a good or neutral creature?

Is this the same for the 8-bit Atari, or is this another translation mutation of the original?

Edited by Xebec's Demise, Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:30 PM.


#156 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:00 PM

Mark,

Yes, AR City was coded and assembled and 100% done on a Atari 800. I wrote the build routines, etc. System had four floppy drives(Only one floppy drive at the start). The computer had a modified third party board(I think it was made by David Small..so long ago..can't remember for sure) that kept floppy drives insync for mastering (So I could exploit track to track alignment). I had a modified floppy drive (I think) from Datasoft that could write weak bits.

When the publisher (Datasoft) got them I do not know their exact manufacturing process.


We(Gary and I) own AR, but they had the rights for ten years to publish City and Dungeon (and even during that time we had the right to do the conversion ourselves, but if we said no, then they could do it(and they converted it to a lot of systems) and deduct all of their costs against our 7.5% of the net..so we never saw a dime, other than money they sent as 'advances' so that we would continue create product and not starve),

Currently a guy (who looks like he ported the game to the zx back in the 80s) is selling an IOS version of AR City and Dungeon. When I confronted him through email saying stop, he said show me proof of your contract from thirty years ago and then I might share some of the money I am making. (i.e. my only recourse would be to get a lawyer and sue him, and I don't have the money for that, nor the time, [hopefully he is not making much]).

Phil.


First of all, great to see you on here. I've only just started to catch up with the A8 posts of recent weeks. I never owned it but borrowed The City for 8 months back in the day. Was a sad day when the owner had to put me into a headlock to prise it from my hands.

I am astounded by the attitude of the developers. Personally I don't have an issue with rehashing old games where the original developers cannot be contacted, so long as all attempts have been made to make contact. If the developer then comes along and raises a complaint, it's the developer's right to pursue copyright. What I DON'T like to see is a situation where, as in this case, the entire caboodle has been ripped off. Using the original name and even the original artwork is just plain wrong. It makes it look like an official port, which it is not. Unfortunately this kind of thing is rife but this is perhaps the worst case I've seen so far.

Now we get to the even more surprising bit. The publishers are Elite Systems. They are one of the UK's longest surviving games developers. They are also behind the mobile ports of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy (which are doing BADLY, looking at the number of downloads on Android). Except that in those cases I'm fairly sure that they got the permission of the original developer because they did a crowdfunder for Manic Miner.

Their 'problem' might be that because Datasoft are no longer in existence, they feel that anything related to the software published by them is safe. They also do Bruce Lee. Now, given that they haven't tried to improve on any of their 'conversions' and how prolific they suddenly appear to be it does look like they're using an emulator. That might be the case with AR as it's the Sinclair Spectrum version they're offering.

If anyone doesn't know who Elite Systems are, they were the UK publishers responsible for Airwolf, Paperboy, Ghosts'n'Goblins and Bomb Jack on home platforms back in the 80's.



Edit: Errrr .... has something changed in the past month? Just seen this from the product's iOS page.

"The Alternate Reality: The City app is the near-100% original 8-bit game, as created by Philip Price / Paradise Programming and published by Datasoft in 1985 and is brought to you - as an officially licenced product - utilizing our Elite Collection technology."

Edited by Tickled_Pink, Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:30 PM.


#157 Philip Price OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:05 PM

First of all, great to see you on here. I've only just started to catch up with the A8 posts of recent weeks. I never owned it but borrowed The City for 8 months back in the day. Was a sad day when the owner had to put me into a headlock to prise it from my hands.

I am astounded by the attitude of the developers. Personally I don't have an issue with rehashing old games where the original developers cannot be contacted, so long as all attempts have been made to make contact. If the developer then comes along and raises a complaint, it's the developer's right to pursue copyright. What I DON'T like to see is a situation where, as in this case, the entire caboodle has been ripped off. Using the original name and even the original artwork is just plain wrong. It makes it look like an official port, which it is not. Unfortunately this kind of thing is rife but this is perhaps the worst case I've seen so far.

Now we get to the even more surprising bit. The publishers are Elite Systems. They are one of the UK's longest surviving games developers. They are also behind the mobile ports of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy (which are doing BADLY, looking at the number of downloads on Android). Except that in those cases I'm fairly sure that they got the permission of the original developer because they did a crowdfunder for Manic Miner.

Their 'problem' might be that because Datasoft are no longer in existence, they feel that anything related to the software published by them is safe. They also do Bruce Lee. Now, given that they haven't tried to improve on any of their 'conversions' and how prolific they suddenly appear to be it does look like they're using an emulator. That might be the case with AR as it's the Sinclair Spectrum version they're offering.

If anyone doesn't know who Elite Systems are, they were the UK publishers responsible for Airwolf, Paperboy, Ghosts'n'Goblins and Bomb Jack on home platforms back in the 80's.



Edit: Errrr .... has something changed in the past month? Just seen this from the product's iOS page.

"The Alternate Reality: The City app is the near-100% original 8-bit game, as created by Philip Price / Paradise Programming and published by Datasoft in 1985 and is brought to you - as an officially licenced product - utilizing our Elite Collection technology."


Nope not licensed. Of course a company in Britain was contracted by Datasoft to convert the original games to Sinclair in the 80s.

Datasoft had:
No rights to publish a version of anything past City and Dungeon.
Conversion work had to be offered to us(effectively me) first for any City or Dungeon variant.
They owed royalties in any case. (Though the math was setup so we wouldn't see any of it)
They had zero rights after ten years.(which means 1995 & 1997 respectfully). All rights return to the creators (Myself and Gary).
They went bankrupt in any case.
Datasoft when it existed, could not give right to a converter beyond the rights they had. Therefore Elite has no rights to do what they are doing.

So Elite Systems(Steve Wilcox) has no rights to AR, but is publishing anyways.(As I said before). I informed them they had no rights, but they continued.
It is sad, but true. If I had time and money I could better enforce my rights and stop them. Don't have either at this time.

So the answer is no nothing has changed in the past month. But it looks better for them to say they have rights they don't have.

Phil

(So don't buy the IOS version [which is probably a Sinclair emulation run in anycase and no where as god as an Atari version)[They probably made some money, and we can hope in general they don't do it to many other developer's games)

Edited by Philip Price, Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:08 PM.


#158 Tezz OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:42 PM

Now we get to the even more surprising bit. The publishers are Elite Systems. They are one of the UK's longest surviving games developers. They are also behind the mobile ports of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy (which are doing BADLY, looking at the number of downloads on Android). Except that in those cases I'm fairly sure that they got the permission of the original developer because they did a crowdfunder for Manic Miner.

Well, Matthew apparently was another programmer who was screwed over from their creation. As much as I have heard (allegedly) it's one individual formerly of Software Projects who holds the rights for Manic and Jet Set so one can assume this individual will have an agreement with Elite Systems who developed the more recent Mobile version/s of the games along with a share of the revenue.

Edited by Tezz, Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:43 PM.


#159 toad OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:53 PM

I am glad to come across this thread! Back in the day I didnt play games. I had pitstop and kareteka. That was my entire collection. So I missed out. But the descriptions of this amazing game have me intrigued. What a neat thing to discover this gem.

#160 Xebec's Demise OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:29 PM

Nope not licensed. Of course a company in Britain was contracted by Datasoft to convert the original games to Sinclair in the 80s.

Datasoft had:
No rights to publish a version of anything past City and Dungeon.
Conversion work had to be offered to us(effectively me) first for any City or Dungeon variant.
They owed royalties in any case. (Though the math was setup so we wouldn't see any of it)
They had zero rights after ten years.(which means 1995 & 1997 respectfully). All rights return to the creators (Myself and Gary).
They went bankrupt in any case.
Datasoft when it existed, could not give right to a converter beyond the rights they had. Therefore Elite has no rights to do what they are doing.

So Elite Systems(Steve Wilcox) has no rights to AR, but is publishing anyways.(As I said before). I informed them they had no rights, but they continued.
It is sad, but true. If I had time and money I could better enforce my rights and stop them. Don't have either at this time.

So the answer is no nothing has changed in the past month. But it looks better for them to say they have rights they don't have.

Phil

(So don't buy the IOS version [which is probably a Sinclair emulation run in anycase and no where as god as an Atari version)[They probably made some money, and we can hope in general they don't do it to many other developer's games)


Shouldn't you at least file a complaint? Or do the minimum for now? What if he later claims that you knew about it and didn't do anything about it? Is there any sort of "surrender" regarding copyright? Maybe at least get a free consultation from an attorney. Or see if there is a basic form you can fill out at http://www.copyright.gov

#161 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:07 PM

so the c64 iOS version I got via Elite is same then? hmmm... i thought they would be more careful.

#162 Jim Norris OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:24 AM

Nope not licensed. Of course a company in Britain was contracted by Datasoft to convert the original games to Sinclair in the 80s.

Datasoft had:
No rights to publish a version of anything past City and Dungeon.
Conversion work had to be offered to us(effectively me) first for any City or Dungeon variant.
They owed royalties in any case. (Though the math was setup so we wouldn't see any of it)
They had zero rights after ten years.(which means 1995 & 1997 respectfully). All rights return to the creators (Myself and Gary).
They went bankrupt in any case.
Datasoft when it existed, could not give right to a converter beyond the rights they had. Therefore Elite has no rights to do what they are doing.

So Elite Systems(Steve Wilcox) has no rights to AR, but is publishing anyways.(As I said before). I informed them they had no rights, but they continued.
It is sad, but true. If I had time and money I could better enforce my rights and stop them. Don't have either at this time.

So the answer is no nothing has changed in the past month. But it looks better for them to say they have rights they don't have.

Phil


I read up a little on British copyright law and it seems that by default, the right to make copies and derivative works belongs to the creator unless there is a written contract to the contrary. It didn't specifically mention video games as falling under this law, but if they are included, then the burden is on them to produce the written documentation saying you gave up your rights as the author. I don't think they can.

And they can't try to say you aren't the creator since your name is all over everything as the creator and copyright holder, including the copyright notice embedded in the city map.

Ohh, and on a side note, I noticed that the year a city character starts is not 0... It is in fact something in the 1900s. Did you use a special date for the character's start date?

#163 densonj OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:07 PM

so the c64 iOS version I got via Elite is same then? hmmm... i thought they would be more careful.

Hmm. I purchased the IOS version of the games last year, but I thought they were derived from the Sinclair versions.. ? At any rate, now that I know what they did, I am very sorry that I spent my money on their trash.

#164 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:50 PM

Nope not licensed. Of course a company in Britain was contracted by Datasoft to convert the original games to Sinclair in the 80s.

Datasoft had:
No rights to publish a version of anything past City and Dungeon.
Conversion work had to be offered to us(effectively me) first for any City or Dungeon variant.
They owed royalties in any case. (Though the math was setup so we wouldn't see any of it)
They had zero rights after ten years.(which means 1995 & 1997 respectfully). All rights return to the creators (Myself and Gary).
They went bankrupt in any case.
Datasoft when it existed, could not give right to a converter beyond the rights they had. Therefore Elite has no rights to do what they are doing.

So Elite Systems(Steve Wilcox) has no rights to AR, but is publishing anyways.(As I said before). I informed them they had no rights, but they continued.
It is sad, but true. If I had time and money I could better enforce my rights and stop them. Don't have either at this time.

So the answer is no nothing has changed in the past month. But it looks better for them to say they have rights they don't have.

Phil


There are a couple of avenues available to you. The first is, of course, to notify Apple. The second may be to contact Trading Standards in the UK over Elite's practices. I could do that if you wish. Nothing stopping other UK-based AA members from doing the same just to flag an issue with Elite claiming to have licenses they don't have.

You do realise as well that if you were to take legal action against Elite, it should be fairly straightforward. Ultimately it's a civil case so the burden of proof is relatively low and you'd only have to prove 'on the balance of probabilities' that Elite are breaching your copyright. The way they have presented the game suggests that they themselves own the license to the game. If they cannot supply documentation to that effect then they'd have a hard time in court. If they were trying to assert that it's the full Spectrum version that has the license then they'd need to prove they have the copyright or license to the Spectrum version. Whilst a court may be disappointed if you don't have proof of your agreement with Datasoft after all this time, they'd be amazed if Elite didn't have something to back up their claim. That would swing things in your favour IMO.

Of course, if Elite don't have the money these days to pay damages, you could always target Apple if they refuse to pull the plug on this product. In fact, there's nothing wrong with you asking Apple for an out of court settlement. If it's a nominal amount then they might agree to it rather than spend squillions on a court case.

I read up a little on British copyright law and it seems that by default, the right to make copies and derivative works belongs to the creator unless there is a written contract to the contrary. It didn't specifically mention video games as falling under this law, but if they are included, then the burden is on them to produce the written documentation saying you gave up your rights as the author. I don't think they can.

And they can't try to say you aren't the creator since your name is all over everything as the creator and copyright holder, including the copyright notice embedded in the city map.


I'll look into it for clarity. Generally speaking I believe you are correct. Derived works also carry their own copyright, though, regardless of whether they breach the copyright of another, It doesn't stop Phil or anyone else with prior copyright from suing their arses though. I have studied IP law. Think I did quite well at it but it's been 7 years and my memory's a bit fuzzy. ;)


Edit: Here's the page from the Trading Standards website. http://www.tradingst...dvice/index.cfm

I think that the relevant point here might be that the product must be: "as described – match the description on packaging or what the trader told you"

Edited by Tickled_Pink, Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:19 PM.


#165 José Pereira OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:23 PM

What about maybe there's here a British lawyer that can offer his services to Philip against Elite inform him about the law on his country.
Phil why not open a topic here at AA in General Forum asking for a British laywer and software copyright?

P.s.- And I would be so happy if you can get something from Elite.
They always ignored the A8 and the only game from them was even to fool us with the Airwolf name that was indeed Blue Thunder.
;)
:)

#166 pixelmischief OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:04 PM

I don't know about over there, but here in the U.S., getting a Lawyer to listen to your situation, advise you as to whether or not you have a case, and even send out an initial letter notifying the other party that he/she has been retained, costs about $500. That could even include a "Cease and Desist" filing. I'd donate to a fund for the purpose of exploring the matter to at least that extent.

#167 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:20 PM

Crumbs, A speccy version of AR....Thats a bit like having a zx81 version of SR

#168 Tezz OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:11 AM

Trading Standards are only a simple advice service, they have no powers to assist in any legalities. Any recourse would be a civil case via the expense of private solicitors.

#169 fibrewire OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:27 AM

I don't know about over there, but here in the U.S., getting a Lawyer to listen to your situation, advise you as to whether or not you have a case, and even send out an initial letter notifying the other party that he/she has been retained, costs about $500. That could even include a "Cease and Desist" filing. I'd donate to a fund for the purpose of exploring the matter to at least that extent.

I used to be like you guys, thinking that legal filings and the like we're costly and expensive. Then one day a guy convicted of multiple federal felonies came to work with me at my old company, and I learned that finding the right forms and filing things is not only easy, but there are fee waivers for people who can't afford to file stuff. He was a "jailhouse lawyer" a system which allows regular people with no law background to practice law given a person is self-taught with experience in the legal system. It functions much the same way that open source software works. If you know it, you can do it. There are even manuals published by prominent members of the law association at can assist people who feel helpless in taking action. I have a few years of experience in filing multiple types of court documents, but nobody will use google and the court system the way someone with proper motivation would.

I would of course be happy to point someone in the right direction for filing in the US where the violation is taking place.

#170 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:40 AM

Sod sad that the guys were screwed in the day and still screwed now, I know its a tad hypocritical coming from someone who dabbled in 'the Dark Side' as well as 'The Force' but it just seems worse that in an industry dogged by piracy that some of the worst rip off artists are the very people who complain about piracy.

AR still has a huge following and for Mr Wilcox to cash in on that and just ignore Philips sole rights stinks, relying on the fact that its a cash cow for the legal teams and not the dev.

Just brings me around to the notion of the a Kickstarter and Philip and Gary to make an official fan products, surely the attraction of the people themselves producing the product would be a huge pull as had been put forward in this thread before.

Edited by Mclaneinc, Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:40 AM.


#171 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:55 AM

Trading Standards are only a simple advice service, they have no powers to assist in any legalities. Any recourse would be a civil case via the expense of private solicitors.


No. Trading Standards will investigate and prosecute if necessary.

I suspect that this would be a civil case but just having Trading Standards on Phil's side might make them Elite think again. They have prosecuted people for selling pirate DVDs, which is a breach of copyright, so you never know. They might see it as a criminal matter.

#172 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:17 AM

Elite did a couple of good C64 games but most of them sucked.

#173 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:35 AM

AppStore does have spectrum and c64 version on sale

Attached Thumbnails

  • image.jpg

Edited by Heaven/TQA, Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:36 AM.


#174 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:40 AM

Sod sad that the guys were screwed in the day and still screwed now, I know its a tad hypocritical coming from someone who dabbled in 'the Dark Side' as well as 'The Force' but it just seems worse that in an industry dogged by piracy that some of the worst rip off artists are the very people who complain about piracy.

AR still has a huge following and for Mr Wilcox to cash in on that and just ignore Philips sole rights stinks, relying on the fact that its a cash cow for the legal teams and not the dev.

Just brings me around to the notion of the a Kickstarter and Philip and Gary to make an official fan products, surely the attraction of the people themselves producing the product would be a huge pull as had been put forward in this thread before.





Nice idea there JP, only thing is....most of the people that would probably use Kickstarter or croiwd funding weren't probably around when AR smelt minty fresh and since these people are too sodding lazy to use internet reseach properly....there's preobably about one in millions of chances that someone from kickstarter/crowd funding would have actually know or have heard of Philip Price (or his partner in crime) and that one person is either an AA user or dead into classic/retro gaming

I am sure that everyone here would financially support Phil and Gary's attempt at rebooting this icon of the classic/retro era of gaming

#175 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:18 AM

Nice idea there JP, only thing is....most of the people that would probably use Kickstarter or croiwd funding weren't probably around when AR smelt minty fresh and since these people are too sodding lazy to use internet reseach properly....there's preobably about one in millions of chances that someone from kickstarter/crowd funding would have actually know or have heard of Philip Price (or his partner in crime) and that one person is either an AA user or dead into classic/retro gaming

I am sure that everyone here would financially support Phil and Gary's attempt at rebooting this icon of the classic/retro era of gaming


You'd be surprised. http://www.kickstart...600-star-castle

Most people would never have heard of this game (I hadn't) but it was still successfully funded.




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