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Is there ANY possibility of a Boulder Dash Re-issue

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Maybe a Kickstarter?

Good idea, but remember to add the fees that the Company (Kickstarter) will take. 25 percent (?)

 

If people complained about the high 2600 game cost (actually lower than CIB for other consoles), just wait until they see it higher than the first time. They will remember the original cost, but won't realize Kickstarter fee charges.

 

Through Kickstarter it will add almost $20 per game. However if it gets noticed through social media and gaming websites like Star Castle 2600 did, who knows how many orders it might end up with? 200, 400, 500+?

Plus if Kickstarter fails nobody is charged.

 

To the last person's post: You have to Kickstarter a prototyped item, you can't Kickstarter an idea or possibility.

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The Kickstarter fee is 5%.

 

So, my thoughts..

 

I am a huge Atari 8-bit computer fan, and I played the hell out of Boulder Dash on my 800XL "back in the day". I was excited when Andrew revealed his work on the Boulder Dash engine, as Boulder Dash was a game I never thought I'd see on the 2600, at least in any form resembling the original. Thomas and Andrew really knocked it out of the park! I am glad I was able to help publish this game in physical form, licensed from First Star Software, with great artwork from André Bolfing adorning the cart, manual, box and poster. Here's the Boulder Art Label Contest for those who missed it.

 

It was a great deal of work on my end to put together the physical release of the game, and, yes, a lot of cash up front to satisfy contractual requirements, purchase boxes, manuals, labels, posters, the "diamonds" that were included with the game, Melody boards, and so forth. From the decision to try and release this game in physical form until all 250 copies were finally sold was a LONG time. Going through that again is not something that is particularly appealing to me. I would rather vest my energies in new projects.

 

Having said that, if it was possible to make Boulder Dash available on an "ongoing" basis (as is the case with most homebrews), sure, that would be nice. I'm not a big fan of limited, once-they're-gone-that's-it releases, but this was the only way Boulder Dash was going to get released at the time. So you have 250 copies or you have nothing at all. Given it took a year to sell 250 copies of the game (at $75 each, plus shipping), I don't see another run happening like that again.

 

..Al

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There is nothing to prevent you from including the ROM as a reward tier or "a digital copy of the game", which may help justify the increased cost of the Kickstarter.

First Star might not like that or they might try to monetise that too.

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There is nothing to prevent you from including the ROM as a reward tier or "a digital copy of the game", which may help justify the increased cost of the Kickstarter.

If we would be allowed to release the ROM, we would have done so already.

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I don't see any point in using Kickstarter. People who want the game just pay all the money up front so those involved in production and development don't have to invest any money of their own and hope to recover it through sales because any copies they make will already be sold.

 

What I don't get is why this didn't happen the first time round. I would have been mortified at the thought of people putting their necks on the line like that. I didn't buy the game because I didn't even know it existed until people started complaining about missing out.

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What I don't get is why this didn't happen the first time round. I would have been mortified at the thought of people putting their necks on the line like that. I didn't buy the game because I didn't even know it existed until people started complaining about missing out.

Kickstarter is additional overhead in terms of time and money, and we were reasonably confident we'd sell the games. It was my neck on the line, and a risk I was willing to take. Kickstarter never even came up as a topic of discussion.

 

..Al

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It was a great deal of work on my end to put together the physical release of the game, and, yes, a lot of cash up front to satisfy contractual requirements, purchase boxes, manuals, labels, posters, the "diamonds" that were included with the game, Melody boards, and so forth. From the decision to try and release this game in physical form until all 250 copies were finally sold was a LONG time. Going through that again is not something that is particularly appealing to me. I would rather vest my energies in new projects.

No need to worry here. IF there would be any chance for a 2nd release, I would prefer something much leaner. More targeted to those who favor playing over collecting. E.g. just a cart and a manual.

 

Alternatively I was long hoping for an improved version (BD 2), but at the moment the chances for this are minimal.

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If we would be allowed to release the ROM, we would have done so already.

 

My understanding of it was that the Boulderdash name and copyright is owned by First Star, but the actual game coding and engine is still owned by the programmers. What this means is the engine can be re-purposed in a new game. Lots of homebrews copy the play style of old games but use new graphical assets and programming, and thus are non-infringing on the copyrights.

 

Take for instance this lovely clone called Rockfall for SNES:

Rockfall-1.png

 

It uses mode 7 scaling to great effect and can be downloaded at PDroms and is for sale on a cartridge from Piko Interactive.

 

If the authors of Boulderdash tweaked the engine and released a "Rockfall" game for the VCS using all new graphics and mazes, would First Star take issue with it?

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My understanding of it was that the Boulderdash name and copyright is owned by First Star, but the actual game coding and engine is still owned by the programmers. What this means is the engine can be re-purposed in a new game. Lots of homebrews copy the play style of old games but use new graphical assets and programming, and thus are non-infringing on the copyrights.

 

Take for instance this lovely clone called Rockfall for SNES:

Rockfall-1.png

 

It uses mode 7 scaling to great effect and can be downloaded at PDroms and is for sale on a cartridge from Piko Interactive.

 

If the authors of Boulderdash tweaked the engine and released a "Rockfall" game for the VCS using all new graphics and mazes, would First Star take issue with it?

 

While I doubt that FSS has the resources to deal with every random clone of Boulderdash out there, I would think that FSS's contract with Thomas and Andrew may be interpreted to prohibit their releasing the code, even without the name.

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While I doubt that FSS has the resources to deal with every random clone of Boulderdash out there, I would think that FSS's contract with Thomas and Andrew may be interpreted to prohibit their releasing the code, even without the name.

No one said anything about releasing the code.

Just that if they could release the ROM they would have.

 

The coders do own their game engine, they just can't infringe on First Star's Intellectual Property like First Star sprites, First Star music.

Just the music itself in Princess Rescue caused a Cease and Desist because it was close to Super Mario Brothers.

 

The programmers also stated that they could make another game based off the coding they did over 10 years, but nothing has been planned or started.

 

I am guessing they could remove all the sound and graphics and release some kind of assembly source, but I can't see them spending the time or why they would do that because it is code owned by a group and only a small few other coders would be able to make something at all with it.

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To the last person's post: You have to Kickstarter a prototyped item, you can't Kickstarter an idea or possibility.

How is a ROM an idea or possibility? It would just be a campaign that if the goal is reached it would be for the hypothetical amount that FSS would agree to prior to the campaign to release the ROM. It would be kind of like a campaign where a developer is willing to open source their game if the goal is reached which I think has happened before.

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While I doubt that FSS has the resources to deal with every random clone of Boulderdash out there, I would think that FSS's contract with Thomas and Andrew may be interpreted to prohibit their releasing the code, even without the name.

 

Contractually, Thomas and I specifically retained the rights to the code for the engine and display systems. We have the right to release this code, sans any boulder-dash related implementation. In other words, a/the generic 'character/tile' display kernel is ours to use/release as we wish.

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Exactly. And there where plans to clearly separate those two parts (ours and theirs) from each other. We even had started doing so.

 

The key problems was, that the bank switching we used for Boulder Dash turned out to be very inefficient. So we discussed and developed some more flexible and thus much more efficient bank switching. We even started to convert some code into this new bank switching. But during conversion we found some serious problems with the new bank switching. IMO it is not as nice as we thought, some ideas turned out to be quite bad. So we would have to rethink a few things. And that's when the project went into hibernate.

 

It makes no sense to separate the code base without having a working, adequate bank switching in place.

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How can someone "own" a melody? This is just ridiculous. Look at the limited scale of the notes. It is more than obvious that with thousands and thousands of compositions there will be regular similarities.

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How can someone "own" a melody? This is just ridiculous. Look at the limited scale of the notes. It is more than obvious that with thousands and thousands of compositions there will be regular similarities.

Chris Spry did a fairly accurate rendition of the World 1-1 theme ported to the TIA for Princess Rescue. He also did some impressive work with some certain 16-bit chip tune TIA conversion for the Zippy homebrew.

 

The fact that a few of the notes are bent a bit in pitch or sprites were somewhat blockier doesn't change the fact it was meant to imitate as close as possible the sound and graphics of the original. Imitation IS the sincerest for of flattery, but sadly certain highly paid lawyers would beg to differ...

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Where are the highly paid lawyers sending out letters to Atarimania for the original Boulder Dash and all the other thousands of ROM's on the site? This is a community of people who use emulators, ROMs, flashcarts, etc. with very little issue. So, why does this version of Boulder Dash seem to have bigger legal issues?

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Because First Star is still around, protecting their property.

Look at Atari, they also made 'trouble' a while back.

I guess Activision are just happy that some people still care about their old stuff.

Edited by high voltage

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And their games on Atarimania including the original Boulder Dash? Why protect a homebrew remake over the real game?

 

There is a difference between freely making an old original game available and creating a new game with the name of someone else his franchise.

 

If FFS would not pursue creators of a new BoulderDash named game for an old system, it would make a precedent for someone who makes a new BoulderDash named game for Android, iOS or any other modern system (thus undermining the profitability of new BoulderDash games from FFS themselves and potentially tarnishing the BoulderDash name if the unlicensed games are bad). Thus they will have to enforce their rights on the BoulderDash name else everybody will create new BoulderDash games else they potentially lose money.

 

In case of a dump floating around of their own old game, there is not that risk.

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And their games on Atarimania including the original Boulder Dash? Why protect a homebrew remake over the real game?

 

Atarimania is not making money off the old Boulderdash for the Atari 8-bit computers. AtariAge would be if the site sold more copies of Boulderdash 2600 without FSS's permission. That is the key distinction of why companies tend to go after the latter more often than the former.

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Atarimania is not making money off the old Boulderdash for the Atari 8-bit computers.

It's not about whether something makes money or not; it's about the owner policing and protecting their intellectual property so that they maintain the exclusive rights to it. The way the law is set up, IP owners are really required to do this. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but I have a little experience in this stuff having been involved in a couple of licensing deals. In general an IP owner maintains ownership of their IP by policing it's unauthorized usage, issuing cease and desist letters, signing usage agreements, etc.

 

There may be individual cases where an IP owner may choose to "overlook" something, but that's *never* official policy; the policy is always to police usage. As a result, with the internet and the spread of participatory fandom, there's a lot of grey in this area. Fan art and fan productions are the best example of this; it may be in the best interest of Marvel to turn a blind eye to the sales of unauthorized images of Captain America because that only further drives sales of comic books and movie tickets...but since they own the rights, they can jump in any time. The best example of this is the Tolkien Estate, which polices (and shuts down) unauthorized uses of the Hobbit and LOTR characters and languages. The Star Trek world also has had a high profile intervention with CBS sending a C&D letter to the producers of Axanar (while at the same time letting production continue on Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages).

 

While none of these productions really make anything, the IP holders must do some internal calculus based on threat level. for whatever reason (if I'm reading this correctly), First Star must have seen copies of existing work as less of a threat or infringement than a new product.

 

Again, I'm not a lawyer, so this is my inexpert analysis. But I do know that the laws and they way they play out in real life can be very complicated. When dealing with other people's IP, you can never tell when something that seems innocuous might result in a letter or a phone call from a very high priced lawyer on behalf of a major corporation.

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It's interesting you bring up fanart. Do a search for Princess Peach on deviantart.com and you will find tons os stuff, some humorous, sexy, or downright twisted and perverse. And they have a certain standard of what counts as permissible content. Then deeper into the dark corners of the internet there are the Rule 34 stuff that is beyond any sense of morale or decency.

 

Nintendo has tried to shut down ROM sharing sites and obscene fanart in the past, but there is so much of it traversing the internet that it was a losing battle even for a mega corporation. Then they had the recent backlash with their content ID program flagging "Let's Play" videos and prohibiting users from profiting off ad revenue from their content. It makes little sense when you consider the fact these "Let's Play" Videos are basically free advertising, but the existence of ROM hacks and TAS videos were an issue because Nintendo is against unauthorized emulation. Now it seems Nitnendo has conceded somewhat with the takedown notices after some youtubers swore off reviewing or playing Nintendo games as a result.

 

Really it is a game of cat-and-mouse, whether blatant copyright infringement or gray area stuff like fanarts or video game tributes. Sometimes the companies draw the line at targeting users who are actively profiting off the work, as with unlicensed ports ala Princess Rescue, or commercial sale of fanart or publicly displayed commissions, ie daycare centers getting sued by Disney for displaying unlicensed artwork on their walls.

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