Buying the rights to Commander Keen.

A general chat area, here you can post anything that doesn't belong in another forum.

Would I actually be willing to donate my time and money into purchasing the rights to Commander Keen?

No. Not really. I don't care enough.
2
7%
I want to but I'm too lazy and weak!
0
No votes
I'd much rather not and continue to make mods so I can feel needed.
2
7%
You've got my attention. I'll think about this.
13
43%
I don't have money, but I'm game for the campaigning part.
13
43%
 
Total votes: 30

User avatar
RoboBlue
It's that one guy.
Posts: 913
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:26
Contact:

Post by RoboBlue » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:31

Commander Spleen wrote:I would definitely be willing to put a bit of money, and a lot of time, toward this pursuit, as long as:

- development tailors to the real fan community instead of what is safely profitable to a mass consumer market.

- the games produced through it are modding friendly

It would also be nice if having the rights on home turf would allow distribution of mods in a much more convenient manner.
There's really no way to guarantee that any new Keen game (even one with original team members involved) wouldn't be neutered in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, or to guarantee that it will be open source or even DRM-free. However, if the existing Keen material were to be made public domain, it would significantly limit the options of anyone seeking to sue over mods of new material.
Image

User avatar
Stealthy71088
Vortininja
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 20:12
Contact:

Post by Stealthy71088 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 18:53

I think it is premature to discuss any sort of buying rights unless we know the price. I think if were seriously interested in this, then we should contact Zenimax on our own behalf- not involving Tom because we can't represent him, and ask them what it would take for us to gain these rights. The only reasons I can see them not wanting to hand the rights out is:

- They don't want more competition

- They are hoping someone, possibly Tom, requests a license, so they can still make some money off of whatever is made.

- They are still selling copies of Commander Keen, and our community is effectively a walking advertisement for their company, and thus their other products.

In the case of the former- honestly I have a hard time believing anything built off of a '91 game is going to compete with modern technology. And if we were going to do go out and build something that could compete, then from a business standpoint there's no reason for us to buy the rights- we just use our own characters.

In the case of the second, we would have to offer substantially more money than Zenimax would ever believe they could gain via licensing.

No idea for the last.


I don't know much about copyright law, but if a copyright isn't renewed, won't it expire after a certain point in time, and the rights released into public domain? What if we just offer more money for the rights then it would cost to renew the rights? Zenimax would be making about twice as much money as they would be losing, which logically would be a ridiculous business proposition not to consider.

User avatar
GARGapplesauce
Applesauce in Chief
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 23:00
Location: Orlando, FL, United States

Post by GARGapplesauce » Tue Mar 20, 2012 21:58

Stealthy71088 wrote:
I don't know much about copyright law, but if a copyright isn't renewed, won't it expire after a certain point in time, and the rights released into public domain? What if we just offer more money for the rights then it would cost to renew the rights? Zenimax would be making about twice as much money as they would be losing, which logically would be a ridiculous business proposition not to consider.
Yeah but in most countries copyrights don't expire for several decades (In the U.S. it's 70 years after the death of the last surviving creator, right?) so unless you've got that time on your hands you're not going to be worrying about your copyright expiring... I know I won't last that long and I'm assuredly younger than you.
Combine Garg and Apples in a bowl, simmer over medium heat for several years. Season with a pinch of regret.

User avatar
Lava89
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 15:28

Post by Lava89 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:57

Stealthy71088 wrote:I have a hard time believing anything built off of a '91 game is going to compete with modern technology.
Well....I don't really agree with the mindset of this statement. Mostly because I don't feel that it gets us anywhere or changes anything.

I and probably many others, just want to know why the rights are withheld for knowledge's sake. Even if we discovered the real reason as to why the rights are locked up but never got a new Keen game made down the line? I think that would still make great progress. We've pretty much been in the dark to this information for 20 years!

Lastly, I don't think too many of us would have our hopes and dreams shattered if a new Keen game failed, LOL. I think dreams were already shattered in 1992. :D

User avatar
guynietoren
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 886
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:57
Location: Kansas City
Contact:

Post by guynietoren » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:40

Lava89 wrote:Lastly, I don't think too many of us would have our hopes and dreams shattered if a new Keen game failed, LOL.
I feared they were testing the waters with Keen GBC and held back for that reason. But I hope they realize that game didn't contain the original appeal of the Keen Universe.

User avatar
Commander Spleen
Lord of the Foobs
Posts: 2360
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 22:54
Location: Border Village
Contact:

Post by Commander Spleen » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:32

Lastly, I don't think too many of us would have our hopes and dreams shattered if a new Keen game failed, LOL. I think dreams were already shattered in 1992.
Problem is, in the current gaming environment, a Keen game could be thoroughly removed from anything truly Keenish and still be very profitable. That would be as bad as seeing a good new game fail. I'd rather see the series continue to stagnate officially, leaving it to modders and homebrew programmers to keep it alive, than see something like LEGO Keen hit the shelves.

(I do like the LEGO games, but the Keen world would be far too limited by that style, and I can only really imagine a new official release being a vague shadow of that concept.)

</cynical ramblings>

Keening_Product
Kuliwho?
Posts: 2090
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:02
Location: Tied up in the Oracle Chamber's basement
Contact:

Post by Keening_Product » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:00

Stealthy71088 wrote:I have a hard time believing anything built off of a '91 game is going to compete with modern technology.
And this raises a key question in this debate: Do we want the game to be released as a commercial release, or are we just hoping Tom Hall would put some personal time aside to produce a game with no intent to make a profit?

I know we've already discussed profitability in another thread, but that issue and this issue are absolutely intertwined.

The only modern game I can think of which has had major success is Little Big Planet. I've not actually played it because PC RULES, but it seems to have the same kind of feel to it as Commander Keen has.

Also, as far as radical changes go, I think Tom Hall's ideas for Keen 7 are pretty damn radical! A 3D game would've completely changed the look, if not feel, of Keen... yet people are moaning that the game might change if the game goes back into production?

So a modernised game could compete - playing with physics to create something unique will at least build some market. But we have to face it; if the game is to become commercial something will have to change. If we expect fighting for rights for Tom Hall is guaranteed to produce something exactly like the old games we're being overly optimistic about how much time the man can spare for a project that might indeed not succeed!

We'd have to expect changes, but isn't that what we love about Keen? It was the first PC game of its kind and is different to everything else. I'd like to see Keen still be retro and look the same, but that's probably the most we could expect.

Having said that, I'd love to see whatever Hall comes up with if given the rights.
"Wise words. One day I may even understand what they mean." - Levellass

User avatar
Gridlock
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 546
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:20

Post by Gridlock » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:13

Much as I want to see a 3-D Keen game, I also don't. Even on the rare chance that a new keen game would be commercially successful, I could see the issue dividing the community. Not to mention it might bring in new fans who only care about the new game and don't give a fucl about the classics.

The fact is, getting the keen rights probably won't do us much good. I respect Tom Hall for creating the concept of my favorite childhood game, but there are plenty of people on this community that are just as creative as he is. Sure it would be awesome if Tom could have an input into a new game, but is that even going to happen? Making a successful 3-D game would require an entire team of dedicated creators working long hours. No company is going to invest that much time in remaking a game that's hardly marketable in the first place. And there is no way this community is capable of completing a project that large. While we have accomplished many things, some of our largest ambitions have fallen apart due to lack of interest and dedication. If anything, I'd like to see the rights in the public domain so anyone can do whatever they want with Keen.

Besides, why should we complain about having the ability to mod our childhood game and play other people's mods? Sure I'm curious about the state of the Keen rights, but don't we have better things to do?
Image
Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

User avatar
Lava89
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 1076
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 15:28

Post by Lava89 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 15:46

Keening_Product wrote:And this raises a key question in this debate: Do we want the game to be released as a commercial release, or are we just hoping Tom Hall would put some personal time aside to produce a game with no intent to make a profit?
Well, it would be nice for a professional game developer to sit down and make a game for non-profit. But would that be very realistic?
Keening_Product wrote:The only modern game I can think of which has had major success is Little Big Planet. I've not actually played it because PC RULES, but it seems to have the same kind of feel to it as Commander Keen has.
Well let's also not forget about Steam. Now I don't know how well it really helps indie developers (if say Hall was to develop Keen in a "indie"-sort of way). But the adventure market (like Telltale games) seems to have found a pretty good niche on the steam market. And adventure games are by no means super successful (they're kinda dead).

If a professional game developer is going to put considerable work, time, and effort into a production, and hire people who will do the same...that developer will at least want to break even. And profit in itself is not a bad idea...especially if it gives people incentive to take the time to develop something that might have not been created (a big reason why the US has patents).
Also, as far as radical changes go, I think Tom Hall's ideas for Keen 7 are pretty damn radical! A 3D game would've completely changed the look, if not feel, of Keen... yet people are moaning that the game might change if the game goes back into production?
That's a great point, in fact, I could argue that Mario 64, as true as aestically to the original games, and directed by its original creator, it definitely changed the feel of Mario games forever.
Gridlock wrote:No company is going to invest that much time in remaking a game that's hardly marketable in the first place
I don't know if we can say right off the bat that the game wouldn't be that marketable. This would be a new beast into itself.

Now, if Tom Hall wanted to go the indie route with steam, I think he could easily make a low budget platformer. Which would mean not as much loss if the project flopped (and any project like this already has risk of failure).

If the game was designed with less emphasis on graphics, and more on game-play and style....there could be a good niche fanbase cut out for it. Then on top of that, he'd at least have the attention of Keen fans. Lastly, if he had some savvy marketing ( maybe not Romero level-of-savvy ;) ), the game wouldn't need to be played by everyone and their dog, just enough to bring in profit. Especially if the game was designed for old-school gamers, Keeners, and non-Keeners alike-- a group of people I would say that Steam has already attracted by selling classics for dirt cheap.

User avatar
Paramultart
VBB's Partner in Crime
Posts: 3004
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:36

Post by Paramultart » Thu Mar 29, 2012 17:31

First of all, I wholeheartedly agree with most of what Spleen and Gridlock have said. Just wanted to apply my stamp of approval. However, I think it's slightly selfish to reject the idea of a new Keen game simply out of fear of disappointment. It seems many of you are doing this, although I must say I agree with all of your reasons and concerns.

In my opinion, the best thing that could happen for Keen, which is likely to have the highest success rate, would be to get Tom Hall involved with the modding/fangame community, directly or indirectly, just sharing his ideas, so we could finally see where he would have taken the series, and effectively expand the cannon Keeniverse. Heck, even just getting our hands on his notebook and seeing new aliens and worlds for us to sprite and throw in the Keen wiki would be worth it. The more "official" enemies we get, the more Keenish our mods become.

If we could get our hands on a new official Keen engine to develop on, like say, the TUIT engine John Romero promised us last year, that would be all the better.

I know we all love the UTUIT trilogy, but what if the work done on those mods could somehow be adapted into a semi-official TUIT?

We even have enough talented game developers within the community to make even a 3D game like Tom Hall would have intended.

I would love to see this happen, though it's probably unlikely.
And don't say he has other things to do. Keen Modding is far more productive than MineCraft, which he seems to be spending a lot of time with these days. He says we're "living his dream", so why doesn't he live it with us? Maybe his involvement with the community would catch the attention of gaming news sites, and John Carmack, who could effectively shut down this whole operation? Maybe Tom Hall is aware of this and has already joined the community with a secret identity? Maybe Tom Hall is... szemi! :O
"Father Mabeuf was surveying his plants"

User avatar
VikingBoyBilly
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 4155
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:06
Location: The spaghetti island of the faces of dinosaur world for a vacation

Post by VikingBoyBilly » Sun Apr 01, 2012 17:30

Zenimax just gave the rights to public domain today! :eek

April fools =p
Image
"I don't trust players. Not one bit." - Levellass

User avatar
StupidBunny
format c:
Posts: 2116
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 19:19
Location: The Centre of the Moon
Contact:

Post by StupidBunny » Sun Apr 01, 2012 18:44

April Fool...
Image

-MegaTrip:
Vortininja
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 19:38

Post by -MegaTrip: » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:53

Last edited by -MegaTrip: on Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
VikingBoyBilly
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 4155
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:06
Location: The spaghetti island of the faces of dinosaur world for a vacation

Post by VikingBoyBilly » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:19

-MegaTrip: wrote:post
please keep posting. It's so entertaining.
Image
"I don't trust players. Not one bit." - Levellass

-MegaTrip:
Vortininja
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 19:38

Post by -MegaTrip: » Mon Apr 02, 2012 19:27

Last edited by -MegaTrip: on Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:36, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply