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Legality?

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9 years ago
Hello,

From what I've seen, Zero-K seems to be an amazing game. However, I just have a problem with its legality.

The legal license that the spring page directs me to says that I need a copy of Total Annihilation to play this game. However, your legal information says that all content is available under open-source licenses. Also, the fact that this is a free and open-source mod makes me think that this is a legal venture.

So I am just wanting to clear this up: Is it LEGALLY ACCEPTABLE for a person who does NOT have a copy of Total Annihilation to play this free and open-source game?

I hope this gets cleared up, because this looks like a really good game that I would want to play. However, I am putting legal issues first.

Thank you.
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9 years ago

Yes, it's legal.
Neither Zero-K nor Spring engine uses any Total Annihilation content.

Text on the spring-engine page is outdated ..
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9 years ago
Where is this page with the incorrect license?
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9 years ago
That legal information was for Complete Annihilation, our predecessor. We purged all the Total Annihilation content when we moved to Zero-K. The legal information has been updated, thanks for the heads up.
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9 years ago
Thank you so much for your replies Licho, Frog, and Saktoth!I really appreciate it!

I also must congratulate you on making such a wonderful game though! You've got another fan!

Also, glad I could help with the license update :D

Cheers, and thank you again,
xman15
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9 years ago
I'm still not sure about the legality of ZK. Some units have updated models but many are still clearly TA derivatives (I'm looking at you Arm and Core coms). Many others are using their same TA names. ZK is really, really close to being all original IP, but I dont think its quite there yet.
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9 years ago
Well, the core com model is actually a completely new model done by Mr. D, and the arm com model is from the Evolva mod for TA (iirc permission was granted by the Evolva team for its use).

These models are definitely inspired by TA, but they are original geometry. I suppose there is a slight grey area about them being 'derivative works', so given some time they will probably be replaced.

Some other models are also 3do units from 3rd parties.

As far as names go, most names like 'Warrior' are quite generic enough to not matter, but some names like 'Rocko' should probably go. I started a thread for some renaming on the spring forums but it didn't really get any steam.
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9 years ago
Just changing the models to an updated one with more polygon's isn't enough. The source of the artwork is still obvious.

Imagine I make a superhero comic book about a guy who looks EXACTLY like Superman, acts like Superman, I just change his name and one of his powers. I'd expect DC comics to sue me in a heartbeat.

Too many of the units are still "close derivatives" that will land the ZK team in trouble should Cavedog (or whoever owns TA IP) decides to sue. However, seeing how long Spring has been out I wouldn't worry about it.
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9 years ago
Actually that is a funny example because comics rip off each other all the time. Like Superman appearing after Gladiator, or Batman after Zorro.

The important thing to note with the current models is that, there isn't any data literally ripped from the TA cd. Ripping the content is about equivalent to photocopying superman magazines and distributing them as your own. Which is undoubtedly illegal.

So you are right and I am right still. It is grey area. For our intents though, at the moment it is fine.
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9 years ago
We will probably eventually replace such content, as you are right that it is derivative in design (There are still some logos floating around, too). But it is just worlds apart from ripping TA content directly (Not that they care, one of the old TA devs mentioned spring in a release once and said he thought it was a fantastic what was being done). The next release will have a big content purge to help solve some of these issues anyway, and we'll continue to try and make the whole thing as above board as possible.

Still, if Starcraft can rip off Warhammer 40k so liberally in its visual designs, then we can afford to sit on these issues for now.
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19 months ago
Apparently this discussion was not new
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19 months ago
I later decided to change all the names and to remove the derivative Arm and Core commander remodels. Failing to come up with your own unit names signals a certain laziness, and many units had already received new names. I also figured that any relaunch of TA would likely lean heavily on the original commander designs, so it is reasonable to treat them as iconic enough to avoid.
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19 months ago
Ya know what, fair enough in purging all the TA content.

TA was my favourite game for years and it felt like it had all the bells and whistles you'd ever want.

Little did I realise how many bells and whistles an rts could really have and that ZK is basically TA grown up, with a degree and a sportscar. I'd just like to say "well done" to the devs on making an rts that I can basically find no fault with, that doesn't have a single thing that makes me sigh and think "if only it had X".
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19 months ago
I may not have grown up playing Total Annihilation, but I can see why some people might've loved it back in the day, and I can see why Zero-K might've caught their interest. Personally, my rts gaming background started with Warzone 2100, and was mostly Command & Conquer, with some StarCraft thrown in, although both the 1st and 2nd Supreme Commander games caught my eye for how grand they were, which was probably why I was personally attracted to Zero-K myself.

Still, however, I'd much rather want to see some new ideas, or at least some old ideas perfected for the modern-day, rather than merely pandering to nostalgia. I'm sure that even classics like Total Annihilation have their flaws, and I'd much rather prefer to not see these flaws resurface in any spiritual successors to it.
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