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Is Doom 3 Warez ? Ed's Perspective "Ids At id"

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Is The Leaked Doom 3 Alpha Warez ? Ed's Perspective "Ids At id"

"Ids At id"

Edward Stroligo - 11/9/02

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Seems like id Software has been going "Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum" to a lot of websites regarding this Doom 3 alpha.

Now id has the perfect legal right to do such things if copyrighted material is being used without permission. There's no dispute about that.

However, just because you can do something does not mean you should do something. There is often a difference between legality and wisdom.

The Facts

The leaked Doom 3 alpha is about seven months old. The alpha is more-or-less functional, though it lacks ease-of-use features. With some work, it is networkable, and apparently some have done this. The problem is pretty untweaked and you need the latest and greatest to get this running somewhat well.

The Warez Test

Some have been very quick to call this warez, but is it?

Now I'm not in favor of warez at all, but it's important to know the reason why I'm not, and see if this alpha meets that criteria.

I think a good definition of warez is "a functional substitute for the legitimate product". This is bad because if you have a functional substitute for the real product, you have no reason to buy the legitimate product, and thus the creator loses sales.

An exact copy of the finished product obviously qualifies as warez.

A "functional substitute" does not mean an exact copy of the original. By this definition, a "ripped" version of software would also qualify. Nor does it have to be a completely finished product; it just has to work just about as well as the final. So I would call many betas of software warez also.

In the music and movie venues, it seems that even early releases of songs and movies are finished enough to qualify as a "functional substitute."

Does this alpha meet the warez test?

The question that needs to be asked about this alpha is "Would someone who downloaded and used this continue to use this as a substitute for the finished product?" If the answer is "Yes," then it is warez. If the answer is "No," then it isn't.

I think the answer to this question is "No." The program is just too raw and untweaked to replace the finished product. It also contains only three levels.

Now this doesn't at all mean getting yourself a copy of this alpha is legal. It just means that this alpha will not lose sales because people will use this rather than the real thing.

Protection of Novel Ideas

Some may suggest that competitors getting the code will get a headstart on coming up with bigger and better code.

Again, id is within its rights to do that, but one can question the degree of damage caused by such a release.

Let's say I'm a copycat and avidly download the alpha to steal ideas. The most I can do with it is get assembly language code out of it. Assembly language code is not too easy to read, especially 380 megabytes worth of it. It takes skill and time for programmers to decode it, and they don't work for free.

More importantly, this is by no means optimized code. The final version of Doom 3 will have about a year's worth of tweaking, optimizations and modifications to that code, none of which Mr. Copycat has access to.

Mr. Copycat would much rather have, say, yesterday's build of Doom 3, with at least seven months' worth of changes and tweaking. That would help him a good deal more.

Yes, getting the alpha helps, but let's not exaggerate how much.

In due time, id plans on licensing the Doom III engine just like it does the Quake engines. You can actually get the Quake III gaming source code for free; it's the graphics programming that costs you $250K.

That may seem like a lot of money, but reverse engineering off assembly code isn't cheap, either.

More importantly, the horse is out of this particular barn. Anybody who might want that code for such nefarious purposes already has it. You want to fix that, invent time travel.

In the meantime, nobody is going to get much of a headstart from seeing a screenshot.

Artistic Rights

It seems like the strongest practical objection id has to this alpha is that it removes from the company the right to present its work to the public when it deems the work to be ready.

While most understand the highly unfinished nature of the beast, there have been some voiced objections to it, especially about the current hardware requirements for it to run decently.

While the alpha isn't a "functional equivalent" of the finished product, it probably does give enough of an unauthorized preview to allow people to decide whether or not they'll want to buy the game.

It's also quite possible that people may play the alpha for a few months, get their fill, then go on to something else.

Again, though, I have problems finding this a major tragedy.

A Little Too Full Of Themselves?

I'm sorry, but this is a leak of an old demo of a game. This is not like giving al-Queda U.S. nuclear release codes.

This is like a cop watch somebody jaywalking a few blocks away, calling in reinforcements, then pulling guns on everyone in the vicinity. Yeah, the cop is within his rights, but the reaction is disproportionate to the crime.

This isn't even like leaking a current beta version of the game. I could understand the level of outrage a lot better if that were the case, but it isn't.

Rather, the kind of reaction I've seen from id, both public and private, seems to be more control freaks freaking than anything else. It's like they're so outraged, they can't even coherently state why they're so outraged.

Maybe they've been coding Nazi behavior in the Wolfensteins too long. :)

The id people should have said something like the following

"Look guys, we'd really rather you not run this alpha. It's really old code, and we've made a lot of improvements since then, so you really won't get a good idea of what the game is like from this. Here's a couple recent screenshots from the game."

I don't think a statement like that would violate national security.

I do think a response like that would have resulted in a lot fewer downloads. Let's face it, teenagers have a track record of not responding well to authority nor the requisites of copyright law. :) Saying, "Don't do it because we said so" usually has the opposite effect.

If the control freaks at id want to let their inner Nazis out, use that energy to go after the original leakers.

But it is unwise, if legal, to go whacking away at the people who are going to end up promoting your game and leave a sour taste in their mouths. At the very least, give a clue as to why this is really so bad.

Again, they have the right to do what they're doing, but it would be much wiser if they didn't.

Am I Being Hypocritical, Etc., Etc.?

A few have already said, "How can you denounce MP3s, etc., etc and not denounce this?"

That's simple. I'm not being hypocritical at all; I'm just not being simplistic about this.

I don't see this as being the same from a practical standpoint as the usual download situation. I just don't see the level of potential damage you normally have in these situations, simply because I don't find that Raw Alpha = Finished Product.

I'm not saying that makes downloading this leak good or legal; I'm simply saying it's just not that big a deal practically and that id is overreacting.

It's like jaywalking. Yes, it's a crime. Yes, it's illegal. No, you shouldn't shoot jaywalkers fleeing the scene of the crime.

Ed

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So you tell me is it warez ? there is enough room for debate or so I think so. Is it as good as the final release ? Personally I still feel its not warez as I have stated so many times. But, its a gray area from many perspectives. I got into alot of trouble and alot of deleted threads for even discussing about the Doom 3 Alpha.Which to this day I think was unneccessary. What do you think ? Is it warez or just a half baked program that someone released to **** off ID ? I think discussing of any game is not wrong in itself even a game that is supposedly unreleased. Posting links where to get it now that is way over the top. But discussing it for the technical aspects even if you think it kicks *** or sucks should not matter. Or so I think. That is the way I stood on this and got hammered for it. Oh well atleast there is some merit to my feelings now more then ever. These feelings are my own and not representative of any other senior or staff except myself. *edits* for additional thoughts and feelings.

Maestro
 
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rb26dett

Disabled
Joined
Sep 16, 2002
Location
Chicago, USA
Good article, I agree this alpha thing shouldnt be considered as warez, its not like you can play the whole game with all the weapons and such, its just a half-assed demo, if you can even call it demo.
 

phantom punisher

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2001
Location
fort drum NY
i think its warez simply because they dont want you to have it. it was stolen from them when it was leaked. i dont understand where anyone is confused on this issue. the artical, although well written as always, set the standerd of "no warez" talk in these forums back a few notches. mods keep up the good work i hope doom 3 doesnt have to be added to the "******" words lol
 

Newbie_Doo

Admin Parent
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Jan 6, 2001
Location
Stafford, Virginia USA
Linking to download locations, or offering them publicly (or offering the information if someone PM's you) isn't OK here. Publishing copyrighted pictures here MAY cause us trouble, depending on the source. In this case, Id may have a hissy-fit and throw the sharks at us, so we prefer that they not be posted.

Discuss game theory and technical aspects all you want. This has been previously OK'd (by me) in my thread on this subject. If we need to move this thread to debates, let me know.

:D
 

Cowboy X

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Location
Folding in Barbados
Maestro , you have a sticky dealing with warez , cracks , etc .I replied there mentioning exactly the type of problems which occured here . The problem with everyone's definitionn of warez . There are too many definitions around .

Incidentally I agree with ED and think that there is too much fuss over this alpha . ID appears to be expecting and getting special treatment all over the net , which other companies , some bigger than ID don't get .
 
OP
M

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Newbie_Doo said:
Linking to download locations, or offering them publicly (or offering the information if someone PM's you) isn't OK here. Publishing copyrighted pictures here MAY cause us trouble, depending on the source. In this case, Id may have a hissy-fit and throw the sharks at us, so we prefer that they not be posted.

Discuss game theory and technical aspects all you want. This has been previously OK'd (by me) in my thread on this subject. If we need to move this thread to debates, let me know.

:D

This thread will die a quick death I bet. No need unless it gets bombed with replies :D Which I doubt.

Maestro
 

runsalone

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Detroit
Have any of you played this thing?

After the first 5 minutes, I was looking over my shoulder and breaking out into a cold sweat.

It's addictive, it's scary and it's the best video game i've ever played.

If you tweak it, it will run fine on older systems. Biggest issue is the dynamic shadows, make sure to turn them off. (r_shadows 0)
 

baqai

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Location
Karachi, Pakistan
very nice article,

here is what i think of the situation

There is a very thin line here between it (doom3) being warez or not and unfortuntaely it is right in between of being warez and not being warez.

Theoratically speaking it is not the full version, have loads of bugs and is a demo does not makes it a warez, i believe ut2k3 demo was also leaked but epic didn't made a huge fuss out of it, in my opinion ID have bought themselves more free marketting of the product and place in headlines with this leak alpha than any damage done to them.

If you talk about stealing idea's a copycat will do that and one can't do anything about that. Why do i have this feeling (and i have stated this many times before) that the leakage was delibrate and they are now listening and hearing about the reaction of potential customers to the alpha build of their product.

In my opinion the subject (doom3) is not warez, its a DEMO not a full scale product, but if here (oc.com forums) the topic is considered to be as warez by rules setters than i will keep that opinion to myself and respect the laid outlines,rules and boundries.
 

Mr.DLucey

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
I want to know how ID squshed it. I mean once it get to the net it stays out their for ever (not this time). How many people do they employ to search the net and stop it's down loading. I mean these guys should be giving a raise. Dam!
 

mage_x

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
its downloading hasnt stopped, i know several people who will give it to you if you just ask
 

SafirXP

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2002
Location
Bangladesh
Oh well, Id can solve all this problem. By releasing a proper demo, around Christmas time. That way they'll have all the Doom3 fans glued to it. Cause the game is coming out middle of next year AFAIK. Its a long long time to wait. The NV30, which is going to be out during that time, should have some good sales too! ;)

A fairly optimized demo, with only one level, and a few characters should be enough! Multiplayer options are welcome. :D
 

fuzzba11

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2001
Location
in the garage
I've played it, and if anything it's only made me look forward to the full game...it gives you a chance to sample the atmosphere, enemies, physics, how it runs on your system, etc. I would give more credit to the gamers of the world, because they should realize that everyone who spent ages trying to get the alpha is going to jump the demo the moment it is released!

So from a gamers perspective, it's just increased knowledge of the game...I definitely plan to buy the full version once it comes out.
 

SpeeDj

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2000
Location
Milwaukee, WI
It's illegal from the aspect that it wasn't obtained through proper channels, IE a release by the owners in this case ID, you want to argue semantics; Lets. If you were to obtain a prototype vehicle illegally, would it still make it ok for you to drive it? What would your excuse be? "They left the garage door open?" So what, it's within their rights to sue based on the simple fact an Alpha makes them look bad as it doesn't truly represent what the final product will look like or function like. Optimizations and final code are where a game begins to shine and show it's true colors. It's illegal, discussing what you think of the Alpha as far as gameplay, function, etc is NOT OK, discussing what you think the impact of the Alpha getting out will be IS OK.

Talking about playing/downloading/sharing it IS NOT OK
Offering up screenshots IS NOT OK

Let's stick to the issue legally, all talk of playing it will stop, when the demo hit's feel free to talk about all of it until you are blue in the face until then let's stick to speculation. Why it has been defined under the broad generalization of Warez is because like warez it is illegal to own/obtain/use the software that has not been released for public consumption, simple as that.

Would you rather we define it as illegal and simply report each and every person to ID that states they are currently running it? Let it drop, talk about what you think it will be like. I am tired of finding thread after thread about a ILLEGAL PIECE OF LEAKED Software.

J :cool: Just my two cents...
 
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Cowboy X

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2001
Location
Folding in Barbados
I don't think anyone can dispute what you said , but my problem is the application of the rules/ interpretation of the laws in this case .

As I said in the now deleted thread , there is so much which we do and discuss here which falls under the same category but is seen as fair game . But now its ID and all of a sudden web sites are scared to do what they often allow or discuss . Of course different sites have different rules and we are stricter than most . But even in our strict rules there are areas where we ......... mods likely included , run afoul of the same legal principles mentioned by you SpeeDj™®© .