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  #1  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:38 PM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Default Mods & Deus Ex copyright

I see a few mods trying to remake the original Deus Ex game using high res textures, or a better engine.

Are they legally ok to do this? I'm interested in recreating just the first level of the original Deus Ex, completely redoing the models, lighting, and probably modernizing or adding more detail to the map for either design or immersion reasons. Basically, a similar approach to what Black Mesa Source Mod is doing to the original half life. IMO, there's no point in trying to convert an old UT level into something that's compatible for today's UT engine standards, if you're not going to take advantage of today's standards to the fullest.

Regardless, there's no way this can be commercial, but I'd still be using characters and story elements that I have to assume are under copyright.

What's Eidos/Ionstorm's position on modding? Are they pretty cool about it? I don't want to invest 500 hours only to get a cease and desist letter. My plan is to use 100% original assets, so the...original original assets are not used. Still...characters and story would be copywritten. Would I have to change the names too? Call it Dayoos Ecks?

Judging by the release of the Deus Ex SDK, I can't see why it would be a problem to do a total conversion that upgrades the models, textures, and basically replaces all the original assets with higher quality ones and a completely rebuilt level in the UDK, all for non-commercial use.

But again, I don't want to get a cease and desist letter after 500 hours of RSI inducing work.

I'm going to poke Rene about this, but I'm wondering if anyone else can shed light on this.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:38 PM
WhatsHisFace WhatsHisFace is offline
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Some gentleman tried to remake Doom 1 in the Doom 3 engine, and Activision shut him down.

However, a team is making Half-Life 1 in the Source engine, which Valve is fine with.

It differs by company, but they have the legal right to stop you if they wish. Perhaps you should ask Eidos first.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:13 PM
IH-Denton IH-Denton is offline
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The rules are simple: if you don't sell your mod and its totally free, so you can do whatever you want. But there could be some exceptions which depends on what exactly you trying to do with original game (=
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:16 PM
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The rules differ for commercial use versus non-commercial use, but there might be problems with using the Deus Ex name even for a non-commercial project. You'd want to contact someone at Square Enix Europe directly for this; I suggest starting with Keir and going from there.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:46 PM
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If you get the OK, need any help with it? I need to do some UDK work before I get too lazy. I can 3d model/uv/texture as well, but only really beginning in that stuff.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:40 AM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. K View Post
The rules differ for commercial use versus non-commercial use, but there might be problems with using the Deus Ex name even for a non-commercial project. You'd want to contact someone at Square Enix Europe directly for this; I suggest starting with Keir and going from there.
So does DX: Reborn ok because it tags on the "reborn" part? I can do that. :P

I poked Rene and Keir so hopefully they'll get back to me.

Senka, sure, I'm a fine art student/2d guy, so if this gets going, I'll definitely need some good modelers. I keep thinking of the busted Statue of Liberty and my eyes cross thinking of modeling that. I'll probably be repainting the skybox, and working on lighting and texturing more than modelling and skinning. I'm interested in learning, and working with others.

Still need to make sure it's doable first.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:42 AM
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What covers such works is a fair-use doctrine of the US Legal System. It's almost entirely precedent-based, so there is no specific law that states whether you can use something or not. There are four major criteria. You are fine on the first two, as long as the mod you are making is non-commercial.

The other two are where you might have problems. First of these is the fraction of copyrighted material that you are re-using. For example, if you take all of the characters, graphics, and levels from the original, you are almost certain to be breaking fair-use. On the other hand, if you are simply re-creating the story of the original, but making completely new models and levels, you'll probably slide through.

Second of these two criteria is the one on which most such projects get shut down. It's the effect that your mod would have on the name "Deus Ex". Basically, if you are making the series look bad, intentionally or simply by making a very poor clone, fair-use does not extend to you, and Eidos can take legal action.

Now here is the real problem and why you should probably talk to somebody at Eidos first. Even if your work appears to be under fair-use, because there are no strict guidelines on what is fair-use and what is not, Eidos can take legal action anyways, so that the fair-use extent would be decided by court. Odds are, if you follow above guidelines, court will uphold it as fair-use. But the procedure will be very expensive. So usually, such projects shut down as soon as copyright owner's legal team sends you a cease and desist. If you first get some sort of a written notification that Eidos will not challenge fair-use in this case, you'd be far better off.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:54 AM
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Hi Earendil,

This is completely okay! If you're using unique assets and will not try to sell it commercially, there's no problem!
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:31 PM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Keir said he'd talk to the legal department, and Rene says it's completely ok. Does that count as written permission?

So in my book, that's a "definite maybe" :P

K^2, thanks for such an informative post. I can change names etc, it's really only the story that I think might cause problems. Ideally, my remake would make them look good, that's the point. :P Having never been to Liberty Island, I had no idea how inaccurate/hardware limited that original map was until I started looking into reference images.
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:19 AM
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Good luck with this project. I'm available if you require a female voice actor.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:29 AM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Ok, looks like if Rene says it's cool, it's cool. Now, to figure out exactly how I'm going to get all this together...

It's good to see people are already interested in contributing to this. Since I am mostly a 2D guy, I'm definitely interested in working with people more knowledgeable than me. For now, I'm going to spend some quality time planning how to execute/organize this, and once I've got a plan of attack, I'll be looking for some good artists, programmers, etc.

Yeah Senka, I'm already noticing some design stuff that may need to be changed to accommodate for a smarter AI. I want to extract the essence and the mood from the first level and enhance it if possible. In this regard, I have a feeling there may be some changes. No point in all the swell graphics if the enemies are as dumb as the original. Maybe that can be a setting... Anyhoo, I'm getting way ahead of myself here so...in the words of the Govinator. I'll be back. ^^
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:00 AM
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Okay, good luck and keep us updated.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:39 AM
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That is very interesting. I myself am working on a remake of the first level using the Sandbox 2 though. Although I don't plan to go in too much in detail, just trying to capture the basic feel of the level. I've already got the islands and the surrounding landmass shaped up (pain in the assh having to stitch images from google earth and then use it as a texture), the sky is dark, the sea is churned-up a bit, a few buoys around the south dock, now if I only could find the time to learn how to texture some SketchUp models . Of course my whole idea was to just make a concept and see how the game would translate in a modern engine, but it turned out to be more time consuming than I originally thought (it doesn't help that I've never worked on any other game before ).

Anyways your project seems much more interesting and I wish you good luck with it.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:52 AM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Yeah I was looking at the Crysis engine stuff too. Not sure how much it differs from the UDK, or how much support it has. That's one of the things I'm going to need to look into more before starting this. UDK seems to have much more support, with all the 3DBuzz tutorials, and more user friendliness in general. However, i've never touched Sandbox so... I'll see if I can find some comparative analyses.
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earendil View Post
I see a few mods trying to remake the original Deus Ex game using high res textures, or a better engine.

Are they legally ok to do this?
Seeing as though Eidos Montreal had NOTHING to do with creating Deus Ex, I'd positively answer: yes.

And even if they weren't (which is not the case here), Eidos Montreal would have a lot of balls trying to impose their will concerning DX mods on anyone The working precedents here are pretty obvious.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:34 PM
Earendil Earendil is offline
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Thanks for answering, however, I get the feeling you didn't read the rest of the thread.

It has nothing to do with "having balls" and everything to do with "owning the copyright". Legally, Eidos is God, and there are no balls required. I'd rather have a blessing than a legal lightning bolt of doom. Fox Interactive is notorious for shutting down mods, even non-commercial ones, and Eidos is one of the few that seems to support the mod community.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earendil View Post
It has nothing to do with "having balls" and everything to do with "owning the copyright". Legally, Eidos is God, and there are no balls required.
Hehe, I like how you express yourself so clearly. Welcome to the forum.


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...and Eidos is one of the few that seems to support the mod community.
Agreed.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:14 AM
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Just make sure to add a typo when making the name; Dues Ex
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:14 AM
MattColes MattColes is offline
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I had a quick question on the same topic. I have been thinking of doing a remake of deus ex as well and have a bit of code done in another engine.

Would it be okay to take the audio (dialogue, sfx, music) from deus ex and use it in a non profit remake created in another engine?
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:07 PM
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^
I've alerted Rene to your question, I'm sure he'll answer you as soon as he can.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2010, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earendil View Post
Thanks for answering, however, I get the feeling you didn't read the rest of the thread.

It has nothing to do with "having balls" and everything to do with "owning the copyright". Legally, Eidos is God, and there are no balls required. I'd rather have a blessing than a legal lightning bolt of doom. Fox Interactive is notorious for shutting down mods, even non-commercial ones, and Eidos is one of the few that seems to support the mod community.
I'm familiar with this thingamabob called "copyright" but more importantly with a thing called decency, as well as common courtesy I don't get the feeling EM is authoritarian in this sense, and yes, dictating the modding community and/or forbidding the use of DX materials so many years after the fact would entail lots and lots of ballsiness (of the worst kind).

Eidos Montreal has demonstrated (good) ballsiness in attempting a sequel to one of the greatest games of all times, and they've (well more precisely: Eidos as a whole) let the modding community do their thing for all these years, for several games, so if they were to suddenly switch positions on modding for whatever reason that would definitely be bad ballsiness, as well as bad business

In fact, Eidos' support for modding and the hope of an SDK is possibly one of the only tangible reasons to keep following DX3 right now, in the absence of any information (and what little there is being mostly... suspect).
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  #22  
Old 02-02-2010, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattColes View Post
Would it be okay to take the audio (dialogue, sfx, music) from deus ex and use it in a non profit remake created in another engine?
Yes'sir, if it's just for fun and things remain non-profit!
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  #23  
Old 02-02-2010, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattColes View Post
I had a quick question on the same topic. I have been thinking of doing a remake of deus ex as well and have a bit of code done in another engine.

Would it be okay to take the audio (dialogue, sfx, music) from deus ex and use it in a non profit remake created in another engine?
Source engine ?
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  #24  
Old 02-02-2010, 01:05 PM
MattColes MattColes is offline
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thanks for the answer René , much appreciated!

@ blade_hunter:
I'm using an indie engine similar to source (http://www.3dgamestudio.com/), it means that by the end of the project I can create a standalone exe, so no one will have to own any certain game to play it and I have also used the engine for many years.
Source is good too though, maybe we should combine efforts?
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:47 PM
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I know 3 mods that attempts to make a Deus Ex graphic upgrade
An UT2004 called Deus Ex reborn
And two who are made under the source engine One is called Deus Ex: Substance and I don't know the name of the Other ...
I think you can work with one of those teams if you want
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