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Official Abandonware
March 13th 2003, 02:28 CET by chris

Rockstar Games has added Grand Theft Auto to their "Classics" list. What does this mean? The game gets a shiny update so it will run properly on modern OS's, and then gets released to the public. For free. You can get it here, or hunt around for your own non-fileplanet link.

This is a nice gesture on Rockstar's part to say "thank you for buying enough copies of GTA3 and Vice City that we can all go out and buy rocket cars made out of solid gold," and I'd love to see more companies do the same. But the question that inevitably comes to mind is: can most studios/publishers afford to do this?

And if the answer is "no" (which for most, it is), then is it worth figuring out a way that it can get done AND be, if not profitable, at least a break-even sort of thing? Is there enough demand for working abandonware that a small company or two could make a living by contracting out to publishers, revamping their old titles, and re-releasing them?

I'm sure this will devolve into a warez thread, but I'm still curious what people think.
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#1 by Shadarr
2003-03-13 02:29:46
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Goddammit!  Three new topics just as I have to leave.
#2 by Charles
2003-03-13 02:44:12
www.bluh.org
If the legalities of the situation clear, it doesn't really cost the developer much to release the game freeware, or open source it.  The community will make it run on newer systems and operating systems.

As for the small devs doing the work, (I guess for companies not willing to open sources old titles), I'm not sure if there'd be enough money in it to sustain them.  I doubt it would take too much work on average, but would many people actually pay for an updated executable?  I know I would, but I am hardly the norm.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#3 by Gabe
2003-03-13 02:50:04
http://www.dartpublishing.com
I suspect a company doing this would have a similar fate to Loki's.
#4 by jafd
2003-03-13 02:50:34
Whether it is affordable or not, it will all end up being done by someone at some point anyway. If nothing else, as museum pieces.

I think the main barrier here is the huge disconnect between publishers and their clients. (Their clients are endusers, not developers. No! Really!) For example, there's a few games I can think of that I would pay THROUGH the NOSE to get a version of that would work in Windows flawlessly.

But how are they going to know that? I'm not going to tell them, and they're not going to ask me. Ho hum.

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#5 by Charles
2003-03-13 02:51:44
www.bluh.org
Wasn't Loki's fate largely self inflicted due to questionable accounting practices and various other monetary oddities?

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#6 by Bailey
2003-03-13 02:53:12
No, Loki was all peaches and cream, it was just a concept that the market wasn't ready for, or able to understand.

I, Complainicus
#7 by Jibble
2003-03-13 02:53:51
Paying for a patch?  I think that would be kind of a dangerous territory to venture into.  The problem is basically the same as that which comes with all software.  The main thing that will drive companies to create is demand.  Abandonware by definition is in low demand.
#8 by Gabe
2003-03-13 02:55:10
http://www.dartpublishing.com
#5 Charles
Wasn't Loki's fate largely self inflicted due to questionable accounting practices and various other monetary oddities?

Monetary oddity like very low revenue stream?
#9 by TheTrunkDr.
2003-03-13 02:56:58
I think the benefit of supporting this sort of thing is good faith and consumer relations more than anything else. If a company thought it could still make money on a title it wouldn't start giving it away. However giving away old games that they don't make money on buys them a ton of good faith from consumers, and essentially costs the company nothing.

Sure, it might happen in some fantasy land like Canada or Holland, but not in the real world. - Shadarr
#10 by Greg
2003-03-13 02:58:01
#6 Bailey
No, Loki was all peaches and cream, it was just a concept that the market wasn't ready for, or able to understand.
The only concept that market understands is the concept of not paying a dime.

#7 Jibble
Paying for a patch?  I think that would be kind of a dangerous territory to venture into.  The problem is basically the same as that which comes with all software.  The main thing that will drive companies to create is demand.  Abandonware by definition is in low demand.
You, meaning most people, handily pay for OS upgrades. Granted they are on a much larger scale, but essentially still a patch. Would you pay $5 for a patch that allows you to play some old DOS game on your current system flawlessly? Like jafd, there are a few games I would do that for.

blah blah bleh
#11 by jafd
2003-03-13 02:58:43
I don't know if abandonware is really in low demand, just that, most of the people who demand it, have already paid for it once. It's galling to be asked to pay again. Even if that price is well worth it, and needed to support the endeavor.

I think things will trundle on much as they have been for a long time to come. There's a lot more profitable areas in the industry that publishers could risk their money on, I should think.

Meanwhile, someone can remake Autoduel with the Freelancer engine. That'd be fine with me!

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#12 by jafd
2003-03-13 03:00:08
Oh, and Legacy of the Ancients in the Infinity Engine. Come on, what are you waiting for? Chop-chop!

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#13 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-13 03:06:22
erictcheng@hotmail.com
How does it cost publishers/developers money to release old games, that probably won't run on people's machines? Doesn't DirectX 9 lack the backward compatibility of the earilier of DirectX versions, thus making early Windows 95/98 games unplayable?

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#14 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-13 03:09:36
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
How does it cost publishers/developers money to release old games, that probably won't run on people's machines?

Someone has to package it, get it ready for release, coordinate the distribution, etc.  That's assuming that they even know where the source is and are confident that it still works.  If they give even the smallest damn about what they're offering, they'll need to make sure it still compiles and that will eat some programmers time.

It's cool when companies release stuff like this, but it's far from free.

What?
#15 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-13 03:13:30
erictcheng@hotmail.com
What's there to package? Free old games have been included with game magazines in the past and there's that li'l thing called the Internet/Web... Release the original game "as is" and let people try to get them working on their machines. But of course it would be great if they could update old MS-DOS based games like Duke Nukem 3D to work on Windows 2000/XP though. *hint hint*

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#16 by jafd
2003-03-13 03:14:14
And just releasing the game without any polishing would be even worse than the current situation. Any time you slap "official" on something, people kind of, you know, expect it to work.

Even if they slapped "unsupported" on it, what's the advantage? They'd have to set up FTP sites or something. Gahh, so much work. Just let the warezmonkeys do it. They will anyway.

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#17 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-13 03:15:04
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
What's there to package? Free old games have been included with game magazines in the past and there's that li'l thing called the Internet/Web... Release the original game "as is" and let people try to get them working on their machines. But of course it would be great if they could update old MS-DOS based games like Duke Nukem 3D to work on Windows 2000/XP though. *hint hint*

I don't live in your overly simplistic and idealistic world.  *shrug*

What?
#18 by jafd
2003-03-13 03:15:14
What's there to package?

Uhm, the executable, for one thing. Will the stork be responsible for distrobution in your world?

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#19 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-13 03:18:15
erictcheng@hotmail.com
I don't live in your overly simplistic and idealistic world.  *shrug*


Of course you don't live here in Canada any more, you traitor!

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#20 by Charles
2003-03-13 03:19:36
www.bluh.org
It costs for bandwidth, hosting, hell, having someone zip it up.  And like Warren and jafd said, there is the issue of making sure it even works.  I'm not sure if you've read the topic, but it implies a working release.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#21 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-13 03:21:40
erictcheng@hotmail.com
I just want an updated version of Sid Meier's Pirates!... Is it so wrong to ask for that?

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#22 by Greg
2003-03-13 03:26:39
I like what the Exult team did with Ultima 7. They rewrote the game from scratch, I believe, only using the content provided by the game disks. U7 for DOS was such a bastard program, what with their VooDoo memory manager, that I have to commend the team for their success. I'm not sure if EA tried to give them a hard time about it, but it has been around for awhile, so I suspect not.

blah blah bleh
#23 by Eric T. Cheng
2003-03-13 03:33:48
erictcheng@hotmail.com
Well, a German developer is working on a MMO game called, World of Pirates. From the screenshots and the gameplay video, it looks like Sid Meier's Pirates but multiplayer. *drool*

Kilt Wearing Pixel Pushing Monkey Boy
IMDB Entry
DVD Collection
#24 by Your Friend
2003-03-13 03:37:27
Giving away old games is a great PR move.

It won't catch on much though.  

On the technical side, things are looking up.  More and more games old enough for this treatment were largely written in C and wouldn't be as useless to release as old 286 code written with some flash-in-the-pan impossible to find macro assembler that would be impossible to find a copy of now.  Porting them from DOS APIs to DirectX or similar is no simple task, but it is doable.

On the business side things aren't as good.... small gaming seems to be gaining steam, finally.  GBA, cellphones, PDAs.  A lot of publishers won't release their old games simply because they'd be afraid to cannibalize possible ports of their own to these systems.

2000/XP is better than Win9x in every way.
#25 by chris
2003-03-13 03:40:01
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
I'm not talking about an unsupported release, here... I *have* most of the old abandonware I want. It just doesn't, you know... work. I bring it up all the time, but I love Darksun: The Shattered Lands. I'm currently considering buying an old P166 and installing DOS on it just in order to play the game again. That's going to cost me way more than the ten bucks I'd happily pay for an XP-compatible version of the game.

-chris
#26 by EricFate
2003-03-13 03:41:33
The solutions to most old software compatibility problems have already been solved by various utilities on source forge.

I mean hell, I managed to get my old original floppy of "LOOM" working with sound under winXP last night.  (VDMSound)  If I had owned the CD version, I could be using ScummVM instead.

Failing that, a company could always try for some sort of licensing arrangement with someone else who has already overcome a number of the problems inherent in the system.  I'm looking at screenshots from someone who has Crusader No Remorse running in a Virtual PC window running under XP.  It isn't worth $230 to me to be able to do that, but it might be worth $15 if they were to work some sort of deal.
#27 by Bailey
2003-03-13 03:44:34
Greg

The only concept that market understands is the concept of not paying a dime.

Flippant reply #1: I'm way ahead of you there.

or...

Flippant reply #2: WAREZ THREAD.

Eric

From the screenshots and the gameplay video, it looks like Sid Meier's Pirates but multiplayer.

Those crappy graphics really take me back. Put a little effort into something if you're going to rip it off.

You know what bugs me about abandonware: EA. They won't let go of anything. I mean, Wasteland, give it up already, the dream is over. Plenty of people are thrilled to host, adapt, and distribute this file unofficially, but EA gets all lawery on their asses.

I, Complainicus
#28 by Bailey
2003-03-13 03:45:14
chris

If you didn't play Crimson Sands, you're not a real Darksun fan.

I, Complainicus
#29 by chris
2003-03-13 03:56:17
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
Bailey -

I don't even know what Crimson Sands is. In fact, The Shattered Lands and Wake of the Ravager (which wasn't as good) are the only Darksun properties I'm vaguely familiar with, and the only SSI titles I've ever played.

-chris
#30 by "Jibble"
2003-03-13 04:07:23
jon@jibble.net
You, meaning most people, handily pay for OS upgrades. Granted they are on a much larger scale, but essentially still a patch. Would you pay $5 for a patch that allows you to play some old DOS game on your current system flawlessly? Like jafd, there are a few games I would do that for.


You appear to have missed my point, Greg.  Old games are in no way comparable to an entire OS upgrade.  OS upgrades provide new content and functionality, whereas a patch that lets you play an old game is just that.  No frills, no new content, just the old game in a new environment.  I just wouldn't want to see developers wanting me to pay for, say, a Battlefield 1942 patch so I could run it in the next iteration of Windows.

A major issue I could see with this is whether or not the original developers of the game would be involved.  I'd like to know that the guys who made the game in the first place are ensuring a quality re-release.
#31 by Charles
2003-03-13 04:18:45
www.bluh.org
OS upgrades provide new content and functionality


Tell me the difference between Windows 98, and Windows 98se.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#32 by nothing
2003-03-13 04:21:07
I'd be curious to see some numbers on how old a game is when it stops bringing in reasonable revenue.  I know that I probably pull more games out of the bargain bins than off the new shelves.  I just recently picked up stuff like Deus Ex, the Fallout 1/2 package, one of those old Quake 1 expansion packs, and Sin.  I've got friends who still pay decent money for old 8 bit nintendo games.  If people are gonna keep paying 10 bucks a pop for this stuff, why offer it free?

The world makes me go tharn
#33 by Warren Marshall
2003-03-13 04:32:33
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Tell me the difference between Windows 98, and Windows 98se.

"se"

What?
#34 by "Jibble"
2003-03-13 04:51:47
jon@jibble.net
SE wasn't an upgrade, it was a patch, and paying for it sucked, which further proves my point.  Also, the difference was that it included all the updates released up until that point for 98 along with improved USB, IEEE 1394, and ACPI support.  Also included was Internet Connection Sharing, IE5, NetMeeting 3, Media Player 6.1 (which allowed playing of MP3 files), and DirectX 6.1.
#35 by Dethstryk
2003-03-13 04:55:46
jemartin@tcainternet.com
If there had to be a patch for a game every time the OS was upgraded, *and* you had to pay for it, I can guarantee you that publishers would make the developers render the games useable on only the current OSs at the time, to insure money in the future.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#36 by Charles
2003-03-13 05:42:43
www.bluh.org
Also included was Internet Connection Sharing, IE5, NetMeeting 3, Media Player 6.1 (which allowed playing of MP3 files), and DirectX 6.1.


All of which could be downloaded separately.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#37 by Caryn
2003-03-13 06:07:24
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
I don't see cost of distribution as being a strong factor here. Old, popular games can be sent to places like FilePlanet and it takes no more than slapping it up on the company's FTP or web server and letting mirrors take it from there. The problem I think is, as others have said, making sure the file works before you do that.

"That's an interesting viewpoint supported by many factual references, but you failed to note that I really don't care." - Bailey
#38 by JMCDaveL
2003-03-13 06:07:31
Arrrrr!

--jmc
#39 by jafd
2003-03-13 06:09:11
The difference between 98 and 98se is that the latter actually functioned. For the most part. If you rebooted a lot.

What's this Virtual PC thing? See, maybe I'm just an ignorant tool, but it has always seemed to me that since the new computers are faster, someone could just write a program that behaved exactly like an old computer. Why has this been so difficult? Someone tell me it is impossible, I could use a good thighslapper.

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#40 by JMCDaveL
2003-03-13 06:10:38
This is NOT my Fallout MMOG

--jmc
#41 by jafd
2003-03-13 06:13:53
It's a plonk sandwich.

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#42 by Greg
2003-03-13 06:15:37
#39 jafd

The difference between 98 and 98se is that the latter actually functioned. For the most part. If you  rebooted a lot.
I don't remember Explorer crashing all the time when I used 98, but that must've been a feature Microsoft left off the box in SE. Thankfully Windows 2000 was released not that long after.

blah blah bleh
#43 by jafd
2003-03-13 06:22:45
I don't remember Explorer crashing all the time when I used 98,

Pah. Explorer still crashes all the time under XP. It just doesn't take the whole box down in a flaming tailspin when it does. And it doesn't actually "crash" so much, as "stop responding properly."

Sometimes operations on network folders will mysteriously take 30 minutes and require 92MB of memory. Or, I have this one interemittent problem, where files need to be deleted, they yearn for the sweet release into oblivion that only the Recycle Bin can provide, but can I send them there? Oh no. They are "in use."

I don't need to tell you that being unable to delete files MAKES THE ENTIRE SYSTEM USELESS.

Look at your keyboard. Do you see a "Caps Lock" button? You do? Good. Push it once. Thanks.
#44 by Squeaky
2003-03-13 06:28:38
LucasArts has done something similar with the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter games. They ported both games over to the XvT engine and re-released them for about $10(CAD) each. And apparently they've done it with Grim Fandango, The Dig, Full Throttle, and Sam & Max.

Now you're up shits creek with a turd for a paddle
DVDs
#45 by Charles
2003-03-13 06:33:03
www.bluh.org
Full Throttle is still a dos game.  They suckered me with that one.  Chances are Sam and Max is still a dos game as well.  Their version of porting for those titles seemed to be making a .pif file for them.

Gee, thanks LucasArts.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#46 by Dethstryk
2003-03-13 06:35:25
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Yeah, they haven't ported them for shit.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#47 by Squeaky
2003-03-13 06:36:21
So you actually found a copy of this?

It's weird that there is no mention of such a product on LucasArts site, nor anywhere else on the 'net.

Now you're up shits creek with a turd for a paddle
DVDs
#48 by JMCDaveL
2003-03-13 07:11:34
Hmm Grim Fandango, The Dig, Full Throttle, Sam & Max... which of these does not belong.

--jmc
#49 by Squeaky
2003-03-13 07:17:07
Grim Fandango doesn't really run properly with Dx8 for some reason. Apparently they've updated it to work properly.

Mind you, they've also released a patch that does the same thing.

Now you're up shits creek with a turd for a paddle
DVDs
#50 by Bailey
2003-03-13 07:42:19
chris

I don't even know what Crimson Sands is. In fact, The Shattered Lands and Wake of the Ravager (which wasn't as good) are the only Darksun properties I'm vaguely familiar with, and the only SSI titles I've ever played.

Crimson Sands was an early NWN-style (the original NWN, not the Bioware NWN) game pay-per-play service that utilized the same engine as Wake of the Ravager. Or possibly Shattered Lands, I forget. Anyway, it was online, it was Darksun, and it was short-lived. But it was fun while it lasted.

JMC

Based on the world of Fallout, a successful series of PC games set in a grim post-apocalyptic universe inspired by classic '50's sci-fi films.

IT WAS INSPIRED BY WASTELAND, YOU BABY-RAPING LIARS.

I, Complainicus
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