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posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 15 2017, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the cry-moar dept.

As if Star Citizen didn't have enough problems, now its developers are being sued by Crytek:

Star Citizen's lengthy and heavily crowd-funded development has been marked by numerous changes to the project's direction and scope, including a move from Crytek's CryEngine to Amazon's Lumberyard in late 2016. That change is now the focus of a lawsuit from Crytek, which accuses Star Citizen developers Roberts Space Industries (RSI) and Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) of copyright infringement and breach of contract.

The complaint, filed in the US District Court for Central California, lays out how RSI agreed to work exclusively with CryEngine in a 2012 agreement, an agreement it says was broken when RSI moved to Amazon's Lumberyard engine in late 2016.

In a blog post following that transition, RSI's Chris Roberts explained that Lumberyard was essentially a more promising fork of an earlier CryEngine build that fit better as a base for "StarEngine," his name for the "heavily modified" version of CryEngine the developers were then using. "Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are," Roberts wrote.

Previously: Star Citizen Reaches $100 Million in Crowdfunding, Alpha 2.0 Released


Original Submission

Related Stories

Star Citizen Reaches $100 Million in Crowdfunding, Alpha 2.0 Released 19 comments

The space simulation game Star Citizen has reached $100 million in crowdfunding:

Star Citizen continues its reputation as one of the most highly-anticipated, yet controversial games around, mainly because the ambitious space-based game has a large amount of crowdfunding but no final release date. Even with many uncertainties for the game's future, people are still giving the developers money. This past weekend, another milestone was reached as the total funding for Star Citizen passed $100 million.

The timing worked out perfectly, as the game's alpha was updated to version 2.0 this weekend. The latest version finally included some features that early backers thought would come earlier, such as first-person shooting, multi-crew ships (which also means new ships specifically for multiple players), and a new planet to explore (along with some moons and space stations).

[...] The funding for the game started in September 2012. One month later, backers raised $2 million. Since then, the developers put stretch goals if various levels of funding were successful, such as a facial capture system at $22 million, or a new salvage ship at $32 million. However, the goals stopped after the $65 million mark. The last reward allowed developers to work on a modular feature for "any suitable ships" in the game, so that pilots can swap interior and exterior parts to build a spacecraft suitable for combat, mining, bounty hunting, or whatever hobby they wish to partake in the large in-game universe.

The seemingly endless amount of money also allowed the developers to enhance the game's single-player campaign, titled Squadron 42 , with a cast of celebrities such as Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and Andy Serkis.


Original Submission

Star Citizen Begins Selling a $27,000 DLC Pack 19 comments

The space simulation game Star Citizen has found a new way to extract money from the crowd:

Crowdfunded space simulation game Star Citizen has launched its $27,000 (£20,000) Legatus Pack, which includes nearly all its spacecraft plus extras.

Only players who have already spent $1,000 in the game can access the pack.

Cloud Imperium, the creators of Star Citizen, has received more than $200m in crowdfunding since launching a Kickstarter campaign for it in 2012.

According to its website it has more than two million players, although the game itself is still in development.

Previously: Star Citizen Reaches $100 Million in Crowdfunding, Alpha 2.0 Released
Star Citizen Developers Sued by Crytek


Original Submission

Star Citizen Hits $200 Million in Crowdfunding 36 comments

'Star Citizen' Reaches $200 Million in Funding

Dedicated Star Citizen fans have pushed the game's crowdfunding revenue to a new milestone with the game now having raised over $200,000,000.

Currently playable in an alpha version that's available after purchasing one of the various game packs, the most common starter packs totaling around $45, Star Citizen and its developer and publisher Cloud Imperium Games have been raising money for the game for several years. According to the live stats for Star Citizen's crowdfunding progress, the game has raised $200,024,490 at the time of publishing with exactly 2,121,588 "Star Citizens" contributing to the game. That equates to just over $94 spent on the game per person.

[...] Star Citizen is currently in development and has a playable alpha with no official release date announced for the full game.

It'll come out of Beta around the $1 billion mark.

Also at Wccftech.

Previously: Star Citizen Reaches $100 Million in Crowdfunding, Alpha 2.0 Released
Star Citizen Developers Sued by Crytek
Star Citizen Begins Selling a $27,000 DLC Pack
'Star Citizen' Court Documents Reveal the Messy Reality of Crowdfunding a $200 Million Game (the story was updated with a correction stating that the actual number was a little over $190 million)


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday December 15 2017, @04:13PM (7 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Friday December 15 2017, @04:13PM (#610331)

    > "Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are," Roberts wrote.

    That would certainly be a good reason to change engines - but is completely irrelevant to a contract obligation, unless that contract also required Crytek to have that focus.

    Similarly, I rather suspect that Y being a fork of X isn't going to buy you any legal leeway on using Y instead of the X you agreed to. The whole point of a fork is that Y is no longer X. They may have closely related code bases but "product X" is not only a specific lineage, but also the organization that controls it.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @05:47PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @05:47PM (#610371)

      Oh call the waaahhhmbulance for Crytek. Rather than seeking litigation to squeeze out every last cent, go out and get someone else (or many someone elses) to use your engine, or offer improve your engine in the areas it is deficient so as to make them switch back again. This insta-litigation thing companies get into when they can't pull profits anymore isn't going to help anyone.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday December 15 2017, @05:50PM

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 15 2017, @05:50PM (#610372) Journal

        Nah. Crytek saw the Star Citizen devs wasting their huge pile of money and decided they wanted a piece of that action.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by zocalo on Friday December 15 2017, @07:28PM

        by zocalo (302) on Friday December 15 2017, @07:28PM (#610408)
        If you read the complaint, that was kind of what Crytek claim they were trying to do. According to Crytek, in return for a budget priced license for a single game CIG was supposed to help them promote their engine (by using it and through prominent display of the Crytek logo on startup), develop new features for the engine, and do joint promotional events. They did do some of the latter at a few tradeshows and other events, but very little - if any - of the rest happened. CIG is now developing two separate games (although depending on what was done when, SQ42 might only ever have been a Lumberyard based-product), definitely didn't display the Crytek logo very prominently, and the co-operation and contributions of code clearly stopped when they switched engines. Something else that the license supposedly forbade them to do.

        It all hinges on the contractual terms of the license - which we currently only have via Crytek's claims - but if CIG has committed at least some some of the breaches that Crytek is claiming they have, and trying to work it out internally has presumably failed to come to terms, then Crytek only really have one course of action left for relief, and that's the courts. You can hardly blame them for taking this route if that is indeed the case. Either way, the only winners here are going to be the lawyers, and I don't think that's going to go over to well with those that still support the project if they think their pledges are being spent on that rather than the moneypit of SC/SQ42. Potentially CIG are going to have to bring in external counsel as well - while CIG's in-house lawer and co-founder, Orten Freyermuth, is qualified to represent them in this, he's also intimately involved in the case and only an idiot represents himself in court, lawyers included.

        I think we can expect a lot of ugly articles and comments on this, so the smart thing to do stock up on popcorn and get ready for the show.
        --
        UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday December 15 2017, @08:28PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday December 15 2017, @08:28PM (#610437)

        If they had just licensed an engine and then changed their mind, I'd be with you.

        However, it sounds like Crytek invested a fair amount in helping them make proof-of-concept demos, etc. while they were seeking crowdfunding, with the payoff to be promotion and collaborative development of the CryEngine in their game. Once the developers accepted an investment from Crytek on those terms, they became bound by honor (and law) to uphold their end of the bargain.

      • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday December 18 2017, @10:46AM

        by Wootery (2341) on Monday December 18 2017, @10:46AM (#611331)

        This insta-litigation thing companies get into when they can't pull profits anymore isn't going to help anyone.

        This is a contract dispute, no? I'd hardly dispatch the waaahhhmbulance for wanting to hold them to their word. A contract is not merely a suggestion.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @06:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @06:27PM (#610389)

      Actually it can still be copyright infringement. That's why there are licenses like BSD and GPL (and the different versions of GPL).

      Modifying someone else's code doesn't make the resulting stuff automagically yours by copyright law.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday December 15 2017, @08:42PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday December 15 2017, @08:42PM (#610444)

        Assuming the Lumberyard engine is fully legal, and that the developers abandoned the original CryEngine for Lumberyard, I don't see how that angle holds any water.

        You're free to write a piece of software built upon a GPLed codebase, and then later replace that codebase with some other roughly drop-in replacement that you can redistribute under some other license. So long as you *completely* remove any (outsider's) GPL-derived code they no longer have any hold on you.

        Having used GPL code in the past doesn't "infect" your code with the license - your code is still *your* code, and you can do whatever you want with it. At worst, *if* you distributed the combined work(and thus activated the relevant GPL clauses), you'd then have to share that *specific* version of your code under the GPL. But that's only relevant to other people - as the copyright holder you can do whatever you want with code you wrote yourself.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @07:30PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @07:30PM (#610410)

    "OMG the game sounds great! I wonder why no one has ever made a game like this before!"
    *100 million dollars later*
    "I think I'm starting to see the problem"

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 15 2017, @11:39PM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 15 2017, @11:39PM (#610550) Journal

      I wonder why no one has ever made a game like this before!

      EVE online?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:26AM (#610616)

        How does Gay Online even compare?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:43PM (#610728)

    Crytek? But can it sue Crysis?

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