A Visit to id Software

A Visit to id Software from john romero on Vimeo.

If you read Masters of Doom and were left wondering what the feel of that office was really like, this video is perfect. It really does id’s history better justice than at least my imagination could.

If you haven’t read Masters of Doom yet, please give it a try. It is one of the most engaging books I have ever read, and is probably tolerable even if you can’t stand the usual gamer-yakkity-yak.

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Economy Takes the Controls From Some Video-Game Pros – NYTimes.com

The nytimes has an article about pro-gamers going retail and finding real jobs due to sponsors dropping them in this economic downturn. Above is depicted Emmanuel Rodriguez who had to go back to working at Sam’s Club after his sponsors dropped him and more than 100 other players who were getting a salary plus tournament bonuses for playing in a league.

To the spoils of economic stickyness, go, more spoils:

But the recession has left only one significant competitive circuit in North America, Major League Gaming.

“We have driven everybody else out of the business,” Matthew Bromberg, the league’s president and chief executive, said in a recent interview at his office in Manhattan. “The history of league sports begins with one league.”

Best of luck in that, I honestly don’t think the MLG will ever reach a wide enough audience to sustain itself. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing of some success. I feel that Bromberg’s tone when he said “We have driven everybody else out of business” speaks volumes about his attitude.


Goozex on the iPhone

iGoozexAs awesome as Goozex is, the new iPhone application leaves a lot to be desired. Namely, their implementation of the token system Goozex uses to identify you as a proper user for API access is incredibly poor.

Once you launch the application you’re presented with the screen depicted to the right, which is OK if a bit plain. However, before accessing your queue, you are required to enter in that 40+ character API token, a screenshot of that dialog is after the break. Obviously it is a frustrating process, I entered it once, and had to check my work three times before I had the proper token.

If this were done properly, what would happen is you would e-mail yourself a token and the URL in the e-mail could launch the application on the phone and insert the token.

Instead, it must be entered manually. Fortunately, after the iPhone 3.0 Operating System is out you will be able to copy and paste. Though, Goozex could probably enable another method of API access before then, or the developers of this application could see the URL handler light and fix their application.

Either way, once you have the token in there it is nice to be able to see your queue and your position in it. Both the developers of the app, and Goozex proper are aware of the problem. Goozex had this to say on their twitter feed:

Regarding the Goozex Token Code for the iGoozex app. We know it hurts. It was designed years ago w/out foresight of an iPhone application.

I’m hoping that eventually the API will be a little bit more featureful so you can perform more of the actions that you can on the full site. The presentation leaves a lot of room for improvement as well. It seems like it would make a lot more sense to have an app with the standard black bar at the bottom interface and load your requests by default, then have two other “tabs” at the bottom for offers and a gear icon for settings.

Certainly worth the price of admission, iGoozex is free on the app store. If you’d like a more general introduction to Goozex, check out my review.

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Wolfenstein 3D and the Pirates of Cydia.

wolf3d-cydiaOne of the problems with releasing your source code with your data is when people stab you in the back for doing so.

Soon, my next set of iPhone game reviews will go up on AtomicGamer, including Wolfenstein 3D Classic. While investigating the game for review, I came across a version on the Jailbroken iPhone app store called Cydia.

This is all fine and dandy, since the source code was released under the GPL (v2). but the problem is that the scum of the earth who put the game out on the Cydia store (again, a store for Jailbroken iPhones only) disobeyed the license text included with the Wolf 3D source release. Specifically, as summarized by John Carmack himself:

You are on-your-honor to buy a copy at the App Store before using the data. 🙂  The source code is under the GPL, but the data is still strictly copyright Id Software with no license given to distribute outside this code release package or to use for any commercial purpose.  You are certainly free to replace all the data and make commercial applications, as long as the code is made available under the GPL.

What did these asshats do? Well, they put ads and a nag screen on the loading screen of the application so they can make money, which turns it into a commercial project. This is not cool, and I will try to contact these folks and see if they didn’t read the license text.

Update 1:

To be clear for people who didn’t read the text of what I’ve said and probably won’t read this list:

  • The game DATA is not GPL.
  • The game DATA is not to be used in any commercial sense outside of id software’s control
  • This is “ZODTTD” distributing and using the same data from the source zip file provided by id software and slapping his logo and ads on there which makes it commercial usage and thus violates the contract to my understanding.

Update 2:

To give you another example from the past of someone who screwed up this badly, if not worse, and the reaction he received which was (I think) extremely appropriate to the “crime.” Though the two issues were different, they both involve GPL code, and both will hopefully get a reaction from id software. I think most of us old die-hard Quake and id fans remember Slade. Here is how John Carmack dealt with him:

The idea isn’t to punish anyone, it is to have them comply with the license
and continue to contribute. QuakeLives has quite a few happy users, and it
is in everyone’s best interest to have development continue. It just has to
be by the rules.

That was a rather good statement and it holds up to this day. Though it is sad that in this case “ZODTTD” contributes nothing to the Wolf 3D Classic GPL release. I think there is something to be said for people playing a game who otherwise wouldn’t, but it isn’t like Wolf 3D Classic for free on Jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches (no matter how much I love the game itself) is a good argument for piracy. People know what Wolf 3D is, or I’d like to hope that they do, and have many options for playing it at various reasonable price levels.

One person (who I later found out has his site linked from ZODTTD) has posted a ridiculous troll comment here. He made the argument that putting advertisements on a program doesn’t make the distributon of the program commercial. I suspect he might feel differently about that if were to create a popular domain which embedded his site and put advertisements all over it. I suppose these types of arguments are inevitable when you attempt to make people aware of any kind of possibly controversial subject.

At the end of the day, what is really wrong here is that regardless of ZODTTD’s original intentions, he has spelled out some (intentions) with his actions, which are to release and profit off of Wolf 3D Classic via advertisements inserted into the loading screen. That isn’t cool.