Original UA source code and its legality

For general topics about Urban Assault and any Urban Assault-related topic that doesn't fit anywhere else. If you're not sure, it probably goes in here.
Post Reply
Paholainen
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:39 pm
Location: Finland

Original UA source code and its legality

Post by Paholainen » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:11 am

Hello again!

For those who don't know, the Urban Assault's original source code can be found on this iso file.
The real source code would be useful as it's most likely better documented and commented than Zidane's cryptic reverse engineered code (For the record I am not disparaging Zidane's work on the open-source UA. He's done amazing work at making UA work in modern operating systems and fixing bugs of the original UA. However, if you've ever looked at his source code, you can agree that the original source code might be easier to work with, even if we have to start from the version 1.0).

However, the original source code is password protected inside a Visual SourceSafe.
Thus I have to raise the question: Can (and should) we actually use it, legally speaking?

While I have known situations where a leaked source code of a commercial product has been worked on as an open-source without legal repercussions yet (coughOpenNTcough), using the original source code without the approval from original devs might risk them going angry and throw us a cease and desist (I am not saying that they are going to do this, but sometimes you gotta think about the worst outcome).

Thus it would be ideal to try (yet again) contacting the original devs to tell them about the source code and give us a green light or approval of some kind.

GoldStar611
BlackSect Creator
BlackSect Creator
Posts: 884
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:16 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by GoldStar611 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:30 am

Paholainen wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:11 am
However, the original source code is password protected inside a Visual SourceSafe.
The source code is not password protected -- VSS doesnt work like that :)
The usernames to log into VSS do have passwords.
There is a guest account with unlimited view access as far as I can tell.
There's also this: http://not42.com/2005/06/16/visual-sour ... ord-reset/

Final Verdict:
The devs don't own the source code for the RTM version of UA -- they never did.
They were employees of Microsoft and thus Microsoft held/holds all ownership and rights of that code.
Case closed.
Image
Image

Paholainen
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:39 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by Paholainen » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:51 am

GoldStar611 wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:30 am
The source code is not password protected -- VSS doesnt work like that :)
The usernames to log into VSS do have passwords.
There is a guest account with unlimited view access as far as I can tell.
There's also this: http://not42.com/2005/06/16/visual-sour ... ord-reset/
Oh wow! So me correctly guessing the admin's password was all for nothing! :lol:
GoldStar611 wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:30 am
Final Verdict:
The devs don't own the source code for the RTM version of UA -- they never did.
They were employees of Microsoft and thus Microsoft held/holds all ownership and rights of that code.
Case closed.
So, does that also mean that posting the original source code or modifying it is not okay here? :|

Ormu
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 850
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:59 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by Ormu » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:54 am

This tool is useful if you want to browse the original source:
https://github.com/trevorr/vss2git

While the original source has all original variable names as well as comments, it lacks the modern features added by Zidane. It's written in C which is not the easiest language for high-level development, and it contains developers' own object scheme which may seem tricky at first. Zidane is working on to convert his code to standard C++.

The legal status is unclear but so far Microsoft hasn't done anything. Perhaps they might get interested if someone attempted to make money with their intellectual property but this community and our projects are probably not very interesting for them at the moment.

What we know:
-- Bronsteijn24K was told by Microsoft employees that Microsoft doesn't care about UA anymore
-- pete_kaboom found out that the trade mark has expired and not been renewed
-- Some people attempted to contact Microsoft but didn't get an answer, as far as we know
Image
Matthew Lever wrote:Take out Ormus as soon as you see them.
Not all Ormus are mine. When in doubt, please ask...

User avatar
CharlotteLabyrinth
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 372
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:00 pm
Location: Schloss Charlottenburg..?

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by CharlotteLabyrinth » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:36 pm

In my perspective, the results will be contingent upon what we're aiming to achieve by making use of the original source code. But in my case I would rather not attract unnecessary attention. I looked into the source code once but couldn't risk myself to bring it into the discussion here. Many thanks for starting this thread. It is definitely an interesting topic, but meanwhile I fully respect GoldStar611's decisions on this matter.


About the ownerships and rights of Urban Assault I have something more to talk... When I contacted the developers a few years ago, every one of them said that all the rights concerning the game still belong to Microsoft and have always been. So I completely agree that Microsoft still possess the authority.

The contract between Microsoft and TerraTools was terminated soon after the release of final Urban Assault. Microsoft then helped TerraTools to find a new publisher for the 'Metropolis Dawn' expansion pack for Urban Assault, which was ultimately a Canadian company called 'Aztech New Media'. However, unfortunately for Urban Assault team the company did not responded to their works and feedback requests as it was eventually closed without notice.

This actually resulted in a situation where the legal status of Metropolis Dawn had been put into a very precarious state. But it only applies to Metropolis Dawn expansion pack, not the original Urban Assault. I think this is why many people think that Urban Assault is an abandonware -- technically it has never been, although it could be disputed and even considered as one.


The Microsoft employee I had managed to contact once said that since he doesn't know about the game 'Urban Assault', he couldn't give a precise answer for it. He said he will attempt to contact other people with more knowledge on this subject for additional information, but I never received another reply thereafter.

If they were officially told to not care about the game entirely then I wonder what would have been a problem; and even so this was a particular response from that specific person and thus would neither formally represent objective legality status nor official verdict of the firm.


If anyone is paranoid about Microsoft Urban Assault website shutdown: It has nothing to do with whether Microsoft still cares about UA or not. All 'classic' game web pages existed under the domain 'http://www.microsoft.com/games/' had collectively went down for their site renewal and change in policy back in 2014. The URL for Urban Assault web page was simply amongst one of them (.../games/urbanassault) which is unfortunate.

If you access these URLs now you will find yourself getting redirected to their brand new Xbox.com games domain. Also, the trade mark is expired but that was almost 12 years ago. Considering how long process of red tape one should go for re-validating the trade mark, that is understandable for a game which ended its support already for quite some time. But it doesn't explicitly tell anything about Microsoft's stance towards the game.


At this stage, it is safe to assume that since the game is so old, hardly anyone at Microsoft nowadays even knows/remembers about it and therefore can't (or not allowed to) provide correct answers when asked about the game. But it never implies Microsoft does not still hold the rightful copyright.

Whatever the truth is, I think everything is self-evident by now. Many people tried it, but, has anyone eventually succeeded in acquiring the rights of Urban Assault from Microsoft? Not that I know of. If Microsoft doesn't care about Urban Assault anymore then this wouldn't even be the case.
;----------------------------------------------------------
;
; Vielleicht der niedlichste Hubi, Knuddel.
;
;----------------------------------------------------------

Personal Declaration: I always use different usernames across different websites. Hence if you ever see my username is being used outside of Stoudson Corporation, I absolutely have no affiliation whatsoever with that!

abelardo
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:36 pm

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by abelardo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:00 pm

So a cease and desist letter is better than wait for Microsoft to answer.... :?

i will take a look at the source code.
thnx btw

GoldStar611
BlackSect Creator
BlackSect Creator
Posts: 884
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:16 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by GoldStar611 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:16 am

abelardo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:00 pm
So a cease and desist letter is better than wait for Microsoft to answer.... :?
No cease and desist letter would be preferable. My opinion is that we should not host any code that is not our own.
Image
Image

Mr. Matt
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:26 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by Mr. Matt » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:58 am

GoldStar611 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:16 am
abelardo wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:00 pm
So a cease and desist letter is better than wait for Microsoft to answer.... :?
No cease and desist letter would be preferable. My opinion is that we should not host any code that is not our own.
There's something hilarious to me about the 'BlackSect Creator' saying that... :lol:

User avatar
CharlotteLabyrinth
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Turantul 1 (Veteran)
Posts: 372
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:00 pm
Location: Schloss Charlottenburg..?

Re: Original UA source code and its legality

Post by CharlotteLabyrinth » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:08 pm

Mr. Matt wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:58 am
There's something hilarious to me about the 'BlackSect Creator' saying that... :lol:
:lol:
;----------------------------------------------------------
;
; Vielleicht der niedlichste Hubi, Knuddel.
;
;----------------------------------------------------------

Personal Declaration: I always use different usernames across different websites. Hence if you ever see my username is being used outside of Stoudson Corporation, I absolutely have no affiliation whatsoever with that!

Post Reply