3D Realms Sued Over Earth No More

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Darin Scott and Edward Polgardy of Cinemagraphix Entertainment have filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms over Earth No More, saying the Duke Nukem Forever developer stole their idea, reports Next Generation.

Announced last year, Earth No More is a first person shooter in development at Recoil Games, produced by 3D Realms. In the game, "a growth of deadly red vines and mutating spores have overtaken the world, perverting whatever they encounter."

That premise, as well as the name 'Earth No More', is pretty much what Scott and Polgardy pitched to several game developers--including 3D Realms--in 2005, according to the lawsuit.

According to the plaintiff, anyone can see similarities between what was pitched and what 3D Realms announced, noting, among other things, a similarity in concept art.

"First of all, the title 'Earth No More' is a title that I haven't been able to find in the title of any intellectual property out there," said the plaintiff's attorney Tre Lovell. "There's no movie, TV show, book, play, anything like that which has the title 'Earth No More'."

Scott and Polgardy are seeking damages under the US Copyright Act, additional statutory damages of up to $150,000 plus attorney fees, and an injunction against the distribution of the game.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 19, 2008 6:48 AM

    [deleted]

    • reply
      February 19, 2008 6:58 AM

      It seems like it'd be a pretty stupid thing to do, which makes me question the validity of their claim.

      • reply
        February 19, 2008 7:03 AM

        Apparently it was never pitched to 3DRealms. It was pitched to employees that worked at other companies which THEN went to 3DRealms. This is a tricky one.

      • reply
        February 19, 2008 7:03 AM

        Especially since it took them 8 months from the announcement...

        • reply
          February 19, 2008 8:29 AM

          Lawsuits take time to form, you know. It's not like they can go into their closest 711 and order a lawsuit.

    • reply
      February 19, 2008 7:02 AM

      You assume they are guilty. I don't think 3D Realms is stupid enough to steal someone elses title like that. It's not like it's something that's going to slip by unnoticed.

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        February 19, 2008 7:13 AM

        3DRealms actually has a rather sordid history of doing this.

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          February 19, 2008 7:27 AM

          You want to back that up chief?

          • reply
            February 19, 2008 7:55 AM

            Sure thing, chief. I don't remember specific details, but the lead designer here, who has worked with Broussard/3DR in the past, has plenty of stories about it. Basically it has to do with individuals coming to Apogee/3DR to pitch ideas, getting shot down, and then seeing their game with a different name on store shelves a year later under Apogee/3DR's label. This is all from 10-20 years ago, when a lot of the games being published were clone-software with very little legal accountability. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure the original Duke Nukem (the side-scroller) came about this way. I mean it's basically Commander Keen with a new coat of paint.

            Anyway, I pretty much expect to get flammed/nuked/banned for even thinking of slighting the holy grail of awesome that is the Duke + Broussard in the eyes of the shack. I'm sorry Dognose :( But hey this was all a long time ago and I'm sure things are different now!

            PS I would ask my boss (the lead I mentioned above) for more specific details but he's at GDC :(

            • reply
              February 19, 2008 8:00 AM

              yeah mang, the dastardly Broussard shot down Commander Keen and reskinned it to Duke Nukem.

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              February 19, 2008 8:30 AM

              Not to mention all of Duke's catchphrases are stolen from famous movies.

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              February 19, 2008 8:50 AM

              Err you do realize Commander Keen is published by Apogee right? Tom Hall and the folks there are even good friends, as was the case with most of id software (though not sure how it is these days).

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                February 19, 2008 9:09 AM

                Yes I am aware of that. I was using Duke/Keen as an example of the fuzzy distinction between what Apogee publishes and what 3DR soon after develops themselves.

                Look, I've got tons of respect for 3DR, Miller and Broussard. My post wasn't intended as a direct insult or slander towards either of those individuals specifically. My point is that ownership of ideas and originality are historically murky points of contention when it comes to the company and it's projects. Like Blizzard, 3DRealms tends to take someone else's idea, and just makes it better/more fun. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that, but I think it is important to keep that in perspective when jumping to the defense of the inner-workings of a company very little of us know anything about.

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                  February 19, 2008 9:49 AM

                  Sorry I misunderstood what you meant by "copy". I mean really the Wii is juat a copied idea from made-for-tv baseball and tennis games, just implemented in a far better way.

                  I think both Apogee and id were trying to copy Mario anyway. Thats how Dangerous Dave was born. They wanted to prove it could be done on the PC.

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                February 19, 2008 8:48 AM

                Yes I know all about that, however people forget older tiled games used CDs for stock graphics. Which seems just about true since Megaman (the dos game) is also a part of this, not just Turrican. Since we have no proof about whether this was the case for Duke, we will never know. Innocent until proven guilt however.

                (Though frankly who knows, as Romero has admitted to stealing Ultima IV's fire from the title for Dangerous Dave.)

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                  February 19, 2008 8:51 AM

                  And of course by CDs I meant disks. Although it is funny to imagine George and co putting CDs into a 5 1/4 drive.

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                  February 19, 2008 9:14 AM

                  stock graphics? are you kidding? open your eyes to the evidence.

                  • reply
                    February 19, 2008 9:47 AM

                    I see the evidence, I just don't know the whole story behind it. Turrican had those graphics first, but did they create them or use stock images? I can't say because 3DR has never commented on this and it's brought up countless times on both the shack AND the 3drealms forums.

                    If they did steal it then it's a shame nothing was done about it, because I don't think that sort of thing should be ignored.

                    For instance look -

                    http://forums.3drealms.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11602&highlight=ripoff

                    I've brought it up before and they never replied. Another -

                    http://forums.3drealms.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26219&highlight=turrican

                    I'm on your side - I think it's a ripoff. However I also heard about these so called asset disks used as an excuse. Without proper evidence we'll never know. Ask George, he posts here. I have no idea what to say, and yes it does bother me that Apogee would get away with this IF it is true.

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                    February 19, 2008 10:35 AM

                    I can't say anything for sure but why is this such a stretch? graphics libraries exist today, remember that retarded STALKER ordeal? it's a huge time saver not having to draw every bullshit grass or water texture when you could be devoting time to making stuff that makes your game stand out more. Every game has used some stock graphics, or reused graphics from older games. I don't see why tile-based DOS games would be any different?

                  • reply
                    February 19, 2008 11:21 AM

                    There was the whold stalker & doom 3 issue last year, and that was the same thing, they both bought texture packs from the same place, so they had many very similar textures.

      • reply
        February 19, 2008 7:15 AM

        [deleted]

        • reply
          February 19, 2008 7:24 AM

          I wouldn't consider either the premise or title to be something so special that it's unlikely someone else thought of it too.

          • reply
            February 19, 2008 7:37 AM

            the combination of red vines (etc) + "Earth No More" is sufficiently distinct that given the two scenarios, it's far more likely it was stolen.

            3DR is listed as "producer" and Recoil is the "developer" so it is possible that the idea was brought to 3DR externally through a trusted channel, and it was somewhere on the other side of that trusted channel that it was stolen.

            Who knows, truth will come out.

            • reply
              February 19, 2008 7:46 AM

              The article says the other guys idea was "spores" and not "vines" and the only red thing you can see in their concept is from the image.

              All I'm saying is that for a game where the world is hit by a disaster of some sort it's not that hard to believe more then one person came up with the name "earth no more".

              The plaintiffs will obviously only mention that parts that actually fits to the newspaper, I wouldn't be surprised if these things are the only matching stuff and everything else is substantially different. Hopefully the court is competent enough to figure it out either way.

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      February 19, 2008 8:16 AM

      Obviously, very few of us know the whole situation and true facts of the case. I don't think because we like their games we can assume they, as a company, are above doing shitty things for money. From further up in this thread, it seems some guys heard the pitch before coming to 3DRealms. As that is the case, its not absurd to think one or more of these fellows may have re-pitched it to their new company as something of their own. Smart? Obviously not. Impossible? Unfortunately far from it. If this is the case, its very possible 3DRealms is getting screwed for something they had no idea about. If it seems like a good property, and it turns out it really is these guys' idea, I say pay them for it and go on with development.

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      February 19, 2008 1:39 PM

      I have that movie and never watched it. That'll give me something to do tonight.

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