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    Free at Last


    Bloodshedder

    fraggle has asked us to point out the release of version 0.1 of Freedoom. The official announcement was made in the Freedoom forum in this thread, and you'll find the download at SourceForge here. And further:

    It's been pointed out that "0.1" makes it sound like we've got almost nowhere. The version number isn't meant to represent anything quantitative; it's just a good initial release version :)

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    this is all lies constructed by the american media! there is no 'free doom', praise allah!

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    The gods we think are seperate are probably just different names for the same god. But that's another kettle of fish.

    Because I'm doing pretty much fuck all today, I took the time out tonight to have a look at the freedoom wad.
    Well, the new textures work well and the levels are looking pretty good but most of the sprites are still either too blocky, too serrated, or just too comical. Some have no depth. In short it still looks like a pixellated early Saturday morning cartoon. So yeah, 0.1 is a good initial release version. But er, why hasn't it been marked as alpha or beta? Is it actually considered a serious first release?

    Well, in any case I wanted to put my twelve dollars in about the music. Music is the fourth dimension to DOOM and makes up about 20% of the game's ambience. With what's there I was getting maybe 6%. But I went through all the maps and jotted down comments for the ones that somewhat gained my attention within the first 30 - 45 seconds.

    MAP11 - Fits the map to some extent. Reminds me of the music from episode 1 of Duke3D on the map you have to escape from the submarine on. Song needs an alternative to the nylon guitar area. Doesn't fit.

    MAP12 - Good downtown feel. As if this piece of music was made for the map. At least, I thought it was until I heard the congas, which turned it into chillout electronic music like I hear on the Groove Salad station on SomaFM.

    MAP15 - Good start, needs to be faster. The high pinging sound whatever it was supposed to be on the composer's synthesiser put me off. Goes into a good mood beat, suffers from boring binary bass syndrome (doesn't move off two notes). Xylophone and piano don't do much for this song. Tune reminds me of a song by Enigma. Brownie points to the first person to guess it.

    MAP17 - Good Offspring-style Overdrive Guitar riffs in there. Gives a good 'freedom' feel, sets the right mood for a highrise-based map. Not sure about the beat at the start. When I say 'freedom' feel - think of the way the music in DM-Morpheus in Unreal Tournament hypes you up for flying through space in low gravity onto another building nearby.
    Damn, I hope those OD Guitar riffs are expanded. Fast-paced rock beat wouldn't go amiss either.

    MAP19 - Greatly improved since I first heard this song. Piano may do better as a harpsichord. Song reminds me of the Sesmar CTF map from Unreal Tournament (think it's the pizzicato line that does it). This has been improved. This one should have a permanant place somewhere in Freedoom. At least until something better comes along, heh.
    Oh - if it could be improved, some staccato OD Guitar to fill in those funky percussion gaps would give it that little edge it's lacking.

    MAP20 - Turns my ears on. Really like this piece. Some of the chords don't work but otherwise this is a perfect remix of Message For The Arch-Vile, and it fits the map (or what's done of it) so well.

    MAP21 - Great start, but from the organs the tune declines. 'Nuff said.

    MAP22 - The start was great. Then I heard congos. Euh. Kept listening. The tremolos and the square lead together are beautiful. Whoever came up with that must have had some really good smells in a bag close to them. Ugh. But then - congos? Congos as the backbone for this piece really murder it.

    MAP27 - Glad I didn't skip this one. The harp and whatever pad that is really fits with the row of disorderly flaming barrels on the steps. Love the beat that comes in. Stable and rich piece of music. I love the style of the main tune. The only thing that deters me is that horrible pressing-my-ass-on-the-synthesiser-keys sound just before it speeds up to get into the main tune. Take that out and this piece is a keeper.

    MAP31 - Diabolical Nazi beat. Then to end the phrase, some brave plagal notes in there which musically says, there is still hope! American spy to the rescue!

    MAP32 - I can't explain exactly why this one works with a Wolfenstein map. Though I can say this tune is full of the polka-style sarcasm (the song-isn't polka-style, don't flame) that E2M8's music had. Musically this tells me, 'I've got a job to do' but at the same time it ponders, 'why am I here?' Good piece. The beat is awesome. The style is unique.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

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    Scragadelic said:

    So yeah, 0.1 is a good initial release version. But er, why hasn't it been marked as alpha or beta? Is it actually considered a serious first release?


    Heh, I don't think it's necessary to emphasize it as a test release when the version number is 0.1.

    Scragadelic said:

    Well, in any case I wanted to put my twelve dollars in about the music. Music is the fourth dimension to DOOM and makes up about 20% of the game's ambience. With what's there I was getting maybe 6%. But I went through all the maps and jotted down comments for the ones that somewhat gained my attention within the first 30 - 45 seconds.


    I agree with what you say about DOOM's music (although I'd give it more than 20%) but Freedoom isn't DOOM. It's hard to give a definite theme to something made by so many hands... you just can't, really. And I do not think that Freedoom should necessarily aim for DOOM's mood and theme... again it's impossible, and also probably inadvisable.

    Actually, I would suggest different names for the Freedoom maps, in any case limited by DeHackEd's maximum string lengths, for a broader engine compatibility. You could also include new texts, if but to give the project some type of general aesthetic aim with an accompanying story. I've heard arguments about it being OK to use the map names because they appear in the source code which is GPL compliant. Is this so? They are also in the IWADs. Wasn't there a problem with using the monster names due to the fact that they are trademarks of id... when actually they also appear in the code (but unlike the map names, they do not appear directly spelled out in the IWADs as graphic resources)? Does the appearance in text form of a name or trademark in a GPL code put its copyright in question? Would this mean that a GPLed source code can't mention things like Coca-Cola (or whatever) anywhere within it? But possible legal issues aside, and acknowledging all the hard work done, I do believe that a more DOOM-independent Freedoom is more commendable and ethical than one that aims at being compatible with things that are geared at id's game (either add-ons or specifics pertaining to id's game within the source code.)

    Just my two cents... unfortunately I'm not as rich as Scragadelic, but I think I can afford to offer another coin or two later, if necessary.

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    Scragadelic said:

    So yeah, 0.1 is a good initial release version. But er, why hasn't it been marked as alpha or beta? Is it actually considered a serious first release?

    Its a convention for version numbers 0.x to imply that the package is an alpha or beta.

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    myk said:

    I agree with what you say about DOOM's music (although I'd give it more than 20%) but Freedoom isn't DOOM. It's hard to give a definite theme to something made by so many hands... you just can't, really. And I do not think that Freedoom should necessarily aim for DOOM's mood and theme... again it's impossible, and also probably inadvisable.


    Well, yeah. Freedoom isn't DOOM, but it should at least be trying to retain some of the ambience DOOM creates, if not the same mood and theme. From what I've seen it's still in the eyes of a space marine, but the theme seems to be leaning towards Duke Nukem. Personally I think the whole Freedoom project has been tackled the wrong way - a free-for-all put-your-name-down-for-making-several-resources-and-don't-finish-them-until-next-year thing where music and sounds have been written and forged before levels and sprites have been created respectively. All the different resources would have been better done in blocks - the best order being, IMO, monsters and sprites first, with their respective sounds (to make sure they fit with id's DOOM world) then textures (and make sure THEY fit in with the original DOOM maps too, I remember playing MAP01 with the Freedoom resource wad once. Instant shit, just add player). Then levels, then music (or music then levels if you want to really surpass that 20% or more ambience factor). Did I miss anything? Meh. But, for the best sequence... if in doubt, ask Romero.


    Actually, I would suggest different names for the Freedoom maps, in any case limited by DeHackEd's maximum string lengths, for a broader engine compatibility. You could also include new texts, if but to give the project some type of general aesthetic aim with an accompanying story.


    Have they actually decided on map names or a story for the project yet? Heh, that's how mucked up the project is, the story should have been the very first thing done before the resources started being submitted. The DOOM storyline is pretty generic - aliens (it was supposed to be aliens) invade human base, escape aliens. Well, after that, maybe not so generic. Ah, but DOOM 2's storyline is generic, hellspawn invade earth. id repeated these storylines in Quake2, didn't they? Alien race invades earth, go into space to defeat them? Pretty generic. I see no problem with keeping most of the original storyline ('cept for the UAC references).


    I've heard arguments about it being OK to use the map names because they appear in the source code which is GPL compliant. Is this so? They are also in the IWADs. Wasn't there a problem with using the monster names due to the fact that they are trademarks of id...


    It's probably not OK. The GPL doesn't say that once you free your source code on the GPL license it doesn't belong to you anymore, you have no copyrights on it - that would just be silly. No source would ever be released under that. So they can still say those names are their copyright/trademarks. There isn't really anything special about most of the map names though. Entryway? Underpants? Waste Tunnels, Crusher, Tricks and Traps, The Pit? The Factory, Courtyard, Chasm, Abandoned Mines? They're all so generic. Never mindeth, the names don't fit the Freedoom maps.

    How about the monster names? Former Human. Former Sargeant. Former Hitler. Demon. Arch-Vile. Mancubus. Imp. Pain Elemental. Lost Soul. Chaingunner. And the others. With the exception of Arch-Vile and Mancubus, a twelve-year-old could have come up with these names. So generic. They're not even proper names, they're just working titles that probably never escaped Romero's mind. Hope they have some decent names for them in DOOM3.


    But possible legal issues aside, and acknowledging all the hard work done, I do believe that a more DOOM-independent Freedoom is more commendable and ethical than one that aims at being compatible with things that are geared at id's game (either add-ons or specifics pertaining to id's game within the source code.)


    Just as long as it looks real (eg. not queer pixellated comical crap) and it can reproduce DOOM's ambience. DOOM doesn't produce much ambience now - but just as long as there's still the same feeling you get when you play the original.
    If Freedoom is any good, I will buy an external 56K modem and hook it up to my 50mhz 486 and play Freedoom co-op with someone. I'll know from that if it's got the same feeling.


    Just my two cents... unfortunately I'm not as rich as Scragadelic, but I think I can afford to offer another coin or two later, if necessary.


    Heh. I wish I was rich. I would buy some decent MIDI composition software and write some music for Freedoom... I can write MIDIs in modplug.com]Modplug Tracker but I can't put any articulation in! =)

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    fraggle said:

    Its a convention for version numbers 0.x to imply that the package is an alpha or beta.


    Really? Which convention? And what version number will Freedoom bear when the first release where all the resources are done? And why was the first registered version of DOOM version 0.99?

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    If each type of resource was done in turn, Freedoom would take something like 20 years to finish.

    Anway, IMHO most of the Freedoom textures do fit in well with the existing levels.

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    Scragadelic, you obviously don't understand what freedoom is about: building a Free IWAD which can be packaged with a GPL Doom exe, and thus have a totally free and complete Doom game.

    It isn't about recreating a Doom ambience, though that would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.

    It isn't about having a good story, or having good levels, though they would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.

    As for the level names, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems there are no graphics which cite the map names. Thus a distribution of the Freedoom could not possibly violate any trademark or copyright, notwithstanding my severe doubts that a trademark would stand up (through dilution) or a copyright (through GPL redistribution permissions on the code which contains the code).

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    aurikan said:

    Scragadelic, you obviously don't understand what freedoom is about : building a Free IWAD which can be packaged with a GPL Doom exe, and thus have a totally free and complete Doom game.


    Cool. When it originally said on the Freedoom site (before it moved to SF) that the project was going to be compatible with doom2.exe I thought it was actually going to be distributed with doom.exe or doom2.exe, which are both freeware seeing doom.exe came with the shareware version. But a GPL'd DOOM exe would be even better. And it won't need a DeHackEd-modified doom.exe either. =)


    It isn't about recreating a Doom ambience, though that would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.


    DOOM ambience - or should I say DOOM2 ambience? Whatever, I meant, as in a tech-gothic and suspenseful nobility, not a gory futuristic bloodbath. Tech-gothic nobility meaning everything is still kept in perspective - if you're playing deathmatch in a serious gothic map where computers with broken screens embedded in the walls are buzzing away, you don't expect a japanese-art marine superhero with outlandish Mario boots to run up to you and start spraying plasma in your face. Course, it's just a test release so it's going to be heavily refined, right?
    Right?


    It isn't about having a good story, or having good levels, though they would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.


    Now when did I say that it was about having a good story? I did say the story should have been done first but just to give a backbone - resources have been submitted randomly to the Freedoom project without any proper idea how exactly they were going to be used or where, because there was no story laid down in the first place. As for the levels, I guess they don't matter as much because you only play single-player through them a few times and eventually get bored with them, so they would mainly be used for deathmatch, right? The maps don't have to be great but the graphics should be good enough to the point where you can become immersed in the game - and personally with the current sprites (ignoring the ones that are missing) I wasn't able to become immersed in the game. Add-ons for DOOM and DOOM2 wouldn't be worth half their value if id Software was just a group of enthusiasts and made crappy graphics.

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    aurikan said:

    Scragadelic, you obviously don't understand what freedoom is about : building a Free IWAD which can be packaged with a GPL Doom exe, and thus have a totally free and complete Doom game.

    It isn't about recreating a Doom ambience, though that would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.

    It isn't about having a good story, or having good levels, though they would be nice. Feel free to contribute where you think you can.


    What's obvious to me is that Freedoom as it is presently isn't exactly what Carmack gave an OK to in his email to fraggle, from what I see in the quotes of Carmack's email that fraggle gave on other threads. He said a completely different game using the source code was cool. But this is a functional clone of the game, with nothing but random cosmetic changes, aimed exclusively at claiming the large add-on pool made for id's games.

    I find the idea of an open and free GPL compatible DOOM source code based game quite laudable and undoubtably worthy, but it should also at least aim at being something in itself, with its own (vague due to the nature of the project) guiding aesthetic theme and its own particular set of add-ons.

    It should have a future of its own and should not be adapting to DOOM's form and accessories. The former is recommended (given source engines' customizability) and the latter is questionable.

    As for contributing, that is what I'm doing. At this opportune moment I'm giving this critique, since the project is still at an early stage, and while its resources are indeed fine there is still time to rearrange and rename them in order to aim for a more independent game form.

    Freedoom can easily come with its own embedded DEH or BEX patch for customizations, and other source engine compatible hack formats can be made available or included for other engines (DED for jdoom, DDF for EDGE, and even other yet non-exstent formats in the future.) Designers could even make slight frame and code pointer changes if it suits the development of a particular resource (the admins making sure everything works fine.) The fact that source mods were made with DOOM and DOOM II in mind does not imply that you have to make a blatant DOOM emulation when making a source code based game, due to the high level of customization possible.

    I can't exactly contribute with specific resources at the moment due to the fact that I don't agree with the present project aims.

    As a matter of fact I would urge anyone to think twice and reconsider before contributing under the present conditions. Even Linux distros and other GPL package distributors should be entitiled to doubts whether it's convenient to include such a product, if it's developed further along these lines.

    aurikan said:

    As for the level names, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems there are no graphics which cite the map names. Thus a distribution of the Freedoom could not possibly violate any trademark or copyright, notwithstanding my severe doubts that a trademark would stand up (through dilution) or a copyright (through GPL redistribution permissions on the code which contains the code).


    The WILV** and CWILV** lumps contain graphics for the level names. You may be right about possibly being able to do this without effective legal restraint, but you might be giving the GPL too much weight, and I'm not sure this kind of use (of the GPL) is good for the GPL itself or its spirit.

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    >> The WILV** and CWILV** lumps contain graphics for the level names.

    Upon referencing the FreeDoom resources, it is clear that the .wad infringes no copyright or trademark, as the WILV?? and CWILV?? lumps contain generic names such as "E1M1" or "MAP30".

    As for the legality of the project:
    The only doom resources remaining under a non-Free license are the resources contained in the wad file: that is, levels, art, sound, music, et cetera. Replace these with non-derivative, Free supplements and doom will be freely distributable, with the engine under the GPL and the resources under the Artistic License.

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    Ah, I see... that seems to mean that the original map names will not be used for the project (assuming these are fillers.)

    The main potential legal problems would not stem from the nature of each lump (since this has been taken care of effectively), but from the fact that the new IWAD would be intentionally and functionally a duplicate object of id's, occupying exactly the same economic niche, thus damaging their business (of which the accompanying PWADs are an important part.) Plus I can't see how it's not a derivative work, since the authors made it constantly and carefully referencing the original work in order to achieve the desired effect (structural equalness, aside from the cosmetic changes.)

    It would be possible, I assume, to create an IWAD from the source code only, but then, at the very least, the patches and textures would be named differently. They are independent of the code (instead stemming from PNAMES and TEXTURE1) and, in this case, should certainly be distinct from DOOM II's. And could include a different number of patches and textures altogether.

    As I see it the problem here is the IWAD as a whole, not the parts. That exact IWAD format belongs to DOOM II. If you change the lump names you make it different from DOOM II and incompatible with its add-ons, thus gearing away from any conflicts with id Software. As a plus, in addition to legal safety which also generates trust in the project from potential contributors and distributors, you get more creative freedom, as there is no need to adjust the new IWAD to the original one, or to all those existing DOOM add-ons.

    Note also that the new IWAD would be available to all sorts of people, not just dedicated DOOM players. This means that you don't have to follow id's lump naming conventions, and can choose ones more representative of Freedoom's particular lumps and you have the liberty to name the resources in user-friendly (organized) ways. This renaming is also what generates the incompatibility with propietary and derivative DOOM stuff.

    Such a different project would maybe evolve a bit slower, but it would have the potential to be much more professional and consistent than a mere clone of DOOM II (which will often naturally bring up comparisions with the original, like the ones Scragadelic posted above.)

    If such a task were undertaken it would probably be better to take it easy, filing the four episode IWAD format aside for a future project (that might even have vastly different resources), concentrating on the "megawad" format till it's done. After all, you would not need both IWADs so eagerly, as the object would not be to claim the DOOM PWADs, but to make a new totally free and openly editable game.

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    So far I think Map18's the courtyard is the best laid out level.
    Though one gripe with FreeDoom is the pain sound the player makes.
    From the mug, he should make a deeper sound.

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    Fortunately, the IWAD is a simple chunk-based file format that is not patented (and remember you can't copyright a mechanism). None of the file formats used in the IWAD file format are patented. Furthermore the nomenclature and positioning of chunks the IWAD file can be inferred strictly from the GPL source code. I would doubt seriously lump names would qualify for copyright.

    The reference art issue is real, however. I believe that using the doom art as reference is OK -- its practically standard in the industry to use copyright materials such as movie clips, pictures, posters, etc as a reference point. The idea is that you are not creating a copy of what you reference, but rather using it to guide the theme of your creation. This is however a valid point of contention.

    The economic impact argument has no bearing unless the point above is sufficient to claim damages. Economic impact of itself is not sufficient, and is merely an aggravating factor. Nevertheless I believe the economic impact to be positive, as certainly Doom engine-based income must be near-nil, and the distribution of id's game in a totally free manner is excellent advertising.

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    myk said:

    The main potential legal problems would not stem from the nature of each lump (since this has been taken care of effectively), but from the fact that the new IWAD would be intentionally and functionally a duplicate object of id's, occupying exactly the same economic niche, thus damaging their business (of which the accompanying PWADs are an important part.) Plus I can't see how it's not a derivative work, since the authors made it constantly and carefully referencing the original work in order to achieve the desired effect (structural equalness, aside from the cosmetic changes.)

    So what are you saying? You think id are going to sue because the freedoom textures have the same names as the original doom? I think these would probably fall under "fair use" and I certainly doubt you could base any kind of lawsuit on it.

    I think of it as being equivalent to a programming API: in programming libraries you typically have a set of functions, each with a name. You then write your program calling these functions. Its the same with doom: you make levels that use a set of textures (in this case, the doom textures), each of which has a name. There are plenty of examples of projects that produce compatible free versions of proprietory libraries: Wine immediately springs to mind as an implementation of the Windows API. I dont see that freedoom is really that much different.

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    Personally I'm in favour of Quake3-style lump archiving - convert existing entry names to 32-bit filenames, put them in seperate directories (one level deep should be enough) and use zip format. After all, the 8-character WAD limitation only exists because it was developed in a DOS or DOS-based environment.
    Also, if Freedoom is not going to be supporting DOOM PWADs, this will make them completely incompatible, but extend support for Freedoom-specific modifications.

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    fraggle said:

    So what are you saying? You think id are going to sue because the freedoom textures have the same names as the original doom?


    It's not just that you use the texture names, but also the size and alignment specifications, as well as a relatively similar appearance... aiming to achieve a clone capable of running DOOM add-ons.

    This isn't the only possiblity for a DOOM source code based game. You have:

    A) A clone with cosmetic changes, to run as much as possible like DOOM, even using its add-ons. Which is what Freedoom is becoming.

    B) A game adapted to existing engines (prboom, zdoom, EDGE, and so on) but aiming to be a game on its own right, but possibly very similar to DOOM. I mean, it could have DOOMs gameplay but with its own set of resources (in the structural sense, they are in all cases original... but as I mentioned greater design freedom would help to choose a theme better) and add-ons.

    C) A game that uses its own resources and has a custom DOOM source code based engine. This would be the most customizable and possibly powerful choice, but the most innovative (would take more work and be more experimental.)

    As I mentioned above, Carmack did say completely different game in his email. I don't think he said it in vain. I'm not sure your API analogy would work, nor if they would sue you or anything, but I don't think that the direction of a project should be determined simply by whether it's legal or not. It might be legally possible to clone id's IWAD to allow PWADs to be played for free, but is it worth it? And is it OK for you to decide that those PWADs that the thousands of authors created for use with DOOM or DOOM II (in arrangement with id) should be usable with some other hotch-potch set of resources the authors of the PWADs never made the maps for?

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