Does the Red Cross issue apply to us?

Yeah someone already uploaded a red crescent medikit to /idgames. But I'd go with skull & crossbones berserker packs and grog mugs instead of medikits. Either that or beer bottles, like in School DOOM.

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fraggle said:

That's not what the Red Cross means. It's actually a sign of protection - that is put on vehicles or people to indicate that they should not be military targets - military chaplains are also allowed to use the symbol for example. Most medical kits in real life actually have a white or green cross, not a red one.

For organization, personnel and their field equipment, I am aware of that. But for kits, I still hold respect toward the white background-red cross... That probably comes from my own first aid kit that has those colors.
Eh, that's just about me only. And worlds collide... Again. :P

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I'd be up for using the red crescent, but that's owned by the same organization, so it's likely still subject to copyright protection.

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schwerpunk said:

I'd be up for using the red crescent, but that's owned by the same organization, so it's likely still subject to copyright protection.


Seeing what's behind it, I doubt they would put up any resistances. Quite the opposite, what better way to promote it, than letting the player participate in Doomguy's very own Jihad in space against the minions of Iblis?

Of course, this would create certain ver personal questions about Doomguy.

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Six said:

This would've taken id no time at all:
Medikit/Stimpack image


This looks so much better than I imagined it would.

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I really don't see why the red cross would care about such an insignificant thing. You can't exactly copyright two red lines.

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Six said:
This would've taken id no time at all:
medpack/stimpack image


This actually looks really good and agree on the marine type vibe

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fraggle said:
It's not a copyright, or even a trademark. The Red Cross is a protected symbol under the Geneva Conventions. It's actually just one of four such symbols. Essentially every country that is a signatory to the conventions has passed a special law that protects these symbols. Under US law, it's 18 USC § 706. In the UK there's the Geneva Conventions Act.

Yeah, although it's being enforced aggressively much like a commercial trademark, with concerns over noncritical fictional uses like in games, because Johnson & Johnson sued the Red Cross organization about it. Through a court settlement, Johnson & Johnson uses lawyers paid with charity money to make sure no one uses their trademark except the Red Cross.

CorSair said:
That probably comes from my own first aid kit that has those colors.

It was either made by Johnson & Johnson, provided by the Red Cross, or produced before the settlement I mentioned.

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Six said:

This would've taken id no time at all:


Makes sense to me :)

Also, your avater rules.

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It should be removed from protected status because it's a really stupid and childish thing to do over something as basic and trivial. Yes, let's protect a plus sign that's red!

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Mr. Chris said:

It should be removed from protected status because it's a really stupid and childish thing to do over something as basic and trivial. Yes, let's protect a plus sign that's red!

I'm not sure where exactly you're getting the idea that it's "childish" to expect the red cross symbol to accurately and consistently represent medical buildings and vehicles and not be diluted by other irrelevant uses.

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BaronOfStuff said:

This looks so much better than I imagined it would.

schwerpunk said:

I agree. Looks very marine-y.

cannonball said:

This actually looks really good and agree on the marine type vibe

Sorry, but I find the white too contrasting, it looks like it's glowing. Nevermind that it's green like nukage — it doesn't look too comforting.

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I think the major problem with this "issue" is that there is no other symbol to denote health that is in use in the United States, where a lot of these rooty-shooty games are made. There may be other symbols for this in other countries, but there is no other set standard symbol for "you can heal with this" that won't confuse today's kids, other than a pill (which is ambiguous) and a needle. Plus, a lot of newer games don't even bother with medical kits anymore, for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when a symbol, which shouldn't be owned by the company making such a fuss about this, faces genericide - even though that isn't the appropriate term here. There really isn't one to use! That's how specific this Red Cross debate is.

Unlike "Legos" meaning toy building bricks, "Jell-o" meaning flavored gelatin, or "Escalator" meaning, well, an escalator (Otis lost that trademark completely by their own stupidity), the Red Cross symbol meaning health shouldn't be covered this way. It's supposed to be well known for times of war and emergency, and if that has been propogated through awareness of Red Cross, or its use in video games, then so much the better.

Don't blame Red Cross for this. Blame Johnson & Johnson for this.

esselfortium said:

I'm not sure where exactly you're getting the idea that it's "childish" to expect the red cross symbol to accurately and consistently represent medical buildings and vehicles and not be diluted by other irrelevant uses.


I'm not sure I can buy the "dilution by irrelevance" bit, because as common knowledge indicates, the Red Cross symbol means medical assistance, safe haven, and nothing much else. The "healing" motif is still there, that's why it was being used to symbolize health in video games in the first place. Provided that a person isn't a total idiot that has somehow blocked all external stimuli, I don't think anyone will see a medic vehicle and think anything else. That's a good thing.

On the other hand, there are symbols for poison , like skull and crossbones, that have been confused with piracy. Especially with children. Not so with the Red Cross.

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esselfortium said:

I'm not sure where exactly you're getting the idea that it's "childish" to expect the red cross symbol to accurately and consistently represent medical buildings and vehicles and not be diluted by other irrelevant uses.


Are you implying the cross use in games for medical/health items is irrelevant?

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Mr. Chris said:

Are you implying the cross use in games for medical/health items is irrelevant?


Which cross use? This might sound harsh but the medical kits in Doom are nowhere near what real First-Aid kits look like today. Most are Red or Green with a WHITE cross. The only kits that are White with a RED cross are those sold by Johnson & Johnson. Vat beeg sooprise.

It's obvious the influence for the kits were from wolf3d, which, if you look at the sprite, is the Johnson & Johnson classic First-Aid kit that was sold in the late 80s and early 90s,mostly the travelsize ones, White top with blue bottom, which was changed in some later versions to a white box with a red cross.

Id was copying Johnson & Johnson First Aid kits. This really isnt' surprising, given that the stimpack resembles a classic Band-Aid tin. I'm sure id didn't even have to leave the office to do it.

Thankfully, there are other First Aid kits out there in the real world that somehow have made it without being mistaken for anything else.

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There are other symbols for health, but they are a lot more complex which does not make them fit to be used in low-res pixel art like Doom's pickups.

Notably, a blue six-branch star (like the ✱ character in some fonts), and the snake emblems (caduceus with two snakes and rod of Asclepius with one snake). The six-branch star and the rod of Asclepius are combined to form the Star of Life. Wikipedia has a nice little gallery of pharmacy symbols, too. Oh look, a green cross.

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Nobody really gives a shit and this is all academic, but I do like the health pickups in Quake:

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Everything Quake = love, so you'll find no disagreement from me.

I wonder if a blue plus would make more sense in Doom, though, given that the health bonuses are blue bottles, and the best armour is also blue. Blue is a pretty rare colour in Doom, so it would make stimpacks and medikits pop out (visually) a bit more.

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Green is said to be the most visible colour to the human eye so maybe green would be a good colour for the meds.

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Then there's always the Rod of Asclepius:




but that would look like ass if reduced to the resolution of a Doom pickup's sprite....

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Mr. Chris said:

It should be removed from protected status because it's a really stupid and childish thing to do over something as basic and trivial. Yes, let's protect a plus sign that's red!

Remind me how stupid and childish it is the next time you are wearing it in a war zone and you don't get shot at because you are wearing it. OK, so that protection is unlikely to fail just because someone has seen a red cross on a medkit in Doom but the symbol is important and it is right and proper that it has protected status and international recognition.


There is a lot of butthurt in this thread which amounts to little more than "Doom med kits have always had a red cross on them and, I like it that way but teh eval Red Cross are trying to take them away from me". That's actually what is stupid and childish. Let's get some perspective here.

A lot of people have said that it's a trivial issue. Guess what? It is! But people have it the wrong way around. Games do not need to have a red cross in them to denote health. They can use anything they like and the player will know exactly what it means as soon as they pick up the first one. Lots of games use coloured orbs, floating cartoon hearts, flashy things, whatever. Have people really been so confused by these items not having a red cross on them? Of course not. So, it is utterly trivial for game companies to use any other suitable symbol they chose. That's what's trivial.

The International Red Cross have simple symbol (surely that's the point) but, like it or not, they are allowed to use it and the symbol is protected. Game companies should not have been using it in the first place. In future, it is unlikely that they will.

As I said before, the only accusation that I can justifiably level at the Red Cross over this issue is that they took so damned long to do something about it. I guess that no one high enough in the Red Cross plays games. :P


The green medikit in the screenshot looks just fine to me and would have been a lot better than the badly drawn pill that they went for. It doesn't look radioactive or nukage-like to me and, in fact, looks like dozens of first aid kits that I have seen in cars, places of work, schools, whatever anyway.

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Six said:

This would've taken id no time at all:


Anyone know where I can find this sprites? Berserk too?

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By this logic, Berserk pack should be replaced by buckets of generic Mega Mass 4000 [/sarcasm]

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Maes said:

Then there's always the Rod of Asclepius

but that would look like ass if reduced to the resolution of a Doom pickup's sprite....


Not quite as ass as I expected, but definitely not particularly clear.






Mind you...



Of course, the soul sphere has always confuse the hell out of me. I mean, how am I supposed to tell that it gives health when it doesn't have a red cross on it? :P

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Enjay said:

Not quite as ass as I expected, but definitely not particularly clear.


I'd scale the snake & rod and forego the blue six-armed thingy in this case. Even if the snake's coils need to be just 1 px wide, IMO if they protrude from the rod and there are just 3 of them they will convey the graphic much better.

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BlueFireZ88 said:

Anyone know where I can find this sprites? Berserk too?


I made them. I didn't touch the berserk sprite though, i only did both medikits as an example.

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Maes said:

I'd scale the snake & rod and forego the blue six-armed thingy in this case. Even if the snake's coils need to be just 1 px wide, IMO if they protrude from the rod and there are just 3 of them they will convey the graphic much better.


Even then it's too indistinct. The height of the berserk cross is 6 pixels tall. Scaling the rod to 4x6 (a proportional scale would make it 1x6) doesn't leave much that is recognisable. Even with a bit of post-scaling work, I reckon that it would still be very unclear.



The soul sphere that I added to my earlier post looks OK though. Of course, the soul sphere is not a "problem" in the first place.

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Enjay said:

Of course, the soul sphere has always confuse the hell out of me. I mean, how am I supposed to tell that it gives health when it doesn't have a red cross on it? :P


First time I saw one on E1M2 (playing Shareware at the age of 6), I shot at it a few times. It's a blue face that appeared to be shouting at me for fuck's sake, how was I supposed to know it would be the best item ever?

Oh right, the manual.


Mr. Chris said:

It should be removed from protected status because it's a really stupid and childish thing to do over something as basic and trivial.


Are you mentally ill? You seem to get irrationally distressed over the smallest changes and then come out with shit like this. You want an internationally recognised symbol to have its protected status removed, just for your own enjoyment of a fucking videogame?

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