The Third Doctrinal War -- Stardock, Reiche/Ford, and Star Control

While that’s cool and all, what an abysmal waste of money and goodwill those lawsuits were.

Yup. As was mentioned at least a dozen times while this was going on, the lawyers are the only ones who were going to come out ahead. It’s really just a shame.

As an aside, I had expressed some skepticism at the time that they were actually working on a Star Control game. Has there been any news/info about that?

Part of the settlement prevents them from promoting their real sequel in any way for two years.

That’s interesting, didn’t know that. Thanks!

I see what you did there! :D

Even once those two years are up, they would probably need to go on formal leave from Activision again in order to work on a non-Activision game without handing Activision the IP rights. I work in the US software industry, and have read a dozen or more employment IP agreements, and the way they are usually worded, any IP you create that relates to your employer’s business has to be turned over to them, even if done on your own time.

That means that not only do they need to get permission from Activision, but they also need to save up enough money to sustain themselves and pay any other people who would be helping them make the game. Presumably, they did this before 2017, but their leave time and nest egg both ended up being spent fighting the legal battle.

This isn’t typical in the games industry, in my experience, though maybe a colossus like Activision is different. Usually you just can’t use on-the-clock hours or company equipment to work on your side project, and there’s a process to declare it in a contract as a personal project that doesn’t belong to your employer.

My 1996 employment agreement with Blizzard did not give them rights to anything I did in my spare time. Later versions did state any work done was the property of the company. That’s the case at Amazon as well.

Both Activision Blizzard and Amazon have a process where you can submit a proposal for a project you want to do to Legal. They’ll review and approve it - or not. Sometimes they have requirements, like first right of refusal to publish the game.

Thanks for the info; can I ask what your most recent data point is? Do you know whether that language was still there after they became Activision?

I left Blizzard in 2014. The language was definitely in the Activision Blizzard agreement by then. I doubt they’ve taken it out since then.

I’m current at an Amazon subsidiary.

Thanks; I had strongly suspected that to be the case, but it’s far better to have actual knowledge rather than speculation.

Yea, it is kinda good to have all the Brad haters in the same thread, less pollution elsewhere. :-)

It’s only less “polluted” because he left the forum entirely, which is sad imo.

Oh man I missed that post. Sad.

I missed it too and can’t find it. Who left?

Eh… less PR is good for the forum in general IMO, whether he engaged in other discussions or not.

Devs can make the games and I can play them (or not) and never have to spend a minute interacting with them tbh. It’s their artistic vision that will sell me or it won’t. I don’t need a hand in creating it by having discussions with them.

I’m not a hater, but I’m also not a fan.

Yeah that’s the thing it was more PR than anything. Island_dog vanished around the same time and they were basically just Stardock community management promoting Stardock games in Stardock threads.

Yep. Brad was probably more than that on a lot more occasions, but ultimately it was always going to be about the brand. There are plenty of ways to find him on the Internet. Qt3 wasn’t a required avenue for meeting up with him and his company.

I do give them credit for being more overt about it than many other companies. I often read posts on Resetera specifically that reek of PR and yet if you call it out they’ll ban YOU for noting it. I don’t expect every poster on the Internet to be happy putting their name on their posts like I do, but too many hide behind anonymity while promoting specific companies and products in sly ways.

I do think that there’s a lot of examples of developers here who have talked about their projects in a way that brings a up lot of interesting topics leading to great conversations. There’s a PR component to it but also an interesting look at their perspective that brings value.

Or, you can always go with lying about a bunch of stuff and then attacking the people you lied to as some vast conspiracy and making a weak sauce derivative game.