[bf1942] An Open Letter to the BF1942 Community

Shockwave shockwave at blastingzone.org
Sat Oct 11 16:06:25 EDT 2003

Hello Kevin,

Like you, I too have spent an inordinate amount of time developing a tool
for a popular FPS game and I understand your frustration.  I developed a
tool for MOH:AA to help protect against TK'ers, among other things, and I
received zero help from EA.  The developers I emailed gave me no help at all
and didn't even bother to respond, all at a time when TK'ing, Team Wounding,
and cheating were destroying the game I loved.  It made me angry that a
company could bring such a wonderful product to market, yet turn its back on
the very community that supported it.  You have every right to be upset at
the way things are.  Having said that, I have to disagree with your approach
to this situation.

If you are doing this for the love of the game, then you should stop
worrying about the money.  Being compensated monetarily for your work is not
a bad thing, but then the matter becomes more than just your "love of the
game".  Getting upset because you aren't getting paid sounds like sour
grapes.  Trust me, you're not the first person to have a sales pitch denied
by a large company.  If you really care about the community, then either
turn over your source code and let the community help support your tool or
simply charge people to use the tool just like game companies charge players
for the games they make.  Just because DICE/EA won't bite at your offer
doesn't mean the end of the road for your program.  You also need to realize
that by dropping support for your tool, you are guilty of exactly the same
thing for which you have indicted DICE/EA:  putting oneself above the good
of the community.  Believe me, I know how hard you have had to work to get
to where you are because I am a software developer by trade and have been
writing code for over twenty years.  It takes a lot of time and effort and I
don't mean to trivialize your contribution.  What you must decide is whether
it is more important, you or the community.  After all, that's the same
ultimatum you gave DICE/EA.

It's also hypocritical of you to say, "DICE/EA is ripping off my utils in
preference to supporting them" yet say a few sentences later, "Please keep
your emails positive and constructive."  If you are truly looking to resolve
this issue in an adult manner, you would be better off leading by example.
Rhetoric like that diminishes the validity of your arguments and doesn't do
anything except exacerbate the problem.  You also must have known that by
writing to this list you would catch the attention of the developers.  You
could've simply posted something on your web site.  Because you didn't, it's
blatantly obvious that you wanted to snub the developers.  That wasn't a
very tactful maneuver and leads other to believe that you are more
interested in venting your frustration rather than being "positive and
constructive".  Again, it appears as though this is more about you than the
welfare of the BF1942 community.

I've looked at both tools and I have to say that your tool's interface is
completely different and provides much more functionality.  Their GUI is
extremely basic when compared to yours.  If you are honestly saying that the
buttons and list boxes they have in their program are a copy of your design,
then I think you're letting your emotions get the better of you.  There
aren't many other ways to graphically let people control their servers.
Besides, your tool has considerably more features.  It would be like saying
a Ford Taurus is a rip-off of a Ferrari because they both having steering
wheels, four tires, and windshield wipers.  What your program does is what
sets it apart from any other, not that it employs standard GUI components.
I'm afraid your argument that they "ripped you off" is specious.

It is true that they are developing a tool that does some of what yours
does, but perhaps there is another possible angle you have not considered.
If you were in charge of DICE/EA, most of your time would be spent creating
the game and making sure it would be fun as well as profitable.  You might
not focus the majority of your attention at first on developing a
feature-rich tool for use by third-party server operators for managing their
servers because there are issues with a much higher priority that need to be
addressed.  What you would most likely do is create a program that would be
functional, deferring future enhancements (like a rudimentary GUI) for a
later date.  Once you had enough time, you would enhance your basic remote
management program and make it more user-friendly.  After all, you wouldn't
want to abdicate your responsibility to the community and rely solely on
third-party software to fill that niche.  Since you already have a tool in
place, it would make sense to use it as your code base rather than someone
else's code.  Debugging your own code will always be easier than debugging
someone else's, plus it's cheaper.  I'm not trying to stick up for DICE/EA,
but I am trying to frame the issue without a bias one way or another.  I
think that this could be a reasonable explanation based upon my own
experience with matters such as this.  Whether or not it is the true
explanation is still a question, however the example I have outlined
illustrates that there may be another side to this story.

I think you have done a great job with your program and I think a lot of
people have benefited from your hard work.  For that, I believe you deserve
a lot of credit.  Similarly, DICE has worked hard as well bringing their
program to the community and they too deserve credit.  GameSpy said in their
October 10th newsletter, "Battlefield:1942 hails as the new king of
modifications on FilePlanet! Eight of the top ten mods belong to BF1942 and
for good reason."  Both you and DICE have done some wonderful things.  No
matter how compelling your argument or how useful your product is, big
companies are not always going to listen to the little guy.  That's just the
way the world works.  The sooner you realize that, the happier you will be.
Don't let your frustration with them hurt the very community you profess to


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kevin Lockitt" <kevlar at blackbagops.com>
To: <bf1942 at icculus.org>
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 10:10 PM
Subject: [bf1942] An Open Letter to the BF1942 Community

> Hi All,
> I have posted an important message to the BF1942 community regarding the
> future of BFSM in the forums here;
> http://www.blackbagops.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1249
> Kevin Lockitt
> kevlar at blackbagops.com
> www.blackbagops.com

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