Hungry Horace on Steam?

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Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by zup »



Seriously?
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PROSM
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by PROSM »

Listen, if it ain't character-based movement, I don't want it :D

Seriously though, was anybody crying out for a Horace remake? He is a beloved icon, but this just looks like a cash-grab to me.

It amuses me that you need 60MB of storage and a DirectX 10 capable GPU just to run a marginally altered 16K title from 1982. The only interesting addition is that of a level editor, though that's not quite unique, considering there's already a few available for the original game.
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by zup »

I wrote the post because it's ZX Spectrum related, but I think it's unnecessary and leading the way to new copyright strikes.

Quoting some excerpts from Steam pages...
Although it was never officially declared so, the loveable blue… thing that is Horace was considered by many to be a mascot of the highly popular ZX Spectrum. Just seeing his instantly-recognisable sprite often sends gamers of a certain age into rapture, insisting that everything was better ‘back in the day’ when graphics and sound didn’t matter as much as gameplay.
Seriously? I see old games an play them, but I don't go mumbling about newer games being bad. That sentence seems more like "buy this game as a present to old school gamers"... and I'd be very dissappointed if anyone buy me a copy (sorry, I didn't like any Horace game).
Now available officially on Steam, this lovingly-remastered version is faithful to the original, offering retro fans and casual gamers alike a chance to experience the same thrill as the first generation of players had back in the day.
The video on Steam seems very faithful... and that's not a good thing. Doing so seems like a lazy job and (at first sight) I don't see anything that can separate it from the original. So I guess anyone old enough to want to play that game will play it on an emulator rather than the Steam game (unless they want to compare).

Also, some of the requirements seem overkill... like SSE2 and DX10. I guess that are unreal or unity engine actual requirements... so maybe they used a heavyweight engine for a simple game (I wonder if it's easier to do a proper conversion or port it to a modern engine).
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I'm frightened about seeing a proper modern 3-D model of Horace... what kind of monster would be that bunch of pixels? (BTW, I think that's a giant tadpole with legs)
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by toot_toot »

The "Horace" IP is now owned by Subvert Ltd, which in turn is owned by Paul Andrews. The same Paul Andrews behind The C64 Mini and the original Vega. He was also part of the Vega+ fallout, as he was one of the original Directors.

The IP's owned by Subvert according to Subvert's website: https://subversive.uk/trademarks
Subvert has in recent years acquired ownership of multiple games, copyright, artwork rights, and all relevant IPs and rights for those titles. All acquisitions are fully backed up by chains of purchase, signed contracts, email chains from prior owners, as well as historical evidence of the full purchase and ownership chains.

These titles and catalogues include –

The games from the company Pixel Productions; such as the Trader Trilogy.

The games by Automata UK such as; Pimania, Deus Ex, and many more.

The full catalogue of classic titles from the company, Artic Computing.

The Imagine back catalogue, previously acquired by Beau Jolly.

Games formally owned by Infogrames (Beam/Melbourne House, Phillips, Ocean), to include; The Horace series (and character), Penetrator, Terror-Daktil 4D, the Mugsy series, the Videopac series (many titles to include Air-Sea War, Battle, Race, Spin Out, Cryptogram, etc. etc.), the Voyeur series, the Mystic Midway series, International Tennis Open, Castle of Terror, Dark Tower, Hellfire, Fighting Warrior, Doc the Destroyer, Terrormolinos, Sir Lancelot , Grand Larceny , Knuckle Busters, Dodgy Geezers, Alien Gate, Kether, Gearheads, Gyroscope, Starion, Hampstead, Arkham manor, Mordons quest, Armageddon, Robotics, Caterpilla, Match Day Series, Pud Pud, Moon Alert, Gillagens Gold, Cavelon, Nomad, Mutants, Eskimo Eddie, Chinese Juggler, Phantom Club, Jonny and the Jimpys, Cosmic Wartoad, Lost Patrol, Starshot, Battle command, Gift from the gods, Prohibition, Mandragore, Stir Crazy.

The full catalogue of Microdeal, acquired from Hisoft.

As well as the ownership and copyright in these hundreds of game titles, Subvert also has also acquired a wide selection of supporting and associated trademarks, registered shape designs, and also complete brands.

Subvert Ltd also has acquired the rights in multiple books and manuals, to include – The Beam (Melbourne House) Software Book Series, The Sam Coupe Manual, The Jupiter Ace Manual, The ORIC manual, and many others.
I don't think Paul Andrews/Subvert have issued many IP takedown claims, although I believe Mel Croucher wanted the Automata games removed from WoS , but I think that was down to personal issues or gripes with Lee. I'm not sure.

Subvert have basically done exactly the same as Piko Interactive, although Piko do seem quite strong in their IP takedowns, in that they've gone to "Atari" and bought up the IP from the software houses Infogrames - previous name for Atari - bought in the 90s, namely Ocean/Imagine and Beam Software which was originally Atari Melbourne House: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krome_Studios_Melbourne

It has been pointed out by a few people that it's unlikely Atari/Infogrames even own the rights to those games as most of the contracts were likely lost during the buyout of those publishers. Jon Ritman challenged Piko Interactive - who bought Head Over Heels - as he still had a contract that showed he was entitled to future royalties from Head Over Heels, but AFAIK Piko didn't even have a copy of that contract, instead they bought a general IP Licence to use Head Over Heels.

Gremlin Graphics' IP was purchased by the original owner of Gremlin from Infogrames, which is why there are Gremlin games on The C64 Mini. I believe Hewson still own the IP and have again licenced it for The C64 Mini.

On one hand it's worrying seeing many IP's being purchased up and the potential take downs that could happen, but so far with Subvert it's not been a problem and I think it's a good idea that old games are getting a new lease of life. I just hope the original developers are getting a cut of the royalties!
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by Turtle_Quality »

I see there's also a Jetpack, set to be released in August 2020 * on Steam here

I suspect that if either remake makes any money there will be lawyers' letters arriving.

Regarding the size of the program, it is laughable, but that's probably a combination of standard libraries and a few samples, plus maybe some video. And frankly it's not worth anyone's time these days to try and deliver only the code that's used, or custom write sound effects when a sample will do. The average user won't notice the difference between a 1 MB program or 60 MB

* Douglas Adams once said "I love deadlines, I love that whooshing noise they make as they go past"
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by akeley »

Andrews and Subvert were involved in that pathetic fight with some youtuber recently: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/18/horac ... iking.html
For his part, Andrews says Octav1us's use of the Horace character "sexualized" a family-friendly character and that he has plans to develop new material featuring it.
Smh. It's really sad to see this iconic character being held hostage by some IP-mongers. It should be free to use by anybody in whatever manner they please, especially for excellent homebrews like Horace & The Robots

But I guess this retro cash cow won't milk itself, gotta get that $ eh...
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by zup »

Turtle_Quality wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:50 am
I see there's also a Jetpack, set to be released in August 2020 *
I highly doubt that. Rare owns the IP and I doubt they sell the IP or give permission to use it. Rare used Jet Pac a few times since ZX Spectrum downfall...
- As a bonus hidden on Donkey Kong 64.
- As a remake for Xbox 360 called Jetpac Refuelled (hey, Rare, could you please launch that thing on PC?).
- On a compilation called Rare Replay (again: PC users would like to play it!).

I wonder how much time would that game last before the developers get sued...

OTOH, the trailer shows a crossover between JetPac (graphics), Flappy Birds (movement) and a shoot'em up. All packed into your sub-average game ported from a mobile game... maybe they won't be sued after all.
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by toot_toot »

zup wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:07 am
Turtle_Quality wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:50 am
I see there's also a Jetpack, set to be released in August 2020 *
I highly doubt that. Rare owns the IP and I doubt they sell the IP or give permission to use it. Rare used Jet Pac a few times since ZX Spectrum downfall...
- As a bonus hidden on Donkey Kong 64.
- As a remake for Xbox 360 called Jetpac Refuelled (hey, Rare, could you please launch that thing on PC?).
- On a compilation called Rare Replay (again: PC users would like to play it!).

I wonder how much time would that game last before the developers get sued...

OTOH, the trailer shows a crossover between JetPac (graphics), Flappy Birds (movement) and a shoot'em up. All packed into your sub-average game ported from a mobile game... maybe they won't be sued after all.
It looks like a JetPac inspired - but not graphically close enough to get lawyers involved - clone of Jetpack Joyride. Or Kosmic Kanga, depending on how old you are! I doubt there would be enough there to get it taken down, Jetpack is generic enough a name and the gameplay is nothing like the original JetPac. I suppose Ultimate's later games used unique enough names that would make it more difficult to "copy"!
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by toot_toot »

akeley wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:04 am
Andrews and Subvert were involved in that pathetic fight with some youtuber recently: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/18/horac ... iking.html
For his part, Andrews says Octav1us's use of the Horace character "sexualized" a family-friendly character and that he has plans to develop new material featuring it.
Smh. It's really sad to see this iconic character being held hostage by some IP-mongers. It should be free to use by anybody in whatever manner they please, especially for excellent homebrews like Horace & The Robots

But I guess this retro cash cow won't milk itself, gotta get that $ eh...
There was more to that issue than Andrews just issuing a takedown due to it being "sexualised". They were selling homemade Horace soft toys, Andrews asked them to donate a portion of the profits to charity, they refused, so he issued a takedown notice and I presume the only option was the "sexualisation" of the IP. I'm sure there was different sides to the story, but I think they did resolve it anyway. As far as I know he hasn't issued any takedowns on any home-brew games involving Horace, although there was a Horace game that the developer did change the character because of the whole IP sexualisation issue.

On the whole it did seem like another one of these small issues that gets completely blown out of proportion that seems to happen in the Spectrum community! :D
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Re: Hungry Horace on Steam?

Post by Alessandro »

When Cousin Horace was published by Bitmap Soft, me and Jamie Battison agreed to comply with Andrews's request to donate any income due to Subvert for the use of Horace in the game to the MS Society. Not only we considered it a reasonable request, but refusing to comply would have most probably meant that in order to avoid any legal hassle I would have had to change the title, redraw the two main characters and all of the cutscenes, causing major delays to the game's release and severe headaches to me.

In addition to that, Jamie thought it would be necessary to change the font for the title on the cassette inlay, due to fears that a certain soft drink manufacturer could argue about the font I used for the loading screen. It seemed a bit like overkill to me to be honest, but anyway...
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