Battle of the Textures – An Oswald Rant
In my previous rant, I was upset with those people who wanted to sacrifice quality for quantity, when it comes to creating and releasing Action Quake maps. Where does that quality start? After establishing your layout and design for a map, it is taken to a new level when you begin to apply textures to your brushes. Many people do not have that skill when it comes to creating a complete map. We are fortunate enough to have some people who excel in creating unique and realistic textures, which add believability to any map. Unfortunately, there are others who believe in borrowing textures from popular games by big named companies to give their map an authentic feel. While loaded with “eye candy”, these maps are considered unofficial because they do use illegal texturing without the consent of the games manufacturer.Most people who create textures give their approval to use any texturing, as long as they are given credit for creating the texture in the readme.txt file. Many adhere to this policy and go on about their merry way, creating more mediocre maps. Back in the early versions of Action, SLAT Software created the map, Armyterr, which used a texture from Unreal by Epic Games. The texture was consider illegal, because SLAT never gained the approval from Epic, thus the map was removed from the AQMD. This texture, along with others from Unreal have reemerged to rear their ugly heads, causing debate though the community. Gerbil’s map, Urban also carried an illegal ‘Coke Cola’ billboard texture, without authorization from that company. This texture was later changed to ‘Cool Cola’ and permitted to remain as an official map at AQMD.
Recently, textures from Xatrix’s controversial game, Kingpin have begun showing up on maps, some of which have yet to be released by AQMD. In my opinion, these maps should not be released, due to the illegal textures and the possbility of copyright infringement. One map even went as far to title their map, Kingpin! Where the hell is the creativity and originality in that? Even though Xatrix has disbanded, changing their name to distance themselves from Kingpin and starting on future projects, does this give mappers the right to use these textures? In my opinion, no, the textures should be not be allowed.
I did get in touch with MexicanRadio over at Lead Pipe Studios regarding an unused Kingpin texture pack which is now circulating around the mapping community. Here is what he told me, “…after checking with Interplay, he sent them to me. I haven’t heard from anyone, and Lead Pipe had over 1200 hits in the first day after posting them, so if they were illegal, I’d probably know about it by now.” How’s that for a grey area concerning textures?
There are numerous other examples of maps that have been released by AQMD, which include illegal texturing and thus infringe on copyrights. Those maps include Lavatube by the Gimp, Brickyard by KaRRiLLioN, Mxcity by [tBd]NRGizeR and Camel by The Riddler & Mindmaker. Along with these maps, there are also folders that reside in the ‘textures’ directory such as ‘duke3d’, ‘rampage’, ‘redneck’ and ‘unreal’, which include illegal textures. All of those folders contain textures directly from that specific game, all of which are should not be used.
I receive emails daily, in which someone asks me, “Why can’t I use Kingpin textures?” I usually respond with, “last time I checked, copyright infringement was illegal.” So what would make using copyrighted material acceptable? Just get a response from the company, which says you have their approval to use that specified material. We did just that for The 6th Floor, Ellusion and I drew up a letter and emailed it to GT Interactive, Epic Games, Interplay and Xatrix. I received a single email back from Tim Sweeney at Epic that read, “We don’t give people permission to copy our textures, models, or sounds for use in other games.”
Why would you assume any other company is going to have a different answer? They won’t. So until further notice, which will not be soon, steer clean of any texturing from which is illegal. It may get your map recognized, but not for the right reasons. Is this being too drastic? Possibly. But why have something as minuscule as texturing ruin the game we love, when there are other alternatives available. It happened to the Quake 2 mod, Generations, as id Software had infringement problems with the mod. We don’t want this fate to happen to Action Quake.