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Crytek sues Star Citizen devs for copyright infringement, breach of contract (scribd.com)
129 points by doppp 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments



>22. On December 16, 2015, Defendants announced that "Squadron 42," a single-player video game involving space combat, would be sold separately from Star Citizen.

>25. On February 14, 2016, Defendants moved forward with their plan for Squadron 42 notwithstanding their failure to obtain a license and began offering the video game for separate purchase. As a result, Defendants are intentionally and willfully using CryEngine without a license and in violation of copyright laws.

This seems to be the main point. They're claiming Star Citizen is using CryEngine for their new game, and haven't licensed it out to do that, along with the company behind Star Citizen distributing assets of Cryengine in various ways. They were also supposed to help in developement of Cryengine in way of bug fixes, and did not comply.

Crytek's GLA appears to be pretty far reaching.

>38. On December 23, 2016, Defendants announced that they were using the Amazon Lumberyard video game engine for Star Citizen. The GLA did not permit Defendants to use any other video game engine in Star Citizen except for CryEngine.

>50. On May 6, 2015, Defendants began posting a series of videos online titled "Bugsmashers." The videos contain excerpts of information from CryEngine that were confidential, in breach of the GLA, and should not have been shown to the public. The series continues today.


To set it in perspective here is the part about the violated Agreement:

> In that Agreement, Defendants promised, among other things,

> (i) to use the CryEngine game development platform exclusively and to promote that platform within the video game,

> (ii) to collaborate with Crytek on CryEngine development, and

> (iii) to take a number of steps to ensure that Crytek's intellectual property was protected.

> Defendants utterly failed to follow through on those promises, and their actions and omissions constitute breaches of contract and copyright infringement and have caused substantial harm to Crytek.


> Defendants are intentionally and willfully using CryEngine without a license and in violation of copyright laws.

This is from the banner at the top of CryEngine's home page:

"Full engine source code. All features. No royalties. No obligations. No license fee.


It's possible that CryEngine is now offerend under different terms compared to when it was licensed to StarCitizen.


It's also possible that the Engine is, and was, offered under multiple terms simultaneously to hit different parts of the market.

I'm speculating (yay internet!), but for Enterprise components developers profit from there's often a "buy the cow up front" option along with a "free cow today for a sip of the milk tomorrow" model.

Star Citizen, particularly before the crowd funding, wouldn't have wanted to give them a lot of cash up front, and got some really nice concessions in the deal (free promos and development).


What does it matter? Pacta sunt servanda...?


A banner on a website is hardly legally binding. All that becomes moot when a contract is signed saying what each parties' responsibilities are and the dotted lines are signed.


From the complaint: In 2012, Defendants sought to develop a new game called "Star Citizen," which was billed as an epic space adventure, trading, and dogfighting video game.


What I'm confused about is this. I thought Star Citizen moved to Amazon Lumberyard, which I believe is a fork of CryEngine. What confidential information could they have that Lumberyard hasn't already put into the open?


> 36. Section 2.1.2 of the GLA contained a critical promise from Defendants that they would not develop the Star Citizen video game using any other video game engines.


The wording is suspect for that clause. The lawsuit says:

"Section 2.1.2 of the GLA states that Defendants have a license only to 'exclusively embed CryEngine in the Game.'"

The term "exclusive" means what in this case? They can only use CryEngine in this game (and not embed it in other games) or they are forced to only use CryEngine in this game to the exclusion of all other game engines. The second interpretation is not common in my opinion.

There are a lot of other provisions that may be more solid. This particular one seems suspect.


Working backwards: The Game [Star Citizen], that embeds the engine [CryEngine], does so to the exclusion of others.

Ie: the couldn't start on CryEngine, get free demos, then actually use Unreal Engine for the rest of the game.

The second interpretation is the only that makes sense, as the sentence is qualified for just Star Citizen. It's pretty clear in legal terms, and very clear in context that the exclusivity refers the there being a single, exclusive, engine.


Ah, that's interesting. I was referring to the claim that they revealed confidential information about Cry Engine, but that explains the meat of this lawsuit. I didn't read through the whole thing.

I'm not a big follower of Star Citizen and frankly even with all of the evidence presented I'm not sure what the outcome should rightfully be, but it sounds to me like CIG is knee deep right now.


Regarding the confidential information:

> 50. On May 6, 2015, Defendants began posting a series of videos online titled "Bugsmashers." The videos contain excerpts of information from CryEngine that were confidential, in breach of the GLA, and should not have been shown to the public. The series continues today.

> 51 On August 26, 2017, news reports announced a partnership between Defendants and a third party developer, Faceware Technologies. Upon information and belief, as a result of the partnership, Faceware received access to the underlying technology for CryEngine (including computer source code). Defendants did not disclose this third party developer's involvement to Crytek, let alone obtain Crytek's prior written approval. This was entirely in breach of the GLA.


Lumberyard is a fork by Amazon of CryEngine that they licensed in 2015 that Star Citizen switched to. If developers start with that engine they are ok but looks like there were deals with Crytek on games/content before that date.

Legal challenges from a game engine is something that can scare away new projects in that engine. This wouldn't affect most developers as Star Citizen signed with CryEngine but it won't be attracting people to use CryEngine over others anytime soon.

Crytek is one of those companies that has great game engine tech but got high-centered when Unreal and Unity went free in 2015. Crytek is from the age of game development where licensing per game could run up above 300k for licenses and/or percentages that were much higher than today (Today Unreal is free but 5% royalties of gross over 3k quarterly -- but previously was 300k for the license -- Unity free up to 100k revs and $35/$125 Pro with no royalties, previously it was $1500 a year minimum). Crytek has been in a reactionary mode since 2015 when they also had to significantly change their model due to Unity/Unreal competitive moves.

Unreal at 5% royalties over 3k a quarter, Unity at free to 100k annually and $35/$125 Pro after that and even Crytek at $50/mo, all are very helpful for game development skills. Previously when engines were hundreds of thousands for a license it was hard to even gain skills beyond modding tools for engines and game companies had to shoulder all the training costs of even good game devs. Today, Unity/Unreal skills are much easier to find because of the low cost of entry. Ultimately the change to subscriptions and low cost (relatively) of the licenses allows a good market for developers investing in skills that will immediately translate at the game company they are working at, much easier to hit the ground running. Ultimately access to the engines is more valuable than the up-front costs of the past. Crytek is still dealing with that competitive pressure most likely.


>but it won't be attracting people to use CryEngine over others anytime soon.

Seriously. I can't imagine anyone seeing this lawsuit and reading about the terms of these contracts and thinking, "Yeah, CryEngine sounds like a good idea."

Lumberyard is far more likely to have good licensing terms, plus Amazon integration, and Unreal Engine is a serious competitor with very clear licensing terms and pretty extreme access to the engine code itself.

IMO, Crytek should take a deal as soon as its offered, here.


> Crytek should take a deal as soon as its offered, here.

Back when Lumberyard was announced, I wondered if Amazon would buy out Crytek. Figuring it's payroll issues, I thought it would be a bargain if Amazon really wanted to seriously get into game development. Since it's been two years, I don't think that it will happen. Now I'm thinking that Amazon will buy the scraps during liquidation.


What's "Amazon integration"?

And why is Amazon developing a game engine?


Because AWS is already deeply embedded in the games industry. Where do you think all of those multiplayer servers run for big AAA titles? This is probably just a move up the vertical for them.


To boost AWS and Twitch: https://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/


Also, Star Citizen's most recent patch (3.0) includes volumetric fog tech developed by Amazon.


Does anyone but Star Citizen use it Amazon Lumberyard?

Unity and UE4 really are the current leaders in game engine technology, CryEngine, while great, has suffered in the last four years or so and isn't a significant competitor.


If you look in the link there are six games listed. One is Star Citizen, two are (afair) by Amazon game studios, so that would leave three other games. No idea if these are just the show cases or all of them.

So, not the greatest uptake, but Amazon was always willing to give things time to mature. We'll see if they can take market share of UE4/Unity.


It's a fairly new engine and the competition is fierce. Give it some time.


Integration with AWS products. And I assume Amazon is developing a game engine that integrates well with AWS products in order to sell more AWS products.


Big networked multiplayer games have people distributing lots of data to each other: device controls, ship maneuvers, text and voice comms, other such. Servers and bandwidth become huge issues and AWS is the most advanced and scalable platform for all that right now.


Easy access to Amazon services from the engine.

Because of the Amazon services integration potential. That's how they make money.


Lumberyard is very popular in Asia and is the main market for it.


(Just kidding here) Unity and Unreal could merge into a company called U2. I wonder though if the FTC would let this unreal unity of game engines happen though


> merge into a company called U2

You are waiting for another Copyright suit, aren't you? :)


Wouldn't that be a trademark issue?


Yes, but then it would not fit with the original story, I had to change the denomination for effect!


Now there's a man that's thinking with his Id.


You gave me a much needed laugh. Thank you!


This is the first time I've seen something amid all the wolf-crying about CIG and Star Citizen that could actually kill it. Crytek has a lot of claims, very likely reasonable merit for them, and more importantly: Crytek is desperate and needs the money. They have no reason to settle or back down.

As a "concierge-level" backer (I'm embarrassed about it too, don't worry), I have a lot of concerns Crytek may end up with some or all of my money. That being said, I've never assumed a "purchase" with CIG was more than a crowdfund, and if it dies, that's how things go sometimes. I'm not angry, I'm not panicking, and I'm not joining the "demand a refund from CIG" party that a few people like to obsess about.


If they're desperate and need the money, they have a strong motive to settle instead of fighting a long lawsuit they might lose or wait through years of appeals and stalling tactics.


Star Citizen backers are completely insane. They've received $100's of millions USD amd for what? An alpha proof of concept.


The "alpha proof of concept" enables a certain amount of sandbox playability that no other game can replicate. Even in short play sessions, I've had an insane amount of fun figuring out if I can do things that simply wouldn't work in other games, and plenty of others on YouTube have done crazier. (A personal favorite was someone boarding an NPC ship.)

I can't speak for everyone else, but I backed an idea. I gave money to someone who wanted to assemble a game with an unprecedented amount of flexibility and realism. Whether or not that actually makes a "good game" in the end. I invested in something I want to see happen. If it does not happen, that will be unfortunate, and I will be sad. But given that what they are trying to do is borderline insane, it will not be totally shocking if they fail.


tl;dr if you can't be bothered reading through all the legal fidgey widgey - Crytek is claiming CIG breached their contract by doing the following:

- Publishing Squadron 42 as a seperate game (licence was only for one game, Star Citizen)

- CIG fiddled with/remove Crytek's branding in loading screens etc (they weren't supposed to)

- Cryengine was not exclusively used for Star Citizen (apparently it also leverages Lumberyard)

- CIG did not provide bug fixes and optimisations for Cryengine (they were supposed to)

- CIG disclosed Cryengine "secrets" without permission via online videos, and also via collaboration with a third party

Not sure on the amount, the only dollar figure quoted is 'in excess of $75,000'. Not sure if that means $76,000 or $1mil though - IANAL!


I assume the 'in excess of $75,000' figure is in there to ensure that a Federal court has jurisdiction over the action.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amount_in_controversy


Ah that would make sense! Theoretically then, I suppose this could actually be quite a big chunk of cash in question - especially with all the allusions to how much money CIG raised for Star Citizen.


Interesting to note that Lumberyard is a licensed Cryengine fork.


Given that CIG has relicensed under Lumberyard, is it possible that Crytek has a case here? I guess it depends on the contract, but I can't really imagine that CGI locked themselves into a contract to only ever use CryEngine for Star Citizen - wouldn't there have to be a specific clause that gives the dollar amount due in such a case that Star Citizen is either cancelled or switched to a different engine?


This wasn't a simple "we used this engine" type of deal- Crytek invested a lot in the kickstarter by supplying expertise and helping to build demos, and in return for that they promised to use the engine. This was meant to help promote Crytek as well, and that is why they invested in it.

Specifically-

> In that Agreement, Defendants promised, among other things, (i) to use the CryEngine game development platform exclusively and to promote that platform within the video game, (ii) to collaborate with Crytek on CryEngine development, and (iii) to take a number of steps to ensure that Crytek's intellectual property was protected.


My point is that, since the two are completely separate legal parties, shouldn't such contracts explicitely define what happens if a condition is not met? IANAL, but the way I see contracts, they can never really force people to do anything, instead it's a way to define opportunity costs as clearly as possible so there aren't any uncertainties on the table. It's like SLAs. Well, sure, you can guarantee me 5 nines or whatever - but if it's not defined what you owe me in case you don't make it, that guarantee is worthless to me because then all I can do is suing you and let a judge decide what's to happen after tons of legal expenses.

That's what I meant with my assumption that there should be some clear consequences already defined in the contract.


I never understood why CR choose CryEngine. Yes, it can Single Player games make look beautiful, but when it comes to Multiplayer, it never really could compete with Unreal Engine. Just look how much work RSI has to do, to get the netcode working - and so far, they still are limited to 24 players.

In addition, the requirements of the CryEngine have always been high, the FPS drops and a lot of other performance problems probably have to do a lot with that.

I am not sure if the Unreal Engine would have allowed the detailed modeling of the ships, but to be honest, I can see no advantages of CryEngine compared to Unreal Engine.

If you have any, please let me know, I've been racking my mind over this.


IIUC they modified CryEngine to support a 64 bit coordinate system, and part of the reason this was possible was because they hired ex-Crytek devs to do it. Doing the same conversion in Unreal might not be feasible. I believe this is needed for the 'space scale' kind of stuff they're doing. So as far as why they chose CR, it might have been because they had access to devs that they didn't have in the case of UE3/UE4.

As far as modelling goes it makes no difference - they're all made in 3dsmax/maya and then imported and both engines would be heavily optimised for that pipeline.


I haven't used the CryEngine but often times if you think you "need" a higher bit coordinate system (don't you mean 128-bit? ala long double? Doubles are already 64-bits and 80-bits internally.) you may be thinking of the problem in the wrong way.

There's no reason you can't (in most games) have a segregated coordinate system. For example, where each star is the center, the (0,0,0) point. And when you warp from one star system to another, the new star is the new (0,0,0) point.

Floats are great for huge distances, and tiny distances. They are horrific at BOTH at the same time... like say... adding a tiny fractional velocity vector per frame to an object millions or billions of units away. (There is a minimum amount you can add to a float without rounding down to the same original number, and the minimum change gets bigger the bigger the number is.)

http://blog.reverberate.org/2014/09/what-every-computer-prog...

IIRC, KSP does the same thing and coordinates are to the nearest "planet of influence"--which has the affect of removing Lagrangian points for orbits but otherwise works great without needing custom math types which are much much slower than native types, and it doesn't require ripping out all of the assumptions that an entire engine (Unity in the case of KSP) runs on.

When I created my own 2-D KSP, I ended up encountering all of these issues first-hand, and simply adding more precision didn't help nearly as much as segregating my coordinate system when we're talking about "astronomical" scales.

So if they're actually using non-native types, or having to change the engine, then they better have damn good reasons to do it. You don't change something that fundamental unless you're insanely brash, or, you've got a very-carefully-thought-out hard requirement that cannot be worked around.

If they really "need" space ships to have huge precision at any point in the universe regardless of proximity to a star, I would rather create "false/invisble stars" (almost like a quadtree/octree tree) where ever they are needed. Like when a huge fleet is moving around in free space, it would have a coordinate system following the capital ship. And if two groups of capital ships are attacking, you merge the coordinate systems.


No, he means 64-bit. Most games use 32-bit floats, (which pose far greater practical precision/range issues in many scenarios involving multiple scales and reasonable distances) and this is what most GPU hardware has focused on until relatively recently. Only newer, higher-end GPU hardware has native support for 64-bit double precision geometry with game-level performance. It's quite easy to run up against the limitations of single-precision floats. It's an issue where I work and we only deal with data at city-block scale, and far worse if you have to work at solar system scale like Star citizen, hence the need to move to 64-bit doubles. You can work around the problems using multiple reference frames and conversions, but it's a pita. I'm not sure if Star Citizen has gone down the route of a full 64-bit pipeline (limiting it's target audience GPUs) or if it's a hybrid system. I'm guessing that it will need a fairly high spec GPU to run anyway.


Are you sure you know what you're talking about? Are we talking about the same things here?

Are you saying that Star Citizen is using 64-bit doubles for their GRAPHICS pipeline? That's pretty much insane for the exact reason you mention--single (and half) precision float units are in the GPU.

Or are you saying "most games" use 32-bit floats for their PHYSICS calculations? Because that's also not a requirement and game dependent. Doubles are faster on many CPUs. There's a tradeoff for memory packing efficiency (using more cache and alignment issues), but floats are upgraded to doubles before being operated on on x86 and x64.

So for physics: Doubles are faster, and, they've been hardware accelerated for decades (even when CPU's were "32-bit").

But you mention both physics and graphics and seem to be conflating the two. The graphics and physics pipelines don't have to have related at all. Drawing with 64-bit natives is almost unheard of and would be incredibly slow on a GPU.

So what are we actually debating here?


Do I know what I'm talking about? Yes, and no. Yes, I know about GPUs and graphics programming, and no, I don't know the specifics of the Star Citizen game engine, other than being an interested follower of their YouTube channel, and reading some articles.

I'm talking about GPU support here for accelerated graphics and physics, not CPU. Obviously, CPUs have had native double support for a long time.

Doubles have been hardware accelerated for some time for both graphics and physics, BUT: until recently you paid a heavy price for doing double calculations on the GPU (20x slower or more typically), especially on lower-end hardware and obviously increased memory requirements. Most game engines have until relatively recently used 32-bit floats for pretty much everything, although often selectively using 64-bits or multiple scaled reference frames for positioning over larger scales.

From what I understand, Star Citizen converted their game engine to use 64-bit floating point for worldspace positioning in both their graphics and physics pipelines, so they can have a single coordinate system for positioning at the scale of an entire solar system, without having to worry about precision issues. My understanding is that Star Citizen uses the GPU heavily for graphics, physics, procedural generation, and simulation using graphics shaders (vertex/fragment, etc) and compute shaders.

You're right of course that graphics and physics can be implemented independently, but they have to share coordinates and data at some level, and if you have to convert between multiple precisions, coordinates systems, and frames of reference, you are potentially making things more difficult and negatively affecting performance.

From the Star Citizen interviews I've seen, my understanding is that the conversion to 64-bit worldspace simplified their development (all their components can share worldspace data) at only a small cost to performance on modern hardware, and they obviously felt it was worth the trade-off. However, technical detail in many of the videos I've watched has been rather lacking, and some articles have clearly misinterpreted what they've done. I doubt their entire engine has been converted to use 64-bit for everything, which is probably wasteful, and would severely limit the hardware capable of running it.


Would it be the same as this? https://bugs.openmw.org/issues/4175


Sounds like it. Minecraft had a similar problem at far distances from the starting point when people were trying to walk as far as they could.


UE4 wasn't out when Star Citizen went into early pre-production. A lot of things changed in the licensing model betwen UE3 and UE4.

If they wanted to hit their original launch window they probably would have had to have gone with UE3. And if they had still ended up slipping as bad as they now have they would be on something that was really outdated (though they probably would have announced a switch to UE4).


This website is awfully damning considering the game was supposed to be released over a year ago:

https://starcitizentracker.github.io/

As you can see, development has stalled and very little progress is being made.

To answer your question: they chose a game engine to create shiny demos and carefully crafted videos. They have no intention of releasing a fully playable game. They just need to keep the hype going to keep selling virtual spaceships and virtual land.


People seem eager to forget Chris Roberts pitched this exact game before, as Freelancer, and that was released years too late, with none of the promised "living universe" features, after being bought out and handed off to someone else.

Fool me once...

I've heard people say "the technology didn't exist back then!", which is true. But the technology doesn't exist today either. Games have gotten a lot better at drawing convincing pictures, but in terms of simulating worlds and generating content, we've mostly stood still.

No Man's Sky already showed that, with its demo scene derived trickery. You can't entertain people with random seeds for very long. You need intent, storytelling and reactive, interacting systems.


Freelancer was a great game, I really enjoyed playing it.

I'm not sure how much Chris Roberts had to do with the final product but I don't think Freelancer was a failure when it was released.


Sure but go read the original pitch for it on wikipedia. It sounds word for word like Star Citizen. If we get another Freelancer, the project will have failed once again... it'll be years overdue and missing 90% of its promised feature set.

I dunno if you've played it recently btw, but it hasn't aged that well either.

Ambition and wild ideas are fine, but you shouldn't make promises you can't deliver on.


Yeah, I am still mad at Chris Roberts that he sold his former company "Digital Anvil" to Bill Gates / Microsoft in 2000.

Of course "Freelancer" (hyped like "Star Citizen" today, and basically the very same game idea) came out late and most announced features were missing - actually the same features are now announced again by Chris Roberts for Star Citizen.

And another game of "Digital Anvil" never got released thanks to Microsoft, it was called "Loose Cannon". It was announced in 1998 and it would have been the first 3D open world game in the very same sense of Grand Theft Auto 3, just released 1-2 years before GTA 3 !! Nowadays we could be playing Loose Cannon V and no one would play GTA. Anyway "Loose Cannon" was very good looking for it's time, and the actual gameplay video footage back then looked really promising. Barely any media can be found online today, but much more is on CD-ROMs of old PC Game mags (1998-2001 era):

https://www.unseen64.net/2008/04/15/loose-cannon-xbox-cancel...

http://www.ign.com/games/loose-cannon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Anvil

Like the poster above me, I say the same: "Fool me once..." to both Chris and Bill.


I just have to mention that it is playable and I know at least one friend who is having fun playing it.

I never tried it.


There are always at least few people enjoying even the most odd games[0], but that's far from the blockbuster Star Citizen was supposed to be.

0. https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/desert-bus-the-very-...


You can't declare failure before a game is even released.


That website is pretty terrible, contains duplicates and many questionable items


Star Citizen is an amazing idea. That idea was funded by millions, including me. The people managing it should have never put our money on the line by not respecting whatever agreement they signed in the past. Review the agreements if necessary, but do not disregard them and put everyone hopes in the mud. Star Citizen community is not expecting to pay millions to settle that lawsuit if that was avoidable, and yes, the community gave that money, better thread carefull here. Reading the complains it seems CIG has just completely neglected the agreement. There might be a lawfull explanation to all of that, but if their description of the event is precise, the people managing the Star Citizen idea are at fault for not doing their best to protect it and should be questioned by the community. Have a nice day.


I am a backer of Star Citizen but I am not sure that Crytek's claims should be taken completely at face-value.

For instance, Crytek claims that Squadron 42 was announced to be offered as a stand-alone game in 2016 but I remember this being the public stance of CIG far before that.

It sounds like Crytek failed to secure a comprehensive agreement covering the situation as it has developed over the years and is now attempting to make up for that lapse.

And I imagine it's driven by the desperation that Crytek must feel being so close to insolvency. From what I remember they were also pretty peeved that CIG picked up some of their senior CryEngine engineers when Crytek was missing payroll.


This will now make a lot of gamedevs stop and pause when considering Crytek goods, so Crytek must be really desperate to resort to this sort of PR-hostile measures.


On the other hand, if Star Citizen is really using an unlicensed instance of CryEngine for Squadron 42, that's a significant breach of contract, and effectively piracy. It seems absurd to avoid Crytek for responding with legal measures.


AFAIK they moved to the customized version of CryEngine (Amazon's Lumberyard) beginning of this year due to engine limits. They even hired some ex-CryEngine-devs to get things going but in the end they (supposedly) had no other choice but to switch. So theoretically they haven't been using CryEngine at all since an entire year.


Amusingly, that's also part of the lawsuit - Crytek claim Star Citizen were contractually obligated to use CryEngine exclusively. It's somewhat irrelevant, as, if they used CryEngine at all for Squadron 42, even if only for development (especially if promotional footage/beta testing/etc was on CryEngine), that remains unacceptable.


How is that? Crytek aren't suing without reason. According to the complaint they lost money and tech from a breach of contract. It's a perfectly reasonable reason to sue.


A lot of gamers (and by extension devs) assume the worst of any legal action, so it's bad PR even if they're completely justified.


Being afraid to take legal action and defend your rights out of fear of bad PR is... not cool. This is somewhat the equivalent of being afraid to speak against an abusive partner.


I'm not saying they're in the wrong, or that they shouldn't have done this, just that it's a factor that needs to be considered. There's plenty of people in this thread knee-jerk condemning them, and HN is considerably more thoughtful than most forums. It sucks, but there it is.


Except we’re talking about private for-profit companies. Sort of changes the calculus a little, I think. I don’t have sympathy for either company here.


The law doesn't consider your sympathy in either case, and that's the point.


And the court of public opinion often doesn't consider the law and that's their point. Even if completely justified under the law it can be bad PR.

For example, McDonalds could have refused to give St. Jude winnings for one of their Monopoly games because pieces were given to St. Jude in such a way that broke the rules. Or asked for the money back once it was found to be part of a fraud scheme.

Is McDonald's going to back out of paying the winnings and eat the bad PR of "Refuses to give money to hospital known for saving dying children." just because they have the legal right to do so? Hell no.

[0] http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/10/lt.12.html


> so Crytek must be really desperate

I think the last I heard of them they were almost into bankruptcy-mode, so yeah it does seem like they did this out of desperation. Still short-sighted, though.


They're doing what I can only assume is a cashgrab crypto IPO too.

http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/crycash-announces-its-to...


They are likely to be somewhat desperate.

Consider this, though, if the only protection of one's income came from a license - it makes sense to enforce that license against people who didn't pay substantially over $75,000, after contacting them several times.


Well that's a nail in the coffin of Cryengine. Who would want to deal with lawsuits just for using a (kind of) free engine, when we have Unity, Unreal, Lumberyard, StingRay, Source, Godot, Phyre, Blender?


They're not dealing with a lawsuit because they're using a free engine. They had a very specific contract with Crytek which they breached multiple times.


You can scratch Stingray from the list unfortunately:

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/stingray/learn-explor...


HAHA Autodesk strikes again. Google should buy them..a match made in heaven.


Source is pretty expensive due to the mandatory Havok fee.


Does Source ship nowadays with a recent Havok physics library nowadays?

I heard they used to use an decade old physics library that just got bought by Havok company in the meantime and has nothing to do with the Havok physic engines everyone knows.


No, it's still using Valve's fork of that old library (Ipion Virtual Physics) that's referred in the documentation to as VPhysics.


What are the numbers?

Is Havok really mandatory? Wouldn't it be possible to replace Havok with Bullet or some other related system?


$25,000. Valve doesn't distribute Source without it, as far as I know. Replacing Havok would take a lot of effort which is better spent elsewhere.


Valve has been working on a physics engine called Rubikon since at least 2012. [1] Maybe it will be used to fully replace Havok in Source 2.

--

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTC0V0LWeGI

[1] http://media.steampowered.com/apps/valve/2014/Sergiy_Migdals...

[1] http://media.steampowered.com/apps/valve/2015/Migdalskiy_Ser...


Source 2 is another matter altogether. Valve doesn't share it with third-party developers at all, whether you pay or not. There were plans back in 2015 to make it free with the condition that any game made with it has to be published to Steam non-exclusively, but that still hasn't happened yet.


This suit seems a bit weak in places.

For example they are sueing that they only licensed cryengine for one game, and yet RSI was planning on using it for two games. However the second game has never shipped, and RSI has switched both games over to the Amazon Lumberyard engine. This particular claim seems like it’s going to get thrown out.

My guess is that we’ll see a settlement in this. It doesn’t seem like this going to hurt RSI very much.


There's a reasonable point that from the time they started developing Squadron 42 to the time that they switched to Lumberyard, they were illegally using the engine. Additionally, it's been suggested that the "engine switch" was in name only/an attempt at evading the license fee.

If in discovery, they can prove CryEngine is still in use, as opposed to actually being properly rebased on Lumberyard...

There's a lot here, and Crytek has a lot of different claims. They only need one or two of the claims to stick for it to hurt.


If they weren’t using Lumberyard, that would be more exciting, but CryTech claims RSI is, and some of their other claims are based on RSI having switched. They can’t have it both ways.


Sure they can. They moved the bulk of the engine over to Lumberyard and publicly announced that, but under the hood are probably using the more mature CryEngine where Lumberyard is lacking.

EDIT: It gets more confusing, Lumberyard is apparently a hard fork of CryEngine that Amazon paid for. My guess is they switched to Lumberyard for better licensing terms, but kept all the enhancements made to CryEngine post-fork.


Amazon also made enhancements to Lumberyard since though. Not sure why you'd call one more mature then the other. Do you have experience with both and can attest that Lumberyard now lacks behind the latest CryEngine?


This gets particularly weird when you consider the legal obligation to provide upstream patches to bugs. Are they now on the hook to patch Crytek with Lumberyard fixes?


I think that exactly the root of the problem here. They wanted to benefit from the enhancements on both sides of the fork, already signed an exclusive agreement with Cry, but want the fee structure from Amazon.

I only mentioned CryEngine being more mature because they have more dedicated resources working on it, and from what I understand dev studios contribute fixes back to the engine as well.


Tldr: Crytek allows Amazon to create a cheap fork of CryEngine, then sues CryEngine users that switch to it.


The strongest claim is that the original agreement was positioning SC as a showcase ad vehicle for cryengine, but, with CIG moving to the lumberyard fork, this is clearly not happening. Basically SC was married to cryengine until death do us apart, but now crytek is lying sick in deathbed and CIG have run off with their sister (because, despite all metaphors, CIG are still a company, not a spouse) instead of sitting at their bedside, holding hands as long as it takes.


This is false. They sued one user who had a contract not to switch to other engines.

> 36. Section 2.1.2 of the GLA contained a critical promise from Defendants that they would not develop the Star Citizen video game using any other video game engines.

If you don't want to get sued, don't sign contracts and breach them.


"Allows"? "Cheap"? AFAIK Amazon paid 75 millions for that ...



This does not seem to be the kind of suit where the outcome is likely to be devastating for Cloud Imperium. It could be expensive, but it seems like they should have the resources to settle.


CryEngine is amazing technology and CryTek is a great company. I believe there must be merit to this. Star Citizen is also a very cool project and so I hope they work things out together. I want both companies to be very successful.


The engine used to certainly be impressive. The company, though, had quite a bit of trouble paying their employees in the last year or two:

https://www.polygon.com/2016/12/10/13908156/crytek-employees...

They're more of a struggling company. But hey, at least they deliver a product.


This lawsuit won't help them a bit, though. They're struggling because they gained a persistent reputation among gamers that games built with their engine are beautiful but unplayable on any normal hardware. Whenever I hear "CryEngine" I think of the "But will it run Crysis?" joke.

Maybe they should have rebranded it, but in any case they seem to have done something wrong about their business in comparison to, say, Unity.


I don't think they're that great. The engine is great, certainly, but crytek as a game company not so much. They were at their best when Crysis 1 was made, where you could have your own servers and mod things and communities were built. But the second they could get into the Call of Duty userbase, they actually deleted all their mod forums, which included hundreds of thousands of posts and thousands of mods and configs for servers. All to 'make room' for Crysis 2 'modding', which was non-existant because you could not own your own servers, and server sizes were tiny.


I would not describe CryTek as a great company; they've skipped out paying their employees numerous times.

https://www.pcgamesn.com/crytek-wage-crisis-black-sea-studio


It appears similar to Google vs Oracle, where google won saying Android is not Java so no need to license. I consider Oracle lawyers poor - for example I can take an Apache Java jar and run it on Android.


Crytek is a useless company that's been looking to make a quick buck by any means possible since they stopped making games for real. You only have to look at their recent development with 'Crycash' for yet another example.

This is just another attempt at keeping cash flow positive, not by making games but by any other means possible. I wouldn't be surprised to see news in a few months or half a year saying Crytek are yet again not paying their employees.


Do you not consider making game engines and licensing their use to be a legitimate business model?


Not especially?

Look at how the pricing has come down on UE4 and Unity.


It's still their product? I don't see how price has anything to do with legitimacy of license agreements


Well yes, but Unity is still a real company with a real business model, same as Crytek could be while only developing an engine.


> Crytek is a useless company that's been looking to make a quick buck by any means possible [...] This is just another attempt at keeping cash flow positive, not by making games but by any other means possible.

Sounds very much like CIG. Maybe they should merge.




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