Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

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Iiago
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Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Iiago » May 30th, 2017, 5:37 pm

I'm playing my way through the Ultima series, just got up to Ultima IV, which has lots of BT references in it. There's an entire town called "Skara Brae", and Roscoe makes an appearance.

It got me thinking - maybe part of the reason Wasteland did so well is that it combined some of the best parts of BT and Ultima? The combat in Ultima IV was awful. Ultima IV combat, while good to start with, soon made me want to jump out a window. For some reason I always enjoyed BT combat despite it being quite repetitive, probably because it was fast and challenging; you could get whittled down in BT in a way that you didn't in Ultima, so even minor encounters had some tension.

But the top-down world in Ultima IV, and the famous textbox of course, allowed UIV to create a breathing world while BT was largely mechanical.

Wasteland combined the world-building from UIV with the combat of Bard's Tale. It also built on both games by using a skill system instead of a class system. It lost BT's mapping, of course, but that mechanic was probably dead and gone by the time Wasteland came about.

Thoughts?

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Woolfe
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Woolfe » May 30th, 2017, 6:35 pm

FYI and no comment on the rest of your post, But

Skara Brae is a real place and has had several games/stories use its name or setting.

I use it in my Civ games :-)
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Crosmando » June 4th, 2017, 9:11 am

The 80's must have been quite an interesting time when devs could do things like this without it all having to be legally agreed by both companies. Like how you could import characters between BT, Wizardry and Ultima, that would never happen these days.
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Gizmo » June 4th, 2017, 2:15 pm

Crosmando wrote:
June 4th, 2017, 9:11 am
The 80's must have been quite an interesting time when devs could do things like this without it all having to be legally agreed by both companies. Like how you could import characters between BT, Wizardry and Ultima, that would never happen these days.
We live in a sadly over litigious society now; where you have to be defensive against everything imaginable, and even the absurd.

*And for those that don't know what that means... It means this:
Image Image Image

As you can imagine, this likely means that customers [inexplicably] sued for these—and won! Image
__

If the games are on the same publisher, one would think that cross-referencing/parodies would be less of a problem; but who knows —these days. I've heard of single companies uploading promotion clips to Youtube, while at the same time having their lawyers write the take-down notices to demand their removal. Image

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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Iiago » June 4th, 2017, 8:23 pm

Actually I tweeted both Garriot and Fargo about that exact issue. There both said that there was nothing formal, they were both just fans of each other's work.

It must have helped that it was Garriot and Fargo who were (via their companies) personally financing the games. Usually artists are a lot happier for other artists to respectfully reference their work; it's the people who own/buy rights as an investment commodity who are savage with technical protection of IP rights.

There was a famous case in Australia (don't know if it got press elsewhere) where Men At Work were sued for musically referencing an old Aussie children's song, "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" in "Land Down Under". The original artist who wrote Kookaburra never cared; litigation only happened once a company bought the rights to her song with an interest in squeezing money out of it.

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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Gizmo » June 4th, 2017, 10:05 pm

Iiago wrote:
June 4th, 2017, 8:23 pm
There was a famous case in Australia (don't know if it got press elsewhere) where Men At Work were sued for musically referencing an old Aussie children's song, "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" in "Land Down Under". The original artist who wrote Kookaburra never cared; litigation only happened once a company bought the rights to her song with an interest in squeezing money out of it.
I remember that; so it likely got reported here.

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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Woolfe » June 5th, 2017, 4:10 pm

Iiago wrote:
June 4th, 2017, 8:23 pm
Actually I tweeted both Garriot and Fargo about that exact issue. There both said that there was nothing formal, they were both just fans of each other's work.

It must have helped that it was Garriot and Fargo who were (via their companies) personally financing the games. Usually artists are a lot happier for other artists to respectfully reference their work; it's the people who own/buy rights as an investment commodity who are savage with technical protection of IP rights.

There was a famous case in Australia (don't know if it got press elsewhere) where Men At Work were sued for musically referencing an old Aussie children's song, "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" in "Land Down Under". The original artist who wrote Kookaburra never cared; litigation only happened once a company bought the rights to her song with an interest in squeezing money out of it.
It was more complex than that. Larrikin had held the rights for many years prior to them suing. The suit actually came about after Adam Hills mentioned the similarity in an episode of Spics and Specs (a popular music quiz show here in Aus).
One of the Men at Work writers Greg Ham(Directly responsible for adding the particular flute riff), died "under mysterious circumstances" a year or 2 after the ruling. With the suggestion being that the plagiarism accusations on top of his already existing drug addiction and depression, led him to kill himself.
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Iiago » June 13th, 2017, 8:35 pm

I heard that the rights were being held by the Girl Guides for years and years, but they'd been sold to a 3rd party who were interested in making some money off it. Didn't follow it super-closely though.

It was still a stupid decision - I'd honestly thought for years that it was a deliberate musical reference. People have been doing that for ages.

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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Woolfe » June 13th, 2017, 9:37 pm

Iiago wrote:
June 13th, 2017, 8:35 pm
I heard that the rights were being held by the Girl Guides for years and years, but they'd been sold to a 3rd party who were interested in making some money off it. Didn't follow it super-closely though.

It was still a stupid decision - I'd honestly thought for years that it was a deliberate musical reference. People have been doing that for ages.
Nope, Larrikin had held the rights, and they had held for a many years prior to the lawsuit.

The Girl Guides thing was a defence put up by Men At Work's legal team stating that the copyright was held by the GG association. But the judge ruled that it was Larrikin that owned it.

Lots of unhappy people in general, because a lot of people thought it was and should be public domain.
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Iiago » June 14th, 2017, 3:43 am

I suspect the fact that Land Down Under did not, as a whole, sound anything like Kookaburra Sits played a part.

Would I be going out on a limb to guess you e got a professional interest in Aus copyright law?

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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by Woolfe » June 14th, 2017, 4:44 am

Iiago wrote:
June 14th, 2017, 3:43 am
I suspect the fact that Land Down Under did not, as a whole, sound anything like Kookaburra Sits played a part.

Would I be going out on a limb to guess you e got a professional interest in Aus copyright law?
Yes, you would be out on a limb :oops:

I am merely a layman, but I just happened to really like the song, and was a mite annoyed at the situation, so I followed it originally, and then obscurely I had been doing some reading on it just the other week. :D
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Re: Bard's Tale/Wasteland/Ultima III and IV

Post by lefty1117 » October 27th, 2017, 7:13 am

Crosmando wrote:
June 4th, 2017, 9:11 am
The 80's must have been quite an interesting time when devs could do things like this without it all having to be legally agreed by both companies. Like how you could import characters between BT, Wizardry and Ultima, that would never happen these days.
I was just reading Walt Simonson's run on Thor (volume 1 anyway) - I hadn't read it since I was a kid at my buddy's house, but saw it on Comixology and just HAD to have it. Anyway in relation to your post, there was a scene where Thor takes on the Sigurd Jarlson identity, and he wears glasses in the same way that another superhero does, and wouldn't you know it there's a scene where he bumps into Clark and Lois in the street and Thor almost knocks him over (accidentally). Obvious DC reference of course ... wonder if any permission had to be sought or was it a generic enough scene to skip by any issues ... clearly they didn't care about such things back then!

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