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#1 Xuul

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 11:47 PM

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Deadlystream.

 

The past few months have been eventful. The one topic that has out-shined all the others is a little project called “Apeiron” (A Greek word for "unlimited," or "infinite"). This controversial project will be the main topic of today’s post. So YES, I have heard about it. You can stop telling me about it now. As always, leave a comment to let me know what you think of this.

 

What is Apeiron?

 

To start off with we need to explain exactly WHAT Kotor: Apeiron actually is.  Kotor Apeiron describes itself as a “Kotor Reboot”. The description on the site also uses the words “remake” and “remaster”. Put simply, this intrepid group of developers known as “Poem Studios” are planning to remake the original Knights of the Old Republic from the ground up.

 

In this case the plan is to develop the game in a fully modern game engine, with HD graphics, updated gameplay and much, much more. Using the Unreal Engine (Think of games like Arkham City and Bioshock Infinite) the team will need to rebuild every planet, weapon, character and… well everything. Needless to say, this is most certainly a massive undertaking that is likely an order of magnitude above even TSLRCM.

 

Sounds great! A brand new Kotor remake all for free!

 

Well, not really. I know there are a lot of people who are very excited about this project but it important to realize that there are some very obvious problems with this remake.

 

What are the problems with Apeiron?

 

The problems with Apeiron that I am going to discuss come in 3 main categories.

  1. Scope
  2. Direction
  3. Legality

Scope

 

This is the biggest problem with all fan project s (and modding projects) the developers bite off far more than they can chew, over-promise and under deliver. Projects like this rarely pan out; they often require years and years of work to get right and even then can often have many limitations and problems. A clear example of this is the many attempts to restore content to KOTOR 2. While we now have TSLRCM there were several failed attempts before this to create a mod that restored many of the lost files from the game. These projects were big, but not nearly as massive as recreating an entire game in a new engine.  

 

A project this big will take a long time and a lot of people. This all costs money. Since the developers cannot take donations for this project. Having, ostensibly, a full time job while also developing an entire game with a limited team can lead to burnout.

 

Direction

 

Even if this project somehow manages to keep on track with its massive scale and delivers what it has promised this might not be enough. One of the main complaints from the many veterans of the Kotor community (the people STILL playing or STILL modding to this day) is that the project looks nothing like Kotor. I would have to agree with this, it looks like a Sci-Fi FPS and not the RPG that many people fell in love with. There have been concerns as to how the combat (particularly the melee combat) would transfer over to a new engine. One also needs to look at the models used in the current demos. Many of them look like pre-made models (that may not be used with the proper permissions).

 

Overall, this won’t be a problem for everyone, but if you want to see more issues people have with the direction, then just take a look at THIS THREAD.

 

Legal issues

 

This is the big one.

 

The law is complicated. So I did a lot of research and talked to a few experts to see just where exactly this project falls in terms of legality.

 

I emailed Ryan Morris (the video game attorney), known for  his crusade against Candy Crush creators King and its attempts to crackdown on usage of the word ‘Candy’ in video game titles & for leading the charge against the Fine Brothers attempts to trademark the word "React". He is a real attorney who specializes in IP and in particular video games (esports). He was kind enough to confirm some previous research I had compiled together and gave me a straight answer on the exact nature of this project , in terms of the law. He had this to say on the topic:

 

“Fan projects are not "okay" or "absolutely" legal. They are quite the opposite, and there's a near zero percent chance this project sees the light of day. It's frustrating seeing people like this saying they want to take donations, yet basing their entire backing on nonsensical legal beliefs. For example, Black Mesa Source is a game made by a client of mine who has a license to make it.”

 

 

Ryan put it in fairly plain words that he thinks this project will be taken down, and soon. The contrasts sharply with the initial disclaimer for the project that stated it was 100% legal. The developers of Apeiron are at the very least ignorant of how the law works. This lack of understanding is the biggest threat to this project.

 

To put it frankly- this project is not legal. The developers are violating the Trademarks for Star Wars and Knights of the Old Republic. They are also violating the copyright for the game. Disney/EA has every single legal right to take the game down.

 

While Ryan is an expert I felt he was being mildly disingenuous with his criticisms. While it is true that Black Mesa was done with permission, this permission was gotten AFTER the project had started. This is something that is technically still possible, but I still think the project will be taken down.

 

Still not convinced the project will be taken down?

 

This isn’t even the first time something like this has happened.

 

A few years back there was a project called Kotor: Remastered. It originally was a retexture/remodeling project that morphed over time into an attempt to port Kotor over to the Unity Engine. Unsurprisingly, the project was given a takedown notice and ceased production.

 

So there is very good evidence that this project will be taken down. In fact many people, Ryan Morris included, seem to think that a takedown is INEVITABLE.  But it gets even more complicated than that.

While the law is clear on this project, until the rights holders (Disney/EA/Lucasarts) actually issue a takedown notice this project will continue.  There is also a (slim) possibility that the developers will get permission to release their project (with some specific restrictions).

 

Overall I could talk about this for several more pages. I have already written and rewritten this section at least ten times, so I will leave it at that. Here is some further reading on the legality of fan projects if you are still unsure of my analysis.

 

Legal FAQ

Research Article

 

Other things of note

 

This topic took a lot of time to research and write. I actually had an article 2-3 times longer but cut it down so that people would bother reading it. Due to all the writing I had less time to round up links for you to enjoy but here are a few great ones.

 

The Kotor subreddit is creating a compendium of fixes, tips, suggestions and general support questions. If you want to help with this or NEED help, check it out.

 

Kotor might be cannon again

 

Want 100% compatible mod builds for kotor 1 and 2? HERE

 

Sith Holocron is looking for help with a project. Read about it here.

 

You can of course check out my Youtube channel. I am live-streaming mod testing every Friday. Watch my Twitter and Deadlystream Status for updates. 

 

If you like SWTOR, Shoelace has been playing it over on my channel as well. You can watch it here.

 

Sith Holocron also has a SWTOR LP. Check it out on his channel.

 

Here is a great list of other videomakers for Kotor stuff. I am sure you will like at least a few of them.

 

Anyways, that is all I have today. Thanks for reading. As always, I have been Xuul. Have an excellent day.

 

 

*I reached out to the Aperion Team who declined to comment*


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#2 VarsityPuppet

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 06:18 AM

Holy smokes, Xuul!

Knocked it out of the park!

#3 Dastardly

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 01:41 PM

The game is a ticking time bomb. Projects like this should avoid publicity yet its doing the exact opposite.


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#4 VarsityPuppet

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:43 AM

Another snippet of disingenuous assertions is that this "remake" acts as a mod. If they are creating this in Unreal, it is most certainly NOT a mod, and is in fact, an entirely new build created with the Unreal Development Kit.

So, any attempt to use assets from the original KOTOR in their build will count as porting, which we all know by now - game developers love when you port assets.

#5 Xuul

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 08:12 PM

Now I dont think there is any legal precedent on what IS a mod. But even if it is a mod that doesn't make it legal in any way. That can just as easily be shut down. Skywind (Morrowind in the Skyrim Engine) uses all original assets and is considered a mod for SKYRIM not Morrowind.

 

game developers love when you port assets.

 

I'm curious how they plan to handle the dialogue. 


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#6 LucyTheAlien

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 11:22 PM

 

 

So, any attempt to use assets from the original KOTOR in their build will count as porting, which we all know by now - game developers love when you port assets.

 

Bioware has allowed porting in the Dragon Age series of note however. 


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#7 DeadMan

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 08:27 AM

game developers love when you port assets.

CD Projekt RED also allows to use assets from The Witcher games in mods as long, as mods are free. Praise them!


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#8 clone

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 10:21 PM

I dont know why you should be so negative about this. The game: Even when it is FPS, not RPG, when it does things different and away from original kotor, nobody takes us Kotor away. Nobody needs to play this. When this would come out in X years and it is more like a FPS shooter and has a combat mechanic like dark messiah of m&m, its fine, because nobody takes the loved kotor away. But it is also fine to adopt "modern" things to the game. The project: No kickstarter, no donation begging, nothing. Aslong this doesnt change, there is nothing to say about big words of em. If they start begging for $$$, they I understand the critics. Till then, let them take too much on their shoulders, even when they fail, then they fail. Kotor has a history of failed fan projects and we still got beautiful mods by dedicated people. Legal: On stream they said they would have contacts to disney aslong they dont want money. But I dont know if thats true. In the end, I liek what they are doing. And when it does not finish thanks to various reasons, nothing lost.

#9 1Leonard

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 10:58 PM

I dont know why you should be so negative about this. The game: Even when it is FPS, not RPG, when it does things different and away from original kotor, nobody takes us Kotor away. Nobody needs to play this. When this would come out in X years and it is more like a FPS shooter and has a combat mechanic like dark messiah of m&m, its fine, because nobody takes the loved kotor away. But it is also fine to adopt "modern" things to the game. The project: No kickstarter, no donation begging, nothing. Aslong this doesnt change, there is nothing to say about big words of em. If they start begging for $$$, they I understand the critics. Till then, let them take too much on their shoulders, even when they fail, then they fail. Kotor has a history of failed fan projects and we still got beautiful mods by dedicated people. Legal: On stream they said they would have contacts to disney aslong they dont want money. But I dont know if thats true. In the end, I liek what they are doing. And when it does not finish thanks to various reasons, nothing lost.

The reason why projects like this upset a lot of people around here is because this project is riding on the coattails of one of this forums' favourite games. This wouldn't be that bad if it did justice to its source material but however they have proven by now that they do not plan on doing it justice: the art design does not match op with KotOR's at all, the playstyle does not resemble anything found in KotOR, the first thing they decide to show is a new fps element which could not be further from one of the design philosophies of KotOR, or any RPG: using your brain instead of your brawn. KotOR is a thinking man's game where you play a role, think about the game's universe and can min-max your characters if you want,  it is not a mindless shooter.

 

Combine this with shady practices on the legality of the project, an unclear stance on donation practices (I don't count "we don't accept donations but this might change" as a complete refusal of donations) and the fact that we've been repeatedly bombarded recently with the same information (generic screenshots, almost no gameplay, bs promises that they will not be able to make true) and you have a recipe for disaster.

 

And finally: you say that this project will not take anything away from the original. I beg to differ. I can see people looking at wanting to see what KotOR is all about, seeing this """""remake""""" and deciding to wait for it to come out/the end of the world. A project like this that does not pay homage to its source material will only be detrimental to our modding community which flourishes on the interest in the game and new people playing it and modding it, because it parasitizes on the same audience.



#10 Xuul

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 01:37 AM

I dont know why you should be so negative about this. The game: Even when it is FPS, not RPG, when it does things different and away from original kotor, nobody takes us Kotor away. Nobody needs to play this. When this would come out in X years and it is more like a FPS shooter and has a combat mechanic like dark messiah of m&m, its fine, because nobody takes the loved kotor away. But it is also fine to adopt "modern" things to the game. The project: No kickstarter, no donation begging, nothing. Aslong this doesnt change, there is nothing to say about big words of em. If they start begging for $$$, they I understand the critics. Till then, let them take too much on their shoulders, even when they fail, then they fail. Kotor has a history of failed fan projects and we still got beautiful mods by dedicated people. Legal: On stream they said they would have contacts to disney aslong they dont want money. But I dont know if thats true. In the end, I liek what they are doing. And when it does not finish thanks to various reasons, nothing lost.

It's not intended to be negative. It is intended to be a realistic look at what could go wrong.

I didn't go out of my way to research videogame IP and send emails to lawyers and all the other stuff about the project just to get attack Poem Studios. The article probably would have been more balanced had I the chance to talk to them about some things, but they are hard to get ahold of.

 

If you like it, that's fine. The project might be good. But try to look at it realistically. 


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#11 clone

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:15 PM

 

The reason why projects like this upset a lot of people around here is because this project is riding on the coattails of one of this forums' favourite games. This wouldn't be that bad if it did justice to its source material but however they have proven by now that they do not plan on doing it justice: the art design does not match op with KotOR's at all, the playstyle does not resemble anything found in KotOR, the first thing they decide to show is a new fps element which could not be further from one of the design philosophies of KotOR, or any RPG: using your brain instead of your brawn. KotOR is a thinking man's game where you play a role, think about the game's universe and can min-max your characters if you want,  it is not a mindless shooter.
 
Combine this with shady practices on the legality of the project, an unclear stance on donation practices (I don't count "we don't accept donations but this might change" as a complete refusal of donations) and the fact that we've been repeatedly bombarded recently with the same information (generic screenshots, almost no gameplay, bs promises that they will not be able to make true) and you have a recipe for disaster.
 
And finally: you say that this project will not take anything away from the original. I beg to differ. I can see people looking at wanting to see what KotOR is all about, seeing this """""remake""""" and deciding to wait for it to come out/the end of the world. A project like this that does not pay homage to its source material will only be detrimental to our modding community which flourishes on the interest in the game and new people playing it and modding it, because it parasitizes on the same audience.


So I dont want to get mean on you, but thats more like a "how dare they to do somethign with the game I love" then reasonable explanation.



The Fighting Elements of the KotoR RPG have never felt like one of its core features. The core features, what made KotoR live and breath was always its story, the world and the characters in that world. The fighting aspects never created much immersion into this world for me, they felt mock up, extremly easy to play arround with, once understood. Building in a FPS with a Dark Messiah of M%M melee combat system would create more immersion for me, at least when it is well made then the original combat system ever could. But you dont need to be afrait, they already said that they dont plan to use FPS real time combat, but tactical/pausable 3rd or fps combat, how you want to choose. The seen FPS parts are mostly because they dont have done models and thus keep sitting either with the standard engine 3D player model or stay in fps.

For me this sounds more like a act of spoiled people. You are angry about their design philosophy because they dont praise the gods of old KotoR, but do alot like they want (or they want to do it, their last development stream I catched showed, that they arent even 1% done). But neither if they finish or how they finish, they wount take your game away, they wount take you players away or modders or the work of the great modders.

When people see this "remake" (or rebirth or whatever they or you or me want to call it) and see that it will not come out before Lucifers return, they might just want to recheck out KotoR, search for the old game they either never played or played long ago, they want also to check out mods, land here, start loving the mods and game. When you are afraid of people that get "parasided" by that very project, I cannot follow you. It will always sound like a "how dare they to take whats ours".

The game is over 10 years old. Modernising the game also in the field of playstyle is for me nothing bad. Maybe it is just me not having nostalgic feelings and be open to "new developmens", but it could be much worse. Even when you are totally agains this just because of a reason I cannot understand, you still have the save feeling, that only 1 of 10.000 of these kinds of modprojects survive their first year. It could be worse, it could be EA saying they are doing a reboot of KotoR. And that would finish. And that would come out.

#12 VarsityPuppet

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 09:29 PM

 
So I dont want to get mean on you, but thats more like a "how dare they to do somethign with the game I love" then reasonable explanation.


The Fighting Elements of the KotoR RPG have never felt like one of its core features. The core features, what made KotoR live and breath was always its story, the world and the characters in that world. The fighting aspects never created much immersion into this world for me, they felt mock up, extremly easy to play arround with, once understood. Building in a FPS with a Dark Messiah of M%M melee combat system would create more immersion for me, at least when it is well made then the original combat system ever could. But you dont need to be afrait, they already said that they dont plan to use FPS real time combat, but tactical/pausable 3rd or fps combat, how you want to choose. The seen FPS parts are mostly because they dont have done models and thus keep sitting either with the standard engine 3D player model or stay in fps.

For me this sounds more like a act of spoiled people. You are angry about their design philosophy because they dont praise the gods of old KotoR, but do alot like they want (or they want to do it, their last development stream I catched showed, that they arent even 1% done). But neither if they finish or how they finish, they wount take your game away, they wount take you players away or modders or the work of the great modders.

When people see this "remake" (or rebirth or whatever they or you or me want to call it) and see that it will not come out before Lucifers return, they might just want to recheck out KotoR, search for the old game they either never played or played long ago, they want also to check out mods, land here, start loving the mods and game. When you are afraid of people that get "parasided" by that very project, I cannot follow you. It will always sound like a "how dare they to take whats ours".

The game is over 10 years old. Modernising the game also in the field of playstyle is for me nothing bad. Maybe it is just me not having nostalgic feelings and be open to "new developmens", but it could be much worse. Even when you are totally agains this just because of a reason I cannot understand, you still have the save feeling, that only 1 of 10.000 of these kinds of modprojects survive their first year. It could be worse, it could be EA saying they are doing a reboot of KotoR. And that would finish. And that would come out.



You sure seem to try to paint us all in a pretty negative light, for not wanting to get mean.

#13 Hassat Hunter

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 12:58 AM

Remaking RPG-classic into crappy FPS, and you wonder why we're not happy.

Gee, WHY would that BE?

#14 Malkior

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 01:31 AM

To be fair, converting Kotor to an FPS (Third Person or Otherwise) basically has a big chance of throwing away the story elements that we're emphatically saying make Kotor unique and great.

It ceases to be Kotor at that point, and then it is literally "riding on the coattails of a popular game".


Now, as far as scope, if you were to preserve the story that " Made Kotor so great", you would have to do exponentially more work to make those story encounters mesh with the shooter or tactical combat system.

For games like XCom, which have a deep and complex tactical system, the story is limited to cutscenes and the Roleplaying aspects are minimal at best in dialogue. This system would theoretically work, but the dialogue would basically be gone, as would a majority of Star Wars' space opera story.

For a game like, Fallout3 or its successors, which are a shooter/RPG hybrid, story could potentially work, except you would have to create an entire 3d playable world and fill it to the brim with NPCs who provide the story aspect.

To achieve this without the original Kotor dialogue or decent writing would just make the task that much harder. However, I haven't heard of the quality of the writing for this project, so I can't say on that.
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#15 InSidious

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:01 AM

You know, there are these people, great people, fantastic people, and they made KotOR, and it was a great thing, a beautiful thing. But now we have people and they - you know, I mean, come on. I'm an informed guy, I keep informed. I'm informed. I'm informed about stuff. I know stuff. I have the best stuff. But we have these people, and they go around, and whenever - you know, I tried to make a new KotOR, and you know what these guys, they went around saying, "Oh, InSidious, he's so arrogant, he thinks he's as good as Bioware" - I mean, come on, gimme a break. But now, these folks at Apeirion, and they're great folks by the way, lovely folks, just the best folks, they're making KotOR again, and they're gonna make KotOR great again. Because right now, KotOR isn't so great, you know. It's old. It's out of date. It's losing out to newer games, mostly from China. And so that's why we've got to make KotOR great again. And that's what the folks at Aperion, just the best folks, that's what they're doing, they're making KotOR great again.


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#16 Blue

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:44 AM

I was sent a link to the projects website by a friend who knew I liked KOTOR. Needless to say as soon as I saw the first screenshots I was immediately uninterested as it looked nothing like KOTOR. Didn't scratch that nostalgia bug for me.

 

At the same time if they can pull it off more power to them... there has to be someone who would like it



#17 Rece

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:21 AM

 
wount

Alright... First off, what is "wount?" Also, you sound as if you're from the studio...

 

You know, there are these people, great people, fantastic people, and they made KotOR, and it was a great thing, a beautiful thing. But now we have people and they - you know, I mean, come on. I'm an informed guy, I keep informed. I'm informed. I'm informed about stuff. I know stuff. I have the best stuff. But we have these people, and they go around, and whenever - you know, I tried to make a new KotOR, and you know what these guys, they went around saying, "Oh, InSidious, he's so arrogant, he thinks he's as good as Bioware" - I mean, come on, gimme a break. But now, these folks at Apeirion, and they're great folks by the way, lovely folks, just the best folks, they're making KotOR again, and they're gonna make KotOR great again. Because right now, KotOR isn't so great, you know. It's old. It's out of date. It's losing out to newer games, mostly from China. And so that's why we've got to make KotOR great again. And that's what the folks at Aperion, just the best folks, that's what they're doing, they're making KotOR great again.

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#18 DeadMan

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 05:47 AM

For a game like, Fallout3 or its successors, which are a shooter/RPG hybrid, story could potentially work, except you would have to create an entire 3d playable world and fill it to the brim with NPCs who provide the story aspect.

There are other ways which will work better for shooter/rpg hybrid 'remake' of KotOR. Think about the first Deus Ex or Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. But it will work only for ranged combat. For melee they'll have to do something different. I think Gothic(1/2)-like combat mechanics can work. Of more modern games I'm thinking of The Witcher 2 or Dark Souls.

It's not a bad thing that they'll change combat mechanics. More action-stylized combat doesn't mean that the game will lose it's core RPG elements. Non-linear story, characters, decisions and their consequences - that's what makes a proper RPG. If that's preserved - this 'remake' may work.

Like most of you I don't like their visual design choices, game doesn't look like Star Wars at all, and that is bad.

 

Anyway, all of this is pointless, because this project will never be finished.


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#19 Dastardly

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 07:43 AM

Anyway, all of this is pointless, because this project will never be finished.

Sums up the entire ordeal.


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#20 skud13

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:39 AM

The team got the green light from Disney, EA and LucasArts. Legal issues are out of the question in this production so long as they aren't making money from the game (selling it). Donations are allowed and are legal; it's the selling of the actual game that would be illegal. Simply look at large projects like Nehrim or Enderal for Oblivion and Skyrim. Those had plenty of donations and none were ordered cease and desists. The Middle Earth Roleplaying mod got the cease and desist because of Shadow of Mordor.

 

 

You will need the original game to actually play this, because the game will copy over the voice, sound and music files from your installed Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic game folder, and will not be released with those files.





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