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Gaming - LiveWe are Fighting for the Right To Preserve Online Games, AMA

Apr 3rd 2018 by vonguard • 14 Questions • 1671 Points

Greetings,

My name is Quang Do and I am the first Asian-American immigrant running for the Alabama State House. I'm also the first public high school educator (I teach 12th Grade AP Gov and Politics) to run in nearly 25 years.

Our platform is simple: Educate, Reform, Empower.

If we want to be genuine about fixing our education system we have to reform what's happening outside the classroom to empower our families to fix what's happening inside of it.

You can take a kid from an inner city school and move him to the suburbs but nothing changes if that single parent still has to work 60-80 hours a week and can't support their kids education, nothing changes if that parent gets sick and the kid has to pick up extra shifts at work to help pay the bills because their jobs don't provide health insurance, nothing changes if the car breaks down and there is not a public transit system to help get the kids to school.

Our primary opponent has received over $300,000 (for a state legislative seat!!!) From corporations and super-pacs. We have made a committment to not accept a dollar from any special interest groups and stand by that committment. But we need your help!

Please feel free to share with anyone who might be interested in our fight to #DoBetterFor55 and Alabama.

Check out our Facebook @ www.facebook.com/quangdofordistrict55 or our website at www.quangdofordistrict55.com

Here is an interview with a local political podcast https://youtu.be/KNpQmU7bbxw for a more in depth look of our platform.

You can view our campaign fundraising page at www.crowdpac.com/c/quangdofordistrict55

I look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions!

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/MzAaq

Edit: some great questions so far! I'm teaching right now but keep asking and I will respond later on in the day. Please consider donating at www.crowdpac.com/c/quangdofordistrict55 to help us fight to #DoBetterFor55 and Alabama.

Q:

How do you decide which games deserve preservation? Are there attributes like popularity, game mechanics, innovation, etc that effect your selection process?

If copywrite laws were not an issue, where would you start?

A:

If elected, what will be your first priority for legislation?


Q:

Right now, we judge by risk. Habitat was the first, and therefore the oldest MMO, so it was a big, juicy target in grave danger. Second, we judge by feasibility: for Habitat we had the original authors, the original source code, and an original vintage server. If we had been missing even one of these things, I don't think we could have completed the project.

Right now, our next goal is to preserve Neverwinter Nights (1991 version) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_Nights_(1991_video_game). This is not the 3D game from the 2000's, but rather a Gold Box style AD&D game played on AOL. This would be a desirable target because Habitat was hosted on a similar service, and we're expecting to be able to get ahold of the original authors.

After that, we'll go by risk and possibility, again. It's the games people have forgotten which are the most at risk. The big names like WoW, Everquest, and Terra will be just fine on their own for many years to come. You've seen that Blizzard has set a date to release vanilla WoW, so we don't consider there to be a preservation problem there at all. Blizzard is GREAT at preservation. You can still play Diablo 2 online.

What we're after are the games that have no corporate backer. That weren't very popular to begin with. That risk being forgotten completely.

A:

Ah, yes! Was waiting for this question. Our team has been working and have decided to put bi-partisan bills that we KNOW can be done immediately at the top of our list rather than things that we know can be done after some organizing and coalition building work.

My first priority, and I hope District 55 will hold me accountable to this, will always be our working class families. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for me to pass, vote or fund legislation and policies that will directly benefit our families I will do that above any other priority.

Three specific pieces of bi-partisan legislation:

  1. The introduction of an amendment that guarantees the survival of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for a minimum of 20 years with a requirement of it being assessed for extension every 5 years. Alabama currently provides ZERO state-funding for children's healthcare. All of our funding comes from the federal government. That's just not good enough. The health and lives of our children should not be up to who is in the White House.

  2. Introduce home rule. Municipalities in Alabama are required to go to the State Capitol for approval on local-level bills, amendments and funding. The Birmingham City Council, for example, voted to increase minimum wage from the federal minimum $7.25 to $10.10/hr but was stopped by the Alabama House Legislator which retroactively banned local governments from setting minimum wage.

  3. Creation of a state lottery to help fund public schools/expand pre-k, the CHIP program, and pre-trial diversion programs aimed at ending the school-to-prison pipeline.

Dream Priorities:

  1. Campaign finance reform. Alabama has one of the most corrupt political systems in the country. I would work to make us the national model for governing without corporate or special interest dollars.
  2. Creation of a state minimum wage that adjusts with income.
  3. Ending of "special school districts" that leave poor and marginalized students out to dry.

Q:

Are any of the companies who own the old IP's fighting this very much? Like in the hopes that they'll resurrect a dead franchise later for profit?

Where is the most resistance coming from and how can we push against it if we are, say, NOT able to be in LA or DC for those upcoming hearings?

A:

Which constitution are you referring to? Because our state constitution is an absolute fucking disaster.


Q:

Currently, our greatest opposition comes from the ESA, with the RIAA and MPAA writing letters of support. The ESA feels that we are enabling people to pirate WoW, and sadly seems to have absolutely no concept of the actual technology involved in bringing back a dead MMO.

Our real concern isn't with the companies that still exist today, however. We need this exemption for games that no longer have a corporation behind them: maybe the developer went bankrupt, or the publisher was bought by a company that was bought by a company that was bought by a company, etc.

We don't like the idea of not preserving something simply because the IP rights associated with it are murky and unknown. There will be other comments in here explaining how you can write us a letter of support, so keep your eyes open.

A:

Yes. I will work my butt off to fight for the rights of working and middle class families in America. I couldn't care less about what corporate or private lobbying groups want.

Can you be more specific about the Constitution?


Q:

Thanks for clarifying! Follow up: how then should we regular Joes and Janes get in contact with the ESA and politely ask them to "back off"? Will you be sending around petition-type things?

A:

When it comes to funding education, would you be in support of equalizing funding across school systems or targeting underfunded schools and increasing funding for them specifically?


Q:

There was a period where comments were open to the public, but that has closed. We don't want people being mean to the ESA, and their whole reason for being is to handle legal issues like this. They're always going to be strictly against copyright loosening, as that's their job. It's like being angry at a snake for being venomous: that's what they do.

A better tactic is contacting game companies to let them know how much you miss their old games. Supporting companies that do the right thing is another good tactic. Microsoft released almost the entire Xbox catalog on Xbox One, complete with online play being brought back. They're the poster child for doing this right.

Blizzard is also spectacular at preservation. They still have Warcraft 3 online, Diablo 2 online, they made Starcraft available for free before they reissued it... they get it. Support them.

Other companies aren't so good about this. Nintendo locks its history in a vault. EA is a bit better than you probably think: its old PC games are all supported online by GameRanger, which is a spectacular free service. If you let companies know they have a game you want to play, but cannot anymore, they may listen. This is why Vanilla WoW is a thing: people made it clear they wanted Vanilla WoW.

A:

What a really, really fantastic question.

I'm going to be honest with you - I don't think either of those options are enough to fix the issues with education in Alabama.

Birmingham City Schools receives just as much funding (when you look at spending per student) as the schools in the suburbs, but the dollar doesn't go nearly as far when the only meal some of our students get are when they are at school, it doesn't go nearly as far when students are having to work 30-40 hour a week jobs after school to help pay the rent, it doesn't go nearly as far when the young man or woman can't study at night because they're too busy being worried about the gunshots outside their house, and it definitely doesn't go as far when teachers are having to spend 60% of instruction time addressing behavioral problems rather than focused on helping students reach their learning goals.

If we want to be honest about fixing education, we have to be honest about addressing poverty. We cannot have an equitable education system until all parents and families have the same economic opportunities outside the classroom as we expect students to have educational opportunities inside the classroom.

So how do we fix this without just throwing more money at the problem?

  1. Create a state minimum wage that adjusts annually with cost of living.
  2. Guarantee that anyone who works 35 hours a week (even if it's 18 hours a week at one job and 17 hours at another) will have health insurance.
  3. Implement a state fund (Alabama is one of 3 states that does not have this) for public transportation to make access to high quality, good paying jobs in our city and state not so dependent on whether or not you have a car.
  4. Decriminalizing marijuana and retro-actively clear the records for anyone previously charged with minor possession offenses.

ALL of those things and so much ore are required to truly fix our education system and create an environment where parents have the financial resources to support their students in the classroom.

We shouldn't make the classroom any "easier" by lowering standards but we should make it easier for our parents to be engaged in the classroom by reforming what's happening outside of it to empower them to be available inside of it.

To answer your question specifically:

I think we need to raise the standards and make it much more difficult for cities trying to create their own "special districts" that essentially cut out black, poor and marginalized students and remove tax revenue from poor and working class families.

A county school recently tried to separate from the county system and create their own "city" school system but the DOJ came down and denied their request (even though our state and county said yes) because they would have disenfranchised black families and it was quite simply, racist. It was a school that was 60% black and the new district would have made it less than 10% black. All tax revenue in the new school district would have gone to the new "upper class" school which means the taxes (sales and real estate) would be taken from the old school and placed with the new one. The fact that this would have come into fruition without the DOJ stepping in is ABSOLUTELY disgusting.


Q:

It's like being angry at a snake for being venomous: that's what they do.

An apt analogy. :P

Unfortunately, even telling the company you want to play a relatively unknown game is likely to get no answer or a "screw off" kind of answer. I don't remember the particulars, but one of the struggles the developers of the Earth and Beyond emulator faced was that EA wanted a ton of money for the source code. It was a game that was cut off about two years after launch because EA is EA, and it took the emulator developers something like 7-8 years before even putting up an alpha test of their server emulator. If I remember right, a lot of that time was spent trying to reverse engineer how the client communicates with the server.

For now, those guys have done a remarkable job of getting the game into a similar state to the game in 2004. Somehow, they keep meeting donation goals for keeping their server up and running. Sadly, the source code for their server is closed and from what I've seen there isn't a whole lot of ongoing development anymore. I don't know how long they'll be able to keep the server up. I hope that they'll release their source code if they do end up having to shut down their server, but this is yet another game in danger of being lost forever if they don't.

A:

A good, complex answer. Thank you.


Q:

Earth and Beyond is a game we've hoped to preserve for years. At least now we know EA still has the source, so thanks for that! I know that doesn't sound like much, but that's like having half a health bar just from the start: a lot to work with at some point down the road. Some day. This work takes years.

A:

You're welcome. Don't worry, I didn't judge you for asking.

Please feel free to follow us on facebook or reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any more questions, comments or concerns. It's going to take everyone in District 55, Alabama and America for us to truly reform our government from one focused on the concerns of corporations and interest groups to one that fights for our working and middle class families.

We need and appreciate any help or guidance you could provide.


Q:

First off: thank you all for taking this on. I am a doctoral student in digital studies at a US research university and have watched this problem develop from the margins. Many of us in higher ed are frustrated that this endeavor has received so little attention and we ourselves are relatively limited in what we can accomplish. Without interest from our administration and no resources to invest in procuring and curating physical artifacts, we've taken to live-streaming games to preserve the experience. What obstacles and considerations are there in this? What else can be accomplished through universities to contribute? Are there grants available to fund archiving projects?

With regard to MMOs, I'm personally intrigued by the Star Wars Galaxies project and the collaborative reverse engineering that's being conducted to reconstruct the initial SWG experience. Is this a viable model or are they on borrowed time?

Thanks so much for your work to preserve this cultural institution!

A:

What are your stances/potential solutions regarding illegal immigration?


Q:

Hey, sorry, they're not ignoring the question, just figuring out the best response. You get 3 lawyers together to answer one question, it takes time.

A:

I think it's important for us to be very intentional in educating ourselves on both documented and undocumented immigration.

I'll be honest in saying that I do not believe that undocumented and/or illegal immigration is as much of a "crisis" as some might say. I do not believe in completely open borders but I do believe that a large majority of undocumented immigrants are here for the same reason all of us are - to chase the American Dream.

Facts:

Undocumented immigration has decreased by 2 million since President Obamas tenure. Undocumented immigrants give more to our economy than they take "away". Undocumented immigrants move to America for economic reasons more than any other. The American economy would collapse without the undocumented workforce.

Solutions:

I don't think we need to do anything differently than we have been. If you're undocumented and commit a heinous crime, we need to get you out of here. If you are a drug trafficker, we need to get you out of here. But if you are a productive member of society, if you have kids here, if you are doing everything you can to do the right thing for your family, we should treat you with respect and compassion.

As a teacher, I have too many brilliant young men and women who live their daily lives in fear of either them or their parents being deported. We must protect our families and kids whether they are documented, undocumented or American citizens.


Q:

I saw that you mentioned NWN from AOL, that really takes me back, long live Lord Nasher! But the game that concerns me isn't a forgotten game, it's a game held hostage: City of Heroes. I know you said that you're not as concerned with existing companies, but also that I am not alone in my love for that game. For those who don't know of its history: NCSoft, the company behind the game, decided to pull it because it was only popular in certain markets. They have, thus far, resisted all means for others to resurrect the game, much to the consternation of its legion of fans. Is there any chance this game will ever see the light of day again?

A:

How can Alabama make progress in school desegregation?


Q:

We hear a lot about City of Heroes. I really think they should just relaunch the game. It's probably the one we hear most asked for. I can go down and bother them sometime this year and see what the deal is. Who knows, maybe they'd let us bring it back internally, but I doubt it. The issue is that it's a modern-style game, so the IP associated with it is somewhat enticing, and would possibly draw players from other games. That's generally a deal killer for these companies. If we did get our exemption, it'd only allow us to bring the game back online inside our four walls, but that would be better than losing it entirely. I feel like this same dichotomy existed in tabletop RPG's in the 80's: AD&D was popular, but the super hero tabletops, like Champions, popped up, vanished, and remained quiet cult favorites for years because the books could be resold. A shame that can't happen here.

Still, who knows, some day we could be able to save this one. It's definitely on the wish list, but not necessarily on the possible list.

A:

I think the first step is for Alabama, as a whole, to admit that we still have a major issue with school segregation. We still have some open wounds from slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement but we prefer to wrap it up and hide it rather than performing the surgery needed to really move forward and heal from our past.

I once drove a young man on my soccer team home from practice - he lived nearly 35 minutes from the school. When I pulled up to his apartment complex I saw there was a "special district" school literally BEHIND his apartment complex. He could have walked to the other school (one of the top schools in our state in terms of graduation rate, test scores and average parental income) but instead had to ride the bus to a school thirty minutes away because his apartment complex had a literal line cutting them out from the "special school district"

I'm going to copy and paste a more pragmatic answer from someone else who asked a similar question:

I think we need to raise the standards and make it much more difficult for cities trying to create their own "special districts" that essentially cut out black, poor and marginalized students and remove tax revenue from their cities. The current required number of households for a school to create a special tax zone and school district is 5,000. I would push that number to 25,000 to ensure that poor communities are not being exploited.

A county school recently tried to separate from the county system and create their own "city" school system but the DOJ came down and denied their request (even though our state and county said yes) because they would have disenfranchised black families and was quite simply, racist. It was a school that was 60% black and the new district would have made it less than 10% black. All tax revenue in the new school district would have gone to the new "upper class" school which means the taxes (sales and real estate) would be taken from the old school and placed with the new one. The fact that this would have come into fruition without the DOJ stepping in is ABSOLUTELY disgusting.


Q:

A great thing about the exemption is that it applies not just to the MADE, but to any library, museum, or archive. We hope that other museums will join the MADE so that more games are preserved and more people in more places can see them.

A:

Are you for or against my freedom of religion?


Q:

Yeah, everyone should start a video game museum. They should be in every city!

A:

I will preface this with saying that I am a strong believer in the fact that the first amendment that protects me, as a Christian, from persecution also applies to the freedom of Buddhists, Muslims and any other spiritual/religious groups as well as those who are secular and atheist from persecution and oppression.

I am a firm believer in the freedom of religion. I am a devout Catholic and a proud member of the local Vietnamese-Catholic church here in Birmingham.

Many of my family members were murdered and killed in Communist Vietnam for their religious beliefs so I certainly know what can happen when we don't actively work to protect our right to believe in what we would like to believe.


Q:

It would be wonderful if this were the case. When toying with the idea to start a platform archive here at UWM, we ran into issues of space, and security. Funding, of course, is also the big issue: to obtain platform hardware and backups for parts is prohibitively expensive. Have independent collectors and dealers affected these prices?

A:

I am a firm believer in the freedom of religion

Why won't you say that about the right to bear arms?

Especially since you claim to use said right


Q:

Yeah, the collectors market is nuts these days, with very high prices.

The MADE is 100% built on stuff people have donated. We didn't start out and say "We need to be a big time professional, super organized space with this console, that computer, that game..."

Instead, we started by getting a space, putting our collective collections in it, and seeing what we could do from there. Everything has worked out along the way. A console dies, someone shows up with one to donate. You'd be shocked how many people still have this stuff in their garage or closet, and how happy their spouses are when they get rid of it by donating it to us.

Biggest hurdle for starting a museum is getting the non-profit status. Everything else is wide open because this is a new thing: there are no guidelines other than "Make it playable."

A:

I am a firm believer in the right to bear arms. Again, I'm not sure where I was unclear on that so I apologize for any confusion. I will be sure to be more direct in the future.

I do believe that, just like the freedom of religion, I need to be intentional in communicating what I believe "the right to bear arms" means and what our constitution and SCOTUS have determined it to mean.

The right to bear arms does not mean that I can buy whatever gun I want, however I want, whenever I want. It means that as a country, we don't get to decide whether or not you can buy a gun (unless we take it away through a constitutional amendment) but we do get to decide the limitations on what constitutes "the right to bear arms."

The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the flexibility of local municipalities, states and the federal government to amend and adjust the meanings of different rights countless times throughout our history.

To ignore this fact is to ignore how our government works and what the Bill of Rights and Constitution actually are.


Q:

Wow, this is really cool. Thanks for doing this AMA

What inspired you to do this, and why did you start fighting for the preservation of these games?

A:

You've beat around the bush quite a lot. What are your thoughts on firearms? Tell it straight.


Q:

The MADE's goal is to preserve our digital heritage in a playable form. We've been doing this type of work for years: check out our YouTube channel, for example.

In 2013, I met with Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar, creators of LucasFilm Games' Habitat, the first virtual world. While looking for a way to display the game, or to build an exhibit around it for GDC that year, Chip handed me the source code, kind of as a joke, like "Here, see what you can do with this!"

The source was written in PL/1 and runs on Stratus VOS, an ancient OS more like Multics than UNIX. Still, I am not one to shy away from a difficult preservation challenge, and I set about gathering the people and resources needed to get the game back online. The secret was having Chip and Randy to lead the whole project and do the lion's share of the work, though.

Here we are 4 years later, and that work is mostly done. It's time to go on to the next MMO. Since no other formal institution is doing this work in the open (lots of grey area MMO relaunches exist in the community), we felt it was time to help others do this work too. It took us 4 years to bring back Habitat, and it's a C64 game that uses 2400 baud and 64kb of RAM. Bringing back a more modern MMO would be even more difficult, I am sure. Therefore, we need all the help we can get.

A:

I am a firm believer in our constitution and the rights it grants to us.

I believe that the current conversation of "all or nothing" when it comes to addressing gun violence are misguided and a false dichotomy.

I support bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence.

91% of Americans agree on UBCs 84% on requiring Mental Health Checks 72% on raising the age to buy to 21 69% on more SROs in schools 60% on bannjnf assault weapons.

I wholly support the second amendment but also support these bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence in our country. I do not believe that defending the second amendment necessarily means that we don't have serious conversations about evolvinf it to fit our current need.

Since we are on the topic of gun violence, I don't believe there is one simple solution to fix all the problems we have with gun deaths in America. Gun violence in our Union is multilayered and complex and I think our solutions need to reflect that. What happened in Parkland is much different than what happened to Trayvon Martin and that is much different than what's happening in West Birmingham.


Q:

Has it been hard to do?

A:

"Assault weapons" are not a thing. That's a dangerous thing to push. Lost my vote.


Q:

Yes.

A:

I'm sorry to hear that. Regardless of whether or not you vote for me, know that I am committed to fighting for you and your community.

Assault weapons are certainly a thing... The Federal Assault Weapons ban that sunset in 2004 is real and the fact that there is no current federal ban on assault weapons is real.

I think you're assuming that I am trying to conflate semi-automatic rifles like an AR-15 with something like a machine gun. I know that an AR-15 is not an assault rifle with stock equipment, but when given the right modifications (bump stocks + extended magazine) i think the argument could be made that it is more or less one. I own an AR-15 myself, have shot a military-grade M4A1 and have also shot my AR-15 with a bump stock. The bump stock clearly turns the AR-15 into an assault rifle by all definitions.

The data on whether or not the assault weapon ban from 1994-2004 actually worked is unclear. Assault Weapons have been not been used in any recent mass shootings (except in Las Vegas when the shooter used a bump stock) so it wouldn't stop a large majority of gun deaths (most are suicides and domestic disputes).

Let's be clear: An assault weapons ban won't stop a kid getting shot down the street by gangbangers, an assault weapons ban won't stop a young man from getting shot by the police, but what it will do is make shooters like the one in Las Vegas hurt a whole lot less people.

Again, I don't think there is one single solution that will solve all of our problems. Mental health checks won't stop a kid from joining a gang but it will help stop what happened in Newtwon, UBCs won't stop someone from committing suicide but it will stop what happened at Pulse Night Club.

If 60% of my constituents want something to help make their lives safer, and I don't feel like the data is clear one way or the other, I'm going to always side with my constituents. My job is to represent my constituents not the other way around.

Tldr: sorry I lost your vote. I don't believe an assault weapons will solve all of our gun problems and that it should be done in conjunction with other methods and should be adjusted specifically to each community.b


Q:

Any work with open source projects like WINE or DOSbox to ensure that your work doesn't still go to hell in a hand basket, even if you succeed?

Windows rather likes to break stuff.

A:

If you support only banning something like an AR with a bump stock, then that's fien with me. Bump stocks are already incredibly dangerous to hold and it is a loophole on full auto weapons.


Q:

Neohabitat runs on C64. There are emulators for many platforms, and that's how most people access the game. I'm sure we'll use DOSbox in the future. Maybe not WINE, as we're not even considering any Windows MMOs, yet. Too many that predate Windows need to be saved first.

Maybe someday, Asheron's Call... Maybe. That might require WINE.

A:

I certainly support an assault weapons ban that also includes a provision for bump stocks but I do not think that is the solution to gun violence. I think there needs to be a holistic and multi-layered conversation to really address it appropriately. We've been trying small Band-Aids for too long.

Thank you for engaging in the conversation!


Q:

Have you put any thought into something like preserving an earlier build of an MMO that can no longer be played?

Specifically I'm interested in Final Fantasy XIV. For those that don't know, the original game launched in 2010, and was a complete disaster, but was a unique and interesting game. Square Enix updated the game, but also developed a 2.0 version behind the scenes called "a realm reborn". When ARR launched (in 2014?) it totally replaced the original, which is no longer playable in any form.

A:

What are the greatest challenges to having IDEA and ADA compliant schools and how can Alabama overcome those challenges?


Q:

That's not on our agenda. Someone else asked this below. It's something to be considered, but since there are so many other MMOs that need to be saved, we'd like to get to them first... and we'll never get to all of them...

A:

I am in full support of strict enforcement of IDEA and ADA rules and regulations. This is what equal opportunity is all about.

I think the main challenge that we face in regards to being IDEA and ADA compliant is funding.

Major sections of IDEA and ADA, while important, are unfunded mandates.

You're expecting teachers, administrators and school communities with already tight budgets to do more (we should always be pushing and challenging our education system to be and do better) but not give them the funds, staffing or facilities they need to meet those goals appropriately?

And THEN you're going to give them a bad score on a state-wide "school report card" that impacts how much funding they get in the future, which then results in the loss of further teachers and resources... which then makes it even harder for them to meet those standards next year? How does that make sense?

Alabama has got to stop waiting for the federal government to bail us out and take ownership over the problems that we have.

The Democrats in Congress have tried for a long time to fully fund IDEA but we can't wait for the federal government to save us anymore. It's time for us to take ownership over the problems we have and work on no-nonsense, bi-partisan solutions that will help our working and middle class families.

An easy solution would be to create a state lottery that will help fund IDEA and ADA compliance for our public schools as well as our post-secondary education institutions.


Q:

Like with Vanilla WoW, are you interested in preserving earlier iterations of currently public games? I'm looking, specifically, at Final Fantasy 11 Online.

They instituted a level cap increase a number of years ago, and fundamentally changed the game.

A:

What does Quang Do?


Q:

This is sort of the meta-question we have yet to answer. We're starting with just preserving games that are offline, for now. Maybe in the future something like this could be arranged, but we'd prefer to perform such an undertaking with the help of the original rights holders. I don't think there is a need for an exemption to protect earlier revisions of a game, especially because it would be so hard to explain and argue for.

A:

I am currently a teacher but previously served as Advocacy and Policy Director for a local non-profit and was a social justice educator and student affairs professional at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) before that.


Q:

How many bananas are too many bananas?

A:

How much should I weigh a candidate's race or ethnicity when deciding how to vote in an election?


Q:

I suppose so many that you can't carry them all in two hands.

A:

As much as you'd like. All Americans weigh things differently and if having a visually diverse and ideologically progressive government is important to you than I would be grateful for your support.

If it's not, I hope I can get your support for my passion and committment to fighting for poor and working class families of District 55 and Alabama.


Q:

Thank you and keep up the fantastic work, all of you!

A:

Thanks! There are hundreds of MMOs out there that need saving.


Q:

I totally support this! I love and always have loved the idea of properly preserving video games and certain media for future generations.

I'm curious though: You say these will be in a playable format, but how will the "Massive" part of "MMO" come into effect? Are you planning to have several people playing at once, or a pseudo single player experience?

A:

We haven't solved that problem, but in Habitat, we have built bots, and a bot framework.


Q:

Would these archived games be free to play?

How would you go about attempting to pursue archiving a dead MMO that hasn't been on for years, like Star Wars Galaxies?

A:

These games would be playable inside the museum. You'd still have to pay admission, but all the games are free after that: no quarters or anything.

For Star Wars Galaxies, I'd have to sit down with the original rights holders all the way from developer to publisher, and try to get the source code from one of them. We'd work to get their permission and help, and if we didn't get it, we'd likely have to wait until something changed: decades had passed, or someone found the source code, or someone approached us from the original development team who wanted to preserve the game in some way.

Generally, without the original source code, the job of bringing a game back is quite difficult, from a preservation perspective. There'd still be plenty of opportunity for the public to just relaunch the game with a remake, but for Galaxies, that'd be tricky and illegal as the law stands now.


Q:

For games that were specialty created, where do you plan on obtaining the source files for hosting the game? Are you going to visit the devs and find a backup? How does this kind of thing work?

A:

Exactly. We try to work with the original rights holders and developers. One of the reasons we want to preserve these games is to preserve the stories behind them, and the work done by countless thousands of people. These games do not exist in a vacuum, people created them, and their stories are a part of these things.


Q:

Would you be open to promote potential source relicensing of older games? Such that the engines could perhaps be remade and netcode rewritten to rehost games.

A:

We did something similar with Habitat: it's server is basically a rebuilt and modernized version of the original, but it speaks the original protocols, they're just encapsulated in JSON now.

As an institution, we would not be interested in licensing anything we've built, however. That's not why we're doing it. We've open sourced most of our work on GitHub. As for relicensing games, it's not something we intend to do. We're aiming at saving things, not profiting from them.


Q:

Of course.

What I meant by "relicensing" was to relicense things under an open source license, essentially allowing free use, and preventing others from profitting off things you've built, which they could do given that your code would (probably) otherwise be public domain.

A:

When possible, we do like to open source things, yes.


Q:

You gonna pay for the servers?

A:

This exemption only includes locally hosted games inside the museum, but inside our doors, yes. We already pay for Habitat's servers.


Q:

As a little twist, i'm wondering if there's any plans or approach to restore online mobile games? Could restoring those games carry the same legal weight as client games?

A:

This is a huge area not even being addressed right now. It should be, but we do not have the time or resources yet.


Q:

Many MMOs require a massive time commitment to unlock the majority of the game content, including locations, quests, etc,

What is your philosophy on how to allow users to fully experience a game as players did when a single visit is probably only enough to get through the beginning tutorial?

A:

We're not sure yet. Habitat has been our experiment. It currently has been expanded to include a second-screen experience, which will explain what the player is encountering as they play the game in a web browser, according to their in-game user name. It's a neat way to document things, but we really don't know how we'll do that yet. Primarily, we feel it is important to save something. Right now, nothing beyond stories, pictures, and scattered YouTube videos are being saved for some games.


Q:

I hope i'm still on time but i managed to think this in a whole new way (sorry if this crosses the line of double posting), here it goes:

I've seen that the team in charge of SkySaga dropped it due the founds being cut, they tried to revive the project, yet at the end an UK group absorbed those involved with SkySaga to work for them, if i recall correctly they were sent to work on Rebellion's projects, most likely crushing any hope for SkySaga to resurface and be finished on the near (and most likely far) future, is there any risk that SkySaga team or Rebellion could send a C&D should there even be an attempt to preserve SkySaga's last build? Even though SkySaga developement team might be stuck who knows how much on Rebellion's new game and Rebellion might not even care or even be focused on reviving it?

And what is your oppinion on restoring servers of games that were still concepts? (as in still in beta phase instead of the official service)

A:

I can't speak for any of the parties involved. We've found that when they're still around, the original rights holders to many games are very open to non-profit preservation, provided the game is quite old.

Restoring servers for concept games seems like a tough thing to do. We're not working on anything like that, but Habitat does include a lot of stuff that was never shipped in the original, or was turned off in the code.


Q:

Any chance we could ever see Star Wars Galaxies back?

A:

A lot of people want this one.


Q:

Love this idea, curious about “Kids” MMOs such as the recently closed Club Penguin. I know a lot of people who have grown up on games like them and were impacted emotionally when they heard of their closers. Are you after storing them as well?

A:

We'd love to save Club Penguin, but it was a big property... Maybe some day.


Q:

Will you be able to bring back Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes/Villains?

What can we do to help make it possible?

A:

Lots of people ask for these. We'll have to look into them.


Q:

What about Crowns Of Power?

A:

Good one.


Q:

This would be the best goddan thing EVER.

Nothing makes me more sad in gaming than all the games that people will not get to play. This is why I consider emulation not just important but downright vital. Where should pixel-style graphics be without the emulation presence prior to the big indie boom? What about MMO emulation projects for dead MMOs, people just never get to play them ever again? People who bought and supported them end up with nothing?

Entertainment should be preserved, especially once it is beyond the scope of profit. There's no money being lost or taken, so let people check out some of the crazy older stuff they missed out on.

I wish you guys the fuckin' best, this sort of thing is important to gaming.

A:

Epic Mega Games did a great thing in releasing Paragon and its assets to the public, and by polishing the assets beforehand. We need more of this.


Q:

Could you resurrect zombiepandemic?

it was a 2d, point n click,pbbg,open world,turn based mmo but it shutdown in 2015. It was a really good game.

I guess the only thing it did was push the boundaries of a typical browser mmo as it was literally open world even the sewers and subways were explorable. Its really good.

It is the only point n click open world mmo of its kind of point n click.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ML4mTe44U1w

A:

We'll have to throw it on the list...


Q:

A prominent Youtuber and video game historian named Ross Scott is very passionate about what you're doing. Have you talked to him?

A:

We'd love to chat with him.


Q:

Do you see any legal argument or basis for preserving games / having private servers for non-artistic purposes, for example an Everquest server that exists mostly / exclusively for entertainment purposes?

In your experience, why are game companies so reluctant to part with the intellectual property, especially if they are earning no returns from it? Are they hoping the private servers get popular enough that they could relaunch?

A:

IP is the lifeblood of game companies, and they don't want it outside of their control. 3rd party servers for MMOs without licenses are not legal, and won't be even after our exemption. It'd be great if this was not the case, but that's another battle.


Q:

This should definitely be allowed. It's a problem that extends beyond MMOs. Take Hawken. Want to play that on a PC? Not possible anymore.

In the same vein: Age of Empires Online was recently resurrected: https://projectceleste.com/

A:

Great work there!


Q:

Any chance of reviving/preserving The Matrix Online?

A:

Another one we'll want to do some day, but it's fairly modern... we're starting back in 1986 and moving forward... Next stop, 1991...


Q:

Would Earth and Beyond ever be a possibility?

A:

Definitely a great target.


Q:

How do you plan to preserved a MMO that has many version that completely transform how the game is supposed to play. And how do you decide which version do you keep?

An example would be how renewal patch for Ragnarok Online completely throws balancing out the window and it's very unpopular among the community.

A:

This is a hugely difficult questions. It's outside of the scope of our work, here. Revisions would be great to preserve, but for now, we're just hoping to save something, anything at all.


Q:
  1. So what if the rights of a dead MMO are belong to someone else that wants to bring back the MMO? it seems kind of unfair to side step copyright law to obtain rights to a "dead" MMO and then have it hosted via a library if someone has already purchased those rights and plans to remake, remaster, or reintroduce the game back into the world.

  2. also will this library be monetized in any way by the player base? that seems like you would be stealing someones product and then making money off of that product.

  3. How will this library be funded and what games do you intend to obtain? games like Ultima online, Everquest, Starwars Galaxies? some of those games are still running today and particularly star wars has a very tight hold on their license. how to you plan on combating that from a legal standpoint, it is their IP and I don't see how you or anyone can claim rights to it without paying for the license.

  4. How do you plan to use the in game micro-transactions? almost all MMO's have them in some state or fashion, are you going to reintroduce those items back into the game without transactions?

A:

1: If someone was going to bring a game back, we'd have no interest in it. The state of MMO preservation is like a burning city, and we only have time to save one or two buildings. If someone else is saving a building already, we'll ignore it.

2: Museums monetize from admission sales. Games would only be playable from inside the museum, not outside.

3: Again, we have no interest in preserving games others are working to preserve. Habitat is from 1986. We're working forward from there at a rate of one game every 4 years or more. Galaxies, Ultima Online, Everquest, these games are not at risk, as plenty of people care about them, remember them, want them saved. It's the games no one talks about that need our attention.

4: We have yet to undertake saving a game with microtransactions. likely, we'd just turn everything on for free, but who knows?