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 PostPost subject: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:33 am 
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Hello folks!

So I've been rather absent as of late for a number of reasons. So I have this to post about, along with some other stuff in the future.

So some of you might recall I used to run a channel called "TheBetaTube" of which I uploaded a large number of videos and such that were released while games were still heavily in development. Well you might have noticed that it evolved into my personal channel and all of those videos were removed.

Well I'd like to announce my new channel and website, officially anyway, called TalonBrave.info! It's actually been around for a little while but I thought I'd make a post about it so that more of you are aware about it. Previously what I was doing with the BetaTube was uploading most videos in their raw form; this'll be changing as now I'll be also including an analysis on each video I upload (that I haven't created myself) so that differences or interesting things are more clear.

Things have been slow but I'm trying to focus on quality over quantity.

Additionally the TalonBrave.info website includes an archive full of videos, images, builds and even the source-code for various games. Along with that the blog will include tid bits of information about various games and announcements on what's currently going on. Eventually it will also be the home for the Prey bible and some other documents I'm currently writing.

Here's some samples of content that exists on TalonBrave.info so far.





Feel free to give me feedback and I'm currently looking for other people who might be interested in getting involved; assisting with documents, articles, images, content organisation, videos and whatever else.

TalonBrave.info Website
TalonBrave.info YouTube Channel

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:57 pm 
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I've published a new article concerning Eradicator's development for those interested, with hopefully more to come.

http://talonbrave.info/?p=57

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:33 pm 
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hogsy wrote:
I've published a new article concerning Eradicator's development for those interested, with hopefully more to come.

http://talonbrave.info/?p=57

That's very interesting, thanks for sharing!

So you maintain contact with some of the developers?


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:49 pm 
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You could say that, though there's a few others that are willing to share some information that I haven't spoken to quite yet. Generally though I'm likely to do similar articles for other games, including some of the emails I got from the Prey team in their raw form (since the information is condensed, sourced and otherwise cleaned up for the Prey Bible).

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 10:52 am 
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The source-code for Unreal 0.83 and 0.84 is now up on the TalonBrave archive. These were uploaded for LeoTCK whom also kindly provided a password.

Article is here.

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 12:47 am 
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I question how much actual interest there is in any of this. Hm.

Oh well. Published the projects page on the TalonBrave.info website; here.

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:24 am 
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hogsy wrote:
I question how much actual interest there is in any of this. Hm.

There is interest (but maybe not much in these forums though). So please continue posting updates.

I also wonder what the legal status of Unreal source code is. I don't remember Unreal being an open source game? If not, how realistic are the chances of a C&D order coming your site's way?


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 1:58 pm 
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It's odd that you'd make a point about this or ask such a question.
Unreal is not open-source. Just like the majority of things like this; it's technically illegal. But alas that would be the case for most of what the BetaArchive hosts or what any other similar archival website such as this hosts, it's just a simple matter of being careful with what exactly you upload. There's certainly worse stuff I could have uploaded too ;)

Realistically speaking... Considering some of it has been up there for about two years now, I'm not too worried. The copies of the source-code I've thrown up are from earlier versions of Unreal; if Epic Games hasn't thrown out a C&D to anyone else hosting early builds of the game then I don't think it's likely they'll throw one at me anytime soon. It's important to remember that my website isn't exactly in the spotlight as much as websites such as this or most others due to the fact that I've only recently started posting about it :)

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:04 pm 
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hogsy wrote:
It's odd that you'd make a point about this or ask such a question.

Well, I may be quite wrong, but it seems to me that disclosing the source code of a piece of software is on a completely different level of potentially giving away a trade secret than disclosing a non-public build of a piece of software.

The main question here is, is it really necessary? Even if, or especially if you're aiming to carry out professional research of the history of a video game, is there a need to further disclose such materials as the source code to general public?


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:18 pm 
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It's only the engine (no assets), and the Unreal Engine is "Source Available" now anyways (https://github.com/EpicGames/UnrealEngine; not really "Open Source" but free-as-in-beer and free for everyone to look at) so I don't see a problem with the older source code being released.

Of course there might be some super-secret stuff in there that they ripped out for the current version, but even if that is the case (a quick glance over the source code doesn't reveal anything) it's not like he's releasing the full Windows 10 source or anything...

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 11:56 pm 
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MrFlibble wrote:
The main question here is, is it really necessary? Even if, or especially if you're aiming to carry out professional research of the history of a video game, is there a need to further disclose such materials as the source code to general public?


Are you seriously implying that I should take the source-code off my website? Just because it's questionable if it's necessary or not?

Apparently someone is missing the point.
Archival. Historical archival. It doesn't matter if you think it might not be worth something or not, if people such as myself or websites such as the BA did not bother to archive it then a lot of this stuff would eventually vanish on the internet; it's preservation of information. Archiving source-code isn't something new or even necessarily more criminal than anything else, even the BA does it... Hence why I'm confused why you're making this point over something as trivial as this.

It's like on one hand you're making a valid point on the legality of it, but that's essentially ironic, considering the majority of content on this website and on its FTP is questionable, and on the other hand you're now making a point about whether it's necessary or not?

Hey here's a good example. The upcoming patch for Daikatana (1.3) would not exist if efforts like this weren't made. But hey, that's unnecessary right?

Why not another example? The Half-Life 2 leak from 2003. The full source-code. Thanks to that we're aware of so much, such as the state Team Fortress 2 at the time and I have no doubt it helped in cracking down on details regarding the model format within the leak. I'd say Team GabeN also had a huge influence on the community surrounding the leak as well; their project wouldn't have existed had the source-code not been also leaked. Not to mention the Axel Project wouldn't have been a reality either.

I'm sure in the future a lot of this could very well go towards some major efforts in keeping games such as Unreal alive, who knows. The code I've uploaded isn't exactly comparable to what was within the other leaks I mentioned; it's older, smaller and the majority of code in there is Epic Games' own cookie mix, so to speak.

MrFlibble wrote:
Well, I may be quite wrong, but it seems to me that disclosing the source code of a piece of software is on a completely different level of potentially giving away a trade secret than disclosing a non-public build of a piece of software.


Not necessarily; we're talking about a codebase that's literally over a decade old. In addition to the fact that a large majority of this code isn't even in use within the Unreal Engine anymore and Unreal Engine 4 is essentially open-source.

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 2:02 pm 
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hogsy wrote:
Are you seriously implying that I should take the source-code off my website? Just because it's questionable if it's necessary or not?

No, I'm asking what purpose the disclosure of the source code to an unspecified number of random Internet users is intended to serve.

I am not implying anything about what you should or shouldn't do, it's your site and you're free to do as you will (obviously). I very honestly want to know the answer to my question.

Also please note that if anything I say seems like criticism of your work, it is not my intention to criticise, give advice or anything like that. It's just my opinions on subjects that I think are important.

hogsy wrote:
Apparently someone is missing the point.
Archival. Historical archival. It doesn't matter if you think it might not be worth something or not, if people such as myself or websites such as the BA did not bother to archive it then a lot of this stuff would eventually vanish on the internet; it's preservation of information.

As far as I'm concerned, distribution/public dissemination/disclosure does not equal archival.

Secondly, every field of research has its ethics standards, and one would believe that respecting the rights of those who have created a game should be one of the guiding principles for video game history research? If a piece of software or code falls under an NDA, then public disclosure of such piece of software or code is a violation of those rights.

hogsy wrote:
Archiving source-code isn't something new or even necessarily more criminal than anything else, even the BA does it... Hence why I'm confused why you're making this point over something as trivial as this.

It's like on one hand you're making a valid point on the legality of it, but that's essentially ironic, considering the majority of content on this website and on its FTP is questionable, and on the other hand you're now making a point about whether it's necessary or not?

I am in no way affiliated with BA, and I have no idea what they have uploaded to their FTP. The forum rules here do not state that such discussion as we're having now is not allowed.

In fact, the forum rules actually include this clause:
Quote:
You must NOT:
<...>
- Post illegal material on the site, this includes but is not limited to: Warez, erotic content, shock material, illegal torrents, cracks, key generators, copy protection hacks, activation patches and abandonware licenses. This list is not exhaustive.

hogsy wrote:
Hey here's a good example. The upcoming patch for Daikatana (1.3) would not exist if efforts like this weren't made. But hey, that's unnecessary right?

I'm not familiar with this patch or how it was created. I would assume the developers obtained consent from John Romero?

UDP: I've just Googled a bit and here's a video where John Romero says:
Quote:
I gave them the source.


hogsy wrote:
Why not another example? The Half-Life 2 leak from 2003. The full source-code. Thanks to that we're aware of so much, such as the state Team Fortress 2 at the time and I have no doubt it helped in cracking down on details regarding the model format within the leak. I'd say Team GabeN also had a huge influence on the community surrounding the leak as well; their project wouldn't have existed had the source-code not been also leaked. Not to mention the Axel Project wouldn't have been a reality either.

Well, here's another point of view on the same story:
Half Life 2 hacker still remorseful over role in 2003 leak

Again I had no knowledge of this before your mentioning it, just Googled for "half life 2 source 2003 leak". Please note that I do not take any of the sides here, it's just an article that has caught my attention.

Quote:
I'm sure in the future a lot of this could very well go towards some major efforts in keeping games such as Unreal alive, who knows. The code I've uploaded isn't exactly comparable to what was within the other leaks I mentioned; it's older, smaller and the majority of code in there is Epic Games' own cookie mix, so to speak.

I'll just make myself clear to avoid misunderstandings. I'm all for researching and preserving the video game history, and for new creative efforts arising from all the discoveries that can be made.

However, I would greatly prefer if the developers willingly made these historical assets to the public on their own, rather than them being obtained without the developers' knowledge and against their will. I would love it if all game developers and publishers understood the importance of historical materials and cooperated with researchers. Otherwise they have little reason to view those who are doing grassroots video game research and preservation different from software pirates.

hogsy wrote:
MrFlibble wrote:
Well, I may be quite wrong, but it seems to me that disclosing the source code of a piece of software is on a completely different level of potentially giving away a trade secret than disclosing a non-public build of a piece of software.

Not necessarily; we're talking about a codebase that's literally over a decade old. In addition to the fact that a large majority of this code isn't even in use within the Unreal Engine anymore and Unreal Engine 4 is essentially open-source.

The "old" part only means that no one will probably be able to create a derivative project - based on knowledge derived from this source code - that would be competitive with Epic's products.

It does not matter if the beta code is used in the finished game or not, it's still proprietary and not public domain. The legal state of Unreal Engine 4 is also irrelevant, as it is a completely different game from Unreal.

What is important IMO is that if any piece of code or software was not released publicly in any way by the developers/publishers/copyright holders, then we have to assume that they must have not wanted it to be made public. Releasing it without their consent is a violation of their rights. I would say that for the researchers, this should be a question of ethics even more than a question of legality.

[Edit]
Darkstar wrote:
It's only the engine (no assets), and the Unreal Engine is "Source Available" now anyways (https://github.com/EpicGames/UnrealEngine; not really "Open Source" but free-as-in-beer and free for everyone to look at) so I don't see a problem with the older source code being released.

I'm sorry I missed your post. I did not know about the "Source Available" thing (not sure what that means?). The link returns an Error 404 for me.


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 3:04 pm 
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First, thanks for essentially hijacking my thread with a discussion on the morals of sharing source-code. Obviously [censored] people like me who go to the effort of getting [censored] like this out there and trying to preserve them. A discussion such as this with you totally makes my efforts worth it.

Now to answer all your "points".

MrFlibble wrote:
I'm not familiar with this patch or how it was created. I would assume the developers obtained consent from John Romero?

UDP: I've just Googled a bit and here's a video where John Romero says:
Quote:
I gave them the source.


Considering I was directly involved with the start of that project and exchanged several emails with Romero at the time, I think I have more of an idea than what a simple Google search will tell you.

Romero gave them the source-code, sure. Romero has no right or had no given permission to releasing that source-code out as it is Square-Enix that holds the rights. Because of that It was supposed to stay private; yet people such as myself and others have several various copies of it ranging from 1998 up until its release. The source-code and assets he gave out have essentially been quietly leaked because of Frank and other people sharing it out.

Romero wanted to get permission for it to go out under GPL. Originally we were working on cleaning up the source-code for this, until eventually myself and various other people started pushing towards a patch instead (until we @ OldTimes Software were [censored] over).

I have held back on releasing any of that until that patch or our project, OpenKatana, is completed. I am not sure what the status is anymore on seeing any of it go officially under GPL.

MrFlibble wrote:
Secondly, every field of research has its ethics standards, and one would believe that respecting the rights of those who have created a game should be one of the guiding principles for video game history research? If a piece of software or code falls under an NDA, then public disclosure of such piece of software or code is a violation of those rights.


MrFlibble wrote:
What is important IMO is that if any piece of code or software was not released publicly in any way by the developers/publishers/copyright holders, then we have to assume that they must have not wanted it to be made public. Releasing it without their consent is a violation of their rights. I would say that for the researchers, this should be a question of ethics even more than a question of legality.


No [censored]. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. But that's for people who download the source-code to decide, whether it's for study or preservation.

MrFlibble wrote:
It does not matter if the beta code is used in the finished game or not, it's still proprietary and not public domain. The legal state of Unreal Engine 4 is also irrelevant, as it is a completely different game from Unreal.


A different... Game? What I've uploaded is the source-code for the Unreal Engine. The engine behind the game Unreal. It's not irrelevant, it's a point that's supposed to ephasize the unlikeliness that Epic Games would give a crap about it.

MrFlibble wrote:
However, I would greatly prefer if the developers willingly made these historical assets to the public on their own, rather than them being obtained without the developers' knowledge and against their will. I would love it if all game developers and publishers understood the importance of historical materials and cooperated with researchers. Otherwise they have little reason to view those who are doing grassroots video game research and preservation different from software pirates.


Who do you think these copies of the source-code are from? We can't force things such as this out of peoples hands. They're either internally leaked or handed out by developers who want to share their earlier work. Obviously not true in some cases but certainly true in this case.

MrFlibble wrote:
No, I'm asking what purpose the disclosure of the source code to an unspecified number of random Internet users is intended to serve.


Preservation.

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 4:26 pm 
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MrFlibble wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
It's only the engine (no assets), and the Unreal Engine is "Source Available" now anyways (https://github.com/EpicGames/UnrealEngine; not really "Open Source" but free-as-in-beer and free for everyone to look at) so I don't see a problem with the older source code being released.

I'm sorry I missed your post. I did not know about the "Source Available" thing (not sure what that means?). The link returns an Error 404 for me.

Try googling "source-available vs. open-source", you'll find plenty of information. It means you register (free of charge) on EpicGames' Website for a developer-account, give them the name of your GitHub account, and you get full access to the current Unreal source code.

Of course it's not "open-source", you're not allowed to redistribute it yourself, and if you develop a game based on it that you sell, you have to pay royalties to Epic. But you can read/browse the source code as much as you want, and even use it for non-commercial projects as you like (the full EULA applies, of course, I'm simplifying here)

Also, if you get a 404 this only means that the forum included an additional semicolon at the end that you have to remove. But you also need that github account to actually see anything. But the fact that the engine source code is available right now from the developer is proof enough that they probably don't care about the old versions of their engine.

Also, you should probably educate yourself a bit first about the differences of the "Unreal Engine" and the "Unreal" game. The source code on TalonBrave is NOT the "source" for the Unreal game (despite its name). It's an early version of the Unreal Engine (i.e. no assets). Which you could have figured out if you had downloaded and looked at it...

If you really want to start a "uploading source code is illegal" troll-discussion you should probably select a more credible target than the Unreal Engine...

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:53 pm 
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hogsy wrote:
Romero gave them the source-code, sure. Romero has no right or had no given permission to releasing that source-code out as it is Square-Enix that holds the rights.

I supposed this was the case. However, because of Mr. Romero being the author of the game, I believe that he has all the moral rights to do so, if not the legal rights. I understand that this is a tricky question and of course the "moral rights" argument does not have any legal meaning whatsoever.

hogsy wrote:
Who do you think these copies of the source-code are from? We can't force things such as this out of peoples hands. They're either internally leaked or handed out by developers who want to share their earlier work. Obviously not true in some cases but certainly true in this case.

Well, there are quite a few cases of leaks which occurred against the will of the developers. The Unreal beta code page you've linked to does not contain any information on that. Trust me, if I knew from the start that you got the beta code the same way as Daikatana code was distributed I wouldn't bring up all those "points" and "hijack" your thread as you have put it (for which I apologize if this turned out to be an inconvenience to you).

I understand that you're probably protecting the privacy of your contact(s) and thus have not mentioned how you had obtained it. Still providing some more information would be nice (if possible).

Also thank you for providing some in-depth info on the story with the source code.

hogsy wrote:
But that's for people who download the source-code to decide, whether it's for study or preservation.

hogsy wrote:
MrFlibble wrote:
No, I'm asking what purpose the disclosure of the source code to an unspecified number of random Internet users is intended to serve.


Preservation.

I admit that theoretically this model is more efficient than having multiple backups owned by a limited number of users (even thought this works too in practice). However please bear with me, I'm really concerned that this approach might create a negative reputation with regulation authorities, if not publishers or developers, for the research groups like yours.

Darkstar wrote:
Also, you should probably educate yourself a bit first about the differences of the "Unreal Engine" and the "Unreal" game. The source code on TalonBrave is NOT the "source" for the Unreal game (despite its name). It's an early version of the Unreal Engine (i.e. no assets).

I know what "source code" means, thank you very much.

Darkstar wrote:
If you really want to start a "uploading source code is illegal" troll-discussion you should probably select a more credible target than the Unreal Engine...

Dear Sir, I'm not sure from the colour code of your username if you are a moderator/administrator or not, but if not, please leave it to the administration of the forums to decide whether my posts here constitute trolling or not. Thank you.

Also in advance, I understand that my questions and concerns are not welcome, so I will stop posting here to avoid this thread being locked or other administrative action taken against it.


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 7:57 am 
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I removed my previous post because it didn't really represent what I was trying to say. I wasn't expecting to make an extended statement as I was just stopping by while taking a break from studying.

An issue that bothers me is when people assign themselves the responsibility of copyright enforcement. When people do this, it usually involves some pretty strong wording, finger pointing, and sometimes even goes as far as asserting criminal activity. This is not actually how copyright enforcement works. Individuals, or groups of individuals, do not have the right to arbitrarily delegate to themselves the right to enforce various copyright enforcement actions just because they want to.

Imagine if someone delegates to themselves the right to babysit your child or sibling. You would be offended (if not outraged) and might even call the police. When parents want their children watched, they delegate that authority to a third party with their approval. Both groups know that one is giving and the other receiving.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people accuse someone of breaking the law because they had something thought to be unlawful. This is not how it works. When a person has possession of (or access to) something that they were not authorized to have, it is the responsibility of the copyright holder to pursue actions against this person. It does not automatically mean they broke the law. They can make the allegation and then pursue a remedy in the court system where a judge may or may not agree with the company or person pursuing a remedy.

With regards to the source code to Daikatana, the copyright holder (or their delegate) has the sole responsibility of responding to the matter if they choose to do so. For all we know, it's possible they don't even care. If you think that a company is going to retain a team of attorneys to chase down the leak of ancient source code, I have some cold hard news for you. It's not going to happen. The retainer fees would be more expensive than the worth of the source code.

Let's say a concerned person tracks down the copyright owner and informs them that the source code as leaked. What will they do if the owner ignores the issue or does not respond at all? This is the entirety of what a person can do if they are not the copyright holder or a delegate, without encroaching the realm of unlawful behavior.

If the owner decided that they wanted to pursue the issue, they could send out a warning letter. Most people adhere to the demands of such a letter because they do not have the funds or the time to respond to the issue in court. Ultimately though, it requires the decision of a court to be found guilty of copyright infringement. It doesn't happen automatically. It doesn't happen just because some person on the Web says it did.

I can tell you right now that it would highly unusual for a company to pursue a person in court because of ancient, deprecated, and/or 'retro' software.


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:11 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:00 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:43 am 
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I see you have the source for UT2003. Did you ever get it to compile?


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:29 pm 
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Sorry about that, I decided to take the video down since it lacked any context and, while giving an interesting look at the internals of the company, probably didn't provide any real historical significance.

@AlCapowned
I haven't bothered.

UT2004 I know for sure compiles out the box with Visual Studio 2003, but it's pretty large and because people are still actively playing the game online, I've decided it's probably not the best time to put it up yet. I've had a few people ask me to look at it for "research" on here but complain when I left out what was needed to compile it.

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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:06 pm 
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It's for the best. Their lawyers would probably tolerate the release of UT2004's source a lot less than that of the really old Unreal stuff and a game they pretty much replaced. Wouldn't want them to shut you down!


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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:43 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:41 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:17 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: TalonBrave.info        Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:33 am 
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