Sony's EverQuest admits to using Diku as a base

190 views
Skip to first unread message

mad...@my-deja.com

unread,
Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
Hello,

Tis a sad day for mudders! Read on for some important information
about Sony's EverQuest.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time in New York City,
visiting the New School University for a gaming conference, called
Re:Play. Among the guest speakers at the conference, there was Bernard
Yee, the Director of Product Development for Sony's EverQuest service.
Before the actual conference, there was a select group discussion the
night before where I and other students were able to participate in
intimate discussion with the speakers.

During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire demonstration
by saying that Sony's EverQuest was based on DikuMUD -- which I found
at first flattering (being a member of the mudding community) and then
later, perplexing. Does the Diku Group know this? Have they been
compensated?

If you've ever played EverQuest, it does resemble in many ways Diku --
it has 'grouping' as well as 'shout' commands, and the actual way the
characters interact is very similar to what goes on in your standard
Diku, with a veneer of bad 3D graphics layered on top of the,
ultimately, mud-like interface.

Personally, I wouldn't mind it if Diku had been the base as long as the
Diku Group had made some money to fuel their own projects (aka Diku ]
[). However, I find it hard to believe that this has happened, and the
general demeanor of Mr. Yee was very disconcerting. He was deflecting
of comments or questions that were posed in a way that undermined his
gaming environment -- he ignored the hard questions and didn't really
seem interested in the mudding community at large. ("Oh, you know, I
don't really know that much about mudding, why don't you send me some
email? Here's my card.") So this brings two important questions to
light: first, have the Diku people been compensated fairly? Secondly,
if not, will Diku sue?

-Locke
of The Isles

Reply To: lo...@mugs.net
www.mugs.net/~theisles
Coder of Nimud
www.mugs.net/~theisles/nimud

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

KaVir

unread,
Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
In article <80uhld$v81$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, mad...@my-deja.com wrote:

[snip]

> During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire
> demonstration by saying that Sony's EverQuest was based on DikuMUD

The code itself, or just the concept? If it's the code itself, then
this time it might actually be worth the Diku team sueing. Against a
small-time thief like Vryce they wouldn't even get back their legal
costs, but against Everquest they would.

KaVir.


* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


mad...@my-deja.com

unread,
Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to

> [snip]
>
> > During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire
> > demonstration by saying that Sony's EverQuest was based on DikuMUD
>
> The code itself, or just the concept? If it's the code itself, then
> this time it might actually be worth the Diku team sueing. Against a
> small-time thief like Vryce they wouldn't even get back their legal
> costs, but against Everquest they would.
>
> KaVir.

In this case, it is unclear. Although it seems to me that some of the
features of EverQuest are strikingly similar to Diku.

Check gamers.com for an article on this in the next few days, and the
discussion on mud...@kanga.nu

-Locke

Tarthulhu

unread,
Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
It will be a week or so before the article runs at Gamers.com; there's much
research and fact-checking to do before it posts. I'll notify the newsgroup
when it's up.

GX-AngelThorns
Gamers.com Editor
PC Adventure, IF and MUDs
<http://gamers.com/Games/Web/MUD__Role_Playing>

SJG

unread,
Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
This has been known about since EverQuest first went into beta. Brad
McQuiad publically stated he was a long-time player on Sojourn/Toril, and
based many concepts off of that mud (minus the theme, of course). Note, I
said _concepts_, not code. I highly doubt Verant lifted code right from
DIKU sources.

SJG

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
I love this kinda thing. Ahh, the Usenet.

EQ is derivative of many concepts in Diku. It's also derivative of many
concepts in D&D. Diku, Im sure, borrows plenty from other game systems.

My point was that EQ is not a stand alone innovation, but came from a long
line of MUD development.

No, I dont play MUDs, what was your point? I wanted to hear from you, and
gave you my card. I dont believe I was dismissive.

if you had a clue about copyright law, you'll know that concepts -- like hit
points, character classes -- are not copyrighted.

No on ripped off the Diku codebase.

mad...@my-deja.com wrote in message <80uhld$v81$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...
>Hello,


>
>Tis a sad day for mudders! Read on for some important information
>about Sony's EverQuest.
>

>This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time in New York City,
>visiting the New School University for a gaming conference, called
>Re:Play. Among the guest speakers at the conference, there was Bernard
>Yee, the Director of Product Development for Sony's EverQuest service.
>Before the actual conference, there was a select group discussion the
>night before where I and other students were able to participate in
>intimate discussion with the speakers.
>

>During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire demonstration

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
Oh yes, a veneer of bad 3D graphics.

Relative to Quake 3, certainly. relative to the genre of MMPOGs, pretty
good.

It seems clear that you have some sort of bias, by which you've spun our
brief interaction.

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
Wow, to think that because features are derivative, CODE must have been
copied, is naive beyond belief.

Maybe Westwood should sue Blizzard for the concept of units, orders, hit
points in a strategy game?

mad...@my-deja.com wrote in message <8113m3$pv4$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...
>
>
>> [snip]


>>
>> > During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire
>> > demonstration by saying that Sony's EverQuest was based on DikuMUD
>>

>> The code itself, or just the concept? If it's the code itself, then
>> this time it might actually be worth the Diku team sueing. Against a
>> small-time thief like Vryce they wouldn't even get back their legal
>> costs, but against Everquest they would.
>>
>> KaVir.
>
>In this case, it is unclear. Although it seems to me that some of the
>features of EverQuest are strikingly similar to Diku.
>
>Check gamers.com for an article on this in the next few days, and the
>discussion on mud...@kanga.nu
>
>-Locke
>
>

Darren Coffin

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
In article <383aa071$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee" <NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> writes:
>Wow, to think that because features are derivative, CODE must have been
>copied, is naive beyond belief.
>
>Maybe Westwood should sue Blizzard for the concept of units, orders, hit
>points in a strategy game?

I think it's pretty clear that Locke misinterpreted your presentation to
mean that you copied code. No one has said that having similar ideas
necessarily means code was copied. Locke (and others) merely expressed
concern that code may have been copied because of the way that you said
that EverQuest was based on DikuMUD. Now you've cleared that up.

Although I must say that your attitude in responding to these questions has
been rather antagonistic. Don't they teach public relations to Directors
of Product Development at Sony?

>>> > During Bernard Yee's presentation, he framed the entire
>>> > demonstration by saying that Sony's EverQuest was based on DikuMUD

This is just the quote showing that either Mr. Yee was unclear or that
Locke misinterpreted what he said...

-Darren

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
Heh, yep. I get pretty incensed when taken out of context. Sorry.

Given the EQ audience, we get criticisms when we dont talk about our game
design ideas, etc. And then when we do, we get slammed when we say that our
games are the latest in a line of designs that go back to collosal caves,
rogue, etc.

And I really didnt like the part where I was portrayed at someone who didnt
care to talk to Locke -- I gave him my card, and really did want to hear
about MUDs. My experience has all been pen and paper and CRPGs, not MUDs.

-Bernie


Darren Coffin wrote in message ...

Darren Coffin

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
In article <383aba99$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee" <NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> writes:
>Heh, yep. I get pretty incensed when taken out of context. Sorry.

Wow. An apology, on usenet? Weird. :)

It's understandable to be upset when that happens. The fact that you
admitted to being upset and then apologized shows a level of maturity that
isn't seen very often here. (usually the poster will just redirect their
flames at whoever dared to point out that they were being antagonistic) :)

-Darren

KaVir

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
I've rearranged and snipped your post somewhat.

In article <383aba99$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee"

<NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> wrote:
> My experience has all been pen and paper and CRPGs, not MUDs.

Ah, but EQ *is* a mud - one of what some people consider to be
the 'next generation' of mud (along with UO, for example). Of course
this ruffles the feathers of a number of the older mudders who prefer
the advantages a text-based game has to offer (flame wars comparing
graphical muds vs text-based muds generally occur every few months).

Another fact to take into consideration is that the mudding community
is rife with plagiarism and theft - so much so that saying something
like "this is based on Diku" is likely to result in people assuming the
worst. A better approach would be to say something like "We've
incorporated many of the concepts found within text-based muds such as
DikuMUD" or even "many of the ideas we've used came from DikuMUD".

> Given the EQ audience, we get criticisms when we dont talk about
> our game design ideas, etc. And then when we do, we get slammed when
> we say that our games are the latest in a line of designs that go
> back to collosal caves, rogue, etc.

Giving recognition for the roots of EQ can gain you a lot of
appreciation and support from the mud community (as we generally get
ignored by the outside world), but you *have* to be careful how you
phrase things. I strongly recommend that you spend some time looking
into muds - both their history and their current state of evolution.
You might be surprised just how advanced some of them have become.

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
I'm used to admitting I was wrong <g>. I work in game dev! Just check the
dates we say are gold master dates!

I just felt a little victimized -- the orig poster emailed me (I was on road
all week) to talk about it, just emailed him back earlier (before i saw the
post) and was upset that he jumped to conclusions before talking to me...
sent him my phone to talk.


Darren Coffin wrote in message ...

>In article <383aba99$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee"

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/23/99
to
Ahh, MUDs in a non commercial space have different needs than commercial
MUDs (like EQ) and different social systems given the size of the
societies -- I love Koster's theorem that the quality of role playing is
inversely proportional to the audience size.

Your point is why I distinguished MUDs (in my mind, smaller, noncommercial,
personality-driven affairs) with EQ and UO (graphical, more consumer/service
oriented).

I also appreciate your advice on how to handle MUDders... I come from the
PC-CDROM side of the biz, where it's a different vibe.

Let me say this now: I'd love to figure out how to work and hear from MUD
folks more often. I have my hands full charting strategy stuff as is, but
if a few folks want to talk to me about the current state of MUDs and the
ways they've grown and evolved, I would welcome a private ongoing dialog
with him/her.

I know standalone games from Scott Adams Adventure on the TRS-80, but am a
neophyte to the MUD world (and its history of design, economies and social
engineering).

-Bernie


KaVir wrote in message <004aa0e3...@usw-ex0101-006.remarq.com>...


>I've rearranged and snipped your post somewhat.
>

>In article <383aba99$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee"

mad...@my-deja.com

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to

> It seems clear that you have some sort of bias, by which you've spun
our
> brief interaction.

This is definitely true; but I only took things in the context it was
given. If you hadn't said "We based EQ on Diku" and "I know nothing
about muds" in the same evening, I may not have thought twice about it.

The truth is that I have been very careful not to claim more than you
did at the Re:Play conference: I haven't been interested in slandering
EQ or its developers, just making sure that the right people are being
given credit.

I will contact Bernie via email and give him the information he
requested; I am, however, aware of the situation that is developing and
I am interested to see where it leads, or, if it leads anywhere, what
the outcomes are.

Personally, I am not particularly convinced that Diku will get any
compensation for what has ultimately been an attempt to thwart
consumerism in the online gaming market. I've been working on muds for
years, as well as playing them, and have a pretty good understanding of
the dialogue that happens between them. There is a ton of theivery,
but most of the time obvious and honored credits are given to the
masters -- by liscense or by loyalty to the community.

However, if I had a mud with the same marketing department that is at
EQ's disposal, and found myself with less than 30000 users online at
any one given time, I would be surprised. I think Mr. Yee
underestimates the size of muds, which have totalled in the tens of
thousands before, and their impact on internet subcultures.

This is the second industry person I have discussed muds with, and
sadly, the second one who admitted they had no idea what they were
about. Muds are something that seem to be a replacement, in the
digital age, for pen-and-paper roleplaying, a virtualized AD&D with
many players and a computer as a Dungeon Master.

Again, I am merely a servicer of information in this arena, I have no
stand other than 'credit where credit is due'

-Mad Merv
www.mugs.net/~theisles

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
I never said we based EQ on Diku. I said it was derivative. I used to be a
journalist, and a lawyer. When you quote, you better damn sure it's
accurate, because your quote isn't. As for knowing nothing about MUDs, this
is true, as I distinguish btw my knowledge of commercial games vs.
non-commercial games.

As for right people given credit, that's ludicrous. I'm sure you see MUD or
AD&D influence in EQ. Have you actually played it? Perhaps WotC should
credit Tolkien and pay his estate? We all should give props to Tolkien,
IMHO.

BTW -- I am not the game designer. Brad McQuaid is. And he is an avid
MUDder.

But I appreciate the direction. I will look into it, but just as I doubt
you have time to understand the latest inverse kinematic alogirthms or scene
culling code, not everyone has infinite time to look into all the things
they would like; forgive me if time to play MUDs (Including EQ) is scarce.


mad...@my-deja.com wrote in message <81gt22$r37$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...

KaVir

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
In article <383c0656$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee"

<NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> wrote:
> I never said we based EQ on Diku. I said it was derivative.

That's an even *worse* choice of words! In the mudding community, a
derivative mud is one which originally started out as a different mud.
For example Smaug is a derivative of Merc, because it started out as a
Merc mud and the authors changed it. Merc in turn is a derivative of
Diku, because the authors started out with a Diku mud and changed it.

> I used to be a journalist, and a lawyer.

Derivative also has the same meaning in legal terms. For example
Section 103 (b) of the United States Copyright Act of 1976 states, in
part: "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only
to the material contributed by the author of such work, as
distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and
does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The
copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or
enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any
copyright protection in the preexisting material".

Thus if EQ *was* a derivative work, it *would* indeed be bound by the
Diku copyright.

brian moore

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
On Tue, 23 Nov 1999 09:10:57 -0500,
Bernie Yee <NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> wrote:
> Wow, to think that because features are derivative, CODE must have been
> copied, is naive beyond belief.
>
> Maybe Westwood should sue Blizzard for the concept of units, orders, hit
> points in a strategy game?

And id should sue every "3d first person shooter" publisher? :)

--
Brian Moore | Of course vi is God's editor.
Sysadmin, C/Perl Hacker | If He used Emacs, He'd still be waiting
Usenet Vandal | for it to load on the seventh day.
Netscum, Bane of Elves.

J C Lawrence

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
In article <383b2827$0$2...@news.chicago1.level3.net>,

> Let me say this now: I'd love to figure out how to work and hear from MUD
> folks more often. I have my hands full charting strategy stuff as is, but
> if a few folks want to talk to me about the current state of MUDs and the
> ways they've grown and evolved, I would welcome a private ongoing dialog
> with him/her.

I doubt I'm the first to say this, but what you are asking for above
is MUD-Dev. You can find subscription instructions at:

http://www.kanga.nu/lists/listinfo/mud-dev/

Signal is high. Noise is low. Browse the archvies and see.

--
J C Lawrence Internet: cl...@kanga.nu
----------(*) Internet: co...@kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
LOL

John's been a pretty big advocate of no-patents and support of open code
stuff like Linux; he even public domained Doom source code right?

Maybe we should ask him to public domain Quake now <G> -- or Q2!

brian moore <b...@news.cmc.net> wrote in message
news:slrn83ogp...@thorin.cmc.net...

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/24/99
to
Touche!

Derivative in copyright law means "added on to" such that the original work
is still the original copyright holder's work; the "derivative" work is the
ownership of the derivative creator's. Famous case was a Puccini opera
derived from a prose work. To what extent the original is copyrightable is
also a tricky issue; elves, wizards and a big bad Foozle usually isn't
copyrightable; a quest about a halfling destroying a magic ring probably is.

I mean Derivative in the way AD&D is derivative of LotR. Didnt understand
the MUD use for the work. Apologies.

Wow, I'm learning a lot hanging around these parts. Hope I can stand the
pain <g>.

KaVir <Richard.Wool...@RSUK.rsd.de.invalid> wrote in message
news:1415c574...@usw-ex0101-006.remarq.com...

cl...@cp.net

unread,
Nov 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/25/99
to
Bernie Yee <no_be...@aol.com_spam> wrote:

> Derivative in copyright law means "added on to" such that the original work
> is still the original copyright holder's work; the "derivative" work is the
> ownership of the derivative creator's. Famous case was a Puccini opera
> derived from a prose work. To what extent the original is copyrightable is
> also a tricky issue; elves, wizards and a big bad Foozle usually isn't
> copyrightable; a quest about a halfling destroying a magic ring probably is.

It is worthwhile getting genned in on what copyright really is, and
what the limits really are. Many aspects are non-obvious. There
are a variety of relevant links in the Kanga.Nu LIbrary under:

http://www.kanga.nu/library.php3?viewCat=91

The "10 Big Myths about copyright explained" and "Copyright FAQ" are
probably the best starters:

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html
http://www.aimnet.com/~carroll/copyright/faq-home.html

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/25/99
to
I sent you my phone number, and would be happy to chat.


Tarthulhu <tart...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:19991119025918...@ng-cr1.aol.com...

tel...@xenon.triode.net.au

unread,
Nov 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/26/99
to
> Another fact to take into consideration is that the mudding community
> is rife with plagiarism and theft - so much so that saying something
> like "this is based on Diku" is likely to result in people assuming the
> worst.

I might point out that once you say ``this is based on Diku'' you can't be
accused of plagiarism anymore (presuming it is actually based on Diku).

It is this issue of copyright and licencing where you get to asking about
the implementation rather than the ``look and feel''. A lot of people take
a statement like ``based on Diku'' to mean containing Diku code (that's how
I use the language anyhow), while ``looks like Diku'' or ``plays like Diku''
suggests alternative implementation. Anyow, have the Diku authors EVER enforced
their licence?

- Tel

tel...@xenon.triode.net.au

unread,
Nov 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/26/99
to
> I doubt I'm the first to say this, but what you are asking for above
> is MUD-Dev. You can find subscription instructions at:

> http://www.kanga.nu/lists/listinfo/mud-dev/

> Signal is high. Noise is low. Browse the archvies and see.

I've got this great piece of code, its going to revolutionise the whole
gaming world, due for release real soon now -- it does everything you,
wouldn't believe it.

- Tel

PS: mud-dev is a good place to rummage for ideas though...

KaVir

unread,
Nov 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/26/99
to
In article <81kqcc$2nj$1...@hyperion.triode.net.au>,

<tel...@xenon.triode.net.au> wrote:
> > Another fact to take into consideration is that the mudding
> > community is rife with plagiarism and theft - so much so that
> > saying something like "this is based on Diku" is likely to result
> > in people assuming the worst.
> I might point out that once you say ``this is based on Diku'' you
> can't be accused of plagiarism anymore (presuming it is actually
> based on Diku).

I don't recall saying that you could.

> Anyow, have the Diku authors EVER enforced their licence?

Let me answer your question with another question: Have the Diku
authors ever found anyone breaching their copyright who - if taken to
court - would result in them getting enough money to even cover their
legal costs?

Aristotle

unread,
Nov 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/27/99
to
In article <383c9a5e$0$2...@news.chicago1.Level3.net>, "Bernie Yee" <no_be...@aol.com_spam> wrote:
>I mean Derivative in the way AD&D is derivative of LotR. Didnt understand
>the MUD use for the work. Apologies.
>
>Wow, I'm learning a lot hanging around these parts. Hope I can stand the
>pain <g>.

You misused the term from a legal standpoint as well. You claim to be a
lawyer, so you should know that the term "derivative" carries a very specific
legal meaning.

-Aristotle@Threshold
--
VISIT THRESHOLD - Online Roleplaying at its Finest. Player run clans, guilds,
legal system, economy, religions, nobility, and more in a world where roleplay
is required! Roleplay online with thousands of people from all over the world.

http://www.threshold-rpg.com -**- telnet://threshold-rpg.com:23

Bernie Yee

unread,
Nov 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/29/99
to
There is a difference btw using it in conversation and in its legal 'term of
art' form. I made it clear what I mean by derivative in many posts. (e.g.,
Tolkien to AD&D.)

Didnt we go thru this already?

Sheesh.


Aristotle wrote in message

brian moore

unread,
Nov 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/29/99
to
On Mon, 29 Nov 1999 13:03:12 -0500,
Bernie Yee <NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> wrote:
> There is a difference btw using it in conversation and in its legal 'term of
> art' form. I made it clear what I mean by derivative in many posts. (e.g.,
> Tolkien to AD&D.)
>
> Didnt we go thru this already?

Yes, but this is rgmd, where things are routinely not only beaten into
the ground, but pounded six feet under.

> Sheesh.

Welcome to rgmd.

Bernie Yee

unread,
Dec 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/1/99
to
Thanks for the welcome -- I'm gonna stick around for a while <g>

-B

brian moore wrote in message ...

brian moore

unread,
Dec 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/3/99
to
On Wed, 1 Dec 1999 18:21:22 -0500,
Bernie Yee <NO_b...@station.sony.com_SPAM> wrote:
> Thanks for the welcome -- I'm gonna stick around for a while <g>

Just wait a while and Vryce will return with the "Medtheivia isn't a
diku it just happens to have a whole stack of Diku code in it including
in the comments" story... then go back the last 5 years or so on
dejanews^H^H^H^H.com and see what I mean about pounding things into the
ground.

rgmd, like camelot, is a very silly place.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages