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GTA III and Vice City reverse-engineered code is back up on GitHub

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After Take-Two put up a DMCA claim against the reverse-engineered source code for GTA III and Vice City, it's now properly back up online on GitHub.

This follows on from a developer of a fork putting in their own counter-claim back in May, which resulted in GitHub restoring their repository. Now though, the main repository from the GTAmodding team is also back online, as they also put in their own counter-claim. This doesn't actually mean what they're doing is legal however, just that Take-Two did not respond to the counter-claims and so GitHub put them back up.

As I said previously, projects like this end up benefiting the original developer / publisher due to an increase in sales. No assets are included, which means to use the projects people need to actually buy a copy of the original game. It does continue to amaze me how so many publishers dislike it and want to keep the code locked-down. Unlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.

In the counter-claim the team noted:

The code in this repo was developed by reverse engineering object code that is not contained in this repo. We believe that any code in this repo that is similar to code or other content owned by Take-Two is either unprotected by copyright or is permitted under fair use.

The question remains: how long until Take-Two get the legal cogs moving on this again, or will they just leave it be now for these two classic games?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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22 comments
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gbudny 29 Jun
I like this project, and it will be great if Take-Two resigns from publishing any counter-claims. They should stay quiet if they want to make more money.

Unfortunately, I'm skeptical about their future actions against this project because
there's another group that tries to do the same thing with Grand Theft Auto San Andreas:

https://github.com/codenulls/gta-reversed
fagnerln 29 Jun
QuoteUnlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.

Just a curiosity, what make it "dirty" in comparison? Is it because of the reverse engineering method?
Liam Dawe 29 Jun
Quoting: fagnerln
QuoteUnlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.

Just a curiosity, what make it "dirty" in comparison? Is it because of the reverse engineering method?
Well, you have a clean-room implementation and the likes of OpenMW and such that were created unique from the ground-up, and then you have this. It all depends exactly how it's done.
gbudny 29 Jun
Quoting: fagnerln
QuoteUnlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.

Just a curiosity, what make it "dirty" in comparison? Is it because of the reverse engineering method?

This issue wouldn't exist if people could run these games using OpenRW. However, the authors stopped working on this project, and now we don't have this option.
The_Aquabat 29 Jun
nice patent trolls lost this one.
Calinou 29 Jun
It's great to see the project is back. I was worried it would be lost in limbo, which would be a shame since they are now working on support for Liberty City Stories.


Last edited by Calinou on 29 June 2021 at 5:20 pm UTC
Faalhaas 29 Jun
Running Vice City on RE3 was great.
GTA IV on modern systems is still a disaster, so we also need an RE4.
I wish this was legal for all games older than 10 years. :)
sub 29 Jun
1/2 Offtopic: When it comes to reverse engineering via decompilation,
there is another imho very interesting project dealing wiht Magic Carpet 1 and 2.

I opened a forum thread some weeks ago.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/forum/topic/4922

Magic Carpet is such a great game that I'd like to revisit with a
pumped up reverse-engineered engine (like DevilutionX for Diablo 1).

One of the latest milestones reached mentions a working Linux build target.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to compile it due to some strange SDL dependencies
that I wasn't able to resolve with the common approach of installing the dev packages.
They currently only ship Windows builds as binaries.

If anyone manages to build and test it, please post short feedback on the state of that project.
Would be very appreciated. Thanks! :)
MayeulC 29 Jun
Quoting: The_Aquabatnice patent trolls lost this one.
Quoting: fagnerln
QuoteUnlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.

Just a curiosity, what make it "dirty" in comparison? Is it because of the reverse engineering method?

Yes. Usually for clean reverse engineering, you need a chinese wall: those who write the code must not see any original code, including decompiled sources. This is to make sure that the new code is 100% original.

Take OpenMW for instance: they just reverse-engineer the game file format, and create their own engine from scratch to load these.

Here, they use the original binaries, decompile them, and then change the decompiled output to something that compiles back, while cleaning it up (like giving actual names to the variables).
sub 29 Jun
[quote=MayeulC]
Quoting: The_Aquabatnice patent trolls lost this one.
Quoting: fagnerln
QuoteUnlike other game engine reimplementations (OpenMW, openXcom, OpenRA, CorsixTH and so on), this isn't exactly "clean" in comparison which is why it's much more of a grey area.
Take OpenMW for instance: they just reverse-engineer the game file format, and create their own engine from scratch to load these.

But that way it would be close to impossible to exactly match the gameplay of the original, right?
AI, pathfinding, object interaction, etc...
One could come up with a game that looks like the original but most likely never comes close to the gameplay.
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