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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Generation Next
   

Generation Next
Regular mod watchers have no doubt heard some rather startling news of late. After more than a year of development, the Generations mod has been discontinued. For the uninformed, Generations was a mod in progress for Quake 2, one that contained unique player classes based upon characters from past id Software games - the Doom Guy, Quake Guy, Quake 2 Guy and Wolfenstein Guy. Although the concept was certainly a lot of fun and had some serious potential, all was not well.

Although the mod progressed at a steady pace for over a year, it ran into some rather hot water only days ago. Apparently, the mod faced some legality issues with id, and was supposedly in violation of various copyright laws. After a very brief period of silence, the Generations team came forward and announced that the mod had officially been canceled.

So what happened? Rumors appeared left and right, as many fans were rather bitter towards id for seemingly "foxing" the mod. Even a few gaming websites (which will remain nameless) went ahead and said that the mod had been axed directly by id. But was it? Apparently not, according to the development team themselves. I had a chance to talk with Lee "Lee 'Mon" Montgomery, the leader of the Generations team, about exactly what happened with Generations, and where things are going from here on.
  — by Dan Lichtenberg

In spite of the seemingly endless supply of mods that have been released for Quake 2 over the past year and a half, Generations always seemed like one of the more original projects. How was the original concept created and had it gone through any real changes before reaching its final state?

Funny you asked... many might consider it to be the LEAST original concept. Generations was started by fans of id Software--people that had played and loved Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and Quake II. Many fans had always wanted to see a game that combined id's greatest first-person shooters together. The possibilities seemed endless. Placing the characters in the different single player environments... deathmatching with your favorite game character against other player's favorites... even the ability to bring back the classics enticed the players. Over a year ago, thanks to some planning by our coder and founder, Gaz Iqbal (aka Skid), the concept for such a game, codenamed Generations, became a reality. Thankfully, the original concept--to combine the greatest FPS of all time, as a tribute to id Software --has remained virtually untouched throughout the production process.

Generations was an extremely ambitious project - was the team solely in charge of its development, or were you taking contributions from the community?

I'm happy to say that the line between the Generations team and its fans was never black-and-white. After all, we were doing the game for them, so we were more than willing to hear what they wanted to see in Generations. Of course, you always get the deviants--the people who wanted Duke Nukem included, or Hexen and Heretic, or even Commander Keen--but we were always able to find out what the majority clearly wanted. As the list grew--Coop support, Single player missions for all four classes, pickup games, Capture The Flag, bots--we gained more people on the team, quite often people who were fans of the project. Hey, it's how I got to be where I am today! I started out as a fan of Generations, began working on areas they needed help, offered support with critical decisions... and somehow, today, I find myself in charge of the project--in total control, in fact, since Skid left about a month ago.

Generations had been in development for quite awhile - over a year. Did you ever consider that you may have been overstepping some legal boundaries with it, or didn't that thought ever occur to you?

Actually, the legality of Generations concerned me the first time I heard of the project. When I entered the team, I posed the question to Skid. I was assured that id had been informed of the project well before our first release, and that they had given approval for the project as long as it was noncommercial. However, Skid had lost the original email, and could not show it to me. So, as long as Skid was with the team, I assumed we were in the clear. After being left in charge of the project, however, the legal concerns were brought back up. I decided the best thing to do was to email id Software, and ask for a copy of the original agreement. While I was writing, I would ask for clarification on the use of registered levels. We had included a few in our last release, and I want to make sure they were alright. Well, this simple email started the exchange that has led us to this point today.

You said that you did have permission from id Software to persue the mod originally, but they recently stated that they had no knowledge of that. Why, after over a year, did id begin questioning the legality of Generations?

You've got that one slightly wrong. Saturday, I said that id apparently had forgotten about our existence. To the best of my knowledge, they never said they had no knowledge of Generations. In fact, after the initial confusion by id and myself faded, Todd Hollenshead forwarded the original email exchange to me. Although I cannot forward these emails to you, I can tell you that the wording by both parties was vague, at best. Skid went into little detail about the actual goal of the project. id, in turn, listed a few precautionary restrictions (including that the mod be noncommercial) and ended with, "you should be fine." The end result, from a legal perspective, is that we received a license for virtually nothing we couldn't do anyway.

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