Sunday, November 9, 2008

Radio Silence

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Pfiou... it has been a hell of a month since the release. For the moment, we didn't made a final debriefing yet, because every member of the team (including myself) is taking vacations since the release of the 1.1.0 update. All we can say is that the downloads are still increasing at an incredible speed of 3,000 a day (and that doesn't include all the downloads started from another website than

So far so good, I was not posting anymore because I'm taking a huge break. You know, seeing the family, going out, sleeping, playing, and such. And for god's sake, the early demo of Left 4 Dead stole me a dozen of hours during the last days. This game is so freaking genius. The demo only has 2 levels and still, I played it 15 or 20 times on Advanced and Expert mode without even doing the same thing once. And by the way, playing the infected is even more stressful than playing the survivors, as you're soooo weak, alone.

For the moment, no one is working on the mod. I fixed a few bugs since the 1.1.0, I was supposed to release a hotfix two days after its release but that would have definitely been a bad idea (not enough delay between the two patches). So, I'm delaying everything for the moment. I also stopped replying to emails, that's why I may have missed your email lately. And if you didn't see it, Portal: Prelude is "Moddb's Staff Selection for October 08". Great!

Mod Spotlight - October 08

That's all for the news. Ah, no, there's something else.
Does anyone wonder why Valve never even sent us an email to share their impressions? Why don't they bother answering our questions when we send some? And why on earth do they keep replying "We are not willing to communicate on Portal: Prelude for the moment" to everyone? We're really sad to see that no one there took 5 minutes to write us something. I'd not say we made this entire mod only to get in touch with someone from Valve, because it's not true. But it would have been definitely kick-ass and most mod had this chance.

15 comment(s)


 November 9, 2008 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Congrats on finally getting a break guys. You've earned it. I'm sure that Valve will get in touch with you at some point, I'm positive that a ton of people working there have played it (then again, they probably don't have a ton of free time with the release of Left 4 Dead, so give 'em a break).

 November 9, 2008 11:00 AM, Anonymous FlashEF said :
Why they don't want to communicate? Cause they?ve got a problem. There is no point of making a Portal sequel of their own for some time now.

You need to remember that you took an important part of the market with your freeware product. They might be a little upset :)

Now more seriously - you do have an important impact on what they do, so a regular worker might not be allowed to answer you, and they won't contact their boss with such an e-mail.

 November 9, 2008 12:48 PM, Anonymous Pufje said :
Maybe valve doesn't have a reason to make contact. many, many mods have been released already, this is just another mod, it's just special because no one else has released such a mod for portal. mods happen all the time and valve doesn't feel the need of setting you apart from all other mods that have been made.

anyways, be sure to let us know if they DO contact you, It will be AWESOME

 November 9, 2008 4:27 PM, Anonymous Zedo Mann said :
I hope Valve contacts you to put your mod on the mods section of their store. Then we can update as they come out!!!!

 November 10, 2008 7:25 AM, Blogger kibermaster said :
They are not answering u cause u break their plans about conquering our brains with Portal 2.

 November 10, 2008 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :

Valve is not answering at the moment because they are not sure whether and how to implement your mod in the HL universe.
Maybe they had something similar planed and are now discussing to change their plan according to Prelude's story line.

We will see.

 November 11, 2008 8:05 PM, Blogger Jim said :

Consider that Valve may be trying to figure out how to approach you. They have a legal obligation to their stockholders around their game assets. And since your mod uses those assets, they have to be very careful should they inadvertently condone your activity (which would leave them vulnerable to possibly others doing so, but with a crap-a$$ mod as opposed to yours) or should they be required to take some sort of action like requiring you take down the mod entirely.

For now, it is in your better interest to not pester Valve and make them come to a decision/choice any faster than they have to. Each additional day gives you that many more downloads.


Jim O'Flaherty

 November 11, 2008 8:09 PM, Anonymous *phlebiac* said :
@ jim: why should valve want to have portal prelude taken down ? valve creates tools for others to create mods like portal prelude so i am pretty sure there will be no problem

 November 11, 2008 9:43 PM, Blogger Jim said :

I will play through it this evening and give you more feedback later.

There's a difference between generating a mod with your own story and characters, and generating one based on Valve's storyline and characters. It's covered by copyright law here in the US, regarding well-settled rights to extension.

I'm not saying I like or agree with these laws. In fact, except in very particular cases, I DON'T like the US law interpretations. I am just saying there is a ton of gray area, most of which favors Valve having final say and control over the availability of story characters and extensions. So, it is in this mod-author's best interest to keep a low-profile and let the mod "sell-itself".



 November 11, 2008 11:29 PM, Anonymous Sarda [CP<3] said :
As long as it remains obvious that Portal Prelude is NOT the official prequel, and shouldn't be considered canon, Valve should have no problem with it. It's like fanfic, only taking it to the next level. Plus, nobodies making money off of it, so it technically doesn't violate copyright law (or if it does, nobody cares.)

 November 12, 2008 12:05 AM, Blogger Jim said :

FanFic is technically considered a copyright violation. However, if the company owning the copyright chooses to not litigate for "copyright infringement" (lots of free mods), or they even explicitly and publicly condone the behavior (George Lucas's Starwars franchise), then the work can continue to exist up and until the copyright holder changes their mind.

And this then gets more complicated legally as I believe "Portal" has been trademarked by Valve. If this is true, then an additional issue would be trademark infringement, to use the "Portal" trademarked name in the same market context on a product (free or for sale). And in this case, it's a slam dunk that "Portal Prelude" is referring to Valve's original property, "Portal".

And things would be amped up considerably in disfavor of this mod if the author was claiming this was an "official prequel". Luckily, he is not so he has bought some more time and negotiation space.

BTW, just because this mod is free (not being sold) does not exclude it from copyright claims. It might reduce the original copyright holder's motivation to pursue litigation due to unrecoverable legal costs. However, if the "free" work was compromising future revenue opportunities for the copyright holder, they would be well within their rights to request changes and/or removal of the infringing work(s). This has happened many times with mod for other games...MANY times with the shocked mod authors and users confused that something free could still be "shut down" by the copyright holder.

Again, I am not advocating these positions. I am clarifying legal conditions in the US (given Valve is a US Corporation). And I am hopeful Valve finds this mod novel and desirable enough to either keep it alive by not pressuring it. Or by deciding to work with the mod author and pull it (and possibly the mod author) into their creative fold. This goal would be substantially sabotaged if the mod author was to get arrogant and oppositional about "his work" as opposed to collaborating with Valve on their "shared" work.

I wish both this mod author and Valve the very best.

Jim O'Flaherty

 November 12, 2008 12:54 AM, Anonymous *phlebiac* said :
i really wouldn't worry about valve here with this portal prelude mod ...

all that happens behind the scenes will be either a delay for an official prequel/sequel or complete cancelation of the same

i think with portal prelude and with portal the flash version (as well as all those other maps) valve can't just put out some crappy maps and that's all they probably worry about

 November 14, 2008 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Maybe they can't acknowledge it because of the use of copyrighted music in the mod. I imagine they wouldn't want to be seen as having anything to do with that.

Just a thought. It could be due to one of the other reasons mentioned here as well.

 November 21, 2008 3:52 PM, Anonymous Wes said :
Jim here is totally right. Valve is certainly in their right to have the mod removed, and frankly I think it's best if the authors of this mod didn't push Valve to make a decision. 'Fraid that's how it works. =/


 December 14, 2008 4:20 PM, Anonymous Sarda [CP] said :
You're all making one big mistake: Valve is NOT "just another company". They do things right, because it's what their players want, not because they want to get rich. This mod isn't going to take away even 1 cent of sales from their next Portal, and they know it. Not for any reason that could have been changed, either. 1: It's not canon, and therefore everyone else will still want to learn the real story. 2: It's not made by Valve, and while I'm not saying that this mod is horrible, or even slightly bad, Valve has always amazed everyone with what they put out. Their version was going to be delayed anyways because that's just how they work. If they don't think it's just right, they delay for a little bit. Even L4D, which was going to be the first game to release on time, got delayed by a day or two. One final point: Valve's version includes Cave Johnson. CAVE JOHNSON. That alone is a reason to buy it. Valve may be within their rights to remove it technically, but they know if they did they would actually lose profits from the people who would suddenly hate them. Those people wouldn't want to pay for Valve's version anymore, which would add to the number of people pirating their games. It's happened before with other companies, and it's brought them to the ground.

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