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[Web] CAPS UpdateANN.lu
Posted on 10-Apr-2004 00:29 GMT by The CAPS Team16 comments
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50 more games preserved. Exhibiting at the Classic Gaming Expo UK in July, and an XML-based offline games database is now available. See site for more details: http://www.caps-project.org
CAPS Update : Comment 1 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Wayne Dresing, PhD. on 10-Apr-2004 21:08 GMT
This is the kind of thing Garry Hare would frown upon and try to shudown.


*** You have been warned! ***
CAPS Update : Comment 2 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by fiath on 10-Apr-2004 21:28 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Wayne Dresing, PhD.):
Sorry I don't understand. Can you explain that? What does it have to do with Garry Hare? There is nothing illegal about this.

This is a preservation project. Please read the site for more information.
CAPS Update : Comment 3 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Gob on 11-Apr-2004 03:38 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Wayne Dresing, PhD.):
"This is the kind of thing Garry Hare would frown upon and try to shudown."

What is your problem with that ?
CAPS Update : Comment 4 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Someone Somewhere on 11-Apr-2004 10:28 GMT
Preserved for digital rot? :)
All well and good to preserve something, but what do you need to do to get a copy of the preserved stuff?
CAPS Update : Comment 5 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Kid X on 11-Apr-2004 16:23 GMT
In reply to Comment 4 (Someone Somewhere):
All well and good to preserve something, but what do you need to do to get a copy of the preserved stuff?

My question exactly. Preservation for whom? Yourselves??
CAPS Update : Comment 6 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by fiath on 11-Apr-2004 19:13 GMT
In reply to Comment 5 (Kid X):
The amount of time is takes to run CAPS, you think we have time to actually play the games? We wish! ;)

But you do raise a good point. Legalities dictate we can only give games to the games authors (which we have done and continue to do), and to people we know own the original - that is basically the people who contribute the games in the first place.

You can find games around, and those are those are the ones which contributors have chosen share. The point is that people should actually have the choice about playing the original item when the copyright expires, the disks certainly won't be around at that time. We cannot give people games they do not own - we have no right to do so. Otherwise people really would have a reason to shut us down - and rightly so.

We are working with the games industry and academia on the social and legal aspects of making these games available, and hopefully with these efforts and time, people will realise how important software preservation is. Not just to play the games that game us all so much enjoyment in our past, but to provide future historians access to such an important part of our digital heritage that would otherwise be lost to everybody.

There is a simple choice, (1) let them rot, or, (2) do our very best to ensure that these pieces of digital art stay with us, and teach people how this revolutionary part of history started.

We chose option number (2). Do our very best.
CAPS Update : Comment 7 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Jerry Gibbons on 12-Apr-2004 09:34 GMT
C.A.P.S.-Project is totally awesome! And a "Thank You" to everyone involved.
CAPS Update : Comment 8 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Kid X on 12-Apr-2004 09:57 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (Jerry Gibbons):
C.A.P.S.-Project is totally awesome! And a "Thank You" to everyone involved.

"Awesome"? Dude, in what way? Although I'm sure they are putting a lot of time and effort into whatever they are doing, one simple fact seems to remain - as stated above, the "preservation" they are doing are meant for the original authors and the people who gave them the original copies in the first place.

The rest of the world will have to wait until the copyright expires - which, depending on what part of the world you are in, should take no less than 50 years. In about, oh - say 35 years, you should - if CAPS is still around - be able to play Marble Madness and Ports of Call on whatever super computer you have by then. How's that for "awesome"?

Don't get me wrong, Caps. Although I admire and respect your intentions, I feel you are using the word "preservation" in the wrong way. As things seem to stand right now, the word "conservation" would be more justified, since barely anyone can benefit from your hobby.

My two cents, people.
CAPS Update : Comment 9 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Fiath on 12-Apr-2004 10:02 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Gob):
I don't have a "problem" with it - I just wanted to understand why he thinks what we are doing is wrong, especially since every game author we have spoken to (read: quite a few) loves what we are doing. I suspect I am not going to get an answer though...
CAPS Update : Comment 10 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Fiath on 12-Apr-2004 10:17 GMT
@Jerry: Thanks for your support!

@Kid X: Preservation is *exactly* the right word: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=preservation. Not only that - there are numerous high profile preservation projects (i.e. commercial, academic, or govenment based) around that do not preserve things publically. It doesn't make it any less preservation.

But that is not really applicable here, since many of the disk images are indeed available as quite a few CAPS contributors have shared them as I said before. They are just probably hard to find. Also, many of the games developers we have spoken to have the intention of providing the images to the public. So you will certainly see some around eventually.

If you really want the games you own preserved, just dump them for us and (assuming they are not damaged or modified) we will send you the authentic disk images when they are available. After all, you have a right to have a digitally preserved copy of the games you own (actually, it is more complicated than that - but this is generally true).

There is no other way that we can do this. I think most people accept that this is just the way it has to be. We believe that are work is far too important to risk over copyright disputes. So, we do everything we can to stay in line with current legislation.

I hope you can understand why it has to be this way - but believe me when I say we are trying to change things on a grand scale...
CAPS Update : Comment 11 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Fiath on 12-Apr-2004 10:21 GMT
Just for reference:

"Preserve":

1. To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.
2. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.

"Preservation":

The act or process of preserving, or keeping safe; the state of being preserved, or kept from injury, destruction, or decay; security; safety; as, preservation of life, fruit, game, etc.; a picture in good preservation.
CAPS Update : Comment 12 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Kid X on 12-Apr-2004 11:33 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (Fiath):
Fiath,

fair enough - you have given a comprehensive reply which I appreciate. Still, you say the (few) games that are actually available for the general public can be "hard to find".

Don't you think that's a major flaw to the idea and overall design of CAPS? To me, it is like opening a library not telling people where the entrance is. If you insist of actually using the word "preservation", then I personally think you should try to actually advocate your cause. If you actually have permission to distribute certain titles, then pass the word.

Preservation for the sake of preservation means nothing if no one can benefit from it.
CAPS Update : Comment 13 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Fiath on 12-Apr-2004 13:14 GMT
In reply to Comment 12 (Kid X):
Preservation is preservation. The Natural History Museum in London, England preserves many wonderful things from times past. You can come and visit them, but you are still not allowed to take photographs to take away with you. Not only this, I once heard that very little of the museums collected works are shown at any one time. They have huge storage resources of things well maintained, but kept away from the public eye which can only be accessed by researches and historians. It doesn't make it any less preservation.

The British Library can only be accessed by people that have published a book. These are the only members, and that is a very small minority. These people still cannot go into the library to make copies of other books. All books are collated, carefully maintained and archived. It doesn't make it any less preservation.

We are the archaeologists, the scientists and the curators in these analogies. We are also most of the funding, and the storage. We are ultimately a technical project. The amount of work needed to preserve every Amiga game in existence (or at least, as many as possible since it may be that some are already lost to the world) takes an incredible amount of time, we have a practically unlimited workload. CAPS is not really a hobby.

The point is that it leaves very little time left for contacting rights holders to gain permission for distribution. Not only that, but there are other very competent projects doing exactly that already, like BTTR, Amiga Sector One, etc.

The best thing to do for everybody in the long run is to preserve the things first. Just get that out of the way. We then have the rest of our lives that we can concentrate on getting them publicly available. The disks will not wait for these permissions to be granted, they won't care - they will rot regardless.

Floppy disks only have a quoted reliable life time of 10-15 years (though by our estimates, we make it about 18 years since we are only just beginning to see serious bit rot in games from 1985 - yes, that means we have a serious problem preserving games of that age). By splitting our time between contacting rights holders and preservation, we are effectively consigning games to be forever lost that we could have otherwise have saved by paying full attention to the task in hand.

Think of this. Only about 10% of games submitted are actually usable for release. Be it through to bit rot, corruption, save games, hiscore saves, viruses, user damage, other reasons for being altered after the original mastering or just duplicates, it doesn't matter. They still cannot be used because they are no longer true to their original form. That is a pretty bad figure.

We have to act *now*. We have the technology to make things right, and we will do everything in our power and time to use it effectively.

In the end, it is best for everybody.

o Making a games download site is pretty easy to do, assuming you have the time and money.
o Contacting authors for permission to distribute games is pretty easy to do if you have time.

Doing what we do takes time, and also a vast amount of knowledge and deep understanding of magnetic recording, let alone the technical competence to take advantage of it. Fortunately, we have people on board that worked in the games industry at the time, and they seriously know their stuff.

These skills are extremely uncommon, which is unfortunately why there has not been, and isn't, anything else like CAPS out there. That is not to say their won't be, but consider that there have been many attempts in the past by very competent people and it should give you some idea of the complexity of the subject. Three to four years of intense research went into making CAPS possible before it even went public.

Now, lets zoom back to the point. Supposing we will always be the only entity that can do this stuff, isn't it better that we just get on with it and let other people get on with things they can do?

This is a community, together we can accomplish anything. As a single entity, CAPS cannot do everything, we do not have unlimited resources, in fact, we have a relatively small amount - we just don't sleep to make up for it. ;)

So I suggest to anybody who wants the games to become more readily available the following:

It is amazing what you can accomplish with some time and commitment. Finding people nowadays is made much easier by the Internet, and many people can be found simply by a few clicks with Google, though it usually requires some persistence. Get the people interested, point out to them how their company can get free publicity by allowing their games to be played today. People like generosity. Factor 5 and Cinemaware are widely respected in this space because they *know* what such gestures do. They generate interest in what they are doing now.

You need to find out the *copyright holders*, this really depends on the contracts at the time, but it was usually for the rights to fall back to the developers after the publishers had "licensed" the content for a commercially viable time. This is a bit like the book publishing industry in that the author always retains rights to the work.

Once you have these people on board, we can then:

1) Get the rights holders to host the content

or, if impractical or unavailable for them

2) Get the community together again to gather the resources needed to host these games. Doing this on normal hosting can be very expensive, but it may be somebody owns a box on the internet that can help.

I hope I have explained our position on this. But let me summarise. Yes, sure, in an ideal world, it would be great if we could do all this. But we can't and won't for the reasons above. We dedicate ourselves to ENABLE OTHERS to help us in making a "full and final solution" which you desire.

It can happen, it just takes passion and commitment to your cause.

If you live within sensible access of London, England, come and have a chat with me about it over a beer at the Classic Gaming Expo UK in July :) where, pretty obviously now, we are exhibiting.
CAPS Update : Comment 14 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Fiath on 12-Apr-2004 13:27 GMT
In reply to Comment 12 (Kid X):
A flaw? :)

A true flaw is breaking the law so that, although everybody can download the games for a few days, we get shut down, have to pay huge site and legal fees instead of securing games to be preserved and lastly, make sure any decent legal organisation views us as pirates and won't go near us and so the stuff will never get public anyway.

A true flaw is to wait until everyone can get hold on these things (when copyright expires, or whatever) and then start working on preservation. By that time nothing will be left, just the pirated images because those were easy to copy. Not a nice vision!

A true flaw would be to argue about how to do the things and do nothing while, every few days a working (and in some cases the only) copy of a game is practically elminated. Just like we destroy our wildlife though not caring about their future, we'd do the same with our very own digital heritage.

No offense intended, but I guess you can probably see our perspective now. :)
CAPS Update : Comment 15 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Kid X on 12-Apr-2004 17:33 GMT
In reply to Comment 14 (Fiath):
Fiath,

you do make some sensible points. Furthermore, you also explain your cause in a good way. However, I feel that the CAPS web site is much better suited for this than ANN is. I'm positive I'm not the only one asking myself what CAPS is really up to, and what the whole idea about the preservation scheme is unless you can actually enjoy the efforts you've put into it.

Here are some pieces of advice:

* Put up more information about CAPS on your web site. Explain what "preservation" means in this context, and how (and when) users may benefit from it.
* Document your own actions. Take photographs of all the floppies you receive and make your visitors understand what you are trying to achieve.

Although this conversation has made my own picture of CAPS more clear, I am convinced a lot of people feel that the project is totally out of their hands.

Best of luck with your work in the future.
CAPS Update : Comment 16 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Meehee Moohey on 12-Apr-2004 23:30 GMT
In reply to Comment 15 (Kid X):
>I'm positive I'm not the only one asking myself what CAPS is really up to, >and what the whole idea about the preservation scheme is unless you can >actually enjoy the efforts you've put into it.

Perhaps I've picked you up wrong here, but your 'concerns' seem really to be centred around the fact that 'you' cannot enjoy the fruits of the efforts which other people have put into this project. Presumably if you had any original copies of Amiga games you would be happy to contribute dumps to the CAPS project (in which case you would presumably not have made the comments which you have made thus far). So are we then to assume that you consider yourself entitled to something which you never paid for in the first place? If so, why exactly should you be entitled? You don't contribute but you want to reap the benefits nonetheless?

I'm more inclined to ask what you are really up to.
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