Friday, March 28, 2014

The downfall of the Pac-Man tribute project

Greetings everyone.
Originally I had written a post on this before a few months ago, however I decided to rewrite it with a more mature approach along with some backstory.

Let me introduce you to Shaun LeBron, the key developer of the iOS title Pterodactyl Attack and for some time was the owner and creator of an online incarnation of Pac-Man that was in-developent for some time until Namco Bandai reared it's ugly heads into the window and shot down the project's GitHub page, failing to see the concept of a fan-made non-profit tribute. I'm sure if this project was made in Japan it would be safe, as games that are obvious clones like Rosenkreuztilette have existed far longer and are much more well-known than this project, and no form of copyright from Capcom has slain those series' existences.

The project was simply known as the Pac-Man Tribute Project, and it's final version prior to it being canceled can be found here.
The biggest part of the project to some was it's extreme accuracy to the original Pac-Man (something that even World's Biggest Pac-Man, something that was sponsored by NBGI themselves couldn't even get halfway right), but it's primary selling point was the "Cookie-Man" variant, which generated randomly-built mazes that a good Pac-Man maze designer would create, and something that would be appropriate for an actual arcade Pac-Man title designed professionally. An in-depth document showing how level generation is done is shown here.

As I was going through a huge Pac-Man phase at the time, including creating hacks of the Atari 7800 Pac-Man titles, I was able to find Shaun's project through some careful Googling, and from there I found his e-mail and began discussing with him my own ways in which his tribute project could be taken to the next level, incorporating new design elements from various unauthoritised Pac-Man clones, the most obvious being the two Champ Pac-Em titles developed for DOS by CHAMPrograming, as well as the massively lesser-known Ultra Pac-Man featured in the "Super ABC" board released as a conversion kit for Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man cabinets. Elements from Pac-Man Plus were also suggested, along with a newer maze generator that allowed for a wider selection of map designs with Cookie-Man. Also suggested was both a level and a level-set editor, allowing the tribute project to serve as a platform for one's own Pac-Man fan-game.

If you want the full resources collection I supplied to Shaun last year, you may acquire them below:

Shaun at first welcomed these suggestions happily, even declaring me a conceptual artist, but due to development on his other project Pterodactyl Attack, as well as the above mentioned troubles with NBGI, Shaun would have to delay updates to the project.

I contacted Shaun later on a few more months down the line, and he still seemed interested in doing the Pac-Man tribute project revival, though as stated before Pterodactyl Attack would remain his big project, and come November the same year, he states that because of lack of interest and worry of Namco Bandai striking again (and possibly the complex nature of my features), development on the Pac-Man Tribute Project was canceled. In it's place, Shaun had discussed the possibility of making an educational legal guide about how Pac-Man worked rather than developing a game that recreated the existence. I contacted him back further questioning the cancelation of the project, and he announces his idea to terminate our short-lived friendship by blocking me on Twitter and ignoring any and all e-mail attempts since I had tried convincing Shaun to revive the project after he stated the eventual fate of the project in Janruary.

Shaun, wherever you are, and if you're reading this, please accept my apology for making a fool of myself and not understanding the legal troubles that you went through and were trying to avoid with this project at first. I wish you with the best of luck on any further projects that you may decide on, including Pterodactyl Attack. If you begin responding to my e-mails again and un-block me on Twitter, I promise I will not pester you to continue the project you canceled. I'll just wait till I learn programing myself and create the revival from scratch, or find if anyone out there wants to experiment with this and bring it into existence with altered graphics and etc. to remove the Pac-Man feeling and make it less likely to encounter legal troubles (complete with disclaimers).

On an unrelated note, happy 5th anniversary to this blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



No I am not posting these directly onto deviantART. Facejobs don't count as real art.