Space Travellers Guild

Off topic discussion zone.

Moderators: winston, another_commander, Cody

User avatar
Cody
Sharp Shooter Spam Assassin
Sharp Shooter Spam Assassin
Posts: 13678
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:31 pm
Location: Corke's Drift
Contact:

Re: Space Travellers Guild

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:09 pm

Maybe he was trying to fend off a potential lawsuit before it took hold.
You might think that - I couldn't possibly comment! ~FU

User avatar
Disembodied
Jedi Spam Assassin
Jedi Spam Assassin
Posts: 6313
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Carter's Snort

Re: Space Travellers Guild

Post by Disembodied » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:27 pm

I think it's pretty obvious that big chunks of Elite were inspired by Traveller. Nothing close enough to break anyone's copyright, though: triangular ships; tech levels; Jamison (Traveller Book 1 had an example character called Alexander Lascelles Jamison) and Jameson; a vague setting with an Imperial Space Navy. Certainly nothing worth trying to sue anyone over, and anyway, in the 1980s, Traveller and Elite were in different markets.

Nowadays, though, with all sorts of cross-platform possibilities, spinoffs, merchandise etc., I can understand why David Braben might want to maintain clear blue water around the intellectual property. I don't think anybody is likely to sue anybody else, but - in an industry where legal costs are so potentially high - why take the risk? If he were to publicly admit that some portions of the game were taken from someone else's work, even if that was not enough to lose a legal case it might still be enough for a court somewhere to decide that there was a case to answer. He could get hit with all sorts of predatory legal instruments and essentially blackmailed: "Pay us $$ to go away or we'll bind you up in legal costs and sanctions that'll cost you $$$$$$: even if you win, your game will have been kept off the market for years and you'll be bankrupt."

Chunks of the game were inspired by other things, too: trumbles, for example; the Blue Danube docking music; The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy-esque planetary descriptions and "Mostly Harmless". Elite was bashed together by two very young guys, in an industry in its infancy, where - as long as you didn't actually steal something outright - nobody really cared because it was all just some ephemeral hobby (the same is true of pen-and-paper RPGs of the time, too: look at all the stuff stolen from Tolkien and other fantasy writers in D&D). But nerd culture is a multi-billion-dollar industry, now: what's surprising is just how many nods, winks, and "homages" to other works people still manage to get away with, across the board.

User avatar
Selezen
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 2512
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:14 am
Location: Tionisla
Contact:

Re: Space Travellers Guild

Post by Selezen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:17 am

If you look deep enough into certain websites maintained by certain people who helped develop Elite you will no doubt see contradictory statements.

I do remember reading a Braben quote saying that he used to RP Traveller. And I _think_ I remember one of them saying that the planetary government type lists were "based on" the ones from Traveller.

To be honest, I don't think the Traveller people will really care. They have their empire, and it's pretty solid. Inspiring another franchise wold probably make them feel a sense of accomplishment rather than threat.

Which is how it should be.

Post Reply