Exhumed / PowerSlave DeHacker on Steam

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Exhumed / PowerSlave DeHacker on Steam

Postby -=CHE@TER=- » Tue Aug 31, 2021 1:40 pm

As some of you may already know my Exhumed / PowerSlave DeHacker was used in re-release of DOS version of the game in Steam. But I wasn't involved with that re-release and, in fact, even didn't know about that until recently. More details about that re-release can be found here: PowerSlave (DOS Classic Edition) - Customizing your experience.
So let me explain what happens.

A guy with the nickname RertroDeath Reviews 666 was a big fan of DOS version of the Exhumed / PowerSlave. He even did a hour-long detailed video review (even mentioning DeHacker): [RDR.EXE] POWERSLAVE (Exhumed) PC Game Review - Egypt's Lost FPS Treasure.

Some time later he push to Throwback Entertainment Inc. (who owns all rights to the Powerslave IP) his "build of the game" where he did the following things:

1) Downgrading Exhumed version EX.EXE (latest updated version of the game) to PowerSlave PS.EXE just because he likes "PowerSlave" as title more. By the way, game logo with the name in main menu can be easily changed with one or two bytes - you just need to replace tile number in executable file. This will of course didn't change word "Exhumed" in strings anywhere else (in credits for example).

2) Apply some questionable set of patches in DeHacker. For one example he didn't enable vertical mouse look and I'm already seen videos on YouTube where people complain that this game will be a lot comfortable with it. Another problem there that the Steam menu item to launch DeHacker was named "Launch Game Editor" (see the "Customizing your experience" link above) which probably make people believe that it's a level editor and not configuration tool and because of that they never have a chance to enable vertical mouse look (I doubt many of them read forum for details).

I personally think that if you do something for a wide audience you must think about what most of that audience may want. It's wrong to push your personal preferences to people like older executable only because of title screen, patches without vertical mouse look, etc. Most of modern players are not hardcore gamers like you.

And some thoughts regarding this whole situation.
This RDR guy is a big fan of the game, I give that to him, and he probably want to everyone enjoy the game as much as he can, but probably didn't clearly understand that you need a permission from the actual author if there is no license which directly states that this software are free for use for everyone. Especially when you're using it for any commercial work and not just your own personal needs.
When I accidentally found out about all this - I contact Throwback Entertainment Inc. regarding this matter, we sorted things out and I officially gave my permission to use DeHacker with their re-release (I even add a note about that on my homepage). I never asked anything in return because I believe this will be wrong in this whole situation since no one have ill intentions, it's just... let's say "things happens". And I know what I'm talking about because I investigate things on my end before any conclusion. Here are my points:

1) That RDR guy never hide or refuse the fact that DeHacker isn't his work. Here is his Steam review: Review for PowerSlave (DOS Classic Edition).
Some quotes below from comments of his review where he talk to other people (unrelated parts was cut out):

How is this your build? Build usually refers to a specific version you compiled yourself.

And @Firebrand yeah, don't know what other term to use. My copy? I installed my physical copy on a Windows 98, used the dehacker to fix some of the issues, brought that to my Win10, played around with the dosbox settings until it matched how it was intended to run, and then compiled that and sent it to them. They wrote it over whatever they had previously afaik.

This is what you used?

Yep, that's the dehacker!
Basically, it adds some quality of life improvements to the game that were pretty much needed back then.

2) The Throwback Entertainment Inc. never tried to hide the fact that they're using DeHacker too. As I said above they even add a link to Steam menu to run it.

There is no one really to blame in this story. And I write it down solely to explain why there is a questionable set of patches in DeHacker - it's because I wasn't involved in this re-release at all.

I want to update DeHacker with the help of Throwback Entertainment Inc. - they're kindly agreed to proofread my English text for the tool - and maybe then I can improve current re-release default settings. But that's my plan for the future - in meantime things will stay as they are now.

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