myth

GameSpy just posted a lengthy and informative preview of Star Wars: Battlefront, which is scheduled for (simultaneous?) release on the PC, PS2 & Xbox systems. All in all the game looks like a possible winner, but given LucasArts' history of gaming it could possibly flop as well.

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Project Magma has released Mazzarin's Demise IV for Myth 2 version 1.4.x. Changes include more (and one new) units, as well as new colormaps, scripts, weapons, artifacts and attacks. Thanks doob at MythForums.

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A group called the Western Onesteppers have released a fan film related to Bungie's (or should I say Take Two's?) RTS game, Myth. Project Magma and Myth@Bungie.Org are doing the hosting. It's available from their Media page. Viewing Avon's Hope requires QuickTime and is about 111 Mb in size.

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Gholsbane tipped us off at RHL that Michael "Blades" Bagnall of MythDevelopers will appear on The Gamesome Mac, a show on MacRadio.com. It will be broadcast tonight, between 9 and 11 PM Eastern, and will be available on-demand after that.

Listening requires QuickTime 5 or better and a minimum 28.8 Kbps Internet connection.Further details can be found at MythDev.

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PrplPplEater dropped into our forum to let us know that the Mariusnet Myth metaserver (say that seven times fast) now supports the encrypted network traffic used by the PlayMyth server; as such, the EEL file is no longer needed, and the most recent versions of the Myth series clients are now supported on Mnet. You still need to make sure the Mariusnet plugin, and not the PlayMyth plugin, is in your plugins folder.

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On top of all the peace pipe smoking that seems to be going on around the Myth community fire tonight, Blades at MythDev has posted that new versions of the Myth clients are available (Mac - Windows), making the game compatible with Mac OS 10.3 (Panther).

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PrplPplEater has posted at MariusNet (and someone also mentioned in our forum-- hey, register and login so we can thank you!) that MariusNet has communicated with legal representation for MythDev and received a letter of authorization for their new EEL file, so that MariusNet is once again accessible.

What's more, they have received a number of assurances from MythDev that something like this will not happen again:

Additionally, I've been assured of future support from the MythDev side of things should something like this ever occur again. So, should, for whatever goofy reason, the IP Addy of Mariusnet change again, we can count on having the full cooperation of MythDev in obtaining a new EEL.

On top of this.. the original reason for not adding the encryption to Mariusnet was that the associated NDA's were deemed unacceptable as they would have, depending on the interpretation, prevented the operators/proprietors of Mariusnet from doing as they see fit with their own server, a server they build from scratch. Well, I've also been told tonite that these NDA's can/will be rewritten so that they both protect the encryption code that they are intended to, as well as preserve the the full rights of the Mariusnet staff to do as they see fit with their application. Based on this, as soon as it's technically feasible, I plan to integrate the MythDev encryption into the Mariusnet app, which will then remove the need for any EEL files.

If all this actually comes to pass as PrplPplEater has posted, it'll restore my faith and respect in what has to be one of the most unique and fascinating online gaming communities ever.

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Doobie wrote in our forum that some of the files hosted at the long-standing Myth archive, The Mill, which is about to close, are available on the uDogs Hotline server-- about 4.4 Gb of them, anyway. There is a hotline client available for download on the uDog Hotline Website if you don't already have one.

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Just a follow-up to the earlier story on the EEL debacle, prompted b PrplPplEater's post in our forum. Disclosure: he's an admin at Mariusnet.)

After the modified EEL file, which contained Marius.net's new IP address so that the Mariusnet plugin would work again with Myth 1.4-- which was produced by a third party, Blades apparently sent a cease and desist email threatening action under the DCMA.

Marius posted in the forum that it was against an agreement between Magma/Marius and PlayMyth/Mythdev to post any information about the EEL file, and although it came from a third-party, Mariusnet and Project Magma had to remove the EEL file and all information about it from their servers.

Other sites, however, have taken up the slack, posting the information as well as copies of the modified EEL file; including Myth Forums.

The long and short of this is, although Blades now says that EEL files are no longer "necessary", at this moment you still need one to use the Marius.net server. While Doobie has posted that they're trying to get a new one, at the moment the only one that exists and will work on the Marius.net server right now is the one hosted at Myth Forums.

Having said that, we hope that the messiness of this whole situation doesn't persuade people that one of these servers is inherently better than the other. For myself, I've recently rediscovered Myth in its OS X native 1.4 form, and used the PlayMyth site and metaserver without problem or incident.

As for the lawsuit-- it's really interesting. Violation of a separate agreement or NDA, as far as I know, might be actionable, but not under the DMCA. Besides that, the entity that would need to bring suit under the DMCA would be the owners of the copyright-- in this case, Take Two, and not MythDev, as far as we know.

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In the long, strange ride that's been the experience of the Myth community since the sale of Bungie to Microsoft, there's rarely been a dull-- or peaceful-- moment.

Acrimony sprung up again this past week, as problems with the Marius.net metaserver prompted an IP address change. Due to changes in Myth 1.4 as produced by the MythDev group, which used to contain members of the Project Magma group, associated with the Marius.net metaserver, but does no longer, this IP address change would have required MythDev to produce a new EEL file in order for Myth 1.4 users to play on Marius.net. The reason hinges on the latter group's insistence on using the encrypted-traffic network model of Myth 3 even in the Myth 2 engine, and the former's refusal to do so on grounds that it would make it difficult for other metaserver admins to keep pace with changes. The use of encryption is seen by MythDev as being good security against cheaters, while Marius.net sees it mainly as a way of giving the PlayMyth metaserver an advantage against competitors by controlling who can connect, and who has access to the file and protocol formats needed to connect to PlayMyth. At least one recent build of Myth 1.4 was hardcoded to connect only to PlayMyth and conflicted with the Marius.net plugin. This problem later was fixed, although it was widely speculated that this was done intentionally, and not in error.

Within days, however, MythDev had not produced a new EEL file; they claim they were not asked to, while Marius.net claims they made such a request. A third party reverse-engineered the file, and posted details on how to do so on the Marius.net forum, apparently unaware that Marius.net and Project Magma members that had previously been part of MythDev had agreed not to disclose such details, in order to protect PlayMyth's metaserver security model.

Accusations and countercharges have flown in both directions, with Marius.net charging that PlayMyth / MythDev is intentionally creating incompatibilities in order to give their own metaserver an advantage, while MythDev counters that it isn't their responsibility to maintain the Marius.net server's compatibility. The Marius.net server was written from scratch by reverse-engineering the way the original Bungie.net server works; the PlayMyth server is a modified version of the original Bungie source code, released after the Microsoft purchase.

Now, the key figure in the MythDev / PlayMyth group, and the lightning rod for many of the criticisms of the group, Michael "Blades" Bagnall, is resigning his position as a PMA (PlayMyth Administrator) on the metaserver, although he says he will remain as part of the MythDev group.

Kyle "Doobie" McLean, an administrator at Marius.net, states that in fact the majority of the work that brought Myth 1.4 to its current state was done by members of Project Magma, with Blades' consent. But eventually, conflicts with Blades forced out another founding member of MythDev, Some Loser, who originally received the Myth 3 source from Take Two Games, and eventually the Project Magma team was coerced into signing NDAs with Blades to continue developing; despite Marius.net's assertion that Blades himself has no working agreement with the owners of the Myth 3 and Myth 2 engine code.

The base of many of the arguments between operators of the two Myth servers, as well as between the MythDev development group and the Project Magma mapmaking group, is the status of the code involved. While Marius.net has its own homegrown metaserver code, MythDev has a modified version of Bungie's original code-- which they say they will now open source on SourceForge, minus some of their additions such as ranked play. However, the key to this is not the code for the metaserver, but rather the source code to the Myth 2 and Myth 3 engines. These have not, and apparently cannot be, open sourced. The details of the license are not available, and Blades has so far not responded to questions regarding this topic. But posts in various forums indicate that the MythDev group is obligated to return the Myth code in a "commercially viable form", obviating the group from open sourcing the project outright, and even causing arguments about the use of open source code in previous Myth patches by members of Project Magma.

However, it is unclear if this move to open source the metaserver code will accomplish anything. Blades claims that this will remove the requirement for the EEL file-- the file that allows the Myth 1.4 to connect to certain metaservers without using encryption. However, for further builds of Myth 1.4 produced by MythDev to continue to function with the Marius.net metaserver, Marius.net it seems would need to switch to using the open-sourced, feature-crippled version of the PlayMyth server code, which some say is little different than the version already released by Microsoft.

Another member of the MythDev group is Rick "Clem" Stufflebean, also an administrator at The Mill, the Myth hyperarchive originally created by Randall "Frigidman" Shaw, and famously shut down in protest of Bungie's sale to Microsoft and later re-opened. However, it now appears as if the Mill will shutter its doors again, although it seems as if this is related more to costs incurred than to the current state of Myth development, according to the news post by Ed Monkey.

The latest developments in the Myth community, while they certainly add to the infamy of the game, do little to enhance the reputation of a game that was once the best in its class, the original developers who created it, or a community that while always raucous, had never quite reached this level before.

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Doobie at Marius.net writes that due to some server issues, they've had to change IP addresses. Because of that, the EEL file for Myth 2 that you need in your Myth II folder for Marius.net connectivity to work under version 1.4.x no longer works, because the old IP address is hard-coded into it.

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Doobie has sent word of three new plugins from Project Magma. The plugins include Shadow III, Dol Baran v2, and Ultimate Team Battles. Go check it out.

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While most of the Bungie community is gearing up to tackle the Halo Scavenger Hunt over at Bungie.org (more on that later) Zandervix is on a search for all things Myth.
He's looking for unavailable Myth related products; if you have something that isn't on his list let him know, help him out.

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After an almost ten month hiatus, the Clan Plaid website updated today, with news that they'll be having their annual west coast event in two weeks. If you're one of the old skool Clan Plaid members, go take a look.

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Zandervix over at MBO has posted a note on the availability of Myth Browser v1.81; it runs on Windows and Mac OS X (requires X11) and allows you to browse Myth games running on PlayMyth and Marius.net.

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