Man Finds StarCraft Source Code, Decides to Return It to Blizzard

Megalith

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…and that turned out to be a pretty decent decision, since the developer responded with an assortment of gifts and a paid trip to BlizzCon. Khemist49 had bought a box of Blizzard stuff off eBay, and in it contained a CD-R with the source code to the original StarCraft. Instead of ripping everything off the disc, he took the advice of Blizzard’s legal team and returned the media, which was actually stolen property. He did make a copy, right?

Reddit user Khemist49 purchased a lot on eBay that included a lot of Blizzard games and items. In the box, he found a gold master disc for StarCraft. This disc is from in 1998, and includes the game’s source code. After consulting other Reddit users, Khemist49 determined that it’s genuine and eventually decided to send it to Blizzard. For his deed, he was handsomely rewarded by getting $250 in Blizzard store credit, and a free copy of Overwatch. After that, he got a call from Blizzard thanking him for returning the disc, telling him it was in fact stolen. The Blizzard employee then offered Khemist49 an all-expenses-paid trip to BlizzCon.
 

Sonicks

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source code to a game (even if it's old and released for free) is probably worth more than 250$ and some giveaways.
That would be the case if it was the only copy of the source code in existence.

Blizzard likely had the source the whole time and just thanked this dude for not sharing this particular copy. I'd say it was a good move on Blizzard to give him what they did. The guy seems pretty stoked about it too.
 

Darunion

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source code to a game (even if it's old and released for free) is probably worth more than 250$ and some giveaways.
Problem is, so many people won't do the "right" thing unless it is profitable to them. No of course it is worth more, but is someone who finds a stolen car entitled to the entire value of the car?

They didn't have to do anything, they could have just had him in court until forced to give it back (receiving stolen property), which of course would have been terrible PR lol.

edit: and as pointed out, yea that VIP trip is pretty nice.
 

Burticus

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See? Karma works, sometimes. I'm glad they rewarded him for being honest instead of being dicks about having stolen property.
 

Fun

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Can someone ELI5 how source code like this in the wrong hands would be bad for the company.
 

NickJames

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Can someone ELI5 how source code like this in the wrong hands would be bad for the company.
Considering how old it is, not very. But if that was ever discovered early on in the development, it would give key competitors insight on how the game operates and what formulas they came up with for the AI and various unit movements, battle patterns and organizations. Today it would only be worth it for modders to have a better handle on how some of the games code works rather than reverse engineering it which takes forever.
 
D

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That would be the case if it was the only copy of the source code in existence.

Blizzard likely had the source the whole time and just thanked this dude for not sharing this particular copy. I'd say it was a good move on Blizzard to give him what they did. The guy seems pretty stoked about it too.
Of course Blizzard has the source code. What he means is to sell it, to someone like a collector or someone wanting to release the code would pay far more for it. SC is a popular game, people pay more than that for collectors toys or models of SC crap.
 

Sonicks

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Of course Blizzard has the source code. What he means is to sell it, to someone like a collector or someone wanting to release the code would pay far more for it. SC is a popular game, people pay more than that for collectors toys or models of SC crap.
Right, I didn't think about it like that. Well, kudos for the guy anyway for not going that route.
 

Armenius

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source code to a game (even if it's old and released for free) is probably worth more than 250$ and some giveaways.
You missed the all expenses paid trip to BlizzCon. Event tickets, hotel, plane tickets, transportation... That is a lot of money.
 
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Class act from both parties. Just think if he had a prototype Apple phone in his possession instead, and tried his best to return it...
 

Pusher of Buttons

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I'm sure there's some Korean guy in his late 30s who hasn't left the internet cafe he's lived in since the late 90s who would've paid quite handsomely for it.
 

Obi_Kwiet

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That would be the case if it was the only copy of the source code in existence.

Blizzard likely had the source the whole time and just thanked this dude for not sharing this particular copy. I'd say it was a good move on Blizzard to give him what they did. The guy seems pretty stoked about it too.

Obviously Blizzard has the source code. However, it was the only copy of the source code outside Blizzard in existence, and it was probably worth a lot more than $250 to keep it that way.
 

kju1

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I highly doubt any of that code is still in use....Blizzard shouldve just said "Thanks for the disc, lets release the code so everyone has it."
 

Archaea

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Starcraft is 20 years old and free to play now anyway. Not like the source code release would do any major damage to Blizzard profits.
 

Vaulter98c

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Covering your ass usually pays off lol

Although, being original source from 98, I wonder how far off it is from some of the more recent builds?

He did make a copy right?
I would have made a copy. I wouldn't torrent it or sell it, but having something like that would be pretty neat to tinker around with, and would be some pretty awesome reference material. I tried to make an RTS for a homebrew system like 15 years ago when I was still in that field and realized very quickly I wasn't there yet so I got bumped to art only lol. Some day I'll get back into coding and make a portable RTS that doesn't suck, it would be neat to see some of the formulas they used tho

I think my personal best find would be the source for outpost 2. Man, I would probably drop 2 grand or so to buy that. Loved that game lol
 

vegeta535

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Idk $250 in digital stuff is meh. I personally take the cash value of the trip to blizzcon. Not a real fan of blizz games.
 

NickJames

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Idk $250 in digital stuff is meh. I personally take the cash value of the trip to blizzcon. Not a real fan of blizz games.
You don't just give someone thousands of dollars for returning stolen property. They gave him these gifts as a gesture for being honest so that more people would be willing to do the same thing.
 

magoo

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It's cool that both parties acted responsibly.
Blizzard could have just said thank you and dropped it. Or sent a nasty lawyer letter.

The guy could have held it for ransom.

Both are doing the right thing.
 

trick_m0nkey

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If you read his post on Reddit, there are so many people who are super salty that this wasen't released into the wild.

I'm crazy about Brood War, but I think he made the right call. This wouldn't have lead to a "renaissance" in Open Starcraft...it would have lead to a shit ton of hacks right before Brood War remastered comes out (which is still using the base code).
 

haste.

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Hah - Blizzard wins big. $250 plus a little travel expenses to have the internet talking about Overwatch and Blizzcon... Brilliant marketing move.
 

Gasaraki_

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LOL, $250 in store credit. Look, I can't take days off for Blizzcon even if it was free. Can I just get some money like $1000?
 

M76

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Problem is, so many people won't do the "right" thing unless it is profitable to them. No of course it is worth more, but is someone who finds a stolen car entitled to the entire value of the car?
So much this. I don't understand people who except or even demand a reward for doing the right thing. I mean I understand that they're scum. They're not doing it because they want to do good, they do it because they want to profit off of someone else's misfortune.
 

Darunion

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So much this. I don't understand people who except or even demand a reward for doing the right thing. I mean I understand that they're scum. They're not doing it because they want to do good, they do it because they want to profit off of someone else's misfortune.
The Evil side of me wonders if this guy went public with the information hoping to get enough awareness to force them to give a reward instead of not going onto reddit and instead contacting them directly. Or is that what kids do now, post on reddit as soon as something happens? Maybe I'm just old
 

NickJames

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The Evil side of me wonders if this guy went public with the information hoping to get enough awareness to force them to give a reward instead of not going onto reddit and instead contacting them directly. Or is that what kids do now, post on reddit as soon as something happens? Maybe I'm just old
He posted on a rather obscure section of Reddit. He actually reached out the Blizzard before doing anything with it and the media didn't pick up on the story until after Blizzard had given him those goodies. Of course Blizzard probably knew he would post about their gesture on Reddit so that could've factored into their decision to give him free stuff, Blizz gets good PR and the guy gets a free vacation. Win/Win
 

M76

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The Evil side of me wonders if this guy went public with the information hoping to get enough awareness to force them to give a reward instead of not going onto reddit and instead contacting them directly. Or is that what kids do now, post on reddit as soon as something happens? Maybe I'm just old
What worries me more is this tendency for people but especially children to go to reddit or tumblr to get advice from complete strangers, instead of getting advice from their close friends and relatives.
 

percydaman

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I didn't read the article, but how was this considered stolen property? Blizzard would know that a disc from 1998 was stolen?
 

Verge

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Idk $250 in digital stuff is meh. I personally take the cash value of the trip to blizzcon. Not a real fan of blizz games.
You'd be a celebrity at blizzcon and probably get some elf poon.
 

EODetroit

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If only certain people could find the EQ1 original source code, that would be something :p
 

nysmo

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What worries me more is this tendency for people but especially children to go to reddit or tumblr to get advice from complete strangers, instead of getting advice from their close friends and relatives.
That's the beauty of the internet, you get a much larger sample size of opinions rather than your racist grandma and rightwing father. Anyway I imagine the reason Blizzard wanted this back was because Broodwar is actually still played in some league's out there. With the source code someone could easily whip together any undetectable hack they wanted. Also there's still a chance bits and pieces of the code are in use even in their most current RTS games, which they would consider trade secret. Even Carmack has commented how he once saw Quake1 code obviously being used in some DX9 enabled game that came out a solid decade after Q1. Little algorithms here and there took someone time to engineer, and no matter how trivial their process is, if it's unique and it does something well then you own it.
 

trick_m0nkey

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What worries me more is this tendency for people but especially children to go to reddit or tumblr to get advice from complete strangers, instead of getting advice from their close friends and relatives.
Why would that worry you? A lot of people's families are full of idiots. At least with the Internet you get a much better chance of finding someone who may actually offer good advice.
 

Shmee

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That's the beauty of the internet, you get a much larger sample size of opinions rather than your racist grandma and rightwing father. Anyway I imagine the reason Blizzard wanted this back was because Broodwar is actually still played in some league's out there. With the source code someone could easily whip together any undetectable hack they wanted. Also there's still a chance bits and pieces of the code are in use even in their most current RTS games, which they would consider trade secret. Even Carmack has commented how he once saw Quake1 code obviously being used in some DX9 enabled game that came out a solid decade after Q1. Little algorithms here and there took someone time to engineer, and no matter how trivial their process is, if it's unique and it does something well then you own it.
Yeah, while have having the source code would make hacking easier, I am sure by now someone has reverse engineered it anyway. Not to mention there have been several updates since the game came out, so this code may not help as much as you think. Heck there was just one recently that updated the game for widescreen, new OS's and made it free. Blizzard to me seems like a company that doesn't like loose ends, so they just tied this one up.
 

Gorankar

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Why would that worry you? A lot of people's families are full of idiots. At least with the Internet you get a much better chance of finding someone who may actually offer good advice.
Most people are full blown idiots. Whether you find them on the internet, or are friends & family. With people you are familiar with, like friends & family, you already know if they are an idiot, and to what level. People on the internet are like a box of chocolates.

It is cool that the guy returned the stolen property, and it is great that Blizzard rewarded him for his honorable actions. Not a whole lot of that going around these days.
 
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