This isn’t the first time this has happened. This won’t be the last time this happens. But, with heavy regrets, it is our duty to inform you about the newest game utilizing assets stolen from other games on Steam. This is Space Trucker.
Released on November 23rd of this year, Space Trucker is an FPS set in the future of a world where The Cold War never ended. Developed by Maxwolf and Fox, and published by We Love Wolves, Space Trucker marks Maxwolf’s third release on Steam – the other two happening in 2015 with SickBrick and Incognito. We Love Wolves appears to publish games exclusively on Steam, putting out one other project into Early Access earlier this year.
This brings us to Space Trucker. Urizen on the ZDoom forums spotted the game’s trailer when it was released and saw some things that seemed familiar. We’ll begin with the trailer and then go into some of the evidence he’s shown of stolen assets that come from games as varied as Blood, TekWars, and Duke Nukem 3D among others.
One of the first screenshots posted illustrates the issue, as it uses one of the burning assets from Blood when an enemy is dying.
Let’s take a closer look at the Burning Humanoid set from the game, comparing those with the assets that Ultimecia ripped from Blood.
You can see later in the sprite sheet that Space Trucker did attempt its own thing, but the first line is very clearly taken from Blood with minor alterations at most. The first image matches the third of the first line from Blood. The second uses the image from the fourth line down, and first, while the third goes for the one right beside that. The fourth image there takes from the third line, fourth image, completing the set of rips.
Some of the even more obvious rips are from William Shatner’s TekWar, and these can be seen on the game’s Steam store page. We’ll go through a couple of them here, with comparisons to the original TekWar assets. First up from TekWar is Janus, and while we’ll be using a direct comparison the full sprite sheet can be found here from Dunkelschwamm on The Spriters Resource.
You can see here that the sprite is using the exact same pose in both games. As for another example, this is Miles Conner from TekWar and we’ll be seeing him much closer in the screenshot from Space Trucker then the Janus one. A full sprite sheet was again uploaded by Dunkelschwamm and provides the basis for this comparison that Urizen did using an image he took from the Trailer.
2D Sprites are unusual for a 3D shooter to use, not since the era of games like Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Doom and the like have they been used in games like this. The store page for Space Trucker provides an explanation on the matter:
- 2.5D directional sprite system, with nearest neighbor scaling to compliment pixel art enemies, weapons, and items in the game world.
To double check all the claims, we purchased Space Trucker to examine the evidence ourselves. Below is an image of the files in one folder in the game’s directory, and we will then compare these files to files from their original game of origin to show in greater depth how much they are taking from these other projects.
There are numerous other cases much like this and given their positions and set up matches exactly what Urizen said, I’m going to take his word on some of the other copies that I don’t know as well to find the comparisons for. Here are some of what is there according to him, with sprites from Blood, Strife, and TekWar being among those I was able to directly confirm. It appears that there are also audio files being ripped from various projects and games in addition to the visual thievery.
• A partial, unedited rip of the burning death sprites from Blood
• A complete, unedited rip of the burning death sprites from Strife
• What appears to be complete, unedited rips of the directional, attack and death frames from most if not ALL the William Shatner’s TekWar enemies/NPCS
• Various unedited assets from Rise of the Triad and Duke Nukem 3D
• Masses of unedited community-created content
I have attempted to reach out to the developer and publisher on this matter, contacting them in all the available manners I could. This includes through Steam, email and Skype where possible. Despite being online on the Steam client throughout several days, they did not respond to any comment and the one representative who did accept a friend request removed me from the list as soon as I asked for an email to contact regarding the story. We have also reached out to Valve for comment, and will update this story if we learn more from any involved party.