Spintires Dev ‘Sabotages’ Game After Publisher Relationship Breaks Down

[Update: the developer denies sabotage rumours. What could it be? Possibly a mirage.]

Spintires [official site], the splendid game of mud and massive vehicles, appears to have been intentionally damaged by its creator Pavel Zagrebelny. We reported on the troubles that were brewing at Oovee last year. In short, financial disagreements and Pavel’s claims that he couldn’t update the game as he wanted to had caused a division between developer and publisher. Now, players are reporting crashes and the malfunctioning pieces of code appear to have been intentionally placed – ‘timebombs’, triggered at set times or dates. There’s a fix. For the game, if not for Pavel and Oovee.

The long version of the story is yet to be told but the short version is in the paragraph above. It’s impossible to state facts regarding the specifics of the disagreements between Oovee and Pavel without seeing contracts or being privy to conversations. Indeed, some of the problems seem to relate to a lack of communication, with Pavel telling Eurogamer last week:

“They owe me a s***load of money according to our contract. But I don’t have any leverage because my judicial skills are zero. I haven’t had a meaningful communication with Oovee for many months (maybe a year).”

For their part, Oovee are mostly sticking to ‘no comment’, telling Eurogamer that, “He has been paid as in his contract” and that further details are under NDA.

And so, seemingly out of frustration with the situation, Pavel has reportedly slashed the tires of his own game. I’m somewhat accustomed to multiplayer games dying as time goes on and the playerbase seeks new sensations, but for a game to be terminated in this way is very unusual.

Spintires might seem like an obscure game – a simulation of grinding engines and mud – but it was a top seller on Steam and Steamspy logs over a 100,000 users over the last fortnight, from around 750,000 owners.

Spintires is a splendid game about massive vehicles churning up the environment in a Sisyphean slog through mud and gravel, and it’d be a terrible shame if the single programmer behind its development were left in the cold. But it’d also be a terrible shame if the game were erased from existence, the audience punished for the actions (perceived or actual) of the publisher and the reaction of the developer.

For now there’s a fix, which has always been through four iterations to catch new code changes. This is not an official download so caveats apply – you’re downloading and applying it at your own risk. There are other options detailed on this reddit thread, including a workaround involving internal CPU date and time manipulation. Because the code changes were triggered as timebombs, presumably so that they could be inserted into the game ahead of time rather than requiring access to the code once the relationship had entirely broken down, resetting to a time before the last update appears to function as a workaround.

As recently as the Eurogamer interviews on February 24th, both Oovee and Pavel were talking about future development plans.

“I don’t know if my new features would be updates to Spintires or part of a new game or franchise, but I have at least one or two years of work ahead before I switch to something else,” he adds. “New features include snow, a larger view distance, nicer skyboxes, rain, wind, tracked vehicles, realistic soft wheels simulation and vehicle collision model similar to [fellow vehicle sim] BeamNG.”

Tony Fellas at Oovees maintains that Pavel and his team have been working hard on the game: “Pavel was working on the game when it was updated in December, having done very well to manage the release of both the truck and map editor before the Christmas holiday”, but adds that, “Pavel is often upset, I’m afraid that geniuses are often like that.” He goes on to say that the company “are in the final legal stages of completing some new paths forward and expect to be able to announce details in the forthcoming weeks”, leading to “a great future for the Spintires game” and “franchise”.

We’ll contact Oovee and Pavel for comment.

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103 Comments

  1. TechnicalBen says:

    Hope they get sorted. Even when “self” publishing through the likes of Steam things can get difficult with a disagreement on what and how to do it.

    I guess the only way to guarantee it is to publish ones self (Like Mine Craft and lots of other direct download indies).

    • citrusninja says:

      Hope they get it sorted out as well. Fortunately we live in the age of software control so things like GitHub make this sabotage easily reversed.

      • Kamalen says:

        If such timebombs werent discovered, then the publishef hadnt reviewed the code. So either they are incompetent, or they dont have any access.

        • Holysheep says:

          I read on reddit, (no source if I recall well though) that the publisher only ever got the compiled executables.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          It’s not “incompetent.” There is no reason to expect a publisher to do a line-by-line review on code given to them by a developer, at least not for software like this. If nothing else, traditional testing is a much more efficient way to find bugs that aren’t deliberately and maliciously hidden, and how often does developer sabotage actually happen?

  2. darkmorgado says:

    Isn’t this thing kind of illegal? Deliberately sabotaging software after someone has bought it?

    • Bishop149 says:

      Ever read a EULA?
      You’re consumer rights as a buyer of software are essentially zero, the developer / publisher reserve the right to do pretty much anything to the software at anytime.
      You don’t really buy software, you kinda rent it.

      • Emeraude says:

        EULAs *have* contractual value, but other laws supersede them and they’re quite often an attempt to throw as much shit as possible at a wall to see what sticks – because no one will attack it.

        And you don’t really buy software in the sense that publishers/developers don’t really own software. They have some limited, temporary exclusivity privileges over it.

      • darkmorgado says:

        Sorry, but the EULA can’t trump consumer rights. Consumer law always comes first.

        You couldn’t, for example, put into an EULA that you own all the consumer’s property, or say they have to kill someone.

        Consumer law says that goods sold must be fit for purpose. By deliberately sabotaging the product after pos, I’m wondering if he’s in breach of these and other rules.

        Either way, he just lost any sympathy I had with his position. The dispute is between him and the publisher, not the consumer. Regardless of how this plays out, I know I would never purchase a game made by this guy in the future. And if I was a publisher, I wouldnt do business with him.

        • phlebas says:

          Consumer law says that goods sold must be fit for purpose.

          The difficulty with software is that the definitions of ‘goods’ and ‘sold’ get contentious.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          I don’t know enough about international trade law to know whether it’s relevant in this case, but above consumer protection laws there are also trade treaties and the WTO.

          And as time goes on, these bodies and legislatures seem to be shifting more and more toward IP holder “rights.”

          It’s a travesty that people can fight hard and win these kinds of protections, only to see it undermined in closed-door diplomatic meetings.

      • EstebanLB01 says:

        Your*

      • typographie says:

        I don’t expect the customer to have any recourse in this situation, but I think the publisher does. Spintires is their property, and apparently Zagrebelnyj deliberately vandalized it to make it harder to sell. I don’t think it’s a stretch to call that illegal.

        • grandmaster789 says:

          If the publisher hasn’t paid the developer, then whose property is it really?

    • Niko says:

      Not paying the developer (if that’s true) according to contract is also kind of illegal.

      • Volcanu says:

        And if that is the case then it would surely be s relatively straightforward matter to sue for breach of contract and damages.

        Which leads me to believe it’s more complicated than that

        • Mokinokaro says:

          He’s in Russia and Ovee are a notorious scumbag company composed mostly of Crooked legal folks.

          • Volcanu says:

            Well Oovee are a British publisher and one would assume that the contract is governed by English Law (which international contracts very often are). Meaning that English courts would have jurisdiction. So the point about him being in Russia shouldn’t matter. My point is that if its a simple case of them being clearly in breach of contract then it should be rectifiable.

            Now whether he signed a contract with some dubious clauses in without taking his own legal advice is another matter.

          • darkath says:

            Being in Russia means he has limited access and knowledge of British Law

          • Volcanu says:

            That’s a fair point and it certainly does make things somewhat harder.

            But in the age of the Internet (not to mention the telephone) a consultation with either an English law firm or one of the many large international law firms with offices in Russia (employing many British lawyers I might add) to find out if you have a case, surely shouldn’t be too difficult. Such initial consultations are typically low or no cost.

            Particularly if you have 10s or 100s of thousands of pounds at stake.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I hope he’s sued or charged. Not ok, in the same way it isn’t ok for an employee to wank in the secret sauce just because he had a fight with the burger joint owner.

  3. MiniMatt says:

    Seems a rather career limiting move (with appropriately huge *if true* caveat).

    • 4026 says:

      To be fair, this is going to dog his reputation for a long time regardless of whether it’s true or not.

      • LionsPhil says:

        If it’s a move on the publisher’s part to discredit the developer, it’s worked brilliantly for them, because the Internet has smelt blood and gone in for the kill.

    • MiniMatt says:

      In light of today’s developments, and in light of the whole – you know – innocent unless proven guilty thing, it’s probably worth adding at this point that my huge *if true* caveat clause has been activated.

      The publisher & the developer have both said accusations of intentional sabotage are untrue. “They would say that wouldn’t they” is a tempting response but it leaves us with the people best placed to know the truth of a matter confirming the same story, and I don’t feel comfortable trashing a man’s reputation and career on the basis of any alternative narrative being a more juicy drama.

  4. Cyroch says:

    I will not comment what might or might not go on between dev and publisher, since it is all speculation anyway.

    But intentionally damaging/destroying your product is a terrible move. The people hit hardest by this are the customers. For a game this far along its lifecycle the reduction in income for the publisher will probably be quite minimal. It’s hurting the people that already bought the product in the past.

    In the long run the dev might be shooting himself in the foot here, because if he really tampered with the game, he has hurt his reputation in the eyes of customers and the industry alike. Might be hard to bounce back from something like that.

    • AbyssUK says:

      He is now in breach of contract much more clearly than his publisher is, if they owe him money or not it is obviously not a simple yes/no .. but if it turns out the timebombs were indeed intentional.. This is clear so I think he has now lost any chance of getting any of the money he thinks he is owed.

  5. TentSalesman says:

    He’s certainly done a good job of ensuring no publisher will ever work with him again – and I’d certainly think twice before buying something from him.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      At the same time, his problems with Oovee have also ensured I will never support them in the future either.

      • thedosbox says:

        Yeah, this has put me off buying a game that involves either of them.

  6. Gwilym says:

    Just a warning: that reddit thread may cause you to claw your own eyes out while you cringe yourself to death.

    Adam, is there really no more info you can give about the crashes? How widespread they are, or what triggers them? “Players are reporting crashes” is pretty much a cosmic truth, and I’m sure the situation’s more unique than that.

    I tried to parse this info from the reddit thread, but it blinded and killed me so it’s tricky

  7. Cinek says:

    That’s why every game should be on GOG, and that’s the place where one should purchase them.

    In cases like this you’d just roll back to whichever version is the functioning one.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      This appears to be related to time-specific functions in the original code, rather than the result of patches. Or am I misreading?

      • Cinek says:

        It’s extremely doubtful that these functions were in a code from a very beginning. Most likely they got added weeks, maybe few months ago, at most.

        • Baines says:

          The last Spintires scandal to hit the news was I believe when Pavel claimed Oovee had locked him out of the code base, preventing fixes and improvements to the game. It unfortunately sounds like Oovee had the right idea.

  8. kwyjibo says:

    Pavel clearly does not want to be paid for any work he does ever again.

  9. Eukatheude says:

    Still better than sucking it up because you can’t afford a lawyer.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      No, it’s really not. I mean, even if he 100% was cheated by Oovee, he’s now seriously damaged his lifetime employment prospects, which for a developer of his skill would have been worth much more money than whatever Oovee screwed him out of. He’s hurt himself far more than his enemy. Stupid.

  10. Unsheep says:

    That self-destructive East-European temperament…

    If at all true, taking it out on the very people who have bought and supported the game is a rotten and disrespectful thing to do.

    • fishyboy says:

      almost as bad as the snobbish and judgmental English temperament :)

  11. bit.bat says:

    Its a shame. He is clearly passionate about his game, it feels very lovingly crafted. I wonder if there is a way for him to have a clean break from Oovee and somehow sell some form of Spintires on his own, it is not clear to me what Oovee add to his product that is of any value.

    • Crocobutt says:

      Ughhhh, how do I fix this.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Try basing your opinions on something other than appearances.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          I’ll try and dig up the links later but I’ve read articles about Oovee being extremely predatory and exploitative with their contracts. They take something like 80-90% of the profit (after Valve’s cut) in exchange for helping get your game on Steam.

    • Rizlar says:

      I wouldn’t judge their professionalism on a bunch of pictures that look like they’ve been ripped from facebook.

      But yeah, sad to see the business around such an interesting, quirky game turn into a shambles.

      (And you can never fix that. NEVER.)

      • Crocobutt says:

        D: Unfixable! Oh well.

        I’m not judging their professionalism by their looks, it’s on the basis of how I would feel if I were to meet them face to face for the first time. For all I know they’re probably nice people. But I don’t know that. They could be hardcore mafia. Who knows?

        • darkmorgado says:

          So you’re not judging them based on their appearance, just how you would judge them if you met them in real life based on their appearance?

          Uh-huh.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        With that said, really Reece Bolton? You don’t have a better picture than THAT?

        • Rizlar says:

          He looks like the gay uncle I never had.

          More seriously – presumably the publishers didn’t pick those photos, Eurogamer did. In which case it looks more like the classic hack technique of presenting someone as you want them to be seen. If the article had been about Oovee being serious business it might feature a photo of them all wearing suits and looking intellectual.

  12. qeloqoo says:

    If all in this news is true, then what Pavel did seems fair. You didn’t buy game from him, you bought it from publisher. Publisher forced Pavel to sabotage by skimming money from him. Hate publisher, not developer. It’s not like he broke your computer or made some infiltration backdoor. It’s natural protest act: “I can’t have my money, you can’t have your game”.

    • Crocobutt says:

      That’s pretty correct. Shame he had to go with a publisher at all.

    • Jac says:

      Completely disagree. The guy is a disgrace even if his allegations are true.

      • qeloqoo says:

        Is there some Code Of Honor for developers which says “Suffer and endure, starve if need be, but protect interest of players at any cost”? Game is creation, art.. If creator didn’t get money deserved it’s not just “his problem”. And again, hate publisher. You bought game from THEM. It’s their responsibility to sort out such things (hopefully by paying dev what’s due).

        • BTAxis says:

          I’m not saying your reasoning is wrong per se, but at the end of the day it was Pavel who made a conscious decision to sabotage the software, which is a direct action by him that screws the player. A man is still responsible for his actions. The publisher might be morally accountable, but I can absolutely understand that people are upset at the guy who pulled the trigger.

        • Jac says:

          No there isn’t a code of honour, just professionalism. If he isn’t getting paid then the simple thing to do is to not work, not actively sabotage something. There really are no excuses for behaviour like that no matter how justified you think you are or what job you’re being paid for.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            His earlier protests when things broke down where he started posting features he had planned but wouldn’t get into the game until Oovee played ball made me sympathize with him. He deliberately held back patches and showed off features he wouldn’t add which should have been effective.

            Unfortunately it seems like they weren’t enough to get results.

            As for those saying he should get a lawyer, the Russian legal system is so horribly corrupt he probably would just be burning money.

          • dsch says:

            “Professionalism”: the notion that capitalist relations are to be upheld at all costs, raised to the level of ethical duty.

          • Sian says:

            “As for those saying he should get a lawyer, the Russian legal system is so horribly corrupt he probably would just be burning money.”

            Oovee are apparently a British company, so he’d likely be using the British legal system, wouldn’t he?

          • Sin Vega says:

            If he isn’t getting paid then the simple thing to do is to not work, not actively sabotage something

            Sit back and let them rip you off? That’ll show ’em!

          • Jac says:

            Sitting back and letting them rip you off is exactly what working and not being paid is, which it appears he has.

            I sympathise with the guy if what he says is true but either way my opinion is that doing something like this is 100% wrong. If you think it’s justified then we’ll just have to accept that everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. After all, what fun would comments sections be otherwise.

        • Geewhizbatman says:

          Gamer privilege is real is why. The annoyance as a consumer is understandable, they paid for it and want their candy regardless of if it was mined blood diamond style. I think it is a silly career move on Pavel’s part, regardless of how true any of it might be. However, the idea that his using his only means of effective protest makes him the antibuddah is equally silly. I don’t agree with it but messing with the game itself is the boldest way to gain attention to the issue. Otherwise most gamers would happily skim over the problem, but pulling the plug on that narcotic experience for them is certainly a great way of making them pay attention. It does at least show the hierarchy of importance for the audience. Their time above all else, any even minor sacrifice (since it’s not like crashes aren’t a part of even AAA games and as the points out there are work arounds) is worse than the legitimate creator of that experience wanting to be paid for having provided it.

          Again it’s a dumb move for his career, being miffed is reasonable, but I’m both surprised, and cynically not, that gamers go with the “but what about me!” before being concerned about the shady aspects of game development that hurt the content creators, something of concern even if this turns out to be a false flag.

          • Jac says:

            Nothing to do with “gamer privilege”. As you say it was a dumb move. He should have stopped working. If i buy a TV and the guy in the TV shop has a dispute with his employer, i don’t expect to come home to find he’s kicked my TV in.

          • LacSlyer says:

            The notion that people in this scenario are “privileged” because they want to be capable of playing a game they played for is ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, the entitlement issues of current gamers is an issue, but it doesn’t even remotely apply to this situation.

            It’s not entitlement to expect to be able to play a game that you paid for. As well, suggesting that this is his only means of getting his message out is ridiculous. You’d be right if there weren’t dozens of online gaming sites he could contact, or a site page dedicated solely to his game where he could freely post his opinion, or social media where he could spread his message even further.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            Expecting a piece of software to not be deliberately sabotaged by the developer is not “privilege”. Pavel not only deserves to not be paid, he owes the customers for ruining their software.

            If an artist sells a statue to a dealer and then the dealers sells the statue to a client, and then the artist smashes the statue, who has the artist committed vandalism against?

          • Chaoslord AJ says:

            In many threads the poor game dev argument comes around with you going so far as to relating them to slaves working in a mine in Africa.
            Let’s face reality, software developers, coders they can have some of the best-payed jobs at least in the developed country where I live.
            (applies to professionals not to people putting together cheap apps for Zynga or king.com)
            They can choose where to work and have an above average (-player) income because they do things 1% of the populace might be able to.
            They work night shifts like dogs if they must but are also privileged, they don’t breathe poisonous air, they don’t carry bags of concrete, they don’t hack ice in permafrost, they don’t stand to their knees in fecies.
            They may have to switch their employer now and then and need to have a slice of business understanding.

        • Shadow says:

          The main problem remains that in going through with this pointless, ill-thought stunt, Pavel has shot his reputation and professional future. This has gained him absolutely nothing, when he could’ve otherwise endured and started over elsewhere with a clean reputation.

        • thelastpointer says:

          No, but there is another code among human beings. It goes like that:
          “Don’t fuck people up.”

          Note: this rule applies even if you’ve been fucked with.

          • qeloqoo says:

            Taking one for the team is not easy when you are small developer. Guy quit his job to provide good experience to fans, he didn’t get paid. Fans don’t care as long as they have their beloved game. Logical move would be to deny the access even if partially.

            And to be honest, it’s publisher’s reputation at stake (apparently not very good one judging by the amount of times they created/dissolved their small “shady” companies). Pavel could become symbol of gamedev martyr and shake the foundation of whole “developer-publishers” relationship thing. Do we really need them? Can we trust them? There are numerous examples when good games were screwed by publishers or publishers overhyping crap games so much it feels like direct insult to gamers.
            Maybe I’m a bit biased, cause I don’t like publishing companies and not interested in Spintires (not truck-sim fan). But even thou his actions might be illegal (sadly, laws are often made with ulterior motif of some group of politicians), my moral-compass supports Pavel.

        • aepervius says:

          Yeah that code of honor is called “don’t penalize innocent third party because if you do you look like a crook or an idiot picking a tantrum”. If youa re a developer you should NEVER EVER penalize the user because the publisher is not going your way. the same way if you are employed in the fast food industry, you should never spit in the burger because your chief don’t get you a rise. Same thing. How would you feel if you trying to get a service (any industry) you get a rotten product because the employee or contractor has a dispute with the firm they signed a contract with ? This is exactly the same. I am noting the developer name. There is next to no chance he will be trying our firm, but if he would or if he works for somebody we have ties / contract with in the future, i will immediately pull the alarm bell and advise a different course of action.

    • tiltaghe says:

      I agree. Plus, there’s no proof whatsoever but the dodgy party is clearly the publishers. I don’t like their statements (in the longer article linked by Crocobutt).

      • Jac says:

        “Plus, there’s no proof whatsoever but the dodgy party is clearly the publishers” your honour.

        Have you ever considered a career as a barrister? :)

    • darkmorgado says:

      What he’s doing though isn’t hurting the publisher – they already have the money. He’s hurting the customer. It’s not the fault of the people who bought the game, and they shouldn’t be the ones to suffer because of his dispute.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        Why is it not their fault? I mean run the devil’s advocate scenario. He’s trapped, legally and financially, in a relationship with an abusive publisher and lacks the connections, resources, or knowledge to escape it under his own power. I mean lawsuits aren’t free, and you don’t win them just because you’re right.
        In this scenario the customer base is providing financial support to an entity that is actively abusing its employees. That seems like an issue that they’re a part of and, as importantly, could do something about.

        • Sian says:

          Note: For the sake of argument I’ll assume that the publisher is at fault. In reality, neither side has proven the other is lying, so I’m withholding judgement.

          “Why is it not their fault? […]
          In this scenario the customer base is providing financial support to an entity that is actively abusing its employees. That seems like an issue that they’re a part of and, as importantly, could do something about.”

          Correction: They have provided financial support long before this issue ever came to light. Now, all they could ever hope to do about that, provided they ever hear about this, which only a minority ever will, is to demand a refund and give that money directly to the dev. Except that they won’t be receiving any money, because while a broken product may be a reason for a refund under the law, moral outrage, to my knowledge, is not.

          So no, going after the consumer is neither a legitimate nor a moral way of settling this.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          It’s weird to me how, in stories like this, so many people are absolutely determined to find a Good Guy and a Bad Guy. The idea that Oovee might be nasty cheats and rip-off artists and Pavel stupidly hurting himself and his legitimate fans, at the same time, doesn’t seem to occur.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      No, there’s a legal way to do things. But this almost certainly counts as a violation of his contract and his chance to win a legal battle are now zero as are his chances of getting another job in the business no matter him being “a genius”. Also Oovee will sue him to oblivion.
      Exactly the reason why this behaviour is probably unprecedented.
      I understand the feeling of having been wronged by having signed a bad contract (his own responsibility btw) but this is just a dumb and immature action and nothing else, hurting the player base who pays his bread. And yeah the player might actually expect a non- sabotaged game he payed for, don’t call this entitled or without sympathy. Other folks work for their money too.

  13. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Hmm, the linked Eurogamer article mentions a bunch of stuff about the publishers not releasing their accounts, and shuffling money between related companies. Now whenever I’ve seen this in the past it was, at best, a pretty shady attempt to prop up a failing business, but perhaps a more knowledgeable person could chime in?

    • Jac says:

      Shuffling cash between related companies is fine – this doesn’t impact profit at all and just creates a debtor/creditor situation.

      If they are pushing in ridiculous costs from one company to another then that’s a matter for their auditors and shouldn’t be allowed under the transfer pricing standard.

  14. Rumpelstiltskin says:

    “New features include snow, a larger view distance, nicer skyboxes, rain, wind, tracked vehicles, realistic soft wheels simulation and vehicle collision model similar to [fellow vehicle sim] BeamNG.”

    So I’m guessing the next version will have even more spectacular crashes.

  15. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    What a dick move. Any sympathy for him is gone.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      We’re still assuming he did it. Remember that all the patches go through Oovee and they gain just as much by sabotaging him.

  16. LionsPhil says:

    For now there’s a fix, which has always been through four iterations to catch new code changes.

    Any news on the increase to the chocolate ration?

    • Mags says:

      While I appreciate and acknowledge your reference, the original sentence still doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to me.

  17. kulik says:

    Dude just got angry and acted impulsively. I’m sure this will get sorted out.

    • frightlever says:

      Nothing impulsive about it; what he did required conscious forethought and planning.

      I see it’s been pulled from sale on Steam.

  18. Geebs says:

    Burnbridges

  19. Novotny says:

    So many pun headlines missed/averted

  20. zaphod42 says:

    >For now there’s a fix, which has always been through four iterations to catch new code changes.

    That makes no sense, I think you meant to say ‘already’ instead of ‘always’.

  21. haldolium says:

    I might be one of the few who really supports this idea and find it quite a great way to express your anger in the best way you can when being a game developer. The players are just collateral damage :-)

    I wasn’t aware of what a shady shitcompany Oovee appears to be, now I am. Thats at least something.

    And going the “legal” way if you’re not already a filthy rich system abuser usually leads nowhere and just adds to pain and financial suffering. So this might just be the only way for him really. And I like it.

  22. enamelizer says:

    This article needs an update. He has refuted any sabotage with his game, and stated the Publisher Oovee has the source code, making the possibility of him being able to break his game without the publisher knowing very slim.

    link to gamasutra.com

    • grimdanfango says:

      Yes, jumping on the bandwagon of fan-made allegations in a case like this seems a little reckless. Reporting so far unsubstantiated rumours against a single developer who it seems likely doesn’t have the financial ability to fight back (and who appears to have just denied the allegations) is unfair.

      I’m still very much suspicious of Oovee in all this. Their endless talk of “no comment, because of NDAs we’re obligated to” may seem like a ‘professional’ line, but I really fail to see how an NDA in this relationship stands to benefit anyone except Oovee in the first place. Unless Pavel is holding them to non-disclosure himself for some reason (which seems highly unlikely given his apparently lack of legal leverage) then the NDAs are there purely for Oovee to hide behind, so Oovee claiming them as a legal obligation seems just as suspect as anything they’ve done so far.

  23. rsf says:

    > “Spintires [official site], the splendid game of mud and massive vehicles, appears to have been intentionally damaged by its creator Pavel Zagrebelnyj”

    Surprised.

    Google says Oovee is UK based. The developer appears to be from overseas (Russia?).

    Is this a case of trying to fleece devs from a less well off countries? Or is it that the developer has issues with analysing and comprehending a simple thing like a contract, even after the publisher was on hand to explain things, while being able to presumably code a complex simulation? Or is it something else…

    > “They owe me a s***load of money according to our contract. But I don’t have any leverage because my judicial skills are zero.”

    @Adam Smith

    Is there an official or unofficial industry body where developers can seek advice? What about the UK? Is there a support group in the develope’rs country who he could talk to? Perhaps journalists or the gaming fraternity can help him out.

    > ” But it’d also be a terrible shame if the game were erased from existence, the audience punished for the actions (perceived or actual) of the publisher and the reaction of the developer.”

    There’s the ethical responsibility to consumers and there’s legal responsibility. Whose legal responsibility is Spintires – is it a deal where the publisher owns the IP, recieves profits, and it’s basically their product to sell. The developer would basically be a seperate contract there to provide a service.
    So if the developer’s contract was not met is he liable to fulfill his part of the bargain to deliver things that will continue to function – in terms of law and in terms ethics?
    Interesting question.

    > “Pavel is often upset, I’m afraid that geniuses are often like that.”

    It’s nice to that Oovee hold expertise in neurology/psychology in addition to their expertise in publishing and ethics of their industry.

    RPS: Perhaps you could contact a psychologist to see if there’s evidence that the developer is a genius (is coding a sim of that complexity sufficient proof?), and whether geniuses are ‘often upset’ compared to non-geniuses. This assumes there is a applicable working definition of genius that can be talked about in the way Oovee does in the first place.

    If the developer was genuinely at fault in a way other than being neurotic, I would have expected the publishers comment to be tactful and focus on the subject area of the fault. Warning signs here.

  24. KastaRules says:

    From the Fix:

    «DefuseTimebombs: prevents the intentional game malfunctions set to happen after various dates. Seriously Pavel, wtf?»

    LOL!

    So… you have issues with your publisher and you respond by hurting the consumers ??? Goodbye Pavel.

  25. celticdr says:

    Trust a Russian dev to envoke a scorched earth policy – they invented this practice.

    In the end, as per usual, the little guy (i.e. the people who bought the game) lose out.

  26. Jaybone says:

    We’ll me and my friend wasted alot of time few days back. We were trying to clear one map, but the game kept crashing for me. It’s so stupid that this game doesn’t have save game option in multiplayer.
    This Pavel guy can go fuck himself.

  27. engion3 says:

    I just realized this game was called “spin tires” I’ve always read it as spinteres or something. Neat.