Star Citizen's Lawyers Claim Derek Smart Never Downloaded The Game

The brewing battle between Derek Smart and Cloud Imperium Games has been amusing to watch, as much for the potential ramifications for Star Citizen and crowdfunded games as the barbs traded between both parties.

That's only ramped up recently with the publication of a letter from CIG's lawyers to Derek Smart's attorneys, which goes directly for the jugular by attacking Smart's record as a developer, credibility and truthfulness.

The last time we checked in with Derek Smart he was threatening to sue Chris Roberts and co if the latter failed to provide a firm release date for Star Citizen, along with a "complete forensic accounting" of all development costs and no questions asked refunds for all backers if they so chose.

That was in late August. It was only days after Smart had sent a letter to CIG's lawyers, which we now know occurred on August 21. A response from CIG was received by Smart's legal counsel on August 28 and was delivered to Smart on September 3, Smart wrote in his latest blog post.

In the letter from CIG's lawyers, they say Smart's original claims about Star Citizen being a "fraud" that "was never going to be delivered" was surprising. "Our records indicate that he actually never downloaded and installed the game," the letter, which Smart links to in his post, says.

The letter goes on to claim that Smart provided CIG with an address for a refund cheque that did not exist. "We contacted your client again via email, only to find out that he indeed had provided us with a false address. He claimed that 'streets had been renamed' but there is certainly no record of that."

"We have to assume that your client deliberately tried to prevent the refund from reaching him so that he would be able to continue his unfounded claim of being 'aggrieved'."

Smart dismisses this as "pure bullshit", saying if a refund cheque had been sent to a wrong address "it would have been returned to them". The cheque has since been received, but in a response through his attorneys Smart says "he is not interested in a US$250 refund".

"What he is interested in, however, is protecting the integrity of the gaming industry, and protecting the thousands of people that have invested in the Star Citizen project and who want a game or their investment," Smart's lawyers wrote on September 14.

The September 14 letter doesn't refute CIG's claims that Smart never downloaded the game, nor that he unsubscribed from the mailing list shortly after becoming a Kickstarter backer. Neither is indicative of much though; it's not uncommon for many Kickstarter backers to avoid downloading a project until it is fully released.

CIG's letter then gets nasty, referencing Smart's "past career performance, including struggles with tax liens and a bankruptcy proceeding". "The complete absence of any functioning or successful game having ever been released by him in his 20+ year 'career' of game development further raises the question why he would consider himself qualified to cast any judgement on Star Citizen."

Smart goes into fairly lengthy detail on his blog about this attack, saying that the bankruptcy proceeding was "recorded as discharged less than two months later" — in 1998 — and that he tends "to make too much money due to my various investments".

"And when you are self-employed and the IRS sends you a bill for under-reporting, the minute you dispute it – as most tend to do – they automatically file a lien (which goes in the public record) against you if the amount is over $25K. That’s a fact. It’s pretty much tantamount to how they handle rampant asset forfeiture," Smart explains.

It's a pretty lengthy back and forth that gets convoluted at times. It's difficult to see this being resolved any time soon, and it's even harder to envision what practical impact this could have going forward. Nevertheless you have to imagine it would be pretty frustrating for all parties involved: after all, the only thing everyone unanimously wants is more incredible space games, and dramas like this certainly don't help.


Comments

    after all, the only thing everyone unanimously wants is more incredible space games, and dramas like this certainly don’t help

    I don't believe that at all. Smart doesn't want incredible space games, Smart wants everyone to think his games are the best out there. His holy crusade here might seem to be about defending the common man, but beneath that thin veneer the real objective is to try to force his name back in the spotlight and attract attention to stave off obscurity over his relatively unsuccessful software development career. Drama like this does help him in that respect, at least as far as attracting attention goes.

    Last edited 23/09/15 11:11 am

      Doesn't his entire argument boil down to Star Citizen being overambitious and failing to deliver its promises on time? I think the same could be said about quite a few games. Is the only reason he's getting publicity the fact that he's a game dev?

        I think the same could be said about quite a few games
        Not least of which was Smart's own Battlecruiser 3000 game, which has a long and storied history.

        I decided years ago that Smart was, in essence, a somewhat self-aggrandizing, more-or-less well-intentioned, complete nutter. I'm not sure that he started out that way; I think he headed in that direction when the BC3k project proved to me more than he could handle and he pretty much moulded his life around the need to get it (a) published and (b) recognised as the best space sim ever made.

        Are we yet again forgetting how long Star Citizen has been in development and the typical development cycle for a game? Lots of games that were ground breaking were considered over ambitious and bound to fail; World of Warcraft, GTA3 to put some names out there. But, yes, some of those over ambitious games did fail, but that was mostly because they ran out of funds and I personally don't think CGI has to worry about that.

        The only main difference between Star Citizen and other ambitious titles is the fact that it's been available for public beta/alpha testing since they got the very first and very limited module completed (the hanger).

          It's also interesting how the scope of the game has completely changed from a Kickstarter hoping to raise $500K to a conglomeration of modules having stretch goals up to $65 million.

          Another thing to note is that games like WoW or GTA had stable funding (albeit funding controlled by a publisher) whereas Star Citizen's funding has fluctuated fairly wildly in recent months (between ~$1 million and ~$3 million). It's little wonder that Chris Roberts has said that they haven't stopped the fundraising efforts, because by many estimates they cannot afford to. If they did, the entire project would either implode or be cut back in scale.

          I also think a major difference between this and other ambitious games is that this game has many backers who have 'invested' multiple thousands of dollars each in the hope of seeing a finished product. I read about one guy who put in over $20K, having no other stake in the development of the game than the hope of seeing it released. To me that is just incredible.

        With regards to the failing to deliver on time, the game isn't even slated to release until Late 2016 and people like Smart are getting antsy. People need to chill out and wait until it's closer to the release date before we grab pitchforks.

          Didn't the game originally have a 2014 release date though?

          The game was slated for delivery in 2014.

          Reading through what he posted (smart) before, he kind of has a point. They originally had a goal of a 6 million dollar project with 2 million kick and a 4 from investors. They reached that in a blink and thought.... well hell lets do more and keep collecting. They created Stretch goals where they would give you a better product faster if you just tossed a bit more in the hat. Now they are near or over 100 million dollars have bloated the project on paper to look like 4 different games and have still only released the module that was originally going to cost 6 million a year after it's release date in alpha format. To top that off they are continually creating and selling new ships for an unreleased and unfinished game. I am watching this from afar now. I'm not dumping money into alphas unless I think I can get a few hour/dollar I spent on the game.

            I'll be honest, I have only every heard of them releasing it in 2016/2017 date and haven't seen or read any articles relating to a 2014 release date.

      Agreed, 100%. He's been quiet long enough that perhaps there are few around today in the gaming aggregate that remember what a grand douche nozzle this guy truly is.

    Please stop posting articles on this attention seeking dickhead.

      He looks kinda like Mundine. Who is also an attention seeking knob.

        to be quite honest, this is the first time i've seen a picture of him and to be extremely honest i also pictured him as being a white guy a looking a bit like Mandark from Dexters Lab and haveing the same superiority complex too

          Interesting how there are 'white' sounding names and 'black' sounding names. For instance, I always thought that the song about Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was about a black man, but after looking into it, there's no hard evidence either way that I can point to.

            That's probably just because you watched too much Crocodile Dundee.

      That reminds me, Peter Molyneux's been pretty quiet since his vow to never give another interview.

    Smart dismisses this as “pure bullshit”, saying if a refund cheque had been sent to a wrong address “it would have been returned to them”.

    herpderp how the fuck do you think they figured out it wasn't a legit address dickhead.

      Apparently he confirmed it was a false address in an email (according to the article).

    It beats me why people feel all this rage towards Derek Smart. If he's such a crackpot loony, why not just laugh at him? Why get upset at all?

      Assume for a second he's actually in this purely to get the game out. Not that I believe that, but go with me here. So, poor little diddums is upset he's plonked a few grand on kickstarter, and the game isnt progressing to his expectations.

      Rather than just pull his funding and go elsewhere like most people, he drags the whole thing through the legal process. How the frack does that help the process?

      It takes funding away, thanks to those pesky lawyers needing to get paid, and in the end just makes the game take longer to make. He's slowing things down, purely because of his arrogance and eccentricity. Which pisses people off.

      Take a look at the list of games 3000AD have made, and its a surprisingly underwhelming list of products.

        It does nothing to the progress as the people doing the work will have very little to do with any litigation. The game is 94 million over budget and 2 years past it's release date. I can't wait to see if it get released in a finished form or if a few guys move to a country without extradition.

      We can laugh at him, and then feel frustrated ecause his stupid actions are going to make it harder for the devs to finsh the actua game as they devote resources to this idiot's idiocy.

      Because he's hindering the development of the game that he's supposedly upset about not being developed quickly enough.

        I honestly find it hard to believe that a game production funded in the order of $90 million and growing by about $2 million per month would not have an in-house counsel or PR representative(s) who would deal with stuff like that. Remember how WB got heaps over Arkham Knight's PC release? I don't think all the uproar stopped them from releasing a Patch or working on the DLC content for the game. It's really different departments. If Chris Roberts chooses to let Derek Smart get under his skin then that's his problem. He should just ignore the guy and let PR deal with it.

    He's been refunded and had his account closed - he has very little support for his attack on Star Citizen - ask him to quote a final number of supporters with evidence he'll say he "can't provide that"

    The question you have to ask is why? Why is he doing this - he is ridiculed on the official Reddit has little to no support on the official forums.

    The answer is from a Huffman vs Smart case.
    - Huffman has acted with such malice, hatred, and ill will toward Smart, and/or has acted so recklessly with respect to Smart’s rights, that an award of punitive damages is appropriate.

    Star Citizen is close to 90 Million dollars crowd funded - Derek is literally trying to bait CIG into retaliating so that he can sue for that slice of the pie.

    Otherwise he would have taken his refund and gone back to working on his game Line of Defence which is still in Early Access after 4 years and missing key features advertised years ago.

      Too bad Line of Defence wasn't crowd funded or something; we could all start a similar suit against his game to make him feel the pain...

        Still false advertising issues, so any purchasers should ask for a full refund.

        Early access is just another breed of crowd funding. You pay for an unfinished game, in order to fund its development.

    "Derek Smart"

    Well there's the oxymoron for the day...

      We found the moron, now we just need to decide if we should find the oxy to introduce him to....

      And in case he reads this and decides to litigate, this is clearly merely a joke and there is no intention to consider any attempt at any harm, especially from any welder, merely an attempt to make a bad joke about a bad person, someone so bad I actually feel the need to write this.

        You were talking about oxycodone, right? Because that person must be so stupid that it hurts - with pain which requires opiate-like levels of pain relief?

    The only reason i remember this guys name at all is because he released the worst space games of all time, hands down.

    I'd like to see a bit more cover on the state of Line of Defence which is still on Steam Early Access despite having been there forever in a broken state and an average of less than one player per day. Also, as someone working in academia I'm also still upset that this guy claims a title of Dr without being able to produce a PhD thesis or any evidence of working for the 3-4 years of full time under the supervision of academic staff from a recognized university, which is what it takes to obtain a PhD - not providing such evidence points towards a pretty severe fraud in itself, so why are media outlets giving so much of an open mic to someone with such a background? I wish we could get some real journalism happening on this whole story.

      have you sent a cease and desist to Dr Dre yet?

    I think he's getting so wound up about Star Citizen because he's experiencing transferred hostility. Projecting his own failure onto SC.

    *gets the popcorn and offers it around*

    What he is interested in, however, is protecting the integrity of the gaming industry,

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA

    Oh lord after this cruddy morning I needed that laugh...

    Star Citizen, development started in 2012, slated for 2014, scope expanded, significant progress made, now expected 2016-17 release. OMG, PANIC!

    Line of Defense, DS's "game", started in 2009, slated for 2011, NO CHANGE TO ORIGINAL SCOPE, no significant progress and still not released in 2015. Let's ignore that. Hell, sounds like the game has been CANCELLED! I mean, how can he write so much crap on his blogs, twitter, websites, talk to lawyers, NOT send letters to the feds and still find time to code his game?

    If you want to attack Star Citizen, fine. But if you want to start bringing DS into the mix, then start reporting on his Line of Defense game, his actions quite literally ask for it.

    BREAKING!! Line of Defense will not be released any time soon! Derek Smart is not working on Line of Defense at all. He spends all his time on a personal vendetta against Roberts Space Industries.

    http://i57.tinypic.com/2889u9t.png

    He is also harassing and threatening women on twitter https://storify.com/QHStone/derek-smart-invents-feud-with-randi-harper

    So this is how the president and lead developer of 3000AD, Inc. now admits to be in semi-retirement and is shown to spend most of his day online doing a public smear campaign against Roberts Space Industries, trolling game related websites who mention his name and/or games in a potentially negative way while threatening people with lawsuits as well as harassing/stalking women instead of working on Line of Defense; which has been in development since 2009 and was originally stated to release in June 2012!

    http://www.pcgamer.com/line-of-defense-explained-by-derek-smart-its-not-the-game-everyone-else-is-doing/

    Sounds to me his struggles with tax liens and a bankruptcy proceeding has caught up with him and now he's harassing everyone and anyone; desperate to find someone to sue so he can get cash out of a settlement.

    (Oct 2015) A quick update on the drama, created by the crusade started on July by the master of havoc himself DS (the lone thing in knows by heart).

    A "journalist" that use to twitt regularly with him and share the same view, had the great idea to almost copy-paste DS's blog ranting and raving about CR + a few so called review from people pretending to be former employee on Glassdoor... ouch big mistake:
    https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/14979-Chairmans-Response-To-The-Escapist

    Good luck DS now to find supporter. His usual trick is to push others in first line and to hide behind a blog under his full control. It will be harder and harder to swallow it by people that thought playing dirty with CIG was free and without risk.

    The FTC drama... flop, Fed and even FBI (lol)... flop, full page advertising about SC being a scam in NYtimes... flop, Austin office closing... flop, and the list goes on.

    Allegation, defamation, anonymous unverified sources... Meanwhile the last Outrageous Disaster reach hardly a peak of 1 player per day. A game supposedly superior to SC, said to be released in 2012 and still in Beta end of 2015. Another sinister sample of DS at work... and he want to save the gaming industry... !)

    Derek Smart is a complete idiot. A jealous little child really. Seen his kind far too many times in life. His last name should be "Dumb." Yeah, keep calling supporters of Star Citizen (customers and gaming consumers) names like "shitizens" using even profanity Mr. Smart, see where that gets you. There's going to be a lot of us "consumers." Derek's just a game developer if you can call him that, but it's the gamers, the customers, the consumers that rule this world! Not you Derek. We are the ones that decide whats good, bad, and worthy of "our" money. So don't plan on consumer support for your garbage games. I've looked at some of Derek Smarts games. The look like a 5 year old developed them. And I find it funny in all of his rantings that he never shows any of the development videos that have been pouring out lately. You really have to follow those to admire what's being done here. But that's the way it is with all crowdfunding events. I personally don't give a damned about stretch goals, and percs, and crowdfunding goals that haven't been met. Not after looking at the full picture of what's really happening here, seeing the development and enjoying the heck out it. I've been playing Alpha 2.6 for a while in wait for 3.0. It is finally nearly bug free. When development first started yeah there were a lot of bugs. There always are in game development. Now I can play for hours without seeing any bugs. Played the latest update for Fallout 4 the other day, and ran into nearly six bugs during that 4 hour session. This is a game that will continue to evolve grow and give those of us that hate loading screens, clipping and draw ranges, rail systems, a chance to really move around a realistic universe do our professions. 3.0 is coming very soon now. The ships are freaking unbelievable. Everything is in real space and real time. I can see other players mving around in their ship from the outside. 3.0 will finally be the foundation for the real constantly expanding universe with planetary landing, planets with real horizon lines, professions, and well redesigned engine that will allow the team to continue adding planets and systems. But you have to be involved in the game to know that their is now a development progress timeline and that it has been for the most part right on queue. If your not in the game then shut up, you don't know what you are talking about at all and you are missing out. I have been involved in crowd funding in the publishing world. Some times developement takes a lot longer than anticipated because you want to give people something incredible. Star Marine, Squadron 42, and Arena Commander are basically just smaller gaming environments attached in order to develop your skills within Star Citizen with real game play. But they are not "The Game" But they do also keep us entertained while the huge universe keeps developing. You have to ask yourself. why is Derek "Dumb" Smart wasting all this time bashing a great feat in gaming instead of developing satisfying game. Oh I think I know the answer after experiencing his other attempts. HE'S INCAPABLE! LOL. Look there is nothing conventional about Star Citizen. It's breaking the mold in gaming pure ans simple, but for god's sake have a little self respect and experience it first hand and watch all of the development videos before you open your mouth and show how much of an idiot you are.

    Last edited 29/05/17 4:18 am

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