Game Developer Rips Texas High School Over Counter-Strike Kid Case

May 9, 2007 -
Perhaps the biggest story of last week was the word that a 17-year-old high school senior in Fort Bend, Texas was kicked out of his high school and barred from graduation because he created a Counter-strike map of his school. If you missed the details, here is a recap.

The incident caused a good deal of outrage in the gaming community. Now, developer Kenn Hoekstra (left) of Pi Studios has responded with a blistering op-ed piece in Fort Bend Now. Here's part of what Hoekstra had to say:
As a video game developer of 10 years, I am outraged...  What is society coming to when creativity and artistic freedom of expression are being trampled with absolutely no regard for civil liberties? Aren’t schools supposed to encourage and reward creativity?

Where is the crime here? ...I speak from experience when I say that just about every aspiring level designer starts out by building what he or she knows...  Over the years, I’ve personally constructed the house where I grew up, my old grade school and high school, my old work office building and my apartment complex in various level editors.

This country has plenty of real problems that need to be solved... An aspiring game maker building his school in a level editor isn’t one of them.

Video games are not your enemy and neither is this young man... Leave this kid alone and let him get back to his classmates and his life. This is America, not Amerika.

Comments

Well put Kenn! Yeah, this has got to be one of the most ridiculous cases in the universe. You think any true artist ever cares what other peoples negative reactions are? If they did we wouldn't have artists at all.

Innocent until proven guilty is becoming more and more of a lie on a daily basis eh? We should have arrested Colonel Sanders for killing chickens because some people don't like the idea.

Better yet every level designer should be arrested! (LVU campus ring a bell?)

One word on this whole thing. "Stupid"

“He should get a swift kick for not realizing just how some people would react to this.”

That's like saying Rockstar games should be shut down for trying to make Liberty City match NYC more closely. Just because it looks like a real place doesn't make it the real place since it's *deedeedee* fictional. Rockstar has no intention of inciting riots in New York as this kid had no intention of doing any harm.

@ SolarisDeschain:

"He should get a swift kick for not realizing just how some people would react to this."

------------------------------

So you're saying that because of what people think about him, he deserves to be punished?

That's ridiculous! That's insane! That's how most people think!

The people I have the most problem with are the gutless teachers who skipped that special meeting to maybe try to make things right for the poor kid. Rather put your head in the sand than admit you might've been wrong, eh? Those bastards should definitely be let go...preferably off the nearest bridge.

Okay, well... aside from the last line, I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Knight.

...especially the bit about a public apology.

There is no other sign reported that this kid was a threat. All they have is a map of his school in a FPS. There are not threatning letters, weapons or history to warrant their actions.

The map was made and distibuted before the VT thing. It just so happened that it was discovered after the VT shootings.

He should be left back into school and his graduation as well as recieve a public apology from the school board.

So those of you who think this kid is to blame in any way:

Shut Up!

SolarisDeschain. you are insane.

-->>he created the map, but on the other hand…he should have known he could have got in trouble, because of the way many people with no understanding and no real wish to seek to understand cry wolf at the damndest little things>He should get a swift kick for not realizing just how some people would react to this.

I have mixed feelings about this.

I think its cool he created the map, but on the other hand...he should have known he could have got in trouble, because of the way many people with no understanding and no real wish to seek to understand cry wolf at the damndest little things.

Should he be punished? Maybe. Maybe not. He did create the map of his hallway, but he didn't hurt anybody, and apparently wasn't even attempting to. There was no crime committed here. Even if this country arrested people for thoughtcrime, and it seems we're getting to that point, he wasn't even guilty of that.

He should get a swift kick for not realizing just how some people would react to this.

Rainbow Six 3 Athena Sword had a pretty accurate map of a real-world museum in Italy. The devs then put a bunch of armed terrorists inside. I don't think Italian police have arrested anyone yet...

-Video games are not your enemy and neither is this young man… Leave this kid alone and let him get back to his classmates and his life. This is America, not Amerika.-

quite brilliant, this comment has shown what a bloody mess the whole fiasco has become, now if all authority reads this, and maybe this mad crisis can be
resolved...

but asking this is asking the impossible i fear.

From the Op-Ed "I speak from experience when I say that just about every aspiring level designer starts out by building what he or she knows."

Basic psychology shows over and over again that people will gravitate towards what they know. An expert witness psychologist would be good for the defense. Also, he better get full disclosure for the defense, because I seriously doubt there exists a note that plans out an attack on the school.

Not only is his arrest unconstitutional, it doesn't even make sense mathematically. Let's say you arrest everyone that ever made a map of a familiar site or structure. You'd have about 20 million innocent people and 1 possible suspect (that's made up, but works just as well with 1-in-100 or even 1-in-10). You simply don't go around jailing innocent people. The principle should resign for defamation of character, and the policeman who made the decision to arrest him should be fired.

Yeah I would probably start out developing my school too. Hallways, classrooms, cafeterias and what not provide a nice variety as well as fluidity and consistancy. This is a little too paranoid.

"As for the student: I’m all for freedom of expression, especially artistically, but building a map of your school in an FPS on the heels of VT was poor judgement. He should have used another building, or at least let the public fear of nerds with guns die down some."

He didn't make the map 'on the heels of VT', it was made before VT
Also judging by the detail on the mod, he would have taken a long time to make it, therefore meaning it was started long before VT...

this is just sheer extreme overeaction by the school, nothing more

[...] [Via GamePolitics] [...]

As a gamer, animator, and graphic artist I've built plenty of maps (for many different types of games - not just fps) based on places I've known. It is an outrage that he has been bared from graduation over this. It's extreme and unnecessary.

However.

Given recent shootings, and the attention things like this bring, no school in the U.S. would be willing to risk the media blitz and outraged parents that would come with it being known a student made a map of his school in one of those 'murder simulators' and the school did nothing about it.
A simple review of his personality, grades, past aggression (if any) and a mild investigation would have been enough to keep the school out of danger of seeming insensitive and allowed everyone to move on.

As for the student: I'm all for freedom of expression, especially artistically, but building a map of your school in an FPS on the heels of VT was poor judgement. He should have used another building, or at least let the public fear of nerds with guns die down some.

here here!

crackers are more insane than asians. the kid made a good map and took WEEKS to complete. I HATE OUR PUSSYESK AGE!

Games have been published with maps of actual physical locations modeled. Ravesoft did their offices is Soldier of Fortune (and the map was very accurate). Tom Clancy Games had the US Capitol offices.

They should be rewarding the kid for creating a map to help him practice defending his school against terrorists instead of arresting him. :)

Now if some one with a bigger name and more authority would also say the same the game hatting will stop, or at least decrease.

And thats all we need, that and some court to arrest Jack Thompson for being a JACKass.

You know something interesting about this. If the map was made for counter-strike, I wonder if the police might want to recruit him for making one for say Rainbow six for S.W.A.T. training purposes. Have it used for training to prevent situations like VT or columbine.

Hey, if it works for the army (who do develop setups like this), why not the police or FBI.

Well spoken.

"Aren’t schools supposed to encourage and reward creativity?"

Nope, nowadays schools are made to form new consumer zombies. If they allow creativity, free thought may weasel it's way in.[/sarcam]

Nope, nowadays schools are made to form new consumer zombies. If they allow creativity, free thought may weasel it’s way in.

Haha... how true... reminds me of this:

Principal Skinner: "That's two independent thought alarms in one day. Willie, the children are over-stimulated. Remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms."
Willie: I warned ya! Didn’t I warn ya? That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!

Said like a true gentleman.

A rather obscure reference... Possibly this is what he meant by "Amerika":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerika_%28TV_series%29

Amerika? What does he mean by that?

Game Developer Rips Texas High School Over Counter-Strike Kid Case...

...

Thank you for speaking the truth

School don't reward or encourage creativity outside of art class, his dream is dead. the public schools just want to make us conform.

1. Kenn is preaching to the crowd, I don't this really convincing anyone on 'the other side'

2. I believe what SolarisDeschain was getting at is: if he didn't know this was coming then he should get a kick to the face for being ignorant of the situation. If he knew it was coming then good, he has a spine.

Damn you 4chan, I got the Amerika reference!
 
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