Derek Smart is an independent game developer and member of the IGDA (International Game Developers Association) from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Smart is mostly known for his self-produced BattleCruiser series.
The FreeSpace 3 issue
In 2004 Smart considered bidding for the FreeSpace licence from Interplay, with the goal of creating FreeSpace 3. When the news about his interest in the licence became publicly known in the FreeSpace community, Smart met with considerable opposition from the community and received little or no support. However, polls among the gaming public showed that the general, non-HLP customer base would acquire the game, regardless of Smart's involvement.
Smart did expound on his stance and claimed that from a business perspective he can not merely continue on an already existing project and that he, by extension, was thus not interested in the opinion of the community. Mentioning his name on the unofficial FreeSpace fan site of Hard Light Productions is often met with derogatory statements and threads that mention him are often closed.
Smart is known for tenaciously defending his intellectual property (IP) rights to his productions. When the shelf life of a production expires, Smart retains—or regains—the publishing rights to the product. After its retail run the product is subsequently released for free to the general public. At present, his publishing and production company—3000AD—is the sole publisher of the Battlecruiser series, and the company is handling the online publishing in its entirety.
In accordance with 3000 AD's policy, all titles are released as non-commercial freeware after their retail run. At present, 3000 AD is offering Universal Combat, Battlecruiser Millennium and Battlecruiser 3000AD (versions 1.0 and 2.0) free-of-charge. The games can be found on most electronic mass distributors' sites.