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Alberto Salvia Novella

Relicensing the game media

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When I started playing the Dark Mod with a friend of mine we were quite surprised that such good game was not so well known.

But after promoting it on libre gaming sites, as result of making a packager for it, I now discovered why is that.

On one hand the game isn't on digital distribution platforms, which is the main way for proprietary games to get known.

But more importantly the game media is licensed under a non comercial license. This results in libre gaming communities refusing to promote it, and the wide majority of Linux operating systems refusing to distribute it.

So I would relicense its content under the CC-BY-SA license. It won't damage financially the game, but instead it will see a greater success.

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IIUC, this means someone will be able to use TDM content, whether in changed or unchanged form, for a commercial use, in any way they see fit.  Not gonna happen.

Edited by peter_spy
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2 hours ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

When I started playing the Dark Mod with a friend of mine we were quite surprised that such good game was not so well known.

But after promoting it on libre gaming sites, as result of making a packager for it, I now discovered why is that.

On one hand the game isn't on digital distribution platforms, which is the main way for proprietary games to get known.

 

This point is very good. The presence of The Dark Mod on digital distribution platforms was to be achieved, but stalled because it requires creating a legal person with legal liability in case of contentious proceedings. That is the case for Steam at least. Do not know if there were any attempts to contact / inquire / negotiate The Dark Mod appearing on GOG.com and / or other services.

The remainder of suggestions are probably not appropriate because the team does not wish to carry any risks for commercial use of any content / sounds / art in tertiary products which could result in legal problems to anyone involved. Everything is free with due credits / acknowledgements to their authors.

Edited by Anderson
Ascertainment.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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To re-license the game we would need to replace thousands of texture assets that we gathered for free from promotional offers from commercial asset repositories.

Unless you have an army of texture artists, modelers, and lawyers ready to create replacement textures, test the replacements in over 100 missions, and legally defend their similarity to the originals... this is an impossible task.

 

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Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I'm pretty sure B1ker tried to get in touch with GOG, to no avail.


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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15 hours ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

Could you provide me a link to those repositories, so I can talk with them?

So the thing is, nobody actually knows where all our textures came from. Many definitely came from cgtextures.com, but surely not all of them. The way TDM works is, we simply trust that every texture artist uses base images that are compliant with our licensing. 

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This thread should cover most of where we gathered textures:

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/1755-texture-resources/

 

We also got a substantial number of textures from one of the "Blade of Darkness" developers:

 

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/10003-so-what-are-you-working-on-right-now/page/21/&tab=comments#comment-217681

 

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Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I could contact each of those still alive sites, and ask them if we could use no more than the already gotten textures under the CC-BY-SA license with the warrant that the Dark Mod will never become a commercial product.

This way the original intention of their license scheme is preserved, to monetize if you monetize, and the copyright holder will see no compelling reason to oppose or to report those textures.

And in the unlikely situation that someone I couldn't contact decided to report in the future, it would be for a fraction of the assets. Then it would be viable to handle the situation.

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@demagogue probably has some input on this issue.

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next on our nc-license, how about if we say to the publischer: publisch the game always for free to the users. and if the publischer generate any money by publisching it (for example by ad's on publischers site) that is for the publischer. 

Edited by freyk

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All this feels dodgy to me from the very start. The only sides that could benefit from this would be some asset flippers, and coders who'd like to make games, but can't do quality assets. I've put way too many hours in my content pack to give some chump ability to make money off it with zero effort. It's either non-commercial for everyone or it gets removed.

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Now look at these games and tell me which ones are likely way better or more fun than the Dark Mod:

review-battle-wesnoth-map.jpg

maxresdefault.jpg

supertuxkart-001.jpg:m

Warzone-2100.jpg

TeeWorlds-03.jpg

warmux-screenshot.jpg

These games above belong to the most famous, top rated, most played libre games group. I have tried all of them and they look quite ugly, but specially their game dynamics are horrible. Nearly all of them aren't fun at all.

The point here is that any of these, or any other libre game, is more played and known than the Dark Mod.

And being all their contents under the CC-BY-SA license, never anyone got commercial benefit out of them. Why? Because that would imply making their own game under the same conditions. They would either get another libre game, or people taking the contents and making libre clones.

So that what you fear never happened in practice.

We are better talking to the copyright holders themselves and get the real facts about what they think about this. And anybody disappeared I read as this: "I don't give a damn about the license, more than you not making money for free from my own work or doing nasty things with it".

Edited by Alberto Salvia Novella

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25 minutes ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

The point here is that any of these, or any other libre game, is more played and known than the Dark Mod.

So where do you get these games from, Steam? Because there are thousands of bad games that are probably player more than TDM, because they are casual games! TDM is a rather niche game for stealth...

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8 hours ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

I could contact each of those still alive sites, and ask them if we could use no more than the already gotten textures under the CC-BY-SA license with the warrant that the Dark Mod will never become a commercial product.

This way the original intention of their license scheme is preserved, to monetize if you monetize, and the copyright holder will see no compelling reason to oppose or to report those textures.

And in the unlikely situation that someone I couldn't contact decided to report in the future, it would be for a fraction of the assets. Then it would be viable to handle the situation.

It's not just textures, it's also models, sounds, maps, animations, dialogue, and particle effects.  Even just putting together a list of all the necessary artists to contact would be futile, let alone actually making contact with them and getting them to support changing the license.  This is a non-starter.

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4 hours ago, wesp5 said:

TDM is a rather niche game for stealth...

Games like Amnesia, Soma, Lost In Vivo, resemble a lot this one, and are highly played.

The problem is nobody knows about it! It doesn't matter how good it is if nobody can see it.

The game will only see the success it deserves when being on a gaming platform, or completely libre. Then gamers will promote it by themselves.

Edited by Alberto Salvia Novella

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The Dark Mod has been promoted on some decently trafficked sites, it's had a ton of exposure over the years. We were the FASTEST EVER game to be voted to be Greenlit on Steam. Ever. It was an insane moment.

 

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Dark Mod was also PC gamers Mod of the year in 2013 and is still mentioned from time to time.  It's not that the game isn't well known, but rather that it's not for casual gamers....just like Thief.  It has a dedicated audience.  I seriously doubt having it on Steam would improve matters all that much, considering Thief hasn't suddenly been rediscovered.  Anyway, changing the license isn't going to happen.

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I will say I appreciate the passion you're showing for getting our game promoted. We should be more well known, and it's great that people still have an urge to get the word out.

There are a lot of reasons why we can't change the license, why even thinking about it is a non-starter like Spring said.

But one of those reasons isn't that we don't want to be more widely promoted. That would be great, and if there are ways we can do that that don't require entire structural overhauls of the game or its assets then I'm all for it!

If you're really into this, I don't want to dampen your spirits for that part. You could (we all could) start thinking creatively of ways we could be promoted in all kinds of outlets ... a promotion campaign or a new & really great promo video or making TDM part of some large event or contest. I understand we're limited by certain parts of our structure and that's a drag (albeit necessary), but there are still tons of things we can do, and if you have the initiative and energy to try some ideas out I encourage that.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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There is no direct correlation between game being good and being popular. If the platform mentioned above hosts mediocre games, getting TDM on if will benefit that platform, first and foremost (look, we got quality content now!). And because of that quality content, the chance of it being noticed and used in other commercial titles for free is much higher, than with content from the mediocre games above. Again, this is win for everybody but the TDM team and/or content creators.

Edited by peter_spy
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8 hours ago, demagogue said:

I appreciate the passion you're showing for getting our game promoted. We should be more well known, and it's great that people still have an urge to get the word out.

Speaking of which, I myself get all game related info from the site Blues News. There only new versions of TDM are mentioned if at all, but maybe I could ask them if they would announce each new mission as well? Thus TDM would be mentioned much more often, reminding people that it exists. Or where do you get your daily gaming info fix ;)?

Edited by wesp5
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I understand. Nevertheless I would have a look if the Steam situation is solvable.

By the way what I did for finding this game simply was googling "open source games". I usually find the games that I play either through Google or Steam.

Thanks for your comments 👍

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2 hours ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

I understand. Nevertheless I would have a look if the Steam situation is solvable.

It is "solvable", by us going through literally all 8000 assets and proving that we have the rights to use the assets that were sourced elsewhere.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

We do not have the man power or the will to undertake such a mission.

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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