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#1 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:05 AM

Recently, I have been tinkering around with Atari 2600 emulation and I noticed an interesting array of topics regarding Homebrew and Hacked games.

 

It seems that the Homebrew authors were pretty upset whenever a cartridge hacker posted about their hack in the Homebrew forums.

Things came to a flare-up when one author posted a hack "of a homebrew" game which he called a "hackbrew".

 

Now the Homebrew purists considered the idea to be an abomination. (Hacking carts is a dirty business and hacking Homebrew carts being

even dirtier because you aren't modding the work of a nameless game company employee but instead an amateur game design artist.)

 

I didn't really buy this ideology.

 

While it's true that game companies restrict the creative output of their employees, it's perfectly likely that some game designer is

just as offended by 3rd party hacks of their games as a creative amateur would be.

 

But should either party be?

 

If I post an image of something I painted and someone over at Deviant Art takes my image and draws a mustache on all the people

and posts it as a parody of my work isn't that just how things are in a fair use world?

 

So gaming hacks are in that realm of sin but they are a sin that most folks are willing to forgive or even partake in.

 

 

Recently, there have been a few cases where missions in development have taken too much design work from existing missions or

authors have gone outside the permitted boundaries of collaborative agreements to radically alter existing missions (etc).

 

Rather than restrict or punish this work, what if we do what they do at Atariage?

 

Create a forum about modded missions.

Create a wiki (or reuse this one: http://wiki.thedarkm...d_Modifications ) and clearly mark whether the mission "mod" was permitted by the author.

 

Then any work like this would be preserved but it would have an "unofficial" designation that lets users know they are goofing around with

work that was not from the original author and may be completely wrong (etc).

 

I know this is a tough topic but I'd like some FM authors to chime in on this idea.


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#2 Durandall

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:19 AM

Not much of an FM author myself, but has there been much call for this?
I've never seen anyone even mention reusing someone's FM.
I would assume the mission details page would work to notify of these things.
List that it is a modification of the original author's work.
Not that I'm opposes to a forum or wiki page. No reason not to have one anyway.
It would be nice to have one for general dark mod... mods.
I would probably post a lite version of the compass hud mod there.

What I would like to see is some form of official requirement for an author to list a "license" for their map.
Most thief fms have something like this in their readme.
Whether or not someone is allowed to modify/reuse their map.

It would certainly take away some burden if authors would state this.
Small changes here or there to "fix" a map for new dark mod versions would be much more convenient.
We wouldn't have to try to get a hold of the author for every little change. (Assuming they state they are okay with this in "license")
 



#3 Springheel

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:22 AM

If I post an image of something I painted and someone over at Deviant Art takes my image and draws a mustache on all the people

and posts it as a parody of my work isn't that just how things are in a fair use world?

 

 

 

Parody is very different from someone taking an image you painted, changing the colour of something, and then posting it as their own "improved" version.  There's not an artist community on the planet that would be okay with that.

 

Speaking for myself as an FM author, if I believed that people could make substantial changes to my missions without my permission, upload them, and those changes would just be accepted and endorsed by the community, I would never make another mission again. I suspect most content creators feel the same way.


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#4 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:25 AM

 

 

Parody is very different from someone taking an image you painted, changing the colour of something, and then posting it as your own "improved" version.  There's not an artist community on the planet that would be okay with that.

 

Speaking for myself as an FM author, if I believed that people could make substantial changes to my missions without my permission, upload them, and those changes would just be accepted and endorsed by the community, I would never make another mission again. I suspect most content creators feel the same way.

 

See that's the idea. It's explicitly a "NOT ENDORSED" designation. It's basically a way of saying "these are bad things that we officially disavow".


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#5 Springheel

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:27 AM

 

See that's the idea. It's explicitly a "NOT ENDORSED" designation. It's basically a way of saying "these are bad things that we officially disavow".

 

How is creating a forum and/or wiki for it not considered endorsing it?



#6 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:30 AM

You state in the OP of the forum and wiki:

 

This forum is for missions that were modded by 3rd party authors. Some of this work may not be sanctioned by the original author and may even offend

them. We do NOT ENDORSE OR CONDONE this practice and will not provide support or assistance for anything posted here. This is a place for modders and players to tinker

with existing works to see what might be possible, release incomplete or out-of-character missions, or to create trans-formative works that parody (etc) the original releases.

 

Do not contact the original mission author about works posted here.

Do not contact team members about works posted here.

 

This is a dirty evil place.

 

Enter here at your own risk.


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#7 Springheel

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:33 AM

We do not endorse this practice and will not provide support or assistance for anything posted here.

 

 

That would be like creating a forum specifically for people to link to cracked software but posting a disclaimer that we don't endorse cracked software. 



#8 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:35 AM

It's not illegal to modify missions.

 

Some authors may actually be interested in seeing what the community would do to their mission but wouldn't want anyone to replace their mission

with the modded one (etc) and wouldn't want to offer any explicit endorsement of this funny business.


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#9 Springheel

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:48 AM

Some authors may actually be interested in seeing what the community would do to their mission but wouldn't want anyone to replace their mission

with the modded one.

 

Right.  And the correct way to discover that would be to ask for the author's permission.  If they give permission, then there isn't a problem. If they don't, then don't do it.

 

What I would like to see is some form of official requirement for an author to list a "license" for their map.
Most thief fms have something like this in their readme.
Whether or not someone is allowed to modify/reuse their map.

 

 

That's a pretty good idea, actually.  Some authors might not care at all what happens to their maps after release, and they could specify that right in the readme so they never have to be contacted again.  Other mappers might be willing to allow technical bug-fixes only.  Some mappers may want no changes without their express permission.



#10 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:18 PM

 

Right.  And the correct way to discover that would be to ask for the author's permission.  If they give permission, then there isn't a problem. If they don't, then don't do it.

 

 

If it's officially permitted, then it doesn't need a special place but there might be some sort of provision that "officially allowed mods" show up labeled in the mission downloader?

 

This thread is about the gray area.

 

Think about this type of mischief:

 

1) Mission author A says Mission author B's mission sucks because of XYZ

2) Mission author A releases an example fix to prove his point

3) Mission author B says example 2 sucks because of ABC

4) Mission author B releases example (4) to prove his point

 

Neither author approves of these mods but both are interested in the topic matter of these examples.

 

In an authorized only setting, that type of dialog is verboten.


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#11 Judith

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:41 PM

That's exactly why I'm for making locked asset packs or map files. I always found it weird, why would you spend tons of time changing sb else's map, instead of making your own, bringing your own ideas to life? And, if you see a map, and you think "it sucks, I could do better" — go and make a map based on that idea, and execute it better. The community would only benefit from this, from creative approach to ideas, even battles between mappers, but in creative execution of ideas, not countless slight variations of the same map. That is boring.



#12 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 01:53 PM

I never disagreed with the idea of locked assets other than the issue with GPL and Creative Commons license requirements.

 

I don't have the skill to implement it so I can't say yes or no to it anyway. ;)

 

And sure, even at Atariage there are countless dumb permutations of Asteroids with different colors and sprites so this type of forum

is an invitation to gather a bunch of worthless contributions... but many of those who started by making "dumb color\sprite hacks"

moved on to more advanced coding and eventually became Homebrew coders. Even those who stuck with hacking sometimes

produced remarkable hacks that accomplished game fixes or improvements that were thought to be impossible with the limits of the 2600.

You get the good with the bad.


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#13 wesp5

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 02:01 PM

I think as long as you maintain the main mission download list it's in your hand to only put missions on there that a legit.



#14 RPGista

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 05:03 PM

Yes, I think in general this might be more of a theoretical discussion rather than something we'll need to create rules for, since I dont really believe people would spend their times going over other people's missions, trying to fix them or expand on them. Its a small community of mappers who all pretty much admire each other and want to do their own thing and contribute. I can think of one exception to this, and this might be a sensitive moment to talk about him, but it was Bikerdude. He went through a number of missions, specially his own, revising and expanding on them. I believe this was all done with the original author's permission, he partened with a lot of people, but it can be a tricky thing when someone goes over your work like that. I still remember making a call to keep the original version of Shadowhide's Winter Harvest available, because I really appreciated its unintentional charm and minimalistic aproach, and disagreed that the revised version had to replace it completely, even if Shadowhide did give permission for Bikerdude to do so. Hopefully this wont be taken as being critical, I know the intention was good, but this instance would probably have been a good time to talk about this issue in the communty, weight the pros and cons.

 

Obviously theres the temptation to cut and paste parts of someone elses mission and just use stuff as "prefabs" to further your own. I did this myself, back in the day grayman, springheel, many people helped me by pointing out sections in their maps where some mechanics I needed could be found and studied, used as example or simply taken and adjusted to my own map environment. This was invaluable to me. I think this should be common practise in a true sharing community and is the norm around here anyway, I dont think anyone would ever have problems with that.

 

It would be troubling for me to see things going in the direction of restricting access to assets and intellectual property, when we are sitting and basing all our work on a huge pile of free stuff, that took a lot of people a lot of work and dedication to build. The way to honour that effort is to contribute and keep the generosity and sharing going, imo. 


Edited by RPGista, 03 May 2018 - 05:29 PM.

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#15 wanderer

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 06:21 PM

I haven't tried to create an FM and I'm not sure I understand the topic, but what can you take out of other FMs? I assumed that there were data bases or namespaces with reusable architectural elements and objects. How much of an FM is considered proprietary to the FM? Is it bad form to take a pumpkin or painting out of an existing mission? I figured there was some kind of headers in the files for these things indicating the original creator.



#16 Springheel

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:03 PM

this might be a sensitive moment to talk about him, but it was Bikerdude. He went through a number of missions, specially his own, revising and expanding on them. I believe this was all done with the original author's permission

 

 

When the original author gave permission there was no problem.  Unfortunately, there were a number of times where permission was NOT given, and the original author was justifiably upset.  The latest incident with Melan is just the most recent example, but many mappers have complained about this.



#17 Goldwell

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:32 PM

I think it’s common courtesy and basic respect for another author to ask them for permission to use their maps and assets. If you just go into another authors work and start making drastic changes and then release it as a new version that is really not cool unless they give you permission and you abide by their rules. 

 

But really I don’t understand the point of that, we are a very small community and nearly 6 months into the year we have only had four missions released with one of them being a test arena so not really a traditional mission. I think it is much better to spend the time and energy working on new content to keep the community alive and active. 

 

Unfortunately due to the behavior you’re trying to condone, we have lost authors and upset the ones who remain. It’s best to not mess with others work unless you receive permission. If we all can’t agree on such a simple and obvious premise then there is no hope for mappers who want just a little bit of respect towards their work and their original vision. 

 

We all donate our fan missions by using our free time, hard work and effort  and the only reward we receive is entertainment from others and credit for their work. Let’s not try to take away the latter of those two. 

 

So please stop defending behavior that is actively hurting the part of the community that create the missions we all play, on the surface you might think it’s a force for good but behind the scenes, authors are not happy. Why don’t you see more authors publicly speaking? Either they’re in the minority who don’t mind or they deal with such issues in private.


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#18 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 08:01 PM

So please stop defending behavior


I fear you are taking this the wrong way. This is intended to mitigate a bad situation.

I quite plainly stated this is "bad behavior" and there's no defense for it.

I'm a pessimist. If I create a song or picture and throw it out on the web.
Someone will do something unauthorized with it.

A place where these villains can upload their wares where it's clearly labeled as villany quarantines the problem.

For example, some unscrupulous modder could take a high quality FM, claims that the real TDM FM author stole it
and starts a Blog about how hard it was to create said mission then continue to alter it claiming they
it was unfinished on release.

If we has a forum where modded missions were expected, there would be little incentive
to do that kind of thing since there would already be gangs of similar folk making the same false claims (etc).

If folks are just going to do bad things with FM content anyway,
why not take advantage of it and use their work for an idea farm or asset collection?

Bad FM man mods Requiem and makes an awesome cave entrance model == Now TDM has a new cave entrance model.

But if such a place is too much to stomach for our best FM authors, then I agree that it's not worth the risk
or acrimony.
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#19 Goldwell

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 08:08 PM

I get that people are going to do whatever they want, and really there is no way to stop someone from doing that unofficially.

But officially I do not think we should condone or support that behavior. Especially since it only happens by one person usually.

All Im asking is that we enforce a little common sense and decency and respect towards authors who offer up their work for us all to enjoy. The free sharing nature of this mod is great, and in my personal experience I have shared assets with those who have asked and vice versa.

But we shouldnt be allowing someone to make modifications to released missions without the authors permission. If they give it then cool all the power to that person, but if they dont then this person needs to find somewhere else that will take them.

Im not saying lock everything down or anything like that, just please dont support or offer ways to support this bad behavior.
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The Accountant Trilogy
Part 1: Thieves and Heirs | Part 2: New In town

 

Shadows of Northdale Trilogy

ACT I
 
Stand Alone Missions
Lord Edgar's Bathhouse | Spring Cleaning


#20 Abusimplea

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 09:16 PM

I may not get the point - but isn't unallowed derivation not one of the "problems", licenses have been invented for.

If someone does not want to allow alteration of "his" stuff without explicit consent, then someone should chose an apropriate license like the CC-BY-ND(-NC).



#21 demagogue

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 10:04 PM

Well I'll give my take. There are two sides of the coin, the taker's and the creator's side.

 

1. When using other people's specific work product (which wasn't directly contributed to the core assets but only in their own FM), of course giving credit is technically a courtesy but practically a must if you don't want to be ostracized. If you don't know the creator it should be asked, and even if no one knows you should still give credit to, e.g., "the person who made lamp2b".

 

After that, the best thing is always open communication about intentions between the taker and the original creator, asking for the creator's consent and an idea of what's going to be done with it.

 

One problem is if the creator has been missing for several years or doesn't reply.

I think that's a case-by-case thing (it'd be bad to take entire gameplay scenes, but it's a better case for a model or set piece of some essential thing a mapper couldn't find otherwise) and worth asking in the forums or beta-test thread. 

 

2. And on the other side of the coin, we do say in our license than any contribution in any FM is under the creative commons license, and by submitting to the FM they are accepting their assets are under that license and they have no legal claim to stop any other user from using it. That's what open source projects are all about. The whole ethos is giving to the community. It's just that the conditions for that to work, since legally it's permissible, have to be courtesy and respect of the author with credit and going to lengths to get their permission.

But I think a greater appreciation by mappers of the give-and-take ethos of community mapping would help as well.

 

But 3. it's really such a case by case thing it's not good to make generalizations, except to say the more open communication & showing good will the better.

 

The good case study I remember was whoever made that beautiful clock tower in the archery section of the Tutorial.

Somebody used it in their own FM and he got upset, since that was his own work. That's a good case study because it wasn't like his personal FM. That was a community FM, the author is listed as the TDM team (or whatever). I would have also assumed that mappers should feel free to use all of its assets because what could be more "core" to the aesthetic of the game than the tutorial to the whole game? But that's a case where it would have been better, even then, to be in communication about it with the creator (once he made his opinion known) so everybody can get their points out--which in that case I think were valid on both sides--and talk it out.

 

Joint work on an FM can be an even messier thing, but then it's even doubly important for open communication & showing good will. In that case I think it's best to talk about it in advance, the intentions and expectations of both parties before they even start to avoid misunderstandings.


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Posted Image

#22 demagogue

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:42 PM

Heh, speaking of which, I lifted this from an FM and meant to ask to use it, but I lost my notes on where I got it from...

Does anyone know who made this & in what FM, and (to that person) can I have permission to use it (in a different layout than the original, and credit goes without saying)? This is one small part I need & this does the job so painlessly and looks so great, it would give me great happiness to use it.

 

Spoiler

Posted Image

#23 nbohr1more

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 11:49 PM

Looks like Sotha's from Lich Queen's:

Spoiler

 


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#24 Judith

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 07:49 AM

It would be troubling for me to see things going in the direction of restricting access to assets and intellectual property, when we are sitting and basing all our work on a huge pile of free stuff, that took a lot of people a lot of work and dedication to build. The way to honour that effort is to contribute and keep the generosity and sharing going, imo.

 

I didn't mean restricting access to content, but restricting modification. If maps were to be exported or "baked" in a separate file, or assets put into packs for others to use in editor, but without the ability to extract them, that would severly limit any attempt to go overboard with any asset you make. Right now only stuff like .ase models is safe, since you can only export them. Everything else can be unpacked and modified, which some people may not like.



#25 Springheel

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 08:31 AM

And on the other side of the coin, we do say in our license than any contribution in any FM is under the creative commons license, and by submitting to the FM they are accepting their assets are under that license and they have no legal claim to stop any other user from using it. That's what open source projects are all about.

 

 

 

This is a very encouraging community that is constantly sharing and helping each other build things, and these issues are almost never a problem.

 

But it might be worth separating a few things. 

 

Assets:  Using a lamp or set piece in a released mission is one thing.  I think it would be rare for a mapper to have a problem with someone using an asset like that once their mission is released, though credit should be given.

 

Map Sections: What the original post is referring to when it says "Recently, there have been a few cases where missions in development have taken too much design work from existing missions" is probably this: http://forums.thedar...-beta/?p=418604

Copying and pasting an entire section of someone else's map into your map, without doing anything to make it less recognizable, is quite another thing.  There's nothing terribly wrong with copying sections of someone's map to learn from, or because you don't know how to make a vaulted ceiling or something, but at the very least you should modify it--altering the layout, changing the textures, etc--so that it's not exactly the same as the other map. 

 

Missions:  Altering someone's mission without their permission is a much more serious offense, IMO.  It's an entirely different category than the above.  There is a grey area when it's an issue of bugs introduced by TDM updates, and the original mapper cannot be reached.  But outside of that rare occurrence, no one should ever be altering someone's map without asking.  And if someone gets permission to fix a bug, then they should fix the bug and that's it, not go in and make dozens of architectural and cosmetic changes

 

The fact that we almost never have to talk about these issues is a testament to how self-evident they are.  Even if someone makes a mistake, the community is pretty forgiving.  But if someone repeatedly continues the same behavior after being asked not to...that's going to create a stronger reaction.


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