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Relicensing the game media


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Yes originally the NC part got tacked on because some massive repository required (under the SA part) that we keep it, and we don't have a paper trail. I doubt that the NC part of our license is

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 textur

Having a legal entity makes sense & is fine by itself. I think the issue was more about what formalizing would mean for the team and workflow, because then (depending on what country we do it thro

I really appreciate this thread and the intentions behind it. As someone who wholly believes in the principles of the GNU GPL and CC-BY-SA licenses, having the game licensed under a share-alike non-NC license would be better for the public good. I personally have no qualms with people reusing assets for commercial projects as long as credit is given to the original authors and as long as they're willing to share their modifications under the same terms.

However, like people have been claiming, this is a very difficult task for the Dark Mod. It would require a near full replacement and reorganization of the artwork pipeline. In my opinion the only way this could be achieved would be by joining efforts with similar projects and create shared artwork assets pool while sourcing a bunch of stuff from Open Game Art and commissions. I'm not sure if the effort is even worth at this point, and I would rather put more focus on promoting the game in different ways and getting more people interested in creating FMs.

On a side note, I think the biggest impediments preventing TDM from reaching a broader audience are the lack of a full (mini) campaign with an integrated tutorial replacing the current one, and the poor state of the mission downloader interface, which makes it difficult to read and unappealing for people to explore it (which is already being worked on). Other than that, people could organize a bunch of live streams to promote new levels and such. It did wonders for OpenXcom, and I think it could work well for TDM too.

 

Edited by zergrush
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1 hour ago, zergrush said:

On a side note, I think the biggest impediments preventing TDM from reaching a broader audience are the lack of a full (mini) campaign with an integrated tutorial replacing the current one, and the poor state of the mission downloader interface, which makes it difficult to read and unappealing for people to explore it (which is already being worked on).

I agree with that. I fear that many people don't see TDM as a real game, rather a wild collection of small missions, which they have to get themselves to boot. A full campaign would be something different!

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10 hours ago, wesp5 said:

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 ;)?

www.Gamasutra.com

Edited by Anderson

"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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I don't think the lack of a full campaign is the reason, being that there are plenty of great quality campaigns. At least the friends I showed the game to didn't feel that was a problem.

I think the problem is more basic than that: when people are browsing new games to play they don't find The Dark Mod in that situation. It doesn't have to do with how many prizes or news you can find about the game, it's when raw searching on Google or in gaming platforms when it's most critical it to be discoverable.

Edited by Alberto Salvia Novella
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1 hour ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

I don't think the lack of a full campaign is the reason, being that there are plenty of great quality campaigns. At least the friends I showed the game to didn't feel that was a problem.

I think the problem is more basic than that: when people are browsing new games to play they don't find The Dark Mod in that situation. It doesn't have to do with how many prizes or news you can find about the game, it's when raw searching on Google or in gaming platforms when it's most critical it to be discoverable.

I agree but it will be 100$ - https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/gettingstarted/appfee

I think the payment might not be enforced for The Dark Mod which passed Steam Greenlight before the 100$ fee was introduced, but who knows?

Also the aforementioned problem with using assets (many from sources to which links are "dead") for which there is no way of proving they can be used with permission from their creators. https://partner.steamgames.com/steamdirect. Perhaps in the given circumstances it would be reasonable to wait and/or promote the game on other distribution platforms - GOG, Epic Store or other. More and more instances of Valve being defeated over unfair anti-consumer practices might lead to more relaxed rules on this aspect over time as well. https://kotaku.com/french-court-says-valve-must-allow-steam-users-to-resel-1838259529

Thank you for your understanding.

 

Edited by Anderson
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"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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13 minutes ago, Anderson said:

it will be 100$

That wouldn't be difficult to pay, since we are plenty of people here. I give $25.

14 minutes ago, Anderson said:

Also the aforementioned problem with using assets (many from sources to which links are "dead") for which there is no way of proving they can be used from their creators.

They simply say "you shouldn’t publish on Steam content you don’t own or have adequate rights to", but they say nothing about you having to accurately proof it.

Nevertheless I'm going to ask them, and post their reply here.

28 minutes ago, Anderson said:

Perhaps in the given circumstances it would be reasonable to wait and/or promote the game on other distribution platforms.

Likely that would lead to the same result.

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The message to Steam Support has been:

Quote

As seen here:
http://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?/topic/20105-relicensing-the-game-media

The Dark Mod community is discoursing about the possibility of publishing their game on Steam.

But there's a doubt we have. The game was started plenty of years ago, and it's made upon a mix of contributed content and promotional content.

That content had the permissions of being freely used as long as it was for non comercial use, as The Dark Mod is.

The potential issue is that many of these websites and contributors disappeared long time ago. We liked to know if there could be any issue with that while publishing on Steam.

As specimen these threads should cover most of where the project gathered textures:

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

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

 

Edited by Alberto Salvia Novella
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3 hours ago, AluminumHaste said:

Part of the process of getting on steam was creating a legal entity and having someone responsible.

Who's going to stick their neck out?

 If I remember correctly this was one of the main problems: The legal entity would be liable if any mission author would publish a mission with licenced content and its owner sued. I think it was not possible to transfer the responsibility for mission contents to the mission author and noone was willing to take the risk. Especially, considering that increased exposure would likely increase the number of FM authors (which is, of course, what we want), which in turn would increase the chances of having a black sheep among them. We are all aware that the chances are not too high, but even the slim chance of a lawsuit is dissuasive enough.

Edited by Destined
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Actually legal entities are there to separate your personal assets from the project assets in case of demand. Otherwise your personal goodies are already exposed. If you are behind a legal entity they cannot take more than what the legal entity owns. What remembers me of this video.

By the way Steam Support replied with an useless generic message:

Quote

You need to own or have rights to publish any content you distribute in your game.

 

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14 minutes ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

Actually legal entities are there to separate your personal assets from the project assets in case of demand. Otherwise your personal goodies are already exposed. If you are behind a legal entity they cannot take more than what the legal entity owns. What remembers me of this video.

By the way Steam Support replied with an useless generic message:

 

Welcome, to 2017! Thanks for coming out!

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Having a legal entity makes sense & is fine by itself. I think the issue was more about what formalizing would mean for the team and workflow, because then (depending on what country we do it through) you have to have trustees / board members, a constitution and bylaws, annual reports, sometimes tax forms, etc., and generally team members consider themselves fans just like anybody else and weren't all that hyped about formalizing. (I'm not particularly worried about being sued over the assets and that side of it, because it probably would have already happened by now if it ever would.)

I think at the root of most issues is that we're a really small team that does this in our free time as a labor of love. We could be more ambitious if we had more people that we could trust (i.e,. have been a constructive part of the scene for a long time & has the time & initiative to do the work) and that could do everything that needs to be done in the way it needs to be done. The chicken-egg problem there is that we could do better promotion if we had more people, but it takes the promotion to get the more people to do it.

A lot of it too is that we have a system that's been working for us, and people stick with what works.

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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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2 hours ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

Actually legal entities are there to separate your personal assets from the project assets in case of demand. Otherwise your personal goodies are already exposed. If you are behind a legal entity they cannot take more than what the legal entity owns. What remembers me of this video.

By the way Steam Support replied with an useless generic message:

 

The Dark Mod would be more in the NGO / Non-profit side of entities, those rules would govern all rights and obligations here. Usually these rules are more relaxed in terms of taxes, acquisitions policies, reports and all of that. Especially since there are many NGO's that are inactive, so what's there to report? It's more about maintenance after creating the entity (the hardest part) but it should be in a jurisdiction with friendly laws to NGO's.

 

Overall, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Just conduct a survey / ask other developers of similar games that got on Steam with assets from different sources and try to see what practices work best - "No More Room in Hell" (turned standalone game from mod to Half Life 2 with maps designed by random people), "Alien Swarm" (developed on the Source engine again and published as a free game with support from Valve), "Heroine's Quest : The Herald of Ragnarok" (free adventure game on Steam), "Moonbase Alpha" (free game with content from NASA), "World of Guns: Gun Disassembly" (free but they have DLC), "Medusa's Labyrinth" (free game with a DLC just for symbolic support), "Only If" (free adventure), " Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist" and other free games.

There may be more developers who made it with free games on Steam, but these seem the most relevant to the situation with The Dark Mod.

 

Edited by Anderson
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"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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1 hour ago, Alberto Salvia Novella said:

I just realized an easy way to promote the game close to what we are talking here, which is publishing it on Flathub.

Speaking of promoting TDM, I emailed Blues News and they agree to make announcements for each new mission :)! This would result in TDM regularily being mentioned on at least one gaming news site. Maybe we could contact other news sites too? Also is there a way to get download numbers of the mod? To see whether something like this has any influence at all. And where would I get info about newls released missions? The internal downloader or the board here?

Edited by wesp5
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21 hours ago, zergrush said:

I really appreciate this thread and the intentions behind it. As someone who wholly believes in the principles of the GNU GPL and CC-BY-SA licenses, having the game licensed under a share-alike non-NC license would be better for the public good. I personally have no qualms with people reusing assets for commercial projects as long as credit is given to the original authors and as long as they're willing to share their modifications under the same terms.

That's my personal perspective too, and why I don't use "non-commercial use only" licenses for my own projects. There's a good reason the GPL does not exclude commercial use, and it's not because the FSF are a bunch of raging capitalists. It's because defining "commercial use" is actually not all that easy (I've seen some lawyers suggest that using an NC-only asset on a free Wordpress blog might be a violation, because the presence of ads makes it commercial use), and such restrictions are unnecessary anyway provided the "sharealike" clauses are complied with. Indeed, it's actually quite common for commercial users of GPL code (IBM, Red Hat, even Microsoft these days) to contribute valuable improvements to that code, so locking all of these companies out of the ecosystem would not benefit anybody.

However, changing the license of the Dark Mod itself is pretty much impossible for reasons that others have explained.

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25 minutes ago, wesp5 said:

Speaking of promoting TDM, I emailed Blues News and they agree to make announcements for each new mission :)! This would result in TDM regularily being mentioned on at least one gaming news site. Maybe we could contact other news sites too? Also is there a way to get download numbers of the mod? To see whether something like this has any influence at all. And where would I get info about newls released missions? The internal downloader or the board here?

Well, the release threads on the forums would probably be the most accurate info.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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6 hours ago, wesp5 said:

Speaking of promoting TDM, I emailed Blues News and they agree to make announcements for each new mission :)! This would result in TDM regularily being mentioned on at least one gaming news site. Maybe we could contact other news sites too? Also is there a way to get download numbers of the mod? To see whether something like this has any influence at all. And where would I get info about newls released missions? The internal downloader or the board here?

 

Who is going to be responsible for putting together press releases and sending them to these sites?

 

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56 minutes ago, Springheel said:

Who is going to be responsible for putting together press releases and sending them to these sites?

This isn't something like a press release. When I update my patches, I get a short mentioning in his "Evening Patches" section! This should be enough for new TDM missions and if nobody else wants to do it, I could start it from this month on...

Edited by wesp5
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It's more likely to succeed if one person takes on responsibility for it. 

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My two sense is, this particular topic has been brought up and beaten to death various times over the years. It would require a whole lotta work, for minimal gain, maybe even some loss.

 

So it's not gonna happen. As a player and a fan, I honestly don't really want it to. Rampant commercialism is a big part of what has ruined modern games, to the point that I won't even download them for free.

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3 hours ago, wesp5 said:

This isn't something like a press release. When I update my patches, I get a short mentioning in his "Evening Patches" section! This should be enough for new TDM missions and if nobody else wants to do it, I could start it from this month on...

That would be cool. Would it just be too easy and cheap to copy/paste the first post in new FM threads  for his blog or give him a link to the forum post for said FM?

While the original idea seems like a long shot and pain in the arse to implement I admire the passion behind it. The mod could always use more exposure, so instead that is perhaps where the focus ought to be.

Edited by Jedi_Wannabe

As my father used to say, "A grenade a day keeps the enemy at bay!"

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