Modding Community Rules/Guidelines [Updated Feb 24 2015]

Discussion in 'Starbound Modding' started by mollygos, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Enzer_DeLeo

    Enzer_DeLeo Void-Bound Voyager

    Debatable, mods by their very nature are considered derivative work under US copyright law. For derivative works you'd actually have to take an issue to court to be granted a unique copyright, else you would automatically fall under Chucklefish's copyright. I agree about giving content in mod packs credit and linking to their mod pages, however I disagree with needing permissions to make modifications since users have a protected right to make non-commercial modifications and non-commercial derivative works by law. A "Mod A is the original work of Modder A (link to their page) with modifications made for this pack by (whoever made the modifications)" would be proper etiquette and be fully protected under most copyright laws.
  2. Akari_Enderwolf

    Akari_Enderwolf Pangalactic Porcupine

    Ok, to all you guys and girls debating the whole "permission" thing, if the dev's, moderators, and admins say you need permission from the mod creator to include it in a pack, then you need permission to include it in a pack. Regardless of weather there is a law outside the forum saying permission is needed or not. There's no use in arguing it, if a mod creator doesn't want their stuff in a pack they can just report the pack for not getting permission and get it taken down. There's no big issue there.
  3. Enzer_DeLeo

    Enzer_DeLeo Void-Bound Voyager

    Reread the OP again, you can only report it in that way if the mod pack has a version of your mod that is modified from the original. If the mod pack contains the mod and the pack gives proper credit and links, the devs say that they are in the good, in which case you can't report them for packaging your mod (which is good, since this both cuts down modders potentially being flooded with requests and prevents the possibility of certain modders withholding permission due to biased reasons).
    Grugore likes this.
  4. Chalky

    Chalky Void-Bound Voyager

    Precisely, Chucklefish are the primary rights holder here.

    I agree too that having to obtain permission before modifying a mod in any way is less than ideal - imagine you want to include two mods, but they have an item that has the same name. You have to ask permission to simply rename that item? What if you can't track down the author of an out of date mod? Is it now impossible to update it to work on the latest version just because you can't get explicit permission to tweak a few files?

    It would be best to simply require people to credit the source of any content they're using that is not their own.

    The modification permission thing is fairly unenforceable anyway. You can write a second mod that overrides the things you want to modify in the first mod. The only time when a "modification" of an existing mod would apply is when you're creating derivative graphics - but even then, those graphics will be originally based on the official graphics so the line between "similar to" and "modified from" will be blurry as hell.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  5. Enzer_DeLeo

    Enzer_DeLeo Void-Bound Voyager

    Mollygos will have to clarify this a bit more, but I read the "permission to modify" being modifications beyond what it takes to get mods to run together. For example you could need simple modifications to make two weapons mods work together, but if you then go a step further and begin to modify the properties of the weapons added by one of the mods, then it would be an issue. Like, modifying a mod to the point where it no longer plays like the original mod would be an issue, because your mod pack is portraying that heavily modified version as the original modder's work. If you go in that direction, you are better off making a completely separate derivative work and just give credit that it is based off of SoAndSo's mod. I don't know if I am making myself clear in this, but permission of modify for modpacks seems reasonable depending on what context, or maybe rather degree, of modification. If you need to change a mod that much, again it would be better to just make your own derivative work instead of portraying someone else's mod as something it is not. If I am correct in my reading of what Mollygos originally posted, then there should be no issue and this will be great for the growth of the community.

    If it means any and all modifications, even the ones for the sake of compatibility, well, I don't know what to say because that is going to cause issues. As you said, it is completely unenforceable and people will be ripping their hair out checking every single mod pack. That is why I think it is for larger modifications were the mod is transformed into something that looks like, but doesn't function like, the original work. :p
    ohgoditburns likes this.
  6. ohgoditburns

    ohgoditburns Void-Bound Voyager

    The case I'm particularly interested in is reusing art assets (parallax, bullets, etc.) from other mod packs in new biomes and weapons.

    The polite thing to do, it seems to me, is to credit the original creators for those art assets. (And the really polite thing to do is to ask permission)
    NerArth and Kyrosiris like this.
  7. Chalky

    Chalky Void-Bound Voyager

    It's murky as hell though - I mean, say I modify the properties of a weapon so that it's not massively overpowered compared to the other weapons in the mods I'm putting into the pack? Sounds pretty vital in order to get the mods to run well together. Adding/removing elements so that they don't have redundant components and work together (like the different forms of "power" in minecraft) seems pretty sensible but could involve pretty significant modifications.

    The line is pretty difficult to draw. At one end there's taking the artwork from a mod and using it in your own mod which seems like pretty bad form to do if you don't communicate with the original mod maker, but there are a million increments between that and using a mod as-is with no modifications, with varying degrees of acceptability - much of which comes down to what the person claims their motive for making the alterations were.
  8. Silent Strider

    Silent Strider Pangalactic Porcupine

    IMHO, the best alternative would be to add a few options when adding a mod to the mod database, allowing both mod authors to choose if they want their work included in compilations and compilation authors to easily determine if a mod can be included.

    First, a pair of checkboxes; first one for the author to allow redistribution of the mod without alteration (in a mod compilation, for example), the second one (available if the first one is checked) for the author to allow redistributing modified versions of the mod. With this clearly shown on the mod page, making sure the author allows redistributing changed versions of his mod would be easy, and individual authors could easily opt out of it.

    Second, add a standardized way for authors to list other mods included inside their own mod, and require such listing for mod compilations. With a machine readable listing the mod database could do some nifty things, such as crediting a download to each individual mod when the compilation is downloaded, or warning the compilation author whenever any mod he is bundling in his compilation is updated. It would also make it easy for users of the compilation to drop the compilation and install the individual mods, if they so desire.

    Using assets from other mods could either be handled outside the system - in other words, ask for permission - or else authorization to do so might be considered included in the authorization to distribute modified copies of the mods, with the same requirements to credit the original author. I think both ways can work.

    BTW, it's no coincidence that what I described is similar to how the Creative Commons license chooser works; it's a model that already works in other places, and (if implemented using the actual CC licenses) is also legally sound and binding. Not that I think there will ever be a lawsuit over some mod being redistributed, but shooting down the possibility from the start might be a good idea regardless, as it defuses bad situations before they even have a chance to happen.
    Aeon, Razziel_dsd and Thundercraft like this.
  9. Kyrosiris

    Kyrosiris Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    That is what I did for my Estus Flasks mod. Both the creator of the Bonfire as well as the Flasks themselves gave me permission (albeit on Reddit) to utilize their spritework, and I have graciously linked back to the original Reddit threads where the spritework came from, as accreditation.

    If either of them had said no, then I would've either kiboshed the mod (before it ever made it to the Chuckelfish community page, mind you) or just simply made it "better bandages" and not "estus flasks" (as my aptitude for spritework is awful).
    Thundercraft likes this.
  10. squirrel_killer-

    squirrel_killer- Sandwich Man

    As someone who mods heavily in many games I am often the only person on my servers who is actually able to sit down and mess with configs, mods, compatibility issues, and so on. A modpack is often an easy thing to put together for the less savvy players. It also tends to draw communities together beyond your small circle. These packs are not complicated to make, just collect a batch of compatible mods that improve the game in a nice and complete feeling manner, zip them together, upload. People sort out the good from that bad afterwards. The mods are one extraction and the config issues are fixed. I do not see the issue with modpacks, only bad ones which are "kitchensink packs" with no real direction or focus. Yet for there to be good packs and for more players to enjoy a modded experience then there must be bad.
  11. Aidan

    Aidan Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    ^ This pretty much is my opinion on the matter. But I'd also like to add the mod creators should have a choice if they do not want people adding it to compilations though.
  12. Med

    Med Phantasmal Quasar

    Why would you... say this? Why would you tell us what we wouldn't want? I don't want credit, I want good mods.

    I get that there's something nice about mentioning the original author, but getting permission to upload an altered version? That should be our choice. Don't like it? Don't download.

    This is such a strange double-standard! Chucklefish, or whatever you collectively call yourselves, has courteously given full permission to alter and upload any of their files... So why don't you expect the same courtesy of mod makers? Their mods wouldn't exist without the standard Chucklefish began, alter and upload to your heart's content.
    Yuuma, Aeon and Thundercraft like this.
  13. Annuschka

    Annuschka Big Damn Hero

    I'm putting A LOT of time and hard work into my mods. And I want them to be downloaded and rated. I certaintly do not want anyone to just grab my stuff, with or without a few changes, and post it as an own mod, because that would be essentially stealing my downloads and my ratings...
    I do want to see my mods among the top mods, sorry.

    That said, I did give permission to include my AnTiHair in an mod pack, because I was asked nicely and there is a good reason (compatibility). And I also gave permission to people who want to use my art, if asked nicely.:proper:

    But just putting some popular mods in a folder and uploading it? Sure way to get likes and good ratings for other peoples time and work. :lod:

    Sure, we can alter Chucklefishs original Starbound files, but we still support their game with it. We don't release it as a new, rival game. I want good mods too, and good mods are mods where a lot of work and time was invested. Not copy pasting stuff. If someone has an idea how to improve my mod, than just write me a message, and I'll credit you. Instead of copying my files and releasing it as an own mod, flooding the mod list with copied stuff. What kind of strange argumentation oO

    Asking is the least thing one can do. SERIOUSLY.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
    NerArth likes this.
  14. Silent Strider

    Silent Strider Pangalactic Porcupine

    It's why what I would prefer is an opt-in mechanism for modders, so anyone that is fine with his mod being repackaged into a collection can give previous authorization.

    And, if possible, I would want to see a way for mod collections to credit their component mods in such a way that the individual mods are awarded downloads when the compilation is downloaded.

    My interest as someone that is mostly a mod user is to see mods, and modders, dealt with in as fair a way as possible, but also in a way that makes it easy for compilations and collaborations to appear.
  15. Magmarashi

    Magmarashi Cosmic Narwhal

    There is already and opt-in. By uploading your file to the official mod section, you are agreeing to the terms and policies that have been laid out. If you don't like the policies that come with uploading your file to the official repository, then don't upload it to the official repository. It's that simple.

    No, actually...

    the very least is spelled out quite clearly right there in nice blue text that I know we can all read and comprehend just fine.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
    NerArth and Enzer_DeLeo like this.
  16. Enzer_DeLeo

    Enzer_DeLeo Void-Bound Voyager

    I don't know, maybe this is just me, but this seems like such a stupid and petty thing to be such a high concern and reminds me a lot of people who are desperate for attention and approval seeking. This isn't Facebook or Reddit, "download numbers" and "ratings" are completely immaterial things, you don't get a gold sticker on the forums for having a mod that has been downloading X amount of times and I'm pretty sure people making mod packs don't give a shit about these things. In every game I've seen that has mod packs, this is what the people compiling them is thinking "This mod is awesome, and these other mods are awesome, however when working together they become something even more, something that is kicking rad and I want to share this compilation with others so that they can enjoy this awesome experience as well." People making mod packs are not just randomly grabbing the most popular mods in hopes to get "good ratings and download numbers" that is stupid, and even then when people compliment a mod pack, they are really complimenting the mods within the pack which means they are complimenting the original mod authors.

    Such a weird thing to worry and fret about. :wtf:


    Sorry, just reread this part, NOBODY who is making a mod pack is claiming that the mods are their own and by Chucklefish's own policy people compiling mod packs MUST give credit to the original authors and link back to the original mod's webpage. This is such a stupid thing to worry about.
    Yuuma, Aeon and Magmarashi like this.
  17. Magmarashi

    Magmarashi Cosmic Narwhal

    You know, I remember a time when you made mods for a game because you wanted to make a fun mod for a game you enjoyed, and you shared it with people because you wanted to see people using it and loving it and sharing it around. Now, apparently, it's all about the download likes and internet celebrity recognition, so much so that you have to have an iron-grip total control over distribution and even being fully credited just isn't enough.
  18. Annuschka

    Annuschka Big Damn Hero

    "and post it as an own mod"

    okay, wrong wording: and post it as an individual mod. I didn't meant authorship, but the fact that it is another mod in the list.

    Yes, but if you do stuff just for fun, you can keep it on your hard disk. Everyone is happy about feedback or suggestions. It keeps the motivation up and brings in new ideas. But there is no need for an user to download an individual mod if there is a mod pack with all popular mods around. And if there are a couple of mods in it, the player can't really notice which function/asset belongs to which original mod, further minimizing the feedback the modder gets.

    Besides, working on a high quality, succesfull mod can in fact help you get a real job. Or at least improve your programming/art to get better (where, again, feedback from the players is crucial). So, yeah, call me petty, but I'm proud of my work... (besides the fun). And want at least a notice / request for mod packs.

    I think modders should work together consensually.
    Julyuary and Razziel_dsd like this.
  19. Magmarashi

    Magmarashi Cosmic Narwhal

    Except if they don't want to have all the other mods that come along with the pack, or if they want their own small setup of mods and don't want to filter through a huge pack. Saying there is 'no reason' is just completely untrue and a dishonest representation of the niche that modpacks fill.

    This happens so rarely that it's beyond laughable to mention.

    You make a Starbound mod, and post it through the Starbound forums, which means accepting the Starbound Forum Policies about Modding and Modpacks, and you HAVE GIVEN THAT CONSENT. It's not really a super hard concept at all.
    Yuuma, Aeon, WoxandWarf and 2 others like this.
  20. Chalky

    Chalky Void-Bound Voyager

    I think modders should work towards enhancing the experience of those who use the mods, not towards inflating their own profile at the expense of players. Being credited is enough for people to appreciate who made the parts of the modpack that they really enjoy. Demanding that everyone ask your permission only makes sense in 2 situations: a) you intend on refusing permission, which is unreasonable, or b) you just like having power over people, which is very petty.

    The fact is that if you work on a successful mod, then you'll get loads of credit even when it's included in a mod pack. You don't need to receive a PM asking for permission just so that you can say "Yes, your gracious lord mod maker grants you the honour of the ability to include this mod in your pack". The only possible purpose it could serve is to buff your ego a bit. If you're making mods for that sort of reason then you probably need to re-evaluate things.

    In the majority of modding communities, people are really happy that others enjoy their mods and want to download them. They love getting included in mod packs because it means their mods reach a wider audience and more people get to enjoy their work. People follow the progress of big mods that they enjoy and donate to support them.

    Wouldn't it just be wonderful if the starbound community was like that? People making mods because they enjoy it and want to make players lives better, rather than wanting to lord it over people?

    That's what modders should be working towards.
    Yuuma, Aeon, Magmarashi and 1 other person like this.

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