Why "Command" (Red Pill) will fail

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Vincenzo Beretta

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Dec 14, 2011, 1:46:51 PM12/14/11
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Confront this page (about modding):
http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706

with *what is already happening* with Armored Brigade:
http://www.armoredbrigade.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=17c695503ef09e46b8f7a849c6ca22a3

I.e. "The holy forces of righteousness involved in a crusade against...
their delusions, basically"

vs.

"Open beta and an already buzzing mod community"

Guess where my bets (and my $$$s) are. Good luck to "Command" anyway - they
need it.

[Space left intentionally blank to allow for the unavoidable
counter-ranting]

RobP

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Dec 15, 2011, 3:59:29 AM12/15/11
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On Dec 14, 6:46 pm, "Vincenzo Beretta"
> with *what is already  happening* with Armored Brigade:http://www.armoredbrigade.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=17c695503...
>
> I.e. "The holy forces of righteousness involved in a crusade against...
> their delusions, basically"
>
> vs.
>
> "Open beta and an already buzzing mod community"
>
> Guess where my bets (and my $$$s) are. Good luck to "Command" anyway - they
> need it.
>
> [Space left intentionally blank to allow for the unavoidable
> counter-ranting]

In some ways I think Red Pill are taking the wrong approach here. I
*think* I can see why they are doing it - they are afraid of all the
Db compatibility issues that the current Harpoon suffers from. Never
the less I think they are wrong to do this. For example, I'm ex-Royal
Navy and there are some parameters that I might feel I want to play
with to make things more representative of my experiences - but it
sounds like this would not be possible.

For the game I'm working on, I provide Map Editor, Scenario Editor and
Army Editor. The latter even has facilities to allow people to export
their units or whole armies to other players! Each unit/weapon etc has
an internal unique identifier (Guid) that will allow one to have
multiple versions of the same unit. For instance I might have 8 or 9
different models representing a hoplite formation, each provided by a
different person and each working in harmony with the other :)

I think it is important to give the community all the tools that they
would need to create their own battles.... their way. That way users
can try out what-if situations. 'What-If' the Persian 6ft spear was
the same length as a hoplites 9ft spear?' 'What if' the Persians had
heavier amour?' All these things and more can be explored by the user
base, which adds to the value of the product.

RobP
http://AncientArmies.co.uk

Holdit

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Dec 15, 2011, 5:18:28 AM12/15/11
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In article <ed0b735b-efdd-4289-a53e-002008b4b559
@y18g2000yqy.googlegroups.com>, robap...@gmail.com says...
I wonder if there isn't a way to square that circle by takinfg a leaf
out of the miniatures wargaming book.

In miniatures scenarios, you will frequently see Special Scenario Rules
i.e. a change to the normal rules for the purpose of that scenario only
to take account of atypical conditions, performance etc.

Now, this may seem idiotic or naive because my knowledge of programming
is very basic but...what if a scenario file could include a set of
changes to the database, applicable to that scenario only? So...the game
loads, with the approved database of which only one version
exists...player loads scenario and when the scenario loads it changes
those database values that the scenario designer wanted changed. When
the scenario ends, the vanilla database is automatically reloaded.

All the scenario designer would need would be a database "map" in order
to know where to make the changes. The game designer can relax knowing
that here aren't umpteem versions of the database flying around. Loading
a scenario might also include a screen to advise the player (or just
give the option to view) scenario-specific database changes. A good
scenario designer, would of course mention these in the
description/readme anyway.

Just a thought.

Holdit

--
"In the language of diplomacy, talks can be warm, (everyone happy)
cordial (everyone reasonable), constructive (tricky), frank (difficult)
or robust (flying crockery)."
(Lise Hand)

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 15, 2011, 5:35:18 AM12/15/11
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I sincerely don't think this will be a problem at all for Command.

I think they're smart enough to figure out that all it's needed is to allow in the scenario editor to change units stats, and incorporating the modified data into a "local" scenario database. Very much like WitE design team eventually did, when they figured out this was detracting from people creating scenarios and variants for the Grand Campaign.

It's not really rocket science.

Holdit

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Dec 15, 2011, 6:03:00 AM12/15/11
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In article <ed0b735b-efdd-4289-a53e-002008b4b559
@y18g2000yqy.googlegroups.com>, robap...@gmail.com says...

HermanH

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Dec 15, 2011, 6:50:08 AM12/15/11
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On Dec 15, 4:03 am, Holdit <holditREM...@THEindigoCAPS.ie> wrote:
> In article <ed0b735b-efdd-4289-a53e-002008b4b559
>
> Now, this may seem idiotic or naive because my knowledge of programming
> is very basic but...what if a scenario file could include a set of
> changes to the database, applicable to that scenario only? So...the game
> loads, with the approved database of which only one version
> exists...player loads scenario and when the scenario loads it changes
> those database values that the scenario designer wanted changed. When
> the scenario ends, the vanilla database is automatically reloaded.

IIRC, this idea was tried with the old Harpoon II in the 1990s. As
far as I understood it, a scenario was written with a specific
database. A small third-party utility existed that would extract only
those elements used within a scenario from the complete database into
a new *.SDB file. That way, each and every scenario had its own
personalized/customized database. This meant that the *.SDB file
would contain all the information required to run that specific
scenario thus database/scenario compatibility was 100% guaranteed.

There do not appear to be many scenarios written using this method. I
do not know why this is the case. One possible explanation may have
been the awkwardness in creating and using the *.SDB files.

Mike Kreuzer

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Dec 15, 2011, 7:14:18 AM12/15/11
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A WW2 mod of armoured brigade... now that would be something...

Regards,
Mike Kreuzer
www.mikekreuzer.com

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 15, 2011, 7:11:46 AM12/15/11
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Sorry Holdit, didn't read your answer :S

Yes, basically that.

Holdit

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Dec 15, 2011, 8:02:03 AM12/15/11
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In article <29843646.197.1323951106892.JavaMail.geo-discussion-
forums@vbwb6>, miquel....@gmail.com says...
> Sorry Holdit, didn't read your answer :S
>
> Yes, basically that.
>

No problem, at least that tells me my idea wasn't as off the wall as I
thought...

:-)

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 15, 2011, 8:10:30 AM12/15/11
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Certainly it wasn't.

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Dec 15, 2011, 10:15:31 AM12/15/11
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On 14 dec, 19:46, "Vincenzo Beretta" <vincenzo.bere...@fastwebnet.it>
wrote:
> Confront this page (about modding):http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706
>
> with *what is already  happening* with Armored Brigade:http://www.armoredbrigade.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=17c695503...
>
> I.e. "The holy forces of righteousness involved in a crusade against...
> their delusions, basically"
>
> vs.
>
> "Open beta and an already buzzing mod community"
>
> Guess where my bets (and my $$$s) are. Good luck to "Command" anyway - they
> need it.
>
> [Space left intentionally blank to allow for the unavoidable
> counter-ranting]

The only rant you'll get from me is why the hell do you assume anyone
in here is stupid enough to counter-rant against what is a spot-on
observation

Then again, given how many Harpoon guys there are ... you know, those
guys who'll buy *anything* naval that gets published, I think you're
dead wrong :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Giftzwerg

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Dec 15, 2011, 3:40:25 PM12/15/11
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In article <6090071.99.1323945318154.JavaMail.geo-discussion-
forums@yqja5>, miquel....@gmail.com says...

> I sincerely don't think this will be a problem at all for Command.
>
> I think they're smart enough to figure out that all it's needed is to allow in the scenario editor to change units stats, and incorporating the modified data into a "local" scenario database. Very much like WitE design team eventually did, when they figured out this was detracting from people creating scenarios and variants for the Grand Campaign.
>
> It's not really rocket science.

I think the optimal solution would be to have an "official" database -
locked down tight by the designers - and then put "modified" databases
into the same folders with modded scenarios. Set a flag, and the modded
scenario would then read info from the "official" database, and then
super-cede it with the modded database elements when required.

In this fashion, the user-created scenario needing modified data would
simply overwrite the official data only when required to play the user-
created scenario. There's then no need to have multiple databases in
play - there's still only one - modified via a flag from a user-created
scenario that said, "Oh, and to play this one (and only this one) we
need to read additional data supplied for it."

The official database stays clean, but user scenarios can load further
info when called for. Everyone's happy.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"'Occupy' is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at
anarchy, to the extent that the 'movement' - HAH! Some 'movement',
except if the word 'bowel' is attached - is anything more than an ugly
fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who
should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for
themselves."
- Frank Miller

Giftzwerg

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Dec 15, 2011, 3:44:55 PM12/15/11
to
In article <MPG.2953e4427...@news-europe.giganews.com>,
holdit...@THEindigoCAPS.ie says...

> I wonder if there isn't a way to square that circle by takinfg a leaf
> out of the miniatures wargaming book.
>
> In miniatures scenarios, you will frequently see Special Scenario Rules
> i.e. a change to the normal rules for the purpose of that scenario only
> to take account of atypical conditions, performance etc.
>
> Now, this may seem idiotic or naive because my knowledge of programming
> is very basic but...what if a scenario file could include a set of
> changes to the database, applicable to that scenario only? So...the game
> loads, with the approved database of which only one version
> exists...player loads scenario and when the scenario loads it changes
> those database values that the scenario designer wanted changed. When
> the scenario ends, the vanilla database is automatically reloaded.
>
> All the scenario designer would need would be a database "map" in order
> to know where to make the changes. The game designer can relax knowing
> that here aren't umpteem versions of the database flying around. Loading
> a scenario might also include a screen to advise the player (or just
> give the option to view) scenario-specific database changes. A good
> scenario designer, would of course mention these in the
> description/readme anyway.
>
> Just a thought.

Exactly so. All sorts of games include "special rules" or "special
units" applicable *only to that scenario*. I recall almost the first
PANZERBLITZ scenario I played had a special rule along the lines of,
"the German tanks should be PzKwIIIs, so cut these specific values of
the PzKwIV counters by X."

No change to the rules, or unit database, except while playing this
discrete scenario. Everybody's happy.

Paulo Vicente

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Dec 16, 2011, 4:16:44 AM12/16/11
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On Dec 14, 6:46 pm, "Vincenzo Beretta"
<vincenzo.bere...@fastwebnet.it> wrote:
> Confront this page (about modding):http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706
>
> with *what is already  happening* with Armored Brigade:http://www.armoredbrigade.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=17c695503...
>
> I.e. "The holy forces of righteousness involved in a crusade against...
> their delusions, basically"
>
> vs.
>
> "Open beta and an already buzzing mod community"
>
> Guess where my bets (and my $$$s) are. Good luck to "Command" anyway - they
> need it.
>
> [Space left intentionally blank to allow for the unavoidable
> counter-ranting]

Stay away from those Red Pill guys, they're weird, a little funny in
the head.
I've only ever seen one other game with this kind of talk of "stealing
IP" and "policing" and "encryption" about scenarios and mods, it was
Harpoon 3 and they gave of the same crazy vibe.
Seriously, if Civilization and Total War manage to have mountains of
mods produced without this stuff, then why should a small niche naval
warfare project worry about it?
What the heck are they worried about it? Tom might use Sally's ship
without asking? So what? At worst that's an argument in the forums and
such, and that if they even care enough to take it there.
I've got a bad feeling about that community, it's like those movies
where you have a small town that looks all nice and friendly at first
but then you notice that the locals go around taking about "the
lottery" or "the festival" in a creepy way...


eddys...@hotmail.com

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Dec 16, 2011, 4:37:44 AM12/16/11
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On 16 dec, 10:16, Paulo Vicente <paulo.alexandre.vice...@gmail.com>
wrote:
>
> Stay away from those Red Pill guys, they're weird, a little funny in
> the head.
> I've only ever seen one other game with this kind of talk of "stealing
> IP" and "policing" and "encryption" about scenarios and mods, it was
> Harpoon 3 and they gave of the same crazy vibe.

Hmmm - I wonder what they have in common ? - both are naval games you
say - anyone notice any weirdness from the guys who developed Distant
Guns ?

There, ultimate proof of what I expected all along : naval wargamers
are nuts :)

> Seriously, if Civilization and Total War manage to have mountains of
> mods produced without this stuff, then why should a small niche naval
> warfare project worry about it?
> What the heck are they worried about it? Tom might use Sally's ship
> without asking? So what? At worst that's an argument in the forums and
> such, and that if they even care enough to take it there.

It's such a niche, that everyone knows everyone else - in such an
environment matters of ego are hugely important.

> I've got a bad feeling about that community, it's like those movies
> where you have a small town that looks all nice and friendly at first
> but then you notice that the locals go around taking about "the
> lottery" or "the festival" in a creepy way...

LOL - you nailed it !

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 16, 2011, 4:59:39 AM12/16/11
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I think the comparison of the HHQ people with Jim "Look At My Trophies And Shut The Fuck Up" Rose, is at best, far-fetched.

I understand very well their reasons for being so defensive.

> I've got a bad feeling about that community, it's like those movies
> where you have a small town that looks all nice and friendly at first
> but then you notice that the locals go around taking about "the
> lottery" or "the festival" in a creepy way...

If anything, I would compare them with Dustin Hoffman character in "Straw Dogs".

Cheers,

Miquel.

Holdit

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Dec 16, 2011, 5:11:35 AM12/16/11
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In article <7c535746-6596-427b-be58-
0a3a97...@y12g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,
paulo.alexa...@gmail.com says...

> What the heck are they worried about it? Tom might use Sally's ship
> without asking? So what? At worst that's an argument in the forums and
> such, and that if they even care enough to take it there.
> I've got a bad feeling about that community, it's like those movies
> where you have a small town that looks all nice and friendly at first
> but then you notice that the locals go around taking about "the
> lottery" or "the festival" in a creepy way...
>

The Stepford Wargamers!

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Dec 16, 2011, 5:12:42 AM12/16/11
to
On 16 dec, 10:59, Miquel Ramírez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I think the comparison of the HHQ people with Jim "Look At My Trophies And Shut The Fuck Up" Rose, is at best, far-fetched.

Just saying that all - let's call them "excentrics" - seem to be
floating <ahum> towards the naval end of wargame design :)

> I understand very well their reasons for being so defensive.

I don't - the solution to the "database problem" isn't exactly rocket
science and got posted in this thread in several variants which are
all adequate.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 16, 2011, 5:18:25 AM12/16/11
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> > I think the comparison of the HHQ people with Jim "Look At My Trophies And Shut The Fuck Up" Rose, is at best, far-fetched.
>
> Just saying that all - let's call them "excentrics" - seem to be
> floating <ahum> towards the naval end of wargame design :)
>

Ach! The old sailors... too much grog, too much time without women in sight, too much time listening to the gales blowing against the sides of the ship... That doesn't help.

> > I understand very well their reasons for being so defensive.
>
> I don't - the solution to the "database problem" isn't exactly rocket
> science and got posted in this thread in several variants which are
> all adequate.
>

I actually posted on their forums, noting that solution :)

Cheers,

Miquel.

HermanH

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Dec 16, 2011, 5:21:16 AM12/16/11
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On Dec 16, 3:12 am, "eddyster...@hotmail.com"
Neither do I. Just another case of fixing something that was never
broken in the first place. [Something in which their mentor, AGSI,
seems to excel.]

Vincenzo Beretta

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Dec 16, 2011, 5:50:39 AM12/16/11
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> I've got a bad feeling about that community, it's like those
> movies where you have a small town that looks all nice
> and friendly at first but then you notice that the locals
> go around taking about "the lottery" or "the festival" in
> a creepy way...

You nailed it so precisely, it is scary :^)

Also, notice how there cannot be "IP theft" on third-party mods in the first
place. It is the very reason why companies put out tools and/or moddable
games hoping for an hot community of modders to coalesce around their
titles. Not that on the "Red Pill" boards they mention this basic piece of
law (and of reason behind some of the biggest success stories in gaming
ever), of course.

Holdit

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Dec 16, 2011, 6:36:01 AM12/16/11
to
In article <MPG.2954264f9...@news-east.giganews.com>,
giftzw...@hotmail.com says...
>
> Exactly so. All sorts of games include "special rules" or "special
> units" applicable *only to that scenario*. I recall almost the first
> PANZERBLITZ scenario I played had a special rule along the lines of,
> "the German tanks should be PzKwIIIs, so cut these specific values of
> the PzKwIV counters by X."
>

Another good example would be Bill Gray's Dresden 1813 scenario for Age
of Eagles. Heavy rain slowed down movement during the battle, so for
that scenario, a turn represents 45 minutes instead of the usual 30. And
movement rates are also penalised, except for French artillery, because
Napoleon had double-teamed his guns before the battle. As the meerkat in
the advert says, "Seemples!".

I remember doing a redesign a few years ago of the Napoleon's Battles
Waterloo scenario, and included a couple of rules (pure chrome,
admittedly) to allow for the Duke of Cumberland's Hussars buggering off
to Brussels and friendly fire between Prussians and Nassauers.

It's unfortunate that PC games port so much over from boardgames but not
that level of flexibility. Granted you can never get the same level of
flexibility as you can through being able to say, effectively, "let's
pretend that...", but I bet you could get a hell of a lot closer, given
a bit of imagination.

Miquel Ramírez

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Dec 16, 2011, 6:59:57 AM12/16/11
to
It's not about "IP theft" but rather "unfair use". And also about not giving credit where it's due. And worsened by trying to discredit the original source.

Very much like in Science: you can take whatever anybody else has done, change it in a significant way and publish it with your name. But never, ever, forget to make a clear citation acknowledging the work of others. Or do it, but change it in such a way it becomes a completely different thing. Or do it, and fool everyone. Otherwise, you'll get ostracized from the community. Or the community will divide into opposing camps and then there won't be any community to speak of anymore.

Once - while teaching a Programming course at University - I was confronted with a very well done homework. Superbly done. So well done I just entered one statement in the program that struck to me as particularly clever and I didn't fully understand its implications.

And I found out the student to have lifted off someone's program pretty much everything. Just did some tweaks, here and there, changed the name of variable identifiers, changed a few constants.

I failed him. In a big way. He came to complain, in a very heated and impolite manner. Then I pointed to him a very simple fact: if he had just cited the source he had taken the code, and explained to me, before, the changes he did, then he would have passed. He wouldn't have got an A+, but he'd have passed.

This issue would have been resolved a long, long, long time ago with a modicum of common sense and good faith.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Pelle Nilsson

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Dec 16, 2011, 7:11:58 AM12/16/11
to
Holdit <holdit...@THEindigoCAPS.ie> writes:

> It's unfortunate that PC games port so much over from boardgames but not
> that level of flexibility. Granted you can never get the same level of
> flexibility as you can through being able to say, effectively, "let's
> pretend that...", but I bet you could get a hell of a lot closer, given
> a bit of imagination.

From skimming the docs for making your own campaigns for Battle Academy,
it seems like you can change any rule you want to, turn it into a
completely different game if you want to, and each scenario in the
campaign can then override anything in the campaign. Seems like a good
thing. The scripting language even looks quite well-documented.

Would be fun to see that in more games. Or see more people make
campaigns for BA.

--
/Pelle

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Dec 16, 2011, 7:12:11 AM12/16/11
to
On 16 dec, 12:59, Miquel Ramírez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> This issue would have been resolved a long, long, long time ago with a modicum of common sense and good faith.

Common sense and good faith in the Harpoon shark tank ? That would be
a X-Mas miracle ...

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Vincenzo Beretta

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Dec 16, 2011, 2:09:09 PM12/16/11
to
> It's not about "IP theft" but rather "unfair use".

Then you should write so on "Command" forum, since the expression they use
is the former :o)

"It will take a good argument to make a change or the gaming culture and its
mores needs to change making IP theft unacceptable."

Then you should define what "fair use" is in a database, for example. Being
the naval warfare platforms of the world what they are (i.e. not a creative
endeavour like the Zerg and the Protoss in Starcraft) then, by definition,
your own interpretation about how they perform within the context of a given
ruleset is already original work.

Just look the "alternate DBs" for "War in the Pacific" or any other example
in the war/strategy genre (like the dozen of mods that "revise and make
more realistic" the units in the various "Total War" games). Then explain me
what clues the dudes in charge of "Command" took from these success stories.
My bet: NONE.

> And also about not giving credit where it's due. And worsened by trying to
> discredit the original source.

I agree that trying to make one's point by discrediting the source of
dissent is not smart and usually ends up badly for the discreditor - mostly
because any average mind can easily check both stories and draw his own
conclusions. True, there will always be who believes to the first story he
hears (or the latest...) but this is endemic in any community, even the
healthier.

> Very much like in Science

Or, to cite two fields I work in, Comic Books and Videogames :o) For both I
had to tackle over and over, professionally, issues about IP, "fair use",
"copyright infringment" and so on in non-profit endeavours, and I can tell
you one thing I learned: even the most cursory knowledge of the law - not to
mention common sense - show how 99% of the whines about these issues are
bollocks. The rest are from people trying to make a quick buck or to appear
more important than they are.

HermanH

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Dec 16, 2011, 8:13:06 PM12/16/11
to
On Dec 16, 4:59 am, Miquel Ramírez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> It's not about "IP theft" but rather "unfair use". And also about not giving credit where it's due. And worsened by trying to discredit the original source.
>
The only thing that could make the situation worse is the deliberate
fabrication of ficticious credit. It is one thing to not give credit
or err, but a totally different thing to knowingly and consciously
assign false credit.

[snip]
.
>
> Once - while teaching a Programming course at University - I was confronted  with a very well done homework. Superbly done. So well done I just entered one statement in the program that struck to me as particularly clever and I didn't fully understand its implications.
>
> And I found out the student to have lifted off someone's program pretty much everything. Just did some tweaks, here and there, changed the name of variable identifiers, changed a few constants.
>
> I failed him. In a big way. He came to complain, in a very heated and impolite manner. Then I pointed to him a very simple fact: if he had just cited the source he had taken the code, and explained to me, before, the changes he did, then he would have passed. He wouldn't have got an A+, but he'd have passed.

Obviously, you took the time and effort to examine all the details
beforehand. This is both professionally correct and conscientous.
You would not have failed the student based solely on the accusations
of others, whether they be from other students, instructors, or an
internet forum. Unfortunately, as it often happens over the internet,
people accept only one voice without actually examining the facts. It
is *this* failure, IMHO, that leads to confusion, resentment, and
fragmented communities - not any mod tools.

However, I agree that any normal individual would come to his own
conclusion by checking the facts, like you did with your student. In
the end, the "bad" part of a community only ends up isolating itself.

Paulo Vicente

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Dec 16, 2011, 9:14:50 PM12/16/11
to
On Dec 16, 10:50 am, "Vincenzo Beretta"
Why, thank you. :)

I think that the law and "IP" shouldn't be even be called into this,
besides the possibility that the people involved might come from
different countries with different laws about derivative works, fair
use, and so on, why should anyone even bring those things into this
matter?

You got to take a deep breath and think, what's the worst that can
happen? Tom uses Dick's ships on his mod without crediting him, again,
so what?
People spot the thing and point it out, Tom either says "ooops" and
gives Dick the credit or he doesn't and people agree that he's a jerk,
there, done, end of story.

There's their scary "IP theft", some heated threads on a forum in the
depths in the internet, and that's assuming that people find the
energy for it instead of just playing the game. It isn't worth
thinking about "the law" or even encrypting anything,
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