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View Full Version : Warning about Kickstarters Claiming to support Fantasy Grounds add-ons



ddavison
September 4th, 2016, 21:10
We have started to see more and more Kickstarters get launched and many of these reference Fantasy Grounds as add-ons, reward levels or stretch goals. We are very hesitant to back any Kickstarters at this time due to time constraints and the extra complexity added by participating in a Kickstarter. Managing delivery and who gets what and how much everyone gets for payment is more complicated than just selling items through our store.

As a rule of thumb, if you see any Kickstarter listing Fantasy Grounds but you haven't seen an announcement from us, then it is not authorized to do so or to use our name or logo. If you are a creator and you would like to include a Fantasy Grounds option, please check with us first. You can reach us at [email protected] and put Kickstarter Support for Fantasy Grounds in the subject line. We try to be pretty supportive of third party content -- as evidenced by our selection in our store -- but everything needs to go through the proper channels.

There are several Kickstarters running currently that have never contacted us or worked out any details of providing support for Fantasy Grounds. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and reached out to both creators at this time.

ddavison
September 4th, 2016, 21:34
I've spoken with both of the KS creators that I noticed and we are discussing details now.

If you are a creator looking to add FG support to a Kickstarter Project, please contact us first. If you are an end-user and you are pitching "Fantasy Grounds" as a good outlet, please make it clear that you are not authorized to represent Fantasy Grounds directly and that you are not an official member of SmiteWorks. It is okay to offer your services to help convert content, but converting the content is only part of the discussion.

Seya
September 4th, 2016, 21:42
Thanks for looking out for us.

gaara6666
September 4th, 2016, 22:36
Always appreciate the extra effort Doug

ddavison
September 5th, 2016, 00:12
So, good news... both KS creators responded right away and I think they will be okay.

The Complete Roslof Keep Campaign
by Scott Taylor
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/the-complete-roslof-keep-campaign/updates

Hunters Mark: Long Live the Hunt! New 5E options!
by Game Natural
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamenatural/hunters-mark-long-live-the-hunt-new-5e-options/description

Additionally, AAW Games has a KS for Wintery Gale that has some FG add-ons. They are okay as well. The first two were unknown by me until today.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventureaweek/into-the-wintery-gale-pathfinder-rpg-adventure?ref=nav_search

travy
September 5th, 2016, 02:30
What about Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde?

JohnD
September 5th, 2016, 17:14
Speaking of these, when you guys get an agreement for a FG conversion, I think you should talk to the other group about the estimated delivery timeline they put forward on the option for backers to pledge on.

It does no good if the Kickstarter group makes it look like you're planning on delivering the FG version in month X and then it comes out in month X+3 or whatever. Especially important when/if the Kickstarter group makes their dealing on the digital/pdf copy to those who pledged. I guess I'm saying it is in your own interests to make sure you aren't having another company set an unrealistic target to meet on your behalf. Their mouths writing cheques your body has to fill and all that.

ddavison
September 5th, 2016, 21:01
Speaking of these, when you guys get an agreement for a FG conversion, I think you should talk to the other group about the estimated delivery timeline they put forward on the option for backers to pledge on.

It does no good if the Kickstarter group makes it look like you're planning on delivering the FG version in month X and then it comes out in month X+3 or whatever. Especially important when/if the Kickstarter group makes their dealing on the digital/pdf copy to those who pledged. I guess I'm saying it is in your own interests to make sure you aren't having another company set an unrealistic target to meet on your behalf. Their mouths writing cheques your body has to fill and all that.

Absolutely. This is one of the reasons why we would rather not participate in any Kickstarter projects hosted by anyone at this time (or select few.) Depending on how the files get to us and how large it is, some of these take a very long time to convert. James has been working on the Ultimate NPCs Skulduggery Kickstarter for a very long time, as an example, and it took me a very long time to convert over the Tome of Beasts.

ddavison
September 5th, 2016, 21:03
What about Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde?

Nord Games is okay. We need to check in with them to see when we can expect the files though. They gave us a heads up about it first.

Myrdin Potter
September 5th, 2016, 23:02
You need more help to convert over materials. You are suffering from your own success of becoming the 1st licensed 5e VTT plus already having all the WoTC materials done. And DMS Guild. One day the light bulb will go off over the head of people that cover the industry and Smiteworks will get proper credit for not only cracking those markets open, but being successful enough that WoTC wants to expand the market.

:-)

gqwebb
September 8th, 2016, 02:27
So, good news... both KS creators responded right away and I think they will be okay.

The Complete Roslof Keep Campaign
by Scott Taylor
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/the-complete-roslof-keep-campaign/updates

Hunters Mark: Long Live the Hunt! New 5E options!
by Game Natural
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamenatural/hunters-mark-long-live-the-hunt-new-5e-options/description

Additionally, AAW Games has a KS for Wintery Gale that has some FG add-ons. They are okay as well. The first two were unknown by me until today.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventureaweek/into-the-wintery-gale-pathfinder-rpg-adventure?ref=nav_search

Thanks for vetting these and sharing. I usually only back products from publishers that I have purchased from in the past.
----------------> like this cool kickstarter. (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1679800548/dragonlock-2-fantasy-village-terrain-for-3d-printe) <----- shameless plug..

Trenloe
September 8th, 2016, 03:32
----------------> like this cool kickstarter. (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1679800548/dragonlock-2-fantasy-village-terrain-for-3d-printe) <----- shameless plug..
I'm a big fan of Fat Dragon Games. They had a booth next to Fantasy Grounds at GenCon, Carl (FGU super developer) and I went and drooled for a while... ;)

Myrdin Potter
September 8th, 2016, 04:37
I now own 2 3D printers (wanhao i3 and D6) and backed the first and this Kickstarter. Unfortunately the devs here have not figured out how to install a 3D printer into the FG code so I can send terrain to it.

Zhern
September 14th, 2016, 18:06
Thanks for vetting these. I'm backing Roslof Keep and didn't even think about whether or not they had spoken to you all about FG support.

Thanks again!

-Patrick

ddavison
September 21st, 2016, 15:24
I just added this to the FAQ
https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/faq.php?faq=fantasy_grounds_faq#faq_kickstarter3pp

If you come across any Kickstarter projects that we have not announced, please consider asking the creator if they have contacted us already and then feel free to share this link with them.

Talyn
September 21st, 2016, 15:53
Here's another one: Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde for Pathfinder (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nordgames/ultimate-bestiary-revenge-of-the-horde-for-pathfin). The 5E one was backed, and it most likely had a FG award just like the Ultimate NPC: Skullduggery which recently appeared for FG. Not sure if the Pathfinder version of that one said it would have FG awards or not? The KS is over so I can't check.

ddavison
September 21st, 2016, 16:01
That one should be fine. We just finished working with Nord Games on the Ultimate NPCs - Skulduggery.

ddavison
November 24th, 2016, 01:23
This one is okay now:
Of Drow Origin
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1065541321/of-drow-origin-module?ref=nav_search

Rob2E is doing the conversion.

Trenloe
November 24th, 2016, 02:17
This one is okay now:
Of Drow Origin
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1065541321/of-drow-origin-module?ref=nav_search

Rob2E is doing the conversion.
Cool. :)

ddavison
October 26th, 2017, 18:51
I hate to have to bump this one up again, but I need to.

We just had another content creator on Kickstarter who was confused about the process after a fan offered to do the conversion work for them. Please don't do that or speak on our behalf. I realize that everyone wants FG to be everywhere and everything to be on FG, but we absolutely need to get everyone on the same page prior to people offering rewards or unlock levels. Nobody wants a content creator to fill burned if they get contacted after they've already made commitments.

Maasq
October 26th, 2017, 20:02
and it took me a very long time to convert over the Tome of Beasts.
That would take you minutes with NPC Engineer now :)

Maasq

ddavison
October 26th, 2017, 20:33
Tome of Beasts is not just NPC records. Most of the time was in formatting the readable reference manual with embedded images. I believe the stat blocks also need to be reorganized and cleaned up as I went.

AlohaJerry
October 26th, 2017, 21:14
I hate to have to bump this one up again, but I need to.

We just had another content creator on Kickstarter who was confused about the process after a fan offered to do the conversion work for them. Please don't do that or speak on our behalf. I realize that everyone wants FG to be everywhere and everything to be on FG, but we absolutely need to get everyone on the same page prior to people offering rewards or unlock levels. Nobody wants a content creator to fill burned if they get contacted after they've already made commitments.

I was reading an email for a kickstarter campaign I backed and saw that they were claiming issues from Smitworks with giving away their content to us in FG format. Now I have downloade many free adventures, magic item lists, tables, etc from many sources (including these very forums) and thought it was BS, so I sent them a rude comment:


@Limitless - I think you must be confused! There are thousands of mod's out there for totally free. Maybe you are just accidentally talking to them about it being in their store??? The ability to just download a free .mod file and dump it into our FG directory is something I have been doing for years! How can they know, meter, or ask you for a piece of the action for a file that you just give us and we manually drop in our FG directory?!?!?
I also have purchased tons of modules, adventures, content add-ons, etc. from GMs guild and Drive thru RPG. Some for $$ and some free. I don't understand the issue.

In the next email in my mailbox (coincidentally) was this email by SmiteWorks:

An important note about Kickstarter Projects

If you see a Kickstarter that is including Fantasy Grounds modules or even using our logo, please confirm in the comments or ask on our forums if this is one that we are working with. There have been numerous cases where creators, in their desire to appeal to a larger community, have used our name and logo without permission. SmiteWorks only allows Kickstarter creators to user our name and logo if we are sure the creators can deliver what they promise and we have come to an arrangement in advance to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Monies have to be exchanged, developers need to be assigned, quality control needs to occur and then awards need to be delivered to consumers at the conclusion of the project.

We don't go into this lightly and we are probably less likely to support a Kickstarter if we've not already done business with the creator.

If you are a backer of a Kickstarter and want to suggest that they add a Fantasy Grounds reward that is unlocked, please don't. You can encourage them to reach out to us directly at [email protected]

SmiteWorks and Fantasy Grounds are not currently sponsoring any Kickstarter projects.

-- What the heck, SmiteWorks?!?! "If you are a backer of a Kickstarter and want to suggest that they add a Fantasy Grounds reward that is unlocked, please don't"?!?!?!?!!? Way to kill your own community! I can see this if they were expecting YOU to do the conversion for them or if they wanted to sell it in your FG Store, but this is just another format. Heck, I could just take their PDF and Par5e it myself. They also said they were told that if they GIVE the FG files to the backers, they would be on the hook for a percentage of sales that would have been made. Really?!?!

Doesn't having lots of content HELP the FG community?

ddavison
October 26th, 2017, 21:37
Here is the kicker, the modules they are selling are not free. They are essentially selling a PDF and then giving the FG version away for free. Their assumption is that people that get a PDF+FG are willing to pay money only for the PDF portion of the combo and the FG version is essentially worthless. I don't believe they actually think that, but that is basically what is occurring when you give the FG portion away for free but charge money for the original content. Why not sell the FG version and then give the PDF away for free?

There are a lot of things that *are* free on DMsGuild.com. If people want to offer a PDF and FG version of something as free or pay-what-you-want, then you are welcome to do that. What you can't do is say that a PDF of the content is worth $25, $50 or $75 and the FG version of that is $0. The only place we allow that and give the right to use our logo is strictly through DMsGuild.com. If you publish through DMsGuild, you also agree not to sell or distribute outside of DMsGuild. If you do, then you are in violation of your agreement there.

Using another company's name and logo in the promotion of your product offering is something that is illegal. Those names and logos bring value in product awareness, legitimacy, etc. It's the same reason that company's launching products can't use the name Dungeons & Dragons on their product. They obviously have way more value than we do, but that is for them to control how other company's can use their name and logos. In this particular case, the folks at Limitless-Adventures added the FG versions, name and logo to their project with no ill-intentions. We reached out to them and discussed the issue and we will be working with them to provide the content in an official capacity after and outside of the KS campaign. They remedied the situation immediately and they wanted to move forward with pursuing conversions in an official capacity.

We have a menu option under our Help menu on the main page that links to our FAQ about Kickstarters.
https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/faq.php?faq=fantasy_grounds_faq#faq_kickstarter3pp

Limitless-Adventures looked on our Wiki and didn't see that link, so they asked if we could also add it to the wiki under the Developer section where they originally looked. We added it to help avoid any future issues.

AlohaJerry
October 26th, 2017, 22:02
Aloha,
Thanks for the clarification. I agree that the FG version is the valuable object for me. (they can give away the PDF all they want ;-)

and I totally understand protecting your logo. They totally blew it on that part. Everyone should know you can't just willy-nilly use logos, especially if it may look like support/endorsement.

ddavison
October 26th, 2017, 22:21
After speaking with them, I'm convinced they are good people and capable of delivering a good product. I just want to make sure that we have a chance to review things in advance to ensure that we protect us, them and our customers.

Myrdin Potter
October 27th, 2017, 01:04
AlohaJerry - I just wanted to let you know that I have referred publishers to Doug on a regular basis and 100% feedback has been not only is Doug easy to work with and the standard contract quite reasonable, Smiteworks also has a reputation for paying on time without being chased.

This warning is important as most Kickstarters are late and take manual work to distribute the files and make sure you get updates. Doug needs to allocate developers where he can and there is a shortage of people able to do robust development. So he is trying to make the user experience as smooth for everyone as possible, especially since the developer may get the files months after they said they could do it and may not actually have the time if the Kickstarter is late.

ddavison
October 27th, 2017, 01:34
The 2nd part of that phrase about "please don't" is "You can encourage them to reach out to us directly at [email protected]" We like to form relationships with as many creative people and companies as we can.

AlohaJerry
October 27th, 2017, 02:24
The 2nd part of that phrase about "please don't" is "You can encourage them to reach out to us directly at [email protected]" We like to form relationships with as many creative people and companies as we can.

Thanks for explaining this and defusing the situation. I have to admit that when I got the FG/SmiteWorks email, it made me a bit angry. It sounded more like, "if you find a cool product on Kickstarter and would love to see it usable in FantasyGrounds, too bad and shut yo mouth." ;-) Seriously, though, I really thought that the .mod format for using in FG was more open to use and not so much tightly controled dev stuff.

damned
October 27th, 2017, 02:34
Thanks for explaining this and defusing the situation. I have to admit that when I got the FG/SmiteWorks email, it made me a bit angry. It sounded more like, "if you find a cool product on Kickstarter and would love to see it usable in FantasyGrounds, too bad and shut yo mouth." ;-) Seriously, though, I really thought that the .mod format for using in FG was more open to use and not so much tightly controled dev stuff.

The .mod format is open and is mostly allowed to be used freely but if there is money being made from it then it requires a license and a revenue split.
It is easy to overlook or miss that or there are grey areas like the pricing on the /mod being zero but another product having full value etc.
Looking at it the other way it could be read as SmiteWorks have a license fee for the use of their platform, but they typically waive it if the product is a genuine free, community product.

Sometimes written words (eg the email) get read in a different way/tone than they were intended etc as well :)

lokiare
October 27th, 2017, 04:28
I'd just like to add that converting a product can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months depending on the developer and the amount of content.

But that's only the start, it has to go through an internal review to make sure its completely compatible with Fantasy Grounds and doesn't throw any errors.

Then it has to go through a Steam review to make sure the content and advertising copy is acceptable. Steam can take anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks depending on conditions (Steam sales can delay the release of a product for months).

The other key factor is that if we convert the product in house we have to have an available developer which is not always possible.

With all of these factors combined, we need at least 1-2 months lead time to convert a product for a KickStarter. In most cases we cannot get access to the files needed from the KickStarter project in time.

AlohaJerry
October 27th, 2017, 19:45
Just curious, though, what if you don't use your devs and do the conversion yourself? Or what if the product is FG from the start and there is nothing to "convert"? I would guess that you would still want the internal review and, if you wanted it on Steam, they would need their review too.

ddavison
October 27th, 2017, 21:10
We still do a quality check, but some publishers do provide their own developers. In that case, they retain a higher percentage for the royalties we pay them.

AlohaJerry
October 27th, 2017, 21:17
Thanks for your clarifications! Know that I am asking all this out of passion for the community.

celestian
October 27th, 2017, 21:18
We still do a quality check, but some publishers do provide their own developers. In that case, they retain a higher percentage for the royalties we pay them.

Is there anything that you guys would do if they created their own and let the backers/customers DL it from their own site and didn't use "FG" media (icons/etc) and just said it could be used in FantasyGrounds?

Also, what is the difference between someone like me creating modules for a ruleset like SRD/OGL creatures, spells and items and putting it up for download for free?

epithet
October 28th, 2017, 00:13
...what is the difference between someone like me creating modules for a ruleset like SRD/OGL creatures, spells and items and putting it up for download for free?

I believe the principle difference is that you're offering the module for free, whereas a developer offering the free .mod file is doing so as a bonus incentive for a paid product (in the form of a .pdf file.)

damned
October 28th, 2017, 00:16
Is there anything that you guys would do if they created their own and let the backers/customers DL it from their own site and didn't use "FG" media (icons/etc) and just said it could be used in FantasyGrounds?

Also, what is the difference between someone like me creating modules for a ruleset like SRD/OGL creatures, spells and items and putting it up for download for free?

If its free and posted here or on the DMsGuild and it is copyright compliant then its ok.
If it requires any other purchase to access then it should have a license fee.

ddavison
October 28th, 2017, 03:37
I believe the principle difference is that you're offering the module for free, whereas a developer offering the free .mod file is doing so as a bonus incentive for a paid product (in the form of a .pdf file.)

Yes, this.

If the only reason the FG version is free is to sell some other product it is linked to then it is no longer qualifying as a non-profit venture. Copyright applies to distribution regardless of whether or not it is for profit, but this is where we choose to draw the line.

spite
November 2nd, 2017, 21:14
I was wondering, as a backer of this kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamenatural/hunters-mark-long-live-the-hunt-new-5e-options/description
If they had the files to you guys to make yet? The PDF were released this week.

ddavison
November 3rd, 2017, 00:05
They just sent us the files this week. We have not assigned it out to a developer yet.

Nylanfs
November 3rd, 2017, 01:22
Sounds to me like Spite is volunteering. :)

spite
November 3rd, 2017, 01:47
Cool. As long as it's one of the real ones :)
The PDF is great so I'm looking forward to getting this for FG

rob2e
March 28th, 2018, 00:08
Tome of Beasts is not just NPC records. Most of the time was in formatting the readable reference manual with embedded images. I believe the stat blocks also need to be reorganized and cleaned up as I went.

Good luck to me on Part 2. I've been practicing...

Maasq
March 28th, 2018, 00:19
Good luck indeed. I have a vested interest in your success :)