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  1. #11

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    This is one of the main reasons I avoid community extensions that are restricted like that. I would not want to be in the boat of all the GMs out there now who have put hundreds or thousands of hours into campaigns that use the extensions for so many things that are screwed by his take my toys and go home decision. I totally understand him being upset with Smiteworks but he took it out on all his loyal fans and followers. Ken did the same thing awhile back just because he imagined a problem that might someday be a thing but wasn't then and hasn't ever happened since.

    As much functionality the extensions add its just not worth the risk, which makes me a sad panda.

    I would like to say that people who do community development work hard and really advance FG, they deserve total credit for their efforts, but when you release something into the community and promote it as the big awesome for campaigns across many rulesets there should be some recourse that doesn't involve trying to untangle all of the data stored in the extensions so that it can still be used after one upgrade or another causes a conflict.

  2. #12
    As an extension developer, part-time developer of SFRPG rule set, and real-life software engineer, the following is my own personal, non-binding, opinion (your's may vary).


    I make extensions for the betterment of the community. I also help rule set developers make the rule sets better for the community. I haven't done it for money, as it isn't my paying job to do so. I've done it for love of the community and to make my own games more enjoyable.


    IMHO Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) should be the license that all extensions/mods (or any other code that executes within FGC/FGU) are required to adhere to, except if financial claim is made


    if you lay financial claim to the code that executes within FGC/FGU, you are expected to support that code, and developers must receive permission to alter or otherwise use your code.


    If you abandon the code (and/or community), the code should automatically become free to use/modify (i.e. unlicensed) at will by the community, regardless of whether or not you have had financial claim to it. This is to protect the community more than anything else.


    If you develop a tool that interfaces with, but does not execute within FGC/FGU then that code remains 100% the responsibility of the developer whether or not they remain a part of the community or continue to support it, unless that developer authorizes another to take it on.
    aka Laendra
    Socially Distanced since 2020 A.D.


    Discord: Laendra#9660
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  3. #13
    dulux-oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esmdev View Post
    ... his take my toys and go home decision. I totally understand him being upset with Smiteworks but he took it out on all his loyal fans and followers. ...
    I did not "take it out on all my [his] loyal fans and followers" - at least, that wasn't my intention. My intention was to PROTECT everybody by removing a set of extension that would not be receiving ongoing support from me. I never said anyone had to STOP using the DOEs, or anything else I'd contributed, but I took down my stuff (ALL my stuff, across a number of sites) because I didn't want anyone to expect that it was still supported.

    It wasn't a "take my toys and go home decision", it was a "how can I minimise disruption to everyone (including myself) while still maintaing my values and integrity decision" while I try to work things out. The DOEs will continue to work with FGC into the forseeable future - unless SW does something radical, which I can't see them doing, considering FGU has just taken all that. No-one's "screwed" and everyone can still play their campaigns and still use the stuff they've spend 100's of hours on. The DOEs haven't had many major bug fixes in a while bcause they are pretty stable, and its only been new Rulesets compatabilities and updated graphics that have gone in to them lately. Yes, I was working on some new features, but there is nothing - absolutley NOTHING - stoping anyone who has copies of the DOEs from using them now and into the future.

    I am sorry that some of you feel that I've "screwed" you, because that wasn't my intent. Would you have prefered I'd have simply walked away without any notice, just disappeared, and therefore left everything up with the expectations of support (retorical question)?

    There was no good (short-term) solution, but this was the best one I could come up with. Hopefully there'll be a better long-term solution - and that's something I'm working towards - but people DON'T know the full story, even with Moon's and my expanations over in the other post - and to ascribe to people motivations such as "tantrum", "take my toys and go home", and similar motivations is just plain straight out wrong!

    And as far as "forcing" people to license their creations under OpenSource, then I for one would never and will never have placed anything on these forums under those conditions - unless FG was under OpenSource Liccensing as well, and then I'd consider it. I'm a big fan of OpenSource Licensing, and actively participate in a couple of projects, but only where the "main application" is OpenSource as well. Forcing devs to be licensed in that way will only drive the creations onto other sites / distribution methods, or cause the devs not to dev at all.

    PS Thank you, everyone, for all the nice things people said over in the other post. I've just read them all, after having been informed by a friend that they were there. I haven't been on-site since I wrote the inital GoodBye post, and only came on now because my friend said I should.
    Dulux-Oz

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  4. #14
    Keep coming Dulux - we all love you. Things happen sometimes - no-one's perfect and communication is so prone to breaking down even when there is no ill intent and even when emotions aren't running hot. Take a deep breath and realise everyone wants you back.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    I did not "take it out on all my [his] loyal fans and followers" - at least, that wasn't my intention. My intention was to PROTECT everybody by removing a set of extension that would not be receiving ongoing support from me. I never said anyone had to STOP using the DOEs, or anything else I'd contributed, but I took down my stuff (ALL my stuff, across a number of sites) because I didn't want anyone to expect that it was still supported.
    While maybe it wasn't your intention, it may not even be the most diplomatic way I could have put it, from my viewpoint and (my opinion only) it is basically what you did. Sudden removal of ongoing support and not allowing people to fix any potential problems or incompatibilities that come up doesn't really help anyone. That the extensions are no longer available isn't really my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    It wasn't a "take my toys and go home decision", it was a "how can I minimise disruption to everyone (including myself) while still maintaing my values and integrity decision" while I try to work things out. The DOEs will continue to work with FGC into the forseeable future - unless SW does something radical, which I can't see them doing, considering FGU has just taken all that. No-one's "screwed" and everyone can still play their campaigns and still use the stuff they've spend 100's of hours on. The DOEs haven't had many major bug fixes in a while bcause they are pretty stable, and its only been new Rulesets compatabilities and updated graphics that have gone in to them lately. Yes, I was working on some new features, but there is nothing - absolutley NOTHING - stoping anyone who has copies of the DOEs from using them now and into the future.
    It is the nature of software development that it must be maintained in a dynamic environment or eventually it will no longer function correctly. I have been in software development since mainframes and COBOL were still cool, so I've seen it repeat over and over.

    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    I am sorry that some of you feel that I've "screwed" you, because that wasn't my intent. Would you have prefered I'd have simply walked away without any notice, just disappeared, and therefore left everything up with the expectations of support (retorical question)?
    I don't feel screwed by you at all, I don't use your extensions for the very reason I said. On the other hand, how many people that used the extensions you wrote and promoted will inevitably lose access to the data. Your application might be super robust and solid now, but how will it be years from now. What about the people migrating to Unity, how will it effect them as Unity expands and grows, these are things you can assume will be fine but you cannot know for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    There was no good (short-term) solution, but this was the best one I could come up with. Hopefully there'll be a better long-term solution - and that's something I'm working towards - but people DON'T know the full story, even with Moon's and my expanations over in the other post - and to ascribe to people motivations such as "tantrum", "take my toys and go home", and similar motivations is just plain straight out wrong!
    As much as I was hopeful for what he might produce, you basically got in a forum fight with an epic **** that had gotten in fight after fight after fight AND specifically with people who were trying to help him.

    As a moderator (again my opinion) you really should have taken the high road and said, your belief is your belief but it's not reality and left it at that. You had already given him permission to use the code, so everything else he said was just him basically being confrontational. He/She was an odd, confrontational person. A quick scan of his post history and blog might have given you a better handle on what sort of person you were getting into it with.

    I'm not defending his behavior, I often commented to my roommate that he wasn't really helping himself by alienating everyone trying to help him. While moderators are human beings we hope that they will step back and take a break before getting into it with someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    And as far as "forcing" people to license their creations under OpenSource, then I for one would never and will never have placed anything on these forums under those conditions - unless FG was under OpenSource Liccensing as well, and then I'd consider it. I'm a big fan of OpenSource Licensing, and actively participate in a couple of projects, but only where the "main application" is OpenSource as well. Forcing devs to be licensed in that way will only drive the creations onto other sites / distribution methods, or cause the devs not to dev at all.
    One is a platform that is for sale and clearly licensed. One is a bundle of scripts designed to work within that platform that works off features that are part of the platform and was distributed freely. One is not the same as the other.

    First, I don't think that a developer should be forced to support their product forever, especially not a freely distributed product. People lose interest, people's lives get in the way of development, etc. I do think that developers should consider how many people use their software and how it will impact them if they don't provide some avenue.

    A simple statement in the top and end of the DOE forums that the product is no longer supported and that users might consider testing their campaigns before major releases for compatibility issues would go a long way.

    I don't think that they should force developers to open source, but I do think that they should force developers to state specifically if an extension or ruleset can be repaired, improved or upgraded in the event that the developer leaves for whatever reason or, hopefully not, dies.

    Just so you know, this isn't specifically aimed at you. I have said this over and over again about Rulesets that are sold in the store. They really need to put something about the level of support for those rulesets into the sales. Since support is only really required for 1 year, and some of the stuff in the store is no longer supported, it is really hard to figure out what is worth buying and what isn't. They also need to indicate if a ruleset is still in development (like being upgraded) or if it is in what they consider a final state.

    I think that this thread is a good point for me to bring up that Smiteworks needs to look inward as well as the Community developers about how they present what is for sale.

    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    PS Thank you, everyone, for all the nice things people said over in the other post. I've just read them all, after having been informed by a friend that they were there. I haven't been on-site since I wrote the inital GoodBye post, and only came on now because my friend said I should.
    I was one of those people, btw. I really do feel for you, but I also feel for the people who use your extensions.

    I have looked at the DOE extensions in the past and the level of information that they contain is really incredible. That is, or eventually will be, the problem. Campaigns that rely on these extensions could lose them without warning with any future update. While it is true that it might not ever happen it is just as possible that it might.

  6. #16
    Removing extensions that are heavily used is definitely taking it out on the community. That may not be the intention but in the end that is the results. I know other developers quit and left their code for others to pick up. Maybe that is one rule that can be put in and if nobody else picks it up then so be it.

    What really needs to happen is the popular or heavily used extension need to be put into the game by SW. They are heavily used for a reason, which is they are needed. I know some of those take time but some of these extensions have been around for a long time. Layers is a good example that they are finally adding to Unity. The more of these features put into the base game then the better it will be without relying on several outside (outside of SW) to create features in the game we all need.

  7. #17
    The current ability for users to remove their community content at will does not benefit the community, and we would prefer that those users not share the content in the first place.
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    I don't think I agree with this statement. I think their are potential devs who would not share anything via this forum is any such changes were to be made. I doubt what has now become the 5E Enhancer extension would exist if Ken L had not shown what was possible. And the New MK sounds extension which might soon surpass the revoked DOE Sounds extension certainly seemed to have been inspired by that revoked work...

    Understandable, but you can't/won't stop users from sharing content in a way in which they can revoke sucht. I fear that if you impose any such restrictions, you will simple move distribution of community extensions to other distribution channels. One's that you will not have near enough awareness of, nor ones that will be so easy for your community to access. You will fracture your community. You will drive value from the forums. How much I do not know.
    I think you're invalidating your own point a bit here. Yes, some devs may choose not to participate if they are unable to maintain full rights over their work, but what has happened in the past when someone has "packed up their toys and left"? Other people have come in and made something bigger and better. Not for profit, but for the good of the community. Not to expand their IP, but to make something that makes the software better.

    I think right now we're in the Wild West, and SW needs to take this opportunity to control the way derivative code for their software gets distributed. Maybe Unity is a good chance to draw a line in the sand. I know technically many of the extensions made for FGC should work in FGU, but isn't it possible to require extensions to fork a new version for use with Unity? Build into the software some check that the extension has been given a "For Unity" tag? Such a tag could come with a requirement for some version of Open License. (please forgive my lack of technical expertise in this area, hopefully my idea is communicated clearly despite this not being my strong suit).

    The community is already fractured. We have people distributing everything under the sun, free and otherwise, on the Fantasy Grounds Forums, DMs Guild, DriveThru RPG, Kickstarter, and I'm sure myriad other sites. Though there will be costs, I think there needs to be a unifying set of rules for what people are able to own the rights to with regards to content in FG. I have my own ideas about that, which I'm sure would be controversial, but I think it's an idea worth discussing. I don't believe avoiding the topic to soothe emotions is a good idea, as the conversation is overdue, and the recent drama is a direct result of not having done so earlier.

    We do agree though, that a hasty decision is not likely to be the right one. I'm just glad SW is including the community in the discussion.

  8. #18
    Please note, the word "you", as used below, applies to anyone and everyone, and not to any one specific person. I have nothing but respect for the work that has been done (by all the community developers), but I don't agree with the decisions to limit the use of what has been done, by anyone.

    Honestly, open source for extensions and mods is kind of the best resume you could have. People see the work you do and you could well be commissioned to do additional work for actual pay if that is what you so desire. If I had a job for a LUA developer, I would look at the people that create content for the community out of love of the community rather than people that try to limit creativity of others by placing unnecessary rules and limitations on code that they have written using a freely available scripting language and xml made for a bunch of nerds that love to swing virtual swords and shoot virtual guns.
    aka Laendra
    Socially Distanced since 2020 A.D.


    Discord: Laendra#9660
    Ultimate license (FGC/FGU)
    Current Timezone : Central (CDT) (GMT -5)
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  9. #19
    I'm typically not too active on forums so I'm not sure how much weight my input has. I've been using Fantasy Grounds for about a year now and love the platform. I've invested a lot of time and money into Fantasy Grounds with the intent on using it well into the future. One of the core reasons I chose FG over competing VTTs was its wealth of user created content which I found very appealing. Having said that I am saddened by the community's loss of dulux-oz and his extensions, some of which I use.

    On one hand:
    I greatly enjoy the creations in the community that a license free environment has provided.

    On the other hand:
    Having a larger set of features, protected by a license, that I don't need to worry about losing sounds nice.

    I'm wondering if there could be a middle ground in which we could have some of both. Could SW pursue a more aggressive approach to adding features based on community demand? Perhaps features could be voted on in a prompt when FG is launched, and limit it to 1 vote per license? As someone who spends lots of time in Fantasy Grounds, but not much in the forums, it would be nice to have a more "in your face" prompt to give feedback and suggestions.
    I know SW has a lot on their plate with Unity just around the corner. I also know this solution would add to development time and cost, but it might be a good long term solution that would also provide a more feature rich product.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.

    dulux-oz,
    I wish you all the best in whatever you do. You have immense talent, and I hope some day you'll bring those talents back to the FG community.
    Thank you for all your work!

  10. #20
    Fantasy Grounds is a niche product within a niche hobby. It's intrinsically only going to attract a very small subset of the population, and of that small subset will be an even smaller subset who can code up extensions/rulesets/etc. This means that content not produced directly by SmiteWorks is inherently going to be somewhat... rare.

    For the community to grow and flourish, I personally think one of two things needs to happen. Either:

    1. SmiteWorks opens the door for community content creators to more easily license and sell their own extensions for the product. For this to work, I think there needs to be a full system in place for the hosting of extensions and automatic updating. Part of what makes Roll20 appealing to creators is the ability to put things up for sale on their market. I know SW does this to an extent (particularly I've seen it with token creators), but it seems to me the system for that is a little lacking in some aspects (not knocking SW here, I know its a small company with limited resources). If, as a community, we really, genuinely want creators to be enabled in marketing and selling their products, than the storefront has to be enhanced in my opinion. This means a way for people to submit their content more easily, a review system, an updater for said content, etc.

    Or, 2. We accept that a niche community such as this one thrives on openness and make community content accessible to all. With this approach, I think it should be allowed for content creators to link to something like a PayPal or a Patreon, but these things shouldn't be required to access their content. I personally -as a software engineer myself - am a huge proponent for the open-source movement, so I very much lean toward having a community that is ready and willing to share their wealth of content and knowledge for all. I very much shy away from the idea of something like a function within a block of code being copyrighted, as I feel this just weakens the community and makes it harder for future people to contribute. So from my perspective, if we don't want to just go straight to the monetization route (as noted above), I think we should instead lean into promoting a wealth of community enabled content.

    All that being said, I do believe more could be done to make it easier for content creators to share and update their work. Obviously, the current focus is on Unity's release. But once that's out the door and stable, I'd very much like to see a content management system that doesn't rely on users checking if a forum thread has been updated. Even if this simply means SW opens up APIs for someone else to build a content management system on top of (I know there was an effort to do so once before, but I'd like to see something that doesn't rely on too many hacks or workarounds in the product).

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