Textures

In an attempt to find more valuable resources that we can use to expand the communities creativity I contacted www.textures.com and asked clarifications on their license.

I did this in close contact with both Morax and Biass in order to make sure the email was of proper quality and to ensure that I am not doing something on my own accord that could potentially damage the community.

This blog is the result of that. In its essence basic textures from their website can only be embedded with individual maps and mods.

Bundling with individual maps and mods

This is allowed, given some limitations and restrictions.

You can review the license at:

The response from customer support is:

If a user makes a map, and this map contains one of our regular photo textures, then that would be allowed. The texture needs to be used in the map (no bundling of generic images that are not used, ie as a texture library), and our website needs to be mentioned as the source of the texture. Again, only regular photo textures may be bundled in this way. Our special content (including 3D brushes) may not be bundled with maps and mods.

Therefore you can use (regular photo) textures bundled within a map to:

  • As new strata textures
  • As new decals

At the moment of writing custom props, emitters or other entities cannot be used when they are attached to individual maps. Because of that you cannot bundle them with a map.

You are allowed to change the textures to your liking. With or without modifications of any kind you will always need to mention the source of the (original) textures. See the next sub-section for more information.

Description

If a map or mod uses textures from their website in any capacity, form or (modified) state then a small section must be added to the description of the map or mod:

One or more textures bundled with this project have been created with images from Textures.com. These images may not be redistributed by default. Please visit www.textures.com for more information.

Restrictions

Any content that is not used by the map or mod cannot be bundled with the map or mod. This is to prevent (hidden) texture libraries of any kind.

Any special content such as 3D brushes are not allowed to be bundled with a map. This includes, but is not limited to, the following sections:

  • 3D Brushes
  • 3D Objects
  • 3D Ornaments
  • 3D Scans
  • 3D Scans Atlas
  • PBR Materials
  • Overlays
  • Decals (the section 'Decals' on their website)
  • HDR Spheres
  • Graphic Designs

Generally you can assume that if an asset costs more than one credit it is off limits.

Bundling with the map editor

This is not allowed.

You can review the license at:

The response from customer support is:

I'm sorry to disappoint, but bundling our 3D brushes or other special content (3D Scans, PBR Materials, Decals, etc) with an map editor is not allowed. We consider a map editor to be a graphics program, so clause 6.3g would apply.

To be more specific, adding in textures from their website in any (modified) state to the repository of the map editor (which is both a game engine and open source) is not allowed. As an example, adding in brushes based on their textures to the repository is not allowed.

Developing a map with the editor that uses textures from their website is allowed, given that these textures are inside the map folder, individually bundled with the map and used in the map. See also the header 'Bundling with individual maps and mods' for more information on the limitations and restrictions.

Bundling with open source repositories

This is not allowed.

You can review the license with regard to open source software at:

No anchor is provided on the page, search the page for 'open source' instead.

The response from customer support is:

Also, our content may not be distributed under any Open Source license at all (see 6.3h of our Terms of Service).

Almost all repositories of Forged Alliance Forever are open source and therefore textures from their website, in any (modified) state, can not be used for new props, decals, or other entities that require some form of textures.

Bundling as a standalone package

This is not allowed.

You can review the license at:

As an example, texture packs that contain new brushes for the editor but are distributed separately from the editor is not allowed.

Full email conversation

For completeness the full email conversation with customer support:

The initial email send out to customer support

Dear support of Textures.com,

The purpose of this email is to ask questions with regard to the licensing surrounding the assets you provide on your website.

The context of this email is a community that grew around a custom made client for the game Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. You can find more information on this community at:
 - https://www.faforever.com/

As a community we've grown over the past years and we keep trying to grow. The majority of contributions are open source, and the other half can be publicly accessed but is not open source. That being said, I do not represent the community in any form. The purpose of this email is to gain information and explore possibilities.

Our custom map editor
The community has made a custom map editor over the years. We use brushes to sculpt the terrain of maps. The better the brush, the easier it becomes to achieve some effect. For more information on the editor:
 - https://github.com/ozonexo3/FAForeverMapEditor

The editor is not an engine, but it is not far off. The editor is open source. Are we allowed to bundle brushes from your website such that all our content creators can easily access these new brushes? Specifically we're talking about these brushes:
 - https://www.textures.com/browse/3d-brushes/114539

Our custom assets to the game
As a community we want to keep striving towards adding new assets to the game such that our content creators can toy around with these and come up with refreshing ideas. This can be anything from bits and pieces of code, props (models, textures) to decals (textures). For more information see:
 - https://github.com/FAForever/fa

This project is not an engine, it does facilitate an engine (the game itself). The project is open source. Are we allowed to bundle (un)modified versions of your assets into the project to facilitate new strata (terrain textures, generally unmodified), decals (generally modified textures) and props (both modified and unmodified textures) of all sorts? This would allow content makers to use the same assets throughout various maps, mods and other forms of contribution.

Content in maps and mods
Users in the community can upload and maintain their own maps and mods. In turn, these can be downloaded by other users to play with. Maps and mods are, at the moment of writing, not open source. However, downloading a map and / or mod involves downloading some folder hierarchy in which assets (such as textures from your site) can be found without any hassle and this can be done by any user from the community (with a copy of the original game). Are our content makers allowed to have such assets inside their maps / mods, assuming they are being used by the map / mod? And does this require a disclaimer including a reference to your website?

Feel free to ask if you have any questions,

With kind regards,

(Jip) Willem Wijnia

The initial response

Hi Willem,

Thanks for your email.

I'm sorry to disappoint, but bundling our 3D brushes or other special content (3D Scans, PBR Materials, Decals, etc) with an map editor is not allowed. We consider a map editor to be a graphics program, so clause 6.3g would apply.

Also, our content may not be distributed under any Open Source license at all (see 6.3h of our Terms of Service).

Unfortunately we cannot make any exceptions, it would be too confusing. Other users would see our materials being distributed with such a map editor (for example), and assume this is allowed. 

Kind regards,

Marcel
www.textures.com

Requesting a clarification on the response

Hi Marcel,

Thank you for your honest reply - I understand that no exceptions can be made. 

I do need to dive a bit deeper into the section of content on maps and / or mods - just to verify. I don't feel you've concretely answered this in your response. On your website you describe in your license the following:
 - https://www.textures.com/faq-license.html#anchor-3dmodel 

It mentions 'game levels' and '3d models' but it also explicitly mentions the act of selling - our maps (game levels) and mods (3d models, new units) are not sold. They are free of charge to anyone who has a product key of the original game linked with their Steam account. Do our maps and mods fall under this part of the license, allowing us to have maps with custom textures from your website given that the message has been provided in the documentation? 

The reason I am asking is because I am making a tutorial series on how to add in custom content into maps, such as strata textures and decals. If this isn't allowed then I will reference that your website is not an applicable source and carefully explain why that is.

With kind regards,

(Jip) Willem Wijnia

Answer to the clarification

Hi Willem,

Bundling brushes with a map editor is not allowed, even if you give them away for free.  6.3.g or our ToS refers to 'bundling', it makes no distinction between selling or offering for free.
If we would allow this, then anybody could take our entire collection and bundle it with their paint app / 3D app, editor, engine, etc. 

 Do our maps and mods fall under this part of the license, allowing us to have maps with custom textures from your website given that the message has been provided in the documentation?   

Ah sorry, I did forget to answer that.

If a user makes a map, and this map contains one of our regular photo textures, then that would be allowed. The texture needs to be used in the map (no bundling of generic images that are not used, ie as a texture library), and our website needs to be mentioned as the source of the texture. Again, only regular photo textures may be bundled in this way. Our special content (including 3D brushes) may not be bundled with maps and mods.

Kind regards,

Marcel
www.textures.com

Permission to make this email public

Dear Marcel,

Thank you for the quick and elaborate response! 

As a last question, can I make this email public on our forums so that other people will not ask the same questions to you in the near future? That will save us both time, one way or another.

With kind regards,

(Jip) Willem Wijnia

Response, permission granted

Hi Willem,

Sure, but I would post the relevant bits only, so as not to confuse people.

Kind regards,

Marcel
www.textures.com