Would you contribute if a company can take it all?

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I was thinking about viable models for company -> community handovers, and this is the only community I'm involved in, in this situation. So I wanted to get the opinions of the contributors of FAF.

Let's say one day Square Enix (or whoever owns SupCom) came along and said, "Hey guys, we'd like to grant you source code access, under certain conditions:"

  • FAF project (and other approved projects) granted a perpetual license to use SupCom & FA source code and assets for noncommercial purposes. (The license can be revoked under certain conditions, eg. if S-E deems that a project is misbehaving and damaging the brand.)

  • HOWEVER, here's the catch: Square Enix must be given a perpetual license to use all contributions to FAF for any purpose it wants, without credit or payment.

So basically the company will hand over the source code, but in return it can take any code, assets, etc created for the project, and use it for their own profit or whatever.

Let's pretend that FAF takes a vote and decides to accept the deal. As a contributor, would you be willing to continue to contribute under such an arrangement? Or would you leave the project?

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Basically we are doing this already today.

Apart from the game repo, all software projects on FAF are released under an open source license. And this is intentional, not a side effect of some other software we rely on. So every company could take the code and build a commercial product out of it. (I don't think anybody would want to use the FAF code for anything given all the legacy problems, but that's a different topic.)

I'm coding for fun. If some company takes my work and makes money out of it, it's not like they are stealing anything from me. At that point I had fun writing it, it served a purpose to the community and if someone else can also use it: even better.

The game repo is a more difficult topic, and I'm not working on it, but to me the end result is the same. The copyright owner could demand us to stop sharing original parts of the code base on Github anytime - which would make work on the game as we currently do mostly impossible. But despite this constant threat, people have spent thousands of hours on improving the game.

So if someone came around and would give a legal approval on what we are doing, that would be great but also the way we work wouldn't change.

Regarding the company -> community model:
FAF is a shiny example what a community can achieve (but not the only one). No company in the world can or will spend the amount of money to achieve the same amount of contributor time that the community is spending for free. Yet I have never seen a company actually bringing paid employees and the community together. I assume this is natural as the community grows and forms after the game is released, while the company makes the money in the first few months and after that everything is a cost factor.

In theory the community doesn't need the source code per se. I don't think we would immediately benefit from it (we don't know if it would still compile today, most of our devs have no background in this, 3rd party libraries might still be missing and they are not available for free, it opens the door for cheaters... ) .

But imagine how FAF would look today given two things:

  1. If the company would publish all documents about networking protocols and file formats used right on the launch of the game . It would have saved us years from reverse engineering.
  2. Imagine one of the original game developers would still work 5 hours a week diagnosing and fixing bugs we find and adding lua functions the community game devs ask for.

Forged Alliance would be the most polished game ever and probably sold a 2nd, 3rd and 4th expansion pack + being a major thing in eSports.

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Some projects are even licensed under MIT which means a company could make none open source additions to them.

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Theoretically speaking, SE would need to have negotiated with FAF to allow vault content owners to "hand off" their contributions to FAF, and therefore the company. This either takes form in how you upload content to the vault, be-it an ammendment to the terms and conditions you accept upon uploading, or perhaps one would need to "submit" your content for validation by an internal SE QA team before it's accepted.

Theoretically speaking, you wanted to create a career for yourself out of making the same content you uploaded to the vault.
Demonstrating that you were able to "hand-off" your work(s) to a large name buisness looks very nice on an application.

So yes, I would be fine with that.
The only way I see SE using that agreement is to capitalise on FAF if it were to "magically" implode in popularity. I dont see that implosion happening, so it's a null change.

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@Brutus5000 Thanks for your thoughts!

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Forged Alliance would be the most polished game ever and probably sold a 2nd, 3rd and 4th expansion pack + being a major thing in eSports.

Hi @Brutus5000 , thanks for the detailed explanation. Do you maybe have some idea why current owner doesn't want to pursue this? I mean having the game sold to ~2000 players isn't much of a profit compared to giving a game for free and having a large number of users. LOL and DOTA are the most famous with users buying skins and whatnot. This business model could be arranged so that the company and developers (internal and external) cooperate and create additional plugins, modds, skins, maps, voices, models (textures), ranks, ... The economic opportunity is huge. I know I would pay and even be motivated to participate in somethig like this as a developer.

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Oh yes, free to play game and then sell 10 maps just for 5€, who wouldnt want to buy that. I mean it wouldnt cost 5€ but 2000mass and you could buy mass for money or gain it from games, would take like half an year to get like 500 mass but you could buy it to get more stuff faster, right? At the end of the day we would make shit ton of cash!

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Also I'm not really sure how much skins would sell for, since most of the time you aren't zoomed in closed enough to see them.

Supcom is good because it's complex in the right areas: unit composition, economy, strategy. Don't muddle it. Nor do I think you'll get much bite on that for an RTS. It's not Fortnite — it will never have as many players, because it's not something you can just sit down and win at with only a lifetime of CS:GO backing you. SC2 might have 2 million players right now. Fortnite has 350 million.

Capture.JPG

Maps and textures, sure, but... the community creates those for free right now anyway.

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@Brutus5000 The problem with that is that all of the code built off and on this game is in breach of copyright of the original copyright owners, so the license doesn't mean anything. Unless you can demonstrate that it is a work of copyright in its own right, and is not in breach of Supcom FA copyright, which is hard to do in cases of direct modifications.

It basically means that you are liable for everyone that uses your "open source" license, while in breach, unless you have a specific indeminity clause in that license protecting yourself.

Currently if someone took your open source license used it commercially or non-commercially in the context of your license, and got sued by Nordic or whomever, that person can then sue you for your license, unless there are specific clauses of indeminity or limitations.

So might be worth double checking.

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@Psions As stated above this only affects the game repository. All other projects were written from scratch.

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@Thrash_Abaddon

Square Enix is planning on a Supcom 3 MMO thing. With ongoing support, vast PVP, PVE, co-op, and more!

Right after they get Akira Toriyama to help them finish the next Chrono game. 🤡

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@KaletheQuick
Where did you hear this?

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@axel12 This was a joke.

The point was Square Enix is sitting on a mountain of franchises and IP, but never used any of them. Like a dragon just sitting on it's gold. People WANT a Chrono game, it gets a 9/10 rating, but its been 25 years and they still don't give a shit. They just churn out more Final Fantasy crap.

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