Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

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vasc
Posts: 5
Joined: September 26th, 2005, 7:13 pm

Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Post by vasc »

Hello,
As someone who was formerly involved in OSS game development (Freeciv), who still does some OSS development on occasion, (BRL-CAD) and who is interested to see the scene grow I thought I would add a couple of comments to this thread.

About the comments that it is not clear how the GPL applies to art or music in a game. IANAL but it seems pretty clear to me it does apply. Source code can have data in it. Why should the art and music be any different? From my POV if you add GPL art and music in a GPL game it is pretty much as if you licensed the art and music under CC BY-SA (it's copyleft) with possibly the additional clause that you cannot use it in a non-GPLed work. The GNU Free Documentation License is another copyleft license with the difference that it allows some pieces (e.g. book covers) to be ND (oh and don't use it).

If you want to use Creative Commons for OSS game assets I suggest you use BY-SA as much as possible and BY-ND for parts you don't want to be changed by anyone else ever. Forget the other licenses.

I have seen some discussions with RMS in the past and I kind of agree with him that NC licenses are bad for OSS projects in general. You guys need to take less offense at someone charging money for distribution. If you want your code to survive in the long run there will be expenses in archival, media, transport, or whatever. In the end the marginal cost to the end user will tend to be close to zero due to market dynamics. An NC license means it will be harder for the code to survive in the long term or for a viable community to spring around it. I unfortunately have some experience with game projects with licenses like that so it's not like I am talking without any prior knowledge. At points we had the game come out in magazine CDs (remember those?) or in OS distros. Do you want to lose that kind of distribution stream for good? It's basically free publicity for your game.

Regarding game engine source code I would make it GPL, LGPL, Apache 2.0, or MIT licensed. I can kind of understand you guys would probably want to use your engine on closed source products. Considering you wrote it I think you perfectly entitled to use any license you wish. The zlib license is basically kind of like an MIT license so it's ok. Just do not expect to have as many people donating code to you as if the project was copyleft. For the same reason you wanted to make your creations NC a lot of people do not like giving code to non-copyleft projects. Let alone assigning copyrights to you. You would probably end up with forked projects. The FSF allegedly does copyright assignments as an escape clause in case the GPL becomes unviable as a way to provide copyleft and they have to write a new license for the software (same reason why the GPL says "this version or later"). The owner of the copyright can always relicense their work in as many ways as they wish. We are supposed to believe they the FSF will use it for that. But a lot of people don't like assigning code to the FSF precisely because don't trust them that much to begin with. And they have quite a track record of steading fast to their beliefs. In short I wouldn't bother with copyright assignments. It tends to irk a lot of people.

I can understand the problem of someone misrepresenting the software especially for something like a game. So I think you did good to trademark it. Regarding how to generate funds I would not be so dismissive of donations. It usually works fine as a way to fund hosting costs. For commissioning art, and music, or other works it is indeed probably better to have some kind of separate revenue stream and it probably would be good to have someone on a retainer. One major problem with art is how to maintain consistency across the work and this gets hard to do without having someone to enforce a consistent style.

As for the assets we actually had someone work on 3D generated assets on Freeciv at one point. You can basically generate 2D sprites from the 3D models. Problems with that were that we did not have enough animations or part reuse to make this approach worth the extra effort at the time. Plus 3D models are not exactly the most portable datafiles around. So it was kind of hard to settle on the assets. A lot of people said that Freeciv had crap graphics at several points in its lifetime (probably all the time). I can tell from experience that the major issue we had was maintaining consistency and the huge size of the effort of redoing the graphics every time we wanted to change the style of the art. Even when we had someone who did a wholly new graphics pack by themselves that had to be maintained and the artists usually don't stick around unless they have a good reason to.

You guys were actually the OSS project which had the best artists at the time. So I am kind of sad that it seems, from comments here, you are having issues retaining talent now. I would venture to say, much like for code, unless there is someone to provide the drive for the project, and enforce the consistency (the lead artists), chances are people will not want to work on it. At the same time there needs to be a low barrier of entry for people to change the art or add to it or few will bother. You guys probably have a better idea for how to make this work. We never quite succeeded. You at least did succeed at it for a significant amount of time.

Oh regarding alternative ways to fund the work other than donations I suppose the game sales in online shops are one way of doing it for your particular case. You will have friction with paid vs non-paid people in your project. We never quite got around this issue in Freeciv considering the maintainers were all working for free. In your case you still have your project founders around so you can reboot it. The thing is changing operating rules in the middle of the project is something most people usually don't like. Unless you have a *really* good explanation for doing it.

You basically want someone to act as treasurer and someone to act as the community leader (preferably not the same person). We had a kind of informal structure and it kind of collapsed for several reasons. Yet the project still lives. In part because it wasn't NC. I'll give you one example. For several years now we only managed to keep the site up by moving it to Wikia. Good look doing that with an NC license. Also other than Github, which did not exist at the time I was a game dev, I can't think of any other place to host the source code that accepts NC projects. You would probably have to pay for your own dev site.

Destructothorak
Posts: 1
Joined: October 16th, 2016, 4:54 am

Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Post by Destructothorak »

Does anyone know how to get the game to work? I downloaded wesnoth2 and the anura engine but there doesn't seem to be any way to open either one of them.

Lorbi
Posts: 162
Joined: May 21st, 2007, 6:35 am
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Post by Lorbi »

vasc wrote:About the comments that it is not clear how the GPL applies to art or music in a game. IANAL but it seems pretty clear to me it does apply. Source code can have data in it. Why should the art and music be any different? From my POV if you add GPL art and music in a GPL game it is pretty much as if you licensed the art and music under CC BY-SA (it's copyleft) with possibly the additional clause that you cannot use it in a non-GPLed work.
One of the problems here is that the GPL requires you to provide the source, which CC does not require. Also some of wesnoths musicians simply don't want their music to be rehashed/changed, which they have a right to. Here is a thread where a this whole thing has been discussed a lot: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22098
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name
Posts: 409
Joined: January 6th, 2008, 3:32 am

Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Post by name »

LordBob wrote: I'd give a lot to see a Wesnoth game with the sort of environment you find in Might and Magic!
Specifically which game in that series would you say has the most fitting aesthetic for wesnoth2?
LordBob wrote: It doesn't have to be 3D (I would be naturally inclined towards 2D), yet 3D could help produce 2D graphics with a more streamlined approach and ease the workload when creating modular assets and animations.
A compromise, could be to do paint overs of renders of 3D animation frames. No UV mapping or textures required, just a medium resolution mesh, rigged for animation and lit with basic lighting. Render animation at the desired resolution and frame rate, from all three directions using Dixie's excellent orientation shift suggestion (so that you don't have four directional animations to paint over).

Then either a pixel artist or a painterly artist (depends on chosen resolution of sprite) fills in the details on the frames rendered to 2D, using a simple 2D raster editor.

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