The Stifled Modding Community

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The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Pixis » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:17 pm

So, there's recently been a severe uproar about mods and unauthorized offline versions of this game. Several people have been banned, a guild has been disbanded, and a large part of the community is split down the middle about the situation. I, myself, completely support both the offline and modded versions of this game, and I believe that feng would be wise to do so as well. So, in an effort to resolve this situation, I've decided to make a post, listing all the pros and cons of each side and taking a deeper look at why we should or should not allow such things as a community.

To start this off, I'd like to touch a bit on online piracy and a few important things to keep in mind. I know the major concern with offline versions lies within the ability to turn a profit for feng's hard work. First and foremost, these offline versions prevent people from viewing the ads that are currently providing the income for the game. However, I think it's important to say that despite your best efforts, there's literally NO way of controlling their creation or distribution. The internet community will inevitably steal, reproduce, mod, and distribute this work, no matter what you do. To ban players who support this from the forums will not prevent its distribution, but it will cost you a community member who cares about your game. The offline clients will continue to exist no matter what you do, and everybody will continue to have access to them. However, if these offline versions/mods were supported by the game developer, I think that we'd all stand to gain from it, with the developer seeing the most benefits. Here's why:

Modded Clients:

Spoiler:
Pros:
The modding community has always been a large part of online games, dating back to the very birth of online gaming. We've seen games that may perhaps have been significantly less successful and underplayed become HUGE market successes due to this community's efforts. Games who support their modding communities have never failed to have that support returned to them by the very mods it upholds. In today's game development lineup, you'll find that several well known developers started their careers simply by learning how to alter/add onto preexisting code for games, especially games like Quake. The Quake modding community still exists to this day, coming out with new and improved versions of the game that keeps the old fans playing. In more recent history, Minecraft has become more than just a game, rising to become what's nearly as close to a playable game engine as you could possibly come. It has supported its modding community, not just in spirit, but by directly involving new and improved ways of altering the game's features! This return has given fans of minecraft the ability to make it constantly grow. If you ask 75% of that community why it is they started playing minecraft, most of them will tell you that servers drew them in. These servers, changing the basics of the game, have added new flair to the game's single player experience, and have drawn in numerous buyers for the game. In fact, it's the #1 reason for minecraft's success.

Now, why would modded versions of this game help our community? Well, apart from the reasons above, modding could not only inspire Feng with ideas for new features, but could save valuable time on implementing them, as a good portion of the new code would be available for his usage. In addition to that, it could help lead us to the point that we have not only a team of 2 developers tirelessly working on updates, but an entire staff of individuals working on improving the game. The modding community could help lead Feng past the point of Indie game developer and into becoming a successful team leader, with multiple titles under his belt. I think it goes without saying that in terms of profit margin, this would be the best scenario that feng could be involved in, and a bit of ad viewing losses would be far less than the profit he'd stand to make.

Also, when a mod is openly accepted into a community, there must be a place to host this file for download, as well as a page to promote the mod to its players. This is another area that profit comes into play. By hosting the mod, you stand to make money from download redirect links, which pay a significant amount more than per-view ads. Also, by allowing the creator of the mod to promote his work on your site, you open up the potential for an increased amount of viewers on the forums, where that mod's details are located. People who are pulled into the game from the mod now have an active reason to view your site on a regular basis and the potential for per-view ad profit is drastically increased.

In addition to the personal benefits it would provide to Feng, it could provide us with new reasons to play. It could give us new maps, new characters, new gamemodes, and a countless supply of additional features only restricted by the imagination!

Cons:

- If the game didn't have support for preventing modded clients from joining unmodded servers, it'd create imbalance
- Potential for clients being unable to join multiplayer because of the wrong version
- potential for harmful files being spread through downloads



Offline Clients:


Spoiler:
I believe the number 1 reason to support this feature is the very reason that most of us play this game, the multiplayer. The game in its single player form is a fun game, but the game's multiplayer is where its true strength lies. Killing titans in a squad, fighting boss titans, and just flying around with others, has made for the most enjoyable times I've experienced in this game, and I think many people could agree on that. However, the game being a browser game greatly restricts its capabilities, by not only reducing a host's maximum spec allocation, but by reducing the bandwidth of the people connecting to that host as well. An offline version helps to solve this in 2 ways.

1. The host is able to personally control the ram and bandwidth allocation of his server, giving it that much needed boost to help ensure that other players are able to have a lag-free game. It gives him the option of opening the game with more memory function, as well as cutting of the bandwidth restrictions used by most browser programs. Not only that, but setting up dedicated servers becomes CONSIDERABLY easier when removing the necessity for a browser. The current need to have a host always present, always in-game is drain on the system's ability to function on well, and to function on its own. Offline clients would give us an easier route to setting up servers that work on their own, and are always available.

2. It allows people to play the game without having an open browser. Those who have poor internet connection would enjoy being able to not only play the game in times where they're unable to access the web, but would also enjoy having a direct connection to their host without the added baggage of ads, popups, bandwidth restrictions, etc. that comes with playing the game in-browser.

For this reason, I think the offline versions would help to improve the multiplayer experience in a number of ways. It'd give us the capability of running a more secure server, with better functionality. It'd also give us the ability to enjoy this wonderful game when the internet goes down, as well as being able to connect to servers more seamlessly. Unlike modded versions of the game, this feature could be directly controlled by Feng. By providing an offline download link, he's not only shut down the need for people to steal his work, but provided himself with an interception of their profit. Anybody who's downloaded an offline client knows that it goes through a mediafire link, which is providing the person creating and hosting the offline version with a little side cash. If feng hosted his own downloadable client under the same guidelines, he's not only directly intercepting the money that the offline-version's creator is making, but increasing it as well, from having a significantly larger population for the download to go to. In addition to that, each of the game's updates could be stored for download on this site, making numerous alleys for profit to come through. With every new update, feng would experience an income of download waves, which would be a vast amount more than any per-view ad could make.


TL;DR Version:


Spoiler:
To sum it up for everybody who doesn't like long arguments, I've made a quick bullet list.

Things to gain from supporting mods:
- Additional players
- Potential ideas for actual game features
- Potential staff members for the game
- An increase in forum views which leads to more ad money potential
- Capability to personally host and profit from the download of community mods
- A continuously expanding list of things to do within game
- Advertisement of any mod would result in advertisement of the game itself


Things to gain from supporting offline clients:
- People enjoying the game without internet
- Ability to increase server specs and cut off browser limitations
- Ability for people with bad internet to connect more efficiently to servers
- Potential profit for hosting the download on this site
- Increase forum views from returning downloaders
- Completely destroys any reason to pirate/steal the game




In Conclusion:


I would like to see, not only this community, but Feng Lee reconsider their current stances on mods/offline versions of the game. I think that both of these things could help to vastly improve the game and community both, and they should be supported, not punished, for their love of this fine creation! (Assuming I missed something, or left something unclear I'd like you to comment on anything you think I should add to the post, as well.)

If you support this argument, and would like to see the community take this opportunity to better itself, please put { In support of Modded/Offline Clients } in your signature, as well as a link to this post.

Thank you for your time,
A loving fan,
-Pixis
Last edited by Pixis on Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:05 am, edited 7 times in total.
Pixis
 

 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby TheRiz » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:27 pm

this wall of text... need TL;DR version...
TheRiz
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Foxen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:28 pm

The Gurren Brigade offers our wholehearted support of modding.Thanks for putting together this thread, Pixis :D
Foxen
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Pixis » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:31 pm

TheRiz wrote:this wall of text... need TL;DR version...


Hehe. I know, it's a massive post. A lot needed to be said, though! I will make a TL;DR version for everybody, though. XD

Foxen wrote:The Gurren Brigade offers our wholehearted support of modding.Thanks for putting together this thread, Pixis :D


Thanks Foxen! I hope this doesn't bring any trouble to our guild! I just wanted to express my opinions to the community.
Last edited by Pixis on Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pixis
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby HallowedSaber » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:31 pm

I completely agree. Even a lot of really successful games started off as mods. No one even heard of Arma 2 until Day Z mod was out. Mods bring in sooooo much more attention and can branch out to even bigger audiences too. Even Team Fortress 2 is mostly played for its many (Really fun) mods. Feng would only benefit from supporting mods.
HallowedSaber
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Empath » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:39 pm

I am going to address this as cleanly as possible. Your post is romanticizing this issue to an insane degree. There is also a fair amount of misinformation, so I will clear everything up until a mod either deletes or locks this.

1.) As far as I know, only Terramort has been banned for breaking the forums rules and posting links to the mod.
2.) Only one guild has been 'disbanded', and that guild was only created by Terramort to try and curry favor with members by offering them the mod if they joined.
3.) A large part of the community is not split in two, there is no schism at all.
4.) The current method of modding cannot give us new maps or a 'countless supply of additional features'. Feng would either have to fully release the unity project file or create modding tools for the public to use.
5.) There is no bandwidth or ram benefit from using the .exe over the browser.
Empath
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Z.E.D » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:49 pm

Okay So I'm extremely unsure about this. But if I had to choose i'd support.
WHy? here's an example : Anyone remember Zulthus ?http://fenglee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6619
FOr those who don't he's a forum member who made an incredible prototype model for Zhinganshina. It was playable and optimized on top of that. We're not even sure if feng saw it in the end . So he decided to continue his project apart from AoTTG. The way I see it , if feng refuses his help we lose an extremely talented map designer.

If modding is implemented , yes the updates would go much much faster but the problem is that feng kinda wants to keep the game with him and his brother , which is kind of impossible now imo , so many people play it...He's not going to hire directly some people so mods could be a great idea. BUt think the game must have advanced a bit more before any of that could be implemented. We don't mod an unfinished and unpolished game. there's not even music yet :lol:

SO i'll support the modding but not yet , the game needs to grow a bit before any "official" mods are allowed. We can't start tampering with the game when it's still in full developpmement
Z.E.D
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Pixis » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:00 pm

Empath wrote:I am going to address this as cleanly as possible. Your post is romanticizing this issue to an insane degree. There is also a fair amount of misinformation, so I will clear everything up until a mod either deletes or locks this.

1.) As far as I know, only Terramort has been banned for breaking the forums rules and posting links to the mod.
2.) Only one guild has been 'disbanded', and that guild was only created by Terramort to try and curry favor with members by offering them the mod if they joined.
3.) A large part of the community is not split in two, there is no schism at all.
4.) The current method of modding cannot give us new maps or a 'countless supply of additional features'. Feng would either have to fully release the unity project file or create modding tools for the public to use.
5.) There is no bandwidth or ram benefit from using the .exe over the browser.


Well, in all fairness, the issue is romanticized a bit, but it's a very valid issue, as I believe the continuous attempt to control the inevitable will result in people leaving this community behind.

1. I know that numerous people have been banned for this reason, not just Terramort, though he's the most recent individual who has. While I'm aware that it's against forum rules to do so, I believe those rules are set forth by a fear of loss of profit, a fear that is unjustifiable, and so those rules should be mended. That's why I made this thread.

2. As far as guilds go, any guild found supporting the offline clients will be deleted. Whether any more than Terramort's have or not in the past is a valid point, but the fact that the potential for it still exists is a problem. The benefits we stand to gain from offline clients vastly help to improve multiplayer, which you'll agree is the very foundation that our guilds are built upon. Without multiplayer, there would be no guilds.

3. As far as the schism, I've discussed with plenty of people as to whether or not they think this would be a good/bad idea and I've seen people on both sides. I think that if nobody agreed with me, there wouldn't be a continuous attempt to get these offline versions and there wouldn't be anybody trying to prevent people from doing so. There's obviously two sides here, and I'm speaking to the latter.

4. There's methods to decompile the code with the offline version, and thereby alter that code. The game doesn't need to be open-source for somebody to modify it. Thousands of games that were not open-source have successful mods, skyrim for example. There's plenty of methods for ripping models from a game that doesn't allow you to do so.

5. .exe programs can be opened through a command window that allows you to set parameters for the game's specs, ram and bandwidth min/max are two of these settings you can change. Your browser, whichever one you may use, also has min/max settings for its usage. The offline version gives us capability to control these settings, so there is potential for performance increase.

As I'm certain that you're going to continue to be unconvinced, I would at least ask that you keep an open mind and let others post their opinions before requesting that my post be deleted. I think there are plenty of people in the community that have an opinion on the matter, and it's important that we get those opinions out.

Z.E.D wrote:Okay So I'm extremely unsure about this. But if I had to choose i'd support.
WHy? here's an example : Anyone remember Zulthus ?http://fenglee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6619
FOr those who don't he's a forum member who made an incredible prototype model for Zhinganshina. It was playable and optimized on top of that. We're not even sure if feng saw it in the end . So he decided to continue his project apart from AoTTG. The way I see it , if feng refuses his help we lose an extremely talented map designer.


Thank you for bringing up this point! This is one example of a developer shunned, who could end up making a game that will turn into direct competition.
Pixis
 

Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby Colopty » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:19 pm

You sound pretty biased about this, honestly.
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Re: The Stifled Modding Community

Postby bope » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:24 pm

Colopty wrote:You sound pretty biased about this, honestly.

I agree I bet he is the one who created it and is trying to build support around it. I personaly think that the mods bring about a bad change, under the impression of helping everyone with servers that work, and fix things that could take awhile for feng to get to. oh wait they only help.... and do not interfere with people who would rather play with the original lobby weird. #freeflan2014
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