I’m a mod author with a long experience in role playing games. I’ve played and dungeon mastered Grayhawk by Gary Gygax, and Call of Cthulhu. I do not consider computer games to be on par with real RPGs because they can’t capture the feeling of storytelling between friends. Exceptions such as Ultima Underworld or Fallout (up to New Vegas) do retain the element of role playing choice however, and modding can also retain the element of creative contribution. I’ve modded several aspects of Skyrim and New Vegas and my experience in modding sums up to this: modding should be free and enjoyable. By “free” I don’t mean that mods should be considered a public domain, but rather that copyright law should be used to ensure that freedom is propagated.
A few days ago I posted an idea at a private mod author forum. The idea was to write a fomod XML declaration that would display this message upon installation:
The declaration is written in a way that an automated system will install no files, unless instructed by a 3rd party to look for a specific folder. In my opinion, such an instruction is a conscious effort in creating a derivative work, where my mod files are being extracted without the end user ever seeing the license agreement. While such a theory has not been tested in courts, Epic Games has exercised the option on their case against a Fortnite hacker. I believe that as an author of a work, I’m entitled to the same rights and protections of copyright law.
You might be wondering why am I against mod packs, aside from the reasons outlined at the screenshot above. After all, all my mods are released under this simplified GPL-based license: “You are free to distribute this work, modified or not, as long as it is publicly available for download under this license.” That means you have the right to fork VUI+ under a different name as long as you propagate my license and make sure that your mod is published it in a site where I can download it without any restrictions (such as registrations).
What I do not support is that people claim that their mod pack includes Vanilla UI Plus and yet they hide its fomod installer. My understanding is that some users consider such installers a thing of the past, but my installer is an inseparable part of my mod. It outlines the quick readme and includes options for features that I have worked hard to provide to users:
If you still think that the installer should be hidden, then by all means fork my mod as allowed by my license. Just don’t assume you have the right to offer Vanilla UI Plus by crippling its installer. This is piracy plain and simple. And, in case you haven’t noticed, I decided a few years ago to stop people from appropriating my hard work no matter how inconvenient for me.
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