2019-07-27 01:02:03

Hi all,

I have been a long-time member of this community. For some of you, this does not mean much. For some of you who believe that due to voicing my opinion in a direct manner I was/am a jerk, this means even less. For a lot of you, however, it probably means an echo of better times, when this forum was once a friendly community. Support was given when it was necessary, members, if mistaken, were educated, rather than punished, and the community really thrived. There was a noticeable distance between gamers and developers, but for the most part, there was always mutual respect on both the developers' and the gamers' side. Myself, as a game developer and a gamer at heart was lucky enough to know both sides, and the atmosphere was fantastic. It was worth contributing to the community, knowing that whatever may be, it will make someone smile at the end of the day.

As it stands today, the quality of the community is strongly declining. This is partly due to immaturity, which the current moderators are dealing with admirably, all things considered. Unfortunately, though, the moderators are also contributing to this decline, which is simply unacceptable.

In the name of copyright and stopping piracy, the community is becoming massively content-restricted. Before we go any further, let me assure you that I am by no means supporting piracy. As a developer, writer and composer, nothing is worse than having your work pirated, even if it is eventually unavoidable. There are certain cases, however, when following legal restrictions is not as straight-forward as it seems. This is especially true for a community that does not have borders, us being international.

I will not talk about the recent AudioVault issues, as I believe our main goal as a community is to be an outlet for audio games and there are other means of sharing non-game-related content, if desired.
Applying the same rules to audio games, however, not only discourages game development, but it also makes this already tiny community heavily fragmented.

I can claim without hesitation that 90% of the existing audio games in the database will not pass this rule, older games from reputable developers included. Without pointing fingers, games from Phil Vlasak, David Greenwood, Jim Kitchen, Munawar Bijani, to an extent even Thomas Ward and Liam Erven, would all have issues when it comes to using unauthorized sounds. Mason and Sam are the ones coming to mind from the newer generation.

I won't go into details, but suffice to say that very, and I really mean very, few audio game developers use custom-designed sound effects. This means that by nature, you do not have ownership of the sound effects you purchased, you solely purchase usage rights. This also means that it is, unless the sounds have been layered together, very difficult to claim that a sound effect has been stolen from a certain game. Aprone's Swamp, for example, uses a lot of stock sounds from certain sound libraries, so I could easily claim that @Kai used those sounds from a mainstream game, and it would be likely believable. I know for a fact that he didn't, but my example is still valid. The same goes for Lighttech Interactive and the SFX Kit, which has been all over the place these past years. Was it stolen from our games? Certainly not. Crazy Party, even Pokemon Crystal Access uses sounds, or disassembled code that is questionable.

I don't understand why there is a need to restrict content, clone source code included by default. Should anyone have an issue, the moderators could (and should) remove the offending content in a heartbeat. At the moment, I strongly believe that this does not add to the value of the community, especially because instead of educating, members are punished (with exceptions, of course). As moderators, who have less access limitations, do you feel that this will lead to a thriving community, rather than restricting freedom and making people second-guess their intentions?
This community, being the first and foremost medium when it comes to audio gaming, is not only an example, but also grounds for future generations of audio game developers. Does anyone feel that this is cultivated at the moment? I surely don't, and this is not how it should be. Just as an example, I remember when Dog and Cat from VIP Games Zone was posted ages ago. Rather than dubbing it as a very simple and boring game, there was a tremendous amount of encouragement and hope that better games would follow. And they did. Nowadays, rather than encouragement, the first remark for an inexperienced developer would be: Oh, is this another clone, or: Why didn't you provide a description?

Moderators, I am still not seeing unity, and there is very little hope left if this is not changing ASAP. Members of the moderator team are overwriting each other's decisions, and other than for Jade, there is not a lot going on when it comes to innovations. As a result, there is huge pressure from the general members, which of course always comes down on whoever's the leading figure.
On that note, we all make mistakes, and while you think about blaming Jade, please also think about the fact that this is an entirely voluntary position. I might not fully agree with the set rules, as this post clearly shows, but I believe in this community and I believe that willingness to listen to reasonable concerns was never a question.

Richard and Sendermen are still supporting this community by paying for the domain and the server, let's not waste their more than a decade long efforts!

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2019-07-27 01:16:30

the irony of this post is that literally in the next hour or so I was going to post about this very thing. I could have saved you a ton of writing, but thank you for writing this. it is good to know how the community feels. There are a lot of valid points here.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my space bar. Prepare to die!


2019-07-27 01:37:17

I agree with a lot of this.
On one hand, I'm not fond of piracy, particularly if people are trying to then sell their product. Ripping people off is no good. On the other hand, stuff that's free and which may infringe in only small ways, while technically illegal, is harming almost no one.
The reality is a simple one. If there was ever a time to crack down on this really, really hard, that time was probably long gone. It's probably too late to do the truly ideal thing here, both from a community perspective and a legal one, without simply blowing up the community.

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2019-07-27 13:27:42 (edited by Dark 2019-07-27 15:29:30)

I have tried to keep generally quiet about this issue since I don't want to step on the toes of the current administration team, however I will say I am in complete agreement with Robjoy here, and  heartily relieved that the moderators did not take such a destructive move, indeed the staff will recall I sent an email to the mods list yesterday evening about this subject.

personally, my stance on copywrite has always been "what protects game creators," which was the stance I followed when I was involved with forum administration, not share holders, not companies, but the actual creative people who make audiogames possible.

This was why I always asked people to remove links to copywrited  films or other content to try and keep the forum safe, and why I was dead against game piracy from individual creators, but why I saw nothing wrong with using sounds from mainstream games in free projects much as graphical indi game creators do (just go and browse somewhere like retroremakes).

so, I am sincerely glad that moderation, in the true sense of the word, that is a reasonable compromise has finally prevailed.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-07-27 13:33:52

I think it's a fair compromise for everyone honestly. I'm glad we could make this happen.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my space bar. Prepare to die!


2019-07-28 00:10:51

You mention that we should allow things unless they become an issue, but remove them in a heartbeat if they do.
Would this not often devolve into a he said she said back and forth though?  Particularly with the maturity levels of most current developers?
Hell someone could just accuse another of doing this to get back at them for some off forum crap, and it would come down to others to attempt to sort it out.
It doesn't seem much better for the mods, and I promise you that people suspected of steeling sounds will still be raked over the coals by the community.
I tend to think that shutting these things down fast is a better option, but of course then you run into the same exact issue with the burden of proof.
We would then likely be trading more drama for less combing through evidence, without much of a stress reduction for the mods.

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