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Is this a good idea?
Sorry, it doesn't work like that. 35%  35%  [ 7 ]
Great idea! 40%  40%  [ 8 ]
That's technically valid, but it wouldn't really help. 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
That would just make things worse. 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
Other (please specify). 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 20
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but key points in my argument rest on assumptions about Cyan's legal situation, both in reality and in various hypothetical scenarios. If you know what you're talking about, please correct me where I'm wrong.

As we all know, there is currently no legal way for fans to create Ages for Uru. I think most of us would agree that this is a suboptimal state of affairs. Ideally, I think most of us, fans and Cyan both, would like:
  • for fans to be able to create Uru Ages,
  • legally,
  • without waiting for Open Source,
  • in a way that doesn't take Cyan's time or money away from Open Source.
This post is an attempt to propose a way that that might be achieved.

I assume that Cyan is not in the legal position to just say "okay sure, have fun, do whatever you want". However, I also assume that Cyan employees can safely create Uru Ages without issues. The only problem with that is that hiring employees costs money, and if Cyan is spending money we'd rather it go towards Open Source (or towards something like MQO or Hex Isle that will make Cyan more money).

So, what I propose is this: Cyan should hand out unpaid internships to people who want to create Ages for Uru, much like they currently grant FCALs. This makes the Age creator legally an employee of Cyan, without putting a drain on Cyan's financial resources.

Cyan proper would provide no kind of support whatsoever, of course; we'd be completely on our own. Eventually I'm sure we'd develop some kind of tools to help the process along; something tells me we can be pretty self-sufficient that way. (And, in the very hypothetical situation that such tools already exist, Cyan would do well to give internships to the authors of those tools and get legal permission for themselves and their interns to use them.)

(If you have reason to believe that certain hypotheticals in this post may be less hypothetical than I imply, please keep it to yourself. We're on Cyan's forum and we need to play by Cyan's rules.)

I believe that this approach would be low-cost and low-risk to Cyan, and of immense value to the fans.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:12 pm 
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To the people who voted "sorry, it doesn't work like that": could you elaborate? Why wouldn't it work?

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 10:03 am 
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Assuming the Title is what the question applies to… Fan Ages in the Uru Engine, is that a good idea? I doubt many understand the question.

Uru engine… do you mean the Uru engine in CC or the version in MOULa?

Are you suggesting there is another engine to run ages in?

Creating ages for MOULa is legal. Anyone can fire up Blender or Max and build an age planned for future addition to Open Uru. With a signed FCAL one can even legally use some Cyan assets. The problem comes when one wants to test the age or visit the age.

Cyan has not elaborated on what the legal position is regarding MOUL. They likely had to get some rights from Ubi to do the GameTap thing. After the GameTap era they got rights from GT that allow them to run MOULa. We have not heard anything about how Open Uru will work within the frame work that Cyan, Ubi, and GT made to allow GT to use a former Ubi licensed game or how that affects Cyan now. Complications in these relationships could be holding up the licenses.

Not knowing what all the licenses say, we can’t know what Cyan can or cannot do. Will interns fit within the agreements? May be… may be not. May be an NDA is all that is needed. May be the source material is severally restricted as to who and how it can be accessed… may be not.

Suffice to say numerous ways of getting things going have been proposed. Cyan has not taken fans up on them. I think there is an obvious pattern. What is not obvious is the ‘why’.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Nalates wrote:
Suffice to say numerous ways of getting things going have been proposed. Cyan has not taken fans up on them. I think there is an obvious pattern. What is not obvious is the ‘why’.

To many people suggesting that a company get volunteer people to do things seem obvious and easy to do, while in fact there are numerous difficulties to this: legal, organisationnal, financial, commercial, even psychological.
Legal: I'm not sure about the US law; but in many other countries setting up volunteer position among a company full of paid employees isn't so simple and sometimes downright impossible.(contractual issues, insurrances etc)
Organisationnal: bringing in new employees requires management. When your company is already a bit tight on time and money that is not your best option. And bringing in new employees and not manage them and think they'll do fine on their own is bit of a risky option..
Financial: yes, volunteers cost money. They may not get a salary, but they use various ressources of the company, and as such they cost money.
Commercial and psychological: assuming you have volunteers on board, you have all the legal and contractual issues sorted out and you can sell their work; you can pride yourself of that, but many other people (competitors, medias, even potential parters) may not see things the same way. "Look, it's the company that need volunteers to be able to do their work"... Nasty things. :/ When you are a successful company it can be seen as a good thing, a sign of wisedom and generosity, but when you are a company that has had better days people are quick to point fingers at you. And that will hurt you much faster than poor sales.

The bottom line is that it is far from easy. It is not impossible, but it doesn't happen, not for one good reason, but for several. :)


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Okay, so I see that there exist plausible reasons why it wouldn't necessarily work. But I don't quite follow some of the specific arguments...

aloys wrote:
Organisationnal: bringing in new employees requires management. When your company is already a bit tight on time and money that is not your best option. And bringing in new employees and not manage them and think they'll do fine on their own is bit of a risky option.

Well, yes, if we were talking about actual employees. I was thinking more of employees-in-name-only.

aloys wrote:
Financial: yes, volunteers cost money. They may not get a salary, but they use various ressources of the company, and as such they cost money.

Again, if we were talking about people who showed up at the office, occupied cubicles, drank from the water cooler, etc., then that would make sense, but that's not really what I had in mind.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:05 pm 
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As Nalates says, creating fan Ages *is* legal. Posts about it are deleted here, but that's a far cry from being illegal. That just means Cyan doesn't like it ;)


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:04 pm 
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ddb174 wrote:
As Nalates says, creating fan Ages *is* legal. Posts about it are deleted here, but that's a far cry from being illegal. That just means Cyan doesn't like it ;)

If posts simply mentioned to concepts, 3D models of Ages, and use of Cyan's plugin, I think Cyan would like them, exactly because at the moment we are officially able to create Ages for MOULa, even if we cannot test them, and even if the plugin only works with obsolete versions of 3dsmax.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:38 pm 
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Pavitra wrote:
Well, yes, if we were talking about actual employees. I was thinking more of employees-in-name-only.


When your running a business doing things 'in name only' has some challenges. First, most agreements usually specify rights for a company and their employees. Parties to an agreement usually consider that a company has control over their employees. A large part of that comes from knowing the payment for work generally means a court will enforce employment agreements. Without payment for some form; education, software, etc., courts tend to see the agreements as too one sided and less likely to enforce them. So, partners may not like the idea at all, which is part of aloys' point on psychological/PR.

We aren't sure what restrictions Cyan is living with in regard to their game assets. They tell us there is stuff that they simply cannot give us and is likely covered by non-disclosure agreements, which means they can't even tell us about it. If they create an unpaid intern position and give restricted material to such people, partners and courts could see that as a deliberate attempt to circumvent the agreements. If those interns leak the restricted material, Cyan is liable for any damages. Aloys point on cost is very real. The PR, management time, and legal liability issues are real costs to a business.

Even if they were willing to risk the PR and liability issues, looking at things from Cyan's point of view, deciding on who they can trust and give internships to, could be seen as another headache. Many of the fans have already demonstrated what Cyan likely sees as a willingness to violate agreements and disrespect for private property. Choosing who can have what, would create another inflammatory issue. Cyan may simply believe it is not worth the likely hassle.

While we don't know the actual reasons, we can see which proposals they are rejecting. Free help, for whatever reason, is repeatedly rejected... or, at least, not accepted...

We can speculate on numerous reasons why that is. One line of thinking is negative and assigns ...less than flattering... motivations and levels of intelligence to Cyan and tries to push Cyan to some other course of action. Those participating in that line of thinking seem to believe they know more about the issues than Cyan.

Another line of thinking is simply, for whatever reasons Cyan is choosing to keep things to their self and do the work. Since it is their game, assets, and choice... and we live in a free world (leaving politics out of defining 'free world') they have a right to do that. This means no matter how good we think the ice cream is (various ideas), when a friend does not want any (because of a diet or whatever) we don't force it down their throat.

Your idea is not new. I don't know that anyone has collected all the ideas in one place, but at this point it is pretty hard to come up with something that has not already been suggested.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:45 pm 
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Ah well. So dies another beautiful theory, left beached on the jagged rocks of fact.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Another problem with free contributions to the code at this point is that the community certainly does not agree on what needs to be done to Uru and how. Therefore, "elevating" only some fan developers to the status of contributors is going to arise massive drama in the community (which could be avoided if people were reasonable, but it's likely to happen anyway). And "elevating" everyone to the status of unpaid collaborator would force Cyan to dedicate resources to either coordinating the efforts, or choosing which contributions to actually include in the code.

P.S. Sorry Pavitra, I did not see you had replied already!

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:54 pm 
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Simone wrote:
Another problem with free contributions to the code at this point is that the community certainly does not agree on what needs to be done to Uru and how. Therefore, "elevating" only some fan developers to the status of contributors is going to arise massive drama in the community (which could be avoided if people were reasonable, but it's likely to happen anyway). And "elevating" everyone to the status of unpaid collaborator would force Cyan to dedicate resources to either coordinating the efforts, or choosing what contributions to actually include in the code.


Cyan could "elevate" anyone who asks, and then not attempt to make any decision about which changes to accept. If people want to play fan Ages, then one of the honorary interns can develop a server and host a shard. Or something.

I was trying to approximate the "say 'okay, whatever' and ignore us" model as closely as legally feasible.

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