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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:28 pm 
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Currently, anyone can create ages in Uru: Complete Chronicles. They have access to tools and documentation, they can discuss issues in public forums, and they can distribute their ages for the public to review (given prior approval by Cyan). The public can explore these fan-created ages.

So, why would we need an Unofficial Guild of Writers? To answer this question, we need to draft a mission statement that succinctly describes its purpose, its reason for being. We need to agree on this before anything else: membership, structure, necessary skills, location of a home, etc.

Below is a draft of a mission statement based on people's comments made in posts and chatlogs. If you feel that there is anything that needs to be added or changed, please post below. Once we all get something that we agree on, we'll ratify it and make it the basis of founding the Unofficial Guild of Writers.


Mission Statement

The Unofficial Guild of Writers shall create ages for exploration by the community and shall enable explorers to create ages. To this end, members of this guild agree to uphold the following:
  • We shall help people seeking collaboration on age creation find others with complementary skills.
  • We shall supplement age creation tools through documentation and community support, making the age creation process as easy as possible.
  • We shall work with the Unofficial Guild of Maintainers to produce ages that meet a high standard of quality and that are legally sound.
  • We shall seek to improve the current age creation tool set and overall process.


-----

Change log:
  • 28 August: Replaced "We shall coordinate people with different skill sets into age creation teams" with "We shall help people seeking collaboration on age creation find others with complementary skills."
  • 30 August: Added "We shall seek to improve the current age creation tool set and overall process."
  • 13 September: Changed "The Unofficial Guild of Writers shall enable explorers to create ages for exploration by the community" with "The Unofficial Guild of Writers shall create ages for exploration by the community and shall enable explorers to create ages."


-----

Sources


From the GoW Discussion thread:
[spoiler]
Tiran: The main goal of the GoW is to provide all means and the infrastructure for age creators and tool developers. The GoW must focus on making the age creation process for every interested user as easy as possible. We don't want the GoW to become a discussion group about cavern politics.

Todoni: I envision the GoW actually assisting in really adding to the game of Uru, really helping Cyan, and not just another fan site that likes to imagine their own additions.

metaigahn: the GoW facilitates the coordination of our skills into productive teams that produce Ages, at least some of which Cyan accepts for the future growth of URU Live.

Ushgarak: The Guild is about the process of creating Ages for the game community.
[/spoiler]

From the 18 August Meeting Chatlog:
[spoiler]
Paradox:
- Tools that actually work
- Tools with documentation
- Tools that are userfriendly
- Ages that are user-created and representatice of the creative faucets of our community
- Making sure that Cyan content is not abused
- Making sure that all Ages meet the legal requirements
- The GoW would be responsible for the AGes that it creates
- The GoW is not directly responsible for the Tools. Tools are (obviously) designed with the GoW in mind; and the GoW will have influence on the Tools; but the Tools themselves are not part of the GoW

Dovahn: Player designed ages.

Marein: Ages that can extremely easily be imported by non-builders

GermanShepherd: the D'ni Guild of Writers was strictly for Ages... there's another Guild for creative writing

Metaigahn: Yes, our focus in Ages -- creativity not directly involved is outside
[/spoiler]

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Last edited by Robert The Rebuilder on Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:29 pm 
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Point 2
Quote:
We shall supplement age creation tools through documentation and community support, making the age creation process as easy as possible.
doesn't quite match Paradox's
Quote:
The GoW is not directly responsible for the Tools. Tools are (obviously) designed with the GoW in mind; and the GoW will have influence on the Tools; but the Tools themselves are not part of the GoW
Do we want to "influence" or recommend any age creation tools even the one's Cyan may release?
I like the phrase
Quote:
We shall supplement age creation tools through documentation


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:51 pm 
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Quote:
in Uru: Complete Chronicles. <...> they can distribute their ages for the public to review (given prior approval by Cyan).


Quote:
We shall work with the Unofficial Guild of Maintainers to produce ages <...> that are legally sound.


I have no problem with this mission statement, but I have to ask: Why the focus on "legality" for this unofficial guild?

I totally understand and agree that we must make a good faith effort to not step on Cyan's toes, but have you ever played Quake? Or Half-Life? These are games which have a rich player-created content community, and there is no corporate or creative oversight of any kind.

Once the official MOUL GoW gets going, we'll get guidance and policies from Cyan on what's good behavior and what's isn't, and what kinds of limits there will be on creative expression in ages, but Uru:CC is an offline game where actions by age creators have no repercussions on the literal health of the game.

I can create anything I want in Blender and load it into Uru:CC for my own enjoyment. And, guess what, I should be able to distribute anything I want to fellow fans, too! There is no legal problem with any of it. And even if someone uses Cyan assets in any unofficial age, well, it shouldn't matter, because anyone who can view that age will already own a boxed copy of Uru:CC. This isn't the same as using IP in music or film.

If Cyan doesn't like it, and I try to upload it into MOUL, then they can (and should) exercise their rights to control content.

Perhaps we need to change it from "legally sound" to "in the creative spirit of Uru" so that our efforts to make content that matches the style of Uru without exploiting it are made based on good faith, not forced by some ultimately nonexistent rule.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:08 pm 
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Like you said Robot, I really think this should the official Guild Of Writers. Other than that, nothing wrong IMO! ;)

TG

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:18 pm 
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The Noble Robot wrote:
I have no problem with this mission statement, but I have to ask: Why the focus on "legality" for this unofficial guild?


The most important event in the fan age creation community occurred on January 25, 2006, when Greydragon made the legal aspects our top priority. [Click here for his messages.] This edict still applies to everything we do with Uru: Complete Chronicles - even under the name of the Unofficial Guild of Writers.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:20 pm 
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TomahnaGuy wrote:
Like you said Robot, I really think this should the official Guild Of Writers.

The Noble Robot didn't say that. His post wasn't even ABOUT that. How on earth did you derive such an inaccurate summary from TNR's statement?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:24 pm 
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TNR: "Why the focus on "legality" for this unofficial guild?"

I'd say the mission statement should mention legality, but not make it the guild's duty to enforce it.

The obvious legality issue is copyright. (Really, the only legality issue, unless you plan to build an Age full of Nigerian fraud offers...) If someone constructs the bridge of the USS Enterprise in Uru, that makes lawyers appear and life gets ugly -- potentially for Cyan.

Now you're certainly correct that Cyan will have policies against that sort of thing, and they'll have some way to enforce them. But it would be good to say that our goal is to work in good faith.

To repeat, I *don't* think the guild needs to be in the business of *enforcing* this stuff. In particular, I don't want to see tools and documentation locked behind a door that says "You must sign here to get access."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Now I'll address this.
The Noble Robot wrote:
I can create anything I want in Blender and load it into Uru:CC for my own enjoyment. And, guess what, I should be able to distribute anything I want to fellow fans, too! There is no legal problem with any of it. And even if someone uses Cyan assets in any unofficial age, well, it shouldn't matter, because anyone who can view that age will already own a boxed copy of Uru:CC. This isn't the same as using IP in music or film.

Although the technicals of the situation differ from using the IP in music or film, the same laws designed to protect music and film apply, and therefore the same legal limits - whether reasonable or not in your eyes - are in effect. You can speak of what you "should" be able to do as much as you please, and I may even agree with it (as I do in this case)... but (perhaps fortunately) neither of us is in a position to enforce our views of right and wrong upon the world. Distribution of Cyan assets without permission from Cyan, for any reason, is not permitted.

Further complicating matters, the file format of Cyan's Ages itself could be considered intellectual property. Although that may sound ridiculous, it is not without precedent. For example, Apple has a "QuickTime File Format License Agreement" governing the QuickTime File Format. From that agreement:
Quote:
"Apple Intellectual Property" means Apple's copyrights, trade secrets, and patents in the QuickTime File Format ...

Stepping back to your original statement about loading anything that you want into Uru:CC for your own enjoyment - it really depends upon what parts of Uru:CC Cyan considers its intellectual property. If the file format is considered to be IP such as Apple treats their QuickTime format, then no - actually, you can't legally load anything you want into Uru:CC for your own enjoyment. It is absurd really... but that is the convoluted and broken state in which IP law stands today.

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Last edited by Marten on Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:38 pm 
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I like the mission statement, overall.

The key line (for me) is *for exploration by the community*. That means integration into Uru Live in some manner. Obviously, that's Cyan's job, not really any of ours. But it's what I want.

For "age creation teams", I'd make clear that teamwork is optional. There *will* be Ages created by a single artist. Perhaps not large ones, or even medium-sized ones. But people create tiny works for practice, for demonstration purposes, for examples, or just to show off this one terrific sky pattern. If I download the tools, go off for a week, and come back saying "Look at this Age! It's got a flower in it" then the Guild should support that. If it's a really good flower, people will come see it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:38 pm 
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Marten wrote:
TomahnaGuy wrote:
Like you said Robot, I really think this should the official Guild Of Writers.

The Noble Robot didn't say that. His post wasn't even ABOUT that. How on earth did you derive such an inaccurate summary from TNR's statement?


Well, the emphasis on "unofficial" kinda impied that ..... oh never mind! :roll:

Anyway I still think that GoW should be an "official" guild! ;)

TG

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:42 pm 
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It'll be official when Cyan/DRC says it is; not when you say it is, or anyone else, really.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:01 pm 
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I think Cyan/DRC should make this GoW official! :)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:03 pm 
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belford wrote:
For "age creation teams", I'd make clear that teamwork is optional. There *will* be Ages created by a single artist.


I agree. The statement should be reworded to indicate that the UGoW will help people with complementary skills to meet and form teams - if people desire it. What would be a good way to reword this?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:23 pm 
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I think the "gatekeeper" role needs to be discussed. That is, how much the guild acts as an arbiter of what gets released. (And I hope I'm not opening Fibber McGee's Closet of Scorpions here.)

In the 8/26 writers meeting (hosted by Kato -- http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12119 ) this line went by:

Quote:
GMRguru: everyone should be able to visit the Ages, but only members should be able to make ages. There should also be a group of people that members would send their prospective Ages to, where they would be tested for bugs and such before being released for public access.

Kato: Thank you GMR, yes, that sounds exactly like what we all want.


I raised an "mmf" of protest but didn't want to swing into the debate at that time.

That gathering seemed quite clear that they saw the Guild as having that responsibility: deciding what Ages "the public" saw. However, the mission statement in this post doesn't say anything about that.

In case it's not obvious, I *don't* think the Guild should have that power. I see many roles a Guild can offer to support quality Age design:

- Documentation
- Library of model and code examples
- Peer critique of in-progress and finished Ages
- Competitions and juried exhibitions
- Lists of recommended Ages (both overall, and in particular categories)
- Most important: a community of people actively discussing their work, talking about what they want to do, how they did it, answering questions from newcomers

But the power to say "That's not good enough, we're not letting people see your stuff" should not be one of those roles. Because, (1) it has nothing to do with improving quality; (2) it's all about reducing the number of Ages out there, not increasing it; and (3) it's a recipe for amplifying personal differences into political heartbreak.

(I will be happy to expand on those three points, if you want to challenge them. I'm just setting out my position here.)

Now, it may be that Cyan imposes *technical* requirements -- testing or otherwise -- for an Age to be integrated with Uru Live. We don't know. As I said earlier, figuring that out is Cyan's job. *If* that happens, it *might* be necessary for the Guild to handle that work. But I don't think the Guild should seek it out, or make it a cornerstone of Guild values.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:32 pm 
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Robert: "The statement should be reworded to indicate that the UGoW will help people with complementary skills to meet and form teams - if people desire it. What would be a good way to reword this?"

Hm hm hmm... "We shall help people who want to collaborate on Ages find others with complementary skills" ?

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