Workshop Paid Mods

Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
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Mistahtokyo
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Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Mistahtokyo » 24 Apr 2015, 00:33

Just wanted to see what some of the Morrowind players had to say about this. Though, knowing the open source nature of this project, I think I can predict what most views will be.

http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/151679 ... -thread-2/

Chris
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Chris » 24 Apr 2015, 06:05

'tis a sad day for TES modding. Pay walls don't mix well with mods, considering all the interoperability required. Imagine, something like Frostfall or Open Cities goes pay-only, and other mods start conflicting with it. Fixing it requires a compatibility patch, which requires rewriting bits of the original mod to work with your changes. But wait, the original is a paid product, and editing its stuff would be considered derivative work and the changes couldn't be distributed. So anyone that buys the mod can't use those other mods even if compatibility patches would be rather simple to make. Unless Bethesda puts their foot down and says that any mods sold must also be moddable (like their games are), this is just going to fracture the modding community with more and more incompatibilities.

There's also concerns about rights. It's not unusual for mod authors to say something like "you may use this stuff in your own mods" with the understanding that those new mods have to be free. But now it's not necessarily so. Does that mean someone can take those works, put them into a new paid mod, and the original creator can't do anything because they technically gave permission (despite having every thought that it couldn't be sold)? I can only see this resulting in fewer modder resources because some don't want to deal with the hassle of someone maybe trying to monetize their work.

Then there's issues with mod reviews. Now that there's money to be made, you can be sure there'll be cases of reviewers wanting payment to review mods (knowing that such a review would drive more traffic to the mod for increased sales). Or worse, asking for payment to get a good review, or even cases of nepotism with influential reviewers giving preferential reviews to friends' mods that are being sold.

From what I'm reading, there's additional issues with payment. Someone selling a mod only gets 25% of the sales. Further, Valve won't pay out until they make $400 (where the author will get $100 of it). For mods being sold for something like $5 a pop, this is terrible value for a creator. In comparison, Nexus' donation button has 100% of the money go to the creator right away (and it also doesn't alienate users that can't or won't pay).


That said, I don't see it effecting Morrowind given its age, or even having too much of an effect on Skyrim since it's modding scene has already matured and most of the big/"essential" mods are out already. But for Fallout 4 or TES6? That's where I feel more damage will be done.

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Okulo
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Okulo » 24 Apr 2015, 06:14

Well, Chris took the fun out of this thread already, since he has said exactly what I wanted to say.

Thanks, Chris. :P

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Mistahtokyo
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Mistahtokyo » 24 Apr 2015, 06:24

Yeah, definitely glad I have my hard copy of Morrowind still around and that the Steam version is likely too old for workshop integration. Seems like this is one storm the Morrowind community will weather well.

HiPhish
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by HiPhish » 24 Apr 2015, 11:37

Modding is simply not suitable for monetisation. I principle there is nothing wrong with people getting financial compensation for their efforts, but once you put a price tag on something things change. When that are compatibility problems you cannot just tell people "tough luck", and no one else can help out in solving the problem unless hired by you. How about compatibility between mods? What if the game gets a patch? What if an OS update breaks the mod?

Modding is things being held together by spit and glue. This is not software development where you have a multitude of programming languages, libraries and well-defined APIs to work with. And even in software development there a countless of pitfalls. This is a disaster just waiting to happen.

And finally, what on earth is Valve taking 75% for? I'm already grumbled about Unity taking a 30% cut from my sales, but at least they developed a full engine for me to develop for. Valve has not even developed a game, they have just added an extra category for their already existing and established store.

The ideal solutions is to just put up a donate button, maybe with a recommended donation sum. If you really want to be professional about it you can write a report on the work you have to put in to justify that amount. Then people can pay you if they want, or they could offer help on the mod to make it better through collaboration.
Chris wrote:Then there's issues with mod reviews. Now that there's money to be made, you can be sure there'll be cases of reviewers wanting payment to review mods (knowing that such a review would drive more traffic to the mod for increased sales). Or worse, asking for payment to get a good review, or even cases of nepotism with influential reviewers giving preferential reviews to friends' mods that are being sold.
Oh please no, I can already see ModderGate coming :shock:

Tinker
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Tinker » 24 Apr 2015, 12:38

Agreeing with everything posted above but I can see this serving to get people writing mods, not necessarily to make a fortune, or even a living from, but to get the mod they want for free.

With the wealth of mods already circulating for free there are plenty of examples to look at and learn from, and as most are generously licensed you can borrow bits from several to make your ideal one. Creating reasonably complex mods is not all that difficult to learn, if I can do it almost anyone else can. Admittedly it does need patience and imagination which is possibly where most people will fail but the satisfaction of playing your game the way you want it is worth the effort, sharing it freely with friends can make it even better.

I see no advantage for anyone going down the closed route that mainly serves to make faceless corporations richer with very little effort on their part.
Arch Linux - rolling release, always up to date, often partly broken.

silentthief
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by silentthief » 25 Apr 2015, 09:10

considering the pay-per-month model of ESO - its no surprise

a shame, but no surprise.

ST
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Okulo
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Okulo » 25 Apr 2015, 14:02

HiPhish wrote:Oh please no, I can already see ModderGate coming :shock:
Well, it happened. Valve should've known better than to kick the gaming community beehive when they're on an ethics rampage.

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Greywander
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by Greywander » 26 Apr 2015, 22:45

Something that just occurred to me is that the OpenMW team may need to decide whether the OpenMW-CS license allows for paid mods or not. I believe the TES-CKs specifically don't allow for mods to be sold (except for Skyrim, now), but I don't know if the OpenMW-CS license says anything on the subject. Being GPL, any modifications of the program itself will have to also be released under GPL, but I'm not sure that applies to mods created using the program. Does the Inkscape license (also GPL) prevent artists from selling their art, or otherwise using their art for commercial purposes? Honestly, I don't think most people would use it if it did.

Once a standalone game is made for OpenMW with no TES content, we could very well start seeing people try to sell mods for it. However, this would also apply to any full games made for OpenMW: if we don't allow paid mods, then the exact same rules won't allow for games to be sold, either. Personally, while I do believe that software should be free, I don't think we should coerce others to follow that same standard. I think it would ultimately benefit everyone to have fewer restrictions and allow greater freedom.

It also occurs to me that the game could restrict whether or not paid mods are allowed, but if you have multiple games running on OpenMW, some of which allow paid mods and others which do not, and yet some mods are cross-compatible between several games since they run on the same engine... Yeah, this is a headache. Ultimately, it might be up to individual mods and assets whether they're allowed for commercial use or not.

On the subject of paid mods, eh, like I said, I think software should be free, but I still pay for it when a free alternative isn't available (my Steam library is quite impressive, darn sales). In a way, paid mods really are just user-created mini DLCs, and DLCs are basically mini expansion packs, and expansion packs are like smaller games. If you'd be willing to pay money for a game, then you should also be willing to pay money for a mod. Heck, I'd shell out $10 for Tamriel Rebuilt once it was finished.

The major issue here is that the entire modding community was built from the ground up with free mods in mind, and introducing paid mods is going to result in a massive restructuring of how that community works. Because everything was free, modders were much more open to sharing their work with each other, which resulted in a lot of resources being available for modders to work with instead of having to make everything from scratch. What I think people are afraid of is having their work exploited, and that could result in a community that's much less willing to share resources.

If you're going to make a paid mod, then I feel like you should decide that before you start working on it. Also, give full disclosure to anyone whose work you want to use; get their permission and compensate them fairly. Pay your team members or give them a cut of the sales. Really, if you want to make paid mods, you have to operate more like a professional game studio. Be ethical and honest in your dealings with people, and they will feel more favorably about allowing you to use their work.

Timed exclusivity would also work very well to bridge the gap in the community between paid modders and free modders. Sell your mod for, say, 90 days and then have it go free, both to download and use, and to modify and build off of. This way, it's still ultimately a free mod, you just have to wait a bit.

I do feel like paid mods don't really work with the already established community, though. It's not that they can't work, or that it would be unethical to sell mods, but it's more like introducing oil to a coal-based industry. It's not like oil doesn't work in general, but you can't just pour it into a coal engine and expect it to work the same way.

I think a far better (and potentially more lucrative) option would be to set up a Patreon account for your team. As the saying goes, "If you build it, they will come." Churn out a couple high quality mods, let people know they can donate and that you want to do this full time (which means more mods, bigger mods, and higher quality mods). Hire on additional people as your support grows, so you can pump out even more stuff. Total conversions, complete overhauls, even full games. And you can work to insure mod compatibility so that there are fewer bugs and conflicts.

Actually, I almost think someone should start an OpenMW modding team, with the first goal being to create a [small] game independent of the TES IP (well, the first goal would be to help test the OpenMW-CS in order to push development along).

TL;DR, we could see paid mods for OpenMW, and we can't block them without also blocking the sale of full games.
Mods are DLC are Xpacks are games. I'd pay for Tamriel Rebuilt.
The community wasn't built with paid mods in mind; the fear of exploitation is both high and justified.
Paid modders should operate like a professional game studio, and be ethical and honest.
Timed exclusivity could bridge the gap between paid and free mods.
Patreon would likely work much better than paid mods with the current community.

Also, I apologize for my excessive verbosity.

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cc9cii
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Re: Workshop Paid Mods

Post by cc9cii » 26 Apr 2015, 23:40

Greywander wrote:Because everything was free, modders were much more open to sharing their work with each other, which resulted in a lot of resources being available for modders to work with instead of having to make everything from scratch. What I think people are afraid of is having their work exploited, and that could result in a community that's much less willing to share resources.
I feel that code submissions work in a similar way. I definitely wouldn't want my contributions to be exploited (even if GPL allows it under certain circumstances) or appropriated (especially this).

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