I guess I'll summaries what I told Emily in voice on a completely different discord server the other day, in regards to this.
Moving the engine towards a state where it's a generic engine and it's feasible for people to make and package commercial games with it is actually a good idea. We've seen some pretty massive leaps towards allowing this in recent times (the implementation towards just a single game/quest executable, etc).
I feel commissioning a built in tileset with the engine that is another great step in that direction. This would allow people to just jump in, make their game, and potentially then selling it. I mention to Emily a few other issues towards monitised released games with the engine, like how the UI and options are built into the client and you can't modify them from the game itself, etc.
these (specifically mentioned) things, they are good ideas. Most of the other stuff I feel more iffy on.
ZC as an platform is an awful idea. People hate
all the clients they have to deal with today. People tolerate having both Steam and Epic store, but they do so because the prices on the former and the constant free give aways on the latter; not to mention the exclusives. But this is only because they have to
not because they want to
. Trying to make a platform is a doomed idea.
I suggested having a web based platform not tied to the engine itself might be a better idea; but it's still a lot of overhead and work to set one up. Also, the notion that ZC could have a 30% revenue split is laughable. The reasons the big commercial engines and distribution platforms can have such a model is because of what they offer. Steam can have such a big cut because they have the leading market split and have millions of users there. Engines like Unreal can have a cut of 5% is because it's a full modern cutting edge 3D engine that is constantly getting updates and improvements.
ZC is not offering either of these things. If you want a 2D engine and want to make something commercial, if ZC takes that large cut, then why would anyone want to learn this engine? Godot is right over there
No, what makes a lot
more sense to me is to offer licensing for the built in assets (Which are currently only theoretical). Have a cheap cost to license those assets for commercial releases bam, there you go. It's not any different from people going and buying assets for their game on itch.io, or similar. But the benefits here is that it comes with the engine and it's fully configure and ready to go. And anyone who just want to use their own graphics or similar? Well they can just keep trucking on as before.
I don't feel like I need to comment on the notion of a subscription model, not only was this idea the most under-baked, as admitted openly, it was also just ideas on the table to consider, and nothing else. I think it's a patently bad idea. For engine development I think a better model would be via patreon, where people could donate monthly if they wanted. You could also have this avenue for top donators after a certain threshold be able to dictate new engine features they want made. Critically the features would then become available for everyone to use once finished.
But yeah, idk, I see no reason to go hard on this consider that it was just up in the airs.
No, rather, what I'm concerned about now is the elephant in the room. Mitchfork brought up some good points.
This is not the first time that I have seen this from this development team (and I will call out Connor specifically for all of these) - I think the way that the PureZC database was just sort of conveniently packaged into the web version of ZC is suspect. People uploaded those quests to a specific website and community that they chose and didn’t give consent for them to be distributed this way. (I personally rankled when I saw that a screen that I made was used to advertise it, but I didn’t bring this up.) Most recently, the proposed TOS modification here (https://www.purezc.n...showtopic=78284) is now incredibly suspicious to me, as it seems now like a way to sneak in a “feature” to ZC of being able to use community-created assets for free. These indicate a cavalier attitude towards the community’s creations - that these are valid to use as tools for “the program” and not independent works with their own artistic merit.
I've heard about it, but I've generally not looked up the web version of ZC all that closely. I do agree with the notion that I don't think it's acceptable to scrape a different site for uploads there and the reupload and host elsewhere. This is also in violation GDPR because quests are generally authored, even if a user invokes the clause to be forgotten on Pure, if you've scrapped the info to use elsewhere, not only would not be contacted, the people who had their data might not even know you've done this.
Oh and, I'm pretty sure it's kind of a direct breach of copyright.
Like, people don't take copyright very seriously on the internet at all. Case in point all the copyrighted materially being used here. People generally have a line of what part of copyright they think is okay to follow and what they violate freely because it's just seen as not being a problem. All in all, it's kind of whatever, but if you want to seriously make this engine commercial, then it's not a great look exactly.
It's also a pretty bad look when it comes to the community to showcase that you've got no interest in giving a shit about the wishes of the users.
(Like, I'm not trying to be inflammatory here, but taking something for a thing without asking if the makers were okay with it? Is kinda the same thing as those facebook accounts just taking youtuber's youtube videos and re-uploading on another platform, you know?)
And I do absolutely agree with Mitchfork that the earlier suggested TOS modifications on Pure are now extremely
suspect, and don't exactly paint you in a very good light. You've already taken peoples stuff for a product (the ZC web player) without asking or thought to those users wishes. And now you wish to have full right to just do whatever with all resources on Pure.
No, I don't like this. I prefer to not think badly of people without given reason to, but all of this feels very
What I object to is that monetization was worked into backwards in this plan. ZC was built by dozens of contributors over (close to) dozens of years. None of their work was done with the expectation that they would be able to make money off of this. The way that this monetization plan works is clearly designed to dance around the fact that none of the current dev team own ZC and it is under a strict open source licensing scheme. This plan handles this by putting a barrier between ZC (the software) and ZC (the new distribution platform). While maybe this is legally sound (I am no expert but candidly have my doubts), I think ethically it is not any different - it's just a clever way to mine untapped money out of labor that you had no hand in.
I will, however, push back on this a bit. It's absolutely true that the devs who have worked on the engine over the years had no perspective on making any money off of it. For the wast majority of the engines life it was just "the zelda fangame engine", and before that it was the "zelda 1 fangame engine". Making money off of it wasn't even an option, even if the developers wanted to.
But I think that's kinda side stepping the point a bit. It really does not feel like the goal here was to make fat dough or whatever. Frankly, anyone who thinks they can rake in a lot of money in regards to anything with this engine need to reconsider what it takes to sell a product. No, it really seemed more like a way to bring in funds so the current developers can spend more time working on the engine.
Which, I support.
If people want to work on a open source project like this, then fine, you know? But if someone feels like "yeah, I'd want to work more on it, but I can't economically justify it", well, I really don't see anything bad with that. I don't think that alone
is shitting on anyone's legacy, and at the end of the day it might help the engine get more features. We've already seen that the current team can deliver on that, what with all the huge improvements the engine have had over the last few years.
It's just a matter of finding a model of getting in money that makes sense. Others have suggest Patreon, for example, which I'd also mirror.
But yeah, idk.
It's a pretty broad topic that people will naturally have strong opinions on. These are mine, take em or leave em. If the engine goes down a route I don't like, I will not hesitate in the slightest from moving on. And should Pure or any other hosting place for quest related content end up with bad policies then I've got no problem just nuking my content from that place.
Edited by Mani Kanina, 03 September 2023 - 04:11 PM.