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Question Concerning 0.52 Asset License Compliance

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Zombie Dude
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 2:20 am UTC

Question Concerning 0.52 Asset License Compliance

Postby Zombie Dude » Sat May 15, 2021 2:25 am UTC

Hello. I have a question concerning the License Compliance of today’s 0.52 release of Unvanquished.

So, today’s announcement says (from the best of my understanding) that everything related to Unvanquished is now Free Software; Free as in Freedom. However, it also states that removing all Tremulous assets was removed as a goal for the 0.52 release. How can both statements be true?

If I remember correctly from reading past posts; it was specifically the remaining Tremulous assets (if I remember correctly some sound files [anything else?]) that could not have their ownership traced to be verified as license compliant.

So, I’m confused on the situation here. The announcement says several times statements like the fallowing.

“Everything from the game, from engine to game code to assets, is tracked in Git repositories. Our game is now open source in every aspect. Anyone can now produce portable release-like builds of the game. We have a compatible level editor. We strengthened our infrastructure. The engine reached the level of quality we wanted, etc.”

“And of course, after a huge asset audit and contacting many contributors, our game is now considered open source in every aspect. You can read the Now we are free! blog post and also the Story of a tree one about this topic…”

But, when I read “Now we are free!” I read the fallowing.

“What’s left on asset replacement

We still want to replace the sound effects inherited from Tremulous.

Tremulous has been considered free and open source for almost fifteen years already, so using those assets may not give us any trouble on that side. That said, those assets are hard to trace, so we prefer to replace them.

In any case, until they are replaced, those sound effects can’t make Unvanquished less open source than Tremulous.”

Then, that loops me back to today’s announcement saying that, “We also decided to pull the complete replacement of all Tremulous assets from the Beta objective, because that has no impact on gameplay anyway…”

This is disappointing as I have been considering maybe getting into modding and trying to create a game. I have been waiting for the 0.52 release so that all the code and assets would be securely licensed and the game code would be separated from the engine before I even start. It seemed that sense the release was coming soon (here now) that it would make the most sense to wait for it before starting anything.

But, now that the assets from Tremulous have not been fully pulled I am concerned as to their state of license compliance.

I mean, “using those assets may not give us any trouble on that side” and “those sound effects can’t make Unvanquished less open source than Tremulous” sounds wishy washy and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Maybe I’m being a bit paranoid, but it sounds more like ‘well, nobody’s complained or sued us so I guess we’re good’ more than it sounds like ‘everything has actually been verified.’

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. Nor do I want to belittle all the work that has been done. The new version of your engine and game look amazing. But, if I can figure out modding and actually get my game off the ground; I don’t want to get myself sued.

So, my question is, is everything, including the engine and art assets, actually license compliant or not?

Or, are there still some assets that are just assumed to be compliant because they came from Tremulous and nobody complained so it’s kind of just a ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ situation that could come back and bite me.

Thank you for your time.
Last edited by Zombie Dude on Sat May 15, 2021 11:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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illwieckz
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Re: Question Concerning 0.52 Asset License Compliance

Postby illwieckz » Sat May 15, 2021 10:32 am UTC

Hello. I have a question concerning the License Compliance of today’s 0.52 release of Unvanquished.

So, today’s announcement says (from the best of my understanding) that everything related to Unvanquished is now Free Software; Free as in Freedom. However, it also states that removing all Tremulous assets was removed as a goal for the 0.52 release. How can both statements be true?

If I remember correctly from reading past posts; it was specifically the remaining Tremulous assets (if I remember correctly some sound files [anything else?]) that could not have their ownership traced to be verified as license compliant.

So, I’m confused on the situation here. The announcement says several times statements like the fallowing.

“Everything from the game, from engine to game code to assets, is tracked in Git repositories. Our game is now open source in every aspect. Anyone can now produce portable release-like builds of the game. We have a compatible level editor. We strengthened our infrastructure. The engine reached the level of quality we wanted, etc.”

“And of course, after a huge asset audit and contacting many contributors, our game is now considered open source in every aspect. You can read the Now we are free! blog post and also the Story of a tree one about this topic…”

But, when I read “Now we are free!” I read the fallowing.

“What’s left on asset replacement

We still want to replace the sound effects inherited from Tremulous.

Tremulous has been considered free and open source for almost fifteen years already, so using those assets may not give us any trouble on that side. That said, those assets are hard to trace, so we prefer to replace them.

In any case, until they are replaced, those sound effects can’t make Unvanquished less open source than Tremulous.”

Then, that loops me back to today’s announcement saying that, “We also decided to pull the complete replacement of all Tremulous assets from the Beta objective, because that has no impact on gameplay anyway…”

This is disappointing as I have been considering maybe getting into modding and trying to create a game. I have been waiting for the 0.52 release so that all the code and assets would be securely licensed and the game code would be separated from the engine before I even start. It seemed that sense the release was coming soon (here now) that it would make the most sense to wait for it before starting anything.

But, now that the assets from Tremulous have not been fully pulled I am concerned as to their state of license compliance.

I mean, “using those assets may not give us any trouble on that side” and “those sound effects can’t make Unvanquished less open source than Tremulous” sounds wishy washy and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Maybe I’m being a bit paranoid, but it sounds more like ‘well, nobody’s complained or sued us so I guess we’re good’ more than it sounds like ‘everything has actually been verified.’

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. Nor do I want to belittle all the work that has been done. The new version of your engine and game look amazing. But, if I can figure out modding and actually get my game off the ground; I don’t want to get myself sued.

So, my question is, is everything, including the engine and art assets, actually license compliant or not?

Or, are there still some assets that are just assumed to be compliant because they came from Tremulous and nobody complained so it’s kind of just a ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ situation that could come back and bite me.

Thank you for your time.


Hi Zombie Dude, thank you for your question. As stated, at this point it looks like no one contested the fact Tremulous was open source. This is the status quo.

For example, before we relicensed to CC By or CC By SA some newer assets that were introduced with NC clause, some websites referencing free open source games delisted us while keeping Tremulous listed. Now that we did those replacement, there is no reason to not list Unvanquished alongside Tremulous. Unless spoting a mistake we would have done in our asset audit and forgot one non-free leftover, someone stating Tremulous is free but Unvanquished is not at the same time would not be honest, this would be like saying a wolf is a canine but a dog is not.

But on the other hand, we want to be able to put in front of every file an author name.

This is even not a matter of open source or not. For example I got the testimony from a developer of another open source game with decade old assets, his open source game was greenlit on Steam at the time green light program was a thing, but Steam asked a proper attribution for every file, and that's part of the reasons why this game never ended on steam despite being greenlit. Because tracking details from decade old files can be tricky, especially from years when people were not likely to use version control and especially not on assets.

If you're making a mod, you would probably not care that much. No one can honestly say Tremulous is free and at the same time say Unvanquished or your own mod based on them are not if you only add free assets to them. Saying Tremulous is not free is going against 15 years of jurisprudence, though this was never challenged in a court.

So, if you're gonna make thousands or millions of dollars, maybe you have to care about. Because if you're afraid someone can believe he has thousands of millions to gain from you by challenging the statement Tremulous is free and open source and is likely to spend much money on attorneys in order to get money from you, you better help us replacing those files. Because we can't put a clear origin in front of every file inherited from Tremulous, someone can claim he is the author and never gave the permission, you would have hard time to contradict him. Even if this one is lying and have made up false proofs you may not be able to prove he is lying.

This is probably the reason why Steam have been very picky with some greenlit, community-developped games, this even not being related to open sourceness at all. Steam doesn't care about a game being open source or not, but is picky about the origin of files it puts in its catalog: when adding your game to Steam, your game being part of their own Steam product, so they care.

This is also why we recommend commercial entities like movie makers asking us if they can depict the Unvanquished game in their movies to not depict the sounds.

This is why, while at the same time we are stating our game is now fully open source, we are asking for contributors to replace the tremulous sounds and won't give-up on that objective. The only reason why 0.52 is out without those files being already replaced is that no one helped us to replace those files yet.

The best thing you can do is to help us to replace the remaining files we want to see being replaced.

File that are remaining to be evaluated or replaced are there: UnvanquishedAssets/res-legacy_src.dpkdir.

A sound file being in this res-legacy_src.dpkdir repository does not mean it is non-free, it means we haven't figured out its origin yet before Tremulous. Sound files being in this res-legacy_src.dpkdir means we know they come from Tremulous or maybe some versions between Tremulous 1.1 and today (maybe Tremulous 1.2 GPP for example) and falls under the quoted status-quo. Sometime we just find out the original author name and other information and just move the file in the package it must be stored instead, sometime we just replace the file and store the new one in the package it must be stored instead, and don't mind about it anymore.

This is all about being able to put “CC By SA Some People Name” in front of a file instead of “CC By SA Tremulous” or something like that.

If you want to publish a game on Steam, this game being open source or not, you better not reuse Tremulous assets, you better help us replace those assets. If you want to make a commercial movie depicting unvanquished or something that could arouse jealousy, you better help use to replace those files.
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Zombie Dude
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 2:20 am UTC

Re: Question Concerning 0.52 Asset License Compliance

Postby Zombie Dude » Sat May 15, 2021 11:46 am UTC

Thank you very much for that detailed response. That was all very informative and helpful.

So, to get into why I asked.

First, I wanted to see if there was a contradiction between them being Free as in Freedom or not. You clearly answered that there is no contradiction and that is helpful. They are all Free as in Freedom.

Second, and I explain this more in another post I made, I am thinking of using Daemon and the Unvanquished assets as a base to run a mod and make a game. Essentially a clone of Unvanquished with some basic changes and running a mod (if I can figure out how to program.)

What I essentially want to do is remake the basic game play mechanics of zombie panic source in the Daemon Engine using the Tremulous assets because it bothers me that zombie panic source is on a non-free, proprietary engine. (I am trying to use only Free Software. Or, at least as much of it as a practically can. I have been working for years to ween myself off of non-free, proprietary software.)

All the hard work is already done here with the Daemon Engine and the Unvarnished assets. All I'd really need to do is mod an Alien with a melee attack into using a Zombie model and sound, move the hit box around, and figure out how to programs some basic game play modes and the thing where if a Human dies he respawns as a Zombie for the rest of the match. I go into more detail in my full post.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2228

If I could figure out how to get this to work, I would probably like to put it on steam for the visibility boost. Also, like I mentioned before, I wanted to avoid getting sued. Seeing that I view this as what (I hope) should be a small passion project; I probably wouldn't even charge money for it. Zps itself is a gratis game (charges no money) and is a stand alone game running on the source engine that itself started as a mod. I would like to have my game on steam for visibility so that people know that there is a Free Software alternative to zps. (If I can figure out how to program it.)

I have no idea if I will actually make this game or not. I have no idea if the game will get popular if I do make it. But, I plan to leave the human side mostly untouched. Basically just re-skin it to be horror themed. So, instead of a laser chain saw a regular one. Instead of a big machine to buy gear from, maybe a metallic locker. Basically just some things where I can swap out the graphics and sounds to make it work without needing to code anything. That alone should give it a different vibe from zps.

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