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Table modding rules & guidelines discussion


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It seems that there is a ton of confusion when it comes to the modification of tables and other creations.  As everyone knows; not a single one of us owns any of the content that is being created... Visual Pinball is a team effort and has always been an open source project.  Front ends such as PinUp Popper, PinballX, PinballY, and even HyperPin were all created by an individual that OWNS the code that they created.  Most media created for frontends, tables, etc all use IP's that none of us own.  This still doesn't give anyone the right to rip off sites and re-host elsewhere.

 

It's been a while since we've had any OPEN discussion regarding the modifications in this hobby.  It's about time that we do... 

 

Below is my personal take on modding.  I've personally released creations in the past and I think these are fair guidelines.

 

When modding... It's ALL ABOUT permissions.  The original creators spent a ton of time creating and coding a game. Modding is a great way to start out, but doesn't compare to the original release.  Getting the original authors permission is paramount when releasing, or even sharing, a mod.

 

There are rules that we've had in place for a long time when it comes to modding... 

 

1. Original authors permissions are required.
2. If doing a simple mod, update or fix to an existing release... Offer the updated info to the original author so they can release and give credit where it is due.  If not ask permission to release the updated file. See proposal below.
3. Modifications should be released ONLY on the sites where the original author uploaded the file to.  If an author released the file on VPU; then permissions were given to VPU to host that file.  If they released it only on VPF; the mod should be released on VPF.  This means that the file shouldn't be uploaded anywhere else.

 

There are times when an author of a file is unable to be reached, but their files are still available on the various sites.  In situations such as this; I propose that the patching system that I created can be used to create a patch to apply the modifications to the original release.  This way; the original table is still used/downloaded.  If people want the modified version of the table; people can then download the PATCH and apply it to the original release.


Proposal: 

If you can't get permission to release a modification; Create a PATCH file with your changes and upload the patch to the original site. This patch can then be applied to the original authors release.  All original credits shall remain on the original file.
 

Again, this is an OPEN discussion on how we should handle table modifications going forward in this hobby.  Please feel free to discuss.

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As I too agree on the fundamental principle with table modding: you must have permission from the table / content authors to mod their creation.

 

Sometimes, an author will explicitly mention in their file(s) what you can and cannot do and whether or not you need permission. In that case, follow the wishes of the author as explained. In cases where an author does not specify if a mod is permitted, always assume you must get permission first. Never, ever, ever assume that no mention of modding means modding is allowed without permission. I have no idea how many times I've seen people make that assumption and get in trouble for it (and rightfully so).

 

...and if an author is either no longer active or does not reply to you, sorry, but you still do not have permission to mod the file. Accept the circumstance and move on to something else. Just because the original author goes inactive or even leaves a website does not automatically mean their creations are no longer theirs and anyone can do what they wish with them.

 

And if an author removes or takes down a file, do not under any circumstance re-post / re-upload said file unless the author said you could do so. Usually, there is a reason it was removed. You are violating an author's property, boundaries, and respect when you re-upload something without permission that they took down.

 

Just have some decency and common respect for those who spend countless unpaid hours providing the content they do to you for free. Get permission, and then give credit where it is due. It's not that hard.

 

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Ultimately, when it comes to deciding between releasing a modded file or supplying updates for the original author to apply to the original file... I think it is up to author discretion. Some authors would be fine with someone releasing a mod that only has small tweaks. Others would not be okay with this. The best thing to do is ask.

 

PATCHing may not be that simple for those who have a hard time conceptualizing changes into words / documentation. This is especially true considering Visual Pinball and Future Pinball tables have no versioning system (such as git). (However, I hear VPE will, so that's awesome to hear). Again, it comes down to asking the original author. If PATCHing is difficult for you to do, ask the author what you should do.
(EDIT: See future replies; I was unaware a program existed from Dazz that could make and apply patches)

 

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Ask, ask, ask. That's the rule of thumb in all of the circumstances I have explained. Ask the original author.

Edited by Arelyel
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6 minutes ago, Arelyel said:

PATCHing may not be that simple for those who have a hard time conceptualizing changes into words / documentation. This is especially true considering Visual Pinball and Future Pinball tables have no versioning system (such as git). (However, I hear VPE will, so that's awesome to hear). Again, it comes down to asking the original author. If PATCHing is difficult for you to do, ask the author what you should do.

 

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Ask, ask, ask. That's the rule of thumb in all of the circumstances I have explained. Ask the original author.

 

I wrote a program that can easily create the patch as well as apply the patch.  It's not really difficult at all to do.  It creates a diff file of the changes to the original file.  Then the end user can take that patch, select the original table, click apply to apply the patch and it creates a completely new file.

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 the patching system that dazz made is easy to do ..I dont know why more people dont use it then you never have to worry about messing up the original work that was done..

and as he says if someone wants a certain mod its as easy as a click away..

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Pretty much you can think of it like the POV files that guys make.. same concept , its that easy...

 

Dazz you should put that in the tools section at the top of the page with the other tools giving-thumbs-up-winking-smiley-emoticon.gif

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9 minutes ago, Arelyel said:

Lol sorry I had no idea such program existed. That's good to hear!


I originally come up with this idea for adding DOF to existing tables if the authors chose not to do so themselves.  This method requires the user to have downloaded the original table.  

 

9 minutes ago, Wildman said:

Pretty much you can think of it like the POV files that guys make.. same concept , its that easy...

 

Dazz you should put that in the tools section at the top of the page with the other tools giving-thumbs-up-winking-smiley-emoticon.gif


This is just a discussion right now... I do think patching is the way to go though. 

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19 minutes ago, Arvid said:

That patch file idea sounds great! It reminds me of how Thingiverse handles this. They call mods 'remixes'. On  the original files page there is a 'Remix it' button, allowing for modders to upload files derived from this original.

 

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:308335/remixes


Yeah, it was exactly my thinking behind this patching.

I do like the name "remix" for modifications.  VPRemix sortta has a ring to it.

 

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Let’s also make sure that we all make an effort to include your name when authoring a file. There are a lot of pup packs where the author info isn’t found anywhere and, without vpinball, tough to track down if not impossible.

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I'm not sure if it's already been covered, but when I comes to mods, it should be neccessary that submitters also include real MODIFICATION DETAILS on what updates or changes have been made. "Updated lighting, physics, plastics and rules" is not enough! This is so vague that it's almost useless. Not only that,  but it's disrespectful to the original builders since it doesn't distinguish what was left in place and what was changed, and why.  

 

Mod update details and/or history should be sufficient enough that they make it very clear WHAT work has been done, WHY it was done and HOW it improves the table/playability.  The details would help users understand if they even want the updates, or if they prefer to l keeping their original version. It would also allow users to pay closer attention to the changes so they could appreciate all the work the modder has (or hasn't) done.  Such details should be accompanied by previous version history, wherever available.

 

There are some modders who already do this very well, but there have been others who have not, which in my opinion, impacts the credibility and integrity  of their work.

Edited by astroboy
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38 minutes ago, astroboy said:

I'm not sure if it's already been covered, but when I comes to mods, it should be neccessary that submitters also include real MODIFICATION DETAILS on what updates or changes have been made. "Updated lighting, physics, plastics and rules" is not enough! This is so vague that it's almost useless. Not only that,  but it's disrespectful to the original builders since it doesn't distinguish what was left in place and what was changed, and why.  

 

Mod update details and/or history should be sufficient enough that they make it very clear WHAT work has been done, WHY it was done and HOW it improves the table/playability.  The details would help users understand if they even want the updates, or if they prefer to l keeping their original version. It would also allow users to pay closer attention to the changes so they could appreciate all the work the modder has (or hasn't) done.  Such details should be accompanied by previous version history, wherever available.

 

There are some modders who already do this very well, but there have been others who have not, which in my opinion, impacts the credibility and integrity  of their work.

 

Absolutely correct... This information needs to be on every modification.

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45 minutes ago, astroboy said:

I'm not sure if it's already been covered, but when I comes to mods, it should be neccessary that submitters also include real MODIFICATION DETAILS on what updates or changes have been made. "Updated lighting, physics, plastics and rules" is not enough! This is so vague that it's almost useless. Not only that,  but it's disrespectful to the original builders since it doesn't distinguish what was left in place and what was changed, and why.  

 

Mod update details and/or history should be sufficient enough that they make it very clear WHAT work has been done, WHY it was done and HOW it improves the table/playability.  The details would help users understand if they even want the updates, or if they prefer to l keeping their original version. It would also allow users to pay closer attention to the changes so they could appreciate all the work the modder has (or hasn't) done.  Such details should be accompanied by previous version history, wherever available.

 

There are some modders who already do this very well, but there have been others who have not, which in my opinion, impacts the credibility and integrity  of their work.

Why do I feel like this references a very specific VPF user :)

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This thread isn't about anyone specific... This thread is to come together as a community on how to move forward our thinking when it comes to modifications and how they should be handled. 

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Agreed. My post was intended to recommend some generally good standards qnd practices that would benefit our amazing community, including builders, modded and all of us beneficiaries of their hard work. If builders or modders are going to go to all the time, thought and effort into making changes to tables, why not take a few extra moments to detail it so we can all truly appreciate the care and consideration that went into it.

 

The post wasnt intended to target anyone. They're merely my suggestions based on my personal experiences on downloading tables and professional best practices when it comes to collaborative project work. And selfishly, it would just make it all so much easier and clearer!

 

Thanks!

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can i put in my 2 cents?  what do we cann the owners?  as ive contributed to vp9 tables and older. and helped with sockets and lights and such.  hell the pinuppopperartistassociation. was even my baby.  till i left fb and gave it over to david)  i got that group of guys together. opeckie and i actually.  anyway.  so someone puts up a update to vpx. then its theres to say no more growth?.  its all on bones.  how about we let people mod things til their hearts desires, put in a rating system so easy to find whats relavant.  make some content creator fan pages to link in everything involved. and call it a day?  been asking this for 4 years now.  Wait!  ive even built the sustem, and been shunned to even disguss it.  

as for likes.  do you see anyone asking tarcisio?  or thanking him?  Or dux, or freezy, ect.  even grant and scotty, did almost every gem used in every table.  not to mention orbital.. what what do they scream...."share this shit. enjoy, spread love. and mod it make it better,, ps heres tools to help you do it !"  look at freezy!  hes not screammming wheres my likes im leaving.  and sorry to tell some of you "conten" "crators" when he is done with unity engine.  your cut and paste will me a thing of the past.  have fun learning unity. :)  but damn will therebe no looking back after huh!

as for respect, if people are taking tables modding scripts and art, and lighgt. then putting their name on it and scraming dont touch.  they have no leg to stand on.  remember  bones. .  you built on them.  be kind and let the sport grow.  not have the best content end up in some rich dead old guys cobbwebbed basement.  

aslo  im guilty too.  i made a beautiful catwoman table.. worked on it for a year.  few seen it.  hd crash it no longer exists after final due to deletion by accident of whole partition.  had i involved others and shared it woul be there to ask for or grow .  

just my take.   

  now lets look at terry.  hell i remember when he started his youtube channel.  everyone was like. "this dude can talk"  i listened to him like a preacher on the radio around my house.  he was spitting knowlege and changinging shit. i bugged him daily on his channel.  as he brought what was hard to find in forums and put it into the light for me atleast. 

  then  he bugged david and dux and all them to make his dream come true.  hell popper is only here cause he begged two people to tie dof to vpx so he could play videos!  what if he just said.  nope  noone can build this past here with my work!  none of this would have never happen.  had we not got the right group op genuises with the right group of nonego artists. david would not have been driven so hard.  adn id probably still have my wife and not be a single dad fro pouring my loving into you guys.  not her.  

what if?  oh and we did it all with not one like nor "i did this" we built ans shared and spread til it shined! 

as for me?  most of you never head of me.  im tattguy.com  50 single dad trying to build a cool machine my son can cary as a legacy)  love is key guys.  not likes.. thats why i stand up to the egos every time.

 

now bashings may begin?

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I understand @tatt that you want to see the hobby grow. But I can assure you the exact opposite would happen if authors were expected to allow anyone to mod their creations at any time without limit or permission in the name of "sharing". Many authors would ditch the hobby at that news and cease creating content. Why bother if someone is just going to steal it and put their name on it, especially since no one gets paid to do it? It's a waste of the many hours put into making tables.

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and many have and many have stayed.  you missed when all the vp9 tables we did enedup on ebay!.  lmao  what was a hoot.  people thought the world ended.  all im saying is the real bones of this whole show.  are the ones setting back quietly creating. not for likes.  cause they cant help not create and put their stink on it.  what if scotty was told no to afm.  or grant coulnt port flinstones?  ect.  where do we draw the line.  many are claiming rights and ownership over updatest to dead peoples shit. and vp9 upgrades.  see my point.  may stuff have allot of our names in them and we say nothing. i dont even ask for mine to be included. always gave silently.  ask around.  

 

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oh and we bother cause we cant not create my friend.  its in our dna.  gotta do it

15 plus years since i got hooked.  very slow curve till terry and david and freezy and dux and such.  they encourage to build use and grow all they do.  just mention and thank dont steal is all they ask.  yet ive never heard any take time to complain about the few bad seeds.  they create daily

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so here..   someone takes grants beautiful lux file from flinstines, grabs a couple clip art from google. has a buddy mod the graphics togther, changes the ball speed, grabs scottys script with a freezy script and maybe lighting put it into another table.  calls t his content, and noone can touch.!  see i see allot more of this than creators.  you know something.  im a 30 year pro tattoo artist and can draw anything.  yet i was humbled when i stepped up to woth with mr scotty wick!  and grant.  geezus.  gant asked me to polish the playfield.  i got a corner done asked him what he though.  he said he had finished it the other night!  and it was way more than i expected.. machines and artists.  

some cut a few videos fro youtube and past them in a pupack then call it their content and noone can put out another like it.  frank slays his with timing and dynamics.  thats owning somethin.  yet he asks for no likes.  jim spent hours on hour helping me mod my "tower to put his first version of monster bash on my "full dmd" that people laughed at me for.  as i like the b2s.  then andrew took my idea amd made it amazing!!  now everyone know him for inventing.  do i complain?  now  not one word.  im proud of my buddy and what he did!  and thankd him many times.  and they know when i met them all they grew artistically from me and my love and guidance of a great fun group. along with the pro photoshop files i purchased comercia licenseds for to teach and share with them all.  still to this day i only speak when peole tell me i cant do somthing.:)  yet ive never shared a thing nor took credit for even what i DID!

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i vote we let the community vote on it.  not just us developers and artists.  id love someday when im dead my son can come to these forums with my app and everything will be here organized and ready to help..  see its not about, new content, new fill my shit with so much looks like youtube and a stanp factory threw up on my pinballmachine.  i have 6 versions of acdc in my machine.  each from a different artist all beautiful  all on the same bones  

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This whole idea that most or even many authors are against modding is a myth. The most common reply I've gotten is "Go for it Dude, mod my stuff, I'm done building anyway". I've received friendly permissions even from authors that you guys think hate me. Starlion challenged you all in another thread to prove he'd done wrong with permissions, and got crickets. I can confirm that he asked me for permission, even though I didn't demand it.

What I've concluded is that all I need to do is write "this is a rebuilt of" at the start and don't mention the M word and I'd be welcomed, with open arms, as the author. And I don't even need to ask. Well that's how it works here for at least some people.  I'm upfront about what I'm doing and not pretending that I made shit myself. And in my experience, the only people that give a stuff about the details are the ones that want to pick it to pieces so they can complain.  Authors aren't some infallible Superbeings that can do no wrong, and I find them to be mostly very humble. It's the forum jockeys that put them up on pedestals and create the aura. But who's going to complain about being idolized? Some think they're special but mostly they seem to have tatt's attitude of freely sharing, humility and giving without conditions. Anyway, bitch about me all you want, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing because I enjoy it, and my message quota keeps filling with kind words from others that enjoy it too.

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@tattWhat you are talking about here and a full modded release are slightly different.  Going back to the VERY beginning of this hobby.... EVERY single table is built off of snippits that someone else created.  Some code sinppits go back so long that the original credits have been long long lost.  Ball rolling, lighting, physics, etc...  Technically, anyone that's using any of the pieces you mentioned above should keep the credits of those pieces in the script.  If someone uses Freezys script for something; Freezy should have credit in the script for that snippit of code.  This way anyone that mods that table, going forward, they know that Freezys script was used.  Some components are hard to credit as they have slowly become part of the initial VP package.  Usually people created these parts for the better of the hobby and don't ask for any credits in return.

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