Following a discussion on IRC, I've refined the thought somewhat.
Limit Theory is both a game and an engine. That confuses things, so I'm hereby refering to the Engine as the "Limitless Engine" and the Game as "Limit Theory". Josh can disagree with that but this is just to make my idea clearer.
The Limitless Engine is the architectural framework, the rendering, ray-tracing, BCPs, physics, testbeds, AI delegation & economic simulation, contracting, and pathfinding, as well as the APIs and GUIs for designing games and modules to be built on top of it, but not the game elements. What exactly this portion includes is ultimately whatever Josh decides it is.
Limit Theory the game is the sort of stuff found in The "Game" in LT
, The Four Branches of Research
, Warp Rails as Cargo Transfer method
, Mining Gameplay Ideas Refined
and so on... The game mechanics, not the architectural mechanics which make them possible.
Unfortunately, modification and module both abreviate to mod... another source of confusion, but as I'm using them, A Game Module is something which primarily utilizes the Limitless Engine, may interact with and incorporate parts other Game Modules. A Game Modification has little or no additonal/different interactions with the Limitless engine, but instead changes aspects of existing modules and mechanics. Limit Theory is a set of Game Modules running on the Limitless Engine. Adding Space Life
to the game or Hyperion Colonies
may also be Game Modules depending on how complex they are. However, smaller things like Concealed Weapons
or wrecks, fire and smoke
are smaller, they're modifications which may change the look and feel of the game, but aren't quite at the level of being new Modules.
Modules add or radically change major game mechanics, Modifications...dont
I disagree with the idea that Procedural Reality should actively avoid making some money just because other studios and developers are greedy asshats about it. As Flat said, being compensated and rewarded for your creativity is a good way to get more creativity, because large creative projects take time, time which could have been spent doing other, more financially beneficial things. But we also dont want to discourage the creativity of people who just want to enrich the game for the love of the game.
This is why I suggested an Appstore model. The Procedural Reality Mod Store could be a parallel to the Steam Workshop or Nexus. However the PRMS, as a platform would reserve the right to moderate and control what content it allows on its platform. It could, like the Steam workshop, host hundreds or thousands of free or donation-based mods but also host a selection of paid mods which would be hand-picked by Procedural Reality the same way Valve reserves the right to decide what games it hosts on Steam itself. This would then allow any random Jane Doe to create a Modification or Module of any quality, have it hosted for free, but would prevent Jane from trying to make a quick buck by uploading a deceptive steaming pile of shit for $3... at least using the PRMS, she could still try to do that elsewhere.
I would hope and expect that most mods would be small and free/donation-based, being on offer on Steam and the LT Nexus, in addition to the PRMS, Made by amateur and hobbyist creators who create for their love of the game. However, Procedural Reality, if it chooses to liscense the Limitless Engine for commercial development, would enable professional independent developers. These individuals or companies could go on to make whole new games with the knowledge that they'll make enough money from their work to earn a living or potentially even start their own studios
. Procedural Reality would then be in a position to say "You're free to charge for your work, but we won't host your paid-version on our platform unless we feel it is up to our quality standards. But whether you host it with us or not, we'll still be taking 10% of your sales as a liscensing fee for use of the Limitless Engine."
This is actually the only comment I have that resembles a "Yeah, but what about...?" criticism. Absent some kind of DRM (which I think we all suspect is extraordinarily unlikely) to make copied mods unusable, what's to stop anyone from giving copies to their friends, or putting mods on a third-party site for free downloading?
Here is Valve's policy on user generated content
Steam Subscriber Agreement:
6. USER GENERATED CONTENT
A. General Provisions
"User Generated Content" means any content you make available to other users through your use of multi-user features of Steam, or to Valve or its affiliates through your use of the Content and Services or otherwise.
If you provide Valve with any feedback or suggestions about Steam, the Content and Services, or any Valve products or services, Valve is free to use the feedback or suggestions however it chooses, without any obligation to account to you.
B. Content Uploaded to the Steam Workshop
Some games or applications available on Steam ("Workshop-Enabled Apps") allow you to create User Generated Content based on or using the Workshop-Enabled App, and to submit that User Generated Content (a “Workshop Contribution”) to one or more Steam Workshop web pages. Workshop Contributions can be viewed by the Steam community, and for some categories of Workshop Contributions users may be able to interact with, download or purchase the Workshop Contribution. In some cases, Workshop Contributions may be considered for incorporation by Valve or a third-party developer into a game or into a Subscription Marketplace.
You understand and agree that Valve is not obligated to use, distribute, or continue to distribute copies of any Workshop Contribution and reserves the right, but not the obligation, to restrict or remove Workshop Contributions for any reason.
Specific Workshop-Enabled Apps or Workshop web pages may contain special terms (“App-Specific Terms”) that supplement or change the terms set out in this Section. In particular, where Workshop Contributions are distributed for a fee, App-Specific Terms will address how revenue may be shared. Unless otherwise specified in App-Specific Terms (if any), the following general rules apply to Workshop Contributions.
- Workshop Contributions are Subscriptions, and therefore you agree that any Subscriber receiving distribution of your Workshop Contribution will have the same rights to use your Workshop Contribution (and will be subject to the same restrictions) as are set out in this Agreement for any other Subscriptions.
- Notwithstanding the license described in Section 6.A., Valve will only have the right to modify or create derivative works from your Workshop Contribution in the following cases: (a) Valve may make modifications necessary to make your Contribution compatible with Steam and the Workshop functionality or user interface, and (b) Valve or the applicable developer may make modifications to Workshop Contributions that are accepted for in-Application distribution as it deems necessary or desirable to enhance gameplay.
- You may, in your sole discretion, choose to remove a Workshop Contribution from the applicable Workshop pages. If you do so, Valve will no longer have the right to use, distribute, transmit, communicate, publicly display or publicly perform the Workshop Contribution, except that (a) Valve may continue to exercise these rights for any Workshop Contribution that is accepted for distribution in-game or distributed in a manner that allows it to be used in-game, and (b) your removal will not affect the rights of any Subscriber who has already obtained access to a copy of the Workshop Contribution.
Except where otherwise provided in App-Specific Terms, you agree that Valve’s consideration of your Workshop Contribution is your full compensation, and you are not entitled to any other rights or compensation in connection with the rights granted to Valve and to other Subscribers.
I think that Valve has the right (and clearly best-for-them legally) idea that Intellectual rights and copyright belong to the content creator. Copyright protection and copyright infringement though, is also the content creator's responsibility and the creator would be free to add DRM to their work if they want to, Procedural Reality shouldn't in my opinion have any say on that. Valve and PRMS could remove offending content from their platform, but beyond that, "Not our problem". Which I agree, would naturally cut the number of paid-mods significantly, though donation-based would still be an option.