Dear User: TL;dr

Dear Mod User/Author/Developer,

 

My name is Payton Quinn, and It is with a heavy heart that I have felt compelled to write this. You may know me as DogtoothCG, the artist behind the NCR Veteran Ranger, the Enclave X-02, the T-49 Storyteller armor, and others. I have been a member of the modding community since the release of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and watched the scene develop beautifully over the years.

 

Apparently, there is a storm brewing, more damaging than the Paid Modding “fiasco” of Skyrim. I feel it necessary to preface, that while I cannot speak for the “Majority” of mod authors, I can speak for quite a few when I state, that despite personal opinions of the “PC Master Race”, vs “Console Peasants”, this isn’t a contributing factor to many mod authors, which is a minor topic we will explore in this document. I also, do not claim to be a lawyer, and as such, will not be discussing the legalities of the situation, simply the consequences. On a side-note, please, for the love of all that is monotonous and usual, don’t harass the developers over site moderation, it will be handled in time.

 

Addressed first, is the console users:

It has long been a dream of mine to one day be able to share my work with you, whether part of a modification, or integrated into the core of your gameplay experience. I support your decision to game how you want, without restriction. Regrettably, there are some core differences between platforms that need to be addressed before a cross platform release, especially if the mod author wants to be aware of your specific needs and limitations of your system.

For example, on a PC, mod authors tend not to develop with a mind to the performance of the end user. They tend to author with  the performance of their own workstation. On a console, this often-times may lead to bloated loading, memory leaks, game errors, or even data corruption; during these trying times, please remember that many mod authors are not accustomed to the new system (however minutely it has changed from it’s previous iteration), and are simply taking the time to tailor a modification for your platform so that you will get the best experience.

Another example to be aware of, is the way that the consoles handle compression of assets; the console simply does not do it, afaik. To this end, if you have downloaded any high-end tailored mods, you may find that it simply does not perform well on your system, or you run out of the allocated space quickly.

Please be aware that it is the author’s prerogative to tailor their assets to your system, or not. If you feel inclined to download as many “4k texture” mods as you can fit,  you may, and it may not crash your system, but that is no guarantee of stability.

 

To PC users:

We have had the glorious luck to be given nearly unfettered access to one of the most moddable closed-source engines on the planet, it has been always been difficult, but the community has always had thousands of talented individuals who work tirelessly to bring us the tools, the content, and the skill to tailor our experiences in whatever direction pleases us. Recall for a moment, the disaster of Paid Modding, dig back into google, and see how a fledgling system, implemented for the best of reasons was killed in a manner of days by a vocally almost unilateral outcry against it. There were those who were in favor of the system, but they were quickly swept into the category of “wrong because we said so”. Ochlocracy is the term, “Majority Rule”, or “Tyranny of the Masses”.

Now look back over the past week, who have we been fighting? The select number of atrocious individuals who have been immoral, and against logical judgement, taken another individual’s property for the “good of the people”? The seemingly vocal majority of commenters, contesting the ability of an author to control the distribution of their  own works? What about those exclusively on console that have allied in your struggle to retain control over your work? Certainly it would be unfair to state they have all been pushed under the rug, and are simply part of the problem, wouldn’t it?

 

Onto the Elephant in the Room:
    Since the beginning of time, man has taken from his neighbor for his own gain; nothing new under the Sun, and all of that jazz. Sometime down the road of evolution, the concept of property was established, and suddenly everyone wanted to own things.

In this circumstance, we’re dealing exclusively with the concept of exclusivity, and an individual’s right to control the distribution of his works. In many cases, a work is built off of another, already existing work. This is called a “derivative” work, and is oftentimes used as an excuse to distribute someone else’s hard work without credit or compensation of any kind (see examples of authors changing six or seven variables in an esp, and releasing it as a new file, with the original assets included).

A mod author, or Developer, has the “right to copy” their own works, and restrict its usage across platforms; this has been the case for a very long time in the Bethesda Game Studios’ Modding Community. A distribution license is automatically agreed to when implementing content of any kind into the Creation Kit, this grants Zenimax Media and all associated subsidiaries permission to use and license your work for a variety of things; most notably, it means that they could include videos of mods in action, when releasing the Mods announcement trailer. AFAIK, it has never been noted, nor commented on, whether or not releasing a mod under the EULA equates to granting exclusivity.

The thing to note here, to both “sides” if you wish to use such divisive terminology, is that we have seen an abhorrent amount of “mods can only be uploaded on a pc, so its the pc crowd sabotaging consoles”, this is an assumption, and it divides us on the real topic at hand. We do not know who they are, or how they prefer to game, simply that they have access to a pc. The real issue at hand, is the amount of support that is being shown to those who are performing these acts; this is not a matter of “Lazy modders”, or “Lucky that someone did it for them”, or “more exposure”. This is a direct contradiction of blaming the modders in the fact, that by encouraging the unauthorized redistribution on an official channel, means that those who are afraid of such an action will hide their content from the public. Those who become fed up with such actions will cease modding all together. This is a long-term community, no matter what disagreements we have on which platform is better, many of us have been around in excess of 10+ years, be it on PlanetElderScrolls, the old Bethesda Forums, TESSource, Nexus Mods, Bethesda Net, No Mutants Allowed, or any other forum. Driving the content creator away from their drive to create does everyone a disservice when great people can no longer contend with the actions of the apparent majority. So let’s please be a little more understanding, stop playing armchair lawyer, and mod our games. The content that you want to see will come out in a more final form further down the line, regardless of platform.

 

Sincerely,

Payton

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