Im in ur world, haxxorin ur game…

Things seem to have changed, and I’m not really liking the direction that things seem to be heading. (In more than one area, but I’m only going to focus on Uru and Age Creation stuff in this post ;)).

In 2004, Prologue shut down, Uru was dead, there was nothing more to do. So people started hacking. The day that Prologue closed was the day that Almlys started writing the (in)famous ALCUGS server project, and I believe that it was the same day as the closing when Anonymous54321 released the decryption routine for the whatdoyousee/xTEA encrypted files.
Soon there was flymode.
Eventually in 2005 Almlys released the PyPRP plugin to create our own Ages. PotS had been released, UU had been released; and people were pretty excited about creating their own stuff.

Always there was the thread of a cease and desist letter from Cyan. People were sent cease and desist letters during 2004 and 2005. But still people developed tools, developed plugin, and worked in the hopes of finally having the power to write their own Ages.

So MOUL is dead, and people still want to create Ages for PotS. The Guild of Writers exists for that reason, and somewhere along the way it seems that the threat from Cyan has diminished. Maybe it’s due to Rand telling various sources that he thinks user-created Ages are important; or maybe from interviews in-cavern with Mark DeForest (Cyan’s Lead Programmer) who talked about the tools that users could use to create Ages. Overall, lots of progress was being made, lots of very nice Ages were being produced.

Then Drizzle came along. Drizzle is brilliant! The ability to convert the MOUL content to PotS so that you can still visit Minkata and the pod Ages, the Guild Pubs, Jalak, even the two Eder Gardens. But Drizzle was quick to cause commotion on the forums. Everyone was ready to cry about how it was hacking, how it was immoral, wrong, evil, and that anyone who uses the tool should be ashamed of themselves.

Yes, Drizzle is hacking. So is PyPRP and all of the Ages over at GoW.
You tell Drizzle users to be ashamed of themselves, yet you offer advice and encouragement on GoW. There’s a discrepancy here that is completely illogical, and one that I’m tired of trying to clear up.
In 2004 it was very common knowledge that all user-created stuff was hacked. It was violating the agreement with Cyan, it was technically illegal.
Now there seems to be this ignorance about that fact, and people don’t even know the first thing about the tools that they are using.

I almost want to make a big banner and drop it on the GoW website. “Using these tools is considered hacking and is illegal/immoral/wrong!”

If you’re on the GoW, you need to know what you are really doing. You are hacking a game, violating the End-User License Agreement, and doing all those things that you said people should be ashamed of.

Who’s ashamed now?

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22 thoughts on “Im in ur world, haxxorin ur game…

  1. Zrax says:

    Well spoken, Dox :)

  2. Marten says:

    In my opinion, it’s all about attitude. (I should know, I sometimes have a bad one myself.) If you are arrogant, you’ll probably get a C&D, and you’ll probably deserve it.

    Much of the negative talk about Drizzle, I believe, originates from how it was originally presented. From the very original post introducing it, take this gem at the bottom:
    “I’m sure I could have made a number of the remaining minor issues work, but MOUL (like Uru in general, but especially MOUL), I never really enjoyed, so the motivation is lacking.”

    So… if Dustin didn’t like Uru, and MOUL in particular, what *was* his motivation?

    Next, consider the very blatant posting of copyrighted material to bittorrent. Not just the tools. Significant chunks of Cyan-owned material that Dustin knew darn well should not be posted. What was Dustin’s motivation for thumbing his nose at Cyan’s intellectual rights? He could have presented the tool and the instructions without posting the Cyan content. But that is not what he chose to do.

    Why did he do this? That is the missing piece of the puzzle, isn’t it? And given his methods, and his arrogance in the matter, of course people are going to see ill in it. And the inevitable result is that some people will throw the baby out with the bath water.

    If the way in which this project had been presented had been one with a bit more respect of the people who originally created the material… if the tool had been released but not the torrent, and if Dustin had been clearer that he would leave it crippled in certain ways so as to not create competition to a third time at bat for Cyan…. I believe (though I have no special power to predict alternate timelines) that the uproar and the slamming of ‘hacking’ in general would not have happened in the way that it did.

    It is the approach, such as used in this situation, that gives hacking a bad reputation. Personally, I have stayed away from the whole Drizzle thing, because I can’t help but view it as a tainted “contribution” to our community.

  3. Lontahv says:

    Nice one Paradox.

    It surprises me how many people don’t think PyPrp or the GoW is about hacking. I think a lot of people think that it’s just some kind of Cyan sanctioned UruCC add-on/map-creator.

    I hope this post and other posts like yours wakes people up to the fact that PyPrp is hacking and technically illegal, and the GoW is built around the PyPrp. Just because Dustin is frank (and maybe a tad fool-hardy) about Drizzle, doesn’t mean it’s any worse than PyPrp.

    You said just that.

    Thanks. It’s time people wake up.

    ~Lontahv

  4. D'eux says:

    >>Everyone was ready to cry about how it was hacking, how it was immoral, wrong, evil, and that anyone who uses the tool should be ashamed of themselves.<<

    I don’t think that is a true statement at all. I think people reacted somewhat reservedly (and perhaps negatively) because as Marten has already commented, the way in which Drizzle was presented to the community was a little unorthodox. Especially at such a critical time, when we’re waiting on potential assistance from Cyan to continue and develop a replacement for MOUL. The last thing we want to be doing is upsetting them by being stand-offish and distributing copyrighted material.

    And that for me was the crux of the matter. I believe Cyan has relaxed their attitude to Age writing because the tools we are using don’t belong to them, the content we are producing is our solely our own and the manner of delivery is using a game engine we already own because we bought URU:CC/PotS. There is no direct threat to their intellectual property.

    Distributing converted MOUL content on Bittorrent *IS*.

    If you read between the lines, folks *don’t* have a problem with Drizzle per se, it’s the uncomfortable position it puts the community in at the moment where no official comment has been received from Cyan regarding its use and the illegal distribution of files that is taking place – started by someone who seems to have little regard for the sensitive situation the whole community is in right now.

  5. Robert The Rebuilder says:

    From reading the URU Obsession posts, I think the uproar came about because people were confused between the two tools that Dustin offerred. The first item, Drizzle, was just the tool to convert the MO:UL ages to URU:CC format. The second item was a URU:CC patcher that would install already converted MO:UL ages and the corresponding SDL/Python files. But people thought they were one and the same, especially because Dustin described the second item as an “easy” version of Drizzle.

  6. Nek'rahm says:

    I’ve actually not used any programs or anything like that to edit anything yet.

    Never even did Chacal’s thing, kept getting errors. Perhaps this happened for a reason. Either way, you’re absolutely right. I enjoy seeing works from people like D’eux, especially since most of em are using their own textures in Blender and then applying them to Uru, not sure if that breaks the agreement.

    Owell, good points, man.

  7. Paradox says:

    I should point out that I think the torrent was a terrible idea.

    There has always been an unwritten rule that Cyan content is not distributed.

  8. Hoikas says:

    Marten: You do realize that most hackers are disgruntled as Dustin is and all of their contributions are “tainted” as well. Honestly, you’re crying like a baby IMO. I do agree however that distributing the torrent was a bit over the top, but it’s not something I would hold a grudge or get riled up about. After all, intellectual property is imaginary.

  9. BAD says:

    By the way……

    Downloading files are not illegal if you can prove you bought them already. Most torrent sites have you agree that you will only download files of content you already own as a back up.

    Your allowed to have as many copies of content as you want as long as you have purchased them legally, and are not distributing it in a harmful way, or for profit.

    I know Dustin wasn’t asking everyone if they had the files on their computer, but I can imagine very few people DLed the torrent who didn’t have MOUL installed on their CPU.

    The only thing Dustin did wrong was make the files publicly available.

    If he said that you could PM him for an easier method and gave out the URL privately, it technically would not be illegal, as long as he got people to tell him they owned MOUL.

    So his only crime was being a bit rough around the edges and not thinking (maybe not caring?) about the consequences of making the files available.

    In any rate, it was his decision, and only he would get in trouble for it. People keep making much to big of a deal when anything slightly controversial happens.

  10. Nek'rahm says:

    :S

    I dunno, sketchy territory I won’t wander too deep into.

    I’m just saying, Messing with Uru’s code has screwed my game up and over. I’ve lost CC cause of it and need to find a new CD. Only reason why I won’t be messing with Cyan content.

    Looking forward to Eh’ko tho :D

  11. Paradox says:

    But you see, Eh’ko is (theoretically) as illegal as messing with Cyan content.

    It’s a very tricky situation, but it should be clear that anything to do with fan-Ages is still hacking.

  12. Aloys says:

    I started the Drizzle torrent, but knowing I was going to lack time to try it I actually seeded it for nearly three days before I realized what it contained… =(

  13. Paradox says:

    But you didn’t realize, so any blame on you would be far less than on the person who initially started the torrent file.

  14. Hoikas says:

    Ignorance is never an excuse. That’s a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way.

  15. Grogyan says:

    Creativity holds no bounds.

    Distributing others hard work is immoral/illegal/piracy

    Allowing tools for creativity should allow for a loop hole to keep created content on local computers.

    Such that ULM is the line, you can’t distribute Cyans work, but your own is yours to what ever you want!

  16. Hoikas says:

    You’re distributing content in Cyan’s Proprietary format.

    I’m sure in the United States’s terrible DMCA this is somehow illegal.

    Face it: we live in a Capitalist world. We exist only to create capital to keep the rich rich. The rich live to profit of us and to take as many freedoms as possible to ensure we do not become rich ourselves. It’s why I’m a communist.

  17. Justin says:

    well, didn’t cyan fan the flame by creating the guild pubs? that how alot of people got interested in age creation (including me) so, I wish they would just out and say “We like user created content, go make more” or “We don’t want you creating ages, stop it” so we can know once and for all what we CAN and Can’t do… rather than cyan giving us signs that they like user created content, but never really tell us whether it’s ok or not…

  18. Alahmnat says:

    Perhaps – and this is just me wildly speculating – but perhaps Cyan wanted to start fanning the flames of user-created content because they did, in fact, have something in mind for MOUL’s second season. Maybe not what everyone else had in mind (again, I don’t know, but that seems to be a pattern with Cyan), but at this point, with MOUL shut down *after* those plans had gotten started, I think anything that Cyan had in mind has been put on hold until they can nail down what they can or can’t do with Uru itself. Unfortunately, GoW seems to have taken MOUL’s shutdown as a sign to speed up their efforts using ULM and PyPRP, not slow down and wait for Cyan to get its ducks in a row.

    I do wish that Cyan wouldn’t keep stringing the hacking community along with pseudo-silence and just make a declaration one way or the other, but I suspect they’re back in the same position they were in in 2004: wanting to keep people interested in Uru (and D’ni), but not knowing how to, beyond letting everyone do what they want to keep *themselves* interested. I also suspect that they don’t want to drive off the group of people most likely to join in on any finalized fan-content project if one finally does get off the ground by saying “no, you can’t do that”, but for the sake of their IP rights, they can’t just say “sure, do whatever you want” either.

    Cyan’s attitude, based on the vague and somewhat conflicting actions they’ve taken with regards to the GoW and their tools, seems to be one of “Yes, please make fan-created content, we like that. But please don’t do it the way you are right now” rather than “We like user created content, go make more” or “We don’t want you creating ages, stop it”. Cyan has historically been rather lax about letting its fans create art based on their universe; the multitude of fanfics, renders, and game projects like Ages of Ilathid are a testament to Cyan’s willingness to let fans expand their universe. I think they just want to draw the line at reverse-engineering their proprietary formats and integrating fan-created content into a commercially-released product with no control over the throughput.

    Maybe I’ve just been around too long to see this only in terms of Cyan either approving of GoW’s methods or disowning fan-created content whole cloth, with no middle ground between the two.

  19. Paradox says:

    Right now it seems a bit like this (Thanks Marten for the analogy):

    Cyan is handing out drivers licenses.
    Unfortunately, there are no cars for sale, and Cyan has said that building your own is illegal.

  20. Krepta says:

    I am awake, for now, but will soon be asleep. As far as being awake about this stuff in a non-literal sense, well, I’ve always been awake to the fact that hacking and pirating is illegal. I’m not a hacker or programmer, not really, I only know QBASIC, or BASIC if need be. I couldn’t hack past a password protected windows vista on the local machine, or remotely, and I’m pretty sure XP could be secured well enough to keep me out of certain parts. Uh, anyway, especially when it comes to hacking games, I am useless.

    I’ve been a Pirate now for many years, since I was about 13 years old, and nearly everyone I’ve EVER known my whole life has broken copyright law one way or another either because they wanted to, or felt they had no choice. I broke copyright law for the first time to get the game files for a game I had received from my grandparents as a birthday gift, but which had become corrupted. Until then I believed the whole thing against piracy religiously, I never would have copied so much as a recipe from a cookbook without permission. That is why I only ever had two copies of the game, One on the hard drive, and ONE original Diskette. The hard drive had some kind of issue, one of the game files got corrupted, everything else was fine, but the game would not run. Then I tried to reinstall from the original disk, which copied a few files, some of which did not copy completely because the Disk itself had become corrupted. So now most of the files on the hard drive were messed up, at least for that game.

    So, what could I do? I wanted to get another copy, so I searched game stores, nothing… I searched online for any copy being sold Anywhere, nothing… I tried to get ahold of the original game makers…. OUT OF BUSINESS, well, fine then, so I just put in a search in the search engine, this was before Google I think, and found a copy, but, it was not being sold, no, this was for Download! I was freaking out for Weeks after downloading that ILLEGAL copy. When I calmed down and played it again, I had plenty of fun with it, but I soon became bored, as I usually do, I have ADD. Well since I’d broken the law once, I guess it was just easier, psychologically, for me to do it again. Soon I was looking at many pirate resources, BBS systems, Newsgroups, browsing around for whatever I might be interested in.

    Lest you think I have no conscience, I did constantly think about the impact of people never paying for Any intellectual property, what would happen to those creating things that I love. So I decided that if and when I could, I would buy those things that I had downloaded, used, and loved, and would NOT buy those things I very much disliked and deleted within moments of installing and using them, only to find they were CRAP. I’ve been that way ever since. I’ll buy it if I like it, if I don’t, I’ll delete it.

    Now, had I not been a Pirate, browsing around for illegal stuff to copy and use, I would never have found the Title Theme music for Myst III Exile, which I absolutely LOVED and played many times, and therefore would never have been interested enough to get Myst, Riven, Myst III Exile, Myst IV Revelations, Myst V End of Ages, and the various Uru incarnations I was able to find, and the Myst books. I’ve been a huge fan of all things Myst and D’ni, and it’s all because of Piracy. Maybe in some bizarre parallel world I would have purchased Myst, played it on a Mac that my dad gave me, etc. But, my dad never gave me a Mac, and I never knew anything about Myst at all till I heard that music.

    So, poo poo me all you like, call me a horrible evil monster for Stealing Intellectual Property, but I am an unrepentant Pirate, and I am Unashamed. Maybe I’ll get put away in prison for a long long time for it, I dunno. But I’m guessing you could put away fully Half of all Americans, if not more, for the same reason.

    Sorry Cyan, love you, but come on, I’m gonna pirate from you, that’s just the way it is.

  21. […] been really busy, remembering how I’m a terrible dirty hacker who hates Uru and wants to ruin it for […]

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