[MUD-Dev] licensing

Adam Martin ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 20 09:05:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Schwanz" <paul.schwanz at east.sun.com>

> Additionally, instead of writing a canned quest, you could create
> powerful, world-impacting items.  Depending upon an item's nature
> and how it functions, a quest could be the natural result.  To me,
> this is the difference between writing Tolkien's "Lord of the
> Rings" trilogy and trying to imbed it as static, canned pieces of
> text throughout the game world, or simply creating the Rings as
> actual in-game items that have the properties of those in
> Tolkien's stories.  Then sit back and see what happens.

> With the latter approach, the players don't read some text about
> the background of the ring and realize they must complete a fed-ex
> style quest to take the ring to some volcano where they hope to
> get lots of experience.  Rather, they *live* the dilemma.  Do they
> keep the ring to themselves for the sake of its ability to render
> them invisible, suffering from its corruption?  Do they try to
> find and assemble the other rings in order to unleash tremendous
> destructive power on the world?  Or do they quest for some method
> of destroying the ring and keeping the world safe from its power.
> Perhaps they do none of the above, but rather come up with their
> own unique solution to the ring's existence.

> So is this about developers creating content or context?  I see it
> as the developer creating game content that provides story
> context.  I don't think this is the same thing as the sandbox
> approach.  The developer is doing more than just creating a stage.
> The developer may even have a story in mind or a concept of how
> things could pan out.  He is being very deliberate about creating
> a quest, but he doesn't actually write the story and feed it to
> the players.

Incidentally, does anyone have any solid (i.e. non theoretical)
knowledge about licensing issues for such things as novels by dead
authors? Or alternatively any resources for finding out about such
things? The trivial answer is of course "go find a lawyer" but
specialized ones cost a lot of money that I don't have right now,
and my experiences of the extremely low value of their advice, given
the prices they charge, leaves me wanting to avoid them. (There are
many things I've been quoted £1000's for, which I had already done
or did myself with just a day's work, and had it checked later - no
problems at all).

If you're offering a free product (MUD, etc) I suspect it is no
different to offering a commercial one, except that you aren't
sticking your head up so high above the parapets.

Adam M

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