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Melf_Himself

Spore creature export

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There's been a recent update to Spore that allows players to export their creations in Collada format to be loaded into rendering programs such as Maya: http://oceanquigley.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-export-spore-creatures-to-maya.html It should theoretically also work with Blender, but apparently the necessary Collada plugin is not doing the trick as yet: http://forum.spore.com/jforum/posts/list/37155.page Anyway, so this is EA, and there's an EULA: http://www.ea.com/portal/pdf/legal/EULA_SporeCreatureCreator.pdf Which looks like it stifles any possible benefit to the indie community. Now, this would be a glorious day for indie game developers if it weren't for the EULA, allowing Jo Shmuck programmer to make games that look like they have some kind of artistic talent behind them. Therefore we must harness this technology for our benefit despite the EULA. There are a few possible avenues of attack: 1) Petition EA to play super duper nice (allow assets created to be used in commercial games) 2) Petition EA to play pretty nice (license the assets for a nominal fee) 3) Petition EA to play a tiny bit (allow for non-commercial games) 4) Screw EA, find a way to invalidate the EULA (it may actually have no legal standing). Thoughts? :D

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Any approach that involves trying to invalidate the EULA should, of course, not be done without a lawyer handy.

Aside from that, good luck. You might be able to convince EA that letting Spore creatures be used more freely would encourage people to buy the game...

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The export spits out a rigged skeleton, but there are no animations in the output. Even if you're in a position to brave the legal consequences, you'd still need an animator to get those characters moving. The one I tried had a 214 bone skeleton, so there's some major labour required there!

Haven't tried the building/vehicle editors, but they might have some promise for stationary objects.

A petition sounds like a good idea - I can't see what EA would lose from allowing redistribution of the assets.

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I've heard that the animation info is part of the Collada export, are you sure about that? The only modeling program that the export has been verified to work properly on that I can tell is Maya, so you'd have to test on that...

The building/vehicles can not be exported as yet, but apparently that is planned in a future update.

You're right, they have nothing to lose, and a good reputation to gain... I'm sure the corporate director types will see it that way... :/

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I think they've kind voided their own eula in doing this. I read another eula which only specified their ownership of the tools and materials in the creations.

They would not have done this without knowing the ramifications for this. How can they keep track of all the creatures that they own unless they have some kind of top secret software hack. You make a single change in the model then it could be said to be a unique asset native to the whatever software you used to change it.

Why do this if they arent going to allow people to use this for anything. They would be foolish to do this and then expect people to abide by some eula words no one ever reads.

I'm gonna be using this(if I can get it to work for) for a 101 games I will never finish. They cant stop me, how will they know, I'll change the assets just enough and say I made them myself from scratch.

Its awesome what they've done, its a boon to anyone. I dont think they released this, and just expected people not to do anything with it.

edit: The eula applies to the game and the assets in it when you move those assets out of it does it still apply. Someone who does not own the game could acquire an asset and then use it against the eula but they never saw the eula and never could of.

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I would strongly suggest against trying to get clever with the law unless you are yourself a lawyer. Even if your logic is actually accurate, it sounds dodgy enough for EA to be able to come down on you with a very expensive lawsuit. Can you afford to pay a lawyer to defend yourself?

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Quote:
Original post by Calabi
How can they keep track of all the creatures that they own unless they have some kind of top secret software hack.
They don't need to. If you're small time and you violate this user, you *might* get away with it, but it's still a legal Achilles heel for you.
If your game becomes popular someone might notice what you've done and then EA can legally rape your profits.
Quote:
They cant stop me, how will they know, I'll change the assets just enough and say I made them myself from scratch.

The eula applies to the game and the assets in it when you move those assets out of it does it still apply? Someone who does not own the game could acquire an asset and then use it against the eula but they never saw the eula and never could of.
Its the same as any other game. Say you take a player model or a level out of Quake 3 - you *could* modify it and pretend that you made it (and no one would know), but that *is* plagiarism and a copyright violation nonetheless.

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Ok, so here we have it:

1) Create internet identity A. Create a website that offers free art assets that you created (not on your home computer).

2) Create internet identity B. Take website above up on its generous offer, and download your own assets. Do this on your home computer so that there's a nice record.

3) Use assets freely.

4) Get away with it forever;

OR/Until

5) Get contacted by EA to cease and desist using assets. They can't sue you outright because you never agreed to the contract. All they can do is inform you that it's their IP, and tell you to stop using it. You of course comply, and get away without punishment (although you do have to change the art assets in your game, bummer).

6) EA go after identity A, however you have cleverly left no trace that could link back to the real you.

Unfortunately I can not enact this plan because I'm on my work computer at the moment :p

But my alter ego Hodgman could do it from a different computer (we're both in Melbourne, Australia... could we be the same person? Who can tell :p)

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Quote:
Original post by Melf_Himself
Create internet identity A ... Create internet identity B
Great, now you've set yourself up for fraud and conspiracy as well as civil infringements! ;)
Anyway, identity B is still infringing copyright even if they aren't aware of it. They can be sued despite their hypothetical ignorance (so step 6 might occur, but it won't stop step 5 from happening as well!).

Step 1/2 do nothing for you. If you want to be unscrupulous, then with any copyrighted material, you can jump straight to step 3/4 as long as no one ever notices that you're infringing their rights (in which case step 5 comes into play).
Quote:
But my alter ego Hodgman could do it from a different computer (we're both in Melbourne, Australia... could we be the same person? Who can tell :p)
Gamedev.net say they can tell: "We have extremely sophisticated tools for detecting duplicate accounts and will spot you" ;P

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Damn, I guess big brother is always watching :p

That sounds a bit tough that they can sue you even if you thought you were getting some legit merchandise. My gf is a law student, I'll have to ask her to review this case for me :p

Anyway, now to go and buy Spore. To, um, play... it. Yes.

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I think people are being overly paranoid with this.

I think one condition of the software and you uploading your created content to the website is that it is open for anyone to download and use anyway they see fit.

I havent specifically read all of the eula but I'm pretty sure it doesnt say they have ownership of the assets you create. They claim ownership of the tools and materials which you use to create those assets but not the actual asset(no one owns the assets, after they have been uploaded and made available on the web). I think the content on the sporepedia, in a way is open source. It is about the free creation of assets for everyones games.

That was the whole point of the website and the content on it. What would they gain it opening the content to be used in many other forms and then coming down with their lawyers and saying you cannot do anything with them. That doesnt make any sense and would that even stand up in a court. I can imagine some of the arguments that might be put forward in a court and they would be absurd in the least.

Then again maybe they are somehow claiming ownership of all and sundry and just did this for shits and giggles. We wont know unless we get some clarification.

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Calabi: as a general rule, you should assume that any large company is going to try to claim ownership of as much content as possible -- and it's entirely possible that they can claim ownership of all creatures created using their tool in this case. I'm not a lawyer. You're not a lawyer. We can't assume "oh, this is just like open source because you can upload your stuff to a certain website and then other people can download it".

My personal assumption would be that EA is claiming all IP rights to the creature creator and its creations, and then granting a limited right to download to people who own the Spore game. That wouldn't leave any wiggle room for using Spore creatures in your own projects. Now, I'd love to be wrong here, but until I see something from EA that says "Yes, go ahead and use these creatures in your own projects", I'm not going to be hopeful.

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Derakon: I always assume that but actions speak for themselves. When I said open source. I dont know whether or not they follow that general philosophy but they have opened the source for creatures for anyone to look at and manipulate outside the original program.

Its as if the crysis developers had released the entire code for the crysis engine they put it out their on purpose and then said.

"Were just putting this out there for everyone to look at, your not allowed to use it for anything, just to look at"
"But why?"
"Just to show you how leet we are!"

I can imagine the chaos a mad rush everyone hacking their own games together, stealing bits of code, no one could resist. It would be stupidity beyond belief to try and sue people and attempt to shut the barn door after all the horses have left and had a great big party. They cant make something available and then expect people to not use it. If they do not want people to use things a certain way then they do not make it available that way.

EA have opened pandoras box.

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Quote:
Original post by Calabi
Its as if the crysis developers had released the entire code for the crysis engine they put it out their on purpose and then said.

"Were just putting this out there for everyone to look at, your not allowed to use it for anything, just to look at"
"But why?"

I can imagine the chaos a mad rush everyone hacking their own games together, stealing bits of code, no one could resist...
EA have opened pandoras box.
ID often releases the entire source-base to their games after a while, and Valve have in the past release the entire game-side (i.e. non engine) code to the public almost immediately. Back when HL1's AI was considered "next-gen", anyone could look at the code and steal their ideas, same goes now for HL2.
The entire code-base for Valve's Source engine was also made public via a leak once, but there isn't much point copy&pasting it into your own games.

If you're incompetent enough to have to C&P stolen code to make a game, then you're bound to fail due to that same incompetence ;)

There's a lot more to making a game than hacking together stolen code. And anyway, no legitimate business would risk plagiarism.

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Quote:
ID often releases the entire source-base to their games after a while, and Valve have in the past release the entire game-side (i.e. non engine) code to the public almost immediately. Back when HL1's AI was considered "next-gen", anyone could look at the code and steal their ideas, same goes now for HL2.
The entire code-base for Valve's Source engine was also made public via a leak once, but there isn't much point copy&pasting it into your own games.

If you're incompetent enough to have to C&P stolen code to make a game, then you're bound to fail due to that same incompetence ;)

There's a lot more to making a game than hacking together stolen code. And anyway, no legitimate business would risk plagiarism.


In a way I think its a shame more code isnt stolen and reused because then we might end up with a lot more better games. So instead of developers constantly focused on reinventing wheels over and over, they could then focus on the real development of confronting the problems of making good gameplay.

All those releases of codes which are on purpose are done where the developers mean for people to use it, or dont care what is done with it.

Another question then can you claim an asset if you make that asset available to be manipulated in a number of ways? If I change the asset slightly by say moving a single polygon could they still claim it? Can they claim an asset I made myself in their software? All their software allowed me to do was make it.

Even loading it into another software changes it in subtle ways so that it differs from the original asset that it was in the game. If they do own it then where does that ownership end? If I make one change? a hundred? as long as a single polygon remains the same as in the original?

If they own it then the proof lies with them. How do they prove it? "Well it looks a bit like it",

"Those 355 vertices lie at the exact x, y, z coords, in the original model, the probability of creating a unique model with those exact same coord is six million to one".

"We have stamped our logo name on every single vertex, you have been busted!"

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