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Creating Art Within an MMO

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In my latest posting I gave myself another quandary. I could be totally behind the ball as I am by no means an artist, but it isn't anything I have really heard of to date.

What if an MMO game allowed players to create their own art? Hell, the art community could have their own game, non artists could play too!

You could have painters, caricature artists, sculptures, etc.

Would this serve as any form of enjoyment for people or is it something best left to non-game art programs?

I personally think that, if it is technically feasible, it could provide hours of enjoyment for people that wouldn't even consider themselves artists. I remember playing Mario Paint when I was younger and I had quite a lot of fun. Would something like this fit in an MMORPG world? Waste of time?

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I'm sure people would enjoy it and would sell their in-game art to other players. The problem is the censorship angle. People will create obscene art and copyright violating art, and you open your game up to legal problems.

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1312699349' post='4845693']
I'm sure people would enjoy it and would sell their in-game art to other players. The problem is the censorship angle. People will create obscene art and copyright violating art, and you open your game up to legal problems.
[/quote]

I wonder if it would be realistically possible to have some moderation on the art, basically having GMs looking over it quickly and clicking "accept/deny" before it goes further to the gallery for all users. Given, you gotta have GMs then who are quite familiar with pop culture, memes and the rest that people can cause trouble with..

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1312699349' post='4845693']
I'm sure people would enjoy it and would sell their in-game art to other players. The problem is the censorship angle. People will create obscene art and copyright violating art, and you open your game up to legal problems.
[/quote]

Couldn't it be determined by signing the EULA that art created within the game belongs to the owners of the game, not the individual that created it? On recreating art...I am not sure how that would be handled as I am not an attorney. Get the legal team right on that :). If any artwork is created that violates copyright, outright deleting it wouldn't be able to remedy the situation?

A system of review would certainly be necessary. Perhaps artwork could be reported by players and reviewed just as other reported issues would be reviewed?

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[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1312755041' post='4845931']
Couldn't it be determined by signing the EULA that art created within the game belongs to the owners of the game, not the individual that created it? On recreating art...I am not sure how that would be handled as I am not an attorney. Get the legal team right on that :). If any artwork is created that violates copyright, outright deleting it wouldn't be able to remedy the situation?[/quote]
It might actually be worse that way, since if something belongs to you (i.e. you are the owner) then you are also responsible and liable. Though you would certainly need a clause in your EULA that grants you unrevocable publishing rights. Plus, you would certainly need a clause that says that the player is not allowed to post illegitimate/copyrighted work (for what it's worth).

Now the problem that I see with copyrighted work is that deleting offending content as soon as you detect it or as soon as someone complains may just not be enough. Technically, the moment you have a copy on your server, you have violated the copyright holder's rights (you [i]have made[/i] a copy). And, technically, you've done it again after sending a copy to your moderators, and again for every user who saw it. And, sadly, there is no limit to how absurd lawsuits can get.

Add to that the fact that roughly 90% of the internet is about porn, and not few people on the internet (including people on games) just love to upset others purposely, and the threshold above which people consider content offensive is [i]very much[/i] individual. Unless your game is strictly 18+, this just smells of trouble.
Mike the Moderator might think that this butt-like sculpture might not be too bad, but Sally Soccermom will sue you for 20 million for the permanent emotional damage that her 15 year old got from looking at it.

You just never know, only when it has happened ... :(

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[quote name='samoth' timestamp='1312814427' post='4846182']
[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1312755041' post='4845931']
Couldn't it be determined by signing the EULA that art created within the game belongs to the owners of the game, not the individual that created it? On recreating art...I am not sure how that would be handled as I am not an attorney. Get the legal team right on that :). If any artwork is created that violates copyright, outright deleting it wouldn't be able to remedy the situation?[/quote]
It might actually be worse that way, since if something belongs to you (i.e. you are the owner) then you are also responsible and liable. Though you would certainly need a clause in your EULA that grants you unrevocable publishing rights. Plus, you would certainly need a clause that says that the player is not allowed to post illegitimate/copyrighted work (for what it's worth).

Now the problem that I see with copyrighted work is that deleting offending content as soon as you detect it or as soon as someone complains may just not be enough. Technically, the moment you have a copy on your server, you have violated the copyright holder's rights (you [i]have made[/i] a copy). And, technically, you've done it again after sending a copy to your moderators, and again for every user who saw it. And, sadly, there is no limit to how absurd lawsuits can get.

Add to that the fact that roughly 90% of the internet is about porn, and not few people on the internet (including people on games) just love to upset others purposely, and the threshold above which people consider content offensive is [i]very much[/i] individual. Unless your game is strictly 18+, this just smells of trouble.
Mike the Moderator might think that this butt-like sculpture might not be too bad, but Sally Soccermom will sue you for 20 million for the permanent emotional damage that her 15 year old got from looking at it.

You just never know, only when it has happened ... :(
[/quote]

So something cool can't be done because people suck. Nothing new there. People that suck, you suck.

Hmmm... related, yet unrelated.

What if you could become a photographer of sorts instead of being able to freehand paint? Found a cool part of the world that you want to display in your home? Snap a picture and transfer it to a canvas, then toss it on the wall. It would be even crazier if you found a way to make it look as if it was being painted right in front of your eyes, but that is something far more complex than needed. You could sell the finished artwork to other players if you desired.

This would pretty much just be a way to screenshot in-game, remove the UI completely along with any other text(player names/labels/etc), just to let the physical part of the world be imaged.

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[quote name='samoth' timestamp='1312816748' post='4846205']
[quote]So something cool can't be done because people suck. Nothing new there. People that suck, you suck.[/quote]
Well just look how many hits you get when you enter "spore penis" in Google. That'll give you a general idea.
[/quote]

Generally not something I would Google for, especially not at work lol.

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"Couldn't it be determined by signing the EULA that art created within the game belongs to the owners of the game, not the individual that created it?"

You will need to consult a lawyer about this. Copyright is astoundingly complicated, particularly transnationally.

As an example; IIRC, the situation is something like that in a country within the Berne convention, the rights awarded to an individual must be no worse than the rights they would have from IP generated in their own nation. And since in the EU it is not permitted to have a blanket exclusive IP assignment agreement, that would imply that your EULA is instantly non-enforceable on any EU citizens, and hence you have NO rights to use their IP at all...

I have, in the past, had cause to ask lawyers about subjects involving international copyright limitations in a commercial context and the answers were SO COMPLICATED that we gave up on that way of doing things.

It's clearly not insoluble, because Wikipedia manages, and there all sorts of commons licences. But this is very definitely a long conversation to have with one of the bewigged.

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1312699349' post='4845693']
I'm sure people would enjoy it and would sell their in-game art to other players. The problem is the censorship angle. People will create obscene art and copyright violating art, and you open your game up to legal problems.
[/quote]

Basically, this.

It will take all of 15 seconds for someone to create porn with your tools and use it to offend other players or get you in trouble for showing it to minors. You could require the game be only for adults and warn about the adult content, but you're shutting out a lot of players that way.

The copyrighted imagery is a whole new ballgame and probably one that you'd run into trouble with just as quickly. My understanding is that most companies these days will give you fair warning and are reasonable about it. Fan art for the most part gets ignored by these companies (but not all!), and when they have problems with it, there's generally a Cease and Desist letter before a lawyer knocks on your door demanding millions in damages. The problem is that you can't manage it fast enough to make it safe.

An example of this would be Fanfiction.net. They are mostly ignored by copyright holders, but they have had to remove some series from their category listings because the owning companies said so. Archie comics I believe is an example. People aren't allowed to upload any fanfiction related to these continuities, and the wold keeps turning. Of course, Fanfiction.net is able to do this because they have a categorized system where they can just remove the Archie comics entry and they can claim relative safety because only a few meatheads will upload it in the wrong place just to put it up on the site. That's then deleted by moderators and it mostly doesn't matter. Archie comics could probably still sue them if they wanted to though.

Just wait until someone combines both fan art and porn and creates some Sonic the Hedgehog or Krystal porn and you'll be in for a world of hurt!

You could try to dumb down the tools perhaps, but I read a somewhat humorous account of how that didn't work in Toon Town (I believe that was the game). Players would spell out inappropriate messages with rearranged things in their homes, and even managed to get sexual innuendo out of premade chat phrases.

On the other end of all of this, websites like deviantART manage to get away with having fan art (much of which is borderline porn, which is not allowed on the site). I do wonder if they just flirt with the danger of getting sued or if simply removing any inappropriate images (or things specifically requested to be removed by a copyright holder) is enough to stave off legal action (which isn't cheap for the copyright holder). Perhaps you could get away with it, I know some games let you use whatever you want as an avatar for example.

Just be warned that you're going to have to spend a lot on moderation to keep this under control, regardless if the moderation is handled during submission or on an as seen or reported basis. That, and be prepared to have a lot of upset players wanting to know why they can't do X or why they were so unfairly banned for doing Y.

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Counter-Strike and the successing Counter-Strike Source have allowed custom "sprays" to be uploaded onto servers for years.

Copyrighted content and pornography is regularly broadcast in this fashion. CS and CSS both carry an M-rating by ESRB and are rated around the 15-16 mark elsewhere. This is below the usual 18+ rating assigned to games containing pornographic content, which leads me to believe that the games are not held responsible for the content contributed by players, at least by ratings boards. This is further backed up by the warnings you get when you play any online game that state "experience may change during online play" by the ratings board.

Perhaps Valve "get away with it" because they aren't in control of the CS/CSS servers, but to me it seems more likely that the issue is simply dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the legal authorities. As long as you're willing to cooperate with authorities and you are willing and able to remove illegal content as and when necessary, I don't think there should be any problem whatsoever with your idea.

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Thoughts on the portrait idea?

Pretty much take an in-game screenshot that only records the game world and players/monsters within, no text/UI/names, that places it into the portrait window. Then you take preset "Picture Frames" established by the designers and lay it over the image to develop the portrait that you would want to place on the wall. Frames would be able to be of various size and shape. The process of transferring the image into the frame would take a set amount of time bringing forth an amount of risk of having to stay in the same spot until the portrait is completed. It could be a picture of special places in the world, of other players, of monsters, anything in the game.

Rather than being an off the wall painter, you would become a landscape artist... a photographer is more suited, but you wouldn't be using a camera outside of your own eye lenses.

If it is pictures of in-game content I feel it would remove the copyright issues, as long as your game itself doesn't violate these copyrights, and would help eliminate at least some lewd material from being produced.

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[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1312824987' post='4846273']
Thoughts on the portrait idea?

Pretty much take an in-game screenshot that only records the game world and players/monsters within, no text/UI/names, that places it into the portrait window. Then you take preset "Picture Frames" established by the designers and lay it over the image to develop the portrait that you would want to place on the wall. Frames would be able to be of various size and shape. The process of transferring the image into the frame would take a set amount of time bringing forth an amount of risk of having to stay in the same spot until the portrait is completed. It could be a picture of special places in the world, of other players, of monsters, anything in the game.

Rather than being an off the wall painter, you would become a landscape artist... a photographer is more suited, but you wouldn't be using a camera outside of your own eye lenses.

If it is pictures of in-game content I feel it would remove the copyright issues, as long as your game itself doesn't violate these copyrights, and would help eliminate at least some lewd material from being produced.
[/quote]

Not a bad idea, really. That sounds like a good compromise for most situations. Of course, it is important to remember that it will only remove some lewd material, as you say. People are quite creative with this sort of stuff. Moderation would still be needed in some capacity, although you probably wouldn't need to devote much more than a report feature for it.

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I can't argue more how retarded this can get. APB (All Points Bulletin) editor gives you exactly the same stuff as you babble about.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWm6t0EAAic&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWm6t0EAAic&feature=related[/url]

Check please.

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[quote name='RedPin' timestamp='1312830797' post='4846313']
I can't argue more how retarded this can get. APB (All Points Bulletin) editor gives you exactly the same stuff as you babble about.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWm6t0EAAic&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.c...feature=related[/url]

Check please.
[/quote]

You are a.... character?

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[quote name='RedPin' timestamp='1312830797' post='4846313']
I can't argue more how retarded this can get. APB (All Points Bulletin) editor gives you exactly the same stuff as you babble about.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWm6t0EAAic&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.c...feature=related[/url]

Check please.
[/quote]

I didn't realize that anonymity granted supreme intelligence.

Thanks for the link, drop the condescension. It wasn't "exactly the same stuff", but it possessed pertinence.

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Even with the photographer idea, people could still potentially inject copyrighted artwork or porn if the photos are uploaded from their PC. I guess you could get around this by snapping the pictures server side, but then you'd need to come up with some sort of dynamic camera rendering system.

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