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SimBin: New Community Conversion Guidelines

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by RaceDepartment, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. RaceDepartment

    Administrator Staff

    An open letter to the sim racing community about cross conversions.

    As you may have read else where, we have requested certain mod teams to hold off and stop work on their projects. This is not something we decided in the spur of the moment, we have been doing this on occasion in the past.

    We do feel the need to do this more actively since it has become clear that condoning cross game/platform conversions with a CD-Check has proven to be easily circumvented and therefor rendered useless as a solution. Another concerning trend is that more and more often on popular forums it is acceptable to release these cross platform conversions without checks. And on the other hand forums that respect the written and unwritten rules are having a difficult time maintaining the peace.

    Everyday new people come into our corner of the gaming universe, where they can easily find sites with downloads (with or mostly without cd check) and start playing these "mods", having no idea where that content comes from, which in our opinion is bad path to walk on.......This does not only affect us, but every development studio in our sim-racing corner.

    Having discussed this with members of our dev team we decided to write an open "note" to the community and developers, explaining why we do what we do, in the hope we can get the ball rolling on running a clean community when it comes down to "illegal" mods.

    As always your thoughts and comments are welcome!

    Best regards,

    Jay Ekkel

    Licensing Manager - SimBin Studios

    An open note from SimBin to the sim-racing modding community:

    Hello Community members,

    At SimBin we are always very enthusiastic when we see new mods arrive for our games or for other games. In the last few months we have seen some very talented people picking up on new game arrivals like rF2 & AC and are starting to produce some stellar looking content for their mods. And as many of you, we all drive a wide range of (sim) racing games and we are always on the look out for that one mod or that one track update for a game.

    Modding is where quite a few of our developers have their roots and they still enjoy a side project every now and then! For us modding is improving existing content from an original game, or building something spectacular from the ground up.

    But more and more often we start to see a new way of "modding"

    Cross game/platform conversionsOriginal content from SimBin games like GTR, GTR2 and the RACE series is finding its way to games like rFactor, rFactor2 and maybe in the future to games like pCars and Assetto Corsa. We have had a long period where we condoned these mods when a DVD check was used, so people could be authenticated to owning the content. Sadly enough this method has been proven very easy to circumvent.

    We therefore call out to you, the modding community to stop converting original game content from a SimBin game to any other platform. Or the other way around!! And let us all agree on a golden rule that original content from any game, stays within that game. If you feel like modding original content, keep it within the game it was build for or at minimum the same developer atmosphere.

    We would like to try and make a stop to these conversions as they do not belong in any other game than their own.

    We therefore ask you to look up at the many great talents in our community that create new cars and tracks from the ground up, these people put a great amount of time and effort into their work, that can only be praised. We believe that is where the skill is, that is where respect is earned. There are many talented people around that can create content for many years to come, and if you cant wait for that one bit of content you really want. Start your own project, its a great skill to have and who knows where it might bring you in the future!

    We hope that this call to stop these conversions is picked up by the community leaders and owners, league owners and other developers to run a tight ship in their neighbourhood.

    - No more cross game conversion, including conversion with a DVD check

    - Upgrading and modifying existing game files in the original game is allowed

    - Converting content from older SimBin games, to newer SimBin games is allowed, but only with the DVD check.

    - Converting content from a SimBin game to any other game not produced by SimBin is not allowed

    - Converting content from any game any other competitive game should not be allowed

    - Creating new content from the ground up will be praised
    Lets maintain a clean community!

    Your thoughts and ideas are welcome in the comments!

    Best regards,
    The SimBin Dev Team
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    SimBin still show a remarkable attitude to modding, I really like it! :)
  3. Bram

    Ezekiel 25:17 Staff Premium

    I am glad we can finally have an open discussion about this. For too long now modding has been confused with taken stuff that belongs to somebody else and make it your own.

    In my opinion modding is creating things from scratch. That used to be what the community did until the moment came that converting became the new modding.

    It would be a great sign of courage if other developers also made a similar statement and stopped hiding in a grey area when it comes to conversions of copyrighted material.

    I hereby invite ISI to finally after eight years also to make an on the record statement what their view is on this subject.
    • Like Like x 4
  4. I agree with Bram. Modding is making things from scratch, too many people steal other peoples work and call it modding. In the art world, that's stealing, and maybe this is a different form of art but I like to view art as creation in general. Modding is creation, and a lot of effort goes into it. For a person to take said creation and apply it to another game base, if allowed, is fantastic, too many people do it anyway without permission. I'm glad that the latter types of mods are banned from RaceDepartment and its leagues.

    I'll always support SimBin, and I support a clean racing and modding community.
  5. Peter

    who cares Premium

    Great move from Simbin, atleast a company with guts and charakter.
    I hope more developer follow Simbin's statement and don't let them alone with this.
  6. “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal.” Igor Stravinsky :D

    But I agree, too much dependence on porting the works of others. That isn't progress.
  7. I agree with the main points in the release from SimBin and also the opinions posted here. It would be good to see similar from other houses (especially ISI) to add support, otherwise this gentlemans agreement will fall on forums and leagues to enforce.
    Im not sure modding is actually making something from scratch. To 'modify' by its own definition means to take 'something' and improve/change it. If you have built something from scratch, you have 'developed' something, not modded something.
    Clarifying what is acceptable modding within the boundaries of the same game, and what is not acceptable modding with cross-platforming or between games is a good start.

    As per the original statement, I am curious as to how this 'illegal' modding affects the actual 'development studio'?
    I know the legalities/morals of the situation, however how does the ability to take content out of Game A and put it in Game B affect them?
  8. Marco Bijl

    Marco Bijl
    adMAXIhater (O.O.O.)

    Well, I can tell you they have....at least in some form :)

    I have been talking to Tim for a while about this. Just a few days I received an email from him, with an official statement in relation to using ISI content for use in converted material. So, its not quite the same as above, but for sure related, and for sure a clear yes/no.

    Their statement:
    We don’t really have a problem with people using our textures and models from unlicensed tracks. Licensed cars/tracks, we cannot give permission for items to be ‘ripped’ for usage in other content.

    Conversions of non-licensed content, we also don’t have a problem with, though we would prefer it only to happen with products using an ISI-based engine. We cannot give permission for licensed content to be converted at all.
  9. Hi,

    They aren't charging for the content and even tried and add a cd check counter measure...Cheese on this great mod...I love mods and all the modding that rfactor2 supports.
    I'm not going to spend any of my money on simbin games now :)


  10. Marco Bijl

    Marco Bijl
    adMAXIhater (O.O.O.)

    That doesnt matter if they charge or not (although charging for stolen content is indeed even worse as is happening in rF2 now unfortunately).
    The fact is they are converting stuff to other platforms, for which companys have worked their ass off to get. "just" taking it, and converting it to all other platforms, is simply not right.

    Finally, after a long time and a lot of shouting from Racedepartment and others, the developers are finally taking a stand!

    What Simbin has openly said, is the policy for all companies around. Simbin is just one of the first to start the talks again! Well done for them.
  11. Rupe Wilson

    Rupe Wilson
    Senior HistorX club driver Staff Premium

    I am glad the Rd doesn't support pirated software, games, or mods, and long may this continue..
    For to long Racedepartment and a few others seem to be the only ones holding this vital to the future of gaming.
    Well done to SimBin for standing up and also saying so publicly and taking a stance.:)
  12. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Let no one else's work evade your eyes,
    Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
    So don't shade your eyes,
    But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
    Only be sure always to call it please 'research'."


    Really? "Oh no, these guys used 2 years of their life to make a game, and they don't let us rip it to use it in another game that they won't get any money for. Will never support them again!"

    The fact that SimBin actually gave a permission to convert the games (which it essentially is) to other, non SimBin games, is a pretty unique thing AFAIK. When they realized (like many others) that it was easy as **** to go around the DVD-Check, I can understand why they will stop it.
    They still allow GTR/GTR2/GTL material to be converted to Race 07, which is pretty special as well. Ask Codemasters if they will allow conversions between the DiRT games/GRiD games/F1 Games, and then look at the answer ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Jay Ekkel

    Jay Ekkel
    Kylotonn Games

    That is one of the reason I hang around a lot at RD. I know Bram (and the rest of the guys) do their best to run a clean ship. And I much appreciate that effort!

    It is almost rare to see forums/communities being run like that!
  14. I thought it was for the pit babes thread :roflmao:
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Jon Turner

    Jon Turner

    because people who run for example rFactor are using tracks/cars from Race07 then in theory Simbin have lost a sale of Race07, pretty obvious really and i am in total agreement that it needs to stop
  16. Jay Ekkel

    Jay Ekkel
    Kylotonn Games

    you got that wrong, the only reason to premium was the pit babe thread...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Always been my personal policy too. It's great to have such a company in these days that even allow, let alone actively supports modding. But modding is not stealing and while it may be fun to have that special car or track, that line must not be broken or modding stops completely (or is being considered same as hacking...)
  18. What SIMBIN have to do is stop complaining and present a quality finished product, as it did in the past with GTR2, GT LEGENDS or Race07.
    Modding activities are a logical response to your inactivity. Or have thought that after making 2-3 good games could live off forever?. The gaming industry is incredibly dynamic and a study that wants to maintain its prestige has to be creating and innovating constantly. Modder`s work confirms the idea that your old games are masterpieces that deserve to be played and therefore if their creators do not care about them, so will the players.
    It is striking that after many years the games with more active communities remain GTR2 and GT Legends. Clearly SIMBIN not listen to their fans, who every day with their mods and the enormous time spent on these old games are saying loudly:!! WE WANT A NEW GTR3 AND A NEW GT LEGENS2!!.
    Instead remain committed to sell smoke, expectations and hopes.
    I am absolutely sure that if SIMBIN develop new games, to the height of those old masterpieces, would sell thousands of copies. The fans are anxious. I'm referring to games finished, not simple release of a few cars and tracks without any play structure. That's not a game. why SUPER MARIO was in his time a great success and still has many fans? By proposing the player challenges, constantly tests your intelligence and ability constantly and that engages with addiction. The success of a game in the XXI century still depends, as in the twentieth century, the ability to engage players. MUST BE ADDICTIVE, LONG AND CATCH THE PLAYER IN ITS HISTORY. What SIMBIN, ISI and others have done is to leave the responsibility for creating the game. The player has no choice but to be grouped into communities to find any encouragement to play. From this know much CODEMASTERS lords. The creators of the game have to be the center of the community, around which are grouped all players. There is much to learn from the despised franchises ForzaMotorsport and GT.
    If ForzaMorsport4 or GT6 were PC games, does anyone think that there would be much activity modding? With 600 and 1200 respectively cars, dozens of tracks, track editor, hundreds of mechanical parts to modify your car to your liking, tools for painting and designing endless, servers on line 24 hours held by the owners of the game with hundreds of games in progress at all times ........ anyone would consider doing modding.
    All simracers have enjoyed enormously with free mods. If we want to be fair, have we paid something to enjoy the efforts of modders?, Have we raised pay?. No doubt the dedicated modding hours to GTLegends, GTR2 and Race07 are infinitely greater than the hours that its creators invested in creating the original games.
    All modders have their own jobs and do for true love of simulation improvements that they believe that raise your gaming experience. They have much merit, in my view, rather than the programmers themselves, for they do not charge for their work.
    "when a parent neglects their children ..... others take their place"
    Be aware that if it were not for modders, SIMBIN and ISI games have been nothing but little anecdotes in the history of video games.
    By the way, I will not apologize for my bad English, it's time for programmers to realize that in the world there are 7.000 million and only 375 million people speak English as their first language. I invite you to read ​​simulation portals in other languages, there milles, perhaps millions, only then start has to have a global vision of the market. And do not forget: Other Languages ​​= other markets = more customers
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Peter

    who cares Premium

    Nice read, but that doesn't justify other games track stealing.
    Maybe Simbin needs to renew the track licence ($) for R3E , why would they accept that an other new game gets it for free.

    Some prefer no licenced stuff with fantasie names, but it's good to have some developers with real licenced tracks and cars who don't steal from others.
  20. SimBin aren't against modding at all - for example they support the Power and Glory mod - so long as the mod remains within the SimBin family of games as P&G does. The problem for SimBin as their blog post states is when cars and tracks from their games are 'converted' to non-SimBin games (and vice versa) which is exactly what the Nurburgring track was.

    The Nurburgring for Game Stock Car was the right way to build a track and hence it was hosted here on Race Department. Same for the sublime tracks Feels3 has made for rFactor 2.
    • Like Like x 4