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IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion (Read 2705 times)

Started by EVILED, June 07, 2019, 06:12:07 pm
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IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#1  June 07, 2019, 06:12:07 pm
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This is a natural conversation to have. I have talked a few times with people about this topic and have gotten some mixed reactions from people on it. This is a topic that will eventually need to be sorted out. If not by me, by others in the future. It seems to be a somewhat controversial topic. And, I think that is a hangover from its history that is coming from a mugen mindset as this engine is a reimplementation of mugen.

Mugen was released under a non-commercial license. Ikemen Go Plus (which I will refer to as IGP from now on to be less wordy) is under a commercial license (aside from, to the best of my understanding, that it is sitting on one mugen file and contains one non-comercial theme pack. So, if that one file and one theme pack are replaced IGP is under a commercial license.)

This is an important distinction to make because that makes these two engines apples and oranges. We as a community are able to do things with IGP that we are not able to do with mugen. That's the point of IGP being licensed the way it is. It opens up the possibility to do more with it than we ever could have done with mugen. Commercialization is one option this opens up.

Another important distinction that I feel needs to be made is between engine and content. Content here is what I am referring to as art assets. These are theme packs, fonts, characters, and stages. (Do I need to say fonts separately? I kind of assume that goes with theme packs.) As an example, when the DOOM engine was placed under the GNU GPL, it was only the engine that was. The wad file, which contains all art assets, was kept under proprietary copyright. So in that case, as with IGP, the art content and the engine are two separate entities.

I think that is a key point that needs to be made clear. Engine and content are two different and separate things. Again, apples and oranges. I think the reason some people get so upset about the idea of commercialization is that they don't want their content used that way. That said, it legally can't be used commercially without their permission. At least where I live, in the USA, all works are presumed to be under copyright whether specifically stated to be or not unless they are specifically placed under some less restrictive license or are old enough to fall into the public domain or are placed there on purpose. That's wordy. But, the short of it is that you own what you make unless you say otherwise. So, as long as people are being legal and not using your content in their commercial application of IGP you are fine and it doesn't really concern you. If they do break the law by using your content in an illegal way; you have the option to sue them. It's as simple as that.

So, to recap, there are two important apples and oranges distinctions that I have made clear so far. Mugen and IGP are two separate engines and the rules of one do not apply to the other. Then engine (IGP) and content are two separate things and the rules of one do not apply to the other.

What this means, then, is if someone were to desire to use IGP in a commercial way they could make their own content and or find content licensed in a compatible way and do so. This is a new possibility for this community, as mugen could never be used this way without a license deal with Elecbyte. The MIT License is your license deal. It gives you this permission, any many more.


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal
in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights
to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell
copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
furnished to do so
, subject to the following conditions:

The Free Software Foundation has a guide on how to do this. (https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html)

Some key quotes are as fallows.

"Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU Project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible—just enough to cover the cost. This is a misunderstanding.

Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If a license does not permit users to make copies and sell them, it is a nonfree license. If this seems surprising to you, please read on."

"Free programs are sometimes distributed gratis, and sometimes for a substantial price. Often the same program is available in both ways from different places. The program is free regardless of the price, because users have freedom in using it."

"Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price doesn't make the software free, or even closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it."

"You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It's up to you, and the marketplace, so don't complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.

The one exception is in the case where binaries are distributed without the corresponding complete source code. Those who do this are required by the GNU GPL to provide source code on subsequent request. Without a limit on the fee for the source code, they would be able set a fee too large for anyone to pay—such as a billion dollars—and thus pretend to release source code while in truth concealing it. So in this case we have to limit the fee for source in order to ensure the user's freedom. In ordinary situations, however, there is no such justification for limiting distribution fees, so we do not limit them."

The overall key point is that the issue of Free Software is freedom, not price. You can charge as much as you want or can for its distribution. Actually, it's encouraged that you do so. The article goes on with many more great points. As long as you supply source code to the Free Software Licensed program (such as either in the download or link to where it can be downloaded) then you can charge whatever you want for the software distribution. Because the users getting the software get the freedom (the source code under a Free Software License) whether they get the software gratis (no cost) or pay money for it.

This all is important because IGP opens the door to two obvious forms of monetization that I do see people eventually engaging in, whether I end up doing so myself or not. These two are a coin operated arcade cabinet and selling a game on a digital platform such as GOG.

If you make your own content, hire someone to make content, or find content that is licensed in such as way that it can legally be commercially used; you can combine it with IGP and sell your game for as much money as you so choose to and the market will allow; so long as you provide the source code to IGP with it or provide its source code upon request. (Again, once the issue with the one mugen library is cleared up [such as if it gets replaced] and you take out the non-commercial theme pack that comes with it.)

The coin op would require some form of source distribution. Sense a user does not download software from a coin op; it would be a situation of providing the source code upon request. I think that the easiest a best way to handle that is to make it clear in the theme pack (and perhaps also on the physical cabinet itself) that this game uses a Free Software Licensed Engine and that the source to it can be downloaded at (insert link.)

The digital download could simply pack the source code along with the binary. Or, pack a text document that links to it. But, I see no reason to not just pack the source code with it. It's not a large file size and it makes sense that the source should fallow the binary.

I have no idea on whether or not I will actually do either of these two ideas. But, even if I don't, I assume someone else eventually will. The engine is amazing and its commercial potential is amazing too. This potential is something the community has never had before. It's something new here. But, it doesn't have to be a bad or scary thing. It's a good thing.

This all said, I do think that there should be a way to financially contribute to the development of IGP. Right now, I have been told that development is too decentralized to make that possible. But, maybe in the future there will be a way to. These people have made an amazing engine and should be financially rewarded for it somehow. It takes a lot of time and effort to make something and to make it work correctly. That time and effort should be rewarded. My biggest fear with all of this is that someone just uses the source code, makes money on it, and contributes nothing back. Legally, they are allowed to do that. But, morally, I think that it's important to be humble and contribute back; especially if you're making money with it. It's the right thing to do if you have the means to do it and I think there should be a method for contributing back.

I've seen many Free Software projects that have some form of a donation button. I think that those working on IGP should eventually set something like that up so that the users of the software can say thank you with cash as well as words. Your work is valuable and right now there is no way to contribute to it financially. I've been told from one person working on the project that they see it it a hobby. That's great. There is nothing wrong with that. Most Free Software programs are hobbies. But, a lot of Free Software projects (even as hobbies) still have a donate option.

I saw one, Hedgewars, actually raise money through a promotion. Donate money, and they'd add the hat you want into the game for the hedgehogs to wear. That way they could buy new hardware to work on porting the game to it.

It just feels wrong to me to not be able to help in some way. I don't know how to program. I'm not rich, but I could donate something like $100. As a hobby project, programmers do need to make actual money doing work somewhere. I've always felt that the more money that can be generated through donation, the more time they can afford to spend focusing on the hobby project. I've been told that in some cases. But, I've also been told it doesn't always work that way. But, I can see where it could help.
Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 08:25:55 pm by EVILED
Re: IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#2  June 07, 2019, 06:43:43 pm
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People should contribute to this project freely.Not by trying to milk money.Unless donation.
Re: IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#3  June 07, 2019, 06:49:21 pm
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People should contribute to this project freely.Not by trying to milk money.Unless donation.

I think that as the project matures there should be some sort of system to send donations and split that money up between developers so that something can be given back to the people working on the project.

Also, if I ever do someday build and operate a coin operated cabinet or make and release a game online, I think I would like to donate a percentage of profit earned back to the project. That way a part of the profit can be used to reward people working on the engine and to help them be able to have more time to spend on it to make it better.
Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 06:54:23 pm by EVILED
Re: IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#4  June 07, 2019, 07:16:49 pm
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Instead of spending money on cabinet or something.You should just donate 1 dollar every month if you want to reward them.
Re: IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#5  June 07, 2019, 08:08:11 pm
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Instead of spending money on cabinet or something.You should just donate 1 dollar every month if you want to reward them.

I have asked about donating, but the response that I got at this point was that they are not centralized, not sure how to divide up the money, and see it as a hobby currently. But, in the future, I do hope that something is set up so that we can donate.
Re: IKEMEN Go Plus Commercialization Discussion
#6  June 07, 2019, 08:21:57 pm
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Hehe ok then.