Working for CMP and PCGen [long]
Hopefully a point that won't upset the soft-pawed one. Long before WotC
created Open Gaming, Open Source has been around for programs and
applications. Any project is driven by a bunch of hard-working and
dedicated individuals that want to make something that makes things
better, and make it available for everyone.
I can tell you there are a lot of companies that have paid positions for
programmers to add to an open source project that they themselves are
benefiting from. Who looses? Nobody. The project gets more features
added and bugs fixed, which benefits everyone. The company pays
programmers, but they get back something that improves what they do.
Open source projects are volunteer. If there are a bunch of outstanding
bugs or features and only some are worked on, if more developers come to
the project to work on it and tackle others, is that a bad thing? Even
if they are getting paid (via another source) for that?
Think about if any other publisher had come around and said "We like
PCGen, but we don't feel comfortable releasing our IP. We'll put
together our list files and charge a few bucks to cover the cost of
doing so." Some people would feel that they wouldn't want to take
advantage of it. The common "I'm not paying for the same thing twice",
even thought there is obviously work in converting a source to a set of
LST files. But others would say "We understand, and if you have a
worthwhile produce and quality list files, we'll go for it."
Here we had a problem were several times a week (day?) on the mailing
list people were complaining because the splatbook/builderbooks weren't
available. Just like any other publisher not giving the rights to
non-OGL sources, but so many users were complaining. A few people,
dedicated to PCGen, work out a way that instead of having nothing, there
is a way to do it. And even if we don't use those sources the PCGen
community not only don't loose anything, but we gain some things that we
didn't have legally before - XP and leveling, random dice rolling etc.
What is the cost? That some people who volunteer on PCGen are also
spending some time on other ventures in exchange for the right to put
stuff out. This has people in a tizzy - how dare they not spend as much
volunteer time on PCGen! I don't know about you, but Bryan, Mynex, and
the whole crew could walk away tomorrow - this is a labor of love, not a
job. But they won't for the very same reason - it's a labor of love.
In the end you have a few folks trying to make PCGen better, and the
only way they could get the _most requested_ non-OGL sources back was to
start a company and license them from WotC. Money is involved. We
don't have to pay, any more then a month ago we had to pay. But now if
we want to get the various other material, we have an extra option.
That's the only change - WE HAVE MORE CHOICE. Oh, not the only change,
we also got random dice and leveling back into the community project.
Lots of people seems to act like they "own" the time people put into
PCGen. If I was a developer I could look at the FREQs that the Tracker
Monkeys prioritized, pick something that interested me in my expertise,
and do it. Today, the same thing happens. If Bryan is working on a bug
or a feature in the code, who benefits? You do. Period. Why any
developer works on any request or bug is out of a desire to improve
PCGen. There may be ulterior motives, but it still improves the code.
I didn't see anyone talking about "evil plots" when Bryan would pick
among open FREQ and made sure that monks always worked because of his
"merton_monk" character. However once the specter of money has raised
it's head everyone is jumping at ghosts and shadows. So that even
though he's adding features to PCGen, which is still free, now he could
be doing it for nefarious reasons that he wants a source to work. One
that you wouldn't work before if it needed code. Oh no, the horrors.
Look, all CMP is giving us is more options. For all of the people who
complain that they couldn't of coded the list files so it's a "false
choice", how did you ever expect to have them at all then? ANY
publisher who doesn't wish their PI data to be in PCGen we (the
community) has respected. So the LST files would never be in it. Now
at least we have a way of getting them. You can do so, or not. And if
you want to code them yourselves, you can know that the code is being
updated to allow you to. Be prepared to pay a few bucks to cover the
cost of licensing and LST file creation, because creating a LST file
from a source is definitely a "value add". But we get all of the other
benefits even if we don't want to.
Tell me again how this isn't a good thing?