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Chris

Modding Rules: Modding Other People's Mods!

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The basic rules are as follows:

  • You cannot claim to be responsible for producing a mod you did not make yourself.
  • You cannot host mods that you did not make yourself without permission.
  • You cannot include assets from other people's mods in your mod download without getting their permission.

However, you cannot prevent people modding your mod - just like I can't prevent people making a mod for Xenonauts that I don't like (the most I could do would be to deprive them of official hosting).

Therefore, releasing optional balance patches and so forth for other people's mods is allowed without their permission provided the following conditions are met:

  • You do not claim you are responsible for creating the mod you are patching.
  • You credit the previous mod team and do not claim to be associated with them.
  • You link to the original download thread for the mod you are modding, and do not attempt to host their mod yourself.
  • You do not include any of their assets in your patch (modified or not). Your work must remain a separate download from theirs unless you have their permission to merge the mods.

The important thing is that people are not allowed to steal other people's work and claim it is their own, but other people are allowed to use your mod as a requirement for their own work provided the above conditions are met. You cannot stop a user installing one mod, then installing a second mod afterwards.

OK, so what exactly are "assets"?

Some clarification on what exactly qualifies as the "assets" of a mod which you are not allowed to take without permission. Bear with me, as this gets a bit complex in places:

1) Custom assets are not part of the base game and are created entirely by a community member and cannot be included in your download or modified into something new without permission (an example would be Max's paintings, Skitso's maps or Jsleezy's armour images). Goldhawk doesn't own these, the creator does.

You can still use these as a requirement for your mod using the rules in the original post, and potentially you could "modify" them by adding another image on a layer on top of them. For instance, you could "modify" one of Jsleezy's armours by drawing a backpack on the image provided the backpack was a separate image placed on top / below the armour image in-game. That would change the game, but not actually change his image file.

However, you couldn't draw the backpack onto the armour and merge it into a single image without permission from Jsleezy, because that would be directly modifying the source image that he has created. You need his permission to do that.

2) Custom Writing (etc) also may not be taken without permission. For example, if you've written a new research project description in the game then people cannot just include that in their mod without your permission. These are modifications to a Goldhawk file, such as xenopedia.xml, but contain your own intellectual property.

They can take the idea, but not the name or writing - so if you create a grenade launcher in your mod, people can take the idea of a grenade launcher (and even create one with exactly the same stats) but they can't take your research description text or the name or any special images you've created and include it in their mod download without your permission.

3) Game Balance - I'm afraid you've got no rights to protect your game balance or mechanics. If you create a mod where rifles do 500 damage per shot, everyone else is allowed to take that 500 damage change and use it in their own mods without credit if they want. Think of it like X-Com and Xenonauts; you are protecting your images and names and intellectual property, but not the actual game mechanics.

So if your mod makes the player buy the starting items instead of getting that free, people can just integrate that into their own mods without asking or crediting you if they want to. Nobody has any way of proving that they took the ideas (or the execution) from you, so nobody knows if they stole your mod or just recreated it from scratch themselves using the basic Xenonauts files.

That said, please be nice to each other - just because you *can* take these mechanics without crediting the original modder doesn't mean that you should. If you were inspired by someone else's work then please do the honourable thing and mention them in your post. We can't force you to do it, but it makes the community much nicer for everyone.

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