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Sigurð Stormhand

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About Sigurð Stormhand

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    Magical Disney Prince
  • Birthday 11/07/1986

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  1. Did you ever consider just building a new version of the mod from the ground up? The mod your're currently parenting does the same thing as another abandoned mod called Scrap Scarp. Then you'd have complete control and you'd avoid the potential necessity to change your esp into a delta-patch in the future.
  2. The idea of mod-authors as providors is fine, I think the point that a lot of people are making and which is getting lost in the sound and fury is that modders shouldn't be forced to feel like they are providing a service. Modders are hobbyists, they make the mods for fun and release them to share their enjoyment of their work. Admittedly, some modders also do it for the Internet Points, and the DP system has added a financial element which hasn't helped detoxify the conversation. You're obviously right that people will much around mods, and this isn't a new thing. Looking back a few years ago it wasn't uncommon to see new people post screen-caps of stuff they'd done to others' mods; that's part of the hobbyist mentality. The thing that's really changed in the last few years is that users or neophyte modders have started to demand the right to share their work without any regard to the original author. You see this most on reddit but similar sentiments were being voiced on xEdit by certain people, notably Netvre and I consider that so be, well, just a bad thing.
  3. I'm afraid you've got the wrong end of the stick entirely, possibly something has got lost in translation. My point is entirely the opposite, in the case of both the delta-patch and the replacer you still need the other files, so the delta-patch does not "protect" the original mod any more than a replacer esp - this is my point about the "effect". Well time*frustration=emotional investment. That's the point. This is especially the case in my work when the majority of the time is spent working on meshes, but it's also true with complex quest scripts and things like that. There's also all the planning and (again, in my case) research that goes into the work. Generally speaking the patcher isn't going to be doing much of this at all because he's "fixing" the mod. In principle a delta patch is a ethically neutral - the key point here is that it can be used to circumvent the EULA and Netrve has been clear he wants to encourage this behaviour. On the topic of big mod-lists and high esp counts - well that's a whole different issue. It's worth noting that this used to be something remedied by properly authored compilation that synthesised different mods together. Looking back to Oblivion we had OOO, Fran's, and MMM, and later FCOM (EXPLODE!) that were all actually compilations, not mods authoried by a single person. These big overhaul modss did the rounds, got their permissions/used free resources, and built a solid foundation for your game that worked out of the box. I am singularly unconvinced that mod-lists are better. On a purely technical level none of this is wrong but the question still arises "Why not get permission?" A lot of retired modders are still "around" even if not visibly active. It's the mindset I have a real issue with here - the one that sees mods as essentially the property of the community rather than the author. I'd respond to this by pointing out that any mod I ever released myself (there aren't many at all) always allowed the mesh resources to be freely used so long as credit was given. The thing is, allowing use is different to changing the original mod - isn't it? Generally the EULA varies depending on the purpose of the mod - most large mods allow compatibility patches, most "cornerstone" mods like the USSEP allow parenting and re-use of assets. I'd argue that the circumvention of the EULA and the violation of the modder's wishes is simply unethical. You acknowledge the emotional harm, so how can it be ethical to inflict emotional harm? You must know what happens to modders who are repeatedly emotionally abused by users and lack adaquate community support. They break and leave. Best case the community is deprived of their skills, worst case they take their mods with them. I've known many modders over the years who have chucked in the towel after a particularly nasty user or bellow modder really tore into them. Some of them remain active incognito - some of them are hiding in secret bunkers, some eventually come back. Emotional harm is very serious - especially if your family think your modding hobby is just a silly little thing you do in the evenings. After almost two decades I've seen more burnouts, blowouts and meltdowns than I care to remember. So, emotional harm is nothing to be sniffed at - modders are people. You say that you don't want modders to take their mods down, yet this is already happening with modders moving off NExus to avoid the API and Wabbajck. I think if the patcher makes a patch without contacting the original author or makes the patch as a way to convince themselves they don't need permission then that's ultimately Bad Faith. I accept that the intention is to make a working guide for other people, but the result is still tainted in my view. I actually never said I wanted everybody to ask before making an esp patch - I actually think that's usually pointless. There are exceptions - the "Gate Crasher" plugin was designed specifically to violate Arthmoor's artistic vision and invalidate the work of the person who made those meshes. In general, though, I have no problem with compatibility patches. Delta-patches are different though because they damage the original mod, which is particularly problematic if that mod for some reason becomes unavailable and the user doesn't have a backup.
  4. So what did he say? If the practical result is the same as uploading a new esp we should treat it as though the patcher is uploading a new esp, or a new nif file, or a new texture. The only differnce is that you still require the original file, but in practical terms this only matters if the mod only contains one file. Most mods substantial enough for people to patch tend to be more than just an esp. Again this comes down to a question of "legitimate", doesn't it? Got back far enough and Morrowind is the same game as SSE, basically. There are left beind assets from each previous game in the next, indicating they're all built from the same esm file.SEE is just Morrowind after 15 years of continuous iteration and development. So, is it legitimate to convert from Morrowind to SSE or would that be egregious? Oblivion to SEE? If you contact a modder who's still ogging in to Necxus and ask to port their mod and they say no or ignore you should you port it anyway? I'm not quite sure what you point is here but if you're arguing that others should be allowed to edit my files even when I ask them not to I would respond by what right? If I produce a mural (legally) and someone decides to improve it with artful (biut illegal) graffiti that's illegal and a basic violation of my right to self-expression. I was involved in that debate and Netvre made is very clear he doesn't consider the opinion of the original modder to be of any value, or rather in his "utilitarian" outlook the modder is just one person and the users are many - so the modder's opinion does not matter. This is basically communism. If Netvre wants to think that way that's fine but he's not entitled to use his skills as a programmer to enforce his ideology.
  5. Good question - there may be a few xEdit scripts but in general, no. What seems to have changed, though, is that people are seeing binary delta-patching as a way to avoid doing things like contacting mod-authors or, you know, taking any regard for modders' wishes. It's interesting, really, historically delta-patching hasn't really been a thing in Beth games becausae you can just layer plugins on top of each other and that's better than delta-patching because you don't risk damaging the original file.
  6. Well, again, I don't think there's any instance where morality isn't applicable. A delta-patcher could also be accused of being callous and uncaring of others' feelings. Everything we do has a moral dimension. In this instance the delta-patch is like a set of new pages, you unbind the book, replace the pages and re-bind the book. Regardless of the intent the effect is that it is no longer the published manuscript - it is a new book. It's not meant to be equivalent, but analogous - for reason I have now twice explained. Not all harm is equal In your example have you tried to contact the original author? A quick check of Nverjos' author page shows he added a new friend in February 2018 and was also active in 2017, he released his original mod in 2016, the year you originally released the patch on Nexus Given that the original author was still active you had the opportunity to contact them and offer to take over the mod, rather than releasing your own patch. If you didn't try to contact the original author then your argument is invalid. You assumed non-consent, and by so-assuming you probably guarantee never getting consent. So, actually, this is a perfect example of a patcher going off on one instead of doing what they should have done - collaborate with the original author. That's the way to make better mods - not delta-patches. You would be surprised the number of modders who remain active and respond to PM's despite being retired - like me. It's a matter of what the patch contains and what the result is. The result is important, the method isn't really. I'm sorry, but I still don't see a legitimate need for this tool. This point, at least, has some meet to it. xEdit does a lot of things, it isn't intended that you will use it to patch files to get around a modder's expressed wishes. Netrve has explicitely said they have created the delta-patch system because it is "safe" by which they mean "legal" where modifying the base plugin is not. Are you aware that Bittorrent clients, and the protocol itself, used to have a 0% upload setting? That was removed quite some time ago to remove the legal loophole of "oh I'm only downloading pirated content, not uploading." So, yes, you can use a torrent client for illegal purposes, but it's not possible to use one to avoid doing something illegal. This is the opposite of what Netrve is trying to achieve.
  7. Simply put, everything we do should be moral and ethical - that's my position in life. As I noted above, not all replacer esps remove the necessity of the original mod - if the mod has a BSE then you still need the original more, so I'm afraid your criticism is misplaced. As an extreme example that not all harms are equal and harm done to a few can outweigh harm done to many? Yes. The argument has been made that many users outweigh one modder, I simply used an extreme example to highlight why this is not necessarily the case. Again, I addressed this above - Netve has specifically said he is writing his tool to circumvent the rules around altering mods - because he doesn't think modders are entitled to have those rules followed. The purpose of the patch itself is of less importance than the intention to violate the modders wishes in a way you can get away with. I maintain this is unethical behaviour. If you want to patch something make a patch esp. Again, you can contact the original modder and offer them a fix - if the modder has left the community and their wish is that their mods should not be altered that is ultimately their prerogative. It's direclty analogous to respecting the wishes of the dead - something which is literally the case for some modders - especially some who worked on Oblivion. Case in point, Hana, Arthmoor and I recently did some work where we needed a transparent snow texture. The best snow texture out there for Oblivion, and the one most commonly used, was made by Qarl, but as Qarl passed away some years ago we could not ask his permission to modify it - even though we almost certainly could have got away with doing so. Instead, we used the 4K upscale of the original vanilla texture which was released free to use and modify. Whether basic human decency obliges you to give your friend a working bike or not would depend on whether you warned them it was broken before you gave it to them. If you did not warn them then I'd argue you're obliged to either fix it or at the very least take it back if they don't want it any more.
  8. Firstly, thank you for taking up the opposing case - I honestly appreciate someone to have this debate with. This point is only relevant if the mod is solely an ESP, many mods will also include textures, meshes, animations etc. that are needed to make a mod work. In that circumstance you still need the original mod to make the replacer esp work and in that circumstance the delta-patch achieves the same as the replacer. I don't want to down-play the amount of work the patcher does, but I do want to emphasise that it's proportionally less than amount of work the original modder does - and so the investment is less. I think this scales with the complexity of the mod, which is to say the amount of time the patcher spends goes up as he works with more complex mods that modders invested more time in. It's important to emphasise here that the reason to use a delta-patch rather than a replacer or a patch esp is to circumvent the author's EULA. Under any circumstances a patch esp or replacer would be preferable - unless you don't have permission for such. You note that the purpose of a delta-patch is to "improve" the experience for the user, but this is at the cost of violating the original modder's work. My argument is that the user's perceived benefit is significantly less than the potential harm to the modder. Any claim of harm to the user implies that they are entitled to have two mods not designed to work together in their load order and are harmed by not being able to have this. To be honest I see this as an unjustified sense of entitlement because the user exerts no real effort to procure the mods, as opposed to the modder who makes them and is entiled to recognition for their work. Also, I'd like to point out that delta-patches are not a priori immoral or unethical (that's a better term, so I'm going to use it from now on), rather they are unethical because their purpose is to circumvent the EULA - i.e. the wishes of the original modder. Whilst financial harm is the most common type of harm cited in court cases there are other types of harm, such as harm to reputation or emotional/psychological harm. Further, the fact that you cannot demonstrate harm doesn't actually invalidate copyright - it simply means you can't assert it against someone. Also, it's worth pointing out that the purpose of copyright law is to protect the moral right which someone has to their original work. In this case I would argue the law is derived from moral reasoning, rather than the law being necessary to justify that reasoning. I'd also point out that your argument hinges on delta-patches being used for compatibility, but in most cases authors will allow patches for compatibility and therefore I think it is more likely that this will be used, as I said, to impose a different artistic vision on the mod. Further, I would note that I am not, and have not, argued that mods derivative of other mods are unethical or immoral. Others may argue this position but I am not - I am arguing that circumventing an author's EULA as a means to go against their express wishes is unethical. The accusation of Bad Faith arises not from the intention of the patcher towards the user but from the intention of the patcher towards the modder, and also his assumed refusal to engage the modder in constructive discourse (asking to make a patch or replacer). Most modders will allow esp overide patches and they are preferable to binary patches because they do not effect the original files. Indeed, one of the reasons we have not had binary patches in Bethesda games before now is that they are simply not necessary. I maintain that violation of the original author's wishes is unethical and finding a way around their EULA or statement of copyright which is enforced by the Nexus and other service providers is unethical. Your argument assumes that delta-patching will be used purely for the purposes of compatibility but this is merely an assumption. You also apparently assume that the mod author would not allow patching for compatibility, or that the patcher is under no obligation to ask.
  9. I had some time on my hands, yes. However, I hardly think the issue is insignificant if it's got people so upset. Every community I've ever worked in has released mods with "terms and conditions" or what have you with the expectation those will be respected - if the community no longer wants to respect those terms then modders should stop adding that to their readme. It comes down to this - modders provide something for free - there's an argument going around that users have no moral obligation to modders, if that's the case then modders have no moral obligation to users either. Would you argue that modders are not obligated to provide any support if they release a mod? Or does basic human decency not obligate them to some degree?
  10. It's a means of modifying a file, any file, at the binary level to make it confirm to a different version of that file, basically. The word "binary" refers to the literal 0's and 1's, the "delta" is the difference between the 0's and 1's in two given versions of that file.
  11. Why Delta-patching mods is immoral: a theoretical proof Proposition: Using Binary Delta-Patches to circumvent an author's prohibition against modifying their files is immoral if not illegal. To consider the question we must ask, firstly, what is the purpose of delta-patching and secondly what is the effect. By "effect" I do not mean only the practical effect of the patch on the mod in question, but also the effect on the parties involved - namely the modder, the patcher and the user. A utilitarian argument has been advanced in favour of delta-patching, that the harm caused to one person (the modder) is outweighed by the benefits to the patcher and the users, I will accordingly be seeking to disprove this assertion. It has been well established here, and is generally understood, that a binary-delta patch *which encompasses an entire file* can be used to transform that file from one version (the version on the modder computer) to another version (the version on the patcher's computer). The practical effect, therefore, is exactly the same as uploading a new file for others to download. If the practical effect is the same as uploading a new file it follows that the effect on the parties involved is also the same as uploading a new file. The moral question then becomes whether or not, in either case, harm comes to any party involved and whether that harm is justified. If there is harm, and it is not justified, then the action of delta-patching is immoral. The position of the modder: The modder spends a certain amount of time, quite possibly hundreds of hours, working on his mod. He then uploads it to the Internet and offers it free of charge, usually with an attached End User License Agreement (EULA). The position of the patcher: The patcher downloads free of any charge except the conditions of the EULA. He then breaches the EULA in spirit if not in fact when he seeks to impose *his* artistic vision upon the mod and re-upload it He spends less time on the mod than the modder and presumably has a proportionally lower investment in his patch that the original mod. The position of the User: The user downloads the patch and applies it. Question of harm: The modder specifies the terms under which the mod may be used in his EULA and offers his mod only subject to these terms. If these terms are breached, such as a prohibition on modifying the base files, the modder suffers harm. Firstly, he suffer breach of copyright, but he also suffers because his original vision and intent for the mod are compromised. If the modder is deeply invested in the integrity of his work then he may also suffer emotionally. Against this it may be argued that the original Bethesda employees suffer the same compromised artistic vision as the modder. However, there are several crucial differences. Firstly, Bethesda offers the game (the artistic vision) on the understanding it can be modified; secondly, when a modder makes a new mod they do not alter the original materials, they either add to them or replace them with new versions in a new BSA/as loose files; thirdly, Bethesda receives remuneration from the modder and the user etc. - they are paid. The patcher seeks to use Delta-Patching to subvet the modder's EULA and their expressed wishes. This may be legally grey but it represents an attack on the modder as an artist nonetheless. By prohibiting the Patcher from exercising his artistic vision is could be argued that the moder is inflicting harm. However, the crucial difference is that the modder, contrary to Bethesda, offers his work in good faith free of charge on the understanding it will not be modified. If the patcher then modifies the work he breaks faith. Further, the modder does not prohibit the patcher from realising his won vision of a mod - he simply witholds his own work as a starting point. Without the original mod or the patc the User he would have nothing to patch. It could be argued simplistically that by siding with the patcher he sides against the modder. However, this assumes that the user is aware of the harm he causes the modder. If he is not aware then he potentially suffers harm at the hands of the patcher alongside the modder by being made unknowingly complicit in the modder's compromised vision and emotional distress. Conclusion: The greatest harm is suffered by the modder and far outweighs any harm suffered by the patcher. Note that degree of harm is important as well as the number of people harmed, the significance of this point is demonstrated by the modern prohibition against (for example) post blood sports, or gladiatorial combat. The modder offers his work in good faith whilst the patcher offers his patch in bad faith. The argument that the user benefits and his enjoyment of the patch outweighs the harm caused to the modder is probably moot given that you cannot prove that the user is ware of the harm he causes the modder and that he would use the patch if he was. If the user is aware and uses the patch anyway he is also acting in bad faith. The only one not acting in bad faith and harmed is the modder, and he is also the one who suffers the most harm. Therefore, using binary delta-patches to circumvent a modder's EULA is immoral because it causes unjustified harm to the modder far out of proportion caused to the other party by preventing them from using the patch.
  12. Ah, I see. Thank you for explaining. You are, of course, correct that a lot of this is being driven by the API. Another major issue I am only now starting to realise is that many people cannot distinguish between the "code" of a mod that makes said mod work and which anyone can extract and use and the actual mod itself, the artistic content.
  13. It's alright, I understood what you meant. To answer your question, the difference between using a guide and using a Wabbajack installer is that in the former case you have to go to the download page and when it says "Download Oblivion Reloaded 6.5" and you only see "7.0" at least you'll realise something has changed. Incidentally, given that MO2 doesn't play well with Oblivion using Wabbajack for that game is perhaps not advisable. @ManuMods You do realise you can write "Nexus" here, right? Robin isn't going to come find you and spank you for it.
  14. If we could all just try to remain relaxed. If you want to characterise the reversion (yes, I said reversion) of an Unofficial Patch to the older installer format then you'd also have to characterise halgari breaking open/reverse engineering the exe as trolling too. The involved parties are beyond that, thank you very much. On the one hand it is true that what Wabbajack does is basically automate the downloading of files in much the same way that MO2 etc. automates the installing and LOOT automates the ordering of them. With that being said, Wabbajack can also modify files downloaded to match those present on the mod-list creator's hard drive - so it's not just an automated downloader, it actually duplicates an install. It should be noted that Wabbajack has protections in place now to prevent this if the author wishes, and it is also designed in such a way that it can't be used with a mod-list secured behind a paywall. The major issue with automated downloading is that, unlike a traditional modpack, it relies on files on external sites being unchanged from when the mod-list was created. This is a potential problem as over time mods may cease to be compatible with anything from minor glitches to full blown CTD on load. The main way around this sort of problem, and around the issue of author engagement, is for author to band together and create their own mod-lists. There's a problem with that though - it's liable to lead to one or two or three monolithic mod-lists by a few well known authors. The fact that this technology is coming, largely because of the Nexus API, does not negate any of the issues Arthmoor raised.

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