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Talk:Creatures Development Network

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Revision as of 10:39, 9 February 2005 by Masha (Talk)

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I sense a lack of neutrality in the language here: "However, many regulars of alt.games.creatures actaully read the contract and noticed a few "minor flaws" in it".

Again, a little perspective: The original contract was conceived of and written by senior management and their solicitors. I presented it to the community and after a time, once it became clear that this was something most weren't happy or comfortable with, we (Toby, myself, and Mark) went back to senior management and told them that it wasn't going to fly. Since the CDN subsequently turned into a free resource, it's clear that they understood and accepted this.

It's also worth explaining that originally, management proposed that there should be a faceless company representative on AGC - sort of an anonymous entity - that could present things like this. I argued that it would be impersonal and would only prove certain people's perception that we were not a group of people, but some evil corporate empire. I agreed to be the public face, but I understood that most posts would be reviewed by a superior before they were posted. In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better for me personally had I gone along with their original idea. Lisa 62.253.128.11 23:52, 8 Feb 2005 (GMT)


Does anyone have a link to or copy of this contract? It would be fairer to be able to point to the entire thing rather than quote specific bits out of it that people didn't like. ;-) --GreenReaper(talk) 11:19, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)

I have made some more changes, and with Masha's additions I believe that this now has reasonably balanced coverage. Of course, if you have something to add just hit the edit button! :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 12:21, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)

I would imagine part of the problem with this article, and why it comes across as biased, is that before I added more detail it only covered 'bad things' and covered the CDN up until The Fall. There was no indication that the CDN took on board the worries of developers, adapted the contracts and then successfully ran for many more years afterwards. It is as if in the minds of some people life ended at C2 and never carried on or acknowledged what transpired afterwards.

Well, yes, that's pretty much what happened for all the people that walked away. I honestly can't say exactly what it was like - I wasn't there - but I got the impression that people expected great things from C2 and when they saw what huge problems there were with the game that simply should not have been there, a lot of them felt very dissilusioned and angry - and just left. What good there was in C2 was lost in the hype. And people who leave usually don't forgive, as you can see from LummoxJR's post on the acquisition of Entraline. Whether he's right or not (and while I respect LummoxJR, I also disagree with him in some areas), you can see what anger remains, over half a decade later. --GreenReaper(talk)
Yes I can understand it for the people that walked away, but people that walked away are not the ones contributing to this Wiki - who should have more of a grip on what it was actually like to deal with the staff of CL, and what they did.Masha 13:50, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)
Actually, I think we've managed to entice one or two back by appealing to nostalgia. :-) But that is not the situation here - the thing is that just because a company does good things to make up for something bad does not mean that you should avoid talking about the bad things it has done. It's just that there should be fair and balanced coverage of all related activities, and that was not the case in this article. Which is my fault, since I wrote most of it. *grin*
This is partly down to maturity of the wiki. Some articles are going to have more coverage than others, some are going to be more biased than others because of who wrote them, others because only a few sources were used, etc. This should change over time to a point where everyone can say "yes, that's pretty fair" to any given article. --GreenReaper(talk) 14:00, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)

At the time Creatures was ground breaking in the amount of modding that could be done, modding was nowhere near as prevalent as it is now in games. At the time there was no clear model for how to support this modding, and the original contract was based on standard developer-publisher relationships. The original contract meant that CL would provide quality assurance, physical distribution (in the form of add-on packs) and marketing to any developer who wanted to sell their creations. For the price of signing up to the contract (£10) a developer would receive access to all the tools, and the 80:20 split was to help cover the costs of QA and marketing. When the hostility broke out this all changed and contracts were negotiated on a one-on-one basis with NO marketing, limited QA, no physical distribution deal and a bigger share to the developer. All tools were then sold individually to anyone who wanted to purchase them. It's funny to think that people were willing to pay £15+ per tool with no contract, rather than £10 for all the tools and a contract. The problem came down to trust, and the main antagonist on the contractual front was of course our dear friend Slink ... who didn't trust us as far as she could walk. Masha 13:17, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)

People know what they're getting with £15. It's a few week's pocket money. With a contract, who knows what you're getting? As I mentioned in the article, it's a big thing that many people in the community were not prepared to deal with. Can you imagine many parents wanting their children to enter into contracts with (perhaps foreign) companies just to get an addon to the game? And the whole spirit of the community was very non-commercial at the time, people gave their stuff away, and my reading of the wording of the contract meant that this was just not allowed without approval from CL. Which was unrealistic. :-) --GreenReaper(talk)
Children would not be able to enter into the contract
Actually Lisa addressed that, and it's what I had in mind when mentioning it (since others had concerns about children getting into contracts as well):
I'm under 18. Can I still be a developer?
Your parents can enter into the agreement on your behalf, but royalties will be paid to them.
... the contract was about professional quality development that people wanted to sell. This was not aimed at players who recolour a sprite set and call it a new creation, or those who changed the sprite of a food object to look like something else. This was about quality add-ons, such as Montu or Norn Garden, and was intended to give the developers who put a lot of work into projects like that an avenue to actually make some money on it. At that time no other game allowed the independent developers to create and *sell* add-ons. The original CDN was not intended to be a newbie resource, it was intended to support professional development. It is understood that not everyone wanted to sell their wares ... and so those people didn't have to sign up for the CDN as it was envisaged (20 people remember?) - there was nothing to stop these people carrying on as they had done before. Masha 14:03, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)
But did the people who were not under contract have any access to the tools? This is one of the situations where I lack information - I got the impression from the newsgroups that the tools were only available (at that time) from Cyberlife via the contract. And that would kinda force people who really wanted to participate into taking up the contract. I think if the tools had been released and then (or at the same time) Cyberlife had offered the contract, it might have worked out better. But hey, I'm second-guessing the company now, which is an all-too-popular pastime in any case. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 14:28, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)
I really can't remember the specifics about the tools to be honest ... remember that for C1 the tools were nearly all community tools anyway (with the notable exception of Toby's Genetics Kit). For CL to make the investment to actively produce tools suitable for general use (rather than in-house hacked-together-because-we're-busy-making-a-game tool) we wanted to know whether it would be worthwhile. A programmer taking 2 months to create a tool is a huge expense for a small independant studio ... especially when they could be working on new technology. It may well have been the case that joining up with the CDN was the priority way to get access to new tools and information (very similar to things like MSDN), but that the individual tools would have been sold separately for a higher cost to non CDN members. Sprite Tools, COB tools and various other things were released free in the new CDN and would most likely have been released free with the original CDN ... although probably after they'd made a debut on the CDN (in the same way that the latest version of Visual Studio is made available to paid-up MSDN developers before being available in the shops).Masha 15:39, 9 Feb 2005 (GMT)