I had two experiences with other games recently that made me understand and appreciate two features of this community more. Long post with rant, you have been warned.
First of all: intellectual property fears and zealous licensing. I admit, I used to think the whole IP thing overblown and the discussion going on about it was useless (not just the taip but also using a model or map without attribution or permission and the butthurt that would ensue from that). Also, we have a problem with ease of installation, right? Then I installed simcity 4 and decided to look into the modding scene for it. You have no idea how dysfunctional it is. I will try to outline what it is like to install one of the leading mods there (CAM):
You install the main mod, this is a fairly painless process. You soon realize that the mod by itself does not have a lot of things, if you want the special new buildings that you craved so hard, you need to install things called lots. Cool, there are lot packs with a lot of different lots, a bit of extra work but it should be worth it. You download the lot mega packs and find out that the five lot packs each have about 10 archives in them that need to be unpacked and installed. OK, I can deal with this, they did say this shit is hard to install. So you start unpacking and installing. At one point in this process, you realize that the installer is throwing you readme files for a reason, and that reason is that EACH BLOODY LOT PACK HAS A LIST OF DEPENDENCIES AVERAGING ABOUT 5-10 FILES. So for the circa 50 lot packs you are installing, there are minimum 5 dependencies EACH. To make things better, a lot of the dependency links are outdated because fuck you. And the reason for all this? The reason why no one makes a one file install? IP rights and licensing. You cannot pack the models in with the lots, because the modelers apparently don't give anyone permission to pack their models into releases.
All in all, this has made me reevaluate the ease of install of spring (it isn't commercial game easy, but at least it doesn't have bloody dependencies) and the occasional licensing kerfluffle, cause compared to those guys, even the most ardent license-watcher and IP knight is a dirty hippy living in a commune, having unlicensed sex with other peoples IP. And I am grateful for that, because what they have over there is clearly beyond the limits of sanity.
Second experience: We got together for a LAN party with some friends and after a while ended up playing unreal tournament (the original). Since at first we couldn't get LAN play to work, we went online, only to discover that UT apparently has a fairly large community playing it still! How silly it is that some people are still playing 13 year old games :D. Now, imagine a group of six total noobs trying to play against each other in an empty server. Obviously, some doods joined up soon and beat the shit out of us. We asked them to leave and then votekicked them, and I was surprised to find an admin warning us in no time. Apparently this is frowned upon in public servers. We had to endure the company of pros and it was so unenjoyable that I ended up messing around with the router so we could just play on LAN and all was well.
What has this shown me? Well first of all, I had forgotten what it is like to play a game like a noob. I play a lot of games and it usually isn't hard for me to acclimatize to new ones. My friends however had last played games in high school (8 years ago) and for them everything was a confusing mess. You don't bloody appreciate that the other is skilled, you just want to have fun, hopefully with your friends. Since you are unaware of the rules of the community or indeed, most of the rules of the game, you are woefully unprepared for the beating you will get or the torrent of abuse you will get in chat. Worst of all, I remember myself playing vs people like this in spring and quake live and even though I was trying to give them helpful tips, I was probably just as frustrating for them as these doods were for our group. I am happy it is relatively easy to host passworded games in spring, and I regularly see groups of people from the same country set up and play these games.
That's all folks.
TLDR: The spring community is less dysfunctional on the issue of licensing and rights than it may sometimes seem to be and even our nazis are merely boris johnsons. Also, have some love for the noobs because the world is a frightening and confusing place for them.
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