Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My mods and the A.L.O.T. Texture Packs

This blogpost is dedicated to why my mods are no longer featured in the ME2 or ME3 A.L.O.T. packs.

Why this statement?

Since I revoked permission and the bulk of my files were pulled from the A.L.O.T. Packs in August of 2016, I am frequently pelted with comments, questions, demands and threats on this subject on Tumblr, in project comments on the Nexus or over Nexus PM. These are not just users that purely wonder what transpired, these are largely users looking to reflect their dismay about the situation onto me. They blame me for the situation. Some gems include:

Now frankly I've never been too bothered by anon hate or entitled users but it costs energy to keep responding to the same questions.

The story

Back in August 2015 Creeperlava contacted me over Nexus PM requesting permission to include all ME3 my mods in his upcoming texture overhaul pack for ME3.  I had just had a baby and was largely away from the modding scene. Despite my deep distrust of pack mods as a general rule, I agreed as long as he followed my permission rules, which were:

You can use assets for your personal projects as long as you don't share them publicly. 

You can use assets originating from my projects for your own and release them if:

  • You FIRST ask me about using assets originating from my projects before hosting them. 
  • You properly credit me by linking directly to the original project the assets were taken from. 
  • Any monetization is absolutely prohibited. This includes hosting projects using assets originating from my projects on sites that have donations enabled and/or ask for any type of compensation to use/download said content, or for the continued support of creating said content (don’t profit off my work). 
  • Your project will adopt these conditions upon release to further protect my assets.

Fast forward to August 2016 when I happened to check the A.L.O.T. project now live on Nexus, to find out he broke my permission rules by turning on donations. Seeing that at this point A.L.O.T. featured almost exclusively work by other authors, this is something that is frowned upon, as any donations should be split among the original asset creators. In my case, I had even explicitly discussed this with him twice over PM and he had ensured me he had no intention of ever monetizing a year earlier.

I addressed the issue with Creeperlava over Nexus PM, giving him the opportunity to explain himself. At the same time, I took a closer look at the A.L.O.T. project page to discover overall credit/documentation was shoddy or altogether lacking, and I learned of the release of the ME2 A.L.O.T. pack. This version of ALOT featured mods of mine he'd never acquired permission for, and therefore, essentially stole.

At that point I decided to pull permissions for use of all my assets, as Creeper had lost my trust. When I did this, he revealed that he had no way of knowing which files belonged to which author because he never kept track and removing my files would be difficult. This troubled me not only for my own files, but also concerning other authors. At that time, I did not pursue this as there was no concrete evidence of foul play apart from his mishandling of my assets. He assured me that my files would be removed from the next version release of A.L.O.T. ME2 and ME3 and I chose to trust him to do just that.

However, in December 2016 I was spurred to take up the monumental task of checking the A.L.O.T. packs for the complete removal of my files, as I had run across some user submitted screenshots that might suggest otherwise. I downloaded both packs and hand checked thousands of textures to find out at least 24 of my assets were still left in ME2 A.L.O.T. and 41 in A.L.O.T. ME3. That's when I decided to contact a Nexus administrator. Creeperlava would deal with the Nexus directly instead of me, but he would not receive an official warning for his misconduct. I did this in recognition of the massive popularity of the A.L.O.T. packs, and to give him one final chance at rectifying the situation. I provided the Nexus with a complete list of all textures left in the packs so there could be no confusion about which assets belonged to me. After the pull request from Nexus Administration and Creeper's update of both packs, I downloaded the mods again to check if those assets had indeed all been removed. They had not.

I then contacted Nexus administration again to discuss this and we learned Creeperlava released an "update" for the current versions of both packs that would replace all assets belonging to me with vanilla assets, but left my assets in the main download for both packs.

This is when I decided to put in an official report against the A.L.O.T. packs that would go on record.
I included an accumulation of verifiable data since August 2015, and added my concerns about the treatment of assets by other mod authors and doubt about his credit and permission using assets from the authors still left in the pack. In response, Nexus set both projects to “Hidden”, and their return to public status was based on two factors. They required Creeperlava to provide:
1. proof of permission from all  featured authors, and
2. clear documentation as to which asset belonged to which author.
Creeperlava then rebuilt both packs and provided this proof for all files in the new build, and this is where things stand today.

Why didn't more mod authors complain?

Most weren't here to notice. They're not here to grant or deny permission for use as 95% of them retired from the scene years ago. Others simply didn't care or granted permission regardless. And yet others may still not know, since they haven't been paying attention.

As nearly all my mods were featured in both A.L.O.T. ME2 and ME3, hundreds of my assets were involved. My mods represented a core part of the pack. That means the impact of his misconduct weighed a lot heavier on me as it might have for other authors. I wouldn't have been as bothered either, if he'd just featured one or two of my mods, or if I'd never particularly cared about the mods I had released for these games, but I do. And I care for everyone else as well because that's what you do as a community. You have each others' backs.

Will you reconsider?

No. I no longer trust Creeperlava to take proper care of anyone's assets, especially not my own.
I recognize the convenience of such packs to users, which is why I granted permission in the first place, but it proved a very bad decision that I plan to never repeat. My mods are still available on the Nexus, please enjoy them as they are offered.

Will you comment further?

No, I will not comment further. This will be my last word on the situation. I will no longer respond to PM requests on any site and comments on my Nexus threads related to this topic will be deleted.
Anyone who continues to verbally harass me will be blocked from downloading my mods altogether and reported to Nexus administration.