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Old 08-28-2003, 08:30 AM   #21
Hephos
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Actually, feel free to give suggestions on how to change our agreement then kavir, so we can skip all this since it both is bad for us, and takes up your valuable time.

These are our main points we want to have secured:

1. Any material we send the builder should be kept confidential. (NDA like)

2. The builder do not wish to send in a written agreement for every area they create. Only 1 agreement. (It is perfectly fine with us if every builder sends in an agreement for every material they create, but they don't want that, too much hassle.)

3. Any material that the builder submits to us should NOT be submitted to ANY other place, or used in any other ways. We don't want our game theme to be popping up in other games, books, movies or whatever.

4. We should be allowed to alter the material as we wish, and publish it in any of our games or products.

5. The original creator should always get credits wherever the material is used.

6. Payments should not be included in this agreement. Payments are based on our current offers at the website, with a deadline date. (Example, until the 20th january 2003, we will offer 100 bucks/finished submitted zone).

For this i think our current agreement is ok... If this can be changed to use exclusive rights, (as kavir mentioned in the past) sure give some suggestions.

All we want is areas and happy builders.
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Old 08-28-2003, 10:51 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Hephos:
These are our main points we want to have secured:

1. Any material we send the builder should be kept confidential. (NDA like)
Sounds reasonable, but you may need to address the scope of the confidentiality. If you send to the builder information that is also available to the public (eg history or theme which is on the mud's web page), and try to treat  this as "confidential", then it is (quite sensibly) likely to be regarded as invalid, and the whole "agreement" (or at least the "confidentiality" part of it) could also become invalid.
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Originally Posted by
2. The builder do not wish to send in a written agreement for every area they create. Only 1 agreement. (It is perfectly fine with us if every builder sends in an agreement for every material they create, but they don't want that, too much hassle.)
Fair enough, but you might  find it useful to have a similar agreement for "one-off" deals for any builders who prefer them, and possibly to incorporate the current rate in the agreement (to avoid any possible misunderstanding/dispute)
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3. Any material that the builder submits to us should NOT be submitted to ANY other place, or used in any other ways. We don't want our game theme to be popping up in other games, books, movies or whatever.
I'm not sure if I misunderstood what you intend here, but your requirement appears unreasonable. It implies that you can reject work by a builder, thus not paying for it, but that the work is effectively "yours" (insofar as it can't be used anywhere else). I think you need to allow a builder whose work you reject to use it elsewhere.
Possibly amend it to something along the lines of "The agreement becomes void if the work is not approved/accepted within 30 days, or is rejected, and the copyright ownership of the work reverts to the builder."
You would probably want to extend that to ensure that any references unique to your mud would be removed before the work can be used elsewhere, to protect your IP.
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4. We should be allowed to alter the material as we wish, and publish it in any of our games or products.
This is too ambitious. I think you would be wise to apply some reasonable restrictions. To take some extreme examples, using that area as an example "How not to write an area" in your manual, or to use it in a way that the builder is philosophically opposed to (eg on a porn site) would be unreasonable, and risks making the agreement invalid. I realise that it's going to be difficult to find a suitable form of words to define "reasonable" limits for how far you can change the work, but at minimum I think you need to allow the builder the option of insisting that the work should be "anonymous", rather than credited to them.
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5. The original creator should always get credits wherever the material is used.
Fine - except the point I made above, where the work has changed to the point where the builder wishes to be uncredited. Allow the builder an option to insist on removal of the credit.
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6. Payments should not be included in this agreement. Payments are based on our current offers at the website, with a deadline date. (Example, until the 20th january 2003, we will offer 100 bucks/finished submitted zone).
Understood, in the context of a "standing agreement" rather than one agreement per zone.

Additional point. Whilst I'm sure you don't expect your mud to fail, it's wise to take precautions and allow for the possibility. In that case, the ownership/copyright of the work should revert to the builder.

I would prefer to see this situation resolved via a suitable form of exclusive licence (irrevocable except under extreme conditions), but I think that if you reconsidered your "requirements" in the light of my comments above, and amended your agreement appropriately, it would be fairer to builders without weakening your position unreasonably.

Final point - I think KaVir may have misplaced a decimal point in saying that this represents 1 or 2 cents per hour. Sounds more likely it should be 10 to 20 cents an hour (for 100 to 200 hours to make a 20 dollar zone). Still falls some way below a "reasonable" wage, but it's better than nothing.
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Old 08-28-2003, 02:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loriel @ Aug. 28 2003,09:51)
Final point - I think KaVir may have misplaced a decimal point in saying that this represents 1 or 2 cents per hour. Sounds more likely it should be 10 to 20 cents an hour (for 100 to 200 hours to make a 20 dollar zone). Still falls some way below a "reasonable" wage, but it's better than nothing.
Actually, for creative writers (which are what builders mainly are), that's about par for course in payment. Think about how long it takes to write a short story from conception to final edits and then get $50 for the average sale (assuming you can secure a sale). There are higher paying rates that may pay you up to $500, but competition is fierce. Even for a novel, which could take years to write, IF it gets published, you are lucky if you make $5,000. For the most part, writers make pennies per hour and feel successful when they do.

In any event, aside from legalities raised (I think $20 for an area really isn't payment but an honorarium), I believe most builders generally don't look for cash as compensation but rather the joy of having people participate in something they created. I've personally never expected anything in return for any area I built and never felt cheated. Once I did unexpectedly receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate from an admin at the end of the year and was pleased as punch.
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Old 08-28-2003, 03:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loriel @ Aug. 28 2003,09:51)
I would prefer to see this situation resolved via a suitable form of exclusive licence (irrevocable except under extreme conditions), but I think that if you reconsidered your "requirements" in the light of my comments above, and amended your agreement appropriately, it would be fairer to builders without weakening your position unreasonably.
I'd say whatever a builder agrees ahead of time to is fair. No one is forcing anyone to build on his mud.
--matt
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Old 08-28-2003, 10:37 PM   #25
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I'd say whatever a builder agrees ahead of time to is fair. No one is forcing anyone to build on his mud.
--matt
I wouldn't agree that it's automatically fair because it's agreed beforehand.

For example, there are many cases where people consider software sales terms unfair, despite having "agreed" by clicking on the EULA, opening the package, etc.

In general, I think you can only regard "agreement" implies "fairness" if
(a) both parties fully understand the terms and their implications
(b) neither party is being "reluctantly forced" into the agreement by poor negotiating position, or lack of alternatives.
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Old 08-28-2003, 11:33 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Loriel @ Aug. 28 2003,21:37)
I wouldn't agree that it's automatically fair because it's agreed beforehand.

For example, there are many cases where people consider software sales terms unfair, despite having "agreed" by clicking on the EULA, opening the package, etc.

In general, I think you can only regard "agreement" implies "fairness" if
(a) both parties fully understand the terms and their implications
(b) neither party is being "reluctantly forced" into the agreement by poor negotiating position, or lack of alternatives.
Well, you and I have different definitions of fair.

Don't agree to or sign a contract if you don't agree with it and understand it.

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Old 08-29-2003, 03:36 AM   #27
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A suggestion - try checking out the rules for a Contest for writing or photography.  The ones I have seen (and been involved with) have had sections that deal with the copyright of materials submitted.

If I understand you correctly Hephos, all you really want is the ability to use anything that is submitted to you, the way you want to use it, where you want.  And to protect your "trade secrets" from getting out.  If this is what you want, find some rules for a Photography Contest or Submission rules for short stories and look them over.  Just protect the small guy, by giving a deadline that you have to choose to use the work in a current project or not, and then give the rights back if unused.  Holding onto the copyrights just because "you might use it sometime before 2005" doesn't seem very fair.

One last final point.  I think all the criticism comes from the fact that you are trying to be very business like, but haven't gone the complete distance yet.  If you want a legal agreement, even though it costs a great deal of money sometimes, (I know, I own my own business) you need to have an attorney look it over before using it.  It not only could hurt the other guy, it could hurt you.  But keep it up, it seems your on the right track!  
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Old 08-29-2003, 09:20 PM   #28
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Since this thread has turned into something pretty interesting, let me try to explain a bit better what lies behind my, in retrospect, rather blunt statements.

First:
I don’t have anything per se against commercial muds, in fact I am involved in a potential commercial project myself, where my partner is coding a Mud from scratch, while I am going to provide the areas for it. What I DO have a problem with however, is commercial Muds that aren’t up front about being commercial and that attempt to rip their players and/or staff off – or at least have as their first priority to squeeze as much profit as possible out from them.

Let me give you some examples of what I consider ‘ripping off’:
1. Claiming that your Mud is ‘totally free to play’, while in effect players will have an almost crippling handicap, unless they shell out an amount of RL money on equipment, weapons, skills, spells and special commands.
2. Hiding the fact that your Mud is commercial, by putting the info about it in some obscure place of the Website, while at the same time allowing players to play for free for a month or so, in the expectation that they then will be ‘hooked’ enough to accept the fee.
3. Hiding the cost by calling it ‘donations’ and then hassle the players that choose not to donate, until they either submit or quit the Mud.
4. Paying your staff ‘peanut money’ for putting a lot of work into something that you yourself are making – or expecting to make - a pretty big financial profit from.

Secondly:
Builders – and even Coders – can get a bad deal in both commercial and free muds. Usually the nature of it is a bit different however.

You have to realise the fundamental difference between free and commercial Muds in a discussion like this.
In a free Mud, nobody makes any profits. Not the Owner, not the Imps, and consequently not the Coders and Builders either – NOBODY. It’s a totally voluntary enterprise, a hobby that we do for FUN, and that requires free contribution from everybody involved. The owners/implementors are usually the ones that put up the largest amount of free work, and they are also the ones that actually have to shell out some money, for the hardware and the server.

In a commercial Mud, the owner makes a profit. It can be big or small, depending on how successful they are in selling their product. (Note that ‘most successful’ here, doesn’t necessarily mean ‘highest quality’ of the game itself, it only means how many players they can get to pay a maximum amount of $, i.e how good they are at marketing their Mud and how smart they are at inventing features that generate money).

Now you can naturally get a bum deal in a free Mud too. In fact there are tons of Muds, ran by immature twinks, who not only treat their players like crap, but also their staff. (Totally crappy commercial Muds like that don’t exist, for the simple reason that nobody in their right mind would pay a cent to play a mud like that).

BUT, there is also a rather limited number of free muds that are run ‘professionally’, (in spite of the non-profit condition), by mature people, who try to be as fair as possible both to their players and their staff. These Muds do exist, and in many cases their game quality equals that of the commercial Muds. They also set up Build Policies that guarantee the people that work for them a fair treatment, although payment in cash is generally not even an option for those free Muds – for a very simple reason:

Most free Muds don’t have a totally custom code. The majority of them run on DIKU or any of its derivates – MERC, CIRCLE etc. – where the licence that goes with the code expressively forbids anyone from making any kind of profit. It doesn’t matter how much the code has been modified or added to; if it started out as a Diku derivate, it’s still a derivate, and the licence applies.

That said, here are some comments to some of the posters:

Hephos
Quote:
Originally Posted by
20 is not lousy to someone that does not have a job, that can't even afford to play a pay2play game that cost you 10/month (eq, daoc) etc.
If they build 1 area for us, they can play daoc for 2 months or more.
1 cent – or even 10 cents - per hour, for pretty qualified creative work is and will always remain a lousy payment. They’d be a lot better off taking a job at McDonalds, which I hear is not all that hard to get. I’m not sure what the current wages are, but one thing is for sure; that would allow them to ‘play daoc’ for a considerably longer time, for the same amount of time put down on the work.

Hephos2:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Why would he not give the copyright to that mud, along with receiving a written agreement that the mud will ALWAYS give credit WHEREVER the work is used?
The only reason would be to use the work elsewhere...
Now any mud accepting this, would not have unique or original material = crappy (in my opinion). All good muds, will not accept their builders to send off the work elsewhere.
Hephos3:
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Now considering MOST muds out there, whenever a builder submits an area (or builds it online the mud with olc) they get NO written agreements that they will always have credits for it. In fact, mostly they have to agree that their work will not be used elsewhere, and that the mud owners can do whatever they want with it.

Getting paid, and getting a written agreement that credits will always be there, is in my opinion better, even though the salary might not be so great.  
I can think of at least one reason why a Builder would want to yank their area away from a Mud, even if they DON’T plan to use it somewhere else.

If they leave the Mud on very “unfriendly” terms, it would be quite understandable to me if they no longer want their area to be used there. Fall-outs between owners and staff are not exactly uncommon. But a fact is; they are a lot more likely to occur, if the staff member figures they have been given a bum deal.

Most serious Muds give full credit to their Builders, and they also recognise the fact that the author deserves the copyright to their own creative work.

I run a Mud with 100% unique zones myself, so naturally I wouldn’t be very happy if any of our zones turned up in another mud, and our Builders are made well aware of this fact, when they sign up for us. Our Builder Policy also states that any zone approved and entered in the Game Port will NOT be removed under any circumstances - unless the Imps decide so for reasons of their own. Also our OLC and our Mob-script engine are so far from stock, that it would be hard to adapt a zone built in 4D to another Mud. Basically it would have to be rewritten from scratch. That leaves us pretty well guarded, as well as the Builder.

Still, there would not be much I could or would do about it, if anyone should decide to break this “gentlemen’s agreement”. To my knowledge this hasn’t happened yet, in 6 years time. If the problem should ever occur, I guess we’d deal with it when it happens. Most likely our decision would be to remove the zone in question from our Mud, in spite of the hassle that would mean, to get rid of the objects in the pfiles. We have over 160 zones by now, so the loss of one or two would not be that big a blow.

Malaclypse:  
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Have you ever offered a builder more than $20 to build an area for your MUD?
Since I run a free mud (= not making any profit from it whatsoever myself) – no, I haven’t. Our Mud runs on Circle code, so even if I wanted to, the licence prohibits me.

I do however provide as fair conditions as possible for those that build for me. Including Builders getting full credit, retaining full copyright to their own work, and getting an Immortal on the Game Port in return for the first 100 room zone they produce. They also get a copy of their zone, on demand. (Actually very few demand it, strangely enough).

For a commercial Mud, I’d say, that if you cannot afford a fair payment, (for instance if the Mud is just starting up), a fair deal would be some part of the future profit, if and when the project ever leaves the ground.

The_Logos:
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Two other volunteers-turned producers are developing our fourth game, Lusternia, and are doing so for a year, for free. We own all their work. If they quit, they get nothing. On the other hand, once the game opens next summer, they get employment, a big percentage of the profits, and ownership.

So are they dumb for having done free work for us (all of which we own) for years in some cases? Did we prey on them? They sure don't think so.
No, that actually sounds like a pretty good deal, much like the one I got myself on my current Mud. I wasn’t promised anything when I entered it, not even an imm on the game - in fact the contrary, since I came there with the reputation of being a troublemaker. I ended up Imp and co-owner. That’s what I call a good deal, even though I never did and never will get a penny in real money for all my work.

BUT – how many of the Builders out there get the same good deal? – even the good, talented hardworking Builders?

One question of interest, though, matt. You are talking about Coders here, aren’t you? Or do Builders get the same deal from you for putting down the same amount of work on the project?
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Old 08-29-2003, 10:05 PM   #29
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BUT – how many of the Builders out there get the same good deal? – even the good, talented hardworking Builders?
Well in my opinion there is a HUGE difference between a guy that has spent several years in a proffessional education to become a proficient coder (and you do need that to get good, or a previous life of complete geekhood) and someone that builds zones (builder). A proficient coder probably has spent thousands of dollars for his education too.

Anyone, (almost) can become a decent builder within a few days (especially with a good teacher and a good building tool). It's not like the standard olc of diku derivates is hard to learn. All you need is a creative mind, and some basic writing skills = most semi adult people (especially that plays roleplaying games, and textbased for that matter).

A coder is way much harder to get the hands on, especially for free games, so off course they are treated with more respect and get better deals.

Compared to good coders, decent builders are actually growing off the trees

I might add that our coders are volunteers and the builders actually get better deals. If possible we will hire the coders when the game gets successful, but we give the same offer to our devoted builders too.
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Old 08-29-2003, 10:13 PM   #30
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1 cent – or even 10 cents - per hour, for pretty qualified creative work is and will always remain a lousy payment. They’d be a lot better off taking a job at McDonalds, which I hear is not all that hard to get. I’m not sure what the current wages are, but one thing is for sure; that would allow them to ‘play daoc’ for a considerably longer time, for the same amount of time put down on the work.
Regardless of the relative morality of this, it does not exist for one simple reason: It would be bankrupt before it started.

Imagine I hired a team of builders to help me create a MUD, and paid them standard fare for writers. I would end up paying something like a few bucks a room. Multiply that by thousands and I've already spent several tens of thousands of dollars. Lets be modest (for professional writers) and say you pay $3 a room. Lets continue the modesty and say you only have 5000 rooms in your mud. You're up to $15,000, and haven't even begun to think about a backstory for this world.

Now you have to hire coders, who lets say earn $50 an hour. Depending on the complexity of your MUD, this will cost you anywhere from $20K up to, well, the sky is the limit I suppose. But for modesty's sake, say you have a small game in terms of functionality and only spend $20K.

Now you're in the hole $35,000 and you haven't even begun looking at hardware, bandwidth, legal fees, business fees, and marketing. You're looking at -minimum- $40,000. And thats compiled with extremely conservative numbers. Actual numbers are probably closer to well over $100,000 to hire people at what you call "fair" prices to create a mud.

Luckily, there are lots of people who not only don't feel exploited, but enjoy creating things to enhance the community that they are a part of, regardless of whether someone makes money from it or not. Do you honestly believe the community that a good MUD creates is not existant in commercial muds?
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Old 08-30-2003, 12:08 AM   #31
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You have to realise the fundamental difference between free and commercial Muds in a discussion like this.
In a free Mud, nobody makes any profits. Not the Owner, not the Imps, and consequently not the Coders and Builders either – NOBODY. It’s a totally voluntary enterprise, a hobby that we do for FUN, and that requires free contribution from everybody involved. The owners/implementors are usually the ones that put up the largest amount of free work, and they are also the ones that actually have to shell out some money, for the hardware and the server.
But from the volunteer builders point of view, there is no difference. A builder does the same amount of work, assuming the expectations are the same, whether someone else is making money off the game or not. If fun is a sufficient motive for a builder to build for free in a non-commercial game then fun + $20 is even better motivation to build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
In a commercial Mud, the owner makes a profit
Well, in a commercial mud the owner HOPES to make a profit. Most commercial muds both text and graphical never turn a profit.



Quote:
Originally Posted by
1 cent – or even 10 cents - per hour, for pretty qualified creative work is and will always remain a lousy payment. They’d be a lot better off taking a job at McDonalds, which I hear is not all that hard to get. I’m not sure what the current wages are, but one thing is for sure; that would allow them to ‘play daoc’ for a considerably longer time, for the same amount of time put down on the work.
Still better than no cents per hour though! All other things equal, $20 is better than $0. (I'm not saying all other things are equal in this case.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by
IIf they leave the Mud on very “unfriendly” terms, it would be quite understandable to me if they no longer want their area to be used there. Fall-outs between owners and staff are not exactly uncommon. But a fact is; they are a lot more likely to occur, if the staff member figures they have been given a bum deal.
Understandable from the builders' perspective but no well-run operation is going to let people just take areas away. That kind of dispute may not be uncommon but it sure as heck is exceedingly rare on professionally (not just in the commercial sense) run muds. Everytime I see one of those "My coder stole my code" posts on TMC I just roll my eyes.

Disgruntled staff members are inevitable in any operation and regardless of whether they are employees or volunteers. When they become a problem you kick their asses out the door, ban their ips, and that's the end of it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by
Also our OLC and our Mob-script engine are so far from stock, that it would be hard to adapt a zone built in 4D to another Mud. Basically it would have to be rewritten from scratch. That leaves us pretty well guarded, as well as the Builder.
This is the part I honestly don't understand. What does the builder need protecting from exactly? It's not like his area is a saleable asset. What does the builder stand to lose that has value, precisely?



Quote:
Originally Posted by
For a commercial Mud, I’d say, that if you cannot afford a fair payment, (for instance if the Mud is just starting up), a fair deal would be some part of the future profit, if and when the project ever leaves the ground.
Why, exactly? Our non-employee builders are happy to work for free, for instance, because they enjoy it. Exactly the same as in a non-commercial mud I'd imagine. Everybody wins as far as I can see, and the builder is getting exactly the same thing in both cases.

[quote= ]
The_Logos:
Quote:
Two other volunteers-turned producers are developing our fourth game, Lusternia, and are doing so for a year, for free. We own all their work. If they quit, they get nothing. On the other hand, once the game opens next summer, they get employment, a big percentage of the profits, and ownership.

So are they dumb for having done free work for us (all of which we own) for years in some cases? Did we prey on them? They sure don't think so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by
BUT – how many of the Builders out there get the same good deal? – even the good, talented hardworking Builders?

One question of interest, though, matt. You are talking about Coders here, aren’t you? Or do Builders get the same deal from you for putting down the same amount of work on the project?
Well, we don't have any dedicated builders on staff. We're not a big enough company for it to really be worthwhile particularly considering our games are not focused on PvE gameplay. Plus, there are a lot of quality builders willing to work for free because they enjoy it. There are a lot less quality coders willing to work for free. And as an aside, there are even fewer quality graphical artists or UI experts willing to work for free which is, in my opinion, why the open source movement so consistently fails to produce visually-pleasing software useable by the average person.

On Lusternia, one of the guys is purely a scripter (technically it's scripting since it's using our interpreted Rapture language. It's a powerful enough language that we've written other scripting languages in it though.) and the other does all the design, building, and some scripting (obviously. Designers who can't script are called unemployed.)

However, if we had two positions open: full-time coder and full-time builder, there is no way the builder would be offered close to what the coder makes. How much they work isn't really the issue. How much their work is worth is the issue, and the coder's is worth more. Just the way it is. Similarly, level designers make far less than coders on a graphical mud. Coding takes much more skill, experience, and education to do at a professional level than building on a text mud does.

I'll give you a real-world example. I'm negotiating some positions right now for a graphical project. The lead client programmer will make between 130k and 150k/year plus benefits and royalties. Lead level designer, on the other hand, is probably looking at the 70-80k range with benefits.

And frankly, there are more specialized skills involved with graphical level design than with text mud area building. Lots of people with absolutely no experience or formal training can be quite good builders as soon as they learn to use the building tools. Heck, there ISN'T any such thing as formal training for mud building. Hand a non-coder a compiler and text editor though and he's just going to sit there looking at it blankly.
--matt
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Old 08-30-2003, 09:42 AM   #32
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As a builder who hires volunteer builders like most of you, I’m somewhat amazed by the perception that ‘good builders grow on trees.’ That, to me, is tantamount to lumping all writers into a generic mass and randomly selecting Salvatore or Tolkien or Burroughs as just competent grammaticists who got lucky. Perhaps I live in a fairytale world where I presume the senior managers I respect here actually have high standards for zonal creations used within their worlds. Consistency, congruity, content, theme, imagination, timing and a fair amount of zeal for the art builders have chosen to pursue has to count for something. I agree only the mechanics are learned through professional education but I submit that the nuance and flavor of the DnD or Sword and Sorcery or Time Warping environment creation is based on long hours of study and interaction via many different media. ‘Doom’ style writers abound and do seem to grow on trees, or perhaps under them depending on your viewpoint, but the ones who shine are truly rare yet they suffer the same disdain for ability and value as the 12 year old ‘Doom’ writer. I can understand this perception from the elitist coder world of graphical MUs that thrive on eye candy to the PlayStation addicted masses but not from successful text MUs.

To digress to the original announcement that started this, “heck yah,” 20 bucks is a good deal in an environment that so often treats builders as third class citizens in a coders world. I have one builder who can cough up an easy 5 zones per week and would love the deal. I strongly applaud KaVir for posting a caution note to accepting the offer though for the same reasons he stated and would advise the builder I know to be very careful before jumping into an agreement like that.

Quote: the_logos

This is the part I honestly don’t understand. What does a builder need protecting from exactly? It’s not like his idea is a saleable asset. What does a builder stand to lose that has value, precisely?

Coming from someone I’ve seen high on the pedestal spouting the sanctity of intellectual property, I’m considering this is your comment intended to draw this thread out to another 50 pages of the_logos vs the world in intellectual debate. Perhaps a short “whatif” might nip your confusion in the bud. What if, Salvatore just happened to take 20 bucks to write Menzoberranzen for a MU that bought his copyright when he was just 18 and ignorant of the true hack and slash ways of the world? A good zone is the child of a good author and as a parent they never give up their children.
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Old 08-30-2003, 01:21 PM   #33
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quoting illuvatar
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Originally Posted by
I’m somewhat amazed by the perception that ‘good builders grow on trees.’
Perhaps you misunderstood (or i wrote it badly) but what i meant was COMPARED to good coders, good builders grow on trees

In fact, there are hundereds of potential good builders all over the place that is not introduced to the ways of building. But if they got introduced and someone teached them, they would be productive(creative) in a matter of hours/days. It is not the same with coders.
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Old 08-30-2003, 03:44 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Iluvatar @ Aug. 30 2003,08:42)
Coming from someone I’ve seen high on the pedestal spouting the sanctity of intellectual property, I’m considering this is your comment intended to draw this thread out to another 50 pages of the_logos vs the world in intellectual debate.  Perhaps a short “whatif” might nip your confusion in the bud.  What if, Salvatore just happened to take 20 bucks to write Menzoberranzen for a MU that bought his copyright when he was just 18 and ignorant of the true hack and slash ways of the world?  A good zone is the child of a good author and as a parent they never give up their children.
I fully support the sanctity of intellectual property just as I fully support an author's right to sell it or give it away to Hephos' mud.

If you seriously think all these builders running around writing areas are going to compromise future careers as best-selling authors, put down the pipe. ####, I challenge you to find a single successful professional author whose career has ever been hampered by giving away -mud areas- (MUD AREAS for gods sake. We're not talking about the next Great American Novel being given away or sold for $20. I mean come on, let's maintain some sort of reasonable perspective. I'm hardly saying anything that should be controversial.)

--matt
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Old 08-30-2003, 07:45 PM   #35
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Hephos:
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Originally Posted by
Anyone, (almost) can become a decent builder within a few days (especially with a good teacher and a good building tool). It's not like the standard olc of diku derivates is hard to learn.

Compared to good coders, decent builders are actually growing off the trees.
If decent Builders grow on trees, where do those trees grow? And how come so many muds are screaming for Builders and/or have such crappy zones?

Anyone, who believes that being a good Builder is mainly a question of learning OLC, is just showing their total ignorance about what quality building entails. Sure, any twelve-year-old kid can learn to use OLC within a few days, and even whip out a crappy zone, provided they got the patience for it. Does that make them a quality – or even a ‘decent’ - Builder? Not any more than knowing how to work with a word-processor makes anyone a good author.

Building is an art form of its own, which more resembles writing the synopsis for a film than a novel. Because, even without graphics, a zone is dynamic and interactive and springs to full life first when it gets played, something that has to be considered when building. Creating a quality zone entails both research and creativity, thinking out and putting into words the background story, plots, environment, population, and all other aspects of your world, all of which must be logical and consistent, within the laws of nature and society of the Mud you work on. A Quality zone is usually entertaining, and has flavour, atmosphere, suspense, surprises, sometimes humour. Other aspects that need to be considered are challenge versus playability, game balance, scripts, quests, puzzles, how to utilise all the options the code offers – and how to invent new engines if the existing game mechanics aren’t up to your ideas. Good zones are often the result of close cooperation between Builders and Coders, even if an amazing amount of things can be done with scripts.

Talking about OLC in connection with the subject of quality zones is next-to an insult.

The_logos 1:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Our non-employee builders are happy to work for free, for instance, because they enjoy it.

However, if we had two positions open: full-time coder and full-time builder, there is no way the builder would be offered close to what the coder makes. How much they work isn't really the issue. How much their work is worth is the issue, and the coder's is worth more.

What does a builder need protecting from exactly? It’s not like his idea is a saleable asset. What does a builder stand to lose that has value, precisely?
Are your ‘happy’ Builders aware of how low you value their work and their ideas on public discussion boards?

The_logos 2:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Disgruntled staff members are inevitable in any operation and regardless of whether they are employees or volunteers. When they become a problem you kick their asses out the door, ban their ips, and that's the end of it.
I think this statement speaks for itself. With an attitude like that, no wonder disgruntled staff members are ‘inevitable’ in your operation. It never once entered your mind that the fault might lie with the Mud Owner and not with the staff member, right?

Possibly  the main problem with arrogant people like you is, that you never even encountered a quality Builder. Probably because no quality Builder would even consider working on a Mud run by arrogant people like you. And if they did, they would probably turn into disgruntled staff members pretty soon, and you’d ‘kick their asses out the door, ban their ips, and that's the end of it.’
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Old 08-30-2003, 09:49 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
If decent Builders grow on trees, where do those trees grow? And how come so many muds are screaming for Builders and/or have such crappy zones?
Most muds are screaming for builders because while builders are willing to work for free they don't want to work somewhere where their efforts are hamstrung by "that idiot running the place". Unfortunately, far too many muds fit into that scenario very well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Anyone, who believes that being a good Builder is mainly a question of learning OLC, is just showing their total ignorance about what quality building entails. Sure, any twelve-year-old kid can learn to use OLC within a few days, and even whip out a crappy zone, provided they got the patience for it. Does that make them a quality – or even a ‘decent’ - Builder? Not any more than knowing how to work with a word-processor makes anyone a good author.
It's not just a question of just knowing OLC but for many people it IS a question of simply having to learn OLC to put their existing imagination, writing skills, and understanding of how players experience text muds to work.

Molly, there's no need to get defensive. Nobody is suggesting that builders lack skills. But there's no arguing with the fact that not things require the same amount of experience, knowledge, and skill to do. There's also no arguing with the fact that some activities are worth more than others. Coding, for instance, is just worth more than building. You can rail against it but it doesn't change the fact.

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Are your ‘happy’ Builders aware of how low you value their work and their ideas on public discussion boards?
I most certainly value our Builders, consider most of them my friends and would consider them so regardless of whether they continued building or not. I'm dropping a few thousand dollars on a bunch of rooms for us in Vegas next month. Did the same last year. Got a big condo in Beaver Creek, Colorado for us the year before. (Well, not just builders, but immortal volunteers and staff generally.) I've given them jobs, helped one get financing for a new house, helped them start their own entreprenurial ventures, bought them Amazon certificates, and more.

Of course, those bonuses are not why they build for us. They build because they enjoy it which, presumably, is the reason you also build (you're not getting paid if I recall). The hotel rooms and everything else is just a little extra something on top of that.

Really, builders want, I think, three main things:
1. Players to appreciate their work. Empty muds are not gratifying to build for for most people.
2. Stability. They want to know their work isn't going to go to waste when the mud shuts down tomorrow.
3. Support. They want tools and permissions that allow them to create as freely as possible.

You attract and keep good builders by providing those. Anything on top of that only helps. We give them all three, in spades, plus the little extras, which is probably why we can turn down 95% of people who apply to build.

[quote= ]
The_logos 2:
Quote:
Disgruntled staff members are inevitable in any operation and regardless of whether they are employees or volunteers. When they become a problem you kick their asses out the door, ban their ips, and that's the end of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think this statement speaks for itself. With an attitude like that, no wonder disgruntled staff members are ‘inevitable’ in your operation. It never once entered your mind that the fault might lie with the Mud Owner and not with the staff member, right?
Now Molly, I know you're not dumb. I know you cannot possibly believe that it's possible to maintain 100% of relationships (in anything) 100% of the time. Over half of marriages in this country break up. No company manages 0 turnover. People leave the Army. People leave muds.

It's not really about fault. I mean, of course it's the mud owner's fault sometimes but how does that impact on what I said? If a staff member is disgruntled and causing problems and doesn't seem likely to stop, and you as the mud owner find out it's your problem, what do you do, say "Oh, well, it's my fault he's acting this way so I'll just continue to let him." No. You kick him out and hope you can do better next time. The good of the mud must come before the good of any single volunteer, employee, or player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Possibly  the main problem with arrogant people like you is, that you never even encountered a quality Builder. Probably because no quality Builder would even consider working on a Mud run by arrogant people like you. And if they did, they would probably turn into disgruntled staff members pretty soon, and you’d ‘kick their asses out the door, ban their ips, and that's the end of it.'
Well, if you define "quality builder" as "someone who will not work with Matt" then I have never worked with a quality builder, by definition.

On the other hand, considering we do more for our builders than virtually all muds do (and yes, it's because we're commercial but that doesn't change the fact that we do) it's probably unsurprising that in Achaea's 6 year history it has had exactly one builder leave in a fit of disgruntlement. Others have been asked to leave and others drift away after getting bored of course but that's a pretty good record. I strongly suspect those team vacations we take helps though I'm not able to quantify it.

Why don't you tell me what you would do besides kick him out and ban him in this real situation:
Last year right after we got back from our group vacation I found out that our head builder (who had undergone a really drastic personality change after a nasty divorce. He decided he was bisexual suddenly, etc) was playing with himself on webcams while members of his religious Order (he was a God), including minors, watched.

The solution was obvious: Kick his ass out and ban him. We tried being nice and letting him have his old mortal back to log in with now and then but too many players knew who he was as a mortal and it made them uncomfortable to have him around. So we banned him from his old character as well.

Do I feel any regret over kicking his ass out and banning his IP? Not even a smidgen. I just regret he made it necessary. Perhaps you would have kept him on but I sure hope not.

--matt
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Old 08-31-2003, 02:44 AM   #37
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the_logos:
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Originally Posted by
Of course, those bonuses are not why they build for us. They build because they enjoy it which ...
You hope that is why.  I wish I could remember where I read the survey, but about 3-4 years ago a study was done within Fortune 500 companies, and it was found that "Benefits" was the #1 reason why disgruntled employees stuck around a job they didn't really like.

the_logos:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I know you cannot possibly believe that it's possible to maintain 100% of relationships (in anything) 100% of the time.
I don't believe that is what Molly meant.  When I read your posts (and I suspect when others do as well), your attitude towards builders seems flippant.  "Coders are better, Builders are just regular people" is what it seems your saying.  Now don't go quote me quoting you, quoting me ... I know you didn't say that word for word, but that seems your attitude.  The Fact is good builders usually don't make good coders, and good coders usually don't make good builders.  They have different sets of qualities, which make them good at different things.  And a MUD wouldn't exist without both.  There are many MUDs that have great machnics and horrible areas, or vice versa.  So a callus, flippant attitude towards either seems dangerous.

As for the horrific situation you described the_logos, I don't think that has anything to do with the discussion up until then.  The discussion was more about disgruntled builders and situations that could possibly be handled or discussed.  Because, in a situation like that, I would think you would want to remove his/her areas since just seeing the name of the person could invoke further problems/harm.
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:29 AM   #38
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The Fact is good builders usually don't make good coders, and good coders usually don't make good builders.  They have different sets of qualities, which make them good at different things.  And a MUD wouldn't exist without both.
Well still coders work are more valuable (and hard to come by). If you are satisfied with a stock codebase, patched up with snippets, of course you can manage with a bad coder.

However, if you want a procifient coder, the chances are that you will NEVER find one working for a free mud (that is not already taken). The chances that you will find an exceptionally great builder is infinitly much higher.

Of course the coder is then more valuable.

We (I) have never said that builders works are not appreciated. Evidently a mud with only great coders are equally bad (or even worse) than a stock code with amazing zones.

BUT it is much easier to find the builders. You can generally find them roaming all over the net. If you want a great coder you must normally look around yourself in rl for friends, atleast if you want one that you can also trust.

This does not mean that I think it is easy to find great builders. During the years we have had thousands come by our game and only a handful have been accepted and granted staff status and built tenfolds of zones. We have over 20.000 rooms today, and it is neither stock or bad quality.

Finding a great quality builder is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and finding the equally great coder is like finding the needle in 10 haystacks. Not only does the coder need more hardtocomeby skill, you need to have a deep trust for him/her too before you let him/her loose in your code. You can hand over your building tools to just about anyone, but you can't let anyone get your game's source.

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Old 08-31-2003, 09:48 AM   #39
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Yes, I work for free.
BUT - I work for free in a Mud that values and respects my work, and the work of all Builders.

I would never even dream of working for peanut money – or even somewhat bigger money - in a place where the owner publicly states that the work of Builders isn’t worth a tenth of the work of Coders.

And getting an occasional patronising pat on the head or a lollipop in the form of a free weekend in Vegas once a year wouldn’t help either.
Rather the opposite.

But I guess a person who can post something like:  
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'd say whatever a builder agrees ahead of time to is fair.
   would never realise the difference.
You know, that remark rather reminds me of the sleazy salesmen, who sell unsuspecting and naive people things they don’t really want or need, and then say ‘Well, you didn’t read the fine print’ when their targets try to cancel the contract.

Like Iluvatar, I also remember you climbing on a very high horse in a thread about ‘intellectual property’ some while back. But obviously ‘intellectual property‘ only means something to you, if it also has an established commercial value - to quote yourself again; ‘is a saleable asset’.

Yet another of your cute quotes in this thread is this one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Heck, there ISN'T any such thing as formal training for mud building.
Yeah, right, could that possibly be because talent, imagination, ingenuity and creativity cannot really be trained? And in case you never realised, these are not qualities that everybody possesses.

I am actually going to climb out on a limb here, and state that a Mud coder that doesn't possess a certain amount of these qualities too will never become a really 'great' coder, however many years he spends on formal training in using his tools.

I do however actually agree on your three points about what generally attracts Builders. It’s encouraging to see that there are at least SOME things we can agree on. Personally I would of course have added a fourth point to your three:

4. Respect. Builders want a Mud owner that respects their work for what it is worth, both in the Mud and publicly, on boards like this one.

Finally, I totally fail see how the case of one of your staff members going paedophile has got ANYTHING to do with the present discussion about Builders getting respect for and retaining the copyright to their work.
Naturally I’d kick out and ban a moron like that too. Who wouldn’t? Moreover, I would have reported him to the Police and the Net Authorities. And I wouldn’t even have dreamt of even THINKING of
Quote:
Originally Posted by
being nice and letting him have his old mortal back to log in with now and then
I’d kick that mort out faster than you could say siteban, and not wait for the other players to complain about it.
But then again, my players don’t pay me to play.
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Old 08-31-2003, 10:08 AM   #40
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Quoting molly
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in a place where the owner publicly states that the work of Builders isn’t worth a tenth of the work of Coders
So you disagree there? You seriously think the average muds can get a great coder as easily as a great builder?

Now, this is based on that builders are 10 times easier (grasping a number from thin air) to come by than coders. And this is evidently the case (looking at most muds and how they are coded, and how many posts there are about needing coders).

Lets say a coder was easier to find than a builder. Of course i would personally value the builders work more.

Now, at Sharune, we have plenty of proficient coders, what we need are builders. At the moment, we value builders much more than coders. Thats one reason to why we want to show them that we value their work a lot, and give them both a contract to have credits, and a handful of dollars. If I could I would gladly pay them 200/zone. Perhaps in the future we will be able to do that too...

Our coders sign a contract that gives them nothing, but credits and the pleasure to code and be part of our team.

So I (we) personally don't value coders more than builders, since we have a great deal of coders available.

But speaking generally, of course you have to understand that people value the coders more, since they are much harder to find.

Value is based on demand and availability...

And you disagree with this Molly?
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