Skyrim Multiplayer Mod Accused of Stealing Code

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Skyrim's extensive modding community has added almost everything you can imagine, and more, to Bethesda's single-player RPG, but there's one particular feature they've always struggled with: multiplayer. Neither Elder Scrolls Online nor Fallout 76 quite scratches that "I want to mess around in Skyrim with my buddy" itch, hence demand for a Skyrim multiplayer mod has always been sky high, but previous multiplayer modding efforts like Skyrim Online or Tamriel Online have either stalled or crashed and burned. From the outside, the community's latest effort, Skyrim Together, looked pretty good, but the project stirred up quite a bit of controversy (and bad press) in the past few days. The developers behind SKSE, an extension of Skyrim's scripting engine that's an essential part of thousands of other mods, accused the Skyrim Together team of stealing SKSE's code. More specifically, parts of SKSE's code base were explicitly closed source, and unmistakable references to them were found in Skyrim Together's code.

    In a recently published response, the Skyrim Together team claims that a few "novice" coders weren't aware of the bad blood between the SKSE team and Skyrim Together, and that they're working on replacing the offending code, but that isn't the end of the program's trouble. The developers have always claimed Skyrim Together will be free when it's ready for the public, but recently, access to the latest mod release was gated behind a $1 Patreon "donation," and access to higher tickrate servers required an even larger contribution. On top of that, I still don't see any public plans for a private, downloadable server, suggesting Skyrim Together must be played through the developers' dedicated servers for the foreseeable future. The March response partially addresses the former issue, but, coupled with the server issue, I believe this puts Skyrim Together in a legally troublesome spot.

    "On behalf of the Skyrim Together team, we wish to direct and apology to Ian and his team behind SKSE. We have confirmed the use of protected code and as such have removed all dependances, associated content, or related code per their request. We will be reconstructing anything that was made possible by the use of SKSE code or considered in violation."
     
  2. dvsman

    dvsman 2[H]4U

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    If it's not free, Bethesda will - guaranteed 100% - sue them into oblivion. The only reason they were able to get this far was because of the no-charge free claims. These guys are idiots to think otherwise.

    Unless and until they actually license the IP from Bethesda, they can't charge a single penny if and when it goes live.
     
  3. arnemetis

    arnemetis 2[H]4U

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    I can't believe the amount of that Patreon. I'm guessing Bethesda is biding their time, and once the Patreon income reaches a certain number, they will strike. There's no way they Won't be awarded 100% of the money they've made, all the code and websites, and a whole lot more.

    I really, really wanted this one to work out. I can't imagine it will now.
     
  4. Kardonxt

    Kardonxt 2[H]4U

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    If they released the server client for free and and just charged people for access to "official" servers they might have a leg to stand on, essentially charging users for server resources rather than the mod.

    That said, it would be a long and expensive legal battle, that they could never afford.

    I hope when this thing goes bust the code "magically leaks" its way onto pirate sights like ElDewrito did. It would be a shame for things to come this far and just get covered up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  5. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    The usual open source model is that the software is free, but support, and hosting costs money. That ought to work in this case as well.
     
  6. darrpara

    darrpara Gawd

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    jesus, 25k/month patreon for this?
     
  7. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Well that's part of the problem.

    -Some parts of this mod (and SKSE) are not truly open source. For whatever reason, the Skyrim community tends to be more possessive when it comes to mod ownership/usage, but there are possibly other factors, like not wanting to expose reverse engineered Skyrim code (kinda like MCP in the Minecraft community).

    -Being open source wouldn't stop Bethesda from taking down a mod anyway.

    -The devs appear to be making a conscious choice to host servers themselves, as opposed to distributing a server for others to host.
     
  8. Nafensoriel

    Nafensoriel Limp Gawd

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    There are exactly zero legs to stand on if they charge a single penny. Their mod operates inside Bethesda property. Without explicit approval from Bethesda, these fellas are about to face a billion dollar legal team from hell.
    It's also sketchy as hell that they want absolute control over the servers. Networked STDs are BOP.
     
  9. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    GitHub/GitLab or bust.
     
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  10. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    People really like their Skyrim and want coop multiplayer for it. Bethesda certainly keeps putting out endless versions of the game.
     
  11. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Was that intentional? I laughed xD I also prefer the story basis in Oblivion a little more but Skyrim has more depth.
     
  12. dvsman

    dvsman 2[H]4U

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    Yeah I reread that and was wondering if anyone noticed :-D
     
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  13. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    Oh it was noticed ;P