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The Modding Cathedral of F1 Challenge '99-'02

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The Modding Cathedral of F1 Challenge '99-'02 Empty The Modding Cathedral of F1 Challenge '99-'02

Post by wookey Sat 13 Jun - 15:58

As our hobby — in this racing sub-genre known as sim-racing — exists for a long time, there is a lot of content (cars, car packs, tracks, track packs, fixes, optimizations, tweaks, setups, textures,3D models, guides, tutorials, user manuals, physics files, mods, etc.) that have been made by people who maybe do not care anymore to answer for an e-mail when requiring permissions to convert or adapt. Or they just aren't notified of the messages sent to them by other modder enthusiasts. On the other hand, let's talk about F1 Challenge's leechers: talented modders with unexploited potential and unaware of ethics in modding for the most part. This post is precisely written for those who like to want to know in detail about modding, being ethic and responsible with it, and mess around with F1C stuff, using content developed by other people with(out) their prior permission and/or giving credit to them (whatever the reason it is). I am a conscious and good connoisseur of how comfortable it is to develop any modded content on your own, using as a basis the material of others without crediting them... because there are so many different authors who make pretty crazy the task of giving merit to all of them. Writing your name or abbreviation on the stuff you have been modifying during weeks or months is also quite appetizing.

You will start reading the basics, and then little by little, you will know how to behave and act in the F1 Challenge '99-'02 community, studying principles, slang, vocabulary, and definitions related to mod in F1C.

1. Introduction:

Modding, the development of end-user software extensions to commercial products, is popular among video gamers. Modders form communities to help each other. Mods can shape software products by weaving in contributions from users themselves based on their own experience of a product.

Modding is a slang expression that is derived from the verb "modify". Is a way users participate in the evolution and development of video games. Regarding F1 Challenge '99-'02 modding context, since the inception of ISIMotor back in the '90s, Image Space Incorporated has opened its software to enable user modification. Generally, mods are restricted to the alteration of a limited set of user interfaces, functions, and game contents. Even with these limitations, mods are hugely popular with players, and thousands of players download and use them, enhancing their play experience.

In F1C, a modding community establishes and maintains an ethical system of beliefs and practices that direct members to mod in ways that are considered responsible by the community. Ethics comprise an evolving set of social values attached to a particular social context. They enable people to assess their own habits and actions so that their activity collectively results in acceptable consequences for the social unit.

Here, the modders are players who mod for fun or to make their dreams reality developing what they like to see and play, occasionally making little money through donations or audiovisual platforms. Albeit a few of them ended working for videogame companies, they are not game company employees, and their ethics and interests do not necessarily always coincide with a corporate agenda. To align modding to corporate intents and priorities, game companies govern modders through rules and assessment of the impact of mods on the integrity of their games. Ideally, good governance should establish suitable controls while providing contingencies for unexpected creativity. Governance, which we may distinguish from management, does not direct actions but limits them. Companies may administer rules in two ways: by coding them into the software product, and through litigation (threatened or actual).

Copyright, a legal means of protecting commercial software, was established on the belief, contestable in the case of modding, that copyright owners produce and users consume (Burk, 2009). In this framing, computer software is a “utilitarian work of engineering” but is protected by copyright as a “literary work” in the same way as poetry, essays, and novels (Burk, 2009). Copyright protection covers all forms of derivatives of the original work including translations, sequels, adaptation, distribution rights, public display, and public performance. Mods may be considered a form of adaptation. On the other hand, users appear to bring their own unique sets of behaviors and creations into the gaming world. For this and many reasons discussed by Burk (in this special issue), the scope of mods ownership with respect to the corporation and modders is in a state of legal flux.

Game companies, informed and protected by traditional copyright laws, have acted under the assumption that they own the product as well as its derivatives (in ISI's case, through game engine license). Modding communities, more often than not, adopt beliefs and practices of shared ownership, being this subcommunity one of them. Modders view rewards such as the common good as more important than monetary compensation, especially in this game, since is in abandonware status since the release of rFactor. Modders often share their mods and code freely. Free sharing arguably enhances the rate of information exchange without the burden of legal definitions and enforcements.

From a practical viewpoint, F1 Challenge '99-'02 mods are owned by those who created them from scratch, of those who got proven permission from other modders. However, the legal viewpoint is an absolute grayscale, and it depends on the context of what has been produced, the way it was released, the intentionality, history of the modder or modding group, etc.

F1C’s modding community created nearly 25.000 mods (also called “addons”). Image Space Incorporated’s support for modding is circumscribed; some ISI employees answered modders’ questions in ISI, GameSpy, RaceSimulations, and RaceSimcentral Forums, being the last one owned by former ISI's nº3, Timothy Wheatley. In rFactor and rFactor2, ISI provided add-ons and code for developing plugins in which players download so that they will be read by the game on startup. Image Space Incorporated has traditionally made sure that modders have access to beta versions of rFactor and rFactor2. All other modding infrastructure is the modders’ own responsibility. Modders themselves have produced programming guides, wikis, download sites, community chatrooms, hidden communities, restrictive communities, a programming framework, and other modding forums in addition to the official ISI and RaceSimCentral forums.

All F1C modders distributed their mods for free since the inception of the title on 25th June 2003. A few of them set up a homepage soliciting donations. Not donating does not prevent a user from using the mod. The majority of mod users bypass these homepages and download mods from sites that host thousands of mods, such as RaceSimulations, RaceSimCentral, Aerogi, Discord Communities, GPHungary, Valpaso Altervista, Alliance Bondurant, Wookey's Forum, or F1C Brazil. Owners of popular mods told us in interviews that their homepages barely generated sufficient funding to maintain their servers as players downloaded their mods from these sites (and more). Alternatively, some modders put up Web links to their homepages inside their own credits file, or even in their mods’ windows. When they need to configure their mods, players visit these windows.

Modding is not a job; it is a form of voluntary play. A modder may stop maintaining his mods or leave the game entirely, at his discretion, without fear of reprisal from an employer or unemployment. When someone leaves the game or abandons a mod, another modder, seeing one of his favorite mods going into disrepair, may volunteer to become the new owner. When the credits and "branding" are preserved, the user contributes to constructing the community. When it leeches (or steals) and strips away the original authors and identity, it destroys community in the mid and long-term. Especially long-term.

Despite this seeming communitarianism, the modders behind F1 Challenge '99-'02 modding community has a strict sense of ownership. One owner per mod. Other modders can help with a mod, but cannot “own” a mod that currently has an active owner. Ownership has no definite duration. Ownership is transferable with the permission of the current owner. Non-commercial ownership is transferable if a non-payware mod has clearly been abandoned.

There is generally a point at which modders feel it is acceptable to resurrect another’s work and it’s significantly shorter than the traditional or legal copyright period.

The ownership rule, a departure from copyright, juggles two important ethical elements: innovators and their innovations. The rule respected innovators by unambiguously designating the active modder as the sole owner of the mod. But the rule allowed innovations to continue to be developed if the original innovator had ceased working on them. The ability to resurrect an abandoned work was an indication of the community’s ethical belief in the primacy of creativity over personal ownership. The modding community of any videogame grows whenever there is the movement of materials as long as the will of the original modder(s) are respected and its identity and contributions preserved. When identity suppression, leeching, stealing, or any other immoral activity is out of control of the community, that community is doomed to very low-quality mods (usually only works in one or two very specific areas, i.e.: appealing car models and multiplayer), scarce resources, internet fighting, payware mods with limited content (such as only one car to recreate a full season), which makes the hobby generally unappealing and even stressful at times (except when there is money and/or competition in play).

The Modding Cathedral of F1 Challenge '99-'02 2971-i10

In a sense, modders are to video games what early hackers were to the development of the home computer. Instead of hardware, modders tinker with the code of a game in an effort to either modify a particular game to respond to their individual preferences or to create an entirely different gaming experience, solely based on the source-code of the original.

The more conscientious, more ethical, and well-tested, and proven a community of modders has, the more affordable it becomes for its community to create and enjoy quality content, facilitating innovation and the invention of the most prolific modders. It is extremely important to preserve this according to your own convictions if you really want to improve your user experience through mods in the game. The most prolific/talented modders must be careful to become arrogant and/or derogatory against other members of the community for the sake of themselves and the community they are part of.

2. Notes about Open Modding:

In this paper, I am going to discuss the idea of open modding – what it is and how best it can be achieved for the F1 Challenge '99-'02 community. I hope that it will serve as a starting point for others with similar desires.

2.1. Catedral vs. Parlor:

There are essentially two ways that modders view the place of their creations in the modding community: The Cathedral view, and the Parlor view.

In the Cathedral view, modding is viewed as being like a joint effort to build a cathedral. Individually, our contributions may be small – and may not be worth doing for themselves. But by each person contributing something, we construct something larger and more worthwhile than any of us could do on our own. Under this view, creations are contributions – and may not be taken back. (Just as in building a Cathedral, it would not be allowed for a person to contribute a stained glass window and then later take it back).

The Parlor view, in contrast, is the view that mods are more like privately owned works of art displayed in the modder's parlor. The modder invites others into the parlor to appreciate and enjoy the work of art – but may at any time close the parlor door and ask their guests to leave. And of course, the modder may be very selective about who they invite into their parlor. Under this view, our creations are never contributions; rather we continue to own and control them – takebacks are normal and accepted.

The Parlor view allows the creator to retain complete control of their work. But the Cathedral view creates a much larger, more enduring, and more perfected body of work.

2.1.1. Contrasts and Consequences

Modding is a Joint Effort
Almost all F1C modding is a group effort to one degree or another. There are very few mods that do not owe huge debts to earlier produced mods and/or to the expertise and tools provided by earlier modders.

New Work vs. Duplication
The Cathedral view vastly reduces duplication of effort – instead of promoting either improvements in, or extensions of the original, or the creation of entirely new, complementary works. One doesn't have to go far in reviewing one's mod library to see quite a few of these examples of mods that extend or fix earlier mods.

Perfection vs. Stagnation
The Cathedral view tends towards perfection, while the Parlor view tends towards repetition and stagnation. Repetition, because earlier useful works that have been closed off have to be recreated. Stagnation, because this fails to lead to improvements, and more importantly because few modders are interested in replicating something that has already been done before. (Especially since, if they knew of the original, they probably have a copy of the original mod, and hence have no personal need to recreate it.

Integration vs. Isolation
The Cathedral view tends towards rich integration between mods. But under the Parlor view, there's not much point in integrating with another mod – since that mod can be removed at any time.

Authorial Longetivity
Improved works are much more likely to give everyone credit. OTOH, if two works are independently created to do the same job, then it's likely that only one of them will "win" (i.e. be widely known/used) – and thus the effort and name of the loser will be lost. In competitions, there's little desire to mention your competitor in your readme; but in extensions and improvements, the norm is for the original author to get top billing.

Cathedral Effect
Many modders (such as myself) aren't interested in working in a non-Cathedral community. Maybe a hybrid of both could gain some interest, especially in favor of private modders who retired from the public activity because of leeching. It's belonging to a community, creating something that outlasts our own efforts, that integrates and grows even when we're away that makes the community so interesting. But under the Parlor view, much of what has been built in the past just disappears.

F1C players and modders are already paying the price for the lack of prior action to support the Cathedral view. The loss of previous modding sites (RaceSimulations, RaceSimCentral, Race4Sim, Aerogi, Orkut, etc.) has meant the loss of many of the mods originally on those sites. Many of these mods are still available on people's hard disks, but without a clear re-uploading agreement, these have not been added onto new download sites.

Aside from just these lost files, other creations would likely have not been withdrawn if there were clear community standards and processes in support of the Cathedral view. I.e., if all upload and link sites had "no takebacks" policies, more of the old mods would be under no takeback licenses, and so could not have been removed.

2.2. Open Distribution:

Okay, enough about the problem. Now, what can/should be done about it? I see two main questions: 1) What does the Cathedral view mean in practice? and 2) How can/should the Cathedral view be promoted?

2.2.1. No Takebacks

At its minimum, the Cathedral view means, "No takebacks!" Once a mod has been released to the public, then it can't be taken back. Okay, sounds good, but...

1) What about group mods?

2) What does "released to the public" mean? Does email count? How about sharing through a Yahoo briefcase?

3) Can the modder still restrict distribution to their own personal site? Can they require registration? These questions are discussed in the next section.

At a more advanced level, the Cathedral view often means that others can modify the original mod. There are clearly arguments for this (the perfection and integration described above), but there is also a strong argument against it (artistic vision of the original modder). These issues will be discussed later.

2.2.2. Open and Openable Distribution:

The most basic level (the "foundation" you might say) of the Cathedral view is: "No takebacks!" One way of achieving this is to simply say that once a mod has been released, that it is Open Distribution – i.e., anyone else can distribute it with no additional permission required from the author.

However, there are a lot of modders who are willing to keep their mods available but prefer to have them served by a single website. For these modders, an Openable Distribution might be the solution. Openable Distribution allows the modder to limit distribution to preferred websites – so long as at least one such website is available. As soon as that website goes down for an appreciable period of time (a week), then the mod becomes Open Distribution.

There are several benefits to Openable Distribution:

•  Management: For a creator, mod distribution through a personal website is the easiest to manage by far: no hoops to jump through, no waiting for other people to check in their upload. Personally, I've created and uploaded mods in the space of an hour to answer forum questions, and I've uploaded 14 versions of my Mash utility in as many days. That sort of speed and responsiveness could not have been achieved if I had been serving my mods through one of the major websites. Mega Mods also often benefit greatly from dedicated websites for distribution and management.

•  Artistic Reward: Mod users tend to be quite sparing in their applause. Hence, the only really reliable measure of success is the download counter provided by the download site and/or the site stats pages for your personal website – such stats are easiest to monitor when the mod is only available from one site. In addition, personal download sites allow the modder to express personality and artistic vision and advertise their other mods.

The only care that needs to be exercised with Openable Distribution, is that it not be used as a cover for non-open distribution. I.e., the amount of downtime for the preferred distribution site cannot be either prolonged or frequent. E.g., the site should not be down for more than a week at a time, nor down for more than 7 days in a month.

Public Release
I would take the public release to mean release to anyone other than the mod creators/beta testers – by any mechanism (even email). Obviously, neither "creators" nor "beta testers" definitions should be bent in an effort to limit distribution. Basically, as soon as anyone whose major intent is just to enjoy the mod is given a copy of the mod, then the mod has been released.

Access Registration
I'm fairly sure that it should be part of both Open and Openable Distribution definitions that downloading the mod not require any sort of registration – except for adult content mods – which may require registration of sufficient age to access adult materials.

However, several major download sites require registration as part of the commercial operation. So perhaps this should be allowed also. However, I think that downloads from personal websites should not require registration – this seems like a form of restriction on downloading.

2.3. Open Modification:

Open Modification means that the mod author allows their mod to be modified and redistributed at will. In the software open source community, this is one of the defining characteristics of "open source". However, the modding world is different from the world of practical software, and the desirability of Open Modification is much more debatable for mods. I'll discuss some of these considerations below, but in the end, I think that whether a mod is an Open Modification, or partially open to modification, or not modifiable at all should largely be left up to the mod author.

2.3.1. Levels of Modification:

Before getting into the pros and the cons of open distribution, it's useful to consider the levels of modifications that can be made to a mod.

Error Correction
•  GMST removal. Fix typos, grammar, etc.
•  Fix logic errors that break quests, etc.

Compatibility Patch
•  Fixing things that aren't errors in themselves, but which cause or are vulnerable to compatibility errors.

•  Dialog standardization. "loading" to "Loading", etc.
•  Object names. (E.g. to follow Wrye Patches naming standards)

•  Taking what is clearly an early draft and redrafting it, but sticking to the original author's intent as much as possible.
•  However, redrafting necessarily involves some degree of artistic interpretation.

•  Adding new material that is consistent with the original mod.

Exe modification
•  Adding Batch files
•  Modifying values within the Exe file, such as adding 4GB patch, a different icon, multicore functionality, etc.

Artistic Conflict Resolution
•  Correcting artistic conflicts between mods.

Artistic Destruction
•  Removing some element of the mod for the intent of changing the artistic intent of the mod.

•  Modifying the mod in such a way that the mod's artistic intent is perverted – i.e., the original artistic intent is actually attacked in the modification.

2.3.2. Modification by Patch:

It's possible to modify a mod while still leaving the original intact by either releasing either an alternative or patch.

A patch is probably preferable if the original is large and/or likely to change. It also leaves a clear distinction in the user's mind between the original mod and the patch. And as a practical consequence, it simplifies support issues for the original modder – since the original and patch are clearly separate.

OTOH, an alternative is necessary if the modifier wants to change the placement of refs.

2.3.3. Pervasive vs. Focussed Mods:

It's useful to distinguish pervasive mods from focussed mods. Focussed mods typically add new tracks to the game, but don't change the existing gameplay. I.e., if a focussed mod is removed, you only notice its absence in that the specific areas and people that it adds are no longer there. Pervasive mods on the other hand change the gameplay in a fairly pervasive way. If pervasive mods are removed, their absence is felt throughout the entire game.

While focussed mods can benefit from Open Modification, Open Modification seems most advantageous and desirable for pervasive mods.

2.4. Open modding license:

As discussed above, the foundation of the Cathedral view is "no takebacks" – i.e., either Open Distribution or Openable Distribution licenses for mods. At a more advanced level, the Cathedral view means a license that allows at least some degree of Open Modification. Several such licenses have been proposed.

However, the problem with these licenses is that they do nothing to encourage, a modder to use one of their licenses. I.e. the modder gains no benefit for adding one and suffers no penalty for not adding one. Only applicable to non-commercial mods. True, at least some modders will add one anyway – but most will not.

What is needed is a license that does a little arm twisting. If this seems a little negative to you, consider that open source licenses do exactly the same thing – and doing so has been crucial to the success of open-source software.

2.4.1. Basic Deal:

The basic deal of the OML would be: I (the creator of this mod) will allow you (the end-user) to use my mod if you agree that any mods that you produce and distribute will be at least Openable Distribution. If you do not agree to these terms, then not only may you not use my mod, but you may not keep a copy of this mod.

So, what's that mean?

1) If you never produce any mods, or only produce mods that you never distribute, then you're never limited by this agreement – enjoy!

2) But if you produce a mod and distribute it (i.e., give it to anyone other than yourself), then you're bound by the terms of the agreement and your mod must be at least Openable Distribution.

3) If you don't agree to the terms then you may not use any OML mods, and moreover, you must remove any OML mods from your hard disk, personal website, Yahoo briefcase, etc.

There's one out in this agreement. If you use an OML mod and have not distributed a mod yet, but later decide to do so – but at that time decide to non-Openable Distribute it, then you can do so – but you'll first need to remove all OML mods from your hard disk, Yahoo briefcase, etc.

However, this out will not be available if you have otherwise agreed that all of your mods will be Open Distribution. E.g., suppose that there is an "Open Distribution" thread in which people post their agreement that all of their past and future mods are Open Distribution. (I'm considering requiring that users make such a posting as a condition to my providing help for my mods.)

If you already have mods released, then you will not be able to use or keep OML mods unless all of your distributed mods are made Open Distribution.

Note that this agreement applies if you distribute your mod to anyone other than yourself. I.e., even if you email it, or pass it along in some other private matter, that still counts as distribution.

2.4.2. Details:

Contained Mods
Suppose that your mod contains a mod that is not Open Distribution – i.e., the creator of that mod has placed restrictions on how you may distribute your mod. Frankly, I don't know of a case where this is true, but if it is true – the agreement still applies. I.e., if your mod is not Open Distribution, then you cannot use use OML licensed mods.

Group Mods
Suppose that a mod is produced by a group. In this case, the team leader is still bound fully by the terms of the agreement. Also, the contributions by any team member using OML mods are also considered to be Openable Distribution. (So, if all team members are OML users, then the team product is automatically Openable Distribution.)

Clear Licensing
In distributing your mod, then the main readme must include an explicit Openable Distribution license, or a statement that it is released under an Openable Distribution license which is included in the distribution in a separate text or html file.

1) OML is Open Distribution, of course.
2) Though OML requires that the users distributed mods be Openable Distribution licensed, it does not require that they be OML licensed.
3) The license would cover mods and utilities for the Morrowind platform only. (I.e., not Oblivion or anything else.)
4) If the license is in conflict with the Bethesda EULA, then the Bethesda EULA take precedence of course in the areas of conflict.
5) Standard legal boilerplate regarding liability, etc.

2.4.3. Open Modification vs. Open Distribution:

As discussed above, Open Modification is often, but not always desirable. Hence, I think that there should probably be two versions of the OML license. The first (OML-A) would allow Open Modification, while the second (OML-B) would not. In addition, any modification to an OML-A licensed mod would also have to be released under an OML-A license. Other than that, the licenses would be pretty much the same – i.e., they would only require that users release their code as Openable Distribution.

2.4.4. Limits on Modification:

If an OML-B mod is distributed, then it must be redistributed with all readme and licenses. It may be broken up into several parts (for downloading convenience for large mods), and it may be recompressed into a different format (e.g., zip to rar). However, if it is broken up, then the read me and license must be included with each part.

Other Mechanisms
Aside from the Open Modding license, a couple of other mechanisms are possible to help promote the Cathedral model.

Help Requirements
Before providing help on a released mod, the mod's creator might require that users agree (irrevocably) to make all of the user's past and future mods Open Distribution.

Replacement Mods
Another option would be to create open versions of non-open mods. E.g., if the author of a mod refuses to open it, yet it implements a good and generally useful idea, then someone might decide to create an open version of the mod. Part of the benefit of this approach is that just the threat of it may be sufficient to encourage the original modder to open his mod. (Note that this sort of approach would likely only work when the original mod is relatively simple.

License Status Database
It would be good to have a central database listing all(?!) mods and their license status. Naturally it would be important that people putting data into the database be reliable, and that the database is shared.

2.5. General behavior:

Here are some additional rules of thumb designed to encourage open modding and a generally pleasant modding atmosphere.

2.5.1. Users:

•  Show some gratitude to the mod authors once in a while!

2.5.2. Modders:

License and Readme
•  Release your mod under the most open license that you feel comfortable with. At the least, release it under an Openable Distribution license.
•  Strongly consider using an OML license, which encourages other modders to also release Open Distribution mods.
•  If your work is a modification of existing work, or if it includes components that are non-modifiable (because they come from another author), be sure to take this into consideration in selecting your license.

•  Provide your readme in Html format, and at the top, and place links to any relevant feedback and/or applause forum topics. If you only want to hear positive applause, be sure to make this clear.
•  If the mod is a modification or an existing mod, be sure to give full authorial credit to the original author. This typically means listing them first in the mods "Author" box and listing them first (with a full explanation of their original product) in your readme.
•  Likewise, if your mod contains components from other mods, be sure to give those authors full credit. And if the license agreement covering those components of the mod is different from the license covering your original work, be sure to be very clear about which components are theirs – and thus under their license.

Support and Applause Topics
•  Create a forum topic for discussion of your mod.
•  If there's a forum that hosts applause topics, you may want to add a topic for yourself there.

Ignore Idiots (or ban them if you are an admin or moderator)
•  If you can't stand hearing from idiots who do nothing but criticize, complain, and demand, then ignore them...
•  Use forum "Ignore" features if available.
•  In the extreme, put support on a forum that allows you to limit idiots more strongly. Note that "no takebacks" does NOT say that you have to support your mod or deal with idiots.

2.5.3. Distributors:

Mod Backup and Open Distribution Mod Hosting
•  Keep backups of Openable (or better) Distribution mods from other download sites and personal sites in case those sites go down.
•  If the original site goes down, or goes down frequently, check with the author first to see if the problem can be resolved. If not, make the mod available from your site.

Upload Requirements
•  Require that all mods uploaded to your site have at least an Openable Distribution license and that the license be included or referred to in the readme. If it's only referred to in the readme, then the uploaded zip must also contain a copy of the license agreement.
•  Strongly suggest that uploaders use one of the standard licenses.

•  When listing mods, indicate the type of license that it's distributed under.
•  For mods with standard licenses, provide links from mod license type to a copy of the mod license.

2.6. Postscript:
Thanks for supporting the cathedral idea with ethical modding.

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4. What is a legal mod?

The legality of our released mods is ambiguous: by itself, and much like any other hack, the mods are a derivative work, for its branches directly off of a copyrighted product. While derivative works are not inherently breaches of any law or rule, and our work includes tons of sounds, single-seaters, tracks, and physics DONE FROM SCRATCH by many authors (and we have got the permission of most almost everyone and credited EVERY modder out there who were part of something according to the original credits file and the information given by the authors), various copyrighted assets not present on the original disc, such as the modern formula one circuits. You should not use anything developed by Codemasters.

F1 Challenge's End User Licence Agreement (EULA) does not point anything about reverse engineering, derive source code, modify, decompile, disassemble, or create derivative works of the Game. This means any modder can modify anything, as long as you do not sell. Receiving donations for your works seems to be allowed: Ralph Hummerich, a former developer of F1 Challenge '99-'02, released Formula One mods from 2003 to 2005, and other mods of great quality such as Simbin's GTR 2002, ETCC 2003, and Virtua_LM's Group C were allowed in EMACs forum and in RaceSimulations, both moderated and supervised by ISI developers. What's more, EMAC had a donation page for years, leaving the users the option to give him some money as a way of giving your thanks for the quality work done by RH's team through the years.

In June 2003, Tom Oliver wrote an interview with several ISI developers, discussing topics such as general programming of F1 Challenge, multiplayer functionalities, modding, and accuracy of physics. In the modding department, it was declared that F1 Challenge '99-'02 has been designed to be moddable, with plenty of tools and functionalities for them to take advantage of and create real quality mods. Years later, Image Space Incorporated and Studio397 became in charge of games that still were open modding platforms (rFactor1 and rFactor2). The same goes for GTR2, Automobilista, Race07, Nascar Thunder, RaceRoom, and Stock Car Extreme, most of them not built for modding, but people modded anyways, and their authors allowed the work to be in big forums such as NoGripRacing and RaceDeparment.

Read the interview here:
(If you cannot read it, use a storage web app, such as Archive.is, Wayback Machine, among others).

In short, modding seems to be allowed as well, right? Image Space Incorporated gave the modders tools, tutorials, and white cards to build anything WITH ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITY. And with RH mods established as mascot mods for F1C, emerged the conception of "legal"  mods and "leeched" mods in this videogame in particular.

A legal mod is a mod built from scratch, or converted with prior and proven permission for F1C, with every author who took part in the original work credited, as long as that original work is NOT leeched stuff. The authors are not related to Formula One, EA, GameSpy, or ISI.

Examples on F1C:

Mods done from scratch: RH, Virtua_LM, CREW F1 Seven, CTDP, ETCC, CrashKing, WSGT, Luigi70, F1 Freek, R&G, Rolland Fritsch...
Mods done with permission: SamAlex, TNT, GGS, 1987CL, Schumacher180, Armos, CMT, DavidMarques & Cherry, RSLF, Neiln1, A&P...
Leeched mods: F-1 Manía España, Birkuc, JuanMaMaster, AMT, HLT, BMT, RMT, PRT, SG, F1 Mania RU, A&M, SuperLiga F1C LA...
Alegal mods: any mods ripped from a deceased author, even if you credit everything and everyone.

Nevertheless, Formula One Management, the multi-purpose entity which controls the licensing aspects of the Formula One brand, can crackdown on mods they deemed to be in violation of copyright & trademark laws. Example: RaceDepartment in 2016. As a site owner, Bram Hengeveld pointed out to PRC, nearly 80 community modifications for Automobilista, F1 2013, and F1 2014  were removed at the request of Formula One – meaning several livery updates and other oddities only meant to enhance a user’s gaming experience were yanked from RaceDepartment’s extensive library of add-on content. The downloads pulled from public consumption were primarily livery updates, and to use these livery updates, you needed to spend the money on an official  Formula One product in the first place. The F1 Challenge community suffered some power-tripping as well: F-1 Superleague's social media disappeared from night to day (F-1 Superleague is not SuperLiga F1C LA), and the Brazilian F1C community received censorship.

So, they can drop the hammer anytime. The concept of legal and illegal in modding terms are different for them and have nothing to do with F1C's viewpoint. No matter if these are done from scratch / released with permission mods (legal mods in ethic modding terms), or leeched.  They can stop you any way they can, and you must obey what they tell you. What's even worse, you can suffer the fact that the official developers steal your work, and then they censor you. Ask Salamander's Ferrari F2002 taken by Codemasters for the 2017 game as the clearest case.

Although none of the members of this group profit from releasing these contents, we know that we can perfectly suffer the same fate. Formula One had every legal right to take action against us, even if (suppose this) all our work consists of releasing ONLY a two-seater Arrows F1 car for free. That goes for Image Space Incorporated as well, regardless if F1 Challenge '99-'02 is on abandonware status and they publicly stated that F1C is a modding platform, a product for players and modders alike, albeit luckily Tim Wheatley and Marcel Offermans have not taken action against us, knowing what we do and our purpose with releasing these mods. Besides, we make the game downloadable for free, because the exes include updates that make them use FSAA, triple screen,  multicore, solved compatibility issues and more. And making our mods an install and play product is critical to make this game accessible and its modding alive.

We want to have fun with Formula One. For us, it is a pleasure to share and serve as a repository. But on the other hand, we fail to stray far enough from the source material (Formula One), and the legal team representing Formula One Management can figure it out just by looking at a few screenshots on the game’s homepage. We have essentially built mods in an old-school hardcore Formula One simulator without Formula One’s permission. And unless we have acquired the correct licenses as seen in rFactor 2 or iRacing in a selling product, you can’t do this. It is illegal. Luckily, in this forum, we do not sell anything and we have not intellectual ownership of any sim.

The act of launching any mod which brings the EXE file (new or original) relies on having the game for free, thereby breaking the console's end-user license agreement and warranty. Likely, as a result, we do NOT encourage anyone (here and in every of our mod credits) to create competitive tournaments with money or prizes involved, as doing so would essentially be sponsoring hacking their own game (even if is abandonware) and misappropriating their game. Don't ever try this.

Though Formula One Management and Image Space Incorporated has not given an official response to us, policies enacted by the ISI have suggested that it does approve of the mod as long as its developers do not do any sort of lucrative activity. All modders on this forum create non-profit content.

One more thing, just in case: if you are a major tournament organization, DON'T USE OR PROMOTE ANYTHING FROM F1C MODS TO DO SO. DO NOT USE F1C MODS FOR (MAJOR) SPONSORED OR OFFICIAL TOURNAMENTS. Albeit our mods are legal for the F1C community, your legality as a product by international standards is questionable, and your mods should be used just to have fun.


5. Official Policy forum:

I will give my best to ease you all the ethical procedures and permission barriers to release a mod based on others' work properly. I want to provide you with and a chance to improve as a community and as modders. F1 Challenge '99-'02 welcomes any of you who just want to create the mod you want to see without being dishonest about its basis, creation, and conception. Let's start as soon as we can! This writing assumes you know how to do modding in F1 Challenge '99-'02. The official Policy for publishing content from other authors and/or converted from the work of others in any F1C community should be:

1.) Let's start dividing the contents of a moddable sim-racing title. In any of them, you can find two kinds of content: official content (from scratch, based on, outsourced, converted from, downloadable content [DLC, free or not], etc.), and modded content (unofficial content). Is not recommended to use official content from other sim-racing platforms in F1C, but you can always ask for permission from them. Modded content is subdivided into another two parts: freeware mods and payware mods.

If you pretend to convert any official content, you must ask ALWAYS for permission to mention exclusive non-profit purposes and prove this permission on a release.

Here is a list of what you can get from another author without asking for permission regarding if it is official content, freeware mod, or payware mod. In any case, you must credit ALWAYS the original author. Crediting is mandatory.

Official content: very minor textures, parts, files, writings, or parameters (including F1 Challenge's very own EXE files, because of the 4GB + triple screen + multicore + Compatibility fixes which prevents crash to desktop + PseudoVR + AI in multiplayer + 4K resolution implementations, which evolved F1 Challenge '99-'02).

Freeware content: very minor textures, parts, files, writings, or parameters; sound effects (except engine sounds), movies for bink and smack files (movies for jumbotrons and presentations); anything related to the Options files but MAS and OSC (or anything about menu file improvements except if it is a significant addition like a Driving Academy); anything related to the DirectX, CamEd, Qualifying, LOG, Save, Replay, Support and Telemetry files (and homologs of similar or identical function in other racing videogames); batch files about trace in F1C; credits file (its modification is strictly forbidden - you can only remove from the original credits those contents that are not suitable according to the rules of this forum [see here]); basic data information; driver stats; terrain files and physics; pit wall decorations; font files; commentary files; secondary backgrounds and icons not related to tracks; teams or drivers; TopAs; Sides and Angle F1C files; INI files not related to vehicle physics; GDB files; RCD files; Common and Pits folder, SCP files; DLL files; OBV files; LCD files; damage file; VEH files; CAM files; CIN files; SFX files; optimized 3D Config file and optimized EXE file;

You can download non-vanilla EXE files here: https://mega.nz/file/BoUGwRCR#p99Y74_Ac5CaJBMYCeUSTs49k3h8vbsFXnCjnn64TF8

Payware content: very minor textures, parts, files, writings, or parameters. Mods related to payware modded content are allowed as long as these don't include their product.

2.) Payware mods are not allowed here, because any modded content can be considered illegal. Making any mod of any videogame a payable content guarantees illegal activity that could give us a Cease and Desist (or maybe something worse). Many other communities have no problems (yet) with payware mods, but the best modders the F1 Challenge community has ever seen never had the need to make payware mods. Those with huge talent ended working for official video game companies (Ralph Hummerich, Mathias Madquart, Tim Wheatley, Ian Bell, Aristotelis Vasilakos, Cristian Luis, etc.), or at least they received job offers from them (Raulongo, Carlos Frau, Richard Hessels, Austin Ogonoski, etc), with a few resigning to them on their own will or conviction (Vince Khiortho and Dave Noonan). However, you can post a reliable source of your personal donation website just in case any member wants to donate something to you for sharing your talent.

3.) Malicious software, hidden or exposed, is not allowed in any mod published on this forum.

4.) Convert cars and/or tracks for yourself (from rFactor2, Grand Prix Legends, GTR, Automobilista, rFactor, GTL, F1 2002, Grand Prix 4, GTR2, Assetto Corsa, Nascar Thunder, Project Cars, Nascar Racing, NetKar Pro, Reiza2019, GTR3, etc.), and test them thoroughly to debug until all errors are fixed. If you get stuck, feel free to ask for some help in any forum related to the game (communities are the best bet).

Get the F1C developer's toolbox (and everything you need to play and update the game) here:

5.) Include EVERYTHING you know about the origin of the vehicle/track in a readme.txt file. Take your time to investigate who is (or who are) the original creator(s) of the car/circuit you decided to put work, and give special attention when reading the credits file(s). Respect the original work of other authors and give them their deserved credit is a must. Do not pretend you build from scratch if it is not true. Remember: there is a difference between someone who modifies stuff from others but credits them... and those who credit themselves for all the work they have stolen and edited, deleting all information about the original authors.

Ralph Hummerich, Virtual_LM, BigFelix, Matthias Marquardt, F1Fr33k, Schumacher180, Montesky, pl68, Vincent Moyet, MeSlayer10, Cristian Luis, Trasher, Watchy, Psychotronik, Prairie, Lecrin, BMCM3, Luigi70 (then luckily returned I am really glad), SamAlex, ACFL (then returned) and more. Almost 80% of all Formula one content in F1C was done by these people from scratch only. If you want to improve their modification, the best bet is to being part of the project if it is alive. Otherwise, just ask for permission and respect the decision. Most of these people retired because of leeching. Take into account that all these people dedicated thousands of hours for free. Asking them and with their yes, you can do as much as leeching, is not more. The only difference is just posing a question and preserving the credits for the most part.

6.) If you pretend to publish it, read the read me file shared by the content creator. Have in mind these principles:

─Some authors authorize full editing and just ask to be credited in your own readme;

─Some authors ask for written permission for any re-use in any other mod;

─Some authors don't authorize any modification but authorize re-use in the mod as long as all
files are included and untouched;

─Some authors don't authorize any use at all of their work;

─Every other scenario related to restrictions without lucrative, leech, or dishonest use;

7.) Ask for permission from the author(s) if there is any e-mail available (or account in other forums like DrivingItalia, ISI Forums, NoGripRacing, RaceDepartment, rFactorCentral, Sim Racing Mirror Zone, etc.) The original product must have at least one year of existence on the Internet to do any activity related to conversion and public share. Otherwise, do not publish anything.

If an original publication is too recent, wait at least one month to ask for permission (for example, if a user called Krientsen creates a brand new 1972 Formula 2 mod for rFactor or any other sim-racing platform, and he released it on June 24th, 2015, you can start to ask for permission and convert to F1 Challenge '99-'02 what that author has created ─ with Krientsen's permission given ─ from July 24th, 2015 [one month between the publication of that original stuff and the release of the conversion project] onwards).

8.) After you have sent him (or her) a message, wait for an answer at least 30 days. Do your best to contact the correct(s) content creator(s).

9.) If the answer is OK or there is no answer after 30-days, feel free to create content based on his/her work and/or share. When releasing the mod, car, carset, track, or track pack, the title must include the name of its original author(s), not yours. Do not share if there is no way of contact the content creator of the work you are converting unless you credit him instead of yourself, your group, or any related who have been part of your group without being an original author of the modification you have edited/improved.

If the answer turns out to be a "no," respect the decision of that modder and have your new content exclusively for personal use.

10.) If any author(s) complain, retire it if he/she proves ownership. Do your best to be genuine, receptive, patient, and empathic to him/her. Understand his/her feelings. If the result of your conversation with him/her concludes with the erase and deletion of the hypertext reference(s), send an apology note publicly to that content creator and available to any one of the communities you are part of. Be sincere, ethical, and whole on that note.

11.) Official stuff (mod[s], cars[ets], track [pack], conversions, etc.) from other sim-racing platforms such as iRacing, rFactor2, Automobilista, Codemasters F1 series, or Assetto Corsa (whatever) is not allowed by any means because of reasons related to licenses ─ unless the one who releases it proofs permission obtain through video recording his/her mailbox/private messages box, with zero manipulations of the facts. However, the tracks from official videogames can be an exception if the quality of the circuit is dramatically reduced from the original (to deter leeching and ripping to other titles) having the F1C circuit lower resolution pictures and less than 70% of the original number of polygons, or if you have transformed it in something unrecognizable (with everything changed, including materials, 3DModels, and its names) proving you haven't been answered to your requests (minimum three in a total period of one month or more) to get permission. Exposing ghosting is allowed as long you do not reveal confidential information about the person or the company you have been talking with. In one of these cases you can release the circuit justifying your reasons, but announcing the release of the circuit is not allowed in any kind of social media.

Let's not leave out the fact that the developers of this game (and many other devs, too) openly encouraged ethical modding, providing the community with tools and knowledge to create their own content to enhance the game experience. Everything exposed here about ethical modding in F1C is a direct legacy of those who laid the foundations of ethical modding in F1 Challenge '99-'02 and made the reference and the difference. The F1 Challenge '99-'02 community has lived its best times under these established principles. Let's keep giving that to each other.

6. Further reading:

That's all for now. Have fun, dear users!

kcarloscampos wrote:The entire point of sim racing in F1C is to bring free motorsport mods to the masses.


Last edited by Wookey on Tue 5 Sep - 19:57; edited 9 times in total

Messages : 9345
Date d'inscription : 2014-09-19
Age : 63
Localisation : Beit ech Chaar (Metn) - Lebanon


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