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Ross Scott

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Everything posted by Ross Scott

  1. May videochat with fans. Had some followup commentary on the Games as a service video, and several good questions afterward. More normal videos coming!
  2. Since I've made the "Games as a Service" video, several US attorneys have weighed in on the legal portions of my video. There's not a total consensus and in some cases there was minor misunderstanding, but the conclusions all point in the same direction: GAAS is either not fraud or else extremely difficult to prove it's fraud. Furthermore, even if it was established as fraud, it would be on such a minor level under the law, that it may not even carry a penalty. Barring new information, I'm leaning towards declaring the USA a lost cause on this manner and focusing on countries with stronger consumer protection laws. Anyway, here's a list of the legal analyses, and some additional appearances I had in responding. I recommend not watching these unless you're bored or doing something else as most are quite long: "YouTuber Law" video analysis I think this is the best one (also the 2nd shortest). He grasped my arguments well and gave a realistic look at the situation. Leonard French long video analysis A longer look at the laws in the video, I also had some audio appearances in this one where I asked more questions. Leonard French short video analysis A quick look at the laws in the video, he made some conclusions that weren't quite applicable, which prompted the longer analysis Hoeg Law video analysis I thought his legal portion was relatively good, though there was a small misinterpretation on the legal portion and a major misinterpretation on my stance. Hoeg Law audio discussion / debate I appeared with Hoeg Law to go over his rebuttal and debate was was said in the previous video. Discussed the larger issue also and not just the law in this one. Nick Rekieta Law discussion A more casual discussion, he takes a differing view than most other attorneys, but still comes to a similar conclusion, that working within the confines of existing law is unlikely to work in USA. We talk about various other things too. Anyway, sorry to flood the site with all this legal analysis, I swear that's not the long-term direction things are taking, more regular videos coming! ADHD version: Ross was right on some things, wrong on some things, doesn't matter for USA; the situation there is basically hopeless on legal protection against destroying games. This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  3. Since I've made the "Games as a Service" video, several US attorneys have weighed in on the legal portions of my video. There's not a total consensus and in some cases there was minor misunderstanding, but the conclusions all point in the same direction: GAAS is either not fraud or else extremely difficult to prove it's fraud. Furthermore, even if it was established as fraud, it would be on such a minor level under the law, that it may not even carry a penalty. Barring new information, I'm leaning towards declaring the USA a lost cause on this manner and focusing on countries with stronger consumer protection laws. Anyway, here's a list of the legal analyses, and some additional appearances I had in responding. I recommend not watching these unless you're bored or doing something else as most are quite long: "YouTuber Law" video analysis I think this is the best one (also the 2nd shortest). He grasped my arguments well and gave a realistic look at the situation. Leonard French long video analysis A longer look at the laws in the video, I also had some audio appearances in this one where I asked more questions. Leonard French short video analysis A quick look at the laws in the video, he made some conclusions that weren't quite applicable, which prompted the longer analysis Hoeg Law video analysis I thought his legal portion was relatively good, though there was a small misinterpretation on the legal portion and a major misinterpretation on my stance. Hoeg Law audio discussion / debate I appeared with Hoeg Law to go over his rebuttal and debate was was said in the previous video. Discussed the larger issue also and not just the law in this one. Nick Rekieta Law discussion A more casual discussion, he takes a differing view than most other attorneys, but still comes to a similar conclusion, that working within the confines of existing law is unlikely to work in USA. We talk about various other things too. Anyway, sorry to flood the site with all this legal analysis, I swear that's not the long-term direction things are taking, more regular videos coming! ADHD version: Ross was right on some things, wrong on some things, doesn't matter for USA; the situation there is basically hopeless on legal protection against destroying games.
  4. What you're saying here flies in the face of what I was told by other developers. Could you clarify? Look at my post at the bottom of page 2, it specifies exactly what I'm talking about. We're not talking about complete code documentation. I think there's not as many barriers as you're making out. Here's the thing: as I understand it, (in the USA anyway) the right to reverse engineer IS legal and protected under federal law as long as it's not using copyrighted material. So say they turn off the DRM + and encryption + release the protocol documentation for "non-commercial and research purposes only, all rights reserved by (name of company)". That language isn't giving explicit permission to reverse engineer, but they don't need to either. It's not fraud under the law though, best I can tell. I agree completely that this shouldn't be legal, but since it is (in the USA), I was looking at it from the perspective of "does this violate any laws?" It looks like no, and while this is still technically a grey area, it's more about subtle definitions rather than seeing any opening to actually challenge this legally. It's less about "finding a reason" so much as finding a precedent. If there's no precedent to protect preservation under legal terms and the existing laws block any interpretation of enforcing laws that way, then literally the only option is to propose new laws, which requires action through representatives in Congress. If that's the case, then it's like in the video: I see that as almost impossible. We can't even get Congress to get lead out of the water in the USA, I sure wouldn't count on this. That said, other countries aren't nearly as hopeless. France especially is showing real promise.
  5. I literally brought this question up in a discussion I did yesterday on the topic: link It's a long video though, bottom line is, reverse engineering appears to be completely legal if it doesn't use any copyrighted data without consent. The company can easily give that consent for the "minimum effort" option upon releasing that data on its own terms without compromising its IP ownership in other areas. So I would like to re-pose my earlier question: As a developer, in your opinion, how long do you estimate it would take to perform the actions listed in one the "minimum effort" options? NOT a full server replacement, NOT a functioning games, JUST what's listed on that slide (releasing packet documentation, disabling encryption, etc.) for an online game that was being shut down? If it makes a difference, you can use the arena game v. MMORPG examples again.
  6. Thanks for clearing that up. That law is a little more useless than I thought then. I still need to verify about reverse-engineering being illegal though. For example, emulators have been held up as legal in the USA if they don't use any code from the original, as was established in Sony v. Bleem. If the developer is only providing documentation and turning off encryption, that may not constitute any actual code use, but this is a thornier issue that might need an expert to verify. Just wanted to verify, are you saying releasing ONLY compiled code and not any source would create a risk to a company that may have other games sharing some of the same codebase?
  7. Sorry not to respond to all your points, but this part below determines a lot of other things: Okay, see now, I'm confused. Wasn't that the purpose of the DMCA exemption created last year? https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/11/expanded-dmca-exemption-video-game-preservation-grants-small-victory-amidst My understanding was the exemption of 1201 of the DMCA says it IS legal to reverse engineer a server of an online game for purposes of restoring the functionality of the purchased product. Care to clarify? This a really important point, and a lot of what you wrote afterwards hinges on how that is interpreted. And to be clear, no, I'm not talking about FULL functionality. Hell, someone can run World of Warcraft on a server emulator right now, but it's not going to be technically FULL functionality with every last similarity. I would even argue that might be impossible for many MMOs. If the law leaves absolutely no provision for releasing a modified copy that's similar to the original product, you're right, there's no shortcut at all, nor is that even a feasible path in many cases. Is this really accurate though? It seems like every time a company updates a game, they're changing the terms of what the game is due to changes. I wouldn't think a scaled down emulated copy of the game would be any less an acceptable change. Anyway, you're right in that this is essentially an unsolvable problem if FULL functionality is required to provide an enforceable solution for this. Definitely clarify that DMCA exemption though, we need to have that understood before we (or at least I) can discuss this more objectively.
  8. Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on May 5th at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. This one may be longer than usual since the "games as a service" video made a pretty big splash, so I'm guessing there may be more questions on that. This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  9. Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on May 5th at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. This one may be longer than usual since the "games as a service" video made a pretty big splash, so I'm guessing there may be more questions on that.
  10. I'm not even pretending to be knowledgeable on that part, but I've gotten a few messages on this that I've been referring to the person who worked reverse engineering a server emulator. Here's a general response I've been sending, no one's replied back yet: I was only talking about the "minimum effort" options to give users a fighting CHANCE to create a server emulator. To that, he replied with this: "On the documentation part, it would highly unusual for the server engineers not to keep SOME packet documentation during development since the server developers and the client developers are often separate.There is guaranteed, at least SOME packet documentation. There has to be. Like imagine that packet 02A sent a 8 bit packet of numbers, and it had to do with say, MPH in a racing game. This is really simplified, but you'll get the point. Then one of the 20 programmers comes along and has to ask EACH TIME what packet to check for that info.There's no way, at that point it becomes a profit loss not to have the server developer just type what it fucking is into something like OpenKM so people can search for it." He also attached a comment somebody else made in the comments (attached below) If you're saying that's still way off base, feel free to give specifics that I can pass on to him. If you have specific grievances, you can even get as technical as you want, so I can pass it along to him even if it goes over my head. On that note, I have some questions for you if you don't mind: 1. Since you're saying his time estimate is way off base, in your opinion, what is the BARE MINIMUM of effort a developer can do upon game shutdown to give users a CHANCE to attempt to create a server emulator? In other words, not a functional emulator, just enough info to not make things an almost-impossible task. Everyone seems to agree that disabling packet encryption is a big one (that alone could save YEARS or work). What else? 2. How long would you estimate your bare minimum effort solution would take to implement? 3. The above is referring only to games that had no EOL plan to begin with. But say you were creating a game from the design phase where you knew you wanted an EOL plan upon shutdown so users would have some method to run the game upon shutdown. Assume it doesn't need to retain 100% functionality, so it may not contain things like auction houses, matchmaking, or being able to handle the same volume of players as a central server. Just as long as the player can technically run around in the game and get some of the bare bones playability from the game. How much extra work / budget do you estimate creating the EOL would take? Assume 2 different scenarios: 3a. A simple arena shooter like Nosgoth or Lawbreakers 3b. A moderately sized MMO like Firefall or Wildstar
  11. You call it a technicality, countries like Canada define them as dead-to-rights goods. As for loopholes, sure, that's possible, but do companies really want to kick off players who lapse for a couple months and lower their playerbase for not paying 3 cents? Having other players run around in the server and keep it populated is worth more to them than that, that's the reason the free to play model is so successful. Again, this is CHEAP, cheaper than finding ways of evading it. The only thing that's cheaper is doing nothing at all, I'm trying to see if the law can slam that door shut. It's like the other features I mentioned. Eliminating piracy does not require you to ALSO destroy the game forever upon shutdown. In other words, sure it eliminates piracy while the service is running, but that does not REQUIRE the game to die after shutdown. The logic on this can confuse people. I admit the odds aren't great, but I am legitimately seeing a chance, so I'm going for it. If I thought it was hopeless, I wouldn't have made this. It's like I said, I need it to end or I need to be defeated. I may quote you for a future video I have planned, you may like it.
  12. My ultimate video on "games as a service"! This video is more fact-heavy than the vast majority of ones I make, but it's on a topic that I think is the largest problem in gaming today. As you'll see in the video, this is my declaration of war on "games as a service." I've been meaning to make this video since at least last year, there's been a lot leading up to this. It's quite long and dryer than my usual stuff, you may want to watch it in chunks, or just skip straight to the ending. In the past, I've made "Dead Game News" videos as a way to shine a light on how bad the practice of destroying games is. That hasn't been enough to curtail the practice in any way whatsoever; on the contrary, the practice continues to accelerate. This video is essentially what "Dead Game News" was leading up to. I was hoping to raise enough awareness on the topic to take some sort of real action against it. Most of the video is a "deprogramming" of the industry narrative as to what "games as a service" is, similar to how you would try to treat a rescued cult member, hence the reason it's so long. The end goal of this video is to lead to some sort of legal action against the industry (details on that in the video). Now that I've learned enough about the topic to see that this could actually be possible, I think it's the only chance for saving many games in the future. I honestly have zero idea if this video will lead to real action being taken or if things will completely fizzle out. Either way, I felt compelled to make it, like it wasn't even in my control. This video is very much a "It's better to regret something you have done, than regret something you haven't done" situation. This did take time away from my other usual videos, my apologies about that, but it also served as an exorcism for me so that I don't have to keep obsessing on this topic in the future. It's in fate's hands now, I've done what I can, we'll just see what happens. Anyway, more fun videos are coming for the future, which is what I'd rather be making anyway! This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  13. My ultimate video on "games as a service"! This video is more fact-heavy than the vast majority of ones I make, but it's on a topic that I think is the largest problem in gaming today. As you'll see in the video, this is my declaration of war on "games as a service." I've been meaning to make this video since at least last year, there's been a lot leading up to this. It's quite long and dryer than my usual stuff, you may want to watch it in chunks, or just skip straight to the ending. In the past, I've made "Dead Game News" videos as a way to shine a light on how bad the practice of destroying games is. That hasn't been enough to curtail the practice in any way whatsoever; on the contrary, the practice continues to accelerate. This video is essentially what "Dead Game News" was leading up to. I was hoping to raise enough awareness on the topic to take some sort of real action against it. Most of the video is a "deprogramming" of the industry narrative as to what "games as a service" is, similar to how you would try to treat a rescued cult member, hence the reason it's so long. The end goal of this video is to lead to some sort of legal action against the industry (details on that in the video). Now that I've learned enough about the topic to see that this could actually be possible, I think it's the only chance for saving many games in the future. I honestly have zero idea if this video will lead to real action being taken or if things will completely fizzle out. Either way, I felt compelled to make it, like it wasn't even in my control. This video is very much a "It's better to regret something you have done, than regret something you haven't done" situation. This did take time away from my other usual videos, my apologies about that, but it also served as an exorcism for me so that I don't have to keep obsessing on this topic in the future. It's in fate's hands now, I've done what I can, we'll just see what happens. Anyway, more fun videos are coming for the future, which is what I'd rather be making anyway!
  14. Here's the latest videochat with fans. I talk some about the next video coming up, plus answered questions as usual. The topics of AI learning, Stadia, and Watch Dogs came up. More videos coming this month! This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  15. Here's the latest videochat with fans. I talk some about the next video coming up, plus answered questions as usual. The topics of AI learning, Stadia, and Watch Dogs came up. More videos coming this month!
  16. I've mostly recovered from being sick! Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on April 7th at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. My sickness skewed production some, but I've got some big videos coming for April. This is just a detour, Freeman's Mind is still coming! Also, since the chats have been getting longer and longer, this time I'm trying something new and am only going to answer the top 20 voted questions. After that, I'll skip the others unless I think they're pretty good topics + ones from live chat to keep the length of these down a little bit.
  17. I've mostly recovered from being sick! Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on April 7th at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. My sickness skewed production some, but I've got some big videos coming for April. This is just a detour, Freeman's Mind is still coming! Also, since the chats have been getting longer and longer, this time I'm trying something new and am only going to answer the top 20 voted questions. After that, I'll skip the others unless I think they're pretty good topics + ones from live chat to keep the length of these down a little bit. This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  18. Just a quick update, I've been sick with some sort of virus (probably flu) for the past week and a half. It's affected my voice and means all recording is currently suspended until I'm better. I have been working on supplemental material for the videos in the meantime, though going is slower since I'm still in an ongoing "blah" state. I'm also cancelling the playsession with fans this month on the 23rd. I'm anticipating I'll be good enough to do the videochat with fans in April, but I'll post an update if not. This will definitely delay the release of the next videos since I can't record yet, but may not impact the total time much for them all coming out since I'm still working on all of them. I have some neat stuff coming! This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  19. Just a quick update, I've been sick with some sort of virus (probably flu) for the past week and a half. It's affected my voice and means all recording is currently suspended until I'm better. I have been working on supplemental material for the videos in the meantime, though going is slower since I'm still in an ongoing "blah" state. I'm also cancelling the playsession with fans this month on the 23rd. I'm anticipating I'll be good enough to do the videochat with fans in April, but I'll post an update if not. This will definitely delay the release of the next videos since I can't record yet, but may not impact the total time much for them all coming out since I'm still working on all of them. I have some neat stuff coming!
  20. Here's the March videochat with fans with the usual rambling. I genuinely thought this was going to be a shorter session, but had too many questions to go through. I think in the future I'll have a cutoff point for how many I accept just to cut down some on the time. I also think I may have screwed up and started it too early, but it went on so long I'm not sure that changed much. Things happening with other videos in the meantime! This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  21. Here's the March videochat with fans with the usual rambling. I genuinely thought this was going to be a shorter session, but had too many questions to go through. I think in the future I'll have a cutoff point for how many I accept just to cut down some on the time. I also think I may have screwed up and started it too early, but it went on so long I'm not sure that changed much. Things happening with other videos in the meantime!
  22. Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on March 2nd at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. I'm currently having minor setbacks on FM that I'm getting modding help on, been working on other videos in the meantime.
  23. Ask questions or topics to discuss here for the next videochat with fans on 5:00pm UTC on March 2nd at twitch.tv/rossbroadcast. I'm currently having minor setbacks on FM that I'm getting modding help on, been working on other videos in the meantime. This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  24. Here's another blooper that happened in Freeman's Mind 2, completely unplanned. This one happened multiple times, but this is one I recorded from the demos. In addition to this, I also would get caught on something upon leaving the boat, being completely unable to move, but I could at least fight that one with noclip. Not this. This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »
  25. Here's another blooper that happened in Freeman's Mind 2, completely unplanned. This one happened multiple times, but this is one I recorded from the demos. In addition to this, I also would get caught on something upon leaving the boat, being completely unable to move, but I could at least fight that one with noclip. Not this.
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