View Full Version : Changes to Updating Broken Content Guidelines Regarding Minor Mods

18th May 2012, 5:56 PM
What's this about?
Most game mods for The Sims 3 apply only small-ish changes to some of the XML files that come with the game. That doesn't limit their usefulness. Some of the most-wanted mods on MTS are of that nature. However, it creates a difficult situation when a patch hits and the creator of such a mod isn't around or too busy to update anymore.

Previously, once a creation has been approved on MTS, other creations that are very similar would no longer be approved as we do not need redundant uploads. Having an existing minor mod that was not updated would thus block other creators from making an updated version that does the same thing - the mod would become the first creator's "territory" and as long as they were still active, nobody else could make a mod to do the same thing - even if the original mod hadn't been updated. This unintended consequence is what we are looking to change here. :)

What is considered a minor mod?
A mod is considered a minor mod if it consists of simple tweaks of otherwise unaltered XML resources of the game. E.g. a minor mod would be something like taking the Swing_SwingSet ITUN resource from the GameplayData.package and changing the DisallowAutonomous attribute to True, thus stopping sims from autonomously swinging on the swing set. There's only little effort required, no new content and no "creative act".

That doesn't automatically make all tuning mods minor mods of course. A mod that is based on game resource, but mixes, matches and sautÚs to add new depth to something that existed before, would not be considered a minor mod. Something like Cooking And Ingredients Overhaul (http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=353351) is a case of a definitely not a minor mod mod despite being a tuning mod.

What happens if a mod is considered a minor mod?
We consider that creators can't really claim ownership of minor mods. So if a minor mod becomes outdated by a patch, and the creator doesn't update it within a certain timeframe or at least gives a heads up that they will update within a reasonable timeframe, other creators can take over and update it. The outdated upload will then be moved to the archive in order to reduce confusion for downloaders. Unlike the regular rules about abandoned/broken content this does not require the original creator to be inactive!

The rules for uploading updated versions of minor mods:
The previous version of the minor mod must have been outdated for a period of at least 2 weeks.
The original creator hasn't said within the past 2 weeks on the upload or in their journal that they are working on an update.

Outdated minor mod uploads will be archived once an updated version gets approved. They will be unavailable to downloaders and the uploader both, since there is no need to have two uploads that do the same thing.

18th May 2012, 7:33 PM
Does it apply to The Sims 2?

18th May 2012, 9:12 PM
Does it apply to The Sims 2?I don't see how it would. TS2 is final. The last patch was released years ago, so the likelihood of new patches breaking stuff is pretty low. ;) And anything that was broken by the last patch and still wasn't updated by anyone, probably is a non-issue anyway. ;)

23rd May 2012, 7:48 PM
Im kinda wondering weither or not outdated objects would be affected by this or not. Like objects that were created before the pets update that broke alot of objects.

23rd May 2012, 7:53 PM
vampireelf - See here (http://www.modthesims.info/wiki.php?title=MTS2:Creator_Guidelines/Updates_and_Remixes_of_Broken_or_Abandoned_Creations). Objects would not be considered "minor mods" (they're not usually mods at all) but they could be updated if the conditions under "Fixing Broken Creations" are met.

23rd May 2012, 9:18 PM
Have you guys considered adding a licensing field for uploaded custom content? This is a common system that you can see with custom content for a number of other games, like Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto.

With a licensing system, people who wish to freely share their content for modifications could make that explicit, and you could then link derivative content in that way. Or, you could create a custom licensing scheme, which would make modifications conditional on their participation in the forums (for example, when they go inactive (which could be based on actual activity, or a user selectable "inactive" option) that would "trigger" the licensing change).

Possible licensing types include "free to use but not distribute"-type licenses, all the way to open GPL-type licenses. The "inactivity" trigger might switch between these types based on user selection.

You could also do separate sub-licenses based on sub-content. For example, custom textures might always retain their copyright, but models might become open.

I think, on the whole, such a scheme could be really beneficial, as a number of people here seem much less concerned with the protection of their IP than the betterment of the Sims. Of course, I'm not trying to tell you guys how to run the forum. I just thought I'd pipe in with some ideas.

23rd May 2012, 9:54 PM
We already have such a system, Nick, on the creator profiles. You can see an example in the Creator Policy box at the bottom of HystericalParoxysm's profile.

It doesn't cover all different types of content, nor are there conditional triggers; for creators who want that level of complexity, they can add their own text in the About Me box, going into exacting detail if they so desire. The Creator Policies system has encouraged a lot of creators to express a policy where they might not have thought to do so in the past. :)

Regarding this particular change, however, the mods in question are really too simplistic to be considered IP - they're literally a case of changing a couple of xml values and, well, hitting save; hence this new policy.

23rd May 2012, 11:01 PM
I've seen the creator profiles. The problem with the Creator Profiles is that it is on a per-user basis, it seems like not many users use it (based on my admittedly small sample size). This means that the most restrictive form of IP licensing must be assumed, not the most permissive. In the case of the bukkit project for Minecraft, their old system used a similar per-user method, and the end results was a lot of effort that went in to duplicating work because there was no license.

My point was that requiring a license for every upload, (which could be based on a creator's personal policy settings) would allow users to quickly gauge the license of a particular piece of custom content. This would also help collaboration projects

I agree that changes to the XML snippets probably aren't IP. The reason I brought this up is because I've recently come back to playing Sims 3 after playing Minecraft, and I've seen first-hand all the problems that patches+ambiguous licensing can cause for a community, and we're now seeing a lot of that with the Sims 3.

If everything is working for you guys, please ignore me :lol:. In the Sims 2/early Sims 3 days, I was a fairly active reader (but I obviously never posted). I haven't been around here much lately, so if these things aren't a problem, forgive me. I just have heard the general rumblings that the latest patches have brought on, so I thought I'd contribute (for once :P ) by passing on some experience from a previous community.

24th May 2012, 12:21 AM
Ah, yes, that certainly can cause problems. Which is why we don't presume the highest standard any more: http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=426734 (short version is that if you don't specify a policy and cannot be contacted for clarification/permission, we assume any use is ok with credit).

It's a complex thing, especially in this modding community: many sim creators have never modded the tiniest thing before learning to mod TS2/3, and most aren't part of the sort of circles where they get exposed to concepts of licensing and how important it is. If you asked most creators what their reuse policy is, the response would either be a blank look or "Um" - which makes mandatory licensing a less attractive option, since it'll just confuse many, especially newbies. The (reuse-end) policy I linked to above is fairly clearly stated in the upload process now, though, and for those who don't publish any (creator) policy or give an incomplete policy it works; as for those who have restrictive policies, well, that's their prerogative. :)
We've introduced these minor mods rules on top of that because of the time issue - six months is a reasonable length of time after which one can say that a creator is inactive, and their stuff becomes freely usable, for the vast majority of content; but with tuning mods which are broken by a new patch every three weeks, it's excessively restrictive.

24th May 2012, 12:41 AM
Ahh, I seemed to have overlooked that bit :) You appear to have that covered.

24th May 2012, 3:40 PM
ahh ok thanks for clarifying HystericalParoxysm.

26th May 2012, 8:33 AM
Nick2253 - Delphy's working on a new upload wizard. One of its features is the ability to check various conditions while the creator is uploading (for example, if they don't upload enough pictures for a certain area, or if the pictures aren't large enough, it can detect that and go, "Hey, maybe you don't have enough pics?"). We'd also discussed having it detect whether a creator has a policy when uploading, and reminding them to set one if they haven't.

16th Jun 2012, 1:05 PM
About the Cooking Overhaul mod, I have updated this mod for patch 1.33 myself for nearly two months ago. Already testing ingame and so far it works fine. I would like to post this into BlackCat's thread as temporary solution until BlackCat return here on MTS, but I can't do this yet because I don't have permission from BlackCat (I even sent PM to her, ask for this matter, but she haven't reply till this day). I also considering make a new thread (temporary ofcouse, moderator can delete it when BlackCat return here again), but it seems I can't do this too because of this policy regarding minor mods. So MTS moderator, what do you think of this? Thank you.

18th Jun 2012, 8:37 AM
The policy regarding minor mods actually has nothing do with it. It's the example of a tuning mod that is not a minor mod. ;)

Please don't post the update in the original thread. Instead, please check the MTS2:Creator_Guidelines/Updates_and_Remixes_of_Broken_or_Abandoned_Creations. They should cover it all. As far as I see it right now, it should be ok to upload a fixed version of the mod in accordance with the linked rules.

18th Jun 2012, 1:19 PM
OK. Thanks, Buzzler.