Author Topic: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD  (Read 1038 times)

Boogerbear

  • Posts: 7
Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:17:01 AM »
Alt account but I've played before.

I want to talk about RL money and ArmageddonMUD.

Once upon a time, there was a donations page for the game, which has since been removed.

I saw 50 players online the other night, which is great, but wouldn't extra money for advertising, or, I dunno, whatever, help with the game?

I know some of the players are totally broke bums like me, but I also know some are working people who make probably decent money.

Keeping in mind that the donations would remain as anonymous as feasibly possible, is it or is it not a good idea to take money from players to put towards things like advertisements, MAYBE booths at conventions, etc?

Personally, I think it is.  I think money helps when it comes to most things, but I think anonymity is just as important; you don't want a player expecting X or Y because they donated 400 bucks to the game.


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valeria

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2018, 10:19:27 AM »
I think there are possible legal issues with this. Namely, because it could be argued that we are a strongly derivative IP (even though I'd disagree, lawyers are expensive), it would raise our profile as a target for SLAP-style enforcement.

650Booger

  • Posts: 512
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 01:00:18 PM »
if you make an armageddon MUD tshirt and sell it on ETSY, I'll buy it off you.  just sayin'.
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najdorf

  • Posts: 424
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 01:12:08 PM »
No matter how good the intention is, donations make some people think they own the game (or whatever they are donating)
My friend had a youtube channel and he decided taking donations, his best fans turned out asking for ridiculous things, and started threatening not to watch again just because they donated a few bucks.


Akariel

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 01:19:27 PM »
No matter how good the intention is, donations make some people think they own the game (or whatever they are donating)
My friend had a youtube channel and he decided taking donations, his best fans turned out asking for ridiculous things, and started threatening not to watch again just because they donated a few bucks.

Lizzie

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 01:28:28 PM »
If there were some way of *exclusively anonymous* donating, where the Game's admin would know where the money came from, AND the donor knew this, maybe. Problem is, as a DIKU derivative game, it's not allowed to profit. So if the donations exceed expenses, the admin would have no way of returning the unused money if it's anonymous.

Another nice option might be if the admin got in touch with their host, and their host set up an anonymous fund to support hosting costs, and you could donate directly to the host (without donors having any access to account info, which would be a bad idea).
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Molten Heart

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 02:01:14 PM »
Are there reasons players don't advertise the game on their own?

hyzhenhok

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 02:09:55 PM »
My understanding is there is no actual legal issue with donations and the DikuMud license if:

  • Donations are solicited only on the forum/website, not in the game itself.
  • The donations are not connected to access/benefit in the game itself.

And to be extra careful, staff could avoid paying themselves from the donations (even though salary/wages ≠ profit) and have the donations be totally anonymous. There'd be no issue if there's leftover money sitting in the kitty; that's not what changes an enterprise from nonprofit to profit-based.

The real reason not to do it is it's probably not worth the headache. We have, what, 200 regular and semi-regular players? And web hosting is already taken care of no problem. You're not going to raise a whole lot of money, and you're not going to be able to do very much with the money you do raise.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 02:12:18 PM by hyzhenhok »

valeria

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 02:12:05 PM »
I'm talking about legal issues less in the sense of the Diku license, and more in the sense of a C&D letter, which WAS an issue some years back.

hyzhenhok

  • Posts: 1661
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 02:14:35 PM »
Right, that's part of why it's just not worth it. You aren't going to raise much money and won't be able to do much with it, but you might raise your profile enough to gain WotC's ire. Regardless of whether their claim is meritorious, the game probably couldn't survive a lawsuit.

Akariel

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 05:01:24 PM »
Making any monetary gain from Diku is against the terms and conditions of using Diku I believe. There's a essay from Stanford or something talking about another case of a mud (in years long past) which used Diku, thought they changed it enough from the source, and then started a pay to win system (or something, the details elude me.) The Mud, I believe, was served with a cease and desist and turned to dust. (If memory serves, it's been multiple months since I read this.)

BrainySmurf

  • Posts: 43
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 05:42:00 PM »
Quote
Rules:

   !! DikuMud is NOT Public Domain, shareware, careware or the like !!

   You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in
   any possible way. You may under no circumstances charge money for
   distributing any part of dikumud - this includes the usual $5 charge
   for "sending the disk" or "just for the disk" etc.
   By breaking these rules you violate the agreement between us and the
   University, and hence will be sued.

   You may not remove any copyright notices from any of the documents or
   sources given to you.

   This license must *always* be included "as is" if you copy or give
   away any part of DikuMud (which is to be done as described in this
   document).

   If you publish *any* part of dikumud, we as creators must appear in the
   article, and the article must be clearly copyrighted subject to this
   license. Before publishing you must first send us a message, by
   snail-mail or e-mail, and inform us what, where and when you are
   publishing (remember to include your address, name etc.)

   If you wish to setup a version of DikuMud on any computer system, you
   must send us a message , by snail-mail or e-mail, and inform us where
   and when you are running the game. (remember to include
   your address, name etc.)


   Any running version of DikuMud must include our names in the login
   sequence. Furthermore the "credits" command shall always cointain
   our name, addresses, and a notice which states we have created DikuMud.

   You are allowed to alter DikuMud, source and documentation as long as
   you do not violate any of the above stated rules.


Regards,



The DikuMud Group

So we're not allowed to profit off of Dikumud. The example they give is that you can't distribute their engine for money.

It's sort of a gray zone if accepting donations for the game is allowed -- are you profiting off of Dikumud, or are you profiting off of the game? Is Armageddon MUD synonymous with Dikumud, or is Dikumud just a component, with the rest of it being the intellectual and creative work that both player and staff put into it? And how much of the donation is under the impetus of 'Diku' and how much of it is 'Armageddon'? Are the two independent or hopelessly conflated? It's ambiguous.

If the issue is with Diku, then I think simply reaching out ahead of time and having an open discussion of their take on donations and if that is profiting would clarify things. The absolute way around it is to sell Armageddon MUD Merch for supporting the game. A T-shirt with the Armageddon logo on it or the Jade Cross if you want to rep your hood would unambiguously have nothing to do with Diku.

If the issue is with Dark Sun, then who knows? We sanitized the game in the wake of the Wizards of the Coast C&D if I recall correctly, the casualties including kanks, halflings and playable mantids if my memory is serving me correctly.

All of these points are salient, of course, to the ultimate question: do we really need more money in the game? If we donate enough collectively, what will that provide developmentally? Our staff is all volunteer -- we're not covering their salaries. Would the producers use donations to hire a salaried coder? I don't have the context or the information to know if throwing money at Arm will actually provide any benefit. Establishing that is obviously the first thing.

hyzhenhok

  • Posts: 1661
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2018, 06:07:04 PM »
The DIKU creators have explained what they mean by profit. It really isn't that complicated or ambiguous. You just can't sell access or otherwise monetize via pay-to-win mechanics. Putting a "Donate" button (or a Patreon link) on the website next to the domain address and port isn't going to breach the terms of the license if the donations do not come with some code-related perk.

The license is anti-commercialization, not anti-getting money. But even then, apparently the DIKU creators have said that they didn't consider advertising or selling merchandise on the same website you host a DIKU mud to be a violation of the license, either.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 06:09:11 PM by hyzhenhok »

Feco

  • Posts: 1899
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2018, 11:29:14 PM »
Doesn't sound worth the headache at all.
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Veselka

  • Posts: 670
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2018, 01:14:42 AM »
Seems they've been doing fine without needing to be paid.
The progress of greatness is tampered with by the inadequacy of mediocrity.

stoicreader

  • Posts: 124
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2018, 10:47:01 AM »
No need for the donation button. I will pay hundreds of dollars to advertise in exchange for Karma. ;)

Or, I'll pay for the advertisements out of my own pocket directly to advertisers. This way there is no legal trouble. It's like political advertisements paid for by supporters, not the politicians campaign.
Meh

stoicreader

  • Posts: 124
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2018, 10:58:16 AM »
You want new players?

I'll pay for it, but you fix the karma problem, and toss one my way. ;)
Meh

stoicreader

  • Posts: 124
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2018, 11:39:03 AM »
Actually, never mind. Y'all can play with one another indefinitely without new players. Last straw on discord. Good luck folks.
Meh

Nathvaan

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2018, 11:46:12 AM »
These have all been interesting points.  We do cover the monetary costs of the game our of our own pockets they aren't too much of a burden.  This is mostly due to some grandfathered pricing structures from our hosting provider.  Moving hosts to have better speed on the boards would make things more costly I suspect.

As for the DIKU license, I have, more than once reached out to one of the five creators of DIKU mud after reading that he full access to specifically his IP in DIKU but I didn't receive a reply.  This issue is that the IP in DIKU is mixed indeterminately with the other four creators.  There has never, to my knowledge been a lawsuit to test this license so there isn't any case law to indicate what is and is not acceptable use other than one's interpretation of the DIKU license.  For the record DIKU does not meet some conditions of the Open Source  Definition so it is not, in any way Open Source.

All that said, previously I went through an basic effort to look at the differences between our code and stock diku (diku gamma) and honestly there was pretty much nothing in common.  By that I mean when comparing a file only a few code structures matched, no actual block of code at all.  I didn't put the code through any kind of review that would be defensible in a court of law though, that was too much effort for a whimsical curiosity! Remember Armageddon has been in development constantly for somewhere around 27 years.  Their original source is 1.16MB of data including the world with one zone.  Our source directory alone is 293MB and our library (excluding the database) is 2.3GB. So, from 1.16MB to 2.6GB representing a 2600x change/growth. I suspect it would be able to be very defensible in court that we are no longer a derivative of DIKU but I suspect that is pretty much a moot point.

My issues with real money/donations is that when people pay hard earned money it is totally understandable to feel that one has a sliver of ownership.  That isn't a bad thing but it is quiet a balancing act to try and provide consistent service to an online community because nearly everyone has different needs and wants from ArmageddonMUD and a game that players are passionate about.  I can pretty much say with authority that even if there were donations we would not be providing any level of a salary to staff (including producers) nor would be implement any kind of pay to win.  The only way I would think donations would ever be used is to cover hosting costs and perhaps other additions that make the experience better.  One thing comes to mind is a proper certificate for encryption of the website.  One signed by the certificate authorities that all devices know are pretty expensive.  Those types of things!  That would probably technically be within DIKUMud's original licensing constraints.

Regardless, please keep discussing any opinions on the matter.  It's very intriguing!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 12:13:38 PM by Nathvaan »

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 473
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2018, 11:56:12 AM »
Stoic:

A lot of us tried to reach out to you and were empathetic. We agreed with a lot of your points. I still agree. But you can't just force things to be the way you want overnight with money (if the people in charge have any scruples, anyway.) As unhappy as I am with certain things, I am SO glad we don't have a pay to win model or a model where the players who pay the most get to decide what changes are made.

Almost nobody is happy about the state of karma, and we all (or most of us) sympathize with new players who feel frustrated. I don't necessarily agree with the old tired line that we shouldn't care about karma, either. Some people care, others don't, and that's okay.

But you can't expect to just force things your way just by publicly obsessing over it. It's not the kind of tactic that convinces anyone. I was one of your biggest advocates and I even made a thread, but when you replied to my PM you were a bit hostile. I think maybe you don't understand how change actually happens in the real world. Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but there's a limit to the application of that maxim.

I'm sorry you're quitting. I'm sorry when anyone quits, especially a new player. But if you don't have the patience to wait for change and push for it in a reasonable , way, maybe this game really isn't for you. Because change happens slowly around here, and it's not always according to our vision. It's just the reality, and bringing it up incessantly isn't going to be the way we change that. It makes our side (karma reform side) look irrational. And yeah, it's also irrational to declare a whole opinion irrational just because one person is being unreasonable, but you have to take into account human nature when you advocate for your position. People shut down so fast when you argue like you've been arguing.

I am not saying sit down and shut up and accept every policy you can't stand. But you can't be surprised when people react negatively to the methods you've been using, even if they like your actual position. And I'm sorry if some people were unduly rude, but there have been many more of us who have reached out and expressed solidarity, as you have stated before. So maybe try focusing on the positive?

Grapes

  • Posts: 416
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2018, 06:52:11 AM »
Nathvaan: I'd be happy to defuse emotional issues when I see them, I'm, no surprise, Fujikoma. Can someone please unban me?

Edit: Also you rock, anyway, yeah, I'd very much like being unbanned from the discord channel, some know me as "Grumble".
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 06:57:49 AM by Grapes »
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Akariel

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Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2018, 11:35:54 AM »
Nathvaan: I'd be happy to defuse emotional issues when I see them, I'm, no surprise, Fujikoma. Can someone please unban me?

Edit: Also you rock, anyway, yeah, I'd very much like being unbanned from the discord channel, some know me as "Grumble".

Please put in a request. This isn't something we're going to discuss over the GDB.

wizturbo

  • Posts: 2480
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2018, 10:33:04 PM »
From my perspective, things like media advertising are unlikely to drive any significant impact on the size of the player base anyway.  This is an incredibly niche game, and even the most finely tuned targeted marketing campaign isn't going to yield significant results.

I'd expect better results if the staff added a role for PR or social media, and that doesn't have to cost any money at all.

najdorf

  • Posts: 424
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2018, 01:27:53 AM »
Staff has made it clear several times that they do not want donations. But it doesn't mean players can contribute through their own methods. Especially in marketing the game. Marketing in any means, paid or non-paid can work. According to the majority of players here, (including myself), the best customer acquisition channel is MUD listing / comparison websites. Because they already have the top 3-4 spot on a google search for any people trying to find out which MUD to play. And people eventually end up there to check out the different options. Staff encourages players to vote for this reason.

So long story short, your 1 vote everyday may worth more than your ##$ to be spent on a method that doesn't yield as much success.
On top of that, I agree to experiment the idea of digital advertising. A player driven effort could be tested out. My suggestion would be:
  • Choose 1 person among the community who is expert in digital marketing (mostly paid advertising) and is ambitious to do this
  • Gather donations for a period of time
  • Let the expert be in charge 100% and lead the show with minimum intervention. S/he spends the money on facebook/google ads or banners on relevant websites.

Delirium

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  • Posts: 11775
Re: Real Life Money and ArmageddonMUD
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2018, 02:33:21 AM »
Not a fan of going down the road of paid ads, but social media presence and good seo practices go a long way.
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