OGL 1.2 and VTT [+]

mamba

Hero
I am not liking how restrictive the VTT part is. I want WotC to compete on merit, not by hobbling everybody else.

To that end I was thinking about what would accomplish that, and am now looking for feedback, improvements and support (i.e. bringing it up in the survey).

With that said, this is my proposal: the OGL has to include a clause that applies WotC’s VTT policy to their own VTT.

This solves two things 1) they will obviously remove limitations / it levels the field, 2) while the VTT policy is outside the OGL and therefore can be changed in the future, they are bound to it in the OGL and therefore cannot change that

Alternatively, just scrap the whole VTT policy, but then they can cross over into game territory even farther

Feedback is encouraged ;)
 
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mamba

Hero
EDITed for a + thread
if you had some concerns, please post them. If you just do not like the idea / the fact that we even discuss potentially agreeing to 1.2, keep it to yourself ;)

Also note that this is not my only concern, but the others are more widely discussed already
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
the spell animations thing is absurd. Take this three year old example

plus the motion tools added since then & improved upon in the recent beta>stable update arkenforge made. Wotc seems to be using the new ogl to shackle competition from existing VTTs to get them out of the way of a still unavailable VTT they are building
 


MarkB

Legend
The first issue that needs fixing is that the VTT policy is not integrated into the OGL 1.2, and is subject to change. A VTT conforming to the current policy might find that a new version defines one or more of their core features as disallowed.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
My question is, let's say I made an animation for a magical burst of energy that can be used to strike a foe at a distance. WotC doesn't want that because they don't want magic missile being animated. OK. Dumb, but OK.

But--and I ask this as someone who has not actually used a VTT yet--what's to stop someone from saying "this isn't D&D's magic missile spell, it's SWADE's bolt spell or GURPS' Sunbolt spell"?
 

mamba

Hero
My question is, let's say I made an animation for a magical burst of energy that can be used to strike a foe at a distance. WotC doesn't want that because they don't want magic missile being animated. OK. Dumb, but OK.

But--and I ask this as someone who has not actually used a VTT yet--what's to stop someone from saying "this isn't D&D's magic missile spell, it's SWADE's bolt spell or GURPS' Sunbolt spell"?
is it being used while someone plays D&D on your VTT? Then it is D&D’s magic missile
 

mamba

Hero
The first issue that needs fixing is that the VTT policy is not integrated into the OGL 1.2, and is subject to change. A VTT conforming to the current policy might find that a new version defines one or more of their core features as disallowed.
It changing is probably why it is not part of it in the first place. They want to be able to change it. Which I wanted to allow with my idea of binding their VTT to it via the OGL. That way they have an incentive to not get restrictive.

The best option probably is to scrap the VTT license altogether (well, duh), which I wanted to avoid to compromise on their fear that this is a backdoor into OGL computer games.
I doubt a 3pp VTT has a feature WotC would disallow if that meant they also could not have it, but a minimal risk remains, agreed
 

Clint_L

Hero
My question is, let's say I made an animation for a magical burst of energy that can be used to strike a foe at a distance. WotC doesn't want that because they don't want magic missile being animated. OK. Dumb, but OK.

But--and I ask this as someone who has not actually used a VTT yet--what's to stop someone from saying "this isn't D&D's magic missile spell, it's SWADE's bolt spell or GURPS' Sunbolt spell"?
There is nothing preventing that. And Hasbro doesn't care. What they are doing is trying to prevent folks from making a D&D video game or 3dVTT without their permission. I think that is a reasonable goal, and agree that the language around this is not yet clear.
 

MarkB

Legend
It changing is probably why it is not part of it in the first place. They want to be able to change it. Which I wanted to allow with my idea of binding their VTT to it via the OGL. That way they have an incentive to not get restrictive.

The best option probably is to scrap the VTT license altogether (well, duh), which I wanted to avoid to compromise on their fear that this is a backdoor into OGL computer games.
I do like the idea in principle. An issue with it is that VTTs take a variety of approaches, some emphasising different tools, interfaces and styles than others, and there's a risk here that this policy would wind up only leaving space for the D&D VTT and clones of the D&D VTT.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
is it being used while someone plays D&D on your VTT? Then it is D&D’s magic missile
Right, but if I make an asset and sell it or give it away or whatever it is people do to get animations on VTTs, and they use it as a magic missile, how would that affect me, the person who made a generic burst-of-energy effect or bolt spell?
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
Right, but if I make an asset and sell it or give it away or whatever it is people do to get animations on VTTs, and they use it as a magic missile, how would that affect me, the person who made a generic burst-of-energy effect or bolt spell?
I'm thinking the VTT would be prevented by the OGL 1.2 from putting that together with any OGL 1.2 SRD content. You could provide the animation, but the VTT couldn't use it.

(Pondering this further: I'm thinking a goal of WotC is to monetize, via microtransactions, graphical and sound assets. Dice, spell effects, creature animations, character animations, location dressing. I expect that the goal is to have a private ecosystem, in the sense of the Apple App store, where-in such assets are only available for purchase from WotC, or sold by third parties but subject a hefty percentage fee, and strong price controls. Prices and fees would be much less in an open ecosystem. There being an open VTT which was enabled for any third party developers to contribute assets would seem to demolish such a strategy of WotC.)

TomB
 
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Clint_L

Hero
I don't think this situation is that different from, say Reaper miniatures making and selling an "eye beast." I'm pretty confident that every "eye beast" ever sold has seen the tabletop as a "beholder," but the model is differently named and different enough from the official WotC IP that Reaper not going to be sued.

WotC can't do anything about you creating a magic-missile effect for your VTT. Pew pew effects are a dime a dozen. But they can prevent you from calling it "magic missile" for use in a D&D setting. I think. Not a lawyer.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Since it talks about "experience of sitting around the table playing d&d" Here are examples from 2022 & 2021 post showing use of a tabletop display & a touch enabled tabletop display sitting around a table playing d&d :D
 


mamba

Hero
Thinking about this, my other problem is enforceability, if a 3pp violates the OGL, they get kicked out, this does not work here because it is the only thing that restricts WotC’s VTT, they lose nothing when they can walk. Not sure how to fix that in an acceptable way…
 
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mamba

Hero
Right, but if I make an asset and sell it or give it away or whatever it is people do to get animations on VTTs, and they use it as a magic missile, how would that affect me, the person who made a generic burst-of-energy effect or bolt spell?
it still feels like exploiting a loophole though and it cannot be the VTT publisher at that point. So I prefer fixing it over avoiding it in dubious ways
 

MarkB

Legend
Thinking about this, my other problem is enforceability, if a 3pp violates the OGL, they get kicked out, this does not work here because it is the only thing that restricts their VTT, they lose nothing when they can walk. Not sure how to fix that in an acceptable way…
If a VTT is supporting a plethora of ongoing campaigns that are using OGL content purchased through that VTT, and they lose their license and have to revoke all players' access to that content, they very much lose something.
 


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