OGL 1.2 and VTT [+]

mamba

Hero
Once you make a Mage token that can shoot a missile of light by either clicking a "Magic Missile" button, tagging the effect to deal 1d4+1 damage, or attaching a spell list to the token.... you are flirting with housing a video game engine.
This is flat out ridiculous, also, I still see no reason why they should be allowed to limit this
 

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MarkB

Legend
That's the question. When does a VTT become a game engine?
The Foundry VTT suggested some clear distinctions. Both PCs and NPCs being controlled by humans, not programmed behaviour. Integration of die-rolling mechanics. The ability to implement non-predetermined solutions.

The thing is, there are already games out there that are some of both. Larian Studios' Divinity Original Sin II is primarily a computer RPG, but it has a custom DM storytelling mode that allows a human DM to run players through scenarios they build themselves, with all participants being controllable by the players and DM and dice-rolling mechanics to determine social and exploration outcomes.

Neverwinter Nights was designed from the ground up as a true hybrid, allowing for custom-building of adventure scenarios that could be built to be run with or without human DMs.
 

mamba

Hero
When does a VTT become a game engine?
Here is where I drew the line in my reply: Get rid of the VTT policy and include in the OGL (so you cannot change it, we do not trust you) that a VTT is any program in which the players control their characters and one player / the DM controls all other game relevant creatures (e.g. NPCs and enemies), while the computer itself controls none of them.

I know this overlaps with some game territory, but not with much, and that is the price you have to pay in order to take games away at all.

Alternatively, express in the OGL that you limit your VTT to the limitations of the VTT policy, and if your VTT offers any feature not in the policy, this implicitly makes that feature available to all other VTTs using the VTT policy.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The Foundry VTT suggested some clear distinctions. Both PCs and NPCs being controlled by humans, not programmed behaviour. Integration of die-rolling mechanics. The ability to implement non-predetermined solutions.

The thing is, there are already games out there that are some of both. Larian Studios' Divinity Original Sin II is primarily a computer RPG, but it has a custom DM storytelling mode that allows a human DM to run players through scenarios they build themselves, with all participants being controllable by the players and DM and dice-rolling mechanics to determine social and exploration outcomes.

Neverwinter Nights was designed from the ground up as a true hybrid, allowing for custom-building of adventure scenarios that could be built to be run with or without human DMs.
Here is where I drew the line in my reply: a VTT is any program in which the players control their characters and one player / the DM controls all other game relevant creatures (e.g. NPCs and enemies), while the computer itself controls none of them.

I know this overlaps with some game territory, but not with much, and that is the price you have to pay in order to take games away at all.

Hence the problem. There are video games with Human DMs. And game designers are making more and spending tons of money for the rights to use licensed rules and IP.

And the Video Game community believes that you need the RPG holder's permission to make and sell a video game with someone else's TTRPG rules.

So Foundry VTT's definition might not hold up in court.
We don't know the line between a good VTT and a basic video game.
 

MarkB

Legend
Here is where I drew the line in my reply: a VTT is any program in which the players control their characters and one player / the DM controls all other game relevant creatures (e.g. NPCs and enemies), while the computer itself controls none of them.

I know this overlaps with some game territory, but not with much, and that is the price you have to pay in order to take games away at all.

Alternatively, express in the OGL that you limit your VTT to the limitation of the VTT policy, and if your VTT offers any feature not in the policy, this implicitly makes that feature available to all other VTTs using the VTT policy.
It's a tricky distinction to make, because the lines can get very blurred. There are plenty of videogames out there which have no computer-controlled characters. Fortnite, Overwatch, any of their imitators.

Then there are asymmetric multiplayer games like Friday the 13th or Ghostbusters in which one person plays the monster while the others play cooperatively against them. That's a party-based mechanic right there.
 

mamba

Hero
Hence the problem
I do not care that there is overlap, I care that other VTTs are not hobbled. So far there could be VTTs and games, this gives them most games at least. If the point were to give WotC what they want, then why would I even bother filling out their survey.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I was going to them as potential jury members. I think WOTC could managae to get a jury trail. And then it becomes a case of how much PI and IP is interpreted into in the VTT.

Because actually to te people I've asked, you'd need permission from WOTC once you lean from VTT to game engine.

That's the question. When does a VTT become a game engine?
What reason do you have to consider said "jury" qualified to know what VTTs have been doing for years? Do they have any experience with VTTs? If yes is that experience exclusively roll20?... If also yes did they know roll20 has been able to support regex or similar in preset ability rolls for years or did they just stop at rolling dice manually & adding values to the result manually?


You might not care.

But Foundry could be sued into the ground.
That's the obvious goal of the VTT section as written. The VTT section in 1.2 is so inept in its failure to understand current VTT capabilities (not just foundry) when it was drafted that there is nothing that remains coherent or salvageable from it.
 



Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
What reason do you have to consider said "jury" qualified to know what VTTs have been doing for years? Do they have any experience with VTTs? If yes is that experience exclusively roll20?... If also yes did they know roll20 has been able to support regex or similar in preset ability rolls for years or did they just stop at rolling dice manually & adding values to the result manually?
The Jury need not expertise.

The issue is that the line between VTT and VG has not been defined and WOTC is abusing that fact.

That's the obvious goal of the VTT section as written. The VTT section in 1.2 is so inept in its failure to understand current VTT capabilities (not just foundry) when it was drafted that there is nothing that remains coherent or salvageable from it.
I suspect this is on purpose to make VVT owners and the community to define the line only for WOTC to point to video games past that like.

With Dead By Daylight and Evolve existing, the line would have to be carefully drawn.
 

Steel_Wind

Legend
I was going to them as potential jury members. I think WOTC could managae to get a jury trail. And then it becomes a case of how much PI and IP is interpreted into in the VTT.

Because actually to te people I've asked, you'd need permission from WOTC once you lean from VTT to game engine.

That's the question. When does a VTT become a game engine?
It's not the question when WotC's own website is telling people that it doesn't matter because they can go make computer games under the OGL 1.0a. Why did you ignore this? Because it is highly inconvenient?

We don't have to guess about this. We only need to read the words I have quoted to you; they remove the need to make any distinction between a VTT or a computer game (like, say, Solasta) whatsoever.

It is very frustrating to have a discussion with someone online, actually quote WotC's own FAQ to them which is directly on point, and then they ignore you and just make up some nonsense without engaging with, or distinguishing the words they can plainly read.

At a certain point, I must conclude that you are no longer posting in good faith. If there is something I am missing here that I need to consider to change that view? Let me know. But right now? That's what I seeing from your posts.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
The Jury need not expertise.

The issue is that the line between VTT and VG has not been defined and WOTC is abusing that fact.


I suspect this is on purpose to make VVT owners and the community to define the line only for WOTC to point to video games past that like.

With Dead By Daylight and Evolve existing, the line would have to be carefully drawn.
Part of a trial is showing things like prior work that invalidates standing for a claim.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
It's not the question when WotC's own website is telling people that it doesn't matter because they can go make computer games under the OGL 1.0a. Why did you ignore this? Because it is highly inconvenient?

We don't have to guess about this. We only need to read the words I have quoted to you; they remove the need to make any distinction between a VTT or a computer game (like, say, Solasta) whatsoever.

It is very frustrating to have a discussion with someone online, actually quote WotC's own FAQ to them which is directly on point, and then they ignore you and just make up some nonsense without engaging with, or distinguishing the words they can plainly read.

At a certain point, I must conclude that you are no longer posting in good faith. If there is something I am missing here that I need to consider to change that view? Let me know. But right now? That's what I seeing from your posts.
My point is that WOTC's own words are so inept that it can be used as a trap.

The whole OGL and VTT situation is due to lack of modern definitions.

As a cynical person, the whole VTT policy seems like a trap to get the community to define VTT as something that already exists as a video game in order to trap them.

I read the VTT policy and heard Admiral Ackbar.

"How can their policy be so ill defined and inept unless they... PULL OFF ALL CRAFTS PULL OFF"
 

As a cynical person, the whole VTT policy seems like a trap to get the community to define VTT as something that already exists as a video game in order to trap them.
Hardly? It appears relatively clear what they're doing. They're trying to limit the existing market and they're going after what is already out there. They're targetting an existing market and saying "Rather than compete, we're just shutting you down"

All this minutiae about 'is it a video game' is pointless because, if we want to be really technical (And if I want to mention a video I enjoy about the first video game and how hard it can be to define that...), VTTs are video games. Every single VTT is technically just a specialised video game

1: VTTs exist. Except for this 3d one in development by WotC, but, we're talking about existing ones
2: They generate a video signal
3: They have interaction that alters the display. You drag your token around.
4: They are principally intended for entertainment. Needs some other stuff built for it, of course, but that's why you play them
5: They're playable solely through the visual display. Self explanitory.

Animations don't make it. Graphics don't make it. They're very deliberately going "If your VTT does more than the most basic, we're going after you"
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I don't think you are entitled to make the Image of a Magic Missie attached to the Mechanics of a Magic Missile with the option with the Name of Magic Missole..

I just asked all the casuals in my groups and some nonplayers. All of them agree that its an easy lawsuit win for WOTC.
And there's another problem: what does a magic missile look like? The PHB calls it a glowing dart of magical force. That is so incredibly vague as to be both meaningless and potentially dangerous for people who are creating animations for other systems.
 

Steel_Wind

Legend
Hardly? It appears relatively clear what they're doing. They're trying to limit the existing market and they're going after what is already out there. They're targetting an existing market and saying "Rather than compete, we're just shutting you down"
They'll get their wish with me. I won't play their damned D&D game. As soon as my Foundry stops working on DDB? I'm out.
 



tomBitonti

Adventurer
In the realm of animations, what counts? There is a fuzzy line here:

* Folks have been drawing spell areas of effect for decades.

* Certain progressive effects have been drawn for decades. A spell effect that creeps along might be drawn progressively. That's a very crude animation, but it's arguably an animation.

* A ship deck might be drawn on a grid and cut out, then overlaid over the playing, and moved relative to the mat to represent the motion of the ship.

* A wall of crates might be created as a wall of d6's, and toppled literally by pushing over the wall of cubes.

* Foggers are now available, for example, for use with Dwarven Forge terrain.

Drawing stuff with erasable markers on erasable mats has been a thing for decades. Use of physical props for far, far, longer.

Edit: Thinking about this further, there are tabletops which include a display or a projector. Many of these are very simple, displaying a map and some tokens. Does this count as a tabletop, or as a VTT? Does it matter if there is just a projection of a map, while physical tokens remain in use? Does putting tokens in software qualify this as a "Virtual" table top? (Putting the "V" in "VTT".) There is still an actual tabletop, so maybe not. Does there need to be remote use, hence, the table top is really virtual?

Reading here: Digital tabletop game - Wikipedia

Virtual tabletops (VTT) or tabletop simulators are video game programs that are designed to allow users to recreate existing games or create their own games to play with others online, such as Tabletop Simulator and Tabletopia.

That the game be online seems required.

The issue is that if a projector or display is allowed in a table top, that enables the presentation of animations, as (conceivably) a part of a "tabletop" experience instead of a "virtual table top" experience. This would then shoe-horn animations into VTTs, since animations are possible in the tabletop experience.

I suppose the VTT guidelines would be amended to "what is possible without using computers" at the table top.

TomB
 
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