App for Generating Worlds

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Tay
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App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:37 pm

I’ve been working on converting one of my old Excel World Generators into a Proper little Visual Basic App, and was wondering if this is acceptable from Mongoose.

I am not looking to sell it or make any money from it. I thought seeing as there are plenty of Excel sheets that do this, then turning one of those into something a bit more stable and less reliant on having Excel installed would be ok??

It’s nothing overly fancy. It generates a Single planet, plus all the fluff that could go with it ( or will ).
F33D
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby F33D » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:02 pm

Just make the app so that the user can enter the variables and there is no problem. But, otherwise, you should get permission.
phavoc
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby phavoc » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:06 pm

You should be fine with your generator. Output is not protected by copyright, nor are the specific formula's that make up the generator.

Here's what the US Copyright office has concerning games and copyrights:

Games

Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.

Material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container may be registrable.

If your game includes any written element, such as instructions or directions, the Copyright Office recommends that you apply to register it as a literary work. Doing so will allow you to register all copyrightable parts of the game, including any pictorial elements. When the copyrightable elements of the game consist predominantly of pictorial matter, you should apply to register it as a work of the visual arts.

The deposit requirements for copyright registration will vary, depending on whether the work has been published at the time of registration. If the game is published, the proper deposit is one complete copy of the work. If, however, the game is published in a box larger than 12" x 24" x 6" (or a total of 1,728 cubic inches) then identifying material must be submitted in lieu of the entire game. (See “identifying material” below.) If the game is published and contains fewer than three three-dimensional elements, then identifying material for those parts must be submitted in lieu of those parts. If the game is unpublished, either one copy of the game or identifying material should be deposited.

Identifying material deposited to represent the game or its three-dimensional parts usually consists of photographs, photostats, slides, drawings, or other two-dimensional representations of the work. The identifying material should include as many pieces as necessary to show the entire copyrightable content of the work, including the copyright notice if it appears on the work. All pieces of identifying material other than transparencies must be no less than 3" x 3" in size, and not more than 9" x 12", but preferably 8" x 10". At least one piece of identifying material must, on its front, back, or mount, indicate the title of the work and an exact measurement of one or more

You can read it here: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html
Golan2072
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Golan2072 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:56 am

I used to have a Python script to generate CT worlds, but I think I lost it in a computer crash. If anyone has it, I'd love to have it - and share it.
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Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:36 am

Have some screen shots if anyone is interested.

Still a long way to go on this

http://worldoftay.blogspot.co.uk/
phavoc
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby phavoc » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:55 pm

Something that would be of use to referee's would be the ability to tweak the world in order to meet the settings you require for your adventure. From your screen shot, it look like you might be able to alter a roll to modified by the ref after the random number generator generates the first set of rolls. Is this correct?
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:15 pm

Sort of yes.

The first column is the roll, second is the Result with Modifiers. This can be edited. Just need to add a button to say, if you edit it, update the UWP at the top etc.
hdan
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby hdan » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:42 pm

Golan2072 wrote:I used to have a Python script to generate CT worlds, but I think I lost it in a computer crash. If anyone has it, I'd love to have it - and share it.
I have a python script I wrote to generate CT worlds, and I'd be happy to send it to you.
(I also have a JavaScript and Forth version, because I'm that kind of dork. the Python one works the best though.)
/hdan
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:52 am

Have made some adjustments to the layout. Still some way to go, seeing as I am doing this in my spare time and this is my first real programming project.

Also moved the blog.

http://worldoftay.wordpress.com/

Any feedback welcome
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby GamerDude » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:43 pm

Haven't been following the blog but it looks good.

Since something I find myself doing a lot is working with stuff other people created but all I have is a WPF and some fluffy flavor text. So one thing I'd like to ask for (if it doesn't already have it) is - being able to input the WPF and get it decoded back into plain English.
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Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:31 pm

The Basic generator part now works. Just going through and checking the output is all correct.

Once I am happy with the output, I will finish off the Save feature to include the necessary info. Once that is done, I will add the option to insert or import a UWP and generate the additional info from that.

http://worldoftay.wordpress.com/
F33D
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby F33D » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:09 pm

Tay wrote:The Basic generator part now works. Just going through and checking the output is all correct.

Once I am happy with the output, I will finish off the Save feature to include the necessary info. Once that is done, I will add the option to insert or import a UWP and generate the additional info from that.

http://worldoftay.wordpress.com/
Looks very cool. One Q (maybe I need more coffee) is that I didn't see a place holder for Gas Giant presence...
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Yeah I spotted that too after I did the post. The code is there, but the box was missing from the view.
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:17 pm

Version 1 is ready.

If anyone is interested please leave a comment on the Blog.

http://worldoftay.wordpress.com/
Last edited by Tay on Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:17 pm

Unfortunately I have been asked not to publish this app.

So I will Cease as Asked.

Oh well.
phavoc
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby phavoc » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:27 am

Do read the link I gave you regarding copyrights. One cannot copyright a word, or a mathematical formula, nor may one copyright an output.

One cannot also copyright terms for stellar phenomena, nor may a UPP be copyrighted.

Sometimes people will tell you that you may not do a thing, but they have no legal right to do so. You need not mention any particular gaming system, just call it a sci-fi roleplaying world generator application and go from there.

I hope you don't get too discouraged from someone bullying you.
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Wil Mireu » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:03 am

Who's asked you not to publish it?

If Traveller UWPs and definitions are the issue then just don't use Traveller-specific UWPs and codes. Nobody can stop you publishing a world generator that creates a world whose radius may be described as "6,000 miles". has a "thin, breathable" atmosphere, is "60% covered by liquid water", has a population of "500,000 people" run by a "representative democracy" that "bans all handguns or heavier weapons" and has "2000-2100 technology".

Actually, now I check it, I don't see why you would even need to do that. The UWPs and their definitions are listed in the Traveller SRD as Open Content (and indeed they were open content when T20 was published too). That means you don't need a license to use them or their definitions. There's also nothing in the OGL legal blurb that prevents you from writing software that uses OGL material (as far as I can see, the only thing you'd have to do is include the OGL text itself somewhere in the product).

The Traveller Logo License specifically doesn't allow publisher to produce software with the Traveller Logo on it, but I can see no reason why a generic, purely OGL-compatible, non-commercial world generator without a Traveller logo would be forbidden by that. And you're also not explictly describing the process of making the UWPs (so nobody can say you're "reproducing the rules" if that was a possible argument) - you're just letting the user press a button that generates them.

The FFE Fair Use policy says this:
We have a liberal Fair Use Policy. If your activity is non-commercial, you can make copies to support playing the game, you can scan copies for your computer, you can write short programs and spreadsheets which automate processes within the game. You can make copies of pages as handouts for players. You can make web pages in support of Traveller.
The key word is non-commercial. If you are selling what you copy or reproduce, then you violate Fair Use.
Note however that this section doesn't say anything about whether or not you can distribute the material you copy or create... but either way I think the Fair Use Policy doesn't even apply here because the material that you are using has been explicitly declared to be Open Content. That trumps everything else, as far as I am aware.

Note that I am not a lawyer, however, so don't take what I say as gospel (it's possible that I may have missed something!) - but a common sense reading of all the available material implies that there isn't a legal reason to forbid you from releasing a generic, purely-OGL, non-commercial program that is used to generate UWPs.

You can swot up on the relevant licenses yourself at: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/travdevpack.zip
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby GamerDude » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:38 am

Folks, read the part of the license that governs software... the answer is "NO" to software.

Writing up the Excel spreadsheet, automating it or whatever falls under "software"


As for who asked? could be Mongoose, could be Marc Miller (directly or through Mongoose).
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Wil Mireu » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:10 am

GamerDude wrote:Folks, read the part of the license that governs software... the answer is "NO" to software.
This is the only mention of software I can find in the Traveller Logo License v1c:
4. The Traveller logo may only be used with English language gaming books (both printed and electronic). Foreign translations, novels, miniatures, computer games and other media are specifically exempt from this agreement. Third parties interested in producing such material are invited to contact Mongoose Publishing (msprange@mongoosepublishing.com) for a separate licence.
This only applies to anything that uses the Traveller Logo license. OGL does not use or require the Traveller Logo License, so this does not apply to it.

The "Read Me First" document in the Developers Pack says in the "What you can't do" section:
• Publish software based on the current edition of Traveller.
But...

1) The UWPs are not necessarily "the current edition of Traveller". They have been used since CT was first published. And UWPs have been Open Content since T20 (IIRC the UWP generation rules were not OGC back then, but the UWPs generated by them were).
2) The UWPs and world generation have been released under the Traveller OGL and are available in the Traveller SRD. Material that is released under the Open License can be reprinted word for word by any third party publisher in a commercial product (Mongoose did it themselves with the d20 OGL, with their Pocket Players Handbook), so where is the justification for preventing anyone from writing software that does the same thing? In fact, in this case it doesn't even do that - it just allows the user to generate results, it doesn't even reprint the rules (even though that is allowed).

So does Mongoose (or whoever) really have the legal ability to prevent anyone from publishing non-commercial software based solely on OGL content? It doesn't seem that way to me...
Tay
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Re: App for Generating Worlds

Postby Tay » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:22 am

Many thanks for the feedback.

I emailed Mat and mentioned what I was doing and he asked that I don't release the App. It wasn't a cease order but a request. No reason given. I assume from an earlier email that at some point Mongoose may want to release their own software to do this.

The actual app currently randomly generates the rolls necessary to generate the UWP and from that give out the detailed info relating to Bases, Pop, Hydro, etc etc.

Nothing that is not in the SRD.

Its non-commercial and purely an aid for GM's to make their lives easier. I use it to quickly generate worlds and then Subsectors.

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