Monday, April 6, 2015

Some Policy Clarifications

Over the past few days I've received a handful of emails asking for clarification concerning my policies on agent distribution, even from people I don't normally chat with. I might sound silly, but I found it kind of touching that you lovelies are honestly concerned about my feelings regarding my creations. It warms my fuzzy little heart to know that there are those who see the humanity behind the alias (something that seems to be increasingly uncommon on the internet in general these days, but that is a rant for my non-creatures blog). Sometimes I get disenchanted with the CC, but it really does have some kind souls. Thank you, friends. <3

Anyway, to get to the point, it seems like most of the confusion is stemming from the old readme I packaged with some of my older agents. I stopped packaging these readmes with agents a while back, choosing to rely on the good will of the community. Asking permission before rehosting someone else's work has been considered common courtesy within the community for the decade and a half I've been a part of it, and aside from the occasional well-meaning but hard-headed newbie who wants to host everything in one place, the CC as a whole has generally been very polite and respectful in honoring that courtesy. With that in mind, I suppose it seemed unnecessary to include a reminder in a text file that, honestly, I don't think many people read.

However, a lot of questions have been dotting my inbox about more specific policies regarding my agents, and apparently the only policy I have stated is in this old readme, which comically states, "Please don't distribute this agent unless I fall off the face of the earth and this is all you have to remember me by."

At the time, I didn't think of it as anything other than the lighthearted reminder of the obvious that it was, but according to the concerned community members who contacted me via the email address listed in the same readme, this can be interpreted to mean a wide range of things, from the excessively liberal, "distribute this agent if I stop posting on one creatures forum" to the comically literal, "don't distribute this agent unless I am lost in space and all traces of my life have been erased except for this file. "

So I am here to clarify that while I haven't updated this blog much and rarely check forums anymore, I am still very much alive, playing creatures, and interacting with a handful of community members on a regular basis. Mostly importantly, I definitely am not lost in space, in case that was actually anyone's fear!

But in all seriousness, since these questions have come up a lot recently, I thought it would be beneficial to refine my policies a bit and make sure they are understandable to everyone, so here we go:

Sharing any of my agents or articles with individuals via email or whatever method you prefer to transfer files from one person to another is okay. Not like anyone could stop you anyway.

Hosting my agents on your public website or blog by either uploading them to your own space or uploading them to another hosting service and linking to them is discouraged until I stop hosting them myself.

Hosting my articles, in whole or in part, is discouraged. Of course, the actual information within the articles is fair game and certainly should be shared; I would just prefer my exact words not end up out of context somewhere. Quoting a few lines in a forum post (linking to the full article) with the intention of helping someone out is totally okay, and of course, if my blog goes down and no archives are available, you are free to host them at that time.

Including my agents in a non-commercial agent pack or compilation will most likely be allowed if you ask! I will probably package up a special version of the agent specifically for the compilation.

Similarly, including my articles in a compilation of some sort is likely to be allowed if you ask and I don't find the compilation to be offensive or something.

Modifying my agents for your own purposes (especially learning purposes) is encouraged! I do ask that if make your modified agents available to the public, you link back to the original agent post and mention the version number of the agent (if there is no version number, just list the version as 1.0). Furthermore, I request that you allow others to also alter and build upon the modified agent, in the spirit of sharing alike.

However, these guidelines only apply to content that I have created. If you want to modify agents that contain sprites others have created, such as SERU or the Elevines, make sure you contact the spriter to make sure it's okay (or just use your own sprites)!

I think that about covers it. Once again, thank you to all of you that emailed me this past week, and I'm sorry I didn't clarify these things from the beginning. If you have any questions or concerns, leave a comment or email me at themaneda at gmail dot com.


  1. I really do love the Creatures Community for this sort of thing. Having multiple emails hitting your inbox asking for extended permissions is not something you'd always expect, but with our little group it no longer surprises me.

    By the way, what's your other non-creatures blog? I feel I could be interested in some of your other thoughts.

    1. Hey Arch, it's good to hear from you! It was a little exciting to get those questions; I wonder what sorts of fun things people are planning sometimes.

      If you want to email me (the address is at the end of this blog post), I'll be happy to share the URL of my personal blog with you; just be forewarned it's not exactly interesting, mostly just pictures of food and my cat and occasional whining about my life, hah :>

  2. I've found it seemed to be really helpful to post the source code alongside my Garden Box agents - it seemed to implicitly give permission for people to look at what I'd done and create their own agents based on that 'worked example'. It's been great to see new people taking up making agents for the GB!

    1. Hmmm, that is a good point Malkin. While I don't mind my agents being de-compiled and rifled through, just posting the source itself would probably encourage more people to use it as a starting point for their own stuff.

      Additionally, I'm a little self-conscious about some of my old sloppy coding habits (shee help anyone who tries to decode the atrocity that is the garden box core), so making a habit of preparing my source code for release alongside my agents would probably encourage better code organization anyway, heh. I should probably make a point of aiming for that in the future; anything to spark more development :>