Poll Question 266 – Would you not play a mod if you knew it had stolen content?

17th March 2012

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I found a mod on ModDB yesterday and a few reviewers were saying that it had stolen content. I am now in a quandary: I want PP to have everything single SP mod available but I don’t want to post something that steals content from other mod makers.

To be honest, if modders steal stuff from retail games, I don’t mind too much, but if it is from other modders, that seems a little unfair, although I accept there’s no real difference.

I suppose that I will eventually add it, but I’ll see how the ModDB community responds to this particular issue before I decide.

Of course, hosting a mod and playing it are two different things, so what about you Would you not play a mod if you knew it had stolen content?

Note: The thumbnail image is NOT from the mod in question.

Get voting


  1. smod_adik

    yes I won’t support a mod with real stolen content from other modders. modders work hard on their stuff so it really pisses me off on those freaking stealers from different continents.

  2. Rog

    There’s a fine line right? Many people believe modding itself to be a form of content theft. I think most of us here would consider it a form of remix. A defining element is permission.

    I’d consider applying “all art is theft” (Picasso) principles, but with the vast amount of permissible content available to mod, why use something you don’t have permission for? They need damn good artistic reasons to do so IMHO. Just liking something is not a good enough reason and convenience certainly not.

    I voted Yes I’m against it (confusing positive-negative wording on the vote by the way), because I’m assuming it was done for convenience. Otherwise I think you would have mentioned artistic merit.

    1. I voted Yes I’m against it (confusing positive-negative wording on the vote by the way), because I’m assuming it was done for convenience.

      You are absolutely right, I have modified the choices, although it’s still not perfect.

  3. Let’s sum up the story.
    First, the mod concerned is the CUBE mod, let’s name it.

    Background : some Russian modders are currently developing a trilogy of HL2 alternate universe mods, a mix of LOST, Fringe, and HL2.
    These mod’s are the CUBE, Hatch.18 and Other-Life.

    CUBE was released a few days ago. I posted the news on Facepunch. The general consensus is that the mod is good, overall.
    But, the mod has cited in his credits “Nightmare House 2, Blue Portals..” and others for “ideas”…

    And that’s when there is a problem : the “ideas”, in the case of Blue Portals, are literally textures, sounds, and mechanics (the water walls) completly re-used…

    Personnally, I think this is just a beginner’s error, as this was their first mod, and indeed they listed the mod’s in the credits. I hope the problem will soon be resolved, because Blue Portal’s dev” is very angry and really want to make the dl file disappear.

    We’ll see. Personnally I don’t see it as a machiavellian conspiracy, how the CUBE team “stole” content… Just a big misunderstanding.

  4. lambda

    If they give correct credit, I would still honestly play it as long as its good. If they didn’t ask, your in a moral area, but I would still play it.

    The thing is I don’t think I would let the theft of content stop me from playing a good game. I would not approve of the method but its interesting as I don’t think it would stop me

  5. I perfectly know about this, mainly for the reason that I was the one who marked the target.
    But to the main thing.
    I think the problem with CUBE was resolved, the download was removed for a day but then later it was re-added so I guess they have solved everything with the BP team.
    Now unrelated to CUBE
    Personally I don’t know what the problem is, the modding community should be united to develop the best mods there are, but people tend to stay on their own side, mark themselves as the perfection and sometimes laugh down on those, who made them popular in the first place.
    Offcourse if you would break your mind over the nights and days about new gameplay elements, and then somebody would sign it as his own … I can only understand your rage.
    But if you credit the person, thank him in the mod’s credits for what he came up with. Then it is not only free advertisement, but also the most kindly thing you could have done.
    You are making that ceartin person popular, you are adding him or the entier team to the list of people who worked hard on a mod, and they are those that didn’t created anything specific for the project in the first case.

    So the finale result for this is :
    A) If you give credit, it’s like bowing infront of the second person.
    B) The mod community is full of people that do not like to lend their ideas.
    C) If you are just going to go and “Steal” without ANY kind of premission, not giving any credits, then you are just a simple bosh’tet.

  6. Hec

    I said, if the mod is good i’ll try, and really I don’t know what’s the position of the modder who developed this maybe it was a silly mistake of them, I don’t know lack of comunication they SHOULD have asked for permission from the other modders, but im a pure gamer and if it’s good i’ll try it. Yeah I might try it I answer the poll that way, I ask my point to be respect as I respect the other gamers who don’t want to try it.

  7. Jim P (Aazell)

    I personally will always make the VMF files available for all my work and give other modders permission to steal as they see fit. I do this on the basis of several beliefs:

    1: If they can improve on my ideas, that would be a map that I would want to play.

    2: If they can’t improve on my ideas then I’m still the daddy!

    3: It will provide more content to the community.

    4: They might learn something and become better modders.

    5: That none of this is my content anyway as it’s Valve who allow us all to mod for their games in the first place and all the content belongs to them at the end of the day.

    6: Meh, do I really care of content from my mod shows up elsewhere… no… I’d rather spend my energy coming up with something new rather than fighting to retain something old.

  8. Noface/GeorgeC

    I would not be impressed by it. But I may still play it for the gameplay, although that still wouldn’t redeem itself. Now, if they obtained permission, then I wouldn’t feel so bad, but I would still not be as impressed by the map maker.

  9. As I’ve finished the mod, I can say the first hours were like the team didn’t know how to properly do their “own” mod and so they heavily borrowed mechanics from Portal games and HL2 mods,

    but the more you advance, the more the mod takes its own personality and mechanics, to the point it gets really interesting in the 3 last chapters (out of 10).

    In fact, for half the mod I thought I was playing Portal-Life 2, and then I felt playing more and more “really” in the CUBE. They seem to have gained more confidence when working on the mod, as in the last parts you’ve also some pretty good puzzles, some jokes, easter eggs.

    The mod also borrows some code from Nightmare House 2, etc… Think of it as a giant melting-pot of good mod’s who progressively decided to become more independent.

  10. Herr_Alien

    I would play it. Even only to find how they used the stolen material.

  11. agent00kevin

    I would not play a Mod with stolen content. If an arrangement is made to use the content, that is ok.

    I mapped for Far Cry 2 for about 15 months, and map theft was a big problem in the community. Not just ideas were taken, but entire maps were edited just slightly and renamed and republished as someone else’s work. No credit was given to the original creator, the one who spent countless hours developing each map. This is something I detested. I had it happen several times and was pretty bothered by it every time.

    I recently had someone from Gamebanana ask me for the models I recompiled with new animations, as he couldnt get them to work properly for a release on GB. I did not send him the models, as they are made for my own project and not for release on Gamebanana, where they would saturate the modding scene and not be fairly original for my own work. This would be very disappointing to me, and I am sure they will be taken from my Mod after release and incorporated into others. Unless asked prior, I will request they be removed.

    Thats because I spent several days deciphering the .qc files and figuring out how to make it all work. I literally got a headache two of the evenings I worked on them. It was a lot of effort, and for someone to take it and use it without asking or doing it themselves would be aggrevating.

    Stealing content; using it without asking or getting permission, is something I do not support or tolerate. A lot of effort goes into asset creation, and for someone to just take it is wrong.

  12. Argh, I accidentally chose the wrong option in the poll. Confusing question and answer – the negative is a positive response and the positive is a negative response.

    What I meant to vote for was that I would play a mod with stolen content. Two reasons:

    1) I play games and mods for entertainment, and I don’t really care who created what aspect of it as long as I enjoy the final experience. It think it is important that the modder gives credit to anyone else that he “borrowed” things from, and if someone pretends that they made everything from scratch, that’s bad. I’d still play the mod anyway though! I’d frown upon the mod-maker for trying to pass all the work off as their own, but if the mod is a fun experience, I’m still going to want to play it.

    2) From a moral point of view, I’ve always felt that modders should be completely open to allowing other modders to use their content. Modding is all about extending the life of a game, either with new levels or stories or weapons or enemies or whatever. If someone creates a free Half-Life mod with a new type of zombie or portal or gun, I don’t understand the attitude “no you can’t use it, it is mine and is only for use in my own mod, go create your own new zombie/portal/gun”. That would be the same as Valve software saying we were not allowed to make Half-Life mods, “no you can’t use any of our content, go create your own game from scratch!”

    I noticed that the mod “Mesa Fallback” uses some content that I created. The soldier voices use my “HL1 style Combine soldier voicepack, with intelligent sentences system”. I created the pack because Half-Life 2 has a clever system for enemy dialogue but it is too difficult to understand what Combine soldiers actually say. Every squad has a name and every member has a number, and the soldiers shout their names/numbers when reporting your position or which of their comrades have been killed, and they also shout the player’s distance and stuff like that. Since the Combine voices were impossible to undestand, I used HL1 soldier voices to recreate the dialogue so that it was understandable. It also had a retro side-effect of making the enemies sound like HL1 soldiers, which is what made it desirable for the creator of the Mesa Fallback mod since that mod is a Half-Life Opposing Force style experience set in Black Mesa.

    Without my work the Mesa Fallback soldiers would have had HL2 voices or would have been silent, or the modder would have had to spend days creating his own version of my sound pack and sentences system from scratch. And that would be a complete waste. If someone makes a sound pack or a cool M4 assault rifle or a teleportation portal, why should another mod team have to spend days or weeks or months learning the sound editing/model-making/programming skills to make something incredibly similar from scratch?

    The creator of Mesa Fallback never asked for my permission to use my work, and I’m not sure if the mod credits me at all as the mod didn’t come with a seperate credits file and I never got around to finishing the game and seeing the end credits sequence. (That reminds me, I should finish it, it was pretty cool.) Even if I’m not credited, I don’t mind and I’m not going to complain about the mod using my work, because I think it is awesome that someone used my work to make their mod better.

    1. Hec

      I play games and mods for entertainment, and I don’t really care who created what aspect of it as long as I enjoy the final experience. It think it is important that the modder gives credit to anyone else that he “borrowed” things from, and if someone pretends that they made everything from scratch, that’s bad

      I definietely agree with that, that’s my thinking about the whole issue.

  13. Hec

    I’ve played THE CUBE, at least the first part after the 10th chamber test when u can choose the sudden 1st ending of it, which I also conssider is the best part of the whole mod despite some bugs.

    And I have to tell that i’ve seen the “stolen” pieces related to the BP mod, and I really personaly don’t conssider it as the bigest “sin in modding history”, really. I even tought it was great to see some other mods cool fetures in relevant earlier mods, maybe not to mention them it was just a silly mistake of the authors of the Cube , and personaly i’d be glad if I was a modder and some other guys took some of my works to make theirs better.

    Overall I conssider the cube is a good mod and interesting because is kind of highly related to the Portal and HL story-plots as in its own altern modding reality so that’s cool and I hope PP could post it, or at least hear an intreview with part of the developers to clear in an honest way the “stolen issue”.

    If some earlier mods would use some great models or features like the ones we have in “Human Error”, i’d definietely will play that mod. So we have to rethink the points not precisely if u take some other mod gameplay asset you are the big thief, come on! modding comunity should be fun and reproductive, if i’d be in a 100% stolen mod, well that’s different, here we are talking about a very interesting one with some cool inovations included.

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