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Open source army scale wargame rules?

 Post subject: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:40 pm 
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Hello,
With the rise of tablets and 3D printers I expect the future of tabletop war games to change dramatically. In fact for our local epic(heavily house ruled old epic 40k) community I developed already a web app which (by use of tablets) completely replaced our paper book keeping.

What troubles me is that all rules and backgrounds are under copyright. This is especially true for epic. I would love to be able add armies, publish the app and abuse the 3D printer.

So my question is:
Do you know of a rule set and a background which is free to use. For example if I create a web App for it I wouldn't step on anybody's toes. If we print miniatures for the game we wouldn't hurt (or anger) a business.

With kind regards,
Athistaur


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:35 am 
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I've thought about starting a collaborative creative commons licensed version of Epic. Also, I think Hena's rule set may be CC, not sure.

Fluff is much harder, I've not come across a decent CC sci-fi universe, anyone else?

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:32 am 
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All rules sets will belong to a person intellectually. To put out a rules set of your own and not lay any kind of claim to it is just asking for someone to rip it off. That said, I am sure that there are many companies that would give your permission to use theirs, especially when currently companies make nothing on their rules in the first place, and they are a vehicle to drive more mini sales.

I think that the closest that you will find is Polyversal, which is a rules set that already (although currently still in development) utilises minis and background from a variety of mini companies. The problem with this approach, is that you are essentially asking to take the rules out of the designers hands and create a spur development of your own, based on their work.

The other approach is to ask a mini company like Exodus if you can help drive playtesting of their rules. A lot of companies which are starting out dont have the manpower to create a rules set and do everything else as well. But, if you are doing this, you are basically creating your own rules engine yourself anyway. And from their point of view, you are taking their rules set and potentially using their work to sell minis from another company.

All that said, we have lists here under development for Genestealer Cults, Squats, and a variety of other races, not all GW approved.

If you want to actually publish as app then the Lone Wolf system is one possibility, which publishes an environment only, and users add and distribute their own army lists for it, so Lone Wolf dont have to deal with GW copyright. At the end of the day, though, you are looking to take the work done by a rules writer, wrap an app around it and distribute it without their consent or control. Its not an impossible proposition, but there isnt much in it for the rules writer either.

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:46 am 
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CyberShadow wrote:
All rules sets will belong to a person intellectually.


Is this correct? Leaving aside 'fluff', I understood that in most jurisdictions a particular expression of a ruleset (i.e. rule book) is protected by copyright but the mechanics themselves are not considered intellectual property. Therefore anyone could re-write any ruleset as an original work, and claim copyright/left on that particular expression of the mechanics.


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:14 pm 
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@Cybershadow: intellectual property is very important to respect, even if legal considerations are ignored. Just to clarify, I' explicitly do not want to use anything without consent, that's one reason to ask here.

I had a look at polyversal and I do not think that would fit. They are still relying on the income from the sales of the box set and a free App would hurt those.

I do own an army from Exodus and a cooperation would hurt them as well. 3D printed tanks diminish their income through miniature sales.

I had a look at lone Wolf and I already went a similar approach with a past(and finished) project for D&D. But I would like to include more ... Content.

I'm not afraid of starting on a rule set and universe of my own and publish it under for example creative license. But I'm well aware of the amount of unfinished projects in the internet and I would prefer to help to finish a good project instead of adding one more to the list.
And if there is already a good project it makes no sense to reinvent the wheel. With the amount of stuff in the internet I would have guessed that there is something out there already, somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:15 pm 
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Hey, if you have heavily adapted it already why not push forward epic 40k (under a new title if nec.) ? As gw has pulled right out of 6mm and seemed to disown e40k as soon as they released it i can't see they could take much offence! Netepic has been running fine for years with no problems. E40k still remains a rule set with great potential imho (and jervis' favor game apparently.) It just got aborted before its time - make it shine!


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:57 am 
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adam77 wrote:
Is this correct? Leaving aside 'fluff', I understood that in most jurisdictions a particular expression of a ruleset (i.e. rule book) is protected by copyright but the mechanics themselves are not considered intellectual property. Therefore anyone could re-write any ruleset as an original work, and claim copyright/left on that particular expression of the mechanics.


Sorry, I wasnt entirely clear. What I mean is that the text and physical output of a person that constitutes the rules belongs to someone. A set of rules has to be the product of a persons - or groups - work. Anybody could rewrite any existing set, but the fact that Athistaur is asking at this point implies that he wants to use the text 'as is'. No rules set appears without someone writing it, and most people who write a rules set and background have a lot of personal interest in it, and are therefore unlikely to simply hand it over for another person to take in their own direction.

Athistaur wrote:
@Cybershadow: intellectual property is very important to respect, even if legal considerations are ignored. Just to clarify, I' explicitly do not want to use anything without consent, that's one reason to ask here.

I had a look at polyversal and I do not think that would fit. They are still relying on the income from the sales of the box set and a free App would hurt those.

I do own an army from Exodus and a cooperation would hurt them as well. 3D printed tanks diminish their income through miniature sales.


My apologies. What I wrote came off a little heavy handed. I wasnt implying that you wanted to rebrand someone elses work and profit and distribute it, probably while twisting a thin moustache and adjusting your monocle. ;)

But your points above outline the difficulty with this idea. All rules sets are produced with a specific goal in mind - and often this goal is either to drive the background for a mini line, drive sales for a mini line, or because the riles set is the endeavour that the person is trying to push. In all cases, if someone went to the (not inconsiderable, trust me I know) trouble of writing a rules set and background, they have a good reason for doing it, and therefore most likely a good reason to hold on to it. This is especially true if you are looking at a rules set designed to showcase minis from one specific company - as many of them are.

The only alternative left is a rules set and background which doesnt belong to a company, and has been written by an individual - or, more likely, a gaming group. But even then they would need to be OK with at the very least creating a spur in the game development.

I think that the easiest solution is simply to write your own. Keep it very simple, and borrow the best bits from the games that you love. As blip says, if you have a start with an E40K port, then this seems a logical place to start.

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:49 pm 
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Thanks for all the answers,
I had a look at Hena's project and it's great, but I'm looking for a science fiction background.

So it looks like I will do it on my own, I'm not starting from scratch anyway.
I will release it under the same license as Hena did, it's perfect for what I have in mind.
If someone is interested to add to the brainstorming for the setting/background I would be honored.

Right now I have a few points fixed:
- science fiction
- space travel is common
- human factions exist
- alien factions exist
- shield (think like deflector shields) technology is common
- some kind of supernatural exist
- epic scale conflicts are likely, this means factions are organized
So until here a mostly generic background. I have a few unique ideas for factions but this is out of scope for this post.


And the most pressing issue right now:
- What is the big idea to give this universe an interesting and distinct touch?

I'm not requesting a fully fledged out background, just inspiration.

With kind regards,
Athistaur


Last edited by Athistaur on Fri May 02, 2014 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 9:12 pm 
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While Jon Tuffley owns the copyrights, I do want to point out that Dirtside, Stargrunt, and Full Thrust are all freely available from the Ground Zero Games website. All are extremely customizable to handle different rule sets and settings.

Jon's a hobbyist first. If you asked him if you could use his rules (though not the text or fluff) as the basis for an open source project under an LGPL or some other kind of open source license, that he'd at very least give you a fair hearing and a very gentlemanly response. And I wouldn't put money against him just saying, "run with it" and opening it up.

His rules are classics, perhaps could use a little updating, but are very solid and fairly popular. So it's worth an ask.


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Thanks,
I'll have a look and contact him.

Cheers,
Athistaur


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 10:58 pm 
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Let us know if that works. If it doesn't pan out I'm sure you can get some help or suggestions here.

What kind of wargame are you hoping to base it on? By that I mean the playstyle and general rules you're hoping for.

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:58 am 
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Hi Berternie,
I read the online rule-book for dirtside II and it's extremely close to what I'm looking for, but it looks like it's designed for smaller Battlegroups then I expected.

By now I pretty much settled for the adventure of writing my own project from scratch. As Cybershadow pointed out this will take a while.

About play style and general rules:
- simple basic rules which include some stronger abstractions to keep things easy
- army size of 100 or more models per side
- unit individual special rules
- distinct phase of movement and fire, alternating activations during those phases.
- encourage a lot of movement of the armies.
- rock, paper, scissors principle hidden in game mechanics

Another goal is that anybody with a sufficient advanced 3D Printer and internet access should be able to play this game without any further requirements.


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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:23 am 
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Athistaur wrote:
I do own an army from Exodus and a cooperation would hurt them as well. 3D printed tanks diminish their income through miniature sales.


Not as much as you'd think. Our income is split between IT work, sales of Exodus Wars, Onslaught Miniatures, Troublemaker Games and our own computer game.

We now operate in synergy with the 6mm SciFi hobby. Only something that effects a large part of the hobby will cause a noticeable effect which is why we invest heavily in supporting tournies and fan based work.

We've always intended our rules to be free, in fact we'd love to see all the sci fi models on our site with new faction books. Because of this we are expanding each faction hugely so everyone has balanced forces. I've just sent off a load of Khazari and Prefect infantry to get cast up and work on the Edenites continues.

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 Post subject: Re: Open source army scale wargame rules?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:47 am 
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Feel free to steal ideas from my rules and fluff.
If you do publish that is cool, just refrain from using the words official and so on.
I have definite story arc that is official, any 'unofficial' but recognised work is cool though.

drop me an e-mail if you want to discuss.



Michael.

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