Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

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Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:15 pm

Mobile Frame Zero will be released under the Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike license. That means that you will be able to copy, modify, share, and republish as long as you give the copyright holders credit and your own creation shares the same license.

In addition to these restrictions and liberties, I have a few more requirements:

1: When you publish something, you must be the owner of that thing. When you write a story, you'll be the person publishing it. That's non-exclusive, of course; if a friend is printing your fanfic in a book of short stories or you're compiling a bunch of robot designs, for instance, the publisher will not be allowed to claim that they're part of Mobile Frame Zero unless their rights are non-exclusive; that is, you, the creator, can still do whatever you want with them.

2: The materials must fit the Solar Calendar timeline in tone and aesthetics, or, if you're creating your own calendar (more on this in a moment) then you say what the new calendar is. For example, if you want to have 40-meter-tall robots, make a new calendar and set up a new history where that makes sense.

3: Your materials may not promote Fascism. This is a rather more complex matter than the other two, but at a bare minimum, the material must:
  • Absolutely avoid sexualizing violence (or vice-versa)
  • Describe violence as a desperate means to an objective, rather than glorification of violence as an expression of humanity or masculinity or some other essential quality
  • Accept a modern outlook — that reason, technology, science, and evolution provide for the society that produces them — in favor of feudal or imperial structures
  • Express meaningful distinctions between at least three factions
  • Never suppress individuality in favor of violence or its institutions
  • Codify formal identity as individuals as members of a society, rather than of a species, ethnic group, state, or other birthright
  • Never express contempt for weakness (this includes raw pity)
  • Assume that this particular war will end, producing an outcome that favors the winner but will have unexpected consequences for all participants

If you ask clarifying questions, I'll know how to clarify the above statement (which will eventually be found in the book) so I'd really appreciate it!

Before you respond to point 3, please read Umberto Eco's essay on what he calls Ur-Fascism.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Wadmaasi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:50 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
  • Codify formal identity as individuals as members of a society, rather than of a species, ethnic group, state, or other birthright

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this one. I think I get what you're trying to say, but then my eyeballs and brain start looping around and turning back on themselves and I lose the thread.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:42 pm

I think I understand. A society is made up of individuals with personalities and beliefs and convictions and traditions and etc. Each individual is part of that, shares in it's definition. One's species, ethnic group, or state, really says nothing about an individual's choices, convictions, beliefs. Put another way, don't be racist. "He's an Italian male from New Jersey, and you know what they're like." That sort of stereotyping is shallow, uninteresting, and at it's core unfair to the individual.

Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:24 pm

It's dicey, yeah! I'm trying to figure out how to address it without just relying on examples, but I'm gonna start that way anyway.

Some themes that have evolved in F/SF that are problematic:

  • Subhumans: Orcs, Chaos Cultists. These guys are OK to kill because they're "actually evil".
  • Primitives: Gungans, Na/avi, Thark. These guys, on the other hand, need saving because they're constitutionally unable to stand up for themselves.
  • Unpeople: hive-minds, pod-people, Martian Tripods, stormtroopers (from Star Wars, not the real ones), the Alien. None of these are people in their own right, by definition.
  • Good guys against the wall: Space Marines in Warhammer, Starship Troopers (both movie and book but differently) (These guys have the benefit of a universe that actually supports their absurd violence-lifestyle)

The issue is not whether a faction sees another group or themselves this way. When you're making a colony, you're making what, for the purposes of the fiction, actually is true. So you can make TEMs or mercenaries or whatever who call Ijad "Shroomheads" and think of them as subhuman hive mind, but that doesn't mean it's true. You have only to look at any propaganda piece to figure out how crazily invested in dehumanization those systems are. North Korean propaganda literally makes Americans out to be baby-cannibals. German propaganda makes Jews out to be hulking, monstrous rapists. Soviet propaganda makes African Americans out to be helpless children.

But your colony, rules, or whatever material you make up, it can say that people say that stuff, but the material can't say that it's true.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:24 pm

kc2dpt wrote:I think I understand. A society is made up of individuals with personalities and beliefs and convictions and traditions and etc. Each individual is part of that, shares in it's definition. One's species, ethnic group, or state, really says nothing about an individual's choices, convictions, beliefs. Put another way, don't be racist. "He's an Italian male from New Jersey, and you know what they're like." That sort of stereotyping is shallow, uninteresting, and at it's core unfair to the individual.

Correct me if I'm wrong, please.


At its core, yeah! Totally!
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Wadmaasi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:30 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:But your colony, rules, or whatever material you make up, it can say that people say that stuff, but the material can't say that it's true.

That seems to be the most concise way of putting it; I see the distinction you're making.

As a purely logistical question, how is that going to be enforced? Sifting through everything that anyone wants to print/publish could be...devouring.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Xca|iber » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:53 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:But your colony, rules, or whatever material you make up, it can say that people say that stuff, but the material can't say that it's true.


Would it perhaps be safe to say that fan-made material can depict Fascism and Fascists, but not espouse the idea that the principles of Fascism are universal truths?

I guess my real question comes down to where you feel the line between storytelling and promotion lies. Fascism, Imperialism, Feudalism, and chauvinism all exist in the world today, so it seems to me that it's only logical for these concepts and ideologies to exist in a future rife with poverty (the colonies), expansionism (Solar Union), and racial tension (the Ijad). For example, would it be acceptable to write about a colony that, due to some disaster, is left so poverty-stricken that anyone with a mobile frame or ability to fight ascends to a sort of "warlord" status? I suppose it might depend on what is done with that setting, but I think the general question is still understandable.

Just trying to get a clearer picture of your plan for MFØ. ;)
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:05 am

I think I've answered that question already.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:10 am

Wadmaasi wrote:
Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:But your colony, rules, or whatever material you make up, it can say that people say that stuff, but the material can't say that it's true.

That seems to be the most concise way of putting it; I see the distinction you're making.

As a purely logistical question, how is that going to be enforced? Sifting through everything that anyone wants to print/publish could be...devouring.


Well, I can't really enforce what people are doing at their own tables, even if I wanted to. This is a matter of players using a license, then publishing stuff. If it's published and bullshit, I'm pretty sure someone will call them on it or bring it to my attention.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Wadmaasi » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:30 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:If it's published and bullshit, I'm pretty sure someone will call them on it or bring it to my attention.

Fair enough! It was more of a real-world mechanics question than anything; I know jack about publishing, copyright, etc.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:06 am

Yeah, I don't know how it'll shake out! My hope is that it will come clear enough that players will be self-policing.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Ced23Ric » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:13 am

Out of curiosity, if you are familiar with BattleTech - would you deem that universe to be facist (rhetorical question)? The Clans are an elitist, birthright based warriorcaste that glorifies honorable death on the battlefield over growing old. War is what they are bred to do. The Inner Sphere is ripped apart by petty conflicts and ruthless ressource interests of the wealthy and powerful. War is a means of taking someone elses possesions or outright kill people B, because people A don't like them. Etc. etc.

The narration never says that either of those are right, though. It is part of the lore that practically everyone is booped up. Acceptable, with that light, or too dark/gritty/gloom/facist?
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:54 am

I haven't played Battletech since 1988, I think, so I don't have a strong impression. It definitely seems like it has some of the symptoms, but sounds like it misses some of sexualization of violence and "suppressed strength" hallmarks.

You can probably answer for yourself, though! Read Eco's article above and see how it compares. I'm curious to know!
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby calculus » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:11 am

Joshua, the Creative Commons licences were created for two reasons - to have good open licences, and to have standard cookie cutter licenses that always mean the same thing. They wanted to make it so that a computer can know the exact permissions that have been granted by the CC licenses.

As such, the Creative Commons licences do not permit you to add additional restrictions to the permissions that the licence grants. You can give more permissions if you like, with what ever licences you like, but you can't take away or restrict what's given.

Check the FAQ under "Can I change the license terms or conditions?" and "What can I do if I offer my work under a Creative Commons license and I do not like the way someone uses my work?"

and, as part of the license text itself.

"You may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that restrict the terms of this License or the ability of the recipient of the Work to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License""

--

Probably this would fit better under a section of "How to write content for this game", or "The author wishes that", rather than as terms of a copyright.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Ced23Ric » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:36 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Read Eco's article above and see how it compares. I'm curious to know!
Well, it seems like the Clans are matching up with about 75% of all points of Ur-Facism, but as the timeline progresses, they change. Some give in to rage and anger, blooming into menacing powers of evil (Jadeflacon, for example). Others even relocate into the Inner Sphere, in a semi-friendly coexistence (Clan Ghostbear). Some Clans even split up, over ideology - Clan Wolf becomes one half evil warmongers, one half staunch defenders of the Inner Sphere's right to determine their own fate (Clan Wolf in Exile, led by the IS- and freeborn Phelan Kell). With Eco's essay in mind, it is sure interesting. But one thing is very prominent: there is no gender-specific treatment. As a matter of fact, one of the most feared and respected warriors of the clans as a whole was the Black Widow, Natasha Kerensky, of Clan Wolf. Many other females are high-ranking individuals, and gender is never a reason to be treated differently inside the Clans. Abilities and skill supersede these things.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby schoon » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:55 am

Joshua:

I'm thinking that these rules might better be replaced by your "Vision" (yes, like the Vision statement of a company) for the game, and allow that to guide those making material for the game.

This expresses your desires as the creator/licensor much more clearly than restrictions, and still keeps communal enforcement.

One of your vision statements might be "MFZ promotes a positive future, though definitions of 'positive' may differ" or "MFZ is about conflict in striving for goals, not about violence" and so on...

This makes your intent clear, and guides those who want to support the game with their own material.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:42 am

Yikes. It sure isn't a positive future. It's a post-imperial pig mess. I'll think about it, Schoon, but I'm pretty confident that a clear set of parameters is the way to communicate my intentions.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:15 am

calculus wrote:and, as part of the license text itself.

"You may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that restrict the terms of this License or the ability of the recipient of the Work to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the


Huh! I misunderstood that part! Thanks!

I may be able to deal with this separately with a trademark license on the title. This was my original vision of how to do it anyway.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby LordDragonMaster » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:48 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
calculus wrote:and, as part of the license text itself.

"You may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that restrict the terms of this License or the ability of the recipient of the Work to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the


Huh! I misunderstood that part! Thanks!

I may be able to deal with this separately with a trademark license on the title. This was my original vision of how to do it anyway.


So under Creative Commons you can impose no restrictions, but you imagine by adding a trademark license to the game you can? I doubt it can be both...

You can't say anyone can reproduce something, change elements of the game and redistribute, but also be limited to act within the trademark. That no longer constitutes an open license.

Unfortunately as much as you would like to enforce certain ideals and mandates within the game, it is not possible once you agreed to release it under the Creative Commons license. Let alone, players will alter the game to their choosing, and unless you're standing over them, you will have no power to stop them.

If player A wants their team to be space Nazis the best you can hope is that other players could refuse to engage them. But that is extremely unlikely.
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Re: Producing Mobile Frame Zero materials

Postby Ced23Ric » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:07 pm

LordDragonMaster wrote:If player A wants their team to be space Nazis the best you can hope is that other players could refuse to engage them. But that is extremely unlikely.
When I was still living in Hamburg, and semi-actively worked on my Warhammer 40k Inquisition army, I spent alot of time ot our LGWS, where a tale transpired that I found to be quite delightful.

With the Imperial Army having a pseudo-WWII feeling to it, sometimes people of lesser morally acceptable convictions cannot help but play them out as Nazis. So this one guy had his army all painted up in Wehrmacht colours, with swastika insignias, red armtape for his troops, eagles sitting on swastikas and so on. The whole spiel, pretty much. Let's call him Hans for now. When he was teamed up with another gamer of different political alignment, which I will call Angus, hilarity ensued.

In this 3 vs. 3 game, loaylists (Imperial Guard, Spacemarines, Inquisition, etc.) were teamed up against aliens (Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Orks, etc.) - there was a game master, so to speak, oranozing the whole thing. Everyone did their turn, Hans moved forward, telling Angus to secure the flank as he pushed into the soft, moist breach of the hostile forces. Angus went last. He moved right into Hans forces, with a tank of his own, and started to rip Hans' guys apart. Bombs, artillery shelling, melee, everything he could muster. Tanks have weak armor in the rear, and Angus tore Hans army up. The alien players giggled. The third loyalist was confused. Angus was calm and very correct in his gameplay. Hans? Boiling.

As tank after tank got blown up and squad after squad was wiped out, Angus took his painting set and opened the white paint, to draw a circle on the turret of one of his tanks. Hans was, meanwhile, furiously trying to convince the referee to boot Angus from the game. Angus drew a black Swastika into the white circle, and the people watching the game starting murmuring. Then, he added a red ring around it, and another red line, striking the Swastika out. Then, with the help of the crowd, he started counting the units of Hans that he had wasted and drew a kill marker for every single one of them onto the hull.

Enraged to no end, Hans packed it in. Angus smiled. And so did the rest of us. Hans came back once, and Angus was there, too. He offered him a game, curbstomped Hans army again, and added killmarkers, again. That was the last time we saw Hans at that store.
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