Skyrim Together has gotten into it with their fans.
A mod team-member behind a co-op multiplayer Skyrim mod does not feel indebted to the fan community.
Team member Maxgriot posted on Reddit, in a thread now deleted, "First of all we don't owe the community anything" that the team is “NOT making this for the community.” Further, “the community has been so toxic we even considered saying ‘f--k it’ and [giving] up … We are making this for ourselves because we think it’s a very fun project to work on and we learn a ton doing this.” If that wasn’t enough, there was also this nugget: “[W]e aren’t trying to build a community. Please let us be and do things the way we want.” The original posts and previous times Maxgriot voiced irritation at the community can be found on his user page.
That’s all fair enough – mods are made and provided for free – but a couple of issues made this comment problematic.
As several users brought up, Skyrim Together had at one point used source code from the Skyrim Script Extender project against that project’s license. This resulted in antagonism between the two mod teams. In the r/skyrimmods subreddit, SKSE Developer extrwi posted a thorough message with details of how the Skyrim Together team had stolen SKSE code without credit or permission. Says extrwi:
The SKSE copyright even disallows Skyrim Together from using SKSE because of a previous bout between the SKSE team and Skyrim Together team-member yamashi.
This source code theft is completely uncredited, denied by the authors, and I'm sure has been a great help in developing their mod that is currently only usable when paid. Currently I'm not sure what to do about this situation.
Note that it is normal for ordinary native code plugins to use the SKSE source code directly, and that's OK. They are supposed to have their source available, but in reality that doesn't always happen. ST is causing a problem by violating the license, not crediting, going out of their way to keep closed-source, and effectively charging for a mod. This reflects badly on us, and pushes us in to a very bad legal position with Bethesda.
Additionally, Skyrim Together has brought in thousands of dollars a month via their Patreon page, with currently over 18 000 dollars with over 17,000 patrons and past totals were well over $30 000. These are donations, and not funding like with Kickstarter per se, but are nonetheless substantial financial patronage from community members. Plus, these donations are made on a monthly basis regardless of whether or not work is being done on the mod.
Since the posts made by Maxgriot, mod team member Pokanggg has offered a less strongly-worded and more professional update:
"We are still working on the mod. Some developers whose work is crucial were not available at all lately because they were very busy, but progress should be coming back at a more normal pace now, from what I know. Sorry for the lack of updates, there's just not really much to talk about lately. Cheers!"Users on reddit are still supportive of the project and want to see it happen, but concern over the earlier comments, and the SKSE controversy, still linger. Some redditors have also called out the mod team for the comments, saying that the Skyrim Together team does indeed owe the community given the community's enormous financial support.
Currently, many of the crucial team members have been preoccupied elsewhere, and there is not much to update supporters on. The mod project still remains in development.
Do you think the Skyrim Together team is indebted to the community in any way? Are you interested in the mod project itself? Let us know in the comments below!