Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Open Source SRD Software?

Last response: in Video Games
Share
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 5:58:12 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

BACKGROUND

In the D&D Online forums (http://www.ddo.com/forums/index.php) there are
a lot of "armchair software developers" flaming or otherwise bad-
mouthing Turbine Software for the changes they've made to the D&D Online
product. Their complaints are many and varied, but the ones that
distress me the most are those in which individuals claim that it is
EASY to implement D&D as computer software.

This is an idea that I hotly contest. Speaking strictly as a software
developer, I believe that a 100% accurate implementation of the core
rules as specified in the SRD (let alone the core rulebooks) is not
possible. The big problem is the flexibility of the d20 system: it is
very open-ended, and any "flawless" implementation of the SRD would have
to allow for that. The heuristics involved would be unfathomable.

Most of those who declaim the decisions of Turbine don't /seem/ to be
interested in how complex a system d20 is, especially when one tries to
convert it to software. So I had an idea.

THE IDEA

I would like to create an open-source software implementation of the
character creation rules as specified in the d20 SRD (available here:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...). The
software would not be a game, but it might have a user interface that
would allow you to create a character. The user interface would use an
open-source class library written in C# (since it is now a W3C language),
using the Microsoft .NET Framework, version 1.1. The class library would
include STRICTLY the rules for generating a character that is 100%
compliant with the d20 SRD.

The PRIMARY objective of this project is to see if it can be done. As a
convenient side effect, the public may (if it succeeds) get a decent
character generation tool with readily available source code. (The
updated e-Tools project, which was picked up by Code Monkey Publishing,
seems to be stuck in Development Hell. See here: http://www.
codemonkeypublishing.com/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=6)

THE POINT OF THIS POST

Would anyone here have any interest in being involved in such a project?
If so, please reply to the newsgroup and we can start a meaningful
discussion. If you have a differing opinion, please share it, and we can
hash it out before I commit myself to a monumental project that I might
later regret!

Thanks, and fare thee well!
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 12:56:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
>
> THE IDEA
>
> I would like to create an open-source software implementation of the
> character creation rules as specified in the d20 SRD (available here:
> http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...). The
> software would not be a game, but it might have a user interface that
> would allow you to create a character. The user interface would use an
> open-source class library written in C# (since it is now a W3C language),
> using the Microsoft .NET Framework, version 1.1. The class library would
> include STRICTLY the rules for generating a character that is 100%
> compliant with the d20 SRD.

Gah! Legal minefield!

d20 character generation rules are classified as Product Identity, and
cannot be freely used. That's why the SRD does _not_ include any
character generation systems (for instance, you won't find a word on
how to generate ability scores in the SRD).

There are ways around it, but if you want to be sure, consult a lawyer.
In practice, WotC hasn't been going after character generation
programs, but they _could_, if they wanted to. So keep that in mind.

Also, see the following thread. It has some useful info.

http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?p=7043209

Note: I am not a lawyer. Nothing I say should be construed as legal
advice.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 5:09:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Figures. The thought crossed my mind as I was considering it; however, I
figured that as long as I didn't do anything explicitly /D&D/ (as opposed to
/SRD/) I'd be cool.


<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125244600.637776.259200@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
>>
>> THE IDEA
>>
>> I would like to create an open-source software implementation of the
>> character creation rules as specified in the d20 SRD (available here:
>> http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...). The
>> software would not be a game, but it might have a user interface that
>> would allow you to create a character. The user interface would use an
>> open-source class library written in C# (since it is now a W3C language),
>> using the Microsoft .NET Framework, version 1.1. The class library would
>> include STRICTLY the rules for generating a character that is 100%
>> compliant with the d20 SRD.
>
> Gah! Legal minefield!
>
> d20 character generation rules are classified as Product Identity, and
> cannot be freely used. That's why the SRD does _not_ include any
> character generation systems (for instance, you won't find a word on
> how to generate ability scores in the SRD).
>
> There are ways around it, but if you want to be sure, consult a lawyer.
> In practice, WotC hasn't been going after character generation
> programs, but they _could_, if they wanted to. So keep that in mind.
>
> Also, see the following thread. It has some useful info.
>
> http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?p=7043209
>
> Note: I am not a lawyer. Nothing I say should be construed as legal
> advice.
>
> Laszlo
>
Related resources
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 6:03:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Repent Telendil Silverleaf!" said the Ticktockman. "Get Stuffed!"
Telendil Silverleaf replied. Then he added:

> I would like to create an open-source software implementation of the
> character creation rules as specified in the d20 SRD (available here:
> http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...). The
> software would not be a game, but it might have a user interface that
> would allow you to create a character. The user interface would use an
> open-source class library written in C# (since it is now a W3C
> language), using the Microsoft .NET Framework, version 1.1. The class
> library would include STRICTLY the rules for generating a character
> that is 100% compliant with the d20 SRD.
>

Have you seen PCGen?

--
Billy Yank

Quinn: "I'm saying it's us, or them."
Murphy: "Well I choose them."
Q: "That's NOT an option!"
M: "Then you shouldn't have framed it as one."
-Sealab 2021

Billy Yank's Baldur's Gate Photo Portraits
http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2xvw6/
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 6:03:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> Have you seen PCGen?

Actually, yes. But that's not the point of this experiment. This experiment
is supposed to demonstrate how much code is behind that sort of an
implementation.

As I wrote this, I failed to mention that I'd probably start a forum on
Forumer.com or a blog of some kind where we could document some of the
difficulties we might encounter (in addition to the things we found
surprisingly simple to implement). That way, people could SEE what the
problems were. It likely would be fairly technical, but then the public
might be more aware of the difficulties that software developers go through
to implement a system like d20.

:) 
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 12:44:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
> Gah! Legal minefield!
>
> d20 character generation rules are classified as Product Identity, and
> cannot be freely used. That's why the SRD does _not_ include any
> character generation systems (for instance, you won't find a word on
> how to generate ability scores in the SRD).

It's no big deal, so long as you don't use the D20 logo. The OGL has no
restrictions about including character creation rules. You'll want to
avoid presenting the actual D&D rules to users, but there shouldn't be
any major issues, so long as you don't get big enough to seriously
compete with Wizards.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
August 29, 2005 1:03:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made Telendil Silverleaf <michael.hofer@cox.net> write:
> The user interface would use an open-source class library written in
> C# (since it is now a W3C language), using the Microsoft .NET
> Framework, version 1.1.

noooooooooooo....

> The class library would include STRICTLY the rules for generating a
> character that is 100% compliant with the d20 SRD.

but you'll note that the SRD doesn't tell you how to generate a character.

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: Complex non-solutions to simple non-problems.
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 4:45:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> BACKGROUND
>
> In the D&D Online forums (http://www.ddo.com/forums/index.php) there are
> a lot of "armchair software developers" flaming or otherwise bad-
> mouthing Turbine Software for the changes they've made to the D&D Online
> product. Their complaints are many and varied, but the ones that
> distress me the most are those in which individuals claim that it is
> EASY to implement D&D as computer software.
>

You do know about Temple of Elemental Evil right? I'm not sure how
easy it was to program all that... but they sure got a lot closer than
Turbine is talking about.

- Justisaur
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:02:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Yep, actually, I do. But that only goes to prove my point. They got
CLOSER, but not 100% accurate. My contention isn't that Turbine's doing
a great job (I personally don't care for many of the things they've
done, but that's another thread). My contention is that it's virtually
impossible to implement a very heuristic system like d20 using
contemporary software.

That's why I'd like to do this. Just to prove a point. Now, if I'm
proven wrong, that's a whole different story. And, in this case, I'd
love to be proven wrong. So I'd like to challenge folks to help create
an implementation of the d20 rules, according to the SRD, that's 100%
faithful.

Regardless of the outcome, I'd like for people to be able to see the
VOLUME of code that's required to implement the rules. I'm betting it's
pretty darned large. Seeing the volume of the code might give people a
better appreciation for the work involved. It wouldn't account for
stupid design decisions or blatant deviations from the core rules, but
it might make people aware of the kind of work that it takes to do that
sort of thing.

Good lord. I've become a cyber-activist. Someone shoot me.
August 29, 2005 5:11:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Telendil Silverleaf" <michael.hofer@civigenics.com> wrote in message
news:1125345751.636589.87780@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Yep, actually, I do. But that only goes to prove my point. They got
> CLOSER, but not 100% accurate. My contention isn't that Turbine's doing
> a great job (I personally don't care for many of the things they've
> done, but that's another thread). My contention is that it's virtually
> impossible to implement a very heuristic system like d20 using
> contemporary software.
>
> That's why I'd like to do this. Just to prove a point. Now, if I'm
> proven wrong, that's a whole different story. And, in this case, I'd
> love to be proven wrong. So I'd like to challenge folks to help create
> an implementation of the d20 rules, according to the SRD, that's 100%
> faithful.
>

Just to be clear on the goal: You propose that 100% accurate is impossible,
and seek to prove that by failing in your attempt? Hell, I can fail in that
without writing a single line of code. Of course, that failure wouldn't
prove anything, either.... :) 

All in good humor, of course.

<snip>

David


--
CaissaWas__SPAMHater__INTP@adelphia__ANTIV__.net without the block
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:19:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Well, yes and no.

I contend that it's not possible to be 100% accurate; you might get
REALLY close, but not be 100% accurate. So yeah, I guess that I *think*
the project would be doomed to failure.

But it's equally a challenge to prove that I'm wrong. If so many people
are convinced that it CAN be done, then I'd like to see them prove it.
I'll even lend a hand. Maybe then we can ALL learn something.

Like I said. Shoot me. Shoot me now!
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:20:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> Proving something can't be done is very difficult.

There is a certain sad truth to what you say, sensei.

Still, I'd find it worthwhile trying to prove myself wrong. I'm kind of
sick and twisted that way.
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:03:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Hey Reginald, can you show me where that's at in the SRD? I've been
going over it, and it seems to me that software IS covered by the SRD.
Is there a place somewhere where it specifically says that you can't
produce software that implements the d20 rules? That might lay this
whole issue to rest.

Thanks.
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 8:22:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> This is an idea that I hotly contest. Speaking strictly as a software
> developer, I believe that a 100% accurate implementation of the core
> rules as specified in the SRD (let alone the core rulebooks) is not
> possible. The big problem is the flexibility of the d20 system: it is
> very open-ended, and any "flawless" implementation of the SRD would
> have to allow for that. The heuristics involved would be unfathomable.

<snip>

> would allow you to create a character. The user interface would use an
> open-source class library written in C# (since it is now a W3C
> language), using the Microsoft .NET Framework, version 1.1. The class
> library would include STRICTLY the rules for generating a character
> that is 100% compliant with the d20 SRD.

You can't do it with the SRD as written. (Software isn't allowed by the
license).

HOWEVER, if you COULD do it, I can tell you for sure that it's very easy to
write in C# (for some definition of the word "easy").

The thing is that C# (and Java, IIRC) support on-the-fly compilation, so all
you need to do is write some meta-language that supports any kind of rule
that you want, and build a rules engine to run it in and, voila,
runtime-compile the meta-language and plug it into the rules engine. As
long as you can access the full character stats (probably through a full set
of n/v pairs, since you might need to add new name/values at times) from the
rules engine and rules, really there's nothing you couldn't do.

Look closely at the way the XML parsing and RegEx parsing work in the .Net
runtime and you'll see how this works in practice.

Also, if you happen to have access to it, BizTalk comes with a rules engine.
It's not my favorite, to be sure, but it's accessible from C# and doesn't
require BizTalk to be installed (just the rules engine piece, of course).

Too bad you can't do it though.

--
Reginald Blue
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."
- Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++) [quoted at the 2003
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces]
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 10:22:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> Hey Reginald, can you show me where that's at in the SRD? I've been
> going over it, and it seems to me that software IS covered by the SRD.
> Is there a place somewhere where it specifically says that you can't
> produce software that implements the d20 rules? That might lay this
> whole issue to rest.

You know what? I guess I can't. I recall, back in the day, when the
discussions were going on between WotC and the PCGen team that they said
that the OGL didn't specifically allow for software.

However it does seem to:

"(b)"Derivative Material" means copyrighted material including derivative
works and translations (*including* *into* *other* *computer* *languages*),
potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade,
improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work
may be recast, transformed or adapted;"

(emphasis mine).

In retrospect, I believe the problem was that they were encroaching on
non-SRD materials like the XP tables and the like which are definitely not
in the SRD.

--
Reginald Blue
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."
- Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++) [quoted at the 2003
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces]
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 12:15:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf <michael.hofer@civigenics.com> wrote:
> Yep, actually, I do. But that only goes to prove my point. They got
> CLOSER, but not 100% accurate. My contention isn't that Turbine's doing
> a great job (I personally don't care for many of the things they've
> done, but that's another thread). My contention is that it's virtually
> impossible to implement a very heuristic system like d20 using
> contemporary software.
>
> That's why I'd like to do this. Just to prove a point. Now, if I'm
> proven wrong, that's a whole different story. And, in this case, I'd
> love to be proven wrong. So I'd like to challenge folks to help create
> an implementation of the d20 rules, according to the SRD, that's 100%
> faithful.

Proving something can't be done is very difficult.

Of course, proving that something can't be proven impossible is... you
can see where this is going.


Me, I'd rather work on parts that *can* be done. In fact, I'm doing so
as one of my projects.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 1:15:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> Hey Reginald, can you show me where that's at in the SRD? I've been
> going over it, and it seems to me that software IS covered by the SRD.
> Is there a place somewhere where it specifically says that you can't
> produce software that implements the d20 rules? That might lay this
> whole issue to rest.

The problem isn't in the SRD itself; it's in the licenses. The D20
license not only forbids the inclusion of character creation and
advancement rules, it also forbids most software implementations of the
rules.

If you don't care about D20 branding, you can use the OGL on its own.
The OGL doesn't ban character creation or software. However, you may
have a hard time implementing chargen rules faithfully without running
into other contract and IP problems. (Game rules are not subject to
copyright, but ultimately you might need to take your chances in court,
if you can even afford to get there.)
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:35:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Reginald Blue <Reginald_Blue@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
>> Hey Reginald, can you show me where that's at in the SRD? I've been
>> going over it, and it seems to me that software IS covered by the SRD.
>> Is there a place somewhere where it specifically says that you can't
>> produce software that implements the d20 rules? That might lay this
>> whole issue to rest.
>
> You know what? I guess I can't ....

See the d20 System Guide at:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...

The d20 System Licence requires that you follow the rules in the guide,
which forbids most interesting software implementations of the rules.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:35:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> Reginald Blue <Reginald_Blue@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
>>> Hey Reginald, can you show me where that's at in the SRD? I've been
>>> going over it, and it seems to me that software IS covered by the
>>> SRD. Is there a place somewhere where it specifically says that you
>>> can't produce software that implements the d20 rules? That might
>>> lay this whole issue to rest.
>>
>> You know what? I guess I can't ....
>
> See the d20 System Guide at:
>
> http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/200401...
>
> The d20 System Licence requires that you follow the rules in the
> guide, which forbids most interesting software implementations of the
> rules.

I'm honestly not sure why I'm even quibbling over this, since I really don't
care that much. (I figure that anyone who would do this wouldn't be trying
to sell it anyway, so the OGL license would be more than sufficient. The
D20 logo is only useful for marketing purposes, from what I've seen. It's
very powerful for that purpose, don't misunderstand, but that's not what
we're talking about.)

I presume you're talking about this section:

""Interactive Game": means a piece of software that is designed to accept
inputs from human players or their agents, and use rules to resolve the
success or failure of those inputs, and return some indication of the
results of those inputs to the users. Success and failure includes any
determination wherein one outcome is preferable to another. This includes
the random determination of hit points, ability scores, and the like."

and this:

"No Covered Product may be an "Interactive Game" as defined in this Guide."

I believe that a reasonable implementation of a character generator could
avoid any aspects of this (PCGen doesn't do random generation anymore, for
example). The one section that might apply is:

(No Covered Product may) "Describe a process for Creating a Character"

Not being a lawyer, I can't decide if implementing the process for creating
a character is tantamount to describing it. Certainly, if the source were
available, that wouldn't be allowed (since the source code describes the
process to the computer.)

Again, not really worth arguing, unless you actually want to say "D20
character generator". Does PCGen actually say that? I can't remember.

--
Reginald Blue
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."
- Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++) [quoted at the 2003
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces]
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 4:08:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf <michael.hofer@cox.net> wrote:
> I'm not entirely convinced that that covers software. >:-/
> I think it might be time to write the d20 gurus at Wizards.

No need to write them; it should be covered in a FAQ at the same
location. Short version: Software generally can't use the D20 license.
You can still use the material, just not the D20 logo & other
trademarks.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 4:14:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Reginald Blue <Reginald_Blue@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I presume you're talking about this section:
>
> ""Interactive Game": means a piece of software that [uses] rules to
> resolve the success or failure of [user] inputs .... This includes the
> random determination of hit points, ability scores, and the like." ...
> "No Covered Product may be an "Interactive Game" as defined in this
> Guide."

Yeah, that's it. No random chargen and no battle simulators doesn't
leave much for an interesting program; you can't really do much more
than create a dumb character sheet if you want to put a D20 logo on it.

> (No Covered Product may) "Describe a process for Creating a Character"
> Not being a lawyer, I can't decide if implementing the process for creating
> a character is tantamount to describing it ....

Yeah, I'm not sure either, although open-source projects are doomed:

> Certainly, if the source were available, that wouldn't be allowed
> (since the source code describes the process to the computer.)
>
> Again, not really worth arguing, unless you actually want to say "D20
> character generator". Does PCGen actually say that? I can't remember.

I dunno. Anyway, the OP really should read the licenses carefully before
starting a project like his.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 6:22:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> I dunno. Anyway, the OP really should read the licenses carefully
> before starting a project like his.

On this point, I agree wholeheartedly!!! :-)

--
Reginald Blue
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."
- Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++) [quoted at the 2003
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces]
Anonymous
August 31, 2005 12:06:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Telendil Silverleaf" <michael.hofer@civigenics.com> writes:

<on programming a D20 chargen system>

> Regardless of the outcome, I'd like for people to be able to see the
> VOLUME of code that's required to implement the rules. I'm betting it's
> pretty darned large. Seeing the volume of the code might give people a
> better appreciation for the work involved.

Depends on what you call code, surely?

The way I would implement it would be to use a simple core system
using template files to create the actual classes, sort of like how
you would use XSLT transforms on XML. Actually, since I do mostly
Perl, I'd actually use XML because it's so laughably easy to
manipulate using Perl (and since I don't mind running from the console
only, easy to test the core mechanics before adding a GUI).

I have in fact been working on creating the base schema, but that *is*
hard work. As the common wisdom goes, designing sensible data
structures is the *hard* part of programming.

I submit that using my approach you'd end up with a fairly small
program, but a large library of templates. IMO, that's still a lot of
code, but parts of it can be machine-generated.

Mart

--
"We will need a longer wall when the revolution comes."
--- AJS, quoting an uncertain source.
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 10:34:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Okay! Not to beat an old horse, but here's what I've found on the
Wizards of the Coast d20 site, regarding the d20 system, the OGL, and
software (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/2004012...):

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Q: How can the OGL be used with software?

A: Just like with other material, the OGL allows you to use any Open
Content, provided you follow the terms of the OGL. Follow the
requirements of the License, include the text of the license and the
appropriate copyright information, and clearly identify Open Content.

NOTE: The biggest problem we've found with software and the OGL is that
programmers aren't paying attention to Section 8 of the OGL. Section 8
states: ñIf you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate
which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open
Content.î This doesn't mean you can say ñall rules in my program are
Openî, the users need to be able to see all that Open Content. You can
do this by putting Open Content in a format that is easy to understand.
Popular solutions have been to place everything in text files that the
program pulls info from, having everything in a viewable database
within the software, using Java script on a webpage (viewing the source
of the webpage will display the code and Java script is relatively easy
for a user to interpret). The key is that the user has to see
everything that is Open Content that the program uses and be able to
understand it without too much effort. The whole point of the OGL is
that once information is declared Open everyone has free access to it
under the OGL. Compiling that information into a program denies the
user that access and violates the spirit of the Open Gaming License.

Q: So what kinds of programs can I make with the OGL?

A: Anything. Character generators are popular, as are programs that
help GMs keep track of their adventure. Random treasure generators are
also fun.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

This information seems to be saying that you can make all the software
you want, but that if you do, and you release OGL content, you HAVE to
make the content visible, such as by making the source code visible. Of
course, you have to include the d20 & OGL license stuff.

Now, I *think* that that indicates that my original idea (an
open-source character generator that abides strictly by the d20 rules)
is completely within the safe confines of the licenses. But I'm no
lawyer, and I have misinterpreted stuff before.

Comments?
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 11:11:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I understand that, Bradd. However, the document I referenced states
quite clearly that you CAN create a character generator, and that you
CAN open the source code to the public. The specifically cited samples
of software are character generators, GM tools, and random treasure
generators. How could you do that without using d20 rules?

I've fired off another email to Andrew Smith at Wizards; I'll find out
what the legal gurus there think.
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 1:07:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

You're dead-on about my confusion, and I'll readily admit that; but I'm
working on straightening that out. (That's why I post.) However, in
reviewing the entire thread, I don't think I ever said that I was
worried about using the d20 logo. I wanted to implement the rules in
the SRD, but I didn't want to create a program that was d20-branded,
per se. It was just going to be an open-source library of classes that
implemented the rules in the SRD, and (based on what I saw earlier in
the OGL FAQ) that is permissible according to the license.

(I'm not really being nit-picky about what words I did or didn't use; I
just want to be sure my intent is clear.)

To the best of my knowledge, everything in the SRD is Open Gaming
content, and therefore can be used in software (at least, according to
the OGL FAQ). So, theoretically, if you write software that implements
the rules in the SRD, you can totally abide by the license agreement by
exposing the implementation to the public (either by making the source
code public, or using human-readable databases, XML files, text files,
etc.).

Gah. Legal stuff fries my feeble little mind.
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 5:51:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf <michael.hofer@civigenics.com> wrote:
> Okay! Not to beat an old horse, but here's what I've found on the
> Wizards of the Coast d20 site, regarding the d20 system, the OGL, and
> software (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/2004012...):
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Q: How can the OGL be used with software?
>
> A: Just like with other material, the OGL allows you to use any Open
> Content, provided you follow the terms of the OGL ....
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> This information seems to be saying that you can make all the software
> you want, but that if you do, and you release OGL content, you HAVE to
> make the content visible, such as by making the source code visible.
> Of course, you have to include the d20 & OGL license stuff.

Stop. The above says that you can use OGL material in software. It does
/not/ say that you can put the d20 logo on it. You need to see the d20
licence for that -- and it pretty clearly ruled out any "interesting"
software last time I checked.

The OGL and the d20 trademark license are two different things.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 7:29:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Please quote context when replying.

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> I understand that, Bradd. However, the document I referenced states
> quite clearly that you CAN create a character generator, and that you
> CAN open the source code to the public. The specifically cited samples
> of software are character generators, GM tools, and random treasure
> generators. How could you do that without using d20 rules?

You can use d20 System rules -- at least, the portion that's been
released as Open Game Content -- but you probably can't use the d20
license, as you stated in your earlier article. I'm not sure, but you
seem a bit confused about the difference between the two, because you
keep mentioning them in the same breath as though they're the same
thing.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
September 20, 2005 8:28:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Telendil Silverleaf wrote:
> You're dead-on about my confusion, and I'll readily admit that; but
> I'm working on straightening that out. (That's why I post.) However,
> in reviewing the entire thread, I don't think I ever said that I was
> worried about using the d20 logo.

I was reacting to this: "This information seems to be saying that you
can make all the software you want, but ... you have to include the d20
& OGL license stuff." You wouldn't include the "d20 license stuff"
because you (probably) can't use the d20 license for this kind of
project.

> I wanted to implement the rules in the SRD, but I didn't want to
> create a program that was d20-branded, per se. It was just going to be
> an open-source library of classes that implemented the rules in the
> SRD, and (based on what I saw earlier in the OGL FAQ) that is
> permissible according to the license.

I think that's OK (but I am a programmer, not a lawyer).

> (I'm not really being nit-picky about what words I did or didn't use; I
> just want to be sure my intent is clear.)

Sure, no problem.

> To the best of my knowledge, everything in the SRD is Open Gaming
> content ....

That's correct. It's the whole point of the SRD: It's a collection of
OGC rules that are substantially similar to the (non-open) D&D rules.

> So, theoretically, if you write software that implements the rules in
> the SRD, you can totally abide by the license agreement by exposing
> the implementation to the public (either by making the source code
> public, or using human-readable databases, XML files, text files,
> etc.).

That should by fine.

By the way, I once considered a strategy to get the best of both worlds,
D20 branding and interactive software. It's OK to put the logo on raw
data, so long as it isn't interactive. Therefore, I suspect that you
could release your software in two parts: First, release non-interactive
sets of D20 data (XML, database, text, etc.). Then, release a rule
engine that can interpret the data sets. The rule engine can't carry the
logo, but the database can. You'd need to clearly separate the two
parts, and the database should probably be useful for more than just
your engine (so that you can justify it as more than just a loophole in
the licensing rules). Dunno whether this is reasonable; again, IANAL.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
!