Crytek apologizes for going after modder's Crysis photo mode, still gives him ultimatum

midian182

Posts: 7,909   +82
Staff member
A hot potato: The relationship between game developers and mod makers is often dependant on the studio. While some, like Bethesda, are more supportive and encourage the practice, others are less appreciative of tinkers. It appears that Crytek falls into that latter category, having just threatened a creator with legal action over a powerful photo modding tool for Crysis 2 Remastered and Crysis 3 Remastered.

The Crysis photo modes are the work of Frans "Otis_Inf" Bouma, who also makes the Universal Unreal Unlocker mod that adds a photo mode to many Unreal Engine 4 games. The Crysis mods are very popular, but not with developer Crytek, whose PR manager Adam Grinsell issued Bouma a takedown request.

The letter, tweeted by Bouma, states that Crysis does not allow mods under the terms of its End User License Agreement (EULA). Grinsell makes a polite, formal request that the mods be removed from Bouma’s Patreon page and anywhere else they appear, before adding a less polite warning that the matter will be handed to Crytek’s legal department if he fails to do so in the next seven days.

Bouma pointed out that he only uses his own code in his mods, no Crytek game assets. Grinsell replied with “the main issue with the software is that it is monetizes, therefore we request that you remove the paywall,” which seems a little different to what was said in the original message. Bouma makes the Crysis Remastered photo mode available only to Patreon subscribers, who pay between $6.50 and $63.50 per month.

When the situation started getting attention on Reddit, Crytek PR manager Utku Çakır apologized for how it was handled. "The initial message led to a misunderstanding, and we have apologised to the modder for this."

"We truly appreciate all the support we receive from the community, but we also have to balance this with protecting our copyright. It can be a tricky balance to strike, and in hindsight, we should have approached the situation differently."

That apology doesn’t mean Crytek is dropping the matter. Bouma was told to make the mods free to everyone or remove them completely. “As I don’t have the time nor the energy to fight them over this, plus having the tools up would only benefit them as people would post shots of their game on social media and other sites, I’ve decided to pull the tools and not make them public again,” the modder wrote on his Patreon site. He also assured people that he will never again create a custom photo mode for a Crytek game.

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Puiu

Posts: 5,558   +4,523
TechSpot Elite
The guy seems like a bit of a cry baby...doesn't want to let non payers have access, so throws his dummy out the pram and withdraws them.

He doesn't have a leg to stand on, at the end of the day, he's making money from someone else's IP.
He's not a crybaby, he's someone who worked for that money.

Making money off other's IP is not always illegal (complementary products). Third party tools/plugins/etc for commercial products have always been a thing.

There are mods that use in-game assets and other copyrighted materials which indeed should not be sold, but that's not the case here.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,258
Crytek is scum there's no going around that.

However, I really don't like modders who paywall mods behind patreon. The platform should not be used to directly sell software, full stop. Mostly because it blurs the line between patronage and store front/subscription service and it is very likely to eventually hurt Patreon.com as a whole and get a lot of innocent bystanderds in a lot of trouble unnecessarily.

There's many other modders who take a different approach by just releasing all their mods for free, to the public and encourage patreon subs by for example opening requests for features or future mods, allowing testing/preview/timed exclusive but not fully paywalling the mods or content, etc. If people like your mod they will support them this way without basically entering the extremely precarious position of selling software that only works with other people's software.

I'm not saying Crytek has a case or even a right to say "No you can't buy modifications to our game" at all. In fact I think that was it not prohibitively expensive, the modder probably should fight them in court since it's a clear violation of first sale doctrine specially since it's just not interfering with Crytek code or assets and it would be very difficult to argue that a photo tool enables cheating on the online component or whatever other excuse they might want to throw. Henceforth, Crytek is scum of course.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,365   +5,593
Hey, crytek, maybe instead of attacking the modding comunity you should be embracing them, considering your company is on the ropes and has shrunk dramatically, and just last year couldnt pay its own employees.

Just a thought.
Crytek is scum there's no going around that.

However, I really don't like modders who paywall mods behind patreon. The platform should not be used to directly sell software, full stop. Mostly because it blurs the line between patronage and store front/subscription service and it is very likely to eventually hurt Patreon.com as a whole and get a lot of innocent bystanderds in a lot of trouble unnecessarily.

There's many other modders who take a different approach by just releasing all their mods for free, to the public and encourage patreon subs by for example opening requests for features or future mods, allowing testing/preview/timed exclusive but not fully paywalling the mods or content, etc. If people like your mod they will support them this way without basically entering the extremely precarious position of selling software that only works with other people's software.

I'm not saying Crytek has a case or even a right to say "No you can't buy modifications to our game" at all. In fact I think that was it not prohibitively expensive, the modder probably should fight them in court since it's a clear violation of first sale doctrine specially since it's just not interfering with Crytek code or assets and it would be very difficult to argue that a photo tool enables cheating on the online component or whatever other excuse they might want to throw. Henceforth, Crytek is scum of course.
The biggest difference is that most mods used tweaked code from the game in question in some way. This guy was creating effectively a third party plugin from scratch, and supports hundreds of games with it. This wasnt a normal run of the mill mod, and for the amount of work he was doing he's within his rights to lock the content behind payment.
The guy seems like a bit of a cry baby...doesn't want to let non payers have access, so throws his dummy out the pram and withdraws them.

He doesn't have a leg to stand on, at the end of the day, he's making money from someone else's IP.
Incorrect, his work is a third party plugin, not using code from crytek's IP. He, legally, has a leg to stand on, third party plugins have been allowed for decades.

Crytek has no right to tell him to stop making code, EULAs have already been thrown out of courts as non enforceable, same a warranty stickers.
 

dangh

Posts: 581   +922
The guy seems like a bit of a cry baby...doesn't want to let non payers have access, so throws his dummy out the pram and withdraws them.

He doesn't have a leg to stand on, at the end of the day, he's making money from someone else's IP.
He created a code so he can ask for money.
No one should be working for free unless someone really, really wants to.
His code do not touch any of the Crytek assets, therefore he would won any case. I mean in a normal country. In country where people throwing money at lawyers wouldget the result they want, or simply create long and very expensive court case, it just normal he decided to cut off the source of the issue.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,265   +1,771
I believe this form of shader fluffing is less modding of a game as general graphic optimization; as the modder asserts it's not modifying any game asset. From my experience they're usually just DLLs that get dropped into the game's folder, and an EXE to splice them into the specific game when necessary. The fact it's used for Crytek games is basically incidental, as his methods can and are readily applied to any other game.

It's also generally impractical to play a game with these kind of mods and they largely exist to glam up people's Steam screenshots or generate YouTube clickbait. He may have a right to charge for his work but it's still greasy and skeevy (especially considering he wants to charge people on a monthly basis through Patreon), just not legally actionable.

tl;dr Crytek is grasping at straws, but modder is also trying to pull a modding-as-a-service scheme doing DLL tweaks and doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.
 
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passwordistaco

Posts: 213   +521
I believe this form of shader fluffing is less modding of a game as general graphic optimization; as the modder asserts it's not modifying any game asset. From my experience they're usually just DLLs that get dropped into the game's folder, and an EXE to splice them into the specific game when necessary. The fact it's used for Crytek games is basically incidental, as his methods can and are readily applied to any other game.

It's also generally impractical to play a game with these kind of mods and they largely exist to glam up people's Steam screenshots or generate YouTube clickbait. He may have a right to charge for his work but it's still greasy and skeevy (especially considering he wants to charge people on a monthly basis through Patreon), just not legally actionable.

tl;dr Crytek is grasping at straws, but modder is also trying to pull a modding-as-a-service scheme doing DLL tweaks and doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.
What's your opinion of Reshade?
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
Just another dumb modder who thinks it’s perfectly ok to profit from someone else’s work.

Crytek should just have served his notice and that’s it. All they are doing by attempting to reason with him is making themselves look worse.

The worlds copyright system isn’t broken. Peoples expectations are.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,265   +1,771
What's your opinion of Reshade?
I hadn't heard of it, but it looks to be a general purpose graphics optimizer, yes? Nothing I'd pay monthly for. My interest in modding lie more in augmenting gameplay first and graphics second.
Just another dumb modder who thinks it’s perfectly ok to profit from someone else’s work.

Crytek should just have served his notice and that’s it. All they are doing by attempting to reason with him is making themselves look worse.

The worlds copyright system isn’t broken. Peoples expectations are.
Modding is hardly dumb. What's dumb is consuming an endless stream of games like you're binge-watching Netflix.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,422
I hadn't heard of it, but it looks to be a general purpose graphics optimizer, yes? Nothing I'd pay monthly for. My interest in modding lie more in augmenting gameplay first and graphics second.

Modding is hardly dumb. What's dumb is consuming an endless stream of games like you're binge-watching Netflix.
Modding isn’t dumb at all! But expecting to sell mods for someone else’s IP is dumb.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,221   +1,115
Sorry did I just read there a people retarded enough to pay this guy up to $63 pm.

Can't argue with Crytek in this case when the mod author is monetizing the mod.
 
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amghwk

Posts: 1,187   +1,111
Yep, Bouma IS monetizing from the Crytek's IP. It's obvious, whether or not it is posted "only" in a subscription forum.

This issue would not have risen if the pictures were posted on a public forum where people don't need to pay to access any content.
 
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Rdmetz

Posts: 375   +181
If the guy wants to get paid for his work I get it but when your playing in the world of mods for video games the typical patronage method considered fair by all is donations / tips... You give away the work for free (which keeps the actual game devs and their lawyers happy... Usually) and you're still able to make money off your work with people who truly genuinely think what you've done is worth supporting doing so because they want to not because you force them to.

I'd 100% be fine with paying him for his work if he did things the proper way the nodding scene has been built on but he choose to go down a different path and it's one that proves he's not in it for the community and love of the project but just for the money and therefor he shouldn't be able to continue as he has.

Big corpo may suck and in many ways I know crytek does but at the end of the day they HAVE to defend their copyright anytime its at risk because in not doing so they open themselves up to having it become meaningless and not enforceable.

Do the right thing make it free and ask for tips and everyone wins but no.... He'd rather take his ball and go home alone. Sad but he's just as "corporate" as they are but without the actual work of becoming so.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 13,141   +6,438
Lets see if I get this straight. People can buy products and mark them up in price ten fold. And the only people who complain are the consumers. Yet if a modder tries selling a mod for a game. Not the game but a mod. Then all hell breaks loose with the producers. The only one I see here that is entitled is the producers.

With that said I find game mods just as ridiculous as most Tiktok vids.
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 1,058   +863
If the guy wants to get paid for his work I get it but when your playing in the world of mods for video games the typical patronage method considered fair by all is donations / tips... You give away the work for free (which keeps the actual game devs and their lawyers happy... Usually) and you're still able to make money off your work with people who truly genuinely think what you've done is worth supporting doing so because they want to not because you force them to.

I'd 100% be fine with paying him for his work if he did things the proper way the nodding scene has been built on but he choose to go down a different path and it's one that proves he's not in it for the community and love of the project but just for the money and therefor he shouldn't be able to continue as he has.

Big corpo may suck and in many ways I know crytek does but at the end of the day they HAVE to defend their copyright anytime its at risk because in not doing so they open themselves up to having it become meaningless and not enforceable.

Do the right thing make it free and ask for tips and everyone wins but no.... He'd rather take his ball and go home alone. Sad but he's just as "corporate" as they are but without the actual work of becoming so.

Very well said,this comment should be on top.
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,122   +1,027
Why doesn't crytek just make their own photo mode and patch it in. This takes away any revenue the modder is making.