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Project Log: 2017-02-06

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Last week I finally heard back from Gitter, who I tried to contact because the Aura chat room caused problems. First we weren't able to moderate the chat anymore, presumably because the repository is down and it couldn't check the rights, and later trying to enter the room would just return an error page.

Apparently Gitter received a DMCA as well, so they had to take down the room. Even worse, their provider actually turned off one of their load balancers because of the takedown notice, which caused the connection problems with Gitter that some of use experienced last week =X

If you want to download Aura now you'll have to do a manual search on GitHub, since you can't easily get a fork from the sidebar on the chat anymore. Though I'll admit that's easier said than done, since GH appointed an old fork to be the new parent repo, and you have to search for a fork of that repo that isn't outdated >_> The silver lining: Aura is still compatible to NA, so you can keep using your existing copies.

About what's gonna happen now, I will not file a counter notice without legal consult, because I can't be sure how legal the rest of Aura is. I could just reupload everything, but this was already the second DMCA we got, and they actually struck everything this time, so it would only be a matter of time before we got another one, and everything was taken down again, or we would potentially get in much bigger trouble.

The forum and the chat will stay open, but development of Aura is on hold until further notice.

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*sigh* time to 9/11 Nexon Corp.

In all seriousness though, I don't see the big problem that Nexon is getting so triggered about this project. No one is actually hosting servers and no one is profitting from this and it's an incomplete project.

Nexon is still making money and they'll still be making the same amount regardless how finished this project is but yet, Aura Project is suddenly this high targeted thing but yet, Vindictus World (The private server and not the offical) is still going on with a little over 100 active users and it has it own cash shop where people actually pay money to get "credits" to purchase in-game items. Yet, Project Aura remains most targeted.

Fuck Nexon! As far as this is going on, I don't see this project having a chance to keep going. It sucks that all the hard work of getting this project working just goes down the drain but I think it's probably done now.

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I have to think the timing is a little more than coincidence. The DMCA showed up only a short time after a big release of official Mabinogi server files elsewhere. I think this triggered Nexon and they found Aura. Their legal team probably knows nothing about the code-base, so either not knowing that Aura is not the official files (or simply not caring), they send out a DMCA to "stop the thieves!!1!!!11!1"

For the record, Nexon has a loooong history of going after Maplestory private servers, as well as shutting down the OdinMS team which was responsible for one of the first development projects. (Like Aura, they did not host a server, they only developed a server emulator.) It's not particularly surprising that they would go after Aura, just a bit unfortunate... I can't speak about Vindictus as I haven't paid much attention to that side of things.

Edited by TehCupcakes
Fixed incorrect details

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58 minutes ago, TehCupcakes said:

Like Aura, they did not host a server, they only developed a server emulator

This is incorrect, the OdinMS team did operate a server, and it was actually quite large. They also distributed modified client executables, which was custom in the Maple community back then to make the client connect to other servers, because the server IP was hard-coded. (I don't know what the status on that is nowadays, probably still the same.) The modification of the client files is what Nexon primarily went for back then, because it's a very easy to argue topic.

58 minutes ago, TehCupcakes said:

I have to think the timing is a little more than coincidence. The DMCA showed up only a short time after a big release of official Mabinogi server files elsewhere.

People keep saying this, but I don't believe that. To quote a recent message of mine from the chat:

Quote

the leak was on the 29th, the screen shots in one of the DMCAs were made on the 10ths. that's barely over a week, not counting weekends, for nexon to learn about the leak, put someone on that, find aura, make screen shots of everything, and forward those to the lawyers, for them to figure out the hosters and send the notices there.

I have a really hard time believing that nexon would move that fast. someone told me that they believe this is what happened last time as well when we got a DMCA, but back then there were 6 months between the G13 server and our DMCA, and the server was long gone by then.

they aren't sitting in front of epvp and RZ all day pressing F5, waiting for something to DMCA. and if they were they'd probably know better than to assume that this has anything to do with aura.

but we'll probably never know for sure

oh, and I think they would've mentioned in the DMCA that they think we were using stolen, copyrighted files, which they didn't. they talked about copyrighted code, but I'm pretty sure that's referencing stuff like encryption, packets, etc.

 

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On 2/6/2017 at 1:56 PM, Rashataan Vuul said:

In all seriousness though, I don't see the big problem that Nexon is getting so triggered about this project. No one is actually hosting servers and no one is profitting from this and it's an incomplete project.

On 2/6/2017 at 1:56 PM, Rashataan Vuul said:

Nexon is still making money and they'll still be making the same amount regardless how finished this project is but yet, Aura Project is suddenly this high targeted thing

Mabinogi is one of Nexon's big money makers (granted, it falls way behind MapleStory), do you SERIOUSLY think that they wouldn't lose out on profits when private servers open? When the Aura Project finishes, and private servers open, and then they start offering a much better and 100% free experience (ie. no cash/webshop, free VIP, no gachas, etc.), do you really think that people who play Mabinogi wouldn't move to these private servers? Those people are/were potential customers, and some of them could've/already have spent hundreds on the official game. Is the margin of people who'd spend that much money small? Yeah, it is, and those types of people are called whales, and they are the reason why F2P MMOs exist. When those people go away, then Nexon will see a major drop in profits, and when that happens, do really think they wouldn't go after private servers and server emulators to try to regain that profit? If you want an example of this, then just look at the MapleStory private server scene, and take a look at how big private server get. 

On 2/6/2017 at 1:56 PM, Rashataan Vuul said:

Fuck Nexon!

Nexon is technically in the right here.

47 minutes ago, TehCupcakes said:

(Like Aura, they did not host a server, they only developed a server emulator.)

I'm almost 100% certain that Odinms was an actual private server. I remember it being one of the first MapleStory private servers I ever played.

Quote

but I don't believe that. To quote a recent message of mine from the chat:

Quote

the leak was on the 29th, the screen shots in one of the DMCAs were made on the 10ths. that's barely over a week, not counting weekends, for nexon to learn about the leak

(reply to exec, couldn't find a way to properly quote when editing a post)

I'm not sure it matters too much, or at all, but the leak wasn't something that happened over night. Before the leak, someone on 4chan's /vg/'s mmo general alluded to something like this way before the leak itself was posted. Granted, that person kept their mouth shut about the details, but told people on the thread to keep an eye out on ragezone, his post was followed with a screen shot of Mabinogi. I only saw the person post once, and my memory of it is vague since it happened a few months ago, but I'm sure that if you look through a 4chan archive, you'd find the post I was talking about. Why am I mentioning this? Because it could mean that Nexon knew about the leak before it was actually posted. Again, I doubt this really matters overall, but it is something to think about.

Edited by RedManon
responding to exec's post

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10 hours ago, RedManon said:

Mabinogi is one of Nexon's big money makers (granted, it falls way behind MapleStory), do you SERIOUSLY think that they wouldn't lose out on profits when private servers open? When the Aura Project finishes, and private servers open, and then they start offering a much better and 100% free experience (ie. no cash/webshop, free VIP, no gachas, etc.), do you really think that people who play Mabinogi wouldn't move to these private servers? Those people are/were potential customers, and some of them could've/already have spent hundreds on the official game. Is the margin of people who'd spend that much money small? Yeah, it is, and those types of people are called whales, and they are the reason why F2P MMOs exist. When those people go away, then Nexon will see a major drop in profits, and when that happens, do really think they wouldn't go after private servers and server emulators to try to regain that profit? If you want an example of this, then just look at the MapleStory private server scene, and take a look at how big private server get.

 

Nexon wouldn't lose money because of Aura Project and I highly doubt Mabinogi is their main money maker. MapleStory is most likely 3 times more populated than Mabinogi. Vindictus would probably be the 2nd. If people host public servers, Nexon would just threaten them and shut them down ASAP. Aura Project is after all, made for "educational purposes" and regardless of the status of the Aura Project, most of us still rather be on the officals.

Also no one bothered to mention this still existing! [removed link]

10 hours ago, RedManon said:

Nexon is technically in the right here.

Legally, yes! Morality? Well when it comes to every company ever, people are just selfish robots.

Again, Fuck em'

Edited by exec

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2 hours ago, Rashataan Vuul said:

Also no one bothered to mention this still existing!

To be fair, I didn't know Vindictus pservers were a thing either, and if we assume that Nexon knows far less than the communities of the games...

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11 hours ago, exec said:

To be fair, I didn't know Vindictus pservers were a thing either, and if we assume that Nexon knows far less than the communities of the games...

I think it is a pretty new thing, I just seen it on December on ragezone so there is that.

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This might also proof my point, there's a Vindictus pserver that (apparently) has operated out of France, where a DMCA should do the trick, for months, item shop and everything, and nothing. Yet when it comes to Mabi, which is probably far from being the biggest money maker, some believe they react in a week, and actually DMCA the wrong people, leaving the repos and chats for the official files online. Just doesn't sound likely.

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I just can see these options:

1) trying to revive aura as-is with all DMCA problems
2) create a brand-new game using Aura as the name of the umbrella project

I can say this:

1) Aura's code is owned by the authors, not by Nexon, because was not written by Nexon (i'm not a lawyer, although this statement is true)
2) Including any Mabinogi/Nexon reference direclty in any code/file owned by Aura Umbrella Project will not be any good
3) Not anybody can own a patent/copyright of an idea. Ideas and numbers are not patentables/copyrightables (do you remember the processor intel 486? the succesor's name was Pentium instead of 586)
4) The knowledge about game's network protocol design is not hosted in Gitter/GitHub. This knowledge is part of the memories/thoughts of authors, so it's not lost yet. The posibilities of making a brand-new server is very high if we take in account this
5) Aura is a small community, although it was a able to remain alive so much time, not all communities are able to do it
6) Making private servers is bad from the legal point of view (derived work is the same as stealing at final)

 

IMHO, the goal of Aura as a server's emulator must gone. But not panic, just the goal must gone, source code will be private just for references purpose if Aura becomes a umbrella project just for making a server/client MMO framework. The framework must have an "empty brand" and a lot of pluggable points for customization, of course, all the code under the same license of current project. Game's writers could use this framework for new games (also, veterans players/programmers could use as foundation for server emulation).

IMHO, even if Aura reborn as an empty brand framewrok, the community must be prepared to some (DMCA) notices because there is a simple fact that everybody is not aware of it: This community wrote a game's server with the same features at the time when Nexon launched Mabinogi. The community becomed a competitor in the eyes if Nexon, and unfornatly, Nexon will win a legal battle because the copy/paste of dialogues is a clear violation of copyright (even traslating is in this category of violation, you can see this with translators of manga/manhua/light novels).

IMHO, Aura community is doing the best can do. And becomed so good doing it that bussines men from Nexon are afraid of this community. This is a good point, Aura is not a simple experiment anymore, and it can evolve to the next step, taking necesary cautions for avoiding issues like patents/copyright.

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Most of what you said is correct, however

On 12.2.2017 at 10:12 PM, MiniTaiga said:

Aura's code is owned by the authors, not by Nexon, because was not written by Nexon

Not anybody can own a patent/copyright of an idea.

Ideas and software designs aren't copyrighted, but the actual code is. As I understand it this is a potential problem with reverse engineering, because you are looking at their code, in assembly or pseudo code form, and then recreate it, often times verbatim. Depending on the algorithm in question, the resulting code has a high chance of being very similar to the official, copyrighted code.

Packets might be problematic as well, because those really are exactly like theirs, out of necessity, though I've rarely heard packets being mentioned as being legally questionable. It would make sense to a degree though, at least for bigger, more complex ones.

On 12.2.2017 at 10:12 PM, MiniTaiga said:

The knowledge about game's network protocol design is not hosted in Gitter/GitHub

It actually kinda is, because they didn't take down any of the dozens of forks^^

On 12.2.2017 at 10:12 PM, MiniTaiga said:

Aura becomes a umbrella project just for making a server/client MMO framework

Game's writers could use this framework for new games (also, veterans players/programmers could use as foundation for server emulation).

I thought of the creation of a general framework, but I considered the idea to be non-viable. Making a server framework/engine that is customizable enough for different games is rather complicated. Compare any two MMORPGs and there will be vast differences between the implementation of parties, guilds, characters, stats, etc, and how all those parts interact with each other. These differences are so big that the framework really couldn't provide much help but the basic network setup.

Though I guess you could turn Aura into a "Mabi-likes" server engine, but that doesn't solve all potential legal problems either if we maintain compatibility to NA.

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2 hours ago, whatislove233 said:

any way to still download aura?

Yes.

On 2/6/2017 at 2:13 AM, exec said:

If you want to download Aura now you'll have to do a manual search on GitHub, since you can't easily get a fork from the sidebar on the chat anymore. Though I'll admit that's easier said than done, since GH appointed an old fork to be the new parent repo, and you have to search for a fork of that repo that isn't outdated >_> The silver lining: Aura is still compatible to NA, so you can keep using your existing copies.

 

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44 minutes ago, Kevin said:

http://www.woodmann.com/fravia/legal.htm#eul

 

In the EU reverse engineering is legal if you bought the product, though Mabinogi is a free service.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

Reverse engineering is legal in the US as well to my knowledge, the potential problem lies in how you use the information you gain.

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On 13/2/2017 at 5:36 AM, exec said:

Though I guess you could turn Aura into a "Mabi-likes" server engine, but that doesn't solve all potential legal problems either if we maintain compatibility to NA.

Every MMORPG has inventory, characters, quests, etc; Making a server engine to provide a "mabi-like/mmo-like" foundation won't be illegal. Otherwise, the code for making compatible NA to this engine, it will have legal problems at some time.

IMHO, Aura should not be compatible with with NA "by default". These code must be done outside of Aura's Community by individuals interested in a fair use of Aura, ie, they can make their own client or use some existing client. I know, this is not a solution, although is the right way in the open source software world.

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2 hours ago, MiniTaiga said:

Every MMORPG has inventory, characters, quests, etc;

Yes, but inventory isn't inventory, and quests aren't quests. The systems and implementations are vastly different.

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yeee....... NO

19 hours ago, Kevin said:

https://notabug.org/about

 

` NotABug.org provides Git repository, Wiki, and issue tracker hosting`

 

You could use something like that instead of git, should you not sort out the problem with the dmca

Quote

Couldn't you just change the repository host? For example gitlab or bitbucket.

On 11.2.2017 at 5:06 AM, Pikachu said:

 

Edited by Sairii
  • Like 1

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On 15.3.2017 at 6:30 AM, leech123 said:

Do I have to install Git to do it?

No. It's better but you can also download it as a zip..... no need for git as there wont be any updates.

Just find a fork and download it. Search for one that isnt totally outdated.

 

Also as a sidenote... now elfinlazz is the master rep for my fork. Quite funny.

Anyways my fork is from 12/2016 prolly not that up to date.

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Would it be possible for another individual to host everything to allow exec to keep working on it?

so technically exec would  have complied with the dmca and now it just be another individual doing it.

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Yes and no.

It could work if you rename aura and exec getting a new identity aswell as someone else hosting it.

But it would have the same fate as aura sooner or later depending on how much nexon cares atm.

And if they find out that its basically the same thing with the same people then its pretty much the end of the line. Not worth the risk.

  • Like 1

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