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Scawen
Developer
Wizard, I was trying not to waste time on it, because I have work to do.

The post was reported and is questionable. For me, it's questionable because it has a modified version of a Chinese flag and is something to do with Coronavirus. Why it has Winnie the Pooh, I really have no idea but it is questionable.

I don't want to spend a long time googling the association between Winnie the Pooh, the Chinese flag and Coronavirus. As a British person who was born in Hong Kong, I am concerned about the Chinese government's handling on Hong Kong but I don't see any reason not to respect the Chinese flag at this stage. All people from around the world are welcome in Live for Speed so I don't think modifying a flag and associating China with Coronavirus is the right thing to do in Live for Speed.

Maybe I've missed something but I had sat down to do some work and instead, I have to write a lengthy explanations about a simple moderation of something that seemed questionable to me.
June Progress Report
Scawen
Developer
Dear Racers,

In the March report I described how Live for Speed has been converted to use Direct3D 11. I've now started to use some of the features that Direct3D 11 allows.

Most interesting is the image-based automatic exposure. As we have moved to more physically based lighting, allowing day to night transitions and realistic brightness for artificial lights, there are many reasons why the exposure level needs to be adjusted. Not only for different times of day but also for the lighting conditions at any location. An extreme example is when you enter a multi-storey car park on a sunny day. The exposure level must adapt to what you can see, just as your eyes or a camera would do in reality. This is demonstrated in the video below. If you don't notice it happening too much then it's working well. Without the automatic exposure it would be very dark inside or totally overexposed outside.



On the technical side, a reduced copy of the output image (that has already been generated for the bloom effect) is transferred to memory that the CPU can read. Direct3D 11 allows this to be done without waiting. A histogram is constructed so the program can estimate the exposure level to use. The brightness is then adjusted to that target over several frames.

These car parks don't have a path with pre-generated lighting values or any light probe information (yet) so I added a system to allow the ambient lighting to be calculated in real time by analysing a copy of the car's unique environment map. In the video, this allows the car to be lit by the artificial lights and avoid being lit by the sky. It's probably not the best way to get the diffuse lighting in car parks but it is a good fallback when there is no data available.

Eric has continued working on South City. It's a longer process than any of us had imagined, because he has been updating most of the buildings with more detailed architecture and opening up new roads around the city. He doesn't want to show a lot of new areas yet because there are too many holes around but some night and day shots of similar scenes are attached below.

Other updates I wont try to cover in detail include some features to help Eric in the editors and completing the conversion to Direct3D 11. Support for Direct3D 9 has now been dropped as it was not reasonable for me to try to maintain the two versions. The GPU requirements are higher now so I wouldn't expect it to run well on a Direct3D 9 graphics card anyway.

We're getting there gradually. It's a lot of work on the programming side and the content side but we like the results!
Scawen
Developer
I'll close the thread now. Thumbs up
Scawen
Developer
Thanks, we have fixed a network error so old versions should work again now.
Scawen
Developer
Update: We have now fixed a network error, so the old versions should work again now.
Scawen
Developer
OK people, please be nice.

The thread title does not help but maybe something has changed. There is obviously a language issue here but we don't know unless we ask.

zamac2 - Please tell us exactly what you noticed. We have not intentionally made any changes to old versions. We have done some server maintenance and maybe that affected something.
Scawen
Developer
Quote from sermilan :If you want to buy LFS S2 for 17 GBP:

1. Buy this wheel
2. Throw it in the bin
3. Use the free S2 that comes along with it

I don't think that's true, don't remember any deal with a wheel maker and we don't do any such cheap deals as our licenses are for 'lifetime'.

Probably just an old copy of LFS on the cd? Uhmm
Scawen
Developer
Quote from BlakjeKaas :Are (and how are) PB's affected by this change?

This change is only about allowing something that already exists, to be discussed on our forum.

The only change would be that developers and moderators would accept certain threads and posts that have previously not been allowed.

It doesn't have anything to do with PBs as there would still be no official support for mods at this time.
Scawen
Developer
We did give permission for Blackwood to be ported to AC.

We like people to have fun (and don't mind if they use other sims) and as it's Demo content we didn't feel we would be losing out in any way. We gave the condition that LFS adverts should be visible in the ported version of Blackwood so we would get a little exposure.
Scawen
Developer
Thanks for the examples.
Scawen
Developer
Quote from BeNoM :All other games that have/allow mods don't care about licensing and copyright since it's not shipped with the game, why does it matter with LFS?

See: GTA V, rFactor, Assetto Corsa, Need For Speed, etc.

This is not about whether people can make mods for the game. It's about us hosting those mods or allowing our site to be used to advertise them. I'd be interested to see if there are official places where you can download mods for those games (excluding AC as their section was closed). I'm not interested to go searching for them at the moment as I have work to do, but if you could link to them that would be helpful.

As mentioned above, there are two problems.

1) People copying or converting vehicles made for other games then hosting or linking to them here. In that case LFS site can be seen to support copyright infringements. This cannot be allowed and would require strict moderation. This is one of the reasons given for closing the car mods section on Assetto Corsa.

2) People creating models of real cars. This is obviously fine for their own use but there may be questions here. Supposing we have cars made by various famous manufacturers listed on our site, either as forum threads or even in some kind of future in-game mods download system. There is a possibility this can be seen as us profiting from the names, reputation and IP of those companies. Or maybe it really is fine for users to create such content and upload it. We can't take the risk unless this is established.
Scawen
Developer
Thanks for the testing.

To my mind it is still possible that the bad collisions were related to lag and prediction causing excessive intersections rather than being related to VOB at all. As we know bad collisions can happen at any time between unmodified cars. It's true I could do a better job with that.

I understand you asked some people when you saw the collisions and often found out they were using VOB mods. But maybe these mods are just commonly used by people who go to cruise servers?
Scawen
Developer
On the 'already existing mods causing bad collisions' reported issue:

Quote from MacedoSTI :This is not mysterious system
we just use a stock vob files based on new cars, this don't change colisions and hitbox, only the "3d model"

The problem that mbutcher and Degats are talking about is that apparently some people are connecting with VOB mods and causing bad collisions, as if their collision box has been changed and the 'mysterious' part is they are not getting an OOS kick in this case.

It's not something that I can fix without being able to reproduce it. I've checked the code and if the code is working then the guest gets an OOS kick if any point or triangle of the physics mesh is different. Of course this is tested and known to be the case.

The easiest way around the OOS check but still use a VOB mod is as you say, to use a VOB mod that leaves the physics LOD unchanged. In that case the car's physics is not changed in any way and this should not be a problem online. I can't imagine anyone going to great lengths to somehow modify the exe to return correct OOS checks for modified physics boxes, as that would really be very difficult (I don't how they would even start with that) and pointless when there is a simple and safe alternative.

But just saying "more often than not, it turns out that the player involved has a VOB mod on the car they're driving" when there is a bad collision doesn't bring me any closer to the solution. I guess we need an example of a MOD that can bypass the OOS check, otherwise I am being asked to solve a problem that I cannot see, understand or reproduce.
Scawen
Developer
Quote from Evolution_R :Any thoughts about increasing the ~16k polygon limit in each mesh? And the use of a tweak - or if we can have 'internal' tweak build in-game?

It's just way too early for that. I'm actually not sitting here working on this mistaken 'quick idea' we decided to do yesterday. I'm working on something to do with lighting.

Quote from mbutcher :Are you considering these concerns before committing to this?

I'm not feeling there is a strong connection between these two issues.

1) You are talking about a problem that already exists where people are apparently using a mod and either a mysterious system or a bug that seems to bypass the collision sync check.

2) On the other hand we are talking about a new thing of allowing people to discuss modifications on our forum instead of being forced to do it out of sight from the rest of the community.

I'm not talking about changing (1) in any way by implementing (2). There is already code designed to prevent cheating and modification of the physics mesh. I've now been told that apparently there is some kind of bug with that, but I don't know how to reproduce the bug at this point. I need to keep a separation between considering a bug (1) and talking about allowing something that is hidden to become visible (2).

I just want to repeat: There's no rush. What I mean is no decisions will be made for at least a few days now.
Last edited by Scawen, .
Scawen
Developer
Thank you for the discussions and suggestions so far.

I believe we need to take a zero risk approach to this and that would mean that we can only open up a special mods section for cars that are:

- fully fictional (not real cars)
- own work (not converted from another game)

And as some people have mentioned, it would need strict moderation by volunteer section moderators and posts might need to await approval before being made visible.

I guess it should also be licensed users only because people can create Demo accounts too easily and it doesn't really make sense for us to support Demo Racers having access to an unlimited choice of cars.

These are just thoughts, not decisions. There's no rush.
Scawen
Developer
Quote from bishtop :If it's user created and shared without charge and both the model creator and game developer's do not try to endorse or affiliate both model or game to the real life manufacturer (ford, citreon ect) then according the attorney's comment in the screenshot i posted you wont be held liable.

I was hoping to see something concrete and reliable, such as a page on a government website (hopefully UK) or something else carrying some authority. Something that really nails down the situation without needing to hire any lawyers (which we are absolutely not going to do at any time in the near future - I've got far too much work to do and don't have cash to burn - this attempt to open a special section was really just a quick idea that turned out more complicated than expected).

Thanks for the screenshot of the attorney's comments, but it is written with some errors and seemingly open to interpretation (I can't even understand the second sentence). It doesn't really constitute sound legal advice.

Quote from IsaacPrice :More info regarding why the forum section closed here: https://www.racedepartment.com/threads/kunos-shuts-down-modding-section-of-official-forums.122721/

Thanks, quite a lot of info there.
Scawen
Developer
Quote from GreyBull :AC came across the same issue and the main modding sections were closed in 2016.

I see in that AC forum section, posting stopped abruptly (sections closed) on Jun 9, 2016.
https://www.assettocorsa.net/forum/index.php?forums/3d-car-models.24/

I'd be interested to know the background story behind that.

Quote from bowst :I think it's better to cancel the decision if it cause more harm and uncertainty than good.

True but the real problem is as I mentioned here:
Quote from Scawen :If it was only about VOB mods now I'd just drop it. But this is also relevant to how user-created content may be supported in the future.

Scawen
Developer
Thanks for the discussion. If it was only about VOB mods now I'd just drop it. But this is also relevant to how user-created content may be supported in the future.

What is and isn't clear (to me) at this point:

- The copyright infringement issue seems quite clear. I'm sure that it is not OK to copy and publish someone else's mesh without permission.

- Also clear: It would obviously be fine for users to create fictional cars.

- Also clear: Developers cannot create clearly identifiable representations of real cars and sell them. Permission is required from the owner of the intellectual property (the design of the car).

- What is not clear to me is the law that applies when user-created content representing real cars is shared without charge and how this can affect the provider of the sharing platform (us).
Scawen
Developer
I think we acted too quickly. What I imagined was people making meshes representing real or fictional cars, which would be their own work. It probably sounds silly but I did not understand that immediately we would see cars copied from other games that are almost certainly copyrighted.

I guess we should have discussed it in public first but no harm done, I think.

So how about another rule, only allowing original work, and disallowing meshes from other games, unless proof of permission is supplied? Would there actually be anything to share in that case?


EDIT: Even if we disallow links to copies of cars from other games, we are also unsure about the legal issues of allowing representations of real cars to be advertised here. Maybe it is OK for people to make and share their own versions of real cars when not used for profit, or maybe there are issues there. Though I'd find that hard to understand. I think someone can make a painting of a famous car without permission from the manufacturer. Are polygon meshes representations, like paintings? Maybe someone knows the answers to these questions.
Last edited by Scawen, .
Scawen
Developer
Quote from gu3st :I think this is an interesting development but I have some concerns, mostly in regards to copyrights. AFAIK this is one of the few officially sanctioned mod sections, with most being unofficial for the purposes of distancing themselves from any copyright claims.

It can be seen already with the first post being ripped from another racing game. Will there be further rules around posting ripped content? I'm concerned that this section could inadvertently put you and the other developers in some form of legal trouble.

Thanks, we are having a think about this.

Quote from klbbadd2002 :Reminder - This will not allow the use of VOBs on [TC] City driving servers as it completely destroys the contact physics between vehicles in the game. It will also destroy the contact physics in any racing server where some users use these "mods".

This does not affect online usage.

The physics mesh (collision box) is included in the OOS check so the player is kicked if that is changed. That has been the case for as long as I can remember, otherwise such things would be used all the time. This change is only about allowing the discussing and sharing of mods.
Scawen
Developer
I'm not sure how these things will go and should be careful about making up the answers on the spot. But I guess it would be OK for a post in the leagues section to link to another post in the VOB mods section.
VOB Mods [discussion]
Scawen
Developer
Hello Racers,

For a long time, we have not allowed much discussion about VOB mods. A VOB mod is a model that changes the shape of a car. Originally these could sometimes allow users to cheat online and were associated with hacking, so we did not allow discussion of it on our forums.

However, we know that many people who make mods are really being creative and enjoying some more of what LFS has to offer. So we are now allowing the sharing and discussion of mods in a new forum section, although we are not doing anything else to support mods at this time.

[EDIT: The new section is currently closed while we discuss rules and possible legal issues]
See below: https://www.lfs.net/forum/post/1955839#post1955839

Some rules must be followed:
  • Demo racers may only share or modify demo cars
  • Only licensed racers may share or modify cars that require an S1/S2/S3 license
  • Online servers for modded cars must use /modified=yes and require a password
  • Mods that allow cheating on public servers are not allowed
We hope that modders will enjoy the new section. [EDIT: Link removed for now]
Last edited by Scawen, .
Scawen
Developer
Quote from Vulgar :It is obvious that the the current dev team has no desire to either do what others are doing, and or have to deal with the headache of the typical corporate bs.
...

Hi Vulgar, thank you for your long and well written post which I enjoyed reading.

I was happy to see your support for our work and was interested in the other things you said.

I read it when you first wrote it and came back for another read today. Smile

Quote from Vulgar :Clearly the devs do not need income. A great position to be in.

I agree with most things you said but would like to correct this point.

In fact we do need income but less than a lot of people do. As we want to eat good quality food, keep the kids in clothes as they grow and keep our houses running and it's almost 'necessary' to keep a car on the road (though less so these days, with food delivery services). In recent years LFS income has indeed been a bit too low but the great thing is that people do keep discovering it, so there is always income. It would eventually reduce too much but I'm sure the new update will get it up a bit for a few more years.

Still, without debts to service and if you don't need to go on expensive holidays or keep buying the latest telephone then it's possible to have a very good life even while earning less than most people would expect. Though I am fully aware that my family and I are very lucky, living in a rural part of England, we can go on walks and bike rides on wooded trails and field edges so we don't need to spend a lot of money for entertainment. Though that's not really pure luck - we chose to move away from London 12 years ago because this job allowed it and we knew we would have more space, less pollution and so on.

Through my life I've never cared about wearing clothes with a fashionable name or having a big watch or owning the latest gadgets in order to impress other people. Actually I would find that kind of thing embarrassing. I've always wanted to pay off any debts as soon as possible and only buy what I can afford. So I've not ended up enslaved by the system, having to earn loads of money to be sucked out of my bank account all the time. When I worked as a motorbike courier in London, I was happy any time to work less and earn less. I've always thought that time and peace are more important than money.

I hope that might be interesting, I suppose our way of running our lives is also related to how we have kept LFS going even if it is a slow burn.

Off topic but seemingly somehow related: I hope that when world economies get going again after the social distancing, we may rebuild and run our countries in a slower and less polluting way. What is really the point of traffic jams, crowded trains and long journeys to work in polluted cities?
Scawen
Developer
Thank you, added tweet to @LFSracing
FGED GREDG RDFGDR GSFDG