A setback

I just got this email from Unity3d’s asset store manager:

We deeply regret to inform you that the seller Atlas Studio, aka Five Frog, aka BE3D, violated the Unity Asset Store Publisher Terms of Service and EULA by uploading and selling 3D models which were not theirs to sell.

Long story short: a number of the assets I’ve purchased are illegal and now I have to destroy them. I get all my money back, but not the days spent integrating them, adding sounds, and statting them.

One whole subzone of the “castle map” will now be completely barren of monsters: the giant snail, the mantis, and the upcoming fish-people were all in that area and are all illegal.

There are more assets out there for sale from various vendors, so I’ll recover… well, there aren’t other giant snails or mantises for sale, as far as I know, but I’ll find something else. But this affects a lot of things: the new food recipes involved snail meat, lots of rare and crafted items involved snail shells and mantis claws, etc.

I’d rather find out now than later when I get sued for using stolen assets, but… sigh. Disheartening.

EDIT: I just realized that the vast majority of future monster content I had earmarked was coming from those three company names. Most monsters in the asset store aren’t optimized enough to work well in an MMO; this stuff was really tight. Which means they probably stole them from some MMO I don’t recognize.

This means the usefulness of Unity’s asset store just took a huge nose dive! I’ll have to go searching for monsters all over again.┬áIn the short term I’ll probably plug in some more mammals, like bears and boars, since there are a fair number of those available.

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14 Responses to A setback

  1. And now we know why you MMO designers always make us kill more mammals – can’t get quality legal non-mammal-models. :)

    Perhaps the setback to the cooking recipes, like the naked elves, can be worked into the lore? Assuming you don’t eventually find a new snail model, the lore can be that the snail meat is illegal/forbidden for whatever reason, but quite the delicacy if you can get it despite the strange lack of any evidence of living snails anywhere in the world? :)

  2. Marc Taro Holmes says:

    I’m curious why not get models direct from an artist? Just too much trouble finding contractors?

  3. Eric says:

    Well, prefab monsters are dirt cheap, e.g. I think the snail was $50. A custom model with the same quality level (poly-tight and good animations) would cost at least $1000, I’d think. Given that I ultimately want 30 monsters in the game, that’s a lot of cash.

    I do have a pot of money for art, but I expect to spend most of it on the custom avatars, due to all their parts and faces and weapons and armors and emotes and so on. I still don’t have a good handle on how much that’s gonna cost me (and I’m still shopping around for someone to do it), but I have to assume it’s gonna break my little piggy bank.

    I would love to have custom monsters — there are several specific monsters in the lore that would be amazing to see in the game — but I don’t know how to get there from here. Right now, I feel like I need to bootstrap with cheap monsters and then see if I can get some income to push the quality and uniqueness up.

    [I could also be completely wrong on how expensive things are... but I also don't want to take advantage of artists.]

  4. Eric says:

    @Green Armadillo: I’m already doing that with eggs and milk… :) I think I’ve used up my quota of imaginary food supplies…

  5. Ah, but these would not be just any imaginary food supplies. They’d be FORBIDDEN PIRATE SNAILS. :)

  6. Sandra says:

    Keep in mind that when Eric says ‘break my little piggy bank” he really means ‘max out my wife’s credit cards’. I encourage him to be cautious about experimenting with expensive things because I like being able to buy groceries.

    But I’m going to miss the snails.

  7. Ah, the added perils of indie MMO development. :(

    Maybe it’s time to do a million-dollar Kickstarter campaign? :)

  8. Sandra says:

    Brian: I figured you’d appreciate that. I was thinking of you as I typed it. :)

  9. Doctor Beard says:

    I assume this is why lots of indies opt for the abstract retro look. It’s easier to just teach yourself some low-poly modeling over a couple of weeks/months and make something like Neverdaunt:8Bit instead of trying to find and somehow finance commercial quality models.

    Have you maybe thought about trying something like Kickstarter? I’m sure if you just mention somewhere you worked on Asheron’s Call 2 people will be willing to drop a quid or two your way, especially what with people having gone a bit trigger happy about that whole Tim Schafer affair.

  10. Mavis says:

    Oh dear. That is simply annoying.

    I suppose the store did actually prove its worth in one way – your not being sued and you got your money back…….

  11. Steven says:

    hmm bad stuff. Are you planning to make money with your game.. I suppose you do.. but you could try to get an artist on the team voluntarily.. they should exist.. they did exist about 10 years ago at least. The other option is indeed kickstarter, but perhaps the intermediate way of having a voluntary artist working for you that wants perhaps a royalty/percentage in the future when the game becomes money could be a solution.

  12. Marc Taro Holmes says:

    Well it’s true nobody cam make and animate a creature for $50 – but that’s why it was pirated content right:)

    I bet med-low poly models could be goodness for much less than a thousand tho. Might want to try one of those online outsource bidding services like freelancer.com

  13. Eric says:

    @Marc Taro Holmes: You haven’t been paying attention to the 3rd-party market recently. $50 is actually on the high end for prefab monsters — lower quality stuff is $20. For instance, here’s some great-quality $50 models: http://www.dexsoft-games.com/models/characters_fantasy.html

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking “$50 must mean thievery.” That’s just not true! Hasn’t been true for years.

    That said, it’s true I don’t know what the freelancer rates would be. Could be very reasonable.

  14. kalamona says:

    The reason why 50$ good quality models can be present:
    - A lot of the poorer countries have now high enough technology that talented people there can work for americans/western europeans too. In my country (Hungary), despite being part of the EU, 50$ per day is still above average. An artist here won’t ask as much as a western artist, but will create similar quality, especially if guided well.
    - 3d tutorials and software nowadays are much more accessible than 10-15 years ago. Hell when I told my parents that I am interested in 3d arts, they didn’t really believed that one can actually have a job like this. Nowadays it is different, more open and accepted, especially among computer people. That means a lot more people try their luck in this industry, and that leads to market saturation.