So for the past week or so, the Arcade owners (Katharine McGinnis, Octagons Yazimoto, Emery Milneaux) have expressed some struggle with past Arcade designer data, pointedly placing me at fault. My intentions were to ignore it, and handle any concerns any individual Arcade participant brought up to me one case at a time. This has been easy enough since many of you are either my friends or we're otherwise cohorts through other events or business.
Unfortunately, this has become more than a one notecard incident with them and who knows how many more they plan to send spreading misinformation, so I'm going to place my truth here for all future reference.
I was asked in July of 2016 to re-script the Arcade after the June round had some technical issues. The Arcade first began running my code the following September 2016 round. I received no compensation for my work, then or ever, nor was my store exempted of paying things like the designer splits to come. This isn't a complaint however, because payment would've entailed transfer of ownership of my code.
This all worked out smooth with the Arcade until March of this year when the Arcade owners asked me to script a new feature that I wasn't comfortable with. This occurred during a meeting attended by the three of them, myself, and a "technical advisor" named Mike Denneny. The new feature pitched by the four of them was to make the Arcade into PocketGacha over time essentially, at first with a HUD that featured the 20-25 top earners of the past round, then in some later round the entire line-up on the HUD with no more Arcade regions or gacha machines.
My first concern were the plans above, my second was that the Arcade owners wanted me to hand over all my code to Mike Denneny, tutor him in programming with it, and share compensation with him for doing the HUD job. This made no sense to me for several reasons and I expressed this to the Arcade owners and Mike. The work was already 95% done by virtue of the Arcade's existing code being done, and it would've taken me a couple days to do the HUD if I chose to do it. Also I wasn't comfortable with handing over my code to Mike or anyone for reasons I explained to the Arcade owners.
After sharing my concerns with the Arcade owners regarding Mike's inclusion, they let him go from the project. A side effect of that was that communications ceased on their end for several months afterwards.
In early July, Katharine McGinnis messaged me asking me if I'd still work on the HUD, but since so much time had passed without any communication from the owners, I said no. It'd become obvious to me we were having a difficult time working together so I asked the Arcade owners to begin finding a replacement scripter and system, and until they did I'd maintain the Arcade as is.
I understood that the Arcade was their event, and that they could choose to work with who they pleased and develop any feature that they pleased. I thought since I disagreed with the path they wanted to move forward with and refused to work on it, the fairest and most respectful thing for me to do was offer to help them replace me and my code.
From July to October, I helped Katharine with anything she asked for in their transition to a new scripter and system, including giving a backup of the database upon request along with some coaching on how to restore it in any new system. As far as I knew and was told, as far back in July they had a replacement system in progress to allow designers a way to view their data since that's when Katharine started asking me for data on behalf of a new coder.
In October, I found out the Arcade owners weren't replacing my code, but had instead given my code to Mike despite my prior stated concerns and requests that they not. For half a year, Mike had been attempting to build their HUD system on top of my code. They'd put him under an NDA, and contracted him for several thousand dollars for the re-work.
So just to reiterate, in March I told the Arcade owners I didn't like Mike's stated plans of profiting off my work and having my code to do with what he pleased for the Arcade and whatever else he chose, and their response to that was to immediately offer a Mike a contract for several thousand dollars to re-purpose my code for their HUD and place him under an NDA to keep it secret.
Let me say now that I think Mike is a very ambitious person with good energy and meant well. I believe his wrongdoing was due to being misled by the Arcade owners about the ownership of my code. He probably thought I was once in a contract akin to what he signed. He like the Arcade owners probably didn't get the complete gravity of importance I placed on my code. To them, the code was just something that powered the Arcade. For me, it was and still is way more than the Arcade. Much of the code is base for all the other events I script for as well as many non-event projects.
I approached the Arcade owners individually, Octagons first who claimed to know little or nothing about the issue, and stated that Mike's involvement should've been secret and she'd get Katharine to contact me. Days later, Katharine messaged me and told me that Mike and a person or team he'd hired were rebuilding everything from scratch and my code wasn't involved at all.
So the two Arcade owners I spoke to in October spent the month either not telling me the truth when I asked, or ignoring me. I knew they weren't telling the truth because of evidence I had, such as Mike having my code rezzed out in-world owned full perm by him, web server logs showing Mike as the Creator of scripts he'd copy and pasted my code into, and last but not least Mike admitting to it fully that he'd been instructed by the Arcade owners to do this.
I was tested by the Arcade owners for evidence about Mike and what he was doing, but at the time I still didn't want Mike hurt for violation of his NDA, so I didn't let the Arcade owners know that he'd already admitted to anything. I kept telling them that I knew for sure, and they kept telling me stories about the system being rebuilt from scratch and none of my code being used.
So since I was dealing with a situation where at least one person was under an NDA, I contacted a law firm and began upgrading implicit copyrights to registered ones regarding my code, in preparation to get the Arcade owners to stop passing out my code as they pleased. All the while I still tried to fix the situation without having to get into cease and desists, DMCAs and the like.
With the Arcade owners refusing to admit to the situation, I went to Mike and asked him to delete my code. In a lengthy discussion, he refused for the most part citing difficulties of his contract with them, and admitted further to using my code and re-purposing it to brand it as his own in a new Arcade system. Eventually, he asked me if I'd be patient and let him ask the Arcade owners out of his contractual obligation to misuse my code. I said yes.
Mike met with the Arcade owners, explained whatever he did that I'm not privy to, and then Katharine messaged me stating they would tell Mike to delete my code, but asked if instead of that I'd allow them to compensate me financially for allowing him to continue on with my code.
So, with the Arcade owners finally admitting to trying to re-purpose my code against my wishes and wanting to pay me to continue doing it, I said no and I asked them to delete my code at the end of the October round as to not disturb designers' current round, and that'd be the end of it.
There was no further contact with the Arcade owners, but Mike expressed regret and apologies over everything and I'd like to thank him for doing right by me in the end. I regret that I had to mention his name at all in any of this, but the story makes no sense without mentioning him. I'm sure he just wanted to be apart of something cool and it went awry.
At the end of October, I waited a day or two and assumed the Arcade owners would be deleting my code. I did my part and removed my code from their web server and terminated my access to it. I wanted finality. I left their database there, which in July Katharine had been instructed by me on how to restore backups from that I provided at her request.
I want the Arcade staff to move on from me and my property completely. I've tried my best to move on from them while still keeping things as stable for the Arcade designers and customers as possible, which is why the September and October rounds of the Arcade occurred with no hitches.
If the Arcade owners don't have a way for designers to view and export their past data presently beyond using my code, it isn't due to me hastily removing my code, but rather them not using the majority of this year having anyone else build a new solution as they have falsely claimed to be doing.
The Arcade owners had since July to do things proper, and they knew what proper was despite now pretending to be surprised in their recent notecards. Proper is what they've been telling me they were doing since July; having a coder rebuild their system from scratch to support it as is and to do their new features like the HUD. They had a choice to do what they falsely told me they were doing, and what they actually did all along.
All I've done is stand up for myself and my work. I've been polite and patient, even while they've been much less than that. I can't work with them and I don't trust them with my property. I cut any reliance or ties with them half a year ago by stopping doing all of their events with no complaints or issues, but on their end they're making it into a legal contest and spat of blame placing instead of them taking responsibility for their own actions, and inaction, and leaving me and my property alone.
I apologize to anyone caught up in the middle of this but I believe as creators we all understand the value of our work and things we put hundreds of hours into, not wanting to see our work misused or anyone else steal the value of our work whether the reward of it is a simple thanks or a paycheck. Its not right for anyone to steal, take and or give a way another's work or value without consent.
So last thing, some quick counter points on the issue of designer data and the upcoming December round made in notecards by the Arcade owners recently:
- I never deleted the database or webserver, I only deleted my code. They stated they got customer service and a "database specialist" support to recover data; the data was never deleted. All they did was ask customer support to restore a backup that still had my code on it.
- I never owned the webserver, they always have and have always had every login and ability to access the database.
- I've never told them no regarding anything they asked for the sake of designers. If they'd asked me to keep the designer pages up longer, I would've. If they asked me for help backing up the database again, I would've helped as I've always helped. What they've made seem like an all week struggle and ordeal could've been solved with 5 minutes of asking me.
- While you know now they've had since July to be prepared for the December round, even if they had only since October to do it, it's far from impossible for them to have it done. When I was originally asked to rescript the Arcade, I did it in 10 days for the most part. They just need the correct help and they've had the better part of the year to find it.
In general, I ask you realize that the only request made by the Arcade owners that I refused was anything pertaining to giving away my code. Anything asked in regards to the well-being of designers or customers, I've been compliant with.
For anyone still confused or concerned about anything, feel free to come to me personally I'm always open. I hope that I've written this as least contentious as possible while still explaining every truth of every matter.
Best of wishes to all!