It seems at least once a year, every year that I’ve been in this community. Patreon comes into debate amongst Modders, and players. The mere name Patreon alone has many in the community, including those that have no concept of how Modding works seeing red and frothing at the mouth to the point that some of them actually take the time report Modders to Giants Software to try and get their Patreon’s taken down. Granted yes they own the game, and the intellectual property there in, and yes they have their rules and regulations. However they are a large corporation that isn’t hurting for money, so a Modder with a Patreon account isn’t eating into their profit margins.. So. Lets look at a few things to maybe help you, the end user understand why many of us have Patreon accounts. So that way maybe you’ll see things from our perspective.
Things Cost Money
Take into account what you need to start Modding. You have to buy the game. You’ll need an internet connection to even play the game.. If you plan on using UDIM Textures you’ll need Blender to apply them, and if you want to make custom dirt and wear you will need Substance Painter. Blender and Giants Editor are free, but that’s really all that is. If you cant make 3D Models from scratch in Blender you will have to purchase 3D models. The average cost of a quality 3D Model is around $100, then you will need to spend hours prepping the model for it to be placed in the game. What then? You will need to script it, add sounds, make store images, and possibly custom texture files. On average I believe I spend probably over 200 hours on a mod, and that’s from start to finish. Sometimes spanning over weeks or months. How much is your time worth to you? Do you have unlimited amount of free time? Most likely not. This website you’re reading this on right now wasn’t free. I had to pay for the website itself, and my own Domain name. It wasn’t cheap and it took me quite a while to get it up and running.
Some of Us Cant Afford The Hobby Without it.
Believe it or not, I despised Patreon when I started Modding in this community. However that changed when I really went down the Modding rabbit hole. I’ve spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000 on 3D Models, and software to bring mods to this community in the last two years. I have a family to take care of, several vehicles to pay for and a roof to keep over our heads. My paycheck covers our living expenses and everything else, but I quickly realized that without a Patreon, Modding for Farming Simulator wasn’t a feasible hobby to be in from a financial perspective, and I would end up having to quit. I’ve spent significantly more money on this hobby than I have on any other hobby I’ve ever had. Now If you’re single with a decent paying job, and still living with your Parents(I’m not knocking you if you are). Then, you probably don’t need a Patreon, and you can probably afford to spend a lot of money on the hobby. For me, through having a Patreon, and having a way for you awesome people in the community to donate, I am able to comfortably afford this hobby and release great mods to the public, and most importantly still take care of my family..
*There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way To Use Patreon*
This may offend some Modders in the community, however at the end of the day Patreon should only be treated as a support tool. You shouldn’t be treating Modding as a job, so it damn sure shouldn’t be your main source of income. This is only a hobby at the end of the day.
Now I’ve always said there is a right way and a wrong way for Modders to use Patreon. In my opinion, this is the right way: You’re not posting mods on the Patreon, you have a Private Discord Server, you use Patreon itself to make posts, polls, project announcements, updates, etc and then most importantly is that you’re actually releasing mods to the public free of charge. There is a wrong way.. IF you are posting mods directly on Patreon for profit, then yes that is the wrong way. Also too if you are doing it the way I mentioned first, but you never release mods to the public then you’re no different than someone who is selling mods on their Patreon page. There is nothing wrong with having a Discord server setup for testing , however at the end of the day the user generated content has to be made public.. Which has always been my goal since day 1…
Also, keep in mind NO ONE in the community is getting rich off of Patreon.. I don’t know why some people act like we are.
But what about Giant’s Terms of Service?!??!?!?!?
This is something I hear brought up anytime someone utters the word Patreon, and most of the time I feel its misconstrued and misinterpreted by most people in the community. I’ll try to break this down barney style for those who don’t fully understand it.
(“6.3 Mods created and uploaded by the Customer may only be made available to third parties free-of-charge and not for gain. Commercial use or use in return for payment is not permitted. It is prohibited to sell or otherwise exploit Mods commercially without the consent of GIANTS (including the placement of ads in Mods or within the context of the distribution of Mods), including the sale or distribution of apps which contain Mods, as well as the sale of physical data carriers or downloading of Mods.”)
Credits: Giants Software
It reads pretty black and white. It says, you cannot directly receive money for mods. It doesn’t say anything about having a Patreon account, a Discord testing server, or anything else. It simply says you cannot receive money for mods. That could mean something as simple as you posting a picture of a pickup truck mod in a Facebook group, then someone messages you and asks you if they can PayPal you $50 for a download link and you take it. That is violating their terms of service, and oh look a Patreon account was never involved. Yes you can still violate those terms through Patreon, and its pretty simple to do, but their terms never mention the name Patreon.
What rights does Giants have? Yes they can and have in the past shutdown Patreon accounts(you can appeal that and most do and come back). ALSO, Giants Terms are not written anywhere in Local, State, Federal or even Constitutional law. So breaking their terms of service, is not a legal offense in which anyone can be criminally charged for… (Please re-read that part if you think you can be criminally charged for violating the end user agreement of a **Tractor Game**….) At the end of the day its a Civil issue and not a Criminal one. In some very extreme cases they can probably sue you for violating their terms. However what most people don’t realize unless they work in criminal justice like myself(even though this would be a Civil Matter). Is that no large corporation is going to come after John Q Moddington that’s making a few bucks from selling mods. Their costs for U.S. Based attorney fees, court costs(which are very expensive), most likely travel from a foreign country since they are not U.S. Based. Is not a sound business practice, because their costs for Civil Litigation would far outweigh any ending settlement from a Judgment they would possibly receive. If the judge even ruled in their favor that is.. Now if you’re a company that is making tons money off of selling mods(I don’t know any that are), then maybe it might be worth their time and money to sue you into the stone age.
Now, does the Modder have a leg to stand on? Yes. In the unlikely event Giants tries to sue a Modder. Said Modders still have a defense. The Modder owns the computer the mod was created on, the house(possibly) that the computer resides in, the Modder pays for the internet connection, and if the Modder purchased with their own money, a Royalty Free License for a 3D Model that was used in creation of said mod. What I’m basically saying, is that User Generated Content is still generated out of the pockets of the said mod creator. The only thing Giants owns is the .i3d file format, the game, and the program the mods are generated in. Everything else is at the end user’s out of pocket expense.
*The TL;DR version: You can’t go to jail for selling mods, a large corporation most likely isn’t going to sue some random dude for making a small amount of money from Modding because there is no return on investment for legal expenses for that large corporation.
If you’re buying a DLC, you’re paying for mods..
Unpopular Opinion…. But it is true, if you actually think about it. If someone is creating mods that players actually want to use, but they have to go through a Patreon to get it. What is the difference between that and buying every single DLC that Giants releases. You can agree or disagree, but you’re still paying money for downloadable content, it’s just through the game manufacturer.
I have my own moral argument to that one. So just think, what makes it okay for a Large Company like Giants charging money for what is essentially mods? But a Modder from say small town America who’s probably spent $100’s of his hard earned money on making just one mod, wants to re-coup some of that financial loss through having a Patreon account, that’s somehow wrong? Making the little guy suffer, so the big guy can keep getting bigger. To me, morally it doesn’t seem right. But that’s just my own personal opinion, you can do with it as you like.
This is Just my Two Cents
This was written to be informative, and to try and educate some in the community that sees Patreon as a negative thing. It gets a bad wrap in the community because yes it can be, and yes it is absolutely abused by some Modders in the community. At the end of the day if a Modder is still releasing content to the public for you to freely download and play in your game. Why does it matter if they have a Patreon or not? Especially if you’re not subscribing to, it’s not really any of your business is it? You can make your own arguments about it, however you need to take into account if Patreon goes away in the community. There will be so many talented people, mostly North American Modders, that will go away along with it. So then instead of now some people whining about modders using Patreon, they can whine about how there isn’t any good mods for the game. That’s the hard truth of the matter in my eyes.
Hopefully this changes your perspective, if not hopefully it at least enlightened you of the reason why Modders use the platform. It’s a support tool. This isn’t a cheap hobby, and most of us have families, real lives to live, as well as our valuable free time. So take this into account next time you see the name Patreon mentioned in a Facebook post.
Happy Farming everyone,