Over the last year, I've seen a phrase pop up constantly in discords, comment sections, and forums all over the community. The exact wording changes but the common theme is always the same. "Private mods killed this community." I'm sure everyone is guilty of daydreaming over City of Angels or River Falls at least once, it's only natural. But those mods aren't private because of some ill will of the creators, nor are they harming this community. No, dear friends, the fault is ours.
I am a relative newcomer to Emergency 4's community. While I have been playing the game in one form or another since 2011, I only took an active role in the community late in 2017. Even so, over the last five years, and after reading several old threads and speaking with some real "OGs" of the community, it's pretty obvious that we only have ourselves to blame for the current state of things. MikeyPI made a pretty well structured post in 2015 about why he and Hoppah were deciding to hold development of the NYC mod for the time being. I'll post it below, as it's worth reading. I'll also post a link to the thread if anyone else in interested in scrolling through a seven year old locked thread.
MikeyPI's post from 16 June 2015 (spoiler tagged for the sake of formatting)
and here is the thread if you want to read further (highly recommended)
By my own interpretation, Mikey wanted to wait until the state of the community improved to release his work into our lives. The state of the community never did improve, sadly, so NYC V2 stays forgotten on a hard drive somewhere, probably forever. Nowadays, all I see is people complaining about this decision. Hardly a new thing, even in the original thread some people whined and moaned over the dev's rightful decision, but what was once balanced with some messages of sympathy is now just the voices of the masses crying because they couldn't play with a new toy.
Thats the root of it, in my opinion. We've become so obsessed with something new. Everyone wants a new mod so they can play something just a little different, but that desire for more has given way to a monster - theft. Now is this the "legal definition" of theft? No, probably not. I've had it argued to me that no civil or legal action can be taken for anything in this game because of all sorts of varying reasons. But my rant here has nothing to do with legality, but about respect.
Itchboy is the principal victim of this nowadays - look no further than his parking script to see what I mean. All he can do is ask politely for us to refrain from using an asset he placed his effort and time into creating, and a portion of the community has walked all over that. All his scripts, models, etc. Same goes for EmC_Unit. You need not look too far to see an edit of the Miami mod out there, even though it is forbidden in the terms of service.
I'll take a moment now to acknowledge that not everyone is guilty of being a vulture for other's content, this site in particular seems to have no issue for it whatsoever, and for that I am thankful. I'm sure that what I've been referring to this whole time is simply a vocal minority, their actions speaking loud thanks to their discords and other websites that function as an echo chamber. But the problem is certainly widespread enough to be of concern to all of us. Why should Itchboy, EmC_Unit, THVFD, or anyone else for that matter release anything anymore? None of us want that, but it's near impossible to blame these long time developers from wanting to withhold some of their work from us.
It's not about greed on the dev's part. Itchboy alone publishes dozens upon dozens of free to use models for us if we really aspire to create our own mods. He's also present on the forums to answer questions, even the most ammeter ones. (He helped me greatly in my early days of modding.) The problem is greed for us. We become so blinded by seeing things that are "new" and we forget that these developers are owed respect of their boundaries. Their time and effort has gone into creating a product for the community, it is the absolute least we can do to be able to recognize that we shouldn't view all these projects as a depot for spare parts. But we have been treating these projects as depots for spare parts. That is what is killing this community. Not private mods, but our own greed.
TL;DR - If we weren't so greedy about assets, we would have no need for private mods.