An in-development Skyrim multiplayer mod called Skyrim Together is facing criticism for seemingly taking code from another Skyrim mod, though the developers themselves argue that the code was only present in the prototyping stages of development and has been removed.
While the accusation hasn’t branched into a legal threat of any kind, taking code from another project without permission or attribution is the kind of thing that can easily land developers in hot water, both in modding scenes and full-fledged game development.
A (now resolved) case between Bethesda parent company ZeniMax and Fallout Shelter developer Behavior Interactive over allegedly stolen code used in its Westworld Mobile, for instance, is a recent example of that.
The dispute spotted by Eurogamer this week was brought up by Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE)’s Ian Patterson in a Reddit post who says that code sourced from SKSE can be found throughout Skyrim Together’s innards. In the post, he says that the loader itself is SKSE’s loader “with all the options filed off and the error messages changed” and that other lines of code found in the mod’s DLL is “a pretty clear copy.”
"You can just open their .dll in notepad, then search for 'skse' to find tons of hits," Patterson told Eurogamer. "After the post went up, I was able to examine the loader source code and found it was exactly as my analysis showed. It was code copied directly from SKSE with some very minor modifications.”
The team behind the Skyrim Together mod, whose Patreon recently jumped from $2,000 to $25,000 in pledges a month, meanwhile issued an apology in their March developer report noting that “code from prohibited libraries was in use. Those usages have been removed and any associated code is being reworked.”
"There is no excuse as to why this code has remained in the codebase for this long and was distributed without credit or acknowledgement,” reads the apology. “Going forward we will do our utmost best to respect the SKSE team and their work and ensure the license request is maintained in the long run.”
Other issues have since arisen surrounding Skyrim Together, both involving its creators past conflict with the SKSE team and more recent concerns that a $25k-per-month Patreon takes the project into the more dubious area of paid third party mods, two topics discussed further in the Eurogamer story.