I think it's more that what they are doing is geared toward providing the community with a service. Non-translation ROM hacking on the other hand is more self-serving. Someone does that because they want more from their favorite game or want to express creativity. Translations are done to provide people with a chance to play something that before was out of reach to them. In their case it wouldn't make any sense to want the work protected.
If you mean to say that translation hackers are more self-less, then yeah I agree.
But I don't know if I agree with the overall point it seems like you're trying to make. It's almost like you're depicting translation as if it's some lesser form of art... or somehow takes less creativity or ingenuity. If anything I'd argue it's the exact opposite.
Translations are often times much more complex than a simple extract/translate/insert... there's often a lot of technical reworking that needs to be done. Nevermind that the games translators work on typically do not have game-specific tools to help them. Plus, often, they're group/collaborative projects -- which goes a long way to explain why they're focused less on individual praise than on accomplishing a goal. And lastly, a lot of translations are much more technically complex and difficult to make than your average "I spent 2 months playing around in Lunar Magic" hack.
Not that that's indicative of all
ROM hackers... but it's certainly the majority of them. I'd claim the median level of not only talent, but also maturity is way higher among translation hackers than among the rest. It simply is a more demanding field to be in.
For some popular examples, take a look at Der Langrisser, Star Fox 2, and Seiken Densetsu 3. These are 3 well-known English translations that were huge
technical accomplishments. Hell, Star Fox 2 effectively patched together a complete game from a scrappy prototype. AND
it heavily used the not-as-widely-understood SuperFX chip.
I'm not going to suggest that Puzzledude is without fault but I still believe that general tone of the community response to his hack was both childish and disgusting.
I didn't want to single out Puzzledude specifically... but more the general attitude that exists among that crowd.
The ROM hacking world is largely communal. Software and information is exchanged freely. People dedicate months of their life reverse engineering games, making editors, making emulators, coming up with asm hacks to add new shit, documenting findings, answering questions on forums, etc. And it's all available to anyone for free.
The "mature" hackers -- the ones that actually know what they're doing, and have been doing this for years -- understand that concept. They have stuck around for so long not because of the praise they receive, but because they genuinely love the work. There's a real passion to it... and part of that passion is giving back to the global community.
But then you've got those other guys... puzzledude included... who stand on the shoulders of countless
others... who would be nothing
without the free and selfless dedication and hard work of those before them... who come along and make a hack... and insist that "This hack is MINE
. I put a lot of hard work into it, and nobody else can do anything with it without my permission!"
That attitude cheeses me. It's incredibly selfish, hypocritical, immature, and counterproductive.
It doesn't surprise me (or bother me) at all that he and his hack were effectively dismissed once his attitude surfaced.
It dawns on me that I'm steering the conversation away from the original topic and possibly entering "flame war" territory, so at this point I will simply stop replying and leave the thread =P