unrpa - Extractor for the RPA formatExtracting files, and the politics.
For those that do not know of it, Ren’Py is a Visual Novel Engine, and a great piece of software. Currently there is a game name Katawa Shoujo - this game is being written by a very talented group, and is a great example of what Ren’Py is good for.
Ren’Py games are created with content - images, audio, text, et al for the game, and with code written for the Ren’Py engine. Now, the scripts are compiled when released, and the content is compressed into an archive, an RPA file. This is not extractable using mainstream archive extraction software. Enter unrpa, a script I wrote to extract these files.
Now, I posted this on the Katawa Shoujo forums, in the hope of giving users the chance to grab images or whatever from the game for avatars, signatures, etc… The mods of the forum proceeded to remove this script, and replace it with one that repeatedly displays ‘penis’. Now, I shall make myself clear early on - this is completely within their rights and I would never wish to disrespect their wishes - they do not want people to steal their content for other uses (and Katawa Shoujo is released under a Creative Commons licence that clearly states no derivative works), and this is fine (I even approve of the trolling). However, there are still uses for the tool, be it personal usage or usage within ‘fair use’.
The Ren’Py project make it quite clear that the obfuscating work done on games is only enough to put off the average user and that this could be undone.
In the end, I came to the conclusion that I would still distribute the script - there are legitimate uses, and it could be done anyway. I was planning on a code decompiler, which is possible, but I don’t see as much scope for fair use of such a tool, and so chose to not release it. I have also, at the request of the team working on Katawa Shoujo, not mentioned this release on their site/IRC channel, etc… Which I feel is perfectly natural, and would do nothing to argue this. I can completely understand them being protective of their (excellent) work.
If you havn’t played it, I strongly suggest you go try Katawa Shoujo now. It’s a great game, and really worth trying. Currently, only the demo is released, which consists of only the first act. The game will be released in full, for free, at a later date.