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Member Since 27 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Oct 17 2016 03:41 PM

#5229577 Is it necessary to license your game?

Posted by on 18 May 2015 - 06:20 AM

Yes, distributing without permission/proper licences is not a good idea. Not because of whether it's harmful, unethical, or analogies to criminal acts like theft that are nothing to do with this; but because that's what the law is.

Youtube may get away with it and no one here seems to complain about the ethics of that, but they do have more lawyers.

Now, selling a game without a license (or rather, selling the game) is another thing. This is very bad. You do not normally sell software, never, not ever (well, except when a big $$$ company buys it from you). Instead, you sell a license, which is a limited (usually non-exclusive) right to use that software. Use, not own.

This is usually explicitly stated in the lengthy lawyerese of the license agreement, and often part of the "by doing XYZ you agree..." clause on the sticker on the shrinkwrap (or above the download link), too.

If you don't do that, someone might argue that they bought the software (that is, all rights to it) instead. Which, although every sane person would agree that this is nonsensical, is technically true. Now, in states with cowboy laws, this would allow someone to successfully draw you to court (and win the lawsuit) because you later sold the game (which you no longer owned) to someone else.
It's a Good Thing to tell people what it is they're getting when they buy something. Though, I never recall lengthy legalese let alone "I agree" EULAs that have become commonplace in software, when buying a music CD or film on DVD. I don't think anyone could try to claim they own the rights of distribution or even the copyright based on that. (DVDs usually have the pirating warnings, but that's just repeating the law, not telling me what I've bought a "licence to use".)

#5213077 Google Play or Steam Greenlight?

Posted by on 26 February 2015 - 07:38 AM

I don't think Windows games have to be different to Android ones - there are certain casual puzzle games very popular on both platforms. Also traditional PC RPGs like Baldur's Gate have been released for Android. (As for Windows 8, the complaints such as the start menu being different or replacing the button with a hotspot aren't to do with laptop versus mobile device - some people don't like the changes, other people do, but the idea of it being unusable on a laptop is a myth, it's just some people like it and some don't, as with any change - there are plenty of other threads to discuss Windows 8, anyway.)

One does have to be careful though - the puzzle games I'm thinking of for Windows tend to be web-based (including Facebook-based). Steam may well be a different market. But then this is arguably all the more reason to support both.

#5208207 Roguelikes and "dice"-based combat

Posted by on 02 February 2015 - 09:45 AM

There are a lot of computer games that use randomness - seems very common in RPGs (not just the "roguelikes"), also strategy games. It can be frustrating sometimes if it seems unfair ("Spearman killed my tank!", or just seemingly repeatedly losing), but also helps make gameplay significantly less repeatable.

I think it helps to avoid things that are uniformly random, but tie it into things like stats or skills, so the player can improve their chances (as frob says - you can still play tactically with non-deterministic outcomes). I remember years ago reading about a computer version of Warhammer (I think it was) - the tabletop game version had some cannon that would blow up on the roll of 1, which the developers argued worked in a board game where you throw the dice, but would just annoy players of a computer game, so they removed it.

#5168126 Patenting an Algorithm?

Posted by on 21 July 2014 - 06:32 AM


1) IMO, software patent should be globally banned


I disagree.  However, I do believe that there are too many frivolous patents.


But consider the whole idea of why patents exist in the first place, which is to allow you to be compensated for time and money that you spend developing a process, and stop others from making money off your R & D.  Without patents, almost nobody would do R & D work.  This applies just as much to software as it does to anyone else.  If a software company spends two years and several million dollars developing new algorithms, they should be allowed to protect that investment, otherwise anyone who can disassemble code can duplicate it at almost no cost.



Out of interest, do you have examples of patented software algorithms that took years and millions of dollars to develop?

Disassembling source code is something that is going to be a big risk for companies in many cases, even without software patents (e.g., accusations of copyright infringement).

#5167382 Patenting an Algorithm?

Posted by on 17 July 2014 - 06:14 AM

1. I think that software patents are a bad thing for various reasons (e.g., that it is basically a patent on maths; that the current system is so broken with how many trivial patents that are granted), though everyone has their own opinion. Also consider, if it's an idea you thought up in a flash, why should that prevent anyone else doing the same thing when they might reasonably think of the same idea? We're not talking about something that took billions of dollars of investment (which is an argument put forward for drug patents - the same rarely applies to software patents). And how many existing ideas and algorithms do you use when you write software - just imagine if all of those were patented...

Though there is the problem that the current system (at least in the US) forces companies to patent as much as possible, otherwise they risk being sued by other companies, and have nothing to defend with. So I tend to judge people/companies by their legal actions.

Are you going into business with a product? Or if not, what do you hope to gain?

3. Writing the patent for "a machine which runs an algorithm" rather than the algorithm is a way of getting round countries that don't allow pure software patents. In that sense, it can be more valuable, though it seems rather a loophole to me, and not something that I would consider more valuable (the "machine" is a pre-existing invention, and running an algorithm on it is trivial).

4. Nope, because algorithms can't be copyrighted, just like rules and ideas, but a particular implementation (written rules, source code) can be. Indeed, the fact that source code is already covered by copyright (and there is no reason for a company to even release it) is an argument for why software patents seem unnecessary.

What makes a game different other than art? All sorts of things, such as level design, storyline, characters, all of which generally can be protected. And what's wrong with games being similar? If that wasn't allowed, you can kiss goodbye to a large number of games, just because someone else happened to get there first with a particular idea or game mechanic.

5. Indeed, but maybe not if it was patented :)

#5165798 Public domain fonts for redistribution?

Posted by on 09 July 2014 - 07:08 AM

Open Game Art has some fonts, including public domain (CC0) ones.

Licences like CC-BY should be fine for you too (it means you need to attribute the author, e.g., in the documentation or source, doesn't need to be "alongside the font" if you're no longer storing the font in its own image file).

#5114846 How I can reserve an ideea just for me?

Posted by on 06 December 2013 - 07:31 AM

It will be sad to see this game made by someone else because I think at this idea since 1 year ago and now gathering skills to make it. 

Imagine if when you developed the skills, you wrote it and released it, and then found yourself being sued by someone who happened to have the idea some years earlier - even if they had never even implemented the game itself?


Ideas are cheap. If ideas could be copyrighted like that, it would be hard to release anything without paying loads of licence fees. Also, I don't know what your game is, but I bet that as well as your idea, you'll be making use of many other pre-existing ideas in the process of implementing your game.

#5058064 Can I use google warehouse 3D models for a FREE game?

Posted by on 30 April 2013 - 07:47 AM

It would be pretty stupid for someone to start complaining if they had made a model available for download and then introduced restrictions on how you can use it.

Being available for download doesn't mean free to redistribute.

If it has a licence, the licence will tell you what can be done with it (and the good thing about licences like the Creative Commons ones are that they're well documented, with plenty of info on them, so you don't need to consult lawyers). If it doesn't have a licence, you can't use it unless you get permission from the author.

#5054165 Where to publish my first 2D Game!?!?!?

Posted by on 17 April 2013 - 06:35 AM

If you already have something running on both these platforms, then it would seem odd not to release on both.

If you don't, then I'm confused, as you say "ready to ship out". Or if you mean it only runs on PC (I presume this means Windows specifically) (because you later say it doesn't have touchscreen controls), then right now you only have the one option. The question then might be which other platforms to port to, of which there are plenty to consider ("as many as possible" is the ideal answer, though it may depend on what hardware you already have/use/know). And yes, there are more options than just Steam for Windows.

Mobile, you just need to purchase the developer packge via apple (100$) and you can drop your game on the app store. I believe android doesnt require a dev package....i could be wrong about that though.

Note that's $99 a year for IOS, not one off, I believe. Android needs the SDK, but it's free. To publish on Google Play is a one off fee of $25, and you are free to publish anywhere else that you like.

#5031059 SDL redistribution with custom game engine.

Posted by on 11 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

Just to clarify, note that commercial use is always allowed with any Free and Open Source licences - by definition. But the issues are more to do with using with software that is released under a non-Open licence (e.g., closed source).

Also have a look at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html .

#4993070 Need advice for going open source

Posted by on 23 October 2012 - 06:24 AM

My problem is that the "open source" definition according to the "Open Source Initiative" requires "no discrimination against persons or group of persons", and by making a difference between academia and non-academia, I can't find an appropiate license model that is "open source" according to the OSI.

Indeed, you've answered the question - you won't find an Open Source licence like this, because it isn't Open Source by definition :) (Well sure, there's the debate about who gets to define the term, but AIUI, the term "Open Source" was popularied by OSI, and the licences that fit that definition, so it would be best not to potentially mislead people by claiming something is "open source". Saying the code is viewable, available, or whatever as you suggest, seems absolutely fine to me however)

Note that there's also another problem than the discrimination clause - Open Source also requires allowing people to sell the software, so preventing that would be another reason why you won't find an Open Source licence.

That doesn't mean there might not be an off-the-shelf licence that suits your needs, so it is worth asking. Though all the off-the-shelf licences for software that I've seen tend to full under the umbrella of the OSI's or FSF's definitions.

#4977629 Valve introduce greenlight fee - is $100 too much?

Posted by on 07 September 2012 - 07:50 AM

It's not clear to me that charging money implies quality results - indeed, it's an insult to the idea of free software. Though at least the money goes to charity.

Publishing on iOS requires a $99/year developer membership fee. Although user ratings and reviews help to a certain extend, Google's Play marketplace for Android is full of low-quality and poorly functioning apps. You're not really worse off with Steam than you are with iOS, and as cowsarenotevil says, "works" is a term than can loosely be applied to both the iOS app store and the Android marketplace.

Firstly, I disagree - not had problems with Android software, and claiming one platform has poor quality is just POV and going the way of OS flamewars... But also, you're conflating charging money, with the review process that IOS requires. Plus, Google Play costs money too, albeit $25 instead of $99/year. Nokia Store OTOH is only 1 euro, but also has a review process like IOS to prevent non-functioning applications. These are separate issues.

Not that this should matter here, if a game is so bad it doesn't even function, it's not going to get support.

#4960018 Marketing help for my game

Posted by on 17 July 2012 - 08:52 AM

What platforms is the playtest for? Your page mentions IOS - how easy is it to install from a zip? (I didn't think Apple even allowed that?) If your playtest is for different platforms (e.g., non-mobile), then that might be part of the confusion, so mentioning that might be better.

Sadly there is a lot of competition out there - even for free. You want to start small with letting people play the game - but I guess this shows that you still need to advertise more widely if you don't want that small :)

#4960003 Qt C++ MMORPG

Posted by on 17 July 2012 - 07:54 AM

One step in the right direction may be to rethink the decision to use Qt for your game. I'm a Qt user myself, and am currently using it on my game - but my game is a 2D RPG where performance isn't critical.
Qt isn't really designed with games in mind, and as such, has some performance issues that pop up at unpredictable times - in particular I'm thinking about a blog post I read recently, where someone was making a Minecraft clone using OpenGL and Qt, and showed performance measurements for his game where Qt was eating the lion's share of it.

If that's the post I'm thinking of, it was specifically only to do with using the Qt GUI, overlayed with the graphics scene.

It's still perfectly fine to use Qt as an API for game development on a similar level to say SDL and SFML. Qt provides far more than a GUI - it provides windowing, input, sound, 2D graphics (or 3D via OpenGL/D3D, like with SDL), networking, SMP and so on, all the things you'd want in a cross-platform game API.

The key thing that's an issue for performance is if you want to have a GUI rendered as part of your scene, on the GPU. But say SDL doesn't provide any support for that whatsoever, but that's not a reason to not use SDL. As always, you either have to roll your own, or get a game UI toolkit that's built specifically for that job. (OOI, is there an open source cross-platform toolkit that does provide all the low level things like windowing, input, sound, networking, *and* a fast GUI toolkit as well?)

(This is a few times I've seen references to that blog post now - I fear it's starting a "Qt can't be used for games" myth, which completely misses the point of what Qt can provide, and what that blog post was measuring. Even without fast OpenGL/D3D based GUI, Qt still provides plenty for game development, and does just as well as the likes of SDL IMO.)

Now yes, Qt is perhaps most well known for its GUI engine and it perhaps seems a waste to not use that at all - but if we've decided that the GUI shouldn't be used, that doesn't mean there's nothing left to offer when it comes to low level game APIs like SDL etc. I'm not saying Qt is necessarily better than SDL, but they're both viable choices. Also a well written game/engine shouldn't necessarily be restricted to one or the other, and it shouldn't be the constraining choice in developing a game - I have a game that uses SDL for Windows/Linux/OS X, but I added Qt support for Symbian and Android (on Android, the Qt port seems better supported and easier to use than SDL or anything else I could find for C++). Nothing in my game code has signals/slots forced upon it, apart from a small amount of Qt specific code.

I'm also using it in a game where I use the Qt GUI elements in separate windows (and RPG, where the UI surrounds the main game window), and so I'm not sure if the performance criticisms apply there(?) since the GUI won't be rendered every frame.

Also Qt kinda enforces it's own programming paradigm on you, forcing you to use signals and slots whether you want to or not, and takes complete control of the main loop of the application.

Signals and slots are great things, though yes it does mean you aren't writing "pure" C++. Though as I say, you don't have to use signals and slots everywhere, only where your game/engine interfaces with the Qt API.

The latter is a good thing, particularly for mobile development (it means the programmer doesn't have to be trusted when it comes to things like sleeping, not wasting battery life on unnecessary CPU and so on). E.g., you don't get a main loop in Android at all - see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1099640/main-loop-in-android .

#4958028 Am I "using" people?

Posted by on 11 July 2012 - 08:07 AM

Why not be explicit about it? If someone sends you a level, ask for permission to distribute it according to whatever licence seems best. Or if say you had a website for people to upload, state it clearly on the upload site.

(It is indeed a good thing to think about these issues. It's a pet hate of mine that whilst there are many talented people creating mods for commercial games, and seem happy for their work to be distributed, they hardly ever explicitly state what terms or licence this can be done under - meaning that whilst they might upload it to a website, it's not possible for say the original game creators to package these mods into a "mod pack" unless they track down every single author and get permission; it also means that all this freely available content is useless for being reused in say open source games, because none of it has licences.)