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Design Documents?

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Hey everyone. I know you cant copyright an idea, etc, etc. But I was just wondering, if you had a full design document. From start to finish with the story, programming architecture, etc. Would a company be interested in making/buying it? If they really liked it? And can you copyright a design document? Just a thought. Thanks for the replys.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Yes, you can copyright design documents.
See the following link for basic info on copyrights:

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html

I doubt any game company would be interested in an unsolicited game design -- that would be like trying to sell your sci-fi screenplay to George Lucas.

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A couple of things. First, depending on how desperate you are, you get a legally binding NDA signed by a representative of the company you are sending the doc to before you make a presentation to a company. This does 2 things. First it sets the tone that you are a professional and second, it tells them to not waste your time taking your ideas and merging them into a game they have planned.

Next step is to do a whole presentation to a company, not just send in a design doc. Lets look at reality. No company is going to say wow great idea heres $20k thanks and you get a cheque in the mail. If you are really after a professional gaming company, make contact with someone there. describe your product and show what you''ve got invested in. Show what the market potential is and what your target market is. Show them that you''ve done more than just sit down and type up 30 pages of "cool features" and that you believe strongly enough in this product to make it happen.

Believe it or not THAT was the easy part. Say on a wild chance they love the design doc. Best you are going to get is a $5k cheque and a slot at the bottom of the game credits. Now what you need to do is show them how this project is all you eat/breathe/sleep and that you can make this project happen better, faster, with incredibly huge market impact, over any other project lead they have. Thats where the money is =) Now you start talking about 12 months salary, stocks, royalties.. Mmmm yummy.

Do what you want with your doc, but look at the help wanted section even on this message board. Everyone has an awesome project with a design doc. Make yours more than a project.

Just as an example, not that Im something special but here is what Im doing. I''ve got my 33 pages of design doc, I''ve got 12 pages of marketting plan showing market research, targets, stimulants, long term hooks, short term hooks, spinoff markets etc, over 10 pages of backhistory to the game to build up a storyline to it and I''m currently working on a pre-alpha working text based test engine to present my working combat / weapon / armor / NPC / Monster designs. I''m going for gold. Im not making any bones about it. I''m designing a triple-A MMOLRPG and I''m not taking second place to anyone. I''ve already started conversations with a AAA gaming company and NDAs have already been signed. If I deliever a solid-Pre-Alpha product I''m going to retire at 35 =)

Best of luck with your Doc, but if you are just sending it in be sure to send a copy via registered mail to yourself so that you have to sign for it and that you can clearly see the date on the postmark. Then file it away UNOPENED incase you ever have to prove a design was yours at that date. Also a secondary (and soemtimes easier measure) is to take a copy of your document to a bank you do business at. Most business banks offer a free notary service and will sign the envelope, put your doc inside date it and have it witnessed at no charge. Some charge a fee but that just means your banks hosing you and you need to change

Good luck


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um...wow...I cant thank you enough for the info Slyxsith. I know all about marketing stratagies etc. But i never thought to put that in. I cant thank you enough fro your info. And I wish you the best of luck with your game. Thanks a lot. Well good night everyone, its getting laterI didnt know you could actually make that much off of that process. Thanks alot

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Oh my. What have you done? I don''t mean to be mean and I don''t mean anything personally. But it seems like a lot of the people who ask about sending design documents to companies are teenagers with misguided ambitions.

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Ive been programming for 3 years, So im not some n00b with a huge ambition trying to accomplish the impossible. I just have never heard of an text alpha before. I understand what the odds are, and I dont plan on doing. Im just wondering. Just trying to expand my knowledge

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