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Should I post my Game Design Document

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Ok. So Ive finished the 6th draft of my GDD. I have a team of around 15-25 people (depending on involvement)and we are working. Our website isnt ready yet, but I read some of the comments here and I really want to talk about my ideas...without losing ownership of course. So should I post a synopsis or a link to my GDD? Thanks

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Link is probably a good idea, because then if we make suggestions for improvements you can update it without having to repost the synopsis.

It''s difficult to protect a game design, but take heart: most of the time it''s not worth it to steal one, as most of the people here either are involved in active projects already, or would rather work from their own game ideas. You might want a copyright notice on it somewhere, just because that''s easy to do (i.e. a ''(c)2003 whoeveryouare'' line at the bottom).

Richard "Superpig" Fine
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
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"Don''t document your code; code your documentation." -me
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I would be interested in seeing your design document. I will be writing one soon, like tonite...and I am interested in seeing a real one or a good one, to make sure I have included all I need to include in mine.

<- Digital Explosions ->
"Discipline is my sword, faith is my shield
do not dive into uncertainty, and you may live to reap the rewards" - (Unreal Championship)

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If you post your idea then others can take it and use it. The only way to protect an idea is to keep it secret (ideas are not protected by copyright or trademarks). However as Superpig said it isn''t really likely that someone will steal it especially if all you are posting is a synopsis.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

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6th draft & 15-25 people already involved.

You already have probably beat the horse dead on the concept level.
Just focus on keeping the project moving.


John Thrower
GAMEDOGMA.COM
Project Management Consultant

[edited by - MojoHammer on November 29, 2003 10:29:47 PM]

[edited by - MojoHammer on November 29, 2003 10:30:06 PM]

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Well I keep going back and forth.

Part of me wants to post it for feedback and to make our claim to our unique ideas.

The other part of me is still a bit afraid to put it out there. Ideas in writing ARE copyright protected, however, whether I have the money and time to hunt down those that violate the copyright is another thing. I mean I dont want to sound like I think that we''re the only one that has great ideas. Who knows it could be mediocre...but we all are protective of our ideas.

I guess its not brain surgery. Ill decide over the next few days.

Thanks.

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I look at it this way there are so many ideas out there, that chances are other people have had similar ideas to yours. You don't have to post your complete design document, just enough to explain your game in some detail. Most likely no one will steal your ideas, and even if they do what they create will never be the same as what you are working on.

Worst case scenario someone reads your idea and makes a game exactly likly it before your team manages to finish your version of it, and makes millions of dollars. But honestly how likely does that sound?

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document



[edited by - TechnoGoth on November 30, 2003 2:24:35 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Vanquish
Part of me wants to post it for feedback and to make our claim to our unique ideas.

The other part of me is still a bit afraid to put it out there. Ideas in writing ARE copyright protected, however, whether I have the money and time to hunt down those that violate the copyright is another thing.

Wrong. IDEAS are not protected by copyright. The DOCUMENT is protected by copyright but the ideas it describes are not. Listing them in a public forum puts them into the public domain and anyone can copy the idea to make a game of their own.



Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

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No Im not wrong.

Having been to law school I take issue with what you are saying.

If by "idea" you mean a general concept for a process, depending on the specific nature of the concept "ideas" can and cant be copyrighted.

If the copied idea is specific enough, and if the copied work is "derivative" enough, yes there is an infraction.

Go do a search on the net for copyright law. I think the one that would help you in particular would be to search for "Myths of Copyright Law" on Google.

Merely posting something DOES NOT put it into the public domain.
Thats one of the myths people believe.

Check it out. Maybe you could help your clients more armed with that knowledge.

Techno, you make an excellent point. There are surely similar ideas out there and the likelyhood of the worst case scenario is small. Im making a mountain out of a molehill.

Thanks


[edited by - Vanquish on November 30, 2003 12:12:13 PM]

[edited by - Vanquish on November 30, 2003 12:14:39 PM]

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Well then you better let the US copyright office know,

quote:
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wci
US WHAT IS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?

Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:

*Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)
*Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
*IDEAS , procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
.......



As well as the various game industry lawyers such as Thomas H. Buscaglia who regularly post on these issues http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article1985.asp

quote:
Merely posting something DOES NOT put it into the public domain.
Thats one of the myths people believe.

Sorry but the article you speak of applies to the posting of copyrighted material in forums/usenet. Ideas aren''t protected by copyright so this doesn''t apply.

Yes of course there are always exceptions to everything and (as you put it) If the copied idea is specific enough, and if the copied work is "derivative" enough, yes there is an infraction. but we aren''t talking about the guy posting a specific, ultra detailed technical design, which someone copies to the letter. We are talking about him posting a game idea.

If as you claim these ideas are protected then please explain the existence of Warcraft (a copy of the Dune II/C&C game idea) or any of the FPS games that are copied from DOOM, or in fact almost any other game currently on the shelves.

There are in the region of 4,000 game published each year. How many cases can you quote where the situation you describe occurred over the last five years?

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions (www.obscure.co.uk)
Game Development & Design consultant

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