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zarthrag

Quest for the holy Design Document

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I'm not aware of how many people here are just hobbiest, or serious developers trying to make a living off of the industry, but I assume I'm addressing both... How do you "treat" your design documents? I spend alot of time finishing 15-50+ page documents for my team to use. Getting them ready is almost a job in itself. I've thought of moving to a wiki on our little intranet, but it seems hardly worth the trouble unless it's under current development. Right now, I write them in Openoffice and export them to pdf for distribution to team members only. These game designs are complete, unique, and entirely likely to turn a nice chunk of change when finished. But I've noticed that there are next to none floating around on the net! Do you think that big games (Doom3, HL2, etc) would leak such documents (assuming they even exist)? Postmortems never feature design docs either. What's up with that? Should I be iron-fisted and keep my little golden sheets of paper under lock and key? Could I possibly *sell* them? What would the community gain from them being freely available? What would my team gain? ...lose? Would the exposure be worth the potential feedback/criticism?

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Definately don't lock up your design documents. Fact is, although it's a hard truth, design documents are a dime a dozen, but all the authors think they're nothing short of a million dollars in more compact form.

So I'd definately post design documents, because then you'd get feedback and could improve your skill. Don't worry about people stealing your ideas (I mean blatant stealing), because:

1. It's illegal to copy copyrighted works, and everything that has words on it is copyrighted by international law.

2. Development of an idea is 99% of the work. Everyone has ideas, none of them get finished. If someone is going to spend the time to make a game, they're not going to just steal someone else's ideas. People learn to make games to make their own games.

It is possible to have some elements that you think were original be taken by others, but they'd have been borrowed once the game was out anyway.

Big games don't leak their design documents because usually they're either so far from what the game turned out to be that it's embaressing, or because they just really aren't very good and it's embaressing.

And because most people don't care.

I personally am working on a html version of my design document which I'll post pretty soon, so that I can get feedback (assumming anyone cares of course) but that's just me. Maybe someone else has better insight than I do.

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Original post by Numsgil1. It's illegal to copy copyrighted works, and everything that has words on it is copyrighted by international law.


I wouldn't put so much faith in international copyright law. Not that it's necessarily an issue in this person's case, but in general, it's shady AT BEST. When I worked in the semiconductor industry, we OFTEN had total knock-offs of technology stolen by Asian companies, esp. in China and and SE Asia generally. These were technologies that we had spent tens of thousands in legal fees and patents to protect. Developing countries have no motivation to honor intellectual property unless pushed HARD in specific instances. They often consider international intellectual property laws an attempt by developed countries to stiffle their productivity and "keep all the wealth for themselves", as it were. Your copyright is as safe in the U.S. as the quality of your attorney defending it but once you exit the borders, it's very dicey.

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Original post by Ned_K
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil1. It's illegal to copy copyrighted works, and everything that has words on it is copyrighted by international law.


I wouldn't put so much faith in international copyright law. Not that it's necessarily an issue in this person's case, but in general, it's shady AT BEST. When I worked in the semiconductor industry, we OFTEN had total knock-offs of technology stolen by Asian companies, esp. in China and and SE Asia generally. These were technologies that we had spent tens of thousands in legal fees and patents to protect. Developing countries have no motivation to honor intellectual property unless pushed HARD in specific instances. They often consider international intellectual property laws an attempt by developed countries to stiffle their productivity and "keep all the wealth for themselves", as it were. Your copyright is as safe in the U.S. as the quality of your attorney defending it but once you exit the borders, it's very dicey.


If you end up with asian indie developers stealing your ideas, what are you doing doing this as a hobby!? I can see something like corporate espionage occurring in things that are marketable (ie: things which have patents), but most of us don't expect to turn much of a profit in our games. It's for the love of it that we code.

So if you can't make any money making your own game, what are the chances that someone else will steal the idea? Maybe you're making a modest living at it. Unless you're making the next Doom, and will inexplicably become rich, I don't think you have to worry about people stealing your ideas. If they like your ideas, they're more likely to just hire you on. As an unknown, they can abuse you for pennies a day.

It's like manuscripts when you write stories. Who's going to steal your idea when your work is mixed in with the slush piles?

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Original post by Numsgil
Quote:
Original post by Ned_K
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil1. It's illegal to copy copyrighted works, and everything that has words on it is copyrighted by international law.


I wouldn't put so much faith in international copyright law. Not that it's necessarily an issue in this person's case, but in general, it's shady AT BEST. When I worked in the semiconductor industry, we OFTEN had total knock-offs of technology stolen by Asian companies, esp. in China and and SE Asia generally. These were technologies that we had spent tens of thousands in legal fees and patents to protect. Developing countries have no motivation to honor intellectual property unless pushed HARD in specific instances. They often consider international intellectual property laws an attempt by developed countries to stiffle their productivity and "keep all the wealth for themselves", as it were. Your copyright is as safe in the U.S. as the quality of your attorney defending it but once you exit the borders, it's very dicey.


If you end up with asian indie developers stealing your ideas, what are you doing doing this as a hobby!? I can see something like corporate espionage occurring in things that are marketable (ie: things which have patents), but most of us don't expect to turn much of a profit in our games. It's for the love of it that we code.

So if you can't make any money making your own game, what are the chances that someone else will steal the idea? Maybe you're making a modest living at it. Unless you're making the next Doom, and will inexplicably become rich, I don't think you have to worry about people stealing your ideas. If they like your ideas, they're more likely to just hire you on. As an unknown, they can abuse you for pennies a day.

It's like manuscripts when you write stories. Who's going to steal your idea when your work is mixed in with the slush piles?


I was replying to THIS statement:
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil1. It's illegal to copy copyrighted works, and everything that has words on it is copyrighted by international law.


With respect to THAT statement, everything I said was true. With regards to hobby game designers and their ideas, sure, what you said. But international copyright law protects exactly jack. That was my only point.

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Original post by Ned_K
With respect to THAT statement, everything I said was true. With regards to hobby game designers and their ideas, sure, what you said. But international copyright law protects exactly jack. That was my only point.


Point taken, I'll guard my secret chip designs more carefully.

But seriously I understand. A law is only as good as it's enforecement.

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