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Vectorg

Showing a game

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I'm an independent developer writing a game that is based on a sport. The game is turning out good and will be the most advanced software for this particular sport by far. I called a company that sells sports equipment online, and they want to sell my game on their website right away. They're going to work out any issues of manufacturer trade marks within the game, and even try to find a highest-bidder among the equipment manufacturers. They have seen one screen shot, but want to also see the game in action. How should I proceed? Should I... 1. send them the game to play with? 2. send a limited-function version? 3. ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement? 4. only show the game in-person? 5. talk to them about revenue? 6. contact a manufacturer myself? 7. contact a game publisher? Thanks.

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Having absolutely no experience in a situation like this, I would say:

4, probably 3 and 5 (but only after they express further interest following your demonstration).

You know any solicitors? Maybe you should ask their advice (if it's free). I would not do 6, as the company you speak of probably has already well-established connections. 7 is up to you, although as an indie developer, you may not get a response at all, let alone a positive one.

Definitely not 1 or 2. You should sell your game.

Just out of interest, which sport is it and what makes it 'the most advanced software' for that sport?

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Hi Vect (or should I call you "Mr. Org"),
You wrote that after you'd created your sports game you:

>called a company that sells sports equipment online

OK. Well, I'm going to assume that you did this so that you would find yourself in the situation you now find yourself. But apparently, once having succeeded, you are now having all kinds of doubts!

>they want to sell my game on their website right away. They're going to work out any issues of manufacturer trade marks within the game, and even try to find a highest-bidder among the equipment manufacturers.

IOW, they're going to run with the ball (as it were). That sounds great to me. So howcum allofasudden you're asking:

>They have seen one screen shot, but want to also see the game in action. How should I proceed?
>Should I...
>1. send them the game to play with?

Why wouldn't you?? What is there to lose? What the heck is it you're so all-fired worried about allofasudden??

>2. send a limited-function version?

How long would it take you to make it? Why do you think this is a good idea?

>3. ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Sure, why not.

>4. only show the game in-person?

OK, but are they nearby? And what does this accomplish that's significantly different from #1 above?

>5. talk to them about revenue?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! It's a little early for that, don't you think? They haven't even seen anything more than one screen shot!

>6. contact a manufacturer myself?

Huh? But these guys are the ones you called first. You're well into the creek. Why do you want to change horses now?

>7. contact a game publisher?

Read my FAQ 21. It's at http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson21.htm
But see, this company is the one you called first, and they're interested. If you submit your game to a publisher that's going to put a dead stop to your discussions, and isn't necessarily likely to get you anywhere in the end anyway.

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Thanks, guys.

Tom, your perceptions are very good. I just need a kick in the rear, and that's why I posted the questions. This company is going to sell my game, and I don't know what I'm waiting for. I'm going to get the game to them so they can see it work. Thanks.

It's been over 10 years since software was written simulating this sport. I asked one friend who plays the sport to come over and look at it, and he said, "I had no idea it would be this good." He was shocked. That's why I made those comments.

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Hi Mr. Torg (or may I call you "Vec"),

Cool. So now of course, when you get an offer from this company, you need to have a good lawyer who understands games and/or the sport and/or the sports equipment business and/or the Internet, to work with you on the contract. Good luck!

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I sent the game today! Before I sent it, I went to my Mother's and installed it on her PC to make sure the download would work. I got it working and my Mother wanted to see it. She was completely amazed, and looked at me and said, "You're a genius, aren't you?" Then she said, "What do you think your IQ is?" I wasn't sure how to take that, so I just laughed like you all will.

Also, I just heard today that Wii is going to release a beta version of a game for the same sport that I'm doing. Is this really a problem? Their games are kind of cartoon-ish aren't they? Anyway, my audience is the hardcore player, not drunk partyers. What do you think?

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Quote:
Original post by Vectorg
Also, I just heard today that Wii is going to release a beta version of a game for the same sport that I'm doing. Is this really a problem? Their games are kind of cartoon-ish aren't they? Anyway, my audience is the hardcore player, not drunk partyers. What do you think?

Why would that pose a problem? From a legal perspective, you can emulate any sport you want, as long as you don't use the names or graphics from actual teams, stadiums or player without the proper license. From a commercial point of view: I wouldn't worry about competition. You're targeting a different demographic, and there should be room for more than one game of a specific genre or theme (see race games, shooter games, any sport games, etc).

And to emphasize the advice given by the previous posters: seek legal advice when selling (the right to) your game. In no way can we determine all the legal consequences of the agreement, especially since laws vary from country to country.

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