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WalterTamboer

Stealing ideas

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Well, for the last 6 months I've been working on my own game engine. It started as a learning project but it has kinda blown out of proportions. I actually implemented a scripting language similar to Unreal Script. I also developped a complete editor which is able to create 3D worlds. It comes with some useful tools such as a Gameplay editor which looks like Kismet from the Unreal 3 Engine. So yeah.. I kind of took Epic as an example here because... well... those guys are just epic! :D Now we know this, my question is: Epic is promoting their engine and they're showing off with tools (such as Kismet) on their website. How well protected is their idea of (in this case) Kismet and am I allowed to copy the idea and create my own version of it (well too late, I already did)? And what if the functionallity is similar? Oh.. and another question: Is there a difference between commercial producs and in my case, just a hobby project? Actually, this question is much broader: How well protected are ideas in general? All comments are welcome :) Thanks. p.s.: A link to what Kismet is: http://www.unrealtechnology.com/features.php?ref=kismet

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Bear in mind this is an unprofessional opinion, but...

Looking at Kismet, it doesn't look like an ultra-unique tool. It might be very, very polished, but chances are more than a few engines have done that before. There are lots and lots of programs that "dumb-down" coding for the use of designers...

I don't know much about the Unreal Engine, though, so it's best if someone with professional experience could chip in.

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Hi Walter, your broad question is "how safe are ideas from theft."

The broad answer is "not at all, it's impossible to protect them fully, but don't worry about it."

Your narrow question is "how much of Kismet can I copy."

The narrow answer is: copy as much as you want, if you're never going to go public with your creation. But if you're going to go public with it, it's safer if you don't copy any of it - you could get sued. It'd be a good idea if you'd check to see if any of it has been patented, and of course your UI needs to look and act differently.

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Thanks guys.

Tom, you made it sound so simple... :) What you said sounds very logical but than my follow-up question is:

"I really like the tool and I'm too 'stupid' to come up with something my self because in my opinion, it is the best tool there is..." :)

How to solve such a problem? But that sounds more like an "inspiration-issue" than a law thingy ;)

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I believe what is copywrite protected is the source code, to which you presumably don't have access to, the binaries, which you are not going to be copying, and some of the names such as the name of the tool itself (kismet or whatever). I doubt the design of the tool is copywrite protected however, except if it uses something that is not obvious and not used anywhere else and is patented (like Maya's marking menu or whatever that is called... I think that was patented). So you should be fine if you call it something else and don't make it look exactly the same as kismet. But like the dude above, this is my unprofessional opinion.

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Quote:
Original post by WalterTamboer
Now we know this, my question is: Epic is promoting their engine and they're showing off with tools (such as Kismet) on their website. How well protected is their idea of (in this case) Kismet and
am I allowed to copy the idea and create my own version of it (well too late, I already did)?


Yes if nothing else than because epic is hardly the first to have developed a graph based scripting system

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I am no lawyer, but I am under the impression that software patents are useless in Europe, where you seem to be located. As long as you don't use their source code or their trademarks, you should be fine.

And this is an interesting read: http://www.paulgraham.com/softwarepatents.html

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Quote:
Original post by WalterTamboer
"I really like the tool and I'm too 'stupid' to come up with something my self because in my opinion, it is the best tool there is..." :)

How to solve such a problem? But that sounds more like an "inspiration-issue" than a law thingy ;)

Hi Walter,
I'm sure the IP owner's attorneys, and the judge overseeing the case, will sympathize with your "too stupid to be able to think of anything other than to steal the IP" defense, and the IP owner will accordingly drop the lawsuit. [retroactive sarcasm alert][/retroactive sarcasm alert]

I recommend you read FAQ 61.

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Quote:
I recommend you read FAQ 61.


Hey Tom, I looked at your website and I absolutely love it. Great site!

As for the FAQ, I agree with you on all points but I find it very hard to see the difference between the originallity of a character/game and the functionality of a tool.

Anyway, I think Microsoft Word and Open Office's Writer are a good example too. They do the same but they're both different products.

Again, thanks all for answering my question, I think it's clear now.

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