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Kaycon11

Making your own game while working for a games company????

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Ok, I've been wondering lately, its kinda hard to explain but I will try my best. Lets say you have been working in the video game industry for 3 years now, lets say you work for ID Software, and over the past 2 years you and 6-10 of your friends worked on a somewhat simple, but fun, 2D scrolling platform game. Would you be allowed to try and sell it, either by you're own website, or by trying to shop it around to publishing companies??? You know, could a company you work for like ID shut you down??? Or would they have the rights to any commercial software you try to make??? This has been on my mind for a long time know, I really want to know, like would you be able to just sign a deal with some publisher and then put in your two weeks?????? Please, any comments on this would be appreciated.

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Depends on your contract.

Lots of software companies stipulate that any software you write during your employment with them is property of that company.

Other companies stipulate that any software you write using company property belongs to the company.

Either way these restrictions are easy to get around. Simply quit your job, wait the minimum amount of time as specified by your contract, then release the software.

However if the software you wrote is very similar to the software that is developed at the company they may get suspicious and sic their lawyers on you. Though they'll only care if your software is actually profitable.

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It depends on the contract you signed when you took the job. Most companies don't allow you to enter directly into competition with them (even for a period of time after leaving the company), so I would guess that you are not legally allowed to release the game. But again, it all depends on the contract you signed.

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When you were filling out all the employment paperwork for where you work now, there should have been a form where you listed all your personal projects and other technology you've written, that doesn't belong to the company. The purpose of this is to protect you from your employer claiming it was their property or a derivative work. You may or may not be able to append to this form -- talk to your HR representative ;)

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Depends on the company, but in general if you develop the game without telling them then they have a stake in the game, because it was developed with their resources (you). A lot of companies (such as mine), we just have to fill out some paperwork when the process starts, letting the employer know what we're working on, and we agree to not work on it an work and without any company equipment. As long as it isn't a competing project (such as us developing platformer for the DS when our company's profits come from DS and Wii development) it isn't all that big of a deal.

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At my company freelancing (or moonlighting) is completely allowed as long as these three basic criteria are being met at all times:

1) The game is not a direct competitor. For example, if you're making a FPS and your company only deals with sports games.

2) No company resources are being used at all. Everything you're creating is at home on your own equipment.

3) You're meeting all of your job requirements. In other words, you're not spending more time on your own stuff while your job-related stuff suffers or is ignored.

As many have suggested though- it really depends on your company and the contract you signed. To follow up on what Zipster said about amending the list, some companies allow this to updated throughout your employment. My company understands that you may continue to free lance and the list could become out of date quickly.

Thanks,

Nathan

[Edited by - nsmadsen on July 27, 2008 9:48:03 AM]

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