Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
blueshogun96

Legalities for free and open source games

This topic is 3649 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Lately I've been working on my first 3D shooter game and I've been discussing it with some friends online. Some like the idea, others just thought it was funny. The game idea is actually taken from 2 other games, Aliens versus Predator and Quake. The name of the game is called "Aliens versus Quake". One of my friends said that I might run into some legal issues with creating a game such as this. I didn't think it would be a big deal since I plan to give proper credit to the respectful owners of each franchise and keep the game free and open source. There was a person out there who did a similar project with Streets of Rage, called the Streets of Rage Remake. I personally don't think that it would create legal problems with id Software and Fox Interactive as long as I give credit where credit is due, but to be on the safe side, I would like to ask the experts on gamedev.net. Basically I wanted this to be a nice little portfolio project, but would it be possible to submit such a game to fileplanet? Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
It's a bad idea. Don't do it.

Even if you escape notice for a time, what you would be doing would indeed infringe upon the IP of big companies. Fox in particular is not known for it's magnanimous attitude toward small projects, two words: Alien Quake.

... ok, Alien Quake (if I've got that right) was an Aliens-themed mod for Quake that got totally shut down by Fox - 10 years ago. The precedent is thoroughly set.

If you get anywhere at all with this, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. The whole time working on it you'd have this sword of lawyer-smackdown hanging over your head, and when it drops you've got no portfolio work to show, just a lot of wasted time.


Use an original idea. They're really more fun anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's so much easier to use your own IP anyways. Because nothing you do will be seen as inauthentic.

Get the quake2 or 3 source, make your own levels, and then ask for help on polycount.com to get the alien and soldier models you'll need. By Alien, I mean generic aliens, or ones of your own design. People around there are always looking to help on on stuff like that, as a lot of their models end up just being rendered and posted as a jpeg, and never going to any real use.

Then throw it up and let people play it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by blueshogun96
One of my friends said that I might run into some legal issues with creating a game such as this. I didn't think it would be a big deal since I plan to give proper credit to the respectful owners of each franchise and keep the game free and open source.

Listen to your friend. It's a common mistake to think that you won't have problems if you don't make money of it and if you credit the IP owners. This is wrong. It doesn't change anything, it's still IP violation. The original IP holders can - and in the case of id and Fox will ! - sue you over something like this. The litigation and possible damage fees can be astronomical.

So don't do it. Be creative and do something on your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by blueshogun96
I didn't think it would be a big deal since I plan to give proper credit to the respectful owners of each franchise and keep the game free and open source. There was a person out there who did a similar project with Streets of Rage, called the Streets of Rage Remake. I personally don't think that it would create legal problems with id Software and Fox Interactive as long as I give credit where credit is due, but to be on the safe side, I would like to ask the experts on gamedev.net. Basically I wanted this to be a nice little portfolio project, but would it be possible to submit such a game to fileplanet? Thanks.

As everyone else has already said this is a bad idea. Fox are one of the meanest companies there are when it comes to defending their IP.

It makes no difference if the game is free or not. It is still infringement of their IP and if your game is in any way successful there would be a good chance they will come after you. Giving credit would just make things worse. All that does is admit that you know you are infringing someone else's IP.

As for a portfolio piece? Probably not good to be sending game developers a portfolio which shows you're happy to knock off other game developers IP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, I think you guys have made your point. So instead I'll just use one of my under developed original ideas that hopefully will be worth the download someday. I appreciate the heads up. Saved me alot of grief and time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, since everyone agrees, I will semi-sorta-partly disagree to provide an alternate viewpoint.

BTW, my suggestion only works/applies because those three names are common words (alien, predator and quake). If you want to make a game called "Kleenex versus Ford" the following does not apply.

You see where I am going? As long as your "alien" doesn't look exactly like the alien in "the Alien movies", you have no problems whatsoever. And as long as your "predator" is simply some kind of actual predator (alien or otherwise), you have no problems whatsoever. And similarly, if you have earth/planet quakes or characters "quake in their boots" or the game has some content that has something to do with "quake", you are safe.

First rule... do not capitalize Alien or Predator or Quake unless they begin a sentence or are a title. Be smart and make your text style largely or exclusively lower-case to help avoid any "confusion".

And be smart; don't lift logos or other trademark items from those games, or any games.

Now listen up. The terms "alien" and "predator" and "quake" have been around for thousands of years, as have the referents. Just because some big company makes a movie about an alien and a predator does NOT prohibit you or anyone else from making additional media about such - as long as your alien/predator/etc are not exact copies.

Think about it. If the rules you fear existed at all, THEY could never have made the Alien and Predator movies, right? They have zero rights to anything but their EXACT artwork, logos and implementation - or a BLATANT copy/rip-off. Also, they do not gain any special rights just because they are big companies.

So I agree with everyone else about making a literal rip-off, but you might be very surprised how close you can adopt similar elements. Yours can easily be so similar that people totally notice the similarity to their Alien and Predator creatures without violating any laws or regulations. The fact is, if you were to do some thorough research, you would find many aliens and predators created by others years before those movies were made, yet the people making the special effects for those movies did not bother to do any special research to avoid making their aliens "too similar". In fact, they probably looked at plenty of alien creatures made by others in the past, and lifted the elements they most liked, and combined them into their unique creatures. Believe me, they only own their exact implementations, and since they were stupid enough to choose totally generic words, they cannot even stop others from making movies and games called "alien" or "predator" or "quake". You will find dozens of books with the same titles, and no law suit has a chance unless the content is stolen exactly (or so close to exactly that you need to squint to see the difference). BTW, ever hear the term "parody"? The entire point of that entire genre is to make near-enough rip-offs that "everyone can tell", yet the slight differences are entirely sufficient to keep them out of legal trouble.

Do what you wish, but no need to quake in your boots in fear of those alien predator lawyers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by iceware
Well, since everyone agrees, I will semi-sorta-partly disagree to provide an alternate viewpoint.

There's no "alternate viewpoint". There's people who understand IP law and people who do not. Your brief aside about "parody" is sufficient to demonstrate that you're in the latter category. Which is fine, of course; most people, even most content creators, don't need to know IP law. But don't pretend you do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!