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Johnny Doe

Question and Tips on creating a game

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New here and I need serious tips on moving forward with this idea of a game i have. So a game I love is on it's life support. No it is not shutting down, just the creators don't prioritize it as much as they need to use too. It has been a year since an update and the member count continues to drop. It's a online-multiplayer strategy turn based browser flash game. So instead of hoping for a miracle i decided to give up on waiting come up with an idea for a game similar to it but more dynamic. 

I already jotted down the concept of the game. It's not going to be a browser game, rather I will make it a downloadable game for both desktop then for the mobile app. I plan on creating the forum for the game while the game is still in development. 

What I need is some tips to get started. Also, I would appreciate if you can help answer some of the question I have about moving forward with this.

1). On average how much money would I have to spend to protect the game legally?

2). Since I want my game to be an online multiplayer that means I would need to get servers. Do servers prices differ country? (BTW Im from the USA)

3). On average, how much money would have to be spent to keep the game's server up and running for players across the globe? 

4). This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but the game will allow users to make build their own characters with the tools given to them inside the game (Not rpg style). They will be allowed to upload images for the character they build, exactly like how you upload images when you change you forum avatar. I was wondering if there will be a legal issue if a user uploads an image of a popular cartoon character for his character and plays the game with them rather their own original design? 

I guess the real question i'm asking is, if I will be held accountable in the court of law for the image (that is not rightfully his/her) a player has the freedom to upload to my game and to use as an avatar for their character?

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"2). Since I want my game to be an online multiplayer that means I would need to get servers. Do servers prices differ country? (BTW Im from the USA)"

 

Yes. Why? Because datacentre space is cheaper in the US than in Europe. Why? Land and power are both more expensive here.


4. Yeah. Probably. But that's not actually your problem.

 

Your problem is the OTHER pictures they'll upload to use as avatars. Dicks, basically. A lot of dicks. Dicks if you're lucky. Child porn if you're not.

 

Now you're an illegal pornography distributor.

 

You don't need the aggravation that user generated content like that causes -- you won't be able to screen it all. And people get amazingly creative about getting their penis imagery through filters. Basically if your UGC can be made to be pornographic, horrifically offensive, illegal or any combination of those then it will be.

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3. Anything between tuppence ha'penny and all the money in the world based on that spec. You need a tighter spec with harder numbers in it. How many users, how many zones, how much duplication resilience between the zones. How much data and bandwidth and computation per user.

 

How many SREs do you want looking after this? Do you need dedicated machines or hosted VMs? How many points of presence? Do you need to peer with major networks to be close to your users? So you need dedicated links? What kind of failover do you need? Is any downtime acceptable?

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Scenario 1: Say I decide to design a game free to play based on a popular cartoon. What are the chances of it getting shutdown? There is a game called Pokemon showdown that has no affiliation with the creators of the Pokemon franchise, but gets to stay up and running. Most fan-made games get shutdown immediately or overtime. Even if I make it known in the copyright that I do not own the original content that this game is based on nor do i own any of the images used from that cartoon. What is the worst case scenario involving the creation of a fan-made game for a particular series from a legal pov?

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Scenario 1: Say I decide to design a game free to play based on a popular cartoon. What are the chances of it getting shutdown? There is a game called Pokemon showdown that has no affiliation with the creators of the Pokemon franchise, but gets to stay up and running. Most fan-made games get shutdown immediately or overtime. Even if I make it known in the copyright that I do not own the original content that this game is based on nor do i own any of the images used from that cartoon. What is the worst case scenario involving the creation of a fan-made game for a particular series from a legal pov?


Read these:
https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/5pxldd/ultimate_as_promised_guide_to_legal_needs_and/
http://sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm

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Scenario 1: Say I decide to design a game free to play based on a popular cartoon. What are the chances of it getting shutdown? There is a game called Pokemon showdown that has no affiliation with the creators of the Pokemon franchise, but gets to stay up and running. Most fan-made games get shutdown immediately or overtime. Even if I make it known in the copyright that I do not own the original content that this game is based on nor do i own any of the images used from that cartoon. What is the worst case scenario involving the creation of a fan-made game for a particular series from a legal pov?

 

Being shut down is the LEAST of the risks  - you face serious damage to your future. Worst-case scenario is a massive court judgement that may consume all your real-life assets, taint your credit rating, and cast a shadow over future job opportunities. Again, to be clear, having your game shut down is the BEST-case scenario.

 

And making it clear that you don't own the copyright doesn't help at all - that's a tacit admission of guilt re: copyright infringement that makes it EVEN HARDER to defend yourself in court.

 

Stay safe out there - under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you make use of someone else's IP without explicit permission.

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Scenario 1: Say I decide to design a game free to play based on a popular cartoon. What are the chances of it getting shutdown? There is a game called Pokemon showdown that has no affiliation with the creators of the Pokemon franchise, but gets to stay up and running. Most fan-made games get shutdown immediately or overtime. Even if I make it known in the copyright that I do not own the original content that this game is based on nor do i own any of the images used from that cartoon. What is the worst case scenario involving the creation of a fan-made game for a particular series from a legal pov?


Read these:
https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/5pxldd/ultimate_as_promised_guide_to_legal_needs_and/
http://sloperama.com/advice/faq61.htm

 

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I understand this but my game will be a bit different. As I mentioned in the op, users will be able to upload their own art work (UGC). Of course their uploads will need to be verified so that pornography or anything offensive does not get uploaded into the database. Other than that everything else will be original content, from the tools used to build their characters to the gameplay. Oh and thats another thing. Since players will have the liberty to create their characters and upload art work, will I get in trouble if someone creates mickey mouse and records gameplay of them playing with Mickey. Btw this will be a card game (not an rpg) where users can only name the character they make, title of skill they use (not description of the skill), and have custom backgrounds. 

Edited by Johnny Doe

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1). On average how much money would I have to spend to protect the game legally?

 

Check out this recent posting from a lawyer experienced in the industry.  He provides a list of the legal steps he normally recommends and approximate normal costs.

 

There's also some pieces of advice relevant to some of your other queries.


will I get in trouble if someone creates mickey mouse and records gameplay of them playing with Mickey

Yes, you potentially could.  'City of Heroes' ran into similar problems with players recreating Marvel and DC characters.

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I understand this but my game will be a bit different.


I answered the question you asked. To discuss fine points of how unique and special
and non-applicable you think your case is, talk to a lawyer.

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