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About Farrenfox

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  1. Farrenfox

    Rights to a name/word

    I've had a game concept on the backburner for years, and have known its title since the beginning. It is a one-word title that would be in any dictionary, and I searched for the term on the US trademark website and couldn't find anything related to games. However, recently I have discovered a small Flash game using the same title, and am wondering if I still have the right to use the name? I have proof that I was using the name before the Flash game was released, although it is in the form of an email sent to myself in 2008 to backup files, and I have files on my computer with design documentation that goes back to 2007. In addition to the fact that I was using the name well before being aware of another game of the same title, the Flash game is completely different in terms of gameplay, genre, style and scope to what I am working on. The title is a strong fit for my game and it would be a shame if I had to change it because another game aimed towards a different market released was released first.
  2. I'm looking into buying the Game Attorney's GameDevKit from gamedevkit.com - my question for those who might have it is how relevant are the legal contracts if you're not in the US? I'm particularly interested in contributor/employee agreements and NDAs. Are the documents in the kit specific to US law, or would they be useful anywhere in the world? Thanks.
  3. How about something along these lines, although you would need to customise it as appropriate to your game, company, and the publisher: Dear (publisher name), My name is (full name) from (developer name), and I am emailing to discuss the possibility of a publishing contract for our recently completed (prototype, demo, full game?), Zip Zoom Racer. The game is (briefly describe the concept for the game). Its target platform is (target platform), and we have already completed a fully functional (have you completed a prototype, demo, full game?). We firmly believe that (why is the game going to be successful?). Prior to the creation of Zip Zoom Racer, our team has experience (doing what?). Screenshots can be found at (URL) and a short gameplay video is available at (URL). If you require any additional materials, feel free to ask. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best regards, (full name).
  4. Is it legal to name a game after a single English word, if there are various other games (mostly flash games) already with the same name? It's not a phrase or anything made up, but just one word that can be found in any dictionary.
  5. Farrenfox

    Games as teaching tools

    Thanks for the responses, I'm finding it all pretty useful. Someone I know who teaches a marketing subject at university asked me about making the course more interactive, and although I'm not yet familiar with the particular course content or syllabus, it looks like the most effective ways to have students interact with the content would be either through an explorable environment (such as Second Life), or in a way similar to the PowerHouseMuseum link where students learn by making decisions and then seeing the consequences of their decision making.
  6. Hi all, I was wondering if anyone knows of good websites or research into the possibilities of using games as teaching tools - I'm not speaking about games that happen to teach spacial awareness, hand-eye coordination, memory skills, etc. as a side-effect of play, but more specifically I'm referring to the notion of using games and interactivity to present students with coursework in an interesting and engaging way, instead of the typical textbook manner. Thanks.
  7. I'm wondering if any iPhone casual game developers here write design documentation prior to development, and if so, how long do they tend to be? Given that most casual games have a much shorter development time and require a lot less resources, how important is a design document to the development timeline?
  8. I'm aware that IF and text adventures are a very niche market, but does anyone know if there are any portals that sell this style of game?
  9. Farrenfox

    Browser-based MMOGs and the industry

    Thanks for all the advice - I don't believe there would be legal problems as my contract doesn't mention anything about stuff done outside of work with my own equipment, and also since a few people at the office are quite open about hobby projects they're working on in their free time. The game I'm working on professionally is also a very different genre, and it is unlikely that the company will be developing any MMOGs in the near future. I've decided against working on the MMOG, mainly due to the level of extra commitment involved in these types of games, as even after completion I imagine there would be a significant amount of time involved with maintenance and community management. My main question was the one that d000hg referred to, as I was concerned that browser-based games in particular may be viewed as 'trashy' by those in the industry (the dozens of 'Top 100 Free MMOGs' websites spring to mind), and more the domain of college students looking for a quick buck.
  10. Hi all, I'm already working in the industry as a designer - however a friend whose skills primarily lie in the web development field is interested in developing an MMOG and asked me if I wanted to design it. I already have several interesting design ideas which I jotted down months ago, and one of them could be adapted very well into a browser-based MMOG that could most likely be completed by just the two of us, although a support team will eventually be needed if the player base grows big. My question is: how does the industry as a whole view these kinds of side projects? I am working on a pretty big budget title at the company I work for, and the MMOG would be a low budget hobbyist project (with potential to earn more if it's popular). Could it adversely affect my career/reputation if my name is associated with the project and it is not successful? Although game designers are not quite yet advertised as brands in the same way that Hollywood promotes directors and film stars, I'd like to build my career on commercial hits, and I'm not sure if a failed side project has the potential to come back and bite me in the future (as I plan on building a name for myself). I'm not *expecting* the project to fail, but I consider my actual job to be my highest priority so I might not be able to devote all the spare time needed for the MMOG to be a success - I fully recognise that life may get in the way, and if it comes down to crunch time at my work then that will be my first and foremost focus, and the quality of the side project might suffer. My main concern is whether it's a bad career decision to work on something like this when I'm working full-time on a AAA title. Thanks.
  11. Farrenfox

    The amnesiac protagonist

    I'm working on an adventure game idea I've had tumbling around my brain for a long time, and my question is this: is it ever okay to give the protagonist amnesia? I know that it is a well-worn cliche in games, and many people will be against it because of this, but are there exceptions to the rule? Amnesia in my game is not really because of laziness, rather it plays a crucial role in the gameplay design and story structuring... One of my inspirations for this game was in fact Memento, a film where the hero cannot remember more than a few minutes at a time. Another inspiration was The Bourne Identity. Certain plot twists in my story rely on the hero having no memory of his life before the game starts, and the gameplay experience itself is based around collecting memories to understand the past. What are everyone's thoughts on the amnesiac protagonist?
  12. Does anyone know of any design/writing orientated contests where you are judged on the merit of the concept and documentation itself? One example is the Doritos Unlock XBox competition at http://www.unlockxbox.com/ where you can submit an idea for a Doritos inspired game, and the five finalists see their idea turned into betas, gaining valuable industry experience along the way. I am interested to know if there are many other contests like this one, so post a link if you know of any.
  13. So I've got a job interview coming up for a game design-related internship, and they said that part of the interview process will include a design test. What kind of questions can I expect for such a test, and how should I prepare for it? Any insights or past experiences with similar tests would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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