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Author Topic: A question for the devs.  (Read 827 times)
Yossarian
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« on: February 12, 2014, 07:42:31 pm »

I'd like to start off by saying I'm a huge fan of your project and I've been following it for some time with great enthusiasm (unfortunately I missed the kickstarter). My first language isn't English, but I'll try to make as few mistakes as possible.

I'm an aspiring indie game dev who studies coding in school, so you guys are role models for me. I really appreciate that some people are in this industry out of love for video games.  The indie scene is a refreshing sight in a world filled with money hungry megastudios and derivative games.

My question is this : when a group of people (especially from different countries) work together on a game, how hard is it to protect your work? As a future developer, I fear that the biggest roadblock might be finding trustworthy people to work on a common goal and not get my work stolen.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 07:48:21 pm by Yossarian » Logged

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Hemmingjay
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 05:12:58 am »

I am not a member of this team but I am active with another game studio and have worked on more than a dozen major projects.

The short answer is that your intellectual property is protected by your legal agreements that you have all team members sign. Traditionally game developers are terrible with the business side of game development, or worse yet, think they are strong enough with it. The truth is that every team really should have a dedicated business professional(post grad degree and 5-10 years experience preferred) to handle the business concerns which entail legal, accounting, publishing deals, third party licensing, human resource issues, project management, marketing and PR until a dedicated person joins the team at the Alpha/early beta stage.

There are half a dozen legal documents that prevent your team from stealing your work. Most developers also over-estimate the value of their work. What is your fear? That they will steal your game concept entirely? This is unlikely and if they do you can sue them to stop the release and/or sue for damages which would likely exceed the amount you would have made in the first place. However, collecting is usually very hard/impossible. Are you afraid they will steal your proprietary code? Chances are your code has already been written by another and improved upon 10x over. I have lost count of how many devs have told me they have groundbreaking innovative code that will revolutionize the industry and must be guarded at all costs. You know what? Every time it doesn't scale. It's all stuff that has been tried at big studios with large teams who find that the principle looked good on paper but when applied at the large market scale it doesn't hold up.

A leap of faith. You have to take one if you are going to work with others. You get everyone to sign NDA agreements and Non-compete agreements. Perhaps an anti-circumvention agreement and a loyalty clause, etc. At the end of the day, you have to hire good people and if you don't have experience it's a potential pitfall. Yet again, another reason to have a dedicated business professional on the team. In order to find the right team member: they have to get along with you, they have to respect you and agree to follow you, they have to be qualified and verified, they have to understand the regulations in their country for working online for a company based elsewhere, they have to be able to afford to work for you, they have to be investigated to a certain degree so that you know they are respected and are of the character they express to you. Every single person you bring on your team requires a lot of work and then you have to protect yourself. Everything you write to them can be used against you. You must be careful of any promises you make, or infer. Sometimes you don't come right out and guarantee money but you infer that they will get rich if they work with you and that can later be used against you in court. Maybe they won't win, but it will be stressful, damaging, expensive and a waste of time. Once again, educate yourself or have a dedicated biz team member and not just your know-it-all friend who is a self proclaimed expert in business, but someone educated in management, business, project management, finance or entrepreneurial pursuits and preferably has experience.

If you truly have an incredible idea, copyright or patent it before sharing it with a single soul. Once you file that you can share it with anyone you want. If it's truly great it will be stolen from you by one of the true greats like Apple, MS, LG, SONY, etc. They are experts in stealing patents filed by individuals. Good luck and PM me if you want direct help.

Cheers,
Hemmingjay

I started in the industry as a consultant for indie devs and some AAA studios before joining several projects full time. I still consult on the side, often for free for indies. If we jive and I think the project has potential I offer to stay as a permanent member of the team for a share.
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