Protecting code design in order to be able to show companies

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Gnarlyman 101 Feb 22, 2012 at 03:09

As the subject line sort of gets around at, I have a code design which I’m seeking to show companies. Obviously, the legal concern is that I don’t want any interested parties to have a gander, nod politely, and then take my idea and run with it. I’m fairly well versed in the copyright/pantent arena for games and coding, but a lot of it as regards an issue like this is still pretty confusing. Things such as…

Does intellectual property apply here?
Or do I need to officially file something because of the new “first to file” environment?

What I have is a complete design with very generic code prototype. Basically, it’s a ton of descriptive documentation but no actual code. Do copyrights and/or patents apply here?

Am I in any way safe in to go ahead and show interested parties? I know that before the first-to-file thing, I probably would be, but I don’t know how that affects a situation like mine now. I do know that the intellectual property thing still applies in some cases, preempting the need to actually file a copyright or a patent in every single case. I also know that the issue of copyright and patents, and which one, or both, to use is sometimes confusing when dealing with designs, and not actual, say, pieces of art, which is what I’ve dealt with in the past.

At any rate, thanks for any help out there.

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geon 101 Feb 22, 2012 at 18:18

I’ve never heard o the term “code design” before. Is this what you mean? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_code

If so, it seems pretty much like the design document commonly used in game development. My advice would be: Don’t bother. Ideas are a dime a dozen. No one is going to steal your idea, and if they do, success lies in execution, not your initial vision.

…Which bringa us to the question; Why would you show your ideas to some company at all? What do you have to gain from it? since you are asking here, you are new to the business, right? That means you have no qualifications for whatever you are trying to do. I can’t imagine that they will want to buy your idea, because of what I stated above, and no one would take the risk of hiring you to manage the project, based solely on a vision.

I might be overly cynical, so take it for what it’s worth.

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Gnarlyman 101 Feb 22, 2012 at 21:18

Lol.

What I mean is, I’ve developed a huge documentation of what amounts to description of prototyped code. I.e., a game developer could read the theory of the code and immediately see how to code it. I don’t have any coding experience or much knowledge concerning APIs and all, and I’m looking to show my theory documentation to game companies. I’ve heard the dime-a-dozen thing. I’m simply look for a direct answer to exactly what I’ve asked, nothing more.

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geon 101 Feb 23, 2012 at 05:34

@Gnarlyman

a game developer could read the theory of the code and immediately see how to code it. I don’t have any coding experience or much knowledge concerning APIs and all

Having no experience of actual programming, you have designed the arcitechture of a piece of software, so that a coder can take care of the tedious, simple job of avtually implementing it?

It doesn’ work that way. The tiny, uninteresting details of implementation makes or breaks the arcitechture. They must be done in parallell, by the same people to make any sense.

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Gnarlyman 101 Feb 23, 2012 at 19:09

Lol.

Wow, well, no one apparently wants to answer my question. It’s not as though I haven’t thought through these issues that everyone is speaking of. I’m just gonna quit this topic, lol. Nevermind, y’all.

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Stainless 151 Feb 24, 2012 at 11:06

When I worked at Digital Integration, we interviewed a guy for a games programmer position.

He came from one of the oxbridge universities and was very highly rated.

In the interview we found it really difficult to get anything from him, he didn’t seem to know any of the basics, yet he had this honours degree from a premier university.

Eventually he clicked, and in a great show of astonishment declared “Oh no I DO NOT WRITE CODE, I design algorithms”

Needless to say he didn’t get the job. :D

It is almost impossible to walk into a games company with an idea and come out with funding.

The only people I have ever heard of that have managed it are people with proven track records. People who have already done half a dozen successful games and the meeting takes place in a bar at some computer show.

If you think your idea is so brilliant you will be able to get funding for it, then what I suggest you try is get a game development engine that doesn’t require coding. A point and click type of thing. Spend the time to put together a demo and plaster it with your copyright notices.

You may get lucky and someone will pick up on that, but without coding resources you are really going to find it hard.

Good luck

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alphadog 101 Feb 24, 2012 at 14:51

@Gnarlyman

Does intellectual property apply here?
Or do I need to officially file something because of the new “first to file” environment?
What I have is a complete design with very generic code prototype. Basically, it’s a ton of descriptive documentation but no actual code. Do copyrights and/or patents apply here?
Am I in any way safe in to go ahead and show interested parties?

What you are looking for is called an “Non-Disclosure Agreement”. Look it up. They protect both parties involved in disclosures of IP, trade secrets, etc, and are quite common in technology.

However, the truth of the matter is that, even with the paper, in a legal fight, whoever has the most money usually wins. Unless you are filthy rich, your only decision is whether to take a chance or not. Basically, the adage “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” comes to mind. Be as careful as you can be with who you talk to, but you’ll have to talk at some point if you want someone to buy in.

What most people on your side don’t realize is that the people who are on the other side, the ones who will fund your project, are possibly capable but usually not interested in “doing it themselves”. You can guard it even more by having a prototype, a team, a plan, etc. The more you stack the deck with “stuff already done” and your own personal energy, the more an investor will simply be tempted to ride the coat-tails, rather than roll their own.

Ideas are great, but there’s lots of good ones. It’s getting them to market profitably that is the real trick.