quick question


nerdtron99

Member
If you have not seen one of my most recent posts, i am trying to get into game development. so my question is: if i were to distribute it for free and gave microsoft and 343i credit, could i make a halo fan game? because i want to make a fangame about agent locke. it would be a combo of a fps and tps btw.
 

Darktemplar

Jr Member
Sure, you could. You can use Halo themed stuff for free, but selling it as your own is a problem (Not 100% sure, check google)

Cheers,

P.S. I expect my name in credits now. (I'm just screwin with ya, though it would be nice)
 

RobTC

Member
Legally? No. Copyright is copyright, regardless of distribution. "Fair Use" doctrine is something people like to throw around because they're not making a profit, but the two are unrelated and it doesn't apply here. That "for entertainment only" thing you see on infringing Youtube videos? Complete BS, it's legally meaningless. Microsoft have complete and final say over who does what with the Halo brand, characters, story and asset designs. Assigning credit is also legally BS, the only time it's relevant is part of a licensing term on some kind of media contract. Sometimes it reduces the licensing fee, sometimes it's just part of the standard package. It's usually a sign of respect though, knowing and passing along who actually owns the IP.

That said, it's a similar "grey" area to propmaking- the assets and branding aren't legally ours to do anything with, but for the most part, because it's so small-scale, it gets ignored. If you ask them nicely first, their legal team must advise them to say no or risk having their trademarks diluted and future copyright cases (against mass Chinese importers, not random Joe) damaged. They cannot be held by a court to have had actionable knowledge- not that it would probably matter for a multibillion dollar US company for an FTC injunction with the lawyers they have, but they have to play it safe or risk shareholder revolt.

So, if your game proves to be not particularly popular outside of the community and you keep it reasonably small and simple (not quite Mister Chief Warthog Explosion simple, but reasonable)- and, yes, assign credit all over the place- then you'll probably be left alone.

But if they issue a takedown, it's your responsibility to comply. Since your work is your copyright, you could always just pull a 50 Shades and magically transform from fanfic to franchise. Dump the characters and assets that are theirs, remodel where you have to, retexture where you don't, redo some story and audio... It would be fundamentally identical, but different enough to comply and you'd still have your work out there.

Isn't Source 2 out soon? Pretty sure Unreal Engine, Havok and Unity are all either free to use or free to get started with too. Could be good, may take a while without 5-10 other people helping out though!
 

nerdtron99

Member
I was just going to use mostly community made models. And just make it like 2 or 3 levels. Still no? Its perfectly ok if so. This would have just been a side project to do along side my original game that i've been making with unity.
 

RobTC

Member
It's still technically legally a no without written permission from Microsoft. But that's not really the question here, since that's a given.

The question is, should you do it anyway, under the auspices of the sharing and collaboration culture that cosplay is also a part of? I would. A couple levels of what's essentially fanfic isn't going to raise any eyebrows, I don't think. Things like that are more likely to get you hired than sued, from what I've heard.

I vote go for it. :D
 

nerdtron99

Member
It's still technically legally a no without written permission from Microsoft. But that's not really the question here, since that's a given.

The question is, should you do it anyway, under the auspices of the sharing and collaboration culture that cosplay is also a part of? I would. A couple levels of what's essentially fanfic isn't going to raise any eyebrows, I don't think. Things like that are more likely to get you hired than sued, from what I've heard.

I vote go for it. :D

i think i am going to play it safe and not make it. just don't wanna get sued, lol. though i did make a concept trailer and everything XD
 

Termhn

Member
There's no way they're going to sue you unless it really blows up or something... just go for it, I think it's similar enough to a fanfiction or fan film that they aren't really going to care, especially since you aren't making any profit.
 

ghost778

New Member
Ive seen other fan games get shut down by developers. They may let you create it, but some don't. I don't remember the name of the most recently closed fan game, but I know Microsoft had put a cease and desist out on that mod that allowed players outside of Russia to play Halo Online. I think most of the time they will issue a cease and desist first, and then proceed to more drastic measures if you refuse to heed their warnings.
 

Thugzz Deluxxxe

Active Member
I know this post is a bit old, but I can shed some light on the subject. Content Usage and Fair Use can be tricky. The thing to keep in mind is there are no blanket rules of fair use that cover everything. Each content creator has their own set of rules. You just have to know where to look for them. RobTC definitely knows what he's talking about. That said, Microsoft has been getting more and more lenient with their content usage. So don't let RobTC scare you off. If you take a look at the Content Usage Rules on the Xbox website, they, pretty effectively, spell out what you can and can't do. Most of these rules generally apply to fan films and the like, however, in the "What Are The Rules?" section, they mention the creation of apps based on their content. That to me says that user created games are just as much fair game as fan films. Microsoft didn't used to be this lenient, but in recent years, they've eased up. I actually recently went through all my Microsoft Game let's plays to monetize them, due to Microsoft's rules on that changing. Hope this helps.
 

Dagger06

Well-Known Member
343i is very lenient when it comes to fan creations, and I'm assuming fan games are similarly approached.

The basic guidelines I recommend to follow are:
1) Don't use game or other 343i owned assets (except for the universe concept)
2) Don't title it so that it can be mistaken for an official product (No: "Halo: Awesome", but "Awesome, A Halo Fan Game" is fine.
3) Not purely for profit (donation/fundraising is a grey area)
 
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