An Updated Privacy Policy

Well, it was a long time coming, but the current Privacy Policy is finally complete. With privacy being such an important topic, a privacy policy is required as a general rule. But, when it comes to doing business through Epic Games’ store it is absolutely mandatory. This was a necessary step in the process of forming a business and listing games and asset packs on the store.

We have some ideas for games that would benefit from implementing Epic’s “Epic Online Services” or Valve’s “Steamworks”. But, as of right now, we don’t have any services included in any game we have completed or are currently working on. So, make sure to check the privacy policy often, because when we release a game with either or both of those game services, we will be updating the privacy policy to let you know how we will handle that. In short, we won’t collect any information we don’t absolutely need to, and we won’t keep any information locally that we don’t absolutely have to. We want to make great games, not run the Fort Knox of data security systems. The idea of keeping anybody’s personal information at all makes me feel a little sick, to be honest.

With this privacy policy in place, I can now begin to think about what type of business model I want to use for this company-to-be. I have experience with the process of incorporating a business, and I don’t know if I want to go through that again. But, I do know that there is absolutely no way I would ever do business as a personal entity using a DBA (doing business as) approach. Risking one’s personal assets, such as they are, is tantamount to insanity to me. We aren’t creating heart monitors or tires for your car, but you never know what can happen in the course of business. And I know from (painful) personal experience that you never, ever, want to leave your personal wellbeing in the hands of any legal court. It is far better to have some layer of security in place.

An LLC looks to be the best of both worlds. It isn’t as difficult or costly to put into place, but it provides some degree of separation between your personal freedoms and assets, and that of the companies. There are some tax issues that you need to be aware of before doing this, and that is what I want to look further into. But, when it is all said and done, an LLC is probably the best way to go. At least, for us this is true. Your mileage may vary.

The EULA is finished

DISCLAIMER: You should consult a lawyer if at all possible, and not rely on a legally binding document that you have written yourself…unless you have no other choice. Something is better than literally nothing.

After spending several days going over EULAs from other companies big and small, we have assembled ours. Legal documents use a lot of ‘boiler plate’ language to assemble a contract or other legal document. As programmers, we are very familiar with the concept of ‘boiler plate’ as a lot of programming reuses code in many situations. So, we took advantage of our understanding of using ‘boiler plate’ to assemble our EULA. We looked at all of the conditions that other companies use in their EULA and found many similarities (as you would expect). We read all of these EULAs thoroughly, paying close attention to the structure of sentences as well as the words chosen. One misplaced comma can make all the difference in the world when it comes to interpreting the meaning, in a legal sense, of a sentence and it’s effect on the contract.

One thing that we noticed, and didn’t like, was the fact that game developers that offer games with editors for maps, models, or mods always seem to claim sole ownership of that user generated content. If you spend your time creating a really cool mod for a game, you shouldn’t lose control of that mod just because the developer decides they want to use it’s features in the core game, for promotional purposes, or for some other reasons. You created it. It’s yours.

But, it does make sense that the developer needs some assurances that these great mods will remain available to the developer and the community as a whole. So there are clauses in contracts to allow the developer to use all likenesses, assets, etc. from a mod or other creating in perpetuity, and without compensation. That way, the developer knows that they can always depend on that mod being available for their game, and not having to worry that it will be pay-walled or that the mod creator will issue a copyright infringement suit against the developer.

There are many issues to the creation of a EULA, and we are not just paying lip service when we say that you should contact a lawyer for this, if at all possible. We are just two guys trying to make cool little video games. We don’t have the money for a lawyer to write a contract for us, so we opted to do it ourselves. It was either that or go out into the wild with no protection at all. As I wrote at the beginning in the disclaimer, any protection is better than nothing at all.