Monetization and Crowd-Funding of Fangames

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Beamer the Meep, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    69
    7
    8
    I wanted to bring this to everyone's attention since I haven't seen it discusses here. There seems to be a growing and disconcerting trend for certain sonic fangame developers to monetize their games through platforms such as Patreon. While I don't have much information on which developers are doing this and how, but two major examples over the past month have been Sonic Smackdown and more recently the Sonic 2020 project. My information may be incomplete or inaccurate about either so if I'm mistaken on something please feel free to set things straight.

    Sonic Smackdown is a fighting game being developed by developer ArcForged which is headed by Jaime Silva. Apparently he originally pitched the game to Sega via Twitter which put many people on edge due to how inappropriate it might seem. While this may not be a major concern, ArcForged has since gone on to include Smackdown as part of their Patreon campaign along with two otheroother games. At best this is questionable considering you could argue they're receiving donations for their studio, but personally I don't think it's a great idea to include a fangame as part of that campaign.
    Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/ArcForged

    Sonic 2020 is a much more ambitious fangame created with Infinity Engine and being handled by Oroboros Studios and it's head animator Alex "BOLT" Dmitriev. It's being released in 7 parts with full voice acting and animated, cinematic cutscenes. They've currently released two parts so far, but they've currently locking Patreon exclusive betas behind a paywall. This has been pointed out to them directly on Twitter and they attempted to justify it as a donation to the developers which is patently false due to the incentive.
    Studio Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ouroborostudio
    BOLT's Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOLT59117837
    Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/B0LT


    I know a while back SAGE added a rule stating fangames with Patreon accounts would not be accepted into the contest in light of Smackdown and similar games I'm not really aware of, but there's a major concern that this could "poke the bear" as it were. I'd like to think Sega's smart enough to DMCA these particular games and not take it out on the whole community, but they just as easily could. Being a part of the Star Trek fandom, I'm seeing some potential parallels to the Axanar fan film and the resulting damage it did to Trek fan films as a whole. Here's hoping the same won't happen here.
     
  2. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Back on track Member
    640
    39
    28
    Bilbao, Spain
    Upgrading my own life to pro edition
    I don't think Sega will charge against the whole fangame scene, but those people are asking for trouble as they are setting a dangerous precedent. They're probably irrelevant enough to not pose a risk themselves (how much money can you really earn through patreon for such projects?) but proving possible to earn money through someone else's IP is something no one with a profitable IP wants to happen, and is indeed disrespectful to the whole fangame scene, so fans themselves shouldn't support those projects.

    I I were them, I would make a generic game and add a "mod" that puts the Sonic stuff there for free, so they could dodge that bullet and even try to find a way to sell the base game which would be their own IP. Not sure how many projects could get away with that (really hard for Sonic2020 from what I've seen of it, but quite viable for Smackdown), but it's the only wise move to do.

    That aside, there's a lot of Patreon projects based on someone else's IPs that aren't sued, so I suppose there's a minimum profit they need to reach in order for the law to apply, or at least for the companies to consider suing. I really wouldn't worry about it, just what I've said before, that fans should not support fangame profit.
     
  3. Overlord

    Overlord

    Aros gartref, diogelu'r GIG, achub bywydau Moderator
    17,864
    151
    43
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    The community as a whole needs to put as much pressure on these idiots as possible to stop what they're doing before they ruin everything for everyone. If they want to make money they should be making their own IP, not using someone else's. The rest of us are doing it for the love of the franchise, nothing more.
     
    • Agree Agree x 8
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  4. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

    I like Sonic Advance Member
    969
    94
    28
    France
    Learning how to draw, studying Japanese
    Yeah, Sega has already been pretty lenient with fangames, let's not take try our luck. Not to mention even without the potential looming treat of Sega, this is still a pretty crappy move to do. Monetize your own damn game.
     
  5. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    69
    7
    8
    Well in the case of Project 2020, they didn't even credit the creators of the Infinity Engine and are making profit off of their work, so in a real sense they are being disrespectful to the community as well as Sega. A mod may or may not work for either of them if they were seperate IPs, but it gets sketchy when the creators of the game mod their own work with someone else's IP I guess.

    I agree, but it needs to be done with tact and reason. Sending a Twitter mob after either (which seems to be the case regardless), isn't going to do anyone any good.
     
  6. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Back on track Member
    640
    39
    28
    Bilbao, Spain
    Upgrading my own life to pro edition
    To the first ones, which hunt then. For Smackdown, a fighting game can be just a collection of characters and arenas, so making totally new anthro characters and locations should be relatively easy and a profitable one. A while after release, when the game is already made and sold, they could release a goodwill mod reskinning their stuff to celebrate the inspiration they drew from Sonic games. Not excusing them, though, unless they accept the situation and give up their current doings.

    -

    A bit offtopic, but I'm asking here and we'll see if it deserves its own thread, because I've been wondering this since long ago: how similar can be a game to the one it drew inspiration from before being considered plagiarism? Old Sonic clones like Socket/Time Dominator, or newer stuff like Freedom Planet or Spark the Electric Jester, which are all considered Sonic clones, come to mind. Is evident how different from Classic Sonic are the monetized games from Retro members, but I'm not sure how much of that would be applied to something like Socket, and I remember one really old mobile game for color screens that was like a Sonic game but featuring some anthro-styled demon instead of Sonic, and I wondered back then how were they able to get away with that.

    EDIT: Actually found the game.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  7. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    69
    7
    8
    I'd be willing to talk about it here since it's related, assuming mods don't mind. Legally, gameplay elements can't be copyrighted since they are what constitute a genre. It's like the author of the first mystery novel claiming that any mystery novel that comes after it is infringing on copyright since the tropes and narrative structure were first developed by said author. In the same sense, games are allowed to reuse and innovate upon the same gameplay structures and tropes so long as they don't reuse characters, locations, music, ect. That's why Freedom Planet and Spark the Electric Jester are fine since they're original IPs inspired by Sonic. Honestly, this is the route fangames should go if they want to monetize their work.
     
  8. Hez

    Hez

    Asshole Oldbie
    3,134
    62
    28
    Hell
    Your mother
    Yeah this shit needs to stop. Its ridiculous how lenient SEGA has been to us and how some are now taking advantage of that generosity. Give them absolutely no more publicity than they have.

    It takes only one turd to ruin a punch bowl.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  9. Sally Rose

    Sally Rose

    Member
    36
    3
    8
    my thoughts are this, if the team wants to seak monitization they need to do so via a terchiary source as to not make it seam like a conflict of intrest with sega, make the game in private or secret, keep it purely "non profit" but still draw revinue from a non related source, that would solve the problem. sort of the way nentendo fan game devs have to do it, post art and non related content to draw revinue via pay platforms, but work on the project as a side and non profit venture even being secretive of its devlopment.
     
  10. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Member
    737
    101
    43
    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    That's not non-profit. There's no good way to make money off someone else's IP.

    And Nintendo doesn't care if fan projects are making money or not. AM2R made no money and still got DMCA'd.

    Anyway, much as I think a Twitter shitstorm would make them stop, it would also likely draw Sega's attention, which could be very bad. Is there actual contact information on those pages? Then we could still inform that of how fucking stupid they are.
     
  11. The Claw

    The Claw

    Member
    68
    0
    6
    The middle ground on this one is difficult to be sure. What funding sources are appropriate, and when? Securing talent and equipment to create the best game possible can't always be achieved at no cost.
     
  12. winterhell

    winterhell

    Member
    1,165
    7
    18
    Thats why you make an original IP.
     
  13. Hez

    Hez

    Asshole Oldbie
    3,134
    62
    28
    Hell
    Your mother
    Absolutely no money should be involved in any sort of fan-game period. All of these half assed ways to get around it are stupid. No, if you want to make money you need to do something original. Period. The fact someone here is saying "in secret" screams guilty.

    This goes far beyond this too. There are artists that are charging for sprites and level assets. It. is. wrong. Period. You do not make money off of fan-games. Yes, I get people need to make money. Yes, I get it takes a lot of work. HOWEVER, It is another companies asset. If you want to make money, then come up with something original.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  14. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    69
    7
    8
    In my opinion, if you have enough passion and drive, you can make a fangame with little or no money whatsoever. The community has made it very easy to do with the open source engines like Sonic Worlds and Sonic Infinity so inexperienced developers don't have to code everything from the ground up or create character assets from scratch, but the people who made those engines did so presumably on their own time and maybe out of pocket. They didn't have to have people pay them to develop these engines.

    Fangames or any fanwork are about expressing a passion and admiration for the source material and as a means to learn the craft in which you're creating that work. Throwing money into such a situation is completely missing the point.
     
  15. Overlord

    Overlord

    Aros gartref, diogelu'r GIG, achub bywydau Moderator
    17,864
    151
    43
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    If you need money to make your fangame, you shouldn't be making that fangame. You should be making your own IP. It's as simple as that, really.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 2
    • List
  16. Campestre

    Campestre

    Member
    11
    7
    3
    we should report him
     
  17. The Claw

    The Claw

    Member
    68
    0
    6
    The most obvious roadblock that comes to mind is live action cutscenes. Authentic fangames for some franchises simply won't work without getting people into a recording studio.
     
  18. Sally Rose

    Sally Rose

    Member
    36
    3
    8
    i was mearly trying to come up with a good middle ground, and used how nintendo fan games have to be made in secret as an example, like am2r it is out but it was cnd'd because the creator went a bit too public with it. I just dont like seeing potentaly good fangames like sonic 2020 which is shapeing up to be killer mind you, be stoped , shut down or other wize hampered by such complications. I wish they could find easier and less confrontational ways to make the game, or if all else fails and the project is doomed at least end up like am2r and get a final release out before the cnd goes hot, so at least the final game is out in the wild and find able. idk i am just one of those players that i dont enjoy missing any possible sonic content so i try to look on the bright side most the time. I dont mean to upset anyone and i know how monitization can leave a bad taste in folks mouths. I was only trying to propose ways the team can earn while working by useing unrelated income sources and have the project be religated to purely a side project, which is the healthier alternitive. ie have a real job that earns but work on this as an aside. When i said in secret i was mostly refering to how nintendo fan devs have to opperate.
     
  19. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Back on track Member
    640
    39
    28
    Bilbao, Spain
    Upgrading my own life to pro edition
    But the question is not "how to", the question is it's wrong for many reasons. Sega allows us to do fangames, we don't nedd anti-Nintendo shenanigans to do them, but, if they got money for makinf fangames, that's wrong no matter how Nintendo answers.

    OK, let's say this: I make a game named "Runic the Hex Lord", where the main character is a magician anthro cat with a spell that allows him to turn into a tornado or a spiked ball to fight his enemies, which are golems enslaving inside innocent elemental spirits Runic knows well, their creator being a twisted human golemancer with a prominent moustache and beard. Both try to collect a set of mysterious magical artifacts which are linked to elements and are a big source of magical power, Runic trying to protect them before they're used and cause an inbalance in the fabric of magic, while his enemy, let's call him golemnik, doesn't care at all and wants to be the one causing said inbalance. The game is almost identical in level design to the first Sonic game, but all assets are substituted by more fitting and less copyright infringing locations and items related to the sword and sorcery theme. Would it get a pass? If not, how much would I have to change to get away with it?
     
  20. winterhell

    winterhell

    Member
    1,165
    7
    18
    "How much do I have to change" is also a wrong approach.
    If you take 100 platformers and your game is several times closer to Sonic than to any other platformer, then its probably not unique enough.