Most people find licensing a pain, but trust me, its less painful taking 10 minutes to read all those T&C's, than finding out all your hard work is useless, unless you pay a massive fee because you art/audio or even worse those code you have based evertyhing off was not licensed to be used or modified in the first place!
If you are looking to make a game from scratch or modify existing works, you are going to need some software to do it. Most of the list below are FOSS - Free and Open-Source Software and we will be looking at the pros and cons of each. At the end we have have some freeware...ish?
|Blender||3D Creation Suite||GNU|
|Inkscape||Vector Graphics Editor||GNU|
|Unity||Game Engine||Other(Freeware Tier)|
|Unreal Engine (UE4)||Game Engine||Other(Freeware Tier)|
Most of the programs we are going to be using have some form "Open source" license.
Open source software has freely avaliable source code that anyone can use & modify
Below are the most common licenses you will come across, with a brief explenation of each.
MIT is the least restrictive type of open source license originating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
|Use||Include MIT License|
Click for official websites
GNU / GPL is the most popular type of open source license. It gives freedom to the end user to study and modify the code & also assurance to the original developer that their work will remain free and benefit everyone.
|Use||Preserve Original Copyrite notice|
|Copy||Derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms|
The Apache License, Version 2.0 requires preservation of the copyright notice and disclaimer. Like other free software licenses, the license allows the user of the software the freedom to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software, under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties.
|Use||Copy of original License|
|Copy||Original work can NOT be re-distributed|
Freeware is something I am sure most of you are familiar with. Think about evey piece of software that you use but have not paid for! ( and I am not talking about you pirates out there!)
Every app you have downloaded from instant messaging to most of the games on your phone were probably free...
Adverts might pop up, the company may be selling all of your private data, or maybe they lock premium content behind a pay wall.
The two programs below have very different licenses so be sure to double check anything you are unsure about!
Always read the T&C's carefully when using any piece of software
Unity has 3 tiers, Personal(Free), PLUS (~$25/month) and PRO ($125/month)
The Personal tier of unity comes under the freeware license.
This means it is free to use but has some strict rules including: no modificatoin/distribution or reverse engineering of the Source code "without permission"
Also there are limits on how much you can earn from a game built in Unity Personal before having to pay for an Upgraded license plan.
Unreal has slightly different licensing to Unity as it doesnt offer different tiers and you are able to modify the source code.
Unreal engine is free to download and you are not allowed to re-distribute the unaltered source code.
Just like Unity you have to pay after you earn a certain threashold.
UNREAL has you pay a royalty percentage on earnings over $3000 per game per quater.
There are LOADS of different game engines and resources online so make sure you read the respective T&C's before you start using anyone elses work.
Now you should have a basic understanding of the different type of licenses you are going to encounter and what to look out for on your journey.
Remember to keep your BUTT SAFE! companys love to profit off of those who misunderstand.
Likewise support open source developers if you benefit from others free work consider supporting where you can.