When developing games a variety of documents need to be considered and used for various different purposes. Whether it be a non-disclosure agreement to protect your intellectual property, or contracts for workers, it all needs to be considered in order for protection and to up hold the legal standard for working.
A contract from Flatline games shows insight into how a contract may look and be purposed for recruitment.
The contract has numerous topics which goes into depth from warranty, royalties, payment etc. With a contract such as this, you give the publisher control over many different aspects of what you have created. Such as in part 2 – 2.1 were you give the publisher right to produce and sell said item. Or during part 4 for design and marketing, where the publisher has the right to present it in anyway they see fit, title and change various other aspects of the product however they want. So even though you created said thing, you cannot have full creative control over how it will be presented to the public, even if you do not like how it is being marketed. So when creating a contract such as this – I need to make sure of how much control I want over what is being created and produced, making sure that if I wanted to market a piece of work in a way that suits the vision of the publisher, I could due to the contract. Making sure that payments are clear and fair are also of the upmost importance and stated in a way like on part 7. Subsequently if I were to go onto a creative job, reading the fine print would be very important to me to see what control I am losing to the company, whilst making sure everything seems fair. Generally work that has been created for a specific company, belongs to that specific company. This could be concept art for a game or model but it all attributes to that final product in which they own.
Carrying on from the contract, underneath you can see the appendix which it refers to, giving information such as the percentage of royalties and term of agreement.
Another important document is the Non disclosure agreement. This is usually given to employees, voice actors amongst others in order to keep a project under wrap. The NDA can be used to keep various secrets, information, processes or anything that they don’t want discussing outside of the company. Or not being able to tell anybody about a specific name of in house software used at a games company, for example.
Here is typically what an NDA looks like.
Failure to uphold the agreement can have different repercussions depending on the company, but generally the employee is fired as seen on the NDA above on part 3.
Another document which is usually used is Meeting minutes. This document is used for a team in which they can discuss whether they are meeting deadlines they have set or not. The minute taker has to take note of what is being said, then sum up at the end decisions and actions that will take place from what has been discussed. This is of course, vital for a team allowing everybody to set clear goals together, which helps prevent miscommunication that can occur throughout teams. But also thanks too the minute document, the team can quickly check new deadlines or other matters that have been discussed on a accurate document.
Here is one example of what a Minutes document looks like.
They do have different formats depending on the company however. Here is another one with a different format to the first.
Company logo is in the top left corner, along with time and location, a general discussion and concepts A/B. A format such as this will come in useful for our meeting minutes for the heritage project in order to break up discussion into segment – from a general where are we all topic as the main bulk of the meeting, then to assets and possibly problems and issues we are having.
Flatline games contract – http://www.flatlinedgames.com/contract_example
NDA – http://www.biztree.com/doc/employee-non-disclosure-agreement-D538
Minutes meeting – http://www.miataownersofvegas.com/meeting_minutes.htm