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integrate free ue4 software with a game client that is not 100% free

Imagine I have a full working game made without UE4 and the installer package has:

  1. game maps folder

  2. game weapons folder

  3. game.exe // here u can buy skins, and I exceed 3000$ @ calendar quarter

  4. chat.exe // made with UE4 but youu cant buy anything here (it's free to use) and they are not required to play the game

  5. map_editor.exe // made with UE4, but you cant buy anything here (it's free to use) and they are not required to play the game

Do I need to pay royalties for the money earnt with game.exe etc?

The game client would be free to download, and free to play, but you can buy skins that are optional.

Is there way to integrate free software with a game client that is not 100% free?

Do I simply need to offer the game client as 1 package/installer, and the chat/map tools as standalone applications in my website?, is that enough?

Product Version: UE 4.16
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asked Jul 09 '17 at 04:48 AM in Legal & Licensing

avatar image

epcjos
1 1 2

avatar image atypic STAFF Jul 09 '17 at 08:00 PM

It's not clear from your question how the UE4 content interacts with the non-UE4 content. It sounds like you're having people create maps in UE4 to be used in a non-UE4 game, but that resulting product is still a Product as defined by the EULA because UE4 was used (in part) to make it. So a royalty would still be owed.

Also be aware that something called Map Editor sounds like something that would qualify as a Engine Tool as that term is defined by the EULA. In which case, special distribution restrictions would apply.

avatar image epcjos Jul 10 '17 at 07:54 PM

I'm sorry for adding the map_editor example. The reason why I addded it is because if one day I want to create a map editor for a friends game that is already working and published, seems like I can't do it without making him pay royalties.

Anyhow, taking out the map editor out of the ecuation, will I need to pay royalties for the game if I distribute the chat app along with it and the chat app is free? it will not be used to create any content for the game, but you will be able to talk to people that are already in game, and it may use some textures from the game to make the UI feel in sync with the game.

avatar image atypic STAFF Jul 10 '17 at 07:56 PM

If the chat app is entirely separate, and entirely free, that seems ok to be royalty free.

avatar image ambershee Jul 11 '17 at 11:29 AM

The question though, is if part of the setup is not free. Then things get complicated because arguably the game is being distributed and used a promotional tool for the paid-for app.

avatar image atypic STAFF Jul 11 '17 at 02:15 PM

These are hard to answer in the abstract - where the true answer will depend on the actual facts and circumstances (which we don't have here). If a chat app is standalone and free, but built in UE4, there is no royalty. If a chat app is standalone and not free (and built in UE4), there is a royalty on the chat app revenue. If the chat app is not standalone but rather integrated into a larger product, that makes the larger product a Product under the EULA.

avatar image epcjos Jul 12 '17 at 07:59 AM

I thought I had specified that the client would be free to download, and free to play. The whole setup is free.

avatar image atypic STAFF Jul 12 '17 at 02:08 PM

I was replying to anbershee's question.

avatar image epcjos Jul 12 '17 at 08:57 PM

I was replying to anbershee's as well, and I think I did it right (I clicked "reply" next to his name)

Looks like this reply tree confused you :D

avatar image epcjos Jul 11 '17 at 07:41 AM

Thanks very much. Just to be clear, if I make that map_editor (in this case, for my game), and do not distribute that software (I only use it myself to create maps for the game), then I have to pay royalties because part of the game (the maps) would have been created in part by UE, correct?

In a sense, it feels correct, and it a sense, it feels wrong, depending on what exactly the map editor is doing.

For example, if the map editor is simply using UE as a UI toolkit, and the maps generated are created using custom algorithms, then it doesn't feel right.

This is like saying, I use UE to create the walls of my store, and then I need to pay royalties for the clothes I make/sell.

avatar image atypic STAFF Jul 11 '17 at 02:10 PM

Just to be clear, if I make that map_editor (in this case, for my game), and do not distribute that software (I only use it myself to create maps for the game), then I have to pay royalties because part of the game (the maps) would have been created in part by UE, correct?

That's correct. It's our hope that you have sufficient reason to just use UE4 across the board to make the game as good as it can be. At any rate though, since our monetization model is royalties, we try to be careful to not create loopholes whereby a game (or other software) can contain very material value created by UE4 but without a royalty obligation.

avatar image epcjos Jul 12 '17 at 07:55 AM

Yes, that's the goal. However, I have just started learning to use this UE game engine 5 days ago, and it's too soon to fully use it because the game may end up with too many bugs due to my lack of knowledge. I just wanted to figure out a way to start using UE for free and get good at it (the chat seems to be the way), and then when I'm good at it, I would use it for the game as well. Anyways, thanks very much for your help, you are a life saver!

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