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    UDK & Machinima

    Hi Guys,

    Where machinima is concerned I am coming at same from the perspective of making a machinima movie with assets / characters already included within UDK. By this I mean using character assets and the like differently to tell YOUR story as opposed to who these characters are in their original game environments. I also wonder is it possible to take some of these assets - export as FBX ( this feature is available when one right clicks an asset ), modify slightly for your story and bring back in?

    Is all this allowable copyright wise? Particularly if you are making a non profit, no advertising machinima to tell your story? And releasing it for free. The licence FAQ talks about licensing when using UDK for game dev but doesnt explicitly mention Machinima. The only relevant piece might be -

    Can I use UDK to release a game that is free?

    Yes. If the game is absolutely free to play and there is no commercial aspect to it then you’re welcome to do so under the End User License Agreement. But some free games still require a license. If your game is free but is used to advertise a product or service you need a license for that. If your game is free to download and play but you sell content, services or products within your game that also requires a commercial license.


    Change the word GAME to MACHINIMA??

    UDK comes with some "Built in" assets, static meshes, materials etc. Could one go further and use assets from other real engine games if they were more suitable to the genre / time period of your machinima?? Copyright again??

    I am also asking all this from a perspective where some might not have the skills nor time to build assets from scratch BUT have a story to tell that could be told by using premade game assets / characters. Putting that precious time into the telling of the story and the cinematography rather than "reinventing the wheel"?

    #2
    I don't speak for Epic but I'm pretty sure in my understanding of the following:

    "Characters" is the key word here. You may not using any characters which come with UDK, any game or copyrighted intellectual property of any kind. You may not use any existing IP or content of any kind from an existing IP / game in any project, commercial or free without authorization from the copyright owner. The UDK EULA extends to machinimas and films as well as game projects even if this is not expressly worded.

    You MAY use the assets that come with UDK (non skeletal mesh / non character).

    Modifying existing characters sounds dubious. Your work will still be based on, and largely still, THEIR work. Changing it doesn't make it yours.

    You MAY use non IP related skeletalmeshes you purchase or hire someone else to make for you, or get free legally. If you claim you don't have the time or skills to start from scratch, either get permission or find an alternative legal source for character assets to tell you story. Then you should be alright..

    Otherwise, as the saying goes, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time".

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      #3
      Hi Henrik.

      My intentions are not dubious nor am I looking to purpotrate a crime. This is why I started this thread. I was just wondering what can and cant be used for non profit machinima projects.

      Where time claims are concerned I just brought up a scenario that I am sure is not at all uncommon ie some people might not have the time or talent to make characters from scratch but would like to / could make machinima with some preset characters and scene assets.

      I imagine if udk had such a provision it would entice more to make machinima with udk. Its all advertising and as long as no profit is being sought or made.
      I asked about edits on existing assets ONLY because when you have a level open in UDK you can right click a static mesh or model and in the menu is an option to export it via FBX. Im curious why this is there if editing meshes is forbidden?

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        #4
        Because not everything inside UDK is necessarily someone else's legal property? This ability hasn't always been there, I will tell you that, and precisely for the reason that there have been concerns about people using it for the wrong reasons. However, there are cases where:

        1. A team may need to add animations or modifications for a model they have done but no longer have the source file.
        2. A team or individual may want to use UDK's default animations on their own model - in which they would need to use the same skeleton setup. This greatly simplifies the process of mapping custom models to that rig.
        3. Seeing how Epic's models were done in your modeling program helps you understand how a typical character is put together, skinned to the mesh, and in terms of polygon allowance.

        I wasn't suggesting your goals were something bad, just that if you are serious about storytelling, then I think saying stuff like I don't have time or skills is to some degree an excuse. I can appreciate machinima for what it is, but for a little more work someone can have something truly all their own, I think it's kind of interesting that most people who want to tell stories via a game engine choose to do it via an homage to a franchise they love - when incredible power has been put in their hands to do something much more significant.

        Machinima also usually doesn't even begin to push the limits of what the engine can do because people get stuck to game developers rules when they don't need to be.

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