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Independent Games Summit: Making Indie Games with Public Domain Content

Chris Totten  (Assistant Professor & Founder, Kent State University/Pie for Breakfast Studios)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Independent Games

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Yes

Independent game development is a practice in limitations: limited technology, limited asset creation resources, limited access to popular intellectual property (IP), etc. Widely unused are free resources that other mediums have used for years: public domain content – images, music, books, and other things whose copyrights have expired. Showing a variety of implementations from his own games, award-winning game designer Chris Totten shows how to use public domain content for building unique visual and audio identities, making games from recognizable IP, or even promoting your game to new audiences. Through topics such as how to find public domain content, how to confirm a work's copyright and trademark status, how to use and cite this content, and recommendations for best honoring the original work. By doing so, this talk provides a clear roadmap on how to maximize the use of these useful and freely available resources in your games.


Develop an understanding of how to find, utilize, and make the most of public domain art and visual assets, settings, and franchises. Learn how to find the copyright and trademark status of IP and how to build interest for your game among fans of the content's original implementation.

Intended Audience

Game makers who want to find new sources of in-game assets and project inspiration will benefit from this talk. This talk is relevant to independent designers looking to make games based on established IP. Also, those interested in making literary or art games that can attract attention from interdisciplinary audiences.