Hi, I’m Mladen Bošnjak. As you may remember from the first part of my story, my fellow developer Maxwolf removed my Steamworks access so I could not see the revenue for my game SickBrick or have any control over the game’s Steam Store page. After that Maxwolf stopped paying my part of the revenue and ignored my emails. Seeing no positive way out of this situation I posted a story about it on Medium which gained a lot of traction on Reddit and other places. Youtuber SidAlpha made a great video of the whole debacle:
Here is the second part of the story detailing what happened after I posted the first part:
Maxwolf cleaning up
Shortly after posting my story, Maxwolf and Fox ported SickBrick to Unity and are packaging it as a “Director’s Cut” 2.0 version. Note how hypocritical that is since Maxwolf said he removed my Steamworks access because I’m not working on Neoaxis stuff anymore and now he himself moved to Unity. They are still using my assets for all the levels, the weapons and HUD. Also, the game is still called SickBrick. They have removed any mention of me making SickBrick on the Steam Store Page and upped the price for the game from 5$ to 19$. In the credits of this “new” SickBrick it says “inspired by Mladen Bošnjak” even though most of the stuff in the game is still mine. It’s worth noting that SickBrick is now a broken mess of a game in which you can clip through the ceiling in the first scene by simply pressing the jump button. The tank driving levels are removed and most of my enemy models are replaced by just one robot model. The achievements have also been reset for all players of the game. I’m embarrassed at what they have done to my game.
Medium has removed my story from their site, saying I’m harassing Maxwolf as seen here:
I understand the “posting copies of private communications” part, but I think the other points are not valid.
That’s why I’m posting this second part on my indie studio’s website, since Medium is obviously not the right place to post this kind of story. I have also moved the first part of my story to this website.
Many people told me to get legal advice, which I did. I found out a lawsuit is not a viable option because of my financial situation and the fact I live in Croatia, Maxwolf is from Canada and Valve is based in the US which would further complicate the whole thing. It would require a great amount of time, energy and money to pursue a lawsuit against Maxwolf and I would rather spend those on my next project. The only option was to file a Copyright Infringement Complaint through Valve’s and Microsoft’s dedicated DMCA forms.
I have issued a copyright infringement claim to Valve and Microsoft with all the proof you have seen in the last story and 1GB of raw assets for SickBrick Maxwolf has no way of having. Additionally I clearly marked my assets in the screenshots of the new version of SickBrick, as seen here:
Valve removed SickBrick from Steam based on my DMCA claim, but Maxwolf sent a counter claim in which his only argument is that I did not copyright the assets. That is not true since assets like 3d models and 2d art are automatically copyright to the creator in all the countries in question (USA, Canada, Croatia). He is basically admitting to not paying me and stealing the assets. Despite this Valve reinstated the game back on Steam in 10 business days based on Maxwolf’s counter claim.
After explaining this to Valve’s representative, they said “I’m reviewing this statement now, and will respond to you shortly.“
After this they did not respond at all or respond to any further mails I sent. This was a month ago.
Microsoft on the other hand replied to my DMCA claim like so: „Your notice was submitted to Microsoft. We will review expeditiously.“
They did nothing after that. This was more than a month ago. SickBrick is still on the Microsoft Store.
I have run out of options as it seems there is no way to get my game back. I have chosen to focus all my efforts on my next game and will try to let go of the fact somebody is unlawfully making money off of 3 years of my work without paying me or crediting me and getting away with it.
I would like to thank every single person that has sent me an email or comment of encouragement or advice after I posted the first story. I would also like to ensure everyone this whole debacle has not killed my passion for game development. I have been making games since I was nine years old and will continue making them for the rest of my life.
If you’d like to contact me, the best way is to send a mail to email@example.com
15 thoughts on “How my fellow developer stole my Steam game from me Part 2”
That sucks… I previously had a bad experience with a business partner too, so I feel you. I think you have a great attitude towards the whole situation. You dind’t overreact, did what you had to do to get at least some closure, and can now move on to better thigns. The best revenge is to prove to Maxwolf that he made a terrible mistake screwing you over, by making an even better game that he will not be a part of!
Best of luck 🙂
Wish I knew how to help you man, it’s so frustrating to hear this. I met the guy that invented the Bolin chest seal, a medical device that seals traumatic holes in the chest and has single handedly saved countless lives. The design was stolen from him in a very similar scenario. The original inventor lost his invention, but has used the lessons and tools learned through the process to to help others through similar situations and has gone on to become an amazing doctor that has himself saved countless lives. Don’t let this define you, use the lessons to become even better. Good luck, it’ll be ok in the long run.
I would undercut their Steam price or just start giving it away. I assume that you would have a master copy of the game. If you can’t make money off of your own work why should someone else? Sorry about the mess anyway.
I’m really sorry to hear about your problem and it is ridiculous that there is nothing that can be done. But your perseverance and love for developing is an inspiration.
This is sad news to hear and i know you must feel all kind of things about it. I hope you find a way to make him hurt… But…
Don’t forget to use you current media attention to announce you next game/project and use a bit of your energy for marketing and such.
Sorry to see such things happen to a passionate game developer. Game Dev is an art and it hurts to see mud thrown on it. Please don’t lose hope and I wish you all the best for your next game.
You should maybe try contacting Jim Sterling as well about this – He has been after steam abusers many times before and this is just ridiculous. I will tweet it at him, see what happens, but he would probably like direct contact too.
Sorry for i am going to write in our language! Ja bi ti preporucio da nekako stupis u kontak sa likom koji se bavi takvim stvarima za copyright. Lik se zove UltraDavid(clan fighting game community-ja), on ce ti svakako pomoci oko svega sto se tice tvoje price. Inace je zavrsio za pravnika i specijalizovao se u oblasti copyright. Nadam se da ces bar pokusati da se cujes sa njim. U ostalom zao mi je zbog svega sto ti se desilo i zelim ti puno srece u novim projektima. Poz
From /u/Plzbanmebrony on https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/6kugf2/help_raise_awareness_for_this_indie_game_dev_who/, “Idea! If you claim owner ship of the game and have a build simply release a free version. He would have to sue you to get anything done and it would most likely backfire on him. You can fuck him royally like that. Even better go through steam. Though check with a lawyer. Replace everything he worked on too.”
That’s not a terrible idea. I mean, if the guy isn’t getting paid for his work as it is, he may as well do something to ensure that the crook who stole his work isn’t getting paid for it either.
Damn man, I’ve been working hard on my game and if this something like this had happened to me I wouldn’t know how to react. Good luck with your future projects, you should update us here on the name of it, I’d be glad to support you regardless of what your next game might be based off this situation alone. Always sad seeing honest, hard working people get the boot.
After their counter claim you could’ve contracted a lawyer to get a real process against the game, that’s how the legal process on steam works. Besides do you had at any moment partnership over the game legally speaking (did you had your name as owner), or your’re only making some models, cuz if the case is the latter you have no rights over the game. And lastly, what payment method was on the contract you signed before doing the work, did they signed to pay you a portion for as long as the game exists? cuz if not they are no doing anything wrong. Besides if you complain to steam again and your claim is found false you can be sued by steam.
I didn’t “make some models”. I made all the levels, story, most of the music, enemies, animations, entities and so on. Everything except programming and some voice acting. Of course I had my name as the owner of the game. It said “Developer: Mladen Bošnjak, Ron Mcdowell” on Steam until he kicked me off of Steamworks and changed everything. It seems to me from what you’re saying you did not read the first part of the story: http://www.misfitvillage.com/index.php/fellow-developer-stole-steam-game/
It really sucks you got royally fucked over by Maxwolf and had your game stolen from under your nose. I’m absolutely and utterly speechless by all this – I used to be friends with this asshole until around October 2017, when he decided to fire me from staffing at a convention, accusing me for a lack of professionalism, all while bullshitting other people to the point where I couldn’t work at other events, either.
He gave me all three of “his” games for free. I feel even dirtier having these games on my list knowing now they had their assets ripped off by a dickhead who isn’t even a fucking Canadian in the first place!!
After I published this story I had a lot of people contact me saying Maxwolf screwed them over in one way or another.