Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lost Garden License

Many of the emails I receive ask questions about licensing my designs and artwork. In order to clear up any issues (and save me some emailing!) I've created this licensing page. When you see reference to the Lost Garden License, it refers to the items listed below.

Basic License

All licensed items use the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. In short, you can use and modify any images and design covered by this license provided that you attribute the original source materials to me. I chose this license because
  1. I want as many people as possible to use the materials I've provided.
  2. I want to spare developer the accusations of theft that sometimes occur when people recognize my materials. Many of the graphics and designs are widely known at this point. The best solution is educating your users on the source of the original inspiration. That way they can move past yelling 'Thief" and start appreciating the variations on the theme that you have created.


You are expressly forbidden to use my graphics in a clone of one of my commercial games. This has happened and it is very unpleasant. My hope is that you'll use this art to better yourself so that you can one day innovate. Copying one of my released games and then trying to make money off it is deeply unethical.

You can read more on this particular license at:

Game design attributions

If you use a game design from Lost Garden, please include following attribution in your game credits.
  • "Game Design Title" design by Daniel Cook (
When possible link to the original game design. For example, the Fishing Girl design would be: "Fishing Girl" design by Daniel Cook (

Art attributions

If you use art from one of my free game art collections, please include the following attribution in a visible location along with any other credits.
  • "Art Collection Title" art by Daniel Cook (
When possible link to blog post that discusses the original art collection. For example, the Space Cute collection would be "Space Cute" art by Daniel Cook (

Frequently asked question

What game designs and art assets are currently covered under the Lost Garden License?

You can find a complete list here:
Can I use the assets or designs covered by the Lost Garden License in a commercial project?
Absolutely. I encourage it! The best way to learn about game development is to finish a project and try to sell it.

Why are you doing this?
I hope, in some small way, to help cultivate the next generation of great game developers and designers. By removing small road blocks like graphics and design, perhaps a few more people will be encouraged to stop just dreaming and starting making games. Everyone in this industry is here because we stand on the shoulders of past developers. We use their tools, their techniques and their ideas. Giving back to the community is a natural way to repay that great and much appreciated debt.

Is all art on the website covered by the Lost Garden License? For example, are your drawings and paintings free as well?
Only those assets that are specifically called out on the associated blog post as being licensed under the Lost Garden License are free to use. There will be a clear link to this page. All other drawings and artwork are protected under standard copyright laws.

Can I archive assets and designs on other sites?Sure. If you archive assets elsewhere, be sure to display a prominent link back to the source page so that other game developers have an opportunity to discover this site.

take care


  1. Thanks so much Danc. I know a lot of people have worried about this (myself included).

    Just a heads up - Play With Your Peas isn't on the list - it's tagged "prototyping" not "prototyping challenge".

    I happen to be half way through a game using that design and art - so you picked a good time to put a licence up :)

  2. I'm very glad this is happening :)

    One thing I wonder about is whether or not you can license 'ideas' but it' doesn't really matter - when one uses them, attribution should be given anyways.

  3. Thank you Danc. I really appreciate your efforts and your attitude, especially, but not only, being a game developer who is just starting out.

    Thank you.

    (Capcha == "matica" Related to Mathematica? :-)

  4. Hi Danc, I just released a new BlackBerry game called Wrath.

    It uses some of your Sinistar art, thanks! I wanted to email you to give you a free copy but I can't find your address. You can get me at if you want one.


    P.S. If it makes anything I will be sure to donate something back.

  5. I am a big fan of your work and would like to include some of it in a GNU/GPL based project but can't because CC-BY 3.0 is incompatible with it.
    I even starting creating waterlines to go with the grass from you rpg set. It was a matter of discussion in:

    Anything you do that could help me be able to use this concept would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi Nathaniel,

    Ah, I see what is going on. So GNU/GPL doesn't allow attribution so therefore it conflicts with CC-BY 3.0. Interesting and silly. :-)

    I'm a passionate believer that the work of individuals should be recognized. If (and I could very much be reading the licenses incorrectly) the GNU/GPL conflicts with this rather basic concept and explicitly disallows a requirement to list contributors to a project, then I would suggest using a license other than GNU/GPL for your creative works. For your own good, not just mine.

    I come from an industry where the contributions of talented individuals are regularly swept up under a company brand name and entire careers are lost to history. I support sharing and remixing, but I also support the right of the individual to be recognized for what they have done.

    take care

  7. Ah, my interpretation was incorrect. My passionate response above about attribution still stands, but the reason why GPL and CC-BY conflict is based off other factors. :-)

    Here is an illuminating article on the subject.

    GPL is a copyleft license so that all derivative works must also be free. I explicitly made my artwork available under a CC-BY license which better allows commercialization. In fact most of the public projects that have used my free graphics have been for profit efforts. I find that money (or specifically the dream of having creative freedom through financial freedom) to be an important motivator for many.

    I am not a lawyer so take all this with a grain of salt and do you own research.

    take care

  8. Wow. I just started out. I tried going down this road about 10 years ago, but I didn't have the art or the development tools. My tool of choice now is Microsoft's XNA with C# and .NET. I'm amazed at the ease of the framework. I was also getting discouraged because I am not an artist, I am a developer. Thanks to you and the others in the community, I have some great shoulders to stand on. Thanks for that.

  9. Do you have any problems with your artwork being used for board game bits instead of digital games?

  10. Hi Danc, I'm in middle school and I would like to use a couple of the graphics I've found for a project. The files will be uploaded to the internet, but just for my presentation. Could I use them? Sorry, it's pretty late and I'm not concentrating.