This question is written after insight gained from my previous question here: What factors should influence how I determine when to abandon a small project with a friend?. This question is ideally different, and hopefully written in a less subjective manner. Your answers do not need to be dependent on my previous question.

I'm a bit of a pickle and have decided that one of my major options with my current project is to abandon it and move on. There are currently two of use that started programming a game with the intent of using it as a learning exercise, we had a scope, we had an idea of where we wanted it to end. We expected it to take us 4 months or so.

Feature creep set in and 8 months later it's looking like more than a year before completion. I have been having some very serious issues working with my partner, and at this point would rather take my code, take what I've learned, and move on. I'm not interested in completing the project any more, and would only want my code (~10k lines) for the sake of reference and adaptation for future projects.

I have become friends with my teammate, we of course naively made plans for release and to make an LLC so that there was a name to release it under. Obviously I do not want to throw that friendship away with the project. He strongly believes in the project much more than I do, and I am hesitant to single handedly destroy his aspirations for the game. It's our first big project, and we are both understandably attached, I would consider him my friend and do not want to cause him too much grief.

My questions are:

  • What approach can I take to abandon this project in such a way that maintains professionalism, as well as my personal integrity.
  • If at all possible what methods are commonly used to abandon a project and maintain a healthy relationship with your previous teammate(s).
  • If there is a hint of salvagability, what actions would you definitely try first before deciding abandonment is the only available option?
  • 1
    Software is not a physical object. You can take your football and go home without taking your football away from your buddy. One option (assuming the code you wrote can cleanly be separated from his code) would be to put your code under an open source licence. Commented May 14, 2015 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


Business is Business:

LegallyIANAL assign all your work over to them and all your interest in the corporate entity to them and wish them luck and walk away and never mention the project again.

Business always requires lawyers, and failed businesses require more lawyers than successful ones!

Learning Experience:

Quickest way to end a friendship is to work with a friend as equals. - Jarrod Roberson

That Said:

What you tell this person on why you are want to do this is your decision, no one here can advise you on that, from your previous post, honesty probably will not keep this person as a friend and honestly I would not want someone like that as a friend. Taking the one sided version of what you posted at face value that person is not a peer and probably will never be.

Since they can probably google your screen name just as easily as I can they will probably find this question after the fact and be pissed anyway.

From your previous post you do not seem to have a healthy relationship with this person now, why worry about keeping something you do not have?

If you are asking this question you have already decided there is nothing of value enough to salvage to make it worth your time.


In a way that is legally binding, only an actual corporate lawyer can tell you what is and is not legally binding in your specific case.

  • Thank you for your insight Jarrod. It sounds like I either just need to tough up and break myself away from this project and completely wash my hands of it, or continue to suffer through it. As for assigning my work to them, we do not have a company of any sort yet. I would of course like to keep my code so that I can use it as a reference for how I solved different problems. I definitely wouldn't try to pull it from the game since it makes up ~75% of the code base, and I would not try and continue the project. Does that sounds reasonable? Commented May 14, 2015 at 22:26
  • 1
    10K LOC is NOTHING! I have written 300K LOC in less than half the time you mention and it went into production with less than 6 bugs attached to it, and they were all minor non functional typo type things. You should be able to clean room recreate that 10K LOC in a week now and it will probably be better from the hindsight.
    – user7519
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 22:32
  • You do not have to pull your code, give/license it to them as it stands legally and chalk it up to experience, get a clause that gives you license to the code as well but no-responsibility for it going forward if you think it is worth keeping or them suing you in the future over it for some reason; like a undiscovered bug costs them millions and ruins the company after the code goes live or you build something successful 10 years from now and they claim you used code from this project in it and want a cut.
    – user7519
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 22:37
  • I agree with Jarrod, you're prob best not trying to keep an interest in the company. However retaining a licence to the code (all the code) will protect you against copyright claims if you go and write a new game, even if you don't use any code
    – Ewan
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 9:30

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