I'm making my first game (2D), and while details are irrelevant it compromises lots of spaceships in and out of the screen. They are not the main character or controllable by any means (I don't know if it makes any difference).
For the sake of variety and fun, I decided to re-create some iconic spaceships of various known series. They would compromise a small portion of the overall, less than one percent. Their addition would go in the lines of 'easter eggs' or rare sights, just to warm the fans hearts with lovely memories and enrage the ultrafans brains with conflicting date frames and galaxies far far away mixing with milky way lore.
I will implement them on the developer version of the videogame, as I assume private use is as free as air (I really make the game I'd like to play, and hell if I won't be the one that has most fun). I could implement them as an option for the public version if I was sure it was completely safe.
But considering the scenario in which I finish the game and want to fully release it. This are some of the assets, as example: they are external designs, but I painted them pixel by pixel and generally have some little discrepancies with the canon, besides having one dimension less than they have in most of the original commercial products.
My question is: Under what conditions can I publish them? I would'nt claim them as original or own designs, but I am the maker(and thus, the owner) of the art asset nontheless. The fact that they are so low resolution could allow me to use them as parody work? What if I don't want to make any money of it, and just publish the game without charge?
The simple truth is that I don't really want any problem with anybody. Nor I consider this to end up beeing of any help to my economy. But it would be nice to know if I can distribute it, and what options does it have of helping prevent starvation of one guy. Like, putting a donations button in the same web I use to distribute it, while clearly stating that the development of the game is unrelated to the donations it recives (web without ads, I know that would be considered commercial).
Thank you for your time. (Non-native speaker, feel free to cry blood)