I was hoping to ignore this story, since it seems like the worst thing to do with these kinds of clones is shed more light on them, but it's blowing up too much across social networks to disregard. Remember the Ninja Fishing drama from about two years ago? Well, this is almost the exact same story and once again another developer has beaten Vlambeer at releasing their own game.

This time around, Bangalore-based developer Rubiq Lab has directly cloned Vlambeer's Luftausers with the just-released SkyFar. Just how blatant of a clone is this? Well, check out Kotaku's video from PAX East:

Aaaand here is the SkyFar trailer:

We're in contact with Vlambeer developer and all-around-nice-guy Rami Ismail for his thoughts on this most recent cloning, and expect to have some kind of statement from them shortly.

Update:

We obviously endured a bit of a scare when news arrived of LUFTRAUSERS being cloned and released ahead of our own release schedule by another developer. This time, however, it's not 'just' the idea of the game that has been cloned, but also the visual style.  This gives us much more room to fight the whole thing, and we fully intend to. The developer of the clone has gotten in touch with us after Twitter exploded and let us know that 'acttuly we genrated our assets, Codes and all newly' and that the gameplay as indicated on the screenshots 'is not there in game as in the screen shots. We just done those screnshots for public attraction'. They signed off with the note that 'we really dont think it links your game at all'.

We simply can't deal with the stress of another cloned game, so we've gotten in touch with Apple and Google to see if there is a way for for the issue to be resolved without us getting involved in yet another clone war. We're more than happy to see games inspired by our works and we encourage anyone to practice game design and development by recreating personal favorites - but the clones of both Ridiculous Fishing and LUFTRAUSERS take 'inspiration' a step too far and into the marketplace. We're extremely exhausted from dealing with cloning and even though this is an important issue to stand up against, we had hoped that we could just release a game without the cloning debate happening for once.

Ultimately, we refuse to accept this as a part of our industry. We believe that showing our games to our fans early is a better way of developing Vlambeer games than keeping secrets and just dropping the final result on people when it's done.

Now that we've got the chance, we'd also like to take a few seconds to use the clone as an argument towards why LUFTRAUSERS is almost certainly not coming to mobile - we just can't find a way to make it work as well as it should on touchscreen devices. LUFTRAUSERS is still hitting PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita - with the latter being the most interesting device for those of you who would like to play LUFTRAUSERS on the go. We've been wrapping up development and we are on schedule to release the game later this spring.

Thank you so much once again to the fans, friends and press that have helped us out with Ridiculous Fishing and thanks so much to everyone for standing with us once again with LUFTRAUSERS. We hope this will be the last time we have to deal with this, but we're encouraged to know that if it's not, we won't be alone.

P.S. We really like the idea of a Vlambeer clone game jam (https://twitter.com/folmerkelly/status/326393858332180480) - we might organize that after we're done crunching on LUFTRAUSERS.

Thanks,
--
Rami & JW

Update 2: Rubiq Lab has given their side of the story in a statement to Kotaku:

Hey..We are a students we have done this game with our own effort of 1 year.
Tried a lot of tectonics to make this game on iphone.

Few weeks back 1 guys mailed us like this a clone of our game luftrauser & all.
We explained him SkyFar is not cloned from any of the other game.
He was like you used our assets of there game. So we explained him Skyfar has own assets with All work file Art, Sound,Codes....etc
Soo we thought because some jealous.then we stopped.
We used Many tools to finish this game.
It took a very long time & a lots of effort to bring it out.
In Media most of the things looks similar. Especially in GAMES & MOVIES.
They have seen our advertised links recently many times we were publishing.
Again they might of jealous.& Really using Bad words.
they commenting on our Page,Links with the bad words.
I there friend circles, community making all these issues with some 100s of people.

In present-day law, it is upheld that game mechanics of a video game are part of its software, and are generally ineligible for copyright. The United States Copyright Office specifically notes: "Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

  • sakara214ever

    D@mnnnnnn!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Pendder Luis Rafael

    really? i mean... REALLY?? it's ridiculous how they just clone it. I haven't downloaded it and i'm not quite sure i'm doing that but... god dammit IT IS LUFTRAUSERS IN BLUE... IN BLUE!!! C'mon guys... and hugs to Facebook and youtube but not to Vlambeer for the greatest simply dogfight game i've played in a looot of time? well. I bought Ridiculous fishing and not that other crap that was released and i am buying luftrausers for sure. not only fot this... just because it is good. omg...

    Well... Vlambeer has all my support if that can help. Go on guys you are awesome (another Mojang Bundle pleeeeeease)

  • one.sixty.four

    I might not have been their idea, but I think I like the way skyfar looks better.

  • airwa1k

    Perhaps they should get around to releasing the game then. They called for 2012 as a release date. It's 2013 and they still claim the 2012 release date on their website.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josiah.wilson.716 Josiah Wilson

    I can't wait for the first comment about how this is a good thing since Vlambeer decided not to bring their game to iOS and now people can play a cloned version of it when they otherwise wouldn't have been able to. It's coming.

    • Skullinton

      Check the forum page... :p

  • http://twitter.com/Leonick91 Hampus Jensen

    "is not there in game as in the screen shots. We just done those screnshots for public attraction"

    So, they're saying the actual game is not like what is in the screenshot? Well in that case that makes this very easy as that alone can have it taken down from the appstore.

  • http://haxpor.org/ Wasin Thonkaew

    "Ultimately, we refuse to accept this as a part of our industry. We believe that showing our games to our fans early is a better way of developing Vlambeer games than keeping secrets and just dropping the final result on people when it's done.", that's how indie works. I love this approach.

    • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

      It's also a great marketing weapon to show something early, but a double edged one at that unfortunately as we've seen from this blatantly cheap cloning effort.

  • caomhan15

    Man my vita is gonna be busy for summer

  • mrTofu

    dubstep

    • Josh Dombro

      I can't tell if this is sarcastic...

      • mrTofu

        heh :). It sucks to get cloned, but this is good press. I've forgotten about LUFTRAUSERS, but now it's back! Skyfar looks very simplistic compared to the features I see in

        LUFTRAUSERS.

  • B30

    SkyFart - this really stinks! Definitely NOT downloading this clone!

  • Jacob Gehman

    For what it's worth, Luftausers looks awesome, while SkyFar looks pretty lame. There is a tension in the gameplay video of Luftausers which for exceeds that from the SkyFar clips. They tried to imply tension through the use of dubstep in the video but, uh, fail.

  • http://twitter.com/tha_rami Rami Ismail

    Well, we'd really rather make a good game than hit the vague release estimate. LUFTRAUSERS is in a good spot, but you're right - we need to fix the release date on the website. We'll do that in a few hours when we reach stable internet.

    • Josh Dombro

      Right on. Do it right, don't rush something awesome

    • vesperdem

      Amen! Apple really needs to take a stand and stop these pixel perfect clones!

    • http://www.facebook.com/svenvandeperre Sven Van de Perre

      Question: why does it bother you so much? LUFTRAUSERS will be way better anyway, and they'll never shed the "those are the guys that did a lame copy of that great Vlambeer game" name. Do you think it hurts your sales? Or is it just the fact that someone is stealing your labor of love?

    • RubiqLab

      Hy rami ismail
      The Game luftrauser is cloned by ( SKYSTRIKE , JETSTRIKE & many more ) ryt
      And your game also came under pixel art.
      Earlier games likes SkyStricks & Jetstrike also were in pixel art.
      SO WHAT DO YOU SAY IS THAT REALLY YOUR OWN IDEA ?
      We dont think so.

  • one.sixty.four

    ok, I take that back.i wish that there was a "edit comment" or "delete comment" button. I just wish that vlambeer would bring luftrausers iOS.

    • Nicholas Yu

      The "edit" button will allow you to edit your comment.

      • Zeldaniac

        Probably on the iPhone app.

      • themostunclean

        There is an edit button is for forum posts only. There is no edit button for article comments.

        This is why you see a lot of people on here replying to their own comments.

      • themostunclean

        See? If there was and edit button I would have fixed the mistakes it my post.

  • monoclespectacle

    Sucks LUFTRAUSERS won't be coming to iOS, especially after the freakish awesomeness of Ridiculous Fishing but the demo video makes it clear there are some pretty crazy maneuvers that would be rough to pull off on a touchscreen.

    I do like this article because it shows the douchebaggery of Rubiq Lab and thusly I won't ever be supporting their development.

  • captainChocolade

    It's s simple 2D shooter game. What's this fuzz all about, like the 2nd coming of Jesus? If you don't like others cloning your game, release your game soon after posting pictures of it to Internet. Not like a year or two later, eh...

    • MidianGTX

      That's no guarantee.

  • Karzay

    Looks like a fun game. It's just like fast paced Solar Jetman without exploration and a focus on fighting.

    It sucks that Vlambeer is cloned so much. I'm not saying it's right, but they make themselves easy targets because their games are fun, easy to clone, and they take forever to release their games. They should rethink how soon they share their upcoming projects with the public.

  • Smokey956

    The illuminati is in control

    • Zeldaniac

      Yeah, shaddap.

    • saansilt

      Relevant, To the topic this is.
      Away, you must run.
      You, They will come for.

  • Nicholas Yu

    I completely disagree. Basically, you are saying it was also okay for the people who cloned the iPhone 5 and released it first with the Android OS were also okay to do so because they beat the original manufacturers to market on a different platform. So, people can steal other people's intellectual property without any consequence so long as they rush out an inferior shoddy product?

    • mclifford82

      If you put an idea out there IN PUBLIC and someone runs with it and beats you to market, then that is your own fault. This goes for anyone, in any industry.

      I think people are only now figuring out that, in this day of quick turnover software development, you have to balance marketing and hype of your product with the risk of someone else not only doing it, but potentiallly doing it better and faster.

      • honkskillet

        I kinda agree. Didn't V learn their lesson after the last clone fiasco? Don't go public with your game until your near the final stages of release. If you jump the gun you are opening yourself up to this kind of thing happening. If you absolutely must have the in crowd talking about you while you are in between releases, then just release teasers or screenshots. Enough to wet the publics appetite, but not enough for someone to clone your product.

        (FWIW, I haven't seen the video because they made it private.)

      • http://twitter.com/tha_rami Rami Ismail

        We would've considered that - if the original LUFTRAUSER hadn't released before the Ridiculous Fishing clone hit. Basically, we're making LUFTRAUSERS as fan service because people seemed to really love the original game and we felt like exploring it a bit further.

        It's also important to realize we don't really have a lot of marketing muscle. Letting people know about our games takes time, and we like talking with fans about where our projects are going as part of getting people interested in what we work on.

      • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

        You don't have marketing muscle? you're a household name on iOS. Ask anyone on these forums. So just keep it real, dude, people will flock to the higher quality product and you're doing that :)

      • vlambeer

        Well, we meant we have some effective reach, but don't forget it's just Rami doing all of the marketing as one of his many tasks at Vlambeer. What we're depending on is our fans and talking to them is important to us.

      • Robert Cummings

        You realise other developers are your fans too :D

        It's only when the clone turns out to be cheap tat then it becomes really annoying IMHO... can't really say much if game x improves over game y (case in point, angry birds, I guess!) :)

      • vlambeer

        Yeah, for example - Broforce took the concepts from our game Infinite SWAT but you can tell that they took the concepts and then built on them a lot. Even though it's similar, it's completely their own game. We love it when people are inspired by our games - not so much when they're copying them to earn some quick money.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nadav.barkama Nadav Bar Kama

        hi rami ... forget marketing, as for today you guys have already made two excellent indie iOS games ... every one knows who you are ... keep up with the good stuff ... forget about the cloning ... good luck.

      • RubiqLab

        hy rami ismail.....
        is your game cloned from ( SkyStrike, jetstrike & many more ithink ) And your game also came under pixel art
        Earlier games likes SkyStricks & Jetstrike also were in pixel art.
        Its not big deal with these issues.
        So what do you say is that really your own idea ?

  • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

    To be fair, cloning games is a way of life for big boys not just little studios in india. Look at Zynga. Either deal with it by making a better game or keep blowing cash on legal fees. Not much can be done except make a better game IMHO.

    Also playing devils advocate here, I really didn't see anything new from the above vid I havent' played since atari 2600 anyway. Yes I am a developer and no I wouldn't be pleased if it happened to me either. I'm just saying that it's not the end of the world. Being well known means everyone will buy the vlambeer one regardless. This is just extra press.

    Still, its always an asshole move to clone someone's hard work.

    • QuarterSwede

      It looks like a minimalist Mini Squadron to me. Not much new gameplay there other than changing directions quickly and being allowed to hit the floor (water). I feel bad for the dev still.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.otten Rick Otten

      I appreciate what you're saying, but you have to admit that Luftrausers was 'cloned' from the shmups of yore on a rather different level than that SkyFar is a Luftrauser clone.

      Feeling nostalgic towards your favourite games of yesteryear? Well, that's an excellent reason to create games like them (I believe that's what you're doing, in fact)! Just wanting to make a quick buck, however, is no excuse to copy a game in its every minute detail.

      There's a vast difference between paying hommage and stealing in any medium and I would argue blatant theft such as this should not go unnoticed, whether the thieves are a large corporation, or a group of students.

  • InfectiousRed

    Am I the only one that wants to try both games?

  • estriquinina

    War is my Distiny!

  • KenGriffeyIII

    I get that the clone devs are from...*Googles Bangalore*...India, but "War is My Distiny"? For real? Maybe their best case against the cloning accusation is that they would have cloned it in English.

    • Anirudh

      I'm an Indian and a graduate of engineering and one of the first things taught to us is to speak English properly as that's almost the only thing companies look out for when hiring us. These guys at Rubiq are pretty much real morons who haven't really bothered with their education and what little English that comes to them originates from movies and TV shows. I'm pretty ashamed that a few of my countrymen are participating in such idiotic and shameful activities.

  • Stustaff

    Bit of a copy of mini squadron!!! Just different graphics.
    Bit of a copy of jetstrike from what early 90's on Amiga which bye actually still looks a better game than both!

    The above applies to both games but I will say they could have edited the look a little more.

    Is anyone complaining about a 'liked on here' developer being cloned also the people that defended a 'developer they liked' doing the cloning with call of snakes being cloned by nimblebit?

    Lot of double standards here especially in the editorial tone of these two cases! Where was the article stating call of snakes had been cloned by someone? Instead we got lots of stories praising nimblebit for a cool
    Looking game!

    • wufilesolen

      my roomate's aunt makes $88 hourly on the computer. She has been fired for five months but last month her pay was $21679 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on  Jive8.c­om

      • Illuminerdy

        I agree.

      • http://iqsoup.com/ iqSoup

        Your roommate's aunt sounds really awesome!

    • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

      Finally someone speaking loudly enough to echo my own voice. These are clones of clones. The way to win is make a better game. That's the end of it.

    • Zwilnik

      As the author of Jetstrike I'm grinning a bit more today :)

      • mrTofu

        So is Wings of Fury author also here :)

      • Zwilnik

        :) probably. Old coders never die etc. I'm also the author of SkyStrike, which pre-dated both by a few years. Expecting the guy who wrote Atari's Combat to chime in soon :)

      • mrTofu

        Sweet, time for iOS port!

  • Metroview

    He made his video private. hah.

  • Dams

    I will use the sentence that every samsung fanboy post so far after they stole apple stuff and design (lately passbook design): "Good artists copy, great artists steal." - Picasso

    Of course I consider both being shit.

    • NeonGreenKermit

      Very few people genuinely understand that phrase. 'Steal' literally means 'to make your own' - covert, hidden to all but the artist themselves. This is what Picasso meant, not some pig-headed flippant statement to be over-used by morons just bright enough to opportunistically profit off others ideas.

  • Frungi

    Skyfar trailer...
    "This video is private."
    Way to promote, guys.

  • Tranceaholic

    Looks like SkyFar has been pulled from the App Store. Guess that explains the trailer being made private.

    Ismail, PLEASE reconsider releasing your game on iOS; you could make it work on the touchscreen by having your plane always pointing toward where a finger is touching in the main screen (so you would use that finger to steer your plane), with a couple virtual buttons at the bottom (positions should be adjustable) for thrusting and shooting.

    • vlambeer

      Believe us - we've really tried. It just didn't feel nice for a game that is so much about movement feeling nice. It needs a sense of immediacy and precision.

      For Super Crate Box, we had two 'control axis' - 'left/right' and 'jump/shoot'. With some work, we mapped those to both thumbs. For LUFTRAUSERS, there are three axis - 'left/right', 'thrust/fall' and 'shoot/heal'.

      Humans need another thumb to make this work.

  • Derrythe

    So, they copied a game and released it on iOS, a platform that the original game isn't going to be released on anyway. True it's a lot more blatant of a copy than others, but how is this much different than many other major iOS developers, Gameloft for example, do with their games?

  • LCB12321

    Oh please, how is this in any way different from how Nimble bit cloned call of snakes. There are so many copies of copies on the app store, to take a stand now seems kind of late and pointless. If they didn't take any of the assests and made it with thier own code and stuff I don't see what the problem is...

    • MidianGTX

      This isn't the first time TA have called a developer up on lazy cloning. They did subtly avoid too much mention when it came to NimbleQuest though.

    • RubiqLab

      i really agree....

  • TheCurrentGamer

    Does anyone else find the last paragraph of the cloners statement to be the most interesting? It is obviously written by someone else then the rest of the statement, and essentially negates everything that was said before it by going to the "but it's not really illegal" argument

    • CricketDude

      I saw that too... #dodgy

    • Tranceaholic

      Yeah, apparently he didn't know English enough to write it himself...Maybe he should have learned the language better before he released this game - he couldn't even spell "destiny" correctly!

  • TheCurrentGamer

    The second video is now private... Wow.

  • estriquinina

    Why cant you understand that...War...Is...My...Distiny!

    Ok, I'll stop now. Or maybe not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nadav.barkama Nadav Bar Kama

    it will turn out, that the clone issue is a brilliant PR move designed by Vlambeer ... worked with with fishing ... why not try again?

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.pond.5 Chin Long Pond

    Last time I heard people were crying how league of legends was a copy of dota

  • spockgold007

    Why can't those students spell??

  • RubiqLab

    hy rami ismail.....
    is your game cloned from ( SkyStrike, Jetstrike & many more ithink ) And your game also came under pixel art
    Earlier games likes SkyStricks & Jetstrike also were in pixel art.
    Its not big deal with these issues.
    So what do you say is that really your own idea ?

  • ro

    The Game luftrauser is cloned by ( SKYSTRIKE , JETSTRIKE & many more )
    And your game also came under pixel art.
    Earlier games likes SkyStricks & Jetstrike also were in pixel art.
    SO WHAT DO YOU SAY IS THAT REALLY YOUR OWN IDEA ?
    We dont think so.

  • RubiqLab

    The Game luftrauser is cloned by ( SKYSTRIKE , JETSTRIKE & many more )
    And your game also came under pixel art.
    Earlier games likes SkyStricks & Jetstrike also were in pixel art.
    SO WHAT DO YOU SAY IS THAT REALLY YOUR OWN IDEA ?
    We dont think so.

    • Jean-Denis Haas

      All of them are ripping off Triple Action's Bi-Plane!!

      But seriously RubiqLab. Do you not see how similar your game is?

  • ABSF

    Anyone notice yet that the last paragraph from Rubiq was directly pulled from the wikipedia article on video game clone. However, they left out the part that obviously hurts their case. Here is the full paragraph.

    "In present-day law, it is upheld that game mechanics of a video game are part of its software, and are generally ineligible for copyright.[7] The United States Copyright Office specifically notes: "Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles."[8] The underlying source code, and the game's artistic elements, including art, music, and dialog, can be protected by copyright law.[7] As an alternative, some elements of video game software have been protected through patents.[9][10][11]"

    I'm sure there are more, but the most noticeable to me was the sound used for the jet burst. It is exactly the same sound. That was obviously not their own sound asset as they claim. But of course they already knew that which is why they didn't want to point out that the underlying code and artistic elements can be protected by copyright laws.