making cheap/free versions of other expensive games

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by rmlinden, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. rmlinden

    rmlinden Active Member

    Nov 10, 2010
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    I was wondering what the rules are regarding making "clones"
    There is still a lot for me to learn about games, so i'd like to sink my teeth in the game building process rather than spending monstrous amounts of time thinking up a game.
    I have some ideas for own games, but for obvious reasons i'd like to do some proper work on em (and not start on em before i have a decent grasp of game implementing)

    So now im wondering what the rules are regarding the creation of clones. When does something become a rip off and when not. There are tons of doodle jump games etc. In the past there were streetfighter clones and those were legal.
    Is it allowed to make battleship or game of life clones?

    The reasoning is simple. Those kind of popular games are well defined, well balanced and most of the time very very very overpriced. I just want to learn game developing working on something like that and shove it on the appstore for free (so no in app purchases, banners etc .. because I know that the overall quality of my code will suck at first, i dont want people to pay for that :) )
     
  2. noelbernie

    noelbernie Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2010
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    just don't reuse graphics, names, characters, music and you will be fine
     
  3. Mr Jack

    Mr Jack Well-Known Member

    If you're feeling really cheeky, you could simply acquire for the source for the iPhone "Battle for Wesnoth", give it a different name and release it under your own badge. It's GPL so it would all be completely legal.
     
  4. BravadoWaffle

    BravadoWaffle Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2010
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    Yay for more derivative content on the App store.
     
  5. rmlinden

    rmlinden Active Member

    Nov 10, 2010
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    Actually no.
    There are certain games out there that (in my opinion) are not in balance price to quality wise. Just becuase there is a name attached to it, the players are supposed to pay top dollar for an otherwise weak implementation.
    Then there is the second part where there are a lot of the nice classics are missing.

    My main goal initially is to get a better grasp of game development (as it is quite different from every day software development). So making a game that is based on a well known set of rules will reduce the total amount of complexity I have to deal with.
     
  6. HMAudio

    HMAudio Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2010
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    It's a great idea if you're trying to learn your craft better. One of the first exercises I went through as a composer was to take a look at the greats and to deconstruct and reinvent songs in their style.

    However, these were for personal learning and I never attempted to give or sell them away. Instead of cloning, I'd suggest to start with some great ideas out there and find creative ways to make them your own with your personalized and original spin!

    Best of luck!
     
  7. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    #7 mr.Ugly, Nov 10, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010

    it depends.. its actualy alot of hard work to make something new and unique..

    if you are on your own it can be unpossible to push something out in quality and time..

    just don't expect to become millionar by night with others ideas.

    a game doesnt need to be cheap to be successfull.

    at the end there are very few unique ideas out there in the gaming world.. usualy the games are just copies of other ideas anyway.. or influenced by them..

    do i clone flight control if i make a line drawing game?

    do i clone wolfenstein if i make a fps?

    it is hard to say.. it depends.
     
  8. c0re

    c0re Well-Known Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    #8 c0re, Nov 12, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
    Yep, go ahead, do not stop the cloning endless flow. Continue turning the appstore into the MacDonalds of videogames. Surfing lazily on the hard work of another developer.

    (and the definition of a clone is not so complicated, based on common sense : a copy of another product without added value)

    Now due to common confusion between cloning and inspiring, I admit this can lead to quite some doubts.

    Simple answer to clear all doubts about making a game too much of a clone : use your brain :)


    edit : here's where cloning can lead to : http://kotaku.com/5688262/hrm-these-iphone-games-seem-familiarhrm

    Even pushing dishonesty and shitty behavior to this extent :

     
  9. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    but you example there is not a clone.. someone wanted to monetize on the name "angry bird".. this is not a clone..

    one can argue that space cadets is a clone.. but at the end even rovios angry bird IS! a clone and NO! original game.. for example crush the castle was release quite before angry birds.. so the assumption is strong that the birds is just a clone..

    so the think is.. if you think you can add something to a gameplay mechanic others are using in their game.. go ahead and try to make it better..

    what is really unique nowerdays.. only a tiny fraction of the really successfull games are original..
     
  10. Krehol Games

    Krehol Games Well-Known Member

    make better

    Basically we all had favorite game types to play . Some like mario , so they make mario games. Some like pong , so they make pong type games. Honestly all games now a days are pretty similar . Sometimes you might not have even played a game but thought of an idea not knowing it has been used before.
    Me and my team try to stay original , like my Momo the Alien Starcatcher. Even though I havent seen this type of game before , I know someones made something similar. Dont listen to people who say oh this is a rip off that. Some people just love drama or are fanboys. Dont worry about that and just concentrate on the people who like you game.
     
  11. c0re

    c0re Well-Known Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    You're right it's not really a clone, but it's in the same vein ;)
     
  12. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    Coming up with the game ideas is part of the game making process. There is a lot of work in cloning a successful game if you are to get anywhere near the quality of the original, because a lot of work was involved in making the original game the quality it was.

    Be inspired by other games, but don't clone them. Look at what you think are the weak points, what you could do differently, what you could add, etc.

    If you are new to game development, it will be hard to match the quality of seasoned professionals. So don't do work that will be compared directly to theirs. Use your freedom of expression and fresh-faced enthusiasm to do something unique, even if only by a little bit.
     
  13. rmlinden

    rmlinden Active Member

    Nov 10, 2010
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    Coming up with ideas is a part of a process when it comes to creating a game. It all depends on what part you are working on and for what purpose.
    If my goal is to learn more about game creation (software structuring) then the creative element of thinking up a new game is out of scope. Also the thinking up the game mechanics is merely a step in the bigger picture.
    The statement "There is a lot of work in cloning a successful game if you are to get anywhere near the quality of the original, because a lot of work was involved in making the original game the quality it was." seems rather off as well.
    There are many instances where games were in a particular state because the technology of the time did not allow for the quite marvelous things we can do now. If, however, a game has been ported to the iphone it can be done is a very poor fashion. Just to get the application with a well known name out of the door as soon as possible in order to monatize the brand name.

    As stated before my initial goal is to unserstand more of structuring game related software. There are some fundamental differences with ye-olde normal applications. With this goal in mind I do not think its a bad thing to mimic a game, for the creative part regarding game mechanics is out of scope. If in the end the end result is of such quality then we might consider to actually put it up in the appstore. My initial question was aimed to get some insights in the legal implication of that possible outcome. I doubt that we will actually put the clone up.

    One thing that bothers me about branded game implementations that quite often the overall quality you get for a relatively high price is horrid. Just because it has this name plastered all over it does not mean that the buyers should be treated to some shoddy pile of rushed application.

    Anyhoo, I feel that cloning in order to learn (and proof of concept) is not a bad thing. It would however be a shame to bin the proof of concept even when it turns out to be a solid implementation. In that case it would go up cheap or free (with banner).

    For now the decision trees, rule engine and event stacks are more than enough to keep us well entertained in the development process. I never knew that game ai could be so versatile even though the implementation mechanism is so simplistic. How such a small amount of code and grant such an expressive power when it comes to games. Good fun!
     
  14. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    My statements were not off. I assumed you would not be cloning some licensed rubbish. If you are going to clone, I assumed you would want to clone something decent so my statement stands.

    Also, part of the development process is creating adaptable code so that it can cope with ideas not working out. If you are creating a clone, you are working to a known target, not a movable one as happens on game development. Your original statement suggests you want to learn the process rather than programming. Therefore I tried to help you follow a fundamental part of game development.

    To cover your basic question about creating a clone. I suggest not releasing it at all. If the original company goes after you for infringing their intellectual property, it will be for damages to them (financial, reputation, etc.), rather than the profit you make. So releasing for free would not help.

    Inspired by is a totally different matter. It is not much work to borrow ideas from more than one source and combine them into something that little bit unique.
     
  15. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    game ideas are no intelectual properties.. if you do an angry bird with the exactl same game mechanics but with completly different art assets and are trying not to hard to mimick their look.. you are pretty safe.

    the canon cadets creators where not sued by any of the other "slingshot physic games", because the core game mechanic is the same but thats it.. anything else is quite different (from a legal standpoint)..

    a customer still sees similarities but thats usualy gameplay relevant..

    at the end its hard to say exactly what a "clone" is.. and discuss about it without defining it exactly to what extend someone wants to "clone" something.
     
  16. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    But the game has intellectual property rights, both registered and unregistered. It is often easier to create something a bit different than to copy, and produces something of more merit.
     
  17. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    thoose right do not cover gameplay.. its cover the look of a game like characters, the name and other things.. but never the gameplay.
     
  18. Moonjump

    Moonjump Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
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    Are you sure? In every country that has an App Store? Some gameplay features have been patented in different countries, and the last time I had to deal with an issue, the matter hadn't been tested in court, so our legal department told us not to use the gameplay feature (in that case it was the use of a ghost car to allow the player to check their progress against the fastest lap).
     
  19. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    hah lol the legendary ghost car patent from midway :)

    well if you might read on that this patent actualy is ancient and they never enforced it, because they would loose in court.

    software patents are not as easy nowerdays like it was 20-30 years ago..

    most of the old stuff would not make it thought court.. and thats where it should go if someone tries to play with you just because you are "small".. having a good legal insurance is quite good nowerdays.. every little ****twat of an excuse of an lawyer can send you an c&d order if you have a little error on the imprint of your website.. pffz..

    at the end everybody can sue for for anything.. even if he is not in the right too.. especially in the land of the free.. where one can become millionair if you spill a hot coffee over yourself.. ... well they said free not intelligent :)
     
  20. nemice

    nemice New Member

    Nov 4, 2010
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    This is a interesting topic and i am currently working on getting a PC game ported to the Iphone. And also wonder about how far you can say its a clone and i am going to sue you ore not.

    The question about this:
    How far does the legal arm of the original owner go's when you take a PC game and make your own version of the game for the Iphone ? The idea is not fully cloning the game but just take the idea and polish it up and add more content. What content you need to change to not get in trouble?
     

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