PopCap attacks "copycat" designs

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Teeth, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Ola

    Ola
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    Sorry Luggage. In my eyes it's you that are missing the point all the time. I just don't have to say it in every sentence. Instead I tell you my view on it, how it differs from yours.
     
  2. luggage

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    Lordy.

    A game design is the idea behind the game.

    The day the design was turned into a game then that game is protected. The design still remains the idea behind the game.

    The implementation of the idea is protected - not the idea itself.

    I really can't see how I can make it much clearer, I've quoted UK and US copyright law and yet you still insist it's wrong?
     
  3. Ola

    Ola
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    If you refer game design as just an idea in someones head? Why do a game design stop to exits, once it implemented?

    I don't think most people here, see it as only ideas in someone head we have been talking about here. But finished products.
     
    #103 Ola, Jun 30, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  4. DangerCode

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  5. Ola

    Ola
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    That still change nothing what we've been talking about though, if that is how you prefer see the definition of game design. It gets protected in the end anyway. At what level it gets protected haven't been the issue here.
     
  6. Ola

    Ola
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    We should be happy there haven't been more yet. That doesn't mean though that we shouldn't repect the work of the Game Designers, and steal their works by doing shameless reskins, that gets more and more common.
     
  7. luggage

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    I've given plenty of examples, go and read the book one again in the UK Copyright quote. Instead of "book" think "game". And when it says "Idea behind the book" think "idea behind the game".
     
    #107 luggage, Jun 30, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
  8. luggage

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    If you think that the difference between an idea being protected and an implementation of that idea being protected isn't important then I'm not sure what the discussion is about.

    My argument is.

    * Clones aren't, strictly speaking, illegal. So the law isn't going to stop them.
    * Developer aren't going to stop making them if they think they can get money from them.
    * Portals aren't going to stop stocking them unless they have a reason (eg. developers refusing to submit hit games while they carry clones. Or the public aren't buying them).
    * Customers seem to lap them up. As I've pointed out, do consumers care that it's the same game mechanic?
     
  9. spellcaster

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    Hm.. is this something you made up, or do you have an example?

    And if you don't want do copy other people ideas, you should stop using sprites or other animated images now:
    One of the many Atari video game patents

    While you can surly say that you're not using exactly the same method as it is described in this or other patents - but you surly have to agree that it's the idea that counts?

    Basically, you will have a hard time to find an "original" game -esp. if you search on the PopCap site.
     
  10. ggambett

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    It would have been awesome if Betty's Beer Bar had made it big. I wouldn't mind being rich :)

    I wouldn't say it should have made it big though. The market determines that, mostly. Betty's Beer Bar had a lot of shortcomings due to our inexperience (it was our second game ever, I was 22 at the time), and due to the fact that the genre didn't exist before - the initial control scheme was terrible, cleavages and beer are evil in the US, and so on. Because all of this, most big portals rejected the game (one famously said "nobody wants to play a game where you have to work!") - kudos to Big Fish once again for seeing the potential and giving it a chance.

    About half a year later Diner Dash came out, with a similar mechanic and theme, and doing right a lot of things that we did wrong. I'm not the one saying that - it's the customers. So I can't really complain that they got obscenely rich and we didn't. Sales are like soccer - you don't win matches by "deserving" to have scored, what counts is what you actually scored.

    On the other hand, it would be nice to get the recognition. Betty's Beer Bar was the first customer service casual game in the market. It was the first game with a strong female lead at a time where the charts were dominated by more abstract games like Super Collapse II and Bejewelled. I think it was the first game to have cartoon cutscenes. I think it was the first game to be called "Someone's Service Shop". We may not "deserve" to be rich off Betty's Beer Bar but I do think we deserve that history isn't rewritten, and it's respected as it happened.
     
  11. KNau

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    DAMN, ggambett beat me to this point.
    Ah, but Betty's Beer Bar was a clone of Tapper and wasn't exactly flying off the shelves when the imitators started popping up was it? You can say the cloners were the final nail in the coffin but they weren't the sole reason BBB didn't explode.

    Besides, anyone who spends 5 years on a game destined for the casual space needs their head examined.

    Copyrighting a game mechanic would like trying to copyright the 3-act structure that Hollywood uses in 99% of it's films or copyrighting the "buddy cop movie". The reason we have both Transformers and Gobots is because you can't copyright the idea of transforming vehicles, just the individual implementations.
     
  12. spellcaster

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    If I may quote an older thread:

    source
     
  13. ggambett

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    So in late 2003 when BBB was released, where could I download a 60 minute trial of Tapper for my PC? IIRC, I couldn't, and I can't now... Tapper was and still is a 8-bit, 4-color memory. I said "the first customer service casual game", meaning "PC downloadable shareware".

    In that same thread you linked to, Anthony Flack enumerates a series of differences between Tapper and BBB. I never denied that Tapper was an inspiration. However, saying that BBB is a Tapper clone is going too far (and I don't say DD is a BBB clone either). In fact I think that's a healthy way for an industry to innovate and evolve - incrementally, standing on the shoulders of giants, as Scott said.
     
  14. spellcaster

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    Freeware versions of this game have been available for years. Macromedia used it to show that Shockwave can be used to make games, for example. Does this count?
     
  15. Ola

    Ola
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    Well, that's not what I said. What I say is (lets take it slow and easy)

    1) The game designers work and even ideas (that is not copyrighted) turns into implentation (that is copyrighted) when you create and release a game.

    2) You don't clone something from someones head do you? So what you clone from another game is implentation, right?

    3) Implementation is copyrighted. So the game design that you see and copy, is implementation, and is illegal to copy. Get it?

    Anyway, I'm tired to argue about this anymore.

    I'm pretty sure you know what I'm saying. Seems like you just want to find a way to get around it, and to make game designers work public domain, when it's not. A game designers work is both artistical, valueable and implemented (thus copyrighted) and should be respected.

    Tetris is not just and idea in someones head, it's and implemented game design. And is copyrighted. It's not only the art of tetris that is copyrighted, but the whole product and experience altogether, including the implemented work of a game designer in the form of gameplay, mechanics and misc design itself etc.
     
  16. Ola

    Ola
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    Not every game is a the next casual hit game. It may take quite a few failed attempts before you get there. Thus it may take 5 year to produce that hit, and for quite a few people it will never happen at all.
     
  17. papillon

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    now, I admit I'm not a lawyer, but isn't it that:

    looking at a car and trying to make something that does the same thing as exactly as possible = reverse engineering and therefore allowed

    finding the blueprints for the car that belong to the manufacturer and using those to exactly create the car = corporate espionage and not allowed

    Or am I wrong?

    In which case it would be obvious theft if someone nicked your source code and changed the graphics, but not if they just tried to make a game that was like yours based on watching it.

    Depending on the complexity of the game you may not be able to see everything from just watching it. I expect that many game designers are tinkering with probability behind the scenes to limit how often a player will be stuck due to pure random chance... and that's not something a cloner could duplicate just from play.
     
  18. Ola

    Ola
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    They don't need to get #1. If they become #1 then they actually make more money then the original while they are up there, since the game was a lot quicker to develop, and had no costs for game design and tweaking.

    Sure, as this market is turning out like a magnet for new developers, reskins and plagiarism, and reskins is a lot easier and quicker to make. I except the market will just be more and more flooded with reskins that all have to fight each other. So the short sighted solution of reskins and parasiting, may kill the majority of the clone companies as well, as they have to fight with 20 other similar reskins that come out the same month.

    However, it also hurt the inventors that come up with the next thing. A couple of years ago you could make an original game, and a lot less would clone it, as well as it took longer for the first clones to come. Today though, a lot of developers have specialized in reskins, so it may only be a question of months before the first clones will parasite the original games.

    The only winner in such an environment as I can see it, with few inventors, and more and more cloners, might be the portals and affiliates. They get a higher volume of games, so that they could attract customers with a new game every day etc. While for developers (cloners as well as inventors) it should only mean, less money per title.
     
  19. Chris Evans

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    I laughed when I read this. You should expect to be disappointed if you spend 5 years on a casual game that can be copied in 3-6 months. Spending half a decade on a game with a very low barrier to entry just isn't good business sense. In fact, I'd say it would be pretty idiotic. If I spent 5 years making the ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe game, maybe I can expect some Kudos for my game design achievement and dedication, but to expect to be coddled by developers worldwide in a competitive market is just silly and naive.

    Just because you spend 2-5 years making something doesn't mean time has to stand still so you can recoup all your research and development. If you're trying to make money and sustain a business, you have to have an idea what your target market wants, what it can support and the level of competition.

    The casual market provides a great opportunity for companies to make good money with relatively low development costs. If you spend 6-9 months developing a game, you can usually still get a good return even if you get cloned 5-9 months later. Chances are you'll probably be able to churn out a sequel just as fast or faster. Mystery Case Files which took 9 months to develop is a perfect example.

    Conversely, the casual market is too competitive with too low a barrier to support 16-36 month masterpieces. If the game is a pet project or something done in part-time, then go ahead. But again, time won't stand still so you can make money. Often times critically acclaimed art, music, and movies don't make much (if any) money for the original creator when they're initially released. It's only after the passage of time they're rewarded by History.

    But to step back a bit, no one seems to want to talk about it but if there's a huge concern among the bigger casual devs of "parasitic" clones then put pressure on the portals. The portals are literally the gate-keepers. A parasitic clone will get zero visibility unless a portal chooses to carry it. When the portals choose to carry them, it's the portals who profit the most from these clones, not the developers. If there's so much indignation why not direct it toward where it can make a difference (as small as it may be)?

    Pretty much the entire casual industry is in Washington state, why not meet your portal rep at a local Starbucks and tell them they're not getting your next game if they distribute parasitic clones of your game within the first 6-8 months of release. Of course this won't happen because there's too much money going around. Consumers are still buying clones so the portals fell compelled to keep releasing them. The big casual devs still get a lot of money from portals, so they don't want to risk damaging their relationships with them. So it's just easier and safer to blame small developers for their lack of creativity even though they have the least amount of power and influence in the casual game ecosystem. I think it goes something like this: Consumer >>> Portal > Large developer >>>>>>>>>>> Small developer.
     
  20. luggage

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    Papillion: You are spot on in what you say.

    Chris: Couldn't agree more. Effort should be targeted at the portals - it's the only realistic place you can put a stop to clones. Trouble is, how many devs would be willing to hold back a game from a portal and thefore the reduced income? It would take a mighty effort from several developers with good selling games to make a difference.

    Ola:
    1) You are correct. An implentation of an idea is protected.

    2) No, you can't clone something from someone's head. So you will usually clone an implementation of somebody's idea.

    3) The implementation is copyrighted BUT THE IDEA BEHIND THE IMPLEMENTATION IS NOT.

    I am not "finding ways around it" - it is how the law works and it works that way so it allows innovation. I have quoted copyright law in 2 countries yet you are still not grasping the fundamental difference between an idea and an implementation.

    Look. Imagine I have an idea to paint some flowers. So I go out and paint some flowers. Great. I now have an implementation of my idea that is protected by copyright. Nobody is allowed to copy my painting. But anybody can go out and paint a picture of some flowers.

    You seem to not believe me, maybe you will believe links?

    UK Copyright Law - pay particular attention to section "4: When rights occur"

    US Copyright Law - Specifically "Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles."

    And seeing as you brought Tetris up as an example...

    An IGDA paper.They use Tetris as an example. Note how there is no mention of copyright on the game design.
     
    #120 luggage, Jul 1, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007

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