PopCap attacks "copycat" designs

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

  1. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    They are in most countries, yes. But I thought you were claiming that protecting innovation would lead to less of it. If you didn't mean that, then disregard my reply.
     
  2. jankoM

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    it's that time of the year again?
     
  3. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I was originally responding to the claim that if the first person who made a pinball game could protect his idea of a pinball game then it would mean more innovation. I don't believe, and it's why copyright laws are as they are, that this would be the case. There have been many small incremental improvements to pinball (like adding flippers, electricicity, magnetic bits, rails, etc). If nobody was allowed to go "I'll make a pinball game but I'll tweak it by doing this" because somebody owned the idea behind pinball games innovation would be far more difficult to come by.
     
  4. luggage

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    Good job nobody was allowed to protect breakout\arkanoid games then!
     
  5. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Yes, I don't think lack of innovation among pinball games is due to lack of protection of the idea, but I do think there was a lack of innovation among pinball games, but it might have more to do with the basic mechanic being so inflexible. There's only so much you can do with a bouncing ball bouncing around in a physical machine.

    I still don't think they were clones, though. Clones are different -- cloning is when you intentionally make something like something else so that people will buy the thing you made, thinking it was, or was just as good as, the thing you cloned. Competition by crowding rather than competition by differentiation.
     
  6. Ola

    Ola
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    There is lots of examples were companies have tried for many years to get a casual hit game, but all their games turned out the 95% of games that hardly bring any money.

    The latest ArcadeLab game, Alice Greenfingers took 18 months to create. A reskin / clone by the same team could have been made in 3-4 months.

    To create a new and fun gameplay experience from scratch, that work well with the casual audience is the absolute hardest and most time consuming part of creating a game. The few that actually had the patience, experience, and talent to get there knows. So when reskinners just lift the work from another game, what they take is the most holy part of the game, that often was the most time consuming and hardest part to create.

    Any programmer can do a Tetris clone in one day. How many do you think will be able to actually design something as remarkable in their lifetime? Even though it's an extreme example, it shows you that something that can take a lifetime to achive, could be copied in one day. So the 5 years I mentioned to hit the nail on the head, and get that casual hit that makes up for all less profitable attemps, is very realistic. At least from a game designers view. I'm not the general reskin / cloner, so I plan my buisness a little different. I don't make my living from releasing a new reskin every 4th month.
     
  7. soniCron

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    Excellent point, Rinku.

    Before we can examine the kind of impact clones are causing the industry, we first have to identify what exactly classifies as a clone.

    So, what is a clone? What features make a clone a clone, in the casual gamespace?

    And let's try to stay away from examples of games as clones, except to illustrate a hard point of identification. :)
     
  8. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    So no concrete examples then.

    I've never worked on a game where more man hours went into the game design than took to generate the content and write the source code so I disagree that the design is the most time consuming part. Although if you include the writing of the source code and drawing the art part of the game design process then I would but then that's all of a game. The design can be difficult but that's subjective, it all depends on how good a designer you are.

    sonicron: I've had a think about what makes a clone a clone and I really don't know. People talk about there being hundreds of clones but from what I see most tweak little things here and there and there aren't that many which are a complete 100% reskin only. They might only be moving certain hud elements about, or integrating a theme nicely, or adding a power up or two but how much you need to change for it to be a clone\not a clone I don't know. Everyone has their own opinion.

    It also makes a difference if you look at it from a developer's point of view or a consumer. We knew what goes into making a game so we can judge similarities a lot easier than the average casual consumer. As I mentioned before, I've asked my dad why he plays all these clones (He loves Mahjong and MCF style games in particular and owns a lot of them) but he sees the theme as making it a different game. Then again, he gets excited at beating a name on a default highscore table so who knows.

    And it's bloody hard to discuss what makes\breaks a clone without mentioning specific games :)
     
  9. Ola

    Ola
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    Yes, the key is always to balance the protection.

    No protection. Who wants to be the inventor or designer if anyone can steal your hard work in no time, and even make more money? (more money because say, they can make 5 clones in the time an inventor makes 1)

    No clones at all, might not be good either. Clones have their good sides, but not to many, and to quick, so they kill the inventors, or make it less interesting to invent. Inventors wants money, just like cloners.

    As always, a balance is the best. That's what worries me about the development I see right now in the casual scene. The amount of cloners is starting to hurt the inventors a bit to much, so it's harder for inventors to make money back. That will lead to inventors jump the ship. Just like people already mentioned their talented friends no longer make original games, but clones.
     
  10. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    If you invent something you can patent it and nobody is allowed to clone your invention for ~20 years.

    A solution which would suit your ideal is software patents. That's a whole different problem.
     
  11. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I don't think there can be a hard litmus test of what a clone is, but the only hard test I can think of would be: would someone buy both games or not. E.g. if someone would buy both Immortal Defense and Master of Defense, then ID isn't a clone of MoD, if they wouldn't, it is.
     
  12. soniCron

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    Then most casual "clones" aren't. If they didn't sell, portals wouldn't carry them.

    We'll need a better identifier, even if it's a little fuzzy.
     
  13. Ola

    Ola
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    Since you made your judgement from a very quick look, I can tell you that there is no shameless reskins.

    If you are interested in casual games that's a bit different from the standard Hidden Object / Match3 reskins, try downloading titles like Digi Pool, Spin & Win, Spin & Play and Alice Greenfingers.
     
  14. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Clones do sell -- but do they sell to people who have already bought the game they cloned?
     
  15. DangerCode

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    Of course, but how is this different from retail games? Or any industry for that matter?

    I understand that, but I'm looking for a concrete example of where a developer makes a hit game, enjoys the successes that comes with that work, but then is thwarted months later once the evil cloners emerge.

    I too wish all game creators would strive for fun and originality and individuality in their work and refrain from blantantly ripping off another's work - but I think this is a phantom menace.
     
  16. DangerCode

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    Just to be clear, I'm not calling anything a shameless reskin. But I wouldn't blame anyone for looking at Bricks of Atlantis/Egypt/Camelot and thinking they've seen that game before.
     
  17. Rainer Deyke

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    If I want to buy a deck of standard playing cards, I might go to a store that carries a lot of different decks of playing cards. However, I would still only buy one deck of cards. The large selection creates value for the store by causing me to prefer the store over another store, even if I only buy one item.
     
  18. tau

    tau New Member

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    PopCap is a cloning machine, and everybody knows it. They just want more money and trying to suppress smaller developers, remove competition, I would say.
     
  19. papillon

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    ... where 'everybody' is 'the voices in your head' apparently. :)
     
  20. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    I just played Luxor, Luxor 2, and Atlantis -- I think Luxor was fairly innovative over Zuma (that is to say, not a clone), and fun, but Atlantis felt to me like a re-skinning of Luxor, with virtually identical levels and power-ups. I don't really think anyone would buy both Atlantis and Luxor, but who knows.
     

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