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Discussion in 'Development & Distribution' started by Jack Norton, Jan 21, 2006.
Heh mine was a joke obviously but now that I think about it is not even a bad idea!
To get kicked in the head, as depicted here:
I *knew* chuzzles looked familiar. Mind you they are "clones" of tribbles aren't they?
BKR added some new elements, but it still was heavily influenced by Jewel Quest. Also it was released while Jewel Quest was still selling very well. So by your definition (John), why isn't BKR a parasite but Fairies is? BKR obviously added a few more things over Jewel Quest, but both games were made in a very short time while their predecessors were still popular.
Personally I agree with Cas (great post btw). Most popular casual games can be singled down to one basic game mechanic. It's hard to add something new without breaking that game mechanic. So it's very easy to have a lot of games that look and feel similar to each other (ie. Clones).
I think for better or for worse, if you're going to make casual games you just have to be prepared for your games to be copied if they perform well on the major portals. Even with high production values, it's very easy for someone to come along and quickly mimic the game mechanics. As they say, the fleas come with the dog.
If getting copied/cloned boils your blood, then make more complex games. Simple as that. How many Hamsterball clones do you see out there? Make a game that can't be parasited (new word!) within a couple of months. Otherwise just accept the current conditions of the casual market (after all you've probably made more money with Chuzzle than most of us have made in the past couple years with our Indie income). You don't see James complaining about all the BKR rip-offs.
Now I've taken my second axe out of the closet.
surely the only people qualified to talk about the clone debate fairly are those who have done fairly original games. If you havent finished a game, or ahve only made a blatant clone of another game, then you have NO IDEA how much work is involved in original game design.
All this waffle about 'yeah but all games are influenced etc.' is nonsense. Harry potter has wizards in, just like lord of The rings, but it's not a clone. If you write a book about a boy wizard called billy bumper with a scar on his cheek, that IS a clone, and JK Rowling will rightfully sue your ass.
Well, Dennis McKiernan started out writing a *total* LotR clone - down to the abandoned dwarven mine with a magically operated door guarded by a bad thing in the water on one end and a bridge over a bottomless pit where a horrible demon had to be fought on the other - and was not sued and went on to develop that universe to be less of an embarassment...
Of course, if we bring up books then we start getting into the discussion of FANFICTION which really makes a mess out of things.
Ah, the voice of experience. I've said it before - the real work in making a game is not the finished product, it's the 95% of the work you did which ended up being changed or thrown away in the process.
Of course we can always make complex or content-intensive games, and that's what I tend to do anyway, so there is no fear of cloning there. But I still admire a good, simple game. If one of us here came up with the "next Tetris", how well do you think you'd be able to capitalise on that? Sure, if someone else duplicates your game, you can always "go and make a better one". Except that's a lot of work, and you might not be able to improve it any more. And if you do, they'll just take it again won't they?
I'm curious why I don't see this level of cloning in the world of board and card games. That's not to say clones don't exist at all, but it is certainly not as pervasive. Is this true, or did I just miss them? If cloning isn't a problem in this sector, why? Is there legal precedence? Or, perhaps it's just honor?
Card games don't clone?
... the entire CCG market isn't just as much a clone as most of the examples we usually give here?
(Which brings us right back around to the 'Is it cloning or is it an entry in the genre?' question.)
Magic The Gathering DID receive some sort of patent, and demands licensing fees off everybody else. Whether they get them or not and more legal details than that, I don't know.
Nice call about the CCG's. However, I was talking about the kind of stuff that populates sites like BoardGameGeek. (Yes, I see there's an entry for MTG there. No, that's not what I meant by "card games." I'm thinking Uno. )
The Crazy-8's clone you mean?
Seriously though, I do think that there are a LOT of possible game mechanics. Unfortunately most of them are crap. I know I've got a list of many, many ideas backlogged that I want to try out. Look at Lumines and Meteos, two very innovative games (even if Meteos is slightly Match-3) to come out recently by one developer committed to new ideas. In the end it is easier to take something that is known and tweak it a little. And probably more profitable. That is the number one reason why there are lots of clones. Even in the hardcore game market this is the basic operating procedure for large publishers.
Cloning isn't "video games only." How many movies are copies of other movies? Just think of zombie-virus movies alone! How many bands get popular and then a slew of similar sounding groups suddenly appear? It's just mass market reality, I guess. People will buy the same thing repackaged over and over for some reason.
i dont understand it myself. the lack of thought that goes into making a clone. i myself am getting into making games and the first thing i want to do is make "new" ones. it takes a while, and is more challenging - but who's going to be impressed by me making the 1,000,000th breakout clone? not me. thats for sure.
Well people who make clones generally want to make money, and making a 'new' game will in almost all cases yield the developer less money than a clone. I think everyone comes into this biz wanting to make some really nice original games, but most of those peope then become cloners after they realise that their original games don't bring home the bacon. I'm not saying it's good to clone though...