Your work can be stolen, but ideas are still just ideas

Discussion in 'Unity Gossip' started by hippocoder, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. hippocoder

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  2. lmbarns

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    Zynga's notorious for this in the facebook game market. See "Tiny tower" built by a team of 3 people, #1 app last year, gets cloned by zynga: http://tdwgeeks.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/dear-zynga.jpeg

    Infiniminer => minecraft

    Basically bypass the whole coming up with your own GDD and just hire some artists to re-skin the interface == profit

    edit:: also read about one guy who had his game completely stolen from eastern euro's and up on the app stores, he got it taken down, but it's rampant.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  3. dogzerx2

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    Can't he sue them or something??? :-0
  4. n0mad

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    Shame ...
    Though, as soon as it will get known, the ripper will get a shitload of bad rep. Even if it gives him some profit, this kind of signs the death of his continued profit.

    (edit : I mean in this very case of blatant asset copycatting)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  5. lmbarns

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    infiniminer was a multiplayer cube based game built by 1 guy. Notch, the creator of minecraft played it and thought it was cool, made his own small version and submitted it to an indie competition, which he won, and received a million dollar prize to use towards developing what became Minecraft....
  6. Izitmee

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    Wow, can't believe that who did the original game was not involved in the iOS version! Are you sure of it? I always state that clones of any kind are a very bad thing, but this one looks incredible (in a baddish way, obviously)!

    That said, I might be wrong, but the original game definitely reminds me of another game from some years ago, whose name I can't remember.
  7. hippocoder

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    Oops read what you said. Yes its true... but copying isn't a bad thing if you improve on the original.


    Anyway what zynga is doing isn't bad: they're cloning. This is normal. But the above dudes from vietnam, actually just ripped the S*** out of the original flash game 1:1. The original author is from italy, he probably doesn't even know...

    Plus zynga's cloning of tiny towers was the straw that broke the camel's back. They've got a reputation now, and it's going to take many years of original IP before they claw back the damage they've done to themselves.

    However with their cash pile they're fine.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  8. lmbarns

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    oooh a notch fanboy....read the history bud. Or maybe make sense with your accusation?

    edit:: also you edited what I initially quoted...
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  9. n0mad

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    That's why indies should always work on 3D instead of 2D ! It's far less easy to copy :x
    (with proper 3D animations I mean)
  10. Mr.T

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    Armor Games is no small company just for the record. I'm assuming that either no one has notified them of this or that they have been notified of this and are in the process of taking it down if it breaches Apple's rules and within the parameters of what Apple usually takes down such kind of stuff down for.
  11. Starsman Games

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    What reputation is tarnished? If a 4.5 star average rating after 26,456 ratings is a sign of tarnished reputation... darn i got to go out and rip off some games, while stealing candy from babies and kicking old ladies into traffic.
  12. Starsman Games

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    Armor Games is more like Kongregate. The game in question was done by an 18 year old from Rome.
  13. n0mad

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    That's the sad story of why cloning has so few impact on casual gaming : casual gamers are casual, so they're not the kind to know a lot about existing games, hence their general ignorance towards clones harm.
    That's also inherently why the appstore is so crippled with clones. It works, and too few people care about them being clones.
  14. AnomalusUndrdog

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    If ideas are inherently without worth as you say, then there would be no sense in going through with any of them.

    Both idea and execution are equally important.
  15. lmbarns

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    At work now so I don't have my favorites but there are some amazing videos on youtube from ex-zynga employee's at gaming conferences discussing some of the shady S*** they do...

    "Farmville" was a clone of an indie farming game called "MyFarm".

    "Mafia wars" was a clone of an indie game called "Mob Wars".

    The guy I'm thinking of from the lecture video worked on some failed game about Fish, and he said his boss came in one day, said some indie fish game had sold 100k copies, and to get started cloning it.

    He said all their games were based off up and coming games. They just sit back and see what's selling, then add some nicer graphics to the interface and people play it.

    Zynga has paid 10's of millions in settlements to the people they ripped off, but they still gain more than it costs them overall, by far....

    http://www.edge-online.com/features/how-zynga-cloned-its-way-success
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  16. Starsman Games

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    With great execution, any idea looks golden.
    With poor execution, the greatest idea is monkey turds.

    Look at Grand Theft Auto. One of the greatest innovative games out there. An idea so original and great that it was… attempted 3 times and the studio was ready to close doors. GTA3 was the same idea as GTA1, 2 and London 1969. It was the incredible execution that turned the same idea into what many call today “revolutionary.”
  17. dogzerx2

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    So in other words..the 3rd is the charm! :p

    meaning, never give up!!

    I mean sometimes 15th the charm! IF you're lucky!
  18. Starsman Games

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    In this case, the 3-D was the charm :3
  19. Mr.T

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    Ah, OK didn't know that. I stand corrected then
  20. AnomalusUndrdog

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    Any idea huh? So I guess if someone had an idea of a game about killing human babies and sold them to soccer moms, as long as it has great execution its gonna sell right?

    Yup, that's why both are important.

    Same idea doesn't mean bad idea. I'm not arguing about originality of an idea. I'm saying you need both good ideas, regardless where they came from, and you need good execution.

    Ideas have potential, they are not inherently worthless.
  21. n0mad

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    Funny story, here's the message the creators of Tiny Tower sent to Zynga (and made it go awfully public) :

    [​IMG]

    How is it possible to not look like a fool after that ?
  22. Starsman Games

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    You are trying too hard.
  23. jc_lvngstn

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    I agree with this. I've read posts in the minecraft forums, frothing at the mouth about people ripping off minecraft by making their own minecraft games.

    What a load. What's funny is, when someone says "Why can't game X have feature Y, that would be awesome?" and the response is "Why don't you make your own if you don't like the way it is?" And then someone DOES, and gets slammed.

    If I can take an idea and improve on it, by using or purchasing my own tools and resources, and not copying the original assets...imo, that's a good thing. It's why we have game genres.
  24. AnomalusUndrdog

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    You said any idea. I'm pointing out a flaw in your statement.
  25. lmbarns

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    :) I linked that picture in the second post on this thread :) very funny and it did go viral, however Zynga's stock is up...
  26. n0mad

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    Oops sorry if repost ... :x
    (Maybe I should stop opening closing reopening the forums to pretend I'm working !)
  27. lmbarns

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    lol doing the same thing, trying to look busy at work, I didn't realize you could link an image in the post so now I know :)
  28. Izitmee

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    Yup, if you really improve it, both graphically than conceptually, while also introducing new gameplay elements, it's innovation. Innovation is good. Cloning remains shameful.
  29. lmbarns

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    Even Angry birds is a clone of "Crush the castle" but they at least added something new to it with the gameplay/launch mechanism.
  30. Rush Rage Games

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    That's just sad.
  31. n0mad

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  32. lmbarns

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    Holy smokes that's brilliant.
  33. Izitmee

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    Yes. I don't think Angry Birds is a total clone (though it definitely walks on the verge of it), though I always thought they should've at least mentioned the original game (be it Crush the Castle or Castle Clout).
  34. PrimeDerektive

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    He's in the process of submitting a DMCA takedown request, it'll get removed soon enough. They definitely decompiled his flash game to use his assets; they're even using assets that he discarded but left in the build.

    At this point, I'm assuming copyright doesn't even play a role in the app store review process, a Pokemon game that didn't even work got released a few weeks ago. It was pulled down within a day, but not before it sold thousands of units and got to #2 in overall paid apps.

    I'm curious, where does that money go?
  35. hippocoder

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    To explain: All your best ideas have already been done in some form or other. YOU are not a true genius that is able to think up something that billions of human beings haven't in all these years. Don't be that arrogant - for your own sake. It will make you look a bit silly :)

    That is why I don't think ideas are important. What IS important is how you use a concept or idea. For example if you are cooking and think it is a terrific idea to add lots and lots of chocolate to a pizza I don't think it will taste nice.

    Did I think of chocolate on pizza? probably NOT! Because chocolate can be used with savoury dishes as well. In short, it is about combining those flavour sensations with accepted and established rules. Every chef has done a consommé, but it is the flavours and combinations that work.

    That's not a flaw, it just means I have to explain to you :p
  36. hippocoder

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    For serious cases, apple removes the developer's account and does not give them any money. But there are so many of them like rats, that a few will slip by.
  37. kingcharizard

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    Pokemon is a billion dollar idea...
  38. hippocoder

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    There's a real problem with that article though, it's fanning flames in random directions. It could be that the flames burn you as well. What if there is a knee jerk reaction which bans clones. All those legal issues and dead developer dreams. They should focus on this case for what it is: simple theft.
  39. Gigiwoo

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    I disagree. Some geeks on forums will care, but the millions of people that play Zynga's games won't care. To be honest, I didn't like Tiny Towers - it was a farming, face-book, operant conditioning experience that made me feel dirty just for playing it. Just like every single Zynga game I've ever touched.

    As for cloning, why would people be upset? There are 9000 first person shooters that are just clone's of Id's early Castle Wolfenstein. Almost ALL games are clones in some form.

    Gigi.
  40. hippocoder

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    Yeah thats EXACTLY what I said a few weeks ago when the tiny towers story broke. I was like "who gives a S***, none of their regular audience will know about it"

    But I was wrong. It is now bubbling over into mainstream articles and talk - people who didn't realise about this before. It's growing at what some would say an alarming rate, to the point where I feel zynga needs to watch itself. When you are that big, there is one thing far bigger than you: the public, and their backlash.

    If the public gets pissed at you, and does not depend on you for an essential service, it can ruin business pretty fast.
  41. lmbarns

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    I think the correlation between Wolfenstein and those 900 fps is far different from big company actually cloning up and coming indie games that show any signs of success. If a game were to copy each character, and level layout, as well as weapons, ammo, etc and objectives, then it would be considered a clone.

    The "operant conditioning" is spot on however, and as game developers we should be taking notes. The top farmville players spend over $200/mo each on in-game items, that's far more than any multi-hundred-million dollar game could ever hope to make from a single individual. And yes plenty of people don't pay anything, but those free players are valuable assets to the game as they improve the game for paying players by populating it.

    I'll try any game out for inspiration, Lord of Ultima by EA was by far the biggest stretch of the term MMO. It's html5 for god sake and uses ajax with a MVC setup. It was soooooo simple, basically just database record vs. database record, absolutely no models or action to code, just statistics vs. other statistics....yet it's successful....it's dumbfounding why people find those types of games fun, but there's tons of money in it.
  42. hippocoder

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    What I'm waiting for is someone to clone zynga's games then zynga takes them to court and gets smashed to pieces by the defense showing a big printout of nimblebit's letter.

    You reap what you sow. I don't think any of us have anything to fear by making a decent farmville clone...
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  43. Izitmee

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    And what, they just keep all the money for themselves? Smart move :/ I hope they at least give the thief's percentage to the original owner.
  44. Aiursrage2k

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    You see it all the time big companies scooping up great concepts for pennies on the dollar, making millions off of someone elses idea. That the best case scenario otherwise they will simply make a better clone of your game and you wont even get squat.

    Look at you have people like mika mobile making there game zombieville usa, so many people clone there game, release it for free on droid that when mika mobile release there game no one buys it.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  45. lmbarns

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    hehe, a second/third generation clone. Would be good for a satirical blog at least :) Do a mass cloning (open source project??) of zynga games to prove a point.

    One thing though, is Zynga has paid out 10's of millions in settlements to people they've ripped off, after being taken to court, which makes me think there might be some legal concerns to what they're doing, they've just found a way to make it profitable by pushing the limits (targeting small devs with no real/financial means for recourse in our court system). Lawsuits can drag on for years and the smaller guy has to go "all-in" financially to challenge the big guns of the corporation raping them. Should watch the documentary "Hot Coffee" to see how our court system works when you're the little guy....

    A kickstarter to invest in lawsuits to protect the little guy would be epic right about now...
  46. Starsman Games

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    I'm sorry... but you don't seem to be paying attention to the news lately :p

    It's a sad world, this one, but until Mars gets colonized, we have no other to go to.
  47. Morning

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  48. n0mad

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    Why when it comes to arguing, people always mix up cloning with inspiration, and vice versa ? :/
    As opposed to real life situations, where the limit is instictively recognized : when you look at it, there's often a collective conscience about what is a clone and what is inspiration. Most of the time, even a totally uneducated person can say if X piece of Art/game/book/music/movie is a clone or inspired by Y, even without having that much culture in the said domain.
    That's what always upset me with cloners, they instinctively know what boundaries not to cross before turning an inspiration into a clone, but still cross it by playing it all "oh I thought it was just inspiration sorry".
    This sociological phenomenon is even observable in early school with kids.. "Hey Joe did copy my drawing !"
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  49. keithsoulasa

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    Word, the funny thing is when i tell my none game designing friends that I plan to put my game up on kickstarter, or show it off at an interview, they warn me that my brillant idea will get stolen .

    Even if it was a brilliant idea its very very unlikely a large / or even a small company will just drop everything their doing and focus on what i'm doing, ideas only get copied once their successful-
    Although my master plan now is to come up with something so cool by June a company offers me a job .
  50. Aiursrage2k

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    Portal was taken from nacular drop without them creating the demo there would be no game. It came from someone having a good unique idea, probably wrote it on a napkin at a bar somewhere, someone at Valve realized it and they scooped it up. There was nothing like it on the market. Someone with a good idea should be able to make money off just the idea, then you would have people sitting around and coming up with ideas.