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

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

  1. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    I usually do but that slipped right by me. It's time this S*** ended. What is really absurd though is that brazillian developer didn't even change the level layout, just the graphics.

    Tiny towers has enough changes I'm thinking, for zynga to feel smug and safe for the moment. Vostu however has 46 million in capital looking at that link, so I'm not caring much about them.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  2. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,959
    Right, but tens of thousands of people still paid for an app that no longer exists... does Apple just put it all in their scrooge mcduck tower? Can you get a refund?
  3. tatelax

    tatelax

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,094
    Well they get to keep the app on their phone, but if you delete it, you will never be able to get it again.
  4. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,144
    You as a player can request a refund, for any game. Depending on the reason you give and the case, depends how long they will take to give you the refund.

    In a perfect world, though, they would just convert those sales to licenses of the official app and redirect funds to the real owner.
  5. Daydreamer66

    Daydreamer66

    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    83

    Hate to say it, but if you find the right venue, like Adult Swim or 4chan, even this idea would sell. Just change "killing" to "stealing." Heck, I bet Adult Swim has done something like that already. :eek:
  6. George Foot

    George Foot

    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    399
    That only works if the original owner does release an app.
  7. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    I've never heard of a case where apple actually gives the money to the right person from cloned sales tbh. I can imagine it happening if the original developer releases it and goes through a lot of red tape, and by red tape I mean enough not to justify going through it in the first place.

    I think we need to start fighting this nonsense. Wherever you see it happening, just let the original author know about it. Let's send a message, that it will not be tolerated. Eventually, they'll give up doing rips and start actually doing clones. At least then, they're having to work for a living instead of milking the teat of the west.

    I'm not being racist when I say most of these thefts are from absurdly-off the map countries like vietnam, china etc - simply because the west's legal system simply doesn't reach much further than europe and america.

    You can't accuse them of being in total poverty because they have fair access to internet, computers and more in order to upload their junk.
  8. AnomalusUndrdog

    AnomalusUndrdog

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,132
    Again, I'm not talking about originality, what I'm pointing out is that even if something is only an idea in your head right now, that doesn't mean its worthless by default, like your original post said. But it has potential. Whether it really is good or not, you'll have to think about it and/or find out.

    I'm really not getting into the topic of geniuses and unique ideas. If you think there will be no such thing as a unique idea anymore, well, I respect your opinion. Honestly, me, I wouldn't know for sure about that matter.
  9. Mr.T

    Mr.T

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    509
    This is only my perspective but what is downright scary for me is the brazen way in which the art assets were stolen form the graphics to the ..sound?

    I'm working on my own game and can't honestly say that there is some piece of code I have here that I think somebody couldn't figure out without decompiling it.

    The art assets on the other hand are different story. Usually countless hours are spent conceptualizing them then making them come alive in a 3d or 2d graphics application. The idea that anyone can just rip them out and use them with no consequences just isn't digestible to me. I guess this is why the courts too are relatively strict in these matters.

    Other people whose work is more code-intensive and whose code is what gives their work the cutting-edge or makes it different, they will have a different perspective and I respect that.

    For me, If I made a game. Somebody copied my game mechanics but used their own Graphics. I can live with that.

    Somebody copied my game mechanics AND stole my graphics as well. That would be hell for me
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  10. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    Hey I respect you Hippo, and usually like what you write (not to mention that Physynth - from what I know of the field - looks "original" to me). But what you wrote looks a lot like "originality is impossible, so give up". If I'm wrong, I apologize, but otherwise let me make a point.

    Obviously, if we keep this discussion to a sophistic level, you're right. As they say in literature, every story has already been told. And seen I'm starting sophistically, I might also say that after the first tale was told, nothing else was ever original, since all the letters in the alphabet had already been used.
    If we keep it real, though, I believe that originality is available everywhere. It can be given by innovation, or simply by a different point of view. Little Red Riding Hood was always told from the little girl's perspective. The first person that told it from the wolf's point of view actually made something original (though maybe it sucked). This means that I believe we should all - always - at least strive to be original. That said, I believe that having an original idea is very easy, for everyone. What is really difficult is having an original idea that is actually good.

    With this, I'm clearly not saying that "I" am original. I'm just stating that originality is not only possible, but reachable for everyone.

    Also, apart the originality matter, there's a simple moral one that almost always goes ignored: when someone does something, he should ALWAYS credit from where he got the idea, who helped him, and what else. Simple as that. Anything else is stealing, and should be treated accordingly.

    [EDIT]
    P.S. obviously, remaking a game while simply changing the graphics to be better looking is not original - not at all :p
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  11. n0mad

    n0mad

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,731
    I think it's a due respect to give, too. I did it in my credits page on Kinetic Damage's website : http://www.kineticdamage.com/credits.html (halfway down the page).

    It's not a shame to publicly pay homage to people who inspired a work, and is even making me feel good in some unexplainable way.
  12. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    516
    I have really enjoyed reading this thread and the articles linked in, thanks everyone. I was sort of surprised to learn that there is actually legal grounds for lawsuits. I always assumed that it was all fair game.

    That said, I do think this is sort of a grey area matter. I mean, all artwork is naturally and inevitably derived from earlier work. You can't experience something then not draw from that experience in some way to influence a piece of work. But obviously taking a game and stealing everything but the artwork is thievery. Somewhere in between is where everything gets ambiguous and I would hate to have to be the judge in those cases.

    Oh, and for the record, Id hardly invented the FPS genre. They actually tried to file a patent on FPS's and lost when Maze War was brought in, which was made in the early 70's.

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh,and also I doubt that anyone's mom is really going to know or care that farmville is a blatant rip off. This is a dev site, that makes us the fringe group that would care and I promise you that 99% of the population couldn't give enough of a S*** to stop playing their version of the game.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  13. Mr.T

    Mr.T

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    509
    I agree about that. The only place anyone will get some help when faced this kind of theft is mostly from the court system if you live in a country that makes this relevant or sometimes like in this case, Apple might decide based on the facts that this is not good for their business in terms of reputation and remove this app from the store.

    Hopefully what I am about to say now will not derail this thread because any mention of 'SOPA' has a tendency of doing that but if something like this were to happen to something I create I still don't want something like SOPA. I would rather have daily appointments with a dentist than have something like SOPA foisted on the internet
  14. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    Aha, I agree. It makes you feel good in some unexplainable way :D Also, taking your case as an example, having all those credits shows that you know the history of the gaming genre you're dealing with, which implicitly means you know what's good and what's not, and you're surely trying to do something that will be as great. And you also look like a nice guy. That's all positive feedback, which got me even more interested in your game (which I am kind of following since a while) :)
    Not crediting anyone that deserves it instead, gives me the idea that you (obviously I don't mean "you" :p) are an insecure non-pro, and you know it, otherwise you would have no problems in giving credits while showing that you did a great job on top of that.

    That said, there are tons of respectable professionals in the field, and that's good. Shame to the thiefs :p
  15. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    516
    I don't know. This might sound cynical, but I would avoid giving any credit to an inspiration simply because that might give a studio a silver bullet if they decide to take you to court for any given reason.

    Also, it always perplexes me that so many big time studios would opt to steal and rip-off rather than just pay the original creators to do up a better version with a proper team. Point in case, why doesn't Sony just pay the people who make PSX and PS2 emulators to do a version for the PS3 rather than fight them to no end?

    Well maybe that's a bad example, but you get what I'm saying?
  16. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    I have to be humble here: physynth is nothing new, its not original, its what we did with what was around us that makes it appear original. Some say there's only 7 original stories ever told. I don't know if that's true. But what is original about physnyth? nothing, it just takes ingredients that already exist and puts them on a plate, you either like the flavour combinations or you do not :)

    It's not about giving up, it's about becoming a really good cook with a nice palate. I don't mean to abuse this analogy but it's the closest I can get to it. My suggestion to people is that to stop worrying about ideas and focus more on your execution.

    I suspect the real thing I am trying to say is not ideas are worthless, but execution is much more important than the idea itself. The guy who invented post-it notes and made himself millions didn't invent the post-it note. Masking tape already existed, and people already used masking tape with pen to leave notes. The world did that since masking tape came around.

    So his "invention" was simple: he executed a variation of an existing idea in a better way. Some people would say that is exactly how apple works.

    So should I respect apple and the 'inventor' of post-it notes for their 'ideas' ? I don't think I should. I do respect them for their execution though. Let's take a case study where I will prove to you the worthlessness of an idea and the worth of execution:

    Case Study

    Jonathan Ive, Apple's lead designer comes up with a brilliant new 'idea' for the design of the iconic ipod classic:

    [​IMG]

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Ive (career section).

    Now you'll S*** yourself when you see it, lets look at Dieter Ram's work to see where the inspiration for the iconic ipod came from:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: ideas and design are based on the needs of execution, that executing a concept to fulfil a purpose is more important than the original idea itself, of which you will not have thought up yourself. You're the sum of your lifetime experiences and limited by that.

    In the case of ideas it would be recognising "Necessity is the mother of invention".

    :)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  17. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    Aha, ok, I suppose we just have a different concept of the word "original". I agree that execution is fundamental, but ideas too. Let me follow your cooking example... Execution is being able to make a perfect Carbonara (it's an italian type of pasta). The ingredients and the recipe are already known, but it takes a great executioner to combine them correctly and deliver a great dish. That is a great cook. If instead you mix ingredients in a way never done before, not following "accepted and established rules", you might find something new, something original. That's a great idea, and an original cook. If the original cook is also a great cook, well it's perfect. But they could also be two different persons, and one wouldn't be less important than the other (if they're both valid).

    Again, I suppose we're just talking of the same thing but with different words. But on my opinion, the guy who invented post-it notes was both a good executioner than a good creative (meaning he made something original). He didn't follow a recipe: he created a combination of masking tape and paper in a different way than before, and to do that he must have started from an original idea. Without that, he would have simply pasted more masking tape on more paper.
  18. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    Updated the above with a lot of rambling, sorry about that, got into study mode and added a case study for further discussion :)
  19. n0mad

    n0mad

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,731
    (@Izitmee : Thanks a ton :) )
  20. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    @n0mad: :)

    @hippocoder: Ah! Case studies are always good :) And that definitely makes a point for execution, but also for ideas, on my opinion. Now it's my turn for a kind of case study about how both idea than execution are important.
    When I was kid, I loved comics (actually, I still love them - and also do them, but that's another story). I wanted to know all about comics, and about the people making them. What puzzled me for a while, when concerning mainstream american ones, was the penciler/inker dichotomy. Initially, I though that if the drawings were good, it was due to the penciler. Than I saw the same penciler with a different inker, and he sucked. So I shifted to thinking that the merit was of the inker. But again, then I saw the same inker with a different penciler, and he sucked. So I finally realized they were both important.
    Obviously, I could also point at the importance of a good subject VS a good screenplay. With this, I just want to say that when we're talking about idea + execution, we're talking about complementary things, which can't be separated. If one of them fails, the other fails too.
    Jonathan Ive applied his design ideas (derived but not cloned) to a great execution. Without ideas, the iPod look would've appeared as if it was made by Dieter Rams, while instead it doesn't.
  21. Redz0ne

    Redz0ne

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    296
    pretty much... it's like that hollywood adage "there is no more originality left in hollywood."

    besides, for my own game i am fully aware that there are probably going to be people that will try and say i ripped off psychonauts or alien swarm or conkers bad-fur-day... but you know what? i don't care. it's a story i want to tell and i think it'll be a hellovalot of fun to play (or so that's the aim.)
  22. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,144
    I would call him either a lucky cook, or plainly a remixer.


    Interesting case you bring up, specially since it's widely documented.

    Technically no one person invented posit notes. One guy invented the very unique reusable adhesive that was required for them to become the great item it became. He was a chemist at 3M and technically it was just an iteration, or just the result, of lab testing on newer glue techniques. No one saw the use of it at first, but a colleague of said chemist started using the adhesive to stick bookmarks into pages of his hymnbooks. The idea got iterated into post-its and launched with very bad results. Later 3M did an official product, market tested it, and people did seem to like them.

    The only reason they were yellow was that the scraps of papers around the guys that designed them happened to be yellow.

    So even one of the greatest invention of all time, is nothing more than natural iteration and evolution: nearly purely execution with just very few ideas in the form of picking the right turn at a crossroad.

    Every time the concept of "being original" or "Great ideas" come up, I bring this up, and I'll do it again: watch Everything is a Remix by Gene Driskell. It's a series of videos that anyone in any creative field should watch.
  23. keithsoulasa

    keithsoulasa

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    1,971
    +1
    Every idea comes from somewhere, I forget who brought it up, but its about you execution- the way I look at game dev I'd rather do something that isn't over saturated with a hundred games a year. Like everyone making a MMORPG- so if your thinking your going to make the best MMORPG, then probably not. Plus you'll spend years trying to just do a MMORPG as well as the big boys
  24. _Petroz

    _Petroz

    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    731
    That was a really interesting case study hippo, thanks!
  25. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    :)

    But Izitmee does make a point with the comic book analogy, although a vague one: when you have a guy on pencils and another on inks, it is still just two people working on the same thing, at the same time, subject to their own execution skills.

    However to discuss a point against my own case study, I would ask you: "what is an idea?"

    That's a valid question to ask because categorizing what an idea actually is, would probably lead down two paths: inspiration and invention. They're not quite the same thing. Inspiration is the light bulb turning on, the lightning bolt, the realisation of a potential new use, while invention is a pressure point that forces ideas to be worked on. The two aren't mutually exclusive so how far does the rabbit hole go?

    In the case above, Ive needed to create something very fresh, he had no choice, so he fell back on the 10 principles of design; and his great 'idea' in the end was merely evolution, as a couple of people have pointed out above.

    Are all ideas evolution? I'm pretty sure it was a good idea to give us two eyes which are separate for depth. But if the cyclops had trouble catching prey then the rule of necessity is the mother of invention would have played a part.

    How can we - specifically - as game designers evolve existing works to the next level? that is a question I ask myself whenever I need to make something new. Some of the best concept artists out there surround themselves with rich source material. Their workspaces are littered with graphic novels, posters, coffee table art books, and when feng zhu draws something fresh, you can probably see how he combined existing ideas and executed them with flair.
  26. TylerPerry

    TylerPerry

    Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    5,022
    So are game ideas protected via copieright? if i posted a game idea could it(legaly) be stolen?
  27. _Petroz

    _Petroz

    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    731
    Short answer no.

    Short answer yes.

    Read more:
    http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/

    In general:
    Copyright protects a completed product. It is the rights to copy that product, in this case it would cover people distributing your .exe and charging money.

    Trademark protects consumers, you cannot release products under someone else's brand.

    Patents protect 'ideas' or 'concepts'. The patent process is complicated.
  28. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    It's your choice.

    I don't think anyone in this thread needs a video to know that everything derives from something else. As I said, originality can be given by innovation, or simply by a different point of view (and it seldom can be associated with "great ideas").

    It's interesting what hippocoder said, when mentioning "what is an idea?". I'd also like to extend to "what means doing something original?".
    For what concerns everyday life, my personal view is this... Each time someone does something, he is confronted with multiple choices. Let's say I have to remake an existing website. I'll be confronted with tons of design and usability choices. Each time I choose something that wasn't already done for that kind of website (like simply using a different font) I'm actually making something different - which I refer to as original. Also, each time I simply use a different point of view, I'm making something original too. And so on. Obviously, I will never be able to do something original with each of the choices I have. So the more original choices I make, and the more original choices I combine, the more the final result will look original. Obviously, this is applying strict logic to something that instead comes much more natural, and which can be applied to any action of everyday life.

    I also want to stress that I don't think "original" is such a big thing. That's why I think we're simply giving different meaning to the word. It looks like, for some of you, having an original idea means creating something that is almost platonic, and which derives from nothing. That's impossible. I instead think that ideas are everywhere - both in execution than in conception - tons of them are original/different, most of them suck, all of them are derived. And all of them are important (even if just to be taken aside) to do something that is not a clone.

    P.S. Obviously, I'm not saying that my idea of "idea" and "original" is right :)
    P.P.S. Sorry for the kind of useless blabbering - I was just taken away
    P.P.P.S. I actually know nothing about the invention of post-its. Was using that as a metaphor because hippocoder mentioned it :p
  29. Acumen

    Acumen

    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,035
    Maaaaaaan, so many parttime philosophers in here :eek:
    Go back to your batcaves and create your uniquely overboiling games that you keep on blabbering about, please :D
    Usually its all the other guys without any trackrecord who go on like this for multiple thread pages like you guys did...

    Seems like you're all trying to talk each other out of the next tinyangryropelike masterpiece, so you got yourself a head start ;)

    Translation: Please produce and show more awesome games and projects and stop giving the unity gossip forum another essay each day....
  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,316
    It's fun while we're waiting for 3.5.1 to fix our ipad3 retina / xcode issues :p
  31. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    Hey, gossiping is always fun (especially when you want to keep away some nasty piece of code for a little more). And if you read all this you must've lost a lot of time too :D
  32. Acumen

    Acumen

    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,035
    I'm just a wannabe without any important things to do :D
    Also reading these things may go a lot faster than coming up with it !
  33. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,144
    I think you missed a few posts along the way. There are some posts I won’t quote that seem glorify ideas as epiphanies that will redefine the game industry as soon as someone decides to implement them for them. (Hyperbole... although some posters have nearly expressed as much in other threads.)

    I guess it depends who you ask. If you ask me, a true idea is a finished game design document. Properly structured and iterated on. Something you literally can follow as strictly as your IKEA assembly manual and finish the game with.

    There are others that see an "idea" as this epiphany that ... well what I typed above :p


    As for what is original... at the end of the day it's very personal to the user. You can bet everything you can think of has been done in one way or another. I like the old TNT rerun ad campaign from the 90s that used to say "because if you have not seen it, it's new to you!". For a user to label something original, he must have seen it for the first time in what he is experiencing at the time.

    Mixing up stuff that has not been mixed in recent history, or in very underground circles, is "original enough" for the masses. It also does not have to be wildly mixed for originality; sometimes using a few overused elements with a few underused ones yields an incredibly fresh reaction on the user.
  34. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,144
    Cant produce any games while at work. Here I sit in reaction mode, waiting for some one to need me to do something.
  35. kerters

    kerters

    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    change your font size please :p
  36. Izitmee

    Izitmee

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,889
    @Acumen: Ohmygod, Fabian, you totally killed this thread! That's true power! :D And hey, I was good in the end: just sent a big Journeyballs update to Blake :)

    @Tharsman: oops, sorry, I must have missed those posts. I tried re-reading the thread, but then my eyes started to swollen, and I feared Acumen might kick me :D But I agree with what you said.
  37. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,513
    Two things:

    @Hippo - great case study.

    @Tharsmana - Thanks for the link to Everything's a Remix. Fantastic.

    Gigi.
  38. Unicron

    Unicron

    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    191
    Sure, if there was a market for that, why not?

    But, honestly, you just blew that out of proportion.