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You Should Steal From Other Game Designers


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#1 RKRigney   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:22 PM

Hi guys, I'm Ryan Rigney. I'm working on a game called FAST FAST LASER LASER, and I'm also a reporter for Wired. I wrote this blog post today about "creative stealing" with regards to game design that other people seem to really enjoy. It's been getting passed around Twitter a lot.

Here's the link to that again: http://utahraptorgames.com/2012/11/12/advice-for-game-designers-stupid-genres-creative-stealing/#more-443

I'd love any comments!

Sponsor:

#2 WildField   Members   -  Reputation: 296

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:37 AM

I think that explains why "original" games nowadays are as rare as dodo birds. Because "stealing" (creative or not) of game design is considered something normal. The correct approach is simple: draw insipration from life, not from other games. Too bad this is too difficult for many to pull out.

#3 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17221

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:24 AM

There's a difference between Inspiration vs. Imitation. Posted Image

#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2997

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:27 AM

I think that explains why "original" games nowadays are as rare as dodo birds. Because "stealing" (creative or not) of game design is considered something normal. The correct approach is simple: draw insipration from life, not from other games. Too bad this is too difficult for many to pull out.

I disagree. The so called "original" games are almost always unplayable and at least weird (exceptions). Besides, people who think they invented something new simply have not done enough research. Sure, there are some rare genius designers who invent completely new things like Tetris, but it's so extremely rare we won't have any games to play if we were to relay on this.

Europe1300.eu - Historical Realistic Medieval Sim (BETA)


#5 All Names Taken   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:54 AM

There's a difference between Inspiration vs. Imitation. Posted Image


That is quite an encouraging article, thank you.

#6 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1416

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:19 AM

I think that explains why "original" games nowadays are as rare as dodo birds. Because "stealing" (creative or not) of game design is considered something normal. The correct approach is simple: draw insipration from life, not from other games. Too bad this is too difficult for many to pull out.


It seems like you commented on the article title without reading it. That's not the point.

A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


#7 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3539

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:21 AM

People who actually play games don't want original games. We want more of what we like.

Most of the new things I have tried end up being because I eventually got to them by finding new things that were close to what I already liked. This happens with everything. Games, movies, music, books, etc. I end up at new places by taking steps outward from something.

I like side scrolling beat-em-ups. I have purchased all of them on PSN, my android tablet, and bought the Genesis collection disc to get my hands on a bunch of them. So naturally, I bought the new Double Dragon NEON that was just released. I do not like ANYTHING new added to this genre. I do not want platforming, 6DOF, or anything else borrowed from another genre. The only thing new I want is content, so I can keep walking to the right and beating things up.

I like RPGs. I know which kind I like. I know which kind I don't. A game that steers too far away from the things I know I like in an RPG can expect me not to play it. Which is fine. Something for everyone! Pokémon was a lot of people's introduction to RPGs, so those people will have a biased towards pet training or monster hunting style games. Zelda fans want more Zelda, not a new concept Zelda. They tried it once, and it was highly dismissed.

My discovery of new things usually involves that new thing having 1 degree of separation from something I already like. Ask a band what happens when their new album is more than 1 degree separated from their last! Film directors have the same problem. We want their movies to look and feel like one of their movies, regardless of what it's about.

I now have a shelf full of Western Blu-rays because I played Red Dead Redemption, because it was Grand Theft Auto 4 in the Old West, because I like GTA 4, because I liked GTA: SA, GTA: VC, and GTA3. And I liked GTA3 originally because it was a combination of other things I enjoyed.

I own season 1 of Game Of Thrones because I like The Lord Of The Rings movies, because I like fantasy and RPG games. I also bought a movie called Black Death, because it stars Sean Bean, whose performances I enjoyed in Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones, in a similar role and setting. All these things I would have never touched otherwise.

So the "new" things I am looking forward to end up being

Grand Theft Auto 5
Season 2 of Game Of Thrones on Blu
The Hobbit
Django Unchained (2x since it's a new, high budget, western, and a Tarantino movie)

My ideal 'new' is things I already like mixed together, and executed well.

And if you want to go deeper than that, I'll even fork off the things I like and start to get very specific.

I like Westerns, BUT, I like revisionist style westerns (no good/bad guy, natives aren't faceless bad guys). I'm very dismissive of traditional westerns about obvious good guys vs bad guys. I like the drifter with a very gray morality coming to town and getting into some situation, and not John Wayne style stuff.

I like Fantasy, BUT, I'm very dismissive of high fantasy stuff. I strongly prefer low fantasy and heroic fantasy. I like humans only, rare almost non-existent magic, and simple stories that don't require me to learn tons of needless lore and back story. Conan style stuff. Which actually isn't very different from the types of westerns I like. Drifter with a sword instead of a gun.

I like Batman, BUT, I prefer stories where he and Jim Gordon were fighting off the mob and corrupt police force. Batman was a detective doing things that Jim Gordon couldn't do himself do to his corrupt force, red tape, or the limits of the law. I dislike robin, mentions of the DC Universe, or over the top, super powered villians. I'd rather see Batman hunting for clues and stalking leads then fighting a 50 foot robot with gadgets. So I'm very selective of which stories I consume.

So you always need a target market. Something completely new doesn't have an audience, and is very hard to establish one. IMO, best to start as something with one degree of separation from something established, and then take continually take small steps away from it, and become that 'new' thing over time. Make something entirely unique and someone on Kotaku can write an article about it for me not to read! :)

#8 WildField   Members   -  Reputation: 296

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:22 AM


I think that explains why "original" games nowadays are as rare as dodo birds. Because "stealing" (creative or not) of game design is considered something normal. The correct approach is simple: draw insipration from life, not from other games. Too bad this is too difficult for many to pull out.


It seems like you commented on the article title without reading it. That's not the point.


And what's the point then? Yeah, i watched gameplay trailer of fast fast fast laser, it looks nothing like bomberman. The only screenshot on that page is bomberman screen, so i assumed that game is similar. It would be much more helpful if article featured screenshots for fast laser itself, and pointed out differences. And not just "Harr harr we took ideas from bomberman, look how smart we are"

And I still insist that taking mechanics from other games directly is wrong. Nice that this is not the case here.

Edited by WildField, 13 November 2012 - 05:24 AM.


#9 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1416

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:26 AM

And not just "Harr harr we took ideas from bomberman, look how smart we are"



There's a difference between Inspiration vs. Imitation. Posted Image



So the "new" things I am looking forward to end up being

Grand Theft Auto 5
Season 2 of Game Of Thrones on Blu
The Hobbit
Django Unchained (2x since it's a new, high budget, western, and a Tarantino movie)

My ideal 'new' is things I already like mixed together, and executed well.


A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


#10 ShiftyKake   Members   -  Reputation: 118

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:34 AM



I think that explains why "original" games nowadays are as rare as dodo birds. Because "stealing" (creative or not) of game design is considered something normal. The correct approach is simple: draw insipration from life, not from other games. Too bad this is too difficult for many to pull out.


It seems like you commented on the article title without reading it. That's not the point.


And what's the point then? Yeah, i watched gameplay trailer of fast fast fast laser, it looks nothing like bomberman. The only screenshot on that page is bomberman screen, so i assumed that game is similar. It would be much more helpful if article featured screenshots for fast laser itself, and pointed out differences. And not just "Harr harr we took ideas from bomberman, look how smart we are"

And I still insist that taking mechanics from other games directly is wrong. Nice that this is not the case here.


*sighs* I guess I have to throw out all of my games, cause they're all supposedly wrong for taking mechanics from other games...

yep, you heard me. There is not a single new game anymore that has not taken some form of mechanic from another game, intentional or not. Why? Because the whole general game design theory's have already been created. That's why games are defined in "genres", because they are defining your game based on a criteria given through the knowledge of previous games. It's an utter disgrace for you to put down a game simply because it took inspiration from another.

There's a difference between Inspiration vs. Imitation.


This. It is when inspiration crosses over to imitation that taking mechanics from another game becomes a problem. You have to differentiate between the two when creating such a game, and understand how to split into a new path with your game and make it semi-original (cause nothings original these days).

#11 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17221

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:53 AM

Sorry to just dump links instead of conversing myself, but Daniel Cook has also shared some relevant thoughts in a post titled "plagiarism as a moral choice", and I don't think it would add much value for me to just repeat what has already been said by others in these links. :)

Edited by jbadams, 13 November 2012 - 07:16 AM.


#12 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 372

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

It isn't bad to be inspired by other games, but that doesn't mean it's going to be unique. After all, it's not the mechanics that make the experience fun, but how they interact to in the end make the player feel and whatnot. (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/aesthetics-of-play). As such, there's nothing wrong with taking mechanics from another game to help make your own game, but the innovative games like Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft require more.

#13 Madhed   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2492

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:07 PM

On a similar note: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

#14 Prinz Eugn   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 3516

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:42 PM

I think asking for pure originality in game design is becoming more and more similar to asking for pure originality in a story or plot. There's a limit to how many different types of story people enjoy, and likewise there's a limit to how many different types of play people like engaging in.

The fundamentals are largely in place so the innovation will be in the details, implementation, and combination of different elements.

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
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#15 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:55 PM

I'm a musician, so let's relate this to music. There are 12 notes in Western music (we're talking 12 tone equal temperament, not any of the 19 tone or other styles). Rhythms can be divisions of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and sometimes (but not very realistically) 64, as well as divided into triplets, pentuplets, septuplets, and so forth.

There are 4 basic types of chords: Major, minor, diminished, augmented, as well as extensions (9ths, 13ths), suspensions, etc.

there are common chord progression: I - IV - V (G C D in the key of G Major) is used in many songs, especially rock or acoustic singer songwriter stuff. For instance, Taylor Swift and John Butler may use the same chord progression (not that I know their progressions off hand, but it's a safe bet). I don't think it would be very wise to compare the two:


Furthermore, they both have a lead singer and guitarist (who write their own songs), a bassist, and a drummer. Both follow conventions of verse chorus progression, and use common time signatures such as 4/4.

Now let's take a look at a song that was completely "stolen":



Same song, but different interpretations on instrument, tempo, accompaniment, accents, and many more.

In music, it is said that there are no original ideas. As long as you're not soullessly ripping something off, I don't see the argument. Copying a success for profit without passion will get you nowhere. But why would we shun the progress and knowledge of those before us?

#16 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2959

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:15 PM

"Wired" is one of my favorite magazines. It has been inspiring and entertaining to say the least.

I feel that popular culture has many overused and misused words, such as legend, hero, like ( Like, I'm listing them, ya know Posted Image Like - give me a break) , awesome, and... and... and... stealing. When I was kid, I overused many words - enough said about that. Posted Image

I wonder how things will be in the next several decades with many more people making things. Will there be more public domain and open source stuff because of this "stealing"? Will the laws be slacked or not enforced more than now? In a "pirated" culture of millions of downloads per day, is anarchy around the corner? Yipes! It could get scary!


Clinton

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#17 RKRigney   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:02 PM

I posted this article in several forums, and this is the only one with a community that took to it with their own great ideas and opinions. Thanks for that!

I would disagree with Wildfield in that taking mechanics from other games is NOT wrong. What's wrong is taking all of a game's individual mechanics and creating a clone with them. In the article I talked about how a great designers can identify one great mechanic in a game (like line-drawing), and then use it in a different system to create something new and fun. That's "creative stealing."

#18 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3539

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:13 PM

Very good points.


The same thing applies to every other art form.

Colors work a certain way. They have meanings, temperatures, and opposite colors that compliment them and make them pop. Using colors is as much a skill as a creative thing, and there is a science to using them properly. Mixing random colors together gets you something that looks like puke, or rotten food. Color schemes also have common meanings

Purple and Gold = Power, Royalty (Princess Zelda, Princess Peach, Prince, Prince Jafar)
Mild Greys and Browns = Mild, Down to earth
Black and White = duality, contrast, inner conflict, etc... (The Crow, Seperoth, etc...)

If you look at the cast of characters of a well designed game or cartoon, their color schemes would describe their personality. All the characters in FF7 have color schemes that match their personalities and backgrounds. People still talk about them 16+ years later and compare everything against them. They owe that as much to skill and formula as they do to creativity.

Once you realize this, you'll notice that similar characters in every well designed work will have the same colors or color schemes. No reason to be original about it. When they use pre-defined color schemes, we subconsciously know everything about a character from the second we first see them, and we identify with them more!

Composition works a certain way. Everyone sticks to the same rulesets about how to compose a work of art to have it read clearly and be as effective as possible.

There are standard lighting schemes (color scheme from above + light positions).

Standard ways to photograph buildings (usually 45 degree angle, from below, with one of the corners pointing up). If you photograph them head on, they look boring. If you photograph them from slightly different angles, they look like in the process of falling over.

All movies follow the same formula. The first 20 minutes established the characters and the situation (in a longer movie, this can be the first 30 minutes). The middle has the character(s) facing challenges and the problem to be solves intensifies. The last 20 minutes have the character resolving the problem and the plot being wrapped up. The first 20 is a good rule to follow when in the theater, because it helps sell the audience on everything up front and get them interested. You're considered a failure if the audience doesn't know that the movie is after the first 20. Also works well on tv when they show the movie, because the standard airing format has the first and last 20 minute segments free of ads.

So everything is the same, over and over again. :)

#19 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:53 AM

I posted this article in several forums, and this is the only one with a community that took to it with their own great ideas and opinions. Thanks for that!

I would disagree with Wildfield in that taking mechanics from other games is NOT wrong. What's wrong is taking all of a game's individual mechanics and creating a clone with them. In the article I talked about how a great designers can identify one great mechanic in a game (like line-drawing), and then use it in a different system to create something new and fun. That's "creative stealing."

Because of how opaque games can be, it's even possible to make a game that appears to a new player like a 100% clone - immediately visible mechanics, graphics, everything - and yet it will be a new and worthwhile experience because the mechanics are tuned differently and high end play is entirely different. This type of thing doesn't happen much, of course, since it's a slam and dunk to shut down with a copyright claim. (I know of exactly one example of this: Grid Wars 2, which "clones" Geometry Wars, but is to my impression a far better game despite being an unpolished hobbyist effort.) And at the same time, the likes of Zynga and EA release totally shameless clones which offer nothing of their own and make new assets (still in pastel colors, still in same perspective, still the same mood...) just enough to get away with it.

#20 BRRGames   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:18 PM

I'd be quite okay with it if someone copied my ideas and was successful off them.

Imitation is the greatest form of flatery!

Besides, if you go after games for "copying" each other, then I hope you also go after fashion designers, car makers, chefs, architects, lawyers, politicians, etc etc etc.




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