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lopenka

Stealing game ideas?

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Hi there, I noticed on this forum that lot of people post their designs often with unique and quite good ideas. I was always afraid of posting more info than necessary in fear that someone can steal them and make game I designed sooner than me, mainly because my development is quite slow. Maybe I am just paranoid but I would like to know what do you think about it. Does it even happen? If so, is it bad? maybe guy that stole some ideas will make better game than me, so it may by good.

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Quote:
Original post by lopenka
I noticed on this forum that lot of people post their designs often with unique and quite good ideas. I was always afraid of posting more info than necessary in fear that someone can steal them and make game I designed sooner than me, mainly because my development is quite slow. Maybe I am just paranoid but I would like to know what do you think about it.
Consider: suppose you've decided to make a game. Would you rather steal someone else's idea, or make your own idea a reality? Would you ever "steal" someone's idea, short of them paying you to? Where are the legions of game developers who want to make a game but are utterly incapable of coming up with ideas?

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Unless your idea is both stunningly original and very simple, it's almost impossible to steal it. Like if your idea is to create an rpg set in ancient south america, that's original, but even if I also make an rpg set in ancient south america the two games will look different and play different, so no one has really stolen anything.

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Be rest assured that humans have been stealing from humans for thousands of years now. Thing is they call it, "learning". I doubt someone from here is going to make a 85 - 100% duplicate of a game you came up with. Plus this is the game industry and as with all industries, if it works, then copy it, alter it, and sell it as your own! [smile]

IOW, don't worry, you'll be fine.

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Some people detail their amazing new idea followed by some indication that all they need to do is simply sit down at their computer for a few hours, make it, sell it for 40GPB / 80USD a unit with somewhere in the region of 2 to 5 billion units sold worldwide, so that they may move into their solid gold mansion next week.
Those people will probably never see their funky new idea ever put into action; stealing it might actually be doing them a favour.

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On the other hand:
You don't own what you can't protect.
So if you want your idea to be yours protect it. Keep it to yourself.
Once it's out, it's totally not yours.. That's actually good, no copyrights over ideas! Imagine the instability of the universe if we can copyright ideas! Yuck.

A guideline for myself: if it's not really worth protecting, share it.

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Lopenka wrote:

>Does it even happen?

Yes, but not the way you think. People who have the wherewithal to actually make games (programming staff, art staff, audio staff, production staff, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution resources, etc.) have no shortage of game ideas. They certainly don't need to hang out on GameDev forums and get their ideas from amateur posts.
But look at all the Tetris clones, all the Sudoku games, all the Shanghai clones (erroneously called "mahjong") - there are tons of small game developers stealing ideas from the big boys.
Of course, you're talking about the young hungry indie programmer who's very technical but doesn't have ideas of his own. If he steals your copyrighted idea and you can prove it, he risks having you sue him. So why would he want to do that?

>If so, is it bad?

Of course it's bad to use other people's ideas rather than come up with your own.
On the other hand, it's hardly possible to make a computer game that doesn't use some aspect of someone else's game (a user interface for targeting, a menu style, a HUD element). That's an entirely different thing.

>maybe guy that stole some ideas will make better game than me, so it may by good.

Maybe. But some things aren't protectable anyway. But let's say you do have a unique new idea. And let's say you register a copyright for it. What's to be gained by posting it here?

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Unless you have a couple million dollars to make your grand idea a reality (even if you do everything yourself you'll be slaving at your computer for months and that takes time, and time is money) then don't worry about sharing it with the world. It's very unlikely that someone is going to take an idea from someone else and do everything exactly as you detailed in your description and envisioned in your mind. If I share an idea and someone takes it and builds a game around it, I would be very grateful, since I can learn from the mistakes and do a better game (assuming I can do such project in the first place). There is no shortage of ideas, on the contrary as game designers people need to feed off other's ideas and new concepts to improve the industry.

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As far as the mechanics go, you are very unlikely to have created anything new. Period. Even if you haven't seen it before in a game you have played, it has been thought of and probably done. Personally, I hope that anything I come up with can be used eventually, even if not by me. If it makes a game better, then more power to that designer! I've spent many hours talking with a friend of mine who's also designing his own game, and we've bounced ideas back and forth so much that I've listed him as co-designer in my docs. Often times, it's just the ability to talk out ideas with someone else more than any actual input, but it's invaluable. It's why I joined this forum.

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They may steal your idea but not the details.
Think that it is more likely that a game could be 95% exactly to yours by casuality rather because it was stolen. If an idea has been stolen, I don't think it will a 95% copy.
Remember that a good story isn't a good story if it hasn't been told well. There are many different ways to tell the same thing
Besides you should worry of someone stealing your game source code, which needs a lot of effort to code and is hard to write again. Stories do have a lot of effort put in too, but you can write it again, or came up with another one. No one can take your brain, your talent (at least, to the date :D ).
A game source code worths a lot once it's been written (specially if it is efficient, implements an innovative algorithm, or hard to code) but ideas don't worth until they sold millions of copies.
Think about Harry Potter, nobody wanted to give a penny for them, except one company, and the book prooved to be a best-seller. Now the "Harry Potter idea" worths a lot, and it made everyone to do similar (unsucessfull) books.

Hope this helps
Dark Sylinc

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