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francoisdiy

Super Mario World Game Engine Project

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This is something that I've been working on for the past month or so and I'm making some good progress on it. Basically, if I haven't mentioned it before, what I'm in the process of making is a full-fledged game engine for the Super Mario World game. This engine will not just be exclusively for Super Mario World but for any game like it. What I'm trying to provide to the programmer is a framework that can be used to create new games without having to worry about the details of making one. It will be possible to create new sprite objects and have the basic functionality such as collision detection and movement there. Something like this might very well exist but I'm doing this for fun. So far I have a level editor but there will be a map editor as well in the final release. Currently, I'm hosting the project on www.francoispress.com and the source code is viewable so feel free to browse and comment. I'm working on the project any chance I get. This weekend I made good progress and finished up the level editor. You can see a screenshot of it on the site. The level editor is larger than what is shown on the site just in case you're wondering.

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Looks pretty nice to me. I'd be extremely cautious about using Nintendo's art though, and even using the term "Super Mario World". There's a good chance that if your project becomes large enough that you'll end up in legal trouble from Nintendo.

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Original post by Evil Steve
Looks pretty nice to me. I'd be extremely cautious about using Nintendo's art though, and even using the term "Super Mario World". There's a good chance that if your project becomes large enough that you'll end up in legal trouble from Nintendo.


Even if the project is open source?

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Original post by jpetrie
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Even if the project is open source?

That has absolutely no bearing on the fact that it is illegal to use their IP and assets without their permission.


I could give partial credit to Nintendo. From what I have seen I doubt Nintendo would even care if someone made an open source engine for one of their games given the number of hacks made to the game already.

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Original post by francoispress
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Original post by jpetrie
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Even if the project is open source?

That has absolutely no bearing on the fact that it is illegal to use their IP and assets without their permission.


I could give partial credit to Nintendo. From what I have seen I doubt Nintendo would even care if someone made an open source engine for one of their games given the number of hacks made to the game already.


Partial credit? Sorry that doesn't work. You need to get a written document from Nintendo that states you have the right to use their trademarked name, along with any graphics that you wish to use.

So many people go around making what they claim to be harmless clones, or just using copyrighted graphics and have no idea about the legal implications that go with the use of copyrighted material. I'm sick of reading that garbage on the internet about being able to use anything you want as long as you don't profit from it. That is far from the truth. Just because "everybody" else does it, doesn't make it right or legal.

At any time Nintendo could send you a letter demanding that you shut down your project and if you wish to ignore that warning they're within their legal rights to sue you. Yes, even if you're just making a "harmless" clone or a non-profit game/engine.

I strongly suggest you change the name along with any copyrighted graphics. You can still make your engine using your own graphics or royalty free graphics on the net.

It's not worth the risk.

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Original post by francoispress
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Original post by jpetrie
Quote:

Even if the project is open source?

That has absolutely no bearing on the fact that it is illegal to use their IP and assets without their permission.


From what I have seen I doubt Nintendo would even care


Eh?

Then look harder. Nintendo are suing left, right and centre, as they always have done and always will :)

Google "Nintendo Cease & Desist" and wade through the pages, and pages, and pages...

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Look, we know its easy, but riding on Nintendo's coat-tails by using the name Super Mario World so directly buys you no points. If your project is so frail on its own merits that it only stands using the crutch of a well-known name, then you should re-evaluate whether its worthwhile to pursue at all.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but I do believe that its perfectly acceptable to name your engine Platform Game Engine (or what-have-you) and then in the description blurb to say something like "Allows you to create retro 2D platformers like Super Mario World." so long as you give proper notice that Super Mario World is a Nintendo trademark.

You also won't be able to use their font or graphics, but you could use something original in the same cartoony style.

There are many projects that use Nintendo's IP. Whether that IP is outright stolen or an attempt to give proper credit is made makes no difference -- they are all exposed to being shut-down. Some will manage to fly under the radar, most will be shut-down, many already have. The advice we give here, although none of us are lawyers, attempts to point you in such a direction that your project will not be exposed to such shut-downs.

Trademark law demands that trademarks be defended to remain intact -- in other words, Nintendo can actually lose their trademark if they are aware of an infringement but do nothing to stop it. Once they loose it, there is nothing to stop company after company making clones and putting Mario's face on ever trinket and T-shirt under the sun.

Now think of the implications that has... The more popular your project becomes, the more likely that Nintendo will be aware of it (they likely have people on-staff which looks for these types of things). Once they notice your project, they must take action or risk weakening or loosing their Trademark.

In essence, your project's popularity will actually doom it to failure. Its said that a failure to plan is planning to fail. The adage holds true here, as a little forethought will side-step the issue entirely. Why do that to yourself?

Finally, that last thought is not implicit permission to wallow in obscurity -- you are no less culpable for your infringement, just less likely to be caught.

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Original post by francoispress
I could call the engine - Platform Game Engine. However, I fear that the project will lose some of its value because it is supposed to be an implementation of a game engine for Super Mario World.
And that's exactly the reason Nintendo would (possibly) sue you. You're using their IP to increase interest in your engine.
You could always try sending them an E-mail, but I'm sure they'll say you can't use it.

If I were you, I'd find some free art (Or see if you can get someone to make you some), and post some more screenshots. It does look pretty cool, and I think that more screenshots on the front page would show it off better than the name Super Mario.

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