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Sivak

Gameplay elements questions

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I made a game recently and it has been out for a week now. But anyway, I was wondering how far one can go with gameplay elements in terms of what you can and can't use. From what I gather, the more generic, the better. Most stuff I used would be found in several franchises and is pretty standard such as disappearing platforms, spikes o' death, double jumping, etc. I guess what I'm getting at is where would a line likely be crossed?

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With a few exceptions those sorts of ideas are free to use, they can't be legally protected. The few exceptions are those gameplay mechanics that some companies have tried to protect via patents.

The key here is to understand the difference between an idea and the implementation of the idea. You can make a platform game, with platform game features, provided that you don't slavishly copy the level layout, art, music or character designs from another game.

Playing Mario and thinking "I will make a game with a cat. It will have x, y and z features I like from Mario plus these extra features I have thought of myself" - this is OK (assuming you then make all the code, graphics, sound etc yourself.

Problems start when instead of a cat you decide to have a character who looks like Mario, or your level artist does tiles that look like those from one of the Mario games.

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Yeah, that sounds like what I did. I figured I was in the right of things, but just wanted some reassurance. The character sprite is based on another one, but the original creator gave me permission anyway.

So hooray for spike balls and disappearing platforms being too generic.

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