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Hi, I know nothing about programming or video game development or whatever. I play a lot of video games, particularly online, fps, rpg, and combinations of the three. I'm also a writer and musician, and I have had way too many ideas about video games to not view it as a potential career path.

Anyway, I made this account to ask one question- How do you program places, objects, events, animations, and sounds from different video games together like a guitarist would mash up songs with similar chord progressions and melodies?


Is it possible to develop a program that would basically allow you to take the data from random video games and rearrange them; plot-wise, re-writing events based on what sound files and animations you have, and how funny your friends are? I mean, what if you could take a character you have in Oblivion, or Morrowind, or Counter-Strike, Fable, or whatever, and have a deathmatch, and then go outside into the starship troopers game, and you're in that one lone military installment in a sea of millions of huge bugs, only they're all domo-kuns, and the flying things are like 2d sprite fairies, and they all have brutal gory death animations when Ninja Gaiden chops them in half, and each time you kill one, out shoots some partially random number of points, like in some korean MMORPGs, and all the while a remix of the original Mario Starman theme is playing, and when it's all over, kirby, master chief, mario, and probably five guys from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are all ranked in order of most to least points, and the winner gets cake. Or pie, depending on preference.

Let me rephrase that question;

Is there a way to take the code from a whole bunch of popular video games and shove it all into one video game where they all mesh all the time everywhere in some kind of weird game universe controlled by writers and programmers? And then shove it online without ever finishing it, and just continually build onto it with new material from new games, and new songs from new artists, like some kind of weird amorphous online blob that steals from all the popular games, kind of like Girl talk did with Pop music?

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Hi, I know nothing about programming or video game development or whatever. I play a lot of video games, particularly online, fps, rpg, and combinations of the three. I'm also a writer and musician, and I have had way too many ideas about video games to not view it as a potential career path.

Anyway, I made this account to ask one question- How do you program places, objects, events, animations, and sounds from different video games together like a guitarist would mash up songs with similar chord progressions and melodies?


Is it possible to develop a program that would basically allow you to take the data from random video games and rearrange them; plot-wise, re-writing events based on what sound files and animations you have, and how funny your friends are? I mean, what if you could take a character you have in Oblivion, or Morrowind, or Counter-Strike, Fable, or whatever, and have a deathmatch, and then go outside into the starship troopers game, and you're in that one lone military installment in a sea of millions of huge bugs, only they're all domo-kuns, and the flying things are like 2d sprite fairies, and they all have brutal gory death animations when Ninja Gaiden chops them in half, and each time you kill one, out shoots some partially random number of points, like in some korean MMORPGs, and all the while a remix of the original Mario Starman theme is playing, and when it's all over, kirby, master chief, mario, and probably five guys from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are all ranked in order of most to least points, and the winner gets cake. Or pie, depending on preference.

Let me rephrase that question;

Is there a way to take the code from a whole bunch of popular video games and shove it all into one video game where they all mesh all the time everywhere in some kind of weird game universe controlled by writers and programmers? And then shove it online without ever finishing it, and just continually build onto it with new material from new games, and new songs from new artists, like some kind of weird amorphous online blob that steals from all the popular games, kind of like Girl talk did with Pop music?


Short answer: No.

Not all games are created the same. The code is developed in a number of languages, the assets are in a number of formats. Engines are written using different techniques even in the SAME language, using different libraries and different APIs. This pretty much means that you can't simply swap assets and code around from different games. Also the structure of programming languages means you can not just "randomly" combine the code together (if you even had the code as most of it is compiled).

Even if it were somehow possible (which I can assure you with 100% certainty that it is not, not now, not ever) you would have immense legal hurdles because the creator of the game owns the intellectual property rights and they would take legal action to protect their copyright/work. Even if they didn't take legal action they would certainly (and fairly) want their cut of the money made. Also most games have licenses forbidding you from decompiling the code/extracting assets/ect so you can't even use the "fair use" argument which really doesn't apply here anyway. If you don't believe me, consult an attorney. They will tell you about the same thing but charge you hundreds for the privilege.

Of course even if somehow all of that was possible and not illegal you have still other major technical issues. For instance games use different scales for their characters. Different models typically have different bone structure for animations (and some don't even have bones) so that means you would have to design all of your "random" animations per character. Also how would you know what characters should go where, in what settings, using what assets anyway? You can sit there and describe all sorts of random "cool" scenarios with mario themes playing, ect but odds are better you would get completely upside down, inside out, unproportioned random mess.... and that is in the absolute best "miracle" case in which somehow the laws of reality are violated and you can get the assets together to begin with.

So once again, absolutely positively not possible.

I hope this answers your question! Don't get discouraged though, there are plenty of other ideas out there!

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What you're describing is essentially impossible and also illegal unless you get licensing agreements with all the IP owners. That is to say, importing code, graphics and sound assets from existing commercial games and mash them all together and have it work.

Producing a game from scratch, writing all the code, creating all the graphics and sound assets yourself that does what you're describing is possible, but you still have the issue with IP ownership.

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What you're describing is essentially impossible and also illegal unless you get licensing agreements with all the IP owners. That is to say, importing code, graphics and sound assets from existing commercial games and mash them all together and have it work.

Producing a game from scratch, writing all the code, creating all the graphics and sound assets yourself that does what you're describing is possible, but you still have the issue with IP ownership.


Yeah exactly. Well done mashups can be very entertaining but you need to secure rights to use the IP which is unlikely. Some people get around these issues by creating the assets and doing a parody using modified characters with different names. You need to be very careful in all of this to ensure you are not violating intellectual property rights or you can get in legal trouble.

Your best bet is to create a game with your own original characters and ideas. Keep in mind that before these games became popular, no one knew about the characters... You can create your own characters that belong to you!

As an example... I absolutely loved Commander Keen and Hocus Pocus growing up. They are a big reason that I started doing game programming... I would have LOVED to make a Commander Keen game, however you can not simply use someones copyrighted work without permission. Even "fan games" can be shut down and all your hard work gets thrown away!

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It is possible to use professional game assets, but it requires a lot of hacking ('reverse-engineering') or research in order to find documentation written online by someone who's already done the 'reverse-engineering'. 'Reverse-engineering' isn't quite an appropriate term, because what really happens is that people figure out how data is stored (structured) in specific formats in order to extract/reassemble/load it.
That said, going from exactracting individual files (say meshes) from archives to actually using those files (rendering those meshes) is a huge step, because the data within the files usually use a proprietary format all its own (with the exception usually being audio files), which requires proprietary code to render/draw/animate it.

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