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glhf

can you copyright a game combat system?

28 posts in this topic

I am the combat master.

I was thinking of creating a combat system that can be used in many games with slight alterations.
Depending what kind of combat mechanics they want... RNG(luck or no luck.. turn based or live action etcetc.

I would be unhappy if other games copy my combat system though.
Would it be possible to put a copyright on it?

I was thinking it might be possible?

Because for example the DnD has a license on it... just that they chose to make it uhmm whats it called again... so anyone can use it commercially for free.

http://www.d20srd.org/
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srdarchive


So I would also like to create a good combat system but make it so no one can use it without my authorization.
Which I would sell rights to use in a specific game to other studios or use in my own games.

Is it possible to do this?
And what conditions and everything to be able to put a copyright on a combat system?
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[quote]
Would it be possible to put a copyright on it?
I was thinking it might be possible?
[/quote]
Yes. Copyright protection is automatic as soon as an idea is expressed in tangible form. (Note there is a difference between copyright protection and enforcing copyrights.)

[quote]
Because for example the DnD has a license on it... just that they chose to make it uhmm whats it called again... so anyone can use it commercially for free.
So I would also like to create a good combat system but make it so no one can use it without my authorization.
Which I would sell rights to use in a specific game to other studios or use in my own games.
Is it possible to do this?
[/quote]
Yes. It is rather straightforward to do. Groups do it all the time.
[quote]
And what conditions and everything to be able to put a copyright on a combat system?
[/quote]
You talk to a lawyer with experience in IP rights in the game industry.

The lawyer will help you craft your license.
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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1348850629' post='4984766']
(Note there is a difference between copyright protection and enforcing copyrights.)
[/quote]

Can you explain more plase
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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1348851688' post='4984775']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348848899' post='4984760']
can you copyright a game combat system?
[/quote]

No. Try patenting it instead.
[url="http://lmgtfy.com/?q=difference+between+copyright+and+patent"]http://lmgtfy.com/?q...ight and patent[/url]
[/quote]

ok so would patenting a combat system be possible?
how much different would it need to be from other combat systems?
how can i know which combat systems are already patented?
If tehre is a good combat system in some game that isnt patented yet can i patent it?

how to enforce patent? is it easy or hard?
-1

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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1348850629' post='4984766']
[quote]
Would it be possible to put a copyright on it?
I was thinking it might be possible?
[/quote]
Yes. Copyright protection is automatic as soon as an idea is expressed in tangible form.
[/quote]
Are you sure? IANAL, but as far as I've always understood copyright, it is the [i]expression[/i] that is copyrighted, not the idea behind the expression. With that in mind, I would've thought the mechanics/flow/idea of the combat system is not copyrightable, and if one created a similar combat system with an original expression/implementation of it, it would be fine. I don't claim to know for sure though.


[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348852722' post='4984780']
isnt there anyone with any kind experience on this forum??
[/quote]
Sure, we have professional lawyers here, but they charge a professional fee, because it's their career, and offering legal advice isn't something you just do willy nilly on the Internet (because it creates certain liabilities).
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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1348853000' post='4984781']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348852722' post='4984780']
isnt there anyone with any kind experience on this forum??
[/quote]
Sure, we have professional lawyers here, but they charge a professional fee, because it's their career, and offering legal advice isn't something you just do willy nilly on the Internet (because it creates certain liabilities).
[/quote]

So what programmers are career too..
But they give out help on how to program stuff instead of taking payment.

same with game designers giving out advice but not taking payemnt

and same witth artists

etc etc
-6

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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348853243' post='4984783']
[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1348853000' post='4984781']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348852722' post='4984780']
isnt there anyone with any kind experience on this forum??
[/quote]
Sure, we have professional lawyers here, but they charge a professional fee, because it's their career, and offering legal advice isn't something you just do willy nilly on the Internet (because it creates certain liabilities).
[/quote]

So what programmers are career too..
But they give out help on how to program stuff instead of taking payment.

same with game designers giving out advice but not taking payemnt

and same witth artists

etc etc
[/quote]
Except for the legal liabilities, which I explicitly mentioned...
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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1348853452' post='4984785']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348853243' post='4984783']
[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1348853000' post='4984781']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348852722' post='4984780']
isnt there anyone with any kind experience on this forum??
[/quote]
Sure, we have professional lawyers here, but they charge a professional fee, because it's their career, and offering legal advice isn't something you just do willy nilly on the Internet (because it creates certain liabilities).
[/quote]

So what programmers are career too..
But they give out help on how to program stuff instead of taking payment.

same with game designers giving out advice but not taking payemnt

and same witth artists

etc etc
[/quote]
Except for the legal liabilities, which I explicitly mentioned...
[/quote]

wuat kind of liabilities?
how can it hurt to just give advice?
He can even say for protection its his unprofressional advice.

lawyer is for creating contracts and tailoring the contract for your business and deal etc..

but he can still say in a nice advice how its generally done :D

peace all
green world and world peace
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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348853713' post='4984786']
but he can still say in a nice advice how its generally done
[/quote]
I'm no lawyer, but I studied law as an undergrad. First thing I was taught: never trust free legal advice.

Now to the free legal advice: patent law is incredibly complex. Any advice you receive from someone not currently practicing, even if they were formerly a patent attorney or paralegal, could be outdated and therefor incorrect. Edited by NaturalNines
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[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348852073' post='4984777']

ok so would patenting a combat system be possible?
how much different would it need to be from other combat systems?
how can i know which combat systems are already patented?
If tehre is a good combat system in some game that isnt patented yet can i patent it?

how to enforce patent? is it easy or hard?
[/quote]

I spoke casually to a patent lawyer about game copyrights and patents before, but he does not specialize in the game industry. Supposedly, almost anything can be patented. There was a patent on a device that throws money at strippers (I am NOT making this up).

Enforcing a patent, if I understood correctly, means hiring a lawyer to sue someone in court for infringement. However, having a patent does not mean you automatically win! Even if the guy is outright copying you. Patents on game mechanics hasn't been thoroughly tested in court, so it could go either way depending on what the judge thinks.

This depends a lot on the country of course.

IMHO as an indie developer, I don't think we should bother worrying about patents and copyright. Chances that someone copies your game outright is slim to none. Unless your game is very simple. Furthermore, if they copy you, its unlikely that their version will be good enough to beat yours, since they are just copying and not innovating. Look at the number of Doom and Diablo clones: Id Software and Blizzard didn't really have to bother patenting/copyrighting their mechanics. Also, being an indie means you probably can't afford the costs involved in beating someone in court. : /

Finally, if our game is successful enough to warrant copying, then we have achieved our goals of making a successful game haven't we? :)
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I'll preface this by saying I'm not a lawyer, but here's some general info:
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348848899' post='4984760']
I would be unhappy if other games copy my combat system though.[/quote]It is extraordinarily unlikely that a game would copy your combat system rather than generate one appropriate for their own mechanics, and unless you have some revolutionary mechanic that does not involve random number generation, some game that came before you probably used a random number generator similar enough to your own "new" idea that the two are indistinguishable.
[quote]Would it be possible to put a copyright on it?[/quote]Not in the way you're thinking. You patent methods, you copyright expressions. You can copyright the lore, backstory, specific character classes (and it must be extremely specific) and that which is essentially unique to your game, but you cannot copyright a method of random number generation. You can patent it, but patents require a list of specific claims and if any one of those claims is not met by a third party with a similar device/method/ect, then the patent is not considered infringed. Your claim must be unique, also, and cannot be something already in general use. Thus, if you're using dice - unless these are special dice of your own creation not mirrored in pre-existing forms - forget actually getting an enforceable patent.

[quote]Because for example the DnD has a license on it...[/quote]Again not in the way you're thinking. They do not own the 20 sided dice, nor can they license its use. What they [i]can[/i] license is the specific descriptions of, say, a Red Mage of Thane and the associated backstory. You could create your own Blue Mage of Bane with unique descriptions but similar game mechanics and it would not be an infringement of the OGL (Open Gaming License, unless I'm mistaken).

[quote]So I would also like to create a good combat system but make it so no one can use it without my authorization.
Which I would sell rights to use in a specific game to other studios or use in my own games.[/quote]No one in their right mind would buy a license from you, I'm sorry to say. It's much more appropriate in both cost and result to generate your own mechanics for a gaming system that suits your specific needs. The only time someone would buy into an IP is either to capitalize on its widespread popularity (see Warhammer 40K IP and all the recent band-wagoning) or as a fan derived work - and fans don't usually pay to do fan works. If by some miracle your work becomes as widespread and entrenched as the D20 system or similar, then it's possible that people might want to pay to publish works under your IP, but that is unlikely in the extreme.

Make your combat system and don't worry about copyrights or patents. Ultimately it wont gain you what you think it will gain you, and your work is not at the risk you apparently think it is. Copyright your game lore and your specific descriptions of things (like Regnar the Fighter), not the way you do things (which would require a patent).
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[quote name='Zouflain' timestamp='1348862459' post='4984839']
[quote]Because for example the DnD has a license on it...[/quote]Again not in the way you're thinking.
[/quote]

The D20 system might be patented, and it might be trademarked. Likewise, "Dungeons and Dragons" is a trademark.
The words on those D20 pages are copyrighted, but the ideas behind them are not.
Copyright is not patent, and neither is trademark.
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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1348853000' post='4984781']
[quote name='frob' timestamp='1348850629' post='4984766']
[quote]
Would it be possible to put a copyright on it?
I was thinking it might be possible?
[/quote]
Yes. Copyright protection is automatic as soon as an idea is expressed in tangible form.
[/quote]
Are you sure? IANAL, but as far as I've always understood copyright, it is the [i]expression[/i] that is copyrighted, not the idea behind the expression. With that in mind, I would've thought the mechanics/flow/idea of the combat system is not copyrightable, and if one created a similar combat system with an original expression/implementation of it, it would be fine. I don't claim to know for sure though.
[/quote]
The exact definition depends on the country's laws.

The idea is not protected.

The expression of the idea is protected immediately and automatically.

If you create a system that is similar to but slightly different than a previous implementation, it could be considered a derivative work of the first system.

It is up to the judge, and it is not uncommon to see copyright claims mixed in with other IP rights claims; in the US the definition is intentionally vague, "a work based upon one or more preexisting works". It can be radically different, but a judge still gets to decide if it was based on the earlier work.

Frequently an idea can be protected through copyright this way.

[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348853713' post='4984786']
wuat kind of liabilities?
how can it hurt to just give advice?
He can even say for protection its his unprofressional advice.

lawyer is for creating contracts and tailoring the contract for your business and deal etc..

but he can still say in a nice advice how its generally done [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]
[/quote]
There are all kinds of liabilities.

There are potentially professional 'expectations', where a person is speaking as an expert and legally they can be required to meet certain standards. There are liabilities for injuries, meaning you followed the lawyer's casual advice but got in trouble anyway. There is always tort liability, and it can vary based on the reasonableness of applying specific advice to arbitrary situations.

Professionals of ANY field can be liable.

As for how it is done, you've been told: You talk to an experienced lawyer in the field. It is not a difficult thing, they will help you build a license. If they are experienced in the field and you know exactly what you want, you're only looking at a few days worth of billable hours. It isn't a big thing.

[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1348865301' post='4984854']
The D20 system might be patented, and it might be trademarked. Likewise, "Dungeons and Dragons" is a trademark.
The words on those D20 pages are copyrighted, but the ideas behind them are not.
Copyright is not patent, and neither is trademark.
[/quote]
The expressed idea is copyrighted. Someone expressing the same system but with different words could easily be challenged as an unauthorized derivative work. What matters is if the judge is convinced one work is derived from another.

Most IP rights complaints include copyright claims. I've seen copyright claims for animation sequences, claiming the animation was based on it and therefore a derivative work.

If you've been following the EA Sims Social / Zynga The Ville lawsuit, there are copyright claims about animation sequences, copyright claims about character creation sequences, there are even copyright claims on the 8 color skin tones with the same rgb values.

The standard in the US is fairly low: They must convince a judge with a reasonableness standard that the work was based on the original. Being based on it is a vague thing. The new work can be radically different in expression and still meet that criteria of being based on the original work.

Fan fiction, where they might only use a half dozen names in the entire work, often get defined as derivative works. If I wrote an article about a magical world where a small family included Garion, Aunt Pol, and Mister Wolf, that's about all it would take to convince a judge it is covered as a derivative work from the Belgarath series of books. Similarly if I had a group of hobbits named Frodo, Samwise, Pippen and Merry, then if it ever came up in court simply having those words could place it before a judge as a copyright violation. Edited by frob
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SquareEnix owns a few combat system patents, namely the active time battle system which was employed in a lot of rpgs.
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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1348877820' post='4984904']
SquareEnix owns a few combat system patents, namely the active time battle system which was employed in a lot of rpgs.
[/quote]

active time battle system?
can you give me link please?
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[url="http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_System"]http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_System[/url]
You can also look up their patent on wikipedia, they've put a nifty of good references in the below.
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omg they have patent on that?
So other games cant use that kind of system with the recharging meter for when they can do another action?
Unless they pay squareenix?

that system is badass imo.
This is why i want to be able to patent a combat system i create...

What license did they choose to put on the active time battle system?
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[quote name='Zouflain' timestamp='1348943502' post='4985116']
[quote name='glhf' timestamp='1348937457' post='4985099']
omg they have patent on that?
So other games cant use that kind of system with the recharging meter for when they can do another action?
Unless they pay squareenix?

that system is badass imo.
This is why i want to be able to patent a combat system i create...

What license did they choose to put on the active time battle system?
[/quote]You really want to stifle game creation that badly? Personally, finding out about SE's patent makes me glad I haven't played many of their games. People wont buy a license for it, they just wont use it and games will suffer in general as a result. How many JRPG's do you see using that system that aren't from SquareEnix? I can think of none. Why? I'd wager it's because they'd rather use an alternative than pay SE anything. It's because of patent mongering like this that modern consoles don't have haptic (vibrational) feedback and a whole host of other things. Also consider that patents don't help you (the small firm) the way you think they'll help you - just consider that even if you did create a revolutionary idea that some major player player in the industry wanted to use, they can always bog you down in a legal quagmire and survive the costs a lot longer than you can to actually enforce your patent. Unless you have significant financial backing, the only people you will prevent from using anything are other small firms. Is that really who you're afraid of?

This and other posts you've made make you seem as though you believe you have The One Idea[sup]tm[/sup] that everyone is just waiting to steal. This is not and just never is the case, and all you're likely to do is cause yourself a lot of wasted effort and cash. I strongly suggest you read the stickied posts in the Game Design forum which talk about this.
[/quote]

you dont really answer any question i have.
you just say negative things like i have a bad idea and well you did say something that has been said already that it costs much money to be in a court.


so back to my questions i want to add one omre question.
because that system is really interesting tbh.
Where can i read about it more?
and what if i hadnt made this thread and someone replied telling me about it.
what if i had made that system not knowing it existed alrady.
what happens then?
where can u see a list of all patented systems?
so someone doesnt accidentally create a game with a system thats patented.

im really intersted in that system tbh
what would i have to do to use that?
how big alteration would i have to do so its not covered by their patent anymore
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I also looked at another combat system they have patented.

Charged time battle

[quote]
Final Fantasy Tactics introduced the Charge Time Battle (CTB) system. It was designed by Hiroyuki It?, who also created the Active Time Battle (ATB). In this system, "Charge Time" (CT) meters fill up to 100 to then allow each character to take different actions. The system has since been used in a modified form in both Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
[/quote]

That sounds very similar to what is popular in some games.
Kind of like the warrior rage meter in WoW.

Or even more similar to the ultimate ability in Bloodline Champions.

I guess wow made it different enough that they aren't using the patent.

but Bloodline champions is amazingly similar to this description.
Do you think they had to pay them?
Or maybe they have royalty free license?
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omg..

REAL TIME BATTLE!

[quote]
The Real Time Battle (RTB) system is a battle system introduced in Final Fantasy XI and was designed by Akihiko Matsui, who created the battle system for Chrono Trigger. The RTB system replaces the Random Encounter that has featured in past Final Fantasy games, instead monsters are found freely roaming areas and are seamlessly engaged.
As the battle takes place without a separate battle screen loading one is free to move around the landscape during battles, interact with other players or avoid battles altogether. Monsters may also attack players without provocation, retaining a hint of random encounters. Characters start attacking automatically once they are in combat with an enemy, and special commands and magic can be inputted by the player at any time. Many items, spells and abilities used during battle have a casting time or delay to use once activated, similar Active Time Battles.
[/quote]


ACTIVE DIMENSION BATTLE!

[quote]
The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system is the evolution of the Active Time Battle (ATB) system and designed by Hiroyuki It?, the original creator of the ATB system. It was first used in Final Fantasy XII. The ADB system eliminates random battles; enemies are fully visible on the field before they are engaged in battle and so the player has a choice of if they want to fight them or not.
The battles take place on the field with no separate battle screen and there is no transition between exploration and battle; ADB makes battles completely seamless. The system also includes the ability for the player to still have full control over character movement while currently engaged in battle. The distance between party members and enemies also influences battles as various spells and abilities now have an Area of Effect (AoE). The addition of AoE simply means that party members and enemies need to be within a certain range of each other for their spells and abilities to hit.
[/quote]


Almost all games have used this combat system that Akihiko Matsui and Hiroyuki It? has created.
Actually their systems is almost completely identical at my first read through.
How can they patent so identical systems?



And here is ...

COMMAND SYNERGY BATTLE!

[quote]
Command Synergy Battle (CSB) is the name (declared in-game) of the system used in Final Fantasy XIII and in Final Fantasy XIII-2, designed by Toshiro Tsuchida. It derives the flow of time from ATB as each character has their own ATB gauge. The ATB gauge in turn acts like an action point meter that's divided up into equal sections (a similar system was used in Enix's game Robotrek).
Each action consumes a portion of the ATB gauge, for example attacking consumes one point, while casting a powerful spell consumes three. Commands can be chained so as long as there's enough action points. When the player decides on what commands to take, the player presses another button to execute the commands for the character to do. If the player executes the chained commands without filling all ATB slots, the unused slots will be filled at the start of the next turn. Unlike regular ATB, the player is only able to control the actions of the party leader.
At the end of each battle, the player is judged on a rating of zero to five stars. In Final Fantasy XIII, this rating is based on a comparison between the party's power and battle duration; while in Final Fantasy XIII-2, only battle duration is ranked.
[/quote]


A game called "hero academy" is using this system.
Did they pay them? Edited by glhf
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