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Question regarding similar features in a game

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Hello,

 

I have formed an Scorp here in Atlanta, Georgia titled SubZeroGames, Inc. 

We are a full development team. We are creating an adventure point and click game. Our idea is to combine Ultima online and Runescape together. We don't want to copy either game. But we do like the idea of non linear story modes, as well as a mixture of real and fantasy. 


I was looking at some other games, 

And at first, I thought for the mining skill, I couldn't use names like Mithril, or adamant, or rune. 

After doing research it turns out quite a few games use terms like Mithril armor or ore, adamant, etc. 

Am I allowed to use these types of items in my game? 

Wow has mithril. So does RuneScape. Both are ores. Is this allowed? 

Can I do it? 


Also, 

Having generic resource skills like mining, woodcutting, smithing, fishing, cooking...Runescape has all these skills. Can I include these skills as well? I'll be using different tree and fish, and have obviously different graphics. We are doing all original graphics. No look a-likes to their items

Any insight on this would be great.

From my understanding, a cloned game can ideally be legal as long as it doesn't confuse the consumer. Example: I can create runescape in my own way, as long as the title of my game is nothing similar to runescape. Players who play my game don't get confused thinking it's runescape. 

Thanks in advance. 

Best,

Jon

 

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Wow has mithril. So does RuneScape. Both are ores. Is this allowed?

 

"Mithril" was introduced in Lord of the Rings, and has been used in countless places since.

"Adamantine" was used historically to refer to hard/strong materials. "Adamantium" was introduced by Marvel Comics. "Adamantite" is used in Dungeons and Dragons.

 

You need to Google these things to learn about the origin of each specific word. Many will be old, common terms which you can safely use. Others may be names created recently, and people could be unhappy if you use these. Some words are trademarks or brand names, which are obviously legally protected, but I'm not sure how protective people typically are over "made up" terms like these.

 

There was an interesting case recently where Games Workshop claimed to have control over the term "space marine" - I don't think they have a good case for ownership here, as the term has been in use for a long time, but they were certainly able to throw their weight around and (at least temporarily) get a small author's book pulled from Amazon. If a term is strongly associated with a particular IP, I would probably avoid copying it.

 

 

Having generic resource skills like mining, woodcutting, smithing, fishing, cooking...Runescape has all these skills. Can I include these skills as well? I'll be using different tree and fish, and have obviously different graphics. We are doing all original graphics. No look a-likes to their items

 

I believe you will be safe here. You don't want to copy specific names, locations, characters, artwork etc. The creators of Runescape do not own the concepts of mining, smithing, fishing etc. It might be advisable to avoid copying the exact set of skills used in any one game, in order to distinguish your game from those games which have inspired you. However, you aren't legally compelled to do so.

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Okay, thanks for the opinionated feedback. I know in the final stages, I should always consult a lawyer. I appreciate you taking the time to give me that response. It's very reassuring. 

Thanks :)

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...We are a full development team.
1. After doing research it turns out quite a few games use terms like Mithril armor or ore, adamant, etc.
Am I allowed to use these types of items in my game?
Wow has mithril. So does RuneScape. Both are ores. Is this allowed?
Can I do it?

2. Also,
Having generic resource skills like mining, woodcutting, smithing, fishing, cooking...Runescape has all these skills. Can I include these skills as well? I'll be using different tree and fish, and have obviously different graphics. We are doing all original graphics. No look a-likes to their items
Any insight on this would be great.

1. Hard to say whether those are "terms of art" or not.  You should ask a lawyer.

2. Those seem okay -- but you should ask a lawyer. And I'm not one.

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