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MindGuerrillas

Not-So-Super Mario - My first go at game development

7 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I've recently started to play around with games development in my spare time. I've worked as a developer for many years, but in non-games sectors, so thought it would be fun to give it a go.

 

My first project was to make a Super Mario clone. I thought that this would be the simplest place to start. I've based this one on the levels from Super Mario World on SNES.

 

The game is by no means finished but it's at a stage where people can take a look and see what they think of it. It currently has 3 levels, each one introduces some new features, as well as a level editor.

 

It's written in C++ using SDL.

 

Videos of the game in action, along with download links are available on my blog, here

 

http://mindguerrillas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/not-so-super-mario.html

 

Please take a look and see what you think.

 

Thanks 

smile.png

 

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You really shouldn't distribute a game that has ripped sprites (it is a copyright violation unless you have permission from the copyrightholder).

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I thought it would be OK since it was just for my own educational purposes?

 

p.s. Are you referring to the videos or the actual download?

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Nah, don't worry about it. While Simon is technically right, there are plenty of Mario clones out there without issues. Just Google "Mario clone" and you'll find hundreds. More importantly, congratulations on getting so much done. Except for some minor stuff it looks pretty solid.
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It isn't for your own educational purposes if you're making it available for others to download -- that's called distribution. They may or may not choose to come after you if they discover your work, but Nintendo is known for sending out Cease & Desist letters pretty aggressively. As far as I know, its safe to show off your work with the SMB art on your own website as long as you give notice of Nintendo's trademark.

 

You can keep the engine and gameplay style and still distribute your game, provided that you replace the art, music, and sound effects with original works. With your engine in seemingly good shape thus far, you could probably recruit an artist to work up some original artwork in a similar style pretty easily.

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Nah, don't worry about it. While Simon is technically right, there are plenty of Mario clones out there without issues. Just Google "Mario clone" and you'll find hundreds. More importantly, congratulations on getting so much done. Except for some minor stuff it looks pretty solid.

 

Its a question of legality, not getting away with it. Thousands of people sell counterfeit goods on street corners every day, it doesn't make counterfeiting legal. The odds of being pursued may be low, but that has no bearing on the severity with which you could be punished. No lawyer in the world would recommend a defense strategy of "But, Judge! Everyone else was doing it!".

 

But even setting aside the very real legal issues, its simply not OP's work to use as he sees fit. It's the fruit of someone else's work, and he has no right to use it outside of very narrowly-defined circumstances (personal use, education, parody, critique, etc).

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Nice work!
 

It isn't for your own educational purposes if you're making it available for others to download -- that's called distribution.

Yes, exactly. As soon as you make it downloadable, it's not merely for your own education. You actively (but not maliciously) are providing a counterfeit mario game that, while great, isn't as polished as Nintendo's and so it is an inferior product (no offense - Nintendo spends millions on Mario), which hurts the reputation (even if just one person plays your game) of their brand.

 

You can keep the engine and gameplay style and still distribute your game, provided that you replace the art, music, and sound effects with original works. With your engine in seemingly good shape thus far, you could probably recruit an artist to work up some original artwork in a similar style pretty easily.

To clarify what Ravyne is saying, having an artist create "original artwork" for you does not mean, "original mario artwork", it means artwork that isn't Mario. It can play like Mario (gameplay isn't copyrightable), but it can't look like Mario or be called Mario. Same with the music - it can't sound like Mario. You can say, "I made my own Mario-like game" and use the name "Mario" to describe your game, but it can't be in the title of the game either.

Just basic copyright law. Nintendo may or may not call you out on it, but it is in violation of their copyrights, and United States law says that if they want to protect their rights from anyone (including Microsoft or Sony), they have to actively defend their copyrights against everyone (including hobbyists) even if it makes them look like bullies.

This isn't a matter of them taking your home or anything, just sending you a letter saying that if you don't take down the game they'll sue to defend their property. They aren't after your money, so not having alot of money isn't protection from their lawsuits, they are after defending their hard-work from being de-valued by others making less-polished versions that someone might think is the real thing.

 

Nintendo is so defensive of their intellectual property (and rightly so! It's their entire business!), that they've contacted this site in the past (www.gamedev.net) and have a blanket legal request to discourage Mario-related and Pokemon clones. I don't know if that's still in effect or not, though. You can make something like Mario, and you can say it's like Mario, but you can't call it Mario, or make it look or sound like Mario.


It's far better to just use your engine to make your own really cool product. Nintendo's really cool product is successful because they spent so much effort, money, and marketing on it, which is why they deserve exclusive use of it - it's their work. There is free artwork and music available online that you can use in your game... why take risks with the stolen Mario artwork?

 

The same applies to Mickey Mouse, Halo, Half-life, Pokemon, everything! If you create something new, the same applies to your own work - I can't make my game using your work (even if my game isn't charging money).

 

Your work looks very good though! Don't let it go to waste, but recycle it into something that is new, original, creative, and 100% yours to give away or sell.

Edited by Servant of the Lord
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Hello again,

 

Thanks for the positive feedback. I'm glad that you seem to like it and it certainly gives me reason to press on with it, or other games, in the future.

 

Regarding the use of the Mario graphics I suppose you're right so I've removed the download links from the blog.

 

The mario graphics were only used so I could get the thing up and running and looking somewhat presentable in a reasonable time. I was, after all, only developing this in my spare time to learn about basic games development and so didn't want to spend forever putting together graphics. I had no interest in ever distributing a finished game and only uploaded it here so that I could get some informed opinions on how it was going.  Anyway, I've taken it down now.

 

Thanks again for the feedback!

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