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JulieMaru-chan

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  1. JulieMaru-chan

    Better Coding Practises

    I don't have any specific advice on your code, but one suggestion I do have is to contribute to other people's libre open source projects. This is helpful because it puts you in the position where bad code gets in your way, and after you do it a lot, you will get much better at recognizing what kinds of code are clear and unclear. And you help out a project (hopefully one you like) to boot. :)
  2. JulieMaru-chan

    About Copying Game Mechanic...

    Please be careful citing any patents. Knowing about a patent makes you liable for triple damages should you violate it, so by citing patents you could be putting software developers in jeopardy. The only examples you should ever cite are expired patents, like the patent on natural order recalculation (i.e. permission to make a spreadsheet program that functions correctly). There is nothing a software developer can realistically do to avoid infringing patents. There are too many, and it's too hard to tell what patents could possibly apply (e.g. that natural order recalculation patent was on the face of it about compilers, and yet it was used against a spreadsheet developer). All we can do is close our eyes, never look up patent information, and hope we don't get sued by patent trolls. And in the long-term, software patents need to be abolished.
  3. JulieMaru-chan

    About Copying Game Mechanic...

    I'm not a lawyer, but you can't copyright ideas or mechanics, only specific expressions. So unless you're literally copying the code that does what you want to do, you should be in the clear. I copy mechanics from other games all the time, as do AAA game developers. After all Nintendo didn't sue SEGA for controlling Sonic's jump height by how long you hold the button.
  4. No, no announcements of any kind are necessary; the only requirement is that the source code needs to be from the same place as the binary. Just include it in a subdirectory with the binary and you'll be good. Or if you want to separate it (maybe because the source code is too large), just put a "source code" link next to the binary download (exact details will depend on how your customers pay for the game). Of course, I'm still not a lawyer, and this is still not legal advice, just my understanding of the license.
  5. The GNU GPL only applies to the program. It doesn't stop you from adding proprietary data; that's generally considered to be part of an aggregate, which is beyond the scope of the program's license. Lots of games have done that. In fact Quake's data is still all proprietary, as is Doom's. It's this data that defines your game the most, not the source code of the engine. You can sell any GNU GPL program. RMS himself sold copies of GNU Emacs (the first program ever under the GNU GPL) back in the 1980s. The only condition there is that you need to sell the source code and object code together as a package, or otherwise offer a way for anyone who buys the object code from you to get a copy of the source code under the GNU GPL from you "at no further charge" (note: the "for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source" part applies to distributing binaries on physical media, not over a network). The easiest way to comply with the GNU GPL is to just bundle the source code together with the object code. As for other people having the right to also copy and distribute the game, that only applies to the GPL components. So the engine, not the game. Even if you do choose to make the game data libre (which I definitely encourage), chances are that no one will redistribute the game unless they really love it, and even when they do, most people will still get copies from you. Remember, it does take effort to upload a program to a server and keep it up-to-date. Case in point: Jason Rohrer's games, which are all in the public domain with full source code available (meaning anyone can do literally anything with them, at least in the United States where the right to dedicate to the public domain is recognized). I once looked for copies of Sleep Is Death and Inside a Star-Filled Sky, and I barely found any for Sleep Is Death (which got quite a bit of media attention), and none for Inside a Star-Filled Sky. Try finding a download for Star-Filled Sky; all I found was a torrent with no seeders (i.e. completely useless) and buying a copy from the author. It's slightly easier with Sleep Is Death (understandable because it got a lot of media coverage when it was released); I was able to find a torrent with one seeder. So, two points you should take from this: 1. You can sell proprietary data alongside the Quake Engine without it being subject to the GNU GPL, as long as it's not directly connected to the engine. 2. Even if you make the entire game libre (which would be fantastic), chances are no one is going to redistribute unless they are absolutely fanatical about the game, i.e. about the point when the game is a huge success already. Note: I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just my personal understanding of copyright law and the GNU GPL's licensing terms.
  6. JulieMaru-chan

    Motivation

    I would say it depends on what you're lacking motivation for. If you're talking about motivation to stop watching YouTube videos and start working on a project on any given day, that largely depends on you, so try out a few different strategies until you find what works for you. Myself, I find that just getting myself "pumped" about the project (reminding myself why I'm excited for it and what I can do today to realize some of that excitement) helps a great deal, or sometimes (like with my Japanese study at the moment) I make it a daily habit. It's the same with procrastination from anything else. If you're talking about motivation to continue working on a particular game at all, I would generally suggest that perhaps you should stop developing that game, because that would suggest to me that you're not having fun with it anymore. Remember, there's something like a 99.99% chance that no one but you cares about your project, so if you're not getting anything out of it, there's no sense continuing. If you're concerned about wasting the effort you already went through, publish the source code under a libre license (if you haven't already) and who knows, maybe someone else with more interest will pick it up and develop it further (probably not, but at least you're giving them the option). And as for you, move on to something you really want to do. If you're talking about motivation to continue game development at all, I would suggest that you should stop doing it. I always say that game development is financial suicide, because it is. You have to be developing games in spite of this because you love to do so. So if you don't have that passion, or you lose that passion, let it go and move on to something else that you do (still) love to do. There's no shame in that.
  7. JulieMaru-chan

    Market Confussion, Video Game Industry?

    Why? No, really, think about that: why should the government obstruct the free market to make a vague subset of competitors within an industry more likely to succeed by giving them an unfair advantage? What would it actually accomplish? It seems to me it would just serve as an excuse for people to not get a real job and instead continue to persue an endeavor that, in a free market, is such a bad decision economically that you'd be better off professionally buying lottery tickets. You refer to competition from the big guys as "stealing". It is not. It's competition. Competition is the whole point of capitalism and it's what drives progress in our society. Exactly what measure do you propose to "protect emerging internet markets for Indies", anyway?
  8. JulieMaru-chan

    A Couple Questions About Licensing Music

    A license is just a statement from the copyright holder allowing you to redistribute the work. So if you need a lawyer, it would be to make sure you understand the license given to you by the author. Note: I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
  9. JulieMaru-chan

    Rewriting Older Games

    I agree that trademarks are an issue, but not in the context you brought them up in, Tom. You're mixing together separate issues. Yes, trademarks do affect remakes, in the sense that you have to name your remake something different. But trademarks do not have anything to do with whether or not your remake is "derivative" of another work, which is an issue of copyright. In fact, if I could prove that I was an alien from Mars who had never heard of Super Mario Bros and I just happened to write a game that is exactly the same, graphics and all, out of sheer chance, Nintendo's copyright would not apply and I would be allowed to distribute that game as I please. But I would not be able to call it "Super Mario Bros" anyway, because Nintendo owns the "Mario" trademark; even if I've never heard of it before, I'm still liable for trademark infringement. This is why you see companies renaming things out of concern for trademark issues all the time. That's how different and disconnected these issues are. So that brings me back to remakes. What does trademark law mean for remakes? It means that you have to make it clear to your audience that it's an unofficial remake, not created or endorsed by the owner of the original game's trademark. If you make a remake of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, you don't call it "Super Transport Tycoon Deluxe", you call it "OpenTTD". But you also have to keep other trademarks in mind. So if you remake, say, Scorched Earth and call it "Mario's Mushroom Kingdom Blast", the fact that your work is clearly a derivative of Scorched Earth (and not of anything in the Mario series) doesn't help the fact that you're violating Nintendo's trademark. This is common to all game development, though, and indeed anything at all that involves some kind of brand or name, even mundane things like starting a blog or creating an account on a forum. So does that mean we should bring up random laws that may or may not be relevant to any given remake, like sales tax, export control laws, censorship laws (of oppressive governments), or hate speech laws? Not really. The core of the matter, what actually directly ties in with the question of how to remake games properly, is copyright.
  10. JulieMaru-chan

    Rewriting Older Games

    It's not "splitting hairs". Copyright law and trademark law are completely separate from each other. In the United States, the relevant laws weren't even passed in the same decade; copyright law is chiefly governed by the Copyright Act of 1976, and trademark law by the Lanham Act, enacted in 1946. The only possible relationship copyright law can have with trademark law is that an image might be both copyrighted and a trademark. But that's incidental, and in such a case the two laws affect the image in completely different ways. Copyright law forbids copying of the image, trademark law forbids identifying with the image. These have nothing to do with each other. There is no connection whatsoever between copyright law and trade secret law, or between trademark law and trade secret law. Trade secrets are about, as it says on the tin, secrets. Trade dress is related to trademarks, but not copyright. It's certainly not related to trade secrets. "Author's rights" is not a law, it's a copyright term. The same goes for "moral rights" and "related rights". "Database rights" is not one I've ever heard before, but I don't find any reference to a "database rights" law. I assume this must be either a copyright or trade secret term, but I have been unable to verify that. "Unfair" competition: copyright law. Deceptive trade practices: trademark law. Economic "injury": depends on what you mean, but most likely either copyright law (if referring to unauthorized competition), or trade secret law (if referring to leaked trade secrets). You're not looking hard enough. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BusyBox#GPL_lawsuits https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Electronics_Inc._v._Kaufman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FSF_vs._Cisco http://www.eura.com/steffen/jura/aktuelles/texte/tony_kellogs_vs_exxon_tiger.htm EDIT: Just a note, I would be entirely in favor of splitting this whole discussion of trademarks and "intellectual property" into a separate thread, as I maintain that trademarks are completely off-topic in a discussion about clones and game rewrites for the reason I mentioned earlier: any trademark infringement by a clone is completely incidental and not because of the cloning process. It would be just as plausible for something that isn't a clone to be trademark infringement, because that's a question of what it's called and what it says, not what it does.
  11. JulieMaru-chan

    Rewriting Older Games

    You're mixing up separate issues, though. See, the reason you brought up trademarks is because I said names are not copyrightable in the U.S., in response to this: This is not a statement about trademarks at all, because there is no such thing as a "derivative work" in terms of trademarks. It's clearly about copyright, where "derivative works" are an issue. So when you respond to me saying that names are not copyrightable in the U.S. by bringing up trademarks, that's completely irrelevant, a non-sequitur. Yes, fangames especially do, very often, infringe trademarks. The worst of this is statements like "I do not own this game, XYZ does". But it's important not to confuse this very separate issue with copyright. Trademark infringement is not an inherent part of any cloning process, and not directly related to it; it can be avoided simply by not using the names in such a way that someone might reasonably infer that the owner of the trademark is responsible for the game. In any edge case, just put up a disclaimer (like every company does when comparing their products to their competitors'), and you're good. (Note: I'm of course still not a lawyer and this is of course still not legal advice.)
  12. JulieMaru-chan

    Rewriting Older Games

    Trademarks don't affect copyright issues. It's a separate matter. Copyright: a monopoly on the copying and distribution of a particular work. Trademark: a monopoly on being identified with a particular mark, such as a name or a logo. Note, simply using a trademark is not trademark infringement. Using a trademark to refer to something else (in a way that can cause confusion) is. So it's perfectly legal, and in fact expected, to e.g. say "Nintendo" when talking about Nintendo. The same would go for the fictional characters you noted. If you're talking about Han Solo, the character in the series currently controlled by Disney, "Han Solo" is what you call it and Disney has no right to stop you from doing so. The reason a clone (or, let's be real here, a fangame) might involve trademark infringement has absolutely nothing to do with the cloning process. The problem with it is by using a trademark you don't own, you imply endorsement from the party who does own it, and that is misleading. This is the sort of thing trademarks exist to protect against, consumer confusion, so that if you buy something that says "Nintendo" on it, you know it's a genuine Nintendo product. So trademarks are never a problem if you prevent such confusion from occurring; a simple disclaimer will do this. In fact, referencing Mario by Mario is essential to the creation of a work that uses Nintendo's copyrighted images in a manner that constitutes fair use. It's possible that PETA's "Mario Kills Tanooki" game (a perfectly legal parody, albeit silly in my opinion) would have gotten the message across if it was called "Fat Plumber Kills Raccoon Creature", but very likely avoiding the very legal use of the "Mario" trademark to inform PETA's audience what series the game is criticizing would cause confusion, which is exactly what trademarks are supposed to prevent. To wit, if you have a game that makes legal, fair use of the character, Micky Mouse, then Disney has no right to order you to refer to Micky Mouse as something other than "Micky Mouse". Even if it's in such a way that it's hard to tell that Disney had no involvement in the creation of the game, a simple, prominent disclaimer will fix that: "The name 'Micky Mouse' is a trademark of Disney. This game is not created or endorsed by Disney in any way." In fact, such a disclaimer is extremely common. I have right now a package of Equate Cough Drops (Walmart's brand), which notes on the front, "Compare to Halls® Active Ingredient", and then points to an asterisk that reads, "This product is not manufactured or distributed by the owner of the registered trademark HALLS®." Very simple. TL;DR: Trademarks are off-topic. As far as cloning goes, only copyright is relevant. Note: Again, I'm not a lawyer and none of this is legal advice.
  13. JulieMaru-chan

    Rewriting Older Games

    Parody is not the only possible reason for fair use. I don't know what jurisdiction you live in, but the United States has quite strong fair use protections, and for good reason. All work is derivative in some way, so without good fair use protections, when copyright exists, it becomes more difficult to create new works. That would run directly counter to the purpose of copyright required by the Constitution ("to promote progress"). I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. But the general rule is that as long as your use of a work is transformative, i.e. does not serve to replace the market of the original work in question, it's fair use. This applies to almost all clones; the only exceptions are those that actually reuse assets from the original (and redistribute those assets), or those that actually make a concerted effort to exactly replicate the behavior of the original. Even so, a work also has to be copyrightable. You mentioned names. Names are not copyrightable under U.S. copyright law; they're too brief and trivial. Also not copyrightable are things like abstract ideas. Of course, though, this is just in the U.S. Other jurisdictions vary, and fair use is in particular a foreign concept to many countries, unfortunately.
  14. JulieMaru-chan

    Ways to avoid Subconscious Prejudice

    Maybe a combination of practicing making decisions very quickly in high-stress situations to fine-tune your automatic response (maybe a frustrating video game would help with that), and making sure to not use your automatic response in non-threatening situations, perhaps by developing a habit of doing something innocuous that takes a couple of seconds in those situations, to give you time to control your response. But that's just an idea; I don't have any great difficulty with controlling my automatic response (I think I can attribute that to my working in fast food and retail), so I don't know for sure how well that would work in practice.
  15. JulieMaru-chan

    Ways to avoid Subconscious Prejudice

    But... everyone does. What you're describing as "prejudice" is nothing more than having an automatic response; everyone has that. There's nothing you can do about it. Automatic responses exist because it makes it possible for you to act much faster than otherwise. This was essential to our survival when threats to life were a constant thing. For example, you have an automatic response to seeing a big animal with sharp teeth you have never seen before, like a wild tiger: treat the animal as a threat and prepare to defend yourself or flee. This can also be further learned by experience, so for example, if every police officer you have ever met has been after you, you're going to automatically respond to the sight of a police officer defensively, even if you know that most police officers are not out to get you. But we don't just have an automatic response. We also have a controlled response, which is slower. So as long as you just take some time to evaluate the situation and go with a controlled response rather than an automatic response, there's no problem. I mean, unless they have some kind of subconscious-mind-reading device, but I don't think that's a thing. Of course, if your job puts you in situations where your life or the lives of others are on the line, such as the job of police officers, that's more difficult. Apparently high-stress decision-making training helps. But there's no perfect solution.
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