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Author Topic: Remake classic games.  (Read 2198 times)
Offline (Unknown gender) intygamer
Posted on: July 13, 2014, 03:52:56 PM

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I have remade the Intellivision Astrosmash game from 1978 in Enigma and would like to post it in works in progress category on the forum, making it open source.  I have copied images and sound from the original game and made game play the same as original.  I would like to give credit to original authors of the game.

Would this create a copywrite issue?  If so could I just create my own graphics and sound that is simular?

I thought I would ask here since Enigima is a clone of GameMaker.

Thanks
Joe


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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #1 Posted on: July 13, 2014, 07:07:02 PM
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The answer in theory is no you cannot do that, normally companies cannot endorse fan based games or recreated games, but SOME tolerate it to some extent or look the other way so long as you are not profiting from it and that you mention the respective IP holders (example, LucasArts), some game companies have a zero tolerance towards fan games though.  Some people were served with take down notices for fan games, recreated games (PacMan among other).
Copying sprites, sounds or other copyrighted material is one thing, but even if your game is similar that can land you in trouble.  Example of that is with PacMan, you can create your own sprites and variations but similar in genre, that has legal precedent and you can be liable.
Why do you think films put the disclaimer that "any resemblance/similarity is not intentional and a coincidence" you see that in films and some games, shorts, etc..... Ideally you want to make original games, though I can't blame you for recreating stuff, that's what I want to do just for the fun of it, might be wise to keep this in a tight circle and not share it or place it on social media or file sharing sites, though in most cases you would be served an S&D to take down the game and comply.  In theory they have the rights to sue, though in practice, it would be costly, and they would need to establish loss of money.....so unless you are making big profits directly or indirectly from your game, you should be fine, avoid social media, and keep it tight.

Cheers
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Offline (Male) edsquare
Reply #2 Posted on: July 13, 2014, 07:50:24 PM

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I thought about it and didn't agree with darkstar2 (not the first time he bro?)  ;)

But since I'm no lawyer I went and did some research:

http://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/11752/is-it-legally-possible-to-make-a-clone-of-the-game

http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1580&context=elr
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #3 Posted on: July 13, 2014, 10:51:26 PM
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This is a quote taken directly from your lnk:
Quote
This will obviously vary a lot from country to country, but the basic idea is that you can't make an exact clone, but you can make a knock-off version. Board games tend to be covered by two aspects: the copyright on the written rules of the game, the trademarks and copyrights on the visual elements to the game.

The underlying mechanics and gameplay tend not to be covered by any legal protection. However, and this is a damn big however, as certain countries (like the US) offer software patents it seems possible that a company could indeed patent the gameplay itself. However, for popular games the mechanics are usually so common as not likely to be granted such protection.

Mostly however companies protect their brand. If your game does not infringe on their brand you are probably safe. Be careful about copying rules (this also applies to video games) too closely. If you have a game that behaves nearly identical to another but with distinct artwork I think most people would consider it a derivative work, and thus infringing on the original.

So, feel free to replicate a basic gameplay mechanic, but never duplicate graphics and avoid duplicating level-structure.

That and years ago I had asked a lawyer with that specific specialty.  You cannot rip assets from a copyrighted game, whether you make a clone or new game, and the above text sums it up.

Forget about the shite sites, there is precedent for fan made games / clone games being taken down online.

Just because it is law does not necessarily mean a company can enforce it.  Same for ENIGMA, they legally can sue your MFing arse for certain things but they can decide not to, but they have the right to.

Some companies look the other way and are lenient even though officially they can never condone such things, and you might get away with it providing it does not become too popular and earn some profit whether for you or someone else.....(hence, avoiding social media, file sharing sites, etc.)

Here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fangame#Legal_issues

More accurate info there.  Some companies are open to it as explained there, you always have to assume NOT though.  Don't assume that most people get away with it and that most people would just be warned first.  There are EXTREME rare cases where certain fan made games were sponsored and made into full games by the actual company but this is so rare.

You can decide to follow the LAW, or do what you want and chance it. You are provided FACTS or you can decide to read opinions from people who are not attorneys and know nothing.  I get my info from law and people who practice it. not some random rubbish.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 11:05:46 PM by Darkstar2 » Logged
Offline (Unknown gender) TheExDeus
Reply #4 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 06:52:39 AM

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If you don't plan to profit from it in any way, then it usually is allowed. Especially for such an old game like that. So I don't think it will be a problem. Especially if you don't hide the fact it's a clone and don't try to take ownership of the resources (sprites, sounds) used. If you credit the original makers, then it's zero problem.

dark, we already talked about this before. Even if they somehow don't like it, then the worse they can do is take the game down (or more precisely, ask for it to be taken down, which on the internet is usually impossible). He will not have to pay "millions of dollars" as you like to say or go to jail.

I would maybe suggest indy to update the graphics and gameplay and make a newer game out of it.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 06:56:22 AM by TheExDeus » Logged
Offline (Unknown gender) egofree
Reply #5 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 01:28:59 PM
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If you don't plan to profit from it in any way, then it usually is allowed. Especially for such an old game like that. So I don't think it will be a problem. Especially if you don't hide the fact it's a clone and don't try to take ownership of the resources (sprites, sounds) used. If you credit the original makers, then it's zero problem.

dark, we already talked about this before. Even if they somehow don't like it, then the worse they can do is take the game down (or more precisely, ask for it to be taken down, which on the internet is usually impossible). He will not have to pay "millions of dollars" as you like to say or go to jail.

I would maybe suggest indy to update the graphics and gameplay and make a newer game out of it.

I don't know : in the past i've seen sites were you could play old games online (with javascript or flash) and the games were not anymore available because they received requests to remove theirs games. I am talking about very old games like pac-man and space invaders.
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Offline (Unknown gender) TheExDeus
Reply #6 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 01:46:50 PM

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I didn't mean they cannot down games on your site - for legal reasons you probably would have to. But if those games were uploaded to other sites for download (so they are no JS or flash games), then it's usually impossible to get that off the internet. Like if you upload something to torrents, then good luck getting that down. :D
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #7 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 01:59:40 PM
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If you don't plan to profit from it in any way, then it usually is allowed.

Wrong, Copyright infringement does not make exceptions.  No game company will condone this, even though some will look the other way and tolerate it, the law takes precedent, whether your production is commercial or free, it is breaking the law, (just because you are not caught or the company does nothing, does not mean you are allowed or that it is legal......)  Some companies might decide to wait it out until your game gains traction and becomes popular enough to warrant actions.

Quote
Especially for such an old game like that. So I don't think it will be a problem. Especially if you don't hide the fact it's a clone and don't try to take ownership of the resources (sprites, sounds) used. If you credit the original makers, then it's zero problem.

You are not covered by that, you have still illegally copied the resources and used them.  You need written permission first, you can just go make something and credit someone and assume you are free, you need clearance !  there is precedent to some companies allowing remakes/clones after being asked, with some conditions attached, but you cannot take the decision on your own.  As long as you are cleared, and in writing, you have zero problems.  With no clearance you are breaking the law all the way and subject to the law.  Some companies already have given their approval, such as Lucas Arts and fan made movies, by George Lucas himself, along with the conditions of such allowance.  Otherwise most companies will enforce their rights.

Quote
dark, we already talked about this before. Even if they somehow don't like it, then the worse they can do is take the game down (or more precisely, ask for it to be taken down, which on the internet is usually impossible). He will not have to pay "millions of dollars" as you like to say or go to jail.

What we talked about, Harri, was a different topic, related to ENIGMA and its license, and distribution of compiled ENIGMA games with source code.  Right now the issue is not ENIGMA but developing a remake or clone of a game, using assets that are protected by copyright, there is then the issue of using the same rules (there are 1:1 remakes, same rules).

If you were to release something on social media and file sharing sites, without clearance, it gains popularity, goes viral, etc, whether you are profiting or it is free, SOMEONE somewhere is making profit from your viral material.  That's why I mentioned keep those clones/remake in a tight circle, you are safer that way as they are less likely to gain the exposure and popularity and companies will usually not go after that......  but putting your files out there in the open exposes them and you can be sure you will be found out sooner or later.

Quote
I would maybe suggest indy to update the graphics and gameplay and make a newer game out of it.

There is no infringement without copying, then there is substantial similarity, you are protected by coincidence but that can be debated in a court of law on intricate work if you can establish the unlikelihood of coincidence.  When a game has a patent attached to it, that becomes even more restrictive !

Your best bet is to research the company's who's game you want to clone/remake, look for any precedent, if they have patents to the game, etc.

Also you might want to read on this:
http://www.copyrightcodex.com/infringement/16-infringement-substantial-similarity

The moment you "COPY" something it is a copyright infringement.  So ripping assets from a game is infringement.  If you create your own work INSPIRED by something and that it is not substantially similar, that is ok too, though non copied independent work that is similar is not infringement, some money hungry companies into frivolous lawsuits may argue the substantial similarity clause, and you would have to fight in proving that your work was coincidence.  It's a whole pile of shite where the fan loses money in legal battles and the big companies can easily recover.

Not worth it.
If you are unsure, ask for legal advice.  I have years ago and any act of copying, ripping, cloning/remake using elements of the original game is infringement that does not fall under independent work, is infringement.

Also Harri, whilst most people get away with just take down notices / warnings, there are bigger implications......

Let's say you were to upload your game on a file sharing host or social media, it becomes known, popular, viral, the game company won't contact you directly, but will contact the file host or social media where said files are hosted, in turn, they will contact you saying your file was removed due to a take down request, as in YouTube deleting accounts, videos, etc...  Not only will they comply and take your file down, they will also suspend your account as you broke their acceptable use policy.  The file hosts/social media have on record your IP and other information along with notes that you are an infringing user.  In some cases file hosts or social media can contact your ISP and report such things (there is precedent to that)........ ISP take complaints very seriously, and in turn will send you a notice by mail warning you that they have received a complaint for copyright infringement, that also violates the terms of your ISP and subjects you to account suspension or them contacting the authorities for extreme cases.    Same when you are sharing files on torrents, file sharing sites,etc, the IP holder can have access to your IP and send a letter to your ISP, which will send a letter to the subscriber, then you have a nice stain on social media records, ISP records, that can serve in the future and go against you.

Is it worth it?

and the argument "oh there are plenty of clones and remakes online and nothing happened to them" is invalid.......they just did not get caught OR the companies they are allegedly infringing upon decided voluntarily to look the other way but does not mean they would not act when they see fit.

When dealing with the law, never ASSUME.  Ignorance of the law is NOT a defense in any court of law.

Usually you will be served with a notice, if you fail to abide, further legal actions might be taken against you, regardless of whether you made profits or not, copyright infringement does not include exceptions and covers it all.

Here are some examples of take down notices a social media or file host might receive on your behalf:
and this is interesting, the kid who recreated PAC MAN used a game creation tool for kids, (sounds familiar ??? :P )

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100730/17081510430.shtml

Now even if you inspire from a game and create your own assets without ripping them, the host you have your files on can STILL receive a DMCA notice,
here is another example in relation to the android market:

http://beta.slashdot.org/story/144648

Sometimes these notices are frivolous in nature and there and not valid, sometimes representatives of the IP holder will abuse their power, knowing most people don't know the law or have money to defend, and regardless of whether your game could be argued that it is not infringing, the host under law has to abide by a DMCA request, whether they are right or wrong, so you end up having your account suspended or app removed.

And finally here is something one must read:
http://newmediarights.org/guide/legal/Video_Games_law_Copyright_Trademark_Intellectual_Property

That will answer many of your questions in regards to game making, what is covered what is not, what you are allowed and what you are not.  Some might argue not all DMCA notices are valid, some indie game developers can counter them (which is a risk) because unless you had legal council, once you counter claim, you are subject from legal action from the IP holder.

So anybody online who tells you rubbish without knowing facts, such as "Oh you are ok, don't worry about it....." are not familiar with how this works, and therefore you should take your information from facts and not assumptions.  You have links above to FACTS.







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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #8 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 02:07:54 PM
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I didn't mean they cannot down games on your site - for legal reasons you probably would have to. But if those games were uploaded to other sites for download (so they are no JS or flash games), then it's usually impossible to get that off the internet. Like if you upload something to torrents, then good luck getting that down. :D

They CAN take down from download sites Harri.  The DMCA shield covers file hosts as well.  It does not matter the delivery method used, flash, JS or download, it has to be hosted somewhere, and whatever that place be, can receive a DMCA take down notice, in this case the file host.

As far as torrents, the IP holder or representative can easily obtain the IP of the infringing user, the IP holder will then send the letter to the user's ISP.  Go back to the films and music files distributed with torrents.  There are many ways people get caught with torrent and suddenly get letters from their ISPs.
Of course if you use underground networks, encryption, or other methods it is harder to be found, or if you distribute your fan made game in a closed, tight circle, that is a different story, companies usually have their eyes on social media, torrents and file hosts, as these are the most popular places to distribute said files and where they can gain popularity and viral status quite fast.  If your file is hosted on a file host or social media, THEY will receive the notice on your behalf, however the *LAST* thing you would want is for your ISP to receive the notice, such as from torrents or other use.
The moment your ISP flags you on record as an infringing subscriber, that's not good for many obvious reasons.  Any record/traces you leave online CAN be used against you, whatever people write, whatever people do, etc.  If people deny that and unaware of that they should not be connected online or using computers they still live under false assumptions that they can never get caught and that nothing bad can happen.

Don't ASSUME that because some game companies are tolerant that ALL of them are.....

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Offline (Male) edsquare
Reply #9 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 03:31:57 PM

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Astrosmash was conceived as Avalanche! after Meteor! did not take up the cartridge's entire ROM space. Meteor!, an Asteroids clone, was cancelled to avoid a lawsuit and Avalanche! was released as Astrosmash. The resultant game borrows elements from Asteroids and Space Invaders. Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrosmash

You can protect assets, and in some extremely rare cases gameplay, if your assets are different, and your gameplay is not an exact 1:1 copy is doubtfull you'll have any problem, since you can't copyright game genres, hence the jump'nrun, shootemup, rpg, etc. genres.

The way I see it astrosmash is a top-down scrolling shooter, just like many others before and after.

If mattel (the owner of intellivision) could they would have copyrighted the genre a long time ago.

So don't copy assets, make them as unique as you can, modify the gameplay so it's not a 1:1 copy of the original and you're set to go.

Also there are about 12 astrosmash remakes right now on the web.
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #10 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 04:52:23 PM
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Indeed, there is no copyright on genre, I posted some links above I would strongly recommend reading them, especially the one that covers game copyright in detail, read the part about scene-a-faire, very interesting, not all art in game is exclusive / copyrightable you will see examples on that site .....

Also there is something to be careful about, called substantial similarity.   there was a case where someone made a pac man type game, even with his own assets, the rules were the same, but he got ordered to take down...... Sometimes you can get take down notices even though by law your game does not violate any.  Company representatives sometimes will abuse this, knowing most people won't counter the take down and abide by it.  There have been cases where games were taken down but where their authors could have fought and won their case.  So one has to be careful about that too.  Frivolous lawsuits and take down notices are not uncommon and some companies take big risks doing so, should someone dispute it and knows about the law and can establish they have violated the guidelines.

It's a big mess, and there is lot of contradictions and ambiguity / gray areas.  Which is why it is important to get the info straight from law.  Not everyone will get caught or get notices obviously.  If you rip off from TKG's games and release clones, remakes and substantially similar, it's very unlikely TKG will sue your arse ! But more likely if you were dealing with Nintendo, NAMCO, ATARI, EA, Microsoft, and other big fish...........:P

So it's a good idea to research the company you are trying to rip off from, better yet, make your own unique games similar to nothing out there if you want near 0 liability.  Use the similarity disclaimer (nearly all films use this disclaimer).  OR if you want to make clones and remakes keep them inside a closed circle, avoid social media, torrents and file hosts, or make your files PRIVATE and request that people NOT redistribute your files. This way it would be highly unlikely that any company would go after you, in fact they won't, and it will be difficult for them to control.

That said I too was thinking of making remakes of C-64 games but one thing I will never do is publish these files on social media, file hosts, indie sites, etc.
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Offline (Male) edsquare
Reply #11 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 05:48:01 PM

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@darkstar2:

Yea, substantial similarity is indeed a problem, that's why I said make your one assets unique and do not copy 1:1 game play (rules).

Anyway, making a clone is a great way of learning to use enigma, since you don't have to design the game, somebody already did that.

I too am making some clones right now, don't think I'll upload them anywhere and only allow my son to try them (so he can see what gaming was like in the dinosaurs time  ;D

As you say better safe than sorry, and there's always abandonware, games that have no copyright or opensourced games, so you can make a tux clone, a tux cart clone, an opensurge clone, a super smash bros clone and so on. Just go to sourceforge and check out the games they have there, avoiding the clones of commercial games.
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #12 Posted on: July 14, 2014, 07:19:34 PM
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@darkstar2:

Yea, substantial similarity is indeed a problem, that's why I said make your one assets unique and do not copy 1:1 game play (rules).

Anyway, making a clone is a great way of learning to use enigma, since you don't have to design the game, somebody already did that.

I too am making some clones right now, don't think I'll upload them anywhere and only allow my son to try them (so he can see what gaming was like in the dinosaurs time  ;D

As you say better safe than sorry, and there's always abandonware, games that have no copyright or opensourced games, so you can make a tux clone, a tux cart clone, an opensurge clone, a super smash bros clone and so on. Just go to sourceforge and check out the games they have there, avoiding the clones of commercial games.

What I am surprised with is how YoYoGames managed to allow member to upload games people made with GM which mostly were mario clones, sega clones, etc, and not get into trouble. :P

You could upload your creation to a file host and password protect it, share it only in a tight circle and add disclaimers in your game, mentioning each respective IP holder, and adding a warning NOT to distribute this game.  ALSO if you are making a game with your own asset and want to protect against similarity claims, or using characters, names, etc, add a disclaimer that any resemblance is coincidental and not intended, though be careful as this can be argued in a court if the work is complex and anybody can prove the unlikelihood of such coincidence such as complex recreation of art.

Most of the IP holder and their representative scour social media and file hosts as these are the most likely places people upload their crap. 

BTW, there were many mario clones back in the days of the sandbox, (YYG), yet Nintendo has a very strong stance against clones, remakes, fan games etc.  Unless YYG has a deal with such companies I wonder how none of this got noticed.  YET majority of the games posted allegedly are infringing.

Expression of ideas can be protected not the ideas themselves.

Whatever game you make a lawyer somewhere will work hard to find SOMETHING,anything to sue you, that's what they do and paid for.

If you want to live on the edge and test the waters, post your clone/remake on facebook and youtube........:D  Depending on the company you are allegedly ripping off of, you will get notices much quicker.

I too would like to make some clones :P

There are also RATS online, they get kicks of reporting people. These game companies sometimes have staff that scour online, and know where to look, this is fact as I know people who work for some of the big companies.  Music, Film and videogames, gotta be very careful.

I wonder how the C-64 games fall under, are all of them still under copyright or is there an expiration ? limit ? from what I heard it was 70+ years? or unlimited in some cases?

Would be quite amazing porting some of the C-64 games to ENIGMA :P    Those nice 8x8 sprites max 4 colour per sprite, etc. :P
What I'd love to do is import some C-64 assets and make completely new levels of those games.

Anybody remember Montezuma's revenge and Shamus Case series ? 

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Offline (Unknown gender) intygamer
Reply #13 Posted on: July 16, 2014, 08:34:50 PM

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Thanks everybody for all the info.  There are so many clones out there that I didn't think there would be a problem.  I will listen to your advise and be safe and keep my clone games to myself.  Yes clone a game makes it easier to learn and be inspired by game you grew up with.  Me and my son will enjoy those.  Thanks Darkstar2 for all the law links, I will keep for future reference.  Also I had alot of c-64 games I use to play.  I may have played shamus once.   Remember Zork, Star Control, Lode Runner.

I did plan on making some new tux games, but not cloning any.  I may start with Tuxroids or something.  lol

Thanks
Joe
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