This post is not directed at the intelligent programmers who try to create something new. This post is mostly directed at random newbies who see a game they like and decide to "re-create" it.
Also I apologize in advance to RobertBanks. I am going to be using one of his favourite jokes quite often here.
We say that the business world of the United States is Capitalist. This is generally true. But what does this mean?
The world "capitalism" itself roughly translates to "Philosophy of Money" or "Thought by Money." Whatever it means, it's pretty much what you would call, "Money Oriented." The idea behind capitalism is that individuals set out to be the best and their effort is rewarded by personal gain. Compare this to communism, where everyone sets out to do what's best for everyone and the entire community benefits. (In my opinion, TRUE Communism (not that stuff Stalin does) is too optimistic for this world. But I'm not going to debate that here.)
How Capitalism Works (Supposed to)
A person develops a product. Let's say a person develops a new bucket. That person will create and distribute buckets. Now this is not the only guy selling buckets. He has COMPETITION, others fighting to sell their product to the same customers. So now he has to beat competition, and his competitors understand this as well. So his competitors go out, try to make their buckets lighter, what does our protagonist do? He invents the bucket handle. Now he has a significant edge over the competition and becomes quite rich.
How Capitalism Works - Part 2 (Today)
A person develops a product. The manufacturing and distribution costs are great. So muhc so that they run out of money (because of a down economy) and default on their loans. Before defaulting, they manage to get SOME of their product out, but in the end, the product is no longer being made.
Daddy goes to the bar to drink and forget reality while dreaming of what success might have been like. Mommy stops making sandwiches. The polar ice caps melt. Manhattan is underwater. Everyone has to adapt and grow gills. I look very fashionable in our new underwater world and become a famous super-star. All of you ask for my autograph but I have to say no because the ink in my pen is bouyant and I can't sign photographs in pencil!
(The previous paragraph was a joke. The one before it was not.)
Now it's time for my obligatory reference to BYOND and to explain why BYOND doesn't want your game.
Obligatory Reference to BYOND
You played a game, you liked it. But you're not GM on it, or you're not God, and (and I feel like I am obligated to say this for RobertBanks) the game doesn't have the Naruto frog icon. So what do you do? You try to rip it.
If you are successful:
- Edit the GMs to be your "staff"
- Edit icons (add the Naruto frog icon because no self-respecting game would not have it)
- Move things around so that it's not exactly the same as the original game (which it sorta is)
(Pretty much, the story of every rip ever)
You submit your game to BYOND only to find out that BYOND doesn't want it. Why? Because the game is a rip and BYOND doesn't want rips.
Cool, cool. You can take that. So you decide to code the game from scratch. You keep up with updates, and you manage to create something original that is very similar to the game that gave you inspiration. You submit your new game to BYOND. BYOND lists it, but guess what? BYOND still doesn't want your game.
Why not? BYOND Listed it didn't they? Well, yes. But that doesn't mean that BYOND wants it. It just means that your game met the requirements to be listed.
What will probably happen over the next year is that your game will not be very popular despite being hosted 24/7 and having the Naruto frog icon. (Perhaps you should have also added the Naruto turtle icon as well...) In any case, your game dies and ends up taking up space on both BYOND's hub and your computer. You want to know why? YOU MADE YOUR GAME WRONG.
While it's acceptable to draw inspiration from other games (Goddess knows that I have), to create a copy is pointless. You forget why the guy that invented the bucket handle was so awesome. HE BROUGHT SOMETHING NEW TO THE PRODUCT.
When two products are essentially the same, you buy the cheaper one. The same goes for games. If your game is the same as someone else's game, and people have already invested time in the other one, why should they join you to start over?
Some "game creators" (Quotation marks are there for a reason!) realize this, so they offer you some free items and whatnot. Now you're not starting over. However, the problem with that model is that it's sort of cheating, not to mention that you shouldn't have to "bribe" players to play what should be a great game. Thankfully, I have not seen outrageous successes of this to date.
Others realize this and try to add some content. The problem is that they do this through icons instead of actual gameplay. Maybe they'll advertise aspects of the game that are not truly important. Does it really make a difference if the Naruto frog icon is in the game? To some, maybe. For most people, it will not. Does it matter if you have "better GMs?" Not really. (Icons and GMs seem to be the selling points of re-created games...) Granted there is a limit to that statement. I'm not going to play a "good" game, afraid to get banned every second just because I'm fascist.
Disclaimer: I, Artemis, am not fascist. (Not that it matters)
How do I address this serious problem Artemis? Simple. Do not get into it in the first place. When you create a game, first think, "Is there a game exactly like this on BYOND already?"
If the answer is no, full steam ahead! You'll bring something new to BYOND! You probably have my blessing (a case in which you do not have my blessing is if you answer no because your game will have the Naruto frog icon)
(If my blessing really matters that much to you, feel free to send me an email or something describing your game and I'll give you my opinion. The thing is, if you're reading this, you probably don't care about my blessing, and if you do, you are probably one of the people who think similar to me, so you know all of this already, which means you would never let yourself run into this problem in the first place.)
If the answer to the question was yes, that doesn't mean that you should not make your game. It just means you have another question to ask yourself.
Can I do it better?
If the answer is no, then you shouldn't bother trying, sorry. The better product always wins. And why would you want to stop playing on the better game to play on your less than optimal one? (If your answer is because you're not GM or that it doesn't have the Naruto frog icon, I am going to kick you so hard your Mom is going to feel it as she gives birth to you.)
There are many Castle clones on BYOND, and while personally I do enjoy Castle Revolution time to time, no one has ever "done it better." Why? Because they didn't really change anything. They renamed things, new icons, that's it. And I'm not faulting them for not doing it better. Castle was like, perfectly balanced. That and that there's only so much that one can do with a Tower Defense game. (But I guess that's where imagination comes in!)
(Also, I want to re-iterate. Adding the Naruto frog icon does not qualify as "doing it better.")
So what do I do?
Like I said before, don't have the problem in the first place. And while I hate spoon-feeding answers, I hate seeing tons of clones on BYOND even more. So here are some tips on not running into the problem in the first place. (Comments will be added and credited if I like them)
1. Try to come up with something new to begin with. If you don't start with someone else's game to begin with, you probably won't end with it. And if you do end up with the same thing, it's not like you came there on purpose. Besides, you probably have your own plan to advance your game that is different from theirs. If you still have a similarity problem after all that, then the two of you can either work together or duke it out to have the better game.
(A common option that I feel is left out is collaboration. People are so busy sitting on their soap box that they don't want to work with others to create something better. They're too busy focused on maintaing their diminishing "power.")
2. When taking inspiration from someone else, think more about how you can change it, than how to create it. Adding a wheel to a wheel to make a bike is awesome. Creating another unicycle and pretty much competing on which unicycle looks cooler is retarded. (Yes, I used the r-word.)
2b. It's not really unforgivable if you re-create the game in a way that you like it, because in a way, you're making a "new" game. Example? Falacy's Duelz. It's a lot like the Duel Monsters Online of old by Kajika. But a new twist was put on it. New gamestyle (still quite similar to Magic...) new game. That's cool.
3. This one is kind of an aside. Don't send your plans out. Don't tell the world what's going into your Mermaid Melody game. If someone else makes it faster and better, they just took your idea and ran with it.
(However, if you go to the Dev. Forums, do not worry so much about hiding it. One, no one there is trying to steal your secrets. They're there to help. It's difficult to help someone who is hiding information. More examples:
Girl - "Help! Mommy is trapped in a burning house!"
Stranger - "Where is this burning house?"
Girl - "Umm... Mommy told me never to tell strangers where we lived..."
That girl's mom is going to die. And so will your game.
The second reason you should not hold information back, is that if your idea is really really good, BYOND is going to copy it ANYWAY. So it's okay to spread the word of a new, easy way of doing things. It's better for BYOND as a whole.)
I guess that's about all that you're going to find on the Hunting Grounds today. I hope that I was able to deter some newb from creating a clone. As for the rest of you who read blogs just to make fun of Artemis, I hope that you enjoyed this.
tl;dr - Your game sucks and BYOND doesn't want it.
Keep it real, dawg.