Frostorm

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Ok, so you know how the Final Fantasy games have a class called a "Dragoon"? Basically, it's a Lancer with "Jump" abilities. I was wondering if using the idea/concept of the Dragoon class would be considered plagiarism or trademark/copyright infringement. I'm just not sure where to draw the line cuz there are staples in the RPG genre as a whole such as Mages, Warriors, Rogues, etc... So yea, do you guys think Dragoons are ubiquitous enough for me to use in my project?

In addition, how do you guys feel about skills like "Jump", in which it takes time to perform the skill, often while making the user untargetable while the skill is being cast? Also, could such types of skills work well in a non-CTB battle system instead of, say, a purely turn-based system? This is because I'm having trouble implementing a CTB system into LTBS (LeCode's Tactical Battle System) and am considering forgoing such a feature. Edit: I suppose the Pokemon games feature skills like "Jump" while being a purely turn-based battle system, so it should be fine.
 
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JohnDoeNews

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Having a class that works like dragoon is not copyrighted. Maybe the name is... If "Dragoon" is something that is really only existing in final fantasy like a Chokobo, then it might be, but if you would name it "Jumping Jack" it suddenly is not.

If you plan to name the class dragoon, then you might have to look into it. If you're okay with giving it your own name, and not in any way refer to Final Fantasy in-game, then there should not be a problem at all.

EDIT: A dragoon is an existing class, so you should be freely able to use it. This is what the first dictionary result on google says:
a member of any of several cavalry regiments in the British army.

Since dragoons are a real thing, no-one can claim it as their intelectual property. And there is no such thing as copyrights on gameplay. (Which means, your game might legally work the same as other games, as long as they are not copies of the other game.)
 

Frostorm

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Phew! That is certainly a relief, lol. Legal things aside, what about potential player perception if I do go ahead and use the term Dragoon as a class name? It would suck if people perceive it as a Final Fantasy ripoff, ya know?
 

JohnDoeNews

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If you use the class Dragoon and it works exactly the same way as FF, then that chance might be... But if you use the class Dragoon for a lancer with jumping skills, but the skills and the characters are all your own, then I wouldn't worry about that.

There is a big difference between being inspired by a game and ripping it off. I make a card game, for example (with MV) and I took a lot from other games, like hearthstone. Yet I dare to say my game is in no way a rip off:
- The theme is different
- How the game is played is different
- Win conditions are different
- Card tiers are different
- Card skills are different

Actually, pretty much every thing about my game is different than hearthstone, yet everyone who played hearthstone can easily see that was my main inspiration.
 
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Historically, dragoons were a sort of hybrid between mounted and on-foot soldiers, using horses for mobility but fighting on foot. Another fact about our real world dragoons: they used firearms instead of spears. Maybe you could draw some inspiration from that for your class?
 

Frostorm

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If you use the class Dragoon and it works exactly the same way as FF, then that chance might be... But if you use the class Dragoon for a lancer with jumping skills, but the skills and the characters are all your own, then I wouldn't worry about that.
Yea, my Dragoon class is basically going to be a Lancer with jumping skills. The only aspect I'm taking from FF is the term "Dragoon" and the fact that they have these jumping skills. I was worried that was too similar, but if that's not the case then I guess I'm gucchi.
 

ZombieKidzRule

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The term goes back even farther than the British usage.

dragoon (n.) 1620s, "cavalry soldier carrying firearms," and thus capable of service either on horseback or on foot, from French dragon...

But again, the more like FF it is, the more likely it is to be associated with that. However, I think some of that is to be expected. Like trying to trace back the first game to use a catlike PC. A lot of games over the years have used a catlike race, but it had to start somewhere. I think fantasy genre games are full of that sort of thing.
 

JohnDoeNews

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Well... I don't think it is too close. But I can't speak for everyone of course. :p

But... In many cases Warriors and Paladins wil wear heavy armor and 2 handed skills. Thieves or rogues will use stealth and dual wield small blades. Priests do the healing. And mages do magical damage.

This is all just how world of warcraft do their classes. Not just a bit, but exactly. But they do not own warriors or thieves or paladins. They have just set a standard and everyone else follows.

If you would use Demon Hunter, a new class in WoW, then you would actually enter a grey area and probably be in the wrong. Demon Hunters are a class completely made up by the blizzard theme and they are 100% born in the warcraft universe.

But that is not the case for dragoons. As I see it, dragoons did already exist way before we played RPG's and FF can't claim that is their intellectual property.

But... Even though I did a lot of online research on the subject of copyright in game development, I am not a lawyer. I do not think this is too close, but I can not actually give you legal advice.
 

Frostorm

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But... Even though I did a lot of online research on the subject of copyright in game development, I am not a lawyer. I do not think this is too close, but I can not actually give you legal advice.
No worries in that regard! I'm actually more concerned with the player experience than any potential legal issues. Anyway, looks like I'll be okay going forward with this, thanks!
 

JohnDoeNews

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Well... In that case: A player that expects an RPG with nothing they have seen before, will be disappointed no matter what. :p
 

MarxMayhem

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In addition, how do you guys feel about skills like "Jump", in which it takes time to perform the skill, often while making the user untargetable while the skill is being cast? Also, could such types of skills work well in a non-CTB battle system instead of, say, a purely turn-based system? This is because I'm having trouble implementing a CTB system into LTBS (LeCode's Tactical Battle System) and am considering forgoing such a feature. Edit: I suppose the Pokemon games feature skills like "Jump" while being a purely turn-based battle system, so it should be fine.
I do need to mention that the Dragoon and Jump ability as we knew it came from FF3, which is also standard turn-based (and predates Pokémon too), and the ability is still used in later turn-based games like the Bravely series (Bravely Default II outright calls the associated class "Dragoon"). If people didn't complain about it then, they won't complain about it now.

Personally, I don't mind it. I see it as a dueling skill- intended to protect the user from attacks while preparing for its own. It functions no different from a parrying skill sans invulnerability. If your game gives both players and enemies to work around such skills to lessen or even nullify such skills, the game will be fine with them.
 

Hungry Moogle

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I'd thought I should point out that Final Fantasy only uses the name "Dragoon" in the English translations. In the original Japanese, the class is called 竜騎士 (Ryūkishi) which literally translates as "Dragon Knight".

Why the name change? Presumably it was due to the limit of how long job class names in Final Fantasy IV could be. You see back in the days of 16-bit games, JRPGs like Final Fantasy IV typically had a extremely limited number of how many letters you could use for naming things due to memory issues and as a result Dragon Knight was simply too long and had to be modified in some way in order to fit.

An example of this would be Crono, the main character of Chrono Trigger, whose name should be spelled "Chrono" but because the game had a five-letter limit for the names of playable characters, the 'H' had to be dropped in order for the name to fit.
 
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pawsplay

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The word "dragoon" isn't original, but even if it were, one word is rarely enough to trademark or copyright. And "guy who jumps" is neither a complete artistic work nor a recognizable mark in trade. As long as you don't copy a specific character or copy specific text, IANAL, but the legal danger is almost zero.
 

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