palinskyjoe

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Hey all! This is a (sort of) 2 part question about specific resources.


Back in the days of RPG Maker 2000 and 2003, there were some lovely character sets that I used to use for my personal projects because they were so fantastic/close to the RTP/etc. I recently found these resources on the internet again and was playing around with converting some of the characters into MV-style.


My problem is that I have no idea who the original artist behind these designs might be.


The best link to the resources can be found here: 


http://www.angelfire.com/games2/gauphastusman/rm2k_files/charasets/charas1.html


(Remember Angelfire?! Lol)


Anyway, I tried seeing if this was the site that hosted the original files but almost all pages have been deleted and the main page has a link to a more current Wordpress (last update in 2012) but I couldn't find any info on whether or not it was the artist's page or just someone who shared the resource back in the day.


Any veterans out there might recognize the images immediately. I feel like I used to know who made these, and that it might be a big name? Maybe even someone on these boards? There were definitely facesets that fit these characters (possibly by several different artists?) and I remember many games of the time utilized some of these characters.


The second part:


As I mentioned, I was playing around with creating MV-style versions of these characters. I don't mean that I'm converting the files. I'm using GIMP to recreate the sprites from scratch based on the original charsets. It was for fun at first but then I realized that I did a better job than I anticipated on some and wanted to share them with the community. BUT, because I'm a stickler for the rules (especially with art and ownership) I want to find out what the protocol is for this. I know other artists have created MV sprites out of VX/Ace sprites before but those were typically RTP and the terms are straightforward.


Any insight or assistance with any of this would be fantastic. I really want to show off some of these sprites, gain feedback, and let gamers play around with the array of characters included. It was so fun to take the minimal pixels of the old engines and add in some fun depth. Anyway, thanks in advance. You're all swell. :)


((Also, I apologize if the answer to this question is obvious. I just am not positive what the appropriate search terms would be for this on Google since it has been so long and I have no memory of where they originated and in what capacity.))
 
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Sharm

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If you want to find the creator of a resource it would go in resource requests, FYI.  But this is a two part question and the other half doesn't belong there so I'll do the best I can with that part of the question.  What you can do with edited resources depends entirely on the rules set by the resource creator.  Some people don't care if you edit and repost, some just want credit regardless, some don't want any editing done at all if you use their stuff, there's no way to know without finding out directly from the resource creator.  If you don't know then you just assume the answer is no.  All rights are retained by the artists by default unless you're given specific permission otherwise.
 

palinskyjoe

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@Sharm Oh thanks! I actually didn't know that resource requests forum was for anything more than requesting a specific resource. Good to know! (I've barely explored that area outside of a few posts here and there so I guess I was just making that assumption. Makes sense that this question would go there.) 


And thanks for the info on the edits, I assumed it was going to be the standard rules and whatnot. I think the idea of an "edit" gets murky to me in this regard. Since the sprites need to be expanded and given more detail, and since they're being drawn from scratch, it feels like something slightly new is being created. But, I know that the "idea" of the sprite, or whathaveyou, is what's being stolen in this sense. 


For the sake of keeping things in order, since you've answered the relevant half of my question, I can take the other half of the question over to the resource boards and put out my feelers for who the artist might be. It just has been so long since these were shared that I'm kind of sad to think that the artist has long since moved on (but, like, who even knows)
 
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Sharm

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Ah, if you did it from scratch that gets more murky.  Let's say for example, you looked closely at the referenced image and place everything pixel by pixel in the same spot as part of that referenced image.  In that case it makes no actual difference that you didn't use the copy paste commands, you copied and pasted with your eyes and hands.  It would be treated the same as an edit.  On the other hand, let's say you looked at a fire elemental and made your own sprite where the only similarity was that they were both fire elementals, the entire design is different.  In that case there's nothing that was copyrightable that you copied, it was just inspired.  Third example, you make your own sprite that has no pixels in common with the original but is clearly meant to be a representation of the exact same character.  This is still covered by copyright but you don't have to change that representation of the character very much to be able to claim it as something unique.  This area is also often covered by trademark laws.  It's highly unlikely that these character designs have been trademarked, but keep in mind that trademark laws are much different in Japan so a likeness that would be legally in the clear there might be illegal in the US.  It's possible if you got the sprite from a Japanese creator that they could have used someone else's design in the first place.  Tricky stuff!
 

palinskyjoe

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@Sharm yes! exactly! I took a class on Art & Copyright in college and it opened my mind to a lot of the madness involved. It also made me very nervous about ever accidentally infringing upon someone else's creative/intellectual property. 


The second example is the closest to what I did. A lot of the characters are archetypal (knight, pirate, elemental, princess, etc.) and I was playing with the general idea of what each character embodied. I also tried to use color palettes found in the RTP or related DLC I've purchased in order to make it feel more "MV." Since it could easily be a complex endeavor to try and find the original artist, I may just move on to something more original with the skills I've learned from this.


Honestly, this was mainly an exercise to see if I could even do it because I was trying to push my pixel art limits (which are confined but always expanding!) I bought the Steam Season Pass and have been really fascinated by the hero pack from RPG Maker 2000. I loved seeing those little characters with more life and was itching to try my hand at it. 


Thanks again for your help (and for understanding my confusion!). :D
 
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Sharm

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BTW, color palettes can't be copyrighted.  Specific colors can be trademarked but it's usually only one or two and only done for the colors in logos and infringing on a color trademark is actually pretty hard.
 

palinskyjoe

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@Sharm This is all good to know. I write for a living and plagiarism is a huge problem in the age of the internet (including plagiarising yourself... which is a whole 'nother beast to try and conquer) so I like to assume that everything belongs to someone else until I know otherwise. Which is funny because, in my heart, my true belief is one of a world of open exchange where ideas and creations are shared to build upon and grow the collective experience of our species rather than to capitalize upon minor financial boosts. I mean, in practice I support artists and want them to make all the money, but I also wish that we were beyond this stage of our societal evolution. #idealism ?


Anyway, you're the best! I appreciate all of your assistance on this. :)
 
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