Replicating Mechanics From Other Games : How much is too much?

Ekanselttar

It's Finally Happening
Veteran
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
67
Reaction score
16
First Language
Norwegian
Primarily Uses
Greetings everyone!


I had this thingy greasing my brain cogs for a while now.


The majority of art is "inspired" by someone else's work.In terms of game mechanics,how much of that is okay? I'm not talking about the downright duplication of other fellow devs' hard skull splitting thinking of originality,but just how much mimicking is acceptable by both the game developer,and the game community.
 

taarna23

Marshmallow Princess
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
5,232
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I dunno... my dungeon runner game I submitted for a contest was very strongly inspired by the .hack game series, but I realized while playing it, it doesn't really FEEL like it. I think that might actually be a good place to be - uses the same general ideas without creating the same kind of game feel, causing something that is simultaneously familiar but new.


That said, I think this might be an extremely hard concept to quantify and likely varies from case to case.
 

Wavelength

MSD Strong
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
6,114
Reaction score
5,859
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
You can get away with a lot of mimicking of gameplay systems (both legally and in the eyes of the players), as long as it jives well with your game and doesn't feel like it was ripped from somewhere else and doesn't belong.  No need to err on the side of caution here.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Pine Towers

Knight Hospitaller
Veteran
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Messages
467
Reaction score
228
First Language
Portuguese
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Or, if the game is a homage to a game, why not? I always wanted a good tactical D&D game, so nothing more obvious than copying the mechanics.

Although, as testing and asking around showed, a miss is a lot more boring in a video game than when surrounded by friends throwing die around. So even homage games must be adapted sometimes.
 

AwesomeCool

Bratty and spoiled little sister
Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
2,862
Reaction score
1,948
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
I feel this question is going about the situation the wrong way.


It will only feel like an imitator when it IS an imitator.  If a game is made with the desire to become it's own thing, but uses a lot (or even most) of mechanics from some other game, it will still have it's own feel.


Of course there will always be that guy who claims that X copied Y.


But that happens for every game out there and is done whether it is true or not (haters gonna hate).


(Humans are all so similar to each other, but yet everyone is still different and unique.  Even with how minor the differences between people really are, this is true.)
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
Messages
569
Reaction score
1,169
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
There's no such thing as originality, but there is such thing as innovation.

/\ this


Everything comes from somewhere, if you look back through time you'll find loads of games/stories/etc that all resemble one another in some way.


(according to one of my tutors back from my college days) even the base story of Star Wars was 'mimicked' from an earlier samurai film. If you think about it, Light Sabers are basically katanas/swords from the future and Jedi are Samurai with mind powers. Star Wars at it's core is no more than Samurais in space, and yet it has become a thing of its own.


The same goes with game mechanics, rather than force yourself to come up something new (which in today's age, is near impossible) its often better to look at what other people have done and where appropriate mix things up. Even the base mechanics of RPG Maker is 'ripped' from the 'traditional RPG' formula.
 

Alexander Amnell

Jaded Optimist
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
3,404
Reaction score
1,736
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
There's no such thing as originality, but there is such thing as innovation.

I know that's a really popular thought around here, but I can't really buy into it at all. For one thing, I believe the intent of the statement redefines the meaning behind those words.


Innovation: the introduction of something new; a new idea, method or device


Originality: the ability to think independently and creatively.


   If originality in art truly doesn't exist anymore, then innovation becomes an impossible accomplishment and a waste of time to try for as well. It means creativity itself is a myth and we're all copying something else. I understand the argument fits more into 'nothing new under the sun' which is true in the most limited of senses, but creativity is so much more than whether two stories have a couple of similarities to them or the fact that most artists learn from those who came before and adapt that knowledge into their own style over time. This doesn't mean the second story was even inspired from the first (recently ran across a novel that was 90% my games plot, well after that plot had been written. It doesn't invalidate my work as unoriginal, in fact the author of said book has such a vastly different perspective than mine that the entire message of our tales are vastly different, for all of the surface similarities that could be dismissed off hand as me being inspired from/copying her) or that the new artist is a mere imitation recreating the past.


   Originality does not mean reinventing the wheel, and if it did innovation wouldn't exist at all; we'd all still be busy inventing wheels instead of moving forward to create the carts, trains, cars and whatever comes next as a result of someone long ago creating a wheel.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Messages
586
Reaction score
316
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
There's plenty of games that are shameless, blatant rip-offs of existing games.


It's practically a coin-toss as to whether they get called out on that or worshipped.
 

AwesomeCool

Bratty and spoiled little sister
Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
2,862
Reaction score
1,948
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
@Alexander Amnell - Everything we do is inspired by something else.  Nobody truly gets an idea out of nothing and we all learn from past successes of others.  So yes, originality does not exist.


Every single novel, book, painting, movie, TV show, and song took ideas from something else and built upon it.


Examples: Lord of the Rings has many elements inspired heavily on occultism and Fantasy games/movies/novels take elements from Lord of the Rings (and build upon them).  Star Wars takes elements of fantasy (magic and sword fighting) and puts it in a sci-fi setting.  The RPG genre as a whole take elements from Dungeons and Dragons.  Attack on Titan was inspired by post-apocalyptic manga's in the past.  Heck, Dark Souls lore mechanics were inspired by old fantasy novels and the creator having trouble translating them from English (which he used his imagination to fill in the gaps himself and thought it was fun to fill in the gaps).


We innovate by building upon established concepts in some way.  Make a shooter with RPG elements. Make a game with a type of story generally not seen in games.  Make a story based on real-life experiences.  Add elements of card games to an RPG Battle system.


We build upon the previous work of others.  Always have and always will.
 

Alexander Amnell

Jaded Optimist
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
3,404
Reaction score
1,736
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
We build upon the previous work of others.  Always have and always will.



   That's a logical paradox though. Yes we build upon life experiences, ideas that appeal to us and both the failures and successes of others but that can't relegate everything we do and think down to mimicry, we prove that wrong with every advancement we make. This argument isn't new, it's been used to say we can't throughout history and we always push forward whether technologically, artistically or by by whatever other standards you might want to relegate human development we continue to push the envelope, a feat that would be impossible in a world where nothing under the sun is new.


   Innovation literally means something new, but where do new ideas come from if everything we strive for is nothing but a mere imitation of what came before us? It doesn't make sense; to say humans are incapable of independent, creative thought is such a facile argument I'm honestly unsure how to rebuff it. (I've thought about opening this argument up several times in the past, since it gets thrown around here so often and each time I cringe a little) As I said above, I both understand and accept that we are inspired by the world around us, I'm not saying we live in a vacuum or anything but we take what we experience and turn it into something different, whether what we create is inspiring or monstrous, it's still our creation, and the fact that we don't live in a vacuum by no means delegates these advancements, however they might come about to being nothing more than a copying of others ideas, a world such as that would be stagnant and without growth. Creativity is not a falsehood and neither is independent thought, if it were then why the hell don't we just all agree with each other about everything, since every thought we come up with is the direct result of something someone else came up with before us? It just doesn't make sense in my mind to think that way.


Edit @AwesomeCool/anyone else who wants to dogpile on me: we should probably keep any further comments in this vein relegated to pms, I didn't think about it till after posting this one but with the last two posts we've completely derailed this thread. Sorry about that OP/Mods.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ash55

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
42
Reaction score
78
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I wouldn't worry about taking inspiration. It's inevitable. Lots of concepts that have stood the test of time and become popular have usually survived for good reason. Just make sure that you're not just trying to recreate something that already exists wholecloth. If you like FF7's battle system, you can take inspiration, but make sure your game isn't ALSO about an angsty blonde guy with repressed memories and a sword as big as he is.

I think that the merging of disparate elements into something cohesive is the challenge. Think of it like food. You can pull all sorts of ideas from various games you love, but if the systems clash and don't make sense within the same game, then your game is going to suck. You may like chocolate, beer and roast chicken. But a chicken covered in chocolate and marinated in cheap booze isn't likely to work out all that well. Hmm... or is it. If you can combine several things that have never been seen together in the same game, and do it in a way that makes perfect sense (and is fun as hell), then you may have something good. 

Not every game has to be an innovative work of art either. I'm honestly more interested in indie games like Castle Crashers than Braid. It's just a lighthearted game based on the old arcade beat 'em up genre I loved as a kid. Just make the game you want to make. Unless it's your absolute PASSION to make some revolutionary game that redefines the genre or whatever... don't worry about it too much. If you like old school RPGs, then pay homage to / lift heavily from them in your own project.

I think that innovation is usually just the result of a confluence of multiple existing ideas, disciplines or technologies.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mistFAWKES

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
50
Reaction score
14
First Language
elngish
Primarily Uses
N/A
to give some outside-of-gamedev context, stephen king defines a truly unique story as the juxtoposition of 2 separate, never-before-combined ideas. if you were using Unity or Unreal, you'd definitely want to make as much of ur game as unique as possible. w rpg maker, i seriously wouldn't worry about it. if you're passionate, and it's a game you want to play, do it!


(re: innovation being 'something new', that's a simplification of the first google result for the word. i'd go by the wiki explanation. a snippet: 'Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs'. the television was an innovation off the vacuum tube. everything is connected.)
 

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

Is RPG Maker VX (rgss2) still relevant? xD
ZyCHqk2.png

Something about top-downs.
I have never felt so attacked by a tree before :LZSlol: it took 10++ hours to make but at least it looks pretty LOL

Untitled-1.png
now seems like the worst time for me to need a better computer with how much stuff is costing. that and I don't thing there's much else I can do to make MV run any better with what I have.
Sigh... to have some variety in this weather. More than just sun and rain and wind and thunder.
In the meantime, I've discovered that I'm slowly becoming fatigued from the many sleepless nights my neighbors cause. Or at least their dogs. Always barking at something.
I might need a day to just sleep and recharge.

Forum statistics

Threads
118,454
Messages
1,116,101
Members
155,437
Latest member
PipingHotRamen
Top