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How Do I Create a Spiritual Game Successor? 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the pray-on-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've recently been on a legacy video game binge, reliving the nostalgic days, when I realized that one of my favorite old games can be vastly improved with a few tweaks. This game is pretty much made for a controller, so I would love to get it done on Xbox Live, but doing it on the PC is just as viable. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the game is not in the public domain yet. Based on previous stories covered here, some companies are all for community made successors while others choose to give them the crushing blow from the start. My question is: how far is too far when one is trying to make a spiritual successor? I do not intend to copy any materials, but it would be lovely if I could incorporate some game design ideas (very general level design, movement, and just one or two game features)."
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How Do I Create a Spiritual Game Successor?

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  • Um ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:10PM (#31796276)
    Pray for inspiration and success?
    • I think that I'd start with a Ouija board. Let me find that manual - 'Programming with Ouija' - it's around here somewhere!

  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:13PM (#31796292) Journal

    .... Lie.

  • by cliffiecee (136220) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:15PM (#31796310) Homepage Journal

    Alley Cat [wikipedia.org] was indeed an awesome game.

    But I don't think adding LOLcats is going to improve it.

    • ARGH! Now you've made me go and break out the emulator!

      But, on a serious note, LOLcats improves EVERYTHING.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Ah, man, I thought you meant AlleyKat [lemon64.com] and got excited for nothing.

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      WHAT?????!!!

      Alley LOLcat would be a GREAT game!

      Cats poking out of trash bins will be famous lolcat pictures, complete with captions.
      Doom music will play if the cat is attacked.
      Jumping into windows will start more mini-games, and original games will be accompanied with captions "DO WANT"/"DO NOT WANT" and appropriate cat-facial expressions.
      Mice in cheese can be followed with a portal gun, in full 3D.
      Cat can collect powerups that convert him into Longcat or Speedycat. Longcat jumped into a window may (with so

    • by Jedi Alec (258881)

      Ok, just how bad is it that mere seconds after seeing your post I'm humming that annoying little tune again?

      20 years deep down in the subconscious...and you had to bring it back. ;-)

  • by nomadic (141991)
    Would someone playing your game who had played the other one realize yours is based on the older? If not then I don't see what the big deal is, as far as I know you can adapt general gaming ideas (though IANACL).
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Well, "if not" then it's not a spiritual successor.

    • The guy didn't say what the classic game was, but if it's something like Turrican, I'm sure it will be obvious that's what it is and you'll receive a cease-and-desist order from the owner.

      And if you go direct to the owner you're likely to hear the word "no". The only way to do some kind of modern incarnation of Turrican would be illegally, and then release it into the wild before anybody can stop you.

  • the usual formula (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beefnog (718146) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:15PM (#31796318)
    1) accept zero money
    2) gpl / lgpl
    3) funky name that barely hints at the original
    4) original artwork

    unless the company happens to be in an IP troll mood, you'll probably be fine
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by neokushan (932374)

      ^ This

      The most successful "spiritual sequels" I've seen have generally been Open Source equivalents. Obviously you wont be able to open source anything from the Xbox360 SDK for legal reasons, but if you wanted to do it in XNA to get it on the 360, there's no reason why you couldn't.
      However, a good ol' C++/OpenGL PC version would be ideal, that way if it's successful enough, it can live on through various homebrew ports to past, present and future games consoles alike.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or;

      1. Just make it however you see fit.
      2. Don't add your name or any reference to yourself.
      3. Release whatever the fuck you want to.
      4. Let the users, not the lawyers, define the artistic merit.

      Guess i'm a dreamer.

    • Re:the usual formula (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:03PM (#31797064)

      As it stands, under American Copyright Law (and many other places), the "rules of a game" as it were can not be copyrighted (or trademarked, obviously). This is why you can have a blatant Tetris clone on your cell phone, but it can't be called Tetris (as that would be a violation of trademark).

      So long as the code is 100% yours (and/or is all code that is from scratch), all of the art assets (textures, models, music, etc.) are created from scratch, and you don't use any copyrighted material (character names, game name (obviously), and perhaps even the "distinctive appearance" of a character) you'll have no legal problems. Well, you might get sued, but any competent judge would throw the case out as in this situation they'd have no legal standing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        I agree entirely. If creating a "successor" of a game - any game that was similar to existing games - was illegal, than the vast majority of commercial games out there would be illegal.

        Unfortunately it seems to be a common myth in indie game development circles that rules and ideas are covered by copyright.

      • by Sparx139 (1460489)

        Well, you might get sued, but any competent judge...

        There's your problem. How often have we seen this not happen?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Xest (935314)

        Yep, this is mostly true, if you're making a clone of a game you don't need permission providing you don't infringe on their IP.

        Infringement of IP might be using the same names of characters, graphically similar enemies and so forth.

        Basically, if the original game is story based you're going to struggle to immitate it without infringing on their IP because their IP is so core to the game, but if you're going for a less story focussed game, let's say something like Streetfighter 2, then clone away, just chan

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I wonder how much is lost because of creative people's fear of the U.S. legal system. Sound businesses that never existed. Lost dreams.
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Alternative formula

      1. Write it as a shell script.

  • You could try Hare Krishna
  • Here's what I did... (Score:5, Informative)

    by drenehtsral (29789) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:16PM (#31796330) Homepage

    If it is an individual who wrote the original game, ask them for permission. Both times I've asked, I've received permission.

    If it is a faceless mega-corporation, avoid using images, music, or names from the original game, but unless they have a patent on the look-and-feel or game mechanics (never heard of the later), you can just code away.

    For my platman (old Amiga game) remake for the GBA, you can get it on my web page. (www.greasybastard.com)

    Also see freeciv, and any of the two-or-so decent Wing Commander Privateer remakes.

    • by tepples (727027)

      unless they have a patent on the look-and-feel or game mechanics (never heard of the later)

      Nintendo has U.S. Patent 5,265,888 (since reissued [google.com]) on the rules of Dr. Mario.

  • by moteyalpha (1228680) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:17PM (#31796340) Homepage Journal
    I have more fun making the games than I do playing them.
  • by Shinmizu (725298) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:26PM (#31796416)
    Well, you can just tell people you're working on Duke Nukem Forever and a Day. As long as you never finish, you've succeeded at making a spiritual successor.
    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      That was pretty damn funny. Actually, if you create a spiritual successor, (or rather a spiritual precursor) perhaps they would just buy it off of you. Then release it 10 years later.

  • You don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:35PM (#31796500) Homepage Journal

    So you played this game. You thought it was cool. You want to give others that cool experience that you liked so much.

    Instead of copying the game concepts, invent something new. Go a level beyond the original. Give other people that "Wow - this is really cool new game" experience, not the "Wow - this is a really cheesy knockoff of ${GAME}".

    I understand that learning to write games well without copying someone else's game is like learning to play guitar without _Stairway to Heaven_. That's fine; we've all got our Asteroids copies wasting bits on our hard drives. But copying games doesn't really bring anything new and good to the community:

    1. If it looks like a copy, it will be compared to that other game, and no matter how good you make it, there will be people who pan it because ${GAME} did X, and yours doesn't do X, or does Y instead and they liked X better.
    2. Even a poorly implemented or incomplete game will garner interest if it is NEW and INTERESTING. If you plan to open source this ever, and want to take it beyond the initial stages, it will be helpful to have a community supporting you, i.e. submitting bug reports and patches. Trust me, no one's going to even care to submit a bug report for a Yet Another Tetris Clone.
    3. Originality is good. Seriously, we have too many games which are essentially copies of each other with different texture maps. Do something that will challenge other game developers to rethink their gameplay.

    If game writing is your passion, do it well. The big studios are not going to produce the creative, fun-to-play kind of games that an independent developer can. You are not competing with them - you have a range of freedom the professional game developer can only dream about. Use it. Be a blessing to other gamers, not the studios.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I disagree. I'd be perfectly happy to get yet another pacman clone, if it was the best pacman of all time.

      original != good
      unoriginal != bad

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by icebraining (1313345)

      I don't really agree with this. The best OSS games I've played are all "successors" of older games, with improved but not so original mechanics: OpenTTD, Freeciv, Hedgewars or any of the Quake3 clones.

      I was also pretty excited to see development around a Theme Hospital OSS clone, but alas, it seems the movement lost some steam nowadays.

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        It's pretty hard to get enough people to cooperate in a way that could be described as proper opensource development (i.e. not just one guy doing all the work and releasing it under GPL but actually multiple contributors working together) when the goal is not "let's make X but better!". When the goal is to go original you get a katamari of ideas as every contributor will want to add his own "improvements". The best games look like they were designed by a single person or a hive mind even though there were m

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Nice argument, but the facts contradict it. There are many great free tributes to classic games. Freeciv, OpenTTD, Oolite, FrozenBubble, beautiful remakes of King's Quest I & II, and Quest for Glory II, Scorched 3d, etc. Any of these stand up well against their original inspiration, and provide something new at the same time.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      This guy said "I realized that one of my favorite old games can be vastly improved with a few tweaks". Why would you want to discourage someone doing that and maybe even let you and everyone else play it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NotQuiteReal (608241)
      invent something new

      That's like the old joke on how to carve a ship... "Start with a block of wood, and carve away anything that doesn't look like a ship".
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Can you point to me how many commercial games out there are totally original new ideas, as opposed to borrowing from previous games?

      The big studios are not going to produce the creative, fun-to-play kind of games that an independent developer can. You are not competing with them - you have a range of freedom the professional game developer can only dream about.

      Do you write games yourself, OOI?

      The reason why commercial game developers tend to be less original is because coming up with original games, that a

      • Re:You don't. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:27PM (#31797482) Homepage Journal

        Can you point to me how many commercial games out there are totally original new ideas, as opposed to borrowing from previous games?

        The most recent genre-launching video game was probably Parappa the Rapper in the mid-1990s. Parappa begot Beatmania, which begot Frequency and Amplitude, which begot Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Even a game like Katamari Damacy is just Bubbles (1982) redone as a 3D platformer.

      • by gillbates (106458)

        A game both original and fun to play is hard. It's a risky undertaking for a studio.

        Because he's independent, he has no deadline, no schedule pressure, indeed, no income pressure. He can do things which improve the art of game making as a whole. It isn't so much that a clone would be a waste of talent, but that he's in a position to do something much more revolutionary than copying someone else's idea. He should take advantage of that.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      Even a poorly implemented or incomplete game will garner interest if it is NEW and INTERESTING.

      I would say its quite the other way around. A clone of a well loved game will attract lots of attention, because it basically comes with a build in fan base and there will be plenty of fan pages out there that might link your project, thus spreading the word. Doing something completly new on the other side means you have to start from scratch, you don't have places to advertise your game and people will have no idea if your game is even worth a try, after all there are thousands of other free games floating

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      You see the same thing all over the place in other media as well. You can't swing a cat at a comics convention without hitting someone who's aching to "emulate" Jack Kirby by.... writing more stories using the characters Kirby created. (Or insert Will Eisner or Steve Ditko or Alan Moore or Jim Lee, etc. Or insert a beloved novelist or filmmaker or musician.) But that's not what made any of these creators great. What made them great was the fact that they created their own new characters (or songs or wh

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        There's a difference between writing/movies/music/etc and games in that games are largely mechanical and those mechanics can be improved. Stories are fixed works, writing the same one again with small improvements makes no sense but a game is dynamic, changing the mechanics even minimally can have a gigantic effect on the outcome and people replay games to experience all the different variations the mechanics can provide so those changes can be a huge improvement. What may be compared to stories, movies etc

    • by Draek (916851)

      But copying games doesn't really bring anything new and good to the community:

      Sure it does, particularly if the original game in question was made for a platform that's, for all intents and purposes, dead today. You may enjoy running an emulator inside a VM in compatibility mode just to play a game made for some weird C64 clone of old, but I prefer to type "apt-get install {clone name}" in a terminal and avoid all the trouble.

      If it looks like a copy, it will be compared to that other game, and no matter how good you make it, there will be people who pan it because ${GAME} did X, and yours doesn't do X, or does Y instead and they liked X better.

      And there'll be others who'll say that it's better *BECAUSE* it does Y instead of X. Such as "uses OpenGL graphics" instead of "uses crummy bitmaps for everythi

  • I think you should be able to make a very similar game as long as you do not direct copy the graphics or the name I do not think you should encounter much trouble.
    Just never say anymore then that it was inspired by the game.

    I am in no way an expert, but (very general level design, movement, and just one or two game features) should be fine.
    Pretty much every single FPS has similar moment and features anyways.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:45PM (#31796568)

    I do not intend to copy any materials, but it would be lovely if I could incorporate some game design ideas (very general level design, movement, and just one or two game features).

    If you aren't going to use any of their art assets or written copy, you don't use any of their trademarked names or characters, and you don't violate any patents they may have received on features (probably not an issue) then I don't see what the problem is in the first place.

    They can't do anything to you just for imitating the general game play. Commercial games do that all the time. Look at something like Dragon Age - the engine and game play feels a LOT like a spiritual successor to Neverwinter Nights - Bioware just dumped their D&D license and created all of their own story line and assets.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      I think the main question is what makes a game a spiritual successor. You answer that and you've got most of the trouble worked out. I'd say that the big thing is not so much the game play, as the atmosphere and the philosophy. You have to be careful how you do it, but there's typically a lot of room within that to make something that's fresh and non-infringing. Provided you don't choose something that lacks the complexity and sophistication to allow for it.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        True - and looking at existing examples might be a good way to help define that.

        For example:

        Total Annihilation -> Supreme Commander (same as with NN -> DA, it was the same developer who just no longer had rights to the original). The atmosphere, genre, *and* gameplay elements there are really similar...

        System Shock -> BioShock (again the story of same dev, new franchise...)

        This might become an interesting thread :) Any other obvious (or non-obvious) ones?

        • by tepples (727027)

          This might become an interesting thread :) Any other obvious (or non-obvious) [spiritual successors]?

          Goldeneye 007 -> Perfect Dark -> Timesplitters

        • Any other obvious (or non-obvious) ones?

          Mitchell's Osman to Capcom's Strider -- both directed by Kouichi "Isuke" Yotsui.

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        It's better described as the mental process in the player. The factors involved in that vary from game to game but a successor should provide a similar mental process (e.g. if a game has the player thinking about the large scale environment and how to navigate and explore it a game that instead focuses on a story and combat is not a sequel even if it uses the same setting, characters, etc). An important factor of that is also newness, if a part of the game was surprising the player with new ideas you can't

  • The only reliable level that is acceptable is to use the same game the same engine, and just make new custom levels for it. Anything more than that will end you up in hot water for sure.

  • Yahtzee did a tutorial video on this which he cleverly disguised as a review of the game Bioshock:

    Zero Punctuation: Bioshock [escapistmagazine.com]

    To paraphrase, "Bioshock isn't like System Shock II, it is System Shock II.... the bad guy might as well be Shodan with a waistcoat and a copy of Atlas Shrugged... PSI powers are now Plasmids, the Hybrids are now Splicers and the wrench is now... well it's still a wrench but a different sort of wrench... everything that was cyberpunk then is steampunk now..."

  • You're okay (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't use trademarked names or logos or anything so close it would create confusion. E.g., PocMan, or PacMen or PacPeople are too close to Pacman, but ChomperMan, PelletEater, GhostEater, etc, are okay.

    Don't use the original copyrighted materials. Artwork, exact text, etc, are all verboten.

    Beyond that, you're basically okay. Game rules/mechanics specifically *can't* be patented (or copyrighted, of course) in the USA. That doesn't mean that there aren't patents purporting to do so out there. There is long-s

    • by tepples (727027)

      Game rules/mechanics specifically *can't* be patented (or copyrighted, of course) in the USA.

      Nintendo's patent on the rules of Dr. Mario (originally 5,265,888; since reissued) and AFL's patent on indoor football with a rebound net (4,911,443) disagree with you. I can dig up citations if you wish.

  • Get it in writing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mykos (1627575) on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:16PM (#31796770)
    Get everything CLEARLY in writing if you get the IP owner on board with it. They can act enthusiastic now and screw you over later.
  • Spiritual games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ignavus (213578) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:47PM (#31797290)

    I am still trying to picture a spiritual game.

    Do you steer a character up into the mountains to assume the Lotus position and meditate on the oneness of the world?

    Are you attacked by demons, but instead of shooting them (Doom) you cast them out with prayer (obviously a movie spin-off from The Exorcist)?

    Do you pass through increasingly higher levels of virtue as your avatar accumulates Love, Peace, Hope, etc?

    It is an interesting idea anyway - spiritual enlightenment through game playing: the 21st century religion.

    • Wisdom Tree (Score:3, Funny)

      by tepples (727027)
      Wisdom Tree's games [wikipedia.org] weren't licensed by Nintendo. They were licensed by God.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      I am still trying to picture a spiritual game.

      "Do androids dream of electric sheep" had an electronic game that was pretty well what you describe, except as unseen enemies threw rocks at you as you climbed the mountain you just had to grit your teeth and bear it.

    • Yeah, I thought this too, when I saw how horribly they butchered Dante's Divine Comedia [dantesinferno.com]. The original was talking about the spiritual journey of a man seeking truth. It was a classic that influenced millions, and EA did their thing with it. I really don't expect anything more from EA, but I've been wondering, how could someone take the power and message of the original and transform it into an entertaining game? Because that's essentially what Dante did, he had a message he wanted to present, and he dep
    • by jlebrech (810586)

      EstherRTS

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Well, Cursed Mountain sounds superficially like what you describe (you ascend a mountain and fight by using prayers on restless souls and demons)...

    • by julesh (229690)

      I am still trying to picture a spiritual game.

      Do you steer a character up into the mountains to assume the Lotus position and meditate on the oneness of the world?

      You've played The Secret of Levitation [ysrnry.co.uk] then?

  • A lawyer (Score:1, Troll)

    by bbqsrc (1441981)
    Once again, Slashdot is not a lawyer. Ask one.
  • Copyright 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:52PM (#31797594) Homepage

    "Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the game is not in the public domain yet. "

    Since there are no video games I'm aware of that pre-date 1923 (US copyright law), I'd say that's probably right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      Authors can chose to release works into the public domain ahead of time, and sometimes things fall through the cracks, even though they are not all that old (see 'Night of the Living Dead').

      • by julesh (229690)

        Authors can chose to release works into the public domain ahead of time

        Technically speaking, this isn't true. Under the Berne Convention, copyright exists even if it is not asserted. Courts interpret a "release into the public domain" as, essentially, issuing a perpetual license to perform any activity with a work. While the consequences are effectively the same, the legal situation is considered different.

        and sometimes things fall through the cracks

        Not in Berne Convention signatory countries, as the US

      • by mog007 (677810)

        The loophole in the copyright extension that allowed Night of the Living Dead and Plan 9 From Outer Space to fall into the public domain were closed in the Sonny Bono Copyright act a few years ago. Now, your work has a copyright that lasts for 70 years + life or whatever it is from the moment it's created. The copyright holder no longer has to file extensions.

  • You should look at the copyright law governing games and then talk to an IP lawyer. But, my understanding, and I am not a lawyer, is that so long as you don't copy the look and don't steal any images or sounds made for the original game. You are pretty much in the clear. A spiritual successor is OK. Consider, that anyone can write a story using time travel or warp drive, but you get in trouble if you have warp drive ships named the NCC Enterprise that looks like the one in Star Trek. But, you can have a shi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I recently ran into a very similar situation with a software project of my own. And I did consult a lawyer.

    Take your design. Sample images, logos, and gameplay design to a lawyer, especially one who does copyright work. Take the original game (or screenshots and descriptions) as well.

    They should be able to give an opinion. If their opinion is that you're two close, then find some ways to make the game different in a way you feel is better until the lawyer says that it is different.

    Once he says it is dif

  • by steveha (103154) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:59PM (#31797850) Homepage

    Figure out what it is that you really like about the game. Then make a game that does something similar, and conveys the essence of what you like.

    For example, the essence of "Asteroids" would be a game where you pilot a space ship in 2D, with a simplified physics model (if you stop firing the engines, your ship will actually slow down and eventually stop due to some sort of highly unrealistic "friction" in space) and you busily dodge and shoot things. You could make a game that isn't called "Asteroids", doesn't have vector graphics, and has somewhat different rules, but it would still capture the essence. It doesn't matter if your rocks are kind of ugly or your sound effects are lame, but it does matter if the controls for the ship are sluggish to respond, or the game animation is jerky, that sort of thing. Sound effects and rock graphics are easily upgraded later; focus on the soul of your game. (I used to play Asteroids, and it wasn't because the graphics were so good or the music was so great. In fact, there was no music, although that sort of "heartbeat" sound effect was kind of cool for the day...)

    Once you have your core gameplay, you may start having original ideas that may take you in a new direction. Suppose you added gravity to your spaceship game, and the player has to fly in and out of cave networks, shooting little bases and collecting stuff? (That one is called "Gravitar".) Suppose you shoot rocks, but they don't blow up, and little crystals come out and you collect them? Then add a giant lion-faced robot boss... (That one is called "Sinistar".) So, don't call your project some lame name like "Asteroids Clone"; it may not end up being a clone. You could call it some goofy name like "Nexuiz" and thanks to the miracle of the Internet, people would still find out about it (if it's worth finding out about).

    Also, here is a meta hint that applies to any free software project: focus on what you are good at, and make something that is usable even if limited. If you make a game that is quite playable, but just has one level that repeats over and over, you may attract a fan base and someone may volunteer to write a new level for it. If your music is weak, someone who is a musician may donate some better music. But nobody will volunteer to take a broken mass of code that doesn't even compile, and help you sort it out. Successful free software projects build a community and some momentum, but you won't get a community or momentum without making something that actually works.

    I suggest an informal "agile" approach. Get something working, no matter how limited and lame. For example, a ship that flies around. Then add some feature, and get that working too. Say, rocks. Then keep adding things: collision detection (ship must dodge), ship gun, rocks splitting when hit, a score counter, etc. At each step, get something that works and check it in to a source control system before you go on.

    I use an informal agile approach on just about everything I do. If you are making a truly complicated game that needs crazy amounts of design, even then I suggest doing the agile thing... just design the broad outlines, then pick some easy corner of the project and start there.

    Especially in a project you are doing in your spare time for fun, this style of developing is a good idea. And in true open source style, consider making all your little incremental releases publicly available. If you are lucky, you may start to build a little community even while you are still at the pre-alpha stage.

    P.S. If you are looking for a project, please consider the Activision "Battlezone" game. It was an odd hybrid of a real-time strategy game and a first person shooter, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. If I ever tackle a game project like you are proposing, it would be this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlezone_(1998_video_game) [wikipedia.org]

    steveha

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      I still have a hard time truly imagining what the point of an FPSRTS would be. What should the thoughts of the player be? Why would he fight himself instead of letting automatically controlled units do it (since it costs him the ability to control other parts of the battlefield as his attention is tied up)? How much would an FPSRTS differ from a team FPS from the perspective of a player?

      • by steveha (103154)

        I still have a hard time truly imagining what the point of an FPSRTS would be.

        Well, I won't try to answer that question in the abstract. I'll just describe how it works in Battlezone.

        You are a guy who is there on the planet with your other units. You can give them orders, via radio I guess, or you can do things yourself. Your units have pretty lame AI, but three things they are pretty good at: "follow me", "attack that enemy", "defend the base".

        You have some kind of mission on each level. Some of the mi

      • by Jedi Alec (258881)

        I give you...Battlezone [wikipedia.org] and Battlezone 2 [wikipedia.org].

        Although not as polished as they could have been, tons of fun to play. Think trying to build your base and rushing around to defend chokepoints at the same time, as well as missions where you take a break from the RTS part for a good old "get from A to B in one piece" kind of mission.

  • As long as you don't directly copy any of the art, assets, code or writing, you're free to do whatever the hell you want. Even ripping off the setting as long as you change the names is fair game. Doing tile for tile remakes of the levels (if it has such a thing) might be pushing the boundaries, so I'd stay clear of that too, but pretty much any game mechanic has been copied a million times over so you're safe ripping that off to your hearts content. That's what the professionals do, too.

  • I look forward to the next new game that does not use any concepts that appeared in a previous game.

  • The Curse of Monkey Island I and Street Fighter II have recently experienced "remakes" on xbox live.

    They both offer the option to "stick with classic view" or "shiny new remade graphics". They also offer the possibility of switching from one to the other.

    I suggest you do the same: a "classic mode", with gameplay conserved from the original, and a "new mode" with improvements.

  • by Burz (138833)

    See Ultratron and Titan Attacks at puppygames.com

    These are a bit closer to original than 'spiritual successor' but so well executed they're hard to ignore.

  • I have read most of what's been written here, and I agree with many of the points made. I, myself, am working on a spiritual successor to a game, and I've implemented many of the ideas already expressed.

    1. Do not copy Image, Story, Scenario, etc. My game is based on the concepts behind the original Metroid and Metroid Zero Mission. I have changed the scenario so that while the 'mission directive' is nearly identical to Metroid's, the story takes a sharp turn away from Metroid's almost immediately, and co

  • Ask your lawyer.

    Seriously.

    Most of us are unqualified to give legal advice. If you think the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, you should hear stories from the lawyer who represents some idiot who relied on slashdot.

    I am not a lawyer, I am not qualified to give legal advice, and so on. When I have asked lawyers about things like this, they have told me that, in general, you cannot copyright a game, only the source code and art assets and other "creative works". Ideas themselves cannot

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