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Game Ripoff illegal?

polycounter lvl 3
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goekbenjamin polycounter lvl 3
Two scenarios:

Is it illegal to make a ripoff of a game which is 23 years old? 
When the name is a different, all character are called differen also the sound is different? but you could clearly tell what game it is?
Would you be able to sell that game legally?

all of that above but the names are like in the original + orig sound, but without selling, instead make it public playable for free?


  • kanga
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    kanga sublime tool
    1. If someone or some company produced the game then you can be pretty sure they paid for or secured the rights. You can make, publish, promote the counterfeit one but as soon as it starts to make money you will probably find yourself inside a courtroom before you can say copycat.

    2. Same deal. Giving away copies damages the brand.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    Your best options are either to rip off multiple games in some sort of hodgepodge Cronenberg monster. Or figure out what they are inspired by/referencing, and do your own take on its inspirations. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    My first published game was a clone of a clone of a clone of a board game.

    The art style was different and the campaign missions were custom made. Everything else was carbon copy.

    I think copy cat is a great way to go especially if its tiny team or solo developed because you are lessening the workload and getting some guarantees. Naturally you'll want to do your own thing with the recipe and that will change it up enough nobody will know, or at worst they'll see your inspiration. 

  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz quad damage
    You can copy a games ideas and general gameplay loop, but you're not allowed to use ripped copies of their art, sound, or code. Even fan games (other then Sonic) tend to get taken down via DMCA notices.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    Yup agreed!

    And I think Black Mesa would likewise be in a similar category which originally only started out as a Half-Life mod.
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina interpolator
    didnt final fantasy have some kind of copyright to their battlesystem ? not sure, afaik i`ve read something like that

  • goekbenjamin
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    goekbenjamin polycounter lvl 3
    great thanks alot for all the ibput, i think i go with:

    make a exact copy, record the gameplay playing myself, mostly for my portfolio :) (but also bc i enjoyed that game so much!)
  • Iwazaruk7
    For some reason, makes me remember all those "Starcraft clones" that were made in late 90s - early 00s.

  • welbot
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    welbot polycounter lvl 6
    It's a bit of a difficult one to pin down, as it would be hard to know exactly what's been protected under copyright, and what's simply considered intellectual property. 
    Obviously the whole game itself would be protected under copyright, and you can almost guarantee that would be still enforced. It differs from country to country, but I'm pretty sure you're looking at a minimum of 50-70yrs.
    Intellectual property however, while it is protected, can only last for 20 yrs in most countries. These things are generally considered to be concepts. While you can apply a copyright to things, it doesn't protect the "idea" behind it. If you were to take the concept of the game itself, and alter it in a significant way that would it could be considered different, or an improvement, this would be enough to make it considered a legal use. 
    I would say that as long as you aren't copying the code or the artwork verbatim, you should be pretty safe, and certainly, if you aren't going to be selling it, and only using as a demonstration of your abilities, there should be no issues. 
    If in any real doubt though, consult a lawyer of course :)
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