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Comment: Filling a gap that's no longer there (Score 1) 468

by lewster32 (#32126846) Attached to: Is HTML5 Ready To Take Over From Flash?

I've long been a Flash advocate, but it's clear even to me that Flash has simply been filling a gap that was missing in the world of HTML/CSS/JS. Apple have delivered the final blow and made it so there's not really much choice but to go down the HTML5 route. As a developer who has to turn websites around quickly, this is a major pain in the arse; doing the same thing in HTML as in Flash may be generally possible but it takes a hell of a lot longer, has to run the gauntlet of browser differences and finally be degradable for those on IE.

I'm sad to see Flash go (and at least in its current guise - as a browser plug-in - it will disappear), but I can understand the logic, even if I don't particularly like it.

Comment: Filling the gap that's no longer there (Score 1) 177

by lewster32 (#32126606) Attached to: Scribd Switches To HTML5

I've long been a Flash advocate, but it's clear even to me that Flash has simply been filling a gap that was missing in the world of HTML/CSS/JS. Apple have simply delivered the final blow and made it so there's not really much choice but to go down the HTML5 route. As a developer who has to turn around websites quickly, this is a major pain in the arse; doing the same thing in HTML as in Flash may be generally possible but it takes a hell of a lot longer, has to run the gauntlet of browser differences and finally be degradable for those on IE.

I'm sad to see Flash go (and at least in its current guise - as a browser plug-in - it will disappear), but I can understand the logic, even if I don't particularly like it.

Comment: Re:A couple of thoughts from a lawyer (Score 1) 270

by lewster32 (#30736922) Attached to: How To Judge Legal Risk When Making a Game Clone?

A final thought - many people have suggested contacting the prior game owner. That is definitely something to consider IMO only if the advice is that your game is likely an infringement of the prior game. When development would be easier this way we advise this - but be prepared for negotiating a royalty deal. In most cases, a developer will simply "design around" the prior intellectual property and not seek permission.

It definitely depends on the size of the organisation responsible for the original, but in the single developer or small team world of old games (certainly pre-mid-90s era) I think it's relevant to contact the original developer, even if the IP has since traded hands or been incorporated by a larger corporation.

In my own case, I was worried that the IP had gone to Microprose and been swallowed up and lost in the madness that resulted from them being handed around from Infogrames, Atari and so on. The way I figured it, the best person to give me the actual state of the IP was the original developer, and that turned out to be correct.

I guess another argument for it is altruism and camaraderie. As a developer myself, if I got an anonymous request via the proxy of a lawyer, I'd be dubious and repelled.

Comment: Re:Do your research (Score 1) 270

by lewster32 (#30735088) Attached to: How To Judge Legal Risk When Making a Game Clone?

Link me to your work good man i will be an avid supporter.

There's an early demo here, though that codebase is abandoned now in favour of a client/server architecture. You should check out http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/gooeyblob/ and http://chaosremakes.wikia.com/wiki/Chaos_Remakes_Wiki if you're a fan of Chaos :)

Comment: Do your research (Score 5, Informative) 270

by lewster32 (#30734854) Attached to: How To Judge Legal Risk When Making a Game Clone?
I'm working on a project of a similar nature for an early Julian Gollop game called Chaos: Battle of the Wizards, and I devoted a good amount of time early on in tracking Julian down and seeking his permission. It's obviously a complex and confusing process that's individual to each game, but at the most basic level there is always the intellectual property to be aware of. Also, things change significantly if you wish to make a commercial venture of the game. As said in other comments, a free 'tribute' is a lot less open to flak (unless you're 'tributing' a Nintendo game, in which case buy body armour and watch out for red dots) and will generally be ignored. If however you remake a game and whack it on the App Store for $2.99 again, you're gonna have to watch your back (if it even gets approved in the first place) For my own part, I finally got in touch with Julian via LinkedIn, and he turned out to be most gracious, supportive and polite, and he gave his blessing for me to continue (http://www.rotates.org/2009/05/20/the-man-speaks/). It's really worth taking the time to find the original developer and taking it from there.
Games

How To Judge Legal Risk When Making a Game Clone? 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the ask-a-lawye-oh-wait dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm an indie game developer making a clone of a rather obscure old game. Gameplay in my clone is very similar to the old game, and my clone even has a very similar name because I want to attract fans of the original. The original game has no trademark or software patent associated with it, and my clone isn't infringing on the original's copyright in any way (all the programming and artwork is original), but nevertheless I'm still worried about the possibility of running afoul of a look and feel lawsuit or something similar. How do I make sure I'm legally in the clear without hiring an expensive lawyer that my indie developer budget can't afford?"

All the simple programs have been written.

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