Savant takes on the Cloners by Blog

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Leper, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. Leper

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    http://www.1goodgame.com/blog/

    It actually took me some time to finally run into this blog, maybe I missed a post announcing the blog, or maybe I missed the subtle question mark but once I read about it elsewhere I've really enjoyed this website and would like all other developers to take heed, erm read.

    Of course there have been many debates on the topic of game cloning, and because we're in a fast moving world I feel that game cloning is a little more dangerous than it once was.

    Most of the games mentioned over at the blog of 1goodgame are blatant clones and its more than obvious that they are developed for one reason: money.

    My take on this is that as long as people are willing to purchase a cloned game, more clones will come out. Personally, I do enjoy Gem Shop better than chuzzle, so even if they call Gem Shop a clone, I say its what chuzzle should have been. Luxor is like Zuma but you stay at the bottom, overall, I dont care much for shoot the color ball at the other colorball stuff.

    I think its great to see independant development flourish though, and cloning must be a bad side-effect.

    Savant's website is needed on the internet to balance out this cloning madness. I hope that his influence moves across development and into the gamer, so that the gamer knows that there is a cry for change in the independant gaming world. I also feel that portals are either greedy for sales or desperate for sales, either one would result in clones populating their pages when there are plenty of games out there that aren't direct clones.
     
  2. Emmanuel

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    He must not dislike them that bad, since most download links seem to be Reflexive Arcade affiliations.
     
    #2 Emmanuel, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  3. Jack Norton

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    I don't understand. He is the author of Dr. Germ no? and he attacks clones?

    Somethin' is weird :eek: the Wolves will go meditate over this cosmic balance break.
     
  4. MadSage

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    I bet all of the games he puts on his site are clones. The way I see it, all games are clones of another game(s), one way or another. You will have a hard time finding a 100% original game these days. There was a related discussion here recently.

    I'm not sure what the comparison to the retail games industry is about. Maybe I haven't been around indie forums enough. Both retail and indie developers have to make money, and clones are a more certain way to make money.

    I'll admit my plans revolve around clones, but I'm being very careful how I go about it. I can't really say much without giving away information. First of all, I'm being careful about what I clone, so people don't think 'oh, it's yet another clone of that game'. It also gives me something quite different to what is currently popular, despite, perhaps having some similarity. Yes, my first release will be a match 3 game! Which brings me to another point. Contrary to popular belief, I haven't thrown the game together in a few months. Not all match 3 games can be developed so quickly. Hopefully it will be clear to see that - not as the casual gamers will care. My levels aren't randomly generated for a start, and I'll be spending a lot of time balancing them. It's true what they say... the last 20% takes 80% of the time (if you do a good job) :)

    I don't like to see cheap clones where the game mechanic is identical to another game, levels are slapped together, possibly randomly generated, with a quick paint job. A number of games spring to mind... :rolleyes:
     
  5. Leper

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    The purpose of any business is to see profit, and to stay in the black you must do anything you can. Instead be proud of it, because you(any cloner) are making money aren't you? I am making a galaga clone, and I'm proud of it! Of course all games are clones.. somewhat... But when you see Puzzleloop cloned twice a month you might get a little irritated. What's worse is someone excusing it by saying "all games are cloned" as if that allows them to remove responsibility and accountability(correct me if I'm wrong) for their actions. Instead just embrace the cloning and stand up and say "I'm cloning because people are buying" - it's really just that simple :rolleyes:
     
    #5 Leper, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  6. Savant

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    There are games which derive or are inspired by other games .. and then there are clones. It's pretty easy to spot the difference and I'm focusing on the latter.

    And, no, I didn't announce the blog or tell anyone about it because I didn't want to make a big deal of it. It's a place where I can voice my opinions, alert people to the state of the industry, and generally try to inform users. I have search engine hits for each of the games I've talked about so hopefully someone, somewhere, is getting some insight into the industry from what I talk about there.

    As for the affiliate links ... well, if someone is going to download a clone and they decide that they like the game anyway and want to buy it, I won't say no to a commission. :) Money is always welcome.
     
  7. Savant

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    The kinds of clones I'm really trying to bring attention to are the shameless money grabs like Xmas Bonus (the one at the top of the blog). That's just a slap in face, give me your money, rip off.
     
  8. Leper

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    The Diner Dash / Roller Rush (I forget) are wow in comparison to each other. I love your blog, it has lots of personality and It's amazing to see a good game come out and then see another version of it come out a few months later. What's more amazing is that people purchase the clones. It's great to put this into perspective, and if gamers are aware this might actually create a balance and maybe influence this industry into a more eclectic group of casual games.

    What annoys me is when people clone a game and then say they aren't cloning anything, or when someone says "All games are clones one way or another, I'm just the same" :p -That's true, but it doesn't excuse soemone who clones a game that just came out a month ago. I would just say "Well, I'm in the business of making money and I designed this game because there is a demand for it." - And please just leave it at that!?

    New Graphics and sound are enough to make the game excluded from copyright infringement in my humble opinion, and I dont think game mechanical changes are required to make a sellable clone - wait, they aren't ;)

    If you think about it thouugh: This is what happens in free-market industries though, you see it happening in the music industry, the car industry, and the movie industry, etc, etc, etc.
     
    #8 Leper, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  9. Sharpfish

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    a 4-in-1 clone. ;) take the game type change the graphics!

    Savant, I know you are going to dislike me for this but I do feel you are taking up far mroe moral highground than is healthy. You are certainly free to post what you like where you like, but it just doesn't sit that well when you attack peoples games based on your opinions and biases especially coming from a background of "nothing" except 1 puzzle game that took 4 already over-used gamestyles and packaged into 1 product. I can not understand how you went from cheery "I've made a New game called Dr Germ" which received no bad words from anyone here as I recall, to basically doing a u-turn, and attacking the easiest targets (games that are performing well where your's perhaps didn't?). I am of course referring to popular zuma clones.

    And don't think for one minute I don't understand what you mean, I don't like to see clone after clone but it doesn't actually "affect" me, all it does is show some developer actually went through with developing a game, ANY game so that they could raise income to carry on with their BUSINESS.

    I don't like cynical cash-ins, but to take such a strong attacking attitude seems futile and negative. There is a MARKET for them so just accept it and concentrate on developing your own games and show people what wonderful innovative games can be rather than trying to force the opinion. (your 1goodgame site appears to be attempting to do that).

    I only wrote this because I realy didn't like what you wrote about Xmas Bonus. I personally felt it didn't do the theme justice, I thought it could be 100% better in conveying the christmas feeling. Yeah so he used the JewelQuest mechanic - big deal - he is obviously not going to be threatening Jewel quests popularity. No it is not "perfect" if people have to take proven gameplay types and work a "new" game into them but it is still a game played somewhere by someone (possibly). And as for being a cash in, yes, you can call it that (or at least an attempt) but so what? It's christmas, and a lot of people put games out with halloween/xmas themes because it helps traffic from the seasonal searches. That just makes sense to me. So Retail are allowed to pull all the tricks in the book while shareware has to see oppurtunities slip away just so they don't upset a few developers?

    And as I always state at times like this - I am not working on a CLONE of anything myself, my game as some popular gameplay mechanics that are re-used because they are FUN. If players are voting for the FUN of a type of gameplay, your attitude if followed by everyone would hurt the players - they would have fewer choices. Realise that FIRST game to be a certain way doesn't always mean the BEST game. Many of the best games (clones/retail/whatever) have been re-iterations of older styles and have learned from them and made players happier than the originals. If you have some problem with making players happy then that is quite selfish.

    And I know you didn't post a thread about this yourself so you were not exactley shouting it from the rooftops here - but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth when you see a fellow dev judging/criticising other devs based on a completely "Un-business like" ethic.

    I also have to bring into question your apparent coverage and search results. I am sure you get game search results but you show zero backlinks for your blog and a pagerank of "N/A" (ie google hasn't bothered to do it yet) and while I know those two factors are not everything (I get a lot of first page search results for good terms even though I have a low page rank and only some 1.5k backlinks) I think you are overstating the popularity of your opinion. I have only witness a few incensed devs talking like this before (somewhat understandably because it was so called "clones" of their game/s) but what exactly are you trying to gain from this?

    Your 1goodgame idea imo will die when you realise people search for FUN in any form and in quantity so they can make a choice. To narrow it to one selection YOU have deemed as ethically ok is patronising to your audience and ultimatley is not over useful to anyone (except maybe the games featured but that is no big shakes - it is not exactly real arcade).

    Lastly, the hypocrisy in your reply about how you will take affilliate cash for popular clones @ reflexive really sums up how shallow this whole facade is. You would have NOTHING to do with clones at all if you really felt strongly about it. I think you are doing it to get a buzz going, to try and get word spread about your "zero tolerance to bs and puzzle games", it doesn't appear to be working just yet in my opinion because the market isn't quite ready for it. And the concern is only because I wonder how this stance fits in with your future dev plans and if you will end up doing another u-turn once you realise you can't survive on idealism alone. Instead of knocking people who have had success in the business how about you live and let live and work to improve the situation in positive ways?

    And if you are happy to take money from clones in an affilliate sense, why should the developers not be happy to take money from clones when they have still worked hard on the development if not the "Brainstorming" side?

    This is just my view of it all, and yeah people will get annoyed by it maybe, but I am not saying you shouldn't have ideals/goals and work towards them (that is commendable) but all I am seeing is negativity and an attempt to be controversial.

    rgds
     
    #9 Sharpfish, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  10. Sharpfish

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    Matt, that is idealist thinking that really is not based in reality. One blog or even 20 blogs are not going to change the market. People play clones because they (currently) enjoy it, everyone needs to stop second guessing the paying customer when all the evidence is in front of us. A happy customer is a paying customer. To say a customer hands over thier $20 simply because they are ignorant of other gamestyles is a fallacy. Clones and simple puzzle/casual games are always more popular because they are the "Lowest common denominator" in the shareware market.

    In other words, it is good if WE as devs all think like that and make moves to improve it and over time see the scope of shareware genres grow into profitable markets but it is just not happening at the moment. even the breakaway, highly exposed innovative games have a hard time making money compared to "ball shooter X". I really can not see that any of this should be connected to the business side of the industry which is obviously about making income to fund future development.

    When all the idealists dissapear up their own backsides through lack of funds they will either go back to a 9-5 or realise they have to make smaller waves with their games and not by attacking other games.

    It is like the usual politicians way when asked a tricky question about their manifesto, rather than saying "We plan to do this, this and this" they usually ATTACK the opposition saying "they do all of this wrong, they are evil" and what have you.

    When I see innovative games, I apreciate them, I welcome them and I look forward to games from that developer far more than a cloning developer - that is a given. I wouldn't however blatantly start attacking anyone just because their GAME annoys me. Really don't have enough spare time to devote to being negative.

    If we want to encourage and welcome innovation or at least non-direct "parasitic" games then how about we concentrate on the GOOD in the games that are not clones rather than focussing on the bad in the ones that are? that just gives off bad vibes for the industry as a whole and makes it look like it is made up of bickering politicians trying to get their view to be accepted as the "Universal truth".
     
  11. Savant

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    I don't deny that there is a market for casual games, nor do I begrudge those who buy the clones that fill it. If that's what they want, that's what they should buy.

    My concern is that the innovative and unique games are lost in the clutter and my goal is to raise awareness of two things:

    1) The games that are outside the portal mind set. That's what the 1goodgame.com site is doing.

    2) The extent of the cloning and the extremes that it's going to. The development time spent on cranking out clone after clone is lost to us as gamers - we'll never get that back with the hope of it being used to create something original and great. That's what the blog is for.

    And, as you noted, I'm not actively promoting the blog (I don't even link to it from the 1goodgame main site) I'm not even trying to say that I'm right. I'm simply stating my opinions.
     
  12. Leper

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    Paul, I admit that the idealist way is wishful thinking. Also let me just tell all of you right now that I am wishfully thinking that Match-3 games wont be so popular one day. For me, honestly, it is because I dont like Match-3 games that much!

    I speak from EXPERIENCE that I never found the awesome shooters displayed here and on other DEVELOPERS' Forums until I myself took interest in BECOMING a developer. I was like half a milion other people just being SHOWN match-3 CLONES. I encourage Savant to increase gamer awareness and I hope that we can show people that, YES, there are OTHER casual games out there. I know there are people like me that dont like match-3 games and end up giving up on the casual industry because thats all they see! I know I gave up on the casual industry and only got back into it when I became a member here.

    Haha, I feel so passionate right now.. I just want to make a site called ihatematch3games.com !! lol - I wont because I have better things to do :) hehe and I'm kinda joking :)

    I love shooters, Strategy Games, and RPG's!! I've tried to quit Real Arcade 3 times because they have mostly crappy games (in my opinion, which seems to be an unpopular opinion, obviously) but they always talk me into staying because hey, I love Real Arcade and their hidden gems like BreakQuest, etc. It's worth the 7.99 a month because I always get a free game a month anyways.

    Alas, I just feel that portals should put more games out there and I think that they may be not thinking outside the box and being TOO safe!

    Reflexive Arcade is good but they dont offer free games every month like RealArcade.
     
    #12 Leper, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  13. Sharpfish

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    OK, that I can admire and see no harm with.

    Again, being a well balanced open minded individual (! ;) !) I can see that point also, maybe then the problem is just in your delivery of that message which does sound overly negative/agressive (and this includes posts in "cloned games threads" on the board). I just maintain that if you want to spread a message and open peoples eyes it is better to do it in a positive way rather than showing yourself as negative - which can turn people away from anything you are saying when they may have stopped and listened.

    Yep. You are entitled to that for sure.

    thanks
     
  14. Sharpfish

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    Nor me! When I first took stock of the "Indie game situation" and heard about how great Bejewelled was I couldn't belive it - part of me didn't want to accept it. Had the early promise of shareware (from Amiga days) come to this? where the world and his wife are pumping out the same "simplistic" games that looked more like I was playing with layers in photoshop than acutally being involved in a game...

    ... then I became quite addicted to one or two of them for a short while, and even though I rarely play them (unless I am testing out a new game) from that memory I can apreciate what the audience sees in them and if I was that way inclined (ie making 2D puzzle games) I would probably have been inspired to make more of them but try to change things over a long term. Feeding the markey while leading them slowly to accept new ideas.

    However I am not. The only 2D puzzle games I will ever make will be freeware promotional products to attract traffic. The other games I am acutally interested in making/am making are varying degrees of semi-casual to semi-core 3D games, including some niche (idealist game I really wanted to make for ages) that possibly won't sell that well but I want to see it through anyway. What I learned from playing casual games and accepting it (rather than being repelled by it) was there was much to learn about their ergonmics and how the end user perceives them as "pick up and play" which is missing from so many semi-core/innovative games. The trick is blending the two extremes and taking the best from both worlds while adding something FUN (primarily) and NEW (secondarily). Fun is always the number one goal I am aiming for - not market share, not "being different for the sake of it", not "cloning because it is simpler" etc. I just feel open to all these games and what they can bring to someone as a developer.. infuse that with your (and mine) idealism and passion and strive to make an enticing product.

    .. I couldn't do that if I only looked at the negative in games always assuming my stuff was better by default because it was "different".

    And yes we do need to make some money and compromises will need to be made somewhere. Whoever decides to make a clone, that is their choice - even though I probably won't play it myself there are plenty of hungry players who will :)

    Once the elusive "hardcore" set starting putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to indiegames THEN you will see indie devs taking more risks. It works both ways. Which is why I recently posted in the "popcap/chuzzle" thread about the big players (pop cap/reflexive etc) maybe moving slowy towards all genres. If portals only accept a small variety of game types then you can bet that is what is primarly going to be made.

    Casual industry or strict indiegames industry? They are somewhat disconnected at the moment - portal visitors WILL only see portal style games, that is why they visit (and enjoy) portals and that is why portals are rich.
    You said yourself *YOU* went searching for more hardcore stuff, and that is exactly what hardcore people do. As I said above the best way to change this is to get the portals to offer more variety - but that is no guarantee that the mass casual market are ever going to want to play RTS or Shooters.. the people who primarily like playing those games are people like us who grew up with games (in the 80s) when Platformers, shooters and adventure games were the norm.. these people buying en-masse in the indieworld are not the same at all. They don't want to play at "Blowing things up" they want to relax and zone out, enjoy, feel calmed. And they pay hard cash every second of every day to experience that.

    The best we can hope for is that eventually all kinds of players will turn towards the old school/hardcore game types so that the variety of games can be opened up. However then you are running the risk of competing with RETAIL which is a big no-no in my opinion, unless you have endless time and resources to develop your game over 2+ years and are happy knowing that "zuma clone # 50" just took more cash in 1 week than your hard-worked-on game took all year. I don't know how long devs would survive with those pressures and lack of incentives on a larger scale.(I am not talking about myself personally or people who do produce non-casual games and are happy with their income).


    Agreed on that point..
     
  15. GameStudioD

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    I would expect something like this from hax0r33 or even hax0r57, but not a game developer. Jeez. Do you have any professional integrity? At all? Stepping through the process of creating and selling a game, a game developer separates themself from the gaming population. From the good games and not so good games, a professional can identify unique characteristics and learn from them. They can respect the work of other professionals, no matter what. I am not saying that a game developer cannot be critical; but, they cannot just blindly through the blanket of "it sucks" over any game. A game developer should know better.
     
  16. Savant

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    So show me where I'm wrong. Blindly clinging to a policy of glad handing and back slapping isn't helping anyone.

    I believe this industry is killing itself and I want to prevent that any way that I can.
     
  17. cliffski

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    I quite liked the blog. The guy is venting understandable frustration at the clone tendency that's ripe in indie gaming right now. I have got to the point where I just ignore the 'announcements' section of indiegamer, because 90% of games on there are match-3 games or direct clones of something else.
    Ok, so people should be free to buy clones, thats a given, but I agree that the huge number of clones are affecting peoples perception of the market, AND the success of more original games.
    Nobody out there who doesn't read an article on it, or see an advert for it, is going to look for 'Starship Tycoon' or 'Democracy' or even 'Cute Knight', because as far as they see, all small budget indie games are match 3 puzzle games. I have nothing against puzzle games, I spent a lunchtime yesterday playing Zuma, but I don't see the point in the Zuma clones that add nothing but a new 'skin'.
    Unfortunately it all comes down to economics, most people 'think' that they will make more money making a Zuma or chuzzle clone than doing anything original. I think personally that they are dead wrong. I made a minesweeper style game that's sold maybe 5 copies. The more original I make my games, the more they sell. Possibly the problem is that from a game design perspective, most indie developers don't actually have any ideas.
    Now the clone problem doesn't affect me that badly, because people can't knock up a quick clone of Democracy in the same way they can clone Bettys Beer Bar, but if I saw a game called 'Total Democracy' that stole the exact interface layout that was the result of maybe 12 different iterations during design, I'd be seriously pissed off.
    And forgetting business entirely, as a gamer I LIKE variety. A hardcore gamer told me today "Civ 4 - Meh...its just more civ, I've done that." and that's a game many people describe as perfect.
    Innovate or die I say.
     
  18. Leper

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    Match-3 Games can have great art, they can have smooth animations with sparkling rewards for matching those cute gems or whatever, and they can have wonderful music along with responsive sound and interaction and have all the subtle detail but they still suck.

    Of course, I understand conmpletely why people play them, I even understand why they are fun, but at the same time, I dont understand why people aren't sick of them.

    TBH, I can play a Match3 Game demo but I will never, ever buy a match3 game because I dont have to. I bought bejewlled a long time ago and after I noticed a pattern in bejewlled-like games I decided to never purchase a Match-3 Game. I bought Zuma but after I saw Zuma-clones I was offended and I felt ripped off because I could just play clone demos and shouldn't have ever wasted my money on Zuma.

    I can play a different match3 game/zuma game/breakout game and download+install each of them in less than 10 seconds with my broadband connection and never run out of options, so I will NEVER buy one again because I still think I got ripped off for buying bejewlled and Zuma (They just keep remaking them every DAY, I mean c'mon guys!!! It's too much!!!) BreakQuest is the ONLY breakout game that I found to be innovative so far, although there are still a couple that I want to try. Err well rebound was good too, but not near as good as BreakQuest.

    After being on here and watching Match-3 Games being released like a Wild-Fire in California I decided that I will blanket Match-3 games with "It sucks" until I notice the inevitable trickle-down effect.

    If I got a dollar for every Match 3 game I could download in less then 30 seconds each I would be a very, very rich man. Please guys, please stop making them? Please? :rolleyes:
     
    #18 Leper, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  19. berserker

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    One thing for sure - I have a lot of fun reading that blog.
    What I would like to see there is less posts but more irony and cynicism in each post :D
    ________
    Free porn videos
     
    #19 berserker, Dec 13, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  20. Leper

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    Actually yeah I really do like the cynicism too, it gives me a laugh everytime I read "Tis the season for exploitation" hahahaha (no offense to grey but it IS funny)

    The Title, "Legendary Cloning" for the alladin game also cracks me up. "Amun Sighing", "Clash N Clone", "AquaClone", etc, all very clever..
     

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