FDG: Staying Unique at the Age of Clones

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Almost every idea has already been there in some way in the past 40 years of video gaming history. How can we still create unique, memorable and enjoyable gaming experiences without copying and cloning each others? How much inspiration from other games is ok? What are gamers expecting and when does cloning actually start? What are the do’s and don’ts?
This lecture will give insights in the development and idea finding processes at FDG Entertainment with examples from our projects as well as games of other developers.
Be creative, be successful!

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FDG: Staying Unique at the Age of Clones

  1. 1. 2What is hiding behindthe bad "C"-word?
  2. 2. 3
  3. 3. Wikipedia says:"A video game clone is either a video game (orseries) which is very similar to or heavily inspiredby a previous popular game or series.The term is sometimes derogatory, implying a lackof originality, however clones can be anything froma pure "ripoff", to a legitimate derivative orimprovement on the original or even a homage."4
  4. 4. 5THEN ALMOSTALL GAMES ARE CLONES?!?WTF!?
  5. 5. 6The answer isnt that easy:YES and NOLets start with...
  6. 6. 7A short overview ofcloning history
  7. 7. 8- Cloning is almost as old as the video game history- The first clone: PongA short overview of cloning history:
  8. 8. 9- Clones can also lead to new genres:1st person shooters were once called "Doom-Clones"A short overview of cloning history:Doom 1 Modern Warfare 4
  9. 9. 10- Clones can be more successful and popular than theoriginal game, e.g. Minecraft (heavily inspired by"Infiniminer")A short overview of cloning history:InfiniminerMinecraft
  10. 10. 11The 4 types of clones
  11. 11. 12Type 1, Rip-offs: always comes withlegal issues / copyrightinfringementsOriginal: Cover Orange
  12. 12. 13Illegal rip of iOSversion or fake appRip-off 1: Cover Orange (Android)
  13. 13. 14Rip-off from same companywith slightly changed graphics(AND UGLY!!!)Rip-off 2: Cover Cherry (Android)
  14. 14. 15Besides being illegal, low quality clonesor rip-offs will never pay off or besuccessfulCover OrangeOriginal Fake
  15. 15. 16Type 2:Style clones – e.g. Doodle styleDoodle Jump Parachute Panic Doodle Kart
  16. 16. 17Type 2:Style clones – Block styleMinecraftAce of Spades
  17. 17. 18Type 3:Gameplay clonesCanabaltJetpack Joyride
  18. 18. 19Type 4:Pseudo-Game clonesModern Warfare 4Modern Combat 4
  19. 19. 20Why you shouldnt cloneEXCESSIVELY
  20. 20. 21- Legal issues:- Super Mario Bros vs. Giana Sister (1980s)- Crazy Taxi vs. The Simpsons: Road Rage (2003)- EA vs. Zynga (Sims Social / The Ville, 2012)- Nowadays you wont be the only one to clone a certaingame -> risk of even bigger competition- Youre not original! If we all would clone games withoutadding something new, people would get tired of gamesand lose interest in gaming- If pitching your game to a publisher, its most likely theywont take your game, as long as it hasnt somethingnew and originalWhy you shouldnt clone
  21. 21. 22- Besides not being original, the industrymay laugh at you. For example TinyTower / Dream HeightsWhy you shouldnt clone
  22. 22. 23So, why do people clone?
  23. 23. 24- If youre quick, you can "ride the same wave of success"as the game youre cloning (Fruit Ninja / VeggieSamurai).Fruit Ninja Veggie Samurai
  24. 24. 25- Current example: Whats the word / 4 Pics 1 WordWhats the word 4 Pics 1 Word
  25. 25. 26- Customers tend to go for something familiar, somethingtheir used to- If a game is not available on a system, a clone will comeand satisfy this demand- Same applies to markets your app isnt localised for- If youre original but ahead of your time (or too late),your game will most likely be a financial disaster- Easy money, but probably nobody will remember you- Almost every idea has been there before in some way- Cloning done in the right way –> inspiration / reference- Cloning is essential to video games
  26. 26. 27Examples of unique games:XCom Enemy Unknown The Room
  27. 27. 28How our partnerscreate games...
  28. 28. 29Case Study: Cover Orange
  29. 29. 30- Totally original idea- Team said: "I want to make a game where players needto save something"- Character were an orange ball and a bomb throwingairplane- A girl playing the prototype said "what a nice orange!"- Character was tweaked to be an orange- The initial airplane was changed to a cloud to add morecharacter and personalityCase Study: Cover Orange
  30. 30. 31Case Study: Blueprint 3D
  31. 31. 32- After having created "Starlight", Kostya wanted to makea similar game with 3D projectionCase Study: Blueprint 3D
  32. 32. 33- During development, he discovered "Coign of Vantage",probably the first game of this typeCase Study: Blueprint 3D
  33. 33. 34- New challange: make the game different- Basicaly easy and rudimentary game, so polishing andpresentation are even more important for a greatgaming experienceCase Study: Blueprint 3D
  34. 34. 35How we create games...
  35. 35. 36- First, theres the idea. It often comes spontaneously inthe shower, on the toilet or any other daily routinesituation ;)- Or: "we need a game in a specific genre"- Many brainstormings with lots of people- Prototype, tweak, prototype again, try, try, try...- Stay focused and never lose USP out of sightOur approach when creating new games
  36. 36. 37Case Study: Banana Kong
  37. 37. 38- Yes, the game is INSPIRED by Donkey Kong Country,Sonic the Hedgehog, Jetpack Joyride and Ski Safari, butNOT just cloned!- Before starting prototyping, the game mechanics werediscussed for about 6 months, with LOTS of differentideas- We wanted to make people knowing either of the gamesfeel comfortable immediatelyCase Study: Banana Kong
  38. 38. 39- The character is an hommage to one of the best SNESgames- New gameplay elements: dashing, swiping to changeplatforms, 3 different parallel locations: Jungle, Treetopsand the CaveCase Study: Banana Kong
  39. 39. 40How to stay unique:Donts...
  40. 40. 41Dont steal assets or other IP!(hopefully obvious!!!)Donts...
  41. 41. Dont try to immitate anothergameDonts...
  42. 42. 43Do not miss the right time!Donts...
  43. 43. 44How to stay unique:... and dos
  44. 44. 45Play lots of games... and Dos
  45. 45. 46Do research... and Dos
  46. 46. 47Brainstorm... and Dos
  47. 47. 48Find your USP... and Dos
  48. 48. 49Mix genres to create an allnew gaming experience(e.g. X-Com)... and Dos
  49. 49. 50Absolutely want to use something from anothergame? Get the permission, make it an hommage oreven think about cross promoting each others games.Endless possibilities...... and Dos
  50. 50. 51Find a "gem" + find flaws and improve them + adda cool or popular theme = you may havea winner... and Dos
  51. 51. 52Thats it!Thanks for listening andbe creative!
  52. 52. 53• Contact me at:philipp@fdg-entertainment.com• Download presentation at:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/49813015/FDG_StayingUniqueAtTheAgeOfClones_FG_Moscow.ppt• FDG on the web:http://www.fdg-entertainment.com• FDG on Social Networks:www.facebook.com/FDGEntertainmentwww.twitter.com/FDG_Games

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