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Open Source Games

Afraid Someone Will Steal Your Game Design Idea? 140

Posted by timothy
from the board-game-designer-sounds-like-a-fun-job dept.
Lemeowski writes "Game studios go to great lengths to protect their IP. But board game designer Daniel Solis doesn't subscribe to that philosophy. He has spent the past ten years blogging his game design process, posting all of his concepts and prototypes on his blog. Daniel shares four things he's learned after designing games in public, saying paranoia about your ideas being stolen "is just an excuse not to do the work." His article provides a solid gut check for game designers and other creatives who may let pride give them weird expectations."
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Afraid Someone Will Steal Your Game Design Idea?

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:20PM (#44687179)

    >> Game studios go to great lengths to protect their IP. But board game designer Daniel Solis doesn't subscribe to that philosophy.

    I think you're confusing IP with "ideas." IP is often the successful and repeatable implementation of an idea (e.g., a patent). Furthermore, when game studios license IP, it's often to latch onto an established entertainment brand, like "Batman." The actual games themselves are usually formulaic at best, and their "plot" will be exposed on the Internet anyway as soon as the first public Beta comes around.

  • by techprophet (1281752) <{su.xunilhcra} {ta} {nosllame}> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:29PM (#44687333) Journal
    Believe it or not, some people do still buy and play board games. You almost always have to go to a solid game shop to get decent ones, but they exist.
  • by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:36PM (#44687435) Homepage Journal

    Ideas are not protected

    But expression is, and good luck convincing a judge that what you copied is the idea, not the expression.

    There are already enough copycats out there, just look at an app store

    And some of these App Store copycats are getting sued [slashdot.org].

  • Games are different (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @12:40PM (#44687497) Homepage Journal

    Games are no different.

    U.S. judges have tended to draw the line between idea and expression in different places for games compared to other kinds of software. On the one hand, you have Lotus v. Borland and Oracle v. Google that weaken copyright in interfaces between a program and a user or between a program and other programs. On the other hand, you have Tetris v. Xio that strengthens copyright in the basic rules of a game.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:16PM (#44688045) Journal

    All of which are worthless, because you can't afford to sue [or rather, afford to win the lawsuit].

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @02:06PM (#44688625) Homepage

    He's saying that the Judge smacked down Oracle's claim that they can copyright an API. Copyright weakened.

    Meanwhile, another judge ruled that Xio, although using none of Tetris's code, still violates copyright [ipwatchdog.com] because it infringes on the core concept or rules of the games. Copyright strengthened.

  • by keytoe (91531) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @02:46PM (#44689045) Homepage

    Believe it or not, some people do still buy and play board games.

    And believe it or not, they've been gaining in popularity lately.

    It's been a long time coming, but the Monopoly Stigma is slowly dissipating. I think Monopoly was the Mt. Saint Hellens of board games. It blew up, left a swath of scorched earth and desolation in a generation of people who grew up thinking games were stupid, pointless and nothing but dumb luck followed by three hours of a runaway winner forcing everyone else to keep playing. Over time, that desolation becomes fertilizer for the next generation.

    If you're interested in giving a post-Monopoly tabletop world a look, there are a couple of key resources:

    Tabletop [geekandsundry.com]

    A bi weekly show hosted by Wil Wheaton showcasing a host of "gateway games". He gets three other internet famous (and sometimes proper famous) people to come play a game with him. He lightly goes over the rules, and they play.

    A lot of effort goes into showing the fun interactions between the players that happens over the table - truly the best part of tabletop gaming. These are 30 minutes each, professionally produced and great fun to watch with the whole family. Overall, it's a great resource for finding something that may appeal to you and your friends/family.

    The best part is watching Wil repeatedly lose episode after episode.

    Board Game Geek [boardgamegeek.com]

    An extremely thorough, mature and self-built resource of pretty much all things tabletop game related. The community here is one of the best I've ever seen on the internet. Seriously, flame wars so germane and polite that they're helpful. Games are well reviewed, well discussed, and ranked overall.

    The rankings are generally pretty spot on, but there is an overall tendency to devalue lighter games making it a bit difficult to find good gateway games. Be careful with this one if you have a tendency to lose hours whenever you land on IMDB, Wikipedia or TVTropes.

    You almost always have to go to a solid game shop to get decent ones, but they exist.

    I have yet to need to do anything other than order things from Amazon. Granted, if you're looking for some obscure Euro that's out of print, Amazon probably doesn't have it (or it's $300) - but then again, neither does your Friendly Local Game Shop.

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