Oppinions on powers / game-mechanics...

Running, jumping, double-jumping, jet-packs, grappling hooks, wall-jumps, ducking, shooting, throwing grenades, teleporting…

A lot of moves are freely used by all sorts of characters, across hundreds of games, and don’t seem to belong to anyone. Nobody “owns” the jump or it’s variants, even though at one point, there was only one character who performed that move.

But then there are “signature moves”… Like the morph-ball in Metroid… Seemingly owned by that franchise…
Similarly Axiom Verge has a sort of pet that fits through small holes and then teleports you over…

Both are a great mechanic, making “ducked” movement fast and flexible.

Why is it that some moves / mechanics seem “off limits” and what can we do to get around this?

  • I feel like I want small holes to switch things up from normal gameplay, and to “gate” progression a bit.
    But I also feel like the best mechanics for these gates are OWNED…

Any thoughts on this? Maybe even suggestions?

Im patenting breathing bro. Don’t even think about doing it.

Seriously i don’t think you can patent a human motion or movement but if you start copying things from other games. Gamers will notice don’t think they won’t, some may think less of you for it. Though in some sense every thing is mimicry if its too close it comes off as lazy and cheap.

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That’s all true. But I don’t mean patented in the literal sense… It’s just that jumping several body-lengths is accepted as something every character can do, but rolling into a ball seems to be strictly metroid. Is that just a taboo we need to break away from…? I mean imagine if only mario was allowed to jump high… Were would we be?

As a mechanic, rolling into a ball just makes so much sense. Like jumping.

I think when someone does something first, it sticks with that for a while but if it gets used enough it becomes accepted and no longer just tied to that one character / IP.

Your example of Mario showcases that. Another great example is the Halo control scheme. When it first came out it was basically revolutionary for FPS on console. For quite a while it was the “Halo Control Scheme” and tons of games were “just copying it.” At this point it has become just sort of the default controller FPS scheme.

I think your example with the Metroid ball is that it’s a unique enough that it hasn’t really lost its association. Tens of thousands of platforming games with super jump have sort of generalized that away from being Mario specific. However the use of rolling into a ball hasn’t been used often enough to break the association people with have Metroid.

As Will mentioned above, gamers will get angry / annoyed if something is just copied. Definitely avoid having your character roll into a ball and start dropping explosives, it’s just too similar to an established and beloved gaming icon. For me the key difference between using a similar mechanic and direct copying is making sure it fits into the lore / feel / world of your game. If your player character is an 8 foot tall muscle machine with a greatsword, rolling into a ball doesn’t really make sense and it will look like you’re just using it as an easy design choice. If your player character is a sentient pill bug, it makes absolute sense to roll into a ball. Sure you’ll still get the odd comparison, but it won’t take players out of the game enough to really question it.


I have a massive library of games because of this.

I have had cases where we had nasty letters from development houses and lawyers got involved. In every case we ended up changing the code “just enough” to not violate copyright without breaking the game.

I did have one case when lawyers from a big Japanese company that has to remain nameless turned up at the office.
They made me copy the source code onto a DVD. Then break the DVD in half.

Which just proves how stupid lawyers are. Note the word COPY. I still had all the code.

Couldn’t use it of course, but it was just one of those moments that if I hadn’t been there myself I wouldn’t believe it.

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afaik you cannot patent “ideas”, because - correct me if I am wrong or this is not longer the case, you can only patent technical inventions or designs. I would argue, that the sole idea of having a character transform into a ball and roll around is not eligible for a patent and shouldn’t be anyway.

The sad truth is, normally, you can’t just afford the costs for lawyers to “fight” with some big company which is believing that this or that is their property.So you normally have to accept.

as an example of Metroid and the Rolling Ball … in Star Wars there are “Droidicas” - they basically transform into a ball and roll around (and it’s in Battelfront 2). So if Star Wars is allowed to use this, everyone is (as long as they don’t pay licenses or something) - every judge would comply with that and I don’t think for a second, that Metroid-Makers are keen enough to sue Disney.

I am just looking to this from a logical point of view, while still refering to paragraph 2 of this post.

I remember a case where a chinese(?) studio decided to trademark the word “Tower Defense” because they made a game with that name. Guess what. They’ve written a mail to every dev which has a game/app with the words in it, to remove that words. Sure. In a lawsuit they would’ve no chance against apps using that name before the trademarking, but it’s just easier to change the name of your app

Don’t know if you saw, but yesterday Sony got a hell of a lot of bad press when they released a video fro PlayStation Japan which contained a load of video animations stolen from third parties :smiley:

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if one day you had 100 people who knew about your game.

Then the next you had a huge article that exposed you’re blatent copying of sonys (tm thing) that made the headlines and over a million people heard about your horrible bad ethical game.

So is that “Bad” press ?

Sony has tons of lawyers so for them bad press is free press as you just advertised for them wink. btw what game was that :slight_smile:

IF you are going to take a idea like rolling and dropping bombs from metroid. I wouldn’t attempt using that just because you like it, unless you are going to improve it. Then people will say oh thats like metroid but even better which is positive thought. Vs oh that is just like metroid which is to say you are just a copycat which implys you have no creativity and you suck.
You dont want that to be the thought you leave in peoples minds while people remember the negative more then the positive they also remember fun things vs the same old same old.

I wanted to have a mechanic to traverse narrow gaps, without cloning metroid, even though I love the simple but effective morph-ball… What a great mechanic.

So here is what i did guys:

Press Y to deploy a small walking drone on player location. Joy-pad now controls walking drone, drone hi-jacks camera.
Press Y again to teleport drone back to the inventory, and return control and camera to normal player…

The drone moves fast and can jump, just like the player. Looks good so far, easy to use.

Current PLACEHOLDER art:

Some future upgrades I have planned:
Press B to INSTEAD teleport player to drone position…
Plasma-torch (to mine through terrain)…


:smiley:Did you see the press yesterday?

Peneton, the company that sells these expensive push bikes that don’t go anywhere with a video screen bolted to the front released a xmas advert that received so many complaints they had to pull it.

As a result their share price dropped massively, wiping $1.2 Billion dollars off the value of the company.

Bad press, yep that’s bad press :joy:

I am old enough to remember Ratner’s. A high street jewellery store in UK.

When accepting an award, the CEO made a joke. He said “People often ask me how we can sell our jewellery so cheaply. I say it’s easy because it’s crap”

End of company. They went bust within weeks