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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

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Patriarch
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Any of you know anything about copyright etc? Lets say I really love the game Age of Mythology. I do a game heavily inspired by the game. It's clear to everyone that I took the game and asked myself - how can I translate this into a working game. However the boardgame obvioulsy will differ from the computergame, and teh title and artwork is different.

How do you (and the law) view such a case?

No imagine a boardgame company got the licence to produce an official game - similar to when FanatsyFlight or Eaglegames make computer games into boardgames. Would that make a difference?

[EDIT] Could someone please move the thread to 'Ask the Expert'... Thats where I meant to post. (Done. -Bryk)

[ADMIN]Changed title from "Patent/copyright question..."

Jpwoo
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

I don't know that you should worry about this. If your game is that close to AoM perhaps you should just develop it as a set of house rules and web publish them. This makes a bit more sense than bringing a game obviously based on another (not very well liked) game to market.

This helps to develop your reputation among gamers and to some extent game companies.

phpbbadmin
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Re: Patent/copyright question...

Patriarch wrote:
Any of you know anything about copyright etc? Lets say I really love the game Age of Mythology. I do a game heavily inspired by the game. It's clear to everyone that I took the game and asked myself - how can I translate this into a working game. However the boardgame obvioulsy will differ from the computergame, and teh title and artwork is different.

How do you (and the law) view such a case?

No imagine a boardgame company got the licence to produce an official game - similar to when FanatsyFlight or Eaglegames make computer games into boardgames. Would that make a difference?

[EDIT] Could someone please move the thread to 'Ask the Expert'... Thats where I meant to post. (Done. -Bryk)

You *do* realize that there already is an Age of Mythology board game don't you?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/6707

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
-Darke

Patriarch
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

Jpwoo wrote:
I don't know that you should worry about this. If your game is that close to AoM perhaps you should just develop it as a set of house rules and web publish them. This makes a bit more sense than bringing a game obviously based on another (not very well liked) game to market.

This helps to develop your reputation among gamers and to some extent game companies.

Hi... No I meant based on the computer game. I know the boardgame isent that popular, and maybe I have an idea that would be a better (in my taste) translation of the computer game to boardgame. So its not like the boardgame, but like the computer game.

Thoughts?

@Darkhorse... Yeah, I know. It was an example :)

filwi
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

Copyright is based on form. That means that if the form your game takes is too close to the original you can be sued for copyright infringement.

For example: I write a book a book about a young wizard going to a magic wizard school and experiencing typical english boarding school problems, albeit with magic. This wouldn't be a copyright infringement of Harry Potter (it might be a trademark infringement if I called him Harry Botter or similar, or if the school is obviously Hogwarts with a new name).

Buy if I copied paragraphs verbatim from the book that would be clear copyright infringement. Or if I took the chapter structure and specific happenings.

Back to the game.

I think that you'd have to be _very_ close in form for it to be infringement. You could easily make an RTS boardgame without it being infringement (the mechanics are not copyrightable), although you might want to check if the company has a patent for those particluar mechanics (highly unlikely, for the technology maybe but not the gameplay).

If you'd want to make an RTS that mimics the units in AoM and their abilities then you're on infringement ground.

Now, if a company got a license they could do anything they'd want - except that in the license agreement there's usualy a clause that says that the game must be approved by the license owner (so that Eagle Games couldn't, say, put naked Twileks in a Star Wars game unless George Lucas agreed).

Patriarch
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

Thanks... quite an informative reply!

Take the computer game of Defender of the Crown for instance - you know it? This would be a relatively easy game to translate into a boardgame (maybe someone already did?).

Now what if I did that but gave it another title, includes a few features, removed some. But overall there is no doubt in anyones mind that its a boardgames version of Defender of the Crown.

?

Scurra
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

Then all the reviews will say "Game XXX. Well, basically it's a board game version of that old computer classic 'Defender of the Crown' - and about time too."* But you'd only get into real trouble if, for example, you called the player characters "Wolfric" or "Geoffrey Longsword"... :-)

*Well, OK, so that last bit would be in my review at least. What are you waiting for?!!

Patriarch
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Legal ramifications of emulating a computer game

Scurra wrote:
Then all the reviews will say "Game XXX. Well, basically it's a board game version of that old computer classic 'Defender of the Crown' - and about time too."* But you'd only get into real trouble if, for example, you called the player characters "Wolfric" or "Geoffrey Longsword"... :-)

*Well, OK, so that last bit would be in my review at least. What are you waiting for?!!

Interesting, thanks. What am I waiting for? Quotes so I can decide if I will be throwing money after something as insane as producing a boardgame :D

With some luck you can give t a good review at some point :D

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