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How close is too close?

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PSXfile
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I'm in the middle of developing a Runeboundesque game and it's my first attempt so I'm wondering what can be considered copywrited. For example, the backs of the cards. Runebound colors are green, yellow, blue, and red for encounters. What if I were to use blue and yellow for my encounters, is that something that I could get in trouble for? Also, how about names. Obviously something like, "Harold the Deceiver" is most likely copywrited, but how about something more generic like "Stalking Lions"? Any info would be great. :)

Julius
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How close is too close?

Ask a lawyer.

With issues like copyright, you've got many considerations to make. I'd advise you only to never take advice given over the Internet, and talk to someone who is an expert in the field.

PSXfile
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How close is too close?

okay, good advice.

Thanks.

Jpwoo
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Joined: 03/26/2009
How close is too close?

You can certainly take inspiration from another game. Though I imagine that you can avoid most of it.

When you say that your encounters are color coded by difficulty, why would you follow the pattern set by runebound with blue,green etc. You can make your difficulty levels whatever you want. You could call them Alpha, Beta. Or Kitten, doggy, wolf, or whatever you like.

As to generic things like stalking lions. Consider the whole realm of fantasy is open to you. This means anything can be a monster. You could have giant Urchins, or icy earwigs. You should take encounters as an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and make your game stand out.

PSXfile
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How close is too close?

I'm curious about the colors because anybody who's played any sort of online rpg from Everquest to Dark Age of Camelot is used to a color coded difficulty system. Usually green, blue, yellow, orange, red, purple in that order. I was hoping to to keep it familiar to rpg fans.

aljovin
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How close is too close?

Colors can be bad too, remember that some people are color blind... Green and red are often mistaken (at least my father in law does!)

Hedge-o-Matic
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Joined: 07/30/2008
How close is too close?

Color is not a copyrightable aspect of a game. And you'd have to dig pretty deeply into the mechanics of any single game in order to even raise legal eyebrows. As a practical matter, very few game companies (Hasbro, perhaps, but few others) ever pursue legal action against another company. To even get a lawyer to pen a "cease and desist" letter costs that company money, and they would have to see this as less money than your game would otherwisse divert from their sales. And to make good on any of the threats of such a letter is an expense almost nobody is willing to incur to smother an upstart one-man design shop.

Frankly, I don't think you'll have to worry. The closer your game is to an established title, the less viable it is as a product, hence the less market share it can command, or divert from someone else. It will only ever become an issue if you somehow generate enough money that you become worth legal action. Even if your game were a perfect copy, a concerned company would wait to see your profits before establishing you plagarized their work.

If you're asking if your game is too close, then you're likely a new developer, and still leaning on the work of others. That's fine. But experience will lead you to designs that are truly your own, and far more viable products.

PSXfile
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How close is too close?

Thanks for the great feedback.

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