Rob On Stuff

Help, my game’s been cloned!

…and I’m super excited! Somebody hold me.

Obviously this comes with the disclaimers that:

a) I have not played the game, it’s not out yet.

b) I’m assuming the game isn’t by someone terrible here.

But yes, earlier today someone alerted me to the game ‘Arcade‘ on Steam which is quite clearly, I dunno! I don’t think clone is the right word, really. An unofficial sequel? Unofficial expansion? Whatever! It’s based off Death Ray Manta from 2015, a game I’m really proud of and just to be super clear about it, I’m totally made up about this right now. Very happy indeed.

It’s the first I’ve heard but that’s okay. I explicitly allow for folks to do this without my blessing! Don’t touch the music because that doesn’t belong to me but otherwise, it’s fine.

Anyone is free to take any of the other assets, or indeed the whole game, and do their own thing with it. Remix it! Rename it and sell it! I don’t care.

I know this runs a risk or twenty. Like, some terrible person could make money off my work. Some company could just flog it behind my back. It strikes me there are better ways to make money but I know not to underestimate people. It’s a risk and I know that.

I don’t have a plan if that happens. To be honest, I don’t want to have one either. With huge apologies to anyone saying “there’s a license for that”, I’m sure there is. I don’t really care all that much. I can’t make the whole thing public domain but as close as? Yeah! Do I care enough to deal with the intricacies? Nah.

Consider the license NE:PDBAA. Nearly everything: please don’t be an asshole, if you really need one.

I’m absolutely not making an argument that everyone, or indeed anyone, should follow my lead in this way. I’m not arguing people shouldn’t be able to make money from their works either. Just in the same way I totally do help seed torrents of my own games I stumble across, I don’t mind people getting my games for free and bluntly, I enjoy seeing what (if anything) people make of, or from, them.

It’s personal, yeah?

I grew up at a time when platform games were Donkey Kong clones, Space Invaders clones were still a thing. A few years later, the now notorious Harry S Price happened. I’m a firm believer that games begat other, if not better then different, games. And I don’t mind giving that a nudge along.

I’ve been skint. Correction! I am skint and this lockdown is keeping me that way! So this totally does colour how I view things. If my games help cheer someone up for five minutes, that’s a win.

I’ve been a beginner. So if one of my games helps get someone out the starting blocks, that’s a win. I treat this sort of thing as a bit of paying it forward.

I’m also a mischievous git so you can add “gives me a giggle whilst not harming anyone” to the list of things I’m fine with too.

In the case of Death Ray Manta, I admittedly don’t class it as “my own work”. It exists with the help of Andy and Ste and Mike. Andy’s code is what makes it feel so good, Ste’s cover art is incredible and Mike’s music is peerless. (Not just in Death Ray Manta, in general).

I can’t understate how lucky I was to get to work with such talented people, especially ones who understand I’m the sort of noddy who sabotages commercial success at every turn. Or that I’m the kind of person who burns out and has a complete inability to write a game again for a very long while as a result.

I’d love to add “and of course, I’m well off enough to not have to worry” to this but, erm, no. Sorry. I’m just shit at capitalism. Admittedly with intent.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Arcade! I’m genuinely looking forward to having a go on it. It’s got a muck around in mode and an endless mode, two things I’m really happy to see. There’s a dozen music tracks which is way overkill for a small game but clearly this isn’t as tiny as Death Ray Manta so cool! Also, Steam Leaderboards.

It’s a lot of stuff I’ve shunned because I’m trying to make games that let you go, that aren’t especially competitive or whatever. No problems if someone else wants to plop them in though, could be fun! Only one way to find out etc…

And providing whoever’s behind Arcade isn’t an arsehole, I wish them all the successes. Even building on top of a slightly established though not famously so game isn’t exactly easy money in the neo-retro arcade game stakes. It’s the other one, it’s hard going.

And if nothing else, it’s been a pleasant reminder that I might be crap at business but I can’t half make a game that still looks great five years on.

Which is nice.

By RobF

Hello! Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed the words I write, please consider contributing to my Patreon or dropping me a donation. I'm only able to afford the time to write thanks to the kindness or the community and every penny is gratefully received and spent wisely. You can also buy my latest solo videogame, Death Ray Manta on Steam if you like flashing lights at yourself.