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Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the stirring-the-pot dept.

Businesses 113

Nerval's Lobster writes Given its extreme difficulty, it's tempting to think that the new Swing Copters is Dong Nguyen's attempt at a joke (You thought 'Flappy Bird' was hard? Check this out!), or maybe even a meta-comment on the emerging "masocore" gaming category. Or maybe he just wanted to make another game, and the idea of an ultra-difficult one appealed. Whatever the case, Nguyen can rely on the enduring popularity of Flappy Bird to propel Swing Copters to the top of the Google and iOS charts. But his games' popularity illuminates a rough issue for developers of popular (or even just semi-popular) apps everywhere: how do you deal with all the copycats flooding the world's app stores? Although Google and Apple boast that their respective app stores feature hundreds of thousands of apps, sometimes it seems as if most of those apps are crude imitations of other apps. The perpetual fear among app developers is that they'll score a modest hit—only to see their years of hard work undermined by someone who cobbles together a clone in a matter of weeks or days. If Apple and Google want to make things friendlier out there for developers, they might consider stricter enforcement policies for the blatant rip-offs filling their digital storefronts.

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It's easy to troll gamers. (5, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47750725)

Point out literally any trivial mistake in any popular platform or game, and they(they being self-identified gamers) will inexplicably act as if you have invented the most vile insults about their parentage.

Honestly, my observation is that it's harder to not troll gamers than to do so.

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 2 months ago | (#47750797)

I have to agree. This is why I never talk about games with others or mention that I like console A better than console B for whatever reason. The amount of gamers (not all) who will go out of there way to be upset with you can be very annoying sometimes.

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (4, Informative)

Anguirel (58085) | about 2 months ago | (#47753025)

Console A is terrible! Why would you ever want to use that? Console B isn't much better. PC Gamer Master Race.

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47754441)

The uber games own all 5 systems, including PC, and they will gripe about each one being inferior.

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750823)

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? Iâ(TM)ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and Iâ(TM)ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and Iâ(TM)m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. Youâ(TM)re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and thatâ(TM)s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little âoecleverâ comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldnâ(TM)t, you didnâ(TM)t, and now youâ(TM)re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. Youâ(TM)re fucking dead, kiddo.

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752169)

Useless loser detected. Abort reply! ABORT! ABORT!

Re:It's easy to troll gamers. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 months ago | (#47752211)

[copypasta'd OTT ITG parody]

Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. [somethingawful.com]

Re: It's easy to troll gamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751235)

It was easy to troll the developer too. There was about 20 clones on the android store within an hour of release.

Why are you giving this dipshit free PR? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750739)

This is an idiotic who had a mental breakdown (or whatever) and removed FB because it was "too hard and ruined peoples loves", after he staged a meltdown online where he blatantly lied and said that the amount of money he was raking in was too much and posed a threat to himself because of where he lived in the world.

IMHO, this jackass should have been banned from the App Store with all the shenanigans he pulled. Now you jackasses are giving him free PR again, because he wrote another shitty HTML5 game that is once more purportedly "too hard". Nice.

Re:Why are you giving this dipshit free PR? (2, Funny)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 2 months ago | (#47751059)

This is an idiotic who had a mental breakdown (or whatever) and removed FB because it was "too hard and ruined peoples loves", after he staged a meltdown online where he blatantly lied and said that the amount of money he was raking in was too much and posed a threat to himself because of where he lived in the world.

IMHO, this jackass should have been banned from the App Store with all the shenanigans he pulled. Now you jackasses are giving him free PR again, because he wrote another shitty HTML5 game that is once more purportedly "too hard". Nice.

Wow. This guy proves i kan reed's point IMMEDIATELY.

Re:Why are you giving this dipshit free PR? (1)

cforciea (1926392) | about 2 months ago | (#47754167)

Not only that, but flappy birds was a shitty ripoff of a flash game I played 10 years ago using art assets more or less directly stolen from Mario. I don't see how he wasn't already trolling us.

Like most games ... game dev is hit or miss (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47750743)

This is a non-story ...

As it was already pointed out on reddit.com//r/gamedev ... Dong Nguyen got extremely lucky with Flappy Bird. The game is cheesy but it has focused game design making it a "good" game.

Of course everyone will be watching if he can replicate his success with Swing Copters. The controls aren't that great but everyone is waiting to see how it will do.

Trolling? No, just another game dev trying to follow up on his success. Just like Notch "failed" at his "Scrolls" project.

Re:Like most games ... game dev is hit or miss (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47750793)

Edit: Or Notch's "0x10c" ... or whatever Notch is working on these days ...

"Game tuning" is always an on-going process. Witness Blizzard with WoW, and Star Control 2, GGG wtih Path of Exile, etc.

Re:Like most games ... game dev is hit or miss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751097)

notch is currently working on a doom clone written in dart... he is webcasting the development:

http://www.hitbox.tv/notch

"Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751711)

No Lt. Dan to save you either, Forrest http://news.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org]

Re:Like most games ... game dev is hit or miss (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 months ago | (#47751165)

I don't find swingcopter very fun, I think the mark was missed.

Of course I'm just me, but the interaction is less direct it feels like.

Big talk & "Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751787)

You sure "talk a good game" (pun intended): Back it up instead of running, 'Forrest' http://news.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org]

learn to iterate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750753)

The key to outshining the imitators is to keep updating and iterating on your app, it will maintain it's appeal over other apps that will be constantly playing catchup.
Not only that, but you also need to be able to recognise when it's time to move on to pastures new. These throwaway games are a one off hit, and who knows, doodle jump may still be turning a small profit for it's creators these years later.

Today's developers seem to be under the impression that once they've developed and released a product it's somehow their right to have sanctity over the ideas within it.

Re:learn to iterate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754687)

Today's developers seem to be under the impression that once they've developed and released a product it's somehow their right to have sanctity over the ideas within it.

That is not for mere developers... But if you are one of the big boys ... Software patents are just the thing ...

I have nothing to add (5, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 months ago | (#47750795)

I just wanted to post "trolling with a swinging dong" and have it be relevant to the story for once.

Re:I have nothing to add (1)

kuzb (724081) | about 2 months ago | (#47752179)

Don't you be talking about Dong's Schlong. That's just wrong :(

Re:I have nothing to add (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47755391)

It should be done in song. And when he drops the hatchet it won't be long.

lol @ dongs (1)

slashdice (3722985) | about 2 months ago | (#47750799)

so, is it good or is it whack?

Doing it wrong (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47750807)

Clearly, if he were trying to troll he'd have named it "ROFLcopters!"

Doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750969)

I wouldn't be surprised if the cheezburger blog network, or some other organisation of the same vein, had already trademarked that term

How do deal with copycats? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47750861)

Gee, I dunno. Maybe ask some of the big studios that squeeze out sequel after sequel of identical games that look in no way different than the identical games offered by the studio next to it?

It's not like that phenomenon is unique to the handheld gaming market. You get the same kind of crap on PC as well. A thousand similar FPS combat about as many RTS clones for popularity.

And since AI is hard, you get the same shit with crappy AI from the Indie devs and call it Zombie shooter, since you're kinda expecting a zombie to be kinda mindlessly dumb, so nobody is gonna complain about an AI too dumb to dodge simple pits with mindless straight-to-the-player pathing. Actually, I'm kinda astonished that only a few big studios jumped on the latest Z-shooter fad to cut corners.

And of course mix in the load of "Minecraft meets $genre" games we've been thrown at recently. From Minecraft-zombieshooter to Minecraft-spacerace, everything's available.

You think the handheld market is full of copycats? Compared to the PC market they're petty amateurs.

Re:How do deal with copycats? (1)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 2 months ago | (#47751325)

"It's not like that phenomenon is unique to the handheld gaming market." It's not like that phenomenon is unique to gaming. Full Stop. Any time there is a successful TV show, it gets copied. Movies? copied. Books? copied. Nor is it unique to cultural works. The shelves of any big-box store are filled with cheap Chinese knockoffs of any physical product you can imagine. Compete on quality, customer service, and fan engagement. Those are much harder to rip off.

Re:How do deal with copycats? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 months ago | (#47751429)

Slots apps are a good example of this. Virtually all of them will toss you a small amount of coins every four hours, and you gain levels by spending coins, so you can play more elaborate simulated slots, some of which only are playable for 30 minutes. Of course, if you don't want to wait the rest of the four hours, you can do in-app-purchases.

In fact, it seems most games on the smartphone tablet are this way... you need to consume/use "X" resource to gain levels to do more stuff... and the only way to do that quickly is to spend hundreds on some resource (coins, brains, smurfberries) to do so.

IMHO, a smartphone game that goes back to the pre-2011 IAP style of offering a decent game without forcing you to buy stuff -at all-, other than levels would be a hit. A good example of this would be "The Quest" game on iOS, which has a lot of additions to play through.

Re:How do deal with copycats? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47751621)

Given enough copycat games that business scheme doesn't work out. Once I used up your 30 minutes, I move on to the next and use my 30 minutes there.

Re:How do deal with copycats? (1)

kuzb (724081) | about 2 months ago | (#47752197)

>Gee, I dunno. Maybe ask some of the big studios that squeeze out sequel after sequel of identical games that look in no way different than the identical games offered by the studio next to it?

Is that you EA?!

Rating system (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 months ago | (#47750865)

Wouldn't the rating system help hide the cheap knock-offs, or is the sad fact that people can't tell the difference?

Maybe the rating system should be like rottentomatoes, where there is the "audience rating" and "somehow accredited professional critics ratings", and the app's position in the store searches/listings could be a weighted sum of both of those, and the app store user could adjust their weighting toward more audience score or more critics score. (Before you patent that obvious concept, consider this post prior art)

Re:Rating system (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 months ago | (#47751211)

Swing Copters has a poor rating because it has terrible controls. Getting past the hammers is pure luck. A copycat that actually makes it possible to control the copter would have a better rating.

This doesn't compute...or does it (4, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 months ago | (#47750867)

At first I thought, "years of hard work"? How can this be when clones fill up the store in a matter of days? Doesn't seem like it is that much work. Then I thought, well perhaps designer spends years designing a game with all sorts of clever ideas then copiers use them all a few days after release. I have to ask, though, is this what happens? Surely a game must spend some time before becoming popular enough to copy, during which it builds a following and has first mover advantage. Copiers can't copy those advantages. It seems like it is still worth doing to many since folks are still making games for these platforms.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751067)

This is the reasoning for why we have patents. It took Edison (his team really) hundreds if not thousands of tries until they figured out how to create a reliable light bulb. Once they did all that hard work, it is ridiculously easy to merely see what they did and copy it. Patents exist to project people who do that upfront investment.

Sure, they have lots of issues that need fixing, but the fundamental idea is still OK. On the one hand, there should be a way to protect original apps from copying, but on the other hand sometimes the first guy to make a game does an OK job and the followup guys do an awesome job. The big one that comes to mind are Castles & Knights vs Angry Birds. Castles & Knights is the original, but Angry birds is the one that made hundreds of millions, mainly because it's production value was so much better. Same deal with Candy Crush.

Personally I think it's swayed too far in favor of the cloners.

*snark* missing or complete Bullshit? (3, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47751305)

Thomas Edison was one of numerous scientists that were working on similar "inventions". Scientists shared notes and findings which lead to the invention of the filament bulb, but it surely was not one guy doing all of the work.

The patent system gave a monopoly to Edison and isolated every other scientist that worked on the bulb reducing "their" work to non-existence a short time later. It did not help anything in science, and the only person that benefited was "Edison".

The same guy by the way, that staged live executions to show how dangerous AC was and cost Tesla numerous contracts (one of numerous publicity stunts to help his own career and harm others). It only cost Tesla most of his funding. It only took us a century to figure out what a genius Tesla really was and what a dickhead Edison really was.

I'm sure we could spend time digging and find a patent that is not complete bullshit, but your example is surely not one of the few.

Re:*snark* missing or complete Bullshit? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 months ago | (#47753637)

Edison/Tesla rants are so boring.

Edison was a very successful businessman. His greatest invention was the Research and Development Lab (you hire a bunch of people who work for you inventing stuff that you own the patents for) Probably his second greatest invention was whatever he did to win the PR battle so well that people consider him as an individual a 'great inventor.'

Tesla was a different matter. He was an Edison employee, one among many. It's sad that he went stark raving batshit mad in his later years, but things like that happen. Books with his design drawings from his later years sell well in coffee-table books in the same section of the bookstore as the Allister Crowley books.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751447)

Then you realize Edison was a huge pussy who stole everything from Tesla.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751581)

Wow AC! I read "The Oatmeal" too!

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about 2 months ago | (#47751509)

That's cause edison was a moron, like you.

Re: This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752087)

Luckily software doesn't work that way which is a good thing for innovation. Think of a word processor application and how there would only be one type in existence with no competition if patents covered software the way the do inventions

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754749)

The big one that comes to mind are Castles & Knights vs Angry Birds. Castles & Knights is the original,

The hell it was. That kind of ballistic shooting games have been around since the 80's. Some of them were way better than C&K or AB combined.

This doesn't compute...or does it (1)

Cruciform (42896) | about 2 months ago | (#47751183)

The original creator comes up with the idea, usually among many ideas. Then they have to decide which one to go with. Then you have to design and implement, refine, and see what works, until you have something worth releasing.
Then you might have to put the effort into social media or advertising.
Then you might become popular.
Then someone else looks at what you created and breaks the concept down into components that are easily reproducible in a day or two, while their artist copies your art. They flood the store with them.
The only real counter to something like that is to create a game that's complicated enough that reproducing the game mechanics that make it popular takes long enough that the clones don't come out in time to bite into the profit during the critical first week/month.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 months ago | (#47751483)

The only real counter to something like that is to create a game that's complicated enough that reproducing the game mechanics that make it popular takes long enough that the clones don't come out in time to bite into the profit during the critical first week/month.

Or in other words: make a product with actual lasting value. Oh, the horror!

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751227)

We'll assume the hard part is coming up with a game mechanic that's unique and fun and not the actual coding. Given that, the coding can be quite quick, looking at the game in the OP, I'm sure someone could hack together a working alpha release in under a day.

However the question comes back to how this affects the original games publisher. If he could have sold the game for 9.99$ for the premium version, and a limited trial, but someone else puts out a copy that's reasonably close in quality, but is free and ad supported, it'll be difficult to sell the original game for full price. The copy becomes a substitute good for the original, and as such, lowers the optimum price (for largest return) of the original game according standard economic theory. The copies aren't generating a new market, they're simply subtracting from the existing market by taking market share. Furthermore, while they may not be more popular than the original game, if they take 10-20% of the market share, it can be a significant portion of the profits of a game, given this market is fixed cost.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47751627)

What generally happens is a developer might spend "years" on several different games/apps, with each probably benefiting from lessons learned from the previous ones. Eventually, one of the games finally breaks out gets popular. Since we're talking about very simplistic games here, it's not at all difficult for someone else to just copy what they see working.

The problem here is that these knockoffs aren't even trying to pass for unique games. Most even try and copy the developer name, counting on a certain percentage of people to download and install it thinking it's the "real" version.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (2)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 2 months ago | (#47751861)

Then I thought, well perhaps designer spends years designing a game with all sorts of clever ideas then copiers use them all a few days after release. I have to ask, though, is this what happens?

What happens is that the developer has dozens of ideas, and the 30th one actually works. People like it; people play it. It has the right "stuff" that it becomes a success. Finding that combination is what takes years. Actually producing that one game may have only taken the amount of time it takes a copier.

Although tuning very well also takes a lot of time.

Surely a game must spend some time before becoming popular enough to copy, during which it builds a following and has first mover advantage. Copiers can't copy those advantages

Well, I mean, Candy Crush is a cheap knockoff. Sometimes, marketing muscle beats out organic growth. Hell, Zynga used to threaten (and follow through on threats to) to just clone games if they would not sell, and then popularize the Zynga version through their marketing. They then would crush the original.

Hell, there are lists, both in games and in the world, where people think that the original is a cheap knockoff.

My favorite example is Hydrox vs. Oreo, but numerous others exist.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 months ago | (#47753649)

Supercell is eating Zynga's lunch. With a business plan so different that it's staggering. No, Zynga isn't long for this world. When they die, nobody will fucking care, either.

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (1)

gringer (252588) | about 2 months ago | (#47752765)

Then I thought, well perhaps designer spends years designing a game with all sorts of clever ideas then copiers use them all a few days after release. I have to ask, though, is this what happens? Surely a game must spend some time before becoming popular enough to copy, during which it builds a following and has first mover advantage.

Flappy bird is certainly not a good example of the ideas being the expensive part. Here's just one example of an earlier game that is similar in nature:

http://www2.sunflat.net/en/gam... [sunflat.net]

Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754747)

Someone gets a hit out of copying an older idea for todays market, they will then proceed to whine about everyone else using their own process to do the same to their game... Film at 11.

Easy (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 months ago | (#47752899)

you spend years making games that bomb until you hit on one idea that works and that clicks with people.

Basically, years of honing your game design skills and trying new ideas and then someone comes along and copies your mechanics and your game is irrelevant just like that.

Hye, how about this... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750869)

So when someone expends significant effort and time to develop something we want to ensure that they realize the benefit for their work. The challenge is that once the work has been done, it is easy for someone else to copy it and steal your profits (because they avoided all the development costs).

What is being asked is for an institution, such as Google or Apple, to take steps to prevent other from copying one's work.

Put another way, the ask is that Google/Apple create a private patent system.

I have to laugh that when developers want to take advantage of other people's work, they condemn patents, but when they find their own work being cloned suddenly they are clamoring for someone to come in and protect their work...

Re:Hye, how about this... (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47751693)

Not quite what's happening here. These aren't people just copying designs. They're usually trying to pose as the original work, including the developer name, to trick people into installing their version.

Re:Hye, how about this... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47751999)

Not quite what's happening here. These aren't people just copying designs. They're usually trying to pose as the original work, including the developer name, to trick people into installing their version.

Slight modification to the GP post, then:

Put another way, the ask is that Google/Apple create a private patent and trademark system.

Re:Hye, how about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752031)

Not really. What they're asking for is essentially what Nintendo did back when they were a monopoly. They would only allow certain groups to publish games and if your game was too similar to another it was denied. That's one of the reasons that gaming on their consoles grew: when you made something and got approved you were protected from large numbers of copy cats.

Re:Hye, how about this... (2)

ADRA (37398) | about 2 months ago | (#47752243)

Their innovation was that they invent something that people like. Their advantage is that they invented it first and should have both the buzz and the initial profits of said game. If you think that magically a clone game company can write the exact same game at a fraction of the cost, I'd say you're a liar, the original company did it horribly, or they stole the content assets from the original.

1. Yeah, most likely. Games are not trivial to write. They're incrementally easier if you know exactly what you want it to do, but a trivial to develop game being trivial to write will get cloned... a LOT. How many platformers that behave 99% like mario exist in the market? Oh yeah, a metric F-ton.
2. The 'early into market advantage' is ruined due to expensive development, oh well. Do better next time
3. Direct copy is easy to identify and Google / Apple / etc.. will honor DMCA takedowns like anything else

confusion about the problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750873)

If Apple and Google want to make things friendlier out there for developers, they might consider stricter enforcement policies for the blatant rip-offs filling their digital storefronts

Umm... Apple and Google have somewhere between hundreds of thousands and millions of apps in their app stores. That's a lot, so I suspect "making things friendlier for developers" is not any kind of problem. It isn't like developers aren't lining up to submit apps for these platforms, so the platforms are demonstrably already plenty attractive enough to attract developers.

And how to tell the rip-offs from improvements? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750915)

On person’s “blatant rip off” is another person’s “Words with Friends.”

Re:And how to tell the rip-offs from improvements? (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#47751371)

I was quite amused when I found out that they now have a board game version of Words With Friends.

Re: And how to tell the rip-offs from improvements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47753955)

In fairness, there was no scrabble app when words with friends came out.

Doing it wrong? (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 months ago | (#47750923)

While coming up with good game mechanics is important to a successful game, if it takes you years to develop a game, and someone else can copy it in weeks or days, then you're probably doing something seriously wrong. Either your game is too trivial, or you weren't a very good developer to start with.

Yaz

Re:Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47750975)

Talk about trolling...

Re: Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751029)

Not exactly that easy. Innovation is 95% inspiration, 7% urination. Sure, you could cobble together all the assets and code together in no time, but it takes a real thinker to sit around thinking about new and innovative ways to poke at a screen to make thing go up.

Re: Doing it wrong? (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 months ago | (#47751921)

Sure, you could cobble together all the assets and code together in no time...

That depends on the game, which supports my thesis.

Strong AI is difficult to do, and can be the real differentiator between a great game and a cheap copycat. Likewise for a physics engine or a rendering engine.

If your game doesn't feature any form of AI, or is easily reproduced with off-the-shelf physics and/or rendering engines, then your game is probably trivial. And if it took you years to put together your trivial game when it only takes the next guy days to replicate it -- than as I've said, you did something wrong.

Yaz

Re: Doing it wrong? (2)

countach (534280) | about 2 months ago | (#47754437)

Sometimes a clever but simple idea is brilliant. (Like Tetris).

The problem with some kind of legal protection is that sometimes somebody has a neat idea that is badly implemented, or maybe its implemented ok, but somebody else can provide an implementation that really brings out its potential. Not always is the original the best. So it would be stagnating the category to bring the law into it.

Re:Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751069)

While coming up with good game mechanics is important to a successful game, if it takes you years to develop a game, and someone else can copy it in weeks or days, then you're probably doing something seriously wrong. Either your game is too trivial, or you weren't a very good developer to start with.

Yaz

Well, you mean as an Indie developer if I start from scratch, do the design, generate graphics, coding, testing, then it should still takes me as much time as some one who can simply download the app, and replicate without having to 'think' (or like in case of Android apps, just download the apk, decompile and open it up, grab the resources) and put out a clone. Interesting.

Re:Doing it wrong? (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 months ago | (#47751697)

Well, you mean as an Indie developer if I start from scratch, do the design, generate graphics, coding, testing, then it should still takes me as much time as some one who can simply download the app, and replicate without having to 'think' (or like in case of Android apps, just download the apk, decompile and open it up, grab the resources) and put out a clone. Interesting.

You have a fair comment, so I should clarify somewhat. I'm assuming that whomever does the copy is not only generating their own code, but is also generating their own resources. If they're copying your resources you have the ability to go after them for copyright infringement. That's not really a new thing in game development, and there is legal recourse (and yes, I know it's a shitty thing to have to go through, as it has happened to me personally with someone who ripped off both code AND resources from an OSS game a friend of mine and I coded 8 years ago).

But the summary is talking about differing orders of magnitude here. If you've developed something that took years and someone is able to replicate your work (without stealing code or resources) in days, then yes -- I still submit you're doing something wrong.

Yaz

Re:Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751111)

Unless that "someone else" happens to be a game studio of 500 artists and 50 devs, in which case it makes sense that they can do it faster.

There's also the inter-game development as well - those ideas that fail at the first and second cut then succeed at the third. There's a lot of development experience in trying revisions to an idea so it's kinda a bummer when you get it right only to have EA crank out a version with better graphics when you finally have the recipe.

Also why KFC is so protective.

Re:Doing it wrong? (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 months ago | (#47751567)

Unless that "someone else" happens to be a game studio of 500 artists and 50 devs, in which case it makes sense that they can do it faster.

Personally, I've never known a team of that size to be able to ramp up development all that quickly. What that many devs, you'd probably wind up with a month of design meetings before any coding got started.

Yaz

Re:Doing it wrong? (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | about 2 months ago | (#47751649)

Not necessarily. I don't particularly care about Flappy Bird, but let's look at Chess. Chess took centuries to develop, and almost anyone could reproduce it now.

Re:Doing it wrong? (2)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 months ago | (#47751863)

Not necessarily. I don't particularly care about Flappy Bird, but let's look at Chess. Chess took centuries to develop, and almost anyone could reproduce it now.

Chess has evolved over time, and wasn't the product of a single development team, so it's not exactly an apples-to-oranges comparison. It took roughly 900 years of evolution for chess to take on its modern form, and there have been many variations of chess (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] claims more than 2000 published variations).

Early versions of chess weren't unplayable, in-development versions. They were proper, stand-alone games. You could think of modern chess as actually having been a "rip-off" of these earlier games. Indeed, several of the basic game mechanics were seen in earlier games that predated chess by centuries (pieces on an X-by-Y grid, for example, was used 600 years before the earliest variants of chess in Ludus latrunculorum [wikipedia.org] ). Indeed, if chess hadn't freely borrowed from games that came before it, it wouldn't exist today.

As such, chess evolved in exactly the way this article is railing against. Over the years, people who had nothing to do with the original "developers" of the earliest chess forked their own versions with slightly different rule-sets, and those with rule-sets that provided for an improved game were adopted by others, who then adapted those rules with their own improvements. Without these "copy-cats", we'd be sitting down to play Chaturanga [wikipedia.org] right now instead of chess.

Yaz

Re:Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752501)

Yes. It's like when someone takes five years to write a novel and someone else can type in a copy in a matter of weeks, obviously the original author was doing it wrong.

But I'm not a gamer, so I'm not familiar with your work. What are the wonderful original popular games you've created in a matter of weeks? Do Tell.

Re:Doing it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754761)

If you have the full "text" of the game (data and code) then ofcourse it would be easy to replicate, since you already have it.

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Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751095)

brought to you by the shameless-ad-revenue-dept

I admit to putting too much time into Flappy Birds (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47751127)

So, yeah, I downloaded Swing Copters. And then I played it... for about two minutes.

Nguyen stated he wanted to come up with a game that was "less addictive" than Flappy Birds, and I think he accomplished that - by creating a new game that will almost certainly irritate and annoy most people very quickly. That game is freaking impossible!

Re:I admit to putting too much time into Flappy Bi (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 2 months ago | (#47751277)

Basically Nguyen has managed to commercialize the "deliberately worthless" control scheme of QWER that is "just" simple enough to make your brain say "hey, this is simple, so it should be easy!" QWER was magical because your brain says "I know how walking works, I can do this". same with Flappy Bird, your brain says "I get gravity" and you spend 30 minutes swearing at the screen, but sort of having fun. I tried Swing Copters, and it has none of the things that made the first two "addicting" because it lacks that little tiny bit of intuitiveness that the others had. While Copters has the same theory, in my mind, it lacks the core feature, thus making it infuriating, without any of the fun.

Re: I admit to putting too much time into Flappy B (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752303)

QWER? Do you mean QWOP?

Re: I admit to putting too much time into Flappy B (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 2 months ago | (#47752933)

it seems it has many incarnations.

Who decides what's 'blatant' ? (4, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 2 months ago | (#47751321)

. If Apple and Google want to make things friendlier out there for developers, they might consider stricter enforcement policies for the blatant rip-offs filling their digital storefronts.

It took a lawsuit for Atari to kill KC Munchkin ... and even then they only won on appeal : http://www.mathpirate.net/log/... [mathpirate.net]

If KC Munchkin was a rip-off of Pac Man, then every first person shooter is a rip-off of Wolf 3D. (which might've been a rip-off of Space Simulation).

Don't get me wrong -- there needs to be something done about people making crappy games and tricking people into buying it (eg, The War Z), but once in a while, someone makes a *better* game that's similar to something that already exists (eg, Arkanoid vs. Break Out).

Teabagging taken to a new level by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751331)

Dong Nguyen(Win)!

Teabagging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751965)

What does this have to do with ultra-conservative wackos?

Poster is new to computers? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 months ago | (#47751341)

>> their respective app stores feature hundreds of thousands of apps, sometimes it seems as if most of those apps are crude imitations of other apps

Is the poster new to computers? This clutter has been the case with software since it first reached the consumer. (e.g., RPG games in the 1980s, etc.)

This is why:
1) It's good to be the PLATFORM (you get paid no matter what apps sell).
2) It's good to be a CONSUMER (you get zillions of choices).
3) Being a DEVELOPER is hard, and making a living trying to sell apps to consumers is ever harder (see #1 and #2).

The biggest cash cows are ripoffs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751477)

Do you really think Google and Apple are going to bite the hand of Zynga, King, et al. when such a huge proportion of their app store profit comes from their blatant ripoff games?

The biggest cash cows are ripoffs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754775)

Nope. But only because they can't see past that. Soon there won't be originals for zynga to rip off.

'emerging genre' (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 months ago | (#47751597)

Bullet hell has been around for a while, there were tons of games that were hard because they were broken, and 'Nintendo hard' is older than dirt, and variations that are nigh impossible for human players have been popular for years (think Kazio Mario). 'Masocore' is not an emerging genre.

Is Nerval Lobster trolling slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47751781)

Is this article about hard games or copy-cat games or making app stores more friendly to developers or making app stores more strict (and thus less friendly) with developers?

The rating system on app stores are WAAAYY too g (1)

uslurper (459546) | about 2 months ago | (#47751933)

The rating system on app stores are too generic.
And considering 90% of all the apps get like 4.5 stars, the ratings are comepletly useless.
The top downloaded lists are much better, but that makes it near impossible for a new app to get any attention.

When you are looking for apps, you usually are looking for something specific.

For example, I was looking for a professional drawing/painting tool for my kid.
About 99.999% of these apps are more like coloring books for kids.
While there were some very nice tools, none on the top 100 downloaded had the right mix I was looking for.
And some had many of the features i wanted, but were severely lacking in implementation.

A good example may be to compare two top-rated drawing apps.
They are both highly rated and have a ton of downloads, but one is geared for kids and one is geared for professional.
Which app is 'best' for me depends on what I am actually looking for. If I want something for my 6-year old to finger-paint with, I definately do NOT want the pro tools.

I think Apple and Google should driving developers to produce better apps instead of more apps.
And the best apps should be sitting on the top of the hill.

One way I would suggest would be to have a Tag/Rating system. This would allow developers to tag their apps with all the different features they want.
Then users could rate each tag separately.

So for example a drawing app could have a tag for a blur tool (among others). Users could then give a rating specifically for that feature.

Prospective downloaders could then search for apps with that specific set of features and compare apps side by side.
search for: Drawing/painting apps
pick from most tagged:
kids
professional *
easy
color picker *
layers *
bucket fill *
brushes *
Blurr tool *
share on facebook
(and more)

App1
professional - 4
color picker - 5
layers - 3
bucket fill - 4
brushes - 3
Blurr tool - 1
-Total score: 20

App2
professional - 4
color picker - 4
layers - 2
bucket fill - 4
brushes - 3
Blurr tool - 4
-Total score: 21

The same functions could apply to games.

This would help developers compete by showing them what people are looking for, and where there apps need improvement.

Also, there is much logic that could be added beyond the ratings. -How often are apps USED as opposed to downloaded?
Do certain reviewers give blanket 10's? And many ways to get new apps rated.. Can I (automatically) get a free copy of this new app if I agree to rate it?

original games? (4, Insightful)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 2 months ago | (#47752099)

Those original games are blatant rip-offs as well.
Angry Birds? Flappy Birds? I had similar games on my C64 and those were probably already copies of similar games on Atari and earlier computers.
Except for the eye-candy, these games could be programmed by anyone taking a basic programming/gaming 101 course.

Re:original games? (2)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 months ago | (#47752553)

mod parent up.

I haven't seen an original game since the PS1. Most/all of the popular most downloaded games can be shoehorned into a few dozen categories. The only "originality" I see comes from the refreshed graphics, a few plot tweaks and whatnot. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But to insist that your (the developer's) game is all so brand spanking original that Thou Shalt Not Copy My (your hapless animal species here) Game is hypocritical to say the least.

Re:original games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754785)

Which game was original os PS1? Can't think of any. Every genre already existed at the time of PS1 I think.

Re:original games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47755143)

PaRappa the Rapper?

Re:original games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754395)

Amen

Re:original games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47755319)

If you use wide enough categorization that allows you to abstract away 2d physics (which the C64 isn't capable of in a same way) from angry birds you'll end up with a conclusion that the total number of distinct games in the world is something like 3. In this case the game is: "press a button and succeed randomly" (the skill element can be factored out once you hit the plateau)

Open Source it!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752227)

Wait, shouldn't the concern be that it is not open sourced to promote copying and enhancements?

Who is Dong Nguyen? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 months ago | (#47752393)

Are we supposed to know who all people with generic vietnamese names are?

Re:Who is Dong Nguyen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47752621)

Are we supposed to know who all people with generic vietnamese names are?

Or generic English names?

Who is John Galt?

Absolutely not. (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 2 months ago | (#47752751)

I know that the versions of don't-touch-white and 2048 that I have aren't the "originals." They were the most popular ones at the time I jumped in because they're better. The devs start with a rip-off and then add more interesting features that the original didn't have. With dead simple microgames like this, it's easy for each game to become its own little subgenre, with new ideas being layered on by each iteration. If we "protect" the original versions of these things, it will only make crappy games crappier by removing the innovative force that pushes time-wasters to become real entertainment.

Re:Absolutely not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47754787)

Some devs rip of to rip off and make a profit. other devs take strong inspiration to improve and make a better (or just different) game. Gaming would be in a sorry state without the latter - even if company X things it's bad for their bottom line.

That guy is gonna be rich (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 2 months ago | (#47752871)

Regardless of how "trolled" any one feels by this he gets an ad hit every time the user looses a round in the game. So do they pay him with a bucket of cash or just Apple store credit?

Dong's Formula (1)

seoras (147590) | about 2 months ago | (#47752907)

1. Make a game which is simple to understand but impossibly difficult.
2. Make it free with an iAd banner for revenue.
3. Withdraw the game as soon as the feeding frenzy begins and the media pick up on it.
4. Repeat.

Consumers love nothing more than a freebie in limited supply.
Dong's limited editions.

There's a new iPhone coming out and I'd like to upgrade.
My fingers are crossed that he pulls it so I can sell my current iPhone, with this latest game installed, for twice the price of the new iPhone 6 ;)

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