Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby charlie » 02 Nov 2017, 20:10

Duion {l Wrote}:
dulsi {l Wrote}:Even if many open source games start as clones, they generally grow to have new features and don't try to perfectly clone everything.

Most if not all of them do not even make it to the same quality level as the original, which is quite pathetic in many cases considering the original is like 10-20 years old and technology has progressed vastly in that time.

We've been through this one. I advise you to drop it. To expect a volunteer spare-time programmer (often self-taught or learning) to match commercially made projects (even if made 10+ years ago) is a nonsense, as is not acknowledging the goals of many of these contributors (often not to out-pretty the original but to add, extend or modify certain features).
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby Duion » 03 Nov 2017, 02:22

It is possible even as an amateur to match commercially made projects that were made some years ago, technology is developing fast, so you work on a big advantage nowadays.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby WindowsDylan » 05 Feb 2018, 22:46

Probably because all the ideas are taken
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby darkhog » 12 Feb 2018, 09:03

I think the OP point is that many Open Source games are just clones of big titles, just with Tux slapped on it. SuperTux = Super Mario Bros with Tux, SuperTuxKart = Super Mario Kart with Tux and other open source mascots. Frozen Bubble = Puzzle Bobble but with penguins instead of dragons, you get my point.

I admit I have a similar issue, although it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of these games. In fact, if someone would make Super Tux Maker (I know there's level editor in SuperTux, but it's more like SMBX, Maker games have completely different style of both editing and the way you play them) I'd be more than happy to play it even though it'd be a clone. Not that anyone would, but only because of server cost for storage and bandwidth for such game, not because of any technical issues (most of the code could be probably reused from SuperTux).

For the original FLOSS games, I can really count them with a single hand. FreeDroidRPG - nice CRPG with Tux where story and mechanics are completely original AFAIK, Tuxracer (nice game, really like it) and The Mana World/Planeshift - two great open-source MMOs that are actually free, no microtransactions (unsure about Planeshift since I haven't played it in a long time, but the last time I did it didn't have microtransactions and sustained entirely on donations like TMW does). And that's about it. Really wish that devs of open-source games would put more thought into making a good game design
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby dulsi » 13 Feb 2018, 23:28

What is original? I would say Rogue is an original FLOSS game. I would also consider Moria original despite clearly building on Rogue's design. Is Battle for Wesnorth original despite being similar to other games? I haven't played either Battle for Wesnorth nor many titles in that genre. What about Flare or Valyria Tear? Again I haven't played enough to render judgement. The Butterfly Effect is a game like the Incredible Machine but it has it's own levels. Does that make it original or is it still a clone? Clones are everywhere even in commercial games. Minecraft started based on ideas from Infiniminer. I'm sure there are more original open source games than you think. You just haven't found them, haven't noticed what makes them unique, or they are bad games.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby themightyglider » 14 Feb 2018, 05:07

Rogue never was FOSS, sadly. Because of this its source code is lost forever today. :(
If you play Rogue on a mordern system it is a clone (called lRogue if I remember correctly). One of the original autors once said it was a big mistake to keep its source secret.
Later roguelikes like moria or hack have been free and really shaped the genre. Even today ~50% of the most popular roguelikes are FOSS.

Battle for Wesnoth is a good example for an original FOSS game. It has its own mechanics, its own art, its own lore and a healty community. I have played quite a few TBS-games but know nothing else like Wesnoth.

Valyria Tear is a JRPG. This genre dosen't leave much space for inovation but iside the genres restrictions it seems to be original to me too.

It's a fact that some of the most popular FOSS games are clones but there are as many original ideas. The problem is that most people can't see the whole landscape of FOSS gaming because there is no central habour for a community. Most successful games have their own communities but they don't seem to be connected very well. So people maybe enjoy one (or a few) free game(s) and don't know how many others are out there. On the other hand many devs seem to stop working on projects because they get no attention and loose their interest.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby darkhog » 15 Feb 2018, 17:09

If only there was a site which can catalogue all FLOSS games...

//edit: What I mean is that FGDPlanet could be such catalogue and FGDForums could be that community hub, if its maintainers would proactively look for games that are open-source and not only if the creators of FLOSS games asked for their game to be added. Even possibly coding a downloader/client similar to GOG Galaxy/itchio app/steam and so on that would allow for downloading all of open games. I still remember Tiggit which was basically a steam-like client for free games (though without community features and it included "free as in free beer" games as well) - dunno what happened to it.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby Julius » 16 Feb 2018, 14:10

We recently discussed such ideas here: https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7660

I think what you describe is only a good idea in theory and previous similar attempts all turned out to be more or less unmaintained.

Hosting downloads (especially with an auto-update client) also quickly becomes a major undertaking that isn't really a hobby anymore, and for now there isn't a viable business in it either. But did you check itch.io? It is reasonably close (even a open-source client), but not limited to FOSS. Edit: Lutris is another client you might want to look into.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby leilei » 13 Mar 2018, 02:56

I know there's no clones of the procedurally-generated-map-from-imported-music genre and there's still room to innovate in that one for original takes on it. Probably because it's not a genre you can just take <insert highly suggested FPS-geared base engine here> and call it the big game to make The Year of Linux on the Desktop....
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby onpon4 » 13 Mar 2018, 04:33

Related to this topic, I've recently compiled a list of libre games I would actually recommend to people:


I was surprised by the number when I really thought about it. I thought for sure there would only be 10 or so, but the actual number (at the time of writing) is over 40. This is excluding any game that's based on a proprietary game and fails to distinguish itself somehow, or is incomplete, or that I haven't had a chance to play yet. And a lot of these are really great games.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby charlie » 14 Mar 2018, 11:30

Nice list Julie (onpon4).
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby DatTuxBoi » 01 Apr 2018, 08:07

eugeneloza {l Wrote}:
Duion {l Wrote}:list some of the most popular proprietary games right now

Which of those were made by a team with less than 10 members?
GTA 1-5 ----- well, the "3d" ones I've seen are clones of Carmageddon, which is clone of Need For Speed, which is clone of Test Drive, which is clone of early racing games.
Left 4 Dead 2 ----- another clone of Doom, being another clone of Wolfenstein right?
Euro Truck Simulator 2 ----- yet another clone of Test Drive? Or Stunts which is an advanced clone of Test Drive? Never payed attention to this game, so I might be wrong.
Fallout 4, the clone of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the clone of Oblivion, the clone of Morrowind, the clone of Daggerfall, the clone of Arena, the clone of Ring of Nibelungen, the clone of Wolfenstein 3D.
Counter-Strike, Portal 2 --- yet another clones of Doom, right? Really advanced clones.
The Sims(TM) 3 ------- that's really something new. However... wait. Clone of Space Colony? Which is clone of some ancient DOS game I've played in 90s? And actually a clone of Barbie-like dolls?
Making a cool and advanced clone which will surpass the original is an art, really. But basically, we can link all the games to some "generes" which are First-person shooters, actually most being clones of either Wolfenstein 3D or early flight/tank simulators, real-time strategies as made popular by Dune2 (actually 99% of modern RTS are just really advanced clones - throw out all the "decorations" and you'll see the same gameplay elements). turn-based strategies (Fallout 1-2 were clones of X-Com, which was a clone of Laser Squad, right?), etc., etc., etc.
I can name very few games that really introduced NEW gameplay mechanics. Did you know about Pony Island?

Well, how about
MERITOUS. Unique battle mechanics like I've never seen.
BATTLE FOR WESTNOTH. Really cute strategic solutions giving the game unique feel.
DUNGEON CRAWL STONE SOUP. Didn't dungeon crawlers started with FOSS games? I may be wrong.
MINE TEST. Successfully cloned into proprietary Minecraft.
FREE DROID RPG. While it shares a lot of similarity with Diablo (wasn't it an isometric clone of Gauntlet?) and Droids, it has its unique features making it rather realtime Fallout 1 in style.
Check out Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection, it's awesome and full of unique games, earlier found only in pen-and-paper.
Should I mention that Ur-Quan Master was opensourced? Which is a clone of nearly the first computer game ever - StarWars?
Speaking of this forum we should also mention
Ancient Beast - maybe there's some game like that, but there's a lot of unique gameplay elements I've first seen in this game.
Lips of Suna - While we may call it just "a 3D rogue-like", it has a lot of unique feel and mechanics.
Valyria Tear / Heroes of I-always-forget-the-spelling-cost - Unless we call all jrpgs clones of some-ancient-jrpg it has a lot of unique solutions both in plot and in gameplay.
Wyrmsun - While a warcraft-like strategy, I'm highly unsure if it's a clone.
Rogue Box Adventures - A unique and successful merge of some mechanics.

So... what about the ratio? How many clones are there in proprietary games and how many clones are in FOSS?

You forgot SuperTux, clone of Super Mario Brothers.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby imaZighen » 02 Apr 2018, 10:49

If every game that is in the FPS genre is a clone of another FPS game that is older, than every game is a clone.
Cheer up mate, everyone make games the way they want it, some have better features, some better performance and some regardless of their age have a better gameplay.
So you can't really say a game is a clone of another unless it's a FNAF clone.
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Re: Why are almost all open source games copycats?

Postby Jastiv » 31 Oct 2018, 03:48

First of all, I wouldn't say almost all open source games are copycats, secondly, I think it can be hard to get developers all on the same page if you can't share the same vision. What do I mean by that? Well, everyone needs to understand what the game mechanics are supposed to be, so they know if they got them right when they implement them in code. For instance if I say something like, bank boxes, someone who has never played a multi-player onling rpg would not even know what I am talking about. Its just a different form of inventory that isn't usually accessible and doesn't count towards you weight limit. Or if I say something like stats and skills, and not levels, people who have just played level up games like world of warcraft and not skill collection games like Ultima Online would not know what I am talking about either.
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