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Spil & Creatures Intellectual Property   1 | 2
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/12/2017  1

Before continuing I want you to compare this quote:

Rha wrote:
I think they just bought the license super cheap, thinking it's a regular cute children's game, probably backing out immediately when they noticed how complex a true to the originals game would be and that if they make a simple tamagotchi they're better off selling as a new franchise, seeing as the only ones remembering the original wouldn't even care for it or even boycott.

Also they broke the sacred rule of not giving any kind of launch date until you're 100% sure, ever.



To this glassdoor review about Spil

Now I'm trying to get Spil to sell me the creatures IP (Intellectual Property) for $4, and I need the community's help!

Can you all please write an email to Spil encapsulating the following ideas:

The fun of creatures is in modding and genetic tinkering, something you can't do without a desktop interface, ergo you will not buy a creatures mobile game.

They claimed to be fans of creatures, but if they were fans, they would know this and never have announced the mobile game. As a result you will never buy games from them because they are liars.

And so on.

Basically I want to try and get across that they made a bad investment, and my $4 offer is probably the best they can do.


 
Doringo
Lodestar

Doringo
United Kingdom  

 visit Doringo's website: My Blog
  2/12/2017

How would they sell you the IP? Isn't there plenty of legal complications regarding that?
 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/12/2017

You can buy and sell copyrights, trademarks, and patents just like anything else.

http://info.legalzoom.com/purchase-copyright-22294.html

I would just need them to agree and a copyright lawyer.

 
Missmysterics

Missmysterics



  2/12/2017

Big Ben own the IP, Spil games is has been given permission to use it, I think? Though likely they have certain rights to it also, both companies would need to consent.

If we actually wanna be serious, buying the IP will most likely be beyond us, I'm not really sure what a unsuccessful one goes for, but companies do not let IPs go easy and like to sit on them and wait just in case they can make money. What might be more monetarily feasible is buying a licence but that would require working in a specific time frame (Fishing Cactus, an actual producer of games, failed despite trying hard) and likely compromising our values.

There's also the slight concern that we might be dooming ourselves further, are we actually more prepared to see this through than they are?


 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/12/2017  1

I'm more prepared. I'll have to do more investigating as to who owns it. Doing more research it might be gameware. BUT I can find barely anything on them, it seems like they stopped existing in 2010, the only evidence to the contrary is that they still have a new copyright notice on their website.
 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/12/2017

Either way it changes nothing, getting spil to cancel the licensing agreement will make purchasing the copyright easier.
 
Missmysterics

Missmysterics



  2/12/2017  1

Well, it's likely we'd all need to chip in and then some more, get our friends and family and our pets in on this,maybe a KickStarter so people get their money returned if it fails.

If it doesn't then what, if we bought the IP collectively would we all have rights?
Are you absolutely sure you're covered on programming, genetics, sprites, atts (or equivelent), do you know how to make norns "live" the way they do? I'm sorry if I sound a bit pessimistic but it seems like one person is only so talented.

I guess if we could learn how Kreatures works, we could help you, but it still seems like a longshot.

Granted, Steve Grand is one of the very few people that knows how to make artificial life the way he does, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone, and with fans to update the new genomes maybe we'll get there eventually.

 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/12/2017

Let me find out how much it would cost before you start worrying about that.

We wouldn't all own it unless we incorporated, or made it public domain.

And I have already made them live the way they do, the brain still needs some tweaking, been talking to steve grand about it. and the engine is more than 50% done. Bifrost is helping me with sprites and backgrounds.

 
KyAnn

KyAnn
United States  


  2/12/2017  1

I'm also interested in this... while I never got a response when I e-mailed their contact address, weather it's due to them not reading it, or simply ignoring it, I was kinda curious if a conversation about acquiring the IP could be started. In this current moment, my buying power isn't terribly high, but if we can get a definitive number from them of what they're willing to sell it for, I might find a way to be able to help out some. Of course, this is assuming that they own the IP and that they'd be willing to sell. I'm hopelessly optimistic to tell you the truth, haha.
 
BaffleBlend

BaffleBlend
United States  


  2/12/2017

Hmm... It would be nice to get the IP in the hands of someone we know for sure will use it. However, there's a chance we might be messing something up. A tiny chance, but still a chance.

But, I'm strongly leaning towards "go for it". I'll add some of my own money to the purchase pool if need be, though I'm not exactly loaded. (I somehow doubt four bucks is going to cut it.)

 
Missmysterics

Missmysterics



  2/13/2017

Well I've seen evidence of your work and you're sure of what you're doing so I'm behind you.

 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/13/2017

If I can't get the IP then I can't sell it on steam. If I can sell it on steam then the trick is to try and get someone like jacksepticeye or markiplier to play it on their show. Once that happens selling it for $20 each, I could easily stand to make $2,000,000, as a conservative estimate. With that money to be made I could probably get a loan for the IP, it's just about forcing gameware, Spil, or whoever to make an offer.

If I can't get the IP then I can't sell it on steam and what I get in my donations sig is the best I can hope for.

 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  2/13/2017

I'm quite angry that the Creatures IP was simply handed over to a company that quite simply, churns out crap. Such a shame Steve Grand no longer has any say over it.
 
BaffleBlend

BaffleBlend
United States  


  2/13/2017

Speaking of which, someone should let Grand know about this, that we don't trust that his old creation is in good hands right now and we're trying to liberate it. Maybe he can lend us a bit of a hand.
 
Splincer

Splincer



  2/13/2017

If you can't acquire the Creatures IP, you could make enough changes to the Kreatures game you're making to avoid copyright issues. Make it a spiritual successor instead of a sequel, which has been done before. There are artists and writers in the Creatures Community that could probably help out some too.

Maybe a spiritual successor isn't ideal, and you want to stick with the Creatures games, but it's something, and you could still sell it. Make enough money from the game and you might be able to eventually buy the Creatures IP as well. You'd still get what you wanted, just in a slightly different way.

 
Brynn

Brynn



  2/13/2017  2

Steve Grand has this to say about who should own the IP...but, unfortunately, I don't think he has any say or sway regarding the issue.

Regarding the topic: Have you thought of approaching Spil with an offer to buy but not name a price? As much as we would WANT to buy it for only $4 (and they only deserve to be paid so much since they've done diddly squat with it), I don't think they would engage the conversation otherwise.

 
BaffleBlend

BaffleBlend
United States  


  2/13/2017

Brynn wrote:
Steve Grand has this to say about who should own the IP...but, unfortunately, I don't think he has any say or sway regarding the issue.



Oh thank god he approves. Even if he doesn't have any legal say, his opinion still matters, at least to us.

 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  2/13/2017

A spiritual successor sounds like a good idea if it's not possible to buy the IP - like Yooka-Laylee is essentially a Banjo-Kazooie sequel but with different branding.
 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/13/2017

Splincer wrote:
If you can't acquire the Creatures IP, you could make enough changes to the Kreatures game you're making to avoid copyright issues. Make it a spiritual successor instead of a sequel, which has been done before. There are artists and writers in the Creatures Community that could probably help out some too.

Maybe a spiritual successor isn't ideal, and you want to stick with the Creatures games, but it's something, and you could still sell it. Make enough money from the game and you might be able to eventually buy the Creatures IP as well. You'd still get what you wanted, just in a slightly different way.



In copyright law, it's infringement if they can show a screenshot that a random person could confuse with the original.

The main problem that creates is with the kits and interface. You can say "well you can change the kits enough that it's not confusing" But there's really only so many ways that toolbars and kits can be put together.

More about look and feel of the interface, it's easy enough to make the engine itself a spiritual successor.

 
KyAnn

KyAnn
United States  


  2/13/2017

So, I asked them about selling the Creatures IP, I was professional about it, this was the response.

"Thanks for your interest and proposal but Spilgames is not aiming to sell
or sub-license the IP.

Best regards
T Nguyen"

I simply told then I'll keep my offer on the table and thanked them for their time. @Geat_Masta, I'm certain you can find some sort of work around and be able to earn money from your work, so don't give up, okay? Your game would most likely would need some adjustments, and might take some extra work, but I think it's do-able. As far as I'm aware, any art from the original games would be out of the question, however, it's very difficult to get sued over similar code, (Just think of all the Minecraft clones!). The name Kreatures may also need to be altered/changed, as I've read that a "confusingly similar names" can potentially get you in trouble. I know there's a decent amount of information in regards to copy right out there in the ether of the internet, I've read a bit of it, but not a ton.

As far as I understand it- correct me if I'm wrong, you want to release something more akin to an engine/tool rather than a full game? But would it be so far fetched to create a full game? The main reason I think that would be better is it makes it more accessible to gamers who may not be as technically minded, and therefor more people might buy it. It's just a guess though.

 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/13/2017  1

KyAnn wrote:
So, I asked them about selling the Creatures IP, I was professional about it, this was the response.

"Thanks for your interest and proposal but Spilgames is not aiming to sell
or sub-license the IP.

Best regards
T Nguyen"



So they do own it then, as I conjectured? they're not licensing it from gameware or big ben like Missmysterics thought?

KyAnn wrote:

I simply told then I'll keep my offer on the table and thanked them for their time. @Geat_Masta, I'm certain you can find some sort of work around and be able to earn money from your work, so don't give up, okay?



Don't worry! my stubbornness is far beyond healthy levels. Not the best character trait, but does well in these times.

KyAnn wrote:

Your game would most likely would need some adjustments, and might take some extra work, but I think it's do-able. As far as I'm aware, any art from the original games would be out of the question, however, it's very difficult to get sued over similar code, (Just think of all the Minecraft clones!). The name Kreatures may also need to be altered/changed, as I've read that a "confusingly similar names" can potentially get you in trouble. I know there's a decent amount of information in regards to copy right out there in the ether of the internet, I've read a bit of it, but not a ton.



I've contacted a lawyer about that, but they haven't gotten back to me yet.

KyAnn wrote:

As far as I understand it- correct me if I'm wrong, you want to release something more akin to an engine/tool rather than a full game? But would it be so far fetched to create a full game? The main reason I think that would be better is it makes it more accessible to gamers who may not be as technically minded, and therefor more people might buy it. It's just a guess though.



It would be without a team yes. I'm hoping to release it here first, then package some mods with it and throw it on steam. We'll iron out royalties for mods and such later.

 
Splincer

Splincer



  2/13/2017

Geat_Masta wrote:
In copyright law, it's infringement if they can show a screenshot that a random person could confuse with the original.

The main problem that creates is with the kits and interface. You can say "well you can change the kits enough that it's not confusing" But there's really only so many ways that toolbars and kits can be put together.

More about look and feel of the interface, it's easy enough to make the engine itself a spiritual successor.


I understand it would probably be a lot of work, but you've got to work with what you can.

I don't know what to say about the kits and how they could be made differently, however, I would suggest taking inspiration from some MMORPGs when it comes to the interface. You could have a bunch of icons for important things on the bottom of the screen (or wherever else), keyboard shortcuts to open those things, and they'd all open a menu within the game to important stuff that we'd need. I don't know how it would work out in the long run, but it would definitely look different than the games in the creatures series.

 
BaffleBlend

BaffleBlend
United States  


  2/13/2017

KyAnn wrote:
As far as I understand it- correct me if I'm wrong, you want to release something more akin to an engine/tool rather than a full game? But would it be so far fetched to create a full game? The main reason I think that would be better is it makes it more accessible to gamers who may not be as technically minded, and therefor more people might buy it. It's just a guess though.



I'm going to interject here; I'd rather not have it at all than have it with "I-can't-believe-it's-not-Norns". If something is put in as a last-minute replacement for a copyrighted element, it's going to show and, as a result, it will feel soulless, empty, and almost insulting.

Something like that was the reason I left the MLP:FiM fandom so long ago and never looked back, even before the show started getting worse. A high-quality, highly-anticipated fan game, "Fighting is Magic", got a C&D order, and as a result they had to rebrand it as a new game called "Them's Fightin' Herds" with random farm animals. I was so disgusted by the result that I had to turn away from everything having to do with that franchise.

I don't want my opinion of Creatures to be tainted like that, so I'd personally rather have it released as an empty engine to put Norns in later than its own independent thing if we can't convince Spil to change their minds.

 
Papriko
Peppery One

Papriko
Germany  


  2/13/2017  1

Since apparently it's probably not going to happen that we get the IP anyway, the "I-can't-believe-it's-not-Norns" can be incoporated and planned around right away. Instead of a last-minute replacing act, it can be worked with and focussed at.
Come up with something good, work it out and it will be fine. That way they'll feel more alive and like they are belong into the game world.


Lets play plants! Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis... Photosynthesis...
 
KyAnn

KyAnn
United States  


  2/13/2017

Oh, believe me, I agree with what you're saying. I wasn't trying to imply this should just be Creatures, but with a different skin slapped on carelessly, most of what I was saying was to assist with avoiding a copy right battle, as this game started off as a Creatures-like game and Geat_Masta was considering selling the final product. Not that I'm a copy right expert or anything, like a lawyer would be.

I fully believe that any creative project someone makes should be fully intended to be unique and entirely fleshed out. Even if the game starts off being a fan-made project, it can become fully realized and independent of the source materiel, even if quite a bit of the code and function is similar. It's sad that some beloved fan-made games got the short end of the stick, despite the love and effort initially put into them.

 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/13/2017  1

I concur, Freedom Planet originated as a Sonic fan game, but gained it's own identity, and is clearly not just sonic with a different coat of paint.
 
Bifrost

Bifrost
Norway  


  2/14/2017  1

I suggest building strongly on what the community has already done, and make a game that's not Creatures, but could be interpreted as a Creatures game if you know where to look.

I suggest using the term Feral Run (Wolfling Run could work too, but sort of gives off a too wolfy vibe) as the game title. Imagine that a new species of creators entered an ancient world (NotAlbiaButAlbia) without knowing anything about the world. They, the Daoine (rl mythological relatives of the Aes Sidhe/Shee), inhabit and shape the world and its life forms in their own way. They name everything. The world becomes Alvea, and the little child-like creatures become known as sprites. They tinker with the genetics of all the life to suit their taste, and so, we get a new world and new creatures, reminiscent of something we know and love, but still something new and unique. Perhaps the sprites now look like various mixes of furries, with inspiration from many different animals, yet childlike and naïve. The more worker-themed sprites might have gotten a more insectoid form. It's all up to what we want to do with it, really.

Alvea might have grown wilder and more overgrown. The Daoine have probably vanished. The world we meet is a more feral one. Yet, it's all recognisable as something so familiar.

 
Missmysterics

Missmysterics



  2/14/2017

Also if this does become a spiritual sucessor, we can also mod it to include/replace different species.
Though we should probably avoid it appearing like adding "copyrighted species" is officially encouraged. <_<

I am liking the idea of it's own species, I'm never gonna let go of norns, ettins and grendels, but if it's released with new species I'd no doubt play with them.

I'd kinda like to see fairy-type things, I mean like impish, deceptively cute things that can be friendly and/or massive jerks.

 
Rha

Rha



  2/14/2017

I saw that twitter post, that's nice of him to say but yeah, sadly he has no actual say in it : (

You guys are talking about making a spiritual successor but before getting into details, you should think and discuss about how to make it. Skills of anyone interested, engine most suited to use, and very important how will it look? Keep in mind moving and rotating sprites is very classic but not very attractive anymore. If it's by fans for fans this last part doesn't really matter though.

Then there's the issue of people mentioning money gained. If a group of fans decides to make something, please think about not doing it for any profit. You'd need to make it all legal, start a business or something similar and divide gains according to what everyone does, some people will not do their jobs well and this sort of stuff can only end badly especially if there's no one in charge with actual, real experience.




 
Missmysterics

Missmysterics



  2/14/2017

^ Don't people often animate in Flash in a similar way? I believe my Little Pony is animated in such a way, gonna need a lot more sprites to make that kind of movement a reality though.

Yeah I am a bit concerned about these issues,Geat_Masta is currently trying to sort out the legal issues, though I didn't think about the implications of running a business, and while he says he's covered in terms of who does what, there's a high risk that not everyone will be able to follow through.

Do you think we are better off trying to get the Creatures series into public domain? I'd say it's the best in principle,the fandom have been the contributors the last 17 years, we should all own it, but it means the IP wont be a coherent saleable thing and will never be picked up by a professional game manufacturer.



 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  2/14/2017  1

Gameware is definitely the copyright holder still (even if they don't seem to be doing so well these days). Hence the problems with BigBen which basically killed CO. Spil probably doesn't even have the authority to sell anything, since they are/were developing solely at GW's discretion. But I don't think it would be so involved as you might think... there are plenty of small developers these days who post stuff on Steam. Not everybody has to be a big business.

IMO it would be simplest just to use the concepts already suggested for Kreatures-type projects, and avoid the copyright issue altogether. Lifandi had some interesting ideas and concept art that could be used to develop for Kreatures (kirins are cute!). I've been drawing vaguely Nornish creatures for years in an attempt to find a good design that Creatures fans might like, without looking to much like "Norn ripoffs". Currently I'm going for something that looks a bit like a tauntaun. Would I complain at having something like that in my game instead of Norns? No, not really.



 
Bifrost

Bifrost
Norway  


  2/14/2017

Bith kirins and the tauntaunesque creatures could surely be evolutions of norns without being norns.
 
C-Rex
Lollipop Lord

C-Rex
United Kingdom  

 visit C-Rex's website: The Norn Nebula
  2/14/2017

Wasn't there a Discord channel a while ago to discuss making a Creatures game? Might be a good idea to make one if there isn't.
 
Geat_Masta

Geat_Masta
United States  


  2/14/2017

Missmysterics wrote:
Also if this does become a spiritual sucessor, we can also mod it to include/replace different species.
Though we should probably avoid it appearing like adding "copyrighted species" is officially encouraged. <_<



The current build allows for 1,556,675,366,400 distinct species/breeds, (total breeds, not breeds per species). Because both are represented as 8 character alphanumeric strings.

Rha wrote:
You guys are talking about making a spiritual successor but before getting into details, you should think and discuss about how to make it. Skills of anyone interested, engine most suited to use, and very important how will it look? Keep in mind moving and rotating sprites is very classic but not very attractive anymore.



The engine is designed and programmed by me. Look at most commercial engines: freedom planet runs on unity, is essentially a SNES game, and takes 4GB ram and 4 core 3.6ghz processor. Suffice to say: commerical engines are crap.

And it will look good, remember that Rayman Origins was a big budget game with 2D animated sprites, I'm using similar rendering to that, with PBR lighting.

Rha wrote:

Then there's the issue of people mentioning money gained. If a group of fans decides to make something, please think about not doing it for any profit.



If I could find a job that would be an option, but currently this hobby is what I do 9-5, so no.


Rha wrote:
You'd need to make it all legal, start a business or something similar and divide gains according to what everyone does, some people will not do their jobs well and this sort of stuff can only end badly especially if there's no one in charge with actual, real experience.



It costs around $300 to start a business



Ghosthande wrote:
kirins are cute!). I've been drawing vaguely Nornish creatures for years in an attempt to find a good design that Creatures fans might like, without looking to much like "Norn ripoffs". Currently I'm going for something that looks a bitlike a tauntaun. Would I complain at having something like that in my game instead of Norns? No, not really.



Can you make sprites for some of them? Hand drawn sprites would look stubstantively better than computer rendered ones.

 
BaffleBlend

BaffleBlend
United States  


  2/14/2017

If we're talking about custom sprites, if I can make a recommendation, I'd suggest contacting the Super Smash Flash 2* development team over at McLeodGaming; particularly Steven Borgers, the lead sprite artist. One of that game's strong suits, largely thanks to him, are its custom sprites and animations that a lot of the time faithfully recreate the feel of the source material.
While I don't think he has the free time to work on sprites for Kreatures himself being so busy with SSF2 and all, I think he just might be able to point you in the right direction to those who can, or at least he might be able to suggest some pointers.





(*A side note: if you say SSF2 should take out the IPs... that's one of the fastest ways to get on my bad side.)

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  2/14/2017

Can you make sprites for some of them? Hand drawn sprites would look stubstantively better than computer rendered ones.

Do you have an example sprite sheet so I can see what a typical one looks like? (I assume you have a mockup or something, since your preview video had a Norn in it.) If you're tweening body parts (it looked like that's what was happening in the video), I assume the number and aspect of the sprites is at least slightly different from a typical Creatures breed. And you said at one point you need sprites to be larger.

I can draw and render sprites and have done both in the past, but usually 3D model things because it's more efficient to render multiple angles than draw them. If there are less frames needed for a breed, though, then 3D modeling would offer somewhat less advantage.



 

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