rf.png The radical developers behind Radical Fishing, Vlambeer, held a session as part of GDC's Indie Game Summit to share their thoughts on the topic of game cloning.

In July of last year, a rip off of their yet to be released game Radical Fishing was released onto the iOS app store, which dropped them into the wider discussion of the topic of cloning.

They say:

"The discussion is kind of dead, even though lots of words are said. The way we look at it, game design is a series of problems and the solutions to those problems. Clones don't care about the problems of design, they just take someone else's solutions. They don't look at the problems, because they don't care about them. Cloning hurts the industry, and the discussion on clones has completely stalemated. There are a few arguments that get repeated over and over.

"Some people say that simple games are bound to be clones. We say fuck that. We make minimalist games, we will make what we want. We won't let the threat of people cloning our game change the games we make."

"Some say software patents would ruin the industry. This is sort of a scare tactic. People say "What if in the days of super mario, someone had patented jumping". We don't want people fighting over patents in our industry. This has nothing to do with clones, this is a differnt discussion.

"Some say clones are free marketing. No. Clones are horrible marketing, it's really hard to handle being without looking like the bad guy. Handling that stuff has taken more time than any game that we've made. It will cause backlash If you say something people will get made. You have to defend yourself for defending your game. People have accused us of cloning Ninja FIshing"

Some people sale clones don't hurt the industry. Cloning stagnates the industry. If there are only clones, nothing new is going to happen. We're losing a lot of good people. A lot of talented artists, programmers, designers are making clones. If you keep cloning, there's a loss of diversity in games. People who don't understand game design are making games".

After having a good old moan about some of the problems created by cloning, they went on to suggest some ways to combat the negative impacts of game cloning.

"We should't attack cloning. We shouldn't try to take down clones. We should approach it from a contructive perspective."

"We should improve game literacy, and build a foundation for creativity. We should offer insight into the game design process, talk about design in depth."

"We should protect open development. The logical response to this is keep your cards close to your chest, so that no one rips it off. But we should show people that making our game is something we struggled with for months"

Interesting stuff. We've got an interview coming up soon with Vlambeer on the topic of cloning, where they share about the emotional impact that having their game cloned had on them.

Head to the Vlambeer website to check out their many fantastic games.