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Thread: PAX East Interview - Boot Hill Heroes

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    PAX East Interview - Boot Hill Heroes

    RPGs set in the Wild West are few and far between these days. With Wild ARMs missing in action, Experimental Gamer has stepped up with Boot Hill Heroes.

    Interview
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

  2. #2
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    Ripping off Mother's artstyle/interface to the point where your game could pass for a Mother fangame is pretty uncool. Just saying.
    Last edited by Drav; 04-18-2013 at 08:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    Ripping off Mother's artstyle/interface to the point where your game could pass for a Mother fangame is pretty uncool. Just saying.
    Taking down someone else's creative work because its visuals are clearly inspired by a cult classic is pretty uncool. Just saying.

    Seriously though, why is it OK to have a generic visual style inspired by any Squenix/Capcom/Whatever game, but "uncool" to have a fresh take on a visual style that's very rarely seen, and generally well regarded?

    The game is looking pretty good and has some interesting some interesting new directions. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

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    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    This is not a "visual style"; this is the distinct look of a particular series. I've never seen a game that looked like it was aping Final Fantasy VI to the extent that this game is aping Earthbound/Mother 3, except for other Square-owned properties. Not even that Black Sigil game, which everyone complained about at the time as well.

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    BEARSONA Administrator Paws's Avatar
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    Fair warning disclaimer above poster may be associated with Experimental Gamer.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    This is not a "visual style"; this is the distinct look of a particular series. I've never seen a game that looked like it was aping Final Fantasy VI to the extent that this game is aping Earthbound/Mother 3, except for other Square-owned properties. Not even that Black Sigil game, which everyone complained about at the time as well.
    I, too, am curious why Earthbound/Mother is the only game allowed to use an artstyle like that. It's not like we've seen a ton of Mother games, especially in English.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    Because it's Nintendo's IP, and why should anyone else make any money off it? There's always a grey area with this sort of thing, but I don't think it's hard to look at that video and see why I'd think this falls on the black. Especially if you've played both Earthbound and Mother 3.

  8. #8
    Firstly a visual style IS a distinct look, and last I checked, you don't get to own a visual style and prevent others from using it.

    vs

    vs

    BHH very clearly takes on the "Distinct Look" of the Earthbound games (of which we've seen ONE in the states), and I think that's awesome.
    And to allay Paws' concern, I'm not affiliated with Experimental Gamer. I do speak with Dave Welch (the Writer/Programmer/Artist) on occasion via Twitter and at XNAChat.com but do not know him beyond that.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Yeah, there is nothing about Earthbound that gives it a lock on no one else being able to use a similar style. There'd be issues if assets were being straight up stolen and reused, but this is just a style and it's not even in the same setting. That'd be like saying no one can use turn-based battles because older games have already used it.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    Because it's Nintendo's IP, and why should anyone else make any money off it? There's always a grey area with this sort of thing, but I don't think it's hard to look at that video and see why I'd think this falls on the black. Especially if you've played both Earthbound and Mother 3.

    I didn't realize you claim ownership on an art style. Maybe because you can't.
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

  11. #11
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    I have no idea if it could actually "claim ownership" in a legal sense, and don't really care, but I'm sure that at the very least if you were to, say, start selling artwork that looked exactly like Akira Toriyama's style most critics would scold you and tell you to stop being such a hack and come up with your own ideas.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    There's a big difference between not liking something because you find it too derivative and claiming no one else should be able to create something using a similar style.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  13. #13
    BEARSONA Administrator Paws's Avatar
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    There's a new post in the thread, albeit edited. Also corrected your typos while I was in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InstaTrent View Post
    I didn't realize you claim ownership on an art style. Maybe because you can't.
    Actually, you can. Companies claim ownership of art styles all the time through patents and copyrights. It's just a question of whether or not Nintendo did that with this, and also of what constitutes the art style (it can be anything from it not being changed by at least 20%, to the entire style, depending on the lettering of the copyright or patent).

    Personally, I have nothing against this game. In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with. And honestly, I think they changed the characters and tilesets enough to where I don't think they'll get in trouble with this particular game. But I just wanted to point that out, because if people start copying other art styles that ARE patented or copyrighted, they can end up in serious legal trouble if they don't do their research first.
    Last edited by SBaby; 04-19-2013 at 01:25 PM.

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    Thanks Paws.

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    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alturos
    Firstly a visual style IS a distinct look
    Yes, but what I am trying to differentiated here is "visual style" at a high level (16-bit, isometric etc.) which is of course ok copy, and the visual style of a particular game. Said another way, taking a few visual elements from a game is fine, but the more elements you take the less ok it becomes and the more it errs on the side of plagiarism. When you reach the point where your game look like a fangame for whatever series your "referencing", you've taken a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alturos
    Breath of Death comparisons
    lol, I forgot about this game. I don't know whether I said anything back then but I was definitely thinking it. I guess to Zeboyd's credit they stopped flying so close to the sun by the time Cthulhu was released.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macstorm
    There's a big difference between not liking something because you find it too derivative and claiming no one else should be able to create something using a similar style.
    What about my hypothetical situation makes you think it's more about the former than the latter?

  17. #17
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    What about my hypothetical situation makes you think it's more about the former than the latter?
    Saying that no one else should be able to make money off of something that looks similar to Nintendo's IP.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm

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    Member Savorien's Avatar
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    While there are similarities in the aesthetic, I don't find it particularly derivative. There are a dozen different websites they could have grabbed every frame of animation from the Earthbound sprites, created sprite dolls from that and just filled it in with their own pixels for different characters. They clearly didn't do that here. Their sprite work is a lot more busy, not to mention the different character proportions, while Earthbound's is clean, and sharp. This work was inspired by, not derived from.
    Vanillaware’s 2D is, once again, shaming their competitor’s 3D. It’s like, what are you even doing with your extra D, jerks? Maybe we should hold that extra D in reserve for you, like a trust, until you are ready. - Tycho, Penny Arcade

  19. #19
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    I said that they copied the art-style, not that they copied the sprites down to the pixel. I think you're setting the bar too high for what constitutes a "rip off". On top of the sprites themselves there are also numerous other aesthetic similarities, like the way numbers bounce off enemies when you attack them, the way characters pop up from behind their menu boxes when you select an attack, and the more-than-passing similarities between the cowboy dude and Flint. Most of them are innocuous by themselves, but taken together? If all they wanted to do was make something "inspired by" Mother they didn't need to take anywhere near this much; the creators clearly wanted to give the game a look such that the only thing you'll think when you see it is "this game looks like Mother". I find this irksome, not just on the level of morality, but also in terms of what is good for the artform.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macstorm
    Saying that no one else should be able to make money off of something that looks similar to Nintendo's IP.
    Well obviously I think it is more than just "similar", but this is, more or less, what I am claiming.
    Last edited by Drav; 04-22-2013 at 04:02 AM.

  20. #20
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff Jmustang1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    I said that they copied the art-style, not that they copied the sprites down to the pixel. I think you're setting the bar too high for what constitutes a "rip off". On top of the sprites themselves there are also numerous other aesthetic similarities, like the way numbers bounce off enemies when you attack them, the way characters pop up from behind their menu boxes when you select an attack, and the more-than-passing similarities between the cowboy dude and Flint. Most of them are innocuous by themselves, but taken together? If all they wanted to do was make something "inspired by" Mother they didn't need to take anywhere near this much; the creators clearly wanted to give the game a look such that the only thing you'll think when you see it is "this game looks like Mother". I find this irksome, not just on the level of morality, but also in terms of what is good for the artform.


    Well obviously I think it is more than just "similar", but this is, more or less, what I am claiming.
    I think their full intent was to pay homage to the SNES classics such as Earthbound, while adding some new stuff and a unique setting. If that was their goal, I think they have succeeded.

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