How original do ChoiceScript games need to be?


#1

So I’ve been working quietly on a project in ChoiceScript for a couple of months now. It’s a game about an academy for superheroes - because the world needs more superhero games, right? - and I’ve got something approaching a working prototype for the first few chapters. Problem is, after buying and playing through Community College Hero (that game is great, by the way) I realised that the premise and outline of my project so far is really similar. Like, lawsuit-level similar.

I’m not sure where to go from here, so I figured I’d ask: What is the CoG/community response to game ideas (especially those in oversaturated genres) that could be considered derivative? Should I carry on with my unintentional plagiarism, or scrap it and try to make something more original?


#2

It’d only be plagiarism if you’d have read Community College Hero first and then decided to basically copy it with some minor alterations. Having that said, I can understand your concerns. I’d say, put a demo of the first few chapters (or other relevant passages) on here, and ask the people on the forum whether or not it’s too similar. It’s not something we could judge from just a description.


#3

Haven’t had a chance to read community college hero yet but
*cough X-men, Sky High, Harry Potter… (aka kids/young adults who go to a school/college and develop their powers and save the world/city/school/friends…) Pretty common basic idea and there’s nothing wrong with that. Look at Pendragon. There’s more Arthur Pendragon books and movies than I can possibly name but you can still read them and enjoy it if they’re well written and reasonably original. As long as there’s an original spin on it, should be ok. Had you read the beta for Community College Hero Beta and may have subconciously copied it? If you’d never seen it before today, there’s a good bet it’ll be ok. If you’re worried why not put up what you’ve written as a demo and see what the folk on the forums think.

Edit: looks like we think alike @Cecilia_Rosewood :slight_smile:


#4

I wasn’t part of the CCH beta, no. I only played through the game yesterday. I think I’ll follow your advice and spend the next few days getting what I’ve got into a state where it’s actually playable, then put it up and see how radically it needs to be changed. (I’ll also need to think of a title, too, but that’s probably not quite as important.) Thanks for the input.


#5

I think that too much originality can actually be a bad thing in choice games. Players need a reasonable ability to predict what the consequences of their actions will be. They rely heavily on genre tropes to do that, especially early in the game. If people tell you it looks too much like another specific game, you can fix that.

Titles can actually be pretty important for a WIP. It helps you keep your focus if you are working on something long. If you start to lose your way, or you aren’t sure what the story is really about anymore, you can look at your title and it can help you get your bearings.


#6

I had a similar thing happen to me…

I had started writing my WIP, put up a little play-through and was a shocked when I had comments telling me how the things in the story were oh so similar to this game called Fallout. I had never heard of this game before, so I ended up going to wiki and BOOM! My story had similarities that we’re being echoed. :frowning: Story set post nuclear, civilisation trying to recover, aftermath of radioactive things… using jumpsuits. I felt like people would think it was some sort of fan-made fiction. I decided to not worry too much about it for these reasons: 1) I had never played it. I still refuse to play any of their titles until I’m done writing my story… which is quite slow but I’ll get there. 2) Someone will point it out if they think you’re copying. People were saying that it reminded them of Fallout… not that I had copied from them. (I ended up deciding to explain that in the first post so that I would not need to keep re-telling how I had never heard of Fallout until I had uploaded the story. 3) I checked up on the laws concerning copy right within my country. I haven’t played the games, and I can prove my planing and so on and so forth. 4) I had already spent a lot of time planning the story lines. I wasn’t ready to give up and have that time wasted.

It can be hard not to tread on the same tropes/cliches/themes as other similar stories but unless your story is an identical/near identical story of those, than I doubt that it’ll be on the lawsuit level. Honestly, I was a little scared to keep writing my WIP for the same reason. Especially when I found out the Fallout series was getting another installment; Fallout 4. I was worried it was going to be too similar.

Don’t stress, people enjoy similar stories. :smile:

Also, pick a temporary title. Not a finalised one, you may think of one that fits your story better when the whole thing is finished. In my case, I ended up changing my WIP title as a movie came out with the same title… and I wanted the story to not be associated with it. I find it frustrating when I go to search for something but all these other things with the same name come up instead… but it’s up to you. Your story, that’s just my advice.


#7

Step 1. Go to tvtropes.com
Step 2. Realize no idea is truly original, everything has been done before
Step3. Embrace step 2 and continue


#8

To be fair, someone saying that your post-apocalyptic game reminds them of Fallout is kind of like saying your fantasy game reminds them of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not so much that you are accidentally imitating the game. It is more that you are working within a well-established genre, and other people have made games within that genre that did a particularly good job of representing it.

If a couple of designers had been afraid of “copying” TSR’s Gamma World and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, they wouldn’t have made Wasteland. And if later designers had been afraid of “copying” Wasteland, they wouldn’t have made Fallout. In the case of Fallout and Wasteland, the imitation was deliberate. That’s why they were so good. Their designers intentionally borrowed from—and improved upon—the games that came before them.

Personally, if I were writing a game set in the post-nuclear apocalypse, I would play the hell out of Fallout—at least the first game. A CS games probably can’t improve upon Fallout. It’s one of the most beloved and influential RPG series in recent memory. But you could learn a lot from it as a genre piece that does a lot of things really well.

On the other hand, Suzanne Collins refused to read Battle Royale while she was writing the Hunger Games series, and she seemed to do okay.

@AnonAuthor Ditto on the temporary title. I considered calling my WIP The Company of Witches. Then I googled it.