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Re: (TFT) Appropriate use of copyrighted material

Message text written by INTERNET:tft@brainiac.com
>>>>>>But my real question is, why would you WANT to appropriate Melee (or
>>>>>>game by another designer) for a computer-based game by filing the
>>>>>>numbers off, even if it was legal to do so?
>>>>>>#1: Profiting from someone else's work and putting your name on it,
>>>>>>if you can get away with it, is morally reprehensible.

As a computer programmer I felt I had to respond to this statement. Your
statement seems to imply that writing a computer game from someone else's
written -- non-computer rules - is no work at all. This misconception about
the amount of effort involved in writing computer programs is pretty
self-evident when you look at the quality of computer software out there.
Even computer games, which are in fact the cutting edge, have abysmal
'rules' largely because the effort it takes to create them is severly
underappreciated - and therefore underfunded.

My point is that the writing a computer program is alot of work and very
different from the type and amount of work that went into designing the
rules. If Steve Jackson is going to profit from writing the rules to Melee
(for example), then why shouldn't I profit from the amount of work it took
to write a computer program 'version' of it? The final form is entirely
different and his contribution to 'my' software - while very great and
valuable - does not diminish the work that I've done in programming it. 

So the answer to your question is 1. Because it would be fun. 2. Because it
would be better than 99% of the computer games out there, and 3. Because
the amount work it would take should be profitable. 

As far as the morality of it - again - that only makes sense if you assume
that writing a computer program takes as little effort as say....running
off xerox copies.

>>>>>>#2: A good computer game should be more than a translation of a board

>>>>>>game. It should take advantage of what a computer does well (number 
>>>>>>crunching, remembering things, fast calculation, graphic display) to 
>>>>>>enhance the experience. 

Wow! I dont even know where to begin, but as a computer programmer I'm
morally obligated to try. 

First of all, while I agree that a good computer game should be more than
the translation of a board game...exactly what constitutes taking advantage
of what the computer does well is a lot more complex than you've made it
out to be. 

Maybe those things would enhance YOUR experience, but maybe MY experience
would be enhanced by the ability to save and restore games, play over
e-mail, calculate the probabilities of beating certain opponents with
certain combinations of weapons and statistics. In other words, the
implicit assumption that a translation of a board game would NOT enhance
the experience is completely subjective. In other words, just because you
like "DOOM" means a computerized version of Melee would be useless? Hardly.

>>>>>>Why computerize the roll of three six-sided dice 
>>>>>>to resolve combat when you can let the computer instantly figure in
>>>>>>number of factors and create a more detailed and responsive result
>>>>>>some appropriate randomization for unpredictablity and flavor) that
>>>>>>invisible to the user and just as easy to play? 

Well, how about because those 'numbers of factors' are completely
unimportant to my playing experience - and most other game players as well.
Let's face it - if it's 'invisible to the user' then it might as WELL be
3d6 rolls! Because you as a player WANT those invisible factors to be there
does not mean that any other type of game would be pointless. 

>>>>>>It would make SENSE if 
>>>>>>you were using the computer game engine to play off of the reputation
>>>>>>enhance the play value of a popular game system you already owned. 

Bingo! I do already own Melee! And a computerized version WOULD enhance the
play value is several ways (in addition to anything else I might add to the
program, but even a raw 'translation' would have some value). As far as the
reputation - I dont think anyone on this board would want to write or buy a
Melee computer program because of it's reputation. I think we all just like
the game!

>>>>>>what's the point? Why not just create an ORIGINAL computer game that
>>>>>>the strengths of the medium?<

And this is the most offensive statement of all. Because there are a
MILLION 'points' to writing a computerized version of Melee (or TFT or
character creation or any other Microgame). If someone writes a
computerized version of Melee that WILL be ORIGINAL! It's never been done

Mostly because it would be FUN and why shouldn't someone else who WANTS the
program be able to get it from someone who was willing to put in the effort
of writing it! And if someone put in the effort of writing it, then why
shouldnt they get PAID for it - even if they dont get paid as much as if
they wrote the whole thing (rules and all) themself.

My point is that you can 'use the strengths of the medium' and STILL write
a computerized version of Melee! That the two are mutually exclusive just
presumes that it somehow takes "less" effort to write a computer program
than game! What if you want to write a computer program that takes
advantage of the medium and yet has the logic and playability (and in fact,
will run much faster, and in less memory) of Melee!? To say this is
pointless just means that you might not like it , but not that its
completely invalid for someone else. 

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