Kickstarter Game Project Accused of Lifting Assets

Kickstarter Game Project Accused of Lifting Assets

image

A $10,000 Kickstarter has been accused of using a "cookie-cutter" game-making tutorial.

I'm a pretty big fan of Kickstarter. Just ask Brian Fargo, who's currently in possession of more of my money than I'm comfortable admitting in public. I talk about it a lot here, too, because the possibility of seeing great ideas turned into great games is legitimately exciting. But there's also a certain risk inherent in jumping into the fray; Tim Schafer probably isn't going to take the money and catch a plane to Aruba, but somebody might.

To be perfectly clear, that's not what D.S. Williams, the man behind Ron Paul: Road to REVOLution has done. But his Kickstarter, which has raised nearly $10,000 so far, does look a little dodgy. The game will be a "sidescrolling platformer action/adventure game, reminiscent of console classics like Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog," except instead of a cartoon Italian plumber or anthropomorphic blue rodent, you'll play as Libertarian icon Ron Paul, working your way across the U.S. in pursuit of gold, which I assume will represent campaign contributions, and delegates.

"The game is full of original artwork and gameplay mechanics," the Kickstarter page says. "Indie Game Development at its finest, the game is designed, programmed, conceived, and produced by me, D.S. Williams."

But as Something Awful discovered, that may not be entirely true. The site laid its hands on the game's source code thanks to some insecure server directories and found references to "A small step by step tutorial for game creation with MelonJS" nestled therein. That would be MelonJS, the "lightweight HTML5 game engine," which includes on its website a tutorial for making a simple platforming game.

Also found on the server was some of the "original artwork," which appears to include assets from the Super NES game Earthbound, as well as a monster from Braid and Waluigi, both slightly modified to fit the theme of the game.

Williams told Beefjack that Something Awful had actually found an early build of the game that he'd left unprotected while sharing "proof of concept" with some friends. "While they had access to the source code of that very early build, they could have seen that the game, even at that stage, was far beyond a 'basic tutorial'," he said. The artwork, he added, is just a placeholder for the alpha build and will not appear in the final release.

"The funding I receive is partly going toward the production of new artwork," he said. "This is no secret."

Regardless of how it all turns out, the mini-controversy illustrates some of the risks of Kickstarting unknown projects. If Jordan Weisman wants money to make a new Shadowrun game you can safely assume it's on the up-and-up, but there's less certainty when it comes to random guys on the internet. Nothing is guaranteed, so exercise a little caution - and don't kick in money you can't afford to lose.

Permalink

I find his excuse easy enough to accept. You'd have to be pretty damn stupid to release a game with the kinds of things they dug out of the code.

Why is this an issue?

Even AAA Games when in early alpha or proto levels usually use art from something else or concept ideas from here and there as placeholders and markers... it doesn't mean anything at all. As the article itself points out... it's all just for Proof-of-concept, which means that nothing out of this could be on the final product.

If it rolls like this for AAA Games, why wouldn't be any different for small indie groups?

All in all, this just hurts Kickstarts and indie programmers looking for community funding for their projects... all for the sake of "Breaking News"...

working your way across the U.S. in pursuit of gold, which I assume will represent campaign contributions, and delegates.

It likely represents Paul's pursuit of the Gold Standard; it's a central idea in his economic vision.

But yeah, I'd accept the guy's explanation. It makes sense to create a low-quality test game to see the feedback he gets from the core audience- ie, Paulites.

P.S., RON PAUL 2012

A Ron Paul game? really? $10,000? Some people just need to give up...

I'm also a big fan of the crowdsourcing model and am very excited for the future of some of these higher profile games. Their success will be integral to how much confidence people place in the system in the future. With a minimum of discernment when selecting which projects to back, I don't think there is much more risk than the purchase of any new game in terms of potential for disappointment.

At the same time we need to start seeing regular, hard critical analysis of new and successfully funded projects alike. Both to ensure that people are placing their money wisely and to avoid those with big, open wallets getting burnt and affecting things for everyone. Penny Arcade is ahead of the curve here and I think more of this would be invaluable in the interest of promoting "buyer" awareness and adding a sort of industry vetting process.

Andy Chalk:
Regardless of how it all turns out, the mini-controversy illustrates some of the risks of Kickstarting unknown projects. If Jordan Mechner wants money to make a new Shadowrun game you can safely assume it's on the up-and-up, but there's less certainty when it comes to random guys on the internet. Nothing is guaranteed, so exercise a little caution - and don't kick in money you can't afford to lose.

Permalink

I think you might mean Jordan Weisman.

ive been wondering when this sort of thing was going to happen. its a risk with crowdfunding and someone will make off with investor money eventually. do your homework and research those who can actually pull things off. in the end its a case of hope for the best plan for the worst, accept you might get nothing and go for it if its worth it to you

Politics has gotten so bad, even political games are corrupt.

UnderGlass:
I think you might mean Jordan Weisman.

Right. That's what I said.

Totally.

Well, He said that he is going to totally use different sprites/assets and totally re-code the game so I plan to check back in few months when the hammer comes down on him.

Speaking of horribly doomed concepts, whatever happened to that school shooter game....?

I used GameMaker and assets that were not original to prototype my game. Now my iPhone version of the game(which I sell to the public) used none of the assets from the original prototype in the final version. Developers do this MOST OF THE TIME.

Ron Paul, Road to Revolution: the minimal game for minimal government!

Did you know that when the first God of War was in alpha, before they'd finalised the design of Kratos, the Kratos model was a fat guy in a nappy?

Yeah, alpha builds don't count as finished products.

3:50 for the design, but the whole thing's kinda interesting.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here