Updated: flOw Creator Accuses iPhone Game of Copying

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Updated: flOw Creator Accuses iPhone Game of Copying

Aquatica, a game for the iPhone, looks extremely similar to thatgamecompany's flOw, so similar, in fact, that flOw designer Jenova Chen is calling out its developers for using his work without crediting him.

After seeing a video of Aquatica, you might mistakenly think that Flower developer thatgamecompany's Flash and PSN title flOw has somehow made its way to the iPhone. That's because the games look startlingly alike - so much alike that flOw creator Jenova Chen believes it's built from flOw's source code, which he released to the public.

"I released flOw source for people to learn," Chen wrote on his Twitter. "I didn't expect to see it on iPhone without quoting the creator." He later elaborated on his claims, telling 1UP that "the image and animation in Aquatica is almost identical to the original web game I created. I felt maybe they are one of the many who asked me for the flOw source code."

Aquatica developer Ketera Software, however, disagrees. "Actually, all the source code is completely, 100% written from scratch," they wrote in YouTube comments. "Please check your facts before you make such baseless accusations."

Ketera continued its counter-argument by saying that many games within a certain "class" use similar ideas and are similar outside of cosmetic differences. This is certainly true for flOw, which found its gameplay emulated in Spore's opening stages. Chen's problem, however, doesn't seem to be with people using his ideas so much as not giving him any credit.

"I thought the creation of Aquatica is a very flattering thing because they mimic the game I created in the university and somewhat realized my dream for a flOw game on the iPhone," he said. "It could be a very sweet thing if they did this as a fan ware and put it out for free. But the fact they didn't mention flOw at all and call it a 'new, unique game completely in a class of its own' is disappointing."

Whatever the case may be here, I doubt a tiny studio like thatgamecompany has the time or resources to pursue legal action, and I doubt they want to. So maybe someone should just email someone else, make nice and we can all get back to ripping each other off. After all, as Roger Meyers Jr. once said: "You take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?"

UPDATE: Keteria Software has issued a public and personal apology to Chen.

"Aquatica was an iPhone remake/fan version of the famous flOw game originally created by Jenova Chen of the ThatGameCompany fame," the studio wrote. "We deeply apologize for not properly crediting Jenova initially, and have already written him with a personal apology, as well. Our mistakes were caused by naivety, not malice."

The studio also removed the game from the App Store. "We will also make sure nothing like this ever happens in the future," they said.

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Wow, what a blatant rip-off.

'Baseless accusations'...that's such sad. Take some pride in your work and actually create your own product next time.

Wow they couldn't even be bothered to chainge the sprites. I'm all for remakes. Where would we be if programming students couldn't clone pong or tetris? But not crediting the original creator when they ask you to is pretty lame.

the games are exactly the same!
Ridiculous, they must think people are extremely stupid. We're getting there, but not yet.

While the coding may be written from scratch the artistic design needs to change. It is a rip-off version of flow and people could easily market the game as flow for the iphone and that is where the trouble will come from. It is the look of the game and gameplay elements that will get the iphone developer in trouble. They could of went with any other artistic design and then they would be in the clear. But somewhere down the line some reviewer is going to advertise this game as "flow for the iphone" and bam that indie developer gets money of another development studio's reputation.

Brotherofwill:
Wow, what a blatant rip-off.

'Baseless accusations'...that's such sad. Take some pride in your work and actually create your own product next time.

Or at the very least name your "inspiration". Because the odds of this being simply coincidentally similar are flat-out astronomical.

If I were to release and attempt to sell a game featuring a pair of Czechian-descended bricklayer sisters who crawled through airducts to visit different worlds and stomped on enemies that looked like amoebas and cockroaches, I'd probably see a cease-and-desist letter from Nintendo. Ketera Software didn't even make that much of an effort. All Chen wants is an acknowledgement.

That is exactly the same... like seriously I had two windows open with each game and I couldn't tell the difference.

Even if they created the code from scratch, they certainly took a good, long, menacing look at flOw's design. They didn't even have the courtesy to change the sprites, let alone mention thatgamecompany or flOw at all. And they even had the audacity to claim it's new and unique. Crooks, crooks, I say!

The only differences are downgrades- the sound sucks compared to the original and the mouth dosent look as cool- that's it.

Quite a sad mockery really.

Burn the plagerizers!

This happens all the time at this level of game creation. How many of these people try to make a living just copying Bejewelled, Diner Dash or whatever they see making money? They move up market to join in on the iPhone gold rush and rip off classier ideas for the Apple victim demographic.

More Fun To Compute:
This happens all the time at this level of game creation. How many of these people try to make a living just copying Bejewelled, Diner Dash or whatever they see making money? They move up market to join in on the iPhone gold rush and rip off classier ideas for the Apple victim demographic.

Ripping off people's game designs is a way of life and I'm all for it.

But that's the exact same art as fl0w. If they wanted to make the exact same game and do new assets for it, gravy. But that's just blatant.

ArcWinter:
the games are exactly the same!
Ridiculous, they must think people are extremely stupid. We're getting there, but not yet.

I'd more accurately say 95% the same - the UI and some of the sprites look abit different. But yeah, thats not a big enough difference to be even remotely a new game.

This must be how PopCap feel when they see the zillions of Bejeweled etc clones that are just different enough to avoid legal action

I gotta say this.
What... The... Fuck?
This Aquatica is an almost exact copy of flOw. I personally believe that the game be removed or Ketera Software be removed profits pulled, and thatgamecompany go there from now on.
I don't see how they can pull this out of their asses saying "it's completely from scratch."
Bull-fucking-shit.

popdafoo:
That is exactly the same... like seriously I had two windows open with each game and I couldn't tell the difference.

flOw had higher quality, looked better, and was fucking original!

I'm sorry if I sound overbearing, but people who do this (in my opinion) should be fired.
Thatgamecompany worked hard to get the publicity(ish) and fame that they have today.

Now it's just time to sit back and wait for Ketera Software to clone Flower and try and talk their way out of that.

Calm down...

You know I wouldn't be so offended if Ketera Software would have just changed the gameplay mechanics, and sprites. All would be (almost) fine if they would have just done that.

Everything the same down to the red and blue 'pings' on the sides of the screen to show where the level change swimmers were... maybe they've rewritten flow, maybe they copied it direct, we'll never know. But visually, that's the same damned game with some very minor cosmetic changes in how the body parts (the mouth and wings) look.

Saying that Aquatica wasn't inspired by flow is like saying that Left 4 Dead wasn't inspired by the Counter Strike Scource zombie mod.

L.B. Jeffries:

More Fun To Compute:
This happens all the time at this level of game creation. How many of these people try to make a living just copying Bejewelled, Diner Dash or whatever they see making money? They move up market to join in on the iPhone gold rush and rip off classier ideas for the Apple victim demographic.

Ripping off people's game designs is a way of life and I'm all for it.

But that's the exact same art as fl0w. If they wanted to make the exact same game and do new assets for it, gravy. But that's just blatant.

You only think that this is wrong and a Diner Dash clone that is almost exactly the same as Diner Dash only with slightly different art is acceptable because you, probably rightly, don't care about Diner Dash or it's creators.

Brotherofwill:
Wow, what a blatant rip-off.

'Baseless accusations'...that's such sad. Take some pride in your work and actually create your own product next time.

I wholeheartedly agree with what you said.

The sad thing is that very likely this rip-off will sell better than flOw.

Cousin_IT:
This must be how PopCap feel when they see the zillions of Bejeweled etc clones that are just different enough to avoid legal action

I highly doubt Popcap feel that their games are a personal enough artistic expression to feel insulted if someone is copying them.

The guy doesn't even give a shit if they're profiting off his hard work - he just wants them to admit that they ripped him off, and to recognise his hard work. And if the same company comes out with a Flower ripoff, I doubt thatgamecompany would puruse legal actions. Sony, however, might.

Well it's significantly better looking and less complex than flOw.

excuse me for a moment, I need to go get my .22, and find the hq for this developer of "aquatica"

Almost as good as the "we've created a program that can seamlessly transition between wifi and 3g for the iPhone - but we need some money to complete it, please send us loads of cash" scam. Cheek!

L.B. Jeffries:

More Fun To Compute:
This happens all the time at this level of game creation. How many of these people try to make a living just copying Bejewelled, Diner Dash or whatever they see making money? They move up market to join in on the iPhone gold rush and rip off classier ideas for the Apple victim demographic.

Ripping off people's game designs is a way of life and I'm all for it.

But that's the exact same art as fl0w. If they wanted to make the exact same game and do new assets for it, gravy. But that's just blatant.

Exactly. Ideas, per se, are not under copyright protection and there's no denying inspiration plays an integral part in whatever we create.

But this...is simply denying the obvious. Giving credit to someone or something is actually a compliment.

The natural response to this would be to take flOw, rename it Aquaticaa, sell it for 50c less, and give credit and at least half the profit to Chen

Wow, that is pretty ridiculous, I watched the whole video, and it's the exact web game, except for the arrows that point you toward the light-cells or whatever and the level announcing type. What a tool to hope to profit off by copying some guy's college project.

Also, it's a worse rip off. If flOw had had that music with those sound f/x, I definitely wouldn't have played it. It's just abrasive on the old eardrums.

Wow. theyhould sue.

Does anyone else find it funny that the creator of this rip-off countered on a YouTube comment?

Cousin_IT:
This must be how PopCap feel when they see the zillions of Bejeweled etc clones that are just different enough to avoid legal action

Except that this isn't different enough to avoid legal action, this guy could sue and win without much trouble. It's not like the guy asked for money, he just wants his name mentioned in the credits.

Does the game "Shark" (or was it "Shark Shark"?) ring a bell? Eat little guys while avoiding big guys that you can later eat, all in a water-like enviroment.

JESUS, how can the original creator not go fucking crazy?!

I would sue them so fast they would think there are lawyers hidden in their closets. My god this kind of shit pisses me off!

this stuff is just retarded.

Its the same game for gods sake!

THIS ISN'T EVEN ABOUT MONEY all he wants them to do is go "yeah we stole that from them" because they did it's BLATANT.

It seems that the people who made Aquatica has an apology on their site.

Please note: Aquatica is an iPhone from-the-ground-up re-make (FAN VERSION) of the famous flOw game created by Jenova Chen of the ThatGameCompany fame. We deeply apologize for not properly crediting him earlier. Our mistakes were caused by naivety, not malice.

Granted, it's not much of an apology, but an apology nonetheless.

Jumplion:
It seems that the people who made Aquatica has an apology on their site.

Please note: Aquatica is an iPhone from-the-ground-up re-make (FAN VERSION) of the famous flOw game created by Jenova Chen of the ThatGameCompany fame. We deeply apologize for not properly crediting him earlier. Our mistakes were caused by naivety, not malice.

Granted, it's not much of an apology, but an apology nonetheless.

Well I'm betting Chen is happy, seeing as how that is all he wanted.

More Fun To Compute:

L.B. Jeffries:

Ripping off people's game designs is a way of life and I'm all for it.

But that's the exact same art as fl0w. If they wanted to make the exact same game and do new assets for it, gravy. But that's just blatant.

You only think that this is wrong and a Diner Dash clone that is almost exactly the same as Diner Dash only with slightly different art is acceptable because you, probably rightly, don't care about Diner Dash or it's creators.

Your point and mine seemed to have missed each other. If someone made a game that looked and played exactly like Diner Dash then tried to pretend they had never played Diner Dash in their life, I'd say the exact same thing. It's a dick move and they're not fooling anyone.

Wow, just wow.... Thats the same fucking game

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