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Vlambeer - 'we fully intend to' fight iOS Luftrausers clone

'We refuse to accept this as a part of our industry'

Summary News Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  
Product: SkyFar | Developer: RubiqLab | Genre: Arcade, Shooter
For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
SkyFar iPhone, thumbnail 1
Dutch developer Vlambeer has told Pocket Gamer that it intends to fight SkyFar - an iOS dogfighting game that looks extremely similar to the Ridiculous Fishing developers's upcoming Vita game, Luftrausers.

"We simply can't deal with the stress of another cloned game," explains Rami Ismail, Vlambeer's business and development.

"We've gotten in touch with Apple and Google to see if there is a way for for the issue to be resolved without us getting involved in yet another clone war."

The Clone Wars

As we said before, all of Vlambeer's major releases have been copied before release. Angry Mob's Muffin Knight bore an uncanny resemblance to Vlambeer's Super Crate Box, and Gamenauts ripped off Ridiculous Fishing with Ninja Fishing.

"We obviously endured a bit of a scare when news arrived of Luftrausers being cloned and released ahead of our own release schedule by another developer," Ismail explains.

"This time, however, it's not ;just' the idea of the game that has been cloned, but also the visual style. This gives us much more room to fight the whole thing, and we fully intend to."

As IP lawyer Alex Tutty explained in our massive 2011 feature on clones, a game's visual appearance are automatically protected by copyright upon release, and would be seen by a court as an artistic work, like a painting or photo.

So, in essence, it's easier to fight the plagiarism of a game's look than its design or mechanics.

Scam app?

SkyFar's developer got in touch with Ismail and said - in broken English - that the gameplay indicated in the screenshots and YouTube videos "is not there in game. We just done those screnshots [sic] for public attraction".

But that's not true. Pocket Gamer purchased the game, and it is indeed a silhouette dogfighting game (with a gruesome dubstep soundtrack).

Ismail says, "we're more than happy to see games inspired by our works and we encourage anyone to practice game design and development by recreating personal favourites - but the clones of both Ridiculous Fishing and Luftrausers take 'inspiration' a step too far and into the marketplace."

"Ultimately, we refuse to accept this as a part of our industry. We believe that showing our games to our fans early is a better way of developing Vlambeer games than keeping secrets and just dropping the final result on people when it's done."

Ismail reiterates that Luftrausers is almost certainly not coming to mobile - "we just can't find a way to make it work as well as it should on touchscreen devices" - but handheld gamers will get to play it on PS Vita (as well as PC, Mac, Linux, and Playstation 3).

The game is on schedule to be released later this spring

Thanking fans, friends, and the press for support, Ismail said, "we hope this will be the last time we have to deal with this, but we're encouraged to know that if it's not, we won't be alone."

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 22 April 2013
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2013
Post count:
@myconoclast | 01:38 - 24 April 2013
They might have a valid point if their game concept was original, or the SkyFar game was a direct copy. But neither are true. And I can find several previous games that look very similar to Luftrausers. The refusal of game developers to treat mobile devices as legitimate platforms is actually what is creating the opportunity for clones like SkyFar -- and mobile users are certainly not the ones complaining.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 23:18 - 23 April 2013
@myconoclast - I respect your opinion. You're wrong, but I respect it all the same. Or do I? Well, put it this way, I respect the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That much is true.

I also feel that it is a sad reality of modern day society, where people actually believe that it is acceptable to plagiarise the work of others. I feel sad, disheartened and disappointed. I'm sorry, and I so wish I didn't, but I do.

(Relevant) words of the day:

1. Ethics
2. Plagiarism
3. Dignity

I find it deeply saddening that words 1 and 3 are in such short supply in the modern day gaming industry. Perhaps even more concerning, is that word 2 is so prevalent in society today.
Apr 2013
Post count:
@myconoclast | 19:04 - 23 April 2013
This whole childish "he copied me" debate is getting old. Every game is inspired by another game somewhere. If the developer claims they are not porting to the phone market, why can't someone else make a similar game for phone users to enjoy? Anyone who had a choice would buy the original anyway, so they developer's not losing money. I plan to support SkyFar for making the game available to phone users.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 11:09 - 23 April 2013
@NotSpam - Hear hear!
Apr 2011
Post count:
NotSpam | 10:54 - 23 April 2013
The key here as a consumer is to support the talent and creativity at SOURCE = Vlambeer. This -> virtuous cycle of supporting their output so they can come up with more QUALITY titles. Support Vlambeer, the primary producers, not the parasites.

The only minor mitigating circumstance is that Vlambeer ideally would port to iOS or intend to. The fact Apple has stringent app approval process and seeks to give devs a good deal should inform on Apple's help in removing the parasites and promoting the productive game studios for the health of their ecosystem.
Jul 2012
Post count:
@RaveofRavendale | 09:32 - 23 April 2013
"Hey guys, this other company ripped off our sprites and put them into a lesser clone, but it's OK! Their game is on a different platform to the one we're aiming for, so we can't do anything about the fact that they've stolen part of our work. Feel free to go nuts with the hours of labour we put into making the stuff you're using without our permission."

I hope that everyone who is OK with this has some of their work ripped off at some point in their lives, just so they can see how it feels.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 09:31 - 23 April 2013
@Karma Tiranitu - what? Are you crazy? So you're telling me that just because Vlambeer have no CURRENT plans to bring Luftrausers to iOS, then anyone else has the right to blatantly copy their game to bring it to any unsupported platform?

So how about Vita-owning iOS gamers then Karma, huh? Perhaps they'd buy Luftrausers for their Vita's, simply BECAUSE they can't get it on iOS. As they can now grab SkyFar on iPhone and iPad, they'll not bother purchasing the real thing on Vita after all..!! Do Vlambeer still have no case? Really?

And how about you @myconoclast, you feel they have no case too? How about if you invented something like, say, I don't know, a retro-styled shmup. One that was original, never been done before. You had a great feeling about it. You were proud of what you'd created. But for whatever reason, you had to abandon the project. Hopefully you'd revisit it in the future. Then, a few weeks later, you saw YOUR game on the App Store! A blatant clone, they'd shamelessly copied your baby. How would you feel? Would it be acceptable? Would YOU have a case?

I'm sorry, but I really can't believe how people think that it's ok to rip someone else's IP off. Seriously, it's tantamount to theft - daylight robbery if you will. I guess it's the times we live in. If 'I'm alright Jack' then it's all good. Sod anyone else, it's not my problem.

Here endeth the rant.
Nov 2012
Post count:
Karma Tiranitu | 07:36 - 23 April 2013
I normally would be on the original developer's side on this, but since it's not going to iOS he really has no case to make. I'll download and support SkyFar since he's not releasing his own game on mobile.
Apr 2013
Post count:
@myconoclast | 01:04 - 23 April 2013
Why doesn't Vlambeer make their own iOS port if they're so concerned with someone else doing it? Their version would outsell the clones by several magnitudes. As it stands now, they have no case.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 22:02 - 22 April 2013
A bloody right too! I for one fully support Vlambeer on this one.
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