Author Topic: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?  (Read 4088 times)

Aggnavarius

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How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« on: September 10, 2012, 11:46:57 PM »
I'm working on a roguelike and I'm at the point where I'm testing the display. For testing purposes I'm using tiles easily found by googling public domain tiles. So my question is, is it bad form to not draw your own images? Because I have no art skills, and that wouldn't really be feasible. Are there certain tile sets that are OK to use, and some that are not?

These are some of the ones I'm using:
http://rltiles.sourceforge.net/

I know it says that you're free to use them in your program, but is that frowned on? Does that create legal problems if I want to sell the game?

Leaf

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 11:55:07 PM »
I say use them.  That's what they're for! :P

kraflab

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 12:16:52 AM »
I think you immediately hurt yourself when using someone else's tiles.  That immediately takes away one of the possible things that would make your game different.  Does it really matter?  No.  But when I see a game using the same old free set that many other games have the first thing that comes to mind is laziness.

yam655

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 01:33:16 AM »
The folks who make the rltiles project clearly do not understand the meaning of "public domain."

Specifically, first they say the tiles are in the public domain, and then they say they want you to include a license notice.

Problem number one: Public domain varies from country by country and some countries don't have it at all. It would have been better if they'd used a Creative Commons "0" license. http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Problem number two: Public domain means you're free to use it without attribution. That means there is zero legal requirement to state you got the tiles from the rltiles project.

This means that while it's a dick move to use the tiles without mentioning the rltiles project at all, there is no legal reason for you to do so. Since they say the tileset is in the public domain, they have no legal recourse to make you attribute them.

Personally, my problem with raster tiles is that they're hard to distinguish. (Much harder to distinguish than font glyphs or simple vector tiles.)

Do I care if it's a common tile set or a custom tile set? If you're using a common tile set then it's less likely that I'll miss the two pixels making monster A different than monster B. By that count I have no problem with common tiles.

In general, the cost versus benefit of custom tiles doesn't pan out for smaller Roguelikes. If you've a coffeebreak Roguelike and the only difference between it and any other game is the tiles, you're doing it wrong.

A lot of folks leverage existing tiles. Andor's Trail, an RPG for Android phones, (available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gpl.rpg.AndorsTrail&hl=en) mentions that it uses some of the tiles from rltiles, in addition to other tiles from other sources.

Focus on the gameplay. If your game plays identically to other Roguelikes it is going to be ignorable regardless of the source of the tiles. If your game play is awesome it is just possible you could get a artist fan who wants to contribute with custom tiles.

Cheers,
Steven Black

Omnomnom

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 03:29:13 PM »
Just get it working with public domain and change it later to custom tiles in an update if you want to.

Leaf

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 08:38:30 PM »
Just get it working with public domain and change it later to custom tiles in an update if you want to.

What he said.

Most of these sorts of free-time projects lose steam before we finish them.  The less work you /have/ to do, the better chance of actually completing something!

Alex E

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 10:45:37 PM »
I think you immediately hurt yourself when using someone else's tiles.  That immediately takes away one of the possible things that would make your game different.  Does it really matter?  No.  But when I see a game using the same old free set that many other games have the first thing that comes to mind is laziness.

I pretty much agree with kraflab. My art skills are pretty bad as well, but I only use my own tiles :).

Soyweiser

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Re: How taboo is the "borrowing" of public domain tiles?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 10:04:30 AM »
Ahum :

http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php/Finding_graphical_tiles

The new crawl stone soup also has a lot of new tiles. Some of them are public domain. It is however unclear which are and which are not.

;)