General ramblings

Am I guilty?

Introducing the game concept and having a discussion about ethics at the same time.

There’s an update at the bottom.

Ooh err missus.

Here’s the game concept for Lucy Dreaming. I don’t want to give away spoilers for how some of the puzzles will work as I’m not 100% sure how much I will make apparent when the game starts, and how much the player will need to figure out as they go along.

Lucy has a recurring nightmare!

Guide her in her journey to discover the secrets of dream control so that she can face her demons and finally put her nightmares behind her.

Learn how to influence the environment and characters that manifest while you’re dreaming to build up your confidence, unlock hidden memories and solve puzzles between dreams and the real world.

Despite the undertones of mindfulness and psychology, Lucy Dreaming won’t take itself too seriously, it will be an irreverent and humourous adventure of self-discovery, surreal worlds and a giant duck with a bread problem.

I came up with this idea a while ago and felt that it was an interesting and original stage to play out some quirky puzzles and adventures.


Yeah, there’s always one of those. Last night I was chatting to another indie game developer. I told him the basic concept of Lucy Dreaming and he sent me some other “dream” adventure games to look at for inspiration (namely Snowspirit and The Dream Machine).

Great! I started playing Snowspirit – an entry in the 2018 Adventure Jam and loved it. It was really simple and had a great mechanism for entering dreams, and controlling what dream world you were in…


That’s literally my idea. He stole it from me two years before I even thought of it. What a low thing to do!

Not only that, he also introduced a double inventory, one for the real world and one for the dream world, which could work between dreams. How the hell did he get hold of my notebook back in 2018?

I’m guessing that an evil genius like him probably has his own time machine that he built using designs he stole from me too (I’ll probably get around to designing it in a couple of years).

Update: He’s actually a very nice man, although I can’t verify whether or not he has a time machine.

Looks like we’re covering all of the big questions early on in this process. I’ve not even really got started and we’re already looking at intellectual property, plagiarism and basic ethics. Heavy stuff.

So, last night I went to bed a bit despondent, with a lot of questions going around in my head.

  • Do I pull the plug?
  • Does it actually matter?
  • Is it ethical to continue?
  • Do I ask permission? – Is that admitting guilt? – Am I guilty?

Where do I draw the line? I mean the whole PnC mechanic I’m planning to use is basically stolen from Ron Gilbert’s brain anyway, so if I’m being a purist should I start completely from scrratch in terms of the game’s UI too?

OK, I know that the platform is not the same thing as the creative concept, and that’s really the crux of the matter here. If the only thing going for my game’s concept is a “first to market” novelty factor then I shouldn’t be building it at all IMHO. But I feel that it has more legs than that.

The game’s setting, puzzles and characters are going to be sooooo different from Snowspirit that even someone who has played both games might not notice the similarities. Or would they?

Can you tell that I’m currently still battling with this conundrum?


Since posting this blog I have contacted the developer of Snowspirit and he has continued the trend of demonstrating that adventure game creators are among the nicest and most supportive members of society I have had the fortune to rub shoulders with.

I still want to try and make Lucy Dreaming as dissimilar as possible for my own sense of creative originality, but it’s nice to know that at least one person won’t think any less of me for continuing.

Now, go and follow him and play his games.

Any thoughts?
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