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Sunday, November 25, 2007

There's a very heated discussion going on at the official site for The Underside, as Arthur Lee points out his disappointment with the community - apparently frustrated with the accusations of his creation being a Cave Story rip-off for the umpteenth time (not necessarily from comments by Derek Yu).

And yes, 'Mr. Podunkian' originally did not want the video to be uploaded to avoid controversy - I'm to blame for editing the trailer which was posted a couple of days ago.
Blogger Paolo Victor said at 11/25/2007 06:56:00 AM:  
The guy is right. Stop bitching about the art style.
Blogger Paul Eres said at 11/25/2007 07:18:00 AM:  
"fearless leader of the indie games movement"

Blogger Paul Eres said at 11/25/2007 07:28:00 AM:  
But, I think what that guy is missing is that a similar visual style is different from similar gameplay. Gameplay is more abstract. Visual style is much more personal and unique to each person than gameplay style is. Games that play similarly aren't the same from the user's perspective as games that look very similar.

That said, I don't mind similar visual styles that much. What he's doing is far better than using ripped graphics or music directly, which 90% of indie games do.
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 07:30:00 AM:  
I would stop bitching if Mr. Podunkian and his followers stopped defending the so-called originality of The Underside.

The games listed on The Underside blog look almost nothing like Cave Stroy/The Underside, while the latter look almost exactly the same. Moreover I have played the preview version and even the GAMEPLAY is almost exactly the same.

I would have far fewer problems with The Underside being a Cave Story clone if some people stopped defending it in such an absurd manner with arguments like "This game doesn't resemble Cave Story at all.", "Don't all platform shooters look and play the same." etc.

I'm glad that Mr. Podunkian admits that Cave Story has been an influence on his art style but what about the gameplay which has been cloned as well?

A post like the one on The Underside blog will only fuel the whole flamewar...
That's very sad, considering all this could have been avoided by making a title that's a bit more original - both in its art and gameplay...

OK - last but not least I'll post something I've been reluctant to say up to this point so as not to provoke an avalanche of flames:

The reason why I can't quite appreciate The Underside is that to me it all looks like a huge publicity stunt. I don't care about Cave Story in itself - it's not even my favorite indie game. However, I have a strong feeling that the Cave Story design has been cloned for a very specific reason. Yes, the art style could have resonated with Mr. Podunkian, yes, the gameplay as well but I think that the foremost reason was that Cave Story is popular and loved by almost all indie gamers. Making a Cave Story clone is the easy road to indie stardom.

Indeed, look how many people post that they'll play The Underside mainly because they loved Cave Story. How many defenders of The Underside are huge fans of Cave Story as well? The Underside seems to be one of the most discussed indie games right now - even if some of the comments are negative, so what, the publicity is there... In my opinion all this is the effect of a very conscious design decision and it seems to be paying off - it doesn't matter what people are saying about you, it's important that they talk about you.
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 07:46:00 AM:  
P.S. I think that Mr. Podunkian is "disappointed with the community" only because the whole idea of a Cave Story "homage" backfired more than he expected. I mean - surely he DID expect comparisons with Cave Story, didn't he? You have to be like blind, deaf and paralyzed not to notice all the similarities.
Blogger Raigan said at 11/25/2007 08:02:00 AM:  
wait, i don't understand.. how did the video cause controversy when there is already a demo game?!
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 08:04:00 AM:  
By the way - Mr. Podunkian said that he has never played any Metroid or Castlevania style games before Cave Story, so clearly these OTHER games couldn't have been an influence on him...

That's just a preemptive strike at the "All platform shooters are like Metroid or Castlevania so you can't criticize The Underside for being unoriginal" comments that are bound to appear. =)
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 08:11:00 AM:  
Another thing I've noticed - it seems that Mr. Podunkian interprets the phrase "Cave Story rip-off" in the wrong way.

We probably shouldn't have used it in the first place. OF COURSE The Underside doesn't rip-off Cave Story directly, that is, it doesn't steal sprites, the code, the music etc. from the game...

What one could say and this is my main point of criticism is that The Underside rips off the popularity of Cave Story or rather jumps on the bandwagon, however you want to call it... (That's what I've been trying to say in my previous post.)
Blogger Tim said at 11/25/2007 08:16:00 AM:  
By stirring up interest in the game again after it has settled down for quite a while.
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 08:26:00 AM:  
By stirring up interest in the game again after it has settled down for quite a while.

Tim, you little attention whore. :-D
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 08:44:00 AM:  
I think the guys a complete prick.

Not only did I release a game which I constantly said was "inspired by another game", but built upon its foundations; he lampooned me as being nothing more than a hack. Ripping sprites (despite proper graphic artists who looked into them saying they weren't).

As far as I'm concerned he's a total knobwash hyprocrite.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 08:47:00 AM:  
Sorry I was lolling too much to post a proper comment.

To carry on I just find it hilarious that he's shouting at Derek Yu and the rest of the indie community for this.

On his virtually dead klik news website, he has a filter to "mute" out people who don't agree with his opinion. Replacing their posts with "Wah wah wah!!!".

Just to further get across my point that this guy is a rancid bollock who's best left alone.
Blogger oZZ said at 11/25/2007 09:14:00 AM:  
I really don't see the problem. The dude liked cave story and made a game that he wanted to play. Seriously, wtf?
Anonymous Troy RULES said at 11/25/2007 09:39:00 AM:  
I wish Pixel would jump in and give us his thoughts about it.
Anonymous Groogokk said at 11/25/2007 10:05:00 AM:  
Did Podunkian ever run around shouting "Hey, everybody! Look at me, cause I'm making the most original, mind-blowingly new game you could ever imagine! Nobody has done anything like this before, never ever!"

No. He even proclaimed that "Cave Story" was his greatest inspiration. It's not like Derek found out some great dark secret about "The Underside" that we all need to know about. The information's been there all along.
I may call "The Underside" a "Cave Story"-clone in a by-the-way manner at some time in the future, but I have to play the game first anyway. In the meantime, just give Arthur a break.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 10:23:00 AM:  
I'm just gonna go ahead and enjoy the actual game.
Blogger jw said at 11/25/2007 10:45:00 AM:  
I don't give a crap. As long as he finishes that game. It looks great, that's what it's about.
Anonymous Eclipse said at 11/25/2007 10:53:00 AM:  
it is a TOTAL cave story ripp off.. it uses also a lot of visuals that are almost the same if not ripped from the pixel's masterpiece.
I think it would be a nice game but hey, just admit that you had been heavly inspired by cave story and that's ok, it's not a bad thing.

The Underside is a fast-paced cave story with a cat, it could be very fun too, but admitting that's inspired by cave story isn't a bad thing.
Anonymous Groogokk said at 11/25/2007 11:13:00 AM:  
He DID admit the heavy influence. That'S why the whole argument is so pointless.
Blogger Raigan said at 11/25/2007 11:14:00 AM:  
this certainly makes jon's "keep your game secret until it's done" method look like a good idea.

i think the idea of "sampling" as applied to games is long overdue anyway.
Anonymous Eclipse said at 11/25/2007 11:45:00 AM:  
so it's ok, it lacks of almost every originality but can be fun to play too, would be worse than cave story only at 100% starting from the fact that's a clone and so laks of an own spirit..
that's bad because that cat is nice.
Now i'm gonna replay cave story on my Gp2x handheld :9
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 11:57:00 AM:  
Oh, those 2 screenshots even have the little chains holding the platforms up...
Anonymous mr. podunkian said at 11/25/2007 12:02:00 PM:  
tim: i didn't mind the trailer video at all (i put it up on the TU website's media page in fact) -- i was more trying to hide the video from the general public because i didn't want to be giving away too many of the gameplay gimmicks before the game was done, and i didn't want to be oversaturating the public with my trailers. so we still coo, bra
Blogger Tim said at 11/25/2007 12:32:00 PM:  
haha... why. who did jon rip off? ;)

anyway, more previews of everything please.
Anonymous James said at 11/25/2007 01:48:00 PM:  
Did... did I miss something?

I played the Underside beta demo thingie a while back, and my first reaction was "Hey! It's a Cave Story clone. Huzzah!"

I'm not entirely sure why there's any controversy about it. The art style and gameplay are similar, and that's great.

He's clearly doing all his own art and adding new and exciting gameplay mechanics. (The grappling hook in particular looks pretty neat.)

Don't see why the discussion needs to go any farther than that.
Blogger Alec said at 11/25/2007 02:24:00 PM:  
I'm still confused as to why people care as much as they do about it having some similarities to "Cave Story".

In the end, it has its own spirit and does its own thing. Its not like he's pretending that he's not influenced by "Cave Story".

And its a free game.

If we could refocus all the energy spent debating The Underside, we probably could have solved world hunger by now.
Blogger Karl_Delacroix said at 11/25/2007 02:25:00 PM:  
Because no game ever has been inspired by a previous, succesful one. Just stop the flaming, play it and enjoy it, if you are so pissed at it, don't. Simple as that.
Anonymous Bobo said at 11/25/2007 02:25:00 PM:  
Why is it that people are already claiming the game to be a total rip-off, despite only seeing a few screens and videos and playing a tiny portion of the game? Don't you have to see all the different elements of the game before you say it stole all of them?

On the other hand, the game certainly draws inspiration from Cave Story... Podunkian said so himself... but I can't wait to play it because it looks like a really fun game in its own right.
Blogger Dominic White said at 11/25/2007 03:26:00 PM:  
From what I can gather, Podunkians ire stems largely from this:

He begins development on The Underside. He openly states at the start of development that it's largely inspired by Cave Story. So, thats out in the open, and out of the way. Smooth sailing, right?

But nope. Every time any part of the game is shown, you get a loyal crew of angry nerds screaming 'CAVE STORY RIPOFF!', as if it's some sort of terrible revelation, rather than being openly admitted at the start of development.

After 20 or 30 repeats of this, I'd be rather annoyed too.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 03:34:00 PM:  
Podunkian, man you need to relax! Yes, it's a complete and utter rip off of cave story, BUT i'm still gonna play the living hell out of it and enjoy it. it's like family guy, it's a complete rip off, but i still find it very entertaining.
You have nothing to worry about.

i love the comment:
"fearless leader of the indie games movement"

That was too funny.
Blogger Alex said at 11/25/2007 04:39:00 PM:  
Do you people seriously believe that Cave Story's art style was anything remotely new to lo-res gaming?
Blogger ultim8p00 said at 11/25/2007 04:42:00 PM:  
Seriously, let's get to the bottom of this:

Pod admitted that the style was from CS. He's not denying anything, so that can't be it.
Pod admitted that the game was heavily inspired by CS, so the problem can't be that he's claiming originality.

So what the hell? Dissenters, what is your problem? What are you hating this game for?

"Publicity stunt"? So what if it is the easy way to indie stardom? Mind your own business. What is it to you? You didn't make CS. Shut Up. Enjoy the game or don't. It's Pixel's place to be pissed, not yours.

"So called originality?" Are you kidding me? Just about anyone who sees the videos/SCs at least admits TU is inspired by CS. The author himself said it was heavily inspired by CS. No one is defending the "so-called originality of The Underside." You phail at finding logical faults.

Re-evaluate what you are actually criticizing.If it doesn't have anything to do with how enjoyable the game is, then your opinion is bullshit.

If you hate this game just because the author hurt your feelings, then you phail at maturity.

I can't believe how ridiculous this is. Some people just love to hate when there is really no reason to hate at all.
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 04:59:00 PM:  
So what if it is the easy way to indie stardom? Mind your own business. What is it to you? You didn't make CS. Shut Up. Enjoy the game or don't. It's Pixel's place to be pissed, not yours.

Ehm - Pixel probably won't be playing the game and I doubt that he will be bothered by The Underside - he's finished with CS.

It's my place to be pissed at the fact that it's easier to get attention by jumping on the CS bandwagon than make your very own game - so many cool titles don't get the attention they deserve... It's the same in the mainstream industry - why make Psychonauts when you can make Halo 3 instead?

Are you kidding me? Just about anyone who sees the videos/SCs at least admits TU is inspired by CS.

Ho, ho - obviously you haven't been following the comments in all the places The Underside is being mentioned - even on this blog. More often than not people will rush in and claim that the game is actually nothing like CS at all.

Re-evaluate what you are actually criticizing.If it doesn't have anything to do with how enjoyable the game is, then your opinion is bullshit.

Well, to be honest I'm writing this from a game-industry-person's point of view. I'm a writer for several computer game magazines here in Poland and find it simply sad that there are more and more clones everywhere. It happens in the mainstream industry and it seems to be happening in indie games as well... Nothing like copying a successful idea, eh? Maybe I'm just upset that I have to wade my way through and review Blacksite: Area 51 which is probably the most bland and unoriginal game I've been playing for months. ;-)

Besides - I never said that I hated anybody or anything. I just explained why I can't quite get to like The Underside - it's not always a love or hate affair, you know? You need to cool down a bit ultim8p00 (very nice nick to be questioning my maturity) since you're getting all emotional and "flamey". =)
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 05:03:00 PM:  
I have to side with Derek here, the creator of Underside refuses to acknowledge that he's ripped off the art style of Cave Story.


Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 05:12:00 PM:  
Thanks for the info about Blacksite: Area 51. I'll be sure to pass on the message to a friend - he was awfully keen on purchasing it.

Well - it's not awful - it's just average - in a bad way... It's the reviewer's nightmare because he can say neither too many positive nor too many negative things about the title in question... Given the competition it has now it's simply not enough - we're talking Bioshock, Gears of War, Team Fortress 2, Crysis and so on here... Hell, even the quite average TimeShift has been less derivative.

It's got pretty (but dull and lifeless) graphics because of the Unreal 3 engine, that's about all I can say about it. I see the impending doom of more and more crappy titles with licensed engines coming out - IMHO it's just too easy to make a nice looking but wholly unoriginal shooter nowadays...

There must be some Underside analogy hidden somewhere in here but I don't dare enter this territory. :-D
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 05:22:00 PM:  
Back on topic:

Pod admitted that the style was from CS. He's not denying anything, so that can't be it.
Pod admitted that the game was heavily inspired by CS, so the problem can't be that he's claiming originality.

Well - Pod never said anything other than his game being "influenced" (not even heavily) by CS which, in my opinion, is the understatement of the year. His blog post about other games that actually look nothing like CS and/or The Underside kind of make the situation even worse.

It's as if Pod and his fans are trying to prove that CS isn't that original itself hence there's nothing bad about The Underside (spot the logical fault - it's a kind of "ad hominem" argument used against a game, rather than a person). All in spite of the fact that CS, while maybe not that original, didn't copy any game design to THAT extent.
Blogger ultim8p00 said at 11/25/2007 05:43:00 PM:  
First off, poo is a term of endearment in the small community where I grew up.

Secondly, I said "if you hate this game because the author hurt your feelings, then you phail at maturity." I didn't know you and Pod had issues. That was mere coincidence as it wasn't a response to you at all.

Also, my intention was to say that any reasonable person who knows CS and knows TU admits that TU is a CS inspiration. Denying the obvious CS inspiration is pretty foolish because even the author admits it. Likewise, complaining about something the author already admitted is just as pointless.

The general point I was trying to make is this; whether this is publicity stunt or whether this game is a rip-off or not is irrelevant to how good the game is.

Not to sound hypocritical, but I do think that TU is too similar to CS. That said, I'm not putting down the game for that. If the game is good, i'll say it's good.

Your comments, especially you not appreciating TU because it felt like a publicity stunt to you, seemed to be going off road. So what if it is a publicity stunt really? If the game sucks, people will know it sucks regardless. If it is good, people will know it is good.

In my opinion, if you can't pin-point something that is wrong with the game itself, then there is nothing to talk about really. It never set out to be ground breaking, so that shouldn't be as big a deal as it currently is.

Also, I am a bit of a hothead in real life.
Blogger ultim8p00 said at 11/25/2007 06:02:00 PM:  
It's as if Pod and his fans are trying to prove that CS isn't that original itself hence there's nothing bad about The Underside (spot the logical fault - it's a kind of "ad hominem" argument used against a game, rather than a person). All in spite of the fact that CS, while maybe not that original, didn't copy any game design to THAT extent.

Actually, I think it's reductio ad absurdum fallacy.

If you find their train of thought fallacious, then maybe you should be criticizing them because of their argument, and not the game because of their argument...or you too may commit a fallacy. What they think has no bearing on how good TU is.
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 06:10:00 PM:  
I didn't know you and Pod had issues.

We don't have any AFAIK. =)

I'm far from saying the The Underside will be bad from a gameplay/fun-factor perspective.

Also, I don't say that Pod should abandon the project, that I hate him or his game etc.

My point is that I simply dislike clones not matter how good they are - by that I don't mean sequels or remakes...

When I see something once and then see almost exactly the same thing with some tucked on bits and pieces again, then I simply cannot get myself to like it.

I also think that the more an idea is exploited, the more diluted it gets. And that's not a good thing...

By being derivative it lowers the "total entertainment value" of all platform shooters because it just takes a huge slice of what had been there before instead of adding anything new, if you get my meaning. That may be a bit far-fetched but that's how I feel.

Let's face it, Cave Story wasn't that original but can you name a game that played almost exactly like it? And by "almost exactly" I mean "almost exactly" as in "The Underside plays almost exactly like Cave Story". =)

But again - it's only my personal opinion. I'm not trying to convert anybody to my point of view and I'm not revealing some golden truth...
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 06:46:00 PM:  
"When I see something once and then see almost exactly the same thing with some tucked on bits and pieces again, then I simply cannot get myself to like it."


I can't believe Derek is wasting time on this guy.
Blogger ultim8p00 said at 11/25/2007 07:00:00 PM:  
I also think that the more an idea is exploited, the more diluted it gets. And that's not a good thing...

Ah, au contraire - We can pretty much agree that Super Mario 64 led to ratchet and clank. Doom and Wolfenstein pretty much led to Halo.

But like you said, different points of view here and different opinions.

I think I'll reward myself with a cookie for not going flameballistic for once. Oh wait...dammit.
Anonymous Del_Duio said at 11/25/2007 07:00:00 PM:  
Pixel probably won't be playing the game

Oh I really disagree with this. After everything that's happened, and the controversy, and even the POSSIBILITY that TU might end up playing exactly like Cave Story.. Well, how could Pixel not want to see this game firsthand? Remember, CS basically put Pixel on the map and he's got to protect his baby. I sure as hell would if I were him.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 07:22:00 PM:  

You're completely and utterly ridiculous. You calling this a clone that you'll never like BECAUSE its a clone, and to what end?

1. No one cares whether or not you EVER play this game.

2.You're going to play it. You and I both know that. You're going to play it even with the fact that its a clone withstanding, and even if the only reason your playing is so that you have material to further this pointless back and fourth.

The fact that your going to play it being the case- shutup. It's people like you who make people quit these kind of games, wether that's your intention or not. Your an arrogant ass who assumes people respect your opinion because you "write game reviews". You owe it to TU to shutup long enough for the game to be finished. At least when its finished you're pointless ranting will have evidence to back it up.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/25/2007 08:06:00 PM:  
Yeah, stop wasting time Derek...I want Aquaria! :P
Blogger Lim-Dul said at 11/25/2007 08:47:00 PM:  
Whoa - this is some serious trolling by the last anonymous user.

I'm not even going to comment on most of this flame.

The only think I'll say is that I don't expect people to respect me or my opinions because I'm a game journalist - I just expect them to read what I write (here) and understand it - whether they agree with me or not is a completely different matter. =)
Anonymous TehSilentOne said at 11/25/2007 10:13:00 PM:  
cave story looks better... you could improve on it; but i've not played cave story more than a single boss fight and the game isn't out yet, so this argument seems kinda moot atm
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/26/2007 05:30:00 AM:  
I can't help feeling there would be a lot less backlash if he stopped immaturely claiming a similarity in 'visual styles' and 'being inspired by' and simply admit that he loved cave story and wanted to make his own version. How stupid do we look? His current denial is rude as he is clearly not giving due credit to Pixel. Hell, if he simply said "I loved cave story and wanted to copy it whilst adding some alterations" his honesty is justifcation enough, I'd happily accept it. But his chosen attitude is one of childish greed and naivety.
Blogger haowan said at 11/26/2007 06:14:00 AM:  
One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Anonymous Movius said at 11/26/2007 06:30:00 AM:  
Are you idiots blind? It's just a fucking copy of Super Paper Mario.

Blogger sergey said at 11/26/2007 07:04:00 AM:  
correct me if i'm wrong, but pixel coded the whole game from scratch

and afaik the maker of "the underside" used multimedia fusion or something like this to create game engine

that said, i tried "the underside" demo. both controls and graphics were slightly worse than those of "cave story"
Blogger konjak said at 11/26/2007 09:02:00 AM:  
Making a game in MMF2 has nothing to do with how fluid you can make your movement.
Blogger haowan said at 11/26/2007 09:05:00 AM:  
Yeah MMF games pretty much just write themselves... no real work involved at all.
Blogger Mike K said at 11/26/2007 11:46:00 AM:  
Stop the Underside hate! :P
Anonymous Eclipse said at 11/26/2007 11:53:00 AM:  
haowan, so no real work on GameMaker too compared to C\C++ like i said on that flameous theead weeks ago :) but that's not the point.
Caver Story is in C, and is also well written, it was ported on several platforms too (for example i finished it on Gp2x, an linux handheld console). The underside will remain on PCs
Blogger Gr.Viper said at 11/26/2007 12:52:00 PM:  
Damn... You mentioned GP2X. I went to check out what it is (they've even got touchscreen). And now I want one badly! But they don't sell it where I live. I was SO much happier without the Internet.
Anonymous crackers said at 11/26/2007 03:24:00 PM:  
I think I'll make my own Cave Story inspired game. Players will control two trolls who live under a bridge. There will be a black and white spotted cat and a black and white spotted dog in front of them and they'll bitch about how one looks like the other.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/27/2007 03:11:00 AM:  
then you can also copy and paste tiles and pretend you had a similar art style from childhood, which your old screenshots does not show at all.
Anonymous Albert said at 11/27/2007 01:57:00 PM:  
I really don't see how anyone can argue about anything on either The Underside or Cave Story.
If they were franchises, or if the creators actually made money by selling these games, which they don't, then the "clone" argument would make sense.
But to spend days creating a game that's hated (by some) since the first screenshot, and to get nothing in return?
That's nonsense.

Oh, and I don't really get why Cave Story fanatics would hate this in the first place. If it's so much like Cave Story, wouldn't you enjoy it more than playing a game that's not like Cave Story?

I remember the days when a game was judged by itself, not by comparing it to others like it.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 11/28/2007 04:03:00 AM:  
Please, more Cave Story Rip-Offs/Clones/call-it-what-you-want !

Stop bitching around - this is independent gaming. We don't need this shit here. I would be honoured if someone ripped my stuff or copied my style and made a game in this quality. And I don't even need to be credited for anything because it's all for fun and love for games. Period.