Looking to pay someone to clone games.

In my humble opinion, Glulx is the ideal format for games. It can be played on my Linux computer, on my friends’ Windows and Mac computers, and someday soon I imagine even on my Android phone. I can fit thousands of Glulx games on a disc that could hold only one modern commercial game, and I can even play them with my eyes closed, by using a screen reader.

The problem is that many good games were not made in the Glulx format, and they take a lot of time and effort to convert. So I’d like to pay someone to do it for me. I understand that this will cost me a lot more than the games themselves did, but it’s worth it to me to have them cloned in this format.

The games I’m interested in at the moment are the following:
Europa 1400 Gold
Oregon Trail, Fifth Edition
Oregon Trail Deluxe
Princess Maker 2
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Lord of Darkness
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
Drug Lord 2

I’d like all of these games to be done as one file, because they have so much in common that they they’ll be much more compact and easier to clone as one project than they would separately.

For example, Europa has trading, child raising, management sim, combat, and travel.
Ogre Battle is largely about combat.
Nobunaga’s Ambition is combat, management sim, and a small amount of child raising.
Princess Maker is mostly child raising, with some combat.
Drug Lord 2 is trading, with some combat.
Both Oregon Trails are about travel.
In other words, all of these games share major gameplay elements with Europa, and sometimes with each other as well.

I’m thinking when the file is opened, it could display a menu asking which of these games you want to play.

Many of these games can be simplified. You can leave music and sound effects out of all of them, and all graphics except the Nobunaga system I’ll describe in the next paragraph, and the character portraits in Nobunaga’s Ambition and Europa, and the map of Japan in the former. You can also combine the stats and combat systems into one system for all games, provided you can come up with a single stat system that works well for all of them.

Combat in Nobunaga’s Ambition is turn-based, on a simple square-based hex map. I’d like various parts of several games to be handled like that, which I’ll refer to as the Nobunaga system.

Nobunaga’s Ambition is already a pretty simple turn-based and menu-based game. The only major simplification is converting the map of Japan into a hex map, like the ones that the game uses for combat. I like the character portraits, so if you could keep those and the maps, forget the rest of the graphics. And don’t worry about copying the portraits from the game or anything – just stick some placeholder images in there, and I’ll swap it out later.

Europa is pretty much a text-based game as it is, but for some reason it’s controlled by the mouse, and it has 3D models. If you turn it into a menu-based game, it loses nothing in gameplay. Keep the character portraits again, and the charts made from character portraits to display chain of command, and family trees. (Again, don’t worry about actually copying the portraits from the game – just use some placeholder graphics.) Europa has real-time combat, but instead you can just pause the game’s realtime for the duration of combat and do the fight in the Nobunaga system. This is probably the most complicated game to clone.

Ogre Battle is almost entirely combat, with a little bit of unit management. Most of the game can be just Nobunaga system, with towns and items added to the map.

Princess Maker is mostly menu-based. Adventures can be done in the Nobunaga system, with special kinds of locations and items added to the map, as in Ogre Battle.

Both Oregon Trails are turn-based & menu-based. There are some real time elements – mostly hunting. Just do hunting in the Nobunaga system, and leave out all the other real-time bits. 5th edition is the more complicated of the two, and some genius stuck a knockoff Disney movie in it, but it’s still mostly turn-based & menu-based when you cut out the fluff. There are some bits that require graphics, like identifying herbs, but if you could make that based on a character skill instead, that would work fine without graphics.

Drug Lord 2 is pretty much as simple as it can get already. It doesn’t even need the Nobunaga system, because combat is already even simpler.

And that’s pretty much everything. I’d like the source code, but you’re welcome to distribute the game yourself if you want. I don’t need rights to it, or credit, or anything like that.

Is there anyone willing to take on this project, and how much do you think it would be worth? I’m thinking a few hundred, which I’ll pay through paypal. What do you think?

It would be a very interesting project, but even putting aside the obvious legal concerns, you’re massively underestimating the scope. This would be a multi-year project.

Don’t think of it as “cloning” but “reimplementing”. That is, writing the game all over again. I did this with “Shadowgate” and “Uninvited” because those games were fairly close to interactive fiction to begin with. The games you’re talking about are quite a bit farther removed. Working on and off, each of these two games took about a year to complete. Of these games you want to clone, I think the easiest to tackle would be the original text-only version of “Oregon Trail” as it appeared on the Apple II.

Yes, that’s it. As I understand it, the project is legal. In the United States, the mechanics of a game are ineligible for copyright. When someone copyrights a game, they’re copyrighting music, sound effects, graphics, dialog, and source code. They can also patent unique elements. None of that need be a part of this project.

On the matter of scope, you could be right, but help me to understand. What would be the hardest parts of this?

I think once Europa is cloned the other games are pretty much subsets of that, with a little variation. Europa itself is a pretty complicated game though, with randomization and real time, and all the elements of the other games packaged in there. And of course this is not exactly the sort of game that Inform was written for.

As frotz said, Oregon Trail, and also Drug Lord are very simple games. I actually had partial clones of both of these at one point, though the Drug Lord one was written in choicescript. And of course they are much simpler than Europa.

Are the source codes of these games available? If not, just reverse engineering them might already be a lot of work.

I don’t know these games, but even if they’re pretty simple you’re probably looking at hundreds of hours of work. Unless you find someone who wants to tackle this process anyway, the money you’re talking about isn’t going to be nearly enough. :slight_smile: I suspect that the best thing for you to do would be to start the project yourself. Even if you can’t program, you could start detailing the game logic of these games, which is bound to be an important part of the work.

iplayif/?story=http://www.meltsn … Guitars.z5

Guitar Hero, anyone? :slight_smile:

while a lame text-adventure, it’s a dead-on satire on the repetitive nature of the play mechanics in most games…

I’m not sure simply being menu and turn-based makes the gameplay of the strategy games you listed a good fit for IF