Squirrel Domino: Dr. Mario clone

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NovaSquirrel
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Squirrel Domino: Dr. Mario clone

Post by NovaSquirrel » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:19 pm

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I've been writing a clone of Dr.Mario for NES to be a minigame in Nova the Squirrel but it probably deserves to be released on its own too. Maybe included in the compo as a rather late addition? It's got multiplayer, hard drops, ghost pieces, and really just a very simple style. It was incredibly easy to write a clone because the game's so simple and I had it mostly working in about two days, and unlike Tetris it should be 100% legal since Nintendo actually patented the game rules and the patent expired.

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Updated screenshot showing off a more updated screenshot, with a ghost piece, next piece, and slightly fixed colors, as I was told $16 helped make it more playable to color blind players than $26.

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I want to actually figure out some neat optional twists to add on top of the standard game, and in this case I'm messing around with Puzzle League style swapping.
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nova.nes
Build of NtS with Dr.Mario in it; go to "Extra Features" and choose "Capsules"
(256.02 KiB) Downloaded 459 times
Last edited by NovaSquirrel on Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by Banshaku » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:25 am

Nice little mini game.

Good work :D

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by NovaSquirrel » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:44 am

Here's an NROM version of the Dr.Mario clone on its own, if anyone wanted that. I have it where I can just drop the source code in and it'll supply the rest of the stuff it needed from Nova the Squirrel itself.

Edit: I fixed a slight issue where you couldn't rotate a a pill before dropping it, I think
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drmario.nes
Update 2 that allows you to rotate a pill immediately, not after waiting it to drop a row
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Pokun
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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by Pokun » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:36 pm

Very nice indeed, it really feels like Dr Mario!

I had no idea Nintendo patented it. I wonder how much you can copy it before it's copyright infringement though. Avoiding Nintendo's characters of course, I guess it should be OK to keep the pills and viruses theme?

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by FrankenGraphics » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:46 pm

The game feels really nice. The white background might be a bit intense for longer sessions on the tv though! Maybe you can include an 0f or 0c splash colour option?

re: pokun. You'd probably want to call the file something else, too! (Capsules.nes, by the title on the screen)
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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by NovaSquirrel » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:10 pm

Pokun wrote:Very nice indeed, it really feels like Dr Mario!

I had no idea Nintendo patented it. I wonder how much you can copy it before it's copyright infringement though. Avoiding Nintendo's characters of course, I guess it should be OK to keep the pills and viruses theme?
Thank you, I played the original game a bit now and then to check on things and make sure things were really close, though one difference here is that things do fall much faster than in the original. I still don't know if I want to change that or not. I do like the faster falling.

Here's a link to their patent. It's kind of handy because it has diagrams about how to implement the game logic, though I ignored them really since I didn't need them. I'm not too interested in copying anything aside from the gameplay itself, which should be completely unprotected.
FrankenGraphics wrote:The game feels really nice. The white background might be a bit intense for longer sessions on the tv though! Maybe you can include an 0f or 0c splash colour option?

re: pokun. You'd probably want to call the file something else, too! (Capsules.nes, by the title on the screen)
Yeah I was thinking of having a few different "themes", I suppose? This one, a "neon" theme with a black background where the RGB colors stand out, and a high-contrast one that's color blind friendly with slightly different pill shapes, and so on.

And yeah naming the file was sort of waiting on picking a good definitive name for this instead of just a placeholder. Though maybe "Capsules" is good enough since "Vitamins" was good enough for tepples. "Dr.Nova" was a pretty obvious name buuuut that sounds potentially infringing. :p

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by Fisher » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:12 pm

Great little game!
I was going to suggest Dr. Nova, but maybe Phd Nova or D.sc. Nova...
Or something different like Squirrel Vitamins, Nova's Chemistry, Nova's Pills or maybe Nova's Lab.
Have you tought something about the history?
Not that this will change how good this game is getting...
Thanks for sharing this awesome work!!

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by tepples » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:38 pm

Pokun wrote:I had no idea Nintendo patented it. I wonder how much you can copy it before it's copyright infringement though. Avoiding Nintendo's characters of course, I guess it should be OK to keep the pills and viruses theme?
Anything that appears in the patent drawings appears to be fair game. Per Kellogg v. Nabisco and Dastar v. Fox, a longer-term intellectual property right can't be used to extend the effective term of protection of a shorter-term intellectual property right. But to be safe, I'd recommend adopting distinct shapes sooner rather than later. It not only helps color-blind players but also helps avoid nuisance lawsuits that test the limits of Kellogg and Dastar against a squishy opponent.

One thing not covered in the patent is audio. The sound effects in Concentration Room are as good as any; pick the ones in pino-a53.pently that say "falling blocks".

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by M_Tee » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:15 pm

Items eaten by squirrels that have distinct, yet simple, shapes could provide some distinction. Off hand, acorn, seed (sunflower-ish), and berry could be achieved at the resolution.

If you wanted to push it thematically, the playfield could be an abstract representation of Nova's digestive tract and the blocks that need to be cleared could be blockages.

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by Pokun » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:09 am

So the virus theme doesn't fall under copyright because it's described in an expired patent? I thought copyright was artistic expressions and patent was mechanics and rules?
I naively think that the virus theme is general enough to be used as long as it's not used in a way that it's an obvious rip off of the Dr Mario setup.


By the way, the Famicom/NES version (but not the Game Boy version) of Dr Mario has the "Non-Newtonian Elimination" bug which makes the game freeze if you make too large combos. I guess this version doesn't have that.

Non-Newtonian Elimination discussions:
https://www.speedrun.com/drmariones/guide/qoohi
https://www.twingalaxies.com/danielw/wa ... -love-nnes
https://www.twingalaxies.com/blackflag8 ... -and-stuff

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by tepples » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:06 pm

M_Tee wrote:Off hand, acorn, seed (sunflower-ish), and berry could be achieved at the resolution.
Someone with both pixel art talent and knowledge of this sort of food could probably do better, but here's my attempt, unless I missed something.
sfseed_acorn_berry.png
sfseed_acorn_berry.png (859 Bytes) Viewed 14147 times
Pokun wrote:So the virus theme doesn't fall under copyright because it's described in an expired patent?
I'd avoid the virus theme in order to minimize the possibility of suit in the first place.

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by NovaSquirrel » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:01 pm

Pokun wrote:By the way, the Famicom/NES version (but not the Game Boy version) of Dr Mario has the "Non-Newtonian Elimination" bug which makes the game freeze if you make too large combos. I guess this version doesn't have that.
My implementation should be pretty robust especially since everything's so simple. Additional matches don't add anything to keep track of or process at all, aside from the garbage sending which just won't accept anything after four.
tepples wrote:Someone with both pixel art talent and knowledge of this sort of food could probably do better, but here's my attempt, unless I missed something.
Okay you're building the case even higher for a theme option. I do like the original minimalistic graphics though so those are staying as an option at the very least (maybe the default?), since they're just very readable. I guess at the very least it'd be Minimal Light, Minimal Dark, Themed, and High Contrast?

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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by M_Tee » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:07 am

I was thinking a lot more abstract, more like what one would expect from the icons used on a deck of playing cards. I wouldn't even rotate the graphics for connections, etc.
acorns.png
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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by Dwedit » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:06 am

Yeah, the filename "drmario.nes" not only suggests that the file is something else, but it is also trademark infringement.
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Re: Unnamed Dr.Mario clone

Post by NovaSquirrel » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:41 am

Sure, I'll use different filenames. I expanded the menu a bit and now there's the ability to choose the gravity speed (currently labeled "Fall" since I'm not sure how else to say that concisely) so you can make it as slow as in the original game or much much faster. There's also themes (including a theme with a $0f background for less eye strain!) and a music selection that currently does nothing.

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I'm playing with drawing different tiles for a "contrast" theme, though I'm unsure what background color it should have. The fourth theme slot is where I'll probably put in something with more character but is currently unchanged.
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capsules.nes
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