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Minimon 3D
Sushi  [developer] Apr 4, 2014 @ 8:54am
About copyright, game concept, monster designs and more
Hi guys, there was an interesting discussion about copyright. I spent lots of time investigating about this, and as I far as I know, there is no copyright infringement at all, Nintendo won't care much about this game.

Minimon is surely inspired by Pokemon, and reuses many concepts from it. The main idea behind Minimon was to make a Pokemon style game, that improved on Pokemon and brought new options/features.

First, online play, for this kind of game, I think it is a must. Some people told me in the comments that this is actually a bad point and wont want to play the game because of it.
I dont really understand what they mean, this game can surely be played in offline mode 100%, and even if you play in online mode, no one forces you to interact with other players.

Two, about the difficulty of the game. I love Pokemon, but I think we all agree that Pokemon has no challenge at all, even a baby could complete the game easily. When I play Pokemon I always disable the option to allow me to switch Pokemon upon defeating an enemy, that makes the game a bit more challenging, but it is not enough. The artificial inteligence of the opponents is plain stupid (I'm pretty sure that in the early generations, all the opponents did was to select random moves, with no artificial inteligence at all!). I spent lots of time working on the artificial inteligence of trainers in Minimon. The trainers know when to switch monsters, how to make good use of elemental advantages, how to proper boost stats and use status effects, and many other things. Many of the game testers said that the trainers were too smart, some even accused them of cheating, and I think that is exactly what I wanted.

Three, scope of the game, quests, world size etc. This are all factors that I wanted to expand, adding two whole continents to explore, with a big storyline that tied them both, with a branching path that would allow the players to either pick the good or bad side midway. Also filling the world with side quests is something that is missing in Pokemon and that I wanted to address in my game. Basically I want to add as much content as possible, as much as possible for a one man team. The original version of this game was released some months ago, and theres people that already clock 100 hours of gameplay or more, and the game is not even finished, so I think this is a good thing.

But basically, game ideas/concepts cannot be copyrighted, anyone can make a pet/monster capture game as long as it is within the copyright law .
Things like type names also can't be copyrighted (Pokemon has like 600 moves, with so many common words like Thunder, Blizzard, Earthquake etc, inventing alternative names for those would be a pain in the♥♥♥♥♥.

And about types, those also cant be copyrighted, and Pokemon has so many types, myself can't think of any other new type that dont exist in Pokemon. I changed some of the names, just because I think they make more sense, but yeah, Pokemon already covers all usable elements, if you have an idea for a new type tell me. Some people suggested Sound, but I don't like it too much.
Here's the list of my changes:
Ground -> Earth
Steel -> Metal
Fairy -> Light
Dark -> Shadow

However other things like names, logos, monsters, sounds etc can be copyrighted. No real Pokemons appear on this game, nor any pokemon trainers, locations etc, because of course I not neither stupid nor a thief.
No pokemon game assets are used, all 3d models, sprites, textures, logos and sounds are original (and they costed thousands of dollars to create).
Sometimes Pokemon, Digimon or Final Fantasy 3d models are used as placeholder art until the monsters 3d model is done, but of course, they wont appear on the final product. If you know how a game is made, you know most of the time placeholder stuff is used to advance the programming/gameplay, while the artists work in the final versions of 3d models, pictures, sounds etc. See last paragraph for more info about this.

And well, not exactly all sprites are made by me, around 150 of them belong to two artists that gave me authorization to use them (I paid them money, and they gave me a commercial license for the designs/sprites). Also they were quite excited to see their designs finally being used in a real game and being brought into 3d.

About my monsters designs not being original, and about the dragon in the login screen looking like a Nidoqueen. Really? I dont even remembered how Nidoqueen looks like, since last time I played the games was years ago, but I just checked it, it looks nothing like my dragon at all, besides both having reptile-like features.
So what about the others, is the dragon-egg monster a ripoff of Togepi just because it is an egg? Or the yellow bird a ripoff of Zapdos just because it is an eletric bird, even though it looks nothing like it? Or well, just a clone of Pikachu, just because it is yellow? (I'm pretty sure someone in the comments actually compared it to a Pikachu).

About other designs, the zebras for example, how original can you make a Zebra monster? The Zebra from Pokemon is an electric monster, mine is a ice/dark monster. Not exactly original I know, but I really like Zebras and wanted one in my game.If people continue saying this monster is a ripoff, well, I might try to change it a bit, but a zebra is nothing more than a horse with stripes, what differences can I add more, unless I give it wings or horns or something, and still, people would still say it is ripoff since it has zebra stripes. If I remove the stripes then they would say it is a Rapidash ripoff, so I guess I can't really make a horse/zebra monster at all.

Some could argue that I could design only animals that were not done by Pokemon yet, but if you think about it, Pokemon has like 750 designs, I think they covered already most animals. I don't know many animals that did not appear in Pokemon yet, one that was missing was Pandas, but that got fixed in the last generation. I can only think about a Playtypus maybe, and so, should I make a monster game that only has 300 Playtypus of different colors and sizes since this way it is more "original"?
If you play Minimon you will see hundreds of designs, some very unique and original, others not as original. I'll admit that there are monster designs based on some existing Pokemons, mostly because I really liked them and wanted to have something similar in my game. Those are a small number though, and then you have other designs that you can't really compare to Pokemon at all, like a zombie, wizard, bone dragon, treasure box, snowman, salamander, hedgehog, etc.
And of course, there are kinds of monsters that were created just because it was almost required to have them, like bats to put in caves, carnivorous plants for a jungle or fishes/sharks to put in water zones.

Finally, there were was only one problem that I fixed already, as some of you might have seen in the original video (that was replaced as fast as I can, when I learned about the mistake). There was a monster that looked too much like a Galvantula from Pokemon. And that's exactly because that was a 3D model of a Galvantula. Minimon contains around 350 monsters, and well, making a 3D monster costs time and money. I have many skills, but 3d modelling is not one of them, so I work with freelancer artists to make the 3d monsters, I already invested lots of my money into it. And not all monsters are finished yet, I would say, only around 70%. The others right now have placeholder 3d models, that are replaced as soon as the artists finish them. Usually it takes from 2 days to 1 week to make a new monster.

What happened was, I was not the one making the video, a friend made it, and he did not know much about which monsters were final or placeholders. As soon as people notified me of the Galvantula appearing on the trailer, I asked him to edit the video, as you can see, the current video does not have it anymore, nor does the current game version, a proper custom 3d model was done for that monster already.

Any more questions just ask, and I'm pretty open to suggestions, so talk with me :)
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Showing 1-15 of 23 comments
AustNerevar May 15, 2014 @ 6:20am 
The dragon looks similar to Nidoqueen, but definitely not in danger of being ripped off of. Digimon flirted with theft much more than this. I don't see anyone thought this would be a problem.

Also, what's with everyone thinking that a game like this violates copyright?? There have been plenty of pet-raising RPGs since Pokemon. Not to mention that Pokemon took the Pet battling concept from Dragon Quest 5.

We've had games like Digimon, Monster Rancher, Dragon Quest Monsters, Keitai Denjū Telefang (The Japanese game that was hacked and counterfeited as Pokemon Diamond and Jade all over eBay back in the Gameboy color days), etc. etc. Not to mention a ton of iOS, Android, and Facebook knockoffs.

The people that criticize this game of stealing obviously do not know anything about actual copyright law.

EDIT Really? The three letter abbreviation of Japanese is censored??
Last edited by AustNerevar; May 15, 2014 @ 6:21am
karnage10 May 28, 2014 @ 2:07pm 
may i ask how much would this game cost?
Sushi  [developer] May 28, 2014 @ 2:29pm 
Karnage10, I'm not sure about it, I think this is something to be discussed with the guys from Steam. However my intentions is to make a very acessible price. Or maybe even free with micro transactions for optional stuff? Not sure which way people would prefer.
karnage10 May 28, 2014 @ 3:03pm 
personally i would prefer a fixed prica and have acces to all content. Free to play with microtransactions normaly feels pay-to-win gameplay. If you take the first approach i'll follow your game when it launches.
off-topic a bit, do you have a site or a blog to read the progress you are making?
Last edited by karnage10; May 28, 2014 @ 3:04pm
Sushi  [developer] May 28, 2014 @ 4:19pm 
I see, well, I consider a game pay- to-win only when paying can give players advantage over others. In this case I am thinking more about selling things like hats, clothes, or XP bonus, with not being necessary to pay anything to complete the game or play with others.
Anyway, the option of having all content unlocked and having a fixed price for the game is also a possiblity, I will try to get more opinions of Steam users about this :)
Sam Kramer May 28, 2014 @ 6:30pm 
@Relfos that would be awesome i think u should add more things then that though if u think u can improve the game a lot with the money u make on steam I would ask 5$/10$ for it and yes u should keep the steam discount system in ur mind people will buy ur game a lot when its get in sale because its seems cheap. that's my opinion I think not many people are intrested in clothes and hats but maybe the xp bonus will work :P
Sushi  [developer] May 28, 2014 @ 6:38pm 
Well, since this is a MMORPG having unique/rare clothes is actually something many players want (at least it happened during the beta testing).

I would do the 5 or 10$ price with everything unlocked, but there is one problem of having all unlocked at the start, the game servers support cross-play with Android (that features weaker graphics, but still, the content is the same).
This means Steam players would be able to get all extra items for free and then send them to Android players (who have a free game with micro transactions for clothes etc).
This would disrupt the game economy, so I'm still thinking of how to do it, I started a discussion about this in the private Steam developer forum, to see what others developers think of this situation ;)
AustNerevar May 29, 2014 @ 4:25pm 
I also agree that the more minitransactions in the game seems to turn people off. There's something about the commercialized look that makes a game appear to be too...gratuitous. More people will probably take it seriously if there weren't mini transactions or if the cash shop were hidden very well. I play Star Trek Online and their cash shop is off the beaten path. They don't inundate you with special offers as soon as you log in or with notifications.

Generally, I think it's safer for developers to err on the side of no or little in-game transactions than on the side of more. Make sure the game isn't centralized on them or depends on them. But I'm not a developer.

You're probably more likely to make more money during Steam sales than you will from having a lot of in-app purchases.

It's a fine line between buy to win and buy to play. A lot of people view even experience boosters as buy to win, as it hearkens to the mobile games that help you speed through levels when you make a purchase.

This is all just my opinion, but in my experience with my friends, fellow gamers, and people I talk to online, some people get very turned off by in-app purchases. I'm more tolerant if it's done properly, but it's still a dangerous area to be in for modern developers. Done incorrectly, and you can alienate your entire fanbase or potential fanbase. I'm sure you realize all of this, as you ARE a developer and likely know much more than I do, even though I've been gaming since I could hold an NES controller. I just thought I'd give my feedback. This game has a lot of promise and it's about time that we get a competent Pokemon competitor, and one on Steam for multiplatform PCs to boot.
Sushi  [developer] May 29, 2014 @ 4:53pm 
I've been discussing this with other Steam devs, it seems that the fact that I also have a version of the game for Android that is free to play with micro transactions is a problem, since I want to support cross play between all versions.

However, I am against micro transactions done wrong, either by harassing the players begging for purchases, or locking essential content or other bad things.
The way that the current micro transactions work in the Android version is as follows, tell me your opinion.

- There are two types of in-game currency, money and tokens. Money is easy obtain and is used to pay for most things, tokens are used to buy premium stuff

- Premium stuff is sold at specific shops, for example, one town may have a shop that sells hats, other a shop that sells costumes, etc
Instead of having a big virtual shop, it is actually integrated into the game world.

- Tokens can be bought for real money. However there is also an auction house, that allow players to sell rare monsters in exchange for tokens, along with other methods to earn tokens (some quests, etc). This means that it is possible to unlock everything without paying a single cent.

Other Steam devs recommended that I keep the same system for everyone. However if anyone has a clever idea to apply to the Steam version, tell me :)
karnage10 May 30, 2014 @ 8:18am 
I'm going to express my opinion as a steam gamer however it's important to note that i don't use android for games, because of that my opinion might not be the best choice to follow. For me the good examples of free-to-play done well is Hearthstone and Guild Wars 2. The first has a game mode that makes whatever you spent on the game meaningless and the 2nd has a reletevely cheap way to convert ingame money to "tokens". From what i understood your tokens allow someone to buy high level monsters from the ingame action house, if that's true i'd consider it a pay-to-win. While it's true we can get everything without paying a cent, how much more time do we need to "waste" to get someone who invest 1-5 euro? Many games like warframe are completely free but to unlock something in game takes dozens and dozens of hours that you can get for 5 euro or less. That grind puts me off those games since it takes hours to get something cool.
I wonder if you realy need to make the game cross-platform with steam. The reason i say that is because i would love for you to try to have the steam version on HD so that i can play on my 40'' TV. My advice would be to make the game on a fixed price and release both paid and free DLC. For paid DLC you "could" make a few more zones and monster, skins, costumes. For free DLC maybe you could get also a new region and more endgame content (this way maybe you can revitilaze the game when sales die)
In short i would prefer to pay a fixed price and then pay for DLC if i like the game and what the DLC offers.
Sushi  [developer] May 30, 2014 @ 1:08pm 
A question then for you Karnage10, let's imagine that I separate the players from the two versions, and the Steam users pay a fixed price at beginning and dont have microtransactions except maybe some DLC later.
How would the auction house work then, maybe simply disable it on that server?
I dont see a point in auction house if it would work just with normal money, as you can get almost an infinite ammount of it.

While now I see what you mean by having a pay to win feature, note however I introduced it because lots of players asked for it. They mostly use it for getting tokens for free, but of course, this means that someone has to pay for the tokens.

Do you know any Steam game that has an auction house that you feel that works?
Or you don't think games should have something like that?
GayKiwi Jun 15, 2014 @ 11:12pm 
This is the first time Ive read anything on or about this game after clicking a link that said it was green lighted - it had "mon" so I was hoping it was a pocket monster type game that was pc playable - it is, so that is making me jump for joy.

I totally agree that Pay-to-Win sucks. I hate it with a passion. A way for indie devs to get fair funds without the price tag is to look at selling the game - 5/10 dollars (USD? I dont know), have the ability to buy clothing, hats, accessories or things that change the avatar, things that may change stats [change, not add, ie it moves 'str' points to 'dex' but is also possible to get such items in game).

A wonderful game to look at for such ideas is Path of Exile.
Sushi  [developer] Jun 16, 2014 @ 8:38am 
GayKiwi, there is one thing that I still don't understand about "pay2win", seems some people disagree about it.

Let me explain to you how the game works, and give me your opinion please.
In Minimon there's two currency, normal money and "tokens".
Tokens are the stuff that you can buy with real money, but.... you can also get them in-game, in a infinite ammount.
To get the tokens for free you sell your own monsters to other players in the Auction house.

Since all things in the game can be obtained either with in-game money or tokens, there's nothing exclusive to people who pay with real money.

Now, the Auction house itself seems that for some of you it is a problem, as it lets players obtain powerful monster without training them themselves.
I really don't know, since actually, the Auction house was the most request feature by the beta testers (and they were lots of them, like thousands).

So tell me what part of this you consider pay2win, so I can understand it better.
Also I did not play Path of Exile yet, I'll try to check how it works, thanks for the suggestion.
Superior Jun 25, 2014 @ 1:31pm 
Originally posted by Sushi:
Karnage10, I'm not sure about it, I think this is something to be discussed with the guys from Steam. However my intentions is to make a very acessible price. Or maybe even free with micro transactions for optional stuff? Not sure which way people would prefer.

Please no micro-transactions, I would pay more for a full game than letting other people buy in the in game shop, since it can give advantages to opposing players. If you really want micro-transactions in this game, I think fashionable items might be good enough and still making it fair, since they don't offer an in game advantage and a lot of people including myself hate pay to win games!

AustNerevar Jun 25, 2014 @ 5:54pm 
Sometimes cosmetic cash shops really work. I've played Star Trek Online a bit and ended up spending $20 - $25 on some classic ships and Original Series uniforms simply because it's kind of the only Star Trek out right now (except for Abrams stuff) and I wanted to support the game. And in RPGs, people WANT to customize their characters. Charging a one time price for the game and having an in-game cosmetic cash shop could potentially be very lucrative if this game picks up.
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