Action plan for Jason


#1

We have settled on our action plan and now we are executing. I will be a bit occupied with that for a while. Sylar, if you need any assistance, please reach out.

This is what I posted on Jason’s forum (https://onehouronelife.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=5534 post #2)

Part 2: Actions which we have now set in motion

1. The name of the app.

Using the same name was clearly a mistake from the beginning, though neither of us realized it at the time. Many of you have already pointed this out as the main source of the problem, and you are correct.

Jason has pointed out is that this is a new situation in gaming, which hasn’t happened before. The natural thing for someone to think is that the PC game and the mobile app with a similar name, must be connected (because that’s the way it always has been). I will add to his assessment that the natural thing to think is that if they are somehow not connected, then that’s because the mobile game is an illicit copy.

And as he also pointed out, part of the thing being sold is the server service. His servers are the “official” servers for “One Hour One Life”. But when someone buys the app from us, they clearly are entitled to “official” services and support from the ones they buy their app from. It’s impossible to explain that the app purchase comes with official support and servers from Dual Decade, but that they are not official in the sense of “One Hour One Life”. And calling the app “Unofficial One Hour One Life” and still claim that they should turn to us for official support, is becoming absurd.

Add to this that in China, it seems that the method of choice for distinguishing and app from other similar ones, is to add “official” to the name or description. We are getting into real headache territory here…

The goal of Jason’s is that every player and reviewer knows and understands the actual situation. With a name change, the natural thing will be to not confuse the games or believe that they are from the same source. So people who don’t read, will not make false assumptions. And for the people who do read, we will have new and improved messaging to let them know more precisely what’s going on.

A lot of the work we have done is to build the community (well, insofar as you can build it, rather than just hope that it builds itself). We have been lucky to see a lot of Youtube content uploaded, which has helped the community grow. We will loose most of that now, along with more invisible things like ASO, search engine history, etc. The hashtags on Twitter will not make sense anymore, etc.

But so be it: we have initialized the process of changing the name.

2. In the app

We have initiated work on the following:

  • An info screen at the first start of the app after install, and after each subsequent major and minor update (we have had about one every 14 days). To close it, you have to click an “I understand” button. The same info will also be accessible from the settings menu in the main screen.

  • A way to report bugs from inside the app. Today the forum can be reached with one button click in the app, but you have to register in order to submit issues. We will add a way to send reports directly to us without forum registration, and without having to know the support email address.

3. Outside of the app

Messaging in the store listings will be updated to reflect the new situation. The name change will make sure no-one just buys it believing it to be directly from Jason, and the new messaging will make sure that those who care to read will know that it is based on the PC game (so they have an option to check that out and see if they would actually rather buy that) but is not specifically approved by him. And the info about running on different servers etc (which is there in the old messaging already) will remain clear. Exactly how to phrase this depends on a choice I am getting to now:

Regarding messaging, three things seem important to Jason: That it’s not associated with him, that it’s not built by us from scratch, and (lately) that he is attributed as the original author. The first and third are a bit of opposites to each other. If one of them were much more important than the other, maybe the less important one should be sacrificed so that the important message would get through? If they are equally important, maybe one is most important before purchase, and the other most important in the app?

We could (and these are shortened examples):

A - mention that it’s based on the PC game One Hour One Life by Jason Rohrer, which would give Jason the best credit, but also establish the strongest connection between the app and him, for people who don’t read that carefully.

B - mention only that it’s based on the PC game One Hour One Life, which would direct people to the right game, but also establish some connection between the app and the original game.

C - mention only that it’s based on a PC game without naming it, which would create almost no connection to Jason, but still say we are not the original creators.

Usually the first option would seem the reasonable choice, but Jason has emphasized the need to keep him out very strongly. We would of course add that he is not involved, but again: people don’t read .

We have no wish to pick the wrong option here, so if Jason were to pick one for the store listings and one for the in-game info, that would be best. If he doesn’t prefer one over the others, we will implement option B for both store listings and in-game (that’s our current best guess for what Jason would want).

The reason for these changes are to achieve the priorities Jason has said are important for his legacy. They are not the exact ones he demanded, because we judged that those would also give people a clearly wrong understanding of things. This way, the right message should get across to the most people.

These changes are now on their way, but they won’t happen without work. I will take a break from “battling it out” with both Jason and fans, and focus completely on making things happen instead. I will also not go to GDC. Less words and more action, as it were.

Though Jason didn’t want any involvement in our launch in China, we still missed an opportunity to do something nice for him with the debacle that happened. Instead something really bad came out of it. I am truly sorry about both the missed good that didn’t happen and the bad that did. My hope and expectation is that we have not seen our last chance of making a positive difference in China, for a game which we love dearly, and also for the original creator of that game.

Bye for a while.

// Christoffer


#2

I’m sure this’ll be for the better.


#3

Perhaps clarification of the language being used here would be helpful? Or maybe that’s not something that has been settled on yet?


#4

If I understand Christoffer correctly he would like Jason to first state which of the general options A, B or C that he prefers. They could also be different between in-game and app store.


#5

Yes maybe. I thought that was possible too but I didn’t want to make an assumption.


#6

Responding to your plan of action, above:

I think that it will probably work, but it will take a long time to sink in, and will obviously cause a bunch of confusion along the way. I’m assuming that this will pave the way for you making the mobile adaptation more and more into your own distinct thing, which will be good in the long run for everyone.

(Note that you making it more distinct will be bad for me financially, because the rising-tide effect will dry up----I’m pointing this out to reiterate that my interests are not financial.)

I hope that the title you chose is VERY different, so that no one will get them confused or think they are related. I.e., the title should not use the concepts of “One” or “Hour” or “Life”.

The possibilities for good, unique titles are really endless here.

And in addition to the title, I think it would be a good idea to devise your own “mascot” for the game, instead of continuing to use Original Eve (aka, my mother in cartoon form). You did it with Santa, so you know how to do it. Can’t you have your artist make your own unique character? Really, it’s not more than a day of work (on this end, I’ve been able to add multiple new characters in a single day).

And that DD-created character could be used in the tutorials, etc, as the first “face” that new players see when they start up the game. You could trademark that character.

So then you have a uniquely titled game, with a unique icon/mark. It would really look like a different product from the outside, so that problem would be solved.

On the inside, it would still be pretty much the same game. That will still cause a lot of confusion, especially in YouTube videos and such. Two versions of the game floating around, but under different titles? What? Remember Twisted’s first video, where it was like, “Surprise everyone, I’m actually playing this on my phone!”

Like I said before, the quickest path forward here would be to draw your own background textures. Suddenly, your game would look very different. And drawing new background textures is again a few days of work at most. Just six 512x512 seamless textures, and maybe redo that one big “paper” texture (which mostly shows up in the snow biome, but also modulates all biome textures).

Finally, have you thought anymore about a “hard fork” going forward? Instead of continuing to roll my new stuff into your game, start making your own new stuff in the future. This would further help to differentiate you, and really make your game feel different, and help to make the new title make sense. Instead of operating a direct clone of my weekly update service, you’d be operating your own unique service.

For the time being, given all that has transpired, I would pick this option:

But I want to stress: I don’t think that a new title alone will be enough, unless you also start making some other changes (icon, game look, content fork). Otherwise, you will still be just the same sheep hiding under a different fleece, and it will perhaps be even more confusing.

For the time being, option (A) makes sense, because it will help explain what is going on with this almost-identical game that is operating under a different title.

In the future, if you follow a divergent path, the notice in (A) will no longer be necessary, because there will be absolutely no confusion, nor will you be making a claim to authorship over something that is clearly a direct clone of my work. You will be completely free of any obligations of clarification, and the true claim of authorship will be yours.

Finally, given that the work is in the public domain, there is no requirement that you switch titles or further differentiate your content as a way of clearing up the confusion. That is just one path forward, among many paths.

But there is a requirement that you clear up the confusion.

I suggested a different path before, a path assuming that you would continue your current course, offering a almost-pixel-identical clone of my game and service under the same or similar title.


What name would be suitable if the game name changes?
What name would be suitable if the game name changes?
#7

To be honest, this dispute just needs to be settled between all the parties in the setting of a formal negotiation, with attorneys to advise on the appropriate intellectual property laws, review the contracts between these parties and draft new terms if necessary in formal writing. I don’t see how these “forum negotiations” with white knights of the PC and/or mobile version getting involved will progress the situation at all. Involving the media or the players would be completely unhelpful.