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I would like to differentiate the look as much as I can but yet it has to be within the limits of what is reasonable for a single programmer can do. I have alot of ideas that would make the game itself different but I'm afraid the look of the blocky world and blocky characters are going to be too much like Minecraft. I've toyed around with the idea of giving the characters big heads, or skinny bodies, or elbows and knees.

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Does it really matter? Just try to be original, and not a direct copy. Perhaps set it at a certain time. –  The Communist Duck Jun 5 '11 at 15:44
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If the blocks are smaller than Minecraft's, or indeed bigger, you could probably get away with it. –  DeadMG Jun 5 '11 at 15:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You shouldn't be worried if a game 'looks' like another. Take Terraria; early alpha screenshots, people were 'ZOMG IT IS A MINECRAFT CLONE'. It gets released - obviously not like Minecraft at all.

Then take something like FortressCraft - that is obviously a Minecraft clone. It has the same features, pretty much. The graphics have changed, maybe.

As long as the core concept is different, and the graphics are different enough so that you would not confuse the two, you will not have a problem. Maybe try a realistic style person, instead of a blocky one?

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Downvoter mind explaining why? –  The Communist Duck Jun 6 '11 at 11:06
    
Don't think the core concept has to differ? Just the copyright:able stuff like actual graphics, sound, music, characters and so on? –  Oskar Duveborn Jul 31 '12 at 14:04
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Yes, I think tcd was approaching the answer from an ethical point of view, and someone probably didn't like that -> downvote –  TravisG Jul 31 '12 at 14:15

If you end up stuck with overall body shapes that look like Minecraft's, your textures can help you stand apart. Without knowing your game's goals and limitations, you could use:

-Higher or lower resolution textures.

-Animated textures.

-High-contrast textures (think Tron)

There are lots of games done in pixel-art style that have interesting characters that stand out. And this is an odd time, just after Minecraft came out. For a while, everything will be compared to it, but eventually it will just be the first in a series of games in this genre/style. Maybe yours could be the other game we all compare to. :)

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I think Minecraft is almost a genre, at this point. There are many success where people are taking the core concept adding something new. But you have to find the core mechanic that differentiates you from the original.

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+1 You are right. At some point particular game's ideas become a genre. If people were afraid of copying ideas, we would have one turn-based game, one RTS, one MMORPG etc. And whenever I'm searching for a first occurrence of some genre, it's something much worse than actual king of it's type. –  Markus von Broady Oct 11 '12 at 8:31

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