Apology to everyone (clarification on Open Hexagon)

Hello everybody.

I’m very sad about how the situation evolved with Open Hexagon, and I would like to apologize to everyone for the controversy that I’ve caused.

I’m using this blog post as opportunity to explain my intentions and my mistakes.

I’ve started playing Super Hexagon right after it was released, and fell in love with it.
As a independent game developer, I wanted to create my own tribute version of the game, not only as an experiment, but also as a completely new experience: I wanted to make the game fully open, both as a free open-source product, and also as a customizable and scriptable game, in order to let people share their creations and have fun.

I’ve undoubtedly screwed up, though.

On October 28, I asked Terry if I could make a clone of Super Hexagon:

Hey Terry, I really like your games, especially Super Hexagon.

I am developing a clone in C++.
Would it upset you if I released my clone as an open source game?

Thanks for your time

He replied:

Heya,

I’m totally happy with anyone making a Hexagon inspired game, but
please don’t “clone” it exactly!

- Terry

In order to make Open Hexagon different from Super Hexagon, I designed it around customization, I got permission to use BOSSFIGHT’s totally amazing music, and I developed it as a FOSS (Free open-source software).

It is, however, still a clone.
I obviously had to be more clear in my exchange with Terry, and this is the first thing I apologize for.

But the worst decision I’ve made is without any doubt releasing Open Hexagon before Terry had a chance to release his PC port, I acknowledge that completely.

I apologize immensely for this mistake and I can assure you I learned something.
If I could have done things differently, I would have waited for the PC release of Super Hexagon.

But, in all honesty, my intentions are not to harm Super Hexagon in any way.
I don’t want to be a competitor: my game is a tribute and a learning opportunity for everyone.

 

After release, I asked Terry if he was ok with it, and told him that I would have taken it down immediately if he wanted me to. This is what he replied:

Hey,

I feel a bit weird about it, and I really, really don’t like that you
released it before I finished my own port of the game to PC. But it’s
ok – congrats on finishing your first game! I hope you go on to make
cool things :)

- Terry

He also tweeted about Open Hexagon:

@terrycavanagh: So hey, Super Hexagon got cloned on PC. I’m getting a lot of messages from people about it, so I figured I should say something -
@terrycavanagh: I’m a little upset that he released it before I had a chance to release Super Hexagon on PC myself – but I’m basically alright with it!
@terrycavanagh: I’ve just checked it out there, and it’s not bad at all – the harder octagon stage was pretty cool. I also like the death effect.
@terrycavanagh: I’m hoping Super Hexagon will be out on PC and Mac REALLY soon – I’m working flat out to make that happen!

https://twitter.com/terrycavanagh

I was reassured Terry was ok with it, even if I realized my mistake of not waiting until he released his PC port.

 

I’ve been accused of theft. I’ve been accused of being an horrible person.

My intentions have always been good, I’m being honest. I never wanted to compete with Terry, I just wanted to provide a fun experience to people and a source code to learn from to developers.

I never claimed the idea was mine and I did everything I could to credit Terry and to encourage people to check out and buy Super Hexagon.

In the official page, executable and documentation files of Open Hexagon, I ask people to look at Terry’s games and eventually buy them. People who enjoy Open Hexagon should purchase Terry’s original game because he invented the main concepts and without it Open Hexagon wouldn’t even exist.

The phrase “This is a clone of Super Hexagon by Terry Cavanagh” appears on the main menu of the game.

I’m not passing the idea as mine, the idea was taken from Terry and I’ve never said otherwise.

The game, however, is mine, because I programmed it from scratch and I’m proud of the results.

I’m not stealing Terry’s idea – otherwise I wouldn’t have tell everybody that Open Hexagon is a clone of Super Hexagon, provided links to Terry’s pages and kindly asked Open Hexagon players to purchase or at least check out the original.

I’m not a thief, and I will never accept this claim.

Super Hexagon is an amazing game on its own: music and levels are completely different from Open Hexagon, and it completely worth experiencing even after having played my game.

This reason alone deserves a purchase of Super Hexagon, but considering that Terry Cavanagh is an amazing person (and I thank him again of letting my project live, even if I made some horrible decisions), he really deserves the money for his fantastic products, and I encourage everyone to visit his webpage and try his games.

I’m doing a lot of work to differentiate Open Hexagon from Super Hexagon – I hope people can give my game a chance, as it is truly becoming a different experience from Super Hexagon.

Sorry for causing all this trouble and controversy, my intentions were not bad.I’ve learned a lot from this entire experience.

I apologize to everyone, and in particular to Terry.

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49 comments
  1. Pele said:

    The game is not yours. You’re a cloning thief.

    There is nothing hard to understand about this.

    You’re worse than Zynga.

    • Hypexion said:

      seriously? actually really? this guy is worse than a company that put people out of jobs then insulted those same people?

      get some priorities. he copied a game. oh noes. maybe if the developer was a good porter no one would need to copy his stupid game.

      (more better reply with things closer to arguments somewhere else.)

      • Edditaur said:

        Normally I wouldn’t get involved, but cut Terry some slack, he’s only just started using C++. You should probably know about all of the facts before you defend this guy.
        Not to say that he shouldn’t be defended. Even though I’m very much against cloning and all of that, at least this guy understands that he’s caused a load of trouble in doing so and has apologised. I appreciate that, and I appreciate even more how he’s working hard now to try and differentiate Super Hexagon and Open Hexagon.
        I find it a bit strange as to why you called the original game “stupid”, as well. How can you not like one but like another? They’re almost identical in the actual premise for gameplay. I appreciate the fact that you’re trying to defend the underdog, but you appear to have given out a fundamentally flawed statement.
        I’m also fairly sure the above post is sarcasm. I saw that fairly quickly, actually.

      • Hypexion said:

        actually if attention were paid you’d see that I didn’t actually comment on the quality of Open Hexagon. of course it could be deduced that I think OHex is stupid because it’s a clone of a ‘stupid game’ aka SHex. and it’s stupid because how many masochistic minimalist games do we even need anymore? i mean sure iOS is lacking this kind of area but on PC we’ve got the things coming out of our noses.

        Also I may have been still in ‘the hell is wrong with people’ mode when i was like ‘this dude and his game are stupid’. But I digress. I’m indifferent to the game, sarcasm doesn’t carry over text and people need to grip something.

        also, not knowing all the facts has never stopped any other person in the history of anything, so, uh, yeah!

  2. I do not accept being called a thief.

    I asked permission to Terry Cavanagh.
    Terry gave his consent, as seen from the email and twitter.

    I already explained by mistakes above – my intentions are and always were good.

    In the readme, in a personal message included with the game’s files, in the video, in every place I talk about Open Hexagon, in the official FB page, and even on the menu screen of the game there is a phrase:

    -This is a clone of Super Hexagon by Terry Cavanagh -

    I’m not passing the idea as mine, the idea was taken from Terry and I’ve never said otherwise.

    The game, however, is mine, because I programmed it from scratch and I’m proud of the results.

    I’m not stealing Terry’s idea – otherwise I wouldn’t have tell everybody that Open Hexagon is a clone of Super Hexagon, provided links to Terry’s pages and kindly asked Open Hexagon players to purchase or at least check out the original.

    I’m not a thief, and I will never accept this claim.

    • DrBomb said:

      Yes, be proud of your stuff, you did awknowledge it is a clone, you’re not selling or getting money or any kind or profit from it. Hell i wish i could do hexagon like you did

    • Storyteller said:

      So there’s this guy, right, he asks a girl if she can give him some money. She says “sure,” handing him her wallet, “take a quarter, but no more than that.” The guy thanks her and runs off with the whole wallet. He says, “I’m not a thief, because even though I ran off with the wallet I admit to doing so.”

      • DrBomb said:

        That “thief” stole money, this guy tried to replicate a game with his own skills, he didn’t do it because he planned to sell it (or sell the idea first being the case) only did it because he wanted, he even asked terry if he could make the game.
        Even if he made the mistake of publishing it before, there is no basis for calling him a thief

      • Cute simile. Now listen to mine:

        So there’s this guy, and he asks a girl who built a house out of Lego if he can create a clone of it. The girl agrees, but only if the guy doesn’t make it exactly the same.
        The guy doesn’t have any Lego. So he learns how to build things using wood, from scratch. He builds an house that in the end looks very similar to the original one, but it’s made of a completely different material. There is even the name of the girl printed on the guy’s house, as a credit. Some people notice the similarities, even before the guy could finish customizing his wooden house. While the guy adds a brand new chimney, changes the shape of the windows, and gets people involved in the construction of his house, people accuse him of being a thief and an horrible person.

        But in the end:
        - the Lego house was still a fantastic house
        - the wooden house, that obviously was cloned from the Lego house, credited the original creator
        - the wooden house was then distributed for free, and people were involved in its creation and improvement
        - the guy apologized for making his house too similar to the original and for not being clear enough

      • Storyteller said:

        DrBomb, he copied the design. Terry Cavanagh spent months perfecting every detail of his game. Whether Vee intended to profit or not also doesn’t matter. The release of his version will cost Terry real money, because people can play the free clone in stead of buying the official game. It won’t be exactly the same game, but it’ll be good enough for many.

        Vee asked Terry if he could make a clone. Terry told him, and I quote, “I’m totally happy with anyone making a Hexagon inspired game, but please don’t “clone” it exactly!” Vee ignored this and made a clone anyway.

      • DrBomb said:

        I don’t think the indie scene works that way storyteller. Also I’m pretty much sure Terry did the original “Hexagon” game in a game jam.
        Look, let’s don’t be assholes here, just that, he’s kinda at fault but not to call him a thief

      • Storyteller said:

        superv1234 (Vee?), you say that as if Terry didn’t make his game from scratch also. Terry did more though, he created the design from scratch. You didn’t, and you didn’t change anything that matters. That makes your game a clone.

        The wooden house was completed before the Lego house opened its doors in PC-land, and where the Lego men wanted a small entrance fee, the wooden gnomes admitted anyone in for free. It was a nice house with many interesting rooms, but they had all been constructed based on the Lego men’s blueprints.

      • DrBomb said:

        The game says “Superhexagon clone” in the main screen dude

      • Storyteller said:

        DrBomb, it doesn’t work what way? You mean we don’t have respect for each other’s creations?

        Yes, Terry made the original Hexagon in a game jam, and then spent months improving on the design to make Super Hexagon.

        What would you prefer to “thief?” “Cloner?”

      • Storyteller said:

        DrBomb, Terry *explicitly* told him *not* to clone his game!

      • DrBomb said:

        YES! It IS a clone, yes terry said that!, yes he didn’t make things clear enough to him! yes he’s kinda at fault, yes this might be bad for Super Hexagon, now leave it like that because this was a simple project of a coder that wanted to experiment his skills making a game he liked, there’s no need for so much hate when the person affected didn’t want to care that much

      • Storyteller said:

        DrBomb, I don’t hate Vee/superv1234. I just want him to understand what he did wrong. His apology reads like he understands that people think he did something wrong, and he’ll even try to avoid doing that again, but he doesn’t understand why.

      • Storyteller said:

        Also, if you’d read Terry’s twitter today, you’d know that he does care

      • DrBomb said:

        I’m pretty sure he does understand with all the shit he’s getting
        But he won’t back down and that’s great for me.

      • DrBomb said:

        He didn’t want that much press about the clone, and he didn’t like how RPS said he gave the permission to publish it before, he’s kinda upset for the whole publishing before his version, not about the clone per se

      • Storyteller said:

        He’s upset about the clone, too. There’s a reason he asked Vee not to make a clone. He’s too nice to say so in public though.

      • rano said:

        @Storyteller: let Terry speak for himself : )

      • Storyteller said:

        rano, You’re right, I should.

      • Antagonistic stubborn pseudo-fanboys, using the same exactly the same self-righteous rethorics as the anti-piracy jerks, make awful advocates of the original game.

        With friends like these who needs enemies?

  3. rano said:

    I do not believe him to be a thief/cloning thief/zynga guy for two reasons:
    - this is his first game, he’s 17 years old and he’s not making any profit from it
    - it was clear, even before this post came out, that this one was an “improved” clone (let’s say with a superset of SH features, but still a complete clone) and that he was trying to ‘cover’ it with the approvation ex ante by Terry C. Now with this post we know it was as we suspected: he just could not admit it to himself but he was true to his consciusness in the end.

    This is a real feat if you are seventeen years old: you can program (and learn by yourself) how to program a clone of a game by Terry C., you can improve it on some level, and you can recognize you screwed with something and you beg someone’s pardon properly. Let’s focus on this : )

  4. DrBomb said:

    Thief does steal for own profit, you just wanted to use a simple template to test your own programming skills, and it’s alright really, maybe you should’ve waited for terry’s launch though, just out of respect.
    Also if you are receiving bug reports, the game is rendering way too slow on my computer, meaning I die half a second before noticing it, the death sound plays but the actual wall collision happens later. I have a shitty laptop with cetrino dual core and integrated graphics

  5. Well the good thing is, this controversy made me aware of Super Hexagon, and after having *loved* VVVVVV I’m super excited to see Super Hexagon on PC/Android and I’ll buy it on release for sure. Thanks Terry !

  6. mygatenet said:

    It’s really sad, that all the hate comes, because Terry *might* not get as much money, now that someone has adapted his idea. Really guys? Is the world only filled with money sucking monkeys?
    On top of this, there’s no law against copying ideas. One also can’t patent software or claim copyright of ideas. The only thing that could legally be a problem is the similarity between the two names.
    If a developer can’t coupe with the fact that great ideas get copied, then he/she shouldn’t release anything. There have always been clones and copies of games and most are complements/flattering towards the original developers.
    Also if someone manages to clone your game from scratch in same time frame as he/she is simply porting the game from one platform to another and the clone gets finished first, then the original developer was just too slow.

    I fully support Open Hexagon because it’s opensource (like every software should be!) and uses an awesome library underneath (SFML).
    I probably would’ve bought Super Hexagon already, if it wasn’t still stuck in the Apple space…

    Besides I imagine that the release of Open Hexagon motivates Terry even more to finish his PC version. ;)

  7. Voldemort said:

    I hope you learn something from this. Be inspired, but add something original to your games to make them yours. (No, “adding customization” and making it Open Source doesn’t make it original. Don’t kid yourself.)

    • Hey Voldemort,

      I definitely learned something from all this situation. I can also assure you the incoming changes to Open Hexagon set it apart from the original a lot more: I’ve implemented scripting and custom events, that make every level unique.

      While it still is a clone of Super Hexagon, it’s certainly a completely different experience. And the fact that it is open source is also a learning opportunity for everybody, and I’m proud of that.

      As I said in the apology, my intentions were and still are good, but I undoubtedly made a lot of mistakes, from which I am learning some important lessons.

  8. James said:

    Reading these comments, it seems a few people have some really screwed up morals and ethics. Don’t worry young one, you did very little wrong, things just get out of hand real fast these days,with instant communication. You get a lot of knee-jerk reactions and people don’t have time to think before they have already sent the message, which usually means that rather than having a analytical opinion they are acting out of some misplaced loyalty to a indie game developer they happen to like.

    • Storyteller said:

      There’s nothing wrong with cloning a game to learn. Most of us have done that. Releasing said clone for free on the internet before the original can release commercially on the same platform is something else.

      Even if you disagree with that, superv1234 asked Terry if he could clone Super Hexagon, and Terry said no, but you can make an inspired game. superv1234 ignored this and cloned the game anyway.

      • busyrat said:

        I would have been confused by Terry’s communication too. It seemed to me that Terry said that superv *could* clone Super Hexagon, but not to make an exact copy.

  9. GoSign said:

    I’m just incredibly sad that Terry (who LIVES off the money he makes from these games) will be worse off because of this whole situation. I realize you didn’t “intend” for that to happen, and that nothing you did was actually illegal, but either way, he loses sales, which is kinda shitty.

    If you really want to make this better, you need to start telling people what his game has that yours doesn’t, so they actually have a reason to buy it. Just saying “hey, you should buy Terry’s game, but here is my version which is free and has added options!” sounds incredibly disingenuous, and doesn’t actually help anything.

    • Hypexion said:

      Well maybe if a 17 year old can, starting from scratch, can port a game faster than the actual developer can, why are we even bringing the morality of the money into it. Let’s be honest here, if EA copied an Activision game over to PC with the minimum changes needed to avoid a lawsuit, no-one would care. Hell, some people would probably be all ‘lol activision are sad ea did their job better than them’.

      But no, as soon as we enter the realm of indie people, with all these faces and emotions and human bonding, everything goes stupid. vee did the developer’s job better than the developer, sucks to be Terry. But since Terry made VVVVV, internet sensation, copying his game is literally being the devil. Sure people are dieing in pointless conflicts right now, BUT SOMEONE COPIED A GAME MADE BY A PERSON YOU HAVE HEARD OF! THE HORROR! Seriously, if I ripped off Dr. Lunatic, there would be hardly any outcry, because the vast, vast majority only know that a game called Dr. Lunatic exists because I just mentioned it. Maybe if Terry was better at porting than a 17-year old hobbyist, this entirely stupid situation would be non-existent.

      woo now to be piled on for daring to defend terrible ‘worse than zynga person’ from ‘hoards of righteous defends of divine indie dev’.

      • GoSign said:

        Man, I’m disappointed that a nice person (who I’ve met once) is losing out. That’s all.

        No, Vee isn’t “worse than Zynga”, he has good intentions and isn’t profiting off this himself. But if he really respects Terry’s work enough to be “inspired” by it, it’s just too bad that he’s harming the original in the process.

        I’m trying to back off from hyperbole here, I’d appreciate it if others did the same.

      • Hypexion said:

        Eh, I guess I started my vague rant thing off your comment because you seemed to focus on the money aspect of the whole thing and that was a good starting point for the whole ‘man let’s be real here’ thing I sort of brushed.

  10. Jan said:

    You’ve proved with this that you’re a great programmer, and it’s good that you’ve realised the mistake you’ve made here, but really, you need to take this game down now. You can talk about modifying it a bit more but sometimes it’s best to accept, lesson learned, move onto other things. Good luck with the next project!

    • mygatenet said:

      I strongly disagree! And as Vee has already said it would violate the idea of being opensource and wouldn’t have such a big difference anymore, since the source has already been cloned. Additionally it’s not your decision to demand such a thing; it’s only Terry who could ask kindly and he didn’t although he had the chance.

      The market is open to anyone and if you as a ‘professional’ game developer are too slow to port something, while some teen hobby programmer is able to create a similar game from scratch in the meantime, then it’s obviously not the fault of the teenager for being awesome and genius, but it’s the fault of the developer, who wants to make money with it.

      If Open Hexagon would get sold then the whole story would look different, but it’s not, heck it’s even opensource.

  11. kikimaru024 said:

    Heya,
    does Open Hexagon work on Mac somehow?
    Wouldn’t mind another avenue to get my Hex Fix on!

    A very well-made blog post, btw; you might’ve gone a bit overboard with the humility ;)

  12. Everyone ignore Storyteller, he’s just a fanboy who can’t accept that clones aren’t the work of thieves and criminals (he probably bashed Freedoom when that came out). I wouldn’t be surprised if he replied to me in some form of story because he can’t think of something with actual value to say instead.
    Any publicity is good publicity, the controversy surrounding this game most likely earned more sales for super hexagon than it lost.

  13. I’m a little confused here — since this is a music based game, I get the Super Hexagon music with Open Hexagon?

    … No? But wait, this is supposed to be a clone! It needs to be the same down to the genetic level!

    Do I get the same levels? How can it be the same without the music that makes Super Hexagon kickass? How can it be?

    Wait — doesn’t this mean that Team Fortress 2 is a clone of Half Life? Half life is a clone of Quake? Doesn’t that mean quake is a clone of doom? Then doom is a clone of wolfenstein? That means wolfenstein is a clone of ken’s labyrinth?

    Hold on — But Team Fortress 2 isn’t a clone of ken’s labyrinth… They’re miles apart!

    People seem to be missing the concept of ‘improvement’.

    Maybe, just maybe, you should google the phrase “Standing on the shoulders of Giants”.

    (Yes, I am partially being sarcastic and serious at the same time. Better learn to deal with it or GTFO the internets… Or maybe don’t read my post? Too late now ;)

    Oh, and please don’t clone my post! >;-)

  14. I sincerely doubt you have screwed up. I see building software and sharing as the moral thing to do.

  15. Freeman said:

    It’s funny because Super Hexagon is basically Proun in 2D, minus the actual racing aspect.

  16. asdf said:

    So I just read this fucking stupid post and then I looked in the comments and saw dozens of people NOT FUCKING READING IT before they go and shit their pants and toss the pants/shit combination onto the internet for everybody to see! CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE IS STUPID!

    • Anonymous said:

      Heh, what’s your stance on the situation?

  17. Terry said, Don’t make a clone – Guy still made a fucking clone!!!! What is the debate about? IT’s CLEAR..ANY COURT IN THE WORLD would convict this kid if Terry pressed the issue. How can this not be CLEARLY SEEN except utter lack of knowledge.. Let’s recap:

    Terry’s mistake: TOO NICE, too good natured, too inspiring to young generations.

    Kid’s mistake: Naive, Lied (Made a clone, then said it was unclear when it was obviously fucking clear), stupid (released it before Terry could make money), unoriginal, want to do open source before actually making a dime on (release it a year later, why release it free immediately??)

    I’m so pissed I want to sue the Kid more than Terry does.

    • Everything I said was completely honest, just like my sadness in having upset Terry. I made a big mistake releasing the game that soon and I apologized, sincerely.

      But now this has to stop: you call me naive and liar – while I can understand being called naive, I do not accept being called a liar. I never wanted to upset anyone and never wanted all this controversy to happen.

      What has been done has been done – I apologized, but kept Open Hexagon alive, because I felt that was the right thing to do. I worked hard for my fanbase, I worked hard to differentiate Open Hexagon from Super Hexagon, worked hard to apologize and to give publicity to Super Hexagon. Honestly I would be really surprised if all this controversy damaged Terry instead of helping him, as it gave a lot of exposure to the original game.

      Feel free to think I’m a liar, but the truth is that I messed up and that I’m truly sorry for my actions. I could’ve handled the whole situation a lot better, but I cannot go back in time.

      Today, Open Hexagon is very different from the original, and I’m 99% sure that it didn’t damage Terry’s sales at all (and possibly improved them).

      I’ve apologized and said the same things enough, and it’s really stressful to still see people call me a liar and thinking I acted with malice.

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