Mobile Apps and RPGs

In the real world right now I am studying Android development and Java programming. As a roleplayer I simply cannot do this without thinking about how I could use this to make bespoke roleplaying tools for my phone.

I am also a big fan of open source software and freeware.

The only real problem with creating Rolemaster apps is that RM is such a closed system that ICE would never agree to anything open source that anyone could take, change, expand and share.

Anything I could create would have to be somewhat generic. The most generic of rpg apps has to be the dice roller and there are hundreds of those available.

Somewhere there is a middle ground of more useful than a dice roller but system agnostic enough to avoid the intellectual property rights belonging to ICE but also useful to the RM fan base.

Does anyone have any ideas?

3 Replies to “Mobile Apps and RPGs”

  1. This is something I have been pondering myself, although as generic or OGL-related rather than RM, earning money through ads or perhaps expansions. Or the removal of ads.

    The actual mechanics of an RPG cannot be protected I think, which is why there are so many retro-clones around. So perhaps apps to simply combat, as there are computer programmes to do the same. Of course, there is then the problem that the wording of critical hits/fumbles is something that you probably couldn’t use.

    If you came up with one that did use ICE’s IP, I expect that might be interested in an official app.

  2. It’s my understanding that game rules themselves aren’t protected by IP law.

    Per the US Copyright office:

    Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game.

    So, if you don’t copy the text you should be able to codify rule mechanics into an APP?

  3. It might be interesting to look at the fight between TSR and GDW regarding Gary Gygax’s Dangerous Journeys system to see what can and cannot be protected under IP stuff. If I remember correctly, TSR more or less broke GDW over the general concepts and setting, arguing it was stuff Gary had originally conceived while working for TSR.

    I don’t remember the specifics of the case now, but it might be instructive.

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