The recently verified top 10 hardest extreme demon in Geometry Dash, Natural Disaster, has been unrated following accusations around stealing assets.
One day later, popular creator Culuc called out the level for stealing assets from him and other levels:
It steals assets, but [in my opinion] it's probably ok to be rated anyways, it's not the end of the world
Culuc then went on to show that a few assets in Natural Disaster seem very similar to those found in other levels, so similar, in fact, that they might be directly stolen.
Natural Disaster by GammaReXx, screenshot from Neiro.
In the same thread, Culuc goes on to say:
The lightning effect used throughout [Natural Disaster] is a stolen asset from Aerial Gleam (you can tell [because] it uses the same object configuration, and the same color channels)
Despite this compelling evidence, Culuc still believes the level should be rated:
I don't own lightning effects, or rocks, anyone can make that stuff (...) Natural Disaster still has its own block designs and stuff so I think it should still be rated, but at least just ask or credit me next time
On November 7, Natural Disaster was unrated by the Geometry Dash developer, RobTop Games. Despite the fact that Culuc clearly says he thinks the level should remain rated, RobTop made the decision to unrate the level.
But the question remains: does Natural Disaster deserve to be unrated? Aside from a few stolen effects, the level is entirely original and has had much time and dedication put into its creation.
Natural Disaster after being unrated, screenshot from u/Cosmicalic.
This is a complete case of ethics: how much is too much asset stealing? What's the line between inspiration and copying?
If I create a design similar to another I've seen without directly copy and pasting it, does that still count as asset stealing? The Geometry Dash community has mixed opinions.
Likewise, can Natural Disaster be rerated if the stolen designs are replaced? Is simply asking Culuc for permission enough?
While Natural Disaster has been unrated, there are many Geometry Dash extreme demons we've covered, including the following:
Geometry Dash Level KOCMOC: What Is It? - Questions & Answers - Acheron Takes #1 Spot On Geometry Dash Demon List - Geometry Dash Extreme Demon Tartarus Falls Out Of Top 10 After 2 Years On Demon List - Slaughterhouse: The Top 1 Demon In Geometry Dash For Almost A Year Still Reigns Strong - Geometry Dash Top 5 Hardest Demon "Mayhem" Places Top 10 On Demonlist - Geometry Dash Level Bloodbath Reaches 50 Million Downloads - Geometry Dash Levels: What Is The Hardest Level Ever Made? (2022)