[MUD-Dev] [BIZ][TECH] worlds.com gets patent

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Fri May 4 09:45:10 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Jon Lambert writes:
> Jessica Mulligan wrote:
>> At 12:05 AM 04/26/01 -0700, Bruce wrote:

>>>   http://www.delphion.com/details?&pn=US06219045__&s_clms=1

>>> It looks fairly general at a first glance, but I haven't read it
>>> in much detail yet.

>> It'll never stand, if challenged.  The application date on the
>> patent is November 12, 1996; there is plenty of prior art to scotch
>> this.  For example, INN was showing their 3D virtual chat system
>> (CyberPark?) at E3 and other conferences back in mid-1995.

> As far as I can tell it's quite specific and describes the protocol
> in some detail.

I finally got around to reading the claims.  It *is* very specific.
Very quickly, they're claiming the invention of the use of avatars in
a client-server setting, but specifically where the avatars (and
background objects) can be excluded from display based on the
resources available at a given client.  In short, the client is
tossing data when it is being given too much.

I'm still not sure that this will stand.  In a flight simulator that I
built from 1985 to 1991, we excluded avatars (aircraft) from display
based on distance using a level of detail technique.  Both fortunately
and unfortunately, this technique doesn't conflict with the worlds.com
patent.

The patent makes no claims about making the throw-away check on the
server, nor does it address the level of detail technique.  So there
should be much better ways to tackle the display problem than throwing
away data that the client can't keep up with.  I mention the level of
detail technique because it lets a client gracefully degrade the
display of avatars and background objects instead of summarily tossing
them out.  Combine levels of detail with the resource measurements on
the client and it seems like a viable dodge to this patent, and
produces a much more interesting result.

JB

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