[MUD-Dev] DNA Game Patent [was Randy's Resume]

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Fri Jul 27 09:41:17 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Randall Farmer wrote:

> I'm very excited and honored to apply my extensive online
> experience as lead on a very different kind of massively
> multiplayer project, based on many of the ideas in the "DNA"
> patent...

Congratulations to Randy for finding an interesting job in the
industry. Not to denigrate his announcement, I was concerned about
the mention of a patent.

Sometimes patents are ok (though I believe rarely so), but in
particular I'm not fond of patents that I consider to be "obvious"
but for some reason the patent examiners do not, or for which there
was discussion or implementation a long time ago that is not
mentioned in prior art.

I took a look at this patent, and basically what it looks like to me
is for when you have a game of one type, that affects the results of
a game of another type. Now though I've dealt with software patents
before, I always find them difficult to parse, this is seems to be
the basics of claim 1. The remaining claims seem to focus on
expanding this basic claim into different areas, such as trading
these mapped objects with other players (there is a reference to MtG
as prior art) and for various alternative ways of doing the
mappings.

>From the way I read it, the basic claim covers the types of games
where you have the results of say, an RTS game, that you then use as
the scenario background in a Strategic game. Or a fantasy character
who kills the king and affects the economy of the kindom that is run
in some type of SimCity like game.

The specific example in the patent is a bit more specific, in this
case a Super-Chess game where you could take your super-knight, move
it to the Super-Risk game, and use it as an enhanced tank. However,
I suspect the claims in the patent may be broader then that.

I remember talking about these types of games with Maxis, back in
about the SimEarth development period, which would be late 80's. The
idea then is was that the results of SimCity could affect a
SimEarth. Or that the you could walk around your SimCity as a police
officer and fight corruption, which would help your SimCity
simulation. I also recall when I was a producer at Broderbund some
discussions about taking your character and items and using them in
another game.

However, I don't recall having ever written up anything about it at
the time.

Though not quite as drastic as the Super-Chess/Super-Risk example, I
also remember some adventures in Apple BASIC called Eamon where you
could take your fantasy adventure character through multiple
scenarios, including some weird ones where instead of being fantasy,
all of a sudden it was science fiction. Your sword became a blaster,
etc. I also vaguely recall from BBS games of the early 80's that
someone had a series of "door" games where the results of one space
game would affect the results of a different space game played by a
different set of players. Does anyone remember anything more about
that game?

Does anyone know of any other prior art?

-- Christopher Allen

------------------------------------------------------------------------
.. Christopher Allen                                 Skotos Tech Inc. ..
..                           1512 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709-1513 ..
.. <http://www.Skotos.net>               o510/647-2760  f510/647-2761 ..


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