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

Travis Nixon tnixon at avalanchesoftware.com
Wed Aug 1 17:27:22 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

From: "F. Randall Farmer" <randy.farmer at pobox.com>

> My non-lawyer, non-patentese interpretation of the limitations of
> the first claim:

>   Two or more _different_ networked (multiuser) games (which MUST
>   include client software) that can use the same objects in
>   similar, but differing ways.

>   Bard's Tale isn't covered. 100% text MUDs aren't covered. There
>   is only a handful of Client-Server games that even existed
>   then. :-)

I can't speak for prior art, and I haven't seen or tried to
comprehend the entire patent, but doesn't this seem like a fairly
obvious progression to you?

Multiplayer games that interconnect?

One that I've wanted to do for a long time: An online version of
Federation and Empire that interconnects with an online Star Fleet
Battles.  Battles would be set up in F&E and then played in SFB.
For anybody that doesn't know, these are both star-trek based board
games.  SFB is a tactical ship-based game where you pit small groups
of ships against each other.  F&E is a much higher level strategy
wargame where you produce and deploy the ships, and battles are
determined in a much simpler manner.  (I don't remember the system
exactly, I don't think it was dice rolls, but something simple like
that, where you could determine the results of a single battle in
minutes) Some friends and I began a game of F&E where we could, if
we chose, play key battles for the week using Star Fleet Battles
instead of using the simpler F&E system.  We never finished because
F&E is a really long game when you only play one turn a week, but
hey, nothing's perfect. :)

I understand that ideas don't fall under the "prior art" category,
but really, isn't this sort of the obvious computer-based solution
to something that already exists in a paper form?  And it sounds
like this sort of setup, with F&E battles seeding games of SFB,
would fit into at least the first claim of your patent.

I understand your exclusion of games that could use characters from
other games as prior art (not networked and not multiuser), but I
don't understand your blanket exclusion of 100% text muds, since
they have a client and they display things.  (note that because of
your wording, I'm assuming you exclude them BECAUSE they're 100%

So tell me, if I could ever have got the rights to do the F&E/SFB
thing (not that I tried really hard, mind you), would you have sued
me based on your patent?  If not, why not?

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