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

Frank Crowell maddog at shell9.ba.best.com
Thu Aug 2 13:29:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

"F. Randall Farmer" wrote:

> 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 am interested in any pre-May 1996 games that meet ALL of these
> criteria, but I'm pretty sure they don't exist. I was looking for
> them at the time.  I was _building_ one at the time. [Though, I
> fully admit that I _could_ have missed some of the smaller
> projects out there, while I was balls-to-the-wall in object
> ontology/implementation.]

> Oh yeah, the standard of Prior Art is tougher than most people
> think. A single garage-effort in 1995 that 5 people used isn't
> Prior Art. :-) >

As fuzzy as I am with current patent law (since I don't keep up with
it), I believe that there are some special rules on establishing
claim and it doesn't require that the idea by reduced to practice.
There are thousands of patents today that still exist in the form of
documents in the patent office and that is all. So don't remember
how the rules apply when something is reduce to practice --
i.e. implemented.

But part of prior art also includes the notion that an idea may
already be part of public domain.  I can think of several examples
that exhibit the notion of "transportable characters".  First the
Human Animation groups in VRML has for several years worked in the
area of standardized characters for multiple worlds.  I believe
there is no tranformation functions.

But I have a couple of posting which go back to 1995 on mud-dev
which concerns this topic -- GRUMPS and LIDO -- although in LIDO, I
believe I ask a question more than make suggestions.  But GRUMPS was
at the tail end of some conversations I was having in several places
about transportable characters.  GRUMPS itself was inspired by the
translation tools that some people had made to convert game system A
characters to game system B for PnP games. Theirs was for PnP, but
my post was specifically addressed MUDs of any type.  My LIDO post
was of course inspired by the work going on at Sega, but once again
their concern was for objects within the same game space and mine
was for distributable objects across any space.

The year before I had posted in MOO COWS about my transport
experiment on LambdaMOO and how I wanted to build a mud skipper that
would take my character, his dog, and some items from MOO to MOO.  I
also posted in rec.games.mud on a similar theme but wanted to expand
it across any mud --MUSH, MOO, blah blah.  I believe that several
other people had a similar notion and responded.

I don't have the archives in front of me, but I believe that in
1994-1995, several people including myself were involved in light
discussions on what appears to be the essence of the game patent
that we are now talking about.  I guess I find it disturbing that
because I didn't think of it as a patentable idea, but just a cool
idea -- that I may be restricted from something that has been
somewhat of a passion for me for the last few years.

On a related note, two years ago I posted in my own mail list about
the idea of taking Everquest game characters out of the Everquest
environment so that you could essential own them and be able to load
them into other programs.  I even sent email to Verant about such a
project, but as usually my email went to the Verant black hole.

I have seen what patent laws can do to mess up a whole field -- such
as lasers and holography.  I find it sad that a fledgling field like
virtual worlds is getting itself cramped in a corner before the
field even gets past its infancy.

On another note -- why are mechanical engineers still writing up
software patents?  I had to hit myself on the head with a hammer 4
times to get me to even understand what the heck the claims where

I may be overreacting on the IP topic.  That's fine -- I already
know I am mentally ill.  Btw, I am still waiting for someone to take
the domain name "maddog" away from me.  I did get an request for
another name I had, and I will sue WotC bigtime when they infringe
on my madwizards or madborg.  I will use that money to fight some of
these IP battles.

aka madborg, maddog, maddog.com, madwizards.com

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