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3-11-2009 @ 6:26PM
There were plenty of online text-based MUDs around before 1997, that also contained virtual worlds.
3-11-2009 @ 6:40PM
Good point. And there were Bulletin Board Systems (BBS's) prior to that, even before 2400 baud modems. Sometimes, on the BBS's people created ascii-graphics chatrooms - essentially making virtual worlds.I hope the courts realize he's not even creative and obviously doesn't know the history of multi-user anything.
3-11-2009 @ 7:27PM
MUDs came in to existence the early 70s and 80s. The mid-80s saw them show up on CompuServe. They also branched out in to multi-line BBS'. So there's a lot of prior art for the concept of a multi-player virtual world. However, that's not what the patents are about. Both patents specifically mention a "three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space." And it specifically has to do with how multiple players interact in that space. Wolfenstein3D and Doom need not apply. UO might not even apply as it wasn't truly 3-D rendered.What I find interesting is the possible angle of whether these patents are truly novel. Skimming over them seems to imply there's a lot of problems one has to solve no matter what the user interface is. Is implementing these solutions for a 3-D rendered environment obvious extensions to previous 2-D / Text examples?Devil's in the details. And that's even before we get the lawyers involved.
3-12-2009 @ 6:25PM
The patent only applies to games with a 3D graphics engine. "“The present invention provides a highly scalable architecture for a three dimensional, multi-user, interactive virtual world system. In a preferred embodiment a plurality of users interact in the three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space where each user executes a client process to view a virtual world from the perspective of that user."Now as for the chances for success, I would say they are pretty low. Any person with a brain knows that this patent is not for a product. It lacks any sort of specifics. In fact, it is so general, there isn't even a mention of the internet. For all we know, this could be a patent for LAN parties.Here's the things this patent would cover:MMOsMiisXbox Live avatarsPS3 avatarsDotA (it's true. "The virtual world shows Avatars representing the other users who are neighbors of the user viewing the virtual world. In order that the view can be updated to reflect the motion of the remote user's Avatar, motion information is transmitted to a central server process that provides position updates to client processes for neighbors of the user at that client process.")Playing Halo or any other 3D game on Xbox Live/PSN/whatever the Wii net platform is calledSecond Life and other 3D social networksNow a patent is supposed to apply to a single specific product. Any fool with a brain the size of a pinhead could tell you that the above products vary DRASTICALLY.
3-12-2009 @ 6:05AM
Hrm - as Spark said the Devils in the details. A couple of points about the patent application.It specifies "three-dimensional, computer-generated graphical space." Until very recently all that WoW and other games did was to use perspective tricks to give a two dimensional screen a three dimensional effect. It's a visual illusion and would be difficult to prove that it is three dimensional since it all occurs on a 2d surface.If they do though it then opens up a huge can of prior art worms against the plaintiff, specifically any game that used three co-ordinates graphically in a multi-user environment. So, a multi-user graphical game that uses a 3d setting? Dune (the harvester carriers) 1992, Warcraft (the terrain changes) 1994, Warcraft II (terrain and some flying units) 1995 and the C&C franchise all spring to mind.
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