The Haus

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Carmack on Game Patents

John Carmack made an excellent post on Slashdot discussing his take on software patents in the gaming industry. This just proves how smart that man is:

I'm proud that there is "a relative dearth of patent applications for the video game industry, especially considering how technology-dependent the video game industry is, and given its size in terms of annual sales."

Before issuing a condemnation, I try hard to think about it from their point of view -- the laws of the land set the rules of the game, and lawyers are deeply confused at why some of us aren't using all the tools that the game gives us.

Patents are usually discussed in the context of someone "stealing" an idea from the long suffering lone inventor that devoted his life to creating this one brilliant idea, blah blah blah.

But in the majority of cases in software, patents effect independent invention. Get a dozen sharp programmers together, give them all a hard problem to work on, and a bunch of them will come up with solutions that would probably be patentable, and be similar enough that the first programmer to file the patent could sue the others for patent infringement.

Why should society reward that? What benefit does it bring? It doesn't help bring more, better, or cheaper products to market. Those all come from competition, not arbitrary monopolies. The programmer that filed the patent didn't work any harder because a patent might be available, solving the problem was his job and he had to do it anyway. Getting a patent is uncorrelated to any positive attributes, and just serves to allow either money or wasted effort to be extorted from generally unsuspecting and innocent people or companies.

Yes, it is a legal tool that may help you against your competitors, but I'll have no part of it. Its basically mugging someone.

Nexuiz Released

The Nexuiz website has posted their full game release yesterday for download. I gave it a quick spin, and discovered that on my system it was extremely laggy once the action started. From their forums, it looks like I have to turn off lots of the eye candy in order to make it run decently on Geforce FX hardware, which pretty much sucks. However, what I DID get to play was pretty cool. The weapon effects are excellent. The map I played had some awful light effects on it's stairs but the rest of the map was excellent.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pondering the Imponderable

I finished up the DOOM3: Resurrection of Evil expansion today. Pretty good stuff, albeit a bit short. It was definitely worth the wait for the 1.3 Linux binaries. The grabber and double-barrel shotgun are worth the price of admission.

Speaking of price of admission, I just got back from seeing Revenge of the Sith for the second time. A good time was had by all. I'm sorry, but if someone can claim to be a Star Wars fan but hate this movie, well, I have to question if he's really a Star Wars fan. When's that DVD coming out?

Nexuiz FPS as GPL

Thanks to Blue, I just took a look at Nexuiz, a new 1st Person shooter that looks to take some inspiration from the old Quake DM model and is based on an advanced Quake 1 engine (known as Darkplaces). This one looks very interesting, and they're even planning on releasing the entire game on the GPL license. Very cool.

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