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mewse

Doom 3 Hit By Software Patents

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Somehow, Creative Labs obtained a patent on a shadowing technique that is sometimes referred to as "Carmack's Reverse" in programming circles. Instead of fighting the patent, id Software has made an agreement with Creative, and Beyond3D received a clarification from John Carmack:

The patent situation well and truly sucks.

We were prepared to use a two-pass algorithm that gave equivalent results at a speed hit, but we negotiated the deal with Creative so that we were able to use the zfail method without having to actually pay any cash. It was tempting to take a stand and say that our products were never going to use any advanced Creative/3dlabs products because of their position on patenting gaming software algorithms, but that would only have hurt the users.

John Carmack

This is upsetting for programmers who were planning on using the same technique. The patent probably doesn't affect Europeans, I'm not sure about Canadians.

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TwiNCannoN said:

So, can anyone put this in english? The only thing I get from this is that creative labs are assholes.


Sounds about right to me. Damn Software patents.

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Fuck Creative, they pull the same bullshit with Winamp, its like their TRYING to destroy the industry

oh and EAX Sucks btw, I had a Nomad Zen, totally useless

As for patents, this is yet anohtehr reason why all those judges in the early 1900s were the first crack addicts... why do corporations have the same rights as individuals? Patens were meant for actual people, to protect them from competition from huge buisinesses.

Now its getting reversed

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Graf Zahl said:

One more company I'm never going to buy products from in the future...


for sure

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So can someone clarify this for me becasue this is the impression I was under...

1) Carmack wrote and designed the Doom3 Lighting Engine

2) Creative then decides to patent this wonderfully originally idea

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Let me get this straight. Creative has patented a programming technique? Is something like that able to be patented? I mean, how am I supposed to know if, when I'm coding in my spare time, I'm using someone's patented algorithms, even though I'm under the impression that I'm thinking it up myself?

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Sounds a bit like blackmail of some sort to me. "Put in EAX or else we sue you for patent infringement."

Wobbo said:

oh and EAX Sucks btw, I had a Nomad Zen, totally useless


Nomads have EAX in them? Huh. I refuse to use EAX anyways. It makes my DDR emulator, StepMania, skip beats on my Audigy.

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Cajun[CC] said:
Let me get this straight. Creative has patented a programming technique? Is something like that able to be patented? I mean, how am I supposed to know if, when I'm coding in my spare time, I'm using someone's patented algorithms, even though I'm under the impression that I'm thinking it up myself?


Bingo! You've hit on it. Maybe fair enough in the medical world, where it takes a company billions in investments and time to develop some drug and test it; then it makes sense for the protection of a patent to stop another company cloning their results.

But in the software world, where there are basically no obstacles for people's inginuity, companies like creative can just merrily patent away everything under the sun with little or no investment of time or money and prevent normal people from doing whatever they want.

So if you live in europe visit http://swpat.ffii.org/ to find out how to stop this shit from happening over here.

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Well this pretty much precludes the idea of DOOM 3 ever becoming open source like the previous id products. Granted that would be a long time down the line, but it's disappointing to see that trend come to an end.

Software patents are evil and this is a good example of why.

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In this message board thread, a poster named SimmerD claims to have publicly described this technique before Creative patented it. Therefore, there is prior art, and the patent should be null and void. Can anybody comment on that?

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Quasar said:

Well this pretty much precludes the idea of DOOM 3 ever becoming open source like the previous id products. Granted that would be a long time down the line, but it's disappointing to see that trend come to an end.

Software patents are evil and this is a good example of why.


first, a doom 3 source release is waaaaay down the line, second, carmack would probably provide code for the unpatented algorithm at that point.

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Moriarti said:

In this message board thread, a poster named SimmerD claims to have publicly described this technique before Creative patented it. Therefore, there is prior art, and the patent should be null and void. Can anybody comment on that?

As far as I know, even if there is obvious prior art, you can't invalidate a patent unless you go to court. Plus, if you're trying to invalidate an existing patent, you're considered wrong until proven right. In other words, patents are not easily overturned.

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Ah, well, can I claim the patent on the use of variables and arrays? because that would kick ass

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mewse said:

first, a doom 3 source release is waaaaay down the line, second, carmack would probably provide code for the unpatented algorithm at that point.

I did recognize the fact that it's "way down the line," but that fact doesn't invalidate my point. *If* Carmack wanted to do so, he could indeed rip out the patented algorithm for the source release. I suppose we won't find out until the time comes, though. With Carmack talking about possibly retiring from game programming and just working on his rockets anyways, who knows if he'll even be making the call on that.

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Will this in any way cause a recall on the game? I am really looking forward to picking this game up, but if ID really did violate some patents, they can be easily put out of business.

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If it does result in delays, I expect news of the assasination of key Creative staff members will follow not long after.

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FUCK CREATIVE.

Greedy god damn bastards. I'm never using any of their shit ever again. It was all going downhill anyway so no big loss.

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