Some of the software they’re trying to add the force of law to protecting include adding momentum of an object to a character standing atop it, figuring out what object the character is standing on, and showing a map of a place the player is fast traveling to during its loading sequence. What is it with companies patenting things that can be done during loading? Namco for a long time had a patent on minigames that could be played during loading periods, which is why for a long while (perhaps to this day) you have had to sit and wait for a game to complete loading before doing anything, instead of at least having fun during that time.
My stance, long-held and admittedly strident, is that patents should not be applied to software, ever, full stop. I am sure that some people might disagree with that opinion. They are welcome to, but I am unlikely to change their mind without a damn good argument.
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Lego is banning new Ideas projects based on The Legend of Zelda, according to Chris Wharfe at Brick Fanatics. The reasoning given is a bit vague. It could either be because Lego is working on their own Zelda sets (and they already have a working relationship with Nintendo, making the popular Super Mario sets), or it could be that the rights to Zelda models were sold to someone else. Either way, it may mean we get Zelda models through some company eventually.
Rich Stanton at PC Gamer writes that EA’s been granted a patent on game controls that change based on how well the player does. Software patents are bad on principle, that is a horse that I will always flog despite this awful situation having existed for literally decades now, but getting past that, for now. This seems at first like just another version of adaptive difficulty, which is also something that seems like it’s kind of a problem when it happens without notifying the player or giving them a say in it. I know I know, “Kent Drebnar, get with the 21st Century.” Maybe I’ve been hanging out with the Gripe Monster too much lately. The article goes back into the history of these kinds of effort, going all the way back to Compile’s Zanac, although I would argue that’s not so much adaptive difficulty as a system that the player can strategize to manipulate. Zanac is terrific, by the way.