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Comment Re:Happy Wednesday from The Golden Girls! (Score 2) 93

If I understand the subject correctly: Humans, yes; homo sapiens, no.

That is, 'human' encapsulates more than just us modern homo sapiens, and includes other species of the genus homo, such as homo neanderthalensis (or sub-species homo sapiens neanderthalensis, depending on where you're reading).

Comment Re:"Board game designer"? (Score 1) 140

My last post here, then I'm done.

Why should I, or any game dev, have to pay some kind of royalties for iterating on nearly-obvious improvements to existing game mechanics? No, really, I want you to give me a serious answer. Do you really think it makes any kind of sense that devs whose games utilize a hit point, or health bar, or similar system, should have to pay royalties to the estate of Gary Gygax for using an offshoot of that idea? Does it make sense that any PC game that simulates flying mechanics have to pay a royalty to MS Flight Simulator? Does it make sense that any game with a first-person perspective that focuses on killing enemies in a predefined space and where the player picks up weapons and ammo pay royalties to id Software? Call of Duty = pay royalties to id? Should every game that focuses on world conquest and involve dice-rolling for conflict resolution, regardless of exact mechanics, pay royalties to Parker Bros./Hasbro for being vaguely similar to Risk?

I find it mind-boggling that you simply do not grasp the damage such limitations (and litigation) would do to the gaming industry as a whole, regardless of the developer's budget. Hell, even Mass Effect probably wouldn't exist under your proposed system. And who, exactly, would get the royalties when someone modifies rules in chess?

I never, in any way, said or implied that I "support" Zynga. In fact I called them out on being parasites to the gaming industry... just not such dangerous parasites that it warrants restructuring and restricting how games development currently works. But good job trying to put words into my mouth, that shows you're running out of arguments to defend your insane position.

Comment Re:"Board game designer"? (Score 1) 140

A few things...

This would absolutely crush the independent games market, ensuring that only entrenched, heavily moneyed interests get to engage in game development. Do note that many "indy" game devs operate on less than a shoestring budget, even to the point of no budget whatsoever, ie. they do it in their spare time between day-job shifts using only the PC on their desk.

It would be nearly impossible to create a game that didn't utilize multiple "game patents" (ie. preexisting ideas) and as a result would quickly exceed 100% of their revenue in payments to "game patent" holders. Your analogy to an app store cut is just idiotic, the two aren't even anywhere near comparable.

First you claim 3 to 5 years, then you go off the deep end and say the duration of a "game patent" should be the same as copyright. Seriously? Copyright duration currently flies well past the century mark. How on Earth does that make sense for a "game patent"?

As a fledgling indy game developer myself, I'd just like to say "screw your ideas and the horse they rode in on". Far better to suffer Zynga and its ilk than lock down the industry with the kind of draconian measures you're proposing, which wouldn't help anyone who's not already a financial juggernaut.

You had a bad idea, we all do now and then. Just let this one go.

Comment Re:"Board game designer"? (Score 1) 140

The USPTO needs a new category of protection for game design.

No, it really really doesn't. The games industry (video, board, etc.) wouldn't be nearly as thriving as it is today if that happened. As a gamer I'd much rather see developers be able to move genres forward with iteration, even if it means putting up with occasional parasites like Zynga, than a stagnant, locked-down system where such iteration is impossible due to constant legal wrangling.

As much as I hate what Zynga does (they don't iterate and move forward, they simply clone), there actually is a great deal of benefit to being able to make a game that is inspired by a previous game yet makes improvements to an overall theme. What you propose would effectively cripple game development and stifle the industry. Imagine where RPGs would be if TSR were able to apply your proposed limitations to games made by other companies that have character stats, hit points, and dice-based combat. In that situation, everything -- even CRPGs -- would have to be licensed because they modify/iterate on someone else's game mechanics and ideas.

The unfortunate reality is that in any creative industry there will always be cheap knock-offs that are nothing more than cynical money-grabs with no care whatsoever for the quality of the craft, but that is not nearly sufficient justification for hamstringing those legitimate developers who want to, in this case, move existing gaming genres forward.

Honestly, the concept of "protecting game ideas" sounds as absurd as "protecting story ideas". There wouldn't even be genres of novels, movies, or games if such limitations and "protections" were in place. We'd have nothing.

Comment Re:Why are critical systems on the 'net? (Score 1) 214

It's understandable that those systems need to be connected to each other, but in that case they should have their own, completely isolated network to do so, preferably one that is utterly incapable of connecting to the Internet at large. The current setup is just begging for disaster, which is a 'when', not an 'if'.

Exposing these systems on the Internet is just lunacy.

Comment Re:I still see a market .... (Score 1) 204

^ Lennie gets it. What's happening now isn't the point, it's only a stepping stone. The important take-away is what will be possible in the near (~10-30 yrs) future.

Technological development is the ultimate democratizing force in human society. It's what enables commoners to do things that were once the purview of rich governments and militaries. Just as the automobile gave the once-horse-dependent masses access to rapid, personally-controllable transportation, just as my cheap Android cell phone has more computing power than a B-2 Spirit, technological advancement is the enabler of the masses. Today's 3D printing of guns is just the tip of the iceberg.

The home-brew fabrication process will, inevitably, get faster, cheaper, and utilize increasingly superior materials. Printing guns that are solid and reliable will become a trivial endeavor -- but that's not the point. Technology has a way of trickling down to the masses. What happens in the future when nanorobotics becomes not only ubiquitous, but dirt-cheap for individuals to create and customize? What happens when people can create devices that are nearly on par with nuclear weapons in destructive power?

This isn't an 'if' but a 'when', and most important will be how we deal with it. Do we accept an increasingly locked-down world where concepts such as individual liberty are a relic of the past in order to ensure some vision of perfect security? Or do we finally accept that mutual respect, peace through a live-and-let-live ethic, is the only way for humanity to survive the coming age where any single person can, with minimal financial investment and time, create and deploy various manner of weapons of mass destruction?

It's already been demonstrated time and again that legislative bodies are woefully behind the times when it comes to technological understanding, let alone forming appropriate reactions. How they're going to deal with what's coming in the next few decades is anybody's guess, but personally I'm not optimistic. We'll either live in a completely locked-down dystopia that would give even Orwell himself nightmares, or we'll have reconciled our differences to the point of non-aggression -- or we'll be extinct.

The genie's out of the bottle, and the power it's giving us shows no sign of slowing. What we do with that power will determine whether we as a species have a future or an epitaph.

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