When working for big companies you sometimes are asked to do things that are not good for your future self or the industry. For instance, years ago when working for Dynamix/Sierra, just as it started to turn corporate, they went on a patent spree. The new Google patent search reminded me that Chris Cole and I have our names on a patent around some methods we used in a puzzle game called Sid and Al’s Incredible Toons. Here it is in all of its undecipherable badness.
All the gobbledy-gook boils down to “smart ends” that change a background shape automatically as another shape passes by it. As a designer, I can work around this patent all day long, but why should I have to? In addition, the thing is written to kind of look like the entire Incredible Machine type of game is patented, which it is not.
I was perusing some other patents related to this one that came later from other individuals. One of them has a patent on using “genes” to define how a 3D shape will be created when data is sent over the Internet. WTF? Hasn’t just about anybody that has worked in the games business thought of that kind of thing? Isn’t that just a form of data compression? Isn’t that pretty much just like fractal seeding of planets found many years prior in Starflight?
Again, software patents are bad.