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First Person Shooters (Games) Patents

Creative Pressures id Software With Patents 339

Cryect writes "Earlier today it was announced by Creative that they would be adding in EAX 3D sound support to Doom 3, and that they had come to an 'agreement relating to Creative's patented shadowing technique [also known as Carmack's Reverse in some coding circles] and id's cutting-edge 3D graphics DOOM 3 engine.' This seemed somewhat suspicious, almost as if id was being pressured, and a quick email to John Carmack from Reverend @ Beyond3d got this reply: 'The patent situation well and truly sucks... 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...' There's also some possible prior art [PPT link] to Creative Labs' patent, from a 1999 talk by Nvidia's Sim Dietrich."
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Creative Pressures id Software With Patents

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  • Creative's job (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Seems like creative makes a practice outta this. .asp?pid=6197 Creative Technology Ltd. (NASDAQ: CREAF), and wholly-owned subsidiary EMU, today announced a mixed jury verdict in the case against Aureal Semiconductor.
  • by brendanoconnor ( 584099 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:28PM (#9822691)
    This is a perfect example of why I really hate software patents. Company X will talk about something, hype it up, not mention a bloody patent, then when someone uses it, the company waits around until the opportune moment, then BAM!!!! pulls some patent infringment BS out of their bum.

    It is not right. I understand the importance of patents outside of the software industry, I really do. I think that if someone comes up with a clever idea and makes a prototype and intends to sell said object, then they should have a grace period of how long they can be the only ones. I'm up for debate on how long this period should be, but still. In software this just does not happen. You have these companies that are entirely setup with a bunch of patents and they just sue other companies to make money. Talk about shaddy business.

    Patent a way to click a button, or how a shadow is rendered, or something just as rediculous is wrong and should not be possible. It hurts the industry more then it helps anyone. It will be aweful to see the rest of the world pass us by because we are unable to innovate because of all the legal mess we have. We have no one to blame but ourselves though.

    I hope all of this mess does not affect Doom 3 release date, and it is almost a shame ID did not stick it to Creative. It is nice to see a company care about the user for once to though.

    • Dont worry! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:45PM (#9822735)
      Dont worry that US will be left behind - soon the rest of the world will also have the same stupid patent and DMCA-style laws that will stifle innovation and maybe seriously harm free software.

      This because of different trade agreements where the US is a part (NAFTA, WTO, etc). (using trade as leverage). And also thanks to big companies doing massive lobbying for these kind of laws. We really dont have a good democracy anywhere in the world, since it is money = power.

      I recommend everyone to see this movie:

    • Companies that hang on to valuable IP just to make money off of infringing companies don't just exist in the software world. They exist in all industries and what they do is completely legal. I once had it explained to me in a way that made it seem ethically sound! Now, I don't see the distinction. Why is this practice abhorrent in software but fine elsewhere?
      • by 13Echo ( 209846 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:07PM (#9823168) Homepage Journal
        This is what really annoys me about this system and companies like Creative Labs (who haven't made an innovative product since the mid-90s). They simply buy up all sorts of technology (Aureal, Sensaura, EMU, Ensoniq, etc.) and slack off with their own products. Creative hasn't done anything substantial with their soundcards since the Live series was released (even then it was sub-par in terms of quality), and has simply re-released the same DSP with some pumped-up driver hacks and better codecs. It's no wonder that companies like M-Audio and Turtle Beach have produced sonically superior products for the average consumer.

        Unfortunately, other areas of audio have suffered. There is no "OpenGL" of 3D audio because Creative owns all of the patents from its acquisition of companies like Aureal and Sensaura. They will always have the one-up on 3D audio performance over their customers, and any improvements will be at their own pace. PC audio has been so stale over the last few years. It's sad to see that it's come down to this, but literally; PC audio has gone virtually nowhere because of patent issues like this. This issue with their (stealing) patenting of Carmack's Reverse really shows why we are probably set-back several years in terms of a truly awesome 3D audio experience.
        • by MojoMonkey ( 444942 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:18PM (#9823282) Homepage
          "There is no "OpenGL" of 3D audio because Creative owns all of the patents from its acquisition of companies like Aureal and Sensaura."

          • Let me rephrase myself... I mean "one that is actually used and has proper drivers that work with most hardware".

            It is true that some hardware accellerated OpenAL libraries for Creartive Labs cards (using the ALSA drivers) exist, and that there may be such functionality added into the Aureal Vortex drivers for HRTF (A3D) support, but there is not a system available today (with the hardware and software support) that is comparable to EAX.
            • First off, let me state that Creative EAX is crap. After playing games with Aureals A3D API there's just no contest. Sadly they went bust and were scooped up by Creative who seem to be just sitting on their IP.

              As for OpenAL titles that are actually used, let me see:

              AlienFlux (Windows, Linux, Macintosh)
              America's Army: Operations (Windows, Linux, Macintosh)
              Bridge Construction Set (Windows, Linux)
              Escape From Monkey Island (Macintosh)
              FlightGear (Windows, Unix, Macintosh)
              Harry Potter and
        • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 )
          Unfortunately, other areas of audio have suffered. There is no "OpenGL" of 3D audio because Creative owns all of the patents from its acquisition of companies like Aureal and Sensaura. They will always have the one-up on 3D audio performance over their customers, and any improvements will be at their own pace.

          This has become standard practice for technology companies over the past few years, since sometime in the nineties. Basically, large technology companies maintain a staff of researchers whose job it
    • I seriously think that software patents need some sort of statute of limitation placed upon them. It looks like in some parts of the world, this exists []! In China, the statute of limitation for patent infringement is:

      2 years from the date on which the patentee or any interested party obtains or should have obtained knowledge of the infringing act

      If this were in force in the USA, then the Unisys GIF debacle (and countless others) could have been avoided.

      Unisys KNEW that GIFs were ALL OVER the web,
    • by kenthorvath ( 225950 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:19PM (#9822839)
      The problem is not the software patents, per se, but rather the length of time for which they endure. In an industry that changes dramatically from year to year with new technologies relying on the acceptance of older technologies, it would seem that keeping techniques and algorithms locked down for 17 years does more to hinder new advancements than to help.

      A more reasonable term should be adopted for software patents say more on the order of 2 or 3 years. A lot of money can be made in that time frame giving enough insentive to develop without taking too much from the people whom these patents affect.

      • by nattt ( 568106 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:03PM (#9823116)
        The problem is with the mere idea of patenting software. Software is protected by trade secrets and copyrights. Patents should apply to things, not virtual things. Hell, I'd like to see the end of patents altogether ( in their current form) - I hate the idea that it's first to the patent office who gets the monopoly. Independent works should also get protection because they put equally hard work into their invention too. As long as they didn't copy, then that would be fine by me.

        Inventions are often hard, and really, if the invention is already out there, it's much cheaper to buy rather than re-invent, but if you put the effort into inventing parallel (or without any knowledge of) a patented invention, why should you not also get protection???

        • Patents are meant to protect the investment required to create a brand-new thing and the ability to recoup those costs. That fundamental concept can still apply to software, if not in its present broken form.
          • by nattt ( 568106 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:23PM (#9823341)
            If so, then you wouldn't have to publically disclose the workings of your invention. Patents are to protect work that is publically disclose so the secrets of any invention don't get lost to society, and hence, after the patent expires, you can build upon that invention.

            But patents rarely fully disclose exactly how the invention works, and as we know, the devil is in the detail. I think a lot of people skilled in a particular art would find it hard to re-create an invention from it's patent - indeed, there are many patents for things that do not work.

            Patents are protection for ideas, but ideas are worthless when implementation is everything, which is certainly the case in software. Implementations are adequately protected by copyrights.

            Patents may have meant something in the dim, dark past when people patented physical inventions that worked, but now....
            • Patents are to protect work that is publically disclose so the secrets of any invention don't get lost to society, and hence, after the patent expires, you can build upon that invention.

              OTOH, I've never heard of any programmer digging through the archives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in hopes of learning new and usefully algorithms. The way patents are written makes them mostly useless as guides for how a piece of software works. If the sharing of information is not usefull in the real world
        • The problem is with the mere idea of patenting software. Software is protected by trade secrets and copyrights. Patents should apply to things, not virtual things.

          Why? I don't necessarily disagree but I also believe this is a point that needs to be explained, not just stated. Is it the fact that software can be easily and perfectly reproduced that means it shouldn't be patentable?

          Hell, I'd like to see the end of patents altogether ( in their current form) - I hate the idea that it's first to the paten
    • I would recommend letting Creative know how you feel. My e-mail to Creative:


      I've recently become aware of the situation with Creative/Id Software regarding software patents held by your corporation, and the pressure brought to bear on Id Software as a result. I am against software patenets in general, and especially when used in the ways in which Creative seems to be using them. I've always used Creative products, and recommended them to friends, as well as used and recommended them in buisiness
      • by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:46PM (#9823623)
        A couple of things - use a spell checker before you send the letter...

        From the creative web page:

        Phil O'Shaughnessy

        Director of Corporate Communications

        Lara B. Vacante

        Public Relations Manager

        Jennifer Ellard

        Senior Public Relations Specialist

        Katie Meyer

        Public Relations Coordinator

    • "This is a perfect example of why I really hate software patents."

      Those who can, do. Those who can't, patent.

      "I don't have the technical skills necessary to make a product out of idea x, therefore I'll patent it, and make sure that nobody else can make a product eithter."

      I think the comparaison was with the "dog in a manager" fable. Patents are for people who want to prevent others from creating things.
    • John, just do it! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:25PM (#9823359) Homepage
      ...and it is almost a shame ID did not stick it to Creative...

      Have to agree, I would love to see iD remove support for Creative soundcards, or at least offer enhanced sound support for any other brand. Maybe then the asshats over at CL will see what happens when you bite the hand that feeds.

      I wonder which boardroom genius decided to threaten the company behind the most eagerly awaited game of all time, when game players are one of the biggest buyers of your products. Fuck Creative; I was looking to buy a new Audigy card this month, absolutely no chance now, I'm looking elsewhere...
  • patents (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:28PM (#9822693)
    And the reason no games are released on time is that I hold the worldwide patent to releasing games on time.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:30PM (#9822697)
    "The DOOM 3 engine ushers in a new rendering paradigm that allows id and our licensees to bring cinema quality visuals to game players in real time," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software. "We look forward to further enhancing players' audio experience by working with Creative to leverage their EAX ADVANCED HD audio technology in the DOOM 3 engine."

    "Working together with id Software, an industry icon, provides Creative with an exciting opportunity to enhance one of the hottest game engines around," said Hock Leow, CTO of Creative Technology. "We look forward to the challenge of implementing EAX ADVANCED HD Multi-Environment technology within the Doom 3 engine, and subsequently working with id to make these enhancements available to their licensees. We are also pleased with the agreement relating to Creative's patented shadowing technique and id's cutting-edge 3D graphics DOOM 3 engine."

    Hmm, this press release seems rather pleasant in tone. I don't get the impression that they were coerced into anything. When I check id's website [] though I don't find the press release on the front page, nor do I see Creative listed in their "Friends of id" section []. Perhaps they are just a bit behind on updating their website while working to release Doom 3 on time?
    • Surprise? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by superultra ( 670002 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:00PM (#9822773) Homepage
      Hmm, this press release seems rather pleasant in tone.

      Is a press release ever NOT pleasant in tone? Of course it's pleasant; if id is being legally pursued by Creative they wouldn't print a press release saying, "Creative can blow." That kind of talk is saved for plan files, not press releases.
  • but PCG said....... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    and i quote from PC Gamer:
    (pg.79) Sept. 2004
    "(8) Is it true that Doom 3's audio engine is entirely CPU-dependent, thus negating the benefits of high-end sound cards? If so, what are the benefits? What are the drawbacks?
    [bla, bla, bla]
    PC Gamer's take: Much to Creative Labs' chagrin, Doom 3 should sound exactly the same (and perform equally well) on your motherboard's built-in audio processor as it will on a high-end Audigy 2 ZS sound card."

    so much for that!
    • New for nerds, from the future.
      • Re:September 2004? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DarkMan ( 32280 )
        Not really. Computer magazines use 'off self' dating. That is, when the date listed on the magazine comes around, it should be removed from the newsagents shelf.

        Most magazines use 'on date' dating, where they get put on the shelf when the date listed on them comes up.

        Why the difference? Tradition mostly. The argument is that computer magazines need to seem as new as possible (cos the tech changes), moreso than most other magazines. Thus once one magazine went with 'off date' naming, the rest followed
        • Interesting... I never noticed that! Of course, I don't think I've ever bought a PC magazine, just because the internet provides a pretty thorough coverage of that particular topic for me.

          I'll keep my eyes open next time I'm somewhere that carries them.
  • by Merk ( 25521 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @12:36PM (#9822713) Homepage
    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.

    Sadly, if Mr. Carmack won't take a stand against evil software patents, I doubt anybody will, or will at least do so successfully.

    Think about it. John Carmack has influence and money. People will continue to buy the games id makes, whether or not they use this patented technology. Sure, they might be slightly slower, but considering all the other optimizations id is famous for, it's unlikely anybody would notice.

    If a free software project wanted to challenge a patent like this, it wouldn't stand a chance. With no money, it couldn't defend itself. From the other side, the companies that have more power than id simply don't care to take a stand on issues like this.

    I can't help but feel that Mr. Carmack wimped out of this fight. Saying that it hurts gameply is just an easy out. Would people really have noticed?

    Maybe it's not too late. Maybe if enough people speak up about this, either id will decide to reverse their decision, or Creative will back down and make their patent available royalty-free.

    • by moSSad ( 736632 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:10PM (#9822806) Homepage Journal
      id Software it's one of the latest small developers in the field. Pretty much everyone else (besides Epic maybe), is owned by the big game publishers. id is still independent. They don't have the financiar muscle of Creative. They did the only intelligent move, let Creative babble about their collaboration in a *sigh* nicely made press release. Let's try not to get the wrong picture here: id are the good guys, Creative the bad ones.
    • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#9823024)
      Sure, they might be slightly slower, but considering all the other optimizations id is famous for, it's unlikely anybody would notice.

      Are you kidding me?

      Gamers will spend $400 on a video card, more than it would cost to buy an Xbox AND a PS2, in hopes of getting an extra handful of fps in 3D Shooter Game #837.
    • It takes a continual stand by endorsing and using OpenGL in their games. If it was not for id, all games would be Done in Microsoft's Direct3D by now.

      I think 1 stand is enough for 1 company. Someone else is going to have to make the sound stand. And yes, that means it aint gonna happen.

      Its so obviously idiotic. Video cards are booming because they do NOT encumber software in this way. Each time they tried, they got furious backlash, and their products failed. Glide, and NVIDIA had some proprietary j
  • Prior art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Augusto ( 12068 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:05PM (#9822788) Homepage
    Prior art from a talk on the technique []

    Reply Quoting This MessageEdit Message SimmerD Member since: 1/5/2003
    Posted - 9/21/2003 6:50:03 PM

    Don't worry about it fellas. I described this technique publicly a few months before they filed the patent - hence Prior Art. Ironically, it was at a Creative Labs developer's forum.

    During my stencil buffer talk, I described doing shadow volumes the 'reverse' way. At the time, I didn't realize the major reason why the z fail method is better than the z pass method, although I did realize they were logically equivalent, which is why it's now known as 'Carmack's Reverse' and not 'Dietrich's Reverse'!
    • Too bad... (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheHonestTruth ( 759975 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:14PM (#9822822) Journal
      Too bad a couple months doesn't cut the mustard. To have truly solid prior art, it has to be over a year before the patent was filed in the U.S. Otherwise, the inventor can swear behind the disclosure, saying that they invented it before the disclosure occurred. This is not the case in the EU. There, disclosure destroys patent rights.


    • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#9823062)
      For something other than another patent to be considered prior art, you must look at 35 USC 102(a)-
      a person shall be entitled to a patent unless -
      (a) the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for a patent.

      It is difficult to prove "known", however the talk could be considered a printed publication if it was readily accessable to the public. A paper which is orally presented in a forum open to all interested persons constitutes a "printed publication" if written copies are freely disseminated. Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. AB Fortia, 774 F.2d 1104, 1109. Also see MPEP 2128,2132
      • If people understood what this patent was about, they'd realize how stupid this is. Here is a short trip down computer graphics history.

        Shadows are an important visual effect for photorealism, which has been the goal of computer graphics for a very long time. But, shadows are computationally expensive. You have to answer the following question, is there something in the way between the part of the object that I know I can see and the light source. Which of course depends on other geometry in the scen

    • Re:Prior art (Score:4, Informative)

      by janneH ( 720747 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:22PM (#9823323)
      Describing it in public before the patent application date is not prior art per se. IANL, but for it to be public I am pretty sure one has to show that it was public before the date of invention - which can preceed the date of filing by many years.
  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:14PM (#9822821) Journal
    id Software has faithfully released the full source code to each of their titles once the game is a couple generations old.

    I wonder if this will affect the release of the Doom 3 source a few years from now? Can patented code be released under the GPL?

    Dan East
  • well then... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tandr ( 108948 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:16PM (#9822829)
    "would only have hurt the users..."

    Creatives drivers for SB (Live or whatever) always caused only headache on multiprocessor machines. I realized how limited (and poorly writen) their drivers are after switched to kX drivers. Now marketing dep @ creative reached total lows ...

    I dunno about rest of the /. croud, but I hear you John. My next rig will have no Creative products in it.
    • dunno about rest of the /. croud, but I hear you John. My next rig will have no Creative products in it.

      Damn right. My opinion of creative kit has been declining rather rapidly recently, combine that with a move like this and Creative can shove their products so far up where the sun doesn't shine that people with think their mouths are hardware dispensers.

      Bah, Creative will be... *gets out a black notebook*... 8th against the wall come the revolution.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does slashdot have a patent on "a method of buring the retinas of web site viewers with godawful color schemes"?

    This color scheme is worse than the IT section's!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The EAX environmental audio is lame compared to the Aureal environmental audio. So naturally the worst standard won in the marketplace and the best standard was purchased and buried.

    Creative Labs sucks. Their sound cards have stability problems and EAX buring Aureal really pisses me off.
    • I had an Aureal card, and with only two speakers it could surround sound audio extremely well. There was a speaker test involving helicopters and it actually sounded like it was behind you, in front of you, above you, etc. Even my wife was fooled.

      Aureal made the same mistake 3dfx made. It decided to sell its own cards instead of licensing the technology to OEMs. That was asinine.

      • I still have an Aureal sound card. They were ahead of Creative with official support for Linux...

        But there again, since when does the best technology survive? In the PC industry, it's whomever can leverage their product and supply line best to get it out there... The quality or elegance is more or less completely irrelevant.

      • nope, the real reason Aureal went under is they got sued into submission by Creative. It was over some patent involving sending sounds over the PCI bus if I remember. Long story short, aureal wasn't infringing, and the patent was almost thrown out, but the legal bills bankrupted the company. Creative bought the remnants.
  • Ask Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:47PM (#9822951)
    Todays question is -- How Important is Creative?

    My own take: Not very. They're about the only game in town when it comes to fancy-pants gaming sound cards. The thing is that a fancy pants gaming soundcard is not very important to me. Don't get me wrong I'm a pretty big gamer, but who really wants a computer desk coverd with a dozen speakers and the attendant wires? I haven't had a creative soundcard since the early soundblaster days. Creative products apart from soundcards? They just re-badge other people's stuff. I'd consider the RIO mp-3 players, but rio isn't creative anymore, right? I haven't had anything from creative in years, and I haven't missed it. Even as a computer gamer. The $20-$30 econo soundboard has been fine for me for as long as I can remember. I think my 486 might have had a creative board. Maybe.

    What do you guys think? When you're putting together a setup what do you think about when it comes to soundboards? Do you have to have the best one? How much do you usually spend? Do you really love the 3d sound? Have you GOTTA have the latest pimptastic creative soundboard for like $250? Some people need super awsome soundboards because they make computer music, but then the creative boards aren't the ones you want anyway, right?

    While the fury of /. is intense it is also generally short lived. But ditching creative products is not a difficult proposition. And ever since I heard about how they bragged that they could keep costs down by holding back innovation (this was back in the aureal days) I've always kinda thought they were a bunch of dickheads.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#9823014) Homepage
    In "Masters of Doom" Carmack stated, either naively or bravely, that he refuses to file patents for his work as such information should not be locked away but should be free.

    Now that he's been burned, I wonder if he'll start filing them as preemptive measures. I hate software patents, but I would if I were him.
    • That really wouldn't help him get at the people causing the problem, and instead could stick it to the wrong people (like someone trying to code an open source game). If Carmack patents a hundred or a thousand software techniques, Creative wouldn't care because they're not going to use the techniques in their products. Besides, if he codes a technique before someone patents it then any future patent would be invalid due to his prior art.
      • What I'm saying is that if he had patented his work first, Creative could not have snuck around and did it before him.

        And it does not matter if he has prior art or not, the matter would still be ligitated over a period of several years costing millions and millions of dollars.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:45PM (#9823620)
        Besides, if he codes a technique before someone patents it then any future patent would be invalid due to his prior art.

        If they filed for the patent within one year of the release of the technique, then they could patent it. Yes, with our system, someone can invent something, decide not to patent it in order to let others use it, someone else can see the invention, patent it, and force the original inventor to pay to use it.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:01PM (#9823102) Homepage
    Carmack usually allows access to the source code of his games after their markets have dried up. I wonder how this patent will effect that? Time will tell.

    Man, it'd suck spending years writing a game engine from scratch, then having some numb-nut lawyer tell me that someone else owns a part of it.

    And I am a numb-nut lawyer!
    • Actually No, id still own the code that Carmack wrote, and they are ok to sell it / release to anybody they choose. It's just that they will to need a right to use that section of code (or strip it out) by either

      using it after patent expires
      licensing patent
      patent becoming void
      living in europe
      • Yeah, id could release the source code in Europe, unless you guys follow our asinine lead and enact software patents there too!

        Rant mode on:

        If everyone in Europe hates the US, as you should, why oh why do you listen to our music, watch our movies, and most importantly, emulate our laws?!?!
    1. The legal system biases "justice" toward those with money more than those with creative skills.
    2. Patents depend on the legal system.

    Ergo those with creative skills are deprived of the money needed to pursue, not only their rights to more money, but are deprived of the money needed to pursue creations that require money (since the people expert at acquiring money rarely possess the insight necessary to understand the distinction between genuinely creative enterprise and some sort of false inspiration).

    W. []

  • I stab at thee (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paladine97 ( 467512 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:07PM (#9823165) Homepage
    Could this be an attempt to stay competitive now that Intel's High Definition Audio [] is coming?

    With this advanced audio appearing on most of Intel's new boards, it would seem to me that Creative's market is disappearing.
  • their products are shoddy and their performance poor. EAX has always been a DOG of a performer and truly hoses simple echo sounding.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:27PM (#9823386) Homepage
    I hate Creative as a company. A few years back it decided not to host any drivers or software on its US servers. It stated, believe it or not, that in fairness to those without broadband access, it was better to charge EVERYONE to buy and mail CDs with the latest drivers.

    That ploy didn't work as everyone simply used servers in Europe or Asia to download the drivers and software.

    But still to this day you need the original driver off the CD that came with your hardware. If you try to use the latest downloaded drivers, they'll tell you that there is no Creative hardware installed.

    What purpose does this serve? I've bought the hardware, they have my money, why be stingy with the drivers? Every other hardware manufacture lets me simply use the latest drivers WITHOUT installing the old drivers first.

    Why do I still use Creative's audio cards? Normalization. It's a feature buried in Creative's EAX, but it makes all MP3s (actually all sound files) the same volume. Thus, every computer in my house has a Creative card in it so I can access my MP3 collection from any where in the house.

    Does any other sound card maker have a feature similar to Creative's normalization? Or did Creative patent that too?

  • I think Doom 3 is going to drive many many pc upgrades. If I were in a vindictive mood (which I obviously am right now), I would leave creative completely out of the game- no support at all, ever. Everyone would suffer, but I think in this case creative would suffer the most.

  • I wish that id HAD taken a stand. They said that they didn't want to hurt gamers and the industry, but to me, this seems to hurt more. This helps establish that what Creative did was okay as it worked out for them. If id had refused to use their patent, then Creative gains nothing from it, and might be discouraged from trying this BS tactic in the future.
  • by MattRog ( 527508 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:36PM (#9823491)
    Modern motherboards contain on-board sound -- many of which are 5.1 or greater with digital S/P DIF connectors. With all the hoopla over Doom 3 hardware requirements I couldn't find any major ([H]ardOCP, Tom's Hardware, etc.) sites listing audio benchmarks or quality comparisons pitting on-board sound and cards like the Creative Z2 series.

    I'm not an audiophile, but for games like Doom 3 etc. if a motherboard already supports digital 5.1 (or greater) is it really necessary to go out and purchase a Creative card? Will said on-board audio provide sufficient quality for 5.1+ gaming? I'm building a gaming system to replace my aging first-generation Athlon and am not sure whether or not I should throw a sound card in the mix, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:37PM (#9823506)
    This reminds me of a story that floated around Creative while I was working there ('93-'96), and it was about how this little independant game developer had approached Creative for some development support with their sound cards. This was '91-'92 time frame. Anyways, the guy called up asking for some help, and pretty much got the shaft. He wasn't a licensed developer, and didn't want to pay the huge amount Creative was asking for at the time.

    Some harsh words were exchanged, and the guy basically told Creative to go F themselves. Not long after the guy releases Doom and the rest is history.

    Creative changed their policy shortly thereafter and created a developer support department to help out the small developers. A little too late, IMO.

    But the real clincher was when Creative launched their new product at the time, the AWE32, with loadable Soundfont technology. iD was getting close to releasing Quake, and Creative really wanted to get iD to support their new technology.

    But Carmack, remember how he was so fondly treated, and basically told Creative to suck it, again, and Quake was released without AWE32 support.

    The AWE32 never really took off, and neither did their Soundfont technology.

    So I am a bit suprised that Carmack agreed to use their technology, but it does show everyone where his alliances lie. To the fan and consumer.

    Kudos to Carmack.

    Anyways, goes on to prove, that the toes you step on today, may belong to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.

    Kind Herb

    "Whether you suffer from glaucoma, or you just rented The Matrix,
    medical marijuana can make things fabulous, medically!"

    -- Homer J. Simpson

  • Yeah, yeah. The usual smoke-blowing.


    * Doom3 is about to ship. A LOT of people will be buying nice new high-profit-margin gaming kit right about now.

    * There's a large overlap between the FPS-gaming set and the patent-hating Slashdot set. This isn't like GIFs, where 99.999% of end-users didn't give a damn about patent abuse.

  • by mr. methane ( 593577 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @03:09PM (#9823896) Journal
    I installed my last creative card into a machine close to two years ago, and remembering the absolute HELL of installing their driver set, I vowed never to even insert another CD with the "creative" logo on it in a computer.

    After installing a reasonably good Asus motherboard in my latest gaming rig, I figured I'd live with the on-board audio (which I assumed to be a piece of crap) because the extra $150 or so for an ub3r SB card would have stretched my toy budget.

    Ya know what? The onboard 5.1 sound (by some quasi-generic manufacturer) works quite well, rendering the positional audio of games without killing the CPU, and it handles both stereo and surround sound nicely. I've got both digital and analog in/outs, headphone jack (without the trademark Creative crappy-ground-whining-noise)..

    So I can live with a perfectly useable solution and spend the $150 on new clothes for the kids - or something *really* important - like a new Dremel.

    Or, I can shell out $150 for a sound card that doesn't really give me anything new, plays havoc with my hardware, and installs 80 varieries of spamware on my PC before crashing it.. Gee, let me think.... I'll skip the SCO.. I mean, Creative, hardware.
  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @03:23PM (#9824078)
    Screw them. We will still buy your game.
    Creative is crap. Crappy products, crappy drivers, crappy support. In fact, I've heard that some of their drivers aren't even downloadable anymore.

    Please please please go back on your decision and go with your CPU based audio instead of their crap.

    I pledge to buy two copies if you'll do this, otherwise I'm only buying one!
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @06:31PM (#9826173)
    Phil O'Shaughnessy
    Director of Corporate Communications

    Lara B. Vacante
    Public Relations Manager

    Jennifer Ellard
    Senior Public Relations Specialist

    Katie Meyer
    Public Relations Coordinator
  • playing with fire... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WiPEOUT ( 20036 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @08:31PM (#9827044)
    I've been a purchaser of Creative Labs sound cards since the SoundBlaster16, with the exception of a foray into Diamond's Monster Sound 3D II MX300 due to A3D 2.0 and it's support in Half-Life.

    I admire the folks at id Software, for all the usual reasons. I have no problem with any company contacting id Software and requesting that their proprietary technology is supported to improve a game. What I thoroughly dislike is the concept of software patents. What I dislike even more is the use of software patents as leverage. What frankly pisses me off is someone using software patents to threaten a company like id Software, who selflessly contribute a ridiculous amount to the development of computing, both directly in releasing unpatented software and indirectly by driving the take-up of new hardware and software technologies in their games. Doubly so when it's a distinctly uninnovative company like Creative Labs.

    The only way a regular gamer like myself can punish a company is by refusing to buy it's products.

    Are there any credible gamer-centric alternatives to Creative Labs' products?

    I will be doing some research now, and if there are, CL will have just lost a customer. I have no problem with throwing a few hundred dollars in a different direction every year or three. Hell, I'd even be willing to donate money to id to have them say "see you in court" to the spineless worms.
    • Are there any credible gamer-centric alternatives to Creative Labs' products?

      Terratec are the only ones I can think of at the moment. They make quality parts, and they have a game-oriented line.

      I have an old Addonics SV550 (YMF724 chip) myself, and it's all I need. It doesn't have any fancy features, but it works, and the output sounds great, and that's all I need.

      I'm beginning to think that onboard sound has finally reached a point where sound cards have become as good as obsolete. Hell, the only reaso
  • by grimani ( 215677 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @09:23PM (#9827345)
    every manufacturer under the sun is the devil incarnate for not including drivers and support for linux (nevermind whether an economic proposition exists for supporting their products in linux),

    but when it comes to patents, our beloved carmack should take a stand based on principle and


    heh. so no support for linux is heinous, but no support for everything is alright?

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972