Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Nintendo Files Patent For Game That Plays Itself

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the say-what-now dept.

Nintendo 152

Kotaku points out a recent patent filed by Nintendo which automates gameplay unless the user specifically chooses to play a particular part of the game. Quoting: "The new system, described in a patent filed by Nintendo Creative Director Shigeru Miyamoto on June 30, 2008, but made public today, looks to solve the issue of casual gamers losing interest in a game before they complete it, while still maintaining the interest of hardcore gamers. The solution would turn a game into a full-length cut scene of sorts, allowing players to jump into and out of the action whenever they wanted. But when played this way, gamers would not be able to save their progress, maintaining the challenge of completing a game without skipping or cheating."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This patent might be thrown out: (3, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396781)

Let's look at it this way: this is combining simple, linear bots into the storyline which play as the first person in the event that the main player gets bored.

Am I the only one who sees this as a bit obvious and un-patent-worthy? Games have been doing this for a while during Demo screens... just without the story advancement.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396861)

Do anything in games ever get patented really? I mean the controller yeah, but everything else is just another game's "inspiration". Imagine if having a first person viewpoint and shooting something out the center of it was patented...

Nintendo does it, yes (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397341)

Nintendo has always played the legal card to the maximum extent possible, going all the way back to the days of draconian contracts that forbade you from making a game for anyone else if Nintendo published one of your games. They tried to control even how much you can advertise. It got ruled invalid eventually, but in the meantime, yes, they did try to put anyone out of business who no loner toes the Nintendo line.

Or here in Europe they tried to strong-arm the retailers into what they can and can't sell, and basically used the European market as an experiment in whether they can make more money with only a handful of games and restricting access to anything else. They actually got slapped with an anti-trust for that, and were found guilty. Worse yet, it turned out that they knew they're in violation of the law, and had planned to violate it, thinking they can make more money than the fine can possibly be. (Wrong guess.)

To get back to patents and to more recent times, they also patented or filed for patent:

- the XBox Live, basically [arstechnica.com]

- emulation of its own consoles, again [slashdot.org] , to try to keep other people from doing it (and, yes, they tried to bully emulator developpers before)

- weird stuff, like comparing each other's avatars online [pocket-lint.co.uk] , never mind that people have been holding costume contests in COH since the fucking launch in 2004

- something as broad as making a stage magician kinda game/sim [pocket-lint.co.uk]

- a "wearable" controller to digitize body motions [pocket-lint.co.uk] , never mind that motion capture has been done before like that for ages

- a rechargeable game controller [espacenet.com] never mind that chargers like that existed for mice, headsets, and everything for freaking ages before that

- just about anything you can put a motion detector into, from bikes to teddy bears [kotaku.com]

- horror games, or at least stuff like hallucinations or hearing voices in games [uspto.gov] , never mind that neither is new, and an insanity sim had even been made to train police in how to deal with dementia people

Etc.

Some of those seem to even exist just to keep others from doing it. E.g., they filed for a patent for console online gaming, at a time where they were publicly bashing it and saying they have no intention to do that.

Frankly, I don't get the hardon some people seem to get about Nintendo. While they do have a couple of talented designers, the management has an uninterrupted history of being evil fucks that make MS look good by comparison. They tried every possible way to lock competitors out, and developers in, some of which MS so far never even dreamed about. E.g., I don't remember MS suing anyone for developing for the Mac too. They too broke anti-trust laws. Etc.

And at least the previous management had no problem with even insulting its customers, especially if, god forbid, they're asking for a genre Nintendo isn't currently selling. Yamauchi publicly called RPG gamers "depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games", for example.

The only thing that changed that was the GameCube being the second dud in a row, which prompted a mellowing out of attitude. If they ever get back in a position of being able to pull the old shit, I have a feeling that we'd see the old shit again. And some trying to enforce those blanket patents to keep the competition out. As they've tried before.

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (1)

pnumoman (1348217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398407)

But that's exactly why Nintendo fascinates me. They manage to utilize all the protections and attacks the law provides for and still thrive; most companies can't, because you just drain goodwill too fast to do business. Nintendo, beyond anything else, does absurdly good PR.

Which, when you think about it, makes them the revived Apple before Apple.

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (0, Redundant)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398785)

Well, fascinating it is. I don't think many other companies outright insulted their customers (see such Yamauchi quotes as the one I quoted) _and_ business partners (see their attitude to the devs when some threatened to jump ship in the N64 days... which caused most to actually do jump ship) _and_ have a chairman who's publicly _proud_ to not be among the customers (Yamauchi actually took pride in never having played a single video game in his life), and, yes, get such adoring fans.

I mean, comparing to that, even the patents are nothing. Joe Average doesn't care about our ideological crusades about patents or IP. But call someone names, take pride in not being like him, and have him come back to you wagging his tail, now _that_ is something. I don't know how they do that, but hats off.

I don't think even comparing them to Apple does either of them justice. Apple and Steve Jobs actually flatter their customers, not insult them. They try to maintain the image that the Apple users are the smart, savvy, hip, cool, etc guys. Steve Jobs certainly takes pride in using his own products and in fact micro-managing the design until it exactly fits his personal taste. I remember keynotes where he stressed that some program was done for him, or beta-tested by him, or whatnot.

(And I'm not even an Apple fan, and hate the cult of personality around Steve Jobs. But credit where credit is due. He sure knows how to do a keynote and flatter his customers.)

Mind you, as I was saying, Nintendo does have some good and innovative designers, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, so maybe that's the explanation.

Maybe a more apt comparison is with the Penny Arade Will Wright's Pee [penny-arcade.com] comic strip.

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400225)

Well, Yamauchi resigned some time ago. The new leadership was necessary to pull off the changes needed for the DS and Wii. Also most people consider Miyamoto their public faceinstead of Yamauchi and Miyamoto's public character (no idea how he's in private) is pretty humble and friendly.

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (2, Informative)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399011)

I believe you're referring to this Yamauchi speech from Nintendo Spaceworld.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/2467470.html [gamespot.com]

Yamauchi does not say "depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games". What he did say was "stop playing boring games" and "If we can change the quality, the number of the available software titles can be as little as one-tenth the current figure. Somebody says there are a small number of titles available for Nintendo 64 and others say we do not have enough RPG. But it is not the issue this industry can afford to worry about now"

A company that tries to make games more fun is the kind of company I want to do business with. Nintendo has had oodles of problems with patents, it's only prudent to cover your own ass.

Bzzt. Different interview (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399209)

Nope, it's not even remotely the one I'm refering to. The quote about RPG gamers is from an 1999 interview.

But, yes, he did do a lot of stupid quotes in his time, including the one you linked to. Telling me that I play boring games, and that I should stop playing them for no other reason than that all the RPG developers left Nintendo... isn't exactly going to make me like him.

Especially because of this: he didn't play either kind of games, and took pride in not having played any game ever. So _how_ does he fucking know which are boring and which aren't? On what knowledge does he base his presuming to tell me what to play? Oh, wait, he's just telling me to buy his snake-oil and stop buying the competition's. And not even in nice terms.

I mean, picture me coming and saying something like, "I haven't played any MMO, and I'm proud I never blew my money on those, but I know that Vanguard rules and WoW is crap. Only depressed losers play WoW. Stop playing that boring game now." (Just hypothetically.) Wouldn't you say, "so how would you know, if you haven't played either?"

I mean it's like a nun telling you which sexual position feels better. Or like a vegan telling you which meat tastes better and which to buy. Or like the Amish telling you which brand of car is more fun to drive. I could go on, but you get the idea already. How would he flipping know?

But, as I was saying, he doesn't. He was just telling us to stop buying the competition's product and start buying more of his. Without even having used either. Just because one makes him money and the other doesn't.

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26400243)

Yamauchi publicly called RPG gamers "depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games", for example.

[citation needed]

Re:Nintendo does it, yes (0, Flamebait)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400361)

[citation needed]

1. For example, Top 10 Tuesday: Wildest Statements Made by Industry Veterans [ign.com] . It's at number 4.

2. Do your own fucking research. It takes a whole 5 seconds to copy and paste that phrase into Google. Ah, wait, it's just another meme that lets retards pretend they're part of some big smart family by copy-and-pasting something. Carry on, then. No need to start using your own brain now, after all.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

kiwijapan (1293632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396893)

The new system, described in a patent filed by Nintendo Creative Director Shigeru Miyamoto on June 30, 2008, but made public today, looks to solve the issue of casual gamers losing interest in a game before they complete it, while still maintaining the interest of hardcore gamers..

I don't think this is "un-patent-worthy". A company is free to patent a new technology that they think will make them money, assuming it doesn't infringe on other patents. I do think that this is another way to keep casual (read: only on the weekends etc) gamers interested enough to keep buying games that they have no real interest in completing.

Maybe they should put more effort into making games that casual gamers won't lose interest in, rather than admitting by way of patent that a great deal of games on the market just aren't made well enough or with a sufficiently interesting storyline to keep gamers interested...

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397149)

The problem is that there is quite a bit of prior art to this. For example, Dungeon Keeper in which you can just sit there after building a dungeon, or you can take over a creature using first-person controls.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398235)

Prior to this, Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countdown_to_Doomsday) in 1990 on the Sega Megadrive, and other systems - was a DnD style team RPG that let you use "Quick combat" to put characters on "auto-combat" for the fight scene.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were older examples.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398325)

Dungeon Siege also played itself. The player was just along for the ride with minimal interaction.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397857)

I don't think this is "un-patent-worthy".

In what sense?

  1. According to the literal words of the constitution ... limited period, progress in the useful arts etc.
  2. According to the USPTO's interpretation thereof?
  3. According to how you think the law should be?

Under 2 of course, anything is patentable, even a particular shade of a colour.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396921)

I think software patents are bad, and that therefore this is not patent worthy, but I'd be hard pressed to find a game that does this. Sure, there are the occasional playable cutscenes. But in how many of those can you do more than wander around? Can you name a single game where you can just decide to not to play while in the middle of any given level, and the game will play for you? I'm not sure I like the idea, but it does sound different and neat. Possibly very interesting, if used well -- or possibly doomed to the trash can and a few gimmicky bargain bin games. Time will tell, I suppose, but it certainly sounds like something that hasn't been tried before.

Often times the creativity lies not in producing the answer, but in framing the question. Sure, it's obvious how to do it -- but no one noticed that it needed doing before. Maybe that's because it doesn't, or maybe it's because no one had the flash of inspiration. Time will tell, I suppose.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397081)

Isn't it more or less the same principle as an autopilot?

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398285)

Yes, but taken further in a way that makes it qualitatively different. I have yet to see a flight sim autopilot that will fly the entire mission, including any combat sequences...

Cruise Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26399717)

CAPS LOCK is CRUISE CONTROL for COOL.

Even with cruise control, you still must steer. DUMBASS.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397303)

WoW + Glider?

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (2, Insightful)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397345)

left 4 dead?

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398013)

While playing Left 4 Dead, in the middle of a game you can select "Take a Break" and the game will throw a bot in for you.

When the game first came out the bots would just mill about and make very slow progress, however this made it too easy for the (pc playable) zombies. They have since upped the aggression on the bots so that they move through the level at about the pace of a normal player.

So yes, this is already in a game that's been released.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398503)

Mod up. Left 4 Dead has a specific feature where a player can go 'idle' and a bot then takes over playing for them. It's a bit more obvious in a cooperative MP setting than a strictly single player setting, but there is distinct prior art.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397893)

Can you name a single game where you can just decide to not to play while in the middle of any given level, and the game will play for you?

Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net] . You can either fly through hyperspace by yourself, or let the autopilot guide you. The former has advantages if you're flying through enemy territory and want to avoid confrontations. The old Elite games also have an autopilot available. Coming to think of it, World of Goo's "skip this level" feature could be considered effectively the same as a self-playing feature.

And doesn't Eve Online have time-based skill increase even if you're not logged in ? For that matter, don't most MMORPGs have bots that auto-grind the character for you ? That would indicate that the whole concept of MMORPG needs to be reconsidered, since the whole point of a game is to e fun, but that's another discussion entirely.

For that matter, what about multiplayer strategy games which allow players to come and go ? The computer takes over any empty seats and gives over to a human player upon request. And then there's ProgressQuest. Heck, the automatic trading systems in real-life stock market could be considered prior art. This whole patent is utterly ridiculous, even for a software patent.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397907)

Final Fantasy XII comes close.

Combat is menu-driven: you give your characters orders, they follow orders.

You also have the option to give your party members "programs" (called "gambits" in the game) to follow; the characters follow gambits unless you manually override them (or turn that character's gambits off).

Gambits look like this:

Ally HP Heal Ally with Potion (top priority)
Foe: Nearest -> Attack (next priority) ...etc

This is only partial automation -- it handles combat, but doesn't, say, walk your dudes to the next cutscene.

Whether it's a close enough match to this patent is out of my league to ascertain.

Re:This patent might be thrown out: (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397641)

Not bored, overwhelmed. It's a hint system.

It will never stand. (5, Funny)

callistostg (1199181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396791)

Square-Enix has prior art on their side with Final Fantasy XII.

Re:It will never stand. (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396819)

*cough*Idlerpg [idlerpg.net] *cough*

Re:It will never stand. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396951)

But you do play idlerpg by NOT doing anything. So it's still an active choice from your side, so to speak :D

Spot The Retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26396975)

Wow dude you are so cool. All the other kiddies on the school bus say the same thing about FF XII so you might as well parrot it as well.

With what a fiasco FF XIII is turning out to be even stupid little kids like you will be crying for the good old days before SE turned to shit. Other than Crisis Core, SE has put out nothing but utter garbage this gen.

Re:Spot The Retard (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397039)

Somebody's butthurt.

Wow dude you are so cool.

You're certainly one to talk.

Though, personally, I'd have to say that FFXII was the first Final Fantasy game I've genuinely enjoyed since the SNES. Don't like gambits? Me neither. That's why you don't use them.

Re:Spot The Retard (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398809)

And have a game that was already a 70 hour waste of time become a 120 hour waste of time because the combat system was designed to function without constant input?

Re:Spot The Retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397055)

FF XII was definitely the most grown up of all the FF games. The silly comments about the story are like listening to someone complaining how Million Dollar Baby sucked because it didn't have any explosions or car chases.

Not having a silly love triangle with two differently anime girls was a refreshing change. Funny how so many people consider braindead stuff like that 'having a plot'.

As far as Square, something has gone terribly wrong with the company. They haven't just put out a single stinker, they are putting out nothing but junk. Not only have they been putting out nothing but junk it has been buggy and shoddy coding too. A dramatic change from previous gens where both Square and Enix were putting out nothing but the highest quality games that were technical marvels outside of the occasional bogus spin off game to one of their main franchises. Most people are already writing off FF XIII now. Better to get over the disappointment early.

Re:Spot The Retard (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398773)

Here's the deal. The storyline of FFXII was great, and that's the only reason I finished it. That, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the game play which was in no way "the most adult" and since that's what we're talking about here you might want to keep it on track.

I always asked myself, what would it be like if they made a game I could play well while doing 10 other things? Well, they did it, and it's not very fun, not to mention that the characters are 100% interchangeable it almost seems like every aspect of gameplay was designed to make it as insignificant and ignorable as possible.

They really should have just put the story together as an FMV and sold that for $30 I would have been much happier.

Re:It will never stand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397237)

Actually FF VII for the PC had a seperate mini RPG game, where a chocobo ran around a dessert and killed enemies and search for treasure.

You couldn't play the game yourself, but the items it found would be transferred to your FF save game i think. (all a bit way back, to remember clearly.)

Re:It will never stand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26399687)

That was originally a PocketStation minigame... the PocketStation was a memory card with a screen and buttons (think Dreamcast) that was only released in Japan.

Um, prior art- Progress Quest (3, Insightful)

coder111 (912060) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397309)

This will never stand because of this: http://www.progressquest.com/ [progressquest.com]

--Coder

Re:It will never stand. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397471)

Warlords II and Warlords III from Red Orb also allowed jumping in and out of a game that coul dbe auto played.

Re:It will never stand. (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398739)

Damnit! There goes my funny comment.

Re:It will never stand. (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400117)

Seriously. My first encounter with the game was a demo in a game store, where I was walking around a beach and eventually fighting a T-rex. At first I thought it was neat that my party members could automatically heal each other and so on... but then I realized they were doing fine against the dino, and that no further input was required from me. I stepped back from the controller and watched. Later, I bought the game, but got bored of it a few hours through.

Hey, what about "Progress Quest?"

Progress Quest! (4, Informative)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396811)

Or, at least, Progress Quest with the addition of an option to play it. Frankly, I don't see why adding an option to play a game is defensibly patentable. I mean, I could choose not to play it without any special technology at all!

Re:Progress Quest! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397013)

Reminds me of how a guy I know played Dune II.

Towers and those free artreides helicopters :D

Just spamming copters all the time.

What Happened To Nintendo? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26396813)

The Wii was pretty fun around the holidays a couple years ago when it was first released. But the novelty has long since worn off.

But over that time they seem to have completely given up on gamers with basically nothing new to show other than things like that mind bogglingly bad Wii Music.

The only people I've heard talk about the Wii in real life this past year have been married couples who heard about Wii Fit and see it as another fad diet type thing to try out.

I've checked the release list of upcomming Wii games time and time again and there is nothing there worth playing or interesting enough to go drag the old Wii out of the closet.

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397007)

I see this post every time a story pops up that's even vaguely Wii-related. Sometimes I've gotta wonder if it's actually different people or the same broken record. I guess The Conduit, Sin and Punishment 2, Punch Out and Tenchu: Shadow Assassins don't exist and I'm just imagining them whenever I check the list of upcoming games for the Wii.

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397063)

And someone always indignantly types out a paltry little list of Wii games that are at best mildly interesting at best.

Where are these revolutionary games that were supposed to change the face of console gaming?

Where are these games that have gameplay mechanics never seen before?

Where are all of the major Nintendo franchises?

Nothing but GameCube games with some motion controls bolted on. That gets old real quick.

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397615)

Where are these revolutionary games that were supposed to change the face of console gaming? Where are these games that have gameplay mechanics never seen before?

They typically get dismissed as non-games, or as Nintendo abandoning the hardcore gamer, where 'hardcore' is defined as 'FPS'.

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398083)

Indeed, one of the things that I've noticed is that hardcore gamer isn't something that Nintendo ever really aspired to. Not that they should because the so called "hardcore" gamers make up a much smaller portion of the pie than more casual ones.

Look at the older games and only a relatively small number could be reasonably defined as for hardcore gaming. And usually it was because you really needed to have a hint guide to finish them or were ridiculously designed. Karate kid, I'm looking at you.

FPSes suck on a console, they just suck, the controls are terrible and ultimately very little can change that. A keyboard and mouse is a much better choice for that sort of gaming. You shouldn't have to play every consolve version starting with the SNES to be comfortable with the controls. You should be able to pick it up in a few minutes. If it takes longer than that, the controls need to be fixed as they are terribly, terribly broken.

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399203)

FPSes suck on a console, they just suck, the controls are terrible and ultimately very little can change that. A keyboard and mouse is a much better choice for that sort of gaming.

But how do you plan to fit four keyboards and four mice around a single TV in a social gaming scenario?

Re:What Happened To Nintendo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397651)

And someone always indignantly types out a paltry little list of Wii games that are at best mildly interesting at best.

Where are these revolutionary games that were supposed to change the face of console gaming?

Exactly the same could be said for the PS3 and xBox. Nothing but PS2 and original xbox games with better graphics.

Whats your point?

a bit late there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26396831)

Have they never heard of Conway's Game of Life?

itself (3, Funny)

big whiffer (906132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396845)

nintendo didn't file the patent, the patent filed itself.

Prior art! (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397509)

I'm fairly sure IBM already patented patenting ideas patenting itself.

Sounds like a tool assisted speed run.... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396879)

For years people have been programming entire play-throughs of games using programmable inputs on emulators.

This is the same concept, you input an exact sequence of events for the controller, that will exactly complete a part of the game, or the entire game if you want. But instead of the tool-assisted-speed-run community doing it, it is the developers themselves this time.

It is very very complicated to program input commands for a game and doing a run through of an entire game is incredibly laborious. You need to now each frame, every aspect of the game, and compensate and adjust for each factor. And randomness? Some programmed inputs for games have luck manipulation in them. For example, in the Mega Man X series the boss A.I. would behave seemingly random in their attack patterns. So if you input attack commands and the boss randomly jumped over you, you would need to input direction commands to compensate for having to fire in a new direction. But once you commit to those programmed commands you have no control over how the A.I. is going to behave the next time you execute the script. But, for the MMX series, there are certain inputs if the player makes them, such as dashing twice then jumping, that make the bosses attack in the same way over and over again eliminating any randomness. But programming a single boss fight in a nearly two decade old Mega Man game for the SNES takes hours and hours of programming and testing.

It would be more logical for Nintendo to ship a DVD with a video walkthrough of the game. Or smarter, create a Nintendo YouTube channel featuring video walkthroughs of each level.

People the day Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) came out uploaded the entire game level by level and how to beat each level.

Nintendo recently hired tournament fighting game player David Sirlin to produce tutorial videos for playing Nintedo's Supure Smash Brothers Brawl game for Wii.

Watching an A.I. that is going to take hours and hours of programming beat a level in a meticulously perfect and robotic fashion isn't going to improve the gaming experience for anyone. Games already have easy, normal, and hard modes. Do we really need to dumb down Mario even more because kids can't finish them?

Video walkthroughs, especially free ones on YouTube, should be sufficient enough to help people beat part of a level. If you can't manually beat part of a game...the you can't do it at that time. Practice or give up. What happened to losing?

In some of Nintendo's top selling game you lose. Wii Sports, Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, there are is only one 1st place. I don't want to see developers WASTING time programming A.I. to help out the scrubs and novices beat games designed for challenging people.

How do we know that Nintendo won't start dumbing down games to make them beatable for even barnyard animals? Hey Timmy the cat beat Super Mario Universe just press the A.I. button...

Re:Sounds like a tool assisted speed run.... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397669)

A full TAS is hard because it needs to be optimized for time, a walkthrough helper wouldn't need to shave off frames and such, just use savestates to avoid taking hits/failing.

An advantage of this helper over GameFAQs is that you can use it directly to skip parts if you just cannot do it. A regular walkthrough can only tell you what to do, if you're not good enough to actually do it that's of no use to you.

A side effect could be that this allows games to get harder again because there's no need to worry about people getting stuck and trading the game in early.

Re:Sounds like a tool assisted speed run.... (1)

Ubahs (1350461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397743)

If this was built into a game, however, the game could be programmed to always do the same thing - as a toggle. This would make the pain of 'randomness' go away. These type of things are already done internally at several game studios, that I know about. Some had it down to locking the random number generator's seed to a predefined value, enemies would always dive the same direction, always miss every fourth shot, etc. Other methods were to just prevent enemies from firing and moving around, then having a tester record their actions through the whole game.

Turn off the bot and the game goes through as before, so I don't think the games have to be dumbed down to make this technology possible.

I hear you on the frustration of making a bot go through a game accurately, I used to do automation for some Xbox360 games.

I think this is a good idea. I have about 30 games that I don't want to put the time into finishing, but I'd love to see how the game progresses.

It might actually make me want to pick up the controller and take over, which is something I wasn't going to do before.

Re:Sounds like a tool assisted speed run.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26399305)

Watching an A.I. that is going to take hours and hours of programming beat a level in a meticulously perfect and robotic fashion isn't going to improve the gaming experience for anyone

You're doing it wrong: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=auto+mario [youtube.com]

And when the console gets bored? (4, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396901)

Or finds the game too difficult?
I don't want to come home and find my Wii browsing for tech-porn.

Re:And when the console gets bored? (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397619)

On the Eighth Day, Machine just got upset.
A problem Man had never seen as yet.

Angband prior art (2, Informative)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396915)

IIRC Angband bots did that.

Re:Angband prior art (2, Insightful)

StupiderThanYou (896020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396977)

IIRC Angband bots did that.

And they still do. The Angband borg and screensaver is available at http://itctel.com/~apwhite/andrew.html [itctel.com]

another example (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399377)

Is the autopilot in BZFlag, if you need to do a quick break you turn on autopilot and your tank goes merrily along and then you can turn it off and continue.

If they wanna impress me... (1)

h3llfish (663057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26396963)

...they need to make a Wii that goes to my job for me. I enjoy playing the games, so I have that part covered. What's next, a Wii that drinks my beer and has sex with my girlfriend?

Re:If they wanna impress me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397009)

what girlfriend. i'de say this patent has a better chance thanking the average slashdotter off getting laid.

Re:If they wanna impress me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397033)

I'll have sex with your girlfriend if you want.

Re:If they wanna impress me... (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398015)

What's next, a Wii that drinks my beer and has sex with my girlfriend?

How about a Wii that finds you a girlfriend ?-) It might be more relevant...

...now that I think of it, a dating service based around game-playing girls and the games they play might actually work. It's a common hobby, after all, and tying it into the online aspect of Wii would help keep the grievers out, since you'd need to buy a new console to re-register if you're banned. Plus, as I noted above, this is a demographic which might actually find the service extremely useful.

As a motivator once but it: "Dare to dream - you can have it all" ;).

Re:If they wanna impress me... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398095)

You didn't see that USB powered sex toy? Because I'm sure that could be adapted to the WII.

Nintendo have finally realised... (0, Flamebait)

Arrakis Dv8r (1448299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397165)

Nintendo have realized nobody cares enough about their crap games to finish them, so now they'll do it for you :)

Re:Nintendo have finally realised... (1)

Arrakis Dv8r (1448299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397185)

That said, with the right sort of game it might be a good idea... We've all watched movies and been angered by the stupid decision made by one of the characters ('Go reft indy! Go reft! THE REFT TUNNEL!!!!').

You knew it was coming.... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397225)

In Soviet Russia, games plays without YOU.

Even Ascendancy did this (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397307)

If you use the ANTAGonizer patch and maybe before that, hitting M in the planet management screen will automate planet management.

Also, if you place a certain file into the base directory of it, the entire game will play itself.

The idea is obvious what is hard is to do it for a specific game.

For example, in Master Orion 2 you could choose to automate ship battles, although the automation sucked.

Re:Even Ascendancy did this (1)

FloodSpectre (745213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398097)

Most 4X games these days seem to allow you to more-or-less automate planet development. It does tend to get rather tedious building a new set of factories on every single new planet you colonize. Also, I seem to recall Caesar 2 allowing for automated battles as well, and I swear it worked far better than in MoO2.

More importantly, now I know I'm not the only one who ever played Ascendancy! That game was great back in '95 or whenever.

Progress Quest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397407)

http://www.progressquest.com/ [progressquest.com]

Plays itself.

I did that years ago (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397453)

A long time ago (we're talkin' 1987 or so here), I wrote a Klondike solitaire game for the PC (CGA, whoo hoo). One of the controls was to toggle auto-play on/off. When enabled, the game would play for you (according to some algorithm I made up[1]). There was even a speed control too, so you could slow it down to see it doing its stuff, or speed up, to the point of having it finish off the game in a flash. It would even quit the game when it saw there were no further possible moves.

Prior to that, I had a history of modifying preexisting BASIC games to self-play, just for fun, and to see how far I could theoretically go if I had perfect and infinitely fast gaming reflexes (which is far from the reality...).

[1]
I remember running a test to see how often it won if it played the whole game start to finish -- it ended up winning about 1/15 of the time (this was using single-card flips from the hand).

Once again, Barney showed us the way (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397539)

Years ago when I was a game tester at Sega, there was a guy in the next cubicle who was unfortunate enough to be stuck with "Barney's Hide and Seek".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney's_Hide_and_Seek [wikipedia.org] Though he could generally be heard to be muttering "kill me" over and over to himself, he had the advantage over the rest of us because whenever he wanted to pretend like he was working, all he had to do was slump in his chair with his controller held limply in his hands, doze off, and yes, the game would play itself. The idea,evidently, was that kids of a certain age wouldn't have the attention span or skills necessary to help Barney do whatever it is he does, and so an auto-pilot feature would kick in if you stalled long enough.

And in other news... (2, Funny)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397581)

McDonalds Files Patent for Hamburger that Eats Itself.
The New York Times Files Patent for Newspaper that Reads Itself and then Complains to Self about it's Left-wing Bias.
Internet Forum Trolls File Patent for Web Browser that Rick Roll's Itself.

Re:And in other news... (2, Funny)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398223)

Internet Forum Trolls File Patent for Web Browser that Rick Roll's Itself.

Too late. That one's mine:
"A method of hyperlink substitution, whereby the seemingly intended URL is replaced with that of a cheesy 1980's music video."

Cease and desist or that'll be $1 billion, kthx.

Re:And in other news... (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399491)

I call prior art on all those: I patented a goatse that gouges out its own eyes back in 1999.

Re:And in other news... (2, Insightful)

Ophion (58479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400449)

What did apostrophes ever do to you?

Re:And in other news... (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400757)

Internet Forum Trolls File Patent for Web Browser that Rick Roll's Itself.

Prior Art: RollTube [fffff.at] Firefox extension.

Rog-o-matic? (2, Informative)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397623)

Mauldin et al., ROG-O-MATIC: A Belligerent Expert System [princeton.edu] , Fifth Biennial Conference of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence, London Ontario, May 16, 1984.

Rogue [wikipedia.org] had a storyline in it - okay, not exactly a really complex one, but a storyline nonetheless... and this thing plays it automatically, in case people don't want to play it themselves! Yup, people have been making self-playing games since forever.

I'm target audience (2, Interesting)

MouseR (3264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397685)

I'm a casual gamer. Nowhere near hardcore. Partly because of lack of interest, partly because I dont have time to become a good paddle jockey.

One example of a game where I would have liked this feature is Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii. I absolutely loved this game for the puzzles and roaming around and then suddenly, you're confronted with sudden harsh treatment for a grinding session that only looks and feels like that: a grinding session. Typically, the "scene's boss".

While I managed to finish the game, there are a couple of ones that I basically turned off the game after a couple of attempts. It made me feel like it was keeping me away from the game. A passage of rights that didn't have much purpose on *my* gameplay.

Now I know this might very well be due to this particular game itself but the pattern is throughout the game industry, and that's what turning off some prospective players.

While bot-supported games is nothing new, the fashion in wich this patent attempts to use them is an interesting idea.

In my view however, it's not worthy of a patent in itself. Games should always have been like this, with some kind of "assist me here" option/widget to get people (with a life) moving on with the game.

Re:I'm target audience (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400211)

Imagine that Metriod Prime 3 had had an auto-play feature. It would get you past the grinds, but it would also get you past the puzzles (after all what you call a grind might be the part someone else loves). The only thing keeping you from using it on the puzzle parts is your own judgment. This puts you in the situation of always having to choose whether a part or puzzle is "too hard" and to use the auto-player. But at the same time conquering something that is "too hard" is an important aspect of fun. Even putting the player in the position of having to make that call can spoil the fun. (I have observed a similar phenomenon with single player cheats and walkthroughs.)

I'm not saying an auto-player couldn't be done well. I'm just making the observation that it would be hard to get right without destroying the fun of the game.

(*) I have no ethical objection to single player "cheats" or walkthroughs because the objective is to have fun

Re:I'm target audience (1)

Ophion (58479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400537)

But at the same time conquering something that is "too hard" is an important aspect of fun.

No, it is the primary component of frustration, which is never fun. Certain very difficult endeavors in real life are edifying or vindicatory, but it is the rare individual who describes them as entertaining.

plays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397703)

Is that a patent on games that play themselves ?
or on games that play with themselves ?

A load of Bollocks ... Super Bollocks (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26397745)

Sorry to say this but this is more wrong than it is right. I can see why they would want to make games that the casual just put aside and jump back in when they feel like it. But for fucks sake, that's not why video games are cool.

I, for one, need to earn something while playing the game. Be it experience, skill or sheer amusement. The best games, that I remember most vividly, where those that tortured my brain and my hands. That made me swear and hate the enemies. The one that gave me a sense of "I fucking did it" once I was done. What good is a game that lets you escape from all that. Wait a moment. Escapeism for Escapeism? That's a cheap shot.

Unless they give me some incentive (added bonus, extra trophies, seperate ending) this will be a kick in the face for all hardcore gamers. Right now, if you want to see the end of a game for yourself you need to play and BEAT it (Lamers cheat or go to Youtube). With this every idiot could basically see the end of any given game without putting any real effort into it. That's clearly not how cult games are born. Some of the hardest games on the planet have a distinct following that recruits from the people that love to bitch about how hard it was.

This is good for the casual gamers and therefore an insult to the hardcore audience of supposedly the same titles. That's like having a guy join a Gold Medal sprint race on a motorbike just because he doesn't want to train as an athlete.

Let's see what they do with it but so far it sounds like a ridiculous idea. Probably will go nuclear like Guitar Hero and ruin the status quo for all "serious" gamers. What good is talking to someone about a game who always answers "Dunno, I had that section on auto pilot". God Dangit!

Read the summary for cricket's sake (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399233)

Unless they give me some incentive (added bonus, extra trophies, seperate ending) this will be a kick in the face for all hardcore gamers.

Read the summary for cricket's sake. You can't save your progress if you turn on autopilot.

Wargames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26397803)

Isn't this how they prevented a nuclear war in Wargames? - by making a computer play tic-tac-toe against itself? ...so if you think about it, nintendo are saving the world...

Rogomatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398257)

Rogomatic

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~appel/papers/rogomatic.html

I used to watch it for hours

Prior art - Rogue-o-matic (0, Redundant)

rlp (11898) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398309)

First there was Rogue - a character graphic adventure game. Then there was Rogue-o-matic [wikipedia.org] . I think there was also a variant called AutoRogue.

How about that 80's tic tac toe game that could be (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398313)

How about that 80's tic tac toe game that could be set to number of players zero and Global Thermal Nuclear War game that you had to dial in to play and it would take over playing for you if you got cut off.

WarGames (1)

skia (100784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398645)

The WOPR doesn't count as prior art?

I beleive therer is prior art .. (0, Offtopic)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398907)

its called masterbation

a generation too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26399169)

Ancient versions of Final Fantasy already had automatic play (for combats)

Only Semi-useful to Gamers w/o other options. (1)

DJ 1337 Man (1353173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26399439)

I honestly believe that this patent will be thrown out. If, for some odd reason, it gets passed, then it will merely be laughed at and/or abused. My brother is a prime example of someone who would BARELY use this type of "cheating"; he loves the challenge of finishing a game and doing it on his own. He says, and I quote, "The only reason I would use this feature is to [bypass using] YouTube videos so that I didn't have to use the Internet to help me solve my problems." He goes on to say "I wouldn't save the game if I used [this feature], because I would want to do it myself." That shows a TRUE gamer; not some person who would simply use it for cheating and bypassing the requirements.

Prior art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26399621)

I used to "play" Romance of the Three Kingdoms (particularly the one on SNES, I think it was II) this way all the time! I've also played plenty of other strategy games just the same. I'd let the AIs duke it out for a while, and then when it looked interesting like a scenario, I'd jump in. I believe FreeCiv can do this, too.

Left 4 Dead Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26400373)

Sounds just like what happens in Left 4 Dead when somebody leaves your group or goes idle. The AI takes over for them.

Stepmania? (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400459)

Definitely out long before June '08, you can, with the push of a button, turn Autoplay on or off at any time during gameplay.

...never mind that it has no cut scenes or plot because it's just a DDR clone, but this feature sounds just like what Nintendo's patent describes.

PRIOR ART (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26400469)

Exosquad for the Sega Genesis worked almost EXACTLY in this fashion, but not from complete start to finish.

Re: Auto Pilot/Simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26400715)

So...Pretty much like whats already been done in Gran Turismo 4, only in Gran Turismo 4 you are allowed to save the game and use the 'Spec' mode to advance in your career in the game!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?