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 Post subject: Boycott Creative Labs
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:10 pm 
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If you haven't already read this elsewhere, it looks like CL is trying to enforce patents they own on Doom3, even though they have never produced any games that even use the algorithm. Sounds like they got a little pissy because Doom3 doesn't need a fancy CL card to sound good. Now they've probably made one of the worst PR mistakes possible. I say boycott CL. I for one will never buy any of their products again.

Read more:

http://games.slashdot.org/games/04/07/2 ... 04&tid=155


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:28 pm 
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You would have thought their bad drivers would have been enough, but this for sure has to convince some people.


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 Post subject: Re: Boycott Creative Labs
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:03 pm 
Java Junkie
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statik wrote:
If you haven't already read this elsewhere, it looks like CL is trying to enforce patents they own on Doom3, even though they have never produced any games that even use the algorithm.


Well, since CL doesn't produce games, it isn't terribly surprising that they haven't produced any that use this algorithm, is it? :P

The algorithm in question is a stencil shadow algorithm developed for gaming ... and, interestingly enough, it was originally developed for lighting, not audio. It is often called Carmack's Reverse, and there is a decent explanation of it here

Creative Labs decided to patent this algorithm a while ago, because they use it in the EAX sound algorithms to help shape sound effects. However, this algorithm can be used for either sound or light, and the /. article you linked doesn't give us much information about how, or even whether, CL pressued id into supporting EAX for Doom.

Carmack says "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...' This suggests that his stance against CL is moral (and he is RIGHT!) and that he didn't want to allow CL to provide EAX support for the game because of their habit of patenting common game-dev algos. He relented, he claims, because it would not be good for gamers. Again, he is probably right ... CL has huge market share, and EAX does make games sound better on their hardware.

statik wrote:
Sounds like they got a little pissy because Doom3 doesn't need a fancy CL card to sound good.


We don't know that. However, I would say that CL patents these algorithms in order to ensure that their products have superior market penetration and branding. When Doom3 says "Supports EAX", most users will assume that having EAX will make their gaming experience better. By holding the patent over their heads, CL can force id to integrate EAX support into the game.

statik wrote:
Now they've probably made one of the worst PR mistakes possible. I say boycott CL. I for one will never buy any of their products again.


I doubt this will hurt them, but I agree with you completely. So much for my new Audigy purchase ... I am never buying from CL again until they release the patents for algos they didn't create and for which there is obvious prior art available. I am stunned this got by the patent board, to be honest. :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 1:37 pm 
King of All Voodoo2 Cards
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I've been boycotting Creative since they switch over to that proprietary RAM back on the AWE64 Gold. Then they made up for it by allowing you to allocate system memory instead.

So I got a SB Live X-Gamer 5.1 and it had to be the worse soundcard I have ever bought.

I've been using Hercules and Turtle Beach since. Also been eyeballing M-Audio as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:44 pm 
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Quote:
Well, since CL doesn't produce games, it isn't terribly surprising that they haven't produced any that use this algorithm, is it?


Exactly my point, why patent software algorithms you're not going to use? Maybe because you're a greedy monopoly that needs even more market share? Look at what CL did to Aureal, sued them into the ground, bought out their IP, and what do we get stuck with--EAX?! Shitty drivers?! No thanks.

Quote:
CL has huge market share, and EAX does make games sound better on their hardware.


Well, in Doom3 apparantly EAX does not make it sound better since all of the sound processing is done in game and only incurs a minimal CPU hit (according to the recent PC Gamer article). So if Doom3 doesn't need a CL sound card I think it's safe to say that the next wave of games using the doom3 engine won't need one either. Basically a big F*** U to CL. So when they pull this software patent BS, it pretty much sounds like they will do anything to get their logo on the game box.

It really is too bad John Carmack didn't take more of a stand, but if you read up on it, the alternative algorithm he developed was slower and took two passes vs the one pass using the carmack's reverse algorithm. that's what he means by not wanting to hurt the users. so in a way they are forced to pony up to CL. at least they don't have to pay them, only incorporate their branding or whatnot.

all in all I think the only way to help fix a situation like this lies within the community. If we're vocal enough about it and quit supporting CL they'll be forced to listen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:13 pm 
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statik wrote:
Quote:
Well, since CL doesn't produce games, it isn't terribly surprising that they haven't produced any that use this algorithm, is it?


Exactly my point, why patent software algorithms you're not going to use? Maybe because you're a greedy monopoly that needs even more market share? Look at what CL did to Aureal, sued them into the ground, bought out their IP, and what do we get stuck with--EAX?! Shitty drivers?! No thanks.


Well, they do use the algos .. that is what I was trying to explain. They use them in hardware and software (drivers) for EAX.

Also, they are not a monopoly. If they were, you wouldn't have any alternatives. Even MS isn't a monopoly, though many would disagree .. but there are transparent alternatives to CL.

I'm not saying the company doesn't suck ... it does! ... I just want you to hate them for the right reasons. ;)

statik wrote:
Well, in Doom3 apparantly EAX does not make it sound better since all of the sound processing is done in game and only incurs a minimal CPU hit (according to the recent PC Gamer article). So if Doom3 doesn't need a CL sound card I think it's safe to say that the next wave of games using the doom3 engine won't need one either. Basically a big F*** U to CL. So when they pull this software patent BS, it pretty much sounds like they will do anything to get their logo on the game box.


I didn't know that about the excellent sound processing done in-game in Doom3 ... very good to know. :) Nonetheless, that last sentence is exactly what I said in my last post: it sounds like they are using the patents to pressue software companies to put "EAX support!" on their boxes to increase hardware sales. Dirty pool, IMO.

statik wrote:
It really is too bad John Carmack didn't take more of a stand, but if you read up on it, the alternative algorithm he developed was slower and took two passes vs the one pass using the carmack's reverse algorithm. that's what he means by not wanting to hurt the users. so in a way they are forced to pony up to CL. at least they don't have to pay them, only incorporate their branding or whatnot.


Yep.

statik wrote:
all in all I think the only way to help fix a situation like this lies within the community. If we're vocal enough about it and quit supporting CL they'll be forced to listen.


Yep.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:36 pm 
Boy in Black
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Exactly my point, why patent software algorithms you're not going to use?

Well, maybe someday Unicef will start making video cards. Until then, they need to make money and protect their interest. Maybe someday they'll use it, maybe not. But you must protect your patents or it's all useless to even keep the rights.

I have 3 patents, and one has just been requested for use after sitting on it for 8 years. I didn't use it, but I'm sure someone else would eventually get to it. I won't ever boycott someone for sticking up for their patented products. Why don't we boycott the idiots that make FarCry so hard to install on PC's with imaging devices instead??? There's better fish to fry than CL...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:06 pm 
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Chumly wrote:
Exactly my point, why patent software algorithms you're not going to use?


They DO use the algo, though. The real question is ... how can they patent an algorithm that has clear cases of prior art, and is named after someone else (Carmack).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:48 pm 
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I've been in the Creative boycott for a long time. Stop using it when I used to own the SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 card.

Since then I've own my Hercules GTXP. Only shitty part of the card is the drivers. And they stop developing drivers for it. Only reason I still use it is the breaker box. Really handy. Don't have to hassle unplugging cords behind the computer.

But M-Audio/Terrerac (sp?) solution is looking good.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:18 am 
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found a statement from CL on the whole issue:

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=17525

To Quote:

Quote:
Like any company Creative owns a number of technology patents and like any company we need to ensure that our patents are protected. Simply allowing another company to knowingly use a patent you own weakens your position and future claims against infringement.


I'm not a lawyer but that smells like BS to me. It seems to me they could have just as easily let it go but they took advantage of the situation, even if id did approach them first.

I do agree with chumly and Creative the patents should be protected. REAL patents however. These software patents are ridiculous (note that it is spelled correctly). Carmack and at least two others came up with this algorithm around the same time. Its possible creative came up with it first, or maybe they just saw it and patented it because it seemed like a good idea.

Ultimateley they're making off with ideas that should be free. Maybe that's just a little too altruistic for corporate america though and I quote from that article:

Quote:
So we come to John Carmack's comments on Beyond3D. It seems to be his philosophy that patents should not exist. Certainly id are altruistic in making their game engines public (crucially after a certain period of time has elapsed), but that is a unique stance and frankly outside the scope of this discussion. However, as can be seen from this example Creative created a graphics technique in 1999 and despite the pace of graphics development it is still applicable 5 years later. The same cannot be said for game engines - no matter how good they are when they first launch".


Right then. What other basic game mechanics can we patent that will still be applicable in 5 years? How about side-scrolling? I'm sure they could've made a lot of money on that one. The point is that these patents hinder development. Maybe not in this instance since you're dealing with a developer like id software. but what about the small-timers? or companies with similar patents. they could easily stifle innovation out of want for their own good. and that hurts all of us in the long run.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:02 am 
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Creative Labs did make graphics cards at one point. I had the CL Banshee. (Voodoo 2 based)

So maybe at that point in time they were designing a new card of their own and came up with that technique and patended it.

Remember, for good or bad, Creative Labs is in business to make money. That money they make goes into research and developement of new products. And if they didn't make new products we'd be stuck with an 8bit sound card that only handles two speakers... if we're lucky.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 4:14 pm 
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Satchboy wrote:
Creative Labs did make graphics cards at one point. I had the CL Banshee. (Voodoo 2 based)

So maybe at that point in time they were designing a new card of their own and came up with that technique and patended it.

Remember, for good or bad, Creative Labs is in business to make money. That money they make goes into research and developement of new products. And if they didn't make new products we'd be stuck with an 8bit sound card that only handles two speakers... if we're lucky.


They put someone else's chips on a card and sold it .. perfectly legitimate, but they didn't create the technology in those cards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 7:55 pm 
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statik wrote:
I'm not a lawyer but that smells like BS to me. It seems to me they could have just as easily let it go but they took advantage of the situation, even if id did approach them first.


Unfortunately it's not. If you hold a patent and someone infringes on it, but you want to be friendly towards them and therefore don't pursue it. Later on down the road when someone else infringes that you decide to enforce, legally your situation is greatly weakened. I'm sure that Chams can fill in the legal mumbo-jumbo on it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 3:07 am 
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Jipstyle wrote:
They put someone else's chips on a card and sold it .. perfectly legitimate, but they didn't create the technology in those cards.


That's what I said. But if you read the whole post I mentioned maybe they were designing a NEW card to sell so at that point they could have come up with that new tech.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:18 pm 
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Creative has been quietly gobbling up a lot of patents from other companies both through buying out the patent, and through buying out the company completely. It is not entirely clear that they are subsuming patent rights from prior art, but I can tell you for a fact that they have been devoting a lot of time and effort into buying patent rights for anything and everything sound related that they can.

And yes, failure to enforce patent rights can be taken by a court as GIVING UP patent rights. Companies are forced in this fashion to defend their patent rights against EVERYONE, or else run the risk of relinquishing it entirely to ANYONE.


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 Post subject: CL
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 4:57 am 
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Why didn't Carmack patent the algorithm?

I might abandon creative too.


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 Post subject: Re: CL
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:35 am 
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gs50401 wrote:
Why didn't Carmack patent the algorithm?


Carmack believes that patenting intellectual property artificially stifles the growth of the software industry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:37 pm 
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ok....I wasnt born with a math gene, but wouldnt patenting an alogrithm be like trying to patent Pi....3.14? :P

An aside: CL just bought out 2 British soundbd companies(dont remember the names) clearing the field of competetion even more.

Fold Until A Cure


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:14 pm 
Java Junkie
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Brvhrt wrote:
ok....I wasnt born with a math gene, but wouldnt patenting an alogrithm be like trying to patent Pi....3.14? :P


No.

Brvhrt wrote:
An aside: CL just bought out 2 British soundbd companies(dont remember the names) clearing the field of competetion even more.

Fold Until A Cure


I don't have a problem with that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:38 pm 
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Jipstyle wrote:
Brvhrt wrote:
ok....I wasnt born with a math gene, but wouldnt patenting an alogrithm be like trying to patent Pi....3.14? :P


No.

Brvhrt wrote:
An aside: CL just bought out 2 British soundbd companies(dont remember the names) clearing the field of competetion even more.

Fold Until A Cure


I don't have a problem with that.


Well Pilgrim, when ther'e only CL making sound bds and they can charge whatever they want to, you might. Or least I would. Think about what you would be paying for an Inel chip if AMD wasnt around or what you would pay for a video bd if ATI and NVidia werent in competition. Not to mention what would happen to the quality of the said products.


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