Patent Trolls in the RPG industry

There is a patent application (by Universal Horizons) on how to move one RPG entity (Character) from one setting or game to another. The claims are quite general and can be applied to almost any existing conversion of RPG entities. This needs to be stopped, or we cannot use cross-genres or make RPGs from/to computer games (without paying fees) anymore.

More information and a link to the patent on the Bedroom Wall Press blog.

Since we have all moved characters, ships and weapons between different rules and settings we know of lots of examples of prior art (that may be used to stop such a patent).

Some examples of prior art include cross-genre games like GURPS or Lords of Creation. Another example is a conversion between Marvel Superheroes RPG and Marvel SAGA.  Another example is conversion from AD&D to D20 3.0. Another is the new Elite RPG based on the Elite computer game.

Examples for Traveller is rules for converting characters, ships, weapons, planets etc. for different rules. A simple example is that a type-A Starport in CT is called a type-V starport in GT. In GURPS Traveller, Chapter-6 is about converting Characters from other Traveller versions (have a look in the preview-PDF if you don’t have that book). Another Traveller example is the CounterStrike rules that converts Traveller Ships to another format usable for large-scale operations.

So this is important for Traveller and other RPGs and there are prior art examples for both Traveller and other RPGs.

When people started complaining and discussing the subject on Universal Horizons facebook page they started removing critical comments. Just like any other evil or malicious company would have.

Trying to patent something like this isn’t a good idea. The RPG community gets quite upset since we have been converting between different systems for ages. We will not let Universal Horizons stop us. Universal Horizons still have a lot of explaining to do… Then they must remove their claims!

Universal Horizons

Tamhtadlieqr (Tam) Doka’rune

Spinward Traveller – Kickstarter Project

There is a new Traveller Kickstarter project to support. There is finally going to be a Traveller Movie, or at least a T.V. Pilot or a 22 minutes short film. :-)

The producer is (the in some RPG circles controversial) Ken Whitman, known from Imperium Games. With the help from Marc Miller as the Executive Producer I am sure this is going to fly.

I do hope they can make this movie look good. The preview looks a bit cheap. I hope they can come up with a few better tricks when they are funded. It is not impossible to do something great with a small budget. Just look what Samuli Torssonen managed to do with Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. I hope Ken and Marc can learn something from him. Or if this project gets over funded and find some sponsors, then hire him or Joss Whedon.

When looking at the clips at for the Kickstarter I hope they would change the Aslan that looks like a crossbreed (and her hands are all wrong), and the recoil of the laser blast. Unless the ship has had a massive mis-jump, we shouldn’t see the galaxy in the “Possible Spinward Traveller Show Opening”.

Kristin Pelletier cast as Tamhtadlieqr (Tam) Doka’runeThe background story that is presented is interesting. This could be as good as Firefly without feeling as a copy of it. (In my opinion Firefly is already a copy of Traveller.)

My favorite character is already Tamhtadlieqr “Tam” Doka’rune played by Kristin Pelletier. She looks like a very convincing (and good-looking) Zhodani. I really like to meet her. But then I have to support this Kickstarter at the most expensive vanity levels… When it comes to the acting, so far, I like the facial expressions of Jon Spinward played by Brian Lewis. I hope that Ken and Marc can see the humour in the situation that Jon is in and to make him as hilarious as Arnold Judas Rimmer from Red Dwarf.

All images in this post used with permission from Ken Whitman.

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