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Letters To The Editor: 'Copyrights, Prestige, & Floating Points'

Gamasutra has recently had further interesting feedback to some of our notable features and opinion pieces, as collected through our
November 02, 2006
Gamasutra has recently had further interesting feedback to some of our notable features and opinion pieces, as collected through our Letters to the Editor, so here's the newest weekly roundup, with some of the reactions you might have missed. Click through on each link (free reg. req.) for the full Letter. A wide variety of articles have been responded to in our most recent letters, starting with Ernest Adams' still-popular highbrow games series, with reader J. Spartan submitting one more title that might be perfect as a high brow game: softedge's Cosmology Of Kyoto, which Wikipedia sums up like so: "Cosmology of Kyoto is an existential game where the player, from a first person perspective, must explore ancient Kyoto city in Japan... During the game you will often die after being attacked by evil demons or robbers, and will then go to one of the realms of reincarnation depending upon your conduct in that life. Once you escape hell and are reborn, you must take the clothes from your last body to continue." John Andersen's recent Ripping Off Japan Soapbox feature left at least one reader still a bit confused, with Will Jennings asking: "It was my understanding that copyrights protect the expression of an idea, so that game mechanics are not copyrightable. There would be nothing illegal about the CBC's Flash games or Zuma if that's correct. Is that mistaken?" In response, we note that further discussion on the matter has been ongoing via our sister site GameSetWatch, with another Gamasutra follow-up coming tomorrow (Friday) from game lawyer Gregory Boyd, so stay tuned for that. Turning to our recent coverage of the Serious Games Summit, and Jack Emmert's City Of Heroes related keynote in particular. In it, Emmert noted that the feature the team had been most proud of, with the greatest opportunity for player creativity and expression which ended up being near-flatly ignored, was the game's base-creation. Though Emmert took it as a sign that players still desire content created for them, reader 'Infernus Hades' adds a different perspective on why bases didn't catch on, and of the curious power relationships that have evolved: "Player Arenas, Bases that take HUGE amounts of “Prestige” to afford the simplest of items, unbalanced PvP that changed the very game play in PvE. He shows surprise at the neglected bases and yet the player base told the developers what was wrong and how to fix it. Let me explain the concept if you have not played the game. Bases are available at level 10 when you create a Super Group (SG). The mistakes that were made were both many and obvious. First mistake: In an SG you enter SG MODE to apply your Prestige to a group. Now you can’t earn Prestige unless you are in an SG and in SG MODE. After level 25 you will earn less and less Influence (the currency you use to purchase Power Upgrades) until you reach about level 30 when you will receive NO influence at all. Why does this matter? Enhancements to powers are expensive. So what has happened is the SG has not become a center of community. It is all about making Prestige grinding machines. Most SGs will randomly invite anyone at all with no discernment or concern with whether this person is a good teammate. They enforce a policy of be in SG mode at all times or be kicked from the group. Now you have the top level players buying all of the Enhancements for everyone else. It becomes a master/slave relationship. You make Prestige for us and we buy you new stuff. You stop helping us and we either kick you or don’t buy you anything." Finally, Angus Graham has written in on our recent technical feature on 2D rendering engines, with his own technical addition: "Mr. Feng's exhortation to "for heaven's sake" avoid floating point math and use fixed point math instead is five or ten years out of date, since his engine is targeted at Windows machines that have had plenty fast coprocessors since the dawn of the Pentium age." For more reactions to be read and responded to, visit our letters page.

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