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https://www.google.com/patents/US20140038722

  1. A method of transforming a virtual entity from a first game to be useable in a second game comprising the steps of:

    a. Obtaining a set of created correlations between characteristics defining the virtual entity in the first game with characteristics available in the second game to define a virtual entity;

    b. applying the correlations to the characteristics defining the virtual entity in the first game to create a set correlated characteristics;

    c. creating a new virtual entity in the second game with the correlated characteristics

    d. the created correlations and applying the correlations to create the new virtual entity being independent of a player selection or input, and

    e. storing the created correlations in a non-transitory memory.

This appears to apply to video games in a series that allow you to import saves from previous games. Mass Effect 2 (2010) is a recent example. Quest for Glory 2 (1990) was one of the first games to allow this. Are these valid examples of prior art for this patent? Are there any earlier examples?

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4 Answers 4

What about all the character converters that have already been published?

Pathfinder

Shadowrun

Some homebrew converter

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I would think that Pokemon is another example of prior art, yes? It's possible to take a pokemon from Pokemon FireRed all the way through to Pokemon X.

I remember Baldur's Gate II allowed you to import your character from Baldur's Gate I, too. It even works on the modernized Enhanced Editions.

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I'm not exactly sure how prior art works in terms of if it has to be before the Filing Date or before the Publication Date (since in theory if someone created something without seeing your patent first it's not very novel). However, I'm the Lead Programmer at Roll20 (a tool for playing games online), and we rolled out a feature in July 2013 (so after the Filing but before Publication) that allows you to transfer RPG Characters between games, which is what this patent is for. Here's a blog post explaining it (we called it the "Transmogrifier"):

http://blog.roll20.net/post/55777585027/new-from-roll20-the-transmogrifier-inline-rolls-and

I may indeed have some internal prior art that would pre-date the Aug 2012 filing date as well, I'd have to look.

At any rate, hopefully lends toward the "this is obvious and not novel" argument, which I think strongly applies for this patent.

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Ultima 5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_V:_Warriors_of_Destiny) allowed the import of characters from Ultima 4. This was mentioned in a review http://spoonyexperiment.com/game-reviews/ultima-5-warriors-of-destiny/ around the 7:14 mark. The game was made in 1988.

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Going back further, Bards Tale 2 (1986) imported characters from Ultima (3?) and Wizardry of the same era. Given that they were all D&D knock-offs, the translation was minimal, but it's still there. –  Sean McSomething Jun 19 at 4:54

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