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> A sad day for fangame makers: Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc
Beastin_Shen
post Jun 14 2012, 06:15 PM
Post #31


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rosti and his sensibility, i wasted money on my pitchfork


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caffeine
post Jun 14 2012, 07:25 PM
Post #32


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QUOTE(Rosti_LFC @ Jun 13 2012, 04:42 PM) *

This is covered in the legal document (page 31, about halfway down):
In short, yeah, you're perfectly fine to use a playing field that is taller than it is wide. But you're not fine to use one that is exactly 20x10, or at least not when you're nicking a whole load of other stuff at the same time.

I don't understand how this contradicts my point. Having a 10x20 playfield is functional. Trade dress is meant to protect against competitors using design choices that do not contribute to the utility or function of the product. A 10x20 playfield is logical in the context of the idea behind Tetris and cannot be protected by trade dress.

Consider the following games and their playfield dimensions:
  • Puyo Puyo: 6x12
  • Puzzle fighter: 6x12
  • Dr. Mario: 8x16
Notice something? They all have a 1:2 width by height ratio. This is because this is a logical aesthetic used by many falling block genre games: clearly scene-a-faire. This is not just some superficial design that Tetris uses to distinguish its product from others, so it cannot be protected by trade dress.

Those games mostly use dominoes. Tetris uses tetrominoes, so it makes sense to have a wider playfield. Once again, having it 10 units wide is bona fide de jure functional. Too narrow and the game becomes too difficult. Too wide and the game becomes too easy.
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Rosti_LFC
post Jun 14 2012, 07:41 PM
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QUOTE(caffeine @ Jun 14 2012, 07:25 PM) *

Once again, having it 10 units wide is bona fide de jure functional. Too narrow and the game becomes too difficult. Too wide and the game becomes too easy.

And like I said, if they'd done any sort of actual game design they could have maybe passed off the idea that it's the playing field size that works best. But they didn't, so the argument of "that is the optimal field size and Tetris shouldn't have a monopoly on it" falls because in reality they put no thought into it whatsoever and just copied whatever field size official Tetris games use.

I don't feel they're taking each individual element and saying "you stole this element and we are not deeming it functional" (as much as that's how it comes across in the case report, but with the way legal cases work there's not really another way of doing it). It's the combination of stealing pretty much all functional elements in the exact same format and combination as official Tetris games, and trying to make money from it. Steal the pieces but change the well size? Not Tetris. Keep the 20x10 well size but use a couple of extra unique pieces? Not Tetris. Copy all of the above and more exactly how Tetris does it? That's Tetris.

Also note that this in the first section of the document, and is copyright stuff - not trade dress.
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Paul676
post Jun 14 2012, 07:41 PM
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wouldn't wider make it harder and narrower make it easier?


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caffeine
post Jun 14 2012, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE(Rosti_LFC @ Jun 14 2012, 02:41 PM) *

Copy all of the above and more exactly how Tetris does it? That's Tetris.

It is not a question of "is it Tetris?" or not. It's a question of "is it protected by copyright and/or trade dress?" When the feature or even combination of features serve a function that is important to the quality of the product, then it cannot be protected. This is explained in the PDF. The court ruled that "these elements are not mandated by the use or purpose of the game because numerous other choices are available to a game designer without affecting the functionality of the game." My point is that these elements are in fact mandated by the use and purpose of the game. For some reason Xio failed to show this, and that is why I believe they lost.

QUOTE(Paul676 @ Jun 14 2012, 02:41 PM) *

wouldn't wider make it harder and narrower make it easier?

A wider playfield offers more options to the player. This is why it's easier to stack up a side 4-wide than a middle 4-wide. Splitting the 6-wide stack into two 3-wide stacks gives the player less space to work with. It's a tighter fit.
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Paul676
post Jun 14 2012, 08:43 PM
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that's because you've got gaps either side. You can skim the hell out of a thin one but not a wide one. You need to play perfect for more to get a wide line.


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caffeine
post Jun 14 2012, 09:11 PM
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For every column more you give the player, you're also giving him at least one extra placement that he didn't have before. The more potential placements a player has, the more options. The more options, the less he'll get stuck playing a bad placement that creates a hole.

This is easy to demonstrate. With the bag randomizer and hold, it's easy enough for an experienced player to score consecutive Tetrises without creating field instabilities. Without those instabilities, there's no need to skim off singles, doubles, and/or triples.

I'm saying it's more difficult to play in a narrower playfield. Let's test out a 6-wide playfield.



What about a 4-wide field?



I played normally without going backwards to find an alternative placement that would work. To me, this is clearly more difficult to play without creating holes than with a 10-wide playfield.

P.S. I'm not claiming these two examples as a be all and end all proof. They're just to illustrate why less options make the game more difficult.
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Paul676
post Jun 14 2012, 10:09 PM
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I agree it's harder to stack for tetrises, but I'd say it's easier to clear lines in a thinner field, and thus harder to die.


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caffeine
post Jun 14 2012, 11:14 PM
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I downloaded Colin Fahey's Tetris AI program. I tweaked the settings to narrow the playfield and ran some games using Pierre Dellacherie's algorithm. After 10 games, the algorithm completed an average of 413 lines on a 6x20 playfield. It completed an average of 3,956 lines on an 8x10 playfield. I started a game of 10x20, but gave up after it cleared around 40,000 lines without topping out. According to Fahey's website, Pierre Dellacherie's algorithm plays an average of 631,167 lines before topping out on a 10x20 playfield. This clearly shows that widening the playfield makes it easier to survive.

CODE
Game # 6-w   8-w

1      575   4682
2      369   1243
3      759   2711
4      85    8077
5      156   2595
6      825   1417
7      108   1854
8      830   9829
9      191   1307
10     231   5846
        
Avr    412.9 3956.1
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XaeL
post Jun 14 2012, 11:47 PM
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I'm pretty sure that it is easier to upstack in a wider playfield. (i.e. sing player).

However for multiplayer, you need higher downstack efficiency to "dig" the same amount of garbage (i.e. u need more pieces to go down). It is easier to "dig" with more columns but u require more pieces.


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QUOTE(Paradox @ Dec 16 2010 @ 05:52 PM)
Like many setups here, it is useful if your opponent doesn't move and you get 4 Ts in a row.
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caffeine
post Jun 14 2012, 11:53 PM
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QUOTE(XaeL @ Jun 14 2012, 06:47 PM) *

However for multiplayer, you need higher downstack efficiency to "dig" the same amount of garbage (i.e. u need more pieces to go down). It is easier to "dig" with more columns but u require more pieces.

Widening the playfield would favor downstacking even further. Clearing a garbage row requires one piece. Clearing an upstack row requires x/4 pieces, where x =the number of columns wide. As x increases, the number of pieces needed to clear a row of upstack also increases.
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Paul676
post Jun 15 2012, 12:50 AM
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I'm thinking single rather than multi. Just in terms of survival. You aren't telling me that a 3x20 playfield is harder to survive in than 20x20? (I would spawn vertical...)


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caffeine
post Jun 15 2012, 12:55 AM
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QUOTE(Paul676 @ Jun 14 2012, 07:50 PM) *

I'm thinking single rather than multi. Just in terms of survival. You aren't telling me that a 3x20 playfield is harder to survive in than 20x20? (I would spawn vertical...)

I'm sorry but I fail to see your reasoning. Did you see my post concerning the AI tests?
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Paul676
post Jun 15 2012, 02:11 AM
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Yes, they were irrelevant. I don't care how clean the stack is if you wanna tetris. I agree with you on that, it stands to reason. I'm saying that for most people, who can't stack well, a narrower well (we're talking 3 or 4 wide here) is easier to stack in (I'm talking freeform stacking).


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caffeine
post Jun 15 2012, 02:17 AM
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I'm sorry. I guess I should've been clearer. The AI in question is optimized for survival. It rarely makes Tetrises.
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