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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 3:43 pm 
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http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=940813

I think this means that Gameboy emulators will now be under control by Nintendo. Nintendo can remove them at any time. They're ruining the fun. And there's nothing we can do :(


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 5:21 pm 
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The only parts of a patent with any legal weight are the dates and claims. Here's the key claim:
Patrick J. Link of Nintendo wrote:
17. A method of adapting an emulator, the method comprising: executing, on a processor, an emulator capable of running a plurality different binary applications; recognizing, by the processor, an identity of a binary application based on an inspection of the binary application; automatically adapting, by the processor, a behavior of the emulator to the binary application based on the recognized identity of the binary application; and generating, by the processor, an audio visual presentation using the adapted behavior of the emulator.

So the patent covers automatic enabling of speed/accuracy tradeoff options in an emulator based on a ROM's hash. Nintendo has been kicking this one around in the USPTO for a long time. Fortunately, the Game Boy is a fairly simple system, and emulators should be able to run every official game (other than perhaps Prehistorik Man) without hacks. Any emulator that can run homebrew should be immune to the patent.

The other part of a patent is the dates, which determine when the patent expires. Patents filed in 1996 or later expire 20 years after the priority date, which in the case of this patent appears to be 2000 or so. I don't see how this patent is going to have a usefully long term.


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 6:06 pm 
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tepples wrote:
Any emulator that can run homebrew should be immune to the patent.

Okay thank you very much! Now I can go and start developing for GBC.


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 11:59 pm 
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tepples wrote:
Patrick J. Link of Nintendo wrote:
17. A method of adapting an emulator, the method comprising: executing, on a processor, an emulator capable of running a plurality different binary applications; recognizing, by the processor, an identity of a binary application based on an inspection of the binary application; automatically adapting, by the processor, a behavior of the emulator to the binary application based on the recognized identity of the binary application; and generating, by the processor, an audio visual presentation using the adapted behavior of the emulator.

So the patent covers automatic enabling of speed/accuracy tradeoff options in an emulator based on a ROM's hash.

Even though the patent talks about Gameboy, those claims sound more applicable to N64 emulators...

tepples wrote:
The other part of a patent is the dates, which determine when the patent expires. Patents filed in 1996 or later expire 20 years after the priority date, which in the case of this patent appears to be 2000 or so. I don't see how this patent is going to have a usefully long term.

When did emulators start using hashes and such to enable game-specific hacks? There might be prior art that would invalidate this patent.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 5:07 am 
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Probably about as early as emulation became popular (which would be late '90s). Does anybody know if any emulator from the same era as Genecyst or Nesticle did it?

EDIT: wait, this patent was filed in 2014, so that completely destroys it in terms of prior art (・_・) The real deal would be the older one then.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:52 am 
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Sik wrote:
EDIT: wait, this patent was filed in 2014, so that completely destroys it in terms of prior art (・_・) The real deal would be the older one then.

Check the priority date. This is a continuation of a fairly old patent application.


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 11:22 am 
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tepples wrote:
So the patent covers automatic enabling of speed/accuracy tradeoff options in an emulator based on a ROM's hash. Nintendo has been kicking this one around in the USPTO for a long time. Fortunately, the Game Boy is a fairly simple system, and emulators should be able to run every official game (other than perhaps Prehistorik Man) without hacks. Any emulator that can run homebrew should be immune to the patent.


Ah. Well, I agree not to do automatic enabling of speed/accuracy tradeoff options in an emulator based on a ROM's hash anyways, because I believe it is not a good idea anyways (except perhaps Nintendo's own emulators). And certainly any correct implementation needs to be able to run homebrew games as well as the official games (with accuracy), otherwise the implementation is not correct.

But, I think I may have read somewhere that there is a few official games where the header won't tell you the mapper properly (there isn't the way to do so it seems); I consider it OK for a software implementation (but not for a hardware implementation) to fail to execute these programs correctly. To make the implementation complete though, there would need to be some way of specifying such files (perhaps support to add one additional "mapper override" file which specifies various parameters that you can set for the game).

_________________
.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:08 pm 
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zzo38 wrote:
But, I think I may have read somewhere that there is a few official games where the header won't tell you the mapper properly (there isn't the way to do so it seems)

Correct. The iNES header won't distinguish StarTropics from Low G Man, and the common emulator hack of ignoring the MMC3's WRAM disable and write protect bits to get MMC6 games working breaks LGM. Nor is there a reliable way to distinguish SOROM and SXROM from SNROM and SUROM, or distinguish among the various VRC bit assignments.

But fortunately, I today discovered that the official site for iNES (fms.komkon.org) has gone NXDOMAIN. This leaves NES 2.0, which clearly distinguishes MMC3 from MMC6 and the MMC1 boards from one another by their WRAM size, and which has submappers for the VRCs.
Edit: As of the next morning, it was back up. The DNS server must have gone down.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:44 am 
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The site going down doesn't mean the format will stop being used anyway =P (especially with all the existing dumps)


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