No Man’s Sky developers Hello Games have hit another bump on the path to reaching the shelves, this time in the form of a patent issue. The game went gold recently, which means it is ready to start production, but now a Dutch company who own the patent to a “Superformula” that has been used in the games development have come forward and are objecting to unapproved use of the formula.
University of Antwerp professor Johan Gielis developed the formula in the early 2000’s and has patented it both in the EU and the US. The formula provides a way to create landscapes using limited computer resources meaning 3D modellers can quickly and easily generate land.
Sean Murray, creator of Hello Games does not dispute the fact that he and his team used the formula to help with the development of No Man’s Sky. In a feature from The New Yorker last year, Murray discussed the superformula with the interviewer at certain points and said, ‘This sounds ridiculous, but it is hard to find a formula that you can rely on” before adding, “The Superformula appeared to be reliable.”
The use of this Superformula has now been objected by Gielis and his corporation Genicap as it has been used without their input as reported by ArsTechnica. Although it is near impossible to patent a formula itself, it is possible to patent the applications of a formula. The patent for the formula covers graphics programs (e.g., 2D, 3D, etc.), CAD software, finite element analysis programs, wave generation programs, or other software which may prove bad news for No Man’s Sky.
Genicap have provided a statement that explained that it wishes to negotiate the use of the formula with Hello Games. Jeroen Sparrow of Genicap has said, “We believe No Man’s Sky is the beginning of a new generation of games. What Hello Games did with the formula is very impressive. Johan Gielis, the founder of Genicap and the one who discovered the superformula, is extremely proud.” This statement seems like the negotiations will be amicable but patent claims can take a long time and cost millions of pounds/dollars.
More news will be published as soon as Hello Games respond or more information is released.
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