The mapping of playing objects from one game to another
A very intriguing patent filed by 3DO eleven years ago: Networked computer game system with persistent playing objects (William M. Hawkins, Oren J. Tversky, Nick Robins, Stewart K. Hester):
Abstract: The mapping of playing objects from one game to another. In one embodiment, generic attributes of an object may be mapped to game-specific attributes. The mapping may either change or maintain the look and feel of an object. For example, a fast but lightly-armed starship in one game may be mapped to a quick but weak warrior in another game. (...) In one embodiment, the playing objects have an existence and value outside of any individual game. (...) Modification of a playing objects either inside or outside a game may be done by mutation, replication, recombination, etc.(...) In yet another aspect, playing objects are persistently modified over time. Such modifications can arise either through game play or by on-line acquisition of improvements, or by another mechanism.
Look at the examples they give:
"could be used in other programs such as screen saver, or as audio/visual addressing in e-mail messages (...) they may be viewed in a browser or traded in a marketplace. They may be represented by cards, action figures or other physical items"
Why do I blog this? There is more to read in the patent description but this is interesting for various reasons: (1) the concept of moving objects (and characters) form virtual worlds to others is relevant in terms of the user experience of how digital environments can intersect, (2) to see WHO has the patent (for the record 3DO is a defunct company), (3) the continuum between virtual spaces and physical instantiation is present, which is quite in line with current trends.