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About MattHeaton

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  1. Several people I'm FB friends with have changed their profile pictures to them wearing Google glasses. The Borg is assimilated us.
  2. MattHeaton

    Patent trolls attacking small indie developers

      The SHIELD ACT currently in debate in congress does not affect the patents themselves but rather the litigation over them.  The loser of the litigation would be required to pay attorney fees, which is currently not the case.  And since the trolls loose about 95% of the time it goes to trial they would have more at risk.  Companies feel much better about pressing the issue to trial if they their fees would get reimbursed.  It also requires the patent hold if they meet the troll criteria defined in the bill to put up a $50k bond prior to filing the lawsuit.  This to effectively shut them out of litigating against small targets in mass.     Alas this bill will still be a few months from passing and won't affect suits already filed so their appears to be a mad rush by the trolls to get any suits filed before hand.
  3. MattHeaton

    Patent trolls attacking small indie developers

      Pubpat (Public Patent Foundation) is providing support against some other trolls going after app developers.  I've contacted them about this now troll, threatening game developers.  So far I know of 6 other small game developers who received threats of litigation from Treehouse over this patent.  I can only assume the real number is at least 10x that.
  4. MattHeaton

    Patent trolls attacking small indie developers

    Yes, the patent would very clearly be ruled invalid, there's many problems with it in addition to decades of prior art.  The problem is the trolls know the cost/time it takes for someone to get it to court where it can be ruled invalid is huge.  So that's their leverage, it will cost you more to fight it than to simply give in and settle.  Even though they know full well the patent would get blown up at trial. That's why they are trying to pick on smaller game developers.  They have even less resources at their disposal to fight, so make easy victims.
  5. Well this past week I've encountered a completely new challenge or annoyance to game development, besides designing, building, promoting and marketing a game. The attack of the patent trolls...   Last Friday I discovered a legal packet from one Treehouse Avatar Technologies saying I was in violation of their patents and threatening litigation if I didn't submit to licensing terms. The patent itself is one of those patents that should never have been issued, but well, we've got a fucked up patent system. More or less is patents the storing of game character information in a database and displaying it in a user interface over a network.  http://www.google.com/patents/US8180858 Treehouse also made waves by filing a lawsuit against Turbine the makers of the Lord of the Rings Online over this patent back in the fall and I can only assume is doing the same with any developer/publisher in the MMO industry.  http://www.joystiq.com/2012/10/12/tr...atent-granted/ What is a head scratcher is how I'm even on their radar given my size. My only guess they are trying to shakedown some small game developers and intimidate them into licensing or settlement to rack up a few easy wins to fund going after the big guys.   In the past two days I've heard from at least three other small game developers that have received the same threat of litigation from Treehouse.  Pretty disgusted by the whole thing.     I went public with the whole thing in hopes that other small game developers who might be intimidated by the letter and just roll over to their bullshit demands will come forward.   http://gamepolitics.com/2013/07/08/treehouse-targets-indie-studio-threat-patent-infringement-lawsuit   http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/1hvlnb/patent_troll_threatens_small_game_developers/   James Fudge, the editor of GamePolitics and part of the ECA is trying to identify other developers that have received these threats.  If you have you can contact him at james(at)theeca(dot)com
  6. Hornets nest has been kicked, this should be interesting...
  7. MattHeaton

    The History of Starpires

    Right now the biggest work item of the game is to simplify the UI. It looks great but it's complexity is turning off a lot of new players.
  8. MattHeaton

    The History of Starpires

    It's a HTML/CSS/AJAX front end with Ruby on Rails and Postgres on the back end. I'm probably going to swap out Postgres for either MondoDB or CouchDB at some point in the near future.
  9. MattHeaton


    Making progress on the game, just surpassed 300 players. Launched a blog for the game at http://starpires.com/blog
  10. MattHeaton

    The History of Starpires

    [color="#AAAAAA"][font="verdana"]Back in the early 90?s I was an avid fan of BBS games. For anybody is too young, or actually had a life back then, BBS's where basically the pre-Internet social networks. You dialed into them using a modem (this should make you cringe), so slow you literally could watch the individual characters rendering on the screen. Just like today's social networks one of the most heavily used features of BBS's (well, other than high schoolers downloading highly pixelated pictures of naked women) was online multi-player gaming.[/font][/color] [color="#AAAAAA"][font="verdana"] One of the most popular games and to this day the most addictive game I ever played was a space themed, strategy game called Solar Realms Elite. It was turned based, so you got X turns each day to build your empire, attack other players and move up the high scores list. Everyday I sat at school, and all I could think about was getting home to play my turns for the day. Of course I would get home from school, and attempt to dial into the BBS to be met with that @*#$ing dial tone. Someone had beat me to it... As the Internet and world wide web became more mainstream, the BBS's vanished and so did my drug of choice. Over the next 15 years as I worked developing web applications, I frequently thought about building an Internet game based on SRE. While I spent lots of time thinking about how I would rebuild it and even starting on writing a port for it several times over the years I could never find the time that it would take to finish. With the recent success of a multitude of social and MMO games, I decided to revisit the idea, as well as my high school passion for game development. After several weeks of brainstorming I began development of a prototype under the working name Starpires in March. It only took a few weeks to get a fully functioning, basic HTML prototype working and I was able to convince a few dozen friends to give it a try. The response was incredible and with the responses mirroring many of my own memories of how addicting the game was. "I can't wait for my next turn", "Is there anyway to get more turns right now?" I decided it was promising enough to dedicate a substantial amount of time to turn Starpires into a polished game and launch it to a wider audience. I was able to locate a very talented graphic designer (Nenad), who began working on a graphical skin to my basic text interface as I finished up the remaining features. Initial sketch of the proposed graphics Of course like almost every development project, what I hoped would take about a month to complete up turned into two months and then three. Finally in July, I was able to find the time to finish implementing the graphical skin to the game and launch the beta version of Starpires to a wider audience. From the start I didn't envision Starpires being a static game, but rather one that evolves over time. Features will be added and game play will adjust to keep existing game players engaged and challenged. It's my baby that I've thought about conceiving for nearly two decades now, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes. So be sure to follow the Starpires blog for game and development process updates. Create your Galactic Empire [/font][/color]
  11. MattHeaton

    Starpires Screenshots

    Current screenshots from Starpires, a massive multiplayer, turn based, space strategy game. Want to rule the galaxy? http://starpires.com
  12. Just starting to explore gamedev.net
  13. MattHeaton


    Hi everyone, I wanted to post a game I've been working on for the past six month. Back in the early 90's I was totally addicted to a BBS doors game called Solar Realms Elite. It was a turn based empire building, resource management game set in space. I always wanted to make an modern MMO version of it. I started working on it several times over the last decade but could never find the time to finish it. Being unemployed the last several months gave me plenty of time to turn my idea into reality. I just launched it as a beta at http://starpires.com I'd love to get your feedback, not just on the game itself but ideas about how to market and spread it. Thanks -Matt
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