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Dutch Company Claims it Owns No Man's Sky World Generation Formula [they don't]

DeepEnigma

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Dec 3, 2013
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UPDATE #2:

No Man’s Sky devs meeting with Dutch company to discuss patent claims

Eurogamer reached out to Sparrow today to find out how the situation currently stands, and things aren’t looking dire, so that’s good.

“There have been several sources and people (Sean Murray himself, among others) who have indicated more or less directly that the Superformula has been used,” he said.

“Yesterday Sean Murray invited us for a cup of coffee at Hello Games in order for him to clarify things. We will certainly do that.”
UPDATE:

From Sean Murray's Twitter:
https://twitter.com/NoMansSky/status/756889227095318528

No Man's Sky doesn't actually use this "superformula" thing or infringe a patent. This is a non-story... everybody chill
(シ_ _)シ

I wish Johan Gielis, the author, all the best in future. We're going to meet and chat maths once the game is out

I first seen it here...

Dutch Company Claims it Owns No Man's Sky World Generation Formula

According to the Telegraaf the Dutch company has invented what it calls a "superformula". The company claims that its formula is similar to the one used in No Man's Sky even though the company has never seen the game's source code. The game uses a formula that factors in the player's position in order to accurately and reliably generate the world around the player.

In the newspaper a representative of the company says it has tried to seek contact with the developer of the game, Hello Games, many times but says its requests for contact have been ignored ever since.

It is not surprising that the No Man's Sky developer has chosen to ignore the claims of the Dutch company. The formula that is used in the game is a custom built algorithm that is not closely related to the formula of the Dutch company. Both formulas are most likely based on the original Lamé Curves that was first discussed by Gabriel Lamé in 1818.
Found the article here...

Ruzie over formule super-game

Anyone who speaks Dutch can translate with Laymen's?

I'll give it a shot:

Eindhoven - While the whole world is under the spell of Pokemon Go, diehard gamers are feverishly anticipating No Man's Sky. However, a Dutch patent might cause the game to never reach stores.

An inexhaustible planetary system where the gamer can give names to plants and animals in the role of a space explorer might not sound very interesting to the average person, but for hardcore gamers expectations are sky-high.

When developer Hello Games delayed the game in june, some gamers couldn't handle it. Developer Sean Murray was even threatened by angry fans. "Gamers are very passionate people", explains game reviewer Jan Meijroos.

The fans' patience will be put to the test once again. The base of the near-infinite planetary system is a superformula developed by the Dutch company Genicap. Inquiry finds that Genicap has never given permission to use this formula.

"We haven't provided a license to Hello Games", states Jeroen Sparrow from the company, who emphasizes that the licensing system is put in place to protect its customers. "We don't want to stop the launch, but if the formula is used we'll need to have a talk."

Sean Murray confirmed in an interview with Business Insider in February that the planetary system was generated by the superformula. Sparrow denies that any contact occured with the two companies. "We are in the process of creating a game based on the superformula. It would be great if we could trade knowledge with Hello Games. We tried to contact them but didn't get any response."

According to IT-lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet this matter could cause a great problem for distributor Sony. "If there's indeed an infringement of the patent, there'll be a financial compensation and distribution will have to be ceased." Sony has not responded.
A little rundown:

Here is the article were the Superformula is mention it is at the bottom about 24 paragraphs down. The article in the OP doesn't mention the company nor does the original article from telegraaf.nl but after some googling I found this company Genicap that is co-owned by Johan Gielis who discovered the formula. Johan Gielis does have some patents that reference the formula but I know nothing of patents so I don't know if the patents can be used against No Man's Sky although there is something called the idea–expression divide that might protect Hello Games.
Procedurally close if you have a Ruzie with this.
 

Blam

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Jun 7, 2016
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Man these people love stirring up shit. Next they'll say that they own the generation code for Minecraft.

It's just for publicity.
 

noonespecial

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Sep 24, 2012
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So... now we can have patent trolls start suing over things that are *similar* to theirs? And if they have a a formula that factors in the player's position in order to accurately and reliably generate the world around the player" then basically ALL computer games do this - or at least open worlds. Maybe they should try to go after Rockstar instead? Oh yeah... Rockstar actually *has* money so could actually hire lawyers. And yes, I know that no one has said they are "suing" over this yet, but that is typically where this type of thing goes.

Patent trolls (and their ilk) are the scum of the Earth.
 

Nozem

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May 24, 2013
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This is interesting:

Sean Murray bevestigde in februari in een interview met Business Insider dat hij zijn planetenstelsel op basis van de superformule genereert.
Translation: Sean Murray confirmed in februari in an interview with Buisness Insider that he generates his solar systems based on "the superformula".
 

Boem

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Jun 16, 2012
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According to the Dutch article Sean Murray confirmed they based their work on the 'super formula' in an older interview.

I still think it's nonsense though.
 

Manbat

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Apr 25, 2015
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They just waited till production, and then the time was right to throw this in the media.
These people just want to see the world burn.
 

Veritigo_X

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Jan 12, 2010
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It sounds like the technique used by Hello Games and this Dutch company is the same as what Frontier used in the Elite games going back to the 80s.
 

CHC

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I just hope this shit doesn't get in the way of the game releasing. It's so obviously phony but legal issues can trip things up really badly, even if they're not based on anything in reality.
 

SG-17

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It sounds like the technique used by Hello Games and this Dutch company is the same as what Frontier used in the Elite games going back to the 80s.
Considering it's all based on the Lame Curves it wouldn't surprise me if there was some convergent evolution in their formulas.


Also, the Superformula is a preexisting piece of math that is based on the Lame Curve.


I don't know if anyone can claim ownership math, doesn't make sense that they could.
 

Fersis

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So the formula is patented?
If not, there's absolute no issue if two individuals develop similar formulas.

Considering it's all based on the Lame Curves it wouldn't surprise me if there was some convergent evolution in their formulas.
Also, the Superformula is a preexisting piece of math that is based on the Lame Curve.
I don't know if anyone can claim ownership math, doesn't make sense that they could.
Exactly, i dont know dutch but it sounds like they want some kind of retribution for the formula usage?
 

nortonff

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That's bullshit, I own it!
 

Wereroku

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Considering it's all based on the Lame Curves it wouldn't surprise me if there was some convergent evolution in their formulas.


Also, the Superformula is a preexisting piece of math that is based on the Lame Curve.


I don't know if anyone can claim ownership math, doesn't make sense that they could.
Also how is this company related to John Gielis. Sean Murray confirmed his formula is what they used to help generate the biological structures but from what I can read it is just a mathmatical formula I didn't think those can be patented.
 

bachikarn

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Can you patent a math formula ? I mean, I suppose it is an algorithm in software, and software patents are getting crazy.
 

OléGunner

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May 4, 2014
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First, Sky Corp try to say they own the trademark to the word "Sky" in the games title.

Now, some Dutch company wants to claim HG's world building algorithm.

Vultures everywhere.
 

truly101

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So the formula is patented?
If not, there's absolute no issue if two individuals develop similar formulas.


Exactly, i dont know dutch but it sounds like they want some kind of retribution for the formula usage?
They want retribution IN A PROCEDURAL GENERATED STEEL CAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

or restitution I guess.
 

SG-17

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Also how is this company related to John Gielis. Sean Murray confirmed his formula is what they used to help generate the biological structures but from what I can read it is just a mathmatical formula I didn't think those can be patented.
It would be stupid if you could. You don't create math, you discover it. It's like saying Scientist A at Fermi Labs owns Element X because he discovered it's existence.

Doesn't make sense to me.
 

wiibomb

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incredible... they kinda admitted it.
When Murray and the rest of the team plugged the Superformula into the game, it worked. Things that didn't have natural variety all of a sudden took on varied but still possible shapes. It was what they needed, or at least a major part of it.
although they mention a formula created in 2003 by John Gielis, a Belgum.
 

LordRaptor

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it is just a mathmatical formula I didn't think those can be patented.
In theory they should not be able to be, but sadly in practice they can and have been.

e: For example, Perlin noise is used a lot by indies for things like terrain procgen, where simplex noise is not because simplex noise is patented
 

Un4

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Article says they tried to contact Hello Games to talk about it and did not get any response. This is probably their next move to get their attention.

I really hope this will not screw with the release of the game.
 

Wereroku

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It would be stupid if you could. You don't create math, you discover it. It's like saying Scientist A at Fermi Labs owns Element X because he discovered it's existence.

Doesn't make sense to me.
In the US it seems you can't patent mathematical algorithms but I don't know about other countries.

Link

incredible... they kinda admitted it.

although they mention a formula created in 2003 by John Gielis, a Belgum.
Anyone know British patent law? In the US this wouldn't lead to anything but I am not sure what the rule is in other countries.

Edit: It seems like most countries wouldn't allow this to be patented because it is a law of nature. But it would require a patent law person to be sure.
 

truly101

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NMS to be US exclusive. +1 FOR FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Though it should be a better shooter if thats going to be the case.
 

wiibomb

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In the US it seems you can't patent mathematical algorithms but I don't know about other countries.

Link



Anyone know British patent law? In the US this wouldn't lead to anything but I am not sure what the rule is in other countries.
I think the nature of patents are kind of universal for all mathematical algorithms (it is the same in Latin America as well as Spain), they can't be patented, but as some other mentioned, this in a court can be turned with good arguments.
 

truly101

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Can one own the Fibonacci sequence? Because based on that article, the superformula was based on naturally occurring phenomena.
 

retroman

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Anyone who speaks Dutch can translate with Laymen's?
I'll give it a shot:

Eindhoven - While the whole world is under the spell of Pokemon Go, diehard gamers are feverishly anticipating No Man's Sky. However, a Dutch patent might cause the game to never reach stores.

An inexhaustible planetary system where the gamer can give names to plants and animals in the role of a space explorer might not sound very interesting to the average person, but for hardcore gamers expectations are sky-high.

When developer Hello Games delayed the game in june, some gamers couldn't handle it. Developer Sean Murray was even threatened by angry fans. "Gamers are very passionate people", explains game reviewer Jan Meijroos.

The fans' patience will be put to the test once again. The base of the near-infinite planetary system is a superformula developed by the Dutch company Genicap. Inquiry finds that Genicap has never given permission to use this formula.

"We haven't provided a license to Hello Games", states Jeroen Sparrow from the company, who emphasizes that the licensing system is put in place to protect its customers. "We don't want to stop the launch, but if the formula is used we'll need to have a talk."

Sean Murray confirmed in an interview with Business Insider in February that the planetary system was generated by the superformula. Sparrow denies that any contact occured with the two companies. "We are in the process of creating a game based on the superformula. It would be great if we could trade knowledge with Hello Games. We tried to contact them but didn't get any response."

According to IT-lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet this matter could cause a great problem for distributor Sony. "If there's indeed an infringement of the patent, there'll be a financial compensation and distribution will have to be ceased." Sony has not responded.
 

truly101

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The company still hasn't explained how they own a formula discovered by someone else over a decade ago.
 

Rivyn

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I wouldn't suggest trusting Telegraaf regarding accurate news and not knowing the exact details.

They are known for creating rumours and/or making it bigger then the news actually is.

Basically the claim is that Genicap created a 'superformula' and that Hello Games borrowed heavily or ''stole'' the formula from them, which is absolute nonsense.

Genicap is making their claim because they hear about No Man's Sky having procedurally generated worlds, thus believing that it is their formula.

Procedural generation has been known for centuries. Genicap created their own superformula, borrowing from mathmeticians of the 17th-18th century. You can't put a patent on mathematics.
 

Wereroku

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I'll give it a shot:

Eindhoven - While the whole world is under the spell of Pokemon Go, diehard gamers are feverishly anticipating No Man's Sky. However, a Dutch patent might cause the game to never reach stores.

An inexhaustible planetary system where the gamer can give names to plants and animals in the role of a space explorer might not sound very interesting to the average person, but for hardcore gamers expectations are sky-high.

When developer Hello Games delayed the game in june, some gamers couldn't handle it. Developer Sean Murray was even threatened by angry fans. "Gamers are very passionate people", explains game reviewer Jan Meijroos.

The fans' patience will be put to the test once again. The base of the near-infinite planetary system is a superformula developed by the Dutch company Genicap. Inquiry finds that Genicap has never given permission to use this formula.

"We haven't provided a license to Hello Games", states Jeroen Sparrow from the company, who emphasizes that the licensing system is put in place to protect its customers. "We don't want to stop the launch, but if the formula is used we'll need to have a talk."
Thanks for that. So Johan Gielis the one who proposed this is the CRO for that company. So they have some claim to the formula so the question is if that really means anything.

The company still hasn't explained how they own a formula discovered by someone else over a decade ago.
The discoverer is their CRO.
 

Zedark

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Jeroen Sparrow also says that Genicap are still working on their own game application for the formula, so it seems they did patent a piece of math.
 

LordRaptor

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In the US it seems you can't patent mathematical algorithms but I don't know about other countries.
No, this is why many people say software patents are broken, because in theory you should not be able to patent an algorithm, but in practice many companies can and have.

.GIF is an image compression algorithm patented by Compuserve.
.MP3 is an audio compression algorithm patented by Fraunhofer
 
Oct 12, 2012
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Oh, God, I'm not interested in what this Dutch team are claiming, I'm just going to get sick of the No Man's Sky dissenters that will use this constantly to troll threads.
 

Wereroku

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Genicap is that guy's company.

You can't patent a formula, but apparently you can patent applications of a formula.

Anyway, these are the patents he's filed

http://patents.justia.com/inventor/johan-gielis
Interesting but I wonder if this will come down to technicalities. NMS seems to have been using the formula before the file date. Could that have some effect on the companies ability to patent it?
 

SG-17

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No, this is why many people say software patents are broken, because in theory you should not be able to patent an algorithm, but in practice many companies can and have.

.GIF is an image compression algorithm patented by Compuserve.
.MP3 is an audio compression algorithm patented by Fraunhofer
Its a division between hard and soft math. If the math can be done on paper it can't be patented. If it requires a computer to do the math it can.

From what I understand (and I understand very little of math as formulas) the Superformula is soft math.