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Creative gives background to Doom III shadow story

Let there be light. And sweetness and light. And sound
Thu Jul 29 2004, 12:34
CREATIVE TECHNOLOGIES has given its position on a story about shadowing technology led to a furore on some hardware forums.

On Monday we reported that Creative and id Software, which makes Doom III, had signed a licence on shadowing technology used in the engine driving the game. (See Creative and id Software make loud Doom noise.)

Then, yesterday, we reported that Beyond 3D had lashed out at Creative over the deal. (See Unholy row erupts over Creative Doom 3 patent.)

But now Creative has responded to these reports, suggesting that the row is really just a storm in a teacup.

Franco De Bonis, audio sales marketing manager at Creative Labs Ireland, told the INQUIRER: " In our earlier graphics years (1999) we developed a technique for shadowing that is optimized. Recently "id" approached us informing us that they had used this technique in the development of DoomIII and had subsequently discovered that we owned the patent on it.

" Like any company Creative owns a number of technology patents and like any company we need to ensure that our patents are protected. Simply allowing another company to knowingly use a patent you own weakens your position and future claims against infringement. We therefore had to find a legally acceptable way to allow id to use this technique without it being seen as an infringement. The goal was the same from id's perspective".

He continued: " DoomIII from the outset will not support our EAX gaming technologies and there are a number of reasons for this, the primary of which is that id decided to implement the best audio implementation they could, that would work equally well across the widest percentage of PC systems possible. Naturally however, being the leaders in PC audio (with no fewer than 11 PhDs in various fields of Audio), we truly felt that the buyers of DoomIII would be missing out on a crucial element of the gaming experience, i.e. id have undoubtedly developed a masterpiece in terms of gameplay and especially graphics, so why not complete that masterpiece with a truly incredible audio engine?

"Also it does have to be said that not all multichannel wave driver implementations are equal (which is what the ID audio engine outputs to). We believe that ours is one of the more stable / reliabe performers so even without EAX implemented we firmly stand by the fact that the audio playback will sound better and gameplay will be smoother with a Sound Blaster card installed in the system, not to mention the quality aspect (108dB SNR on Audigy 2 ZS vs anywhere from 88db to 95db on host audio). That means we deliver better performance with up to 10X the quality of a MB audio system".

He said: "So with this deal everybody wins. The world gets to play DoomIII with the optimized shadowing technique, id did not have to pay any cash or royalties and Creative gets to add EAX into the DoomIII engine and make it available to gamers everywhere".

And he added: "It is very funny that people are now saying "Creative blackmails id". You only have to think about this for a nanosecond to realise that Creative was in no position to blackmail anyone. Yes, we had to take a stance to protect our patent, but had we resolutely demanded what most companies in this situation would have, what do you think would have happened? It's very simple, id would have been forced to either pay a huge amount of cash or develop a less optimized method for shadowing that would have impacted performance and this may have caused the game to be delayed. On all counts Creative would have been publically vilified in the press. So blackmail, when id customers are our customers too?? I don't think so".

He concluded: " So we come to John Carmack's comments on Beyond3D. It seems to be his philosophy that patents should not exist. Certainly id are altruistic in making their game engines public (crucially after a certain period of time has elapsed), but that is a unique stance and frankly outside the scope of this discussion. However, as can be seen from this example Creative created a graphics technique in 1999 and despite the pace of graphics development it is still applicable 5 years later. The same cannot be said for game engines - no matter how good they are when they first launch". µ


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