Originally Posted by joeblow
Sure it makes adding trophy support to older games easier. Instead of embedding new, modern code into the old software in order to ring up a trophy reward, it appears that the hardware will check for unique software activity in the game to do it instead.
So if the disc activity of, say, Contra: Shattered Skies from the PS2 accesses a victory message after defeating the third stage's boss, you get a trophy. That way the software code doesn't need to be reopened (which is the can of worms this patent is designed to avoid) if the emulator is doing its job.
The problem is extracting a trigger that can be used to make the emulation program aware that a specific action has been done that fulfills the criteria for a trophy to be unlocked.
This patent doesn't make that task any easier since it's dealing with how the system will work in its finalized state rather than being a development tool that allows them to easier create and dictate the criteria for each trophy with the program itself delving into the original code to locate the necessary trigger. So they're going to still have to manually dig through the code and reverse engineer it to locate that trigger for each trophy that they want to impliment (And without a trigger, like the theoretical example I gave with a possible mileage based trophy for a racing game that originally wasn't programmed to track that statistic, they won't be able to do it). That's the real issue and this patent doesnt make that job any easier. It's a manual job out of necessity for a programmer.
Like I said, what Sony has patented here is something that has already been done in the past with emulation projects several times over the years. It's not an easy task to even just extract such information, such as monitoring the scoring counter if you had a set of trophys that unlock after a specific score has been met, from an Atari 2600 emulator running a 2K Atari 2600 game from the 1970's. Let alone a modern game that is up to perhaps dozens of gigs in size in the case of a few trophyless early PS3 games. So I don't think this patent suddenly makes this task easy like some are thinking.
Of course if source code is available, the task won't be nearly as difficult to determine if a certain trophy is a possibility and extract a trigger that this monitoring system Sony has patented can then look for an occurance happening when the game is played by the consumer to determine that it should be unlocked. But one assumes that this is also being eyed for projects whose final source code is unavailable. Okami and Silent Hill 2 on the PS2 for instance are two examples of note from recent years that fall into that category (Although in both those cases, the games have been recreated as best as possible on the PS3 already from earlier beta builds ported over with trophy support included from the start so they obviously won't be candidates for rerelease in their PS2 incarnations going forward; but they're two examples of popular and well known games from established companies from the last decade whose finalized source code has been lost or misplaced that have been publically acknowledged).
Going back to the 1990's on the original Playstation, I suspect that there's a alarmingly high percentage of games whose original source code is unavailable today to be used as a reference guide. Even with the higher profile releases from larger companies that have survived up to today, I'm sure there's instances with regularity. Sega in particular, while not an original Playstation developer for obvious reasons, is well know for being lousy even in modern times with properly archiving source code.
I doubt that they're unique in that regard.Edited by Leo_Ames - 3/22/13 at 9:31pm