Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New patents

A number of new Nintendo patents have surfaced, the first interesting ones since July (see The ´Shade Tree´ and what lies underneath).

1. The Mii patent

The most intriguing one is entitled Line drawing image generating device, storage medium, and line drawing image generating method. It relates to a console being able to generate a black and white outline of a character within a scene, in order to produce an image that the user can then paint in again, for example:

In the present embodiment, the player selects a moving image when the game is started, and a reproducing process is performed for the selected moving image. The player is allowed to extract a currently displayed image as a still image by operating the controller 22 at any given time during reproduction of the moving images. The still image is extracted, and a line drawing is generated from the extracted still image. Then, the player enjoys freely painting the generated line drawing on the TV monitor 34.

It should be noted that the purpose of these images is not just painting them back in. Although that seems to be the only use mentioned in the text, it also mentions that the patent is not limited to this use.

The patent details the process of producing such an outline at great length. To illustrate this process and how it supersedes current methods, here is an example of an original image:

And this is what a standard process of calculating an outline on the basis of the above image would look like. The character is what the patent describes as "unnecessarily thickened".

The new method described in the patent is illustrated by two examples. Only the latter is the one specifically referred to above as well-suited for painting in. The former seems to have a different use.

It is natural to assume that this technology will somehow be used for the Mii avatars. But what kind of source material can be used remains a mystery. Will we be able to insert our favourite DVD movie (or at least a clip from it via SD card) and turn Samuel L. Jackson into a Mii avatar without having to undergo that lengthy selection process? Is there maybe a camera accessory coming out, after all? Or is this really about upgrading (or playing around with) the retro games provided via the Virtual Console? Well, your guess is as good as mine, so let´s hear them!

2. The pixel format patent

This one is entitled Graphics system with embedded frame buffer having reconfigurable pixel formats and has no graphics to help us understand just what it is about. As ever, the description helps:

The invention provides a combination of pixel formats for an embedded frame buffer that is particularly advantageous when used in systems designed for playing interactive 3D video games. The invention enables the embedded frame buffer to be reconfigured to and efficiently used in a variety of modes, including an anti-aliasing mode, a deflicker mode and a YUV (i.e. luma/chroma) mode, thereby increasing the flexibility of the system to support a variety of applications. The desired pixel format for each mode can be selected using, for example, a command to the graphics hardware on which the embedded frame buffer is provided.

In accordance with the invention, the copy pipeline is advantageously used to further process the data from the embedded frame buffer prior to storing the data in the external frame buffer. For example, the copy pipeline can be used to convert the data between a variety of useful formats to, for example, reduce the amount of memory needed to store the data, and/or provide the data in desired format for use in further processing by the graphics system. The copy pipeline can also be used to further process the frame data in a manner that improves the display quality and/or modifies the display characteristics.

Suerly, this patent deals with the flexibility of the hardware architecture. It notes that one kind of pipeline is not exclusively reserved for a specific purpose but can easily be reconfigured if hardware power is needed elsewhere. After all, Nintendo are masters of efficiency. Just look at the Gamecube producing graphics that are pretty much on par with Xbox at around half the clock speed and memory. But, again, help is needed in deciphering this patent, please.

Sources: US Patent & Trademark Office, US Patent & Trademark Office


Arsenis said...

Hey Fal, yeah I won't bother anymore with this people, Its Just that I don't judge anything Until i actually try it.

So then I figured lets see is I can Knock some sense out of this people but Oh well I did enJoy Playing with the New remote from Nintendo and so did everyone else at that party...

The only hardcore game we played was Zelda TP all the other ones Were Wario, Wii Sport, Rayman, Trauma, Exite truck, Madden...

And it does make a difference, I wasn't thinking " OMG this Graphics are the best or this graphics suck..." but i was Impressed at effects they pulled off... I enjoyed Wii Sports so much, I don't even remember thinking about graphics...

Nintendo Sold me a Console by Inviting me at that party...

Here check out 2 of 'em.. the rest you can find'em at the Hylia...

Playing is Believing

Playing is Believing

Arsenis said...

oh and about the patents I'm not good at it but i know there are some people here..

Now with the above explanation, the graphics are fine, improvements are welcome... but don't complaint till you try.

Lord_Darcia said...

See what I mean? this is like the 10th patent that nintendo has secured. I dont know what any of this sh*t means, but it has to be something significant. I really dont think that wii is a souped up gamecube. I think their might be more in store for us then what we are seeing right now. Also why hasnt nintendo discussed these patents to game developers or the public?

Anonymous said...

...you have to keep it secret untill you get he patent before you reveal it to puplic. This includes anything that can be related to the patent (trade ppl or on magz/tv/internet). Coz if somebody claims that it have been heard before - you will spending on something anybody can copy right away.


PS: I guess that we will se patens thats belong to Wii will likely to pop up untill the due of Wii in December. All Patents must be filed a year ahead before the actually patent(s) to be valied.

Tadashi Oshima said...

The first patent seems to cover cellshading as well, since the image you couldn't figure out it's purpose looks exactly like a good cellshaded image.

Anonymous said...

Sweet to see that Falafelkid kid posted that video just for the IALS because he likes him so much

And wants IALS to be a Wii supporter.

Nice to see that you care about your readers.



Anonymous said...

Holy .... Kid take a gander at this shot !



Seems like someones trying to push the Wii hardware a lil harder..

By the way I am not sure if anyone noticed but some of the textures in Mario Galaxy like on the Spider for example seem to have more deepness to them than standard textures.
Its not really bumping or normal-mapping.
But it looks fresh nonetheless.

I'mn wondering why other games don't take advantage of this technique for their textures.
These textures really make Mario Galaxy stand out from the otherwise stale line up.

I hope this is just a sign of things to come.

By the way Kid while the quality of that video is higher the colours really aren't that bright.
But I guess thats just due to the television settings.
I've seen videos on IGN where the colours are very vivid.


Anonymous said...

***From the horse mouth :****

Shack: Tell us about how Red Steel performs as far as graphics are concerned. Did the design team feel held back at all developing for a console that doesn't really compare (as far as graphical horsepower) to the 360 or PS3?

Nicolas Eypert: Ah, the usual question about graphics. It is funny, every time I have an interview about Red Steel come this question. Imagine you are developing a DS game. Would you say that the team has been frustrated by the graphics versus the power of the PSP? No, because the focus for the console is the interactivity and it does not prevent [Ubisoft] from [developing] fun games ... whereas the focus of the PSP is different. We will not have full next-gen graphics with shaders and other effects but [those] do not limit our creativity.

No comment


Wiisualizer said...

WOW people when Gamecube could do this Wii will be in nirvana.














Wiisualizer said...

Well,nitty gritty SpOnG believes
this is the man behind the best Wii-deogame ever :



Wiisualizer said...

By the way Mr.Falafel,mind putting my new blog under the good ones section.

Thanx in advance

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

nintendo said they will soon be releasing another console.
could this be connected to this rather than to the wii?

Falafelkid said...

Hey Anonym. I guess you mean a console other than Wii, right? If so, where and when did Nintendo say that?

Anonymous said...

Yo Kid just opened up a new thread on the Wii IGN message board.

Its called :

"from the horse mouth"

Check it out mate (and participate)


Irrelevant Annoying Laughing Stock said...

Boy, did I get pwned on the IGN boards:

CIOSC85 is the forum troll, aka superbugle, yahya4. He hates the Nintendo Wii, complains about it's graphics day and night. Posts stupid threads saying Gamecube graphics are better than Wii's.

I peronnaly think he's being paid by M$ or $ony to do this crap cause only a complete idiot would keep it up after being banned multiple times and yet he seems to come back again and again.

Looks like I´ve won the Tour de Pickle.

Lord_Darcia said...

Seriously Falafel, what patent number is this? Like # 10 or something? Why are we not seeing any of those patents that you discussed in such great detail before taking effect NOW? whats the point of securing all those patents if the wii is not using them? I refuse to beleive that wii is only 2-3x more powerful than gamecube with a special controller.

RGB said...

Falafelkid said...
Hey Anonym. I guess you mean a console other than Wii, right? If so, where and when did Nintendo say that?

I believe he might be referring to Kaplins comments from her interview but I could be wrong.

I highly doubt theres another system coming out shortly. Ridiculous.

Falafelkid said...

By the way, Nintendo were dishing out free Wii watches at the London event, which quickly became even more valuable than the Wii bags handed out at the Games Convention.

Anonymous said...

You know it like a poet kid!


No seriously Kid I banned myself,by making fun of Nate Perkins,the moderator who constantly edits,censors,and locks threads.


Anonymous said...

While Sony and Microsoft’s new systems offer new visceral experiences thanks to their awesomely powerful graphics and cutting edge surround sound capabilities, the Wii’s graphics - described by one veteran developer as “Xbox with shaders” - are comparatively weak, and its audio system is such an afterthought that the Wii isn’t even capable of delivering Dolby Digital quality output.

Oh,these words really hurt.

-IALS aka Superbugle aka Gabi aka ciosc85

Anonymous said...

Hey Guardian, are you here?

Nov = (N)ov = N
1 = i (opt)
9 = (n)ine = n (opt)

19 = 1+9 = ten

2006 = 6 - 2
= 4
= 4th alphabet = d(0)

other dates? I got them

I thought the answers lied on the name Wii itself but it turned out to be the name Nintendo itself.

So many parts of the Blu_******** puzzle got me sidetracked.

I can totally understand that they are truly going for symbolism because symbols are a powerful tool.

Wow. just WOW!

And about the channels, so is this what they meant by 'emulating the TV'?
Through channels.

So many people on the net thought it will be 3d projection.But channels are still truly clever.

RPL made my head spin

sorry for posting here Guardian, I have to let them* know

+Samurai Aran+

Anonymous said...

Yes I am here.

You must forgive their mysterious ways.

Especially RPL*

I told you not to post here OK?

PM me..


Anonymous said...

@ falafel:
i'm the anomynous who wrote the thing about nintendos other console.

well, i really thinking where i heard or read that.
i think it was on the wii-event nintendo held, but this can only be unlikely, as no one talks about it (and i guess a lot of people saw it)

i just cant remember. i'll research.


Anonymous said...

Relating Far Cry Jadice said on Gonintendo:

"Nintendo and Ubisoft, (any publisher out there) please do not release any screen shoots for the Wii until the games are polished. The Wii is not a graphic beast hence whatever is released to the public will be committed to memory are a testament to the Wii’s capabilities. I would rather wait and be in the dark to see a polished game (like MP3) for example than look at complete wet sh*t like these screen shoots. I am a die hard Nintendo fanboy and this is hard for me to look at and not worry if the Wii will survive even two year.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, UBISOFT, “There are things the Xbox (original Xbox) can do that the Wii can’t”. That statement alone is making all Nintendo supporters very worried. So please this needs to be clarified. If this is the next level for Nintendo then that statement should never be said because at best the Wii graphically should completely be better than Xbox. This is very upsetting."


Anonymous said...

"IGN Wii: The Wii has been described as more powerful than the original Xbox, but not as powerful as Xbox 360. What type of visuals can we expect from the Wii version of Far Cry?

Fabrice Cuny: Overall the Wii is more powerful than an Xbox, even if the Xbox can do some stuff that the Wii can't. But remember the Wii is more focused on its unique gameplay using the Wii controller and not on power. We can expect a game as beautiful as what we used to see on Xbox."

Ouch,these words hurt.


Falafelkid said...


well, i really thinking where i heard or read that.
i think it was on the wii-event nintendo held, but this can only be unlikely, as no one talks about it (and i guess a lot of people saw it)

Please do. I attended the London event (and got me one of those snazzy Wii watches, btw) and there was no mention of any other console. In fact, I am totally sure that Nintendo will not announce another console until late 2007 by the earliest. DS is just about getting into full gear and Wii is not even out of the door yet. So I am pretty sure your information is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Kid da evil bugle is back

Blizz419 said...

What can the original Xbox do that Wii can't?

Anonymous said...

The line producing program is already avaiable thur adobe... it's call streamline I believe. This seems to be a confirmation that the Wii will do AA and other effects for free just like the GC did 8 textures effects for free. Instead of a switch board they have a data pool. This is not unlike the xbox360 framebuffer thing.. but it seems to have more fuctionality.

Epic now has a Wii development kit also. They claim unreal engine 3 can not run on it but the guy that said it also says other companies are trying to get it to run on the GC and the PS3.. go figure... If far cry is on the Wii why not the unreal engine 3?

It's obvious they are using APIs to do there programming instead of building stuff from the ground up. So can they pull an URE3 off on the wii... I guess it depends on how much money they loose supporting the xbox360 or the ps3.

Man as soon as they drop the GPU details I'm there all day... The Indie movement rules!

Anonymous said...

hi again. (was just passing by)

(sorry for my very bad typos guys ^^*)

Fal and Anonym.

A next game machine (or similar) that will likely to come out from Nintendo in the next years will no doubt being a cellphone-based one.

If you guys have the chance to read ATI's and in some case Nintendo's "Business" strategy overview, you will find out that they both are/is considering tiny mobile (cellphones) market to be next to take on. Its the booming market on the street as to speak. and in some of Nintendo's patens stated some kind of mobile thats not nessesary a GBA/DS to be contected to a gaming host machine.

In fact, just resently they even mentioned cell/moile phones along with the Wiiconnect24.

Ofcoz I could be wrong here, but I pretty shure thats not the case.


@ Lord_Darcia

yeah. I'm almost have the same opinion actually. And I, as I.A.L.S, have noticed some strange (could be nice)graphics features found in M-Galaxy and Rayman intro-trailer, Reed Steel (earlier screenshots) + some more games that I can't recall the names. Anyhow, if you take a good look at the Galaxy graphics and the Rayman trailers, you will find that both of em' are using/having the same "glowing edges"kinda visuals.

Well acutally I was so convinced that the next big secret on wii would turn out that Wii would have Rayman trailer visuals to it. But now that dreams of mine turns aout to be far away. :( (but still hopping)

(thx for reading)


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