AU2008324969B2 - Presenting primary and secondary wagering games - Google Patents

Presenting primary and secondary wagering games Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2008324969B2
AU2008324969B2 AU2008324969A AU2008324969A AU2008324969B2 AU 2008324969 B2 AU2008324969 B2 AU 2008324969B2 AU 2008324969 A AU2008324969 A AU 2008324969A AU 2008324969 A AU2008324969 A AU 2008324969A AU 2008324969 B2 AU2008324969 B2 AU 2008324969B2
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Australia
Prior art keywords
wagering game
game
episode
secondary
primary
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Ceased
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AU2008324969A
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AU2008324969A1 (en
Inventor
Mark B. Gagner
John L. Griffin
Damon E. Gura
Victor T. Shi
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Bally Gaming Inc
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WMS Gaming Inc
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Priority to US98659807P priority Critical
Priority to US60/986,598 priority
Application filed by WMS Gaming Inc filed Critical WMS Gaming Inc
Priority to PCT/US2008/081408 priority patent/WO2009061634A1/en
Publication of AU2008324969A1 publication Critical patent/AU2008324969A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of AU2008324969B2 publication Critical patent/AU2008324969B2/en
Assigned to BALLY GAMING, INC. reassignment BALLY GAMING, INC. Request to Amend Deed and Register Assignors: WMS GAMING, INC.
Application status is Ceased legal-status Critical
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3267Game outcomes which determine the course of the subsequent game, e.g. double or quits, free games, higher payouts, different new games

Abstract

An apparatus for presenting primary and secondary wagering game content is described herein. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a primary wagering game unit configured to determine results for a first group of primary wagering games in a first wagering game session. The first wagering game session can be associated with a player identifier. The primary wagering game unit can be further configured to determine results for a second group of primary wagering games in a second wagering game session that is associated with the player identifier. The apparatus can also include a secondary wagering game unit configured to, after certain of the results in the first wagering game session, cause presentation a first episode of a group of episodes, and to, after certain of the results in the second wagering game session, cause presentation a second episode of the group of episodes.

Description

WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 PRESENTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WAGERING GAMES RELATED APPLICATIONS [0001] This application claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/986,598 filed Nov 9, 2007. LIMITED COPYRIGHT WAIVER [0002] A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever. Copyright 2008, WMS Gaming, Inc. FIELD [0003] Embodiments of the inventive subject matter relate generally to wagering game systems, and more particularly to presenting primary and secondary wagering games in wagering game systems. BACKGROUND [0004] Wagering game machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines depends on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing wagering game machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. [0005] Some wagering game systems attempt to enhance the gaming experience by offering primary wagering games (a.k.a. base games) that trigger secondary wagering games (a.k.a. bonus games or bonus events). For example, in primary slots games, when certain reel combinations occur (e.g., all cherries), the system triggers secondary games. The secondary game outcomes are often determined by random selection and displayed using spinning wheels or other indicia that reveal cash awards and other results. Typically, systems present primary games on one display device and secondary games on another display device. 1 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 SUMMARY [0006] In some embodiments, a method can be for conducting a wagering game session in which certain results from a plurality of primary wagering games trigger a secondary wagering game. [0007] In some embodiments, the method comprises receiving selections indicating the plurality of wagering games and the secondary wagering game, the selections associated with a player account; causing content related to the primary wagering games to appear on a terminal; detecting player inputs for one or more of the primary wagering games; determining results for those of the primary wagering games for which player inputs were received; determining that at least one of the results is a trigger for the secondary game; determining a result of the secondary wagering game; selecting content with which to present the result of the secondary wagering game; and causing presentation of the content to appear on the terminal. [0008] In some embodiments, results of the secondary wagering game increase odds of winning a wager in one or more of the primary wagering games. [0009] In some embodiments, the content includes an episode of a group of episodes, wherein the selecting of the content is based on an episode identifier residing in the player account, and wherein the episode identifier indicates an episode of the group that has been presented in an earlier wagering game session. [0010] In some embodiments, the selecting of the content is based on an episode identifier in the player account, and wherein the content includes an episode of a group of episodes. [0011] In some embodiments, the method further comprises modifying the episode identifier to indicate another episode in the group of episodes. [0012] In some embodiments, the method further comprises terminating the wagering game session; initiating another wagering game session; presenting the other episode to reveal results for another secondary wagering game. [0013] In some embodiments, a wagering game system comprises a primary wagering game unit configured to determine results for a first group of primary wagering games in a first wagering game session that is associated with a player identifier, and to determine results for a second group of primary wagering games in a second wagering game session associated with the player identifier; a secondary wagering game unit configured to, after certain of the results in the first wagering game session, cause presentation a first episode of a group of episodes, and to, after certain of the results in the second wagering game session, cause presentation a second episode of the group of episodes. 2 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [0014] In some embodiments, the wagering game system further comprises an accounting routing system unit configured to notify the secondary wagering unit about the results for the first and second groups of primary wagering games; a random number generator service unit configured to provide random numbers to the primary and secondary wagering game units, the random numbers for use in determining the results for the first and second groups of primary wagering games. [0015] In some embodiments, the first episode indicates results for a secondary wagering game, and wherein the second episode represents results for another secondary wagering game. [0016] In some embodiments, each episode of the group of episodes follows a common storyline. [0017] In some embodiments, the group of episodes are organized in a sequence, and wherein according to the sequence, the second episode comes after the first episode. [0018] In some embodiments, the wagering game system further comprises a wagering game terminal configured to receive player input and provide the player input to the primary wagering game unit and the secondary game unit. [0019] In some embodiments, a machine-readable medium can include instructions executable by a machine. In some embodiments, the instructions comprise instructions for receiving, in a wagering game session, a selection indicating a persistent secondary wagering game; instructions for detecting an event triggering the persistent secondary game; instructions for generating a game element based on information in a player account, the information indicating a state of the game element at the end of an earlier wagering game session involving the persistent secondary wagering game; instructions for determining an intermediate result for the persistent secondary wagering game, wherein the intermediate result is based partially on a state of the game element; instructions for causing presentation of the intermediate result. [0020] In some embodiments, the presentation of the result includes presentation of an episode of a group of episodes, wherein the episode is selected based on information in the player account. [0021] In some embodiments, the persistent secondary game continues to affect the game element after the presentation of the intermediate result. [0022] In some embodiments, presentation of the intermediate result includes presentation of content representing the game element. [0023] In some embodiments, the event is selected from one or more of a result of a primary wagering game, input associated with a primary wagering game, and monetary value received. 3 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [0024] In some embodiments, the machine-readable medium further comprises instructions for modifying the game element based on the event. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES [0025] Embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the Figures of the accompanying drawings in which: [0026] Figure 1 illustrates a system that allows a player to contemporaneously play three primary games, where all the primary games can trigger a secondary game; [0027] Figure 2 is a block diagram illustrating a system for presenting primary and secondary wagering games, according to some embodiments of the invention; [0028] Figure 3 is a block diagram illustrating a wagering game network 300, according to example embodiments of the invention; [0029] Figure 4 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for presenting a plurality of primary games that trigger a single secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention; [0030] Figure 5 illustrates how a terminal 204 can present multiple games; [0031] Figure 6 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for configuring a plurality of primary games to trigger a single secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention; [0032] Figure 7A illustrates a series of episodes for use in presenting results for secondary games; [0033] Figure 7B shows an alternative ordering of episodes; [0034] Figure 8 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for presenting a persistent secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention; and [0035] Figure 9 is a perspective view of a wagering game machine, according to example embodiments of the invention. DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS [0036] This description of the embodiments is divided into five sections. The first section provides an introduction to embodiments of the invention, while the second section describes example wagering game machine architectures. The third section describes example operations performed by some embodiments and the fourth section describes example wagering game machines in more detail. The fifth section presents some general comments. 4 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 Introduction [0037] This section provides an introduction to some embodiments of the invention. [0038] As noted above, wagering game players often desire a variety of wagering game content. Some embodiments of the invention increase content variety by providing secondary games that progress in episodes or stages. For example, when a player first plays a secondary wagering game ("secondary game"), the secondary game reveals its results by presenting a first episode. When the player plays the secondary game a second time, the secondary game reveals its results by presenting the second episode, and so on. The episodes can follow a common storyline and they can include animations, television-type content, audio, etc. Episodic content can increase player interest in both primary and secondary games. [0039] In some embodiments, primary wagering games ("primary games") are not tied to specific secondary games. Thus, when a player plays a particular primary game, the player can select a secondary game to work with that primary game. Taking this concept a step further, some embodiments allow players to contemporaneously play multiple wagering games on a single wagering game terminal. Thus, players can play multiple primary games, all of which can trigger one selected secondary game. Figure 1 illustrates this concept. [0040] In Figure 1, the system 100 allows a player to contemporaneously play three primary games 102 (e.g., slots, blackjack, and slots), where all the primary games 102 can trigger a secondary game 106. The secondary game 106 receives events 104 from all three primary games 102, where the events indicate results of the primary games 102. Events from any of the primary games 102 can trigger "bonus play". Upon detecting a trigger event, the secondary game 106 conducts a bonus game that presents the next episode of an episodic series. For example, in Figure 1, after detecting a trigger in the events 104, the secondary game 106 presents Episode Two (108), which is the second in a series of episodes. Because multiple primary games trigger a single secondary game, players can more quickly move through a secondary game's episodic storyline. Some embodiments track what episodes players have seen, allowing them to avoid restarting at the first episode in each gaming session. [0041] Although primary and secondary wagering games exchange information, they can operate independently. This independence between primary and secondary games enables wagering game designers to more rapidly develop new secondary games and to develop secondary games separate from primary games. Although Figure 1 describes some embodiments, the following sections describe many other features and embodiments. 5 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 Operating Environment [0042] This section describes example operating environments and presents structural aspects of some embodiments. This section also describes operations and communications associated with some embodiments of the invention. In certain embodiments, the operations can be performed by executing instructions residing on machine-readable media (e.g., software), while in other embodiments, the operations can be performed by a combination of software, hardware, and/or other logic (e.g., firmware). In some embodiments, the operations can be performed in series, while in other embodiments, one or more of the operations can be performed in parallel. Moreover, some embodiments can perform less than all the operations shown in the Figures. Example Architecture [0043] Figure 2 is a block diagram illustrating a system for presenting primary and secondary wagering games, according to some embodiments of the invention. In Figure 2, the system 200 includes a wagering game server ("server") 202 and wagering game terminals ("terminals") 204. In some embodiments, the server 202 controls wagering games, while the terminal 204 presents game results and other content. Although Figure 2 shows only four terminals 204, the server 202 can interact with any number of terminals (e.g., banks of stationary wagering game terminals and numerous mobile terminals in one or more casinos). [0044] The server 202 includes a primary wagering game unit ("primary game unit") 214 and a secondary wagering game unit ("secondary game unit") 220. The primary game unit 214 can host a plurality of primary wagering game types (e.g., slots, poker, roulette, etc.) and themes (e.g., movie themes, cartoon themes, etc.). Additionally, the primary game unit 214 can report game events to other system components (e.g., the accounting routing service). Although not shown, in some embodiments, the server 202 launches a new primary game unit 214 for each wagering game. For example, referring back to Figure 1, the server 202 can launch a separate primary game unit for each of the three primary games 102. Because the server 202 hosts primary games for multiple terminals, it can include any number of primary game units 214. [0045] The secondary game unit 220 can host a plurality of secondary wagering game types. In some embodiments, the server 202 can launch a separate secondary game unit 220 for each secondary game it hosts. Some secondary games are triggered by events in primary games. In some embodiments, the secondary game unit 220 receives events associated with one or more primary games, where certain of the events trigger secondary games. Some secondary games can be triggered by events independent of any primary game. For example, players can buy into 6 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 a secondary game in which randomly selected players win progressive jackpots irrespective of any primary game. [0046] When hosting wagering games, the primary and secondary game units 214 & 220 can use the random number generator service 212 to determine wagering game results. The primary and secondary game units 214 & 220 can send control information to the terminals 204, where the control information indicates results for the wagering games. For example, the control information can instruct the terminal 204 to present a specific outcome for a wagering game (e.g., a certain reel combination for a slots game). In turn, the terminal 204 can present content indicting the results. In some embodiments, control information can instruct the terminal 204 to present other types of content, such as advertising, attract modes, player messages, hotel information, etc. The control information can be in any format understood by the terminal 204. [0047] The server 202 also includes a presentation coordinator 210 that can maintain a list of all active terminals 204. The server 202 also includes an accounting routing service ("ARS") 218 that distributes events (e.g., player input, game results, etc.) to the primary unit 214 and the secondary unit 220. For example, the primary unit 214 can report events (e.g., game results and player inputs) to the ARS 218, which can notify the secondary unit 220 of those events. In other embodiments, the ARS 218 configures components to send events directly to their destination. The ARS 218 can also distribute wagering game information (e.g., wager amounts, winning awards, etc.) between primary and secondary game units 214 & 220, an account server (not shown), and other components of the wagering game system 200. [0048] The terminal 204 can act as a smart client device capable of transmitting player input to the server 202, processing control information, and rendering wagering game content. The terminal 204 includes a content store 230 and a presentation controller 222. The presentation controller 222 includes a control unit 236, graphics unit 232, and audio unit 234. The control unit 236 can process control information and request operations from the other components. In response to the control information, the graphics and audio units 232 & 234 can present content from the content store 230. For example, if the control information instructs includes a specific game result, the graphics and audio units 232 & 234 present the game result using audio and graphic content in the content store 230. The control information can instruct the presentation controller 222 to present any type of information, such as game results, player messages, attract modes, advertising, hotel information, etc. [0049] The presentation controller's graphics and audio units 232 & 234 can include audio codecs, video codecs, graphics processing engines, physics engines, and any other devices 7 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 suitable for presenting audio and video content. The content store 230 can include animation data, game art (e.g., JPEG files, PCX files, etc.), audio content (e.g., MP3 files, WAV files, etc.), prerecorded video (e.g., MPEG files, AVI files, etc.), text, metadata (e.g., audio & video configuration data), etc. [0050] The content store's content can be updated anytime. As a result, the system 200 can change a game's look and feel without changing the underlying game logic. For example, the terminal 204 can download new graphics that represent playing cards in a video poker game. The video poker game will look different because the playing card graphics are different. However, the new graphics will not affect how the game is played. Updating content in the content store 230 can also change the look and feel of advertising, player messages, etc. [0051] The terminal 204 also includes video device(s) 224, audio device(s) 226, and input device(s) 228. The video device(s) 224 can include LCD devices, plasma display devices, and other suitable display devices. The audio device(s) 226 can include audio hardware (e.g., a sound card), audio speakers, and other audio presentation devices. [0052] When the terminal 204 initializes, it can register with the server's presentation coordinator 210 to determine what types of primary and secondary wagering games it will offer. Although not shown in Figure 2, the terminal 204 can receive control information from other components, such as advertising servers, messaging servers, hotel information servers, etc. As a result, the terminal 204 can present content in response to control information from various sources. [0053] In some embodiments, the terminal 204 can be included in wagering game machines or other devices, such as cell phones, notebook computers, etc. Wagering Game Networks [0054] Wagering game servers and terminals can operate in wagering game networks. Figure 3 is a block diagram illustrating a wagering game network 300, according to example embodiments of the invention. As shown in Figure 3, the wagering game network 300 includes a plurality of casinos 312 connected to a communications network 314. [0055] Each casino 312 includes a local area network 316, which includes an access point 304, a wagering game server 306, player account server 307, and wagering game terminals 302. The access point 304 provides wireless communication links 310 and wired communication links 308. The wired and wireless communication links can employ any suitable connection technology, such as Bluetooth, 802.11, Ethernet, public switched telephone networks, SONET, etc. In some embodiments, the wagering game server 306 can host wagering games and 8 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 distribute content to devices located in the casinos 312 or at other locations on the communications network 314. The player account server 307 can store various information, such as a player identifier, personal information, social contacts, player tracking information, etc. In some embodiments, the player account persistently stores secondary game information, including episode identifiers, secondary game elements and their states, and any other information that can be used to conduct and present secondary games. [0056] The wagering game terminals 302 described herein can take any suitable form, such as floor standing models, handheld mobile units, bartop models, workstation-type console models, etc. Further, the wagering game terminals 302 can be primarily dedicated for use in conducting wagering games, or can include non-dedicated devices, such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants, personal computers, etc. In one embodiment, the wagering game network 300 can include other network devices, such as accounting servers, wide area progressive servers, player tracking servers, and/or other devices suitable for use in connection with embodiments of the invention. [0057] In some embodiments, wagering game terminals 302 and wagering game servers 306 work together such that a wagering game terminal 302 can be operated as a thin, thick, or intermediate client. For example, one or more elements of game play may be controlled by the wagering game terminal 302 (client) or the wagering game server 306 (server). Game play elements can include executable game code, lookup tables, configuration files, game results, audio or visual representations of the game, game assets or the like. In a thin-client example, the wagering game server 306 can perform functions such as determining game results or managing assets, while the wagering game terminal 302 can present a audible/graphical representation of such outcome or asset modification to the player. In a thick-client example, the wagering game terminals 302 can determine game outcomes and communicate the outcomes to the wagering game server 306 for recording or managing a player's account. [0058] In some embodiments, either the wagering game terminals 302 (client) or the wagering game server 306 can provide functionality that is not directly related to game play. For example, account transactions and account rules may be managed centrally (e.g., by the wagering game server 306) or locally (e.g., by the wagering game terminal 302). Other functionality not directly related to game play may include power management, presentation of advertising, software or firmware updates, system quality or security checks, etc. 9 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [0059] Any of the wagering game network components (e.g., the wagering game terminals 302) can include hardware and machine-readable media including instructions for performing the operations described herein. Example Operations [0060] This section describes operations associated with some embodiments of the invention. In the discussion below, the flow diagrams will be described with reference to the block diagrams presented above. However, in some embodiments, the operations can be performed by logic not described in the block diagrams. [0061] In certain embodiments, the operations can be performed by executing instructions residing on machine-readable media (e.g., software), while in other embodiments, the operations can be performed by hardware and/or other logic (e.g., firmware). In some embodiments, the operations can be performed in series, while in other embodiments, one or more of the operations can be performed in parallel. Moreover, some embodiments can perform less than all the operations shown in any flow diagram. Presenting Episodes and Other Secondary Game Content [0062] In the following discussion, Figures 4-7 describe operations for presenting primary and secondary wagering games, where the secondary games include episodes that may follow common storyline. [0063] Figure 4 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for presenting a plurality of primary games that trigger a single secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention. The flow 400 will be described with reference to the server and terminals shown in Figure 2. The flow diagram 400 begins at block 402. [0064] At block 402, a terminal's control unit 236 receives a selection of one or more primary games. In some embodiments, the terminal 204 presents a graphical user interface through which a player can select several primary games from a larger set of available primary games. For example, a player may select several primary games, including slots, blackjack, keno, and Texas Hold 'Em. Figure 5 illustrates how a terminal 204 can present multiple games. In Figure 5, a terminal's display screen 500 is divided into four sections (502, 504, 506, and 508). The terminal is presenting slots in section 502, blackjack in section 504, keno in section 506, and Texas Hold 'Em in section 508. A player can play two or more games at the same time. Referring back to Figure 4, the flow continues at block 404. 10 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [0065] At block 404, the terminal's control unit 236 receives a selection of a secondary game. The secondary game can work in concert with the one or more primary games selected at block 402. That is, events in the primary games can trigger the secondary game. In some embodiments, the terminal 204 can offer a plurality of secondary games from which to choose. The flow continues at block 406. [0066] At block 406, the terminal's control unit 236 transmits the selections (i.e., primary game selections & secondary game selection) to the server 202. Operations for how the server 202 processes the selections are described below, in the discussion of Figure 6. The flow continues at block 408. [0067] At block 408, the terminal's control unit 236 requests results for one or more of the primary games. In some embodiments, the request is merely an indication that a player has provided input to initiate game play (e.g., a touch screen press associated with a "spin reels" icon). However, the request can also include information about the player, game, terminal, etc. The flow continues at block 410. [0068] At block 410, the terminal's control unit 236 receives the results. The results can be intermediate or final results. Intermediate results can indicate a non-final state for one or more game elements, such as playing cards in a Texas Hold 'Em game. Final results can indicate whether a player wins or loses a wager and a final state for one or more game elements, such as final reel positions in a slots game. In some embodiments, the game results identify content (e.g., graphics files, audio files, etc.) and parameters (video display settings, volume settings, etc.) for presenting the results. [0069] After receiving the results, the audio and graphics units 234 & 232 present audio and graphics content to reveal the results. For example, for a slots game, the control unit 236 receives an indication of final reel positions and an indication that a player has won a wager. The audio and graphics units 234 & 232 can retrieve content from the content store 230 and present a graphical and audio representation of the reels and game result. The terminal 204 can contemporaneously receive and present results for a plurality of games (see Figure 5). The flow continues at block 412. [0070] At block 412, the terminal's control unit 236 determines whether it has received a secondary game notification from the server 202. As noted above, any of the primary games selected at block 402 can trigger the secondary game selected at block 404. For example, in Figure 5, any one of slots, blackjack, keno, and Texas Hold 'Em can trigger a secondary game. If any of the results presented at block 410 trigger the secondary game, the server 202 transmits a 11 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 secondary game notification to the terminal 204. The secondary game notification can include results of a secondary game and it can indicate an episode or other content to be used in presenting the secondary game results. If the terminal 204 does not receive a secondary game notification, the flow continues at block 416. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 414. [0071] At block 414, the terminal's graphics and audio units 232 & 234 present content indicating results for the secondary game. The content can be an episode from a group of episodes that follows a common storyline. The flow continues at block 416. [0072] At block 416, the terminal's control unit 236 determines whether it has received a selection for other primary and/or secondary games. The terminal 204 can provide an interface through which players indicate that they want to quit playing certain primary games, select new primary games, and select a different secondary game to work with the primary games. If the control unit 236 receives a selection, the flow continues at block 406. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 418. [0073] At block 418, the terminal's control unit determines whether the game session is over. Game sessions terminate when player cashes out or otherwise provide input indicating a desire to terminate the gaming session. If the gaming session is over, the flow ends. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 408. [0074] While Figure 4 describes how some terminals can present a plurality of primary games that trigger a single secondary game, Figure 6 describes how some servers can work with those terminals. [0075] Figure 6 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for configuring a plurality of primary games to trigger a single secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention. The flow of 600 will be described in with reference to the terminals and server shown in Figure 2. The flow 600 begins at block 602. [0076] At block 602, the server receives, from a terminal 204, selections of one or more primary games and a secondary game. The selections can be associated with a player identifier and player account. The server's primary unit 214 can process the primary game selections and the secondary unit 220 can process the secondary game selection. In some embodiments, the primary unit 214 launches additional primary units (not shown) for each primary game selection. In other embodiments, primary unit 214 prepares itself to conduct all the selected primary games. The flow continues at block 604. [0077] At block 604, the server's secondary unit 220 begins monitoring events associated with the selected primary games. The secondary unit 220 can monitor primary game events by 12 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 subscribing with the ARS 218 to receive events associated with the selected primary games. The events can include player input, intermediate and final game results, messages received from other players, etc. After receiving certain events, the secondary unit 220 configures itself to conduct secondary games. The secondary unit 220 can notify a terminal when it is conducting a secondary game (see also discussion of Figure 4's block 412). The flow continues at block 606. [0078] At block 606, the server's primary unit 214 receives a request to present a primary wagering game (e.g., slots, blackjack, keno, Texas Hold 'Em, etc.). The flow continues at block 607. [0079] At block 607, the server's primary unit 214 determines a result for the primary game and transmits the result to the terminal 204. In some embodiments, information about past secondary games can affect the results (e.g., increase odds of winning). The primary unit 214 can retrieve the secondary game information from the player account. The flow continues at block 608. [0080] At block 608, the server's secondary unit 220 determines whether the primary game results trigger a secondary game. For example, the secondary unit 220 receives the primary game results from the ARS 218. If the primary game results match a trigger event, the flow continues at block 610. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 612. [0081] At block 610, the server's secondary unit 220 determines results for a secondary game and transmits the results to the terminal 204. The secondary unit 220 can store the results in the player account. In some embodiments, the results indicate whether a player wins money, prizes, or other value. In some embodiments, the results of the primary game can affect (e.g., increase odds of winning) the results of the secondary game. The results can identify an episode or other specific content for presenting the results. In selecting the episode, the server 202 can access a player's account, which can include an identifier indicating what episode to present next. Figures 7A & 7B help illustrate this concept. [0082] Figure 7A illustrates a series of episodes for use in presenting results for secondary games. The episodes 700 are to be presented sequentially. As shown in Figure 7A, the group of episodes 700 includes episodes 1-4. After the secondary unit 220 uses Episode I to present results for secondary game, it moves to Episode 2, then Episode 3, and so on. After presenting an episode, the secondary unit 220 can update a player's account information with an identifier indicating an episode to be shown next (see pointer 702). Each time the secondary unit 220 shows an episode, it can update the identifier in the player's account. Because the secondary 13 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 unit 220 can record identifiers indicating what episodes are next, players can progress through the series of episodes 700 in multiple game sessions. [0083] Figure 7B shows an alternative ordering of episodes. As shown in Figure 7B, different results can lead to different episodes. For example, in the beginning (i.e., at start), if the secondary game has result X, the secondary unit 220 will select episode A, whereas result Y causes the secondary unit 220 to select episode B. However, after the first episode (i.e., episode A or B), the secondary unit 220 will select episode C. As similarly described above, the secondary unit 220 can update a player's account with an identifier indicating the last episode presented to the player. Although Figures 7A & 7B show only two ways for ordering episodes, the episodes can be ordered in any suitable manner. Furthermore, the episodes may follow a common storyline and/or they may have a common theme. [0084] Referring back to Figure 6, the flow continues at block 612. [0085] At block 612, the server's primary and secondary units 214 & 220 determine whether other primary and/or secondary game selections have been received. If no other selections have been received, the flow continues at block 614. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 604. [0086] At block 614, the server's primary and secondary units 214 & 220 determine whether the game session has ended. The game session can end when a player cashes out, when the credit meter is zero, etc. If the game session has not ended, the flow continues at block 606. Otherwise, the flow ends. Presenting Persistent Secondary Games [0087] The discussion will now turn to operations for presenting persistent secondary games. Persistent secondary games are secondary games in which players continue participating after ending their game sessions. For example, a player's primary game can trigger a persistent secondary game in which the player is represented as a fish swimming about a fish tank in search of prizes and avoiding danger (i.e., avoiding game elements that end the secondary game). The player's fish can continue swimming in the tank even after the player ends the gaming session. In some instances, the player's fish can accumulate awards even though the player is not involved in a gaming session. In other instances, the player's fish will only accumulate awards in response to events in an active gaming session. [0088] Persistent secondary games are not limited to the example noted above, as they can take any suitable form. In some embodiments, upon initiating a persistent secondary game, a terminal may show secondary game content for only a limited time, even though the secondary game is not over. The secondary game content can episodic, as described above. In other embodiments, 14 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 the terminal may continuously show the secondary game throughout the game session (e.g., in a separate window, on a top box or other secondary display device, etc.). That is, each time a terminal presents content for the secondary game In some embodiments, casinos can continuously show persistent secondary games on display devices located in popular casino areas. [0089] Figure 8 is a flow diagram illustrating operations for presenting a persistent secondary game, according to some embodiments of the invention. The flow 800 will be described from the perspective of the server shown in Figure 2. Although not shown in Figure 8, the terminals 204 can perform operations that complement the flow 800. The flow 800 begins at block 802. [0090] At block 802, the server 202 receives a player's selection indicating a persistent secondary game. The flow continues at block 804. [0091] At block 804, the server's secondary game unit 220 detects an event triggering the selected persistent secondary game. For persistent secondary games, trigger events can cause the secondary game unit 220 additional intermediate results The event can be a primary game result, result from another secondary game, or any other event suitable for triggering a persistent secondary game. In some embodiments, the event can indicate that the player has paid value to trigger the persistent secondary game. The flow continues at block 806. [0092] At block 806, the secondary game unit 220 determines whether the player has a game element associated with the persistent secondary game. For example, the secondary game unit 220 procures the players account information to determine whether the player already has a game element (e.g., a fish) for the persistent secondary game. If the player does not have a game element, the flow continues at block 808. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 810. [0093] At block 808, the secondary game unit 220 creates a game element representing the player in the persistent secondary game. Additionally, the secondary game unit 220 can update the player's account to indicate that the player has a game element in the selected persistent secondary game. From block 808, the flow continues at block 814. [0094] At block 810, the secondary game unit 220 determines whether to modify the secondary game element. In some embodiments, the secondary game unit 220 can modify the game element based on the trigger event, value paid by the player, or other events. The modification can alter the appearance of the game element, increase or decrease the player's odds of winning in the secondary game, etc. If the secondary game unit 220 will modify game element, the flow continues at block 812. Otherwise, the flow continues at block 814. 15 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [0095] At block 812, the secondary game unit 220 modifies the game element. As noted above, modifications can include modifying the game element's appearance, odds of winning, etc. the flow continues at block 814. [0096] At block 814, the secondary game unit 220 determines an intermediate result for the persistent secondary game. The intermediate result can indicate whether the player wins value. The flow continues at block 816. [0097] At block 816, the secondary game unit 220 records the result in the player's account. In some embodiments, the intermediate results affect later results (e.g., they can increase odds of winning, affect what content is used to present future results, etc.). The flow continues at block 818. [0098] At block 818, the secondary game unit 220 transmits the intermediate results to a terminal 204, which will present them to the player. Also, the secondary game unit 220 can determine, based on information in the player's account, an episode with which to present the intermediate results. The secondary game unit 220 can update the player's account to indicate what episode was used to present the intermediate results. From block 818, the flow ends. [0099] In Figure 8, the secondary game unit determines intermediate results in response to trigger events. However, in other embodiments, the secondary game unit 220 can determine intermediate and/or final results irrespective of trigger events. For example, the secondary game unit 220 can use a random number generator to periodically determine results for a player's secondary game element. The server 202 may not present the results until the player is participating in a gaming session. Wagering Game Machines [00100] Figure 9 is a perspective view of a wagering game machine, according to example embodiments of the invention. Referring to Figure 9, a wagering game machine 900 is used in gaming establishments, such as casinos. In some embodiments, the wagering machine 900 can operate as a wagering game terminal, as described above vis-A-vis Figure 2. [00101] According to embodiments, the wagering game machine 900 can be any type of wagering game machine and can have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, the wagering game machine 900 can be an electromechanical wagering game machine configured to play mechanical slots, or it can be an electronic wagering game machine configured to play video casino games, such as blackjack, slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. 16 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 [00102] The wagering game machine 900 comprises a housing 912 and includes input devices, including value input devices 918 and a player input device 924. For output, the wagering game machine 900 includes a primary display 914 for displaying information about a basic wagering game.The primary display 914 can also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The wagering game machine 900 also includes a secondary display 916 for displaying wagering game events, wagering game outcomes, and/or signage information. While some components of the wagering game machine 900 are described herein, numerous other elements can exist and can be used in any number or combination to create varying forms of the wagering game machine 900. [00103] The value input devices 918 can take any suitable form and can be located on the front of the housing 912. The value input devices 918 can receive currency and/or credits inserted by a player. The value input devices 918 can include coin acceptors for receiving coin currency and bill acceptors for receiving paper currency. Furthermore, the value input devices 918 can include ticket readers or barcode scanners for reading information stored on vouchers, cards, or other tangible portable storage devices. The vouchers or cards can authorize access to central accounts, which can transfer money to the wagering game machine 900. [00104] The player input device 924 comprises a plurality of push buttons on a button panel 926 for operating the wagering game machine 900. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 924 can comprise a touch screen 928 mounted over the primary display 914 and/or secondary display 916. [00105] The wagering game machine 900 can also include one or more components for tracking players' eye movements. The components can shine infrared light beams on players' faces. When a beam hits a player's eyes, it produces a reflection or "glint" that stays in one spot no matter where the player looks. In contrast, a player's pupils move as the player's gaze shifts. The components include a camera that tracks the relative positions of the glint and the player's pupils to determine where the player is looking. The eye tracking components can enable players to enter passwords and other secret information with pressing buttons or keyboard keys. This makes it more difficult for onlookers to steal passwords by watching button and keyboard presses. The eye tracking components can include components similar to or designed by EyePassword at Stanford University in California. [00106] The various components of the wagering game machine 900 can be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 912. Alternatively, some of the wagering game machine's components can be located outside of the housing 912, while being communicatively coupled 17 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 with the wagering game machine 900 using any suitable wired or wireless communication technology. [00107] The operation of the basic wagering game can be displayed to the player on the primary display 914. The primary display 914 can also display a bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 914 can include a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, light emitting diodes (LEDs), or any other type of display suitable for use in the wagering game machine 900. Alternatively, the primary display 914 can include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome. In Figure 9, the wagering game machine 900 is an "upright" version in which the primary display 914 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the wagering game machine can be a "slant-top" version in which the primary display 914 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the wagering game machine 900. In yet another embodiment, the wagering game machine 900 can exhibit any suitable form factor, such as a free standing model, bartop model, mobile handheld model, or workstation console model. [00108] A player begins playing a basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 918. The player can initiate play by using the player input device's buttons or touch screen 928. The basic game can include arranging a plurality of symbols along a payline 932, which indicates one or more outcomes of the basic game. Such outcomes can be randomly selected in response to player input. At least one of the outcomes, which can include any variation or combination of symbols, can trigger a bonus game. [00109] In some embodiments, the wagering game machine 900 can also include an information reader 952, which can include a card reader, ticket reader, bar code scanner, RFID transceiver, or computer readable storage medium interface. In some embodiments, the information reader 952 can be used to award complimentary services, restore game assets, track player habits, etc. General [00110] This detailed description refers to specific examples in the drawings and illustrations. These examples are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the inventive subject matter. These examples also serve to illustrate how the inventive subject matter can be applied to various purposes or embodiments. Other embodiments are included within the inventive subject matter, as logical, mechanical, electrical, and other changes can be made to the example embodiments described herein. Features of various embodiments described herein, however essential to the example embodiments in which they are incorporated, do not 18 WO 2009/061634 PCT/US2008/081408 100.031 limit the inventive subject matter as a whole, and any reference to the invention, its elements, operation, and application are not limiting as a whole, but serve only to define these example embodiments. This detailed description does not, therefore, limit embodiments of the invention, which are defined only by the appended claims. Each of the embodiments described herein are contemplated as falling within the inventive subject matter, which is set forth in the following claims. 19

Claims (16)

  1. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein any one of the first result and the second result of the secondary wagering game increase odds of winning a wager in one or more of the first primary wagering game and the second primary wagering game.
  2. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising storing an episode identifier in the player account after causing the presentation of the second content, wherein the episode identifier indicates that the first episode was presented to the player account.
  3. 4. The method of claim 3, wherein the wherein selecting the fourth content for the secondary wagering game comprises determining that the episode identifier indicates that the first episode was previously presented, determining a subsequent sequence level in the storyline that follows the first episode, determining that the second episode is representative of the subsequent sequence level, selecting the fourth content, which includes the second episode, and incorporating into the second presentation of the secondary wagering game.
  4. 5. The method of claim 4, wherein the subsequent sequence level has a plurality of possible episodes in the storyline, wherein the plurality of possible episodes for the subsequent sequence level correlate with distinct events that can be performed during the second primary wagering game, and further comprising: dctermining that the second episode correlates to the second event; selecting the fourth content based on the correlation to the second event; and storing an additional episode identifier in the player account that identifies that the second episode was presented to the player account for the subsequent sequence level in the storyline. 21 AMENDMENT AND RESPONSE UNDER ARTICLE 34 Int'l. Appin. No.: PCT/US08/81408 Dkt: 100.031WO1 Int'l. Filing Date: OCL 28, 2008 Applicant: WMS Gaming, Inc., et a. Title: PRESENTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WAGERING GAMES
  5. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first primary wagering game, the second primary wagering game, the secondary wagering game, are controlled by independent wagering game applications.
  6. 7. A wagering game system comprising: a primary wagering game unit configured to determine a first result for a first primary wagering game in a first wagering game session that is associated with a player identifier, and determine a second result for a second primary wagering game in a second wagering game session associated with the player identifier; and a secondary wagering game unit configured to, after the first result in the first wagering game session, determine a group of episodes that follow a common storyline, select a first episode, of the group of episodes, from a first-sequence-level sub-group of episodes for a first sequence level in the common storyline, wherein the first result and the first episode correlate via criteria of the first-sequence-level sub-group of episodes, incorporate the first episode into a first presentation of a secondary wagering game, and cause presentation of the first episode during the first presentation of the secondary wagering game in the first wagering game session, and after the second result in the second wagering game session, determine a second episode of the group of episodes, wherein the second episode is related to a second sequence level of the common story line that is subsequent to the first sequence level, incorporate the second episode into a second presentation of the secondary wagering game, and 22 AMENDMENT AND RESPONSE UNDER ARTICLE 34 Int'l. Appin. No.: PCT/US08/81408 Dkt: 100.031WO1 Int'l. Filing Date: Oct. 28, 2008 Applicant: WMS Gaming, Inc., et al. Tite: PRESENTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WAGERING GAMES cause presentation of the second episode during the second presentation of the secondary wagering game in the second wagering game session.
  7. 8. The wagering game system of claim 7 further comprising: an accounting routing system unit configured to notify the secondary wagering unit about the results for the first primary wagering game and the second primary wagering game; and a random number generator service unit configured to provide random numbers to the primary and secondary wagering game units, the random numbers for use in determining the results for the first primary wagering game and the second primary wagering game.
  8. 9. The wagering game system of claim 7, wherein the first episode indicates first secondary game results for the first presentation of the secondary wagering game, and wherein the second episode represents second secondary game results for the second presentation of the secondary wagering game.
  9. 10. The wagering game system of claim 7, wherein the secondary wagering game unit is further configured to determine a plurality of sub-episodes from the first-sequence-level sub-episode group wherein each of the plurality of sub-episodes is a possible episodic content that correlates directly to different occurrences of primary wagering game results; determine that the first result correlates directly to one of the plurality of sub-episodes; and use the one of the plurality of sub-episodes as the first episode. I1. The wagering game system of claim 7, wherein the group of episodes is organized in an episodic sequence, and wherein according to the episodic sequence, the second episode comes afler the first episode. 23 AMENDMENT AND RESPONSE UNDER ARTICLE 34 Int'l. Appin. No.: PCT/US08/81408 Dkt: 100.031Wo1 Int'l. Filing Date: Oct. 28, 2008 Applicant: WMS Gaming, Inc., et al. Title: PRESENTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WAGERING GAMES
  10. 12. The wagering game system of claim 7 further comprising: a wagering game terminal configured to receive player input and provide the player input to the primary wagering game unit and the secondary wagering game unit.
  11. 13. One or more machine-readable media having instructions stored thereon, which when executed by a set of one or more processors causes the set.of one or more processors to perform operations comprising: receiving, in a wagering game session, a first selection of a first primary wagering game; detecting an event from the first primary wagering game that triggers a persistent secondary game; generating a game element based on information in a player account; incorporating the game element into a first presentation of the persistent secondary game, wherein the game element represents the player account as a playing element in the persistent secondary game; determining a first result of the first primary wagering game; presenting a first episode in the persistent secondary game based on the first result, wherein the first episode is part of a group of episodes that follow a sequential order in a common storyline; incorporating the game element into the first episode; receiving, in the wagering game session, a second selection of a second primary wagering game; determining a second result of the second primary wagering game; presenting a second episode in the persistent secondary game based on the second result, wherein the second episode is part of the group of episodes, and wherein the second episode follows the first episode in the sequential order of the common storyline; and presenting the game element in the second episode. 24 AMENDMENT AND RESPONSE UNDER ARTICLE 34 Int'l. Appin. No.: PCT/US08/81408 Dkt: 100.031Wo0 Int'l. Filing Date: Oct. 28, 2008 Applicant: WMS Gaming, Inc., et al. Title: PRESENTING PRIMARY AND SECONDARY WAGERING GAMES
  12. 14. The one or more machine-readable media of claim 13, said operations further comprising selecting any one of the first episode and the second episode based on information in the player account.
  13. 15. The one or more machine-readable media of claim 13, wherein the persistent secondary game runs continuously between the first presentation of the persistent secondary game and the second presentation of the persistent secondary game.
  14. 16. The one or more machine-readable media of claim 13, said operations further comprising: storing a first episode identifier in the player account after causing the first presentation of the persistent secondary game; and referring to the first episode identifier in the player account before presenting the second episode.
  15. 17. The one or more machine-readable media of claim 13, wherein the event is selected from one or more of a result of the first primary wagering game, input associated with the first primary wagering game, and monetary value received.
  16. 18. The one or more machine-readable media of claim 13, said operations further comprising: modifying the game element based on one or more of the first result of the first primary wagering game and the second result of the second primary wagering game. 25
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