AU2009201096B2 - A method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller - Google Patents

A method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller Download PDF

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AU2009201096B2
AU2009201096B2 AU2009201096A AU2009201096A AU2009201096B2 AU 2009201096 B2 AU2009201096 B2 AU 2009201096B2 AU 2009201096 A AU2009201096 A AU 2009201096A AU 2009201096 A AU2009201096 A AU 2009201096A AU 2009201096 B2 AU2009201096 B2 AU 2009201096B2
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game
player
modifier
prize
method
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AU2009201096A1 (en
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Philippa Alice Graham
Samual James Walker
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Priority to AU2008901339A priority patent/AU2008901339A0/en
Priority to AU2008901793A priority patent/AU2008901793A0/en
Priority to AU2008901793 priority
Application filed by Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd filed Critical Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Priority to AU2009201096A priority patent/AU2009201096B2/en
Publication of AU2009201096A1 publication Critical patent/AU2009201096A1/en
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Publication of AU2009201096B2 publication Critical patent/AU2009201096B2/en
Priority claimed from AU2012203617A external-priority patent/AU2012203617B9/en
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Abstract

Abstract A method of gaming comprising: providing at least one modifier, each modifier adapted to modify a prize to be 5 awarded to a player for a game outcome in a manner known in advance by the player; offering the player an option to select a modifier; and applying any selected modifier to modify the prize for the game outcome. N:\Melboume\Cascs\P'atent\76000-76999\P7681 6.AU.\I Spccis\P76816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09

Description

AUSTRALIA Patents Act 1990 COMPLETE SPECIFICATION Standard Patent Applicant (s) Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited Invention Title: A METHOD OF GAMING, A GAMING SYSTEM AND A GAME CONTROLLER The following statement is a full description of this invention, including the best method for performing it known to me/us: P76816.AU I Pat Sel_Filing Appication 2009.3-17.doc (M) 2 A METHOD OF GAMING, A GAMING SYSTEM AND A GAME CONTROLLER Field 5 The present invention relates to a method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller. Background to the Invention 10 It is known to provide a gaming system including a gaming controller arranged to generate a random result and apply game rules to the result to determine a game outcome for which a player may be awarded a prize if a predetermined winning outcome occurs. A player can place a wager to 15 play the game and typically the wagered amount will represent a number of credits or a monetary value. A prize awarded to a player based on a winning outcome can be based on the amount wagered to play the game. 20 There is a need for an alternative game in order to maintain or increase player interest and enjoyment. Summary of the Invention 25 According to one aspect there is provided a method of gaming comprising: notifying, by a computer implemented game controller, a player of a prize to be awarded for a game outcome; 30 providing, by a computer implemented game controller, at least one modifier, each modifier adapted to modify the prize in a manner known to the player; offering the player, by the computer implemented game controller, an option to select a modifier to modify 35 the known prize in a manner known by the player in advance of selecting the modifier; and applying, by the computer implemented game controller, any selected modifier to modify the prize for the game outcome. 32326591 (GHMattcrs)P76816.AU.I 20/03/12 3 In some embodiments a modifier can be applied to a given number of game outcomes of a plurality of game outcomes. The given number can be less than a total of the plurality 5 of game outcomes. In an embodiment a set of a given number of modifiers are provided and each modifier can be applied for one game outcome only. 10 In an embodiment each modifier has a different value. In an embodiment a plurality of game outcomes are generated and the method comprises the steps for each game 15 outcome of: generating a game outcome; offering the player an option to select a modifier to apply for the game outcome; and applying any selected modifier to any prize for the 20 outcome before generating a next game outcome. The modifier can be provided for feature game outcomes. Access to the feature game outcomes may be provided on fulfilment of eligibility criteria. For example, the 25 eligibility criteria can be based on a game outcome or player activity. Outcomes for the feature game can be generated until an end condition is met. 30 Each modifier can be a multiplier. The modifiers can be predetermined, determined during game play based on predetermined game rules, determined based 35 on player action or determined during game play based on a random modifier selection process. An embodiment can further comprise the steps of: selecting a new modifier when the player selects not to apply the 40 modifier; and applying the new modifier to modify the 3232659_1 (GMatters) P76816.AU.1 20/03/12 4 prize for the game outcome. The new modifier can be randomly selected from a set of modifiers. According to another aspect there is a game controller s comprising: a game outcome generator adapted to generate a game outcome for a player based on a random result; a game outcome evaluator adapted to determine a prize to be awarded to the player when predetermined 10 winning criteria occur in the game outcome; and a prize manager adapted to apply a player selected modifier to modify the prize to be awarded to a player for a game outcome, wherein the player knows a prize to be awarded for a game outcome and a manner by 15 which the known prize will be modified by the selected modifier in advance of selecting the modifier. According to another aspect there is provided a game system comprising: 20 a player interface for entering game play instructions by a player and providing game outcome and prize information to the player; a game outcome generator adapted to generate a game outcome for a player based on a random result; 25 a game outcome evaluator adapted to determine a prize to be awarded to the player when predetermined winning criteria occur in the game outcome; and a prize manager adapted to apply a player selected modifier to modify the prize to be awarded to a 30 player for a game outcome, wherein the player knows a prize to be awarded for a game outcome and a manner by which the known prize will be modified by the selected modifier in advance of selecting the modifier. 35 The game system may be implemented across a network or as a stand alone gaming system. According to another aspect there is provided computer 32326591 (GHManers) P76816.AU 1 20/03/12 5 program code which when executed causes a computer to implement a computer controlled gaming method as described above. 5 Brief Description of the Drawings The preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described in relation to the following drawings in which: Figure 1 is a block diagram of the core 10 components of a gaming system; Figure 2 is a perspective view of a gaming machine; 1s Figure 3 is a block diagram of the functional components of a gaming machine; Figure 4 is a block diagram representing the structure of a memory; 20 Figure 5 is a diagram schematic of a networked gaming system; Figure 6 is a further block diagram of a gaming 25 system; Figure 7 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a game process; 30 Figure 8 is a flowchart of an alternative embodiment of a game process. Figures 9a to 9g illustrate reel spin outcomes for Example 1. 35 Figures 10a to 10c illustrate reel spin outcomes for Example 2. N:\Meiboumc\Cases\Potent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. I \Specis\P76816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 6 Figures lla and lle illustrate reel spin outcomes for Example 3. 5 Detailed Description Embodiments of a gaming method and gaming controller as described enable a player to select whether to modify the prize to be awarded for a game outcome in a manner known 10 in advance by the player using a selected modifier. Embodiments may be applied to any type of game, such as a spinning reel game, poker, keno, bingo, pinball, dice etc. In a first form, a stand alone gaming machine is provided is wherein all or most components required for implementing the game are present in a player operable gaming machine. In a second form, a distributed architecture is provided wherein some of the components required for implementing 20 the game are present in a player operable gaming device and some of the components required for implementing the game are located remotely relative to the gaming device. For example, a "thick client" architecture may be used wherein part of the game is executed on a player operable 25 gaming device, such as an interactive player terminal, and part of the game is executed remotely, such as by a gaming server; or a "thin client" architecture may be used wherein most of the game is executed remotely such as by a gaming server and a player operable gaming device or 30 player terminal is used only to display audible and/or visible gaming information to the player and receive gaming inputs from the player. However, it will be understood that other arrangements are 35 envisaged. For example, an architecture may be provided wherein a gaming device is networked to a gaming server and the respective functions of the gaming device and the N:Welboum\Cases\Paent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. I \Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Spccification.doc 18/03/09 7 gaming server are selectively modifiable. For example, the gaming system may operate in stand alone gaming machine mode, "thick client" mode or "thin client" mode depending on the game being played, operating conditions, 5 and so on. Other variations will be apparent to persons skilled in the art. Irrespective of the form, the gaming system comprises several core components. At the broadest level, the core 10 components are a player interface 50 and a game controller 60 as illustrated in Figure 1. The player interface is arranged to enable manual interaction between a player and the gaming system and for this purpose includes the input/output components required for the player to enter 15 instructions and play the game. Components of the player interface may vary from embodiment to embodiment but will typically include a credit mechanism 52 to enable a player to input credits 20 and receive payouts, one or more displays 54 and a game play mechanism 56 that enables a player to input game play instructions (e.g. to place a wager), and one or more speakers 58. 25 The game controller 60 is in data communication with the player interface and typically includes a processor 62 that processes the game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and outputs game play outcomes to the display. Typically, the game play instructions are stored 30 as program code in a memory 64 but can also be hardwired. Herein the term "processor" is used to refer generically to any device that can process game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and may include: a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device 35 or other computational device, a general purpose computer (e.g. a PC) or a server. N:\Melboume\Cases\Paen\76OO-76999\P76816.AU. I\Spccis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 8 A gaming system in the form of a stand alone gaming machine 202 is illustrated in Figure 2. The gaming machine 202 includes a console 12 having a display 14 on which is displayed representations of a game 16 that can be played 5 by a player. A mid-trim 20 of the gaming machine 202 houses a bank of buttons 22 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine, in particular during gameplay. The mid-trim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism 24 which in this example includes a coin input 10 chute 24A and a bill collector 24B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit card. Other gaming machines may configure for ticket in such that they have a ticket reader for reading tickets 15 having a value and crediting the player based on the face value of the ticker. A player marketing module (not shown) having a reading device may also be provided for the purpose of reading a player tracking device, for example as part of a loyalty program. The player tracking 20 device may be in the form of a card, flash drive or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by the reading device. In some embodiments, the player marketing module may provide an additional credit mechanism, either by transferring credits to the gaming machine from credits 25 stored on the player tracking device or by transferring credits from a player account in data communication with the player marketing module. A top box 26 may carry artwork 28, including for example 30 pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game. Further artwork and/or information may be provided on a front panel 29 of the console 12. A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the front panel 29 for dispensing cash payouts 35 from the gaming machine 202. The display 14 shown in Figure 2 is in the form of a video N:\Melboume\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. l\Spccis\P76816.AU. I CAP Specificationdoc 18/03/09 9 display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 14 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an 5 electromechanical device. The top box 26 may also include a display, for example a video display unit, which may be of the same type as the display 14, or of a different type. 10 Figure 3 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine which may be the same as or different to the gaming machine of Figure 2. The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 15 having a processor 102. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication with the processor 102. Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each 20 type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103. The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 for purposes including ensuring regulatory compliance and monitoring 25 player credit, an input/output (I/0) interface 105 for communicating with peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for storing associated instructions and data 30 for use with the input/output interface or the peripheral devices. A random number generator module 113 generates random numbers for use by the processor 102. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the reference to random numbers includes pseudo-random numbers. 35 In the example shown in Figure 3, a player interface 120 includes peripheral devices that communicate with the game N:\Melboume\CasestPatent76000-76999P76816.AU. \Spccis\P76816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18/03109 10 controller 101 and may comprise one or more displays 106, a touch screen and buttons 107, a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin input mechanism 110 and a coin output mechanism 111. 5 Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted as required for the specific implementation. For example, while buttons or touch screens are typically used in gaming machines to allow a player to place a wager and initiate a play of a 10 game any input device that enables the player to input game play instructions may be used. In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. 15 The network card may, for example, send status information, accounting information or other information to a central controller, server or database and receive data or commands from the central controller, server or database. In embodiments employing a player marketing 20 module, communications over a network may be via player marketing module - i.e. the player marketing module may be in data communication with one or more of the above devices and communicate with it on behalf of the gaming machine. 25 Figure 4 shows a block diagram of the main components of an exemplary memory 103. The memory 103 includes RAM 103A, EPROM 103B and a mass storage device 103C. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds program files for 30 execution by the processor 102 and related data. The EPROM 103B may be a boot ROM device and/or may contain some system or game related code. The mass storage device 103C is typically used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by 35 the processor 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B or elsewhere. N:\Melboumc\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU.I\Spccis\P 7 6816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc l8/03/09 11 It is also possible for the operative components of the gaming machine 100 to be distributed, for example input/output devices 106,107,108,109,110,111 to be provided remotely from the game controller 101. 5 Figure 5 shows a gaming system 200 in accordance with an alternative embodiment. The gaming system 200 includes a network 201, which for example may be an Ethernet network. Gaming devices 202, shown arranged in three banks 203 of 10 two gaming devices 202 in Figure 5, are connected to the network 201. The gaming devices 202 provide a player operable interface and may be the same as the gaming machines 202, 100 shown in Figures 2 and 3, or may have simplified functionality depending on the requirements for 15 implementing game play. While banks 203 of two gaming devices are illustrated in Figure 5, banks of one, three or more gaming devices are also envisaged. One or more displays 204 may also be connected to the 20 network 201. The displays 204 may, for example, be associated with one or more banks 203 of gaming devices. The displays 204 may be used to display representations associated with game play on the gaming devices 202, and/or used to display other representations, for example 25 promotional or informational material. In a thick client embodiment, game server 205 implements part of the game played by a player using a gaming device 202 and the gaming device 202 implements part of the game. 30 With this embodiment, as both the game server and the gaming device implement part of the game, they collectively provide a game controller. A database management server 206 may manage storage of game programs and associated data for downloading or access by the 35 gaming devices 202 in a database 206A. Typically, if the gaming system enables players to participate in a Jackpot game, a Jackpot server 207 will be provided to monitor and N:\MelboumNc\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. I\SpecisP76816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 12 carry out the Jackpot game. Additional servers 212 may be provided to implement other functions depending on the embodiment implemented for the gaming venue. 5 In a thin client embodiment, game server 205 implements most or all of the game played by a player using a gaming device 202 and the gaming device 202 essentially provides only the player interface. With this embodiment, the game server 205 provides the game controller. The gaming 10 machine will receive player instructions, pass these to the game server which will process them and return game play outcomes to the gaming device for display. In a thin client embodiment, the gaming devices could be computer terminals, e.g. PCs running software that provides a 15 player interface operable using standard computer input and output components. Other client/server configurations are possible, and further details of a client/server architecture can be found in WO 2006/052213 and PCT/SE2006/000559, the disclosures of which are 20 incorporated herein by reference. Servers are also typically provided to assist in the administration of the gaming network 200, including for example a gaming floor management server 208, and a 25 licensing server 209 to monitor the use of licenses relating to particular games. An administrator terminal 210 is provided to allow an administrator to run the network 201 and the devices connected to the network. 30 The gaming network 200 may communicate with other gaming systems, other local networks, for example a corporate network, and/or a wide area network such as the Internet, for example through a firewall 211. 35 Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that in accordance with known techniques, functionality at the server side of the network may be distributed over a N:\MelboumeN\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. \Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 13 plurality of different computers. For example, elements may be run as a single "engine" on one server or a separate server may be provided. For example, the game server 205 could run a random generator engine. 5 Alternatively, a separate random number generator server could be provided. Further, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that a plurality of games servers could be provided to run different games or a single game server may run a plurality of different games as required by the 10 terminals. Embodiments of the present invention relate to gaming systems that allow a player to select for a game outcome whether or not to apply a modifier to modify a prize to be 15 awarded for the game outcome in a manner known in advance by the player. Embodiments may be applied for any type of game, for example spinning reel, poker, keno, bingo, pin and ball, dice games etc Embodiments may be used in game systems which use mechanical random result generation 20 processes or electronic random number generators to generate game outcomes. Embodiments of the gaming method provide at least one modifier adapted to modify in a manner known in advance by 25 the player any prize to be awarded for a game outcome. The modifier is optionally selected by the player. In an embodiment the player knows both the prize to be awarded for a game outcome and the modifier before selecting to apply the modifier for the game outcome to modify the 30 prize. An embodiment of a game system 600 for providing a game including the prize modifier is illustrated in Figure 6. The system 600 comprises a player interface 50 and a game 35 controller 60. The player interface 50 includes the components required N:\Melboume\Cases\Patne\76000-76999\P76816.AU. \Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 14 for a player to enter game play instructions which can include wagers to play the game. For example in the illustrated embodiment the player interface includes a display 54 for displaying game data including outcome data 5 and prize data, and a game play mechanism 56 enabling a player to input game play instructions. The player interface may be a player interface portion of a gamign device such as a stand alone gaming machine or a player terminal in a client-server type embodiment. 10 The game controller 60 includes a processor 62 and a memory 64. In this embodiment memory 64 stores game rules 610 for the game being played, prize modifier data 620 and player data 630. In this embodiment a game outcome is generator 640, a game outcome evaluator 645 and a prize manager 650 are implemented as functions in the processor 62. Alternatively, the game controller 60 may be implemented using hardware circuits designed to perform some or all of the functions of the game outcome generator 20 640, game outcome evaluator 645 and prize manager. For example, hardwired circuits, application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) or programmable hardware such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) may be used to implement the game controller functions. Embodiments of 25 the game controller implemented using any combination of hardware, firmware and software executed using a processor are envisaged. The game outcome generator 640 can include all the 30 functions required for generating a random result, applying game rules to the random result to generate a game outcome and displaying the game outcome. The game outcome evaluator 645determines whether a prize is to be awarded to the player for the game outcome based on game 35 rules 610. Alternatively the game outcome evaluator 645 may receive game outcome data generated using another module or a mechanical random result generation process N:\Melbournc\Cascs\Patcnt\76000-76999\P76816.AU.I\Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Spccificationdoc 8/03/09 15 and simply be adapted to apply game rules 610 to the generated game outcome data to evaluate the game outcome and determine whether a prize winning event has occurred. The outcome evaluator may also be adapted to determine the 5 prize to be awarded for a winning event, for example based on a wager and the winning outcome. Alternatively determining the prize to be awarded may be determined by the prize manager 650 based on a game outcome and optionally player data such as the wagered amount for a 10 game. Player data is optional in determining prizes for game outcomes as prizes may be awarded for "free play" games which do not require a wager to be placed. The prize manager 650 is adapted to apply a modifier to is modify a prize to be awarded to the player for a game outcome if the player selects to apply the modifier. A player may select to apply a modifier to a game outcome before or after the game outcome is known. Whether the modifier is selected before or after a game outcome is 20 evaluated is based on game rules. Whether a player selects the modifier for a game outcome can be stored in memory 64 as player data 630 along with other game play instructions, including any wager data and prize tally data. 25 The number of modifiers or number of game outcomes to which the modifier can be applied may be defined as a fixed number or based on game outcomes in accordance with game rules 610. Alternatively a modifier may be randomly 30 selected for a player from a plurality of modifiers stored as modifier data 620 in memory 64. Prize modifier data 620 stored in memory 64 can include the values and types of modifiers available and any tracking data for modifier application by a player. In an embodiment the modifier is 35 a multiplier, used to multiply the prize value if selected. However, other modifiers may be provided, such as a value added to the prize value. Alternatively a N:\Mclboumc\Cascs\Patenm\76000-76999\P76816.AU. l\Specis\P76816.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18,03/09 16 modifier may reduce the prize amount for example by subtracting a value or reducing the amount by a percentage value. In an embodiment where more than one modifier is provided, each modifier may have a different value or 5 mathematical function, and some modifiers may reduce a prize value. Credit units or "credits" representing a monetary value are often used for wagers and prizes, the credits can be 10 redeemed as cash or other prizes of equivalent value when a player chooses to stop playing. For example, each credit unit may represent a monetary value of 5 cents, so a player winning 10000 credits may redeem the monetary value of $500 for the 10000 credits from the gaming venue is when they have finished playing. An embodiment of a game play process is illustrated in Figure 7 for this example wagers and prizes are given as credits and the modifier is a multiplier adapted to 20 multiply the number of prize credits by five, and the game rules allow the player to apply the modifier in only one game outcome out of three. The game play is started 710 by placing a wager. The first game outcome is generated 720 and displayed to the player along with the available 25 multiplier 730, any prize for the game outcome is displayed 740. The player then selects 750 whether or not to apply the modifier for the game outcome. If a prize has been awarded, for example twenty credits, the player may select to apply the modifier to modify the prize 760 30 by multiplying the number of credits by five to give one hundred credits. The modifier data 770 is then updated to indicate that the modifier has been used and cannot be applied again for the remainder of the three games. The modified prize value of one hundred credits is awarded to 35 the player. If there is no prize or a prize of only a few credits the player may choose not to apply the modifier, in this case any prize is awarded 780 and the second game N:\Mclboume\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P768 16.AU.l\Spccis\P76816.AU. CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 17 play is started 710 and the modifier remains available to be used for the next game outcome. Once the set of three games is completed, the modifier may be enabled for use in the next set of games. 5 The gaming system of one embodiment provides "base game" outcomes and "feature game" outcomes wherein the prize modifier is provided. For example the feature becomes available once eligibility criteria are met. The 10 eligibility for a feature game outcome may be based on an outcome of a base game, for example the appearance of a special symbol or combination of symbols in a game outcome of a base game. The player may pay an additional bet, known as an "ante bet", for a chance for feature game 15 outcomes. Alternatively payment of an ante bet alone may fulfil the eligibility criteria for feature game outcomes providing the modifier. The amount wagered for an ante bet may determine the value and/or the number of modifiers made available to the player in the feature game outcomes. 20 In one variation during the feature game outcomes, a series of game outcomes are generated which one or more modifiers may be applied to. Feature game outcomes may be generated until an end condition is met. For example, an 25 end condition may be that a specified number of feature game outcomes have been generated or a feature game outcome including an end condition such as a specified symbol has occurred. 30 An example of a game play process where the modifier is provided in feature game play is illustrated in Figure 8. The player places a bet to start the play of a base game 810 and an outcome is generated for the base game 815. If the eligibility criteria 820 for feature game play are not 35 met then any prize for the base game will be awarded 825 and the game process readies for the play of the next base game. If the game outcome fulfils the eligibility N:\Melboume\Cases\Paten\76000-76999\P76816.AU.l\Specis\P768l6.AU.1 CAP Spccification.doc 18/03/09 18 criteria 820 for feature game play, then the game play process continues on to generate one or more feature game outcomes for one or more feature game rounds where the player has the option to apply a modifier to modify the 5 prize to be awarded for the feature game outcome. The number of feature game rounds may be preset or based on an outcome of the base game. The available modifiers may also be preset or based on base game outcomes. 10 A feature game outcome is generated 830 and displayed to the player. The player then selects 840 whether to apply a modifier. Where more than one modifier is available the player may select which modifier to apply to the feature game outcome. If the player selects a modifier, the prize is is modified 850 using the selected modifier, the modifier data updated 860 and the modified prize awarded 870. If the player selects not to apply a modifier any prize for the feature game outcome is awarded 870 unmodified. 20 The end criteria for the feature game play are checked 880 to determine whether the feature game rounds are completed, for example if a predetermined number of feature game outcomes have been generated, an end symbol occurred in the feature game outcome, all available 25 modifiers have been applied or the like. If the feature game rounds are not completed then the game play process continues to generate further feature game outcomes 830 and enable modifier selection 840 etc until the end criteria are met. Once the end criteria are met the 30 feature game play is completed and the game play process returns to the base game 810. Modifications to the exemplary game process are envisaged within the scope of various embodiments. For example, a 35 feature game outcome may award generation of further feature game outcomes or a plurality of base games may be played before feature game play is started. A player may N:\Melboume\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. \Spccis\P76816.AU. I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 19 elect to terminate the feature game play, reserving any remaining modifiers for future feature game outcomes or base game outcomes. The feature game play may use a different game from a base game play, for example a base 5 game may be a spinning reel game and the feature game a dice game. These and any other modifications are contemplated within the scope of the present invention. Feature game rounds may be "free play" rounds or have a different betting structure to base game rounds. Feature 10 game outcomes may be similar to base game outcomes but introduce different features such as additional symbols or prize patterns. Alternatively prize values for feature game outcomes may differ from those of a base game. 15 An outcome of one or more base games, as well as fulfilling eligibility criteria for feature game play may also be used to determine one or more modifiers available to use in feature game rounds. For example, a series of base game rounds may be played before a feature game round 20 can be played. For each of these base game rounds, if a specified outcome occurs this causes a modifier to be made available to a player for use during a feature game round. For example, each time a combination of three dogs appears in a game outcome the number of times a predetermined 25 modifier, say a five times multiplier, can be applied by a player is increased by a known increment, such as one or two times, the size of the multiplier value or the increment may be fixed values defined in game rules or based on the amount of an ante bet. 30 In an alternative example, for a spinning reel game, each time a combination of three cats appears in a win line of the game a two times multiplier may be added to the player's set of available modifiers. Each time a 35 combination of four cats appears on a win line a five times multiplier is added to the available modifiers for the player, and each time five cats appears in a win line N:\Melboumc\Cases\Paren\76000-76999\P76816.AU. l\Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 20 a ten times multiplier is added. These multipliers may be selectively applied during the play of one or more feature game rounds. If the multipliers are not all applied for a sequence of feature game outcomes, any unused multipliers 5 may be lost or carried over for use in subsequent feature game rounds, dependent on the game rules of the particular game. Alternatively, a player may "win" multipliers in feature game rounds which can then be applied to modify prizes awarded for outcomes in the base game. 10 The player selects a modifier to be applied from a set of known modifiers. This has the advantage of allowing the player to feel in control of the modification of the prize. This introduces an element of strategy regarding is modifier selection into the game which can enhance player enjoyment and engagement with the game. In some embodiments the player knows the prize to be awarded for the game before selecting which modifier to 20 apply. In alternative embodiments the player may be forced to select a modifier to apply before discovering the prize for the game outcome. In an embodiment a player is provided with a number of 25 modifiers equal to a number of game rounds in which they are to be applied, and the player must apply a modifier to the game outcome generated for each round. Not all the modifiers may alter the prize in a manner favourable to the player. For example, a modifier may reduce the value 30 of a prize by a given amount or percentage or cause a prize to be lost. In another embodiment if a player selects not to apply a modifier for a game outcome, a new modifier can be 35 selected and automatically applied to the game outcome. The new modifier can be randomly selected from a set of modifiers, which may or may not be known to the player. N:\Melboumc\Cases\Paten\76000-76999\P76816.AU.I\Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 21 For example, a modifier may be represented by a dice roll which provides a multiplier value of one, two, three, four five or six. Initially the dice shows two, and the player selects not to apply the modifier. The game controller 5 can then randomly select another modifier from the set. The new modifier is automatically applied to the result, so if the result is four the prize for the game outcome is multiplied by four. An embodiment may allow more than one modifier, such as a dice symbol on a spinning reel, to 10 appear in a reel spin outcome. In this embodiment the player can select which modifier to apply. If neither modifier is selected then new modifiers may be selected to replace each modifier and the modifier automatically applied based on game rules, for example choosing the 15 highest or lowest modifier value or a default modifier may always be selected to apply, such as the modifier appearing on reel two. Alternatively the player may be required to nominate which modifier's new value will be applied before the new modifier is selected. 20 Selecting the new modifier can be done using pseudo-random number generation performed by a game controller processor to select a new modifier from a given set. An appropriate animation may be displayed for the player's entertainment, 25 for example a dice roll or spinning wheel animation. Alternatively a mechanical random result generation process can be used, for example a mechanical dice roll, drawing a card from a shuffled deck, flipping a coin, spinning a wheel etc. 30 The modifier may not be provided for every game outcome. For example, a modifier may be provided as a symbol on a spinning reel or a special card in a deck etc so that the modifier is only provided if the special symbol is 35 included in a game outcome. In an embodiment where the modifier is represented as a symbol on a spinning reel the modifier symbol can be substituted for any another symbol N:MelboumeXCascs\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. I \Specis\P76816.AU.1 CAP Specificationmdoc 18/03/09 22 on the reel and may not appear in every reel spin outcome. Alternatively the modifier may be provided as a side game during feature game play. For example the feature game may be a spinning reel game which generates the game 5 outcome and a side game may be a wheel spin to determine the modifier for the game outcome. If the player selects not to play the modifier initially selected for a wheel spin, the wheel is spun again, the new modifier selected, and applied to the prize associated with the reel spin 10 outcome. Some exemplary embodiments of gaming methods, controllers and systems applying prize modifiers have been described herein. A person skilled in the art should readily 15 appreciate that the prize modification feature may be applied in many alternative embodiments. Any modifications or alterations to the prize modifiers described herein are envisaged within the scope of the present invention. 20 In the preceding description, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" is used in an inclusive sense, 25 i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments. It is to be understood that, if any prior art is referred 30 to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in any country. Example 1 35 In the following non limiting example a player is playing a spinning reel game. The modifiers in this example are N:\Mclboume\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P768 l6.AU I \Spccis\P76816.AU. I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 23 defined by the game rules as multipliers. The number and values of the multipliers are fixed for all of a series of feature game rounds. According to the game rules a player can apply each multiplier once only in the series of 5 feature game rounds. A player triggers a series of 7 feature game rounds from a base game. During the feature game rounds the play of the game is free and prizes can be multiplied by the player 10 selecting a multiplier shown on the screen. Once the multiplier is used, it is removed from the selection process. In this example, the player is playing 1 credit per line is on 3 lines (bet =3). During free rounds, the cost of a reel spin is 0 and the number of lines played is the same as the originating game. The player has 100 credits remaining before the start of the feature game play. 20 A game outcome generated for the first free reel spin is illustrated in Figure 9a. The symbols on the reels 910 do not include any winning combinations. The player chooses not to apply a modifier and play continues with the next fee spin. 25 The outcome for the second free reel spin is illustrated in Figure 9b. The outcome includes 3* DOG on the top line of the reels 910 which pays 10. The player can choose to multiply the win by one of the multipliers 920 930 940 on 30 offer. The player selects the *10 multiplier 920. The win of 10 is multiplied by 10 so the prize paid to the player is 100. The *10 multiplier 920 is removed as an option. The outcome for the third free spin is illustrated in 35 Figure 9c. The symbols on the reels 910 do not include any winning combinations. The player chooses not to apply a modifier and play continues with the next fee spin. N:\Melboume\Cases\Pnten\760O0-76999\P76816.AU.I\Specis\P76816.AU. I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 24 The outcome for the fourth free spin is illustrated in Figure 9d. This shows a win of 5*A on the top line of the reels 910 and the prize for this symbol combination is 5 100. The player can choose to multiply this win by the remaining multipliers 930 940. The player chooses *5 multiplier 940. The player is paid 5*100 credits and the 5* multiplier is removed. 10 The outcome for the fifth free spin is illustrated in Figure 9e. The symbols on the reels 910 do not include any winning combinations. The player chooses not to apply a modifier and play continues with the next fee spin. 15 The outcome for the sixth free spin is illustrated in Figure 9f. The symbols on the reels 910 include 2*10 on the top row, prize = 5, 3* dog on the middle row, prize = 10, and 5*K on the bottom row, prize = 50. The total prize for the outcome is 65 and the player is asked if they wish 20 to multiply. The player chooses the last multiplier *2 930 and is paid 2*65 = 130. The *2 multiplier 930 is removed. The outcome for the seventh and final free spin is 25 illustrated in Figure 9g. The symbols on the reels 910 include 5*9 on the top row, prize = 50, 3* Q on the middle row, prize = 10, and 5*A on the bottom row, prize = 100. The total prize is 160 and the player can no longer multiply. The prize paid is 160. 30 At the end of the feature game the player has a total of 990 credits. Example 2 35 In the following non limiting example a player is playing a spinning reel game. The modifiers in this example are N:\Mclbourn\CsesiPaten\76000-76999\P76816.AU. I\Spccis\P768l6.AU.I CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09 25 defined by the game rules as multipliers. The number and values of the multipliers are fixed for all of a series of feature games. According to the game rules a player can apply each multiplier once only in the series of feature 5 game outcomes. A player triggers a series of 3 feature game outcomes from a base game. During the feature game rounds the play of the game is free and prizes for each outcome must be 10 multiplied by the player selecting a multiplier shown on the screen. Once the multiplier is used, it is removed from the selection process. In this example, the player is playing 1 credit per line 15 on 3 lines (bet =3). During free game rounds, the cost of a reel spin is 0 and the number of lines played is the same as the originating game. The player has 100 credits remaining before the start of the feature game rounds. 20 A game outcome generated for the first free reel spin is illustrated in Figure 10a. The symbols on the reels 1010 do not include any winning combinations. The player must choose a modifier. The player chooses the *2 multiplier 1030. The *2 multiplier 1030 is removed and play 25 continues with the next fee spin. The outcome for the second free spin is illustrated in Figure 10b. The symbols on the reels 1010 include 2*10 on the top row, prize = 5, 3* dog on the middle row, prize = 30 10, and 5*K on the bottom row, prize = 50. The total prize for the outcome is 65 and the player is asked which multiplier to apply. The player chooses the *5 multiplier 1040 and is paid 5*65 = 325. The *5 multiplier 940 is removed. 35 The outcome for the third and final free reel spin is illustrated in Figure 10c. The outcome includes 3* DOG on N:\Melboume\Cascs\Patnt\76000-76999\P768 l6.AU. I lSpecis\P76816.AU. I CAP Specifcation.doc 18/03/09 26 the top line of the reels 1010 which pays 10. The remaining *10 multiplier 1020 is automatically applied. The win of 10 is multiplied by 10 so the prize paid to the player is 100. 5 At the end of the feature game rounds the player has a total of 525 credits. Example 3 10 In the following non limiting example a player is playing a spinning reel game. The modifiers in this example are defined by the game rules as multipliers and they are selected from a set representative of the values of dice 15 facets. According to the game rules a player can apply a multiplier only when a dice symbol appears in a reel spin outcome. A player triggers a series of 3 feature game rounds from a 20 base game. During the feature game rounds the play of the game is free and prizes can be multiplied by a multiplier displayed on a dice symbol appearing in a reel spin result. If the player selects not to apply the modifier for an outcome, a new modifier is selected and 25 automatically applied to modify any prize. In this example, the player is playing 1 credit per line on 3 lines (bet =3). During free game rounds, the cost of a reel spin is 0 and the number of lines played is the 30 same as the originating game. The player has 100 credits remaining before the start of the feature game rounds. A game outcome generated for the first free reel spin is illustrated in Figure lla. The symbols on the reels 1110 35 do not include any winning combinations. The DICE modifier 1120 appears on reel two with a value of six. The player applies the modifier, which has no effect on N:\Melboume\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU. \Specis\P76816.AU.I CAP Specificationdoc 18/03/09 27 the prize outcome of zero and play continues with the next fee spin. The outcome for the second free spin is illustrated in 5 Figure llb. The symbols on the reels 1110 include 2*10 on the top row, prize = 5, 3* dog on the middle row, prize = 10, and 5*K on the bottom row, prize = 50. The total prize for the outcome is 65. The DICE modifier 1130 with a value of three appears on reel four. The player is asked 10 whether to apply the modifier or not. The player chooses not to apply the DICE modifier 1130 to multiply the result by three. An animated dice roll is displayed the animated dice comes to rest showing a new modifier value of five. The outcome after the new modifier value is selected is 15 represented in Figure 11c. The new DICE modifier 1135 value of five is automatically applied to the prize to be paid 5*65 so the modified prize paid is 325 credits. The outcome for the third and final free reel spin is 20 illustrated in Figure lld. The outcome includes 3* DOG on the top line of the reels 1110 which pays 10. The DICE modifier 1140 appears on reel two with a value of two. The player chooses not to apply the modifier and the dice is roll animation is played again while a new modifier 25 value is selected. The outcome after the new modifier value is selected is represented in Figure lie. The new DICE modifier 1145 value of one is automatically applied to the prize to be paid 1*10 so the modified prize paid is 10 credits, whereas if the player had selected to apply 30 the modifier originally the prize paid would have been 2* 10, 20 credits. At the end of the feature game the player has a total of 435 credits. N\MeIlbournc\Cases\Patent\76000-76999\P76816.AU.I\Specis\P768 6.AU.1 CAP Specification.doc 18/03/09

Claims (23)

1. A method of gaming comprising: notifying, by a computer implemented game 5 controller, a player of a prize to be awarded for a game outcome; providing, by a computer implemented game controller, at least one modifier, each modifier adapted to modify the prize in a manner known to the player; 10 offering the player, by the computer implemented game controller, an option to select a modifier to modify the known prize in a manner known by the player in advance of selecting the modifier; and applying, by the computer implemented game 15 controller, any selected modifier to modify the prize for the game outcome.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein a modifier can be applied to a given number of game outcomes of a 20 plurality of game outcomes.
3. A method as claimed in claim 2 wherein the given number is less than a total of the plurality of game outcomes. 25
4. A method as claimed in claim 2 wherein a set of a given number of modifiers are provided and each modifier can be applied for one game outcome only. 30
5. A method as claimed in claim 4 wherein each modifier has a different value.
6. A method as claimed in claim 2 wherein a plurality of game outcomes are generated and the method 35 comprises the steps for each game outcome of: generating a game outcome; offering the player an option to select a modifier to apply for the game outcome; and 32326591 (GHMattrs) P76816.AU. 120/03/12 29 applying any selected modifier to any prize for the outcome before generating a next game outcome.
7. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the s modifier is provided for feature game outcomes.
8. A method as claimed in claim 7 wherein access to the feature game outcomes is provided on fulfilment of eligibility criteria. 10
9. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein the eligibility criteria is based on a game outcome.
10. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein the 15 eligibility criteria is based on player activity.
11. A method as claimed in claim 7 wherein feature game outcomes are generated until an end condition is met. 20
12. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein each modifier is a multiplier.
13. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the modifiers are predetermined. 25
14. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the modifiers are determined during game play based on predetermined game rules. 30
15. A method as clamed in claim 1 wherein the modifiers are determined based on player action.
16. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the modifiers are determined during game play based on a 35 random modifier selection process.
17. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising the steps of: 32326591 (GHMdpners) P7616.AU.1 20/03/12 30 selecting a new modifier when the player selects not to apply the modifier; and applying the new modifier to modify the prize for the game outcome. 5
18. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein the new modifier is randomly selected from a set of modifiers.
19. A game controller comprising: 10 a game outcome generator adapted to generate a game outcome for a player based on a random result; a game outcome evaluator adapted to determine a prize to be awarded to the player when predetermined winning criteria occur in the game outcome; and i5 a prize manager adapted to apply a player selected modifier to modify the prize to be awarded to a player for a game outcome, wherein the player knows a prize to be awarded for a game outcome and a manner by which the known prize will be modified by the selected 20 modifier in advance of selecting the modifier.
20. A game system comprising: a player interface for entering game play instructions by a player and providing game outcome and 25 prize information to the player; a game outcome generator adapted to generate a game outcome for a player based on a random result; a game outcome evaluator adapted to determine a prize to be awarded to the player when predetermined 30 winning criteria occur in the game outcome; and a prize manager adapted to apply a player selected modifier to modify the prize to be awarded to a player for a game outcome, wherein the player knows a prize to be awarded for a game outcome and a manner by 35 which the known prize will be modified by the selected modifier in advance of selecting the modifier.
21. A game system as claimed in claim 20 wherein the 32326591 (QHMaUer)P76816.AU.1 20/03/12 31 gaming system is implemented across a network.
22. A game system as claimed in claim 20 wherein the gaming system is implemented as a stand alone gaming 5 system.
23. Computer program code which when executed causes a computer to implement a computer controlled gaming method as claimed in claim 1. 32326591 (GHlMatters) P76816AU.] 20/03/12
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