US20050014556A1 - Method and apparatus to provide a game feature - Google Patents

Method and apparatus to provide a game feature Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050014556A1
US20050014556A1 US10890982 US89098204A US2005014556A1 US 20050014556 A1 US20050014556 A1 US 20050014556A1 US 10890982 US10890982 US 10890982 US 89098204 A US89098204 A US 89098204A US 2005014556 A1 US2005014556 A1 US 2005014556A1
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game
archived
outcomes
feature
outcome
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Abandoned
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US10890982
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Gerald Duhamel
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Labtronix Concept Inc
Duhamel Gerald
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Labtronix Concept Inc
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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

A game feature providing method and gaming machine are disclosed. The method comprises providing a game in which outcomes are generated and evaluated and wherein a prize is awarded for a winning outcome. The method comprises archiving at least part of each game outcome. Upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome in the game, the method comprises re-evaluating a number of archived game outcomes according to new rules or new criteria. For its part, the gaming machine comprises game controller means generating and evaluating game outcomes, display means providing the outcomes to a player, memory means archiving at least part of each one of the game outcomes, and awarding means awarding a prize for a winning outcome. The gaming machine game controller means is adapted, upon occurrence of a triggering event, to re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of new rules or new criteria.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority under 35USC§119(e) of U.S. provisional patent application 60/487,074, filed on Jul. 15th, 2003, the specification of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The invention relates to a method and apparatus for providing a game feature on a gaming machine, said game feature being based on archived game outcomes.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The field of casino-style games and gaming machines is in constant evolution. Players are always demanding new characteristics or new applications of these characteristics that may incite them to play. While the variety of games has increased, players and game designers are still craving for novelty.
  • Accordingly, improvements in this field are desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In an embodiment, the invention provides a method of providing a game feature. The method comprises providing a game in which game outcomes are generated and evaluated and wherein a prize is awarded for a winning outcome. The method comprises archiving at least part of each of the game outcomes. Upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome in the game, the method comprises re-evaluating a number of archived game outcomes according to new rules or new criteria.
  • In another embodiment, the invention provides a gaming machine adapted to conduct a feature game. The gaming machine comprises game controller means generating game outcomes and evaluating game outcomes, display means providing the outcomes to a player, memory means archiving at least part of each one of the game outcomes, and awarding means awarding a prize for a winning outcome. The gaming machine game controller means is adapted, upon occurrence of a triggering event, to re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of new rules or new criteria.
  • In yet another embodiment, the invention provides a program carrier or a memory media suitable to carry or bear program codes adapted to provide on a computer or a gaming machine the above-described game feature.
  • In this specification, the terms “game outcome” mean “the result of a play of the game, which is compared with criteria to establish an outcome value (such as a prize)”. Examples of such game outcomes comprise the cards resulting from a poker game play, or the game indicia displayed once the reels stop in a line game.
  • The terms “game rules” mean “the set of rules that are used to conduct a game”, for example, the number of cards composing an outcome in a poker game or the actual pay table.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in combination with the appended drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing a perspective view of a gaming machine suitable for the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the components of the gaming machine of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating the steps of a basic game process as played on the gaming machine of FIGS. 1 and 2; and
  • FIG. 4 is a flowchart of the process of a simple embodiment of the game feature in accordance with the present invention.
  • It will be noted that throughout the appended drawings, like features are identified by like reference numerals.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention may be carried out on a gaming machine, as illustrated on FIGS. 1 and 2. Gaming machine 10 comprises display means 12 such as a video screen or a LCD screen controlled by a video controller, or mechanical reels controlled by a microprocessor; credit-receiving means 14 such as a card reader or a coin and/or bill acceptor; input means 16 such as actuable electro-mechanic buttons, levers or touch screen controls; awarding means 18 such as a ticket printer, a card reader or a hopper; memory means 20; and game controller means 22.
  • Such a gaming machine 10 is designed, in its basic realization and as shown on FIG. 3, to receive credit information from a player 30 either in a physical format (such as coins or bills) or in an electronic format (such as a player card or a money transfer from a bank account), to receive activation information from the player 32, to randomly generate 34 and display 36 a game outcome, to evaluate said game outcome according to game rules (a pay table for example) 38, and to award a prize to the player for a winning game outcome 40.
  • To comply with the present invention, memory means 20 are used to archive at least part of each game outcome. Upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome, game controller means 22 are adapted to re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to new rules or new criteria, resulting in a feature outcome.
  • The gaming machine input means 16 may allow the player to modify, customize, and/or influence the game outcome archiving process, while the display means may illustrate the archived game outcomes to the player, separately or integrated in the game display. The archived game outcomes may also be stored on storage means (not illustrated) to allow the player to store his archived game outcomes at the end of a play session and retrieve them at the beginning of a new one. Such storage means may be embodied in a removable device such as a smart card, or a device in continual communication with the gaming machine, such as a server or a central computer.
  • Also, the game controller means 22 may be adapted to modify the game outcomes archived in the memory means 20. Such functionalities may be used to clear out archived game outcomes from the memory means 20 following a re-evaluation of a number of these archived game outcomes, or following the occurrence of a predetermined event, such as reaching a predetermined threshold in the number of archived game outcomes.
  • Gaming machine components, functionalities, and their use will become apparent from the following detailed description of embodiments applying the present invention.
  • Those skilled in the art may recognize other embodiments and/or methods to provide such a game and/or functionalities, either through a central distribution of play data to networked gaming machines, a computer program adapted for such a game application and performing said game on computers, or program codes broadcasted using a suitable carrier or saved on memory, said program codes being suitable, when loaded on a computer or a gaming machine, for said apparatus to perform said game. However, all of such alternatives are intended to be incorporated in the present document through the herein reference.
  • The present invention describes a method for providing a game feature in which game outcomes are archived and, upon occurrence of a triggering event, re-evaluated according to new rules or new criteria. FIG. 4 illustrates the process of a simple embodiment of such a feature. In a game, a game outcome is generated 50, evaluated 52, and a prize is awarded for a winning outcome 54. It is also evaluated whether or not the game outcome corresponds to a feature triggering event 56. If it is determined that the game outcome is not a feature triggering event, at least part of this game outcome is archived 58. On the other hand, if it is determined that the game outcome is indeed a feature triggering outcome, at least part of the archived game outcomes are retrieved 60, evaluated according to new game rules to generate feature outcomes 62, and a feature prize is awarded for each winning feature outcome 64.
  • An example of a simple embodiment is a poker game in which the whole game outcomes are archived. Upon occurrence of a feature-triggering event, such as four of a kind, the archived game outcomes are re-evaluated based on blackjack rules. In this example, the dealer's hand comprises as many cards from the feature-triggering outcome as necessary to get a blackjack hand nearing, without ever busting, the twenty-one (21) threshold. Each player's hand (feature outcome) comprises the first three cards of an archived game outcome. If a blackjack hand value is over twenty-one (21), the hand is automatically a losing one. Else, each hand is evaluated by comparing it to the dealer's hand according to blackjack rules. In this example, once the re-evaluation is completed, the archive is cleaned out of all archived game outcomes.
  • In another embodiment, only part of each of the game outcomes is archived. For example, in a five-reel, five-line game, only the best line (i.e., the line having the most of lined identical symbols), winning or not, is archived. These archived outcomes are displayed on the gaming machine screen in an archiving window. Upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome, a certain number of these archived outcomes are re-evaluated, according to new game rules, to establish a feature outcome. In this example, the triggering event comprises at least one occurrence of a special indicium in the outcome. Depending on the number of special indicia contained in the triggering event, the number of archived game outcomes that are re-evaluated changes. For example, if the special indicium appears three times, five archived game outcomes participate in the feature. Usually, these participating archived game outcomes are the last ones to be added, but they may also be randomly chosen in the whole archive.
  • The number of archived game outcomes participating in the feature are randomly determined upon occurrence of the triggering event, determined by the moment of occurrence of the triggering event (for example, all game outcomes archived since the last occurrence of the triggering event participate in the feature), or predetermined. If the number of participating game outcomes is predetermined, and there are already as many archived game outcomes as allowed, an extra game outcome to be archived pushes the first archived game outcome out of the archive. So, for example, if the number of participating game outcomes is limited to five (5), the sixth game outcome pushes the first archived game outcome out of the archive and erases it from memory.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the player may provide input influencing the game outcome archiving process. The player may select which part of the outcome to archive, or, if the archive is full, which archived game outcome(s) to erase. He may also select game rules to apply to the feature. Information tallied during the play may also influence the trigger or the application of the feature game. For example, the feature may be triggered when tallied information reached a threshold, or the number of participating archived game outcomes may be determined by the level reached by said tallied information at the moment the triggering event occurs.
  • Another embodiment comprises modifying the archive upon occurrence of a game outcome fulfilling a second criterion. For example, upon occurrence of an outcome in which appears at least one BANKRUPT indicium, it is determined, depending on the number of BANKRUPT indicia appearing in the game outcome, how many archived game outcomes to erase from the archive. The number of erased game outcomes varies from one (1) up to all the archived game outcomes.
  • The game rules used to re-evaluate the archived game outcomes may be similar to those used to evaluate the game outcomes in the game, or be radically different. Example of new game rules comprise: adding new winning criteria to the pay table (awarding a prize for each Ace in archived poker game outcomes), applying a pay table characteristic to another game (applying a blackjack pay table to archived poker game outcomes), modifying the sequence and/or positions of the game indicia to generate a feature outcome before applying the same or a different pay table (scrambling the symbols in a line game, thereby generating a feature outcome), applying a wild card feature to the archived game outcome before applying the same or a different pay table, etc.
  • In other embodiments, the level of play, thus the bet level, may determine limitations to the game feature. The feature prize awarded to the player following a re-evaluation of the archived game outcomes may be based on this bet level. Also, it may be necessary to play at least a minimum bet level to activate the game feature, or the number of criteria to initiate the re-evaluation of the archive game outcomes may increase as the bet value increases. Another example is to vary the number of archived game outcomes participating in the game feature may be at least in part determined by the bet level.
  • It will be noted that the above embodiments illustrate different characteristics the present feature may present. Those skilled in the art will recognize that, even if the instant embodiments describe these characteristics as part of different games, one could combine some of these characteristics. Furthermore, the feature may also present other characteristics and/or variations, with such characteristics falling within the scope of the invention, as set forth in the appended claims.
  • While the appended block diagrams illustrates the present invention as groups of discrete components communicating with each other via distinct data signal connections, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied through a combination of hardware and software components, with some components being implemented by a given function or operation of a hardware or software system, and many of the data paths illustrated being implemented by data communication within a computer application or operating system. The structure illustrated is thus provided for efficiency of teaching embodiments of the invention.
  • It should be noted that the present invention can be carried out as a method, can be embodied in a system, a computer readable medium, a processing-readable memory, or an electrical or electromagnetic signal.
  • The embodiments of the invention described above are intended to be exemplary only. The scope of the invention is therefore intended to be limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A method of providing a game feature comprising:
    providing a game in which game outcomes are generated and evaluated and wherein a prize is awarded for a winning outcome;
    archiving at least part of each of said game outcomes; and
    upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome in said game, re-evaluating a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of (a) new rules, and (b) new criteria.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the number of game outcomes comprises one of (a) predetermined, (b) randomly determined, and (c) determined according to the triggering event.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying said archived game outcomes.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving a player input that influences said game outcome archiving.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, further comprising limiting the number of said archived game outcomes.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, further comprising modifying archived game outcomes upon fulfillment of a predetermined criterion.
  7. 7. The method of claim 6, wherein said archived game outcome modification is one of (a) modifying the number of said archived game outcomes, and (b) modifying an archived game outcome to create a feature outcome.
  8. 8. The method of claim 7, further comprising rewarding the player according to said feature outcome.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving betting information from the player, wherein at least one of (a) a feature outcome value, (b) a feature participation, (c) a feature participation criterion, and (d) an archiving criterion, is established according to said betting information.
  10. 10. The method of claim 1, further comprising tallying information over a plurality of game outcomes, wherein said tallied information is used to a least one of (a) trigger said feature game, and (b) influence the application of said feature game.
  11. 11. The method of claim 1, wherein said game comprises one of a line game, a poker, a blackjack, a keno, a lotto, a bingo, a card game, and a dice game.
  12. 12. A gaming machine for providing a game feature comprising:
    game controller means generating and evaluating outcomes;
    display means providing said outcomes to a player;
    memory means archiving at least part of each one of said game outcomes; and
    awarding means awarding a prize for a winning outcome, wherein the game controller means is adapted, upon occurrence of a triggering event, to re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of (a) new rules, and (b) new criteria.
  13. 13. The gaming machine of claim 12, further comprising input means allowing said player to influence archiving of game outcomes.
  14. 14. The gaming machine of claim 12, wherein said display means further provides said archived game outcomes.
  15. 15. The gaming machine of claim 12, wherein the game controller means further modifies archived game outcomes upon fulfillment of a predetermined criterion.
  16. 16. The gaming machine of claim 12, further comprising storage means for storing archived game outcomes identified to a player at the end of a play session with possibility for said player to retrieve said archived game outcomes at the beginning of a new play session.
  17. 17. A computer program embodied in an electric or an electromagnetic carrier signal having codes adapted, when performed by a CPU of a device, adapted to:
    provide a game in which game outcomes are generated and evaluated and wherein a prize is awarded for a winning outcome;
    archive at least part of each of said game outcomes; and
    upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome in said game, re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of (a) new rules, and (b) new criteria.
  18. 18. A computer program embodied on a computer readable medium or processor-readable memory having codes adapted, when performed by a CPU of a device, adapted to:
    provide a game in which game outcomes are generated and evaluated and wherein a prize is awarded for a winning outcome;
    archive at least part of each of said game outcomes; and
    upon occurrence of a feature-triggering outcome in said game, re-evaluate a number of archived game outcomes according to at least one of (a) new rules, and (b) new criteria.
US10890982 2003-07-15 2004-07-15 Method and apparatus to provide a game feature Abandoned US20050014556A1 (en)

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