US20070238530A1 - Gaming machine and gaming server - Google Patents

Gaming machine and gaming server Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070238530A1
US20070238530A1 US11/544,015 US54401506A US2007238530A1 US 20070238530 A1 US20070238530 A1 US 20070238530A1 US 54401506 A US54401506 A US 54401506A US 2007238530 A1 US2007238530 A1 US 2007238530A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
character
loser
information
gaming machine
player
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Abandoned
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US11/544,015
Inventor
Kazuo Okada
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Publication date
Priority to JP2005295326A priority Critical patent/JP2007098029A/en
Priority to JPP2005-295326 priority
Application filed by Universal Entertainment Corp filed Critical Universal Entertainment Corp
Assigned to ARUZE CORP. reassignment ARUZE CORP. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: OKADA, KAZUO
Publication of US20070238530A1 publication Critical patent/US20070238530A1/en
Application status is Abandoned 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
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3272Games involving multiple players
    • G07F17/3276Games involving multiple players wherein the players compete, e.g. tournament
    • 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

Abstract

A gaming machine is for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other. The gaming machine comprising a processor specifying and invalidating a loser character which has become a loser in the character competition. A gaming server is connected to the gaming machine and comprises a processor invalidating the loser character when receiving loser information indicating the loser character from the gaming machine.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-295326, filed on Oct. 7, 2005; the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a gaming machine capable of executing a competition game in which a plurality of characters compete with each other, and a gaming server connected to the gaming machine.
  • 2. Related Background of the Invention
  • Gaming machines capable of executing games using data recorded on game items such as cards or figures have been known. As such gaming machines, there are ones which are capable of executing games using cards (referred to also as trading cards) having portraits of athletes such as soccer or baseball players printed thereon. For example, Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2002-301264 discloses a card gaming apparatus which is capable of simulating the team play of soccer by displaying game images according to the combination of a plurality of cards laid out on the play field, and competing with the opposing team.
  • In addition, Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2003-251075 discloses an electronic gaming apparatus which is capable of storing ability values of characters such as offensive power, defensive power, and competition scores in an IC which is built in a trading card as the game item, and executing games by reading the stored data and showing characters corresponding to the read-out data.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • An object of the present invention is to provide a gaming machine and a gaming server configured so as to allow competition games with a sense of tension by taking in the primary result of the competition games such as winning or losing.
  • The present invention provides a gaming machine for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other. The gaming machine comprises: a specifying means for specifying a loser character which has become a loser in the character competition; and an invalidation process means for invalidating the loser character specified by the specifying means.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a system configuration of the gaming system according to the present invention, comprising a plurality of gaming machines.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a plurality of gaming machines and a card vending machine.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating an overall arrangement of the gaming machine.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the gaming machine mainly illustrating the internal structure.
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary internal structure of an image control circuit.
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a shop server.
  • FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a gaming server and a database server.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates (A) a figure management file before the invalidation process and (B) a figure management file after the invalidation process.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates (A) another figure management file after the invalidation process and (B) a still another figure management file after the invalidation process
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the structure of a figure.
  • FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the game process from the start to the end of the game in the gaming machine.
  • FIG. 12 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the game startup process.
  • FIG. 13 is a flow chart illustrating a post-process operation procedure.
  • FIG. 14 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the character generation process.
  • FIG. 15 is a sequence chart illustrating an operating sequence executed among the gaming machine, the shop server and the center server.
  • FIG. 16 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the with-figure game process.
  • FIG. 17 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of without-figure game process.
  • FIG. 18 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the displacement phase process.
  • FIG. 19 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the traveling phase process.
  • FIG. 20 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the invalidation process.
  • FIG. 21 is diagram illustrating a labyrinth image.
  • FIG. 22 is diagram illustrating another labyrinth image.
  • FIG. 23 is diagram illustrating a battle selection image.
  • FIG. 24 is diagram illustrating a competition image.
  • FIG. 25 is a flow chart illustrating a post-process operation procedure.
  • FIG. 26 is a system configuration of the gaming system according to a second embodiment.
  • FIG. 27 is a block diagram illustrating an internal structure of the cellular phone composing the gaming system shown in FIG. 26, together with other major components.
  • FIG. 28 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the invalidation process in the second embodiment.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Embodiments of the present invention will be described below, wherein identical elements are provided with identical numerals and symbols, with duplicate explanation omitted.
  • First Embodiment
  • (Overall Arrangement of Gaming System)
  • FIG. 1 is a system block diagram of a gaming system 100 comprising a plurality of gaming machines 1, and FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a plurality of gaming machines 1 and a card vending machine 6. The gaming system 100 comprises three shop servers 2 installed in two amusement shops A and B, namely one for shop A and the other two for shop B; a plurality (eight for the present embodiment) of gaming machines 1 and card vending machines 6 communicably connected via a private line; in-shop routers 7 installed in the amusement shops A and B; and a group of center server group 5 connected to the in-shop routers 7, the communication networks 4 a and the Internet 4. In addition, the center server group 5 comprises gaming servers 101, 102, and a database server 103, where the database server 103 in the present embodiment is referred to also as the gaming server of the present invention.
  • In each of the amusement shops A and B, the shop server 2, the gaming machines 1, and the card vending machine 6 are connected by private lines 3 to form an in-shop LAN (Local Area Network), the in-shop LAN being connected to the Internet 4 via the in-shop router 7.
  • (Arrangement of Gaming Machine)
  • The gaming machine 1, being the gaming machine according to the present invention, comprises an image display unit for displaying gaming object images which indicate gaming objects such as play characters (described in detail below) which move according to the player's operation, and equipment characters which express equipment items (e.g., bow and arrow, shield, armor) used by the play characters, and is configured such that the character is caused to move according to the operation of the player and use the equipment character. Additionally, the gaming machine 1 is configured to execute a game (referred to as “labyrinth competition game” hereinafter), wherein each character moves around a labyrinth along a route selected by the player and competes with characters other than itself (that is, operated characters which move according to selection by other players, or non-operated characters which are controlled by the gaming machine), competing for treasure items (“jewels” in the present embodiment, described below), with the goal to collect all the items and defeat the character being the ultimate enemy. In the labyrinth competition game points (referred to as “life” in the present embodiment) held by respective characters increase or decrease according to the result of the battle or the progress status of the game, and the character with no point left becomes the loser in the character competition.
  • The gaming machine 1 comprises a main display 11 equipped with a liquid-crystal display device, in the front side of the housing 10, as shown in FIG. 3. Additionally, over the main display 11, the gaming machine 1 has a sub-display 12 likewise equipped with a liquid-crystal display device, and speakers 13L, 13R provided at the right and left sides thereof for outputting sounds used for staging the game.
  • The main display 11 is an image display unit and configured to display game images (e.g., labyrinth image 160 as shown in FIG. 22) according to respective phases of the game (described in detail below). The sub-display 12 is configured to display images at particular phases of the game (for example, a competition image 180 to be described later).
  • In addition, the gaming machine 1 has an operation panel 14 under the main display 11, with an authentication unit 15 provided on the left side of the operation panel 14, whereas on the right side are provided a coin slot 16 for dropping a coin (game medium such as hard currency or game token) required when playing a game, and a card slot 18 for inserting an ID card 17. An operation unit 19 having operation buttons or the like is also provided on the operation panel 14.
  • The authentication unit 15 comprises a mounting portion 15 a secured on the surface of the operation panel 14, and a read-and-write portion 15 b. The mounting portion 15 a has a thick-walled, disk-shaped depression inside thereof which corresponds to the shape of a base portion 41 of a FIG. 40 (see FIG. 10) described below, whereby the base portion 41 can be fitted into the depression. The read-and-write portion 15 b, being the read-and-write device according to the present invention, is disposed at the depression of the mounting portion 15 a, and an IC chip reader-writer is built into the read-and-write portion 15 b. Accordingly, the read-and-write portion 15 b is configured to read the recorded information from an IC chip 44, which is built in the base portion 41 of the FIG. 40 to be fitted into the mounting portion 15 a, by the IC chip reader-writer and configured to write information into the IC chip 44 by the IC chip reader-writer. Here, the authentication unit 15 has an LED so as to illuminate light on the FIG. 40 described below during the read operation of the FIG. 40.
  • Each of the gaming machines 1 composing the gaming system 100 has a machine ID specific to itself. The machine ID includes a server ID specific to each shop server 2 and an ID specific to each gaming machine 1, which is given, for example, such as A01, A02, A03, . . . in the case of respective gaming machines 1 installed in shop A.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the gaming machine 1 mainly illustrating the internal structure. The gaming machine 1 comprises a plurality of components, in the center of which is provided a microcomputer 31.
  • The microcomputer 31 comprises a main CPU (Central Processing Unit) 32, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33, and a ROM (Read Only Memory) 34. The main CPU (processor) 32, which is operated according to a program stored in the ROM 34, receives signals, via an I/O port 39, from respective components provided on the operation panel 14, while communicating signals to and from other components to control the overall movement of the gaming machine 1. The RAM 33 stores data and programs (in the present embodiment, application data and game data described below) used when the main CPU 32 is operating. The ROM 34 stores control programs executed by the main CPU 32 and permanent data.
  • In addition, the gaming machine 1 includes a random number generator 35, a sampling circuit 36, a clock pulse generating circuit 37, and a frequency divider 38. The random number generator 35 operates according to instructions from the main CPU 32 to generate random numbers within a certain range. The sampling circuit 36, following the instructions from the main CPU 32, extracts an arbitrary random number from those generated by the random number generator 35, and feeds the extracted random number into the main CPU 32. The clock pulse generating circuit 37 generates a reference clock for operating the main CPU 32, and the frequency divider 38 feeds the signal resulted from dividing the reference clock by a constant cycle into the main CPU 32.
  • Moreover, the gaming machine 1 includes a touch panel 11 a, a coin sensor 16 a, a card reader 18 a, a communication control unit 21, and a communication processing unit 22, and further includes an image control circuit 71 and an audio control circuit 72.
  • The touch panel 11 a, being the operation device provided so as to cover the display screen of the main display 11, detects the position where the player's finger touched and feeds the position signal corresponding to the detected position into the main CPU 32. The player uses the touch panel 11 a to perform input operation to determine the movement of the characters. For example, the touch panel 11 a, with its rectangular transparent plate surface having conductive material coated thereon, detects the position where the player's finger touched by applying voltage from electrodes disposed on the four corners of the transparent plate and detecting, through the electrodes, slight change of electric current due to the player's finger touch.
  • The coin sensor 16 a detects a coin dropped from the coin slot 16, and outputs, to the main CPU 32, a detection signal corresponding to the detection. The card reader 18 a reads card information, such as player ID, recorded on the ID card 17 inserted into the card slot 18, and feeds the read-out card information into the main CPU 32.
  • The communication control unit 21 operates according to the instructions from the main CPU 32, and controls the connection and disconnection of the line for communicating with the shop server 2. The communication processing unit 22 operates according to the instructions from the communication control unit 21, and transmits and receives data via the private line 3.
  • The image control circuit 71 controls the display of images on both the main display 11 and the sub-display 12 to display a variety of images such as those showing the characters on the main display 11 and the sub-display 12.
  • The image control circuit 71 includes an image control CPU 71 a, a work RAM 71 b, a program ROM 71 c, an image ROM 71 d, a video RAM 71 e, and a VDP (Video Display Processor) 71 f, as shown in FIG. 5. The image control CPU 71 a determines, based on parameters set by the microcomputer 31, the images to be displayed on the main display 11 and the sub-display 12 in accordance with the image control program (related to the display on the main display 11 and the sub-display 12) which is preliminarily stored in the program ROM 71 c. The work RAM 71 b is configured as a temporary storage device when the image control CPU 71 a executes the image control program.
  • The program ROM 71 c stores the image control program, various selection tables and the like. The image ROM 71 d stores dot data used to form images. The video RAM 71 e is arranged as a temporary storage device when forming an image by the VDP 71 f. The VDP 71 f, having a control RAM 71 g, forms images according to the content of the display by the main display 11 and the sub-display 12 determined by the image control CPU 71 a, and outputs each of the formed images to the main display 11 and the sub-display 12.
  • The audio control circuit 72 inputs audio signal for outputting sound into the speakers 13L and 13R. From the speakers 13L and 13R, sound is output in order to enhance the excitement of the game at a suitable timing after the game started, for example.
  • (Arrangement of Shop Server, Card Vending Machine, and In-Shop Router)
  • The shop server 2 includes a CPU 201, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication processing unit 204, a communication control unit 205, and a data storage unit 206 for storing application data, as shown in FIG. 6. While the CPU 201 operates to read and write data from and to the RAM 203 according to the program stored in the ROM 202, the communication control unit 205 activates the communication processing unit 204, following the instructions from the CPU 201. Then, via the private lines 3, the shop server 2 transmits and receives data to and from respective gaming machines 1 installed in respective amusement shops A and B, executes transmission (download) of application data to respective gaming machines 1, and relays data transmission and reception between respective gaming machines 1 or to and from the center server group 5. Included in the application data are various data (such as image data for the game) to be used in execution of the labyrinth competition game played on the gaming machine 1, as well as board data (configuration programs for associating the operation buttons provided in the operation unit 19 with the labyrinth competition game).
  • The card vending machine 6 includes an operation unit by which the player performs input operation of his/her private information and a card issuing unit, wherein a predefined input operation using the operation unit causes the card issuing unit to issue an ID card 17 storing card information including the player ID (player information) specific to each player.
  • The in-shop router 7 connects the in-shop LAN formed in each of the amusement shops A and B to the LAN formed within the center server group 5 via the communication network 4 a and the Internet 4.
  • (Arrangement of Center Server Group)
  • The center server group 5 includes a plurality of gaming servers (in FIG. 1, two gaming servers 101 and 102) installed corresponding to respective games, and a database server 103, wherein respective gaming servers are connected via a private line 104 to form the LAN, the LAN being connected to the Internet 4 via a router, which is not shown.
  • The gaming server 101, installed for executing the labyrinth competition game, includes a CPU 301 (processor), a ROM 302, a RAM 303, a communication processing unit 304, a communication control unit 305, and a data storage unit 306, as shown in FIG. 7. While the CPU 301 operates to read and write data from and to the RAM 303 according to the program stored in the ROM 302, the communication control unit 305 activates the communication processing unit 304, following the instructions from the CPU 301.
  • The gaming server 101 transmits and receives data to and from respective shop servers 2 via the Internet 4. Then, the gaming server 101 receives entry data (described below) which is transmitted from respective gaming machines 1, accepts the player's participation (entry) to the labyrinth competition game, updates the player's participation information, determines the opponent player, and transmits the result to the database server 103.
  • The gaming server 102 is installed in order to execute another game and has an arrangement identical to that of the gaming server 101, although the data and the program stored are different.
  • The database server 103, being the gaming server according to the present invention, includes a CPU 401 (processor), a ROM 402, a RAM 403, a communication processing unit 404, a communication control unit 405, and a data storage unit 406. In the database server 103, while the CPU 401 operates to read and write data from and to the RAM 403 according to the program stored in the ROM 402, the communication control unit 405 activates the communication processing unit 404, following the instructions from the CPU 401, to transmit and receive data to and from respective shop servers 2 via the Internet 4. In the data storage unit 406, game data, a player ID, a password to be used for player authentication, the type of game are stored.
  • The game data includes data indicating properties specific to each character (costume and costume color of respective characters, character ability values including viability, magical power, offensive power, defensive power against physical offensive, magical offensive power, magical defensive power, target area, special ability, information indicating the items equipped by the character and their effect, which are referred to as “figure information” in the following) for a plurality of the characters appearing in the labyrinth competition game, and data indicating each player's history of playing the labyrinth competition game. The game data is transmitted from the database server 103 to the gaming machine 1 to be used in the labyrinth competition game. Here the above-mentioned figure information corresponds to the character property data according to the present invention.
  • The player ID is read from the ID card 17 and transmitted by the gaming machine 1. In addition, as will be described below, upon setting the FIG. 40, which will be used by the player, on the authentication unit 15 in the gaming machine 1 and causing the authentication unit 15 to read the FIG. 40 by each player, a figure ID corresponding to the FIG. 40 which has been read is transmitted from the gaming machine 1 to the database server 103. Within the database server 103, a figure management file 60 which can store a plurality of figure IDs in association with a single player ID transmitted from the gaming machine 1 is formed in the data storage 406. Additionally, the player ID and the figure ID together with associated figure information of each character corresponding to both IDs are stored being associated with each other in the figure management file 60. Respective characters may be provided with specific properties based on the figure information, and even characters which are seemingly identical on the screen may have different abilities according to the figure information, leading to different properties. Thus only the player (player ID) associated by the figure management file 60 is allowed to play the labyrinth competition game using specific characters which use the figure information. Here, in the present embodiment, respective records composing the figure management file 60 correspond to the character information in the present invention, and the data storage 406 corresponds to the storage device in the present invention.
  • Now, FIG. 8 (A) is a diagram illustrating an exemplary figure management file 60, showing a record 61 in which the player ID and the figure ID correspond to “0001” and “1000”, respectively, and a record 62 in which the player ID and the figure ID correspond to “0012” and “1101” respectively. Each record of the figure management file 60 has an ID management area 60A and a character management area 60B. In the ID management area 60A are provided a player ID 60 a and a figure ID 60 b, both of which specify a player who is allowed to use the character property data. In addition, the character management area 60B has the figure type 60 c and entities specific to respective characters such as viability 60 d, magical power 60 e, offensive power 60 f, defensive power against physical offensive 60 g, magical offensive power 60 h, and magical defensive power 60 l which are set therein.
  • The player ID 60 a and the figure ID 60 b are entities to be used as indices for respective records stored in the figure management file 60, and four digits corresponding to the player ID and respective figure IDs are stored. The figure type 60 c is an entity indicating the attribute of the figure, which is generally classified into “player” and “item”. Among them, a “player” shown in FIG. 8 denotes a figure corresponding to a play character which moves according to the player's operation, whereas an “item” (not shown) denotes a figure corresponding to an equipment character. On the other hand, entities such as the viability 60 d and the magical power 60 e numerically indicate the ability of a character, where the magnitude of the numeral corresponds to the level of respective abilities. In addition, although not shown, other entities composing the figure information such as costume and costume color of each character, for example, are also stored in association with the player ID and respective figure IDs.
  • FIG. 8(B) and FIGS. 9(A) and 9(B) illustrate the figure management file 60 after invalidation has been processed. Details of the invalidation process will be described below.
  • (Structure of Figure)
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a structure of the FIG. 40. The FIG. 40 comprises a base portion 41 and a figure body 42 expressing the three-dimensional shape of each character which will appear in the labyrinth competition game.
  • The base portion 41 has a size corresponding to the depression of the mounting portion 15 a and is formed into a hollow, thick-walled disk shape. The base portion 41 is arranged to have a bottomed, cylindrical operation table main body 43 having a ceiling 43 a, and an IC chip 44, with the IC chip 44 fitted and secured in an open end of the operation table main body 43. In addition, approximately at the center of the ceiling 43 a of the operation table main body 43 is provided a protrusion 43 b. The IC chip 44 stores a figure ID specific to the character corresponding to the figure body 42. In the present embodiment, the figure ID is equivalent to the identification information for identifying respective characters.
  • The figure body 42 includes a leveling pad 46 having a depression 46 a corresponding to the protrusion 43 b, and a bipedal doll 47 formed to stand erect on the leveling pad 46 to model each of the characters which will appear in the labyrinth competition game, with the protrusion 43 b fitted into the depression 46 a and secured to the ceiling 43 a of the base portion 41. Here, the FIG. 40 is received within a capsule (not shown) having a diameter of about 7 cm for sale on a vending machine similar to the card vending machine 6. Since a small portion of each capsule includes a monster figure, there may be the case in which the monster figure is available when using the FIG. 40 (“figure-existent” mode described below). In addition, characters of the same type may express their individuality of the characters by delicately differentiating the color, or altering the figure information which will be described below, whereby stirring up the player's willingness for collection.
  • The FIG. 40 can be distinguished by the player based on the shape of the figure body 42, and can be distinguished by the gaming machine 1 based on the figure ID. The figure ID is unique (specific) among different FIG. 40, and duplicate registration of identical figures is prohibited in the gaming system 100.
  • (Operation of Gaming Machine)
  • Operation of the gaming machine 1 having the above-mentioned arrangement will be described next, referring to the flow charts shown in FIGS. 11 to 20. In the following discussion, an exemplary case will be described in which respective players operate four out of the eight gaming machines 1 installed in the amusement shop A to play the same labyrinth competition game.
  • FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of the game process from start to end of the game in the gaming machine 1. Note that the steps are abbreviated as S in FIG. 11, as well as in FIGS. 12 to 20 which will be described below. In the following discussion, one of the gaming machines 1 operated by four players will be described as an example.
  • When powered on, the gaming machine 1 transmits (step 100 described below) a download request of application data to the shop server 2, which, upon receiving the download request, transmits the application data to the gaming machine 1 which has transmitted the download request.
  • Upon receiving the application data, the gaming machine 1 stores the application data in the RAM 33. Then, in the gaming machine 1, the main CPU 32, upon reading the application data, controls the progress of the labyrinth competition game according to the player's input operation. Respective gaming machines 1 are configured to display game images on the main display 11 while synchronizing with each other via the shop server 2 and the center server group 5. Here, in the present embodiment, the main CPU 32 operates as the game progress control device in the game process.
  • Upon starting the game, the process flow in each gaming machine 1 proceeds to step 1 and executes the game startup process described below, which includes dropping of a coin, insertion of an ID card, input of a password, and generation of a character. In step 2, it is determined, from the result of the game startup process, whether or not predefined data has been set (already set) in the with-figure flag described below. Depending on the determination result, the process flow branches to step 3 or 4 to execute either one of the processes (step 3 if the with-figure flag has been set, otherwise step 4), after which the process flow may proceed to step 5 subsequent to step 3 to clear the with-figure flag, or to step 6 subsequent to step 4 to display the result of the game (result of competition) such as competition scores, then proceed to step 7 to execute post-process in which data indicating the result of competition as well as loser information described below are transmitted to the database server 103 via the shop server 2.
  • As described above, gaming machine 1 is configured to be able to execute the labyrinth competition game in either a with-figure mode or a without-figure mode. However, with the with-figure mode, the game is rendered to be more advantageous for the player than with the without-figure mode (which will be described in detail below).
  • (Game Startup Process)
  • The game startup process of step 1 is executed in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 12. FIGS. 12, 13 and 14 are flow charts illustrating operation procedures of the game startup process, the post-process, and the character generation process, respectively.
  • Upon starting the game startup process, the process flow in the main CPU 32 proceeds to step 11 and executes a message output process to instruct the image control circuit 71 to display predefined messages (requests to drop a coin, insert the ID card, and enter the password) on the main display 11.
  • Next, in step 12, the process flow waits until the player drops a coin to start the game from the coin slot 6, inserts the ID card 17 into the card slot 18, and inputs the password using the operation unit 19. When a coin is dropped, a detection signal of the dropped coin is fed into the main CPU 32 from the coin sensor 16 a, and card information stored in an ID card 17 is input from the card reader 18 a when the ID card 17 is inserted into the card slot 18. Furthermore, a password is entered from the operation unit 19. Upon completing all these inputs, the process flow proceeds to step 13 and the main CPU 32 instructs the communication control unit 21 to control the communication processing unit 22 to transmit the read-out card information and the entered password to the shop server 2.
  • In the subsequent step 14, the process flow waits until a response signal described below is received from the center server group 5, and upon receiving the response signal, the process flow proceeds to step 15. In step 15, an instruction is provided to display a selection screen on the main display 11 for selecting with-figure or without-figure, and for selecting any of the various selectable characters after distinguishing whether or not the figure has been authenticated (registered) from the response signal. In the subsequent step 16, the process flow waits until the touch panel 11 a is touched. When touched, the process flow proceeds to step 17 to determine whether or not with-figure mode has been selected in step 15. Here, the process flow proceeds to step 18 when with-figure mode is selected, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 19. In step 18, a character generation process described below is executed, whereas in step 19, character generation instruction (non-figure character generation instruction) data without use of a figure is set in the entry data described below, both of which followed by step 20. Specifically, in step 17, for both cases, i.e. using a figure for the first time and using a figure which is different from an existing, already authenticated figure, the process flow proceeds to step 18 and executes the character generation process when the player selects the with-figure mode. In addition, the player selects the without-figure mode when a figure is not used from the beginning, or an existing, already authenticated figure is not used, then the process flow proceeds to step 19.
  • Then, when the process flow proceeds to step 18, the main CPU 32 executes a character generation process in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 14. Upon starting this process, the process flow proceeds to step 31 and a setting request message output process of the FIG. 40 is executed. Here, the main CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 71 to display, on the main display 11, a setting request message to attach the FIG. 40 to the authentication unit 15 and read the FIGURE ID (e.g., “set the operation table of your figure to the authentication unit on the control panel. The authentication unit lights up when starting authentication of your figure. Do not detach your figure until the light turns off.”) In the subsequent step 32, the process flow waits until the reading of figure ID is completed. When the player sets the FIG. 40 on the authentication unit 15, following the displayed message, the authentication unit 15 reads the figure ID stored in the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40 and feed it to the main CPU 32. Then, the process flow proceeds to step 33 where the main CPU 32 sets the character generation instruction data including the figure ID which has been read into the entry data.
  • In the subsequent step 34, predefined data (“1” for the present embodiment) is set in the with-figure flag indicating that the reading of figure ID (setting of the figure) of the FIG. 40 by the authentication unit 15 is performed, and upon execution of step 34 the character generation process is completed.
  • Returning to FIG. 12, when the process flow proceeds to step 20, the main CPU 32 instructs the communication control unit 21 to control the communication processing unit 22 to transmit the entry data to the shop server 2. When step 20 is finished, the game start-up process is completed.
  • Then, the post-process is executed in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 13. Upon starting the post-process, the process flow in the main CPU 32 proceeds to step 41 where the main CPU 32, operating as the specifying device, executes a specifying process for specifying the character which has become the loser (loser character) in the character competition game already executed. In the case of the present embodiment, as stated above, since the character which has no point (life) left (now zero) becomes the loser character, a character with a zero life is specified as the loser character, referring to the life of respective characters having competed in the character competition game. Next, the process flow proceeds to step 42 where the main CPU 32 instructs the communication control unit 21 to control the communication processing unit 22 to execute control such that the communication processing unit 22 transmits, to the database server 103, data indicating the result of competition as well as loser information indicating the loser character specified in step 41 (at least player ID and figure ID are included in the loser information, as well as loser information flag indicating the information being the loser information). When step 42 is executed, the post-process is completed.
  • When the setting of the FIG. 40 is executed in the character generation process, predefined data is set in the with-figure flag. Upon execution of the setting of the FIG. 40, entry data including character generation indication data is transmitted to the database server 103 via the shop server 2. In the database server 103, the figure ID is stored in the figure management file 60 in association with the player ID specific to the player who performed the setting. The figure ID is used for determining whether or not the figure is already authenticated. In addition, since the result of determining whether or not the figure is already authenticated according to the figure management file 60 is transmitted from the database server 103 as a response signal, the player can select a character corresponding to the authenticated figure to perform the labyrinth competition game. However, since the with-figure flag will not be set unless setting of the figure is executed, it is necessary to set the FIG. 40 to the authentication unit 15 and execute the reading of figure ID in order to play the labyrinth competition game in the with-figure mode, even if the figure is already authenticated. Then, upon execution of the setting, figure information corresponding to the read-out figure ID is generated in the database server 103, whereby the labyrinth competition game can be played without having to execute the setting of the FIG. 40 repeatedly.
  • On the other hand, in the gaming machine 1, the shop server 2 and the center server group 5, processes are executed in the order shown in FIG. 15 in accordance with the above-mentioned process. FIG. 15 is a sequence chart illustrating an operation sequence executed among the gaming machine 1, the shop server 2, and the center server group 5.
  • In step 100, the gaming machine 1 transmits a download request to the shop server 2, then, after downloading application data from the shop server 2 in step 200, transmits card information etc. in step 13 as stated above. Then, in the center server group 5, the process flow proceeds to step 301, where the CPU 401 of the database server 103 executes, referring to the figure management file 60, an authentication process to judge whether or not the player and the figure are registered, using the card information and password transmitted from the gaming machine 1. When they are already registered, they are judged to be already authenticated and the process flow proceeds to step 302, where a response signal indicating the result of authentication is transmitted to the gaming machine 1. In this case, the database server 103 executes a similar authentication process to the gaming machines 1, eight of which being installed in each of shops A and B.
  • In addition, the gaming machine 1 transmits the entry data shown in the above-mentioned step 20 (see FIG. 12). Then, in the center server group 5, the process flow proceeds to step 303, where the gaming server 101 accepts entry of the player using the entry data from respective gaming machines 1. Furthermore, in the subsequent step 304, updating of player's participation information, registration or updating of figures in the figure management file 60, and generation or updating of figure information are executed, using the figure ID (this figure ID includes both the figure ID of an unauthenticated, newly-registered figure, and the figure ID of an already-authenticated figure to be re-authenticated) which corresponds to character generation indication data, then players (four for the present embodiment) to be the opponent are determined in the subsequent step 305. Here, registration or updating of figures in the figure management file 60 is executed by addition of records stored in the figure management file 60 in association with the player ID and the figure ID, or by updating the records accompanied with modification of their content.
  • Additionally, in step 306, the database server 103 extracts game data of each player to be the opponent, and transmits the extracted game data to the shop server 2 in step 307. Upon receiving the game data, the shop server 2 transmits it to each of the gaming machines 1.
  • Furthermore, when the communication processing unit 404 receives data of the loser information etc. transmitted from the gaming machine 1, the database server 103 executes an invalidation process in step 308.
  • In the database server 103, the CPU 401 executes an invalidation process. Upon starting the invalidation process, the process flow in the CPU 401 proceeds to step 310 as shown in FIG. 20 and determines whether or not loser information has been entered from the communication processing unit 404. When the loser information has been entered, the process flow proceeds to step 311, otherwise the invalidation process is completed without executing step 311. In step 311, the CPU 401 operates as the invalidation process device and deletes the character information corresponding to the loser information. In other words, the CPU 401 accesses the data storage 406 and deletes the record corresponding to the loser information from the records composing the figure management file 60.
  • For example, in the case where records 61 and 62 are included in the figure management file 60 as stated above, if the record corresponding to the loser information is record 62, the record 62 is deleted from the figure management file 60 as shown in FIG. 8 (B).
  • Here, when the player intends to play the labyrinth competition game in the with-figure mode, it is necessary to set the FIG. 40 in the gaming machine 1 and generate a record corresponding to the set figure in the figure management file 60, or use a record which is already generated in the figure management file 60.
  • However, deleting the record 62 as stated above makes the player specified by the record 62 unable to play the labyrinth competition game in the with-figure mode using the specified figure, thus even if a real FIG. 40 (figure ID “1101”) corresponding to the record 62 exists and the player attempts to play the labyrinth competition game in the with-figure mode, the FIG. 40 is invalidated such that it can not be used in the labyrinth competition game. In other words, if a player runs out of his/her “life” in the labyrinth competition game and becomes the loser, the figure being used by the player is invalidated at the time when the player becomes the loser. Since the FIG. 40 is a materialization of the character appearing in the labyrinth competition game so that the player may touch and feel, the more the figure is used in the labyrinth competition game, the deeper the player is expected to feel affinity and intimacy. Therefore, invalidation of the FIG. 40 merely by losing the labyrinth competition game would motivate the player to play the labyrinth competition game with an awareness of winning or losing i.e. the most primary result, among others, in a competition game. In such a manner, the gaming machine 1 is designed to bring a sense of tension into the labyrinth competition game to enhance the excitement thereof.
  • Then, in step 311, although the CPU 401 operates as the invalidation process device and deletes the character information corresponding to the loser information, the CPU 401 may simply initialize the character property data of the record corresponding to the loser information, for example, since it suffices that the FIG. 40 corresponding to the loser information becomes unavailable (invalid). In this case, initialization of the character property data for record 62 resets the items from viability 60 d to magical defensive power 60 l to “0”, respectively, as shown in FIG. 9 (A), since the numerical values preliminarily set are initialized. Also, a flag area 60C for setting a flag to indicate whether the record is invalid or valid may be provided in addition to the ID management area 60A and the character management area 60B, as shown in FIG. 9 (B), so that an invalidation flag (“9” for the present embodiment) may be set to the flag area 60C of the record corresponding to the loser information (“0” indicates that the record is valid) by processing of the CPU 401. In this case, however, the CPU 401 must be configured to skip the records having invalidation flag of “9” when reading records from the figure management file 60.
  • Although the invalidation process of the figure is executed in the database server 103 in the above description, it can also be executed on the gaming machine 1. When executing an invalidation process of the figure on the gaming machine 1, it can be executed as a post-process in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 25, for example.
  • Then, upon starting the post-process, the process flow in the main CPU 32 likewise executes step 41 as stated above to specify the loser character, after which the process flow proceeds to step 43 and determines whether or not the FIG. 40 is already set to the authentication unit 15. Here, when the FIG. 40 is not attached, the process flow proceeds to step 44, executes steps 44 and 45, and proceeds to step 46. Otherwise, the process flow proceeds to step 46 without executing steps 44 and 45. In step 44, the main CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 71 to display a figure setting request message on the main display 11 (setting request of the figure which is the target of the invalidation process), then, in the subsequent step 45 the process flow in the main CPU 32 returns to step 44 if the FIG. 40 is not set to the authentication unit 15, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 46. In step 46, the main CPU 32, operating as the invalidation process device, instructs the IC chip reader/writer being the read-and-write device to erase the figure ID stored in the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40 being set.
  • Thus, since the figure ID stored in the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40 is erased if invalidation process is executed by the gaming machine 1, the FIG. 40 is invalidated, whereby bringing about a similar effect as stated above.
  • (With-Figure Game Process)
  • The gaming machine 1 executes a with-figure game process and a without-figure game process in accordance with the flow charts shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, respectively. FIGS. 16 and 17 are flow charts illustrating a game process in the with-figure mode (with-figure game process) and a game process in the without-figure mode (without-figure game process), respectively,
  • Upon starting the with-figure game process, the process flow in the gaming machine 1 proceeds to step 50 shown in FIG. 16 and waits until game data is received from the shop server 2. When the game data is received, the data is temporarily stored in the RAM 33, after which the process flow proceeds to step 51 where the main CPU 32 extracts figure information corresponding to the figure ID of the FIG. 40 to be used by the player. In this manner, the game process in the with-figure mode is arranged to be executed using the extracted figure information. Subsequently, the process flow proceeds to step 52 and executes a selection process of costume, dungeon or the like.
  • Here, the main CPU 32 sets, on the main display 11, a wider selection range of the following entities than with the without-figure game process. In this case, a selection screen (not shown) is displayed on the main display 11, allowing the player to select the following entities. Namely, the player is allowed to select a character attribute (the costume worn by the character for the present embodiment) corresponding to the FIG. 40 which is newly set and authenticated (or already authenticated), and a dungeon to be used in the labyrinth competition game.
  • When the player touches the main display 11 with his/her finger and selects the desired costume and dungeon, information which indicates the selection is fed to the main CPU 32 from the touch panel 11 a. Since step 52 is a process in the with-figure mode, selection of the costume can be made from a plurality (e.g., three) of types whereas the dungeon can be selected from two types, i.e. a normal configuration and a special configuration. On the contrary, with the without-figure game process, there is no process corresponding to step 52, thus a default costume for each of the characters is the only choice allowed for the former and the normal configuration being the only choice allowed for the latter.
  • Subsequently, the process flow proceeds to step 53 and executes the right holder setup process. Here, one of the players (four players for the present embodiment) participating in the labyrinth competition game is designated as the player (displacement right holder) who can perform displacement of the labyrinth, which will be described below. Each of the players will be designated as the displacement right holder in turn.
  • In the subsequent step 54, the displacement phase process is executed. The displacement phase process is executed in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 18. Upon starting the displacement phase process, the process flow in the main CPU 32 proceeds to step 71 and instructs the image control circuit 71 to display a labyrinth image 150 on the main display 11, as shown in FIG. 21. The labyrinth image 150 has a right holder display region (Players 1, 2, 3 and 4) 150 a for displaying the existence or nonexistence of the displacement right of the four players or the priority of offensive, and a labyrinth display region 150 b for displaying images of the labyrinth composed of a plurality of wall pieces, with images of a plurality of characters 151 (gaming body images for the present embodiment) being displayed inside the labyrinth. Additionally, the labyrinth image 150 also has a timer display region 150 c including, as an input prompting image, a display of the remaining time calculated from the setup time and a first elapsed time described below for prompting the player to perform input operations, as well as a life display region 50 d and an explanation display region 150 e for explaining how to move the wall pieces. The timer display region 150 c is displayed by the main CPU 32 operating as the display control device on the main display 11, wherein the numerical value being displayed decreases as the first elapsed time increases.
  • Next, the process flow proceeds to step 72, where the main CPU 32, operating as the timer, starts measuring the first elapsed time. The first elapsed time indicates the elapsed time from the time (input start time) at which the operation input (progressing operation input or determination input) is enabled, indicating determination of the wall piece (displacement wall piece) to be the target whose position will be moved on the screen by the player, to the time at which the player touches the desired arrow “a” to perform the progressing operation input or determination input. In the subsequent step 73, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not determination of the wall piece has been executed, and the process flow proceeds to step 74 when the displacement wall piece has been determined, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 77. In step 74, the main CPU 32, operating as a determination device, determines whether or not the first elapsed time is equal to or less than the first setup time (10 seconds for the present embodiment), and the process flow proceeds to step 75 if the first elapsed time is within the first setup time, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 76 without executing step 75. In step 75, the main CPU 32, operating as an award providing device, adds “1” to the numerical value of the defensive power. The award is advantageous for the player in playing the labyrinth competition game because the larger the numerical value of the defensive power is, the more strengthened the defensive power becomes against the offensive from other characters. In the subsequent step 76, the main CPU 32, operating as an action determination device, sets the determined wall piece as the displacement wall piece and determines the action (displace the wall) of the character.
  • On the other hand, when the process flow proceeds from step 73 to step 77, it is determined whether or not the first elapsed time is within a time limit (15 seconds for the present embodiment) of displacement determination. The process flow returns to step 73 if the first elapsed time is within the time limit of displacement determination, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 78 and randomly sets one of the wall pieces as the displacement wall piece, by using a random number extracted from a sampling circuit 36. Then, upon displaying the labyrinth image after displacement in step 79, the displacement phase process is completed. In this manner, although determination of the displacement wall piece is allowed to be executed within a time limit (15 seconds) of displacement determination, if the determination is done earlier (within 10 seconds) than the time limit, “1” is added to the numerical value of the defensive power, providing the player with an award.
  • Subsequently, the process flow proceeds to step 55 and a traveling phase process is executed. The traveling phase process is executed in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 19.
  • Upon starting the traveling phase process, the process flow in the main CPU 32 proceeds to step 81 and instructs the image control circuit 71 to display a labyrinth image 160 of the traveling phase as shown in FIG. 22 on the main display 11. The labyrinth image 160 has respective display regions (right holder display region 160 a, labyrinth display region 160 b, timer display region 160 c, and life display region 160 d) as with the labyrinth image 150, and further has a destination assignment display region 160 e including a character 161 provided inside the labyrinth and displaying a destination assignment request message and a destination determining button.
  • Next, the process flow proceeds to step 82, where the main CPU 32, operating as the timing device, starts measuring a second elapsed time. The second elapsed time indicates the elapsed time from the time (input start time) at which the operation input (assignment of destination) is enabled for assigning, by the player, the destination of the player's character, to the time at which the player touches the destination assignment display region 160 e to perform the operation input (progressing operation input or determination input). In the subsequent step 83, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not assignment of destination has been executed, and the process flow proceeds to step 84 if the destination has been assigned, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 88. In step 84, an image (not shown) is displayed with the changed display color of the floor surface from the character's location to its destination and with the destination clearly defined, after which the process flow proceeds to step 85. Then it is determined whether or not the player touched the determination button of the destination assignment display region 160 e (to determine the destination), and the process flow proceeds to step 86 when touched, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 88. In step 86, the main CPU 32, operating as a determination device, determines whether or not the second elapsed time is equal to or less than the second setup time (15 seconds for the present embodiment). Here, the process flow proceeds to step 87 when the second elapsed time is within the second setup time, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 89 without executing step 87. In step 87, the main CPU 32, operating as an award providing device, adds “1” to the numerical value of the offensive power. The award is also advantageous for the player in playing the labyrinth competition game because the larger the numerical value of the offensive power is, the more strengthened the offensive power becomes.
  • On the other hand, when the process flow proceeds to step 88, it is determined whether or not the second elapsed time is within a time limit (30 seconds for the present embodiment) of destination determination. The process flow returns to step 83 when the second elapsed time is within the time limit of destination determination, otherwise the process flow completes the traveling phase process (in this case, the character stands by at its original location without moving). In step 89, the main CPU 32, operating as an action determination device, determines the action (traveling in the labyrinth) of the character according to the determinations in the preceding steps and displays the image to which character has been moved. Then, the traveling phase process is completed. In this manner, although determination of the destination is allowed to be executed within a time limit (30 seconds) of destination determination, if the determination is done earlier (within 15 seconds) than the time limit, “1” is added to the numerical value of the offensive power, providing the player with an award. Here, with the traveling phase process in the with-figure mode, a special card (teleport card allowing random movement or wall penetrating card allowing penetration through the wall) is available as a reward which is unavailable in the without-figure mode.
  • Now, returning to FIG. 17, when the process flow proceeds to step 56 following the traveling phase process, the main CPU 32 determines whether or not a battle has occurred. Here, the process flow proceeds to step 57 if a battle has occurred (the case in which a plurality of characters exists within a target range in the labyrinth), otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 60.
  • In step 57 a battle selection phase process is executed. Here, the main CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 71 to display a battle selection image 170 (having a right holder display region 170 a, with a character provided inside the labyrinth) on the main display 11, as shown in FIG. 23. Each of the players (four, for the present embodiment) selects an opponent to attack, referring to the battle selection image 170, and selects use or non-use of a skill card indicating the skill of the character, and selects the skill card to be used. Incidentally, the order of offensive by respective characters is based on the displacement right holder.
  • In the battle selection phase process, a skill card can be selected (skill cards are provided to the character as a reward according to wins and losses at the end of the game). There are more types of skill cards provided, and more types of selectable cards in the with-figure mode than in the without-figure mode. In addition, the probability of providing a rare card which brings about useful award information (e.g., showing special skills) is higher than the without-figure mode. In other words, if the player plays the game in the with-figure mode using the FIG. 40, many skill cards including a rare card is provided, increasing the probability that the cards can be used.
  • In this case, the main CPU 32 searches a skill selection table (e.g., a table associated with random numbers and skill cards to be selected) for the first mode. Comparison of the skill selection tables for the first and the second modes shows that the range of random numbers corresponding to rare cards is set wider for the former than for the latter.
  • In the subsequent step 58, a competition process is executed. In other words, since respective characters have their offensive power and defensive power specified based on the figure information as well as target area thereof being set, wins or losses of respective characters are decided by comparing the numerical values of the offensive power and the numerical values of defensive power of characters competing with each other, taking into account whether or not skill cards are used. In this case, a competition image 180 showing how characters 181 a and 181 b are competing with each other is displayed on the sub-display 12, as shown in FIG. 24.
  • Then, in step 59, a battle completion process and a point calculation process are executed. Here, life is added or subtracted depending on the result of the competition process of step 58 (type of the opponent character, and winning or losing), and the characters are provided with or deprived of titles or jewels (in the with-figure mode, various degrees such as “Champion”, “Dominator”, “Master”, or the like are given according to the performance the characters). In the subsequent step 60, it is determined whether or not a completion condition is satisfied. If the completion conditions are satisfied (remaining points are equal to or lower than zero), the “figure-existent”, and game process is completed, otherwise (remaining points >0) the process flow returns to step 53 and the above-mentioned process is repeated. For the player with the remaining points equal to or lower than zero the labyrinth competition game is completed, and the main CPU 32 substitutes by participating as another character. Here, although not shown, the player who has run out of his/her life can recover his/her life to a certain extent by using a recovery card or dropping a coin.
  • As stated above, the gaming machine 1 is configured such that, for both the displacement phase process and the traveling phase process, if the displacement wall piece and the destination are determined within a predefined time, the numerical values of their defensive power and the numerical values of their offensive power are respectively added resulting in strengthened defensive power and offensive power. Furthermore, the progress of the labyrinth competition game is controlled in such a manner that winning or losing of a character is determined using these parameters when respective characters compete with each other. Therefore, addition of numerical values of the defensive power and the offensive power works as an incentive for letting each player promptly determine the displacement wall piece and its destination. This can prevent the player from needlessly delaying his/her operation input and prompt faster operation input, whereby the entire progression of the game can be hastened.
  • In addition, in each of the displacement phase process and the traveling phase process timer display regions 150 c and 160 c are displayed, both decrementing the numerals as time passes from the start of measurement of the elapsed time, whereby the player can be prompted to perform his/her operation input as soon as possible.
  • Particularly, for types of games in which a plurality of players participate as with the gaming machine 1, since delay in the operation of one player keeps the other players waiting, they may feel stress and frustration. With the gaming machine 1, however, the risk has been eliminated and each player can enjoy the amusement intrinsic to the game which should be provided by the labyrinth competition game.
  • (Without-Figure Game Process)
  • In without-figure game process, the processes are executed in accordance with a flow chart shown in FIG. 16, which is approximately similar to that of the with-figure game process. The without-figure game process is different from the with-figure game process in that step 52 does not exist.
  • In the without-figure mode, although the game progresses without using a figure, if, upon receiving game data and storing them in the RAM 33, a figure ID is included in the response signal (if an already authenticated figure exists), the figure information corresponding to the figure ID is extracted.
  • In addition, since step 52 is not executed, there is no room for selecting a costume or a dungeon unlike the with-figure mode, as stated above, accordingly the game content is limited compared with the labyrinth competition game in the with-figure mode. Furthermore, the selection ranges for various cards selectable in step 55 and for skill cards selectable in step 57 are limited.
  • Then, in step 59, although the characters are provided with titles according to their result of competition, the without-figure mode is limited such that only the title “Wanderer” is provided however excellent the result of competition may be.
  • In this manner, with gaming machine 1, the game can be executed not only when using the FIG. 40 but also when not using the FIG. 40. In addition, since use of the FIG. 40 may lead to a benefit which cannot be obtained when the FIG. 40 is not used, the player's willingness for collection may be stirred up, whereby amusement taking advantage of characteristics intrinsic to the labyrinth competition game can be provided. Particularly, playing the labyrinth competition game using the FIG. 40 may increase the point of the character corresponding to the figure, strengthen the offensive power and the defensive power, or provide a title, whereby motivating the player to use his/her figure repeatedly, providing the player with satisfaction.
  • Second Embodiment
  • (Arrangement of Gaming System)
  • Next, a second embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 26 is a system block diagram of a gaming system 200 according to the second embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 27 is a block diagram showing the internal structure of a cellular phone 111 composing the gaming system 200 together with other major components. The gaming system 200, further comprises, in addition to a similar arrangement as the gaming system 100, a cellular phone 111, a base station 110, and a home-use gaming machine 112.
  • The cellular phone 111 has a wireless connection environment to the Internet 4 and is configured to realize a generally similar operation as with the above-mentioned gaming machine 1, by communicating with the gaming server 101 and the shop server 2 via the base station 110. In addition, since the cellular phone 111 has a wireless connection environment to the Internet 4, unlike the gaming machine 1, the labyrinth competition game can be played at locations other than amusement shops A and B.
  • Additionally, the cellular phone 111, which is located within a radio zone covered by the base station 110 installed in a paging area under control of a control station (not shown), composes a mobile communication system together with other cellular phones (not shown), and realizes audio communication with each other by executing radio communication via the base station 110.
  • The cellular phone 111 has a CPU 501, a ROM 502, a RAM 503, an operation input unit 504, and a liquid crystal display unit 505, as shown in FIG. 27. In addition, the cellular phone 111 has a data storage unit 506, an audio conversion processing unit 507, a communication control unit 508, a radio communication unit 509, a speaker 510 and a microphone 511. The CPU 501 operates according to a program stored in ROM 502 and controls the overall operation of the cellular phone 111. The ROM 502 stores a program executed by the CPU 501, such as a communication control program, for example, to cause the cellular phone 111 to execute radio communication. The RAM 503 stores a game control program for controlling the execution of the labyrinth competition game, or data such as above-mentioned game data required for executing the program by the CPU 501.
  • The operation input unit 504 has a plurality of operation input buttons and feeds the data entered by input operation of respective operation input buttons to the CPU 501. For example, the operation input unit 504 has a plurality of character input buttons, a send button, a receive button, a confirmation button of received mails, a connection button to the Internet 4, or the like. The liquid crystal display unit 505, having an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and its driving unit, is an image display unit for displaying images such as characters, graphics, symbols, or the like. For example, unit 505 displays the phone number of the opposite party when transmitting, current time, reception history, received mails, standby images, as well as images such as game execution screens when executing various types of games provided from the gaming server 101.
  • The data storage unit 506 stores various types of data. Since, unlike the gaming machine 1, the cellular phone 111 is not provided with the authentication unit 15, the coin slot 16, and the card slot 18, dropping of a coin, insertion of the ID card 17, and reading the FIG. 40 from the IC chip 44 cannot be performed. Therefore, payment information based on a payment process which is preliminarily performed by the player is managed by the gaming server 101 in order to allow playing of the labyrinth competition game without having to drop a coin, and balance information of the payment information is stored in the data storage unit 506. In addition, the data storage unit 506 stores card information to be stored in the identification card 17 and information corresponding to the figure which was read using the gaming machine 1 and has actually been used in the labyrinth competition game (corresponding figure information). The corresponding figure information includes a figure ID to be stored in the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40, and figure image information for displaying, on the liquid crystal display unit 505, a figure image showing the FIG. 40 (particularly the doll part 47). By storing such information in the data storage unit 506, the cellular phone 111 allows the labyrinth competition game to be played, without having to use the identification card 17 and the FIG. 40 itself, as when playing the labyrinth competition game on the gaming machine 1.
  • Since the corresponding figure information stored in the data storage unit 506 is information corresponding to the figure which has actually been used in the labyrinth competition game, it is necessary to play the labyrinth competition game once in the amusement shops A or B by authenticating the FIG. 40 using the gaming machine 1 and, store the required information in the ID management file of the database server 103, in order to play the labyrinth competition game under the same condition as with the above-mentioned “figure-existent” mode using the cellular phone 111. After having stored the required information in the ID management file, it becomes possible to play the labyrinth competition game via the cellular phone 111 at locations other than the amusement shops A or B, under the same condition as with the with-figure mode by using the corresponding figure information, without having to use the figure itself. Here, the labyrinth competition game may also be allowed to be played via the cellular phone 111 without having to use the FIG. 40, by causing the database server 103 to execute a predefined process according to accesses from the cellular phone 111 and store the required information in the ID management file, without the player having to play the labyrinth competition game by authenticating the FIG. 40 on the gaming machine 1.
  • The audio conversion processing unit 507 converts and compresses analog audio signal input from the microphone 511 into digital audio data and feeds it to the radio communication unit 509, while decompressing the audio data and outputting it to the speaker 510. The communication control unit 508 receives instructions from the CPU 501 and operates to control connection and disconnection of the channel for communicating with the base station 110. The radio communication unit 509 is a unit for executing radio data transmission and reception, according to the control of the communication control unit 508. In other words, after having converted the information to be transmitted to the base station 110 into a signal to be handled in the mobile communication network, the radio communication unit 509 transmits the signal which is superimposed on the radio wave. At the same time it receives radio wave from the base station 110 and retrieves information from the signal superimposed on the radio wave. The speaker 510 is an audio outputting device for outputting conversation of the opposite party of conversation or sound during execution of the game, whereas the microphone 511 inputs voice such as conversation between the users and converts it into electric signals.
  • The home-use gaming machine 112 is a dedicated home-use gaming machine owned or borrowed by an individual player equipped with an operating environment connectable to the Internet 4. The home-use gaming machine 112 has an arrangement which is generally similar to the gaming machine 1 so that it can operate generally in a similar manner as with the gaming machine 1.
  • (Operation of Gaming System)
  • Next, the operation of the gaming system 200 will be described focusing mainly on the cellular phone 111. The cellular phone 111 basically executes the game process in a similar manner as with the gaming machine 1. However, the game startup process and the game process are different since, unlike the gaming machine 1, the cellular phone 111 is not provided with the authentication unit 15, the coin slot 16, and the card slot 18.
  • In the game startup process, data processing which corresponds to dropping of a coin and input of card information is executed in step 12. In addition, since the cellular phone 111 is not provided with the touch panel 11 a, the process flow waits in step 16 until a button operation using the operation input unit 504 is executed. Furthermore, different processes are executed also in steps 31 and 32 for generating characters (a message output process of receiving corresponding figure information, and a process of waiting until reception of the corresponding figure information is completed will be executed, respectively).
  • Besides the above processes, the cellular phone 111 executes the game process referring to balance information of payment information, card information, and corresponding figure information which are stored in the data storage unit 506.
  • Also in the case when a player playing the labyrinth competition game using the cellular phone 111 becomes the loser, an invalidation process is executed in a similar manner as with the case when a player becomes the loser in the labyrinth competition game using the gaming machine 1. However, since the cellular phone 111 is not provided with the authentication unit 15, which prevents reading and writing of the figure ID, it is impossible to erase the stored FIGURE ID from the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40 attached to the authentication unit 15, as with gaming machine 1. In addition, since, unlike the gaming machine 1, the labyrinth competition game is executed using the data corresponding to the actual FIG. 40, not necessarily requiring the actual FIG. 4, it is more preferred to execute the invalidation process with the player's consent and let the player be aware of being invalidated rather than transmitting the loser information to the database server 103 in a similar manner as with the gaming machine 1 and executing the invalidation process in the database server 103.
  • Then, the database server 103 may be configured to execute the invalidation process in accordance with the flow chart shown in FIG. 28, corresponding to the case when the player becomes the loser playing the labyrinth competition game using the cellular phone 111. The invalidation process shown in FIG. 28 is different from the flow chart shown in FIG. 20 in that steps 312 and 313, besides steps 310 and 311 are executed.
  • In the database server 103, upon starting the invalidation process by the CPU 401, the process flow proceeds to step 310 and determines whether or not loser information has been input from the communication processing unit 404 in a similar manner as described above. The process flow proceeds to step 312 if the loser information has been input, otherwise the invalidation process is completed without executing steps 312, 313 and 311. In step 312, the CPU 401 determines whether or not the loser information has been received from the cellular phone 111, and the process flow proceeds to step 313 if it has been received from the cellular phone 111, otherwise the process flow proceeds to step 311 without executing 313. In step 313, it is determined whether or not invalidation permission data has been received, and the process flow proceeds to step 311 if the invalidation permission data has been received, otherwise invalidation process is completed without executing step 311. In step 311, the CPU 401 operates as the invalidation process device in a similar manner as described above, and the character information corresponding to the loser information is deleted. In other words, the CPU 401 invalidates when receiving both the loser information and the invalidation permission data which permit invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine (that is, cellular phone 111) including the radio communication unit which transmits and receives data via a radio communication.
  • On the other hand, in the cellular phone 111, invalidation permission data is generated when the player plays the labyrinth competition game using the cellular phone 111 and becomes the loser, corresponding to the invalidation process of FIG. 28, and is transmitted to the database server 103. The invalidation permission data, i.e., the data indicating to permit invalidation of the loser character is generated by executing a predefined input operation by the player who confirmed the invalidation, for which a confirmation screen of invalidation of the loser character is displayed on the liquid crystal display unit 505 when transmitting the loser information by the post-process in the cellular phone 111, for example, to let the player be aware of, and clearly confirm, the invalidation of the loser character.
  • Since the invalidation process is also executed in this manner by deleting the record from the figure management file 60 when the player plays the labyrinth competition game using the cellular phone 111 and becomes the loser, the player would be motivated to play the labyrinth competition game with an awareness of winning or losing i.e. the most primary result, among others, in a competition game. Therefore, a sense of tension can be brought into the labyrinth competition game to enhance the excitement thereof.
  • Here, since letting the player be aware of, and clearly confirm, the invalidation of the loser character in the gaming machine 1 is similar to that in the cellular phone 111, the gaming machine 1 may also be configured such that a confirmation screen of invalidation of the loser character is displayed on the main display 11 so as to let the player be aware of, and clearly confirm, the invalidation of the loser character, and generate invalidation permission data by performing a predefined input operation, that is, touching the touch panel 11 a by the player who confirmed the invalidation.
  • In addition, although the above-mentioned embodiments are described with a figure taken as an example of the target object to be scanned, the present invention may be applied for cases using a target object to be scanned other than a figure. For example, card-shaped game cards (also referred to as trading cards) having pictures or symbols drawn thereon and storing ID information therein, or cassettes may be used. Additionally, although the embodiments are described with the gaming machine 1 which can execute the labyrinth competition game taken as an example, the present invention may be applied to gaming machines which can execute other image games. For example, gaming machines which can simulate a team play such as baseball or soccer in which a plurality of players appear using figures or cassettes corresponding to respective players may be used.
  • In addition, although the gaming machine 1 has a main display 11 and a substitute display 12 integrated therein for displaying game image, the main display 11 and the substitute display 12 may be separated.
  • Although the above-mentioned embodiments are described with a case wherein the gaming machine 1 has a specifying device, a read-and-write device, a game progress control device, the gaming system (gaming system in the present invention) may be arranged in such a manner that each of the above-mentioned devices or units are provided in either the gaming machine 1 or the shop server 2. Furthermore, the gaming system may be arranged by providing an apparatus having functionalities similar to each of the above-mentioned devices or units separately from the gaming machine 1 and the shop server 2.
  • As described above in detail, a gaming machine and a gaming server are provided according to the present invention, which are configured so as to allow competition games with a sense of tension by taking in the primary result of the competition games such as winning or losing.
  • The present invention provides a gaming machine for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other. The gaming machine comprises: a specifying means for specifying a loser character which has become a loser in the character competition; and an invalidation process means for invalidating the loser character specified by the specifying means.
  • Owing to this, the gaming machine is configured such that a character which has become the loser in the character competition is specified, and the specified loser character is invalidated.
  • The gaming machine may further comprise a read-and-write means for reading and writing identification information from and to game items storing the identification information for identifying the respective characters, wherein the invalidation process means invalidates the loser character by erasing the identification information corresponding to the loser character.
  • Owing to this, the gaming machine is configured such that the loser character is invalidated by erasing, from the game item, the identification information corresponding to the loser character.
  • In addition, the present invention provides a gaming server connected to the gaming machine for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other. The gaming server comprises an invalidation process means for invalidating a loser character when receiving loser information indicating the loser character which has become a loser in the character competition from the gaming machine.
  • Owing to this, the gaming server is configured to invalidate the loser character corresponding to the loser information when receiving the loser information indicating the character which has become the loser in the character competition from the gaming machine.
  • In addition, the gaming server may further comprise a storage means for storing character information which associates character property data indicating intrinsic properties of respective characters with player data specifying a player allowed to use the character property data, wherein the invalidation process means may invalidate the loser character by deleting the character information corresponding to the loser information among the character information stored in the storage means.
  • Owing to this, when receiving the loser information indicating the character which has become the loser in the character competition from the gaming machine, the gaming server invalidates the loser character by deleting the character information corresponding to the loser information.
  • In addition, the gaming server may further comprise a storage means for storing character information which associates character property data indicating intrinsic properties of respective characters with player data specifying a player allowed to use the character property data, wherein the invalidation process means may invalidate the loser character by initializing the character property data associated with the player data corresponding to the loser information among the character information stored in the storage means.
  • Owing to this, when receiving loser information indicating the character which has become the loser in the character competition from the gaming machine, the gaming server invalidates the loser character by initializing the character property data associated with the player data corresponding to the loser information.
  • With each of the above-mentioned gaming servers, the invalidation process means may invalidate when receiving both the loser information and invalidation permission data which permit invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine including a radio communication means which transmits and receives data via a radio communication. Further, the invalidation process means may invalidate the loser character upon receiving invalidation permission data which permits invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine, when the loser information is received from the gaming machine having a radio communication means which transmits and receives data via a radio communication.
  • Owing to this, the gaming server is configured to invalidate the loser character upon receiving invalidation permission data from the gaming machine when the loser information is received from the gaming machine having a wireless communication means.

Claims (8)

1. A gaming machine for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other, the gaming machine comprising:
a processor specifying and invalidating a loser character which has become a loser in the character competition.
2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, further comprising a read-and-write device reading and writing identification information from and to game items storing the identification information for identifying the respective characters,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character by erasing the identification information corresponding to the loser character.
3. A gaming server connected to a gaming machine for executing character competition in which a plurality of characters compete with each other, the gaming server comprising:
a processor invalidating a loser character when receiving loser information indicating the loser character which has become a loser in the character competition from the gaming machine.
4. The gaming server according to claim 3, further comprising a storage device storing character information which associates character property data indicating intrinsic properties of the respective characters with player data specifying a player allowed to use the character property data,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character by deleting the character information corresponding to the loser information among the character information stored in the storage device.
5. The gaming server according to claim 3, further comprising a storage device storing character information which associates character property data indicating intrinsic properties of the respective characters with player data specifying a player allowed to use the character property data,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character by initializing the character property data associated with the player data corresponding to the loser information among the character information stored in the storage device.
6. The gaming server according to claim 3,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character when receiving both the loser information and invalidation permission data which permit invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine including a radio communication unit which transmits and receives data via a radio communication.
7. The gaming server according to claim 4,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character when receiving both the loser information and invalidation permission data which permit invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine including a radio communication unit which transmits and receives data via a radio communication.
8. The gaming server according to claim 5,
wherein the processor invalidates the loser character when receiving both the loser information and invalidation permission data which permit invalidation of the loser character from the gaming machine including a radio communication unit which transmits and receives data via a radio communication.
US11/544,015 2005-10-07 2006-10-06 Gaming machine and gaming server Abandoned US20070238530A1 (en)

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US9649551B2 (en) 2008-06-03 2017-05-16 Tweedletech, Llc Furniture and building structures comprising sensors for determining the position of one or more objects
US10265609B2 (en) 2008-06-03 2019-04-23 Tweedletech, Llc Intelligent game system for putting intelligence into board and tabletop games including miniatures
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US8821245B2 (en) * 2012-09-13 2014-09-02 Diego Antonio Massioli Non chance-based game system
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