CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority under 35 USC§119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/659,443, filed on Mar. 9, 2005 and entitled “Sound Transmission System Designed for Gaming Devices Using Moving Objects”, the specification of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
- STATEMENT OF THE TECHNICAL PROBLEM
The invention relates to methods and systems for improving the experience of a player in relation with a gaming system, therefore the invention relates to improving a gaming environment.
A technical problem to be solved by the invention is to provide players with an interesting environment during the use of a gaming system through which the excitement the player may experience will be enhanced.
- SOLUTION TO THE STATED PROBLEM
Another technical problem is to provide such an environment that reflects as much as possible the true process occurring in the gaming environment.
Accordingly, the solution provided by one embodiment of the present invention is an improvement in methods and systems used to provide an audio environment to the players using such gaming systems.
In an embodiment of the present invention, a gaming system wherein a mechanical device generates a sound transmissible to a player is provided. The gaming system comprises a gaming device comprising a physical component producing a transmissible sound during an outcome generation process; and a sound processing system. The sound processing system comprises a microphone for capturing the transmissible sounds generated by the gaming device and generating in response an electrical audio signal; filtering means for filtering the audio signal from parasite frequencies therefore producing a filtered audio signal; and outputting means for transforming the filtered audio signal in an audio environment provided to the player.
A particular embodiment of the above gaming system is an automated roulette system wherein the transmissible sounds produced by the roulette ball is amplified and transmitted to players while filtering parasite frequencies generated by speaker feedback, the roulette mechanism and other sources of parasite frequencies, thereby decreasing the intensity of the portion of the signal corresponding to there parasite frequencies.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another embodiment, a method of providing an audio environment is described. The method comprises capturing transmissible sounds produced by components of a gaming device during the generation of an outcome; transforming the captured transmissible sounds into an electrical audio signal; filtering the audio signal by decreasing the intensity of identified parasite frequencies, therefore producing a filtered audio signal; and outputting an audio environment based on the filtered audio signal. This method is performed in real time, wherein the outputted audio environment is provided concurrently to the capture of the transmissible sounds, or with a non-perceivable delay between the capture of transmissible sounds and the output of audible sounds corresponding to the captured transmissible sounds.
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 perspective view of an automated gaming system according to an embodiment of the invention and comprising six player stations;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the gaming system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is side view of the gaming system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the gaming system of FIG. 1 without head 70;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the roulette wheel used to establish outcomes in the gaming system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a screen shot representative of the graphic user interface (GUI) displayed on an electronic screen of a player station during play of the game of roulette according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating components of the gaming system of FIG. 1 involved in outcome generation and wager evaluation processes;
FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating steps involved in the play of a round of roulette with the automated gaming system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the head 70 of the gaming system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 10 is a block diagram schematically illustrating components of the gaming system of FIG. 1 involved in the generation of the audio environment in the disclosed environment;
FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating the processes performed for providing an audio environment according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 12 is a chart illustrating the intensity of the audio system response in a range of frequencies in comparison with individual intensity attenuation of frequencies identified as parasite frequencies; and
FIG. 13 is an electrical schema of the filtering means of an audio system according to an embodiment of the invention.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
It will be noted that throughout the appended drawings, like features are identified by like reference numerals.
In an embodiment, illustrated on FIGS. 1 to 3, the invention is an automated mechanical roulette system 10. The system 10 comprises a base 20; a body 25; a platform 30 on which player stations 40 are disposed; an automated driven roulette system 45 protected by a dome 50; a series of support members 60 supporting the system head 70; and complementary screens 80 suitable for providing game history information. Complementary screens 80 may also provide special feature information or advertising information if suitably set. The system further comprises speakers (not visible on this figure) providing the desired audio environment. On this view, a portion of the roulette system 45 is visible (but not identified) when the dome 50 is elevated as illustrated for maintenance.
FIG. 2 illustrates the system 10 through a top view wherein only a portion of the platform 30 and of the player stations 40 are visible; the head 70 hiding most of the player stations 40, the dome 50 and the roulette system 45.
FIG. 3 provides a side view of the system 10. On this view, a portion of the roulette system 45 is visible when the dome 50 is down.
As illustrated on FIG. 4, the platform 30 comprises in its central portion a cut-out (under dome 50) for disposing the roulette system 45 (see FIG. 5). The platform 30 has a generally triangular shape with two player stations 40 disposed back to back on each tip. A support member 60 is also disposed at each tip near the player stations 40 closer to the roulette system 45. The dome 50 is disposed above the roulette system 45 to perform a protective function; i.e., preventing interference by anyone which could influence the course of the ball during a roulette outcome generation process.
FIG. 5 illustrates the roulette wheel 45, particularly the physical roulette layout and the ball 92 used to generate the outcome. The roulette layout presents a series of identified slots 90 suitably designed to receive the ball 92 at the end of its course. The slots 90 are individually identified by a number and a color. The numeral identifications are non-repetitive and are from 0 (or 00) to 36. The coloring identifications are divided in three colors: green for the 0 (and 00 in appropriate cases) identified slot(s), red for half of the over 0 identified slots 90, and black for the remaining part of the slots 90; the colors alternating to never have two adjacent slots 90 of the same color (not shown on the roulette layout of FIG. 5 to ensure clarity). The roulette wheel 45 presents slopes that are suitably designed to provide the same probabilities to each slot 90 of receiving the ball 92 at the end of its course while preventing the ball 92 to land anywhere else. Canoes 94 are disposed around the slots 90 to modify the ball course and therefore render the ball landing slot 90 unpredictable. The roulette wheel 45 comprises an edge 100 limiting the ball course into the roulette wheel 45. As the ball 92 decelerates, the ball 92 is forced by the slope to travel form the edge 100 toward the center of the roulette structure to end its course in one slot 90. Outcome identification means, comprising a light emitting diode 96 and light detecting sensors 98, permit roulette outcome identification. Each slot 90 has a corresponding light detecting sensor 98. When the ball 92 lands in one slot 90, the corresponding light detecting sensor 98 does not receive any light signal from the light emitting diode 96 and therefore identifies the ball landing slot 90 to a processor which translates the light detecting sensor 98 position into the roulette outcome.
To generate a roulette outcome, the section of the roulette wheel 45 that bears slots 90 is driven in one rotational direction, namely clockwise, while the ball 92 is propelled onto the roulette wheel 45 through an ejection conduit 102 disposed on periphery of the roulette structure edge 100 over the normal course of the ball 92 counter clockwise. Thus, as the ball 92 starts its course on the roulette wheel 45, the ball 92 first follows the edge 100, decelerates, may bump onto one or more canoes 94, and ultimately lands in one slot 90.
Securely disposed in the assembly base 25, an airflow motor (not shown) propels the ball 92 into a conduit (not shown) leading the ball 92 into the ejection conduit 102 when needed, a roulette motor (not shown) drives the rotation of the rotating section of the roulette wheel 45, and a gaming controller 120 (schematically shown on FIG. 7) controls the airflow motor and the roulette motor. The gaming controller 120 also controls the means detecting the roulette outcome, namely the light emitting diode 96 and the light detecting sensors 98. It further controls the means retrieving the ball 92 from the roulette structure once the outcome is generated and identified, what is performed by elevating a portion of the roulette structure for the ball 92 to fall in a receiving container disposed under the elevated portion of the roulette wheel structure and leading the ball back in the airflow fed conduit. Furthermore, the gaming controller 120 is in communication with the player stations 40. The gaming controller 120 is also be in communication with an audio system 300 (schematically illustrated on FIG. 10). The gaming controller 120 may also be in communication with other components, such as a complementary screen controller, a management system, security and detection systems, and a player tracking system through a local area network (LAN) or a wireless communication network.
As illustrated on FIG. 7, a player station 40 is in communication with the gaming controller 120 of the automated gaming system 125. Each player station 40, in the described embodiment, comprises a player station controller 140 exchanging data and signals with other player station components. An electronic screen 142 visible by the player provides information to the player on the conduct of the game. As shown on FIG. 6, the electronic screen 142 provides a image of a wagering mat 110; a series of counters 112 informing the player on statuses such the amount of credits wagered 112 b, the credits remaining available 112 a to wager, and the prize won 112 c; a message box 114 informing on game state as if wagers are either or not possible to place; and an outcome area 116 informing players on last outcomes; this graphic user interface (GUI) being illustrated on FIG. 6. The player stations also comprise player inputting means 144 embodied as touch screens, buttons and/or other sensing surfaces; monetary inputting means 146 such as a coin hopper, card receiving means or a ticket reader; and an awarding means such as a ticket printer. Player stations 40 also comprise memory 150 maintaining programs used by the player station controller 140, data and counter information such as wagering information.
FIG. 7 schematically illustrates functional relationship existing between a player station 40 and the roulette system in regard with the generation of outcomes and the resolution of wagers. The player station controller 140 exchanges signals with the player station components to play the game, and with the gaming controller 120. According to gaming controller signals, different states are set in the game played on the player station 40, resulting in the game being at different steps of its process. For its part, the gaming controller 120 exchanges signals with the roulette mechanism 122 (such as the different motors) influencing the roulette wheel and ball 124 state, outcome identification means 128, and protecting means 126 including protection-related sensors and dome mechanism. The assembly comprises memory 130 used by the gaming controller 120 to keep programs and registered information.
FIG. 8 illustrates steps involved in playing roulette. The process starts with the gaming controller 120 secured in the automated gaming system 10 signalling the player stations 40 that a round (a single outcome generating process) is ready to start (step 150). In accordance, the player stations 40 activate the credit receiving process (step 152) and the wagering process (step 154). During these processes, the players may place new credits in their player stations 40 and used the credits available to place wagers on the next roulette outcome. An end wagering process (step 156) is also performed to prevent new wagers from being placed (step 158) when the outcome generation process fulfills an advancement criterion. Thus, the roulette play involves initiation of the roulette game outcome generation (step 170) taking form of the gaming controller 120 sending signals to the airflow motor for the ball 92 to be propelled on the roulette structure. According to settings, the end wagering process (step 156) may involve evaluation of the ball speed or a ball travelling duration. After the wagering process has ended on player stations 40 (step 158), the ball 92 ultimately lands in one slot 90, the outcome is identified, and the gaming controller 120 transmits the roulette outcome to the player stations 40 (step 160). Each player station controller 140 resolves registered wagers (step 162) based on the received outcome signal; and pays the player accordingly, typically by increasing and decreasing counter values (164). Then, when the time is up, usually the time to retrieve the ball 92 from its landing slot 90, a new round is initiated (step 150).
FIG. 9 provides a view from the floor of the head 70 of the gaming system of FIG. 1. The head 70 presents speakers 210 to 220 (illustrated with dash lines) hidden being a speaker grill cloth 230, in other words sub-audio outputting means (210, 215 and 220) part of outputting means being the whole set of speakers 210 to 220; and light sources 225 and 226. The speakers 210, for example, are disposed in pairs of sets 210 a and 210 b, each comprising a tweet speaker 210 a′ and loudspeaker 210 a″.
As illustrated in FIG. 10, the components of the systems involved in the audio environment are: the gaming environment 240 itself, including the sounds present in the environment, the players, etc; the roulette device 245 comprising the dome 250 filtering the sounds provided by the gaming environment 240, the ball in movement 270; the roulette wheel components 260 comprising all of the components generating sounds (the roulette mechanisms such as the motor generating the rotation of the roulette and the airflow motor propelling the ball) or influencing the sound capture process (the roulette wheel comprising the wood and the metal composing the roulette wheel); and the audio system 300. The latter comprises the microphone 310 embedded in the edge 100 of the roulette wheel capturing sounds from the roulette environment and transforming the sound into an electrical audio signal, filtering means 320 filtering the audio signal into a filtered audio signal wherein at least a portion of the intensity of the signal regarding frequencies identified as parasite frequencies is decreased, amplifying means 330 amplifying the filtered audio signal and speakers 340 which receive the filtered audio signal from the amplifying means 330 and transform it into sounds outputted in the gaming environment. The amplifying means 330 are controlled by the gaming controller 120 to control the power of and sources of the amplifying means 330 based, for example, on a generation outcome process being whether or not conducted.
The gaming controller 120 further provides the amplifying means 330 with non-captured audio signals (audio signal relative to music based on musical files stored in the memory 130 of the system and not illustrated on this figure). The gaming controller 120 is adapted to control which of the captured audio signals, the non-captured audio signals, or a combination of both should be transmitted to the speakers.
The gaming controller 120 is further adapted to individually control the power of the audio signals to each of the pairs of sets of speakers 210 to 220 (see FIG. 9), each of them being components of the speakers 340. Therefore, by controlling the power level of the filtered audio signals provided by the amplifying means 330 to the different sets of speakers 210 to 220 in a cyclic manner, it become possible to create a simulation of the movement of the ball as it travels during the outcome generation process. In other words, by successively and rapidly increasing and decreasing the power of the sets of speakers 210, 215 and 220, a simulation of the ball being located toward the side of the sets of speakers 210, afterward 215, then 220, and back to 210 is recreated; a cyclic movement This simulation of movement may be controlled based on signal received from a ball detection means, an image capture and analysis system identifying through images captured of at least a portion of the roulette wheel where the ball is at any time, a time data set identifying statistically where the ball should be at any time during the outcome generation process, or a combination of solutions.
To provide the audio environment, the steps performed by the components of the system are illustrated through the flow chart of FIG. 11. The steps comprises the gaming controller identifying time to start an outcome generation process (step 370), the gaming controller turning on the amplifying means (step 372), the microphone capturing the sounds and continuously transforming the sounds into an electrical audio signal (step 374), the filtering means filtering the audio signal into a filtered audio signal (step 376), the filtered audio signal being amplified and transmitted to the speakers by the amplifying means (step 378), and the speakers transforming the filtered audio signal into sounds (step 380). The process further comprises the gaming controller identifying the end of the outcome generation process (step 370) and turning off the amplifying means (step 382) at least for the audio signals resulting from the use of the microphone.
In the present environment, parasite frequencies are provided by different sources. One source of parasite frequencies is the different motors and components that are necessary for the outcome generation process but are not desired to be outputted in the gaming environment. Another one is the feedback generated by the interaction between the microphone and the speakers. Another source is the different sources of sound present in the gaming environment being filtered by the dome when traversing it. However, the dome, when in close position, forms a close environment wherein the sound may be reflected multiple times on the surfaces of the roulette wheel in wood and in metal before being attenuated to a desired degree. Since the roulette wheel and dome composing materials are low-absorbing ones, they efficiently reflect sounds and color the sounds that are desired to improve the experience of players. This environment, through its security and processing limitations, creates a imperfect sound environment that needs to be filtered.
FIG. 12 illustrates the different parasite frequencies individually filtered to provide the desired sound response through dashed lines. It further illustrates the response to the audio signal after the filtering means the signal as a straight line. As visible on that chart, the filtering of the different frequencies interacts decreasing more or less the intensity of other frequencies. A balance between what is desires and what needs to be decreased is determined to achieve the best response. The chart of FIG. 12 illustrates the signal attenuation; the logarithmic horizontal axis identifying the different frequencies and the vertical axis illustrating the level of attenuation (in decibels) achieved for each of the different frequencies. In the present embodiment, the identified parasite frequencies are of 610 Hz, 675 Hz, 1120 Hz, 1370 Hz, and 1850 Hz.
FIG. 13 schematically illustrate the electrical circuit of the filtering means. As illustrated, the circuit filtering the electrical signal in the embodiment comprises four sub-circuits processing the signal in series. The first sub-circuit filters the frequencies that are lower than 400 Hz (block 410). The second, a notch (block 420), filters the frequencies around 675 Hz. The third sub-circuit (block 430) is also a notch filtering the frequencies around 1370 Hz. The last one (block 440) filters the frequencies over 4.2 kHz. According to this circuitry, a similar signal response is achieved than the one illustrated on FIG. 12 with the difference of having no filtering of frequencies 610 Hz and 1120 Hz. FIG. 13 further presents blocks illustrating the microphone (block 400) and outputting means (block 450).
Since, in this case, no frequency is identified as a parasite frequency during a portion of the outcome generation process and a desired frequency during another portion of the outcome generation process, the same filtering process may be used throughout the whole outcome generation process. If one frequency is desired during a first period and need to be avoided during another period, a process is used to identify a filtering switching time when the audio signal is directed from a first filtering configuration to a second filtering configuration. Many solutions exit to initiate such a switch action, including determination based on image capture, physical detection of the occurrence of an event, or detection of a sound signal frequency typical to the switching time therefore initiating said switch action. In the latter case, a slight delay (about 0.010 to 0.050 second) may be applied between the received signal and the outputted signal.
An alternative and more expensive embodiment consists in having circuitry and processing means permitting to continuously transform the captured sounds into a numeric signal. Afterwards, as the microphone captures the sounds, the signal is numerically processed to filter the identified parasite frequencies. The filtered numeric signal is then transformed back into an analogical signal which is amplified and provided to the player as sounds. Thus, this transformation from an analogical into a numerical signal permits to complete the same object, with advantages and disadvantages regarding the final object. For example, if the same circuitry has to be installed in different embodiments, the numeric circuitry processing the signal may be more practical due to the possibility of changing the filtering configuration without changing the physical circuitry.
Other physical embodiments are possible according to similar sound capturing, filtering and outputting systems. For example, a crap gaming table wherein the sound of the dice rolling on the mat is desired to be amplified to provide an enhanced gaming experience is such a possible embodiment. In this example, the number of microphones may be limited to one or may be more depending on sound losses and interferences. In this embodiment, the outputting means may comprise a plurality of regular speakers and loudspeakers disposed close to the floor, and some speakers disposed close to the gaming mat.
In another embodiment, a gaming machine comprises a physical bonus feature indicator such as in a pachinko game. When the pachinko game is initiated, the sound system is activated to provide an enhanced experience to the player wherein he may experience through an additional sense (the hearing) the course change of the ball in the game (knocking sound when hitting a pick).
In another embodiment, a plurality of gaming machines is disposed as a bank with a shared feature: a train travelling on a platform disposed in the center of the island levelled to the top of the gaming machines. The present sound system is in communication with the gaming machines for the gaming machines to output train sound increasing as the train gets closer to the gaming machine and decreasing as the train goes away of the gaming machine, the train sound being captured from the actual train, filtered, and outputted in real time.
It is intended, while block diagram illustrates system components communicating with each other, that those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied through a combination of hardware and software components. These components are illustrates as such in the appended block diagrams solely to teach their functionalities and relationship. Thus, programmable computers, computer applications or operating systems may be suitable to perform functions illustrated by one or more illustrated components without departing from the scope of the invention.
Furthermore, in case of some functional components being possible to be embodied as functional methods, these methods may be embodied in a machine or a system, carried out as a computer readable medium, a processing-readable memory, or communicated as an electrical or electro-mechanic signal.
Thereupon, the intent of the above document is to efficiently teach the invention through exemplary embodiments, while solely the appended claims are intended to define the scope of the invention.