US20110077067A1 - Gaming appartus and systems - Google Patents

Gaming appartus and systems Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110077067A1
US20110077067A1 US12891451 US89145110A US2011077067A1 US 20110077067 A1 US20110077067 A1 US 20110077067A1 US 12891451 US12891451 US 12891451 US 89145110 A US89145110 A US 89145110A US 2011077067 A1 US2011077067 A1 US 2011077067A1
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Prior art keywords
probability value
feature event
event
trigger
main game
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US12891451
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Benjamin James Ellis
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Dynamite Games Pty Ltd
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Dynamite Games Pty Ltd
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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
    • G07F17/3267Game outcomes which determine the course of the subsequent game, e.g. double or quits, free games, higher payouts, different new games
    • 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

An embodiment of the present invention provides an option by which a feature event may be triggered in response to a specific player input. This advantageously provides the game designer with additional options to ensure that the game provides a suitable return-to-player performance. An embodiment of the method is as shown in FIG. 4.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to gaming apparatus and systems. It relates for example to electronic gaming machines and to networked gaming systems, such as Internet-based gaming systems.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Gaming machines have been a popular form of entertainment for many years. This popularity has been enhanced with the advent of electronic gaming machines and computer-based gaming systems, such as are provided over the Internet.
  • Many different types of game are playable. They include for example standard slot-machine type games with spinning reels, poker machines, keno, bingo, blackjack, roulette, pachinko and the like.
  • A user will typically place a bet, press a button or pull a lever to begin a game, and will win or lose based upon the gaming machine's play algorithm and random number generator.
  • An aim of the present invention is to provide gaming apparatus having novel features for enhancing gameplay interest.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
      • a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
      • an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
      • a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  • Optionally, the apparatus may further include an indicator component for indicating the probability value to the player. In one embodiment the indicator component displays a numerical depiction of the probability value or a graphical depiction of the probability value.
  • Optionally the predefined criterion is any one of:
      • a gameplay measurement associated with the main game;
      • an achievement in the main game of an event; or
      • a random adjustment that occurs during the course of play of the main game or at the end of a sequence of play of the main game.
  • In one embodiment in which the predefined criterion is a gameplay measurement the apparatus further includes:
      • a component for monitoring gameplay;
      • a component for monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
      • an event guarantee component for guaranteeing that a feature event will automatically trigger if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
  • According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a method of triggering a feature event in a gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game, the method including the steps of:
      • storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
      • receiving a player generated input signal indicating specifically that the player wishes to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
      • determining, in response to the player generated input signal and with reference to the probability value, whether to trigger the feature event.
  • In one embodiment the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event is equal to the probability value. In this embodiment the probability value is reset to a default value or to a randomly determined value at the time of or subsequent to the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event.
  • In another embodiment the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event is less than the probability value. In one such embodiment the amount by which the likelihood of triggering the feature event is less than the probability value is dependent upon a player input. In another such embodiment the amount by which the likelihood of triggering the feature event is less than the probability value is automatically determined. In either case the probability value is preferably decremented by an amount equal to the likelihood of triggering the feature event at the time of or subsequent to the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event.
  • An embodiment in which the predefined criterion is a gameplay measurement associated with the main game further includes the steps of:
      • monitoring gameplay;
      • monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
      • automatically triggering a feature event if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
  • Optionally the method may further include the steps of:
      • defining a maximum probability value; and
      • automatically determining whether to trigger a feature event if the probability value equals or exceeds the maximum probability value.
  • Optionally the feature event may be any one or more of: an extraneous game from a main game; a bonus game; a free play or free play series; a re-spin or re-spin series; an appearance of a wild feature; a fixed or incrementing jackpot prize or bonus play that can yield a jackpot prize; and/or changes to the main game functions, or addition of gameplay elements, that increase relative odds of achieving a prize.
  • According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided computer executable code for instructing a computer to perform the method as described above.
  • According to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a computing apparatus having a central processing unit, associated memory and storage devices, and input and output devices, said apparatus being configured to perform the method as described above.
  • According to a fifth aspect of the invention there is provided a gaming system configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming system including:
      • a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
      • an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
      • a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  • Optionally the system may further include a central control for running a gaming algorithm, and a plurality of remote clients in communication with the central control over a communications network, the remote clients including screens for the display of information to players.
  • In an embodiment of the system the input means allows for player interaction with the central control.
  • According to a sixth aspect of the invention there is provided gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
      • a component for monitoring gameplay;
      • a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
      • an input means operable by a player solely to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
      • a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  • According to another aspect of the invention there is provided gaming apparatus including:
      • a component for monitoring gameplay of a main game capable of automatically triggering at least one feature;
      • a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
      • an input means operable by a player to attempt to trigger a feature event other than via said automatic triggering; and
      • a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  • According to yet another aspect of the invention there is provided gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
      • a component for monitoring gameplay;
      • a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon a gameplay measurement associated with the main game;
      • an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event;
      • a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event;
      • a component for monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
      • an event guarantee component for guaranteeing that a feature event will automatically trigger if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
  • Embodiments of the present invention may be applied to any suitable type of gaming system or platform. It can apply to stand-alone gaming apparatus, e.g. electronic gaming machines, such as video gaming machines, to gaming machines that are linked together, e.g. via a network such as an intranet, and/or to gaming systems provided through computing or other electronic devices, e.g. personal computers, PDAs, mobile telephones, digital televisions, and the like, e.g. over the Internet or other communications networks.
  • The present invention may be applied to gaming apparatus that plays any suitable game, e.g. slot-machine type games, poker, keno, blackjack, bingo, roulette, pachinko, or the like.
  • In some networked embodiments of the invention, the central control may conduct the games and manage the accounting and the like, and a number of remote terminals/clients merely provide the user input and display mechanisms. In other networked embodiments of the invention, the control of the games and various other features may be carried out at the remote terminals, or may be split between the central control and the remote terminals.
  • It should be noted that any of the features of any of the aspects mentioned above may be combined with any other features mentioned above, as appropriate.
  • Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood that the particularity of the detailed description and the drawings does not supersede the generality of the preceding description of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS
  • In the drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of gaming apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a generic gaming display screen shot according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is another generic gaming display screen shot according to another embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of a gaming control process in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, gaming apparatus, which in this case takes the form of an electronic gaming machine (EGM) 1, includes various standard components, such as a controller 2 for controlling the operation of the EGM 1 and the games run on it, a coin/token input 3 for receiving bets, a coin/token output 4 for paying out winnings, a display 5 for displaying game screens, and player input means 6 for allowing user interaction, which may include e.g. buttons 7 and which may e.g. be provided as part of the display 5 in a touch-screen type manner.
  • The EGM 1 may be a stand-alone machine. It may also be networked with other EGMs and/or a control centre via a suitable communications network 8, such as a LAN and/or WAN, in order to play networked (e.g. intranet or Internet) games, such as a linked jackpot.
  • In use, the EGM 1 will display an initial gaming screen on the display 5. A player will insert bank notes, coins and/or tokens into the EGM input 3, and will press a button 7 to initiate play of the main game provided by the EGM. How matters then proceed will depend on the type of main game being played. For example, FIG. 2 illustrates a game screen from a slot machine-type game, in which the EGM 1 displays virtual reels 10 of symbols 11, and spins and stops these reels 10 in various win and lose symbol combinations on one or more paylines 12 in accordance with a stored gaming algorithm and random number generator. In an alternative embodiment (not illustrated) the main game is a poker-type game, in which a player will receive a number of cards with which to play for a winning hand. It will be appreciated that other types of main games may be provided, such as keno, blackjack, bingo, roulette, pachinko, or the like. For the purposes of this detailed description, the main focus shall be upon an embodiment providing a slot machine-type main game.
  • The player may interact via the buttons 7, so as e.g. to spin or hold reels and otherwise play the main game. A common element will be win events, e.g. particular symbol combinations that pay out a prize or jackpot.
  • Also, in order to increase interest, the main game is capable of providing feature events that may or may not relate directly to the main game being played, and that generally provide a bonus of some sort. These feature events may include for example one or more free games, a re-spin (similar to a free game but with one or more reels held on a slot device), the chance to play for higher winnings or the like. They may be e.g. luck or skills based. They may be provided as “second screen” features that display on a new screen, and may be extraneous to the main game.
  • Another way of adding gaming interest is for a main game or a feature event to include one or more wild symbols that can represent more than one type of symbol or card, and so can increase the chances of achieving a winning combination or the like. Similarly, for embodiments in which the main game is a card game, wild cards may be provided.
  • These win and feature events can be arranged to occur due to the usual operation of the main game randomly or under a particular set of circumstances, e.g. under a set symbol or card combination. They may also occur due to an accumulation of circumstances across a number of games, and may occur due to the condition of a device supplemental to the EGM 1 itself, e.g. they may relate to jackpot wins in linked jackpot systems comprising a plurality of EGMs under a central control.
  • In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the EGM 1 includes within the gaming algorithm a component for monitoring and an event guarantee component. The component for monitoring monitors one or more monitored events to determine whether they are triggered or not, and guarantees that a particular feature event, or at least one of a number of possible feature events, will trigger within a set amount of gameplay, if the standard conditions for triggering of the monitored game event or events are not met by the main game within the set amount of gameplay. The monitored event may be the feature event or another game event. A guarantee count (referred to below as a “feature guarantee variable”), which is the remaining amount of gameplay before a feature event is guaranteed to be triggered, is shown on a guarantee indicator 9 on the display 5. The guaranteed feature event aspect of this embodiment of the invention is discussed in more detail in Patent Application No. PCT/AU2004/001402 (published under Publication No. WO 2005/037387), the contents of which are hereby incorporated in their entirety by way of reference.
  • The present invention also provides another option by which a feature event may be triggered, which is in response to a player input. This advantageously provides the game designer with additional options to ensure that the game provides a suitable return-to-player performance.
  • The embodiment of the gaming apparatus includes within the gaming algorithm components for monitoring gameplay and for storing a probability value that varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion, which is typically a gameplay measurement of an amount of gameplay. The embodiment also includes a component responsive to a player input entered via input means 6 for determining whether to trigger the feature event. This determination is performed with reference to the probability value in a manner that is described in further detail below.
  • As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, this embodiment includes a probability indicator 13 for indicating to the player the current probability that a player-requested feature event will successfully trigger. For example, in FIG. 2 the probability value is depicted to the player as 68% and in FIG. 3 the probability value is depicted to the player as 1.9%. The probability indicator 13 also displays a graphical depiction of the probability value by means of bar graph 14 on FIG. 2 and circular gauge 15 on FIG. 3. Alternatively, the display of icons may be used to indicate to the player that they have a probability of triggering a feature event.
  • The method steps that are executed by a computer processor that is disposed in the controller 2 of an embodiment of the invention are shown in FIG. 4. The process flow commences at Step S1 in which the game variables and parameters are initialised. This relates to the variables and parameters used in the main game and also to the probability value, feature guarantee value and the maximum probability value. In this embodiment the probability value is initially set to a default value of zero, the feature guarantee value is initially set to a default value of 150 and the maximum probability value is set to a constant value of 100%. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other values may be chosen for alternative embodiments.
  • At Step S2 the processor commences running the main game. In the illustrated embodiment this is a slot machine game. The main game continues to be actively played throughout most of the remaining steps and this is monitored at Step S3. The monitoring of the main game takes place in order to ascertain the information necessary for executing the following steps that determine when the feature event is triggered.
  • At Step S4 the probability value is re-calculated such that it varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion, which is a measurement of gameplay associated with the main game. Examples of suitable gameplay measurements include the number of games played (i.e. the number of spins of a slot machine or the number of hands of a card game played); an aggregate amount of bets laid; an aggregate amount of credit paid out; the amount of lines or hands played etc. The preferred embodiment makes use of the number of paid spins of the main game slot machine as the predefined criterion. This is achieved in accordance with a predefined formula, for example by incrementing the probability value by a predefined increment according to paid games played in the main game. This may or may not be a linear equation. For example, the probability may increase by a smaller amount in early periods of play compared to later periods. Hence, over the period that the main game is being played the probability tends to increase progressively from its initial value of zero. Each time the probability value is re-calculated, the new value is stored in a predefined random access memory location for later access by the controller 2.
  • At Step S5 the feature guarantee value is re-calculated. By way of example, the embodiment guarantees a feature event every time a total of 150 paid spins have been undertaken in the main game by the player, provided the main game does not trigger that event during the course of normal gameplay. Hence, each time a paid spin is undertaken, the feature guarantee value is decremented by one and the new feature guarantee value is displayed at guarantee indicator 9. Therefore the feature guarantee value progressively decreases as the main game is played, or resets to a predefined or random value in the event of a triggering of the feature event by the main game. Each time the feature guarantee value is re-calculated, the new value is stored in another predefined random access memory location for later access by the controller 2.
  • At Step S6 the processor checks whether the player has made an input via the input means 6 to indicate specifically and solely that the player wishes to attempt to trigger a feature event. With reference to the screen shown in FIG. 2, the player generates the necessary input signal by touching the input area 6 marked “PLAY” on the touch sensitive display screen 5. This causes the display to transit from the main game screen (a depiction of which is shown in FIG. 2) to a secondary display system in the form of a screen such as that illustrated in FIG. 3. The player may then proceed with the trigger attempt by touching the input area 17 marked “PLAY” on the touch sensitive display screen 5. In response to the input signal generated by touching the input area 17, the process flow moves to Step S10, to be described below.
  • If no input signal is detected, or if the player touches the input area 16 marked “RETURN TO GAME” on the screen shown in FIG. 3, the process flow moves to Step S7. At this step the processor checks whether the feature guarantee criterion has been met. In this embodiment, the monitored event is the feature event and the set amount of gameplay is 150 paid spins. Hence, the processor can determine that feature guarantee criterion has been met if the feature guarantee value is equal to zero. If so, this indicates that 150 paid spins have been undertaken since the last feature event and therefore a feature event is automatically triggered by moving the process flow to Step S12. If the feature guarantee value is greater than zero then a guaranteed feature event is not required and the process flow moves to Step S8.
  • At Step S8 the processor checks whether the normal operation of the main game has automatically triggered a feature event. If so, the process flow moves to Step S12. If not, the process flow moves to Step S9, at which the processor checks whether the probability value equals or exceeds the maximum probability value of 100%. If so, the process flow moves to Step S10. If not, the process flow loops back to Step S3.
  • As mentioned above, at Step S6 the processor is responsive to a player generated input signal indicating the player's wish to attempt to trigger a feature game by moving the process flow to Step S10. Here the processor decides whether to trigger the feature game and this determination is made with reference to the probability value. In this embodiment the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing Step S10 is equal to the probability value. For example, if at this point the probability value is 19%, then the processor executes a decision routine that has a 19% probability of returning a positive result and an 81% probability of returning a negative result. This is achieved by defining a first range of integral numbers from 1 to 19 inclusive and a second range of integral numbers from 20 to 100 inclusive. The processor then uses a random number generator (or pseudo-random number generator) to pick a random integer between 1 and 100 inclusive. If this random integer lies within the first range, then a positive result is returned and the process flow moves to Step S12. If the random integer lies within the second range, then a negative result is returned and the process flow moves to Step S11.
  • Step S11 may be reached either because a player's request for a feature event was declined at Step S10, or following on from Step S13. In either case, once a positive or negative determination is made at Step S10, the probability value is subsequently reset to its default value of zero at Step S11. In some alternative embodiments the probability value is reset to a randomly determined value or to a predetermined non-zero value.
  • At Step S12, the feature event is run by the processor. Typically this may be any one or more of: an extraneous game from a main game; a bonus game; a free play or free play series; a re-spin or re-spin series; an appearance of a wild feature; a fixed or incrementing jackpot prize or bonus play that can yield a jackpot prize; and/or changes to the main game functions, or addition of gameplay elements, that increase relative odds of achieving a prize.
  • The particular feature event that is run at Step S12 is chosen randomly by the processor. Once the feature event has been completed, the process flow moves to Step S13, at which the feature guarantee value is reset to its default value of 150. The process flow proceeds to Step S11, then returns to Step S3.
  • Once the player ceases playing the main game, the processor also ceases the looping that commences at Step S3.
  • In the embodiment described above, the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing Step S10 is equal to the probability value. However, in an alternative embodiment the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event is less than the probability value. For example, at the time of making the determination of whether to trigger the feature event, a player may have accrued a probability value of 38%. However, when the determination at Step S10 is made, the player may use the input means 6 to generate an input signal to indicate that some lesser amount of this probability be used, for example only 10%. Hence, in this alternative embodiment, the processor executes a decision routine at Step S10 having only a 10% probability of returning a positive result. When the processor subsequently executes Step S11, rather than resetting the probability value to the default value, it subtracts the lesser amount from the original probability value. Hence, in the current example the recalculated probability value after executing Step S11 would be 28% (i.e. 38%−10%).
  • In yet another embodiment the amount by which the likelihood of triggering the feature event is less than the probability value is automatically determined in accordance with the game algorithm. For example, the game algorithm may include a rule specifying that only a constant value, such as 5%, of a player's currently accrued probability value may be expended upon any one determination at Step S10. In such a case, the constant value would be subtracted from the probability value at Step S11 to calculate a new probability value.
  • In some embodiments the probability value is varied in dependence upon criteria that differ to that described above. For example, the probability might be altered by achieving a particular pre-defined or random event, such as getting predetermined symbol combinations on a slot. Alternatively, the probability value may be randomly adjusted during the course of play or at the end of a given sequence of gameplay. Additionally, in some embodiments the probability is not reset or recalculated as described above for Step S11. In another contemplated embodiment, the probability value is not displayed to the player.
  • In yet another contemplated alternative embodiment, the player must place a side bet in order to qualify for the attempt to trigger a feature event. Alternatively, or additionally, the player may be given the option of placing a side bet in order to increase the probability that a feature event will trigger beyond the indicated probability value and/or to increase the potential payout if a feature event is triggered and results in a win. Such side bets may be placed before and/or after a normal game of the main game. For example, after completing a main game, a player may use the input means 6 to place a first side bet in order to qualify for an attempt to trigger a feature event. The player may then use the input means 6 to place as second side bet in order to increase the probability of triggering the feature event beyond the amount shown on the probability indicator 13. This may result in the probability value being increased by a random amount, a predetermined amount or an amount that is dependent upon the amount of the second side bet. In any event, this increased probability value is then used as the basis of the determination of whether to trigger a feature event. The player may also place a third side bet to increase the amount of any winnings that may be associated with the feature event, if triggered.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an essentially stand-alone electronic gaming machine (albeit with the potential for networked connectivity). However, another embodiment provides a gaming system including networked computing apparatus having a central processing unit disposed at a central control computer. A plurality of remote clients is in communication with the central control computer over a communications network such as a local area network and/or a wide area network. Each of the remote clients has at least one screen for the display of information to a player and input means allowing for player interaction with the central control.
  • The central control computer has access to associated memory and storage devices. The central control computer also has access to computer executable code for instructing the central control computer to run the gaming algorithm that performs the embodiment of the inventive method. In one embodiment the computer executable code is in the form of software and associated data, which are stored upon a computer-readable medium in the form of one or more compact disks. Alternative embodiments make use of other forms of digital storage media, such as Digital Versatile Discs (DVD's), hard drives, flash memory, Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory EPROM, and the like. Alternatively, the software and its associated data may be stored as one or more downloadable or remotely executable files that are accessible via a computer communications network such as the internet.
  • As used in this patent specification, including in the claims, the term “probability value” is to be given a broad construction so as to include any value that is capable of being used to influence an automated decision making process. Hence, in some embodiments the “probability value” is expressed as a percentage, however in other embodiments the “probability value” may take other forms, such as an integral value between 0 and 10, for example. In some such embodiments, the integral value corresponds to a number of items accrued through play of the main game, such as a number of icons or the like, and the gaming apparatus is configured to equate the number of icons with a probability value. A predefined amount of probability may be attributed to each icon that the player has accrued, such that 6 icons may be equated with a probability value of 60%, for example.
  • It is to be understood that various alterations, additions and/or modifications may be made to the parts previously described without departing from the ambit of the present invention, and that, in the light of the above teachings, the present invention may be implemented in software, firmware and/or hardware in a variety of manners as would be understood by a person skilled in the art.

Claims (24)

  1. 1. Gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
    a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
    an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
    a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  2. 2. The apparatus of claim 1, further including an indicator component for indicating the probability value to the player.
  3. 3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the indicator component displays a numerical depiction of the probability value or a graphical depiction of the probability value.
  4. 4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the predefined criterion is any one of:
    a gameplay measurement associated with the main game;
    an achievement in the main game of an event; or
    a random adjustment that occurs during the course of play of the main game or at the end of a sequence of play of the main game.
  5. 5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the predefined criterion is a gameplay measurement and further including:
    a component for monitoring gameplay;
    a component for monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
    an event guarantee component for guaranteeing that a feature event will automatically trigger if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
  6. 6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the feature event is any one or more of: an extraneous game from a main game; a bonus game; a free play or free play series; a re-spin or re-spin series; an appearance of a wild feature; a fixed or incrementing jackpot prize or bonus play that can yield a jackpot prize; and/or changes to the main game functions, or addition of gameplay elements, that increase relative odds of achieving a prize.
  7. 7. A method of triggering a feature event in a gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game, the method including the steps of:
    storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
    receiving a player generated input signal indicating specifically that the player wishes to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
    determining, in response to the player generated input signal and with reference to the probability value, whether to trigger the feature event.
  8. 8. The method of claim 7 wherein the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event is equal to the probability value.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8 wherein the probability value is reset to a default value or to a randomly determined value at the time of or subsequent to the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event.
  10. 10. The method of claim 7 wherein the likelihood of triggering the feature event when executing the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event is less than the probability value.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10 wherein the amount by which the likelihood of triggering the feature event is less than the probability value is dependent upon a player input.
  12. 12. The method of claim 10 wherein the amount by which the likelihood of triggering the feature event is less than the probability value is automatically determined.
  13. 13. The method of claim 10 wherein the probability value is decremented by an amount equal to the likelihood of triggering the feature event at the time of or subsequent to the step of determining whether to trigger the feature event.
  14. 14. The method of claim 7 wherein the predefined criterion is a gameplay measurement associated with the main game and further including the steps of:
    monitoring gameplay;
    monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
    automatically triggering a feature event if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
  15. 15. The method of claim 7 further including the steps of:
    defining a maximum probability value; and
    automatically determining whether to trigger a feature event if the probability value equals or exceeds the maximum probability value.
  16. 16. The method of claim 7 wherein the feature event is any one or more of: an extraneous game from a main game; a bonus game; a free play or free play series; a re-spin or re-spin series; an appearance of a wild feature; a fixed or incrementing jackpot prize or bonus play that can yield a jackpot prize; and/or changes to the main game functions, or addition of gameplay elements, that increase relative odds of achieving a prize.
  17. 17. Computer executable code for instructing a computer to perform the method according to claim 7.
  18. 18. A computing apparatus having a central processing unit, associated memory and storage devices, and input and output devices, said apparatus being configured to perform a method according to claim 7.
  19. 19. A gaming system configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming system including:
    a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
    an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
    a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  20. 20. The system of claim 19 further including a central control for running a gaming algorithm, and a plurality of remote clients in communication with the central control over a communications network, the remote clients including screens for the display of information to players.
  21. 21. The system of claim 20 wherein the input means allows for player interaction with the central control.
  22. 22. Gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
    a component for monitoring gameplay;
    a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
    an input means operable by a player solely to attempt to trigger a feature event; and
    a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  23. 23. Gaming apparatus including:
    a component for monitoring gameplay of a main game capable of automatically triggering at least one feature;
    a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon at least one predefined criterion associated with the main game;
    an input means operable by a player to attempt to trigger a feature event other than via said automatic triggering; and
    a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event.
  24. 24. Gaming apparatus configured to provide a main game and being capable of triggering at least one feature event, the gaming apparatus including:
    a component for monitoring gameplay;
    a component for storing a probability value that automatically varies in dependence upon a gameplay measurement associated with the main game;
    an input means operable by a player specifically to attempt to trigger a feature event;
    a component responsive to said input means for determining with reference to the probability value whether to trigger the feature event;
    a component for monitoring for the occurrence of a monitored event; and
    an event guarantee component for guaranteeing that a feature event will automatically trigger if the monitored event has not otherwise triggered within a set amount of gameplay.
US12891451 2009-09-28 2010-09-27 Gaming appartus and systems Abandoned US20110077067A1 (en)

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Effective date: 20101012