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US20110086698A1 - Gaming system, a game controller and a method of gaming - Google Patents

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

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Publication number
US20110086698A1
US20110086698A1 US12896474 US89647410A US20110086698A1 US 20110086698 A1 US20110086698 A1 US 20110086698A1 US 12896474 US12896474 US 12896474 US 89647410 A US89647410 A US 89647410A US 20110086698 A1 US20110086698 A1 US 20110086698A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
game
points
play
gaming
controller
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12896474
Inventor
Lin Liu
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Original Assignee
Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Filing date
Publication date

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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

Abstract

A gaming system comprising: a credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits; a points meter storing a balance of usable points; a game play mechanism operable by the player to input a play instruction for a game comprising a credit portion and a points portion; and a game controller arranged to control conduct of the game in response to the play instruction based on the credit portion and the points portion and to determine whether to make an award of credits based on an outcome of the game.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to, and is a non-provisional of, co-pending Australian Application No. 2009904995, having a filing date of Oct. 13, 2009, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • [0002]
    [Not Applicable]
  • MICROFICHE/COPYRIGHT REFERENCE
  • [0003]
    [Not Applicable]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The invention relates to a gaming system, a game controller and a method of gaming.
  • [0005]
    Some venues or groups of venues provide players of gaming machines with loyalty points based on their patronage of the venue and in particular their game play. Such loyalty points may be redeemed in shops or restaurants at the venue or may entitle the player to use of exclusive facilities or benefits.
  • [0006]
    While such loyalty systems have proved popular there is still a need for alternative loyalty points systems in order to maintain or increase player enjoyment.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    In a first aspect, the invention provides a gaming system comprising:
      • a credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits;
      • a points meter storing a balance of usable points;
      • a game play mechanism operable by the player to input a play instruction for a game comprising a credit portion and a points portion; and
      • a game controller arranged to control conduct of the game in response to the play instruction based on the credit portion and the points portion and to determine whether to make an award of credits based on an outcome of the game.
  • [0012]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  • [0013]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to control the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  • [0014]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to determine a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  • [0015]
    In an embodiment, the points portion provides the player with a feature which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0016]
    In an embodiment, the points portion provides the player with a feature which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0017]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  • [0018]
    In an embodiment, the gaming system is arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0019]
    In a second aspect, the invention provides a game controller for a gaming system, the game controller arranged to control conduct of a game based on a received play instruction for the game comprising a credit portion and a points portion, conduct of the game comprising:
      • generating a game outcome; and
      • evaluating the game outcome to determine whether to make an award in credits based on the game outcome.
  • [0022]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises a game play controller arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  • [0023]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to control the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  • [0024]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to determine a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  • [0025]
    In an embodiment, the game controller adds a feature to the game based on the points portion of the received play instruction which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0026]
    In an embodiment, the game controller adds a feature to the game based on the points portion of the received play instruction which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0027]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  • [0028]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is further arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0029]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises an outcome generator arranged to generate the game outcome.
  • [0030]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises an outcome evaluator arranged to determine whether to make an award of credits based on the game outcome.
  • [0031]
    In a third aspect, the invention provides a method of gaming comprising controlling conduct of a game based on a received play instruction for the game comprising a credit portion and a points portion, conduct of the game comprising:
      • generating a game outcome; and
      • evaluating the game outcome to determine whether to make an award in credits based on the game outcome.
  • [0034]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling conduct of the game by determining how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  • [0035]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  • [0036]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises determining a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  • [0037]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0038]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling conduct of the game will be played by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0039]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  • [0040]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises determining whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0041]
    In a fourth aspect, the invention provides a gaming system comprising:
      • a credit meter storing a credit balance of wagerable credits;
      • a points meter storing a points balance of usable points;
      • a game controller arranged to conduct a game in response to a wager of wagerable credits;
      • a game play mechanism operable by the player to use at least a portion of the points balance during conduct of the game; and
      • the game controller arranged to alter further conduct of the game based on the used points and to determine whether to make an award of wagerable credits based on an outcome the game.
  • [0047]
    In an embodiment, the game controller responds to use of the points by providing the player with a feature which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0048]
    In an embodiment, the game controller responds to use of the points by providing the player with a feature which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0049]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available without the use of points.
  • [0050]
    In an embodiment, the gaming system is further arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0051]
    In a fifth aspect, the invention provides a game controller for a gaming system, the game controller arranged to conduct a game in response to a wager of wagerable credits, the game controller arranged to alter further conduct of the game based on a use of points by a player during conduct of the game and determine whether to make an award of credits based on a game outcome.
  • [0052]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises a game play controller arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted subsequent to the use of the points.
  • [0053]
    In an embodiment, the game controller controls further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0054]
    In an embodiment, the game controller controls further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0055]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available when the wager does not include a points portion.
  • [0056]
    In an embodiment, the game controller is arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0057]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises an outcome generator arranged to generate at least part of the game outcome during further conduct of the game.
  • [0058]
    In an embodiment, the game controller comprises an outcome evaluator arranged to determine whether to make an award of credits based on the game outcome.
  • [0059]
    In a sixth aspect, the invention provides a method of gaming comprising:
      • conducting play of a game;
      • controlling further conduct of the game based on a use of points by a player during play of the game; and
      • determining whether to make an award of credits based on a game outcome.
  • [0063]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises determining how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted subsequent to the use of the points.
  • [0064]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  • [0065]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises controlling further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  • [0066]
    In an embodiment, the feature is not available when the wager does not include a points portion.
  • [0067]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises determining whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  • [0068]
    In an embodiment, the method comprises generating at least part of the game outcome during further conduct of the game.
  • [0069]
    In a seventh aspect, the invention provides computer program code which when executed implements the above methods.
  • [0070]
    In an eighth aspect, the invention provides a tangible computer readable medium comprising the computer program code.
  • [0071]
    In an ninth aspect, the invention provides an electronic gaming machine, comprising:
      • a cabinet;
      • a display mounted to the cabinet for displaying game play;
      • a credit meter disposed within the cabinet, the credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits;
      • a points meter disposed within the cabinet, the points meter storing a balance of usable points;
      • a game play mechanism mounted to the cabinet, the game play mechanism operable to wager credits and use points;
      • a game controller operably connected to the display, the credit meter, the points meter and the game play mechanism, the game controller arranged to conduct and display a game on the display in response to operation of the game play mechanism, the game controller further arranged to provide to a player of the gaming machine the ability to operate the game play mechanism to select from two or more options to vary conduct of the game by using points.
  • [0078]
    In an embodiment, the electronic gaming machine is arranged to determine whether to deduct or add points and/or credits to the points meter and/or the credit meter in accordance with game play instructions stored in a memory of the game controller.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0079]
    An exemplary embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0080]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the core components of a gaming system;
  • [0081]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a stand alone gaming machine;
  • [0082]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the functional components of a gaming machine;
  • [0083]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the functional components of a memory;
  • [0084]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a network gaming system;
  • [0085]
    FIG. 6 is a further block diagram of a gaming system;
  • [0086]
    FIG. 7 is a flow chart of an embodiment;
  • [0087]
    FIG. 8 is a flow chart of an alternative embodiment; and
  • [0088]
    FIG. 9 is a block diagram of an alternative embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0089]
    Referring to the drawings, there is shown a gaming system where in addition to placing a wager in credits, the player can use points to affect the possible outcomes of the game. Depending on the embodiment, the points may be used as part of a game play instruction prior to commencement of the game and/or during game play.
  • [0090]
    General Construction of Gaming System
  • [0091]
    The gaming system can take a number of different forms. In a first form, a stand alone gaming machine is provided wherein all or most components required for implementing the game are present in a player operable gaming machine.
  • [0092]
    In a second form, a distributed architecture is provided wherein some of the components required for implementing the game are present in a player operable gaming machine and some of the components required for implementing the game are located remotely relative to the gaming machine. For example, a “thick client” architecture may be used wherein part of the game is executed on a player operable gaming machine and part of the game is executed remotely, such as by a gaming server; or a “thin client” architecture may be used wherein most of the game is executed remotely such as by a gaming server and a player operable gaming machine is used only to display audible and/or visible gaming information to the player and receive gaming inputs from the player.
  • [0093]
    However, it will be understood that other arrangements are envisaged. For example, an architecture may be provided wherein a gaming machine is networked to a gaming server and the respective functions of the gaming machine and the gaming server are selectively modifiable. For example, the gaming system may operate in stand alone gaming machine mode, “thick client” mode or “thin client” mode depending on the game being played, operating conditions, and so on. Other variations will be apparent to persons skilled in the art.
  • [0094]
    Irrespective of the form, the gaming system has several core components. At the broadest level, the core components are a player interface 50 and a game controller 60 as illustrated in FIG. 1. The player interface is arranged to enable manual interaction between a player and the gaming system and for this purpose includes the input/output components required for the player to enter instructions to play the game and observe the game outcomes.
  • [0095]
    Components of the player interface may vary from embodiment to embodiment but will typically include a credit mechanism 52 to enable a player to input credits and receive payouts, one or more displays 54, a game play mechanism 56 including one or more input devices that enable a player to input game play instructions (e.g. to place a wager), and one or more speakers 58.
  • [0096]
    The game controller 60 is in data communication with the player interface and typically includes a processor 62 that processes the game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and outputs game play outcomes to the display. Typically, the game play rules are stored as program code in a memory 64 but can also be hardwired. Herein the term “processor” is used to refer generically to any device that can process game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and may include: a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device or other computational device, a general purpose computer (e.g. a PC) or a server.
  • [0097]
    A gaming system in the form of a stand alone gaming machine 10 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The gaming machine 10 includes a console 12 having a display 14 on which are displayed representations of a game 16 that can be played by a player. A mid-trim 20 of the gaming machine 10 houses a bank of buttons 22 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine, in particular during game play. The mid-trim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism 24 which in this example includes a coin input chute 24A and a bill collector 24B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit card. Other gaming machines may configure for ticket in such that they have a ticket reader for reading tickets having a value and crediting the player based on the face value of the ticker. A player marketing module (not shown) having a reading device may also be provided for the purpose of reading a player tracking device, for example as part of a loyalty program. The player tracking device may be in the form of a card, flash drive or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by the reading device. In some embodiments, the player marketing module may provide an additional credit mechanism, either by transferring credits to the gaming machine from credits stored on the player tracking device or by transferring credits from a player account in data communication with the player marketing module.
  • [0098]
    A top box 26 may carry artwork 28, including for example pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game. Further artwork and/or information may be provided on a front panel 29 of the console 12. A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the front panel 29 for dispensing cash payouts from the gaming machine 10.
  • [0099]
    The display 14 shown in FIG. 2 is in the form of a video display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 14 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an electromechanical device. The top box 26 may also include a display, for example a video display unit, which may be of the same type as the display 14, or of a different type.
  • [0100]
    FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine which may be the same as or different to the gaming machine of FIG. 2.
  • [0101]
    The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 having a processor 102 mounted on a circuit board. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication with the processor 102. Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103.
  • [0102]
    The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 including a credit meter for wagerable credits and a points meter for storing usable points, an input/output (I/O) interface 105 for communicating with peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for storing associated instructions and data for use with the input/output interface or the peripheral devices. A random number generator module 113 generates random numbers for use by the processor 102. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the reference to random numbers includes pseudo-random numbers.
  • [0103]
    In the example shown in FIG. 3, a player interface 120 includes peripheral devices that communicate with the game controller 101 including one or more displays 106, a touch screen and/or buttons 107 (which provide a game play mechanism), a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin input mechanism 110 and a coin output mechanism 111. Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted as required for the specific implementation. For example, while buttons or touch screens are typically used in gaming machines to allow a player to place a wager and initiate a play of a game any input device that enables the player to input game play instructions may be used. For example, in some gaming machines a mechanical handle is used to initiate a play of the game.
  • [0104]
    In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. The network card may, for example, send status information, accounting information or other information to a bonus controller, central controller, server or database and receive data or commands from the bonus controller, central controller, server or database. In embodiments employing a player marketing module, communications over a network may be via player marketing module—i.e. the player marketing module may be in data communication with one or more of the above devices and communicate with it on behalf of the gaming machine.
  • [0105]
    FIG. 4 shows a block diagram of the main components of an exemplary memory 103. The memory 103 includes RAM 103A, EPROM 103B and a mass storage device 103C. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds program files for execution by the processor 102 and related data. The EPROM 103B may be a boot ROM device and/or may contain some system or game related code. The mass storage device 103C is typically used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the processor 102 using protected code from the EPROM 1038 or elsewhere.
  • [0106]
    It is also possible for the operative components of the gaming machine 100 to be distributed, for example input/output devices 106,107,108,109,110,111 to be provided remotely from the game controller 101.
  • [0107]
    FIG. 5 shows a gaming system 200 in accordance with an alternative embodiment. The gaming system 200 includes a network 201, which for example may be an Ethernet network. Gaming machines 202, shown arranged in three banks 203 of two gaming machines 202 in FIG. 5, are connected to the network 201. The gaming machines 202 provide a player operable interface and may be the same as the gaming machines 10,100 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, or may have simplified functionality depending on the requirements for implementing game play. While banks 203 of two gaming machines are illustrated in FIG. 5, banks of one, three or more gaming machines are also envisaged.
  • [0108]
    One or more displays 204 may also be connected to the network 201. For example, the displays 204 may be associated with one or more banks 203 of gaming machines. The displays 204 may be used to display representations associated with game play on the gaming machines 202, and/or used to display other representations, for example promotional or informational material.
  • [0109]
    In a thick client embodiment, game server 205 implements part of the game played by a player using a gaming machine 202 and the gaming machine 202 implements part of the game. With this embodiment, as both the game server and the gaming device implement part of the game, they collectively provide a game controller. A database management server 206 may manage storage of game programs and associated data for downloading or access by the gaming devices 202 in a database 206A. Typically, if the gaming system enables players to participate in a Jackpot game, a Jackpot server 207 will be provided to perform accounting functions for the Jackpot game. A loyalty program server 212 may also be provided.
  • [0110]
    In a thin client embodiment, game server 205 implements most or all of the game played by a player using a gaming machine 202 and the gaming machine 202 essentially provides only the player interface. With this embodiment, the game server 205 provides the game controller. The gaming machine will receive player instructions, pass these to the game server which will process them and return game play outcomes to the gaming machine for display. In a thin client embodiment, the gaming machines could be computer terminals, e.g. PCs running software that provides a player interface operable using standard computer input and output components. Other client/server configurations are possible, and further details of a client/server architecture can be found in WO 2006/052213 and PCT/SE2006/000559, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0111]
    Servers are also typically provided to assist in the administration of the gaming network 200, including for example a gaming floor management server 208, and a licensing server 209 to monitor the use of licenses relating to particular games. An administrator terminal 210 is provided to allow an administrator to run the network 201 and the devices connected to the network.
  • [0112]
    The gaming system 200 may communicate with other gaming systems, other local networks, for example a corporate network, and/or a wide area network such as the Internet, for example through a firewall 211.
  • [0113]
    Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that in accordance with known techniques, functionality at the server side of the network may be distributed over a plurality of different computers. For example, elements may be run as a single “engine” on one server or a separate server may be provided. For example, the game server 205 could run a random generator engine. Alternatively, a separate random number generator server could be provided. Further, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that a plurality of game servers could be provided to run different games or a single game server may run a plurality of different games as required by the terminals.
  • [0114]
    Further Detail of Gaming System
  • [0115]
    In FIG. 6, the processor 62 of game controller 60 is shown implementing a number of modules based on program code and data stored in memory 64. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that various of the modules could be implemented in some other way, for example by a dedicated circuit.
  • [0116]
    FIG. 6 shows a gaming system of an embodiment where a player has the option to input a game play instruction which includes a credit portion and a points portion. To this end, the player operates a first input device or devices 56A of the game play mechanism 56 to specify the wager in credits which will be evaluated for this play of the game. The player also optionally indicates an amount in points to be used in the play of the game using a second input device of devices 56B. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the order may be reversed or there may be arrangements to allow a player to use a single input device, for example a button corresponding to an amount in credits and an amount in points. After the wager has been placed, the player operates the game play mechanism 56 to initiate a play of the game. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the instruction placing the wager and/or the points may also initiate play of the game.
  • [0117]
    The credit portion of the play instruction is dependent on the game in relation to which the embodiment is implemented and dependent on player selections. In most spinning reel games, it is typical for the player's entitlement to be affected by the amount they wager and selections they make (i.e. the nature of the wager). For example, a player's wager in credits in a spinning reel game win entitlement may be based on how many lines they play in each game (e.g. a minimum of one line up to the maximum number of lines allowed by the game) and how much they wager per line (e.g. a minimum of one credit per line up to the maximum number of credits per line allowed by the game). Such win lines are typically formed by a combination of symbol display positions, one from each reel, the symbol display positions being located relative to one another such that they form a line.
  • [0118]
    In many games, the player's opportunities to win are not strictly limited to the lines they have selected, for example, “scatter” pays are awarded independently of a players selection of pay lines and are an inherent part of the credit wage.
  • [0119]
    Persons skilled in the art, will appreciate that in other embodiments, the player may place a wager selecting a number of reels to play and selecting how much to wager per reel. Such games are marketed under the trade name “Reel Power” by Aristocrat Leisure Industries Pty Ltd. The selection of the reel means that each displayed symbol of the reel can be substituted for a symbol at one or more designated display positions. In other words, all symbols displayed at symbol display positions corresponding to a selected reel can be used to form symbol combinations with symbols displayed at a designated, symbol display positions of the other reels. For example, if there are five reels and three symbol display positions for each reel such that the symbol display positions comprise three rows of five symbol display positions, the symbols displayed in the centre row are used for non-selected reels. As a result, the total number of ways to win is determined by multiplying the number of active display positions of each reels, the active display positions being all display positions of each selected reel and the designated display position of the non-selected reels. As a result for five reels and fifteen display positions there are 243 ways to win.
  • [0120]
    In the example of the embodiment, the points portion adds a feature to the game. In this respect, the game play controller 624 includes a feature activator 624A responsive to a play instruction which includes a points portion. When the player goes to initiate the play, a set of possible features which can be added to the game are displayed to the player on display 54 together with the size of a wager of points required to activate them. The player uses game play mechanism 56 to select one of the features and the added feature is activated by a feature activator 624A of the game play controller and the game controller 60 deducts the points from points meter 643C. In this respect, the features which can be added are stored in memory as possible game play features 641, the player selection causes the feature activator 624A to add the selected feature these to the current game play features 642. Depending on the implementation, the current game play features are used by the outcome generator 622 to generate game outcomes and/or the outcome evaluator 623 to evaluate outcomes. In this sense, the game play controller 624 controls the conduct of each specific instance of the game by controlling the operation of the outcome generator and/or outcome evaluator depending on the feature which is activated—e.g. to control how the game will be played. Put another way, the players selection controls the parameters which are used in generating the game outcome.
  • [0121]
    The activated feature may be an additional feature, or a modification of an existing feature. As such, depending on the implementation the points portion of the wager may provide the player with a feature which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of a game or which modifies awards of credits being made during play of a game. Examples of features which affect what awards of credits are possible include additional bonus features which can be triggered in accordance with particular symbol combinations or additional winning combinations. Examples of modifiers are an increment to a pay table or a multiplier that will apply to awards which are made during play of a game. Other examples of features which may be added are additional free spins to a feature game.
  • [0122]
    Accordingly, once the player has made the selection of a feature using the points portion of the play instruction, the relevant amounts in credits and points are deducted respectively from the credit 643A and points 643C portions of the meter data and conduct of the game begins. Accordingly, in one sense, the use of points can be viewed as an additional wager in points which complements the wager in credits.
  • [0123]
    If the game is a spinning reel game, one example of selecting symbols of the reels for the outcome generator 622 to select symbols for display from a plurality of symbol sets corresponding to respective ones of the plurality of spinning reels. The symbol sets specify a sequence of symbols for each reel such that the outcome generator 622 can select all of the symbols by selecting a stopping position in the sequence. In one example, three symbols of each of five reels may be displayed such that symbols are displayed at fifteen display positions on display 54. It is known to use a probability table stored in memory 64 to vary the odds of a particular stop position being selected. Other techniques can be used to control the odds of particular outcomes occurring to thereby control the return to player of the game.
  • [0124]
    The outcome evaluator 623 evaluates the symbols which have been selected and determines whether any wins apply. Such wins are added to win meter 643B and then credited to credit meter 643A. The credits are also displayed together with the game outcome on the display by the display controller 625. In an embodiment, the quantum of the award in credits depends on the amount wagered in credits.
  • [0125]
    Depending on the embodiment, if there is a feature game such as a free game series or re-spins or a second screen feature or the like, the outcome generator 623 may generate further outcomes as part of the overall game outcome of the game in accordance with the current game play features 642. These features are also evaluated by the outcome evaluator 623 and the win meter 643B updated as necessary.
  • [0126]
    In addition to the above, the game controller 60 includes a points awarder 626. The manner in which points are awarded may vary depending on the embodiment. For example, every time the player is paid 10 credits they may also earn a single point. In another embodiment the player earns points as a percentage of turnover. For example, 10 points for every $10 bet. In other embodiments the player earns points as a percentage of games played, earns points when certain symbols appear on the wheels etc.
  • [0127]
    Depending on the embodiment, the points can have an infinite life until they are spent, can expire when the player cashes out, can expire at a certain time, can expire if an end condition occurs, can have their life extended based on a condition, can be transferred between machines or players depending on the embodiment or may be required to be used when they reach a certain level. Points can have different values. For example, blue points, red points, etc with different values.
  • [0128]
    Depending on the embodiment, points may be used solely at the discretion of a player or must be used when they reach a certain level. There may also be precursor conditions such as that a particular game outcome has previously occurred or that it is a certain time or, where the wager relates to a specific game such as a community game, the specific game is active. In one embodiment of a community game points, can be part of a wager in a community game if the player enters the community game such that when the community game occurs the winner of the community game wins all the points.
  • [0129]
    The method of an embodiment of FIG. 6 is summarised in FIG. 7 and involves receiving a game play instruction 710, determining whether the game play instruction includes a points portion 720 and if it does configuring how the game is to played based on the points portion 730. The method then involves generating a game outcome 740 and evaluating that game outcome 750. In this respect, it will be appreciated that the overall game outcome may be composed of a plurality of sub-outcomes.
  • [0130]
    FIG. 9 shows an alternative embodiment. In this embodiment, points can be used during play of the game. For example, in this example, points can be used during play of the game subject to conditions. Accordingly, there are point usage rules 945 stored in memory 64 which enable point usage controller 924B to determine when the player can use points. This embodiment is suited to games where there is more than one action in the game for example, games which include a feature game or a series of game rounds such as plural spins. In such games, the player is offered the opportunity at certain stages during the game to add a feature to the game in the manner described above which will then affect ongoing conduct of the game after the points have been applied. For example, when a feature game is triggered which involves five free spins, the player may be given the opportunity to purchase five additional spins using their points. Accordingly, in such embodiments at least part of the game outcome depends on the use of the points and the manner in which the game outcome is generated by the outcome generator may change after the points are used. Similarly if a community game is triggered, the player may be given an option to place a wager in points.
  • [0131]
    While it is intended that the points are to be used by the player during play of the game, it will be appreciated that in some embodiments, the player may also cash out points to credits or currency. This could be done at a variable exchange rate.
  • [0132]
    The method of the embodiment of FIG. 9 is summarised in FIG. 8 which shows that a wager of wagerable credits is received 810, conduct of a game is initiated 820 in accordance with an initial configuration of the game. At some point during the game is determined whether points are to be used 830. If points are used, the configuration of the game is altered by the game play controller 624 based on the use of the points 840. Gaming continues to be conducted based on the revised current configuration of the game 850 and the game outcome is evaluated 860. In this respect, it will be appreciated that the overall game outcome may be composed of a plurality of sub-outcomes, some of which occur prior to the configuration of the game being changed and some of which occur afterwards.
  • [0133]
    In some embodiments, an eligibility criteria may be applied for the player to be eligible to be awarded point and/or use points, for example that the player has made a certain sized wager, made an ante bet, selected all win lines, played sufficient games, or the player is a member of a loyalty program.
  • [0134]
    Further aspects of the method will be apparent from the above description of the gaming system. Persons skilled in the art will also appreciate that the method could be embodied in program code. The program code could be supplied in a number of ways, for example on a computer readable storage medium, such as a disc or a memory (for example, that could replace part of memory 103) or as a data signal (for example, by transmitting it from a server).
  • EXAMPLE
  • [0135]
    In one example, a standalone electronic gaming machine EGM (such as shown in FIG. 2) is provided which has a credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits and a points meter storing a balance of usable points. A game play mechanism is provided by buttons mounted to the cabinet below the display which include buttons which are operable to wager credits and use points. The game controller of the EGM is arranged to award points in addition to credits, for example based on the play of the game, turnover, amount won, etc. The game controller provides, at defined times, the EGM the ability to operate the game play mechanism to select from two or more options to vary conduct of the game by using points. For example, the player may be offered at the beginning of a feature sequence the opportunity to use 10 points to add an additional number of free games or 20 points for a multiplier to apply to the free games. Importantly, the player has control over which feature is added based on the points.
  • [0136]
    It will be understood to persons skilled in the art of the invention that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, in particular it will be apparent that certain features of embodiments of the invention can be employed to form further embodiments.
  • [0137]
    It is to be understood that, if any prior art is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the prior art forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art in any country.
  • [0138]
    In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

Claims (50)

  1. 1. A gaming system comprising:
    a credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits;
    a points meter storing a balance of usable points;
    a game play mechanism operable by the player to input a play instruction for a game comprising a credit portion and a points portion; and
    a game controller arranged to control conduct of the game in response to the play instruction based on the credit portion and the points portion and to determine whether to make an award of credits based on an outcome of the game.
  2. 2. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the game controller is arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  3. 3. A gaming system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the game controller is arranged to control the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  4. 4. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the game controller is arranged to determine a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  5. 5. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the points portion provides the player with a feature which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  6. 6. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the points portion provides the player with a feature which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  7. 7. A gaming system as claimed in claim 5, wherein the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  8. 8. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  9. 9. A game controller for a gaming system, the game controller arranged to control conduct of a game based on a received play instruction for the game comprising a credit portion and a points portion, conduct of the game comprising:
    generating a game outcome; and
    evaluating the game outcome to determine whether to make an award in credits based on the game outcome.
  10. 10. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, comprising a game play controller arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  11. 11. A game controller as claimed in claim 10, arranged to control the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  12. 12. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, arranged to determine a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  13. 13. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, wherein the game controller adds a feature to the game based on the points portion of the received play instruction which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  14. 14. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, wherein the game controller adds a feature to the game based on the points portion of the received play instruction which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  15. 15. A game controller as claimed in claim 13, wherein the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  16. 16. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, further arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  17. 17. A game controller as claimed in claim 9, comprising an outcome generator arranged to generate the game outcome.
  18. 18. A game controller as claimed in claims 9, comprising an outcome evaluator arranged to determine whether to make an award of credits based on the game outcome.
  19. 19. A method of gaming comprising controlling conduct of a game based on a received play instruction for the game comprising a credit portion and a points portion, conduct of the game comprising:
    generating a game outcome; and
    evaluating the game outcome to determine whether to make an award in credits based on the game outcome.
  20. 20. A method as claimed in claim 19, comprising controlling conduct of the game by determining how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted based on the points portion of the game outcome.
  21. 21. A method as claimed in claim 20, comprising controlling the possible outcomes of the game based on the points portion.
  22. 22. A game controller as claimed in claim 19, comprising determining a quantum of an award of credits from the credit portion.
  23. 23. A method as claimed in claim 19, comprising controlling conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  24. 24. A method as claimed in claim 19, comprising controlling conduct of the game will be played by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  25. 25. A method as claimed in claim 23, wherein the feature is not available when the play instruction does not include a points portion.
  26. 26. A method as claimed in claim 19, comprising determining whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  27. 27. A gaming system comprising:
    a credit meter storing a credit balance of wagerable credits;
    a points meter storing a points balance of usable points;
    a game controller arranged to conduct a game in response to a wager of wagerable credits;
    a game play mechanism operable by the player to use at least a portion of the points balance during conduct of the game; and
    the game controller arranged to alter further conduct of the game based on the used points and to determine whether to make an award of wagerable credits based on an outcome the game.
  28. 28. A gaming system as claimed in claim 27, wherein the game controller responds to use of the points by providing the player with a feature which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  29. 29. A gaming system as claimed in claim 27, wherein the game controller responds to use of the points by providing the player with a feature which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  30. 30. A gaming system as claimed in claim 28, wherein the feature is not available without the use of points.
  31. 31. A gaming system as claimed in claim 27, further arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  32. 32. A game controller for a gaming system, the game controller arranged to conduct a game in response to a wager of wagerable credits, the game controller arranged to alter further conduct of the game based on a use of points by a player during conduct of the game and determine whether to make an award of credits based on a game outcome.
  33. 33. A game controller as claimed in claim 32, comprising a game play controller arranged to determine how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted subsequent to the use of the points.
  34. 34. A game controller as claimed in claim 33, wherein the game controller controls further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  35. 35. A game controller as claimed in claim 33, wherein the game controller controls further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  36. 36. A game controller as claimed in claim 34, wherein the feature is not available when the wager does not include a points portion.
  37. 37. A game controller as claimed in claim 33, arranged to determine whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  38. 38. A game controller as claimed in claim 33, comprising an outcome generator arranged to generate at least part of the game outcome during further conduct of the game.
  39. 39. A game controller as claimed in claim 33, comprising an outcome evaluator arranged to determine whether to make an award of credits based on the game outcome.
  40. 40. A method of gaming comprising:
    conducting play of a game;
    controlling further conduct of the game based on a use of points by a player during play of the game; and
    determining whether to make an award of credits based on a game outcome.
  41. 41. A method as claimed in claim 40, comprising determining how a specific instance of the game is to be conducted subsequent to the use of the points.
  42. 42. A method as claimed in claim 40, comprising controlling further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which affects what awards of credits are possible during play of the game.
  43. 43. A method as claimed in claim 40, comprising controlling further conduct of the game by adding a feature to the game which modifies awards of credits made during play of the game.
  44. 44. A method as claimed in claim 42, wherein the feature is not available when the wager does not include a points portion.
  45. 45. A method as claimed in any one of claims 40 to 44, comprising determining whether to make an award of points independently of the outcome of the game.
  46. 46. A method as claimed in claim 40, comprising generating at least part of the game outcome during further conduct of the game.
  47. 47. A method as claimed in claim 40, further comprising executing computer program code.
  48. 48. A method as claimed in claim 47, further comprising storing said computer program code in a tangible computer readable medium.
  49. 49. An electronic gaming machine, comprising:
    a cabinet;
    a display mounted to the cabinet for displaying game play;
    a credit meter disposed within the cabinet, the credit meter storing a balance of wagerable credits;
    a points meter disposed within the cabinet, the points meter storing a balance of usable points;
    a game play mechanism mounted to the cabinet, the game play mechanism operable to wager credits and use points;
    a game controller operably connected to the display, the credit meter, the points meter and the game play mechanism, the game controller arranged to conduct and display a game on the display in response to operation of the game play mechanism, the game controller further arranged to provide to a player of the gaming machine the ability to operate the game play mechanism to select from two or more options to vary conduct of the game by using points.
  50. 50. An electronic gaming machine as claimed in claim 49, arranged to determine whether to deduct or add points and/or credits to the points meter and/or the credit meter in accordance with game play instructions stored in a memory of the game controller.
US12896474 2009-10-13 2010-10-01 Gaming system, a game controller and a method of gaming Abandoned US20110086698A1 (en)

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