US20110244964A1 - Mobile communication device and system - Google Patents

Mobile communication device and system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110244964A1
US20110244964A1 US13/058,180 US200913058180A US2011244964A1 US 20110244964 A1 US20110244964 A1 US 20110244964A1 US 200913058180 A US200913058180 A US 200913058180A US 2011244964 A1 US2011244964 A1 US 2011244964A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
game
transmission
communication device
near
tag
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Abandoned
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US13/058,180
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Alan Glynne-Jones
Alister Lam
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NXP BV
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NXP BV
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Priority to EP08104999 priority Critical
Priority to EP08104999.1 priority
Application filed by NXP BV filed Critical NXP BV
Priority to IBPCT/IB2009/053374 priority
Priority to PCT/IB2009/053374 priority patent/WO2010015995A1/en
Publication of US20110244964A1 publication Critical patent/US20110244964A1/en
Assigned to NXP B.V. reassignment NXP B.V. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LAM, ALISTER, GLYNNE-JONES, ALAN
Assigned to MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. reassignment MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. SECURITY AGREEMENT SUPPLEMENT Assignors: NXP B.V.
Assigned to MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. reassignment MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE REMOVE APPLICATION 12092129 PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 038017 FRAME 0058. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE SECURITY AGREEMENT SUPPLEMENT. Assignors: NXP B.V.
Assigned to MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. reassignment MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE REMOVE APPLICATION 12681366 PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 039361 FRAME 0212. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE SECURITY AGREEMENT SUPPLEMENT. Assignors: NXP B.V.
Assigned to MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. reassignment MORGAN STANLEY SENIOR FUNDING, INC. CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE REMOVE APPLICATION 12681366 PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 038017 FRAME 0058. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE SECURITY AGREEMENT SUPPLEMENT. Assignors: NXP B.V.
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/45Controlling the progress of the video game
    • A63F13/47Controlling the progress of the video game involving branching, e.g. choosing one of several possible scenarios at a given point in time
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/12Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions involving interaction between a plurality of game devices, e.g. transmisison or distribution systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/30Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers
    • A63F13/32Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections
    • A63F13/327Interconnection arrangements between game servers and game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game devices; Interconnection arrangements between game servers using local area network [LAN] connections using wireless networks, e.g. Wi-Fi or piconet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/20Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of the game platform
    • A63F2300/204Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of the game platform the platform being a handheld device
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/40Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network
    • A63F2300/404Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network characterized by a local network connection
    • A63F2300/405Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network characterized by a local network connection being a wireless ad hoc network, e.g. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Pico net
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/40Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of platform network
    • A63F2300/406Transmission via wireless network, e.g. pager or GSM

Abstract

The present invention describes a gaming system comprising a near-field communication device (30) and a plurality of transmission tags (10), wherein the near-field communication device is arranged to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag. This for instance facilitates the programming of game parameters in e.g. a treasure hunt game or an adventure game into the transmission tags either before or during play.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a gaming system including a near field communication device and a plurality of transmission tags.
  • The present invention further relates to a gaming program product for such a system.
  • The present invention yet further relates to a near field communication device for such a system.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Near-field communication (NFC) technology such as radio frequency identification (RF-ID) technology has become commonplace in the consumer market. Although originally primarily developed for the protection and identification of products in business environments such as warehouses and shops, NFC communication technology has now become available in domestic products, where new application domains such as entertainment are being explored. An example of a RF-ID based game can be found on the Internet; see: www.hyper-dash.com, which is a token collection game using a hand-held controller comprising an RF-ID reader. The tokens comprise RF-ID transmitters, with the object of the game being to collect the tokens for physical exercise. The hand-held controller is configured to generate audible instructions for the collection of the next token after a token collection.
  • NFC functionality can also be found in mobile communication devices such as cell phones. For example, the Nokia 6131 NFC™ comprises a NFC device. US patent application No. 2007/0167224 A1 discloses a treasure hunt game using such types of cell phones. In this game, participants attempt to earn awards or items, or to have awards or items taken away from other game contestants by transmitting information from electronic data storage elements such as RFID tags to a central server. The tags may be carried by the participants or placed in the vicinity of locations associated with the participants of the game. A player may be excluded from the game by another player sending his RFID tag information to the central server. It is a drawback that the game scenarios of these games are fixed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention seeks to provide a gaming system that allows for a game scenario to be dynamically adjusted.
  • The present invention further seeks to provide a gaming system program product that allows a game scenario to be dynamically adjusted.
  • According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system comprising a portable near-field communication (NFC) device and a plurality of transmission tags, wherein the NFC device is arranged to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag. The adaptation of the transmission tag data by the NFC device allows for the alteration of gaming data by the near-field communication device such that the gaming scenarios may be pre-programmed before initiation of the game or dynamically adjusted during game progress.
  • The gaming system of the present invention is particularly useful for fantasy games and role play games in which the development of the game scenario depends on the actions taken by the game player. For instance, the transmission tag may comprise a plurality of game options, wherein the near-field communication device is configured to allow a game player to select one of said game options upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag. This allows for the game scenario to progress following the option chosen by the game player.
  • Preferably, at least some of the game scenarios comprise game scenario parameters, and wherein the NFC device is configured to adapt the content by updating said parameters upon selection of the corresponding game scenario by the game player. For instance, the game scenario may comprise a battle with a virtual enemy, in which the choice for battle will affect the health of the virtual enemy, e.g. lower the value of the parameter reflecting the health of the virtual enemy.
  • The transmission tag content may also be used to collect statistical information. In an embodiment, the NFC device is arranged to adapt said content by storing game player identification information in the transmission tag. This information may for instance be used by the game organizers of a multi-player game to determine the number of players that were able to find a certain transmission tag, e.g. in the context of a treasure hunt game, or to determine which game options were most popular with certain players, in which case the game player identification information may be linked to the game option chosen by the game player.
  • The game player identification information comprises a time stamp indicating the time of establishing the communicative connection with the transmission tag. This may for instance be used to determine which routes were followed through the game environment, e.g. a multi-room indoor environment or an outdoor environment such as a fun fair, maze or a national park and so on, by the game players. Such a time stamp may also be used to control certain game scenarios, e.g. preparation time of virtual food in the game. If the same or another game player accesses the transmission tag after the time stamp indicating the initiation of the food preparation process but before the expiry of a predefined time interval specified in the game rules, the game player may be notifyed that the food is not yet available for consumption.
  • In an embodiment, each transmission tag comprises a counter for counting the number of established communicative connections with the transmission tag. This information may for instance be used to count how many portions of the aforementioned virtual food have been consumed, although the counter may also be used to count the number of game player visits to the transmission tags. Such information may for instance be used to control traffic through the gaming environment, e.g. by altering the direction to the next transmission tag in a treasure hunt game for congestion avoidance purposes when the counter has specified that the number of game players accessing the transmission tag within a predefined time frame has exceeded a threshold value.
  • The NFC device may be arranged to adjust the complexity of the game in response to an access rate of different transmission tags by the game player using the NFC device, e.g. when the access rate exceeds a predefined threshold.
  • For instance, if a game player accesses a large number of transmission tags in a short period of time, the NFC device may select a more difficult game option. Such a more difficult option may be embedded in the gaming software stored on the NFC device or may be comprised in a transmission tag storing multiple game options with varying levels of difficulty.
  • The NFC device may also be arranged to dynamically adjust the game scenario in response to access information stored in at least one of the transmission tags. Such access information typically comprises at least one of the aforementioned counter value, time stamp and game player identification code. In other words, the NFC device may be arranged to adjust game play based on the traffic experienced in a part of the gaming environment.
  • In an embodiment of the gaming system of the present invention, the NFC device comprises a user interface for allowing a game player to define a duration of the game, wherein the NFC device is configured to adjust the game scenario based on the remaining game time. This is particularly useful when the gaming environment is an area that has to be closed to the public at a given time, such that the NFC device may direct the game player to the exit of the area when the game time nears completion. Each ID tag may store a plurality of directions, each associated with a different amount of remaining game time, where the NFC device will select the appropriate directions from said plurality of directions based on the actual game time remaining.
  • Advantageously, the plurality of transmission tags comprises a master tag storing configuration information of the other tags in said plurality. Such a master tag allows for the reconfiguration of a gaming application stored on the NFC device of the gaming system of the present invention, such that the game may be played in many different gaming locations simply by configuring, i.e. initializing the gaming system by downloading the master tag data. Such data may comprise tag location information, game options and so on.
  • The NFC device may also be used to program the transmission tags, e.g. prior to the placement of the transmission tags in the gaming environment. In this case, the NFC device operates as an interface between the game development environment, which may run on a personal computer or on the NFC device itself, and the transmission tags. For instance, the NFC device may be arranged to store a game scenario portion in the transmission tag, which may comprise video content, such that during the game in progress, accessing the transmission tag will retrieve this game scenario portion if selected by the game player.
  • The NFC device may be further arranged to collect location data for each transmission tag upon placement of the transmission tag in a gaming environment and to store the collected location data of each placed transmission tag in at least one of said transmission tags. This way, a master tag may be generated comprising the location data of all the transmission tags in the gaming system.
  • In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming system program product for, when executed on a portable near-field communication device, triggering the near-field communication device to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag. Such a program product may be installed on a NFC device such that the NFC device can be used as a gaming system in accordance with the present invention in conjunction with a plurality of transmission tags.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
  • Embodiments of the invention are described in more detail and by way of non-limiting examples with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 depicts an example embodiment of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows an example of a transmission tag-based treasure hunt game;
  • FIG. 3 shows another example of a transmission tag-based treasure hunt game;
  • FIG. 4 depicts an aspect of an example embodiment of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention in greater detail;
  • FIG. 5 depicts another aspect of an example embodiment of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention in greater detail;
  • FIG. 6 depicts an alternative aspect of an example embodiment of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention in greater detail;
  • FIG. 7 depicts a further alternative aspect of an example embodiment of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention in greater detail; and
  • FIG. 8 depicts an example of data content stored in several transmission tags of the gaming system in accordance with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • It should be understood that the Figures are merely schematic and are not drawn to scale. It should also be understood that the same reference numerals are used throughout the Figures to indicate the same or similar parts.
  • FIG. 1 depicts a gaming system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The gaming system comprises a plurality of transmission tags 10, which may be passive tags, in which case data is communicated from and to the tag when the tag is placed within range of a radio signal generated by NFC device 30, or may be active tags, in which case the tag has its own power supply and continuously transmits the data stored in the tag.
  • In an embodiment, the transmission tags 10 are embedded in a carrier that can be attached to a suitable object. Such a carrier may for instance be an adhesive pad or the like. Alternatively, the transmission tags 10 may be incorporated in a gaming figurine 20. The form in which the transmission tags 10 are made available is not essential to the present invention; it should be understood that the skilled person may choose any suitable form. Suitable transmission tags 10 include the Mifare RFID tags marketed by the applicant. It will be appreciated that other tags are equally feasible.
  • During game play, the transmission tags 10 are typically placed within a gaming environment 25, with the purpose of the game to access the transmission tags 10 with the NFC device 30 in accordance with predefined game rules. A game player carried the portable NFC device 30 inside the gaming environment 25 hunting for the transmission tags 10. The gaming environment 25 may be any environment suitable for playing such games. Non-limiting examples of such an environment include a single or multiple rooms within a building, multiple buildings, shopping areas, theme parks, leisure centers, national parks, the countryside, the beach, geographical entities such as towns, cities and countries and so on. Outdoor venues such as the countryside and national parks will encourage families to engage in game playing, e.g. parents taking a walk in the forest with the children playing with the gaming system of the present invention.
  • The NFC device 30 may for instance be an existing mobile phone comprising a NFC communication device, a dedicated NFC communication device or any other electronic device extended with NFC functionality, e.g. in the form of a plug-in device such as a NFC dongle.
  • During game play, the NFC device 30 extracts information stored in the transmission tags 10 when brought within communication range with these tags. FIG. 2 gives an example of such information, in which the game is a treasure hunt game. The NFC device 30 comprises a first display screen 32 and a second display screen 34 by way of non-limiting example only. Upon establishing communication with a master tag 10, a tag concept that will be explained in more detail later, the information stored in the master tag 10 is communicated to the NFC device 30 and displayed on the first display screen 32 and the second display screen 34. The information from the master tag 10 may include general information about the actual gaming environment 25, as shown on second display screen 34 as well as gaming instructions, as displayed on the first display screen 32.
  • It is reiterated that the present invention is not limited to any specific type of game and that any suitable game type may be implemented on the gaming system of the present invention. For instance, as shown in FIG. 3, the game may be an adventure-type game in which text content shown on the first display screen 32 may be combined with image content as shown on the second display screen 34. The image content may be still images or streaming content, e.g. video encoded in any suitable form, e.g. MPEG encoded video. In an embodiment, the text content and the video content may be stored in a transmission tag 10. In an alternative embodiment, the video content may be stored on the NFC device 30 to reduce the amount of data that requires communicating between the transmission tag 10 and the NFC device 30. In this embodiment, an image identification code stored in the transmission tag 10 may trigger the retrieval of the image data from a data storage device, e.g. a memory, hard disk or solid state disk, of the NFC device 30.
  • As shown in FIG. 4, in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the NFC device 30 may be used to program each of the transmission tags 10 of the gaming system of the present invention with a game scenario portion, which may comprise a plurality of game options for a game player to choose from. A game creation application, here for creating a treasure hunt game, runs on the processor of the NFC device 30 and displays creation instructions on the display screen 32 of the NFC device 30, as shown in step 1.
  • For instance, when the game creator has selected a number of locations for the transmission tags 10 within a gaming environment 25, the game creator will proceed to define directional clues to guide game players from a detected transmission tag 10 to the next transmission tag 10 to be detected within the gaming environment 10, as shown in step 2 in FIG. 4. The directional clues may be provided in any suitable form. For instance, if the NFC device 30 comprises a global positioning system (GPS), the directional clues may be in the form of GPS coordinates.
  • Alternatively, text-based directions, map coordinates, a compass bearing, optionally combined with a distance indication, or identification codes that trigger access to media content stored on the NFC device 30 for the purpose of directing the game player to the next transmission tag 10 may be used. Other examples will be apparent to the skilled person. Upon completion of the definition of the information to be stored in the transmission tag 10, the NFC device 30 is brought within communication range of the transmission tag 10 and the defined information is transferred into the transmission tag 10, as shown in step 3. Hence, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention of the present invention, a gaming program may be provided that is not bound to be played in a specific location but may be provided with location information for a selected gaming environment 25 by means of the NFC device 30 being arranged to store location information and/or directions in the transmission tags 10.
  • It is pointed out that the actual definition of the gaming content for the transmission tags 10 does not necessarily have to be performed on the NFC device 10. Alternatively, the gaming content may be defined on another electronic device such as a personal computer (not shown) and transferred to the NFC device 30 for programming into the transmission tags 10.
  • Once all transmission tags 10 have been programmed and have been placed in the gaming environment 25, the NFC device 30, or another NFC device 30 loaded with the appropriate gaming program product, may be used to play the game, as shown in FIG. 5. In game mode, the NFC device 30 continuously or intermittently scans for clues, i.e. the presence of a transmission tag 10 within its communication range, as shown by the message on the display screen 32 in step 1. Upon establishing a communicative contact with a transmission tag 10, the game play information, e.g. directions to the next transmission tag 10, stored in the transmission tag 10 is transferred to the NFC device 30 and displayed on the display screen 32 as shown in step 2.
  • FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of the use of the NFC device 30 for defining game scenario portions to be stored on a transmission tag 10. In this embodiment, at least some of the transmission tags 10 are to be provided with multiple game scenario portions, such that the game player has the option to choose a game option from the game scenario portions, such that the game player has control over how the game is going to develop. This is for instance advantageous in the definition of adventure-type games where the progress of the game typically hinges on decisions made by the game player.
  • For instance, the NFC device 30 may be used to define a virtual creature, as shown in step 1. Display screen 32 displays a number of predefined creatures stored in a creature database on the NFC device 30. In display still 60, the programmer scrolls through the creature menu until the desired creature is selected in display still 61. The creature may exhibit certain creature parameters, e.g. strength, health intelligence and so on, which have predefined values as shown in display still 62 but may be altered by the programmer in display still 63. The thus defined game scenario portion is subsequently transferred to a transmission tag 10, as shown in display still 64 after which the programmer is notified that game scenario portion has been successfully transferred, as shown in display still 65.
  • It will be apparent to the skilled portion that other types of game scenario portions, e.g. a food source, which may have to be prepared by the game player, are equally feasible and that the creature creation in FIG. 6 has been shown by way of non-limiting example only.
  • In an embodiment, the transmission tags 10 may comprise a plurality of location directions, wherein the actual directions provided to a game player may be dependent on game player-specific game parameters, e.g. health status, attributes in possession, game time left and so on.
  • After all the transmission tags 10 have been programmed and placed within the gaming environment 25, the game may be played by a game player using a NFC device 30. At this point, attention is drawn to a further embodiment of the present invention, which is the presence of variables stored in at least some of the transmission tags 10. These variables are typically updated during the communicative contact between the transmission tag 10 and a NFC device 30. Similarly, the NFC device 30 may store player-specific variables such as health, which may be altered upon communicative communication with one of the transmission tags 10.
  • An example is shown in FIG. 7. A game player using NFC device 30 encounters a transmission tag 10 storing the creature created in FIG. 6, as demonstrated by display still 70. The transmission tag 10 further stores a number of game options, which are transferred to the NFC device 30 and displayed to the game player on the display screen 32, as demonstrated by the display still 71. Alternatively, the game options may be stored on the NFC device 30 and retrieved from a data storage module within the NFC device 30 in response to an identification code received from the transmission tag 10.
  • The choice of one of the game options triggers the generation of an event as shown in display caption 72. Such an event, which may be defined in the gaming program running on the NFC reader 30, or alternatively may be defined in the transmission tag 10, typically has an impact on one of the variables stored in the transmission tag 10 and/or the game player specific parameters stored in the NFC device 30. For instance, in the scenario shown in FIG. 7, the game player has chosen to avoid contact with the dragon by running away, which triggers the health variable of his game character to be reduced by thirteen. The gaming application may provide a gaming menu as shown in display still 73, for instance to allow a game player to check the values of the game player-specific variables, as shown in display still 74.
  • The NFC device 30 may also store an animation or the like, which will be played to the game player in response to retrieving the identification code of the transmission tag 10 or the game player selecting one of the game options.
  • The interaction between the game player, i.e. the NFC device 30, and one of the transmission tags 10 may also influence the value of the transmission tag variables. For instance, the dragon sending a jet of fire in the direction of the game player may reduce the strength of the dragon by a predefined amount, which is typically defined in the gaming application running on the NFC device 30. The NFC device reads the corresponding variable from the transmission tag 10 and replaces it with an updated value following the choice of one of the game options by the game player by writing the updated value to the transmission tag 10.
  • It will be appreciated that the use of such variables in the transmission tags 10 is not limited to virtual creatures. For instance, a transmission tag 10 storing game objects, e.g. food, currency or weapons, may comprise a counter that has an initial value that will count down to zero each time a game player collects the object from the transmission tag 10 with the NFC device 30. Once the counter reaches zero, game players subsequently accessing the transmission tag 10 will be provided with a message that the object of interest is no longer available.
  • Alternatively, the transmission tags may comprise a memory portion for storing an array of game player identification codes, where the NFC device 30 stores its game player identification code in the transmission tag 10 upon establishing a communicative contact with the transmission tag 10 such that each game player can retrieve an equal amount of objects from the transmission tag 10 or such that each game player can kill a creature without having to worry that another game player may have reached the creature beforehand, and so on. This allows for multiple instances of the game running independently in the gaming environment 25.
  • The transmission tags 10 may further comprise an access counter for counting the number of accesses of the transmission tags 10 during game play. When a NFC device 30 accesses such a transmission tag 10, it increases the counter value by overwriting the old counter value with an updated counter value, e.g. “COUNTER:=COUNTER+1”. These counter values may be accessed by the game organizers, e.g. following completion of the game, to evaluate which transmission tags 10 were more accessed more often than others. This may provide valuable insights in the behavior of the game players, e.g. preferences for residing in certain parts of the gaming environment 25, preferences for certain game scenarios, and so on. These insights may for instance be used to improve the gaming experience of the game players in a next gaming session or to improve the game implemented by the gaming system of the present invention, e.g. by the introduction of additional gaming effects in transmission tags that have a high access count.
  • In an embodiment, the NFC device 30 is arranged to write a time stamp into the transmission tag 10, which may or may not be combined with the game player identification code. This time stamp may be used by the game organizers to collect information such as the location of game players in the gaming environment 25 during different parts of the day as well as at which part of the day certain transmission tags 10 experience peak traffic.
  • The time stamps may also be used for the purpose of traffic control in the gaming environment 25. For instance, a NFC device 30 establishing contact with a transmission tag 10 may retrieve all the time stamps previously stored in the tag to determine the number of tag accesses in a predefined time period, e.g. fifteen minutes, preceding the current access. If the number of accesses exceeds a predefined threshold, the NFC device 30 will present the game player with alternative directions compared to the directions given to the game players previously accessing the transmission tag 10 such that congestion in certain parts of the gaming environment 25 is avoided.
  • In an embodiment, the gaming system is configured to check whether the identification code of a game player is already present in the transmission tag 10. Such a check may be performed by the NFC device 30. The counter value will only be updated and/or a time stamp will only be added if the game player has not accessed the transmission tag 10 before.
  • In an embodiment, the NFC device 30 may write its time stamp into the transmission tag 10 together with an indicator of which directions were given to the game player such that subsequent NFC devices 30 accessing the transmission tag 10 can evaluate how many game players were given the alternative directions such that the corresponding time stamps are not included in the congestion risk determination for the original route to be followed.
  • The time stamps may also be used in conjunction with game scenario portions, for instance to define the initiation of a time period after which a resource becomes available. For instance, a game player may be asked to brew a pot of coffee or a cauldron of soup, which will be ready for consumption after a predefined time period starting from the time stamp written into the transmission tag 10. Similarly, such a time stamp may define the starting point at which a creature has been temporarily incapacitated, and so on. In general, time stamps may be used to define a boundary of a time window in a game, with the other boundary being defined in the game rules.
  • The NFC reader may further write a game player identification code into each transmission tag 10 to allow game organizers to evaluate the gaming behavior of individual players. The transmission tags 10 may also comprise a plurality of game scenario portions, each portion being labeled with a label such as a difficulty level or a collection of game player identification codes such that the game player is provided with game content based on his player identification code.
  • In an embodiment, the storage of a game player identification code in combination with a time stamp in the transmission tags 10 of the gaming system of the present invention allows for the dynamic adjustment of the complexity of the game played by a game player. For instance, upon connecting to each transmission tag 10, the NFC device 30 may retrieve the previously stored game player identification code and time stamp combinations and internally store this information such that the NFC device 30 can evaluate the progress of its game player through the game compared to other players, and adjust the difficulty level of the game played by the game player e.g. if the game player progresses through the game more quickly or more slowly than most other game players. The difficulty level may be changed by restricting or increasing access to certain resources, adjustment of skill levels of enemies and so on.
  • In an embodiment, the game to be stored on the NFC device 30 of the gaming system of the present invention is a location-independent game, i.e. a game lacking location information for the transmission tags 10. To this end, at least one of the transmission tags 10 of the gaming system of the present invention of the present invention comprises location information of all the other tags in the gaming environment 25. This allows for the same game to be played in many different gaming environments.
  • In an embodiment, the plurality of transmission tags 10 comprises a single master tag storing the location information of all the transmission tags 10 within the gaming environment 25. This master tag is preferably placed at the entrance of the gaming environment 25 such that the master tag is the first transmission tag 10 to be accessed by the NFC device 30 upon a game player entering the gaming environment 25. The downloaded location information for instance allows the generation of a location map of the transmission tags 10 in the gaming environment 25. In an alternative embodiment, all transmission tags 10 comprise this location information such that all transmission tags 10 may be considered master tags. The gaming system of the present invention of the present invention may comprise any number of master tags, e.g. corresponding to the number of entrances of the gaming environment 25.
  • In an embodiment, the gaming application running on the NFC device 30 allows for the specification of the duration of the game, e.g. by a game player selecting this option and specifying the duration using the keypad 36 of the NFC device 30 or by the master tag. In case of the duration being defined in the master tag, the duration may be defined in terms of a closing time of the gaming environment 25 such that the NFC device 30 may calculate the game duration from the current time and the closing time. The selection of a game scenario may then depend of the remaining game play time, for instance to ensure that a game player is directed to the exits of the gaming environment 25 when the gaming environment 25 is about to close.
  • In an embodiment, the game played on the gaming system of the present invention has a time trial feature, wherein the game player must complete one or more tasks or the whole game within a time limit. This time limit may be predefined or user-defined. For instance, a game player may be requested to visit a set of locations, i.e. transmission tags, to gain a reward, e.g. gaining access to a source of information or a game scenario portion, or to avoid losing attributes, e.g. a reduction of the health of the game character.
  • Hence, in accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a gaming program may be provided that enables the NFC device 30 to store and/or update information in the transmission tags 10 of the gaming system of the present invention. Gaming programs based on the concept of the present invention may be provided on any suitable data carrier, e.g. a CD-ROM, a DVD, a memory stick, an internet accessible server and so on.
  • At this point, it is emphasized that the data stored in the transmission tags 10 may be stored in any suitable format. A number of non-limiting data formats are shown in FIG. 8. Tag 81 may be a tag for a treasure hunt game, in which a visit counter, a game player identification code array, a time stamp array and one or more treasure hunt clues, e.g. directions to the next treasure to be collected are stored.
  • Tag 82 may be a tag for use in an adventure game, in which visit counter, a game player identification code array, a time stamp array and one or more game scenario portions including attribute values, e.g. health or strength, are stored.
  • Tag 83 may be a master tag in which an identification code of the tag and information such as location information of the remaining tags in the gaming system of the present invention are stored. Based on the foregoing, other embodiments of the contents of the transmission tags 10 will be immediately apparent to the skilled person.
  • It should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention, and that those skilled in the art will be able to design many alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the appended claims. In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. The word “comprising” does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those listed in a claim. The word “a” or “an” preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. The invention can be implemented by means of hardware comprising several distinct elements. In the device claim enumerating several means, several of these means can be embodied by one and the same item of hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

Claims (16)

1. A gaming system comprising a near-field communication device and a plurality of transmission tags, wherein the near-field communication device is arranged to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag.
2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the transmission tag comprises a plurality of game scenarios, and wherein the near-field communication device is configured to allow a game player to select one of said game scenarios upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag.
3. The gaming system of claim 2, wherein at least some of the game scenarios comprise game scenario parameters, and wherein the near-field communication device is configured to adapt the content by updating said parameters upon selection of the corresponding game scenario by the game player.
4. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near field communication device is arranged to adapt said content by storing game player identification information in the transmission tag.
5. The gaming system of claim 4, wherein the identification information further comprises a time stamp indicating the time of establishing the communicative connection with the transmission tag.
6. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein at least some of the transmission tags comprise a counter for counting the number of established communicative connections with the transmission tag.
7. The gaming system of claim 5, wherein each transmission tag comprises a plurality of directions, and wherein the near field communication device is arranged to provide the game player with one of said directions based on at least one of a counter value, a time stamp and a game player-specific game parameter.
8. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near-field communication device is arranged to adjust the complexity of the game in response to an access rate of different transmission tags by the game player using the near-field communication device.
9. The gaming system of claim 8, wherein the near-field communication device is arranged to adjust the complexity of the game if the access rate exceeds a predefined threshold.
10. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near-field communication device is arranged to dynamically adjust the game scenario in response to access information stored in at least one of the transmission tags.
11. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near-field communication device comprises a user interface for allowing a game player to define a duration of the game, wherein the near-field communication device is configured to adjust the game scenario based on the remaining game time.
12. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of transmission tags comprises a master tag storing identification information of the other tags in said plurality of transmission tags.
13. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the identification information comprises a game scenario portion to be stored in the transmission tag.
14. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near-field communication device is further arranged to collect location data for each transmission tag upon placement of the transmission tag in a gaming environment and to store the collected location data of each placed transmission tag in at least one of said transmission tags.
15. A gaming system program product for, when executed on a near-field communication device, triggering the near-field communication device to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag.
16. A near-field communication device for use in the gaming system of claim 1, wherein the near-field communication device comprises a gaming system program product for, when executed on a near-field communication device, triggering the near-field communication device to adapt the content stored in a transmission tag upon establishing a communicative connection with the transmission tag.
US13/058,180 2008-08-08 2009-08-04 Mobile communication device and system Abandoned US20110244964A1 (en)

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