US20110287825A1 - Method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller - Google Patents

Method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110287825A1
US20110287825A1 US13/110,478 US201113110478A US2011287825A1 US 20110287825 A1 US20110287825 A1 US 20110287825A1 US 201113110478 A US201113110478 A US 201113110478A US 2011287825 A1 US2011287825 A1 US 2011287825A1
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Prior art keywords
symbols
game
award
symbol set
based
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US13/110,478
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Kyle Joseph Hoover
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes
    • G07F17/3258Cumulative reward schemes, e.g. jackpots
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/34Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting depending on the stopping of moving members in a mechanical slot machine, e.g. "fruit" machines

Abstract

A method of gaming, game controller and gaming system are provided, wherein a symbol set is populated based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players, and a bonus game outcome generated by selecting a set of symbols from the populated symbol set.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • The present application relates to and claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/345,805, filed on May 18, 2010, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD
  • The present invention relates to a method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller.
  • BACKGROUND
  • It is known to provide a gaming system including a gaming controller arranged to randomly select symbols for display from a predetermined set of symbols and determine a game outcome based on the displayed symbols. It is also known to provide jackpots or progressive prizes which may be one or more players in order to increase player interest or excitement.
  • While such gaming systems provide players with enjoyment, a need exists for alternative gaming systems in order to maintain or increase player enjoyment.
  • SUMMARY
  • According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of gaming including:
  • populating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
  • generating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a bonus game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the populated symbol set.
  • The method can further include making an award to one or more of the gaming machines of the group based on the game outcome from the populated symbol set.
  • In some embodiments populating the symbol set by a computer-implemented game controller includes:
  • determining based on a game outcome newly generated for one of the gaming machines one or more symbols to be added to the symbol set;
  • adding the determined symbols to the symbol set; and
  • repeating the above steps until the symbol set is complete.
  • In some embodiments the determined symbols are symbols of a winning symbol combination in a game outcome.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of gaming including:
  • activating, by a computer-implemented game controller, symbols of a base symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
  • generating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a bonus game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the activated symbol set.
  • In some alternative embodiments the symbols for activation are selected from a base symbol set based on the game outcome of the gaming machine. For example, the activated symbols can be selected from a base set based on symbols of a winning symbol combination in the game outcome of the gaming machine. In some embodiments the activated symbols are selected based on reel stop positions of symbols in the winning combination.
  • The size of the populated symbol set in some embodiments is the same as the size of a symbols set for generating game outcomes in the gaming machines of the group.
  • The activated symbols can be a number of symbols selected from the base symbol set wherein the number of symbols selected is based on the number of symbols contributing to winning symbol combinations in the game outcome.
  • The symbols can be selected from a base set in a given order. Alternatively the symbols can be randomly selected from the base set.
  • The method can further include the computer-implemented game controller evaluating any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome.
  • The symbols for the bonus game outcome may be selected based on a random result.
  • The method can further include the computer-implemented game controller selecting one or more of the gaming machines from the group for making an award to the player thereof based on a winning symbol combination in the bonus game outcome.
  • In some embodiments the gaming machine selected for awarding a prize is selected based on the whether or not one or more symbols contributing to the wining combination was included in the populated symbol set of activated from the base symbol set based on an outcome from the gaming machine.
  • For example, the gaming machine having the most symbols contributing to the wining combination may be selected.
  • In an alternative example, the gaming machine for the award is selected based on the order in which an outcome of that gaming machine contributed to the populated symbol set or activation of symbols of the base symbol set. The selected gaming machine may be the last gaming machine to contribute to the populated symbol set or activated symbol set.
  • In another alternative example, the gaming machine for making an award is selected based on a random process.
  • The method may further include the computer-implemented game controller determining the award for the selected one or more gaming machines.
  • For example, the award can be a credit value based on the wining combination. The award may be a credit value which is proportional to a total award credit value.
  • In another example, the award is a fixed prize.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer-implemented game controller including:
  • a symbol set controller adapted to populate a symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
  • a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the populated symbol set.
  • In an embodiment the symbol set controller progressively populates the symbol set based on a plurality of game outcomes for the one or more gaming machines.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer-implemented game controller including:
  • a symbol set controller adapted to activate symbols of a base symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
  • a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the activated base symbol set.
  • Game controllers can further include an award evaluator adapted to make an award to a gaming machine of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
  • The award evaluator can be adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the game outcome from the populated symbol set.
  • The award evaluator can be further adapted to select one or more of the gaming machines of the group for making an award to the player thereof based on a winning symbol combination in the bonus game outcome.
  • The award evaluator can be further adapted to determine an award for each of the selected one or more gaming machines.
  • The game controller can further include a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more gaming machines of a group being played by players is obtained.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer-implemented gaming system including:
  • a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more linked gaming machines being played by players is obtained;
  • a symbol set controller adapted to populate a symbol set based on the obtained game outcome data; and
  • a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the populated symbol set.
  • According to another aspect there is provided a computer-implemented gaming system including:
  • a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more linked gaming machines being played by players is obtained;
  • a symbol set controller adapted to activate symbols of a base symbol set based on the obtained game outcome data; and
  • a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the activated base symbol set.
  • Embodiments of the gaming system can further include an award evaluator adapted to make an award to a gaming machine of the group based on the game outcome from the populated symbol set. The award evaluator can be adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the game outcome.
  • The gaming system can further include a display controller adapted to control the presentation of a game outcome including the set of symbols selected from the populated symbol set on one or more displays.
  • The group controller can be further adapted to allocate gaming machines to the group.
  • In another aspect, the invention provides computer program code which when executed implements the above method.
  • In another aspect, the invention provides a computer readable medium including the above program code.
  • In another aspect, the invention provides a data signal including the above program code.
  • In another aspect, the invention extends to transmitting the above program code.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • Certain exemplary embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the core components of a gaming system;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a stand alone gaming machine;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the functional components of a gaming machine;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the functional components of a memory;
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a network gaming system;
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a gaming system;
  • FIG. 7 is a further block diagram of a gaming system;
  • FIG. 8 is a flow chart of an embodiment; and
  • FIGS. 9 a-d illustrate game play from the perspective of a displayed portion of the populated symbol set.
  • The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of certain embodiments of the present invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, certain embodiments are shown in the drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Although the following discloses example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus including, among other components, software executed on hardware, it should be noted that such methods and apparatus are merely illustrative and should not be considered as limiting. For example, it is contemplated that any or all of these hardware and software components could be embodied exclusively in hardware, exclusively in software, exclusively in firmware, or in any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Accordingly, while the following describes example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus, the examples provided are not the only way to implement such methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus.
  • When any of the appended claims are read to cover a purely software and/or firmware implementation, at least one of the elements in an at least one example is hereby expressly defined to include a tangible medium such as a memory, DVD, CD, etc. storing the software and/or firmware.
  • Referring to the drawings, there is shown a gaming system having a game controller arranged to implement a game wherein a symbol set is populated based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players. The populated symbol set is used to generate a game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the populated symbol set based on a random result. An award may be made to one or more of the gaming machines of the group based on this game outcome.
  • The game may be a bonus game for the group of gaming machines. For example, the game outcome using symbols selected from the populated symbol set can be used for awarding a bonus prize for one or more of the group of gaming machines. For example the bonus prize may be a jackpot or fixed prize. An advantage of the game is that players and other observers can derive entertainment and excitement the game outcome generated from the populated symbols set.
  • In some embodiments the symbols set is progressively populated and the progress of this progressive population can be displayed to players, this can provide additional entertainment and excitement leading up to the generation of a game outcome using the populated symbol set.
  • General Construction of Gaming System
  • 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 to implement the game are present in a player operable gaming machine.
  • In a second form, a distributed architecture is provided wherein some of the components to implement the game are present in a player operable gaming machine and some of the components to implement 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 for the player to enter instructions to play the game and observe the game outcomes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A gaming system in the form of a stand alone gaming machine 202 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The gaming machine 202 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 202 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 ticket. 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.
  • 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 202.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 for purposes including ensuring regulatory compliance and monitoring player credit, 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.
  • 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 based on 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 103B or elsewhere.
  • 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.
  • 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 rules, guidelines, requirements, and/or preferences 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.
  • 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. The displays 204 may also be used to display representations associated with a bonus game for a group of gaming machines.
  • 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 or Bonus game, a Jackpot or Bonus server 207 will be provided. The Jackpot server 207 can perform accounting functions for the Jackpot game. The Bonus server can perform game control functions for implementing the bonus game as well as accounting functions for the Bonus game. A loyalty program server 212 may also be provided.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 based on the terminals.
  • Further Detail of Gaming System
  • An embodiment of the present invention provides a gaming method wherein a symbol set is populated based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players. A set of symbols is selected for a game outcome from the populated symbol set based on a random result. An award can be made, based on the game outcome, to one or more of the players of the gaming machines of the group.
  • The symbol set can be progressively populated based on the outcomes generated for the gaming machines during regular play of these gaming machines. Once the symbol set is fully populated, generation of a game outcome from the populated symbol set can be triggered. A set of symbols is selected for the game outcome. The game outcome can be evaluated for making an award to one or more of the players of the gaming machines of the group.
  • An example of a computer-implemented game controller for implementing an embodiment of the game as described above is illustrated in FIG. 6. The game controller 600 includes a symbol set controller 620 and symbol selector 625. The game controller also includes memory 664 which stores symbol 610 for population of a symbol set 615.
  • In the illustrated embodiment, the symbol set controller 620 and symbol selector 625 are implemented in software or firmware modules which can be stored as program code in memory 664 and execute on the game controller processor 662. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that various of the modules could be implemented in some other way, for example using dedicated circuits to perform specific functions. All modules are combined into a hardware platform and referred to as a computer-implemented game controller.
  • Alternative architectures for the computer-implemented game controller are also envisaged. For example, the symbol set controller 620 and symbols selector 625 may be implemented using programmable hardware such as programmable logic controllers or hardwired devices. The symbol set controller 620 and symbol selector 625 may execute using common or separate processor hardware. The game controller memory 664 accessible to the symbol set controller 625 and symbol selector 625 may be any suitable memory, for example as described in relation to FIG. 4.
  • The symbol set controller 620 is adapted to populate the symbol set 615 based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players. In the illustrated embodiment, the game controller 600 is in data communication with three gaming machines 650 a, 650 b, and 650 c via gaming network 630. The gaming machines 650 a, 650 b, and 650 c may be stand alone gaming machines having all or most components to implement a game present in the player operable gaming machine, or gaming terminals of a distributed architecture where some of the functionality to implement a game is provided in a game server (not shown) and a part of the functionality for implementing the game is provided in the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c.
  • Irrespective of the architecture employed for player operable gaming machines 650 a, 650 b, and 650 c, data for game outcomes generated for each of the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c is communicated to the game controller 600. This game outcome data could be communicated directly from the gaming machine 650 a, 650 b and 650 c via the gaming network 630 in the case of stand alone gaming machines. Where a distributor architecture is used the game outcome data may be provided to the game controller 600 via the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c or from the game controller (not shown) implementing part of the game played using the game machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c. The game outcome data may also be provided to the game controller 600 via the player marketing module of each gaming machine 650 a, 650 b, 650 c. For example, in some embodiments stand alone gaming machines are only provided with gaming network connectivity via their player marketing module. In this embodiment the player marketing module may be adapted to communicate game outcome data via the gaming network 630 to the game controller 600.
  • The game being played by players using the gaming machine 650 a, 650 b and 650 c may be any style of game, for example the game may be a spinning reel game, a card dealing game, a dice rolling game, a lottery game etc. The player typically pays a wager to play this game using a game machine 650 a, 650 b and 650 c. In the present example, the game controller 600 implements a bonus game for which any of the players of the game machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c can be awarded prizes.
  • The game controller 600 utilises data from game outcomes generated for the group of gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c for populating a symbol set for the bonus game. The initial condition of the symbol set 615 is empty. For example, the symbol set controller 620 initialises the symbol set 615 as an empty set. The symbol set 615 may be initialised as an empty set when the game controller is initialised when it is turned on or in response to an operator command at the start of the day. The symbol set 615 may also be reset to the initial condition in response to a reset condition in the bonus game. Examples of reset conditions may include: generation of a game outcome for the bonus game using the populated symbol set, making an award in the bonus game, or a given symbol combination occurring in a game outcome generated for the bonus game.
  • The symbol set 615 is initialised as an empty set and symbol set controller 620 populates the symbol set 615 based on game outcomes generated in the base game being played by players of the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c. For example, each time a game outcome is generated for one of the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c game outcome data is provided to the symbol set controller. Using this game outcome data the symbol set controller selects symbols from the symbol data 610 to add to the symbol set 615.
  • In an embodiment, the symbol selector 620 selects symbols to add to the symbol set 615 based on winning symbol combinations occurring in the game outcome generated for the gaming machine 650 a, 650 b and 650 c. For example, a player is playing gaming machine 650 a and the player operates the game playing mechanism 652 a which causes generation of a game outcome which is displayed to the player on display 2 655 a. Data for this game outcome is also provided to the game controller 600 via the gaming network 630. For example, the game data provided to the game controller 600 may indicate a winning symbol combination occurred in the game outcome generated for gaming machine 650 a. The game outcome data may also indicate the symbols of the winning symbol combination of the game outcome.
  • The symbol set controller 620 uses the game outcome data to select symbols to add to the symbol set 615. The added symbols may be the symbols of the winning outcome generated for gaming machine 650 a. For example if the winning symbol combination was three cats, then three cat symbols are added to the populated symbol set.
  • Alternatively different symbols may be selected based on the winning symbol combination. In some embodiments the symbol set for the bonus game is a predetermined base set of symbols which are selectively activated based on game outcomes generated for the gaming machines of the group. For example, where the game being played using gaming machine 650 a is a spinning reel game, the symbol set controller 620 may select symbols from symbol data 610 to add to the symbol set 615 based on stop positions of the symbols of the winning combination from the game outcome generated for gaming machine 650 a. Alternatively, the symbol set controller 620 may simply select a number of symbols equal to the number of symbols contributing to the winning symbol outcome to add to the symbol set. These symbols may be selected in a given order or using a random process.
  • Optionally, the progressive population of the symbol set 615 based on game outcomes generated for the group of gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c may be displayed for players of the gaming machines on one of the gaming machine displays 650 a, 650 b and 650 c. In the embodiment illustrated each of the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c have first display 654 a, 654 b and 654 c and a second display 655 a, 655 b and 655 c such that one display 655 a, 655 b and 655 c can be used for displaying the outcome of the base game being played by the player and the other display 654 a, 654 b and 654 c can be used for displaying the progressive population of the symbol set 615. Thus, the players can observe the progress of populating the symbol set 615 which may increase the players' enjoyment and excitement in relation to the bonus game.
  • Once the symbol set 615 is fully populated the symbol selector 625 selects a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from a populated the symbol set 615. The symbol selection to generate a bonus game outcome may be based on a random result. For example, the symbol selector 625 can select symbols from the populated set using a random result issued from a random number generator. Alternatively the symbols may be selected based on game rules which are not based on a random result. The selected set of symbols can then be displayed on the displays 654 a, 654 b, and 654 c.
  • The bonus game outcome can be evaluated to determine whether any winning symbol combination occurred. If a winning symbol combination occurs in the bonus game outcome, then an award may be made to one or more of the players based on the winning symbol combination. For example, the award may be a fixed prize such as a car or television, which can be allocated to only one player. One of the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c of the group will be selected for award of the fixed prize.
  • The criteria for selection of the gaming machine may be based on the contribution to the symbol set 615, for example, the selected gaming machine may be the gaming machine for which the last gaming outcome was generated which contributed to completing population of the symbol set 615 or completing activation of the base symbol set.
  • Eligibility criteria may also be applied for the gaming machines 650 a, 650 b and 650 c when determining to which gaming machine 650 a, 650 b, 650 c the award will be made. For example, an award may only be able to be made to a game machine that is actively being played by a player. For example, this could be determined by whether or not a player's loyalty card or token is currently inserted in the machine, or some other indication that a machine is actively being played by a player. Thus, a gaming machine not being played would not be selected for the bonus prize. The gaming machine or machines for making an award may be selected before or after the game outcome is generated using the populated symbol set. If a gaming machine is selected for making an award prior to generation of the game outcome the player of the gaming machine may be alerted to this fact. If no winning symbol combinations occur in the game outcome then a consolation prize may be awarded to the player. For example, as a free drink voucher or some gaming credits may be loaded onto the player's loyalty card.
  • An alternative example of a gaming system is illustrated in FIG. 7. In this example, a plurality of gaming machines 750 a-n are connected to the gaming system 700 via a gaming network 730. The gaming system 700 includes a base controller 710, a game controller 762 and group controller 720. These controllers may be implemented as software modules one or more executing on common processor hardware, such as a game server. Alternatively, one or more of these controllers may be implemented using separate hardware, which may execute software or firmware or be programmable logic hardware or hard wired circuits.
  • The base game controller 710 controls a base game being played by players of plurality of gaming machines 750 a-n. The base game may be any type of game typically played using player operable gaming machines. However, the invention will be exemplified for this system using a five reel spinning reel game. In the spinning reel game symbols resident on five spinning reels are simulated using five symbol subsets. Each subset specifies a sequence of symbols for the reel such that a symbol selector can select symbols for a game outcome by selecting a stopping position in the sequence for each reel. The symbols displayed for the game outcome are a given number of symbols in the sequence, say three, proximate the stop position for each reel.
  • The group controller 720 is adapted to control which of plurality of gaming machines 750 a-n are included in one or more groups for the purpose of a bonus game controlled by a game controller 762. The bonus game is a game where a symbol set is populated or activated based on game outcomes generated for the base game being played by the players of the gaming machines in a group. A bonus game outcome is generated for the bonus game by selecting a set of symbols from the populated or activated symbol set.
  • The groups may be defined by a gaming venue operator and these defined groups programmed into the group controller 720. Alternatively, the group controller 720 may be adapted to dynamically select gaming machines to include in a group in accordance with given criteria. For example, criteria for inclusion in a group may be a player placing bets above a threshold amount for the base game. Alternatively, groups may randomly be selected by the group controller. The number of gaming machines included in a group may be preset by a venue operator or set by the group controller in accordance with group rules. For example, group rules determining the size of the group may be based on an award pool value for awards for the bonus game. Alternatively the size of the venue or occupancy rate of the gaming machines may be used in conjunction with group rules to determine which gaming machines are included in a group. All of the gaming machines connected via the network 730 may constitute a single group.
  • A player of a gaming machine 750 a operates the game play mechanism 752 a in order to play a base game which is controlled by the base game controller 710 in accordance with game rules 715. Outcomes of the base game can be displayed to the player on the display 754 a. Base game outcome data 725 can also be stored in system memory 764. The system memory 764 can be accessible to both base game controller 710 and the game controller 762 for the bonus game.
  • Game controller 762 includes a symbol set controller 770 which controls the population or activation of a symbol set 795 based on game outcomes generated for gaming machines of the group playing the base game. The symbol set controller 770 may be triggered to read base game outcome data 725 from memory 764 each time a base game outcome is generated for one of the game machines of the group for the bonus game. The symbol set controller 770 populates the symbol set 795 using the base game outcome data and symbol data 790. Symbol population rules 772 can be provided which define how base game outcome data is applied by the symbol set controller 770 to populate the symbol set 795.
  • For example, symbol data 790 may include data defining a base set of symbols from which symbols are selected for population of the symbol set 795. Symbol population or activation rules can be applied to the base game outcome data for selecting symbols from the symbol data 790 to populate the set 795.
  • In one embodiment a base symbol set is stored in symbol data 790 including a plurality of symbol subsets each subset including a sequence of symbols for emulating a spinning reel. In this embodiment, the game outcome data for the base game is used to select which symbols from each subset are used to progressively populate the symbol set 795 by activating symbols of the base symbol set. For example, the based game can be a spinning reel game having the same number of reels and the same length reels as those of the symbol data 790. The symbol activation rules may define that symbols of the base symbol set defined in symbol data 790 occupying the same stop positions as symbols of a winning combination in the base game outcome data are used for populating the symbol set 795. The actual symbols may be the same or different symbols to those of the winning combination of the base game. Alternatively, symbols the same as those appearing in a winning symbol combination in the base game outcome may be added to the symbol set 795 to populate the symbol set. The symbols may appear in different stop positions in the populated symbol set 795 to the base game outcome.
  • In another example, symbol population rules may simply define that the number of symbols n contributing to winning symbol combinations in the base game outcome is used by the symbol selector 770. The symbol activation rules can also define how this number, n, is applied for selection of a number of symbols, m, for activating symbols of a base symbol set 795. For example, the m symbols for activation in the base symbol set 795 may be selected in sequence or randomly from the base symbol data. The number of symbols selected, m, can be equal to the number of symbols in a winning symbol combination of a base game outcome.

  • m=n  [1]
  • Alternatively the number of symbols, m, may be a function of the number of symbols occurring in a winning symbol combination of a base game outcome.

  • m=f(n)  [2]
  • For example, where the symbol set sizes for the base game and the symbol set for the bonus game are different a multiplier, c, may be used. The multiplier may be greater or less than one and may be chosen based on the relative set sizes of the base game and bonus game symbol sets.

  • m=f(n)=c*n  [3]
  • Alternative functions or conversion tables may be defined. Examples of conversion tables for n are given in Tables 1 and 2 below. Such a conversion table may be used where the style of game between the base game and bonus game are different. For example, where the base game is a card dealing game and the bonus game using the populated symbol set is a spinning reel game. Conversion tables may also be used where the gaming machines of the group for the bonus game play different base games. A different conversion table may be used for each base game.
  • TABLE 1
    N M
    1 4
    2 5
    3 7
    4 10
    5 12
  • TABLE 2
    N M
    3 1
    4 1
    5 2
    6 2
    7 3
  • It should be appreciated that many alternative rules may be used for population of the symbol set 795 based on base game outcome data from machines of the group. All such alternatives are contemplated within the scope of the present invention.
  • In the embodiment illustrated, the game controller 762 also includes a display controller 780 which can control display of data relating to the bonus game on a central display 740. For example, the display controller may be adapted to display the progress of the population or activation of the symbol set 795 on the central display 740. This offers an advantage in that the players of the gaming machines of the group and other players or spectators are able to watch the progressive population of the symbol set 795. This can be entertaining and generate excitement, particularly approaching full population of the symbol set 795.
  • Once the symbol set 795 is fully populated or activated, the symbol selector 775 selects a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome. The symbols may be selected from the populated symbol set based on a random result. For example, the random result may be a number generated by a random number generator or mechanical random result generator such as a roulette wheel, card dealer or dice roller. Some embodiments may not use a random result for selecting symbols for the base outcome. The symbol selector 775 applies bonus game rules 778 to select symbols for a game outcome from the populated symbol set 795.
  • Symbol selection may be triggered immediately once the symbol set is fully populated. Alternatively an additional trigger condition may be applied. For example, an additional trigger condition may be the end of a count down for the result generation or a specified symbol or combination occurring in one or more base game outcomes.
  • The display controller 780 can also control the display of the game outcome on the central display 740. For example, the display controller 780 may be adapted to control the display of a simulation of spinning reels spinning and coming to a stop to display the game outcome.
  • Optionally, the game outcome may also be displayed on the displays 754 a to 754 n of the gaming machines 755 a to 755 n. For example, regular play of the base game may be interrupted for the gaming machines while the bonus game is played. Alternatively, some other indication, such as a siren or flashing lights may be used to draw attention to the players of the gaming machines of the group when the outcome for the bonus game is being generated and displayed on the central display 740.
  • The game controller 762 can also be provided with an award evaluator 785 adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome. If any winning symbol combinations occur in the bonus game outcome, these may also be highlighted by the display controller 780 on the central display 740. The display controller may also highlight any winning symbol combinations occurring the in the game outcome displayed on the displays 454 a-n of the gaming machines.
  • The award evaluator 785 can also be adapted to select one or more gaming machines of the group for making an award to the player thereof based on a winning symbol combination in the bonus game outcome. Rules for selection of gaming machines for any award can also be defined in game rules 778. For example, the gaming machine for the award may be the gaming machine for which the last game outcome contributing the populated symbol set was generated.
  • An example a method of executing a bonus game using the gaming controller 762 and system 700 is illustrated in the flowchart of FIG. 8. FIG. 8 depicts an example flow diagram representative of processes that may be implemented using, for example, computer readable instructions that may be used to facilitate game play. The example processes of FIG. 8 may be performed using a processor, a controller and/or any other suitable processing device. For example, the example processes of FIG. 8 may be implemented using coded instructions (e.g., computer readable instructions) stored on a tangible computer readable medium such as a flash memory, a read-only memory (ROM), and/or a random-access memory (RAM). As used herein, the term tangible computer readable medium is expressly defined to include any type of computer readable storage and to exclude propagating signals. Additionally or alternatively, the example processes of FIG. 8 may be implemented using coded instructions (e.g., computer readable instructions) stored on a non-transitory computer readable medium such as a flash memory, a read-only memory (ROM), a random-access memory (RAM), a cache, or any other storage media in which information is stored for any duration (e.g., for extended time periods, permanently, brief instances, for temporarily buffering, and/or for caching of the information). As used herein, the term non-transitory computer readable medium is expressly defined to include any type of computer readable medium and to exclude propagating signals.
  • Alternatively, some or all of the example processes of FIG. 8 may be implemented using any combination(s) of application specific integrated circuit(s) (ASIC(s)), programmable logic device(s) (PLD(s)), field programmable logic device(s) (FPLD(s)), discrete logic, hardware, firmware, etc. Also, some or all of the example processes of FIG. 8 may be implemented manually or as any combination(s) of any of the foregoing techniques, for example, any combination of firmware, software, discrete logic and/or hardware. Further, although the example processes of FIG. 8 are described with reference to the flow diagram of FIG. 8, other methods of implementing the processes of FIG. 8 may be employed. For example, the order of execution of the blocks may be changed, and/or some of the blocks described may be changed, eliminated, sub-divided, or combined. Additionally, any or all of the example processes of FIG. 8 may be performed sequentially and/or in parallel by, for example, separate processing threads, processors, devices, discrete logic, circuits, etc.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, the symbol set starts in an empty state 810. For example, where the symbol set is maintained in program memory the data structure for storing the symbol set can be cleared. Alternatively, where the bonus game controller uses a physical symbol set, such as a deck of cards, roulette wheel, spinning reels etc the set may be appropriately cleared. For example, by starting with no cards in the deck or turning off backlighting for symbols on spinning reels or a roulette wheel so the symbols appear blank. The set may be initialised to empty or blank when the gaming controller 762 is initialised, for example at power up or when first connected into the gaming system. The set may be reset to the initial empty or blank condition by an operator command, for example at the start of the day's play. The operator may also allocate the groups of gaming machines for the bonus game.
  • The game controller 762 receives game outcome data 820 when a game outcome is generated for a game machine of the group being played by a player. In response to receiving the game outcome data 820 symbols are added to the symbol set 825 to begin populating the symbol set. The symbol set controller 770 of the game controller 762 determines symbols to add based on the game outcome data as described in the examples above. These symbols are added to the symbol set. For example, where the symbol set is stored as data, data for the newly added symbols can be added to the data structure. Where the symbol set is physical, the appropriate action can be taken to add the symbols to the symbol set. For example, dealing the determined number of cards, revealing/lighting symbols on reels, dice or wheels etc.
  • Once the symbols are newly added to the set, the symbol set controller determines whether or not the symbol set is fully populated 830. If the set is not fully populated, the next game outcome data for one of the gaming machines of the group received 820 and further symbols added 825. These steps are repeated until the symbol set is fully populated 830.
  • Once the symbol set is fully populated 830 result generation using the populated symbol set is triggered 840. The result generation may be triggered immediately the symbol set is fully populated. Alternatively, an additional trigger condition may be required. For example, a time delay for a countdown may be imposed. Alternatively, result generation may be delayed until the conclusion of game outcome generation for all of the gaming machines of the group, where game play of the gaming machines of the group is interrupted for the bonus game. In another example, a trigger condition may be a game outcome occurring in a base game for a gaming machine of the group. It should be appreciated that such a trigger could increase the excitement for the players since they must wait in anticipation of the bonus game until a further random event occurs to trigger the game outcome generation for the bonus game.
  • Once the trigger condition is met 840, the symbol selector selects a set of symbols from the populated symbol set for a game outcome 850. The symbols are selected based on a random result. For example, the symbols may be selected based on a random number which is used to define reel stop positions in accordance with game rules. The game outcome is then displayed to the players 860. The game outcome is evaluated to determine whether or not any winning symbol combination has occurred 870. It should be appreciated that as the game outcome generated from the populated symbol set is based on a random process, a winning combination may not occur. Further, a number of winning symbol combinations may also be possible.
  • Different awards may be associated with different winning combinations. For example, a symbol combination of three “jackpot” symbols can be associated with the award of a jackpot prize pool to a player of one of the gaming machines of the group. A symbol combination of three “share” symbols can be associated with as award of the jackpot pool shared proportionally between each of the players. Alternatively, a symbol combination of three cherries symbols may be associated with a consolation award, for example twenty credits, to each player in the group. The credits for the three cherries award may be subtracted from a jackpot pool. In another example a combination of five “car” symbols can be associated with an award of a fixed prize of a car to one of the players of a gaming machine in the group.
  • Where an award is not to be made to all members of the group then the player or players for the award are selected based on rules for the award. The rule can define the criteria applied for selecting the players.
  • 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 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Example 1
  • In this example a group of gaming machines each have five spinning reels of equal lengths. Outcomes for this group of gaming machines are used for populating a set of symbols representing a further set of five spinning reels of the same length of those in the gaming machines. The symbol set is populated based on the number of symbols occurring in a winning outcome on each of the gaming machines of the group. The symbols set is populated by adding symbols to each of the reels, left to right, until the reels are fully populated.
  • The symbol set for population is represented initially as a set of blank reels 911-915. The displayed portion 900 of the blank reels is illustrated in FIG. 9 a. Only three lines of symbols 901-903 are displayed and a large part of the reel is not displayed.
  • A game outcome is generated for one of the gaming machines of the group in response to player instructions. The game outcome includes a winning symbol combination including three symbols. In response to this winning symbol combination, one symbol is added to each of three reels 911-913 are added to the symbol set being populated along the top display line 902 as illustrated in the displayed portion 900′ of FIG. 9 b.
  • As more gaming outcomes are generated for gaming machines of the group, further symbols are added to populate the set based on winning outcomes. The reels can be turned or appear to turn to continue to show the symbols being added to the reels. FIG. 9 c illustrated the displayed portion of the reels where population of the reels is almost complete, showing only four symbol positions remaining to be populated.
  • Once the symbol set is fully populated, the reels are spun to generate a game outcome using the populated symbol set. The generated game outcome 900′″ is illustrated in FIG. 9 d showing a winning combination of three Queen symbols in display line 901 and another winning combination of three Ace symbols and a WILD symbol, equivalent to four Ace symbols, in display line 903. An award payable for the three queen symbols is two hundred credits and an award payable for four Ace symbols is one thousand credits.
  • In this embodiment an award for the winning combinations is paid out to one gaming machine of the group. In this example, the gaming machine that contributed the last symbol to the populated symbol set is chosen for the award of the prize of one thousand and two hundred credits.
  • Once the award is paid the populated symbol set can be reset to a blank symbol set. The population of the symbol set can then start again.
  • It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments and/or aspects without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. For example, it will be apparent that certain features of the invention can be combined to form further embodiments. The present embodiments and aspects are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Several embodiments are described above with reference to the drawings. These drawings illustrate certain details of specific embodiments that implement the systems and methods and programs of the present invention. However, describing the invention with drawings should not be construed as imposing on the invention any limitations associated with features shown in the drawings. The present invention contemplates methods, systems and program products on any electronic device and/or machine-readable media suitable for accomplishing its operations. Certain embodiments of the present invention may be implemented using an existing computer processor and/or by a special purpose computer processor incorporated for this or another purpose or by a hardwired system, for example.
  • Embodiments within the scope of the present invention include program products comprising machine-readable media for carrying or having machine-executable instructions or data structures stored thereon. Such machine-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. By way of example, such machine-readable media may comprise RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to carry or store desired program code in the form of machine-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. When information is transferred or provided over a network or another communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a combination of hardwired or wireless) to a machine, the machine properly views the connection as a machine-readable medium. Combinations of the above are also included within the scope of machine-readable media. Machine-executable instructions comprise, for example, instructions and data which cause a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or special purpose processing machines to perform a certain function or group of functions.

Claims (87)

1. A method of gaming comprising:
populating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
generating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a bonus game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the populated symbol set.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising making an award to one or more of the gaming machines of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein populating the symbol set by the computer-implemented game controller comprises:
determining based on a game outcome newly generated for one of the gaming machines one or more symbols to be added to the symbol set;
adding the determined symbols to the symbol set; and
repeating the above steps until the symbol set is complete.
4. A method as claimed in claim 3 wherein the determined symbols are symbols of a winning symbol combination in a game outcome.
5. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the symbols for the bonus game outcome are selected from the populated symbol set based on a random result.
6. A method as claimed in claim 2 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller evaluating any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome.
7. A method as claimed in claim 6 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller selecting one or more of the gaming machines from the group for making an award to the player thereof based on a winning symbol combination in the bonus game outcome.
8. A method as claimed in claim 7 wherein the gaming machine selected for awarding a prize is selected based on the whether or not one or more symbols contributing to the wining combination was included in the populated symbol set based on an outcome from the gaming machine.
9. A method as claimed in claim 8 wherein the gaming machine having the most symbols contributing to the wining combination is selected.
10. A method as claimed in claim 7 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based on the order in which an outcome of that gaming machine contributed to the populated symbol set.
11. A method as claimed in claim 10 wherein the selected gaming machine is the last gaming machine to contribute to the populated symbol set.
12. A method as claimed in claim 7 wherein the gaming machine for making an award is selected based on a random process.
13. A method as claimed in claim 7 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller determining the award for the selected one or more gaming machines.
14. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein the award is a credit value based on the wining combination.
15. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein the award is a credit value which is proportional to a total award credit value.
16. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein the award is a fixed prize.
17. A method of gaming comprising:
activating, by a computer-implemented game controller, symbols of a base symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
generating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a bonus game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the activated symbol set.
18. A method as claimed in claim 17 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller making an award to one or more of the gaming machines of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
19. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein activating symbols of the base symbol set by a computer-implemented game controller comprises:
determining based on a game outcome newly generated for one of the gaming machines one or more symbols of the base symbol set to be activated;
activating the determined symbols to the symbol set; and
repeating the above steps until the base symbol set is fully activated.
20. A method as claimed in claim 19 wherein the determined symbols are selected from a base set based on symbols of a winning symbol combination in the game outcome of the gaming machine.
21. A method as claimed in claim 20 wherein the determined symbols are selected based on reel stop positions of symbols in the winning combination.
22. A method as claimed in claim 21 wherein the size of the base symbol set is the same as the size of a symbols set for generating game outcomes in the gaming machines of the group.
23. A method as clamed in claim 19 wherein the determined symbols are a number of symbols selected from the base symbol set wherein the number of symbols selected is based on the number of symbols contributing to winning symbol combinations in the game outcome.
24. A method as claimed in claim 23 wherein the symbols are selected from a base set in a given order.
25. A method as claimed in claim 23 wherein the symbols are randomly selected from the base set.
26. A method as claimed in claim 17 wherein the symbols for the bonus game outcome are selected from the populated symbol set based on a random result.
27. A method as claimed in claim 18 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller evaluating any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome.
28. A method as claimed in claim 27 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller selecting one or more of the gaming machines from the group for making an award to the player thereof.
29. A method as claimed in claim 28 wherein the gaming machine selected for awarding a prize is selected based on the whether or not one or more symbols contributing to the wining combination was activated in the symbol set based on an outcome from the gaming machine.
30. A method as claimed in claim 29 wherein the gaming machine having the most symbols contributing to the wining combination is selected.
31. A method as claimed in claim 28 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based on the order in which an outcome of that gaming machine contributed to the populated symbol set.
32. A method as claimed in claim 27 wherein the selected gaming machine is the last gaming machine to cause activation of one or more symbols of the base symbol set.
33. A method as claimed in claim 27 wherein the gaming machine for making an award is selected based on a random process.
34. A method as claimed in claim 27 further comprising the computer-implemented game controller determining the award for the selected one or more gaming machines.
35. A method as claimed in claim 34 wherein the award is a credit value based on the wining combination.
36. A method as claimed in claim 35 wherein the award is a credit value which is proportional to a total award credit value.
37. A method as claimed in claim 18 wherein the award is a fixed prize.
38. A game controller comprising:
a symbol set controller adapted to populate a symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the populated symbol set.
39. A game controller as claimed in claim 38 further comprising an award evaluator adapted to make an award to a gaming machine of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
40. A game controller as claimed in claim 38 wherein the symbol set controller progressively populates the symbol set based on a plurality of game outcomes for the one or more gaming machines.
41. A game controller as claimed in claim 40 wherein the symbol set controller determines one or more symbols, based on each game outcome generated for gaming machines of the group, and adds the determined symbols to the symbol set until the symbols set is complete.
42. A game controller as claimed in claim 41 wherein the determined symbols are based on symbols of a winning combination in the game outcome of the gaming machine.
43. A game controller as claimed in claim 39 wherein the award evaluator is adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome.
44. A game controller as claimed in claim 43 wherein the award evaluator is further adapted to select one or more of the gaming machines of the group for making an award to the player thereof.
45. A game controller as claimed in claim 44 wherein the selection of a gaming machine for the award is based on whether or not one or more symbols contributing to the winning symbol combination was included in the populated symbol set based on an outcome from the gaming machine.
46. A game controller as claimed in claim 45 wherein the gaming machine having the most symbols contributing to the winning symbol combination is selected.
47. A game controller as claimed in claim 44 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based on the order in which an outcome of the gaming machine contributed to the populated symbol set.
48. A game controller as claimed in claim 47 wherein the selected gaming machine is the last gaming machine to contribute to the populated symbol set.
49. A game controller as claimed in claim 44 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based in a random process.
50. A game controller as claimed in claim 44 wherein the award evaluator is further adapted to determine an award for each of the selected one or more gaming machines.
51. A game controller as claimed in claim 50 wherein the award is a credit value based on the winning symbols combination.
52. A game controller as claimed in claim 50 wherein the award is a credit value which is proportional to a total award credit value.
53. A game controller as claimed in claim 50 wherein the award is a fixed prize.
54. A game controller as claimed in claim 38 wherein the symbol set is selected for the bonus game outcome based on a random result.
55. A game controller as claimed in claim 38 further comprising a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more gaming machines of a group being played by players is obtained.
56. A game controller as claimed in claim 55 wherein the group controller is further adapted to allocate gaming machines to the group.
57. A game controller comprising:
a symbol set controller adapted to activate symbols of a base symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the activated base symbol set.
58. A game controller as claimed in claim 57 further comprising an award evaluator adapted to make an award to a gaming machine of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
59. A game controller as claimed in claim 57 wherein the symbol set controller progressively activates symbols of the base symbol set based on a plurality of game outcomes for the one or more gaming machines.
60. A game controller as claimed in claim 59 wherein symbols are activated in the base set based on the game outcome of the gaming machine.
61. A game controller as claimed in claim 60 wherein the symbols are activated in the base set based on symbols of a winning symbol combination in the game outcome of the gaming machine.
62. A game controller as claimed in claim 61 wherein the symbols are activated based on reel stop positions of symbols in the winning combination.
63. A game controller as claimed in claim 62 wherein the size of the base symbol set is the same as the size of a symbol set for generating game outcomes in the gaming machines.
64. A game controller as claimed in claim 60 wherein the activated symbols are a number of symbols selected from the base symbol set, wherein the number of symbols is based on the number of symbols contributing to winning symbol combinations in the game outcome of the gaming machine.
65. A game controller as claimed in claim 64 wherein the symbols are activated in the base symbol set in a given order.
66. A game controller as claimed in claim 64 wherein the symbols are randomly activated the base set.
67. A game controller as claimed in claim 58 wherein the award evaluator is adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the bonus game outcome.
68. A game controller as claimed in claim 67 wherein the award evaluator is further adapted to select one or more of the gaming machines of the group for making an award to the player thereof.
69. A game controller as claimed in claim 68 wherein the selection of a gaming machine for the award is based on whether or not one or more symbols contributing to the winning symbol combination was activated in the base symbol set based on an outcome from the gaming machine.
70. A game controller as claimed in claim 69 wherein the gaming machine having the most symbols contributing to the winning symbol combination is selected.
71. A game controller as claimed in claim 68 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based on the order in which an outcome of the gaming machine contributed to activating symbols of the base symbol set.
72. A game controller as claimed in claim 71 wherein the selected gaming machine is the last gaming machine to contribute to activating symbols of the base symbol set.
73. A game controller as claimed in claim 68 wherein the gaming machine for the award is selected based on a random process.
74. A game controller as claimed in claim 67 wherein the award evaluator is further adapted to determine an award for each of the selected one or more gaming machines.
75. A game controller as claimed in claim 74 wherein the award is a credit value based on the winning symbols combination.
76. A game controller as claimed in claim 75 wherein the award is a credit value which is proportional to a total award credit value.
77. A game controller as claimed in claim 74 wherein the award is a fixed prize.
78. A game controller as claimed in claim 57 further comprising a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more gaming machines of a group being played by players is obtained.
79. A game controller as claimed in claim 78 wherein the group controller is further adapted to allocate gaming machines to the group.
80. A gaming system comprising:
a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more linked gaming machines being played by players is obtained;
a symbol set controller adapted to populate a symbol set based on the obtained game outcome data; and
a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the populated symbol set.
81. A gaming system as claimed in claim 80 further comprising an award evaluator adapted to make an award to a gaming machine of the group based on the bonus game outcome.
82. A gaming system as claimed in claim 81 wherein the award evaluator is adapted to evaluate any winning symbol combinations in the game outcome.
83. A gaming system as claimed in claim 82 wherein the award evaluator is further adapted to select one or more of the gaming machines of the group for making an award to the player thereof.
84. A gaming system as claimed in claim 80 further comprising a display controller adapted to control the presentation of a game outcome comprising the set of symbols selected from the populated symbol set on one or more displays.
85. A gaming system as claimed in claim 80 wherein the group controller is further adapted to allocate gaming machines to the group.
86. A computer-implemented gaming system comprising:
a group controller via which game outcome data for game outcomes generated one or more linked gaming machines being played by players is obtained;
a symbol set controller adapted to activate symbols of a base symbol set based on the obtained game outcome data; and
a symbol selector adapted to select a set of symbols for a bonus game outcome from the activated base symbol set.
87. A computer readable medium including computer program code which when executed causes a computer to implement a computer controlled gaming method comprising:
populating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a symbol set based on game outcomes generated for one or more of a group of gaming machines being played by players; and
generating, by a computer-implemented game controller, a bonus game outcome by selecting a set of symbols from the populated symbol set.
US13/110,478 2010-05-18 2011-05-18 Method of gaming, a gaming system and a game controller Abandoned US20110287825A1 (en)

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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20100273550A1 (en) * 2004-01-02 2010-10-28 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US8382574B2 (en) * 2004-01-02 2013-02-26 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US20130150147A1 (en) * 2004-01-02 2013-06-13 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US8574061B2 (en) * 2004-01-02 2013-11-05 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US20140051494A1 (en) * 2004-01-02 2014-02-20 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US8814658B2 (en) * 2004-01-02 2014-08-26 Igt Gaming device including player selectable wild symbols
US9129492B2 (en) 2004-01-02 2015-09-08 Igt Gaming system including wild symbols
US9412226B2 (en) 2004-01-02 2016-08-09 Igt Gaming system including wild symbols
US9679434B2 (en) 2004-01-02 2017-06-13 Igt Gaming system including wild symbols

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