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Numéro de publicationEP2091620 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeEP20070815223
Numéro PCTPCT/AU2007/001405
Date de publication26 août 2009
Date de dépôt21 sept. 2007
Date de priorité31 oct. 2006
Autre référence de publicationEP2091620A4, WO2008052242A1
Numéro de publication07815223, 07815223.8, 2007815223, EP 2091620 A1, EP 2091620A1, EP-A1-2091620, EP07815223, EP20070815223, EP2091620 A1, EP2091620A1, PCT/2007/1405, PCT/AU/2007/001405, PCT/AU/2007/01405, PCT/AU/7/001405, PCT/AU/7/01405, PCT/AU2007/001405, PCT/AU2007/01405, PCT/AU2007001405, PCT/AU200701405, PCT/AU7/001405, PCT/AU7/01405, PCT/AU7001405, PCT/AU701405
InventeursChi We Chim, Gary Simon Good, Scott Alan Smith, Rick Tinschert
DéposantNextgen Gaming Pty Ltd
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes:  Espacenet, Registre européen des brevets
Feature game played on a gaming system
EP 2091620 A1 (Source du texte : WO2008052242A1) 
Résumé  
A method (700), apparatus (101) and gaming system (100) for playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, are disclosed. The base game a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels (501 to 505). The gaming system (100) comprises a processor (205) for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game. The gaming system (100) also comprises at least one display device (214) connected to the processor (205) for displaying one or more screens of the game. The gaming system (100) also comprises input means (202) connected to the processor (205) and the display device (214), for use by a player in controlling one or more aspects of the game, wherein the processor (205) controls the game such that each symbol in a reel (501 to 505) of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol (e.g., 806) corresponding to the feature game. During one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols (806) are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
Revendications  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)
The claims defining the invention are as follows:
1. A gaming system for playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said gaming system comprising: a processor for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the game; and input means connected to the processor and the display device, for use by a player in controlling one or more aspects of the game, wherein the processor controls the game such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein feature strips comprising one or more of the feature symbols are displayed between the reels.
3. The gaming system of claim I5 wherein each of a plurality of feature strips comprising one or more of the feature symbols are displayed below a corresponding row of base symbols.
4. The gaming system according to claim 1, wherein each of the feature symbols has a corresponding further feature symbol which is displayed over a base symbol.
5. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein each feature symbol is a representation of a set of cross-hairs.
6. The gaming system of claim 4, wherein each of the further feature symbols are a representation of a set of transparent cross-hairs.
7. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein each feature symbol is a representation of human hand.
8. The gaming system of claim 4, wherein each of the further feature symbols are a representation of a lock pick.
9. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein prizes paid for combinations of base symbols within the reels are dependent on the base symbols having corresponding feature symbols pointing to the base symbols.
10. An apparatus for playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said apparatus comprising: a processor for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the game; and input means connected to the processor and the display device, for use by a player in controlling one or more aspects of the game, wherein the processor controls the game such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
1 1. A computer implemented method of playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said method comprising the steps of: controlling the play of the base game and the feature game using a processor; and displaying one or more screens of the game on at least one display device connected to the processor, the processor controlling the game based on input from a player using input means connected to the processor and the display device, such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein feature strips comprising one or more of the feature symbols are displayed between the reels.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein each of a plurality of feature strips comprising one or more of the feature symbols are displayed below a corresponding row of base symbols.
14. The method according to claim 11, wherein each of the feature symbols has a corresponding further feature symbol which is displayed over a base symbol.
15. The method of claim 11, wherein each feature symbol is a representation of a set of cross-hairs.
16. The method of claim 14, wherein each of the further feature symbols are a representation of a set of transparent cross-hairs.
17. The method of claim 11, wherein each feature symbol is a representation of human hand.
18. The method of claim 14, wherein each of the further feature symbols are a representation of a lock pick.
19. The method of claim 11, wherein prizes paid for combinations of base symbols within the reels are dependent on the base symbols having corresponding feature symbols pointing to the base symbols.
20. A computer readable medium, having a program recorded thereon, where the program is configured to make a computer execute a procedure to play a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said program comprising: code for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; and code for displaying one or more screens of the game, and for controlling the game based on input from a player, such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
21. A gaming system comprising: a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game; and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, the base game being executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, wherein upon a trigger event occurring the feature game is executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, the result of the base game being affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to symbols of the base game.
22. An apparatus comprising: a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game; and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, the base game being executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, wherein upon a trigger event occurring the feature game is executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, the result of the base game being affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to symbols of the base game.
23. A computer implemented method of gaming using a gaming system comprising a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, at least one display device connected for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game, and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game, said method comprising the steps of: executing the base game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, upon a trigger event occurring; and executing the feature game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, wherein the result of the base game is affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
24. A computer readable medium, having a program recorded thereon, where the program is configured to make a computer execute a procedure to control the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game, said program comprising: code for executing the base game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, upon a trigger event occurring; and code for executing the feature game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, wherein the result of the base game is affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.
Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

FEATURE GAME PLAYED ON A GAMING SYSTEM Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a gaming system and, in particular, to a feature game for a base game being played on a gaming system. Background

Games played both on land-based gaming machines and online, are extremely popular. Every year substantial amounts of money are gambled on such games. However, technological advances in the delivery of content for games, means that players of such games are becoming increasingly discerning as to the presentation of the games. Players expect to be excited by new features and by more appealing presentations of traditional features in games.

As a result, developers of games for gaming systems are forced to develop new and innovative features, including "feature games" for base games being played on the gaming systems, in order to keep existing players interested in the games and in order to attract new players to the games.

One known feature, which is very popular with gaming system players, is known as a

"double-up" feature. The double-up feature typically involves a player choosing between different symbols (e.g., red and black symbols) upon winning a particular game. If the player's choice matches that of the gaming system, then the number of credits won by the player for the game is doubled.

Summary

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system for playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said gaming system comprising: a processor for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the game; and input means connected to the processor and the display device, for use by a player in controlling one or more aspects of the game, wherein the processor controls the game such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus for playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said apparatus comprising: a processor for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the game; and input means connected to the processor and the display device, for use by a player in controlling one or more aspects of the game, wherein the processor controls the game such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels. According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer implemented method of playing a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said method comprising the steps of: controlling the play of the base game and the feature game using a processor; and displaying one or more screens of the game on at least one display device connected to the processor, the processor controlling the game based on input from a player using input means connected to the processor and the display device, such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels.

According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer readable medium, having a program recorded thereon, where the program is configured to make a computer execute a procedure to play a game comprising a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels, said program comprising: code for controlling the play of the base game and the feature game; and code for displaying one or more screens of the game, and for controlling the game based on input from a player, such that each symbol in a reel of the base game has a corresponding feature symbol corresponding to the feature game, wherein during one or more reel spins of the base game the feature symbols are also spun so as to affect the result of the base game depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels. - A -

According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system comprising: a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game; and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, the base game being executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, wherein upon a trigger event occurring the feature game is executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, the result of the base game being affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to symbols of the base game.

According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus comprising: a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game; at least one display device connected to the processor for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game; and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, the base game being executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, wherein upon a trigger event occurring the feature game is executed so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, the result of the base game being affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to symbols of the base game.

According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer implemented method of gaming using a gaming system comprising a processor for controlling the play of a base game and a feature game, at least one display device connected for displaying one or more screens of the base game and the feature game, and input means for enabling a player to control one or more aspects of the base game and the feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game, said method comprising the steps of: executing the base game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, upon a trigger event occurring; and executing the feature game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, wherein the result of the base game is affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels. According to still another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer readable medium, having a program recorded thereon, where the program is configured to make a computer execute a procedure to control the play of a base game and a feature game, said base game being a spinning reel game, said program comprising: code for executing the base game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of reels within a screen of the base game, upon a trigger event occurring; and code for executing the feature game so as to represent the spinning of a plurality of feature symbols within said screen, wherein the result of the base game is affected depending on where the feature symbols stop with respect to the base symbols of the reels. Brief Description of the Drawings

Some aspects of the prior art and one or more embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings and appendices, in which:

Fig. IA is a schematic block diagram of a gaming system upon which the arrangements described can be practiced;

Fig. IB is a schematic block diagram of another gaming system upon which the arrangements described can be practiced;

Fig. 2 is a schematic block diagram of a gaming apparatus used in the gaming systems of Figs. IA and IB; Fig. 3 is a representation of the software architecture of the gaming systems of Figs.

IA and IB;

Fig. 4 shows a flow diagram representing a method of performing a particular game in the gaming systems of Figs. IA and IB;

Fig. 5 shows a display screen presentation of a base game being implemented on the gaming systems of Figs. IA and IB;

Fig. 6 shows another display screen presentation of a base game being implemented on the gaming systems of Figs. IA and IB;

Fig. 7 shows a flow diagram representing a method of performing a feature game on the gaming systems of Figs. IA and IB; Fig. 8 shows a screen of the feature game of Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 shows another screen of the feature game of Fig. 7;

Fig. 10 shows another screen of the feature game of Fig. 7; and

Fig. 11 shows another screen of the feature game of Fig. 7. Detailed Description including Best Mode

Where reference is made in any one or more of the accompanying drawings to steps and/or features, which have the same reference numerals, those steps and/or features have for the purposes of this description the same function(s) or operation(s), unless the contrary intention appears.

It is to be noted that the discussions contained in the "Background" section and that above relating to prior art arrangements relate to discussions of documents or devices which form public knowledge through their respective publication and/or use. Such should not be interpreted as a representation by the present inventor(s) or patent applicant that such documents or devices in any way form part of the common general knowledge in the art.

Fig. IA shows a gaming system IOOA including a gaming machine 101 A for use by a player in playing a game. The gaming machine 101 A comprises an enclosure 201 A having display means in the form of a video display device 214A for displaying to the player one or more graphics screens (e.g., 105) for the game being played on the gaming machine 101 A. The enclosure 201 A also has an input device in the form of a keypad 202 A comprising one or more buttons for use by the player in controlling one or more aspects of the game. Credit input means in the form of a coin input device 106A and a note input device 107 A, are also included in the enclosure 201 A, to allow the player to input credit in order to play the game. A coin tray 108A is also typically incorporated in the enclosure

201 A in order to allow cash payouts to be payed to the player.

In the gaming system IOOA, the gaming machine 101 A is connected to a communications network 222A, known as a Local Area Network (LAN), via a connection 223A. Alternatively, the gaming machine 101A may be standalone. As shown in Fig. IA, the LAN 222A is coupled to a wide-area network (WAN) 220A, such as the Internet or a private WAN, via a connection 224A. The gaming machine 101 A may also be coupled directly to the WAN 220A via a connection 221 A.

The network 222A comprises one or more further gaming machines 102A and 103 A connected thereto. The further gaming machines are generally similar to the gaming machine 101 A but may be configured to implement different games. The further gaming machines may also be connected to the network 220A.

A server computer 104 A, used for monitoring the gaming machine 101 A, is also connected to the network 222 A. The server 104 A may be used for monitoring the amount of money wagered (or bet) on the gaming machine 101 A over a period of time, the amount of money payed out on the gaming machine 101 A over a period of time and any fault conditions on the gamine machine 101 A. The server 104 A may also be configured to disable or enable the gaming machine 101 A.

The gaming machine 101 A will be described in more detail below with reference to Fig. 2.

Fig. IB shows another gaming system 10OB. The gaming system IOOB comprises a stand-alone "personal" computer 101B for use by a player for playing a game. The personal computer 101 B may be an IBM-PC or compatible, a Sun Sparcstation, an Apple Mac™, or one of a like computer system evolved therefrom including desktop, laptop, notebook or handheld variations thereof. As seen in Fig. IA, the computer 101 B comprises an enclosure 20 IB and a display means in the form of a video display device 214B for displaying screens, such as the screen 105 of the game being played. The computer 101 B also comprises an input device in the form of a keyboard 202B comprising one or more buttons for use by the player in playing the game. The input means for the computer 101B also comprises a mouse pointer device 203B.

The computer 101B may be connected to a local area network (LAN) 222B, via a connection 223 B. The LAN 222B may couple to a wide area network (WAN) 220B, such as the Internet or a private WAN, via a connection 224B. The computer 10 IB is also shown coupled directly to the WAN 220B, via a connection 221B. In the system 10OB, the WAN 220B typically comprises one or more further computers 102B and 103B, similar to the computer 101B, connected thereto, and which may be used by other persons for game playing. Further such computers may also be connected to the LAN 222A. A remote server 104B is also connected to the WAN 220B. However, in contrast to the server 104A of the system 10OA, the server 104B of the system IOOB may be used to control the execution of one or more games being played on the gaming system IOOB. For example, the server 104B may download one or more graphic objects to the computer 10 IB for the game being played by the corresponding player, together with a display list for displaying the downloaded graphic objects for one or more screens (e.g., 105) of the game being played on the computer 101 B. In this instance, the server 104B then controls the game by downloading further display lists to the computer 101B as the game is being played by the player and being executed by the computer 10 IB.

In the system IOOB, rather than credit input means in the form of the coin input device 106A and the note collector 107 A, the player inputs credit in order to play the game by creating an account with a provider of the game, who may or may not be the administrator of the server 104B. For example, the player may provide their credit card and contact details to the game provider via the computer 101B and the network 220B. In this instance, as the player plays the game on the computer 10 IB, the player's account is debited and credited according to how the player bets and wins, respectively.

The computer 101 B will now be described in more detail below with reference to Fig. 2. The gaming machine 101 A and the computer 101B have similar computer hardware architecture. Accordingly, unless referred to specifically, the gaming machine 101 A and the computer 101 B will be hereinafter generically referred to as the "gaming device" 100. Similarly, components of the gaming machine 101 A and the computer 101B, such as the enclosures 20 IA and 20 IB, and the displays 214A and 214B, respectively, will be hereinafter generically referred to as the enclosure 201 and the display 214, respectively, of the gaming device 100, unless such components are referred to specifically. Further, other components, such as the WANs 220A, 220B, and the LANs 222A and 222B, for example, will be hereinafter generically referred to as the WAN 220 and the LAN 222. Finally, unless referred to specifically, the gaming systems IOOA and IOOB will be hereinafter generically referred to as the gaming system 100.

The game played on either of the gaming systems IOOA or IOOB may be implemented as software, such as one or more application programs being executable by the gaming system 100. In particular, the game may be effected by instructions in the software that are carried out by the gaming system 100. The instructions may be formed as one or more code modules, each for performing one or more particular tasks. As will be described in detail below, the software may also be divided into separate parts, in which a one or more parts and the corresponding code modules performs the game and one or more other parts and the corresponding code modules manage a user interface between the first part and the player of the game. For example, as seen in Figs. IA and IB, the user interface may be formed by one or more screens such as the screen 105.

The software may be stored in a computer readable medium, including the storage devices described below, for example. The software may be loaded into the gaming system 100 from the computer readable medium, and may then be executed by the gaming system 100. A computer readable medium having such software or computer program recorded on it is a computer program product. The use of the computer program product in the gaming system 100 preferably effects an advantageous apparatus for implementing the game described herein. As seen in Fig. 2, the gaming device 101 comprises an input device 202. The input device 202 is formed by the keypad 202A when the gaming device 101 is the gaming machine 101 A or by the keyboard 202B when the gaming device 101 is the computer 10 IB. The computer 101 B also comprises the mouse pointer device 203. The gaming device 101 also comprises output devices including the display device 214 and loudspeakers 217. In one configuration, the display device 214 may be a touch screen.

When the gaming device 101 is the gaming machine 101 A, the gaming apparatus 100 also comprises the coin input device 106 A and the note input device 107 A, as well as a coin output device 218, as seen in Fig. 2.

An external Modulator-Demodulator (Modem) transceiver device 216 may be used by the gaming device 101 for communicating to and from the communications network 220 via the connection 221. Where the connection 221 is a telephone line, the modem 216 may be a traditional "dial-up" modem. Alternatively, where the connection 221 is a high capacity (eg: cable) connection, the modem 216 may be a broadband modem. A wireless modem may also be used for wireless connection to the network 220. The gaming device 101 typically comprises at least one processor unit 205 for controlling at least partial execution of the game on the gaming system 100. The processor unit 205 may be formed by a micro-controller, micro-processor, programmable logic device or the like. The gaming device 101 also comprises a memory unit 206, for example, formed from semiconductor random access memory (RAM) and read only memory (ROM). A number of input/output (I/O) interfaces including an audio-video interface 207 that couples to the video display 214 and loudspeakers 217, are typically also included. The gaming device 101 also comprises an I/O interface 213 for the input device 202, and when the gaming device 100 is the gaming machine 101 A, the coin input device 106 A and the note input device 107 A, as seen in Fig. 2. The interface 213 is also used for the mouse 203 when the gaming device 101 is the computer 101 B.

The gaming device 101 may also comprise or be connected to an interface 208 used for the external modem 216. The interface 208 may be used for a coin output device 218, when the gaming device 101 is the gaming machines 101 A. In some implementations, the modem 216 may be incorporated within the gaming device 101, for example within the interface 208. The gaming device 101 also has a local network interface 211 which, via the connection 223, permits coupling of the gaming device 101 to the LAN 222. As also shown in Fig. 2, the LAN 222 couples to the wide network 220 via the connection 224 and would typically include a so-called "firewall" device or similar functionality. The interface 211 may be formed by an Ethernet™ circuit card, a wireless Bluetooth™ or an IEEE 802.11 wireless arrangement.

The interfaces 208 and 213 may afford both serial and parallel connectivity, the former typically being implemented according to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standards and having corresponding USB connectors (not illustrated). Storage devices 209 are provided and typically include a hard disk drive (HDD) 210. Other devices such as a floppy disk drive and a magnetic tape drive (not illustrated) may also be used. An optical disk drive 212 is typically provided to act as a non- volatile source of data. Portable memory devices, such optical disks (eg: CD-ROM, DVD), USB-RAM, and floppy disks for example may then be used as appropriate sources of data to the gaming system 100.

The gaming device 101 may also comprise one or more hard meters 215, which are required by some regulatory authorities. These hard meters 215 determine a cumulative number of credits input by a player of the gaming device 101 and output by the gaming device 101 throughout the life of the gaming device 101. The meters 215 are typically set to "zero" when the gaming device 101 is first configured.

The components 205 to 213 of the gaming device 101 typically communicate via an interconnected bus 204 and in a manner which results in a conventional mode of operation of the gaming device 101 known to those in the relevant art.

Fig. 3 is a representation of the software architecture 300 of the gaming system 100. The software architecture 300 comprises a base game application program 301, which controls the game being played on the gaming system 100. This game will be hereinafter referred to as the "base game". Another of the application programs of the software architecture 300 is a random number generator 303, as known to those in the relevant art, which determine the outcomes of the base game being played on the gaming system 100. A display controller application program 305 is included to implement one or more of the screens (e.g., 105) to be rendered or otherwise represented upon the display 214 for the base game and any other games, such as features games 313 being played on the gaming device 101. The software architecture 300 may also comprise an input device monitor application program 307 for monitoring signals from the input device 202 (and possibly the mouse 203) of the gaming device 101. For example, the input device monitor application program 307 monitors the manipulation of the input device 202 or the mouse 203 by the player of the base game in order to provide controlling commands to the base game application program 301 and any other games being played on the gaming device 101.

A credit control application program 309 is also included in the software architecture 300 for crediting or deducting any winning or losing amount from the credits of a player depending on the outcomes of the base game and any other game being played by the player. This winning or losing amount may be referred to as a "prize" and is determined by a win calculator application program 311 using a pay table. This pay table may be stored on the hard disk drive 210, for example.

The software architecture 300 of the gaming system 100 may also include a feature game application program 313 implementing a feature game of the base game. Such a feature game may include the double-up feature described above.

Typically, the application programs 301 to 313 discussed above are resident on the hard disk drive 210 and are read and controlled in their execution by the processor 205, and in the following description, this will be assumed to be the case. However, in the gaming system 10OB, the application programs 301 to 313 may be resident on a hard disk drive of the server 104B and be controlled in their execution by a processor of that server 104B, with the processor of the server 104B being configured to download one or more graphic objects for the game to the computer 101 B together with one or more display lists for displaying the downloaded graphic objects as one or more screens (e.g., 105) of the base game and any other game being played on the gaming system 10OB. Intermediate storage of the application programs 301 to 313 and any data fetched from the networks 220 and 222 may be accomplished using the semiconductor memory 206, possibly in concert with the hard disk drive 210. In some instances, the application programs may be supplied to a game provider (e.g., an operator of the gaming machine 101 or administrator of the server 104B) encoded on one or more CD-ROMs and be read via the corresponding drive 212, or alternatively may be read by the user from the networks 220 or 222. Still further, the software may also be loaded into the gaming system 100 from other computer readable media. Computer readable media refers to any storage medium that participates in providing instructions and/or data to the gaming system 100 for execution and/or processing. Examples of such media include floppy disks, magnetic tape, CD-ROM, a hard disk drive, a ROM or integrated circuit, a magneto-optical disk, or a computer readable card such as a PCMCIA card and the like, whether or not such devices are internal or external of the enclosure 101. Examples of computer readable transmission media that may also participate in the provision of instructions and/or data include radio or infra-red transmission channels as well as a network connection to another computer or networked device, and the Internet or Intranets including e-mail transmissions and information recorded on Websites and the like.

In the described arrangements, the base game is a spinning reel game, with each spin of the reels being referred to hereinafter as a 'game'. A screen 500 of the base game, as represented on the display device 214 by the display control application program 305, is shown in Fig. 5. The screen 500 comprises five vertical reel strips (or "reels") 501 to 505, with each of the reel strips 501 to 505 displaying a series of three symbols (or "base symbols") (e.g., 506, 507 and 508), such that the symbols in the same position of each of the reel strips 501 to 505 form a horizontal row (e.g., 517). For example, the reel strip 501 comprises a star symbol 506 in a first position, a cross 507 in a second position and a square symbol 508 in a third position of the reel strip 501, with the star symbol 506 being the first symbol in the horizontal row of symbols 517. Accordingly, the screen 500 of the base game has a "three (3) symbol (or row) by five (5) reel strip" layout (i.e., a 3 x 5 reel strip layout). Other reel strip layouts may be also be used, such as a "five (5) symbols (or row) by five (5) reel strip" layout.

The empty area between each of the reel strips 501 to 505 may be referred to as a "reel strip divider".

A method 400 of performing a particular game (i.e., spin of the reel strips 501 to 505) of the base game, will be described below by way of example, with reference to Fig. 4. The method 400 may be implemented as one or more modules of the application programs 301 to 311 described above.

The method 400 begins at step 401, where an initial screen of the base game is displayed, which, in the present example, is the screen 500 of Fig. 5. The screen 500 is typically displayed by the display controller application program 305 in conjunction with the base game application program 301.

At the next step 402, the amount of a bet placed by the player on the game to be played is determined. This amount is typically determined by the credit control application program 309 being controlled in its execution by the processor 205 typically examining player input via the input device 202. In the described arrangements, the base game has a plurality of paylines, as known to those in the relevant art, on each of which the player of the base game may place a bet. These paylines are typically indicated by payline indicator columns 509 and 510, as seen in Fig. 5. For example, the base game described herein has five paylines which are typically indicated by the numbers one (1) to five (5) in the columns 509 and 510. Each of these five paylines is represented by phantom lines (e.g., 511) in Fig. 5. The paylines in Fig. 5 are three horizontal paylines (#1, Wl, #3 - 509) and two diagonal paylines (#4, #5 - 510). Accordingly, the game will pay an amount of credits for a particular combination of symbols, such as three crosses (e.g., 512) on the payline 51 1.

The screen 500 also comprises a 'BET' meter 514. In the present example, the BET meter 514 indicates that the player has bet on all five paylines by displaying the number five '5' (as indicated by the arrow 519), as seen in Fig. 5. The BET meter 514 also indicates that the player has bet five cents ($0.05) on each payline (e.g., 511) for a particular game (or spin of the reel strips 501 to 505). The player may indicate the amount that they wish to bet on the particular game, at step 401 using the input device 202. The screen 105 also comprises a 'CREDIT' meter 516 indicating a total amount of credits for the player including the amount of credits originally input (or available on the player's account) by the player and the amount of credits won by the player during a particular playing session. Upon the bet being placed by the player, the credit control application program 309 updates the BET meter 514 and the CREDIT meter 516 to reflect the amount of the bet.

The method 400 continues at the next step 403 with the spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505. The spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505 is initiated by the player inputting a command using the input device 202 which is monitored by the input device monitor application program 307. The spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505 is controlled by the base game application program 301 being executed by the processor 205 and is representative of the processing or actual performance of the game. At the next step 404, a stopping position of each reel strip 501 to 505 is determined. The stopping position of each reel strip 501 to 505 is typically determined by the base game application program 301 depending on an output of the random number generator application program 303. Then at the next step 405, a result screen 600, as seen in Fig. 6, of the base game is displayed on the screen 214. The position of the symbols in the reel strips 501 to 505 of the screen 600 are based on the stopping position of each of the reel strips 501 to 505 as determined at step 403. The screen 600 is typically displayed by the display controller application program 305. The method 400 concludes at the next step 406, where a prize (e.g., an amount of credits) to be payed for any combinations of symbols in the screen 600 is determined. This prize is typically determined by the win calculator application program 311 based on the pay table described above. The screen 600 includes a 'WIN' meter 615 that indicates the amount of credits and a corresponding monetary amount that the player has won from the particular game. In the present example, the prize comprises one hundred credits ($1.00) which are payed for the combination of three stars 607, 612 and 613 on the payline 511, as indicated by the WIN meter 615. Also at step 406, the CREDIT meter 516 is updated to reflect the amount won by the player on the game.

Alternatively, the prize paid at step 406 may comprise a series of free games, a win multiplier (i.e., where the amount of credits won in a game is multiplied by a predetermined factor), a progressive jackpot (i.e., a bonus prize comprising a plurality of credits, where the amount of credits is incremented over a number of games), or a feature game. In alternative implementations, credits may also be payed to the player for the combination of the three stars 607, 612 and 613 together with the star 608 in the row 617 and the star 609 in the row 619. As a further alternative, further credits may be payed for the smiley faces (e.g., 606) in the reel strips 501, 502 and 503, for example. However, in each of these instances, the base game would require further paylines.

A method 700 of performing a feature game of the above base game will now be described by way of example, with reference to Fig. 7. The feature game is implemented by the feature game application program 313 of Fig. 3 in conjunction with the other application programs 301 to 311 described above. In the presently described arrangements, the feature game is played in feature strips

801, 802, 803 and 804 which are displayed between each of the reel strips 501 to 505 (i.e., within each reel strip divider) and in a further feature strip 805 which is displayed next to the reel strip 505, on a screen 800 as seen in Fig. 8. In each of the feature strips 801 to 805 a representation of a set of cross-hairs (or "feature symbols") (e.g., 806) is displayed adjacent to one of the symbols (e.g., the cross 816) within the reel strips 501 to 505.

A further transparent set of cross-hairs (or "further feature symbol") 811, 812, 813, 814 and 815 is also displayed on top of the symbol (e.g., 816) that is adjacent the set of cross-hairs (e.g., 806) in the corresponding feature strip (e.g., 801). For example, adjacent to the cross symbol 816 in the reel strip 501 is the set of cross-hairs 806 in the feature strip 801 and a further transparent set of cross-hairs 811 is also displayed on top of the cross symbol 816. Accordingly, the set of cross-hairs 806 is said to "point to" (or "target") a cross symbol 816. As will be described in detail below, in the feature game, prizes are paid for combinations resulting from the sets of cross-hairs 806 to 810 appearing in the feature strips 801 to 805 "pointing to" symbols (e.g., the cross symbol 816) within the reel strips 501 to 505.

The feature game may be played for each game of the base game. In this instance, the feature strips 801 to 805 including the cross-hairs 806 to 810 are displayed all of the time. Alternatively, the availability or option to play the feature game may be triggered by a combination of symbols within the reel strips 501 to 505, such as three or more predetermined symbols in three or more of the reel strips 501 to 505. In this instance, the three or more predetermined symbols do not have to be in the same row or payline in order to trigger the feature game, although the three or more predetermined symbols may be in the same row or payline. Accordingly, the three or more predetermined symbols may be "scattered" within the reel strips 501 to 505. For example, the feature game may be triggered by the three smiley faces (e.g., 606) scattered in each of reel strips 501 to 503, respectively, as seen in Fig. 6. In this instance, the screen 600 is termed a "trigger screen". Many other combinations of symbols or events may be used to trigger the feature game. The method 700 begins at step 701, where an initial screen of the feature game, such as the screen 800 of Fig. 8, is displayed on the display device 214. The screen 800 is typically displayed by the display controller application program 305 in conjunction with the base game application program 301 and the feature game application program 313.

At the next step 702, the amount of a bet placed by the player on the game to be played is determined. This amount is typically determined by the credit control application program 309 being controlled in its execution by the processor 205 typically examining player input via the input device 202.

The method 700 continues at the next step 703 with the spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505. Also at step 703, the cross-hairs 806 to 810 are spun. The spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505 and the cross-hairs 806 to 810 is initiated by the player inputting a command using the input device 202 which is monitored by the input device monitor application program 307. The spinning of the reel strips 501 to 505 is controlled by the base game application program 301 being executed by the processor 205. The spinning of the cross-hairs 806 to 810 is controlled by the feature game application program 313 which is also being executed by the processor 205. The transparent sets of cross-hairs 811 to 815 may also be spun at step 703, again, by the feature game application program 313.

At the next step 704, a stopping position of each reel strip 501 to 505 is determined. The stopping position of each reel strip 501 to 505 is typically determined by the base game application program 301 depending on an output of the random number generator application program 303. Also at step 704, a stopping position of each of the cross-hairs 806 to 810 in the feature strips 801 to 805 is also determined. The stopping position of each of the cross-hairs 806 to 810 in the feature strips 801 to 805 is determined by the feature game application program 301, again, depending on an output of the random number generator application program 303.

Then at the next step 705, a result screen 900, as seen in Fig. 9, of the base game and the feature game is displayed on the screen 214. The screen 900 is typically displayed by the display controller application program 305. The positions of the symbols (e.g., the star 903) in the reel strips 501 to 505 of the screen 900 are based on the stopping position of each of the reel strips 501 to 505 as determined at step 704. The position of the cross-hairs 806 to 810 in the features strips 801 to 805 of the screen 900 are also based on the stopping position of these cross-hairs 806 to 810 as determined at step 704.

As seen in Fig. 9, each of the symbols (e.g., the star 903) having a set of cross-hairs (e.g., 806) displayed adjacent to the symbol in the reel strip (e.g., 501) also has a transparent set of cross-hairs (e.g., 811) displayed on top of the symbol. As described above, the transparent sets of cross hairs 811 to 815 may also be spun.

The method 700 concludes at the next step 706, where a prize (e.g., an amount of credits) to be payed for any combinations of symbols in the reel strips 501 to 505 of the screen 900 is determined. This prize is typically determined by the win calculator application program 311 based on the base game pay table described above. The described base game pays for any combination of symbols comprising three of the same symbols displayed adjacently left to right on a payline (e.g., payline 1 - 511), or three of the same symbols displayed diagonally on a payline (e.g., payline 4 - 907). Accordingly, the combination of three adjacent stars 903, 904 and 905 on the payline 511 pays a predetermined number of credits according to the pay table associated with the base game, as described above. Alternatively, frees games, a win multiplier (i.e., where the amount of credits won in a game is multiplied by a predetermined factor), a progressive jackpot or another feature game may be paid for the combination of the three adjacent stars 903, 904 and 905.

However, in accordance with the feature game described herein, further prizes are also paid for combinations resulting from the sets of cross-hairs 806 to 810 appearing in the feature strips 801 to 805. In particular, the feature game described herein pays a prize for three or more sets of cross hairs 806 to 810 pointing to an identical symbol. These symbols do not have to be in the same row or payline in order for the prize to be paid, although the symbols may be in the same row or payline. Accordingly, the three identical symbols each having an adjacent set of cross-hairs pointing to that symbol, may be "scattered" within the reel strips 501 to 505. For example, as seen in Fig. 9, the set of cross-hairs 806 has stopped adjacent to the star symbol 903, the set of cross-hairs 807 has stopped adjacent to the star symbol 904, and the set of cross-hairs 808 has stopped adjacent to the star symbol 905. A prize (e.g., an amount of credits) will therefore be paid for such a combination. This prize is typically determined by the win calculator application program 311 based on a feature game pay table. Since the set of cross-hairs 809 has also stopped adjacent a star symbol 906, a further prize will be paid. In this instance, the set of cross-hairs 809 has turned the three of a kind adjacent star symbols 903 to 905 combination into a "scattered" four of a kind star symbols 903 to 906 combination.

A prize will not typically be paid for the set of cross hairs 810 pointing to the square symbol 907 in the screen 900 of Fig. 9. However, if the square symbol 907 was predetermined as being a "wild symbol (i.e., a symbol that may represent any of the other symbols)", then the cross-hairs 806 to 810 may turn the three adjacent star symbols 903 to

905 combination into a scattered five of a kind star symbols 903 to 906 combination.

As described above, prizes paid for combinations of symbols within the reel strips 501 to 505 (base symbols) may depend on those symbols having corresponding cross-hairs 806 to 810 (feature symbols) pointing to the symbols within the reel strips 501 to 505.

Also at step 706, the CREDIT meter 516 is updated to reflect the prize(s) won by the player on the base game and the feature game.

As described above, the prize paid for the three or more sets of cross hairs 806 to 810 pointing to the same symbol may be an amount of credits. Alternatively, another feature game, frees games, a win multiplier or a progressive jackpot, may be paid for the combination resulting from the cross-hairs 806 to 810 pointing to the symbols 903 to 906 within the reel strips 501 to 505. In alternative implementations, prizes including free games, win multipliers, progressive jackpots and the like, are paid for other combinations resulting from the crosshairs 806-810 appearing in the feature strips 801 to 805. For example, Fig. 10 shows another result screen 1000 that may be displayed by the display controller application program 305 at step 705. Again, the position of the symbols in the reel strips 501 to 505 of the screen 1000 are based on the stopping position of each of the reel strips 501 to 505 as determined at step 704. Further, the position of the sets of cross-hairs 806 to 810 in the features strips 801 to 805 of the screen 1000 are also based on the stopping position of the cross-hairs 806 to 810 as determined at step 704. In the screen 1000, the payline 51 1 (i.e., payline 1) comprises a smiley face 1003, another smiley face 1004 and a square symbol 1006. Further, on the bottom payline (i.e., payline 3) 1010, another smiley face 1005 has stopped in reel strip 503. Normally, no prize would be paid for such a combination. However, since each of the smiley faces 1003, 1004 and 1005 has a set of cross-hairs 806, 807 and 808, respectively, pointing to the smiley faces 1003, 1004 and 1005, a prize will be paid in the described arrangements. Further, each of the square symbols 1007 and 1008 has a set of cross-hairs 809 and 810, respectively, pointing to the symbols 1007 and 1008. In this instance, a prize may also be paid if either of the other square symbols 1009 or 1006 had one of the sets of cross-hairs 807 or 808, pointing to the symbol 1009 or 1006. In the feature game described above, the feature game is played in feature strips 801,

802, 803 and 804 which are displayed between each of the reel strips 501 to 505 (i.e., within each reel strip divider) and in a further feature strip 805 which is displayed next to the reel strip 505. However, in a further arrangement as seen in Fig. 11 , the feature game described above may be played within feature strips 1 101, 1 102 and 1103, which are displayed below every row (e.g., row 1104) of symbols in a screen 1100. In the arrangement of Fig. 11, each of the sets of cross-hairs 806 to 810 will appear in one of the feature strips 1101 to 1103 on each spin of the reel strips 501 to 505. Further, as described above, prizes may be paid for combinations such as the combination of the three adjacent stars 903, 904 and 905 on the payline 511, the combination of the set of cross-hairs 806 to 808 pointing to the stars 903, 904 and 905, the set of cross-hairs 809 pointing to the star 906, and the set of cross-hairs 810 pointing to the square symbol 907.

As described above, the cross-hairs 806 to 810 pointing to different ones of the symbols within the reel strips 501 to 505 may affect the results of the base game depending on where the cross-hairs 806 to 810 stop with respect to the symbols (e.g., the star symbol 903) within the reel strips 501 to 505.

Any appropriate symbol may be used in the described feature game other than the cross-hairs 806 to 810, depending on the theme of the base game and/or the feature game. For example, the base game may have a "carnival" theme. The cross-hairs 806 to 810 and the transparent cross-hairs 811 to 815 described above may be used in this instance. In another example, the base game may have a "jewel thief theme. In this instance, the cross-hairs 806 to 810 in the feature strips 801 to 805 may be replaced by a human hand and the transparent cross-hairs 811 to 815 may be replaced by a transparent lock pick that is displayed on top of the symbols (e.g., 816) in the reel strips 501 to 505. By allowing the feature game described above to be played between the reel strips

501 to 505 (i.e., within the reel strip dividers) or below each row of symbols, the feature game does not require a separate display or a change to a new screen to be played. Thus, the cost of playing the above described feature game is reduced compared to conventional feature games which often require a separate display in order to play a feature game. The above feature game also allows multi display (or monitor) type games to be played online (e.g., on the gaming system 100B) where multiple displays are often not an option.

Industrial Applicability

It is apparent from the above that the arrangements described are applicable to the gaming, computer and data processing industries.

The foregoing describes only some embodiments of the present invention, and modifications and/or changes can be made thereto without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, the embodiments being illustrative and not restrictive.

In the context of this specification, the word "comprising" means "including principally but not necessarily solely" or "having" or "including", and not "consisting only of. Variations of the word "comprising", such as "comprise" and "comprises" have correspondingly varied meanings.

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Citations hors brevets
Référence
1 *See also references of WO2008052242A1
Classifications
Classification internationaleA63F13/10
Classification coopérativeG07F17/3267
Classification européenneG07F17/32M4
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