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Publication numberUS20030130027 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/322,625
Publication dateJul 10, 2003
Filing dateDec 19, 2002
Priority dateDec 21, 2001
Publication number10322625, 322625, US 2003/0130027 A1, US 2003/130027 A1, US 20030130027 A1, US 20030130027A1, US 2003130027 A1, US 2003130027A1, US-A1-20030130027, US-A1-2003130027, US2003/0130027A1, US2003/130027A1, US20030130027 A1, US20030130027A1, US2003130027 A1, US2003130027A1
InventorsEiji Aida
Original AssigneeKonami Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Video gaming machine, and a computer readable recording medium storing image processing program
US 20030130027 A1
Abstract
A monitor M displays reel images showing that a row of symbols including target symbols are moved and stopped. A CPU (100) displays an image on the monitor (M) in accordance with a control program stored in ROM (110). When a respin requirement is fulfilled, the CPU (100) displays, on the monitor (M), a composite image in which the reel image and masked images are superimposed, wherein the masked images have masked areas and non-masked areas, and a boundary therebetween coincides with the contour of the target symbol.
Images(11)
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Claims(19)
What is claimed is:
1. A video gaming machine including comprising:
a display device on which a motion picture is displayed as a result of movement and stoppage of rows of symbols including specific symbols; and
a display controller which,
generates motion picture data representing the motion picture in which a plurality of symbols including a specific symbol are moved and stopped,
generates mask data representing a mask image having a masked area and a non-masked area, in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked coincides with a contour of the specific symbol,
generates composite image data representing for displaying a composite image based on the motion picture and the mask data, in which the composite image is formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at a winning position, and
displays the composite image on the display device on based on the composite image data.
2. The video gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein
the motion picture includes a plurality of reel images,
the plurality of symbols are provided on each of the reels, and
a winning combination is established when a combination of predetermined symbols are aligned along the winning line extending across the reels.
3. The video gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein the mask image is translucent in the masked area and transparent in the non-masked area.
4. The video gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein
the display controller determines as to whether a predetermined requirement is satisfied, and
the composite image is displayed on the display device on the basis of the composite image data when the predetermined requirement is satisfied, and the motion picture is displayed on the basis of the motion picture data when the predetermined requirement is not satisfied.
5. The video gaming machine according to claim 4, wherein the display controller generates the composite image data only when the predetermined requirement is satisfied.
6. The video gaming machine according to claim 2, wherein the display controller:
generates selecting data for specifying the symbols which come to a standstill at the winning line;
determines as to whether the value of the selecting data is a predetermined value; and
determines, on the basis of a result of determination, as to whether the composite image is to be displayed on the display device by generating the composite image data or the motion picture is to be displayed on the display device on the basis of the motion picture data.
7. The video gaming machine according to claim 6, wherein the display controller:
generates the selecting data so as to assume a random value; and
determines the winning combination on the basis of the selecting data.
8. The video gaming machine according to claim 6, wherein
the mask data are set for each of a plurality of the specific symbols, and
the display controller generates the composite image data on the basis of the selecting data through use of the mask data selected from the plurality of mask data sets.
9. The video gaming machine according to claim 8, wherein the display controller displays the composite image on the display device on the basis of the composite image data while an image having the potential for establishing a combination of symbols corresponding to a certain winning combination is displayed on the display device, and
the selected mask data correspond to the specific symbols constituting the winning combination.
10. The video gaming machine according to claim 6, wherein the display controllers includes:
a storage section for storing respective-symbol data sets representing the respective symbol images and the mask data; and
the motion picture data are generated on the basis of the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets.
11. The video gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein
the motion picture data are of bit map format and specify an image on a per-pixel basis,
the mask data are for specifying a value on a per-pixel basis, and
a value of data is set so that a distinction between the masked area and the non-masked area can be made; and
the display controllers determine, on a per-pixel basis and on the basis of the mask data, whether a pixel is in the masked area or the non-masked area;
the composite image data are generated by computing the mask data and the motion picture data when the pixel is determined to be in the masked area, and the motion picture data are generated as the composite image data when the pixel is determined to be in the non-masked area.
12. A video gaming machine including a display device for displaying on respective reels a motion picture showing that a plurality of symbols including specific symbols are moved and stopped, in which when a specific number of specific symbols come to a standstill at a winning line extending across the respective reels, the reel or reels on which the specific,symbol is stopped are fixed, the remaining reels are spun again, and a winning combination is established when the specific symbols on the other reels come to a standstill at the winning line, the video gaming machine comprising:
a storage section for storing respective symbol data sets to be used for displaying images of the respective symbols and mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
a first selecting section which assumes a random number and generates first selecting data used for specifying respective symbols which are to stop at the winning line;
a first image processing section which generates, on the basis of the first selecting data and the respective symbol data sets, first motion picture data representing a motion picture, the picture showing that the symbols are moved and come to a standstill on the respective reels;
a determination section for determining at to whether to spin the remaining reels again, on the basis of the first selecting data;
a second selecting section which generates second selecting data for specifying the respective symbols on the other reels; which come to a standstill at the winning line, when the result of determination indicates a respin operation;
a second image processing section which generates second motion picture data representing a respin motion image on the basis of the second selecting data and the respective symbol data sets;
a composite image processing section which generates composite image data for display a composite image, in which the image is formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position, on the basis of the second selecting data and the mask data; and
a control section for displaying an image on the display device on the basis of the first motion picture data and the composite image data.
13. A video gaming machine including a display device for displaying on respective reels a motion picture showing that a plurality of symbols including specific symbols are moved and stopped, in which when a specific number of specific symbols come to a standstill at a winning line extending across the respective reels, the reel or reels on which the specific symbol is stopped are fixed, the remaining reels are spun again, and a winning combination is established when the specific symbols on the other reels come to a standstill at the winning line, the video gaming machine comprising:
a storage section for storing respective symbol data sets to be used for displaying images of the respective symbols and mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
a selecting section which assumes a random number and generates selecting data used for causing a game to proceed;
a first image processing section which generates, from the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets, first motion picture data representing a motion picture, the motion picture showing that the symbols are moved and come to a standstill on the respective reels;
a determination section for determining whether to spin the remaining reels again, on the basis of the selecting data;
a second image processing section which generates second motion picture data representing a respin motion image on the basis of the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets when a result of determination instructs a respin operation;
a composite image processing section which generates composite image data for displaying a composite image, the image being formed by superimposing the respin motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position, on the basis of the second motion picture data and the mask data; and
a control section for displaying an image on the display device on the basis of the first motion picture data and the composite image data.
14. A computer readable recording medium storing a program to control a video gaming machine which includes a display device for displaying thereon a plurality of reel images as if a row of symbols including specific symbols were moved and stopped and a controller for controlling the display device, the image display program causing the controller to;
generate motion picture data which represent a motion picture showing that the plurality of symbols are moved and come to a standstill;
generate mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
generate composite image data for displaying a composite image from the motion picture data and the mask data, the composite image being formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position; and
display the composite image on the display device on the basis of the composite image data.
15. The computer readable recording medium according to claim 14, wherein the controller is caused to:
determine whether or not predetermined requirements are satisfied; and
display, on the display device, the composite image on the basis of the composite image data when the requirements are satisfied, and display the motion picture on the basis of the motion picture data when the requirements are not satisfied.
16. The computer readable recording medium according to claim 15, wherein the controller is caused to generate the composite image data only when the requirements are satisfied.
17. The image display program according to claim 15, wherein the controller is caused to generate selecting data which assume a random number and specify the respective symbols which are to come to a standstill at the winning line; and determine whether or not the requirements are satisfied on the basis of a result of whether or not the value of the selecting data is a predetermined value.
18. The computer readable recording medium according to claim 17, wherein
the mask data a reset for each of a plurality of the specific symbols, and
the controller generates the composite image data on the basis of the selecting data through use of the mask data selected from the plurality of mask data sets.
19. The computer readable recording medium according to claim 14, wherein
the motion picture data are of bit map format and specify an image on a per-pixel basis;
the mask data are for specifying a value on a per-pixel basis, and a value of data is set so that a distinction can be made between the masked area and the non-masked area;
the controller is caused to
determine, on a per-pixel basis, whether or not a pixel is in the masked area or the non-masked area, on the basis of the mask data; and
generate the composite image data by means of computing the mask data and the motion picture data when the pixel is determined to be in the masked area and generate the motion picture data as the composite image data when the pixel is determined to be in the non-masked area.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The invention relates to a video gaming machine and a computer readable recording medium storing an image processing program.
  • [0002]
    A video gaming machine has a display device for displaying progress in a game, a lever to be actuated by a player, and buttons. One type of video gaming machine is a so-called video slot machine. A mechanical slot machine spins a plurality of reels for a predetermined period of time and pays coins in a number corresponding to a combination of designs appearing when the reels have come to a standstill. Designs to be provided on respective reels are called symbols.
  • [0003]
    The video slot machine displays images of the reels on the display device. Further, when the player actuates a predetermined button, the video slot machine variably displays images of the reels and stops the images after lapse of a predetermined period of time.
  • [0004]
    The video slot machine involves less mechanical limitations than those imposed on the mechanical slot machine. Consequently, the video slot machine can impart a large degree of freedom to rules of a game.
  • [0005]
    When rules of a game become complicated, there arises a problem of a beginner being not able to fully comprehend the rules. The rules of the game state that alignment of specific symbols along a winning line is a requirement for starting a bonus game or for paying a jackpot. Consequently, the player has an interest in whether or not specific symbols are aligned along a winning line.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The invention has been conceived in view of the foregoing circumstances, and the challenge to be met by the invention is to provide a video gaming machine capable of clearly informing a player that specific symbols are aligned with a winning line.
  • [0007]
    In order to solve the aforesaid object, the invention is characterized by having the following arrangement.
  • [0008]
    (1) A video gaming machine including comprising:
  • [0009]
    a display device on which a motion picture is displayed as a result of movement and stoppage of rows of symbols including specific symbols; and
  • [0010]
    a display controller which,
  • [0011]
    generates motion picture data representing the motion picture in which a plurality of symbols including a specific symbol are moved and stopped,
  • [0012]
    generates mask data representing a mask image having a masked area and a non-masked area, in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked coincides with a contour of the specific symbol,
  • [0013]
    generates composite image data representing for displaying a composite image based on the motion picture and the mask data, in which the composite image is formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at a winning position, and
  • [0014]
    displays the composite image on the display device on based on the composite image data.
  • [0015]
    (2) The video gaming machine according to (1), wherein
  • [0016]
    the motion picture includes a plurality of reel images,
  • [0017]
    the plurality of symbols are provided on each of the reels, and
  • [0018]
    a winning combination is established when a combination of predetermined symbols are aligned along the winning line extending across the reels.
  • [0019]
    (3) The video gaming machine according to (1), wherein the mask image is translucent in the masked area and transparent in the non-masked area.
  • [0020]
    (4) The video gaming machine according to (1), wherein
  • [0021]
    the display controller determines as to whether a predetermined requirement is satisfied, and
  • [0022]
    the composite image is displayed on the display device on the basis of the composite image data when the predetermined requirement is satisfied, and the motion picture is displayed on the basis of the motion picture data when the predetermined requirement is not satisfied.
  • [0023]
    (5) The video gaming machine according to (4), wherein the display controller generates the composite image data only when the predetermined requirement is satisfied.
  • [0024]
    (6) The video gaming machine according to (2), wherein the display controller:
  • [0025]
    generates selecting data for specifying the symbols which come to a standstill at the winning line;
  • [0026]
    determines as to whether the value of the selecting data is a predetermined value; and
  • [0027]
    determines, on the basis of a result of determination, as to whether the composite image is to be displayed on the display device by generating the composite image data or the motion picture is to be displayed on the display device on the basis of the motion picture data.
  • [0028]
    (7) The video gaming machine according to (6), wherein the display controller:
  • [0029]
    generates the selecting data so as to assume a random value; and
  • [0030]
    determines the winning combination on the basis of the selecting data,
  • [0031]
    (8) The video gaming machine according to (6), wherein
  • [0032]
    the mask data are set for each of a plurality of the specific symbols, and
  • [0033]
    the display controller generates the composite image data on the basis of the selecting data through use of the mask data selected from the plurality of mask data sets.
  • [0034]
    (9) The video gaming machine according to (8), wherein
  • [0035]
    the display controller displays the composite image on the display device on the basis of the composite image data while an image having the potential for establishing a combination of symbols corresponding to a certain winning combination is displayed on the display device, and
  • [0036]
    the selected mask data correspond to the specific symbols constituting the winning combination.
  • [0037]
    (10) The video gaming machine according to (6), wherein the display controllers includes;
  • [0038]
    a storage section for storing respective symbol data sets representing the respective symbol images and the mask data; and
  • [0039]
    the motion picture data are generated on the basis of the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets.
  • [0040]
    (11) The video gaming machine according to (1), wherein
  • [0041]
    the motion picture data are of bit map format and specify an image on a per-pixel basis,
  • [0042]
    the mask data are for specifying a value on a per-pixel basis, and
  • [0043]
    a value of data is set so that a distinction between the masked area and the non-masked area can be made; and
  • [0044]
    the display controllers determine, on a per-pixel basis and on the basis of the mask data, whether a pixel is in the masked area or the non-masked area;
  • [0045]
    the composite image data are generated by computing the mask data and the motion picture data when the pixel is determined to be in the masked area, and the motion picture data are generated as the composite image data when the pixel is determined to be in the non-masked area.
  • [0046]
    (12) A video gaming machine including a display device for displaying on respective reels a motion picture showing that a plurality of symbols including specific symbols are moved and stopped, in which when a specific number of specific symbols come to a standstill at a winning line extending across the respective reels, the reel or reels on which the specific symbol is stopped are fixed, the remaining reels are spun again, and a winning combination is established when the specific symbols on the other reels come to a standstill at the winning line, the video gaming-machine comprising:
  • [0047]
    a storage section for storing respective symbol data sets to be used for displaying images of the respective symbols and mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
  • [0048]
    a first selecting section which assumes a random number and generates first selecting data used for specifying respective symbols which are to stop at the winning line;
  • [0049]
    a first image processing section which generates, on the basis of the first selecting data and the respective symbol data sets, first notion picture data representing a motion picture, the picture showing that the symbols are moved and come to a standstill on the respective reels;
  • [0050]
    a determination section for determining at to whether to spin the remaining reels again, on the basis of the first selecting data;
  • [0051]
    a second selecting section which generates second selecting data for specifying the respective symbols on the other reels, which come to a standstill at the winning line, when the result of determination indicates a respin operation;
  • [0052]
    a second image processing section which generates second motion picture data representing a respin motion image on the basis of the second selecting data and the respective symbol data sets;
  • [0053]
    a composite image processing section which generates composite image data for display a composite image, in which the image is formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position, on the basis of the second selecting data and the mask data; and
  • [0054]
    a control section for displaying an image on the display device on the basis of the first motion picture data and the composite image data.
  • [0055]
    (13) A video gaming machine including a display device for displaying on respective reels a motion picture showing that a plurality of symbols including specific symbols are moved and stopped, in which when a specific number of specific symbols come to a standstill at a winning line extending across the respective reels, the reel or reels on which the specific symbol is stopped are fixed, the remaining reels are spun again, and a winning combination is established when the specific symbols on the other reels come to a standstill at the winning line, the video gaming machine comprising:
  • [0056]
    a storage section for storing respective symbol data sets to be used for displaying images of the respective symbols and mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
  • [0057]
    a selecting section which assumes a random number and generates selecting data used for causing a game to proceed;
  • [0058]
    a first image processing section which generates, from the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets, first motion picture data representing a motion picture, the motion picture showing that the symbols are moved and come to a standstill on the respective reels;
  • [0059]
    a determination section for determining whether to spin the remaining reels again, on the basis of the selecting data;
  • [0060]
    a second image processing section which generates second motion picture data representing a respin motion image on the basis of the selecting data and the respective symbol data sets when a result of determination instructs a respin operation;
  • [0061]
    a composite image processing section which generates composite image data for displaying a composite image, the image being formed by superimposing the respin motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position, on the basis of the second motion picture data and the mask data; and
  • [0062]
    a control section for displaying an image on the display device on the basis of the first motion picture data and the composite image data.
  • [0063]
    (14) A computer readable recording medium storing a program for controlling a video gaming machine which includes a display device for displaying thereon a plurality of reel images as if a row of symbols including specific symbols were moved and stopped and a controller for controlling the display device, the image display program causing the controller to:
  • [0064]
    generate motion picture data which represent a motion picture showing that the plurality of symbols are moved and come to a standstill;
  • [0065]
    generate mask data which have a masked area and a non-masked area and in which a boundary between the masked area and the non-masked area coincides with the contour of the specific symbol;
  • [0066]
    generate composite image data for displaying a composite image from the motion picture data and the mask data, the composite image being formed by superimposing the motion picture on the mask image having the non-masked area located at the winning position; and
  • [0067]
    display the composite image on the display device on the basis of the composite image data.
  • [0068]
    (15) The computer readable recording medium according to (14), wherein the controller is caused to:
  • [0069]
    determine whether or not predetermined requirements are satisfied; and
  • [0070]
    display, on the display device, the composite image on the basis of the composite image data when the requirements are satisfied, and display the motion picture on the basis of the motion picture data when the requirements are not satisfied.
  • [0071]
    (16 ) The computer readable recording medium according to (15), wherein the controller is caused to generate the composite image data only when the requirements are satisfied.
  • [0072]
    (17) The computer readable recording medium according to (15), wherein the controller is caused to generate selecting data which assume a random number and specify the respective symbols which are to come to a standstill at the winning line; and determine whether or not the requirements are satisfied on the basis of a result of whether or not the value of the selecting data is a predetermined value.
  • [0073]
    (18) The computer readable recording medium according to (17), wherein
  • [0074]
    the mask data are set for each of a plurality of the specific symbols, and
  • [0075]
    the controller generates the composite image data on the basis of the selecting data through use of the mask data selected from the plurality of mask data sets.
  • [0076]
    (19) The computer readable recording medium according to (14), wherein
  • [0077]
    the motion picture data are of bit map format and specify an image on a per-pixel basis;
  • [0078]
    the mask data are for specifying a value on a per-pixel basis, and a value of data is set so that a distinction can be made between the masked area and the non-masked area;
  • [0079]
    the controller is caused to
  • [0080]
    determine, on a per-pixel basis, whether or not a-pixel is in the masked area or the non-masked area, on the basis of the mask data; and
  • [0081]
    generate the composite image data by means of computing the mask data and the motion picture data when the pixel is determined to be in the masked area and generate the motion picture data as the composite image data when the pixel is determined to be in the non-masked area,
  • [0082]
    The present disclosure relates to the subject matter contained in Japanese patent application No. 2001-389521 (filed on Dec. 12, 2001), which is expressly incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • [0083]
    [0083]FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the external view of a video slot machine 1 according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0084]
    [0084]FIG. 2 is a descriptive view showing an example of a display screen on a monitor 10;
  • [0085]
    [0085]FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a video slot machine 1;
  • [0086]
    [0086]FIG. 4 is a descriptive view showing contents of ROM 110;
  • [0087]
    [0087]FIG. 5 is a descriptive view showing a mask image produced from mask data MSK;
  • [0088]
    [0088]FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing processing procedures of a control program CP to be executed by a CPU 100;
  • [0089]
    [0089]FIG. 7 is a descriptive view showing an example of a display screen that satisfies respin requirements;
  • [0090]
    [0090]FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing operation of the CPU 100 to be performed in respin display processing;
  • [0091]
    [0091]FIG. 9 is a descriptive view showing an example of display screen on a monitor M appearing at the start of a respin game;
  • [0092]
    [0092]FIG. 10 is a descriptive view showing an example of a screen appearing during a respin game; and
  • [0093]
    [0093]FIG. 11 is a descriptive view showing an example of a display screen on the monitor M which satisfies a requirement for triggering a free game.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0094]
    A video slot machine will be described hereinbelow as an example of a video gaming machine according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • [0095]
    <1. External View and Configuration of a Video Slot Machine>
  • [0096]
    [0096]FIG. 1 shows the external view and configuration of a video slot machine 1. The video slot machine 1 has the shape of a substantially rectangular parallelepiped. A monitor 10 is provided in an area on the video slot machine 1, the area extending from the center to a slightly upper position on the video slot machine. The monitor 10 shows images in association with progress in a game.
  • [0097]
    [0097]FIG. 2 shows an example of a display screen of the monitor 10. As illustrated, the display screen has first through fifth reel areas R1 through R5; a first area A1; a second area A2; a third area A3; and a fourth area A4.
  • [0098]
    The amount of credit, the number of medals bet, the number of wins, or the like are displayed in the first display area A1. Progress in a game is displayed in the second display area A2. An illustrated example shows a state in which a certain game has finished. The amount of credit to be bet on one bet line (winning line) is displayed in the third display area A3. In a normal game, a center line extending across first through fifth reel areas R1 to R5 is a bet line. When a combination of predetermined symbols S is established along the bet line, the player gets credits in a number corresponding to the combination of symbols S. Alternatively, this gives an impetus to shift the game status shifts from a normal game to a special game. A relationship between the credits and the amount of money is displayed in the fourth display area A4. In this example, one credit corresponds to one dollar.
  • [0099]
    Reel images, including three symbols S, are displayed in each of the first through fifth reel areas R1 through R5. A plurality of types of symbols S to be displayed on the video slot machine 1 include numerals of playing cards ranging from 1 through 10; letters of cards including J, Q, and K etc.; and characters such as a star, a bike, a bulldog, a speedometer, a helmet, and a dollar. When a game is started, symbols S to be displayed in the respective first through fifth reel areas R1 through R5 are moved downward in the vertical direction.
  • [0100]
    In this game, when the predetermined symbols S are aligned along the bet line, a winning combination is established. Winning combinations include hands defined in a poker game; a respin combination; a jackpot combination; and other combinations. Hands in the poker include one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight flush, full house, four of a kind, and others. The respin combination is a requirement for triggering a respin game. The respin combination is established when two specific symbols S are aligned with a bet line. Further, a jackpot combination has the highest value of all of the winning combinations. For example, a jackpot combination is established when five 7 symbols are aligned with the bet line.
  • [0101]
    The amount of credit gotten by the player is an aggregate of odds determined by the type of a winning combination and the number of medals bet. Odds represent a payoff per credit. The respin game will be described in detail later. Here, a jackpot combination and a respin combination give the player great chances to get a large amount of payoff. A symbol S assigned to a high payoff is called a target symbol TS. A plurality of types of symbols S may correspond to target symbols TS. A respin game is triggered on condition that two star symbols S are aligned with a bet line. The start symbol S corresponds to the target symbol TS. In the following descriptions, the star symbol S is defined as the target symbol TS in the video slot machine 1.
  • [0102]
    Turning back to FIG. 1, the video slot machine 1 has a collect button 11, a reserve button 12, and a service button 13, which are provided at an upper-left position on the monitor 10. The collect button 11 is used for settlement purpose. When the player presses the collect button 11, cash in amount equal to the amount of credit is paid. The reserve button 12 is used for interrupting a game. When the player presses the reserve button 12, a message indicating that the player has left a seat is displayed. The service button 13 is used for describing rules of a game. When the player 13 presses the service button 13, a test and animation for explaining rules of a game appear on the monitor 10. Indicators 14 for displaying information about money are provided at upper right positions.
  • [0103]
    On the video slot machine 1, a coin insert slot 20 and a paper money insert slot 21 are provided at lower right positions with respect to the monitor 10. When the player inserts coins into the coin insert slot 20 or paper money into the paper money insert slot 21, the amount of credit corresponding to the sum of money is added to the current amount of credit.
  • [0104]
    Six bet buttons 22, 23, . . . 27 are provided at lower left positions with respect to the monitor 10 on the video slot machine 1. The bet buttons 22, 23, . . . 27 are used when the player bets credits. The number of credits bet by way of the bet button 22 is one; the number of credits bet by way of the bet button 23 is two; the number of credits bet by way of the bet button 24 is three; the number of credits bet by way of the bet button 25 is four; the number of credits bet by way of the bet button 26 is five; and the number of credits bet by way of the bet button 27 is 10.
  • [0105]
    In the video slot machine 1, a winning acquisition button 28 and a double-or-nothing button 29 are provided below the coin insert slot 20. These buttons are used for selecting a game after a win has been achieved in a certain game. When the player presses the winning acquisition button 28, the amount of given credits is determined. When the player presses the double-or-nothing button 29, a double-or-nothing game is triggered. When a win has been achieved in the double-or-nothing game, the amount of credits given in the previous game is doubled. In contrast, if a failure has arisen, the credits given in the previous game are lost. The video slot machine 1 allows a maximum of five double-or-nothing games.
  • [0106]
    Rules of a game are provided on the display board 30. A coin payout port 31 is provided below the display board 30. The coin payout port 31 is connected to a hopper built in a cabinet of the video slot machine. When the player has finished a series of game, coins in a number equal to the amount of credits are paid from the coins accumulated in the hopper, by way of the coin payout port 31. A medal receiver 32 stores the coins.
  • [0107]
    The way to play games on the video slot machine 1 is as follows. First, the player inserts coins into the coin insert slot 20 or paper money into the paper money insert slot 21. Thus, the video slot machine 1 stores credit corresponding to the amount of inserted coins.
  • [0108]
    Second, when the player presses one of bet buttons 22, 23, . . . 27, the number of coins bet is determined. For instance, when the player selects the bet button 22, the number of coins bet assumes one credit. When any one of the bet buttons 22, 23, . . . 27 has been pressed, symbols S appearing in the respective first through five reel areas R1 through R5 start moving downward in the vertical direction. After lapse of a predetermined period of time, the symbols S come to a standstill.
  • [0109]
    Third, if a combination of predetermined symbols S is stopped along the bet line, the player gets credit which has been computed on the basis of the type of combination of symbols S and the number of coins bet.
  • [0110]
    When two target symbols TS have come to a standstill along the bet line, the player gets the right to play a respin game once.
  • [0111]
    Here, the respin game is a game in which the reels whose target symbols TS are stopped along the bet line are fixed, and the three remaining reels are automatically spun again. If one or more target symbols TS come to a halt at the bet line on the three reels that have been spun again, five free games are triggered. Even when three or more target symbols TS have come to a halt at the bet line in a normal game, five free games are triggered. In the respin game, a win can be achieved through only acquisition of free games. Consequently, in a respin game, no win is achieved even when symbols S other than STAR symbols are aligned along the bet line.
  • [0112]
    A free game is a game which involves coins bet in a number equal to those bet in the previous normal game, without consumption of new credit. The free game is identical with a normal game except that a respin game is not triggered even when two target symbols TS come to a standstill at the bet line. When three or more target symbols TS come to a halt at the bet line, the player gets five free games. In this game, the thus-given five free games are added to the remaining free games. For instance, if three or more target symbols TS have come to a standstill at the bet line in the second free game, eight free games are subsequently available for the player.
  • [0113]
    <2. Electrical Configuration of Video Slot Machine>
  • [0114]
    [0114]FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the electrical configuration of the video slot machine 1. As illustrated, the video slot machine 1 has a CPU 100, a clock generation circuit 101, ROM 110, and RAM 120. Upon receipt of a clock signal supplied from the clock generation circuit 101, the CPU 100 operates. The CPU 100 is connected to individual constituent portions by way of a bus, thereby acting as the control center of the video slot machine 1.
  • [0115]
    The ROM 110 is non-volatile memory, and various programs, data, and tables are stored in that memory. FIG. 4 is a descriptive view showing contents stored in the ROM 110. Stored in the ROM 110 are a boot program BP, a control program CP, twenty pieces of bit map data BMP1 to BMP20, mask data MSK, a winning determination table TBL1, a respin determination table TBL2, or the like.
  • [0116]
    The boot program BP is used for initializing individual sections of the video slot machine 1. Immediately after the main power switch has been turned on, the boot program BP is loaded from the ROM 110. The control program CP is used for controlling the entirety of the video slot machine 1.
  • [0117]
    The bit map data BMP1 through BMP20 represent images of the respective symbols S in the form of a bit map format. The respective bit map data BMP1 to BMP20 are data to be used for specifying a color for each of pixels constituting an image. Each piece of bit map data comprises image data DR of red (R) color, image data DG of green (G) color, and image data DB of blue (B) color. Here, each of the image data sets DR, DG, and DB is a 16-bit data set.
  • [0118]
    The mask data MSK are used for generating a translucent mask image formed by punching the geometry of the target symbol TS, FIG. 5 shows a mask image generated on the basis of mask data MSK. The mask image consists of a masked area MS and a non-masked area NM. A boundary existing between the masked area MS and the non-masked area NM matches the contour of the target symbol TS. As shown in FIG. 2, the target symbol TS is a STAR character. The contour of the target symbol TS is a combination of a circle and a rectangle. Hence, the contour of the non-masked area NM is a combination of a circle and a rectangle. The non-masked area NM is transparent, whilst the masked area MS is translucent. Consequently, when a mask image is superimposed on the image of a reel, the reel image in the non-masked area NM is highlighted, whereas the reel image in the masked area becomes unnoticeable.
  • [0119]
    Like the bit map data BMP1 to BMP20, the mask data MSK are of bit mat format. The mask data MSK assumes a value on a per-pixel basis. The mask data MSK comprise red mask data MR, green mask data MG, and blue mask data MS. In the masked area MS, the mask data MR are represented as MR=0000 in hexadecimal; the mask data MB are represented as MG=0000 in hexadecimal; and the mask data MB are represented as MB=0000 in hexadecimal. In the non-masked area NM, the mask data MS are represented as MR=0000 in hexadecimal; the mask data MG are represented as MG=0000 in hexadecimal; and the mask data MG=FFFF in hexadecimal.
  • [0120]
    In short, data values are set for the red mask data MR, the green mask data MG, and the blue mask data MB such that a distinction can be made between the masked area MS and the non-masked area NM.
  • [0121]
    Next, the respin determination table TBL1 stores values corresponding to the combinations of symbols S in which the two target symbols TS come to a halt at the bet line. The winning determination table TBL2 stores determination codes representing the types of winning combinations and a failure, and values of first selecting data in association with each other. In addition, the odds table TBL3 stores the determination codes and odds in association with each other.
  • [0122]
    Next, the RAM 120 is volatile memory. The RAM 120 acts as a work area for the CPU 100 and stores results of arithmetic operation pertaining to image composition processing to be performed in accordance with the control program CP.
  • [0123]
    Next, a graphic controller 130 controls reading and writing of image data from and into frame memory 131. The image data transferred from the CPU 100 are written into the frame memory 131 via the graphic controller 130. The image data read from the frame memory 131 are output to the monitor 10 via the graphic controller 130.
  • [0124]
    Next, a sound controller 140 controls reading and writing of sound data from and into sound memory 141. Upon receipt of a predetermined command from the CPU 100, the sound controller 140 reads sound data corresponding to the command from the sound memory 141, and the sound data are converted through digital-to-analog conversion, thereby producing a sound signal. The sound signal is output to a speaker 142. Sound data include data to be used for various sound effects. In accordance with the control program CP, the CPU 100 issues a command for generating sound effects in response to a scene during progress of a game. Therefore, the video slot machine 1 emits sound effects responsive to a scene during progress of a game by way of the speaker 142.
  • [0125]
    Next, an input interface circuit 150 is connected to various sensors. A coin sensor 151 counts the number of coins inserted from the coin insert slot 20 and outputs a signal representing a result of count operation. A paper money sensor 152 senses the type of paper money inserted from the paper money insert slot 21 and outputs a signal representing a result of sensing operation. Button sensors BS-1, BS-2, . . . BS-11 detect pressing of the respective buttons shown in FIG. 1 and output signals indicating a result of detection operation. The button sensors BS-1, BS-2, and BS-3 are assigned to the buttons 11, 12, and 13 shown in FIG. 1, respectively. Further, the button sensors BS-4, BS-5, . . . BS-9 are assigned to bet buttons 22, 23, . . . 27, respectively. Further, a button sensor BS-10 is assigned to the winning acquisition button 28, and a button sensor BS-11 is assigned to the double-or-nothing button 29.
  • [0126]
    The input interface circuit 150 converts signals output from the sensors into signals capable of being output to the bus. By means of the sensors, the CPU 100 can ascertain the nature of the operation performed by the player.
  • [0127]
    Next, an output interface circuit 160 is connected to a counter 14, lamps 161, and a hopper 162. As mentioned above, the counter 14 indicates monetary information. The lamps 161 are to be disposed in various buttons shown in FIG. 1. The CPU 100 illuminates the lamp 161 of a button to be made active and extinguishes the lamp 161 of a button to be made inactive. As a result, the player can ascertain an active lamp at a glance. The hopper 162 pays coins in accordance with a signal supplied from the CPU 100. ps <3. Operation of-the Video Slot Machine>
  • [0128]
    Operation of the video slot machine 1 will now be described.
  • [0129]
    [0129]FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing processing procedures of the control program CP to be executed by the CPU 100. The control program CP includes various types of modules. Here, a module means a program which executes a part of processing.
  • [0130]
    The CPU 100 determines whether or not credit is held, on the basis of credit data (step S1). Here, the credit data represent the current amount of credit. When the player inserts coins or paper money into the video slot machine 1, the CPU 100 computes the amount of credit corresponding to the amount of money inserted, in accordance with the signal output from the coin sensor 151 and the signal output from the paper money sensor 152. The CPU 100 adds the amount of computed credit to the value of credit data and updates the credit data on the basis of a result of addition. Through processing pertaining to step S1, the CPU 100 determines whether or not the credit data assume a value of 0. If the credit data do not assume a value of 0, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S2. In contrast, if the credit data assume a value of 0, the CPU 100 iterates determination processing pertaining to step S1 until the credit data assume a value of 1.
  • [0131]
    In step S2, the CPU 100 determines whether or not an active bet button is actuated. Here, the active bet button means a bet button corresponding to the number of coins bet which is smaller than the current amount of credit. For instance, if the Current number of bets is three, the bet buttons 22, 23, and 24 are active, whereas the bet buttons 25, 26, and 27 are inactive. More specifically, the CPU 100 makes a determination. pertaining to step S2 in accordance with signals output from the respective button sensors BS-4, BS-5, . . . , BS-9. The CPU 100 repeats a determination operation until an active bet button is actuated. Upon detection of actuation of an active bet button, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S3, where first selecting operation is performed (step S3).
  • [0132]
    The CPU 100 uses a random number generation module for the first selecting operation. The random number generation module is a program to be used for generating a random number. The CPU 100 stores an acquired random number into the RAM 120 as first selecting data. The first selecting data specify a combination of symbols S to be stopped at the bet line. By reference to the first selecting data, the CPU 100 can finally specify symbols S to be displayed in the respective reel areas R1 through R5.
  • [0133]
    Subsequently, the CPU 100 executes reel image processing through use of a reel image processing module (step S4). Upon receipt, as parameters, of a start code indicating a spin start position and an end code indicating a spin end position, the reel image processing module generates a read address of the ROM 120. As mentioned above, the first selecting data specify a combination of symbols S to be stopped at a bet line in a certain game. Consequently, the first selecting data generated in a previous game correspond to a start code, and the first selecting data generated in the current game correspond to an end code. The CPU 100 transfers the previous first selecting data and the current first selecting data to the reel image processing module and receives a read address from the reel image processing module. In accordance with the thus-received read address, the CPU 100 accesses a storage area of the ROM 120, thereby sequentially reading bit map data BMP. In accordance with the foregoing procedures, the CPU 10 generate reel image data (motion picture data). The thus-generated reel image data are transferred to the graphic controller 130. As a result, the monitor 10 displays a motion picture showing that the respective reels come to a standstill after having spun.
  • [0134]
    After having completed processing pertaining to step S4, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S5. In step S5, the CPU 100 determines whether or not requirements for respin are satisfied. As mentioned above, requirements for triggering a respin game are satisfied when two target symbols TS come to a standstill at the bet line. The first selecting data specify a combination of symbols S to be stopped at the bet line in a certain game. Values corresponding to combinations of symbols S, in which two target symbols TS come to a standstill at a bet line, are stored in the respin determination table TBL1. The CPU 100 compares the value of the first selecting data acquired in step S3 with the values stored in the respin determination table TBL1. The CPU 100 determines the requirements for respin are satisfied when at least one comparison result shows a match. In contrast, when all comparison results fail to show a match, the CPU 100 determines that the respin requirements are not satisfied.
  • [0135]
    When the respin requirements are not satisfied, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S6, where a determination is made as to whether or not a win has been achieved. Through processing, the CPU 100 reads a determination code corresponding to the value of the first selecting data, by reference to the winning determination table TBL2 stored in the ROM 120. On the basis of the thus-read determination code, the CPU 100 determines whether or not a win has been achieved.
  • [0136]
    When a result of determination shows achievement of a win, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S7, where winning processing is performed (step S7). By reference to the odds table TBL3, the CPU 100 reads odds corresponding to the determination code. Second, the CPU 100 computes the product of odds and the number of coins bet. Third, the CPU 100 generates image data to be used for displaying a text showing a computation result and outputs the thus-produced image data to the graphic controller 130. As a result, the monitor M displays the amount of credit given in that game.
  • [0137]
    Further, the CPU 100 illuminates the lamp 161 built into the winning acquisition button 28 and that built into the double-or-nothing button 29. Thereby, the player is prompted to choose a double-or-nothing game or acquire given credit.
  • [0138]
    Next, the CPU 100 determines whether or not the player has selected the double-or-nothing game (step S8). Here, the button sensor BS-10 senses pressing of the winning acquisition button 28. The button sensor BS-11 senses pressing of the double-or-nothing button 29. In accordance with signals output from the button sensors BS-10 and BS-11, the CPU 100 determines whether or not the player has selected a double-or-nothing game.
  • [0139]
    When the player has selected the double-or-nothing game, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S8, where double-or-nothing game processing is performed. When the double-or-nothing game is completed, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S10.
  • [0140]
    In contrast, when the player has not selected the double-or-nothing game, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S10, where the amount of credit is updated. As a result, the value of the credit data is updated depending on whether or not an award has been achieved and on whether or not a win has been achieved in the double-or-nothing game.
  • [0141]
    Next will be described processing to be performed when in step S5 the CPU 100 determines that the respin requirements are satisfied. Here, the respin requirements are satisfied when two target symbols TS come to a standstill at the bet line. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, when the target symbols TS come to a standstill at the respective reel display areas R2 and R3, the respin requirements are satisfied.
  • [0142]
    In step S12, the CPU 100 performs second selecting operation. Through second selecting operation, the CPU 100 acquires a random number through use of the random number generation module. Further, the CPU 100 stores the thus-acquired random number into the RAM 120 as second selecting data. The second selecting data specify a combination of symbols S which come to a standstill at the bet line on all the reels other than the reel on which the target symbol TS has already come-to a halt at the bet line.
  • [0143]
    After having finished the second selecting operation, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S12, where respin display processing is performed. FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing operation of the CPU 100 in the respin display processing. First, the CPU 100 reads mask data MSK from the ROM 110 (step S20). The mask data MSK are of bit map format, as are the bit map data BMP.
  • [0144]
    Next, the CPU 100 determines whether or not the red mask data MR match MR=0000, the green mask data MG match MG=0000, and the blue mask data MB match MB=FFFF (step S21). As mentioned above, in the non-masked area NM, the mask data MSK assume MR=0000, MG=0000, and MB=FFFF. In contrast, in the masked area MS, the mask data MSK do not assume MR=0000, MG=0000, and MG=FFFF. In other words, the red mask data MR, green mask data MG, and blue mask data MB in the non-masked area NM are set to values which cannot be assumed in the mask MS. Consequently, when YES is selected as a result of determination rendered in step S21, processing pertaining to the non-masked area NM is in process. In contrast, when NO is selected as a result of determination rendered in step S21, processing pertaining to the masked area MS is in process.
  • [0145]
    When YES is selected as a result of determination made in step S21, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S22, where reel image data are output directly to the graphic controller 130. Consequently, in the non-masked area NM, a motion picture of the reel is displayed in unmodified form.
  • [0146]
    The reel image data are constituted of image data DR, DG, and DB of respective RGB colors and are produced through use of the foregoing reel image processing module. The CPU 100 transfers the first selecting data and the second selecting data to the reel image processing module and receives a read address from the reel processing module. On the basis of the first selecting data, the reel image processing module specifies two reels on which the target symbols TS are stopped at the bet line. The reel image processing module produces a read address such that images show the symbol S as being stopped on these reels. The reel image processing module also produces another read address such that images shows the symbols S as moving and coming to a standstill. On the basis of the read addresses, the CPU 100 access the storage areas of the ROM 110 and read bit map data BMP, thereby producing reel image data.
  • [0147]
    As a result, among all the reels, reels other than the reels on which the target symbols TS have already been stopped at the bet line are spun again. The symbols S on the reels that have been spun again are moved and come to a standstill. At this time, the combination of the symbols S that come to a standstill at the bet line is coincident with the combination of symbols S indicated by the second selecting data. Here, reel images in the masked area MS are subjected to masking.
  • [0148]
    When NO is selected as a result of determination made in step S22, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S23. In step S23, the CPU 100 produces a composite image data from the reel image data and the mask data MSK. Specifically, the CPU 100 produces composite image data by means of computing the average of the reel image data and the mask data MSK. The composite image data are constituted of data sets of respective RGB colors. The values of the data sets are assumed to be DRC, DGC, and DBC, the values DRC, DGC, and DBC being defined by the following equations:
  • DRC=(DR+MR)/2
  • DGC=(DG+MG)/2
  • DBC=(DB+MB)/2
  • [0149]
    Here, MR, MG, and MB in the masked area MS are set to MR=MG=MG=0000. Consequently, DRC=DR/2, DGC=DG/2, and DBC=DB/2 are derived. The reel images in the masked area MS become comparatively darker than those in the non-reel masked area NM.
  • [0150]
    Subsequently, the CPU 100 determines whether or not the respin display processing is to be terminated (step S24) . When YES is selected as a result of determination operation, the CPU 100 terminates the respin display processing. In contrast, when NO is selected as a result of determination operation, the CPU 100 repeats processing pertaining to step S20 to processing pertaining to step S24. Specifically, the CPU 100 continuously performs the respin display processing until the symbols S specified by the second selecting data come to a standstill at the bet line.
  • [0151]
    The respin display processing will be described more specifically. First, the respective reels are assumed to have come to a standstill in a normal game, as shown in FIG. 7. In this case, the respin requirement is satisfied, and hence the screen on the monitor M is switched to the screen shown in FIG. 9. An image in which the target symbol TS is fitted into the non-masked area NM appears in each of the reel display areas R2 and R3. In contrast, the symbols S displayed in the remaining reel display areas R1, R4, and R5 along the bet line do not coincide with the outlines of the non-masked areas NM.
  • [0152]
    The advantage yielded as a result of indication of the screen shown in FIG. 9 on the monitor M lies in the following points. First, at a glance, the player can understand that mask processing is in operation. Hence, even a player who is not well familiar with rules can be readily informed of occurrence of a shift from a normal game to a respin game. Second, the player can determine, at a glance, whether or not a match exists between the geometry of the non-masked area NM and the geometry of the symbol S. Hence, the player can immediately perceive a rule that respin operation is started.
  • [0153]
    [0153]FIG. 10 shows a screen in a respinning operation. As illustrated, when the reels are spun again after the respin game has been started, images are displayed in the reel display areas R1, R4, and R5 such that the respective symbols S move downward in the vertical direction. At this time, the non-masked areas NM, each having a shape defined by combination of a circle and a rectangle, are disposed along the bet line. In short, the contours of the target symbols TS are highlighted along the bet line.
  • [0154]
    Consequently, even when the player does not know the respin game in detail, he/she can infer a rule that a win is achieved if symbols S whose outlines coincide with the geometries of the non-masked areas NM come to a standstill at the bet line. In other words, the video slot machine 1 can intuitively inform the player of rules of a game without use of descriptive explanations of the rules. Further, the player infers a rule during the course of progress in game. Hence, the player can easily understand the rules in a short period of time. Further, even in the case of a beginner player who does not know any rules at all, the player can immediately enjoy playing games.
  • [0155]
    The mask processing further yields the following advantages. As shown in FIG. 10, images in the non-masked areas NM are highlighted during the respinning actions of the reels. In contrast, images in the masked area MS become unnoticeable. An image is seen by the player as if the player were peeping at a portion of the reel image by way of the window of the non-masked area NM. At this time, the player's interest lies in whether or not the target symbol TS coinciding with the contour of the non-masked area NM comes to a halt at the non-masked area NM.
  • [0156]
    When the target symbol TS comes to a halt at the non-masked area NM, the image displayed in the non-masked area NM changes in the following manner. First, a portion of the target symbols starts appearing from an upper part of the non-masked area NM. Next, the target symbol TS in the non-masked area NM becomes gradually larger. Finally, the target symbol Ts is fitted into the non-masked area NM. The course of this process is analogous to a case where a specific piece is fitted into a predetermined hole or frame in a puzzle game. Fitting the target symbol TS into the non-masked area NM affords the feeling of satisfaction in completion of an object. Stoppage of the target symbol TS at the non-masked area NM coincides satisfies the requirements for achievement of a win defined in the rules of the game. Hence, the player can be afforded the feeling of greater satisfaction.
  • [0157]
    At a point in time when a certain winning combination has not yet been established, a mask—in which is punched the contour of a symbol S satisfying requirements for establishing a winning combination on a bet line—is placed. As a result, the video slot machine 1 effects the same presentation operation as in the case of the puzzle game, thereby exalting the feeling of the player when a win has been achieved.
  • [0158]
    Turning back to FIG. 6, when the respin display processing is completed, the CPU 100 advances processing to step S13, where a determination is made as to whether or not requirements for a free game are satisfied. As mentioned above, a free game is started on condition that the target symbol TS on at least one of the three reels that have been spun again comes to a halt at the bet line. The second selecting data specify the symbol S which is to stop at the bet line for each of the reels that have been spun again. Consequently, a determination can be made as to whether or not requirements for a free game can be satisfied, on the basis of the second selecting data. The CPU 100 inspects whether or not the symbol S specified by the second selecting data corresponds to the target symbol TS. The CPU 100 determines whether or not the requirements for a free game are satisfied on the basis of the result of inspection. For instance, as shown in FIG. 11, when five target symbols TS have come to a halt at the bet line, a free game is triggered.
  • [0159]
    When YES is selected as a result of determination performed in step S13, the CPU 10 advances processing to step S14, where free game processing is executed. During free game processing, five free games are offered. The free game processing is approximately identical with processing pertaining to step S3 to processing pertaining to step S10. In place of processing pertaining to step S5, the number of free games is updated. During a free game, a respin game is not triggered. When three or more target symbols TS have come to a standstill along the bet line, a value of “5” is added to the number of free games. For this reason, the CPU 100 determines whether or not three or more target symbols TS come to a halt at the bet line, on the basis of the first selecting data acquired in a free game. On the basis of a result of determination, the number of free games is updated.
  • [0160]
    When processing pertaining to step S14 has been completed or when NO is selected as a result of determination made in step S13, the CPU 100 terminates a series of processing.
  • [0161]
    As has been described, in the embodiment, the CPU 100 displays, on the monitor M, an image showing that a non-masked area NM coinciding with the profile of the target symbol TS is located at a winning line. A player who does not know any rules can be informed that a win is achieved when the target symbol TS comes to a halt at the winning line. Further, the target symbol TS passes through the masked area MS and comes to a stop at the non-masked area NM. Hence, there is yielded a presentation effect of the ability to afford the feeling of satisfaction in completing a set-in puzzle.
  • [0162]
    <4. Modification>
  • [0163]
    Up to this point, the invention has been described in connection with the embodiments which are considered to be most practical and preferable at this point in time. However, the invention is not limited to the embodiments described in the specification and is susceptible to modifications falling within the scope of the gist and concept of the invention read from the appended claims and the specification, as required. A video gaming machine involving such modifications must be construed to fall within the technical range of the invention. As a matter of course, various modifications provided below fall within the range of the invention.
  • [0164]
    (1) The embodiment has described the video slot machine 1. However, the invention is not limited to the embodiment and may be applied to a video gaming machine equipped with a display device. In this case, the ROM 110 may be embodied by any recording medium, so long as the recording medium can record programs, data, and tables. For instance, the recording medium may be an information recording medium, such as a CD-ROM, MO, or DVD-ROM. Further, the recording medium may be an information recording medium, such as a hard disk drive or RAM, used in a server which delivers programs by way of a communications network.
  • [0165]
    (2) In the embodiment, the CPU 100 performs the first selecting operation in step 3, as shown in FIG. 6. In step S11, the CPU 100 performs the second selecting operation. Of these selecting operations, the second selecting operation is for determining a stop position for the symbol S in a respin game. The invention is not limited to such processing. As a matter of course, selecting operation, including determination of a stop position for the symbol S in a respin game, may be performed in the first selecting operation.
  • [0166]
    For instance, when a combination of the symbols S which come to a stop at a bet line in a normal game can be expressed as 25-bit data, 64-bit first selecting data may be generated in the first selecting operation, thereby omitting the second selecting operation. The first selecting data in this case specify a result of a respin game and a result of a free game, as well as a result of a normal game. In other words, a scenario of a game related to a single actuation of a bet button may be determined by the first selecting operation.
  • [0167]
    In this case, a read address to be used for displaying a respin game is generated on the basis of the first selecting data during respin display processing (step S6 shown in FIG. 6). In accordance with the read address, bit map data BMP are read, thereby generating reel image data. Composite image data are produced from the mask data MSK and the reel image data.
  • [0168]
    (3) The embodiment has described a case where a plurality of reel images, in which the symbols S are moved and stopped, are subjected to masking. The invention is not limited to this embodiment. As a matter of course, the invention can be applied to a video gaming machine to be used for playing a game in which a win is achieved when a row of symbols S, including the target symbols S, is moved and comes to a halt at a winning position.
  • [0169]
    For example, there is adopted a rule that a column having first and second symbols arranged alternately is moved vertically in a double-or-nothing game and a win is achieved when the first symbol comes to a halt at the winning position. In this case, the CPU 100 executes the following processing in accordance with the control program CP.
  • [0170]
    First, the CPU 100 generates motion picture data representing a motion picture in which the first and second symbols are moved and stopped,
  • [0171]
    Second, the CPU 100 generates mask data representing a mask image which has a masked area and a non-masked area and a boundary there between matches the contour of the first symbol.
  • [0172]
    Third, the CPU 100 generates composite image data to be used for displaying a composite image into which a motion picture and a mask image having a non-masked area in a winning position are superimposed, on the basis of the motion picture data and the mask data,
  • [0173]
    Fourth, the CPU 100 outputs the composite image data to the graphic controller 130, thereby displaying a masked composite image on the monitor M.
  • [0174]
    (4) The embodiment has provided an explanation while the star symbol S which acts as the impetus for a respin game is taken as an example of the target symbol TS. However, as a matter of course, the invention is not limited to the embodiment.
  • [0175]
    For example, alignment of five “7” symbols S along a bet line is a requirement for establishment of a jackpot combination. In this case, the masking operation may be performed on condition that four “7” symbols S are aligned with the bet line while the four reels remain stationary. More specifically, the CPU 100 performs processing according to the following procedures.
  • [0176]
    First, the CPU 100 determines whether or not four or five “7” symbols come to a standstill along the bet line, on the basis of the first selecting data.
  • [0177]
    Second, if the result of determination is YES, masking operation is executed. In contrast, when the result of determination is NO, masking operation is not operated.
  • [0178]
    Third, a mask in which the contour of the “7” symbol S is punched is used for masking operation. When four “7” symbols S come to a standstill at the bet line, a reel on which the “7” symbol S does not come to a halt is specified on the basis of first selecting data. Reel image processing is executed so as to finally stop spinning of the reel.
  • [0179]
    Fourth, at a point in time when the four “7” symbols have come to a standstill at the bet line, the CPU 100 starts masking operation. The CPU 100 displays a masked composite image during spinning action of the final reel.
  • [0180]
    In other words, when an image capable of achieving a win for a certain winning combination is displayed on the display device, the CPU 100 performs a masking operation in which symbols S which would constitute a winning combination when come to a standstill at the bet line are taken as target symbols TS.
  • [0181]
    Further, as a matter of course, a plurality of target symbols TS may be available. For example, masking operation may be performed on condition that four identical symbols S are stopped at the bet line while all the symbols S are taken as the target symbols TS.
  • [0182]
    In this case, respective mask data sets MSK corresponding to respective symbols S are stored in the ROM 110. The CPU 100 specifies the target symbols TS constituting,a winning combination, on the basis of the first selecting data, and selects mask data corresponding to the target symbols TS from the mask data sets. The CPU 100 generates masked composite image data through use of selected mask data.
  • [0183]
    (5) In the embodiment, the CPU 100 may generate composite image data by means of multiplying reel image data by the mask data MSK. In this case, the mask data MSK are set so as to display a multiplying factor on a per-pixel basis. Coefficients corresponding to DR, DG, and DB constituting the reel image data are represented as KR, KG, and KB. For instance, KR, KG, and KB in the masked area MS are set to KR=0.5, KG=0.5, and KB=0.5 and KR, KG, and KB in the non-masked area are set to KR=1, KG=1, and KB=1, composite image data analogous to those described in the embodiment can be acquired.
  • [0184]
    As has been described, according to the invention, in a video gaming machine for executing a game in which a win is achieved when specific symbols come to a standstill at a winning position, an image—in which a non-masked area coincides in geometry with the contour of a specific symbol—is displayed on a display device. Even a player who does not know any rules can be informed that a win is achieved if specific symbols come to a halt at a winning position. Further, specific symbols pass through a masked area and come to a standstill in a non-masked area when a win is achieved, and hence there is yielded a presentation effect of the ability to afford the feeling of satisfaction in completing a set-in puzzle.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationG07F17/34, A63F5/04
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3265, G07F17/3267
European ClassificationG07F17/32M2B, G07F17/32M4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 19, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AIDA, EIJI;REEL/FRAME:013596/0709
Effective date: 20021216
Jul 10, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI GAMING INCORPORATED, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KONAMI CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:019529/0827
Effective date: 20070227
Owner name: KONAMI GAMING INCORPORATED,NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KONAMI CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:019529/0827
Effective date: 20070227