US 20040058732 A1
A method of location-based gaming includes the steps of engaging a program to play a game, determining the location of a target object, providing the location of the target object to a central location, obtaining a data file pertaining to an object at the location of the target object, and generating gaming object data relative to the location of the target object.
1. A method of location-based gaming comprising the steps of:
a) engaging a program to play a game,
b) determining the location of a target object,
c) providing the location of the target object to a central location,
d) obtaining a data file pertaining to an object at the location of the target object, and
e) generating gaming object data relative to the location of the target object.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
 Turning now to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, a player first engages a program to play a game. The game may be downloaded to the player's mobile computing device, such as a personal digital assistant, laptop computer or similar device. In some preferred embodiments, the player computer may be connected to a heads-up display for the purposes of displaying the game action, objects in the game, other players, scores, remote sensing features and the like.
 In some preferred embodiments, the user determines the location of a target object, such as another player. In particular, the user determines the location of the target object relative to the user's location. The target object may be another player, a physical object such as a tree, a water source or rock, or merely a selected location in physical space which may be used to correspond to a virtual location in the game. The distance between the user and a target object is determined using a ranging device. Appropriate ranging devices include, without limitation, a device having an element that determines the distance or range to a target based on the eye positions of the user (e.g., using a cross-hairs element in the heads-up display); an infrared pointer device; an ultrasonic device; or any other ranging device.
 Preferably, the player's computer also carries a locating element, such as a GPS locator, that provides the user's location, as well as the orientation of the user (i.e., the direction in which the user is facing). The user's location and orientation, together with the location of the target object relative to the user, thus can be used to determine the location of the target object.
 Once the location of the target object has been determined, this location is transmitted to a central location, in particular to a central computer. In particular embodiments, the information is transmitted via a wide-area network ,such as the Internet, using a device carried by the user, such as, but not limited to, a personal data manager, a cellular telephone having Internet accessibility, etc.
 When the central location is provided with the location of the target object, the central location searches for one or more data files pertaining to an object at that location. Such data files can include, without limitation, text files, photographic files, video files, audio files, or dynamically changing data associated with the target object. In some preferred embodiments, such as when the target object is one or more other players, the data regarding the location(s) of the other player(s) may be updated dynamically with new information regarding the present location of the other player(s) in physical space being supplied by one or more devices, such as GPS location devices.
 In one preferred embodiment, two players are each equipped with wireless computers capable of detecting their physical locations and transmitting the locations via a wide area network to a gaming computer, which coordinates the location of the players with each other and virtual objects generated by the gaming program. The program then generates gaming object data, including perspective, size, etc., to the players so that the objects appearing in the heads-up displays of the players appear to realistically change their appearance in relation to the location of the players. For example, if the players are fifty feet apart and across from each other in a large grassy meadow of a park, in some embodiments, the gaming computer would transmit data corresponding to a game object of a dinosaur presented in the heads-up display of the players in proper proportion to appear to be between the players. As the players move, for example, circling the area corresponding to the computer-generated location of the dinosaur game object, the players would receive in their displays a rapidly updated depiction of the game object corresponding to the views one would see if one were traversing around a real object.
 In some embodiments, a physical game tool or utensil is also equipped with a location sensing and transmitting means. In some embodiments the game tool is a sword which contains GPS location sensing and transmission capability. By the use of such additional devices which can report their location coordinates to the game computer, players may use such utensils in the game. For example, a player might appear to strike the aforesaid virtual dinosaur with the player's sword utensil.
 In some particular embodiments, the locations of the players and their actions are incorporated into the game, interact in real time with virtual game objects, such as computer generated dinosaurs, and such interactions and other game objects are displayed in a semitransparent heads-up display which enables the real world to be the backdrop for the game.
 In other particular embodiments, the player could play against one or more physical players viewed directly via such semi-transparent heads-up displays, but who appear to be mixed into or otherwise superimposed upon the computer-generated game environments which are transmitted to the players' computers for display via their heads-up displays. The wireless computers may be capable of receiving voice commands via microphones attached to the heads-up displays. In one embodiment, the players could request to play a game in which voice commands are used exclusively.
 Gaming object data as described above include video data, such as perspectives, sizes and the like. Further embodiments of the inventive method include additional gaming object data such as audio, tactile and olfactory information. In specific embodiments, one or more scent reservoirs, which are carried, for example, in a headset or other apparatus worn by a player, can be triggered in response to gaming object data generated by the gaming program.
 The invention may be more readily understood by referring to the accompanying drawings in which
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustrating an example of a method of the invention by which a player identifies, locates, obtains information pertaining to and interacts with a game object and another player.
 The present invention relates to a method, system and apparatus for enabling a user to play a computer game or “video game” using information associated with a player or object at a specific location.
 Recent developments in telecommunications and data processing, and in particular the development of broadband capability in connection with wide-area networks such as the Internet and wireless interfaces to such networks, offer the potential for facilitating the transmission and reception of large amounts of information which may be directed to effectuating an electronic gaming environment in which one or more players may interact with each other and/or computer generated objects. However, at present it is typically necessary for a player to obtain the desired information and play electronic games at a single fixed location, such as a home or office computer, an Internet café or the like.
 A need exists for a method for enabling players to interact with each other or objects in a game, or other persons in relation to the locations of the players, objects and/or other persons.
 A need also exists for a system and apparatus for facilitating such methods.
 In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of location-based gaming that includes the steps of engaging a program to play a game, determining the location of a target object, providing the location of the target object to a central location, obtaining a data file pertaining to an object at the location of the target object, and generating gaming object data relative to the location of the target object.
 Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description. It is to be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by way of illustration and not limitation. Many changes and modifications within the scope of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.
 This application is based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/389,700, filed Jun. 14, 2002, the disclosure of which is incorporated in its entirety herein by reference.