US 20050153762 A1
A sports videogame such as a baseball videogame allows a user to control the release time of a pitch in order to control the timing of a break on the pitched ball. Other implementations of a baseball videogame allow a user to put extra spin on a pitched ball to thereby create a greater break on the pitch or allow the user to play in a hero mode which enables the user to control a videogame character in a series of specific game play scenarios designed to allow the user to immediately control the videogame character to perform unique skills. Game play may also be customized by allowing the user to incorporate user-created images into screens of game play and/or allow the user to incorporate recorded audio messages into game play.
95. In a videogame system including a user-operable controller, a method of allowing a user to incorporate a user generated audio message into game play of a videogame, the method comprising:
receiving and storing an audio message from the user;
detecting input from the user-operable controller indicating a particular event that may occur in game play of the videogame; and
playing the stored audio message during game play of the videogame if and when the particular event in game play occurs.
96. The method of
97. The method of
98. The method of
99. The method of
100. A system for playing a videogame comprising:
a microphone for receiving an audio message from a user, the received audio message being stored in a storage device;
a user-operable controller for receiving input indicating a particular event that may occur in game play of the videogame; and
at least one processor for processing data relating to the audio message and the input indicating the particular event, and generating an output signal to play the audio message during game play of the videogame if and when the particular event in game play occurs.
101. The system of
102. The system of
103. A method of allowing a user to incorporate a recorded audio message into game play of a videogame, the method comprising:
allowing a user to record an audio message;
enabling storage of the audio message in a storage device;
allowing the user to select a particular game play event from a screen listing a plurality of possible game play events; and
enabling playback of the recorded audio message during game play of the videogame if and when the selected game play event occurs.
The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/461,423 (Attorney Ref. No.: 723-1392) filed on Apr. 10, 2003, 60/493,799 (Attorney Ref. No.: 723-1419) filed on Aug. 11, 2003 and 60/537,910 (Attorney Ref. No.: 723-1435) filed on Jan. 22, 2004, the contents of each of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The technology herein relates to the field of sports videogames and, more particularly, to a baseball videogame which provides the user with greater options, flexibility, and customization of game play. For example, exemplary implementations allow the user to control the release time of the baseball from the pitcher's hand to initiate a pitch, thereby controlling the timing of a break (i.e., change in ball flight such as curve) on the pitched ball. Other exemplary implementations, additionally or alternatively, (i) allow the user to put extra spin on a pitched ball to thereby create a greater break on the pitch, (ii) allow the user to play in a “hero” mode which enables the user to control a videogame character in a series of specific game play scenarios, (iii) allow the user to incorporate user-generated images into screens showing game play, and (iv) allow the user to incorporate user-created audio messages such as audio messages having the user's voice into game play.
Sports videogames have been very successful and popular in the past. There are a variety of sports games that have been provided for use on videogame consoles, such as Nintendo's N64, Sega's Dreamcast, and Sony's Playstation2, to name just a few as well as the Gameboy Advance (GBA) portable game console. Numerous basketball, football, soccer, baseball and hockey games, as well as many other sports games, have been created for playing on videgame consoles. Due mainly to the major advancements in graphics hardware over the years, these sports videogames have become very realistic and provide users of the games with an exciting and enjoyable experience that closely simulates real sports competition. The software behind these videogames has also become very sophisticated and facilitates many elements of real sports competition in order to provide the user with an experience that simulates real sports play as close as possible. For example, in baseball videogames, the player is provided with the ability to pitch, throw, hit, field, catch and perform many other simulated acts that a real-life baseball player would perform during an actual real-life game.
While prior videogames have very realistic game play, the industry is constantly striving to improve the games and provide even greater realistic and exciting experiences for the player. Constant improvements are needed in order to continue to satisfy the ever increasing demand for high quality and realistic sports videogames.
One way that baseball videogame developers have provided greater realism and exciting game play is to allow a videogame player to select a specific type of pitch (e.g., fastball, curveball, change-up, screwball) and its intended location. It would be beneficial, however, to allow a videogame player (i.e., user) to control the pitch beyond these parameters.
Exemplary implementations of the baseball videogame disclosed herein resolve this problem. In particular, exemplary implementations of the baseball videogame provide an improved pitching feature by allowing the videogame player to control the release time of a pitch (i.e., the point in time that the pitcher releases the (virtual) ball toward home plate as a pitch) and/or allowing the videogame player to put extra spin on a pitched ball in addition to allowing the user to select pitch type and intended pitch location. By allowing the videogame player to control the release time of a pitch, a timing of the break on a pitched ball may be controlled. For example, if the videogame player controls the pitcher so that the release time is too early, the break on the pitched ball will occur early in its flight thereby allowing the batter to better anticipate the ball's ultimate location in the hitting zone of the batter and make any necessary adjustments. The batter is thus more capable of hitting the pitched ball. By allowing the videogame player to put extra spin on a pitched ball, the amount of break on the pitched ball can be made greater and/or multidirectional. A videogame player thus has greater flexibility in controlling the parameters of the pitched ball, thereby increasing realism and excitement during game play.
In an exemplary implementation of a baseball videogame, wherein animated action is performed by a pitcher character in response to input by a user provided through a user-operable controller, a method of controlling game play comprises: monitoring for user input on the user-operable controller requesting release of a baseball pitch by the pitcher character, detecting when user input is requested on the user-operable controller requesting release of the baseball pitch by the pitcher character, comparing a time at which the user input is detected to an optimal pitch release timing, and controlling a timing of a break on the baseball pitch based on the comparison. The timing of the break on the baseball pitch may occur relatively early in its flight when the time at which the user input is detected occurs earlier than the optimal pitch release timing. The timing of the break on the baseball pitch may occur relatively late in its flight when the time at which the user input is detected occurs at or during the optimal pitch release timing. The timing of the break on the baseball pitch may result in the pitch being outside of a batter character's strike zone when the time at which the user input is detected occurs after the optimal pitch release timing. The optimal pitch release timing may be a period of time which varies based on the performance statistics of the pitcher character or the type of pitch selected by input on the user-operable controller.
In another exemplary implementation of a baseball videogame, wherein animated action is performed by a pitcher character in response to input by a user provided through a user-operable controller, a method of controlling game play comprises: receiving user input from the user-operable controller requesting a pitch by the pitcher character, the pitch having a certain amount of spin, monitoring user input from the user-operable controller requesting an additional amount of spin to be added on the pitch, and performing the pitch of a baseball from the pitcher character, the pitch having the certain amount of spin plus the additional amount of spin when the user input requesting an additional amount of spin has been received. The user input requesting an additional amount of spin may indicate the level of additional spin is to be added on the pitch. The user input requesting an additional amount of spin may be accomplished using a button on the user-operable controller as a control element for indicating the level of additional spin to be added on the pitch, the level of additional spin being directly related to a number times the button is pushed. One or more symbols may be displayed to indicate a level of additional spin to be added on the pitch. A fatigue level of the pitcher character may increase as a result of the pitcher character placing additional spin on a pitch.
Another way that baseball videogame developers have generated excitement and interest in sports videogames is to provide the user the option of playing in different game play modes. These different game play modes include, for example: (i) a season mode in which a user selects a desired team which competes against other teams in a simulated season with won-lost and player statistics being updated via play during the season, (ii) a franchise mode which places the user in the position of a team franchise general manager capable of trading, and drafting players, and (iii) a tournament mode which allows a user to define a single elimination or round robin tournament between different teams and/or users. It would be beneficial, however, to allow a user to select from an even greater number of game play modes.
Exemplary implementations of a baseball videogame disclosed herein resolve this problem. In particular, exemplary implementations of the baseball videogame provide a hero mode as an option for selection by the user. The hero mode allows the user to select a particular videogame character which may, for example, possess a distinct set of unique skills similar to that of a particular real-life player. The hero mode provides a series of game play scenarios which allow the videogame player to control the videogame character immediately to perform at least one of the unique skills. The series of game play scenarios thus allows the videogame player to control the character to perform the corresponding real-life player's signature moves and abilities immediately instead of waiting to see if and when these scenarios would occur during normal game play. A camera view of the display screens may continually show a first person perspective of that particular videogame character or a perspective from immediately behind that of the particular videogame character. The results of the user's control of the videogame character to successfully complete the signature moves and/or abilities in game play can be scored and the scores accumulated over the set of game play scenarios.
In an exemplary implementation of a sports videogame, wherein animated action may be performed by a game character in response to input from a user provided through a user-operable controller and the game character possesses the characteristics of a real-life player having a plurality of unique skills, a method of controlling game play comprises: generating a first game play scenario presenting an opportunity for the user to control the game character to simulate performance of one of the unique skills of the real-life player, receiving user input from the user-operable controller to control the animated action of the game character in the first game play scenario, generating at least one additional game play scenario presenting an opportunity for the user to control the game character to simulate performance of another one of the unique skills of the real-life player, and receiving user input from the user-operable controller to control the animated action of the game character in the additional game play scenario. A score based on the user's control of the game character to achieve a certain goal presented by the first game play scenario and a score based on the user's control of the game character to achieve a certain goal presented by the additional game play scenario may be assigned and may be added to form an accumulated score. A determination may be made to determine whether the accumulated score exceeds a threshold value. The assigned scores may be separate scores from runs scored during normal game play in a baseball videogame. A display of game play during the game play scenarios may be shown which continually shows a perspective from a position behind the game character or continually shows a first person perspective of the game character. Sounds may be generated during game play in each of the game play scenarios that simulate what the game character would hear during virtual game play including audio instruction from a teammate character.
Another way that baseball videogame developers have provided greater realism and exciting game play is to provide visual and audio details of a sports venue such as a sports stadium or arena that simulate those in real-life. For example, many baseball videogames include music broadcast over a simulated public address system and pictures resembling real-life stadium billboards. It would be beneficial, however, to allow a user to customize visual and audio parameters of the sports venue. Exemplary implementations of the videogame disclosed herein resolve this problem. In particular, exemplary implementations of the baseball videogame provide the user with the opportunity to customize a sports venue by incorporating a recorded audio message such as a message having the user's voice into game play and/or incorporating user generated artwork into signs held by fans, venue billboards or banners, field patterns and/or motion picture screens.
In an exemplary implementation of a videogame system including a user-operable controller, a method comprises: allowing the user to create an image using the user-operable controller during execution of a software program, allowing the user to select a portion of a virtual sports venue in which interactive game play of a sports videogame is to be provided, applying the created image onto the selected portion of the sports venue, displaying the sports venue having the applied created image so that the created image contributes to the overall atmosphere in which interactive game play of the sports videogame is provided, and providing interactive game play of the sports videogame within the sports venue in response to input received on the user-operable controller. The portion of the virtual sports venue onto which the user created image is applied may be one of the following: a billboard, a sign, a playing surface pattern and a motion picture screen. The image may be created by editing a preexisting image which is loaded into the videogame system. The preexisting image may be loaded by reading data printed on a card with a card reader which may be connected to the user-operable controller. The user may be allowed to preview the created image, before application onto the selected portion of the sports venue, on a display screen of the user-operable controller. Applying the created image onto the portion of the sports venue may include processing the created image to covert the created image into a texture and texture mapping the texture onto the selected portion of the sports venue. The portion of the sports venue onto which the created image is applied may be animated to simulate a moving picture. The execution of the software program may be accomplished at least in part by a processor arranged within the controller.
In another exemplary implementation of a videogame system including a user-operable controller, a method of allowing a user to incorporate a user generated audio message into game play of a videogame comprises: receiving and storing an audio message from the user, detecting input from the user-operable controller indicating a particular event that may occur in game play of the videogame, and playing the stored audio message during game play of the videogame if and when the particular event in game play occurs. A menu screen may be displayed listing a plurality of game play events so that the detected input from the user-operable controller indicating the particular event is a selection of one of the game play events listed on the menu screen. The audio message from the user may be received through a microphone such as a microphone connected to the user-operable controller. Receipt and storage of the audio message and detection of the input indicating a particular event in game play may be completed before interactive game play of the videogame begins.
These and other features, objects and advantages will be better understood from review of the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:
Exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementations will now be described with reference to the drawings.
The videogame console is also provided with a game controller 20 for use by the user in controlling the game by providing input to the console 10 through selective operation of the buttons and other control elements on the controller 20. The controller 20 may be connected by wire 22 to the console 10 via the connection port 24, although a wireless connection or any other operable connection may be used. The controller 20 includes several different buttons that provide various corresponding signals to the videogame console for use by the game software to control the game in accordance therewith. More particularly, the exemplary controller 20 of
The exemplary implementations have particular applicability to sports videogames in which several (or at least two) different actions can be taken in a given situation. Such games include but are not limited to basketball, baseball, soccer, football and hockey. The exemplary illustrative non-limiting game software implementation is programmed to respond to signals from the controller 20, such that operation of one or more of the buttons or switches dictates the user's customization of the videogame. The buttons and/or switches also operate in a conventional manner to control game play as one skilled in the art will readily understand.
The GBA is powered by batteries (not shown) contained in a battery compartment accessible via a removable compartment cover 129. Power indicator 131 dims as the batteries lose power to provide a visual indication that new batteries are needed. In an alternative implementation, the GBA may also be configured for connection to an AC adapter to permit play without batteries.
To play a videogame (or use some other application), the user selects an appropriate storage medium storing the videogame (or application) he or she wants to play (or use), and inserts that storage medium into a slot 240 in the GBA. The storage medium may, for example, be in the form of a cartridge housing a memory that stores the game program or application. Such memory is typically semiconductor memory, although optical and magnetic memories are also usable. Alternatively, all or a portion of a videogame program may be downloaded to the GBA from a game console such as the GCN through link cable 201 and interface 143. The GBA can be used as a controller for another game console such as the GCN. If a GBA is used as a controller to a videogame executed by the GCN, information provided on display 127 a of a particular GBA may be viewable only by the user operating the GBA while information displayed by the television connected to the GCN is viewable by all users.
The user operates a power switch 125 b to turn on the GBA and cause the GBA to begin running the videogame or application based on the program stored in the storage medium or downloaded from a game console via interface 143. Of course, it is also possible to provide electrical power from the GCN if the GBA is connected to the GCN or to provide some games and/or applications in on-board memory of the GBA. Such games and applications may be accessible without inserting a storage medium into slot 240.
Operating keys 133 a-133 g are used to provide inputs to the GBA. These inputs may be transmitted to the GCN via link cable 201. Operating keys 133 a and 133 b are used, for example, to cause various motions and actions of the game characters (i.e., game players) displayed on LCD 127 a. These motions and actions include equipment (e.g., baseball bat) use, a jump and the like. Operating key 133 c is used to move a game character displayed on LCD 127 a in four directions, e.g., upward, downward, right and left. Operating key 133 d is a select key that is used, for example, for game mode selection and the like. Operating key 133 e is a start key that is used to start playing a game or to temporarily stop the progress of a game. The GBA is also provided with left and right shoulder buttons 133 f and 133 g for supplying operating signals. When a player holds the GBA during game play, operating keys 133 a and 133 b are accessible by the thumb of the right hand, operating key 133 c is accessible by the thumb of the left hand, left shoulder button 133 f is accessible by the index finger of the left hand and right shoulder button 133 g is accessible by the index finger of the right hand. In this way, a user may supply a variety of inputs to the GBA. Depending upon the particular game or application, the various operating keys 133 a-133 g can perform different functions at different times.
Other input devices may be used with the GBA. For example, if display 127 a is implemented as a touch-sensitive screen, a stylus may be used to supply inputs. Various other input devices may also be connected to the GBA via interface 143 or cartridge slot 240. For example, an infrared communication device may be connected to interface 143 to permit communication with other similarly equipped devices. A modem or network interface may be connected to the GBA via interface 143 or via cartridge slot 240 to permit connection to the Internet. A digital camera may be connected to the GBA via cartridge slot 240 to input captured images. A microphone may be connected to the GBA via cartridge slot 240 or via interface 143 to input audio signals such as the user's voice.
When a game cartridge is inserted into cartridge slot 240, the GBA automatically detects the cartridge type and switches to an appropriate operation mode. More specifically, the GBA includes a connector that, in use, is operatively connected to a portable storage media (e.g., game cartridges) storing game programs or other applications. The example GBA includes first processing circuitry for processing programs having a first program specification (e.g., an 8-bit specification) and second processing circuitry for processing programs having a second program specification (e.g., 32-bit specification). The automatic detection of cartridge type may, for example, be based on a physical characteristic of the portable storage medium (e.g., shape of cartridge housing) or may be based on data stored in the portable storage medium.
While the exemplary implementations are described with reference to a hand-held game system, many of the concepts are applicable to other computing systems such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). For example, it may be desirable to configure a PDA to be compatible with a wide range of accessories, not all of which conform to the same specifications. By using the cartridge type detection techniques described herein and/or by providing first and second processing circuitry as described herein, the number and type of accessories that may be used with the PDA may be increased.
A videogame being executed by console 10 may be controlled by a videogame player(s) via one or more controllers 20 (see
After game play starts (step 304), the videogame generates and displays the screen illustrated in
A player selects a particular type of pitch (e.g., fastball, curveball, change-up, screwball, etc.) through pitch selection menu 360. For example, a fastball may be selected by a player by manipulating the controller to highlight “FB” on the pitch selection menu 360 and then pressing a button to select “FB”. Alternatively, each type of pitch denoted by the abbreviations shown in pitch selection menu 360 may be assigned to a different button and/or joystick direction of the controller. A user may select the desired pitch type by selecting the appropriate button or moving the joystick in the appropriate direction. In this manner, the type of pitch can remain hidden from the videogame player controlling the batter.
In addition to the pitch type, a player controlling the pitcher selects an intended location for the pitch. The intended pitch location may be in or out of the strike zone of the batter. A player may select an intended pitch location by moving cursor 370 through joystick manipulation and then selecting the appropriate controller button once the cursor is in the desired pitch location.
After the pitch location and pitch type are selected, the player initiates wind up of a pitch (step 310) by pressing and holding down an appropriate button on the controller. Alternatively, the pitcher's wind up may be initiated by pressing and releasing an appropriate button on the controller or automatically upon the selection of the button designating the intended pitch location. A release meter 350 begins to run down at the same time that the pitcher's wind up begins.
A goal of the player controlling the pitcher is to release the button at the exact point in time that release meter 350 crosses release target line 352. By releasing the button at exactly the point in time that release meter 350 crosses release target line 352, the player will successfully direct the pitcher to release the ball at the optimal release time. If, however, the player releases the button before or after the exact point in time that release meter 350 crosses release target line 352, the pitcher will release the ball at a non-optimal release time, thereby adversely affecting the pitch.
In real-life baseball, if a pitcher releases the ball for a pitch before its optimal release time, then any break in the pitch's ball flight will occur at a relatively early point in its flight. That is, if the pitcher releases the ball for a pitch too early, any break in the pitch's ball flight will typically occur at a position well ahead of the batter. The batter can clearly see what is happening to the ball's flight and thus more accurately judge its ultimate position when it reaches the hitting zone of the batter. The batter thus has a greater chance of hitting the ball. On the other hand, if a pitcher releases the ball for a pitch at an optimal release point, then any break in the pitch's ball flight will typically occur later in the flight and thus much closer to the batter. For example, a ball released by a pitcher at the optimal release point will break just before reaching the hitting zone of the batter. If this happens, the batter will likely not have time to correctly judge or adjust to the ball's changing flight and will thus be less likely to determine its ultimate position when reaching the hitting zone. A batter is therefore less likely to hit the ball. Accordingly, a late break is to the pitcher's advantage because the ball's change in movement occurs closer to the batter, thereby limiting the batter's opportunity to correctly judge, adjust (if necessary) and hit the ball. An early break in the ball's flight is to the batter's advantage because it allows the batter to see the break, correctly judge and adjust (if necessary) to it. If the pitcher releases the ball after the optimal release point, a mis-pitch (i.e., a wild pitch or pitch clearly outside of the batter's strike zone) usually results.
As another example, assume that the pitch type and intended location selected by a player is a low sinker. Assume also that it takes 60 frames of videogame play for a pitched ball to travel from a pitcher's hand to the batter's hitting zone. If the player controlling the pitcher releases the button initiating the pitcher's wind up too early as illustrated for example, in
Other factors such as the real-life performance statistics of the pitcher being simulated by the videogame pitcher may also affect the flight of the pitch. For example, if the real-life pitcher being simulated by the videogame pitcher possesses performance statistics indicating that he regularly releases the ball at the optimal release point or typically throws late breaking pitches, release target line 352 can be widened to form a target zone so that it will be easier for the videogame player to release the controller button to initiate pitch release as release meter 350 is within that particular target zone 352. The release target line 352 can also be widened (or narrowed) in accordance with the type of pitch, the pitch type having the easiest optimal release point having the widest release target zone. Since the target is a relatively wider zone, rather than a target line, the videogame player will be more likely to release the button at the appropriate time, thereby enhancing the chances that the videogame pitcher simulating the real-life pitcher will release the ball at the optimal time and thus enhancing the chances of a late-breaking pitch.
The above exemplary implementation describes a method of pitching in which a player initiates pitcher wind up by pressing and holding a particular button and releasing the button to enable the pitcher to release the pitch. However, other alternatives are possible. For example, the player could alternatively initiate the pitcher's wind up by pressing and immediately releasing a particular button. This button could be, for example, the button selecting the pitch location. This operation would begin the pitcher's wind up and allow the release meter 350 to simultaneously run down toward the release target line 352. The videogame would then monitor for the player to again press the button, with the ideal goal for the player being the selection of the button at the time that release meter 350 crosses target release line 352 to thereby initiate a pitch which is released by the videogame pitcher at the optimal release point.
After game play is started (step 402), the videogame monitors for controller input selecting the type of pitch and the location of the pitch (steps 404 and 406) in a manner similar to that discussed above for steps 306 and 308, respectively. For example, a player may select a particular type of pitch via a pitch menu and select a particular location of pitch via a cursor as discussed above.
The videogame also monitors for controller input indicating that the player would like to place extra spin on the upcoming pitch (step 408). If no controller input is received (“NO” in step 410), the wind up and later release of the pitch can be initiated (step 412) with control of the pitch's flight being based on the selected type and intended location of the pitch (step 414). The pitcher's path may also be based on the release point of the pitch as discussed above in connection with
The player can indicate his/her desire to place additional spin on the next pitch by manipulating the controller in an appropriate manner (“YES” in step 410). For example, extra spin may be assigned to the “c” joystick 34 of controller 20 or assigned to a particular button. The amount of extra spin to be placed on the forthcoming pitch may be determined by the number of times that the player manipulates the appropriate controller input. For example, if the extra spin feature is triggered by the pressing of a particular button, the user may press that button multiple times to indicate that a greater amount of extra spin should be placed on the forthcoming pitch. For the discussion below, it will be assumed that the extra spin is assigned to a particular controller button.
While the player controlling the batter may see symbols 451 and 452 indicating that extra spin is to be placed on the forthcoming pitch, the player controlling the batter might not know the pitch type. This may allow the player operating the pitcher to fool the player controlling the batter as to the type of pitch, thereby enhancing exciting game play. For example, if the player controlling the batter sees more than one symbol 451 displayed on the screen as illustrated in
The videogame processes any extra amount of spin indicated by the controller input from the player controlling the pitcher (step 416) and initiates the pitch (step 418). The flight of the pitch is thus based on the selected pitch type, intended location of pitch and amount of extra spin selected by the player (step 420). The flight of the pitch may also be based additionally on the release point of the pitch as described in connection with
While the above exemplary features describe in the context of a baseball videogame, the exemplary features can be implemented in any suitable sports videogame, such as, but not limited to, basketball, soccer, hockey and football. For example, it is often necessary to place extra spin on a ball kicked by a videogame soccer character to curve the ball into the goal. Extra spin may be placed on the kicked ball in a similar manner as discussed above.
In accordance with another exemplary non-limiting implementation, videogame player(s) can play a “hero” mode of a sports videogame such as a baseball videogame as illustrated by the method in the flow diagram of
Execution of the hero mode provides a series of specific game play scenarios. The entire series of game play scenarios forms a hero mode season which will be less than the number of games required for a typical season. For example, while a baseball season in a season mode of play will involve 162 games, the number of game play scenarios in a hero mode season will typically involve less than 162 game play scenarios. The usual lengthy baseball season is therefore shortened to place the selected hero character automatically in a “highlight” series of specific game play scenarios which will allow the videogame player to control the hero character to simulate that corresponding real-life player's signature skills. The specific game play scenarios chosen for game play in the hero mode season are therefore based on the specific traits of a particular player and will change when a different hero character is selected by the user. A videogame player may thus select a hero character corresponding to a particular real-life player to immediately be presented with a series of different game play scenarios in which the real-life player is known to perform one of his/her unique skills rather than waiting until when, if at all, the game play scenario actually occurs during regular game play. How successful the videogame player is at controlling the hero character to perform the unique skill is scored. This scoring may be accumulated with each scenario and compared to a threshold level to determine if the player has controlled the hero character in such a manner to enable him/her to become the MVP of the league. This scoring is separate from the runs scored during normal game play of the baseball game. A game within the baseball game thus results.
In each of these game play scenarios, the camera angle of the display screen will continually be positioned as if the camera were behind the hero character. Alternatively, the display screen can show the first person perspective of the hero character. The display screen will thus show what is in the field of view of the hero character and will thus simulate closely what the real-life player might see in that same set of real-life game play circumstances.
The sound generated by the videogame will also reflect the circumstances from the perspective of the hero character. The output sound will thus simulate what would be heard by the real-life player corresponding to the hero character in that specific set of circumstances and what the hero character would hear in his virtual world. For example, if the hero character is running closer toward another particular teammate such as a first base coach, the sound of those spoken instructions from the teammate will become louder as the hero character moves closer and closer to the teammate. Other sounds may include, for example, fan noise, dialog and/or taunting from opposing players, and a “skidding” sound against the ground when the hero character slides. Both the audio and visual output of the videogame will thus continually be from the perspective of the hero character. That is, the sounds output from the speakers of the output devices connected to the videogame system reflect what the hero character hears and the display screens continually show a visual perspective from behind the hero character or continually shows a first person perspective of the hero character. The videogame player may therefore realistically experience what the corresponding real-life player might experience in a similar real-life game play scenario.
Upon execution, the videogame generates a series of game play scenarios forming a hero mode season. Which of the possible game play scenarios forms part of the hero mode season is based on the selected hero character. That is, each series of game play scenarios forming a hero mode season will differ from one hero character to another hero character. Again, each of the game play scenarios is designed to allow a videogame player to control a hero character to simulate a corresponding real-life player's unique skills.
Suppose for example that a particular real-life player is a short stop who is well known and highly regarded for stealing bases and turning double plays. If a hero character corresponding to this particular real-life player is selected by the videogame player, at least one game play scenario in the hero mode season will immediately place the hero character in a position where he attempts to steal a base. Another game play scenario in the series of game play scenarios forming the hero mode season will immediately place the hero character in the position of fielding a hit ball in an attempt to turn a double play. Each of these scenarios might not come up at all during normal game play of the videogame, thereby depriving the videogame player of the opportunity of controlling a character corresponding to his/her favorite real-life player to perform his/her unique skills. Other unique skill challenges prompted by specific game play scenarios may include, for example, bunts, in-field hits, hitting a home run, and hitting sacrifice fly balls.
As a result of the videogame player's selection of a particular hero character, a first specific game play scenario is automatically uploaded to provide game play to allow the user to control the hero character to simulate performance of one, of the unique skills of the real-life player (step 506). The game play scenario may involve circumstances other than the usual start of the sport being simulated. For example, a first baseball game play scenario does not necessarily begin within a first pitch as in a normal baseball game.
The sound output continually reflects what would be heard by the hero character in his virtual environment. For example, while hero character 520 is leading from first base as shown in
Scoring will be assigned by the videogame to reflect how successful the videogame player was in controlling hero character 520 to complete a goal presented by the game play scenario. For example, if a videogame player controlling hero character 520 in the game play scenario of
After the first game play scenario (in this example, a game play scenario in which the hero character attempts to steal second base as illustrated in
As in the first game play scenario, the second game play scenario is scored to reflect how successful the videogame player was in controlling hero character 520 to accomplish the unique skill (in this game play scenario, turning a double play). As an example, ten points may be awarded to the videogame player if he/she controls the videogame character to successfully complete the double play. However, only five points may be awarded to the videogame player if only one of the two base runners 526 or 528 is put out. No points would be awarded to the videogame player if he/she controls hero character 520 so that neither of the base runners 526, 528 is put out. The score results may be stored (step 512) and added to the results from the first game play scenario.
The videogame then generates another game play scenario of the hero mode season. This game play scenario may, for example, test the videogame player to control hero character 520 to hit a home run, obtain a hit to drive home a winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, bunt, or obtain an in-field hit. Points will be again awarded based upon the videogame player's ability to control hero character 520 to achieve the goal of the game play scenario presented. As yet another example, suppose the goal in the game play scenario is to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. If the videogame player is successful in controlling hero character 520 to hit a home run, the videogame player may be awarded ten points. If, however, the videogame player controls hero character 520 to hit only a double, the videogame character will only be awarded five points. The score will be stored and added to the scores of previous game play scenarios. This scoring is separate from runs scored during normal baseball game play. A game within the baseball game can thus be enjoyed by the videogame player.
Subsequent game play scenarios are presented to the videogame player until the last game play scenario has been completed (step 514). Scoring of a videogame player may be accumulated (step 516) after each game play scenario. At the conclusion of the last game play scenario, the accumulated score serves as a measure of how successfully the videogame player controlled the hero character to perform the character's unique abilities. This accumulated score can be compared to the score of other videogame players controlling the same hero character. The final accumulated score may also be compared to a threshold score level which determines whether the hero character, as controlled by the videogame player, has become the MVP of the league.
The hero mode thus provides a game within the baseball game having scoring that is not necessarily measured in runs, but reflects the videogame players ability to control hero character 520 to perform the character's unique skills. Rather than playing a lengthy 162 game season, the videogame player may thus enjoy the opportunity to perform the unique skills immediately. The videogame player will thus not have to wait to see, if at all, the scenarios would come up in regular game play. Moreover, since the camera angle view and audio continually reflect the perspective of the hero character, the videogame player may enjoy experiencing a simulation of what a corresponding real-life player would experience in an actual game. While the hero mode is discussed in the context of a baseball game, it will be appreciated that it may be incorporated into any other suitable sports videogame.
A program can be downloaded to and executed by a processor housed in one of the controllers (or alternatively executed by a processor in console 10). For example, a paint program may be downloaded to a controller either as a program portion of the videogame software encoded in the storage disk received by game console 10 or from a memory device housed in a cartridge inserted into slot 240 of the controller. A paint program can alternatively be downloaded to the controller by scanning appropriate cards 604 through card reader 602. Execution of the paint program enables the user to create pixilated images which will be displayed as a part of a virtual sports venue to help define the atmosphere in which game play occurs. For example, portions of the sports venue on which the created images may be displayed include ads, billboards, signs, motion picture screens (jumbotron-type screens) and patterns on the playing field or court. Execution of the paint program thus provides a pixel art generator which the user can operate by appropriate manipulation of keys 133 a-133 g to create unique images. Predefined images may be downloaded from the software executed by game console 10 or by swiping a card 604 through card reader 602. The user can then edit or alter this downloaded image by operating keys 133 a-133 g of the controller to create a customized image. The pixilated image, whether originally created using the paint program, downloaded from card 604 via reader 602 or created by editing preexisting images, may be previewed in a preview mode in display screen 127 a of the controller or the display of display device 706.
The pixilated images are processed by processor(s) in the controller and/or console 10. This processing includes converting the image into a texture. The texture is later imported and texture mapped onto a part of the virtual sports venue by a processor and graphics co-processor of console 10 so that the user created image may be shown as part of the venue in which interactive game play such as character action occurs during further execution of videogame software.
In accordance with another exemplary non-limiting implementation,
During game play, the audio message may be played back as, for example, the virtual stadium public address (PA) announcer of the videogame. The user could thus record an announcement and introduction for a particular videogame character to be played when that character enters the game or record a rendition of the national anthem with background music provided by the videogame program to be played immediately before game play begins. Alternatively, the user may provide announcements, introductions, songs or his/her own play-by-play color commentary live during game play.
The user selects a game play event which will trigger the audio message to be played, for example, over the virtual PA system of the videogame during game play (step 806). The user's selection of the event may be facilitated through a menu display screen provided by the videogame which lists a plurality of different game play events which may occur in later game play. For example, assume that the user selected the game play event of hitting a home run from a menu display screen in a baseball videogame having many other possible game play events such as a bunt, double play, stolen base, etc. The user can select a particular event from the list provided by the menu display screen, which may be shown on display device 706 or display 127 a, through appropriate manipulation of the controller. The event selected by the user, in this case a home run, will be used to trigger the recorded message of “Going, going, gone!” to be played back through speaker 708 of display device 706 or speaker 142 of the controller.
After game play starts (step 808), the selected game play event may occur. Upon the detection of this game play event (step 810) by the videogame, the recorded audio message will be automatically played during game play (step 812). In the foregoing example, the videogame detects when a home run has been hit and automatically outputs the user's recorded audio message “Going, going, gone!” The user's voice can thus be incorporated into game play for a user selected event, thereby providing further user customization of game play.
While the above exemplary features describe in the context of a baseball videogame, the exemplary features can be implemented in any suitable sports videogame. While various implementations of technology are described above, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed implementations, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.