US 20050187011 A1
A gaming device that provides a second or replicating display that is an enlarged, preferably simulated replica of the actual display of the reels, paylines and indicia of the paystops of the gaming device. The second or replicating display can exactly recreate the actual rotation or random generation of the reels, represent the random generation of the reels, and do so by providing a slight delay. The present invention also contains a method by which the replicating display presents each of a plurality of award generating or winning paylines individually and sequentially for a predetermined amount of time before culminating in a display of the accumulated winning paylines. The method enables the player to easily see the source of an award, which would otherwise be difficult to discern from a multitude of paylines.
1. A gaming device operated under control of a processor, said gaming device comprising:
at least one display device controlled by the processor;
a plurality of symbol generating devices displayable at a first area of said at least one display device, each of said symbol generating devices operable to generate at least one symbol;
a plurality of separate paylines associated with the symbol generating devices and displayable by said at least one display device; and
a pay chart controlled by the processor and displayable at a second different area of said at least one display device, wherein for each of the plurality of paylines wagered said pay chart is adapted to display a separate identification of said payline and a separate indication of any award resulting from the symbols generated on said payline by the symbol generating devices after said generation of symbols.
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11. A method of operating a gaming device, said method comprising:
(a) displaying a plurality of symbol generating devices, each of said symbol generating devices adapted to generate at least one of a plurality of symbols;
(b) displaying a plurality of paylines associated with the symbol generating devices;
(c) causing each of said symbol generating devices to generate at least one of the plurality of symbols;
(d) determining any awards resulting from the symbols generated on the paylines; and
(e) displaying a pay chart, wherein for each of the plurality of paylines, said pay chart displays a separate identification of the payline and any determined awards resulting from the symbols generated on said payline by the symbol generating devices after said generation of symbol.
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This application is a divisional of, claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/715,638 filed on Nov. 18, 2003, which is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/629,606 filed on Jul. 31, 2000, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the photocopy reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure in exactly the form it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates in general to a gaming device, and more particularly to a gaming device with a video display that mirrors the random generation display mechanism of the gaming device and clarifies multi-payline machines having complex payout schemes.
Gaming device manufactures have long provided gaming machines employing a plurality of reels, wherein the reels each have a plurality of symbols. In these games, the player spins a number of reels that act independently to produce a random generation of a combination of symbols. If the generated combination, or a portion of the combination, matches one of a number of predetermined award producing or winning combinations, the player receives an award.
To increase player enjoyment and excitement, and to increase the popularity of the gaming machines, gaming device manufacturers constantly strive to provide players with new types of gaming machines that attract the player and keep the player entertained. One proven way manufacturers use to make their machines more popular is to increase the number and variety of winning combinations and provide more opportunities for the player to win. Providing more variety and opportunities holds the player's interest for a longer time and also enables the manufacturer to have a larger range of payouts for the winning combinations. The larger range increases the size of the largest possible payout of the gaming device, and large payouts tend to attract players.
To increase variety and opportunity, manufacturers have increased the number of possible symbol positions or paystops. Increasing paystops increases the number of different symbols a game can have and increases the number of times a particular symbol can appear. Increasing the number of times that a symbol can appear increases its likelihood of appearance, which affects the payout of a winning combination containing that symbol. Winning combinations that have a rare or low likelihood of appearance tend to have higher payouts.
One way manufactures have increased the number of paystops has been to increase the size of the reel to accommodate more stops. Original gaming machines had approximately ten stops per reel, modern mechanical reels have approximately thirty to thirty five stops per reel and modern video machines have no physical limit to the number of stops per reel. Another way manufacturers have increased the number of paystops has been to add reels. Original gaming machines had three reels, while modern mechanical machines have employed up to five reels. Video reel machines have not increased the number of reels above five mainly because five reels create enough diversity to keep the game interesting without becoming too complex for the player to enjoy.
Another avenue that manufacturers have taken to provide more variety, opportunity, enjoyment and excitement has been to increase the number of paylines. Paylines are the sequence or line of paystops that the machine analyzes to determine if the player has won an award. The paylines in essence define the combination or group of paystops to be analyzed. Original gaming machines had only one payline. Modern machines sometimes called line machines have multiple paylines that contain a number of rows, lines or sequences of paystops that form combinations for the gaming device to analyze. The multiple rows, lines or sequences present multiple opportunities for the player to obtain a winning combination of symbols. Usually, players have to wager more to obtain the benefit of the multiple lines. Many games provide a bonus jackpot for playing the maximum number of coins and paylines, which means the player increases the payout values by playing all the paylines.
The line machines display multiple rows of paystops generated by each reel of the gaming device, wherein each row is a payline. Machines having at least three reels and displaying at least three rows of symbols create diagonal lines, wherein each diagonal line is also a payline. Machines having five reels and displaying at least three rows have many possible paylines, wherein the only criterion is that each paystop of a line or sequence must be adjacent to at least one other paystop of the line. Consequently, certain known gaming machines have up to nine different paylines, wherein a player can make up to nine different bets each time the player spins the reels.
It should be appreciated that gaming machines have become rather complex in comparison to the original three reel, ten stop machine created before 1900. At some point, adding variety yields diminished returns as the inevitable accompanying complexity of placing multiple bets and trying to keep tract of multiple winning combinations for each bet becomes too complex for the player. A player may win after a given spin of the reels and find it difficult to determine how, where or why the player has won. Mechanical reels, which are limited in drum radius, have limited space with which to display the multitude of symbols. Simulated reel displays are also limited in size to make room for other input devices and displays requiring panel space. The limited display space and viewing area furthers the complexity created by the multitude of paylines and winning combinations.
Therefore, a need exists to create a second, preferably larger display that follows or mirrors the display of the operation of the actual reels, which randomly generate different combinations of symbols. A need also exists to have such a second display parse or separate the paylines on which the player has won from the remainder of the paylines and symbols of said display. Such a display is preferably simulated so that it can show other necessary indicia and different successful paylines at different times.
The present invention involves a gaming device that provides a second or replicating display that is an enlarged, preferably simulated replica of the actual display of the reels, paylines and indicia of the paystops of the gaming device. The second or replicating display can exactly recreate the actual rotation or random generation of the reels or do so by providing a slight delay. The present invention also contains a method by which the replicating display presents each of a plurality of award generating or winning paylines individually and sequentially for a predetermined amount of time before culminating in a display of the accumulated winning paylines. The method enables the player to easily see the source of an award from a multitude of paylines, which would otherwise be difficult to discern.
In the replicating embodiment, the replicating display contains the same number of reels, the same number of paylines, the same number of paystops and the same indicia and order of indicia on the paystops as does the actual display or paystop display. The replicating display is preferably larger than the paystop display so that a player can easily see the action of the gaming device after setting the reels in motion, and so that the player can more easily discern the source of the player's award or success. The replicating display preferably exactly replicates, follows or shadows the rotation of the actual reels including the oscillation or overshoot created by the weight of mechanical reels coming to an abrupt stop.
In an alternative embodiment, the replicating display follows or is slightly behind the paystop display. The slight delay contemplated by the present invention provides an enjoyable and aesthetic effect for the player. The delay can be for any suitable time period but preferably is less than a second.
The replicating display can also contain indicia relating to a theme of the gaming device. Such indicia are preferably displayed in addition to the replicating of the paystop, however, the present invention can display the indicia in place of or instead of the replicating. At certain times, such as when no one is playing the gaming device, the mirroring device preferably displays the indicia video clips, or other entertainment relating to the theme of the device (as opposed to mirroring the idle symbols). Alternatively, the replicating display can display static and dynamic sequences, where in the indicia of said sequences have no relation to the theme of the gaming device. When nobody is playing the gaming device, the implementor may wish to display animations unrelated to the theme of the gaming device.
When the replicating device finishes displaying the random generation of the reels of the paystop display, the present invention preferably provides a method or sequence of displaying the player's awards in a serial fashion, such that the player can easily discern the source of the award. In a device wherein the player plays many paylines, e.g., nine at once, the present invention contemplates displaying each payline that generates an award individually and sequentially. At the end of the individual displays, the present invention displays an accumulation of all the award generating paylines in the replicating display.
The method of presenting award generating paylines enables the player to easily see the source of an award. The present invention preferably stops one payline display before beginning another, although the displays can overlap. Alternatively still, the replicating display can accumulate the award generating paylines one after another until they are all displayed at once. The payline displays preferably last from one to two seconds each, and each payline display can last for a different period of time. The present invention does not require that the paylines be presented in any order, however, the present invention preferably displays the paylines in the order that the gaming device presents the paylines to the player.
In addition, the present invention contemplates providing a backlighting system that highlights certain symbols of the reels at certain times. Lights disposed behind the reels are connected to the controller of the gaming device. The controller can selectively light one or more of the lights at various times. The present invention contemplates lighting the reels during the replicating portion of the game and dimming the reels during the winning payline display.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a gaming device with a second, larger display that follows or mirrors the display of the operation of the actual reels so that the player may easily see the generation and outcome of a combination of reels.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a gaming device that can parse or separate the paylines on which the player has received an award from the remainder of the paylines and symbols of the reels and display the winning paylines to the player individually and in total.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed disclosure, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps and processes.
Referring now to the drawings,
As illustrated in
Gaming device 10 also has a paystop display 28 which contains a plurality of reels 30, preferably three to five reels in mechanical or video form. Each reel 30 displays a plurality of symbols such as bells, hearts, martinis, fruits, cactuses, numbers, cigars, letters, bars or other images which preferably correspond to a theme associated with the gaming device 10. If the reels 30 are in video form, the gaming device 10 preferably displays the video reels 30 in a video monitor described below. Furthermore, gaming device 10 preferably includes speakers 34 for making sounds or playing music.
At any time during the game, a player may cash out and thereby receive a number of coins corresponding to the number of remaining credits by pushing a cash out button 26. When the player cashes out, the player receives the coins in a coin payout tray 36. The gaming device 10 may employ other payout mechanisms such as credit slips redeemable by a cashier or electronically recordable cards which keep track of the player's credits.
With respect to electronics, the controller of gaming device 10 preferably includes the electronic configuration generally illustrated in
The processor 38 is preferably a microprocessor or microcontroller-based platform which is capable of displaying images, symbols and other indicia such as images of people, characters, places, things and faces of cards. Although not shown, gaming device 10 can provide a second, slave processor, with which the processor 38 can communicate through a suitable protocol. The gaming device 10 can employ the processor 38 to tell or command the slave processor to perform certain functions, such as to display certain images on the display.
As illustrated in
It should be appreciated that although a processor 38 and memory device 40 are preferable implementations of the present invention, the present invention can also be implemented using one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC's) or other hard-wired devices, or using mechanical devices (collectively referred to herein as a processor). Furthermore, although the processor 38 and memory device 40 preferably reside on each gaming device 10 unit, it is possible to provide some or all of their functions at a central location such as a network server for communication to a playing station such as over a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Internet connection, microwave link, and the like. For purposes of describing the invention, the controller includes the processor 38 and memory device 40.
Referring still to
The paystop display 28 thus displays nine paystops as they would appear after a player has spun the reels, i.e., played the gaming device. Three of the plurality of paystops of reel 30 a wound up or stopped in paystop display 28, namely, the paystops 52, 54 and 56. Three of the plurality of paystops of reel 30 b wound up or stopped in paystop display 28, namely, the paystops 58, 60 and 62. Likewise, three of the plurality of paystops of reel 30 c wound up or stopped in paystop display 28, namely, the paystops 64, 66 and 68.
Based on the paystop display, the replicating display 32 contains three reels. The reels of the replicating display are preferably simulated and contained in a video monitor. In certain instances, the video monitor can contain a touch screen 46 that is connected to a touch screen controller 48 (
The replicating display 32 therefore preferably contains the same number of paystops as does the paystop display 28. The replicating display has nine paystops, again, as they would appear after a player has spun the reels, i.e., played the gaming device. Three of the plurality of paystops of simulated reel 32 a wound up or stopped in the replicating display 32, namely, the paystops 70, 72 and 74. Three of the plurality of paystops of reel 32 b wound up or stopped in the replicating display, namely, the paystops 76, 78 and 80. Likewise, three of the plurality of paystops of reel 32 c wound up or stopped in the replicating display, namely, the paystops 82, 84 and 86.
The indicia or symbols contained on the paystops of both displays are the same. That is, the indicia or symbols of paystops 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, and 66 are the same as the indicia or symbols of paystops 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84 and 86, respectively. For example, both the paystops 52 and 70 display the 0 indicia, both the paystops 78 and 60 display the X indicia and both the paystops 86 and 68 display the + indicia. It should be appreciated that all the indicia or symbols of the entire reels 30 a, 30 b and 30 c, and those not shown in the paystop display 28, are the same as all the indicia or symbols of the entire reels 32 a, 32 b and 32 c of the replicating display 32, respectively. Although shown only figuratively in
In one embodiment of the present invention, the invention contemplates the reels and associated paystops of the replicating display 32 constantly replicating, mirroring, shadowing, or otherwise displaying the same indicia or symbols as the respective reels and associated paystops of the paystop display 28. The mirroring or shadowing occurs whether or not the paystops of the displays are in motion. It is well known for the gaming device of the present invention and it adds much to the excitement and enjoyment, by way of anticipation, for the gaming device to show, the reels spin and the symbols or indicia of the reels blur and become indiscernible to the human eye before stopping to decide the player's fate. With mechanical reels, the indicia show the overshoot and resonance of the reels as they abruptly come to a full stop. The present invention contemplates the simulated reels of the replicating display 32 mirroring or shadowing the resonance effects.
The present invention also contemplates the replicating display 32 mirroring or shadowing different reels of the paystop display 28 stopping at different times. It is well known in the art for the reels of a slot machine to stop at different times. In most instances, the stopping of reels occurs from left to right. That is, the reel furthest to the left stops first, then the reel to the right of the first, etc. until each reel stops. The present invention preferably stops reels of the replication display 32 in the exact same order that the paystop display 28 employs.
The present method contemplates different methods of mirroring the paystop display 28, one of which is through the use of more than one processor. The preferred method is through two processors, one master and one slave, which communicate through a protocol, which is well known in the art. In this method, the master processor 38 tells or commands the slave processor to display certain images in each location on the replicating display 32.
Referring now to
The rotating paystop drum 128 contains the reels 30 a, 30 b and 30 c as shown in
It should be appreciated that in
The delay embodiment of
While the reels of the gaming device 10 are inactive, e.g., no player is currently operating the device or the player is taking a brief respite, the replicating display 32 can shut down or discontinue the display 232 of the reels until a player resumes action (not shown). It should be appreciated that in such periods of inactivity, the gaming device is better served by having the entire replicating display presenting indicia relating to the theme of the gaming device.
Alternatively, the replicating display can display static and dynamic sequences, wherein the indicia of the sequences have no relation to the theme of the gaming device. It should be appreciated in periods of inactivity, the gaming device preferably displays indicia that attracts players. Such indicia can relate to a game theme. The indicia can also relate to any theme or event that attracts players. The present invention therefore contemplates displaying additional attractive indicia unrelated to the game theme.
A player playing all nine paylines of a gaming device having only a paystop display such as the display 28 must analyze each of the nine paylines to determine which ones have yielded an award. Players are generally curious as to how they have won or succeeded at a gaming device and also desire to assure themselves that the gaming device has provided an award when it is due and has done so in the correct amount. The present invention provides a method by which the player can easily discern the award generating paylines.
After the display 32 of the present invention mirrors the rotation of the reels of the paystop display 28, the present invention preferably displays each winning payline alone, separately and in series before displaying an accumulation of each of the winning paylines at once. As illustrated by
In the present method, the player bets or plays any number of paylines, spins the reels and receives an award. The present invention then displays a first winning payline for a predetermined period of time and ends the display, displays a second winning payline for a predetermined period of time and ends the display and displays each winning payline in this manner before finally displaying all the winning displays at once.
The payline method of the present invention preferably stops the display of one winning payline before beginning the display of another, so that each display is separate and easily discernable. Each winning payline can be displayed for any suitable amount of time, preferably from one to two seconds, and each may be displayed for a different period of time. The present invention does not require that the paylines be presented in any order, however, the present invention preferably displays the paylines in the order that the gaming device presents the paylines to the player. That is, the game displays the paylines in the order in which the player chooses to play or not to play a particular payline.
The payline method alternatively contemplates an overlap of the payline displays, or further, the accumulation of winning paylines as opposed to the serial fashion of the preferred embodiment. The present invention may present a first winning payline, add a second winning payline while still displaying the first, add a third and so on until all the winning paylines are presented at once as is done at the end of the preferred embodiment in
The method of the present invention preferably works in conjunction with the replicating function of the replicating display 32. That is, the replicating display 32 preferably mirrors the spinning reels and outcome of the paystop display 28 and then produces the winning paylines in the serial fashion described above. It should be appreciated that the payline display must contain the same number of reels, paylines, paystops and order of indicia as the paystop display 28 to properly present the winning paylines, which are sections or components of the paystop display. The method also includes providing displays having indicia related or unrelated to the theme (described above), which attracts players when the game is idle and while the game is presenting an award to a player. This additional or substitute indicia therefore does not include a display of the paylines or of award winning symbols of said paylines.
The table 96 can display the payout numbers 96 b as the replicating display 32 sequences through each payline or do so only at the end when the game displays the accumulation of winning paylines. The game can accumulate the payout number displays 96 b as they are sequentially displayed or display them separately and sequentially before the accumulated display. The display can place zeros in the payout number displays 96 b that the player does not bet or place another suitable symbol or no symbol in the payout number displays 96 b for each inactive, unplayed payline.
Referring now to
When the present invention stops spinning the reels 30 of the display device 28 and displays the winning paylines on the replicating display 32, the present invention preferably turns off the backlights, except for backlights lighting a winning payline, to highlight the payline display. This is, after the reels having stopped spinning, the present invention preferably leaves a winning payline lit but turns off all other backlights. The present invention can alternatively turn off all the backlights to highlight the payline display.
While the present invention is described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, and is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims. Modifications and variations in the present invention may be made without departing from the novel aspects of the invention as defined in the claims, and this application is limited only by the scope of the claims.