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Publication numberUS20060046818 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/934,680
Publication dateMar 2, 2006
Filing dateSep 2, 2004
Priority dateSep 2, 2004
Publication number10934680, 934680, US 2006/0046818 A1, US 2006/046818 A1, US 20060046818 A1, US 20060046818A1, US 2006046818 A1, US 2006046818A1, US-A1-20060046818, US-A1-2006046818, US2006/0046818A1, US2006/046818A1, US20060046818 A1, US20060046818A1, US2006046818 A1, US2006046818A1
InventorsJamie Goins
Original AssigneeGoins Jamie J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming device having a rotating cylindrical symbol indicator display
US 20060046818 A1
Abstract
A gaming device having separately movable mechanical devices within a display device operable to display and indicate at least one component of a player's award. In one embodiment the display device is operated as a bonus game of a base game, for example a slot base game. In one embodiment, the mechanical display device is rotatable and the indicator is translatable along the same axis. In another embodiment award components are revealed by an outer display symbol indicator. In yet another embodiment, the award is based on portions of the display device selected by the player.
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Claims(104)
1. A gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a primary game display mounted to said cabinet;
a primary game adapted to be displayed by the primary game display and operable upon a wager by a player;
a secondary game display connected to said cabinet, said secondary game including a movable symbol display having at least one symbol display area, wherein said symbol display area is arranged on the symbol display such that said symbol display area appears to move in a first movement path upon movement of the symbol display in a second different movement path; and
at least one processor operable to control said primary game display and said secondary game display.
2. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein said symbol display includes a plurality of symbol display areas.
3. The gaming device of claim 2, wherein each of the symbol display areas are of a substantially similar dimension.
4. The gaming device of claim 2, wherein each of the symbol display areas are arranged adjacent to one another.
5. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the symbol display area displays a plurality of symbols.
6. The gaming device of claim 5, wherein the symbols in the symbol display area include numbers, said numbers increasing along the symbol display area as the symbol display rotates.
7. The gaming device of claim 5, which includes a symbol indicator operable to indicate at least one symbol on the symbol display.
8. The gaming device of claim 7, wherein the symbol indicator indicates at least one symbol on the symbol display by selectively revealing said symbol.
9. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the duration of movement of said symbol display is random.
10. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the direction of movement of said symbol display is random.
11. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the symbol display area is positioned at an oblique angle to an axis of rotation of the symbol display.
12. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the first movement path of the symbol display area appears to be transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display.
13. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the second movement path of the symbol display includes a rotation about an axis of rotation of said symbol display.
14. The gaming device of claim 1, which is adapted to operate through a data network.
15. The gaming device of claim 14, wherein the data network is selected from the group consisting of a playing station network, a local area network, a wide area network and an internet.
16. A gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a primary game display mounted to said cabinet;
a primary game adapted to be displayed by the primary game display and operable upon a wager by a player;
a secondary game display connected to said cabinet, said secondary game including a rotatable symbol display having a plurality of symbol display areas, said symbol display areas adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display upon rotation of the symbol display about said axis of rotation;
a plurality of symbols displayed on said symbol display areas; and
at least one processor operable to control said primary game display and secondary game display.
17. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein an award is provided to the player based on at least one displayed symbol.
18. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein the player is enabled to select a portion of the symbol display, wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol displayed in said selected portion of the symbol display.
19. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein the player is enabled to select at least one symbol display area, wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol displayed in said selected symbol display area.
20. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein the player is enabled to select at least one a plurality of sets of symbol display areas, wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol displayed in said selected set of symbol display areas.
21. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein each symbol display area in each of said sets of symbol display areas appears different from each symbol display area in the other sets of symbol display areas.
22. The gaming device of claim 16, wherein each of the plurality of symbols displayed on the symbol display areas is changeable.
23. The gaming device of claim 16, which includes a symbol indicator operable to indicate at least one symbol on at least one of the symbol display areas.
24. The gaming device of claim 23, wherein the symbol indicator indicates at least one symbol on the symbol display areas by selectively revealing said symbol.
25. A gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a primary game display mounted to said cabinet;
a primary game adapted to be displayed by the primary game display and operable upon a wager by a player;
a secondary game display connected to said cabinet, said secondary game display including a rotatable symbol display having a plurality of symbol display areas, said symbol display areas adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display upon the rotation of the symbol display;
a symbol indicator operable to move in relation to said symbol display to indicate at least one symbol on one of said symbol display areas; and
at least one processor operable to control said primary game display, said secondary game display and said symbol indicator.
26. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein said rotatable symbol display is substantially cylindrical.
27. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein said symbol display areas are adjacently positioned to one another.
28. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein at least one of said symbol display areas includes credit symbols.
29. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein at least one of said symbol display areas includes multiplier symbols.
30. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein at least one of said symbol display areas includes credit symbols and at least one different symbol display area includes multiplier symbols.
31. The gaming device of claim 30, wherein said symbol indicator indicates at least one credit and at least one multiplier on the symbol display, said credit and multiplier being combined to determine an award provided to the player.
32. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein said symbol indicator moves in a linear plane.
33. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein said symbol indicator moves along the axis of rotation of the symbol display.
34. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein said symbol indicator includes a plurality of indicators.
35. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein the symbol indicated by the symbol indicator is the last symbol sequentially indicated by the symbol indicator when the symbol display stops moving.
36. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein the symbol indicator is operable to indicate at least two different symbols on the symbol display.
37. The gaming device of claim 25, wherein the symbol indicator is operable to reveal at least one symbol on the symbol display.
38. The gaming device of claim 37, wherein the symbol indicator includes an illumination source.
39. The gaming device of claim 37, wherein the symbol indicator includes an outer portion of the symbol display adapted to selectively reveal at least one symbol on the symbol display.
40. A gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a primary game display mounted to said cabinet;
a primary game adapted to be displayed by the primary game display and operable upon a wager by a player;
a secondary game display connected to said cabinet, wherein said secondary game display includes a movable inner symbol display and a movable outer display symbol indicator having at least one symbol display area displayed on the inner symbol display, wherein said symbol display area is arranged on the outer symbol display such that said symbol display area appears to move in a first movement path upon movement of the outer symbol display in a second different movement path;
a plurality of symbols displayed on the inner symbol display, wherein said outer display symbol indicator selectively reveals at least one of said symbols; and
at least one processor operable to control said primary game display and said secondary game display.
41. The gaming device of claim 40, which includes a plurality of symbol display areas adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the outer symbol indicator such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said outer symbol indicator upon the movement of said outer symbol indicator.
42. The gaming device of claim 40, which includes at least one symbol indicator independent of the outer display symbol indicator, wherein said symbol indicator indicates at least one of a plurality of symbols revealed by said outer display symbol indicator.
43. A gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a primary game display mounted to said cabinet;
a primary game adapted to be displayed by the primary game display and operable upon a wager by a player;
a secondary game display connected to said cabinet, wherein said secondary game display includes an outer display symbol indicator and a movable inner symbol display having at least one symbol display area displayed on the inner symbol display, wherein said symbol display area is arranged on the inner symbol display such that said symbol display area appears to move in a first movement path upon movement of the inner symbol display in a second different movement path;
a plurality of symbols displayed on said symbol display areas, wherein said outer display symbol indicator selectively reveals at least one symbol; and
at least one processor operable to control said primary game display and said secondary game display.
44. The gaming device of claim 43, which includes a plurality of symbol display areas adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the inner symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said inner symbol display upon the movement of said inner symbol display.
45. The gaming device of claim 43, which includes at least one symbol indicator independent of the outer display symbol indicator, wherein said symbol indicator indicates at least one of a plurality of symbols revealed by the outer display symbol indicator.
46. A gaming device comprising:
a symbol display having at least one independently movable inner portion and at least one independently movable outer portion, said inner portion having a plurality of symbol display areas displayed on said inner portion of the symbol, wherein said symbol display areas are adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display upon rotation of the symbol display about said axis of rotation;
a plurality of symbols displayed on said symbol display areas, wherein said outer portion selectively reveals at least one symbol of the symbol display; and
at least one processor operable to control the movement of said symbol display.
47. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein the symbol display is included in a secondary game.
48. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein the inner portion and outer portion of the symbol display are substantially cylindrical.
49. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein the inner portion and outer portion of the symbol display rotate about a substantially vertical axis.
50. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein each of the symbol display areas are of the same dimension.
51. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein the outer portion of the symbol display includes a plurality of windows, wherein each window is proportioned and positioned to reveal one symbol in each of said plurality of windows after the movement of the symbol display.
52. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein the outer portion of the symbol display is translucent.
53. The gaming device of claim 46, wherein each of the plurality of symbols displayed on the inner portion of the symbol display is changeable.
54. The gaming device of claim 46, which includes at least one award provided to the player, wherein said award is based on at least one symbol revealed by the outer portion of the symbol display.
55. The gaming device of claim 54, wherein the award provided to the player is based on a plurality of symbols revealed by the outer portion of the symbol display.
56. The gaming device of claim 54, which includes at least one symbol indicator wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one of the symbols revealed by the outer portion of the symbol display and indicated by said symbol indicator.
57. A gaming device controlled by a processor, said gaming device comprising:
a cabinet;
a movable symbol display mounted to said cabinet;
at least one symbol display area on said symbol display;
a plurality of symbols displayed on said symbol display area; and
at least one drive mechanism operatively coupled to said symbol display and at least one symbol indicator such that the symbol indicator is moved in relation to the symbol display to indicate at least one symbol on said symbol display.
58. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein said symbol display is substantially cylindrical.
59. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein said movable symbol display includes at least two symbol display areas.
60. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein said symbol display area is arranged on the symbol display such that said symbol display area appears to move transverse to a rotational axis of the symbol display upon a rotational movement of said symbol display.
61. The gaming device of claim 60, wherein the symbol indicator moves along the axis of rotation of the rotatable symbol display.
62. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein said symbol indicator indicates at least one symbol, wherein an award is provided to the player based on said indicated symbol.
63. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein at least one of said drive mechanisms includes a drive belt.
64. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein each of said drive mechanisms includes a drive shaft.
65. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein at least one of said drive mechanisms includes at least one gear.
66. The gaming device of claim 57, wherein the drive mechanism includes a belt with the symbol indicator affixed thereto.
67. The gaming device of claim 57, which includes a memory device wherein movement of the symbol display and the symbol indicator occurs according to a plurality of movement sequences stored in said memory device.
68. A gaming device comprising:
a game operable upon a wager by a player;
a cabinet;
a display on said cabinet operable to display said game;
a movable symbol display associated with said display;
at least two symbol display areas, wherein said symbol display areas are adjacently arranged at oblique angles to the symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display upon movement of the symbol display;
a plurality of symbols, each of said symbols positioned within at least one of said symbol display areas;
a symbol indicator;
at least one drive mechanism operatively coupled to the symbol display and the symbol indicator, said drive mechanism operable to rotate said symbol display on a rotational axis and to move said symbol indicator in a linear path along said rotational axis of said symbol display;
a processor in communication with the drive mechanism operable to move said symbol indicator in relation to said symbol display to indicate at least one symbol on said symbol display; and
at least one award provided to the player based on at least one symbol indicated by the symbol indicator.
69. A method of indicating symbols in a gaming device, said method comprising:
a) displaying at least one symbol display area on a symbol display, wherein said symbol display area is arranged on said symbol display such that said symbol display area appears to move in a first movement path upon movement of the symbol display in a second different movement path;
b) displaying a plurality of symbols within said symbol display area;
c) associating an outcome with at least one of said plurality of symbols;
d) moving said symbol display;
e) moving at least one symbol indicator;
f) stopping the movement of the symbol display and the movement of the symbol indicator to indicate at least one of said symbols on said symbol display; and
g) providing the player any outcome associated with said indicated symbols.
70. The method of claim 69, wherein the outcome associated with at least one of said plurality of symbols includes at least one award.
71. The method of claim 69, wherein moving said symbol display and symbol indicator occurs simultaneously.
72. The method of claim 69, wherein moving the symbol display and the symbol indicator includes moving said symbol display and symbol indicator in a plurality of directions.
73. The method of claim 69, wherein moving said symbol display and said symbol indicator occurs according to a plurality of movement sequences stored in a memory device.
74. The method of claim 69, which includes enabling a player to select a portion of the symbol display and wherein any outcome associated with at least one symbol displayed in said selected portion of the symbol display is provided to the player.
75. The method of claim 69, which includes enabling a player to select at least one symbol display area and wherein any outcome associated with at least one symbol displayed in said selected symbol display area is provided to the player.
76. The method of claim 69, which includes enabling a player to select at least one of a plurality of sets of symbol display areas, wherein each symbol display area in each of said sets appears different than each symbol display area in the other sets of symbol display areas, and wherein any outcome associated with at least one symbol displayed in said selected set of symbol display areas is provided to the player.
77. The method of claim 69, which includes changing the display of at least one of the plurality of symbols.
78. The method of claim 69, which includes operating said gaming device through a data network.
79. The method of claim 78, wherein the data network is selected from the group consisting of a playing station network, a local area network, a wide area network and an internet.
80. A method of displaying symbols on a gaming device, said method comprising:
(a) displaying a plurality of symbol display areas on a movable symbol display, wherein, upon the movement of said symbol display, said symbol display areas appear to move in a different direction than the movement of the symbol display;
(b) moving the symbol display; and
(c) indicating at least one symbol within a symbol display area.
81. The method of claim 80, wherein the symbol display is substantially cylindrical.
82. The method of claim 80, wherein arranging the plurality of symbol display areas on the symbol display includes adjacently arranging the symbol display areas at oblique angles to an axis of rotation of the symbol display.
83. The method of claim 80, wherein the moving the symbol display includes rotating said symbol display about an axis of rotation.
84. The method of claim 80, wherein said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of the symbol display.
85. The method of claim 80, which includes operating said gaming device through a data network.
86. The method of claim 85, wherein the data network is selected from the group consisting of a playing station network, a local area network, a wide area network and an internet.
87. A method of displaying and indicating symbols in a gaming device, said method comprising:
a) displaying a plurality of symbol display areas, wherein said symbol display areas are adjacently arranged at an oblique angle to a movable symbol display such that said symbol display areas appear to move transverse to an axis of rotation of said symbol display upon movement of the symbol display;
b) displaying a plurality of symbols on an inner portion of the symbol display;
c) moving an outer portion of the symbol display in relation to the inner portion of the symbol display, wherein said outer portion is adapted to reveal at least one of said symbols displayed on said inner portion of the symbol display;
d) stopping the outer portion to reveal at least one of said symbols on said inner portion of the symbol display; and
e) providing the player an award based on said revealed symbol.
88. The method of claim 87, which includes symbol display areas on the inner portion of the symbol display, wherein the plurality of symbols are displayed on said symbol display areas.
89. The method of claim 87, which includes moving the inner portion of said symbol display in relation to the outer portion of said symbol display.
90. The method of claim 89, which includes rotating the inner portion and the outer portion of said symbol display about a substantially vertical axis.
91. The method of claim 89, which includes moving the inner portion and the outer portion of said symbol display simultaneously.
92. The method of claim 87, wherein the inner portion and the outer portion of said symbol display are substantially cylindrical.
93. The method of claim 87, which includes rotating the outer portion of said symbol display about a substantially vertical axis.
94. The method of claim 87, which includes revealing one symbol in each of a plurality of windows of the outer portion of the symbol display after the movement of said symbol display.
95. The method of claim 87, which includes providing the player an award based on a plurality of symbols revealed by the outer portion of the symbol display.
96. The method of claim 95, which includes indicating at least one of the revealed symbols wherein the award provided to the player is based on the indicated symbol.
97. The method of claim 95, which includes enabling a player to select a portion of the symbol display and wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol revealed in said selected portion of the symbol display.
98. The method of claim 95, which includes enabling a player to select at least one symbol display area and wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol revealed in said selected symbol display area.
99. The method of claim 95, which includes enabling a player to select at least one of a plurality of sets of symbol display areas, wherein each symbol display area in each of said sets appears different from each of the symbol display areas in the other sets of symbol display areas and wherein the award provided to the player is based on at least one symbol revealed in said selected set of symbol display areas.
100. The method of claim 87, which includes changing each of the plurality of symbols displayed on the inner portion of the symbol display before the movement of the outer portion of the symbol display.
101. The method of claim 87, which includes changing each of the plurality of symbols displayed on the inner portion of the symbol display during the movement of the outer portion of the symbol display.
102. The method of claim 87, which includes changing each of the plurality of symbols displayed on the inner portion of the symbol display after the movement of the outer portion of the symbol display.
103. The method of claim 87, which includes operating said gaming device through a data network.
104. The method of claim 103, wherein the data network is selected from the group consisting of a playing station network, a local area network, a wide area network and an internet.
Description
COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains or may contain 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.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates in general to a gaming device, and more particularly to a wagering gaming device display. Gaming device manufacturers employ a variety of ways to attract and entertain players of a wagering gaming device including visual stimulation using lighting and interesting displays, and audio stimulation using exciting sounds and music. Gaming devices have also used more than one display to create variety in the game and to provide a sense of transition between certain events in a game or between games such as primary and secondary games. These features along with others enable the player to see, play and interact with the gaming machine to increase the entertainment and enjoyment of the player.

Gaming devices such as slot machines are known to have mechanical or video displays. The purpose of the mechanical and video reels is to display randomly generated symbol combinations from a number of different symbols, usually in a base game. When the player activates the reels, the reels spin for a short period of time and stop at randomly determined positions to reveal a combination of symbols, each reel displaying one generated symbol on each payline. Each combination of symbols appearing on a payline of a series of reels generates an outcome in the game such as a win outcome or a loss outcome.

The mechanical and video reels have also been used to determine if a bonus game is triggered or played. Bonus games in gaming machines have become more prevalent and elaborate in recent years. For example, players play the base game until becoming eligible for a bonus game. The base game temporarily pauses, while the player plays the bonus game. When the player completes the bonus game, the gaming device returns the player to the base game.

The bonus game can be played on the same display as the base game or on a different display separate from the display of the reels. With the advent of the computer and the video monitor, the possibilities for gaming device displays have expanded dramatically, allowing a single video monitor to provide both the base game and one or more bonus games that become triggered by the base game. Displays with video monitors can also alternate between base games and bonus games within the same display while themes and scenes associated with the games are displayed to the player.

A need exists to provide new gaming devices that use an alternative mechanisms for displaying and indicating generated symbols in a visually stimulating way to increase the fun and excitement of playing the game. Furthermore, there is a need to produce wagering gaming machines that will physically stand out among other machines to attract the interest of players to the fun and exciting new way of displaying and indicating symbols.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a display device for a gaming machine, and more specifically a mechanical display for a primary or secondary game of a wagering gaming machine. The display device includes a movable or rotatable symbol display which co-acts with a movable symbol indicator to display and indicate generated symbols. The movable or rotatable symbol display includes and displays a plurality of symbols within a geometric shape or in a geometric configuration such that the movement of the symbol display creates an optical illusion. The symbol indicator moves in coordination with the movement of the symbol display. When the symbol display and the symbol indicator stop moving, one or more of the symbols are designated or indicated. The designated symbol(s) may represent an award, a component of an award, or another suitable outcome.

In one embodiment, the display device functions as part of a secondary game triggered upon a triggering event in a suitable primary game such as slot, poker, blackjack, craps, keno, bingo, bunco or any combination thereof. The display device of the present invention can, for example, be provided as an upper display area or top box on a slot machine or other type of base wagering gaming device. In one embodiment, the outcome on the slot machine reels in a base game includes a triggering symbol or combination of symbols that triggers the movement of the symbol display and symbol indicator in a bonus game. In alternative embodiments, the player or the gaming device can activate the display device upon occurrence of the triggering symbol or symbols.

In one embodiment, the symbol display rotates about a substantially vertically disposed rotational axis in one direction or, alternatively, in multiple directions. The symbol indicator sequentially or simultaneously moves along a substantially linear path substantially along or relative to the rotational axis of the symbol display. The symbol display rotates to a predetermined or randomly determined rotational position. Similarly, the symbol indicator moves back and forth to a predetermined or randomly determined translational position. Upon completion of a motion program stored in the memory of the gaming device, the symbol display and the symbol indicator come to a stop either concurrently or independently, and one or more of the symbols of the symbol display is indicated. In one embodiment, the player is provided an award, such as a bonus award, based on the indicated symbol which is in addition to any award provided to the player by the base game.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the display device and, particularly, the rotatable symbol display resembles part or all of a “barber pole.” This symbol display includes an inner translucent elongated cylindrical tube housed within an outer elongated preferably transparent cylindrical tube. The outer tube is of a sufficient diameter to enable rotation of the symbol display within the outer tube or housing. The surface of the symbol display includes a plurality of obliquely angled or diagonal adjacently disposed symbol display areas. The angled symbol display areas are similar to the stripes of the barber pole, such as alternating red and white (and blue) stripes.

In one embodiment, a plurality of symbols, such as credits or credit symbols, values, or multipliers are visible on each of the angled symbol display areas. The arrangement of the symbol display areas and the movement of the symbol display combine to create an optical illusion of movement of the display areas in a direction different from, and preferably substantially transverse to the direction of movement of the symbol display. The symbol display areas in one embodiment and, thus, the symbols within the symbol display areas, appear to move along the axis of rotation. Depending on the orientation of the symbol display areas and the direction of rotation of the symbol display in this embodiment, the symbol display areas appear to move up or down or back and forth while the symbol display is rotating.

In one embodiment, the symbol indicator is operatively coupled to a movable support member such as a belt or other non-obtrusive structure. A motor or other suitable actuator operatively coupled to the support member moves the support member and the symbol indicator in a linear path substantially along the rotational axis of the rotating symbol display or within a plane substantially parallel to that axis. In one embodiment, the symbol indicator is operable to move in any suitable direction along the symbol display. In another embodiment, multiple indicators are used to indicate more than one symbol of the symbol display.

In one embodiment, motion-producing devices, such as one or more rotational stepper motors, provide the translational and rotational motion of the symbol display and symbol indicator(s). It should be appreciated that any suitable drive mechanisms may be employed to simultaneously rotate the symbol display and translate the symbol indicator in accordance with the present invention.

In an alternative embodiment, the display device provides a plurality of indicator lights or other illumination devices arranged along the vertical plane of the symbol display facing the player. While the symbol display rotates, the gaming device sequentially illuminates different symbols on the symbol display. When the symbol display and symbol indicator stop moving, the indicator or light source remains illuminated or otherwise indicates one or more of the awards displayed on the symbol display. Alternatively, a series of indicators or lights can be placed at different positions within or adjacent to areas of the symbol display to indicate one or more of the symbols on the symbol display when the symbol display stops moving.

In one embodiment, the present invention includes a first random generation and a second random generation that follows or coincides with the first random generation to produce an outcome that corresponds with the indicated symbol or symbols of the symbol display. For example, the symbol indicator can designate in the first random generation one of the symbols representing a credit value in a particular symbol display area on the symbol display. In the second random generation, the symbol indicator can designate on the symbol display a modifier such as a multiplier in an alternate symbol display area, such as one of a different color. That is, the movement of the symbol indicator in conjunction with the movement of the symbol display in the first random generation yields a designated credit value, while the secondary random generation yields a designated multiplier. The credit value and multiplier are combined to provide an overall award to the player. It should be appreciated that the modifier or multiplier can be designated in the first generation and the credit value in the second generation. Other awards may be provided instead of credit values or multipliers, such as a number of picks from a prize pool, a number of free games, a non-monetary award, and any combination thereof.

In an alternative embodiment, the moving symbol display and symbol indicator designate both or either of a multiplier and a credit value in one random generation. Alternatively, the symbol indicator designates multiple symbols on the symbol display either simultaneously or sequentially. In one alternative embodiment, the combination of symbols designated by the symbol indicator is compared to a pay-table to determine if an award is associated with the combination of designated symbols.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the symbols or values upon which an award is based are identified or indicated by player selection of at least one predefined portion of the symbol display, player selection of at least one symbol display area, additional symbol indicators working in conjunction with the symbol display, or varying combinations of these three methods.

In one embodiment, the symbols or values displayed in at least one pre-defined location or portion of the symbol display identified or indicated such as an upper and lower portion of the symbol display determine an award. In one embodiment, the player is enabled to select a portion of the symbol display, and any award provided to the player is based on the displayed symbols or indicated symbols within the selected region.

Alternatively, the player is enabled to select a symbol display area displaying symbols on which the award is based. The symbol display areas in one embodiment are visually distinguished from one another based on characteristics such as color, size, shading, lighting or any other suitable visual distinction. As discussed above, in one embodiment, symbol display areas are distinguished based on color such as the red, white and blue colors. The player is enabled in one embodiment to select a particular color of a symbol display area which limits the symbols upon which the award is based to the indicated symbols displayed within the selected symbol display area.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the symbol display includes an inner display portion and an outer display portion. The outer display portion in this embodiment indicates symbols displayed on the inner display portion by selectively revealing the symbols or values. One embodiment includes a substantially translucent outer display symbol indicator. The translucency of the outer display symbol indicator allows the player to experience the above-described visual effect from the movement of the plurality of obliquely angled symbol display areas on the inner symbol display without revealing the symbols or values displayed within the symbol display areas. The symbols or values displayed on the inner symbol display are not revealed unless the symbols are aligned with one of at least one, and, preferably, a plurality of, openings or windows in the outer display symbol indicator. In one embodiment, the outer display symbol indicator simultaneously reveals or indicates multiple symbols displayed on the inner symbol display. It should be appreciated that additional indicators such as the symbol indicator light described above can be combined with the outer display symbol indicator to further indicate or limit the symbols or values upon which an award is based.

In an alternative embodiment, the outer display symbol indicator is opaque. In one embodiment in which the outer display is moveable or rotatable, the outer display includes a plurality of obliquely angled display areas which do not display symbols. Alternatively, the windows discussed above are positioned on the outer display in an obliquely angled manner to produce a visual effect upon the rotation of the outer display. In one embodiment, the display areas on the outer display symbol indicator correspond to the symbol display areas on the inner symbol display such that each symbol display area is uniformly aligned on the inner and outer portions of the symbol display.

In one embodiment, the inner symbol display moves or rotates in relation to the outer display. In another embodiment, the outer display moves or rotates in relation to the inner symbol display. In another embodiment, both the inner and outer displays move in relation to one another either simultaneously or, alternatively, sequentially. It should be appreciated that the movement or rotation of the inner and outer displays can be in the same or opposite direction to one another.

It should thus be appreciated that arranging symbol display areas in a pattern on a symbol display to create a unique visual effect or illusion during movement and combining movement of symbol indicators with the movement of the symbol display to indicate one or more symbols on the symbol display provides a unique way to display symbols in a base or bonus game of a wagering gaming device.

Another advantage of the present invention to provide a fun and interesting apparatus and method of designating a symbol such as an award for a player in a wagering gaming device.

Another advantage of the present invention to provide a motion control configuration that rotates a symbol display while moving a symbol indicator in a linear fashion along the display in the familiar form of a symbol display.

A further advantage of the present invention to create an optical illusion with the pattern and arrangement of the symbol display areas upon the movement of the symbol display for a wagering gaming device.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention are described in, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description of the Invention and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a front-side perspective view of one embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a front-side perspective of another embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of the electronic configuration of one embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an elevated view of one embodiment of the symbol display areas removed from the symbol display and shown in an unrolled configuration.

FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C are front perspective views of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating the movement of the symbols within symbol display areas along the symbol display.

FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C are front perspective views of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating the movement of the symbol display and the symbol indicator.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of one embodiment illustrating multiple indicators.

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating one embodiment of the motion-producing controller and devices of the symbol indicator.

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating an alternative symbol indicator.

FIGS. 9A and 9B are front perspective views of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating selectable portions of the display.

FIGS. 10A and 10B are front perspective views of one embodiment of the gaming device display of the present invention illustrating a symbol revealing indicator.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, and, in particular, to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a gaming device of one embodiment of the present invention is illustrated by gaming devices 10 a and 10 b. Gaming devices 10 a and 10 b have the controls and features of a conventional slot machine, wherein the player operates the gaming device while standing or sitting.

Gaming devices 10 a and 10 b includes conventional monetary input devices. FIG. 1, for example, illustrates a coin slot 12 for coins or tokens and/or a payment acceptor 14 for cash money. The payment acceptor 14 may include other devices for accepting payment, such as readers or validators for credit cards, debit cards or smart cards, tickets, notes, etc. When a player inserts money in gaming devices 10 a and 10 b, a number of credits corresponding to the amount deposited is shown in a credit display 16. After depositing the appropriate amount of money, a player can begin the game by pulling arm 18 or pushing play button 20. Play button 20 can be any play activator used by the player that starts a game or sequence of events in the gaming device. The buttons of the gaming device are simulated on a touch screen, electromechanical or provided in both forms.

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, gaming devices 10 a and 10 b also include a bet display 22 and a bet one button 24. The player places a bet by pushing the bet one button 24. The player increases the bet by one credit each time the player pushes the bet one button 24. When the player pushes the bet one button 24, the number of credits shown in the credit display 16 decreases by one, and the number of credits shown in the bet display 22 increases by one. The player cashes out by pushing a cash out button 26 to receive coins or tokens in the coin payout tray 28 or other forms of payment, such as an amount printed on a ticket or credited to a credit card, debit card or smart card. Well known ticket printing and card reading machines (not illustrated) are commercially available.

In one embodiment, gaming device 10 includes a plurality of display devices including display device 30 for displaying the primary game and display device 100 for displaying the secondary game as discussed below. The display device 100 is provided in an upper top box area of the cabinet in one embodiment.

In an alternative embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 1B, the display device 100 of the present invention is provided on top of a rounded or rectangular cabinet of gaming device 10 b so that the upper display 32 or top box area can be used for other gaming purposes. Display device 100 is provided, in another embodiment, in the upper display or top box area. Other gaming purposes include, without limitation, the provision of another electromechanical or video display device such as the present invention or the provision of game information e.g., a paytable or game instruction.

Display device 30 includes any suitable viewing surface such as glass, a video monitor or screen, a liquid crystal display or any other static or dynamic, video, mechanical or electromechanical, display mechanism in any shape or size. In a video poker, blackjack or other card gaming machine embodiment, for example, display device 30 displays one or more cards. In a keno embodiment, the display device displays numbers.

In one preferred embodiment, display device 30 displays the game of slot. The slot machine embodiment of gaming devices 10 a and 10 b may include a plurality of reels 34, for example three to five reels 34. Reels 34 can be simulated on a video monitor, be purely mechanical or be electromechanical. Each reel 34 includes a plurality of indicia, such as bells, hearts, fruits, numbers, letters, bars or other images that correspond to a theme associated with gaming devices 10 a and 10 b.

Gaming devices 10 a and 10 b may include speakers 36 for making sounds or playing music. Speakers 36 can provide voice guidance instructions, instruct the player of a win and provide sounds in accordance with a game theme (e.g., famous person's voice used in a gaming device featuring such famous person).

With reference to the slot machine base game of FIGS. 1A and 1B to operate gaming devices 10 a and 10 b, the player inserts the appropriate amount of tokens or money in coin slot 12 or payment acceptor 14 and then pulls arm 18 or pushes play button 20. The reels 34 then begin to spin. Eventually, the reels 34 come to a stop. As long as the player has credits remaining, the player can spin the reels 34 again. Depending upon where the reels 34 stop, the player may or may not win additional credits.

In addition to winning base game credits, the gaming devices 10 a and 10 b, including any suitable base games, also includes any suitable bonus games that give players the opportunity to win additional credits. Gaming devices 10 a and 10 b in one embodiment use the video-based display devices 30 and/or 32 for one or more of the bonus games. Otherwise or additionally, the bonus game is at least partially carried out on display device 100. The bonus games are controlled by one ore more programs that automatically begin when the player achieves a qualifying condition in the base game. FIG. 26 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention employed in a slant top gaming device cabinet.

Referring now to FIG. 2, one embodiment of an electronic configuration for gaming device 10 includes: a processor 38; a memory device 40 for storing program code or other data; a display device 30; a sound card 42; a plurality of speakers 36; one or more input devices 44 (referring collectively to electromechanical and simulated input devices); are one or more motion controllers; and one or more motion-producing devices. The processor 38 includes a platform that is capable of displaying images, symbols and other indicia such as images of people, characters, places, things and faces of cards. The memory device 40 includes random access memory (RAM) 46 for storing event data- or other data generated or used during a particular game. The memory device 40 also includes read only memory (ROM) 48 for storing program code, which controls gaming devices 10 a and 10 b so that it plays a particular game in accordance with applicable game rules and pay tables.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the player uses the input devices 44 to input signals into gaming devices 10 a and 10 b. In the slot machine base game, the input devices 44 include the pull arm 18, play button 20, the bet one button 24, the cash out button 26 and other player inputs, such as simulated inputs. In one embodiment, a touch screen 50 and touch screen controller 52 are connected to a video controller 54 and processor 38. The touch screen enables a player to input decisions into the gaming devices 10 a and 10 b by sending a discrete signal based on the area of the touch screen 50 that the player touches or presses.

As further illustrated in FIG. 2, the processor 38 connects to the coin slot 12 or payment acceptor 14, whereby the processor 38 requires a player to deposit a certain amount of money to start the game. Although the coin slot 12 and payment acceptor 14 are illustrated alternatively, gaming device 10 provides both coin slot 12 and payment acceptor 14 in one embodiment.

The processor 38 also controls the output of one of more motion controllers 56 that control one or more actuators or motion-producing devices 58. The motion-producing devices 58 can be any suitable mechanism such as any combination of AC/DC motors, stepper motors, linear stepper motors or other types of linear actuators. The motion-producing devices 58 can be electrically or pneumatically operated. The motion controllers 56 are, likewise, electric or pneumatic controllers.

As further described below, the rotational motion of a motor 58 can be used to rotate a symbol display 102 of the display device 100 of the present invention. The rotational motion is, alternatively, converted to cause a symbol indicator 104 of display device 100 to move along a linear path. Alternatively, a linear motion producing device 58, such as another motor, or an actuator that moves in a telescopic manner can be employed to directly cause the symbol indicator 104 of display device 100 to move.

The motion control scheme facilitates complex movements of multiple parts to be suitably programmed into the memory device 40 and carried out by the processor 38 at the appropriate time in a sequence of the game, be it a base, bonus, bonus triggering or progressive sequence of gaming devices 10 a and 10 b. The motion control scheme is alternatively stored in one or more motion controllers 56 or a multiplexing motion controller 56. Moreover, multiple programs can be stored and recalled in the memory device 40. In that case, processor 38 runs an appropriate program at the appropriate time so that the symbol display 102 and one or more symbol indicators 104, described in more detail below, perform or move differently, e.g., faster, slower or in different directions at different times, at different points in the game and in different sequences.

The motion control programs, in one embodiment, interface with one or more random generation devices, typically software-based, to produce randomly displayed outcomes on the displays of the present invention. For example, processor 38 can run a random selection sequence to produce a result and then command that a particular motion control program be run to achieve or display the result. The random result is, therefore, determined in one embodiment before or during the actual movement of the symbol display 102 and symbol indicator 104.

Symbol Display

As illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B, one embodiment of the symbol display of the display device 100 is in the form of an elongated cylinder or tube. It should be appreciated that the symbol display 102 may be formed in other suitable geometric shapes such as a sphere or cone. In one embodiment, the symbol display 102 is mounted within an at least partially transparent or see-through housing or tube 106 having a similar form as the symbol display 102. It should be appreciated that the housing 106 can be any suitable shape which provides sufficient space for the symbol display 102 to achieve the movement desired by the gaming machine implementer.

In one embodiment, the symbol display 102 includes at least one symbol display area 108 arranged in a symmetrical pattern on the symbol display 102 which creates an optical illusion when the symbol display 102 moves. It should be appreciated that the symbol display areas 108 may not be arranged in a symmetrical pattern, but will, nevertheless, generate an illusion when moving. A preferred embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 3, includes multiple elongated symbol display areas 108 a, 108 b, 108 c, 108 d, 108 e and 108 f, each symbol display area 108 having substantially the same elongated shape. The symbol display areas 108 a, 108 b, 108 c, 108 d, 108 e and 108 f are positioned adjacent to one another and are arranged at a diagonal or an oblique, non-perpendicular angle on the cylindrical symbol display 102. The symbol display areas 108 a, 108 b, 108 c, 108 d, 108 e and 108 f are positioned wrapped together in the same direction around the symbol display 102 in a spiral or helical fashion as illustrated in FIGS. 4A to 4D. As the player views the display device 100, the symbol display areas 108 appear as multiple repeating layers along the length of the cylindrical symbol display 102.

The shape and/or configuration of the symbol display areas 108 on the symbol display 102 cause an optical illusion to be produced upon movement of the symbol display 102 and, specifically, upon rotation of the symbol display 102. In one embodiment, where a cylindrical symbol display 102 turns or rotates along its substantially vertical rotational axis 118, the arrangement and orientation of the symbol display areas 108 on the symbol display 102 creates the illusion of the symbol display areas 108 moving vertically, up or down the symbol display 102.

Color, texture, shape, lighting and other variations of the display device 100 may also be used to create or enhance the unique visual effects or illusion created when the symbol display 102 is moving. In one embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 3, the symbol display areas 108 are distinguished from one another by shading or color similar to the colors on a barber pole in which red and white symbol display areas 108 or stripes are wrapped around the pole at an oblique angle.

It should be appreciated that other visual effects or illusions resulting from the arrangement of symbol display areas 108 on the symbol display 102 and the movement of the symbol display 102 are contemplated by the present invention. For example, display areas 102 in the shape of a spiral may be positioned on a circular symbol display which is spun on an axis in an x-y plane to create the effect of movement of the symbol display areas into or out of the surface of the circular symbol display along a z-y axis.

At least one of, preferably a plurality of and, alternatively, all of the symbol display areas 108 a, 108 b, 108 c, 108 d, 108 e and 108 f include one or a plurality of symbols 110. The symbols can represent any suitable type of award for the player, such as a number of credits, a number of picks from a prize pool, any type of non-monetary award, a free game or a free number of spins, other winning or losing outcomes, and any combination thereof. In one embodiment, the symbols represent at least a portion of, or alternatively all of, the player's award. That is, in one embodiment, the player's award is equal to one or more of the values 110 indicated on one of the symbol display areas 108. In a preferred embodiment discussed below, symbols 110 in one symbol display area 108 represent a credit value component 112, and symbols 110 in another symbol display area 108 represent a multiplier award component 114. A single or, alternatively, multiple indicators 104 sequentially or simultaneously illuminate multiple symbols 110 on multiple symbol display areas 108 of the symbol display 102, combining the indicated symbols 110 to determine the player's award. It should be appreciated that the symbols could alternatively represent other suitable game functions of the gaming device.

In one embodiment, the symbols 110 can be arranged within the symbol display areas 108 in an order or sequence which corresponds with the illusion of movement of the symbol display areas 108. In one embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIGS. 4A to 4D, credit values are arranged so that the credit values appear to increase as the symbol display areas 108 move along the vertical axis of the cylindrical symbol display. FIGS. 4A to 4D illustrate the natural movement of the player's eye as it follows the symbols 110 up the symbol display 102. The symbols 110 within those display areas 108 appear to be increasing with each turn of the symbol display 102. In FIG. 4A, the eye of the player is focused on the symbol display area 108 d displaying the twenty-five credit value 109 at the bottom of the symbol display 102. As the symbol display 102 rotates a fractional turn, FIG. 4B illustrates the player's eye following the apparent progression of the symbol display area 108 d up the rotational axis 118 of the symbol display 102. The player's focus on the symbol display 102 is now on symbol display area 108 d displaying a credit value of fifty 110 b, an increase in value from the credit value 110 a displayed in FIG. 4A. Likewise, FIG. 4C illustrates the player's eye following the apparent progression of the symbol display area 108 d up the rotational axis 118 of the symbol display 102 as the symbol display 102 rotates another fractional turn. The player's focus is now on the symbol display area 108 d which displays a credit value of one-hundred 110 c, an increase in value from the credit value displayed in FIG. 4B. FIG. 4D illustrates the final progression of the player's focus as the player follows the apparent movement of the symbol display area 108 d from FIG. 4A up the symbol display 102 until it transitions to symbol display area 108 a displaying a credit value of two hundred 110 d, an increase in value from the credit value 110 c displayed in FIG. 4C.

It should be appreciated that the sequence of symbols 110 along the natural flow of the player's vision can decrease or be in any other order contemplated by the implementer of the game. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that the direction of rotation in this embodiment changes the direction of the apparent movement of the symbol display areas 108 from moving up the symbol display 102 to moving down the symbol display 102. Accordingly, the symbols 110 illustrated in FIGS. 4A to 4D will appear to decrease with every fractional turn of the symbol display 102.

Symbol Indicator

In one embodiment, the display device 100 includes a suitable symbol indicator 104, such as an indicator light, arrow or pointer. The symbol indictor 104 performs a movement sequence in conjunction with the movement of the symbol display 102. When both symbol display 102 and symbol indicator 104 stop moving, the symbol indicator 104 designates one of the symbols 110 in a symbol display area 108 on the symbol display 102.

In one embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C, the symbol indicator 104 is mounted within a translucent symbol display 102 on a movable support member 116. The symbol indicator 104 is, alternatively, supported elsewhere within or on the display device 100.

FIG. 5A illustrates the symbol display 102 of display device 100 in one of a plurality of rotational positions and the symbol indicator 104 in its lowest translational position. In one embodiment, the symbol indicator 104 resides in its lowest position until a triggering event causes the beginning of the rotational motion of the symbol display 102. Alternatively, the symbol indicator 104 can start at the top-most position. The initiation of the rotational motion of the symbol display 102, in an embodiment, initiates the movement of the symbol indicator 104 down the axis of rotation 118. Alternatively, the symbol indicator 104 can start at any suitable intermediate position from which it can ascend or descend the symbol display 102. FIG. 5B illustrates the symbol display 102 when the symbol indicator 104 is positioned approximately half way through its total movable distance.

Motion Sequences

For ease of illustration, a relatively simple motion sequence is illustrated in FIGS. 5A to 5C. In one embodiment, the rotational and translational motion of the symbol display 102 and symbol indicator 104, respectively, of display 100 are each independent of one another and are variable so that many different types of motion profiles are possible. For example, in one embodiment, the rotational motion of the symbol display 102 is variable to include one or more starts and stops, one or more direction changes, one or more dwell periods, one or more angular accelerations, one or more maximum angular velocities, and any combination thereof. Further, instead of moving upward just once, the linear motion of the symbol indicator 104, alternatively, includes multiple starts and stops, one or more direction changes, one or more accelerations and top speeds, one or more dwell periods where no translational movement takes place, and any combination thereof. In one embodiment of a motion sequence, for example, one or more stepper motors cause the symbol display 102 to begin to turn slowly and increasingly accelerate rotationally to a maximum point and then decelerate rotationally to a stopping point. Likewise, another stepper motor causes the symbol indicator 104 to begin to rise slowly and increasingly accelerate translationally to a maximum point and then decelerate translationally to a stopping point.

It should also be appreciated that any suitable motion control program can be set to repeat (with or without variations) one or more times so that the player may believe that a particular award is being provided, when, in fact, gaming devices 10 a or 10 b changes direction or movement and ultimately provide a different award to the player.

In one embodiment, the player's award is determined randomly before the motion program ends. For example, in FIG. 6, gaming devices 10 a or 10 b, in one embodiment, determine randomly to provide an award of one hundred credits to the player. Thereafter, a plurality of different possibilities exist. In one embodiment, the gaming device 10 determines either randomly or through a set equation, which combination of value(s) 112 and multiplier(s) 114 to use to provide the total award of one hundred credits to the player. It may be that only a single combination exists that yields such an award as illustrated as in FIG. 5B. Alternatively, the motion sequence allows the player to achieve the credit symbol 112 of “fifty” and a multiplier 114 of “2×” as illustrated in FIG. 6A. Alternatively, gaming devices 10 a or 10 b randomly generate a first one of the components, which determines or sets the second award component to be a certain value 112. For example, the symbol display 102 and symbol indicator 104 could move randomly to display the value 112 of “fifty” credits to the player. Thereafter, gaming device 10, knowing the total award to be one hundred credits, determines that the multiplier 114 has to be 2×.

In the illustrated embodiment, the symbols 110 are fixed and provided on the symbol display 102 of the gaming device 10 a or 10 b. Gaming device 10 a or 10 b, alternatively, provides an outcome display 116 on a video monitor 32 in one embodiment. That is, the electro-mechanical portion of the display 100 can be a video monitor display similar to video monitor 32 in FIG. 1B, so that the display can change as described above. For example, the gaming device displaying the symbol display 102 on a video screen can generate a new series of symbols, values, multipliers, etc. with each fractional turn of the symbol display 102 allowing significantly more symbols 110 and combinations of symbols 110 to be generated by the display devices 10 a or 10 b. In one embodiment, a completely separate type of award component or display is provided with each turn or with each movement sequence.

In one implementation, the multipliers 114 are only provided upon certain base game triggering events. For example, a player receiving a first triggering symbol or symbol combination receives an award based only upon value symbols 112. A player achieving a second more desirable triggering symbol or symbol combination obtains an award based on value symbols 112 and multiplier symbols 114. It should be appreciated that this implementation can be employed in both electromechanical and video embodiments.

Motion-Producing Devices

One or more motion controllers 56 and one or more motion-producing devices 58 can reside either in the top box area (not illustrated) or in the lower cabinet area 32. The motion controller 56 typically includes printed circuit boards or stand alone enclosures that receive high level commands from the processor 38. The motion controller 56 converts the high level commands into, for example, a number of step pulses, which, in turn, are converted into motor currents. The motion-producing device 58 receives the currents, wherein the currents cause, for example, a rotor to turn a precise and desired amount within a stator. FIG. 7 illustrates separate motion controllers 56 a and 56 b for separate motion-producing devices 58. In an alternative embodiment, a single controller can control two separate motion-producing devices or have two separate processors that are able to run multiple motors.

In one embodiment, a first motion-producing device 58 a and a second rotational motion-producing device 58 b produce different movements of, along, about or within the symbol display 102. In one embodiment, a first rotational motion-producing device 58 a, seen in FIG. 7, produces the rotational motion of a preferred embodiment of the symbol display 102. Motion-producing device 58 a is controlled via one or more wires 57 a by the motion controller 56 a. The translational motion of the symbol indicator 104 is produced by a second, translational motion-producing device 58 b, which is controlled via one or more wires 57 b by a second motion controller 56 b.

In one embodiment, the motion-producing devices 58 a and 58 b are stepper motors, which are highly accurate, positioning type motors. Those motors allow various accelerations, velocities, run times, dwell times, etc., to be programmed into a memory storage device and converted into motor currents via the controllers 56 a and 56 b to produce complex desired motion outputs for the output shafts of stepper motors 58 a and 58 b, respectively.

For example, one stepper motor 58 a rotates a gear with teeth 60 that engage grooves 62 around the base of the symbol display 102 generating rotation of the symbol display. A second motor 58 b drives a pulley system having a belt 64 or a linkage assembly positioned in an upper and lower portion of the symbol display 102. The symbol indicator 104 in this embodiment, is a light source which is fixedly attached to the belt 64 or linkage. The symbol indicator 104 translates up or down (or alternatively side to side) within the symbol display 102. When the second motor 58 b is powered, the rotation of the shaft 66 of the second motor 58 b turns a pulley 68, which, in turn, drives the belt 64, which, in turn, drives the symbol indicator 104 in the desired translational direction. The symbol indictor 104 is a sufficient size to be relatively easily hidden from the player.

In an alternative embodiment, the motion-producing devices 58 are servo motors that receive a feedback electronically so as to be even more accurate, in many cases, than stepper motors.

In a further alternative embodiment, the translational motion-producing device 58 b includes a linear electrical motor that rides along a track or linear stepper motor having an output shaft that moves translationally. In a still further alternative embodiment, the translational motion-producing device 58 b includes a pneumatically-operated device.

In one embodiment, the rotational movement of the symbol display 102 is generated by a motor and gear assembly, a motor and belt assembly, or other powered mechanical coupling to the display device 100 to transfer the energy required for appropriate movement of the display device 100.

Alternatively, a spur or worm gear assembly is operatively connected to the drive shaft 66 of the motor and is used to turn the symbol display 102. The gear 60 engages the grooves 62 running along the circumference of the bottom portion of the symbol display 102 as illustrated in FIG. 7. When the stepper motor 58 a is signaled by the rotational movement controller 56 a, the motor turns the shaft 66 a which begins to turn the gear 60. The gear 60 engages the grooves 62 to rotate or spin the symbol display 102, in a preferred embodiment, to a plurality of stop positions along the circumference of the symbol display 102. Each stop position, preferably, aligns at least one of each of the vertically-arranged symbol display areas 110 on the symbol display 102 with the front of the gaming devices 10 a or 10 b. The rotational movement of the symbol display 102, therefore, follows the motion of the stepper motor 58 b, including any starts, stops, runs, dwells, direction changes, accelerations, decelerations and velocities, etc.

In an alternative embodiment, a belt (not illustrated) having teeth that engage the mating teeth or grooves 62 of an upper or lower portion of the symbol display 102 as well as the mating teeth of a pulley (not illustrated) attached to the drive shaft 66 a of the motor 58 a provides the rotational movement of the symbol display 102.

In one embodiment, the translational movement of the symbol indicator is generated by a motor and gear assembly, a motor and belt assembly, or other power source coupled to a device to transfer the energy required for appropriate movement of the display device. In an embodiment, the translational stepper motor 58 b is mounted to the underneath side of the panel (not illustrated) located below the symbol display 102. The drive shaft 66 b of the stepper motor 58 b is coupled to the pulley wheel 68 a with mating teeth that engage a belt 64, cable, linkage or other preferably non-obtrusive support for the symbol indicator 104. The belt 64 travels vertically through the center of the symbol display 102 to another pulley wheel 686 attached to a shaft 70 mounted above the moving portion of the symbol display, preferably to the inside of the ball 72 above the symbol display 102 in the illustrated embodiment. The symbol indicator 104, in turn, is non-removably attached to the belt 64 or linkage such that the symbol indicator is directed toward the player. It should be appreciated that screw, telescopic, pneumatic, hydraulic, or other methods of moving the symbol indicator are contemplated by the present invention. The illustrated configuration for rotating the symbol display 102 and translating the symbol indicator 104 is advantageous because the larger components of the assembly are hidden from the player except for the belt 64 which can be narrow and made of a clear plastic material to minimize exposure and shadowing.

As the shaft 66 b of the translational stepper motor 58 b turns, such rotational motion is transferred to the pulley wheel 68 b. The rotation of the pulley wheel 68 b on the drive shaft 66 b causes the belt 64 and the affixed symbol indicator 104 to move up or down depending on the direction of rotation of the motor 58 b. In alternative embodiments, the motion of the symbol indicator 104 is from side-to-side, at any suitable angle, arc or pattern, or completely random as desired by the implementer. Accordingly, in a preferred embodiment when the symbol display 102 rotates, the symbol indicator 104 moves up or down.

Suitable rollers or ball bearings (not illustrated) may be provided in the electromechanical system of the display 100 of the present invention at the junction of the fixed and moving portions of the display device 100. In one embodiment, ball bearings are present along grooves below the symbol display 102 and along an upper portion of the symbol display along the underneath surface of a top portion of the display. Ball bearings placed within the grooves support the display 100 and prevent it from oscillating front to back or side-to-side relative to the player. The ball bearings also serve to provide a smooth motion for the symbol display 102 and to reduce fluttering and vibrations occurring during such motion, especially during starting and stopping. In one embodiment, a spherical shape 72 makes up the top portion of the display device. The ball bearings are placed between the upper portion of the symbol display and the sphere 72 to allow the sphere 72 to remain fixed through the rotation of the symbol display 102. In one embodiment, the sphere must be fixed if the symbol indicator 104 is to retain its position directed toward the front of the gaming device and the player.

Motion Control Programs

In one embodiment, the translational motion of the indicator or symbol indicator 104 is controlled electronically through a motion control program. That is, the game implementer implements a certain amount of step pulses that are fed from motion controller 56 b to stepper motor 58 b. When the step pulses end, the motor stops turning and the symbol indicator 104 stops translating. It should therefore be appreciated that the motion control program can control the translational motion of the symbol display 104 entirely. It is desirable however to install hard, mechanical limits to compensate for a power down or other type of condition, such as accumulated slippage and backlash along the belt 64 or linkage, which causes the symbol indicator 104 to be in a position different from the position in which the processor 38 or the motor controller 56 b senses the symbol indicator 104 to be. Accordingly, a plurality of limits switches (not illustrated) may be positioned along the inside of the bottom panel, such that a peg or other protrusion operably positioned along the belt contacts a limit switch when the symbol indicator 104 is translated to a lowest, safest point or to a highest, safest point, respectively. Limit switches in one embodiment are wired in a fail-safe manner so that, if one of the wires connected to the limit switch is corrupted (i.e., power to the switch is lost), processor 38 senses that the switch has been triggered and shuts down power to the translational stepper motor 58 b.

Game Play

In the illustrated embodiment, display device 100 operates with a wagering game such as a slot game. When reels 34 in the slot game of FIG. 1A or 1B spin and come to a stop, a pre-defined symbol or combination of symbols appearing along an activated payline (or, alternatively, in scatter pay mode) begins the rotational movement of the symbol display symbol display 102. Other triggering events or arrangements are possible, such as a symbol appearing on any payline, wagered or not wagered, or upon the play of a certain number of games, etc.

Referring to FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C, FIG. 5B illustrates the display 100 in an intermediate state. The symbol indicator 104 has risen or moved translationally upward within the symbol display 102 from it starting position in FIG. 5A to indicate the symbol of “100” 110 c. The symbol display 102 has simultaneously or sequentially rotated clockwise so that the symbol “100” 110 c has rotated from a central position for the value, facing the player illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B to the rear of the symbol display 102, out of the view of the player illustrated in FIG. 5B. The symbol for the value “150” 110 b has likewise rotated from behind the symbol display 102 and from a position hidden from the player, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, to a front position in view of the player, as illustrated in FIG. 5B. Therefore, the symbol for the value, “150” 110 b is indicated by the symbol indicator 104 in FIG. 5C. FIG. 5C illustrates the symbol display 102 at rest in a final rotational position and the symbol indicator 104 at rest in a final translational position.

Multiple Award Components

Referring to FIG. 6, in one embodiment, the symbol display 102 of display device 100 is partitioned into six adjacently arranged symbol display areas 108 a, 108 c, 108 d, 108 e and 108 f represented by stripes on a symbol display. In alternative embodiments, the symbol display 102 is partitioned into any suitable number of equally or differently-sized sections symbol display areas. Within at least one of the symbol display areas 108 is a series of credit values 112. The symbol display areas 108 a, 108 c and 108 e displaying credit values 112 alternate with symbol display areas displaying a series of modifiers 114 such as multipliers, in modifier or multiplier display areas 108 b, 108 d and 108 f. It should be appreciated that multiple outcomes can be arranged in different configurations in display areas on the symbol display.

In one embodiment, a first random event associated with the rotational movement of the symbol display 102 and the translational movement of the symbol indicator 104 yields an outcome that the display device 100 combines with the outcome of a second random event of rotation and translation movement, to form an overall award for the player. In one embodiment, the symbol indicator 114 must be adapted to identify two separate award components, a credit value 112, and a multiplier 114, to be combined to determine a total award provided to the player. In an alternative embodiment, multiple symbol indicators 104 are controlled by the processor 38 to selectively indicate or illuminate one or more symbols on the symbol display 102 at a specified time. As stated above, one or more symbol indicators 104 for one or more symbols 110 may be positioned or illuminated simultaneously or sequentially. For ease of illustration of one embodiment, a single light source is provided for each symbol indicator 104. In an alternative embodiment, multiple light sources are provided for each symbol indictor 104, surrounding the symbol 110, for example. Further, in an embodiment, the area around the symbol display 102 is illuminated until a symbol 110 on the display device 100 is illuminated by the symbol indicator 104.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6A, at least one of the multipliers 114 along the multiplier display area 108 of the symbol display 102 along with at least one of the credit values 112 along the value display area 108 are illuminated in a single movement sequence or program. Alternatively, after indicating the credit value 112 in one movement sequence, the rotational and translational movement resumes to indicate at least one of the multipliers 114. It should be appreciated that the multipliers are illuminated sequentially or in combination as desired by the game implementer.

In FIG. 6A, the lighting sequence has identified the player's award components 112 and 114 to be “fifty” and a multiplier of “2×,” respectively. In a preferred embodiment, values 112 of the symbol display 102 are associated with a symbol display area 108 of one color and multipliers 114 with a symbol display area 108 of another color. In this embodiment, the gaming device 10 provides an award to the player at the end of the mechanical and electronic sequence of the display device 100. In one embodiment, the award is a bonus award triggered by the base game, such as the occurrence of a triggering event displayed on the reels 34 in FIG. 1A or the video monitor 30 in FIG. 1B.

As illustrated in FIG. 6A, the one-hundred credits provided to the player is a combination of the fifty credits 112 and the 2× multiplier 114 from the stop position of the rotated symbol display and the translationally relocated indicator 104. In one alternative embodiment, the player's award is based solely on a value 112 in one of the symbol display areas 108 displayed to the player and identified by the symbol indicator 104. In another embodiment, the symbol 110 is a multiplier 114 that multiplies a number of base game credits, such as the player's wager payline or total wager. In a further embodiment, the multiplier 114 multiplies any other suitable number, such as a number of paylines wagered by the player.

In a further embodiment, the symbol indicator 104 includes multiple symbol indicators which are vertically arranged within the symbol display 102 to designate one or more symbols 110. In one embodiment, the indicated symbols 110 are combined by a mathematical function such as addition or multiplication, or are combined to be compared to a paytable. For example, in FIG. 8, multiple indicator symbol indicators 104 a and 104 b could be spaced apart on a fixed support member within the symbol display 102 to indicate the values of “fifty” 110 e and “two hundred fifty” 110 f, which could be added in one embodiment to provide an award or an award component of three hundred credits. Other suitable symbol indicator 104 configurations are within the scope of the present invention.

Additional Methods of Indicating Symbols

Referring now to FIGS. 9A and 9B, in one embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of symbol display areas 108 are defined or distinguished from other symbol display areas by their positioning on the display such as in an upper portion 120 or a lower portion 122 of the symbol display, as illustrated in FIGS. 9A and 9B. In addition or alternatively, a plurality of symbol display areas 108 are distinguished from one another by different colors, sizes, shading, lighting, positioning on the symbol display 102 or any other suitable visual distinction. In one embodiment, a plurality of symbol display areas 108 are distinguished from other symbol display areas by color, such as the red, white and blue colors of a barber pole illustrated in FIGS. 9A and 9B. It should be appreciated that the symbols within a particular portion of the symbol display 102 or set of symbol display areas 108 can be further indicated by at least one indicator light 104 within the symbol display 102.

In one embodiment, the player is enabled to select a portion of the symbol display. The selection of a portion of the symbol display 102 by the player, in one embodiment, limits an award provided to the player to symbols displayed within the selected portion of the symbol display 102 or, alternatively, to at least one indicated symbol displayed within the selected portion of the symbol display 102. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 9A and 9B, the gaming device enables the player to select an upper portion 120 or a lower portion 122 of the symbol display prior to the beginning of the rotational movement or, alternatively, prior to the end of the rotational movement. In FIG. 9A, the player has selected the upper portion of the symbol display 120 wherein the value of one hundred 110 g is indicated. FIG. 9B illustrates a 180 degree counter-clockwise rotation which moves the value of one-thousand 110 h from the lower region 122 to the upper region 120. If the symbol display 102 ceases its movement in the position illustrated in FIG. 9B, and the player has selected the upper portion 120 of the symbol display 102, the player in one embodiment is provided an award based on the indicated value symbol of one-thousand 110.

In one embodiment, the player is enabled to select individual or a set of symbol display areas 108 defined by a distinguishing characteristic such as the symbol display areas displayed in the color red. As discussed above, the symbol display 102 rotates causing the symbols in each of the symbol display areas to appear to move along the vertical axis of rotation of the inner symbol display from one portion of the symbol display to the other portion depending on the direction of rotation and the angle of the symbol display regions from left to right. An award provided to the player is then based on any indicated symbols displayed within the selected set of symbol display areas.

In one embodiment, the award provided to the player is based on the symbol representing the greatest value displayed within the portion of the symbol display or the symbol display area selected by the player. It should be appreciated that other methods of determining the symbol(s) upon which an award is based can be employed such as the average value represented by the selected symbols, the lowest value, etc.

Referring now to FIGS. 10A and 10B, one embodiment of a rotating symbol display is illustrated. In one embodiment, an outer display symbol indicator 124 indicates symbols 110 or values displayed on an inner symbol display 102 by concealing all but the indicated symbols 110 or values. In one embodiment, one or more open or transparent areas or indicator windows 126 are fixedly positioned or distributed throughout an otherwise opaque or translucent outer display symbol indicator 124. The indicator windows 126 simultaneously reveal or indicate one or more symbols 110 or values displayed on the inner symbol display 102. Preferably, only one symbol 110 or value is indicated in each indicator window 126.

As illustrated in FIG. 10A, the outer display symbol indicator 124 and the inner symbol display 102, in one embodiment, are both cylindrical in shape, are concentrically arranged or positioned and rotate on a substantially vertical rotational axis 118. In FIG. 10A, the value of one hundred 110 g displayed on the inner symbol display 102 appears in an indicator window 126 of the outer display symbol indicator 124. The inner symbol display 102 moves or rotates in relation to the outer display symbol indicator 124 to align or position the symbols or values within the indicator window 126 of the outer display symbol indicator 124. Upon rotation of the inner display 102 by 180 degrees in a counter-clockwise direction in relation to the outer display symbol indicator 124, the value of one-thousand 110 h appears in the indicator window 126. Alternatively, the outer display symbol indicator 124, in one embodiment is adapted to move or rotate in relation to the inner symbol display 102 to reveal or indicate different symbols 110 or values on the inner symbol display 102 through the indicator windows 126 of the outer display symbol indicator 124. In another alternative, both the inner symbol display 102 and outer display symbol indicator 124 move in relation to one another either sequentially, simultaneously or alternatingly in a suitable movement sequence including different directions, numbers of rotations, and duration in time.

In one embodiment, when each of the inner and outer displays have ceased their rotational movement, each indicator window 126 on the outer display symbol indicator 124 is aligned with a symbol on the inner symbol display 102 to selectively indicate that symbol. Any award provided to the player in this embodiment is based on at least one of the symbols indicated in the indicator windows 126 of the outer display symbol indicator 124. If, for example, the movement of the outer or inner displays cease in the position illustrated in FIG. 10B, the award provided to the player is based on the indicated value of one-thousand. It should be appreciated that this method of indicating or revealing one or more symbols 110 on a symbol display can be combined with any other method described herein to determine an award.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the display of the symbols or values themselves may be adapted to change. In one embodiment, the symbols or values are individually displayed on light-emitting diode (LED) displays positioned within symbol display areas 108 of the inner symbol display 102. It should be appreciated that any suitable means of changeably displaying symbols or values 110 can be used. It should also be appreciated that this embodiment can be included in the previous embodiments discussed above.

It should be appreciated that the display device 100 may be disposed vertically, horizontally, or at any suitable angle with respect to the cabinet of the wagering gaming machine. It should also be appreciated that the display device 100 can be disposed above, below, on the side of or otherwise adjacent to the other display devices such as the reels of the wagering gaming machine.

It should further be appreciated that the wagering gaming device can include one or more of such display devices 100 that sequentially or simultaneously function with each other or one or more of the primary or secondary games of the wagering gaming machine 10.

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.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8663009 *Feb 27, 2013Mar 4, 2014Wms Gaming Inc.Rotatable gaming display interfaces and gaming terminals with a rotatable display interface
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3244, G07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32K
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 2, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GOINS, JAMIE J.;REEL/FRAME:015773/0823
Effective date: 20040831