|Publication number||US20060178205 A1|
|Application number||US 11/052,590|
|Publication date||Aug 10, 2006|
|Filing date||Feb 7, 2005|
|Priority date||Feb 7, 2005|
|Publication number||052590, 11052590, US 2006/0178205 A1, US 2006/178205 A1, US 20060178205 A1, US 20060178205A1, US 2006178205 A1, US 2006178205A1, US-A1-20060178205, US-A1-2006178205, US2006/0178205A1, US2006/178205A1, US20060178205 A1, US20060178205A1, US2006178205 A1, US2006178205A1|
|Inventors||Charles Bleich, James Rasmussen, Alfred Thomas|
|Original Assignee||Wms Gaming, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (21), Referenced by (24), Classifications (4), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to gaming machines and, more specifically, to a gaming machine with button panel features.
Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Players also appreciate the reliability of a gaming machine, as do the casino operators. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining, exciting, and reliable machines available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator.
Players of gaming machines have been presented with a variety of interface methods for entering commands into the gaming machine. Typical interface components are buttons, touch screen panels, and the traditional lever. Modern gaming machines are moving away from the lever and focusing more on touch screen and button technologies. The convenience of these offerings helps speed up the play of the games and causes much less exertion to the player.
Buttons on gaming machines have evolved over the years, most notably changing in shape and lighting. While many varieties, lighting types, and purposes exist today, the focus of the buttons has always been primarily to initiate commands. While the advent of the button panel has increased the rate of play and made it easier for the player to conduct the game, the buttons themselves have only provided input to the gaming machine from the player and have had very little to do with information feedback.
To increase the entertainment value of a game and create additional development and theme possibilities, variations on the button panel and to the buttons themselves would offer the gaming machine manufacturer additional latitude to help support unique themes and provide a variety of feedback to the player via unique interactive features.
The present invention provides a player-actuated button on a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game. The button includes a representation of a variable dice outcome affecting events in the wagering game. Other button features are also disclosed herein.
The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
The primary display 12 may be implemented with a CRT, LCD, plasma, mechanical reels (in the case of a reel slot game), or other type of display known in the art. The primary display 12, especially if implemented in video, may be overlaid with a touch screen to facilitate interaction with the player. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 12 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 12 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
System memory 24 stores control software, operational instructions and data associated with the gaming machine. In one embodiment, the system memory 24 comprises a separate read-only memory (ROM) and battery-backed random-access memory (RAM). However, it will be appreciated that the system memory 24 may be implemented on any of several alternative types of memory structures or may be implemented on a single memory structure. In fact, the system memory 24 may be located locally or remotely over a network. A payoff mechanism 26 is operable in response to instructions from the CPU 20 to award a payoff to the player. The payoff may, for example, be in the form of a number of credits. The number of credits is determined by one or more math tables stored in the system memory 24.
Another aspect of the present invention includes the use of colored lights to identify particular game play modes or valuations.
Another aspect of identifying certain modes of a gaming machine is the use of multicolored LEDs to represent denominations or value. As reinforcement to the color on a tower light that denotes the denomination of a gaming machine, buttons 52 on the same gaming machine could also be lit in the same color as the color on the tower light. For example, if the color for a 25-cent gaming machine is yellow, the button LEDs 54 can be programmed to have a permanent or initial backlighting color of yellow. Should the casino use the tower light colors for other purposes than denomination, the buttons 52 could be configured to represent any color scheme deemed necessary. In multi-denomination gaming machines, the backlighting color can change when the player selects the denomination.
The color of the buttons 52 can also be used to represent a bet amount during free spins, signify the number of free spins, identify the number of active pay lines, identify multipliers, identify a particular player selection, and as a method of identifying additional bet amounts (such as a bonus amount extended by the game) added to the player's initial bet. Buttons 52 that can be lit with a variety of colors can represent value schemes. For example, a color scheme of gold, silver, and bronze can be used to denote the value of a free spin round. The player would recognize the potential of the outcome of a free spin round based on the color being presented on the machine, including the buttons 52. The color of the buttons 52 could be coordinated with reel symbol colors to represent a major prize or the potential of receiving a prize.
While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
Other examples include buttons that accommodate a forced feedback sensation to the player. This includes such sensations as vibration, sharp click or knock, shaking, or expanded visual feedback such as from a video display incorporated into the button. Other sensations can also be used such as varying textures on buttons for recognition or for accommodating a theme. For example, a button could have a rough, sandy texture for a game relating to construction or the beach. The entire button could have a jelly-like texture for themes relating to aliens or the sea. The shape of the buttons can also be theme-related, taking on characteristics such as shaping buttons to look like fish in a sea-themed game. Locations of certain buttons can be associated with game themes such as positioning buttons on the sides of the gaming machine to control flippers or other aspects of a pinball-related game. Biometric sensors can be included in buttons to identify players for player tracking purposes, security, or other areas where identity is necessary.
Further examples include self-actuating buttons similar to a self-playing piano. A “ghost” pressed button can be used in a gaming machine with a haunted or ghost theme. The machine could “take over” the controls from the player during a bonus round to deliver the best possible outcome when playing a selection game, for example.
To increase the functionality of a gaming machine without increasing the number of buttons on the button panel, a shift or courting button can be used similar to a computer keyboard or typewriter. The gaming machine can identify a shift mode by changing the colors of the buttons when the shift button is pressed. Other ways to identify the shift mode are changing the text on a button's display, using LED flashing and/or forced feedback such as a vibration or strong click.
Another alternative to the gaming machine with a fixed button panel is the use of a play-owned controller or button panel. This embodiment allows the player to have a personally configured physical arrangement that is comfortable and makes introductions to new games supporting this feature easier and less intimidating. A number of methods of supporting player-owned controllers exist today in other fields and standard interconnections exist supporting this concept. One method is described and is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,475,083 Gomez, et al, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. When a player “plugs in” a personal controller, the gaming machine identifies it and verifies that it is a compatible device for interaction with the gaming machine. It may also run a variety of checks and tests to determine if the unit has been tampered with or if any malfunction exists that may alter the outcome of the game.
Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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|Feb 7, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BLEICH, CHARLES R.;RASMUSSEN, JAMES M.;THOMAS, ALFRED;REEL/FRAME:016261/0628;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050114 TO 20050131
|Jul 29, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0201
Effective date: 20150629