|Publication number||US20060279044 A1|
|Application number||US 11/454,084|
|Publication date||Dec 14, 2006|
|Filing date||Jun 14, 2006|
|Priority date||Jun 14, 2005|
|Publication number||11454084, 454084, US 2006/0279044 A1, US 2006/279044 A1, US 20060279044 A1, US 20060279044A1, US 2006279044 A1, US 2006279044A1, US-A1-20060279044, US-A1-2006279044, US2006/0279044A1, US2006/279044A1, US20060279044 A1, US20060279044A1, US2006279044 A1, US2006279044A1|
|Original Assignee||Wms Gaming, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (70), Referenced by (18), Classifications (7), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/690,362, filed Jun. 14, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates generally to gaming machines, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming machine having a wager-indication element having a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale.
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. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.
In addition, ease-of-use and customer adaptability contribute to the entertainment value and attraction of the gaming machines. By developing a gaming machine that adapts to a particular user's wagering style or game-play desires, a user may be persuaded to select such a gaming machine over the competing machines. The user may also remain on a gaming machine longer when the gaming machine meets these needs. As such, a new gaming machine and method are required to meet one or more of these needs.
According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is disclosed comprising a wager-indication element for receiving a wager from a player. The wager-indication element has a plurality of wager amounts arranged along a continuous wager scale. The wager-indication element also has an indicator adapted to visually represent the one of the plurality of wager amounts received from the player.
According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming machine is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play the wagering game and visually representing the wager on a wager-indication element. The wager-indication element has a wager scale and an indicator. The wager scale includes a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager. The indicator is used to visually represent the wager.
According to yet another aspect of the invention, a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game is disclosed. The gaming machine comprises one or more displays for displaying the wagering game, a wager-indication element, an input device, and a controller. The wager-indication element is visually represented on the one or more display. The wager-indication element includes a wager scale and an indicator. The wager scale includes a plurality of wager amounts between a minimum wager and a maximum wager. The indicator is used to visually represent the wager. The input device is adapted to allow one or more of the plurality of wager amounts to be selected. The controller is operative to adjust the position of the indicator along the wager scale of the wager-indication element in response to inputs from the input device.
Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
The gaming machine 10 comprises a housing 12 and includes input devices, including a value input device 18 and a player input device 24. For output the gaming machine 10 includes a primary display 14 for displaying information about the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 can also display information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The gaming machine 10 may also include a secondary display 16 for displaying game events, game outcomes, and/or signage information. While these typical components found in the gaming machine 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming machine 10.
The value input device 18 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination, and is preferably located on the front of the housing 12. The value input device 18 receives currency and/or credits that are inserted by a player. The value input device 18 may include a coin acceptor 20 for receiving coin currency (see
The player input device 24 comprises a plurality of push buttons 26 on a button panel for operating the gaming machine 10. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 24 may comprise a touch screen 28 mounted by adhesive, tape, or the like over the primary display 14 and/or secondary display 16. The touch screen 28 contains soft touch keys 30 denoted by graphics on the underlying primary display 14 and used to operate the gaming machine 10. The touch screen 28 provides players with an alternative method of input. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen 28 at an appropriate touch key 30 or by pressing an appropriate push button 26 on the button panel. The touch keys 30 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons 26. Alternatively, the push buttons 26 may provide inputs for one aspect of the operating the game, while the touch keys 30 may allow for input needed for another aspect of the game.
The various components of the gaming machine 10 may be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 12, as seen in
The operation of the basic wagering game is displayed to the player on the primary display 14. The primary display 14 can also display the bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming machine 10. As shown, the primary display 14 includes the touch screen 28 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10 may include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome in visual associated to at least one active payline 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 14 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 14 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
A player begins play of the basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by using the player input device 24, via the buttons 26 or the touch screen keys 30. The basic game consists of a plurality of symbols arranged in an array, and includes at least one active payline 32 that indicates one or more outcomes of the basic game. Such outcomes are randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player. At least one of the plurality of randomly-selected outcomes may be a start-bonus outcome, which can include any variations of symbols or symbol combinations triggering a bonus game.
In some embodiments, the gaming machine 10 may also include a player information reader 52 that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. The player information reader 52 is shown in
Turning now to
The controller 34 is also coupled to the system memory 36 and a money/credit detector 38. The system memory 36 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 36 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 38 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via the value input device 18. Preferably, these components are located within the housing 12 of the gaming machine 10. However, as explained above, these components may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming machine 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods.
As seen in
Communications between the controller 34 and both the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 and external systems 50 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 46, 48. More specifically, the controller 34 controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 through the I/O circuits 46. Further, the controller 34 communicates with the external systems 50 via the I/O circuits 48 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC; 10bT, etc.). The external systems 50 may include a gaming network, other gaming machines, a gaming server, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components. Although the I/O circuits 46, 48 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that each of the I/O circuits 46, 48 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.
Controller 34, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming machine 10 that may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming machine 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 34 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In
Turning now to
As illustrated in
In addition to the above meters and buttons, the main game screen 60 also includes a wager-indication element 76 for allowing a player to select the number of credits they decide to wager for the particular game. The wager-indication element 76 may be used to select the number of credits to wager on a basic game (i.e., primary game), a bonus game (i.e., secondary game), or both. The wager-indication element 76, or alternatively a second wager-indication element, may be used to allow a player to place a variable “side-bet” wager on the outcome for a particular game.
The wager-indication element 76 includes an indicator, such as slider 88, to display the level of the wager to a player. The slider 88 is adapted to be moved (or displayed as moving) along a wager scale 86 by the player. To move the slider 88 in the illustrated embodiment, a player engages the slider 88 on the primary display 14 (e.g., with his or her finger) and slides the slider 88 to the left or right (e.g., by dragging his or her finger along the wager scale 86 displayed on the primary display 14). The wager scale 86 represents the number of credits between a minimum wager 72 a and a maximum wager 72 b from which the player can select. The slider 88 may indicate to the player the wager that he or she has selected. Alternatively, a light array or other visual representation may be used to indicate the amount of the wager to the player along the wager scale 86. By moving the slider 88 to the left and the right (in the illustrated embodiment) the player can decrease and increase his or her wager respectively. The selected wager from the wager-indication element 76 is displayed in the total-bet meter 78.
According to one embodiment of the present invention, the minimum wager 72 a and the maximum wager 72 b from which a player can select are predetermined. In another embodiment of the present invention, however, the maximum wager 72 b is variable so that the maximum wager 72 b is always the number of credits the player has available in the credit meter 70. In other embodiments, the maximum wager 72 b is variable up to a predetermined limit.
The number of credits represented on the wager scale 86 are integer values. In some embodiments, however, the wager scale 86 represents both integer and factional credits (e.g., one-tenth credit, one-quarter credit, one-half credit, one credit, one and one-half credit, etc.).
A winning “line pay” combination occurs when the symbols along an active payline 32 (
Referring also to
The award values contained in the hypothetical pay table 120 illustrated in
The reels 62 a-e may be either traditional mechanical reels or they may be computer-generated images of reels as shown in
In a slots game, a player may play multiple paylines 32 (e.g., by selecting a select-lines button until the desired number of paylines 32—up to nine in the illustrated embodiment are displayed). The present invention can be used to replace or supplement the typical “select lines” and “bet per line” buttons or any other wager input system used to indicate a wager the player wishes to make. In embodiments where a select-lines button 198 (
As discussed above, the wager-indication element 76 of present invention allows the player to select the desired number of credits that he or she wishes to wager. As noted above, the desired number of credits may either be applied to each activated payline or be divided among the activated paylines. By moving the slider 88 the player may increase or decrease the number of credits they will wager for the upcoming game. The wager-indication element 76 can also be incorporated into a gaming machine 10 featuring blackjack, slots, keno, poker, roulette, or any other type of wagering game. For example, the wager-indication element 76 may be utilized in a wagering game featuring a card game having a plurality of hands; the selected wager being divided equally among the plurality of hands.
The wager-indication element 76 may additionally or alternatively be a physical slider located on the player input device 24 (
For example, a touchpad can be incorporated into the player input device 24. The touchpad senses a player's finger movement across the touchpad due to the downward pressure exerted by the player. A typical touchpad includes a plurality of layers of material. A top layer is a pad that is directly engaged by the player. Beneath the pad are layers (separated by very thin insulation) containing horizontal and vertical rows of electrodes that form a grid. Beneath these layers is a circuit board to which the electrode layers are connected. The circuit board is connected to one or more of the I/O circuits 46. The electrode layers are charged with a constant alternating current. As the finger approaches the electrode grid, the current is interrupted and the interruption is detected by the circuit board. The initial location where the finger touches the pad is registered such that subsequent finger movement can be related to that initial point. Some touch pads contain two special locations where applied pressure corresponds to clicking a left or right mouse button. Other touch pads sense single or double taps of the finger at any point on the touch pad.
Referring now to
The wager-indication element 176 is overlayed with a plurality of soft touch keys 30 to allow a player to select their desired wager by touching the primary display 14 along the portion of the wager scale 186 that represents their wager. Once a player touches one of the plurality of soft touch keys 30, the indicator 188 is displayed in that region of the wager scale 186. Unlike the wager-indication element 76 (
The wager-indication element 176 may also be used in conjunction with a decrease-wager button 190 and an increase-wager button 192. The decrease-wager button 190 and the increase-wager button 192 may be used by the player to decrease or increase the indicated wager by a single increment (e.g., credit or partial credit). The decrease-wager button 190 and the increase-wager button 192 facilitate minor variations in wager amounts without requiring the player to retouch the primary display 14 along the wager scale 186. This is especially helpful where the wager scale 186 represents a large volume of wager possibilities and/or where the player's dexterity (i.e., hand-eye coordination) is poor.
As illustrated in
As should be apparent from the above description, by incorporating a wager-indication element into a wagering game, a player is easily able to adjust the amount of their wager from session to session. The player is constantly able to see where the amount of their wager falls between the minimum and maximum wager for the particular gaming machine 10. Additionally, large changes in the amount of a wager can be facilitated quickly by moving a slider along a wager scale or by touching a position along the wager scale. Thus, the player is not required to repeatedly press an increase or decrease wager button. This is especially helpful where the range of the wager is rather large and/or the wager increments are relatively small.
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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|Jun 14, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PACEY, LARRY J.;REEL/FRAME:018007/0661
Effective date: 20060425
|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