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Publication numberUS20070060327 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/414,632
Publication dateMar 15, 2007
Filing dateApr 27, 2006
Priority dateSep 9, 2005
Also published asWO2007032892A2, WO2007032892A3
Publication number11414632, 414632, US 2007/0060327 A1, US 2007/060327 A1, US 20070060327 A1, US 20070060327A1, US 2007060327 A1, US 2007060327A1, US-A1-20070060327, US-A1-2007060327, US2007/0060327A1, US2007/060327A1, US20070060327 A1, US20070060327A1, US2007060327 A1, US2007060327A1
InventorsBrent Curtis
Original AssigneeBrent Curtis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Creating, playing and monetizing user customizable games
US 20070060327 A1
Abstract
The present invention allows a user to select between playing a predefined game provided via a game application, or customize a game and share the customized game with friends via a global network. In certain embodiments, the user customizes the game by authoring content and incorporating the authored content and if desired sampled content (like a DJ) into the customized game. For example, a user may mesh together pieces of music (blocks of digital data) to author a new piece of music, and the customized game might be a multimedia presentation of the user's new piece of music. The user can then share or publish the new piece of music (custom content) as a published customized game.
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Claims(39)
1. A computer implemented method comprising:
assembling a plurality of computer files used to customize a game;
submitting said plurality of computer files for publishing; and
preparing said plurality of computer files for use on a plurality of supported platforms.
2. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein assembling said plurality of files includes:
preparing said plurality of files for use by said game;
testing said plurality of files within said game; and
troubleshooting and fixing said plurality of files so that said plurality of files are suitable for publishing.
3. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a handheld platform.
4. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a desktop platform.
5. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a cellular based platform.
6. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a Wi-Fi based platform.
7. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a JAVA platform.
8. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a LINUX platform.
9. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform in a WINDOWS platform.
10. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supported platform is a UNIX platform.
11. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said computer files are authored by a user.
12. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2 wherein said computer files are proprietary to a party monetizing said computer implemented method.
13. A computer implemented method for publishing a customized game comprising:
receiving a plurality of customization files submitted for publication wherein several of the files include user authored content;
performing a verification operation on said plurality of customization files;
when said verification operation is passed, preparing said plurality of customization files for execution on a plurality of platforms;
performing a test operation on said verified plurality of customization files; and
when said test operation is passed, publishing said plurality of customization files as suitable for said plurality of platforms.
14. A computer implemented method for launching a computer application operable to provide a customized game, the launch method comprising:
initiating an executable code segment on a user device, said executable code segment operable to identify for starting the desired computer application on the user device;
identifying a first version of said computer application, said first version being available and desired;
starting said first version of said computer application; and
identifying and loading desired game files for use by a first version of said computer application in order to provide a customized game.
15. A computer implemented application launch method as recited in claim 14, wherein identifying said first version of said computer application includes downloading and installing a newer version of said computer application.
16. A computer implemented application launch method as recited in claim 14, wherein identifying said first version of said computer application includes finding said first version in memory local and coupled to said user device.
17. A computer implemented application launch method as recited in claim 16, wherein said memory is integral to said user device.
18. A computer application that allows a user to compose a plurality of custom games that in certain circumstances may be shared with and played by others, the computer application comprising:
at least one game template, wherein at least a portion of said game template can be edited by said user via said computer application;
an interface enabling said user to provide instructions regarding a custom game and edit said game template; and
a game execution engine to generate said custom game based on said game template, said user edits and said user instructions.
19. A computer application as recited in claim 18, wherein at least one game template includes a plurality of game files for use in customizing said custom game.
20. A computer application as recited in claim 19, wherein said plurality of game files are assembled.
21. A computer application as recited in claim 19, wherein said plurality of game files are in a format suitable for publishing.
22. A computer application as recited in claim 21, wherein said plurality of game files are prepared and published for use on at least one specific platform.
23. A computer application as recited in claim 21, wherein said at least one specific platform is JAVA.
24. A computer application as recited in claim 22, wherein at least some of said plurality of game files are stored in an encrypted format.
25. A computer application as recited in claim 24 further comprising an encryption engine suitable for encrypting and decrypting said plurality of game files.
26. A computer application as recited in claim 22, wherein at least some of said plurality of game files are proprietary to a party monetizing the computer application.
27. A computer application as recited in claim 18 wherein said user must pay a monetary fee directly or indirectly for using the computer application.
28. A computer application as recited in claim 18 wherein said interface enables said user to author original content.
29. A computer application as recited in claim 28 wherein said user authored original content includes at least one of user authored music, user sampled clips of music, sampled clips of music, text, video, animation, computer graphics and any audio.
30. A computer implemented business method for providing a customizable computer game to a user, the method comprising:
in exchange for compensation, providing an executable application that enables a user to author a custom game on a plurality of platforms; and
in exchange for compensation, providing content to support said custom game.
31. A computer implemented business method as recited in claim 30, wherein said content includes a plurality of files.
32. A computer implemented business method as recited in claim 31, wherein at least one of said plurality of files is stored in an encrypted format that is only available to said user after a verification process.
33. A mobile computing device comprising:
a process implementing a computer application as recited in claim 8.
34. A game template comprising:
a plurality of game files for use in customizing a custom game.
35. A game template as recited in claim 34 wherein said plurality of game files are assembled.
36. A game template as recited in claim 34 wherein said plurality of game files are in a format suitable for publishing.
37. A game template as recited in claim 36 wherein said plurality of game files are prepared and published for use on at least one specific platform.
38. A game template as recited in claim 37 wherein said plurality of game files are stored in an encrypted format.
39. A game template as recited in claim 37 wherein at least some of said plurality of game files are proprietary to a party monetizing an application for customizing said custom game.
Description

The present invention claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/715,429, filed Sep. 9, 2005, entitled Creating, Playing and Monetizing User Customizable Games, and is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to computer game software and services on any platform. The present invention teaches a wide variety of mechanisms, methods, systems, and processes for creating, playing and monetizing user customizable games.

2. Description of Related Art

A customizable game allows a player to create a unique gaming experience by incorporating creative talent into the game. By definition, the player is more involved with the game because the game is interactive and distinctive to the player's tastes. However, most customizable games in the prior art do not allow a player to fully utilize and share his creative talents.

Typically, a customized game in the prior art comprises a set of predetermined elements. The customizable features allow the player to select from the set of elements which the game will then implement. Generally, the elements relate to the appearance of the game. For example, if a player wants to play a game of checkers, a customizable game of checkers may allow the player to choose the color of the checker board, size of the board, look and size of the pieces, etc.

Slightly more sophisticated customizable games in the prior art allow a player to customize additional elements depending on game type. For example, in a role playing game, a player may be able to customize a character's behavior, strength, training, experience, etc. However, the player is still limited to a finite list of features.

In additional prior art games, a game may allow a player to author music or other multimedia. The player may create a song using a set of keyboard or joystick commands and save the song for listening at a later time. However, the saved song can only be played back on the system that the player used to create the song. Further, the format of the song cannot be exported to other game consoles or platforms, thus severely limiting the gaming experience.

What is needed is a low cost mechanism which allows a player to completely customize the gaming experience. Further, what is needed is a method which allows the player to share his creation across a variety of platforms and formats. In addition, what is needed is a method which allows an owner to monetize a customizable game application.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Among other things, the present invention teaches methods and systems which allow a user to create, share, and monetize customized games. The present invention teaches a computer implemented method which allows a user to completely customize the gaming experience. The present invention also teaches a method for launching a computer game customization application. In addition, the present invention teaches an application which permits a user to compose and share customized games. Further, the present invention teaches a method to monetize customized gaming creation.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a computer implemented method assembles files that are used to customize a game. The assembled files are then submitted for publishing. Once submitted, the files are prepared for use on a plurality of platforms. In additional embodiments, the files are prepared for use by the game, tested, and troubleshot to ensure they are suitable for publishing. In further embodiments, the files are received for publication and a verification operation is performed on them. Once the verification operation is passed, the files are prepared for execution on a plurality of platforms. A test operation can then be performed, and once passed, the files can be published. Of course, these various acts, steps and operations can be optional or mandatory depending upon the requirements of the specific implementation.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method for launching a computer application is disclosed. In this embodiment, executable code is initiated which identifies the application. A first version of the application is then identified and started and desired games files are identified and loaded. In alternate embodiments, identifying the first version of the application can include downloading and installing a newer version or finding the desired version locally in memory.

In further embodiments, a computer application allows a user to compose and share custom games. The application comprises at least one game template that can be edited by the user, an interface which enables the user to provide instructions and edit the template, and an engine that generates the custom game. In alternate embodiments, the game template can include a plurality of game files which can be assembled. Further, the game files can be in a format suitable for publishing and can be prepared and published for use on a specific platform. In other embodiments, the game files can be stored in an encrypted format and the application can comprise an encryption engine to encrypt and decrypt the files. In additional embodiments, the games can be proprietary to the owner of the computer application who can charge the user a fee to use the application. Those skilled in the art will readily imagine the variety of monetization techniques available to the owner of this technology. Further, the interface can enable the user to author original content which can include music, text, video, animation, computer graphs and any audio. In another embodiment, the computer application can be implemented on a mobile computing device.

A computer implemented business method is another embodiment of the present invention. The business method comprises providing an executable application that enables a user to author a custom game on a plurality of platforms in exchange for compensation. Content to support the custom game is also provided in exchange for compensation. In alternate embodiments, the content can include a plurality of files. The files, in further embodiments, can be encrypted and available only after verification.

The above embodiments are illustrative examples of the broad scope of the present teaching. As such, the above aspects of the present invention contemplate a platform agnostic approach to providing the game application. The user's customized game can be verified and published across a host of supported platforms. A subsequent recipient of the customized game can launch the version of the customized game suitable for the available platform.

As provided in the above embodiments, the present invention also allows a user to select between playing a predefined game provided via a game application, or customize a game and share the customized game with friends via a global network. In certain embodiments, the user customizes the game by authoring content and incorporating the authored content and if desired sampled content (like a DJ) into the customized game. For example, a user may mesh together pieces of music (blocks of digital data) to author a new piece of music, and the customized game might be a multimedia presentation of the user's new piece of music. The user can then share or publish their new piece of music (custom content) as a published customized game. In additional embodiments, the present invention contemplates a game application which allows the user to create a custom photo album as the customized game.

Certain embodiments of the present invention can be geared towards specific market segments. For example, it is contemplated that products based on the teachings of the present invention could be designed factoring in the age group of the target customer audience. A simple, low cost game application based on aspects of the present invention might be well suited for entertainment for a younger market. In contrast, an enhanced version might be better suited for the market inhabited by the professional artist.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

These and other objects, features and characteristics of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art from a study of the following detailed description in conjunction with the appended claims and drawings, all of which form a part of this specification. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a flow chart overview for providing a user a customized game experience according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of a method to prepare customization files according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a computer implemented method for publishing a customized game according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a flow chart of a method for selecting and launching an application according to one of many possible commercial implementations of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method for customizing a game according to yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a flowchart of a method to customize an existing game with personal customization files according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 7 a is a flow chart of a method for a user to customize an existing game utilizing platform files according to another aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 7 b is a flow chart of a method for a user to customize an existing game with supported platform files according to a further embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a method for a user to create a new customized game according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention teaches a variety of mechanisms, systems, methods, apparatus, devices, articles of manufacture and other subject matter described herein or apparent to one skilled in the art in light of the present teaching. The present invention further teaches a variety of embodiments, aspects and the like, all distinctive in their own right. The person of skill in the art suitable for the present invention may have a background from computer science, computer engineering, artificial intelligence, or the like.

FIG. 1 is a flow chart of a method 100 for providing a user a customized game experience. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, steps 102-106 reflect server side or application provider actions 110 performed to enable a customized game experience on a plurality of supported platforms 108. The actions 110 could be performed on a server computer (which could be a distributed computing device), but one or more could also be performed on the user's device. Steps 112-114 involve direct participation of a user and result in the user authoring and/or participating in a customized game experience.

Continuing the description of FIG. 1, an assembly step 102 assembles the files used to customize the user's gaming experience. The customization files provide content and instructions that may come from a variety of sources, including files authored by a user to provide a custom game. A publishing step 104 submits the files for publishing. The description of FIG. 2 below provides some indication as to what must be done to the files prior to submission. A preparation and publication step 106 first prepares files for use on each supported platform, and then publishes the prepared files for each of a plurality of supported platforms 108. The present invention includes teaching that an implementation can be accomplished in a platform agnostic manner. In other embodiments, the present invention teaches platform specific implementations and implementations on multiple platforms as well.

A step 112 prepares a user's device to provide the custom game. Thus step 112 involves actions such as connecting the user's device to an appropriate platform selected, for example, from the plurality of supported platforms 108. Step 112 also involves downloading any required customization files. The game application then begins running and a step 114 provides the user a customized game experience.

FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of a method 150 to prepare customization files. In certain embodiments, this method must be performed for each supported application. In other embodiments, this method can be performed in a way to generate an application suitable for implementing across a wide variety of platforms, even in a platform agnostic manner. The method 150 begins by performing any necessary initialization actions. A step 152 gathers all necessary and available customization files. Steps 154-158 work together to make sure only those files suitable for operation are submitted for publication. A step 154 prepares the customization files for use by the customized game. A step 156 tests the customization files in the customized game. A step 158 involves troubleshooting and fixing the customization files as desired, necessary and possible. When the custom game passes testing and troubleshooting, a step 160 submits the appropriate customization files for publishing.

FIG. 3 illustrates a computer implemented method 200 for publishing a customized game. The publishing method 200 responds to a set of customization files for a game to ensure that published customized games will properly operate on the appropriate supported platforms. A step 202 involves submitting and receiving customization files. A step 204 performs a verification operation on the customization files, returning failure information to the submitter in a step 205. When the verification operation is passed, a step 206 prepares the customization files for execution on supported platforms 208. A step 210 then tests the custom game on each of the platforms, returning indication of failure to the submitter in step 205. When the custom game passes the test operation for a particular platform, a step 212 publishes the custom game for the particular platform.

The present invention contemplates a variety of methods, systems and mechanisms for implementing the customizable game technology described above. One embodiment is shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4 illustrates a flow chart of a method 300 for selecting and launching an application according to one possible commercial implementation of certain aspects of the present invention. Steps 302-320 are performed to determine and start the newest and/or most desired version of the application together with the newest version of the game files. The newer or desired versions may be available online, which involves downloading and installing, or perhaps execution from local user device memory. In a step 302, the launch method 300 begins when a user starts the application via a user device. A step 304 determines whether a newer version of the application is available online. If a new version is available online, a step 306 downloads and installs the newer version. Once downloaded and installed, a step 310 starts the newer version. If a newer version is not available online, a step 308 determines whether a newer version exists on a storage device. If a newer version is available on a storage device, a step 310 starts the newer version. If a newer version is not available on a storage device, a step 312 starts the version on disc. Once the newer version or version on disc has been started, a step 314 identifies games on the disc. A next step 316 identifies games on the storage device. A step 318 then loads the newest version if duplicates exist. A step 320 launches the application. These steps 302-320 may be performed in any suitable order and some may be optional depending upon the specific application. In any event, the culmination of steps 302-318 is that a step 320 launches the selected application

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method 350 for customizing a game according to one embodiment of the present invention. In a first step 352, a game application is launched together, as desired, with any already existing customization files and game templates if available. A step 354 selects between executing the customized game so that the user may play the customized game on the user device in a step 356 else a step 358 shows the user available parent controls including game customization. A next step 360 invokes a game customization interface in response to the user choosing to customize the game. A step 362 determines whether to create a new game (discussed below in FIG. 8) or modify an existing game. When step 362 decides to modify an existing game, a step 364 allows the user to customize the existing game. See the description above with reference to FIG. 4 regarding how available games are identified. See the description below with reference to FIGS. 6, 7 a and 7 b for more detail on customizing games.

Finishing up the description of FIG. 5, a step 366 saves the new version of the customized game on a storage device, possibly uploading any information as desired. A step 368 determines whether the process 350 is complete, or whether a step 370 must share the customized game according to the user's wishes and the system's abilities.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart of a method 400 to customize an existing game with personal customization files. A first step 402 responds to a user's request to customize the existing game, perhaps by invoking an editing interface or such. A step 404 determines whether to operate on personal files, described now with reference to FIG. 6, or to operate on platform files, described below with reference to FIGS. 7 a and 7 b.

Continuing on with customizing the existing game, a step 406 receives the user's selection of a personal file. A step 408 performs a digital rights managament (DRM) check on the selected personal file. If the selected personal file is invalid in step 408, a step 410 can redirect process control back to step 406 to continue checking files or skip ahead to a step 414 discussed immediately below.

A step 412 loads the valid files as determined by step 408. A step 414 determines whether the user has finished customizing the game, or whether to return process control back to step 406 for the user to select more customization files. Steps 416-418 save the final version of the customized game if desired by the user.

FIG. 7 a is a flow chart of a method 450 for a user to customize an existing game utilizing platform files. Steps 452-454 determine whether the user wishes to customize an existing game using platform files. A first step 452 responds to a user's request to customize the existing game, perhaps by invoking an editing interface or such. A step 454 determines whether to operate on platform files, described now with reference to FIGS. 7 a and 7 b, or to operate on personal files, described above with reference to FIG. 6.

Continuing on with customizing platform files, a step 456 determines whether the user (i.e., user's device) is connected to the supported platform. If a user is connected to the platform, then process control goes immediately to step 458, or FIG. 7 b, where the user obtains the files. If the user is not connected to the platform, a step 460 determines whether a user wants to connect to the platform. If the user wants to connect to the platform, a step 462 determines whether the connection was successful. If the connection is successful, a step 458, with reference to FIG. 7 b, follows. If the user does not want to connect to the platform or the connection is not successful, a step 464 determines whether personal content should be used. If the user chooses not to use personal content, a step 466 ends the edit mode. If the user chooses to use personal content, a step 468, with reference to FIG. 6, follows.

FIG. 7 b is a flow chart of a method 500 for a user to customize an existing game with supported platform files. The method 500 presumes the user device is connected to the platform, but other possible implementations will be appreciated by those skilled in the art. A step 502 identifies files available online and a step 504 receives the users' file selections. A step 506 determines whether the selected files are free or the user must pay for the files. If the user must pay for the selected files, then a step 518 determines whether the user pays. If the user does not pay, then a step 520, with reference to FIG. 6 follows. If the user must pay for the files, or the files are free, then a step 508 downloads the files. A step 510 determines whether the download was successful. If the download is not successful then a step 512 determines whether auto-resume is enabled. If auto-resume is enabled, then a step 508 tries to download the files again. If auto-resume is not enabled, then a step 514 sends an error message to the user. Assuming the download is successful, a step 522 determines whether customizing is complete. If the user wishes to continue customizing, the process is repeated and step 502 identifies the online files for the user to select step 504. Once the user has completed customizing, a step 524 asks if the user would like to save the customized game. If so, a step 526 saves the game. Once the game has been saved, or if the user decides not to save the game, a step 528 ends the method.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a method 550 for a user to create a new customized game according to one embodiment of the present invention. A step 552 receives a user's request to create a new customized game. A step 554 allows the user to select a desired game type to create. A step 556 creates a new customized game for the user based on the selected game type. A step 560 determines whether the user needs to add and/or edit game files. If so, a step 566 allows for further customization through user file manipulations. Steps 562-564 allow the user to store the new customized game (for sharing, etc.).

In addition to the above mentioned examples, various other modifications and alterations of the invention may be made without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the above disclosure is not to be considered as limiting and the appended claims are to be interpreted as encompassing the true spirit and the entire scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8202166May 5, 2008Jun 19, 2012Microsoft CorporationMultiple-player collaborative content editing
US8317606 *Jan 7, 2009Nov 27, 2012Disney Enterprises, Inc.Live authoring method for real time development of video games
US20100144430 *Jan 7, 2009Jun 10, 2010Disney Enterprises, Inc.Live authoring method for real time development of video games
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/29
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationA63F13/12, A63F2300/552, A63F2300/5546, A63F13/10
European ClassificationA63F13/10, A63F13/12
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 28, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: IBLOKS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CURTIS, BRENT;REEL/FRAME:018943/0551
Effective date: 20060415