US 20070060408 A1
A virtual gaming device (101) can include a transceiver (102) for wireless communication, a global positioning receiver (104) or other wireless positioning device coupled to the transceiver, a display (106), and a processor (114). The processor can be programmed to store a map of a game course including a plurality of locations for fixed game elements such as race course waypoints, mark (502) positions or time of a competitive article as it is being played relative to the map, and transmit (506) and receive information derived from the marked positions to and from a selected number of wireless devices. The stored information about the marked positions or times of the competitive article and the map is used to render (504) an image on the display representing a player in a position facing a heading based on a subsequently stored location of the marked position or time of the competitive article.
1. A wireless communication device, comprising:
a transceiver for wireless communication among a plurality of devices;
a satellite position receiver or other wireless positioning device coupled to the transceiver;
a display; and
a processor coupled to the transceiver, the wireless positioning device or satellite position receiver, and the display, wherein the processor is programmed to:
store a map of a game course;
mark positions relative to the game course; and
transmit and receive information derived from the marked positions to and from a selected number of devices among the plurality of devices.
2. The wireless communication device of
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16. A virtual golf gaming device, comprising:
a transceiver for wireless communication among a plurality of wireless devices;
a global positioning receiver or a wireless positioning device coupled to the transceiver;
a display; and
a processor coupled to the transceiver, the wireless positioning device or the global positioning receiver, and the display, wherein the processor is programmed to:
store a map of at least one golf course including a plurality of locations for golf tees and golf holes;
mark positions of a golf ball as it is being played relative to the map of the at least one golf course using the global positioning receiver or the wireless positioning device; and
transmit and receive information derived from the marked positions to and from a selected number of wireless devices among the plurality of wireless devices.
17. The virtual golf gaming device of
18. The virtual golf gaming device of
19. The wireless communication device of
20. A machine-readable storage, having stored thereon a computer program having a plurality of code sections executable by a machine for causing the machine to perform the steps of:
selectively mark and store positions of a competitive article relative to a stored map of a game course in a wireless device as the competitive article is being played;
selectively display animations of a competitor corresponding to the selectively marked and stored positions of the competitive article; and
transmit information derived from the selectively marked and stored positions to a selected plurality of wireless devices from the wireless device.
This invention relates generally to location enabled wireless devices, and more particularly to a method and system for enhancing game services using a location enabled wireless device.
Most golf enthusiasts take cellular phones with them on the golf course for communication purposes and many of these cellular phones include location capabilities. This combination of technologies enables applications that have specific appeal and practical use to the golfers, some of which have not been contemplated before in the context of enhancing a golfer's skill level or their level of entertainment.
Golf video games, such as Tiger Woods Golf, do not have application for a golfer while the golfer is playing an actual round of golf. GPS location devices that measure distance, particularly current GPS location devices used in cellular phones do not interact with other golfers or other types of competitors or provide other benefits as further contemplated below.
Embodiments in accordance with the present invention can use a wireless communication device such as a cell phone to mark a location of each golf shot or other competitive article and can further combine such information with stored information about the golf course or other game course itself to enable features that can place a competitor such as a golfer into a virtual setting where shots can be played back at a later time, or in conjunction with other competitors or golfers doing the same. Embodiments can provide features that include replay, statistics, highlights, tournament play, and league capabilities that rely on the ability to locate the ball, store the information, and retrieve it, and do the same with information from other selected wireless devices that have similar capabilities. Although the embodiments are primarily directed to the game of golf, other games or skills where location marking can play an important role such as hunting, running, biking, swimming, skiing, race car driving, or fishing might also benefit from use of several of the broader embodiments as claimed herein.
In several embodiments, such equipped golfers or other competitors can compete against one another while separated by distance and/or time, and still be able to experience each other's shots or positions by graphical rendering of their results on each other's wireless devices. A wireless device so enabled can also allow for virtual spectators to view ongoing rounds of other golfers or competitors and can produce a collection of data that golfers or other competitors can use to view, analyze and improve their results without the need for creating real-time video recordings.
In a first embodiment of the present invention, a wireless communication device can include a transceiver (such as a cellular wireless transceiver) for wireless communication among a plurality of devices, a satellite position system (SPS) receiver such as a global positioning system (GPS) receiver or other wireless positioning device coupled to the transceiver, a display, and a processor coupled to the transceiver, satellite position receiver or wireless positioning device, and the display. The processor can be programmed to store a map of a game course, mark positions relative to the game course, and transmit and receive information derived from the marked positions to and from a selected number of devices among the plurality of devices. The map can be a map of a predetermined golf course and the positions marked relative to the game course are marked positions for a golf ball location being played where the stored information about the golf ball location and game course can be used to render a perspective image on the display that represents a golfer in a position facing a heading based on a subsequently stored location of the golf ball location. A golf swing can be animated followed by the golf ball traveling on an appropriate trajectory to land at an actual recorded destination. The golf swing can be animated at either a conclusion of each golf swing and marking of the golf location or on demand as a replay of the golf swing.
The processor can transmit shot information as it is recorded to the selected number of devices among the plurality of devices players participating in a virtual game and enable the selected number of devices to receive the shot information and render a played shot in substantially real-time or on demand. The users of such wireless devices can select among a particular golfer and a particular hole to observe. The users can use a variety of playback options based on stored shot locations among player, course, hole, perspective, or speed. In one aspect, a virtual tournament among users of the wireless communication device and the selected number of devices among the plurality of devices can be maintained. The display can render a scoreboard or a leader board based on a progress of users among the wireless communication device and the selected number of devices among the plurality of devices. Scores can be maintained for each participant in the virtual tournament and can be programmed to perform the function of maintaining among league statistics, season statistics, and rankings among others. The wireless communication device can also notify the user when a ranking has change among the participants. The wireless device can also be programmed to prohibit distance calculation or prohibiting providing other golfing advice when the wireless communication device receives a predetermined signal over-the-air. This can be useful during a real tournament to maintain a level playing field. Notwithstanding, the wireless communication device during the virtual tournament can provide a variety of competition options that relies on previously stored data. The competition options can include randomly selecting from all of the same type (e.g. tee, fairway, sand, green, etc.) of shots stored for each hole and rendering them in sequence until it results in the ball in the hole or selecting the best stored shot of the appropriate type and rendering them in sequence until it results in the ball in the hole. In either case, a score can be tallied and the process repeated for each subsequent hole. As noted above, such embodiments are not just limited to golf. Other sports or games can be tracked and animated (including their respective game fields, maps, or courses) as to their pertinent statistics to provide a similar virtual environment as described above.
In a second embodiment of the present invention, a virtual golf gaming device can include a transceiver for wireless communication among a plurality of wireless devices, a global positioning receiver or other wireless positioning device coupled to the transceiver, a display, and a processor coupled to the transceiver, the global positioning receiver or the wireless positioning device, and the display. The term “coupled” as used herein can include physical attachments as well as two or more components being in wireless communication with one another. The processor can be programmed to store a map of at least one golf course including a plurality of locations for golf tees and golf holes, mark positions of a golf ball as it is being played relative to the map of the at least one golf course using the global positioning receiver or the wireless positioning device, and transmit and receive information derived from the marked positions to and from a selected number of wireless devices among the plurality of wireless devices. The stored information about the marked positions of the golf ball and the map of the at least one golf course can be used render a perspective image on the display that represents a golfer in a position facing a heading based on a subsequently stored location the marked position of the golf ball. Note, the plurality of the locations for golf tees and golf holes can be pre-stored as part of the map or updated over-the-air as an update to the map.
Note, embodiments of in accordance with the present invention can vary based on a racing scenario (e.g. bikes, cars) as opposed to a point-to-point scenario (e.g. hunting, golf). In the racing scenario, the location or positioning device can be fixed while the racer goes past the location or positioning device. The stationary location or position device can transmit the event to the wireless device, as opposed to determining location based on the location of the wireless device itself. (For example, if the phone is controlling a radio controlled car, the phone position has nothing to do with the race car's movement along the track). In the racing scenario, a time that is either absolute or an interval from a previous recorded time can be recorded and stored in conjunction with the position reached at that time. The use of time information can be used for rendering racing results for the purposes of rendering each racer relative to other racers on the course, and for interpolating the speed at which the virtual car can be rendered along the virtual track.
Other embodiments, when configured in accordance with the inventive arrangements disclosed herein, can include a system for performing and a machine readable storage for causing a machine to perform the various processes and methods disclosed herein.
While the specification concludes with claims defining the features of embodiments of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.
There are quite a surprising variety of golfing tools, but none have fully utilized the capabilities of today's wireless devices in a manner that can enable the playback of stored or in-progress shots on a user's and other participants' (players or viewers (spectators)) wireless devices. Embodiments herein can enable golfers or other types of competitors at distant locations to participate real-time in a “virtual tournament” and view each others shots or positions or times substantially as they occur.
Note, the radio transceiver 102 and the SPS receiver 104 can be part of a device 101 such as a lap top or a cellular phone or any other electronic device including such communication elements. Although an SPS or GPS receiver is use as a prime example for location determination, it should be understood that the device 101 in accordance with the embodiments herein can use any kind of wireless positioning device including short-range wireless location determination devices that do not necessarily provide an absolute X, Y, or Z coordinate of the item being tracked. The wireless positioning device can even be as simple as a receiver for receiving a beacon signal that confirms that an item being tracked reached a given position such as a remote control or actual race car that reaches a particular position on a track or course. The electronic device 101 can further include, a memory 108 including one or more storage elements (e.g., Static Random Access Memory, Dynamic RAM, Read Only Memory, etc.), an optional audio system 110 for conveying audible signals (e.g., voice messages, music, ring tones, haptics, golf club swing and hit sound effects, etc.) to the user of the device, a conventional power supply 112 for powering the components of the device, as well as the processor 114 which can include one or more conventional microprocessors and/or digital signal processors (DSPs) for controlling operations of the foregoing components.
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Other options can enable the updating and rendering of a scoreboard or leader board based on the progress of each participant or provide a variety of playback options based on stored shot locations, such as perspective, speed, etc. In a competitive mode such as in a tournament or virtual tournament a variety of options can use previously store data to randomly select from all of the same type (e.g. tee, fairway, sand, green, etc.) of shots stored for each hole and then render them in sequence until it results in the ball in the hole. The score can be tallied and the process is repeated for each subsequent hole. In yet another alternative, the best stored shot of the appropriate type can be selected and rendered in sequence until it results in the ball in the hole. Once again, the score is tallied and the process is repeated for each subsequent hole. Such a system can maintain scores for each participant in one of the above mentioned competitive games, including in a “league” or “season” scenario, and make them available to participants. When a ranking has changed among the participants, the phone can optionally provide a notification. In instances where such capabilities would be unfair to one user over others such as in a real tournament, an over-the-air signal can be used to inhibit or prohibit distance calculations or other advice or assistance. Other methods of virtual competition can include each player's worst shot, next-to-worst shot, or making a random selection from among the plurality of each competitor's stored shots. The same concept can be applied to other types of competition, such as racing radio controlled cars, where the player's best/worst/random lap or interval times can be used as the basis for determining track position, interpolation from a previous location, and rendering the movements on a wireless or fixed device's screen.
As discussed above, there are an endless number of possibilities using the features claimed herein. In one aspect, a virtual replay feature can use coordinates and graphics corresponding to a course being played similar to the way course information is kept on PC-based golfing games such as Tiger Woods Golf. The golfer can use the wireless device to “mark” the location of each shot by standing at the ball and recording its GPS coordinates (or a ball with built-in GPS or other wireless positioning device information can transfer its location information to the wireless device). For course elements that are not fixed, such as the tee locations or the pin position on the green, the course can provide that information to the cell phone, or the golfer can record those positions while playing. The combination of stored ball positions plus the course data can be used to make a virtual “playback” of the golfer's shots for each hole, and for the entire round in the same manner used for video golf games. The replay can also allow the golfer to view the shot playback from different perspectives, such as from the side, overhead, or from the pin.
The same information stored for the Virtual Replay feature can be used to create useful statistics for the golfer (or other respective competitor), organized in a variety of ways, such as per hole, per course, or over a specific period of time. The golfer can also store other relevant data, such as weather conditions (which can also be used to modify the graphical rendering of the playback), club used for each shot, or time of day, to be used as additional means of organizing, graphing, and analyzing results. Some of the parameters that can be organized, graphed or analyzed can include “Average Drive Distance” which is calculated based on the marked position of each drive relative to the stored tee location for the hole. “Drives in Fairway” can use the marked position of the drive, relative to the stored course information to determine what percentage of drives has landed in the fairway. “Greens in Regulation” can use the number of shots taken per hole before reaching the green as determined by the marked ball and stored green coordinates. “Handicap” can be calculated based on the values and player performance for each hole. Graphical Maps of shot location for each hole can be produced by overlaying stored shot locations, such as drives, over a virtual image of the course, constructed from the stored course coordinates. All these parameters can help golfers discover trends and make adjustments.
Another feature called “highlight reel” can use the stored location and course information for the golfer's best results on each hole and play them back in sequence. Individual “bests” can also be made available for playback, such as the longest drive. In a “virtual tournament”, two or more golfers that can not be co-located in neither time nor space, can use the wireless device to “mark” the location of each shot taken at their respective courses (respective holes at the same course). As each hole is completed, a “leader board” is produced and transmitted to each of the participating golfers. Golfers can view each others' shots by receiving the other golfers' shot coordinates and course information, and having the results rendered on their screen, as in the Virtual Playback feature. It is also possible for a Virtual Gallery to watch the proceedings of the tournament from their wireless devices or phones in this same manner, thus including more subscribers into the experience. The subscribers (participants or spectators) can request replays per shot or per hole as the data becomes available, or watch “live” as the shots are taken. This can also be used as form of entertainment within the clubhouse(s) of the participating course(s), by being projected onto a large screen, for example. In another aspect, portions of a player's highlight reel can be incorporated into phone elements such as startup animations, background screens, contact list icons, or a caller ID animation.
When conditions prevent playing the game on a real course, players could also entertain themselves by playing against each other based on the phone making a random selection of each of the stored shots for each hole, and treating those as the players' “actual” shots, for the purposes of viewing, and scoring the round. Variations of this would be to use the players' best or worst stored shots against one another.
Players who compete together in a Virtual League can be ranked based on overall statistics from their stored shots and rounds. A composite ranking can be calculated from each player's ranking in the individual categories. Players can be notified by their phone when any changes occur in the ranking, and additional urgency in the notification can be provide when their own position in the ranking has changed or has been taken over by another player.
One other feature can include a “shot assistant” where having recorded the location of a ball, the phone can calculate the distance to the pin. From the distance information and previously stored shot information, the wireless device can recommend which club to use, or the player can call up data for other shots of this distance made under similar conditions (e.g. course, weather, etc.) and decide which club to play. Furthermore, the virtual competition concepts described above are applicable to the other forms of sport or competition such as hunting, biking, and radio controlled car racing.
In light of the foregoing description, it should be recognized that embodiments in accordance with the present invention can be realized in hardware, software, or a combination of hardware and software. A network or system according to the present invention can be realized in a centralized fashion in one computer system or processor, or in a distributed fashion where different elements are spread across several interconnected computer systems or processors (such as a microprocessor and a DSP). Any kind of computer system, or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the functions described herein, is suited. A typical combination of hardware and software could be a general purpose computer system with a computer program that, when being loaded and executed, controls the computer system such that it carries out the functions described herein.
In light of the foregoing description, it should also be recognized that embodiments in accordance with the present invention can be realized in numerous configurations contemplated to be within the scope and spirit of the claims. Additionally, the description above is intended by way of example only and is not intended to limit the present invention in any way, except as set forth in the following claims.