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Publication numberUS20070072675 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/545,952
PCT numberPCT/JP2004/001590
Publication dateMar 29, 2007
Filing dateFeb 13, 2004
Priority dateFeb 20, 2003
Also published asWO2004073817A1
Publication number10545952, 545952, PCT/2004/1590, PCT/JP/2004/001590, PCT/JP/2004/01590, PCT/JP/4/001590, PCT/JP/4/01590, PCT/JP2004/001590, PCT/JP2004/01590, PCT/JP2004001590, PCT/JP200401590, PCT/JP4/001590, PCT/JP4/01590, PCT/JP4001590, PCT/JP401590, US 2007/0072675 A1, US 2007/072675 A1, US 20070072675 A1, US 20070072675A1, US 2007072675 A1, US 2007072675A1, US-A1-20070072675, US-A1-2007072675, US2007/0072675A1, US2007/072675A1, US20070072675 A1, US20070072675A1, US2007072675 A1, US2007072675A1
InventorsTakashi Hamano, Hideki Hashimoto, Yoshinobu Morimoto, Ryo Mahara, Mogumi Kohayakawa, Tsuyoshi Okino, Hitomi Yoshimura, Kozue Takahashi
Original AssigneeKonami Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Game system
US 20070072675 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a game system which utilizes player's experience efficiently in a competition game to make the competition game more entertaining. A category/style selecting unit 1606 of a terminal 1 enables a player to select one of categories and styles of quizzes selectable for the player who played an academy stage (#5), and sends the category and style of quiz and a difficulty-level of quiz selectable for the player to a center server 3 (#6). A battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616 of the center server 3 selects a predetermined number of quizzes which are in the category and style and the difficulty-level sent from the terminal 1 from a Q&A information storing unit 3625 and decides the quizzes to be set in a battle stage (#7).
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Claims(16)
1. A game system, comprising:
first preceding game executing means to execute a first preceding game to a first player;
first record obtaining means to obtain a first operation record of the first player during the first preceding game;
first deciding means to decide a plurality of first execution conditions for the first player based on the first operation record;
first selecting means to enable the first player to select a first desired condition from the first execution conditions;
competition game executing means to execute a competition game between the first player and a second player the under the first desired condition,
2. The game system according to claim 1, wherein
the first preceding game executing means enables the first player to select a first selected group from a plurality of first selectable groups each of which includes a plurality of questions, sets the questions in the first selected group to the first player, and obtains a first evaluation for correct or incorrect answers by the first player,
the first record obtaining means obtains the first evaluation as the first operation record,
the first deciding means updates the first selectable groups based on the first operation record, and decides the updated first selectable groups as the first execution condition,
the first selecting means enables the first player to select a first desired group from the first execution conditions as the first desired condition, and
the competition game executing means sets the questions in the first desired group to the first and second players.
3. The game system according to claim 2, further comprising first grading means to give the first player a grade based on the first evaluation.
4. The game system according to claim 2, further comprising:
starting time setting means to set a starting time of the competition game; and
first repeat permitting means to permit executions of the first preceding game executing means, the first record obtaining means, and the first deciding means to the first player until the starting time.
5. The game system according to claim 1, further comprising:
second preceding game executing means to execute a second preceding game to the second player;
second record obtaining means to obtain a second operation record of the second player during the second preceding game;
second deciding means to decide a plurality of second execution conditions for the second player based on the second operation record, and
second selecting means to make the second player to select a second desired condition from the second execution conditions, and
wherein the competition game executes the competition game the under the first and second desired conditions.
6. The game system according to claim 5, wherein
the first preceding game executing means enables the first player to select a first selected group from a plurality of first selectable groups each of which includes a plurality of questions, sets the questions in the first selected group to the first player, and obtains a first evaluation for correct or incorrect answers by the first player,
the first record obtaining means obtains the first evaluation as a first operation record,
the first deciding means updates the first selectable groups based on the first operation record, and decides the updated first selectable groups as the first execution condition,
the first selecting means enables the first player to select a first desired group from the first execution conditions as the first desired condition,
the second preceding game executing means enables the second player to select a second selected group from a plurality of second selectable groups each of which includes a plurality of questions, sets the questions in the second selected group to the second player, and obtains a second evaluation for correct or incorrect answers by the second player,
the second record obtaining means obtains the second evaluation as the second operation record,
the second deciding means updates the second selectable groups based on the second operation record, and decides the updated second selectable groups as the second execution condition,
the second selecting means enables the second player to select a second desired group from the second execution conditions as the second desired condition, and
the competition game executing means sets the questions in the first and second desired groups to the first and second players.
7. The game system according to claim 6, further comprising:
first grading means to give the first player a grade based on the first evaluation; and
second grading means to give the second player a grade based on the second evaluation.
8. The game system according to claim 6, further comprising:
starting time setting means to set a staring time of the competition game;
first repeat permitting means to permit executions of the first preceding game executing means, the first record obtaining means, and the first deciding means to the first player until the starting time; and
second repeat permitting means to permit executions of the second preceding game executing means, the second record obtaining means, and the second deciding means to the second player until the starting time.
9. A game system, comprising:
a first client operated by a first player that executes a first preceding game, obtains a first operation record of the first player during the first preceding game, decides a plurality of first execution conditions for the first player based on the first operation record, and enables the first player to select a first desired condition from the first execution conditions;
a second client operated by a second player;
a server electrically connected to the first and second clients that gives a command to the first and second clients to execute a competition game between the first and second players under the first desired condition after the first desired condition is selected.
10. The game system according to claim 9, wherein
the second client executes a second preceding game, obtains a second operation record of the second player during the second preceding game, decides a plurality of second execution conditions for the second player based on the second operation record, and enables the second player to select a second desired condition from the second execution conditions;
the server gives a command to the first and second clients to execute a competition game under the first and second desired conditions after the first and second desired condition are selected.
11. A game program to cause a fist client operated by a first player, a second client operated by a second player, and a server electrically connected to the first and second clients to operate as a game system, comprising:
first preceding game executing means to execute a first preceding game to the first player;
first record obtaining means to obtain a first operation record of the first player during the first preceding game;
first deciding means to decide a plurality of first execution conditions for the first player based on the first operation record;
first selecting means to enable the first player to select a first desired condition from the first execution conditions; and
competition game executing means to execute a competition game between the first player and the second player under the first desired condition.
12. A game program according to claim 11, further comprising:
second preceding game executing means to execute a second preceding game to the second player;
second record obtaining means to obtain a second operation record of the second player during the second preceding game;
second deciding means to decide a plurality of second execution conditions for the second player based on the second operation record; and
second selecting means to enable the second player to select a second desired condition from the second execution conditions, and
wherein the competition game executing means executes the competition game under the first and second desired conditions.
13. A computer readable recording medium having a game program stored thereon to cause a first client operated by a first player, a second client operated by a second player, and a server electrically connected to the first and second clients to operate as a game system, comprising:
first preceding game executing means to execute a first preceding game to a first player;
first record obtaining means to obtain a first operation record of the first player during the first preceding game;
first deciding means to decide a plurality of first execution conditions for the first player based on the first operation record;
first selecting means to enable the first player to select a first desired condition from the first execution conditions; and
competition game executing means to execute a competition game between the first player and a second player the under the first desired condition.
14. The recording medium having the game program stored thereon according to claim 13, further comprising:
second preceding game executing means to execute a second preceding game to the second player;
second record obtaining means to obtain a second operation record of the second player during the second preceding game;
second deciding means to decide a plurality of second execution conditions for the second player based on the second operation record; and
second selecting means to enable the second player to select a second desired condition from the second execution conditions, and
wherein the competition game executing means executes the competition game under the first and second desired conditions.
15. A method for playing a game, comprising:
a first preceding game executing step to execute a first preceding game to a first player;
a first record obtaining step to obtain a first operation record of the first player during the first preceding game;
a first deciding step to decide a plurality of first execution conditions for the first player based on the first operation record;
a first selecting step to enable the first player to select a first desired condition from the first execution conditions; and
a competition game executing step to execute a competition game between the first player and a second player under the first desired condition.
16. The method for playing a game according to claim 15, further comprising:
a second preceding game execution step to execute a second preceding game to the second player;
a second record obtaining step to obtain a second operation record processed for the second player during the second preceding game;
a second deciding step to decide a plurality of second execution conditions for the second player based on the second operation record, and
a second selecting step to enable the second player to select a second desired condition from the second execution conditions, and
wherein the competition game executing step executes the competition game under the first and second desired conditions.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a video game in which players can compete against each other.

2. Description of the Related Art

A variety of game apparatuses and game systems to play games to compete between a plurality of players are known. For example, a game apparatus is known in which a plurality of players play a competition game simultaneously by operating a unit with a case provided with buttons and a joystick and the like to operate for a plurality of players. Also a game apparatus is known in which a plurality of game devices (terminals) of a type are connected via LAN or internet so that a plurality of players operate the terminals and compete against each other in a common game space. In these game apparatuses, table games such as mah-jongg and shogi, and competition games such as Sports games, fighting games, and race games are available. Competitors in competition games include characters operated by other players and, virtual characters operated by CPU.

In conventional competition games, the skill and proficiency of a player is an important factor to win a game. So in order to take advantage in a competition game, players generally play the competition game repeatedly or compete against CPU before competing against other players to improve their skills. Therefore if a competition game involves a number of scenes such as stages, courses and categories, players needs to put a lot of time and work into the game to be well experienced.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a game system which utilizes player's experience efficiently in a competition game to make the competition game more entertaining.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A game system according to the present invention comprises, record obtaining means to obtain an operation record processed for a player at every predetermined timing during a competition game, deciding means to decide at least one or more competition game execution conditions based on the operation record of the player to set a game environment for executing the competition game between the player and other players, selecting means to make the player to select a desired competition game execution condition from the decided competition game execution conditions when the player plays the competition game, commanding means to give a command to execute the competition game under the competition game execution condition selected by the player, and game executing means to execute the competition game in response to the command.

According to the present invention, a condition to set a game environment to execute a competition game is decided based on an operation record processed for a player at every predetermined timing during the game, and the competition game is executed under the decided condition The game environment includes scenes such as a mode, a stage, a phase, a field and a course, difficulty-levels, and characters and their attributes which competitors can select in a competition game. This way to decide the condition to execute a competition game allows the condition to be changed depending on the operation record of the player, and makes the competition game more entertaining.

According to the present invention, a player can select an execution condition for a competition game to play the competition game. That is, the player can select a competition game execution condition which is disadvantageous, advantageous, or equal to a game competitor and assign it to the competitor, which makes the competition game more entertaining.

A game system according to the present invention may be configured so that the system enables a plurality of players to obtain operation records processed for each player and to select a desired execution condition for a competition game for each player, and executes the competition game between the players under the selected competition game execution condition. Each player can select a competition game execution condition which is disadvantageous, advantageous, or equal to one another and assign it to the competitors.

A game system according to the present invention may be configured as follows. In the game system, the game is in the form of a quiz game in which a question selected from data of a plurality of questions divided into groups is set to the player, the game enabling the player to select a group, setting a quiz in the group to the player, and requesting an answer from the player, the competition game execution condition is a group of quizzes in a competition quiz game to set a common question to competing players, the operation record includes the number of correct answers to the quizzes by the player, the deciding means decides groups of quizzes for which the number of correct answers was equal to or more than a predetermined number as the competition game execution conditions, the selecting means enables the player to select a desired group from the decided groups, the commanding means gives a command to execute a quiz game for multi-players in which a quiz from the group selected by the player is set to the player and other players who compete against the player to be answered.

According to the present invention, when the number of correct answers to a group of quizzes is equal to or more than a predetermined number, the player can select the group and set a quiz from the selected group to competitors. The group includes a category of a quiz and a style to set the quiz. So the player can set a quiz in the same group with the quiz to which the player is well experienced by answering previously to the competitor, and take an advantage in the game, which makes the game more entertaining.

The game system may be configured to further have a grading means to give each player a grade based on the number of correct answers. Grading for each player encourages players to play more enthusiastically for a better grade, which makes the game more entertaining.

The game system may be configured so that the system further has a setting means to set a starting time for the quiz game for multi-players, and the game for a single player can be played repeatedly until the starting time. This allows the player to play the game for a single player repeatedly until the starting time for the quiz game for multi-players. So the player can take an advantage in the game by the experience of playing the game for a single player repeatedly until the time is up. Also the setting means ensures to preset an appropriate timing to start the quiz game for multi-players.

The game system may be configured with a plurality of clients operated by each player, and a server which is electrically connected to each client. For example, the game system is configured so that each client obtains an operation record for each player, and decides a game execution conditions for each player, and enables each player to select a desired game execution condition, and the server waits for the selection of a desired game execution condition by each player, and gives a command to each client to execute a competition game under the desired execution condition selected by each player.

The present invention contemplates any game program to make a computer run as a game system described above, and any recording medium having the game program stored thereon. The recording medium may be a computer readable medium such as a flexible disc a hard disc, a semiconductor memory, a CD-ROM, a DVD, an MO.

One embodiment of a game program according to the present invention makes a computer run as record obtaining means to obtain an operation record processed for a player at every predetermined timing during a competition game, deciding means to decide at least one or more competition game execution conditions based on the operation record of the player to set a game environment for executing the competition game between the player and other players, and commanding means to give a command to execute the competition game under the decided competition game execution condition.

One embodiment of a computer readable recording medium having a game program stored thereon according to the present invention records a game program stored thereon which makes a computer run as record obtaining means to obtain an operation record processed for a player at every predetermined timing during a competition game, deciding means to decide at least one or more competition game execution conditions based on the operation record of the player to set a game environment for executing the competition game between the player and other players, and commanding means to give a command to execute the competition game under the decided competition game execution conditions.

The present invention includes a method for executing the game system described above. One embodiment of a method for executing a game system according to the present invention includes a operation record obtaining step to obtain an operation record processed for a player at every predetermined timing during a competition game, a deciding step to decide at least one or more competition game execution conditions based on the operation record of the player to set a game environment for executing the competition game between the player and other players, a selecting step to enable the player to select a desired competition game execution condition from the decided competition game execution conditions when the player plays the competition game, a commanding step to give a command to execute the competition game under the competition game execution condition selected by the player, and a executing step to execute the competition game in response to the command.

A preferred embodiment according to the present invention is described below in detail with reference to the drawings, which are illustrative only and are not to limit the scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a game system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows external appearances of a store server and terminals;

FIG. 3 shows an external appearance of a store server;

FIG. 4 shows an external appearance of a terminal;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a terminal

FIG. 6 is a functional block diagram of CPU and RAM;

FIG. 7 is an example of player information which is stored in RAM;

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a store server;

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a center server;

FIG. 10 is a functional block diagram of a center server;

FIG. 11 is an example of categories and styles of quizzes;

FIG. 12 is an example of a mode select screen;

FIG. 13 is an example of a category and style select screen;

FIG. 14 is an example of a screen in an academy stage;

FIG. 15 is an example of a screen in a battle stage;

FIG. 16 is an example of a prize;

FIG. 17 shows a summary of a game procedure;

FIG. 18 is a processing flow in an online tournament mode;

FIG. 19 is a processing flow in an online tournament mode;

FIG. 20 is a processing flow in an online tournament mode;

FIG. 21 is a processing flow in a battle mode;

FIG. 22 is a processing flow in an event mode; and

FIG. 23 is a flow chart showing an academy quiz processing flow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS First Embodiment

(1) Configuration

(1-1) Schematic Configuration

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a game system according to the present invention. The game system includes a plurality of terminals 1, store servers 2 to which the terminals 1 are connected to via LAN or the like, and a center server 3 to which the store servers 2 are connected to via a network 4 such as internet Each terminal 1 includes identification information corresponding to the terminal 1. The store servers 2 can identify the unique terminal 1 connected to the server 2 by the identification information. Also, the center server 3 can identify the unique server 2 to which the terminal 1 connected, by the identification information on the terminal 1. The identification information may be a combination of a unique number assigned to a terminal 1 and a unique number assigned to a store server 2.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, this embodiment includes one store server 2 and 4 terminals 1 connected to the store server 2 so that up to 4 players play a quiz game by operating terminals 1 individually. FIG. 3 shows an external appearance of a store server 2. The store server 2 includes a monitor 21 and speakers 22. The monitor 21 displays a status of the quiz game which can be played by up to 4 players so that spectators can see how the game is progressing. The speakers 22 amplify sounds such as messages and BGMs.

FIG. 4 is a perspective diagram showing the external appearance of a terminal 1. The terminal 1 includes a monitor 10, a touch panel 11, speakers 12, a card reader 13, a coin inlet 14, and a coin outlet 15. The monitor 10 displays game images. The monitor 10 also has a touch panel 11 with buttons being displayed in game images to prompt a player to press one of the buttons so that the touch panel 11 determines which button was pressed from the address and position of the button pressed by the player. The speakers 12 amplify predetermined messages and BGMs. The card reader 13 waits for a card to be inserted by each player to start a game, and reads identification information such as a player's ID stored in the card. The card may be a magnetic card or an IC card, and can be purchased from a card dispenser located in arcades or the like. The coin inlet 14 waits for a coin to be inserted. The coin outlet 15 rejects an inserted coin when the coin is defective or otherwise abnormal

(1-2) Detailed Configuration

(1-2-1) Terminal

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a terminal 1. The terminals 1 includes a control unit 16, a communication unit 18, an image processing unit 101, a sound outputting unit 121, an external input/output control unit 171, and an external equipment control unit 172. The control unit 16, the image processing unit 101, the sound outputting unit 121, the external input/output control unit 171, and the external equipment control unit 172 are interconnected via an external bus, and connected to a store server 2 by way of the communication unit 18. The control unit 16 includes a CPU 161, a RAM 162, and a ROM 163.

The ROM 163 stores characters to be selected by players, letter information for quizzes, background images, and other screen images. The characters are composed with a required number of polygons for three-dimensional images.

The CPU 161 reads out images, audio program and control program data, and game program data which are stored in the ROM 163, based on an operating system (OS) stored in the ROM 163. The read out images, and audio program and control program are partly or entirely retained in the RAM 162. Then the CPU 161 executes processes, based on the control program stored in the RAM 162, various types of data such as polygons, textures, other image data including letter information and audio data, and detected signals input from the external input/output control unit 171. The signals will be explained below.

The external input/output control unit 171 converts each detected signals from the card reader 13, the touch panel 11 or the coin inlet 14, into a digital form for processing, and outputs the digital signals to the control unit 16. The external input/output control unit 171 also converts command information output from the control unit 16 to each equipment into control signals, and outputs the signals to the card reader 13, the touch panel 11, or the coin inlet 14. The signals may be input/output within a predetermined time division period.

The image processing unit 101 executes calculations for image positions in a virtual three dimensional space and lighting calculations in response to an image command from the CPU 161. Based on the calculations, the image processing unit 101 writes image data to be drawn into a video RAM of the image processing unit 101, for example writes (copies) texture data into a video RAM area indicated by polygons, and causes the monitor 10 to display a desired image. The sound outputting unit 121 outputs desired sounds such as a message or a BGM to the speakers 12 in response to a command from the control unit 16. The communication unit 18 sends and receives required information to execute a quiz game between the store servers 2 or the center server 3.

FIG. 6 is a functional block diagram of the CPU 161 and the RAM 162 in the control unit 16. The CPU 161 includes an academy stage progression control unit 1601, a battle stage progression control unit 1602, a tournament stage progression control unit 1603, a timer 1604, a time limit display control unit 1605, a category/style selecting unit 1606, a quiz setting unit 1607, an answer receiving unit 1608, a true/false determining unit 1609, a point adding unit 1610, a prize giving unit 1611, a level-up unit 1612, and a player information updating unit 1613.

The game program of the present invention is prestored in the RAM 162 or the ROM 163, and reading and execution by the CPU 161 causes the program to operate as each unit such as the academy stage progression control unit 1601.

The academy stage progression control unit 1601 controls the time limit display control unit 1605, the quiz setting unit 1607, the answer receiving unit 1608, the true/false determining unit 1609, and the like, based on a category and style of quiz accepted at the category/style selecting unit 1606, and executes an academy quiz processing which will be explained below. In the academy quiz process, the quiz setting unit 1607 sets quizzes defined by a category/style which are selected by a player operating the terminal 1 until an end time T1 which will be explained below. A player who got a predetermined score is allowed to select a category/style of a quiz in a battle stage which will be explained below. The score means a total points added by the point adding unit 1610 for correct answers by a player. The game space the progression of which the academy stage progression control unit 1601 controls is called an academy stage. The game the progression of which the academy stage progression control unit 1601 controls is a preceding game to a competition game the progression of which the battle stage progression control unit 1602 controls.

The battle stage progression control unit 1602 controls the time limit display control unit 1605, the category/style selecting unit 1606, the quiz setting unit 1607, the answer receiving unit 1608, the true/false determining unit 1609, and the like, and executes a battle quiz processing which will be explained below. In the battle stage quiz process, a quiz in a category/style selected by each player at the terminal 1 is set to up to 4 players who are playing in an online tournament mode. And the two players who get better scores than two other players are determined to advance to a tournament stage which will be explained below. The game space the progression of which the battle stage progression control unit 1602 controls is called a battle stage. Competitors at the battle stage are determined at the center server 3.

The tournament stage progression control unit 1603 controls the time limit display control unit 1605, the quiz setting unit 1607, the answer receiving unit 1608, the true/false determining unit 1609, and the like, and executes a tournament quiz processing which will be explained below. In the tournament stage quiz process, randomly selected quizzes are set to 10 competitors. After predetermined quizzes are set, one player who got the lowest score is determined to be a dropped player and exits the game, which will be repeated twice. Then a player who got the highest score is determined to be a winner, and given a prize from the prize giving unit 1611. Competitors at the tournament stage are determined at the center server 3.

The answer receiving unit 1608 receives selected answers to the quizzes set by the quiz setting unit 1607 through the touch panel 11. The true/false determining unit 1609 determines the selected answers are true or false, and outputs the results to the point adding unit 1610. The point adding unit 1610 adds points to players based on the results. The prize giving unit 1611 gives a prize to a player based on the points added to the player. The level-up unit 1612 raises a player's grade based on the number of prizes given to the player, and raises a player's level when the player reaches a predetermined grade. The level-up unit 1612 also, in the academy stage or battle stage, raises a player's ranks according to the points the player has, and levels up a player levels when the player reaches a predetermined rank. That is, the level-up unit 1612 gives a ranking (grade or level) to a player based on the points or prize a player has. A point, prize, and level for a player will be explained in detail below.

The RAM 162 includes a player information storing unit 1621 and a Q&A information storing unit 1622. The player information storing unit 1621 stores player information which is associated with players. FIG. 7 is an example of player information which is stored in the player information storing unit 1621 in the form of a table. The player information storing unit 1621 stores a “player ID” which is an ID for a player, a “password” which a player inputs to start a game, a “player name” which a player arbitrarily applies to a character the player operates in a game space, “selectable categories/styles/grades” which indicates categories/styles/grades of a quiz selectable in a battle stage for a player, a “point” given by the point adding unit 1610, a “grade”, a “level” and “the number of prizes” for a player in a game space, and a “character ID” which specifies a character 523 which represents a player in a game space among characters stored in the ROM 163, in correspondence with one another. The player information storing unit 1621 stores not only player information on a player operating the terminal 1 but also player information on players who compete with the operating player in the battle stage or tournament stage. In this figure, the operating player has a player ID “u001” in the top row of the table. The player information is also stored in the store servers 2 or the center server 3.

The Q&A information storing unit 1622 stores quizzes which are set in the academy stage, battle stage and tournament stage and the answers to the quizzes in correspondence with each other. Each quiz belongs to a category and a style. FIG. 11 is an example of categories and styles of quizzes in the form of a table. According to FIG. 11, the categories include “Non-section”, “Animation & Game”, “Sports”, and “Art”, and the styles include “True-False Quiz”, “Multiple Choice Quiz”, “Ordering Quiz”, “Association Quiz”, and “Typing Quiz”. In the academy stage, first, a player can arbitrarily select one from the 4 categories in the style of “True-False Quiz” which is in the lowest row of the table. If a player gets a predetermined score in the academy stage, the player can select both the same style and category with the quiz the player selected in the academy stage, and the same category with the quiz the player selected in the academy stage and a next style “Multiple Choice Quiz” which is one step ahead of the “True-False Quiz”, in the academy stage and the battle stage. For example, if a player selects “True-False Quiz” in “Non-section” and gets a predetermined score in the academy stage, the player can select “True-False Quiz” in “Non-section” and “Multiple Choice Quiz” in “Non-section” in the academy stage and the battle stage. In the academy stage, a player can select quizzes in the selectable styles and categories repeatedly and answer them until the end time of the academy stage T1. Therefore, for example, if a player selects “Multiple Choice quiz” in “Non-section” to answer and gets a predetermined score, the player can select “Ordering Quiz” in “Non-section” in the academy stage and the battle stage. Players are expected to answer quizzes fully in the same way until the academy stage ends, and increase the number of quizzes the player can select in the academy stage and the battle stage. This enables a player to select not only the styles in the categories in which the player got a predetermined score or more but also another styles which are one step ahead of the selected style in the same categories.

(1-2-2) Store Server

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a store server 2. The store servers 2 includes a control unit 26, a network communication unit 28, an image processing unit 211, an sound outputting unit 221, and an interface (I/F) 10. The control unit 26, the network communication unit 28, the image processing unit 211, the sound outputting unit 221, and the interface (I/F) 10 are interconnected via an external bus and are connected to the center server 3 by way of the network communication unit 18. The control unit 26 includes a CPU 261, a RAM 262, and a ROM 263. The control unit 26 controls the operation of the entire store servers 2.

The image processing unit 211 causes the monitor 21 to display a desired image in response to an image display command from the control unit 26. The image processing unit 211 includes a video RAM. The sound outputting unit 221 outputs sounds such as a predetermined message or BGM in response to a command from the control unit 26. The ROM 263 stores OSs, characters, letter information of quizzes, background images and other screen images, sound data, game programs executed in the CPU 261 and the like.

The network communication unit 28 sends and receives data between the center server 3 and the terminals 1. The I/F 10 sends and receives data between the store server 2 and the terminals 1 connected to the store server 2. The data includes identification information of the terminals 1 or the center server 3 to which the data is sent and the data is sent based on the identification information.

(1-2-3) Center Server

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration of a center server 3. The center server 3 includes a control unit 36 and a network communication unit 38. The control unit 36 and the network communication unit 38 are interconnected via an external bus and the control unit 36 is connected to the store servers 2 by way of the network communication unit 38. The control unit 36 includes a CPU 361, a RAM 362, and a ROM 363. The control unit 36 controls the operation of the entire center server 3. The ROM 363 stores OSs, characters, letter information of quizzes, background images and other screen images, sound data, game programs executed in the CPU 361 and the like.

The CPU 361 loads a game program stored in the ROM 363 into the RAM 362 and executes it. The game program according to the present invention is realized by the CPU 361 executing the game program in RAM 362.

FIG. 10 is a functional block diagram of a control unit 36. The CPU 361 in the control unit 36 includes a player information updating unit 3611, a battle combining unit 3612, a tournament combining unit 3613, a Q&A updating unit 3614, a tournament advancing player deciding unit 3615, a battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616, and a tournament stage quiz deciding unit 3617. The RAM 362 in the control unit 36 includes a player information storing unit 3621, a battle combination storing unit 3622, a tournament combination storing unit 3623, and a Q&A information storing unit 3625.

The player information storing unit 3621 stores player information for all players. The battle combination storing unit 3622 stores combinations of players in the battle stage in correspondence with pairs of identification information of the store server 2 and the terminals 1 and the player IDs. The Q&A information storing unit 3625 stores Q&A information as with the Q&A information storing unit 1622 of a terminal 1. The Q&A information storing unit 3625 further stores Q&A updating information to update the quizzes and answers stored in the Q&A information storing unit 1622. The Q&A updating information includes a new quiz and the answer, and information to update quizzes stored in terminals 1 at appropriate timings. This update is performed in the Q&A updating unit 3614.

The player information updating unit 3611 updates player information stored in player information storing unit 3621 partly or entirely, such as a grade, a level or points for a player, based on the results of a quiz game executed in the terminals. The battle combining unit 3612 decides a combination of competitors at a battle stage and stores the information in the RAM 362. The processing of battle combinations executed by the battle combining unit 3612 will be explained in detail below. The tournament combining unit 3613 decides a combination of competitors at a tournament stage and stores the information in the RAM 362. The processing of tournament combinations executed by the tournament combining unit 3613 will be explained in detail below. The Q&A updating unit 3614 updates quizzes and the answers stored in the Q&A storing unit in a terminal 1 based on Q&A updating information The tournament advancing player deciding unit 3615, the battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616, and the tournament stage quiz deciding unit 3617 executes a tournament advancing player deciding process, a battle stage quiz deciding process, and a tournament stage quiz deciding process, respectively, which will be explained in detail below.

(2) Summary of Game Progress

Now, referring FIG. 17, a game progress in the game system according to the present invention is generally described. First, the terminal 1 is turned on and an initial screen is displayed on the monitor 10 with information such as an alarm to inform the turning-on and a logo for a game producer. Then, the monitor 10 displays a simulated game status played by a CPU player as a demonstration to induce a player's motivation to start a game (S2). Inserting a coin in the coin inlet 14 by the player (S3) causes the monitor 10 or the speakers 12 to indicate or announce a guidance to insert a card with the player ID, and the card reader 13 waits for a card to be inserted (S4).

When a player inserts a card in the card reader 13 and the card has a player ID stored in (S5), a personal authentication is performed with the player ID (S6). For example, the personal authentication can be performed by determining whether the player ID stored in the card and the password input from the touch panel 11 match the player ID and password in player information stored in the player information storing unit 3621 of the center server 3. When the personal authentication is completed, the player information of the authenticated player is duplicated from the player information storing unit 3621 of the center server 3 to the player information storing unit 1621 of the terminal 1, and the player's name, and the play records such as points, grade, or level given to the player stored in the player information are displayed (S7). If a player inputs through the touch panel 11 a notice that the player does not have a card (S8), a demonstration showing the game world is displayed to explain how the game progresses (S9) and prompts the player to select a character the player operates in a game space (S10). And more, if a player inserts a new card purchased from a card dispenser and the card does not have a player ID stored in (S11), a demonstration showing the game world is displayed as with S9 (S12) to prompt the player to select a character as with S10 (S13) and input player information including the player's name and a password (S14).

After S7, S10, or S14 is completed, a mode select screen illustrated in FIG. 12 is displayed on the monitor 10. The mode select screen allows a player to select an online tournament mode, a battle mode, or an event mode by touching the touch panel 11 (S15). If a player touches an indication of “online tournament”, a game is executed in an online tournament mode (S16). In the online tournament mode, a game space progresses through an academy stage, a battle stage, and a tournament stage.

In the academy stage, a player arbitrarily selects a category and a style of quizzes and answers the quizzes for a limited time. Here, the player can selects a category and a style and answer quizzes repeatedly for the limited time. If the player reaches a predetermined score in the academy stage, the player can select the selected category and a new style which is one step ahead of the selected style, in the ongoing academy stage and the next battle stage. The score in the academy stage is expressed as a number of points which is calculated in an academy quiz processing which will be explained below. The categories and the styles selectable in the battle stage include the corresponding categories and the styles in which a player got a predetermined score in the past, and do not necessarily match with the categories and the styles selectable in the academy stage.

In the battle stage, each of 4 players who completed the academy stage with or without CPU player(s) by the CPU 161 (hereinafter, players include one or more CPU players operated by the CPU 161 in a game space, unless otherwise specified) arbitrarily selects a category and a style from selectable categories and styles, and a quiz in the category and the style is set to the 4 players simultaneously. The combination of the 4 players is decided in a battle combination processing which will be explained below. A quiz in the category and the style selected arbitrarily by the 4 players is set to the 4 players simultaneously. So if a player selects a category and a style familiar to the player in the academy stage, or a category and a style unfamiliar or difficult to competitors, the player can create a condition advantageous to himself/herself and disadvantageous to the competitors. To the contrary, if a competitor selects a category and a style unfamiliar or difficult to the player, the competitor can create a condition advantageous to himself/herself and disadvantageous to the player. In this way, a player who reached a required score in the academy stage can increase the number of categories and styles selectable in the battle stage, and the more categories and styles are selectable, the more advantageous quiz the player can select to be set in the battle stage, where the 4 players have chances to select a category and a style equally. Therefore, it is expected that a player plays the academy stage repeatedly until the end of the academy stage T1 to increase the number of selectable categories and styles, and that more selectable categories and styles allows the battle stage to have a broad range of contents, which results in increase in game entertainment.

Then, scores for players are calculated based on their answers, and the 2 players whose scores are higher than two other players advance to a tournament stage. The 2 players whose scores are lower than two other players exit the game, but a request to continue the game from the player whose score was the third only may be accepted to enable the third player to advance to the tournament stage. Scores for players in the battle stage is also expressed as a number of points which are calculated in an battle quiz processing which will be explained below.

In the tournament stage, quizzes are set to 5 sets of 2 players with higher scores from each battle stage, 10 players in total simultaneously for a limited time (a first tournament). In the first tournament, after scores are calculated for each player, the player with the lowest score exits the game, and quizzes are sequentially set to the other 9 players for a limited time (a second tournament). In the second tournament, after scores are calculated for each player, the player with the lowest score exits the game, and quizzes are sequentially set to the other 8 players for a limited time (a third tournament. In the third tournament, after scores are calculated for each player, the player with the highest score wins the game and gets a prize, and the other 7 players exit the game.

Similarly, if a player touches an indication of “battle” or “event” on the mode select screen in FIG. 12, a game is executed in a battle mode (S17) or an event mode (S18) respectively The battle mode has a battle stage only, and the event mode has a tournament stage only, as a game space. The “event” indication may be indicated only on a preset date and time. Specified processes to operate the online tournament mode, the battle mode, or the event mode will be explained below.

(3) Processing Flow

Now, a processing flow in the game system according to the present invention will be explained. The system includes processings in an online tournament mode, processings in a battle mode, and processings in an event mode. In the processings in an online tournament mode, an academy stage, a battle stage, and a tournament stage are performed in a terminal 1. In the processing in a battle mode, a battle stage is performed in a terminal 1. In the processings in an event mode, a tournament stage is performed in a terminal 1. The processings in an online tournament mode, the processing in a battle mode, or the processings in an event mode start when a player selects the indication of “online tournament”, “battle”, or “event” respectively on a mode select screen in FIG. 12.

(3-1) Processings in an Online Tournament Mode

The processing flow in an online tournament mode is explained below with reference to FIG. 18. The processings in an online tournament mode consists of a plurality of processings executed by a terminal 1 or the center server 3. Although one terminal is shown in this figure, there may be a plurality of terminals 1, and each of the terminals executes the same processing with the terminal 1 and the center server 3 executes the same processings with the ones in this figure for each terminal. A store server 2 is omitted in this figure, but actually a store server 2 sends and receives data between a terminal 1 and a center server 3.

The terminal 1 displays the mode select screen in FIG. 12, and waits for a selection of “online tournament”, “battle”, or “event” on the screen. When the “online tournament” is selected, the terminal 1 sends a notification of the selection of the online tournament mode to the center server 3 (#1).

Upon receipt of the notification on the selection of online tournament mode, the battle combining unit 3612 of the center server 3 executes a battle combination processing to decide a combination of players who compete at the battle stage (competing players) (#2). In this processing, the 4 players who selected the “online tournament” on the mode select screen in FIG. 12 until the end time of a predetermined waiting period T0, are decided as a set of competitors at the battle stage. If less than 4 players selected the “online tournament” during the predetermined waiting period, one or more CPU players operated by the CPU 161 of the terminal the CPU 261 of the store server, or the CPU 361 of the center server 3 may be in the set of competitors at the battle stage. The end time of a predetermined waiting period T0 means, for example, the time at which a predetermined period such as 5 minutes has passed since a player selected the “online tournament”.

After the battle combination processing (#2), the battle combining unit 3612 of the center server 3 sends battle combination information which includes player IDs of competing players and identification information on terminals 1 operated by the competing players, to each battle participating terminal (#3). This allows each battle participating terminal to identify other terminals 1 operated by competitors at the battle stage, and permits sending and receiving of data between the battle participating terminals.

All the terminals 1 that received identification information on battle participating terminals execute an academy quiz processing (#4). In this processing, players who selected the online tournament select a category and a style of quizzes on the screen illustrated in FIG. 13, and answer the quizzes in the academy stage until the end time of the academy stage T1. Based on the number of correct answers, the players get points, and based on the number of points, the players can increase categories and styles of quizzes selectable in the ongoing academy stage and the next battle stage. The academy quiz processing will be explained in detail below.

After the academy quiz processing, the category/style selecting unit 1606 of a terminal 1 executes a category/style selecting processing (#5). In this processing, players who played the academy stage select one of the selectable categories and styles of quizzes, and the selected category and style of quizzes and a difficulty-level of quizzes selectable for the player are sent to the center server 3. The selection of categories and styles of quizzes can be done on a screen similar to that illustrated in FIG. 13. The category and style options acceptable to the category/style selecting unit 1606 corresponds to the category and style relative to the category which are specified by the player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 for the operating player, and other category and style options are not to be accepted. After the category/style selecting processing, the selected category and style of quizzes and a difficulty-level of quizzes selectable for the selected category and style are sent from all the battle participating terminal to the center server 3 (#6).

Upon receipt of the category and style of quizzes and the difficulty-level of quizzes from all the battle participating terminals, the battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616 of the center server 3 executes a battle stage quiz decision processing (#7). In this processing, a predetermined number of quizzes which are in the category and style and the difficulty-level sent from each battle participating terminal are selected from the Q&A information storing unit 3625, and are decided as quizzes to be set in the battle stage (battle stage quiz). For example, when the battle participating terminals includes a terminal A, a terminal B, a terminal C, and a terminal D, the battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616 selects 10 quizzes in the category/style/difficulty-level sent from the terminal A, 10 quizzes in the category/style/difficulty-level sent from the terminal B, 10 quizzes in the category/style/difficulty-level sent from the terminal C, and 10 quizzes in the category/style/difficulty-level sent from the terminal D, that is, 40 quizzes in total without duplication randomly from the Q&A information storing unit 3625 to set as battle stage quizzes.

After the battle stage quiz decision processing, the battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616 of the center server 3 sends the battle stage quizzes and the answers to all of the battle participating terminals (#8). Alternatively, the battle stage quiz deciding unit 3616 sends only information to specify the battle stage quizzes and the answers.

Upon receipt of the battle stage quizzes and answers, the terminals 1 execute a battle quiz processing (#9). In this processing, all the received battle stage quizzes (or, if identifiers were received, the quizzes specified by the identifiers in the Q&A information storing unit 1622, same with hereinafter) are set sequentially as with in the tournament quiz processing so that the players can answer during a limited time, and points are added to each player depend on the number of correct answers. That is, the execution of this processing makes competing players to answer the same questions, and compare each other by points. Since the quizzes set in this stage are in the categories and styles selected by each player, if the player gets a predetermined number of points in academy stage to select more categories and styles, the player can take an advantage in the battle stage by selecting the categories and styles of quizzes to which the player is well experienced.

FIG. 15 is an example of a screen in a battle stage. The screen displays a situation that 4 players are answering a quiz 522 in a category “general knowledge” and in a style “reordering”. The screen displays not only a character 523 for an operating player, but also characters 524 for competing players. The character 523 for an operating player has a mark 523A Touching the character 523 or character 524 makes player information such as the number of prizes or points appear partly or entirely to be referred. The period required to answer by an operation player is indicated at an answer period display section 523. Remaining time to the end time of the battle stage is indicated at a remaining time display section 521. Points, a grade, and a level for an operating player are indicated in a box 516.

After the battle quiz processing, the terminals 1 send total points for each player and player IDs in correspondence with each other to the center server 3 (#10).

Upon receipt of the points from all the battle participating terminals, the tournament advancing player deciding unit 3615 of the center server 3 executes a tournament advancing player decision processing. In this processing, the player who got the highest points in the battle participating players, and the player who got the next highest points are decided as players who participate in a tournament stage (#11). The center server 3 sends the player IDs of the decided players to all the battle participating terminals (#12).

The terminals 1 which received the player IDs determines whether the received player IDs matches the player IDs for the players operating the terminals 1 in the player information in the player information storing unit 3625, and then whether the player operating the battle participating terminal can advance to a tournament stage (#13). If the ID doesn't match, the terminal 1 displays a game over screen and executes a game end processing (#14). In this way, players get the right to participate in a tournament stage based on the amount of points the players got in the battle stage. The player who can participate in a tournament stage is called a tournament participating player.

The online tournament processing flow is explained again, referring to FIG. 19. After the first tournament advancing player decision processing, the tournament combining unit 3612 of the center server 3 executes a tournament combination processing (#15). In this processing, a combination of a plurality of sets of players who advance to a tournament stage and terminals the players operating is decided. This decision is made, for example, by combining 10 terminals in total which finished a battle quiz processing (#9) in a predetermined period and are operated by tournament participating players. If there are, if any, less than 10 terminals 1 in a predetermined period, the center server 3 may provide a virtual player(s) to function as a terminal(s) 1. The 10 terminals combined in this way are called tournament participating terminals. Then the center server 3 sends the identification information on the tournament participating terminals to all the tournament participating terminals, which allows each of the tournament participating terminals to identify other tournament participating terminals and permits sending and receiving of data between the tournament participating terminals.

After the tournament combination processing, the tournament stage quiz deciding unit 3617 of the center server 3 executes a tournament stage quiz decision processing (#17). In this processing, tournament stage quizzes to be set at the tournament stage are decided. The tournament stage quizzes are decided, for example, by selecting a predetermined number of quizzes, such as 30 quizzes, randomly without duplication from all quizzes stored in the Q&A information storing unit 3625. Then the center server 3 sends the tournament stage quizzes and answers to all the tournament participating terminals (#18). Alternatively, the center server 3 sends identifiers of the tournament stage quizzes and answers.

Upon receipt of the tournament stage quizzes and answers, all the tournament participating terminals 1 execute a tournament quiz processing (#19). In the tournament stage quiz process, all the quizzes sent from the center sever 3 are set, and points are added to each player based on the answers by players as with the battle stage quiz process, but unlike the battle stage quiz process, when a predetermined number of quizzes, such as 10 quizzes, are set, the processing is interrupted to wait for a command to continue the processing. When the processing is interrupted, the terminals 1 send the added total points at the time for each player and the player IDs stored in the player information storing unit 1621 in correspondence with each other to center server 3 (#21).

Upon receipt of the points from all tournament participating terminals, the center server 3 decides the player ID corresponding to the lowest points, and sends the player ID to all the tournament participating terminals (#22). The player ID decided in this way is called a dropped player ID, and the player specified by the dropped player ID is called a dropped player.

Upon receipt of the dropped player ID, the terminal 1 determines whether the dropped player ID matches the player ID in player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 (#23). If the ID matches, a game end processing is executed (#24). If the ID doesn't match, the interrupted tournament quiz processing is restarted (#25). And as with #19, when another predetermined number of quizzes, such as 10 quizzes, are set, the processing is interrupted, and the player IDs and points are sent (#26). Upon receipt of the points and player IDs from all tournament participating terminals except the terminal which executed a game end processing at #13 (i.e., second tournament participating terminals), the center server 3 decides a dropped player as with #21 (#21′), and sends the dropped player ID to all the second tournament participating terminals (#27).

Upon receipt of the dropped player ID, the terminals 1 determines whether the dropped player ID matches the player ID in player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 as with #23, and if the ID matches, a game end processing is executed (#29), and if the ID doesn't match, the interrupted tournament quiz processing is restarted to set quizzes which have not set at #19 or #25 (#30) yet, to add points based on answers by players (#30). After all the quizzes are set, the player IDs of the players operating the terminals 1 and the total points for the players are sent in correspondence with each other to the center server 3 (#31).

The online tournament processing flow is explained again, referring to FIG. 20. Upon receipt of the player IDs and points from all tournament participating terminals except terminals operated by dropped players at #24 and #29 (i.e., third tournament participating terminal), the center server 3 executes a winner player decision processing (#32). In this processing, the player ID which corresponds to the highest in the received points is decided (#32). The decided player ID is a winner player ID, and the player specified by the winner player ID is a winner player. Then the winner player ID is sent to all the third stage participating terminals.

Upon receipt of the winner player ID, all the third stage participating terminals determine whether the winner player ID matches the stored player ID (#34). If the ID doesn't match, a game end processing is executed (#35). If the ID matches, the prize giving unit 1611 executes a prize giving processing (#36). In the process, a prize is given to the winner player. When the prizes are given to a certain amount for a player, the level-up unit 1612 raises the grade of the player, and when the grade reaches a predetermined number, the level of the player is raised.

The prize is shown in the center 530 of the display 10 of the terminal 1 operated by the winner player so that the player can easily understand the number of prizes. A grade and a level are provided in numbers or names which lead to specific images for a player's status in the game space. For example, grades may be divided in 10 with grade 1 is the highest, and levels may be named as Trainee, Beginner Magician, Intermediate Magician, Advanced Magician, Archimage, and Sage, which will be display in a box 516 at the upper right corner in FIG. 16 to let players know their status easily. So it is expected that players play the game more enthusiastically by challenging to win at the tournament stage repeatedly to raise the status. After the prize giving processing, the winner player can continue to play again from the academy stage for free.

In the above processing in an online tournament mode, in the tournament stage, a prize is given to the winner player, and when the prizes are added to a certain amount for the player, the level-up unit 1612 raises the player's grade, and with a predetermined number of grades, the level-up unit 1612 raises the player's level. In the academy stage (#4) and the battle stage (#9) also, the level-up unit 1612 may raise grades based on points for each players, and levels with a predetermined number of grades.

(3-2) Processing's in a Battle Mode

Now, a processing flow in a battle mode to execute a battle mode is explained, referring to FIG. 21. The processing in a battle mode consists of a plurality of processing's executed by a store server 2 or a terminal 1 connected to the store server 2. This figure shows only one terminal 1, but there may be a plurality of terminals 1 which execute the same processes with the terminal 1 shown in FIG. 21, and so do the store servers 2. A center server 3 is omitted in FIG. 21, but a center server 3 instead of the store server 2 may execute the processing's in a battle mode. Since the processing's in a battle mode are executed by a store server 2 or a terminal 1 connected to the store server 2, the store server 2 is not required to be connected to the center server 3 to execute the processings in a battle mode.

A terminal 1 displays a mode select screen shown in FIG. 12, and waits for a selection of “online tournament, “battle”, or “event”. When “battle” is selected, the terminal sends a notification of the selection of the battle mode to the store server 2 (#101).

Upon receipt of the notification of the selection of battle mode, the store server 2 executes a battle combination processing to decide a combination of players to compete at the battle stage (battle stage player) (#102). In this processing, up to 4 players who selected “battle” on the mode select screen in FIG. 12 by the end time of the predetermined waiting period T0 are combined as a set of competitors. If less than 4 players selected “battle” by the end time of the predetermined waiting period T0, one or more CPU players operated by the CPU 261 of the store server 2 may be in the set of competitors. The end time of a waiting period T0 means, for example, the time at which a predetermined period such as 5 minutes has passed since a player selected the “battle”.

Then the store server 2 decides quizzes to be set at the battle stage (#103). The decision on the quizzes is done in the same way as the tournament stage quiz decision processing (#17) in the online tournament processing described above. Then the store server 2 sends the decided quizzes and answers to the terminal 1 (#104). Alternatively, the store server 2 may send identifiers of the quizzes.

The terminal 1 executes a battle quiz processing in the same way with the online tournament processing described above (#105), and sends the player IDs and points to the store server 2 (#106). The store server 2 decides scores such as rankings for players from the player IDs and points sent from each terminal 1 (#107), and sends the results to each terminal 1 (#108). The terminal 1 displays the scores (#109) and finishes the game (#110).

(3-3) Processings in an Event Mode

Now, a processing flow in an event mode is explained, referring to FIG. 22. Each step of the processings in an event mode is executed by a terminal 1 or a center server 3. This figure shows only one terminal 1, but there may be a plurality of terminals 1 which execute the same processings with the terminal 1 shown in FIG. 22. A store server 2 is omitted in FIG. 22, but actually a store server 2 sends and receives data between a terminal 1 and a center server 3.

When the event mode setting is available in the center server 3, information of the available setting is sent to each terminal 1, and an option for event mode is displayed on the mode select screen of the monitor 10 of the terminal 1, which makes the event mode selectable for players from terminal 1. An administrator of the center server 3 may set the event mode setting available on the day the administrator has announced in advance, or may preset the mode to be available automatically when the set day or time comes.

A terminal 1 displays a mode select screen shown in FIG. 12, and waits for a selection of “online tournament, “battle”, or “event”. When the “event” is selected, the terminal sends a notification of the selection of the event mode to the center server 3 (#201). Then, a series of processings are executed in the same way as in the processings in an online tournament mode, that is, from the tournament combination processing (#15) to the prize giving processing (#36). But unlike the processings in an online tournament mode, after the prize giving processing, the event mode processings finish (#209), and winner players cannot continue to play thereafter.

(3-4) Academy Quiz Processing

An academy quiz processing in an online tournament mode (#4) shown in FIG. 18 will be explained in detail below with reference to a flow chart.

FIG. 23 is a flow chart showing a processing flow for a first quiz processing. An academy quiz processing will be explained below along with this flow chart.

Step 40 (hereinafter, a step is represented by S): the academy stage progression control unit 1601 sets a timer 1604 to the end time of the academy stage T1. The end T1 is the time at which a predetermined period such as 5 minutes has passed since the above described end of the waiting period T0.

S41: the category/style selecting unit 1606 enables an operating player to select a category and a style which are selectable based on player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 for the player from a screen illustrated in FIG. 13, and receives the selected category and style. The category and the style options acceptable to the category/style selecting unit 1606 are limited to the categories and the styles corresponding to the category specified by the player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 for the operation player, other category and the style options are not to be accepted

A screen illustrated in FIG. 13 will be explained next. In this screen, categories are displayed inside of category boxes 507, and styles are displayed inside of quiz boxes 500 which are aligned in a longitudinal direction above each category box 507. A player touches one of the quiz boxes 500 to select a category and a style arbitrarily.

Quiz boxes 500 selectable for a player are indicated by colors of bars 504 on both sides of the quiz boxes; boxes 500 between black bars 504 are not selectable, and boxes 500 between white bars 504 are selectable.

The selected quiz box 500 is highlighted, for example by shining more brightly than other boxes. In this screen, the style “association” in the category “Art” is selected Below each quiz box 500 are stars 501-503 which show, when a player answers a quiz in the selected category and style and gets a predetermined score, a difficulty-level of the quiz the player completed. Quizzes are divided into three difficulty-levels: “easy”, “medium” and “hard”, for each category and style and the stars 501-503 indicate whether the “easy”, “medium” and “hard” levels are mastered or not respectively by colors. White stars 501-503 means the level is completed, and black stars 501-503 means the level is not completed. In this screen, the easy and medium levels of the style “true or false” in the category “Art” are completed. If even the easy level is not completed, no stars 501-503 are displayed. For example, in this screen, an easy level of the style “association” in the category “Art” is not completed. When one quiz box 500 is selected, a character 508 appears from a door 506 to set quizzes to the player at the academy stage.

The colors of bars 504 and the presence or absence and colors of stars 501-503 are specified by player information stored in the player information storing unit 1621 for the operating player. That is, the bars 504 on both sides of the boxes 500 specified by selectable styles and categories in the player information for the operating player (refer to FIG. 7) are white, and the star 501-503 corresponding to the difficulty-levels specified by a “difficulty-level” is white.

S42: the quiz setting unit 1607 selects a predetermined number of quizzes which are in the category and style shown in the quiz box 500 selected at S41 and in the lowest difficulty-level in the levels the player has not mastered yet, from the Q&A information storing unit 1622. For example, as shown in FIG. 13, when a quiz box 500 is selected, the quiz setting unit 1607 selects randomly a predetermined number of quizzes (e.g. 10 quizzes) in the category “Art” of the style “association” in the “easy” difficulty-level.

S43: the quiz setting unit 1607 sets the quizzes selected at S42 sequentially.

S44: the answer receiving unit 1608 waits for an answer input to the set quiz, and determines whether an answer is input or not. If an answer is input, the processing goes to S46. If an answer is not input, the processing goes to S45. Answers can be input, for example, by a player touching one of answers which are displayed on the monitor 10 as 4 options 513 for the questions 515, as shown in the academy stage display screen in FIG. 14. In this example, a player selected the second option “Nouvelle Vague”. In this screen also, the time required to answer is displayed in an answer time display section 512 by the time limit display control unit 1605. Remaining time in the academy stage is displayed in a remaining time display section 511. Both the time required to answer and the remaining time in the academy stage are measured by a timer 1604. The category 514 of the quiz is shown in an upper right position of the question. The level grade, and points for the player are shown in the box 516 in an upper right corner as in FIG. 16.

S45: the academy stage progression control unit 1601 determines, referring to the timer 1604, whether a time Limit to input an answer is over or not The time limit is a predetermined time period, for example 10 seconds, since a quiz is set at S43. If the time limit is over already, the processing goes to S46. If the time limit is not over yet, the processing goes back to S44 and waits for an answer input.

S46: the true/false determining unit 1609 determines whether the answer of the player is true or false, by comparing the answer received in answer receiving unit 1608 from the player to the answer to the quiz set at S43 which is stored in the Q&A information storing unit 1622. If the answer is true, the processing goes to S47. If the answer is false, the processing goes to S48. If the time limit is over at S45, the answer from the player is determined to be false.

S47: the point adding unit 1610 adds a predetermined number of points, for example 1 point, to the points stored in the player information storing unit 1621 and causes the player information storing unit 1621 to store the updated points. The point to be added may be predetermined depending on the time required to answer. For example, 2 points may be added with an answer in less than 5 seconds, and 1 point may be added with an answer in 5-10 seconds.

S48: the quiz setting unit 1607 determines whether all the quizzes selected at S42 were set at S43 or not. If all the quizzes are set the processing goes to S49. If not all the quizzes are set the processing goes back to S43, and sets the remaining quizzes.

S49: the player information updating unit 1613 determines whether the points stored in the player information storing unit 1621 is equal to or more than a predetermined number, for example 7 points or more than 7 points, or not. If the points are equal to or more than a predetermined number, the processing goes to S50. If the points are less than a predetermined number, the processing goes to S51.

S50: the player information updating unit 1613 adds information in corresponce with the category selected at S41, the style selected at S41, and the difficulty-level which is one level higher than for quizzes set at S42, and information in corresponce with the category selected at S41, the style which is one step ahead to the style selected at S41, and the difficulty-level “easy”, to selectable categories/styles/difficulty-levels stored in the player information storing unit 1621. For example, when the category/style is selected as shown in FIG. 13 and points more than a predetermined number are added, the difficulty-level “easy” in the category “Art” of the style “typing” will be selectable.

S51: the academy stage progression control unit 1601 determines whether the current time goes over the end time of the academy stage T1 or not. If the time goes over the end time, the academy quiz processing is finished. Otherwise, the processing goes back to S41 and receives another selection of a category and a style.

According to the above processings, a player can select a method/category and answer a quiz repeatedly until the end time T1. The player gets points by answer correctly, and if the player gets points equal to or more than a predetermined number at the academy stage, the player can increase selectable categories/styles/difficulty-levels in the ongoing academy stage and the next battle stage.

Other Embodiments

(A) In the above first embodiment, a player plays a quiz game in the academy stage, the battle stage, and the tournament stage. But the game played in the academy stage may be other games which a player can play alone, including puzzle games, table games such as card games or mah-jongg. The game played in the battle stage and the tournament stage may be competition games which a plurality of players can play simultaneously, such as quiz games, fighting game, race games, and shooting games. In the games playable alone or the competition games, one or more virtual players by a computer may compete against the player(s). Game spaces may provide one kind of game such as a quiz game for a game playable alone and a competition game, or may provide different kinds of games, like a puzzle game for a game playable alone and a quiz game for a competition game.

As well as points in the above player information, attributes at a game end time of a character operated by a player in a game space, proficiency a player reached after playing a game, and the like may be stored as player information. Game scenes such as a mode, a stage, a phase, a field and a course, and an game environment such as difficulty-level, a character and its attributes selectable by competitors in a competition game may be selectable based on points of a player for a game playable alone, instead categories and styles being selectable for quizzes set in a battle stage based on points a player gets in an academy stage as in the above first embodiment.

For example, when a player P plays a course A in a car-race game alone and gets a predetermined score, such as a finish in the top three, the player P may select the course A to play in the next car race game, a game space provided by a terminal 1, for a plurality of players. As another example, when player P1 plays a course A and player P2 plays a course B independently, and each player gets a predetermined score, the players P1 and P2 may compete in a course C which consists of the course A and the course B. Alternatively, the players may exchange their courses, for example, player P1 plays a course B and player P2 plays a course A, to compete the results.

(B) The present invention contemplates any recording medium which records a program to execute each processing or step of the first embodiment on a computer. The recording medium may be a computer readable medium such as a flexible disc, a hard disc, a semiconductor memory, a CD-ROM, a DVD, an MO.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

According to the present invention, an execution condition for a competition game is decided based on a play record of a player, and the competition game is executed under the decided condition. This allows the execution condition for a competition game to be varied based on the play record of a player, which makes the game more entertaining.

While preferred embodiments have been described in connection with the present invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the sprit and scope of the present invention. The scope of the invention is therefore to be determined solely by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7549923 *Jul 29, 2004Jun 23, 2009Nintendo Co., Ltd.Game apparatus and storage medium storing game program
US8019121Oct 16, 2009Sep 13, 2011Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.Method and system for processing intensity from input devices for interfacing with a computer program
US8085339Dec 23, 2009Dec 27, 2011Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.Method and apparatus for optimizing capture device settings through depth information
US8568230Nov 10, 2009Oct 29, 2013Sony Entertainment Computer Inc.Methods for directing pointing detection conveyed by user when interfacing with a computer program
US20040155962 *Feb 11, 2003Aug 12, 2004Marks Richard L.Method and apparatus for real time motion capture
US20040239670 *May 29, 2003Dec 2, 2004Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.System and method for providing a real-time three-dimensional interactive environment
US20130267285 *Apr 4, 2012Oct 10, 2013Timothy J. KelleySystem and method for on-line academic competition
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationA63F13/12, A63F13/10, A63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationA63F13/10, A63F2300/8064, A63F13/12
European ClassificationA63F13/10, A63F13/12
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 9, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HAMANO, TAKASHI;HASHIMOTO, HIDEKI;MORIMOTO, YOSHINOBU;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:018364/0012;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060905 TO 20061005
Jun 6, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: KONOMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNEE ADDRESS CHANGE;ASSIGNOR:KONOMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD.;REEL/FRAME:021074/0385
Effective date: 20080606