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Publication numberUS20070167239 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/624,684
Publication dateJul 19, 2007
Filing dateJan 18, 2007
Priority dateJan 19, 2006
Publication number11624684, 624684, US 2007/0167239 A1, US 2007/167239 A1, US 20070167239 A1, US 20070167239A1, US 2007167239 A1, US 2007167239A1, US-A1-20070167239, US-A1-2007167239, US2007/0167239A1, US2007/167239A1, US20070167239 A1, US20070167239A1, US2007167239 A1, US2007167239A1
InventorsJason O'Rourke
Original AssigneeO'rourke Jason
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Arcade Casino Game
US 20070167239 A1
Abstract
A casino arcade game and arcade gambling machine that combine online poker game with a networked role-playing game (a.k.a., MMORPG). The game allows players to develop their virtual character when playing at home in the MMORPG. And when players play in the networked arcade gambling machine in the casinos, the game integrates online poker with the MMORPG, where betting strategies are enhanced by allowing player to supplement betting moves with attack spells in a virtual battleground in the MMORPG against other avatars who represent other poker players of the same poker table. The MMORPG and the poker game are shown on the same screen of the arcade gambling machine.
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Claims(20)
1. A method of providing player interaction between players of an electronic casino game, the method comprising:
providing a networked electronic casino game on an internal network accessible by a plurality of networked arcade gambling machine each having an interface for players to play the networked electronic casino game;
providing at least one monitor in each arcade gambling machine to show a progress of the casino game and to show a first virtual character to represent a first player;
providing a first virtual space where the first virtual character is free to move about while the casino game is concurrently played and shown on the monitor; and
wherein the first virtual character and a scene of the first virtual space is also shown at the arcade gambling machine.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of:
generating a player expression when said first player makes a play in the electronic casino game;
wherein the player expression is represented by at least one of the following:
an image of intimidation shown on at least one monitor;
an image to elicit player emotion and is shown on at least one monitor;
a first virtual fighting creature making an attack in the virtual space and is shown on at least one monitor;
an attack move by the first virtual character in the virtual space and is shown on at least one monitor;
an audio-visual presentation provided by at least one arcade gambling machine; and
a motion presentation provided by at least one arcade gambling machine.
3. The method of claim 2 further comprising the steps of:
allowing a second player to initiate a player expression in response to said first player's player expression;
wherein said second player's player expression is transmitted to at least one arcade gambling machine; and
allowing the first player to pre-program an action queue to perform auto play such that a series of pre-programmed player expression can be shown consecutively.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the electronic casino game is a card game selected from the group consisting of Asian Stud, Baccarat, Blackjack, Casino war, Caribbean Stud Poker, Poker, Chinese Poker, Faro, Five Card Draw, Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, Mambo Stud, Omaha High, Omaha Low, Pai Gow Poker, Razz, Red Dog, Seven Card Stud, Spanish 21, Texas Hold'em Poker, Three Card Poker, and Two-Up.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein the electronic casino game is a non-card game selected from the group consisting of Craps, Pai Gow, Sic Bo, Chuck-a-Luck, Big Six Wheel, Roulette, Slots, Bingo, Keno.
6. The method of claim 4, wherein the play is a game move initiated by said first player, said play includes at least one member selected from the group consisting of bet, bluff, call, check, fold, and raise.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein said player expression initiated by said second player corresponds to the second player's game move in the electronic casino game; wherein said first and second player can go to a different physical location to play their virtual characters in a second virtual space accessible on an external network such as the Internet; wherein the second virtual space is a MMORPG; wherein the first and second virtual characters each have a character statistics, and such character statistics is continuously maintained when said first and second players switch between playing on the external network and on the internal network.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the electronic casino game is not accessible when said first and second player are playing the MMORPG on the external network; and wherein the first virtual space is a simulated battle arena.
9. A computer-executable program stored on a computer-readable medium, said program comprising a process that comprises the method of claim 8, the program further comprising:
computer readable program code for displaying the progress of the electronic casino game and a scene of the virtual space on the same monitor screen;
wherein the MMORPG allows said first player to develop the character statistics for said first virtual character;
wherein the character statistics is comprised of measurable values in at least one of the following areas: agility, constitution, dexterity, discipline, influence, intuition, logic, strength, wisdom, and alignment; and
wherein the program collects information regarding the first player and matches the first player with at least one casino.
10. The arcade gambling machine of claim 9, comprising:
a chair coupled to the monitor;
a payment acceptance device coupled to the monitor to accept payment from at least one of the following: credit card, debit card, casino membership card, and cash;
audio-visual system for providing the audio-visual presentation;
an input device that enables said first player to control said first virtual character; and
a processor coupled to the input device.
11. A computer program product for playing an online role-playing game, the computer program product comprising a computer usable storage medium having computer readable program code embodied in the medium, the computer readable program code comprising:
a program code that causes a computer to display a scene of a virtual world as a virtual character representing a player roams through the virtual world and interacts with a virtual environment;
a program code that allows the player to continue using the virtual character in the virtual world, as the player physically moves to a first physical location to play the online role-playing game; and
wherein when the role-playing game is played in the first physical location, the program code allows the player to play a casino game integrated into the role-playing game such that an action in the casino game causes an action in the virtual world.
12. The computer program product of claim 11, wherein the first physical location is a casino; and wherein the casino game is one member selected from the group consisting of Asian Stud, Baccarat, Blackjack, Casino war, Caribbean Stud Poker, Poker, Chinese Poker, Faro, Five Card Draw, Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, Mambo Stud, Omaha High, Omaha Low, Pai Gow Poker, Razz, Red Dog, Seven Card Stud, Spanish 21, Texas Hold'em Poker, Three Card Poker, Two-Up, Craps, Pai Gow, Sic Bo, Chuck-a-Luck, Big Six Wheel, Roulette, Slots, Bingo, and Keno.
13. The computer program product of claim 12, wherein the action in the casino game is a card move such as bet, fold, call, raise, check, bluff; and wherein the action in virtual world is an attack move in the role-playing game.
14. The computer program product of claim 13, wherein the computer code allows the player to pre-program a series of attack moves to be automatically performed; and wherein the computer code allows the player who is terminated in the casino game to continue his play in the role-playing game.
15. The computer program product of claim 14, wherein the casino game is a table game, and the computer code shows a progress of the casino game on a monitor; and wherein the player can see other players represented by other virtual characters in the role-playing game.
16. The computer program product of claim 15, wherein the attack move is targeted towards said other virtual characters; and wherein a health level of the virtual character does not affect a likelihood of success in the casino game.
17. The computer program product of claim 16, wherein the computer code can be updated to include additional layers of gaming design, such as scenery, passages, treasures, weapons, and background theme.
18. A business method of operating a casino, said method comprising:
providing in the casino a plurality of networked game stations each having at least one monitor, one seat, and a data input device;
wherein the game station allows a player to play a role-playing game;
wherein the game station also allows a player to play a casino game concurrently; and
wherein the role-playing game uses virtual characters that were trained and development by the player when the player played the role-playing game outside of the casino.
19. The business method of claim 18, wherein the casino game is a poker game, wherein the role-playing game and the poker game is shown on the monitor concurrently, and wherein a poker move causes intense fighting action between a plurality of avatars in the role-playing game; wherein the plurality of avatars represent a plurality of poker players in the same poker game.
20. The business method of claim 19, further comprising:
allowing product placement as a marketing tool in the role-playing game;
make the role-playing game accessible by anyone with Internet access;
host periodic tournaments of the casino game played concurrently with the role-playing game;
broadcast said tournament in a media outlet such as wireless phones, television, cable television, satellite television, and the Internet.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Pat. No. 60/760,651 filed on Jan. 19, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is games, more particularly electronic casino arcade games that integrate traditional casino games with virtual role-playing video games.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are various different casino games in the gaming industry, and there has always been a need for new games, gambling devices, and alternative entertainment to entice consumer and gamblers. Major casinos are constantly reinventing themselves to keep their patrons coming to their establishment.

Generally known ways to make traditional casino games more visually enticing includes converting them into electronic/video formats. For example, convert traditional mechanical slot machines into electronic or video slot machines (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,805,632, a video slot gaming machine, all of which is hereby incorporated by reference) and provide traditional card games in video poker machines, online poker games. It appears, however, that these known electronic games offer relatively little creativity and human interaction between the players.

Casino continues to look for new and better ways to entice different demographic of patrons in view of changing market needs. There is a continuing need for improved gaming systems that provides relative better entertainment value and marketing value towards a demographic of a new generation of consumers that are enticed by video/computer games and fast-paced action video/computer games.

Thus, there is still a need for improvements to electronic casino games and arcade machine, wherein creativity and player interaction are encouraged.

All referenced patents, applications and literatures are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. Furthermore, where a definition or use of a term in a reference, which is incorporated by reference herein is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Role-playing games have become very popular in recent years. However, there has been no effort in combining a casino game with a role-playing game. U.S. Pat. No. 6,752,718 (herein incorporated by reference in its entirety) issued to Kawazu discloses a role playing video game using scenario cards. However, the scenario cards in Kawazu does not amount to a separate card game played concurrently with the role-playing game.

The present invention provides methods, gaming mechanics, software, hardware, and gaming designs of electronic casino games that combine traditional casino games (e.g. poker) with a networked role-playing game (a.k.a., RPG), particularly with a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), packed with riveting suspense, blasting adrenaline, intricate puzzles, and fast action all rolled into a complete entertainment package for the gaming market.

Among the many different possibilities contemplated, the invention involves a computer-executable program stored on a computer-readable medium wherein the program has computer readable program code for displaying the progress of the electronic casino game and a scene of the virtual space on the same monitor screen, and allow MMORPG players to develop their character statistics for their virtual character from home.

Another aspect of the invention is directed to a computer program product for playing an online role-playing game, where the computer program product has a computer usable storage medium having computer readable program code embodied in the medium, and the computer readable program code causes a computer to display a scene of a virtual world as a virtual character representing a player roams through the virtual world and interacts with a virtual environment. This program code is contemplated to also allow the players to continue using the same virtual character in the virtual world, as the players physically move to play the game at different physical locations. While at designated arcade machines in the casino, the program code allows the player to play a casino game integrated into the role-playing game such that an action in the casino game causes an action in the virtual world. While at home, the program code only allows the players to play the role-playing game without any gambling elements. The contemplated computer code shows a progress of the casino game on a monitor; and wherein a player can see other players represented by other virtual characters in the role-playing game. The computer code is preferably revisable without substantial interruption to business operation and/or RPG operation. The computer program code can be updated to include additional layers of gaming design, such as scenery, passages, treasures, weapons, and background theme.

Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an aspect of the inventive subject matter.

FIG. 2 is a screen shot of one aspect of the inventive subject matter.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of arcade gambling machines in a casino setting.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

FIG. 6 is a break-away illustration of the embodiment in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the arcade gambling machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention and its various embodiments can now be better understood by turning to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which are presented as illustrated examples of the invention defined in the claims. It is expressly understood that the invention as defined by the claims may be broader than the illustrated embodiments described below.

Many alterations and modifications may be made by those having ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, it must be understood that the illustrated embodiment has been set forth only for the purposes of example and that it should not be taken as limiting the invention as defined by the following claims. For example, notwithstanding the fact that the elements of a claim are set forth below in a certain combination, it must be expressly understood that the invention includes other combinations of fewer, more or different elements, which are disclosed herein even when not initially claimed in such combinations.

The words used in this specification to describe the invention and its various embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use in a claim must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word itself.

The definitions of the words or elements of the following claims therefore include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements in the claims below or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim. Although elements may be described above as acting in certain combinations and even initially claimed as such, it is to be expressly understood that one or more elements from a claimed combination can in some cases be excised from the combination and that the claimed combination may be directed to a subcombination or variation of a subcombination.

Insubstantial changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalent within the scope of the claims. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements.

The claims are thus to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted and also what essentially incorporates the essential idea of the invention.

Thus, the detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions may be accomplished by different embodiments that the spirit of the invention also intends to encompass.

The present invention provides methods, gaming mechanics, gaming designs, gaming hardware and software, as well as novel business methods of electronic casino games that has elements of traditional casino games (e.g. poker) and elements of a networked role-playing game (a.k.a., RPG).

As used herein, the term “RPG” in refers to a role-playing game typically accessible on the Internet. RPG is also herein referred to as MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), or MMO games. As used herein, RPG also refers to any role-playing game placed on a network such as the Internet, intranet, proprietary network, inter-casino network, intra-casino network, computer network, cellular network, and satellite network.

As used herein, the term “player station” is synonymous with “game station”, “adrenaline system”, “adrenaline cabinet”, “gaming cabinet”, “arcade gambling machine”. The player station refers to a seating unit having at least one monitor and is connected to a network to play the contemplated game of the present invention.

As used herein, the term “avatar” is synonymous with “virtual characters”. They both refer to a computer generated virtual being to represent an actual player of the contemplated game.

As used herein, the term “Internet” refers to the world wide web. It is also referred to as the “external network”. An “internal network” refers to a limited network that may be an intranet, inter-casino network, intra-casino network, proprietary network. Optionally, any portion of the contemplated game may also be offered on a cellular network or a satellite network.

As used herein, the term “player expression” refers to any expression initiated by a player to another player. Examples of player expression includes: an image of intimidation transmitted to and shown on at least one monitor; an image to elicit player emotion and is shown on at least one monitor; a first virtual fighting creature summoned by a player making an attack in the virtual space and is shown on at least one monitor; an attack move by the first virtual character in the virtual space and is shown on at least one monitor; an audio-visual presentation provided by at least one player station; and a motion presentation (e.g., vibrating player station) provided by at least one player station.

The MMO gaming industry possesses a $13 billion market and generally attracts a relatively younger audience. Currently popular MMO games include World of Warcraft™ and Everquest™. Another widely popular online game among the younger generation is online poker. Online poker has an estimated $18 billion market, and is typically played over the internet in real time against anyone in the world. The contemplated gaming design of the present invention is a powerful blend of MMO games and online poker made available in a unique casino player station that offers attractive alternative to spinning wheel slot machines and video poker machines. One of the many desirable characteristics of the present invention is that it is aimed to attract a certain demographic of players into the casinos with the ability to entertain them for hours. The contemplated invention includes software, hardware, business method, and components parts relating to the contemplated gaming design, details of which will be more fully described below.

It is important to appreciate that the contemplated gaming design is not merely a video gaming machine for the casino only, but it is an epic world which a portion of it is available online where players become their characters at home. While at home (or anywhere with Internet access), the contemplated gaming design allows players to play the contemplated game as in any other MMO games, travel through a virtual world collecting items and upgrading virtual weapons. Players may gain skills and training, prepare for “battle” in the “arena.” The “arena” is herein referred to as the virtual space where players come to battle. This arena is accessible by the players' virtual characters when the players play on the player station in the casinos. While in the arena, the players battle in the virtual world as well as in a virtual poker game.

Examples of the contemplated gaming design is as follows:

EXAMPLE 1 Battle Poker

One contemplated storyline for Battle Poker is as follows:

Players take on the role of Battle Mages in the fantasy world of Lun, a once proud, futuristic society that was long ago devastated by magical apocalypse. Today, most of Lun is a wasteland called The Burn, a place dominated by powerful mutants and other creatures warped by the treacherous magical forces that annihilated the past. Survivors who escaped the apocalypse live in enclaves protected by a small number of draconian wizard overlords called the Pentacles, who have outlawed magic in the hands of the common citizen. Only those trained in the Pentacles' College of the Spheres are permitted to practice magic. All others do so against the will of the land—except at Arena, where Battle Mages compete to prizes, glory, and the right to enter the College and become one of the Pinnacles' feared Luminaries. Players stalk the ruins of an advanced society, scavenging from a futuristic past to rule a magical present. They travel from towering urban hives to darkly twisted dungeons, and in between they visit amazing original lands teeming with darkly twisted creatures.

Referring to FIG. 1, Battle Poker 1 is a poker simulator game with integrated role playing game, designed to enhance gaming experience for the role playing game and for the online poker. This game is contemplated to be an approved game ready for the casino market. The Battle Poker has two portions, or versions. A first portion is the casino portion 10. A casino portion 10 is typically available in player stations 15 at the casino and contemplated to allow a player to play online poker with integrated role playing game on the same screen. Player stations are connected via a network to casino server 18, which couples to an outside server 28 with a firewall 2 in between. The casino portion has an arena environment 11 where avatars 12 (or virtual characters) gather in the role-playing game. It is called the casino portion because it has elements of online poker which may not be legally allowed outside of a casino setting.

The second portion is the home portion 20. In the home portion 20, players build personalized virtual characters 12 in a virtual world 21 shared by millions of other players around the world via the Internet and accessible by home PCs 25. These personalized virtual characters 12 undertake RPG quests, team up with friends, and interact with thousands of computer-controlled allies and enemies. The home portion 20 has, in some ways, elements of popular video games such as Fable™, Grand Theft Auto™, and Everquest II™. In the home portion 20, no poker play is allowed. A player typically uses the same avatar 12 as he moves from playing at home to playing at the casino.

Referring now to FIG. 2. In this screen shot of casino portion 10, each player in his player station can see on his monitor screen an arena environment 11. The upper portion 11A of the screen shows the progress of an online poker game. The upper right corner 14 of the screen shows the player's pocket cards. The upper left hand corner 17 shows status of each player in the current poker hand. A large portion of the screen shows the role-playing game 11B as avatars 12 battle a creature 13 in a coliseum setting. Here, the poker game is played the same way as any popular poker game with pocket cards, flop, turn, river, bluffs, and all the basic ingredients of poker. In the RPG, each player (who is concurrently playing poker) brings his avatar 12 (who he has trained and developed in the home portion 20) to the arena for gladiatorial battle. Those avatars 12 present in the coliseum represent those poker players sitting at the same virtual poker table, as shown in 11A. In one embodiment, chips for the poker game are integrated with attack spells. Any bet, call or fold is simulated with an intense action sequence including intense sound and vibrant visual effects.

In one embodiment, players use attack moves, blocks and retreat moves to represent betting patterns. For example, a player summons a $5 creature (which correspondingly results in a $5 raise or a $5 call in the poker game) to attack a second player's avatar until the second player make a decision to counter attack, block, or retreat (bet, call, fold, respectively). All of these game moves in the RPG are shown on at least one monitor in the networked player stations that play the same poker game.

In another embodiment, players initiate by picking a betting amount, which correspondingly results in summoning a creature 13 of corresponding size and attack strength. For example, when a player decide to place a $10 raise, a $10 creature comes out to attack other avatars for the player. Special attacks are activated by table raises, and special defenses are activated by strong hands. Having this interrelationship in the two games (poker and PvP battle), all the strategies of the world's most popular card game carry over, as player bluff, tilt, and slow play their opponents not only out of the pot but also off a field of desperate battle.

In yet another preferred embodiment, the amount of betting has no relations to the size and strength of the creature 13. The player separately decides on the bet and what type of creature 13 or attack moves to summon. This embodiment gives an added level of betting strategy to the poker game. For example, in a poker game where there are two players left in a poker hand, player A has pocket Jack's and player B has pocket Ace and 4. If player B is first to act and wants callers, he can raise a small amount and cast a weak creature. Player A needs to first decide whether to call the bet, then decide why did player B send a weak creature into the arena. And, if player A thinks player B is bluffing and decides to call the small raise, player A can now cast a very strong creature into the arena to attack player B's avatar. It is now player B is turn to decide whether to fight the creature or fold.

The attack moves (and/or creatures) are typically gathered, developed, or trained in the home portion. One contemplated embodiment allows the attack moves to be purchased and/or traded. In the example shown in FIG. 2, attack moves are represented and transmitted to other player's screen in the form of a menacing creature 13 moving about in the coliseum attacking all avatars 12 except the caster. This creature automatically focuses attack on whoever's turn it is to make a poker move. The creature 13 may optionally attack other avatars 12 at any time regardless of who's turn it is in poker. The contemplated gaming design may optionally allow players to direct their avatars 12 to freely move about and attack creature 13 in the coliseum. For example, a player who has folded can direct his avatar 12 to attack any of the many creatures 13 roaming in the coliseum as he wait for the next poker game to begin. Avatars' attack on the creature 13 typically causes the creature's life level to decrease, and eventually die. Creatures 13 not dead remain in the coliseum, posing a threat to all avatars 12 except the caster. As one ordinary skill in the art would recognize, as the poker game progresses, the number of creatures 13 in the coliseum may increase, making the RPG game even more challenging.

The attack move represented by a menacing creature above may also be represented by other skills/talents the player has gained previously in the RPG. Examples of these other skills/talents include: special weapon, frightening weather changes, intimidating images, loud sound and visual effects, motion effect (e.g., player station vibrates vigorously) in each player's player station (except the caster's player station).

In other contemplated embodiments of the gaming design, the game allows a player to pre-program a series of attack move in the casino version. For example, a player may drag and pull attack moves into an action in advance, so that the selected attack moves will be presented in order. This important feature allows a player to concentrate on the poker game portion, without having to worry about the coliseum battle.

In still further embodiments, a player may roam outside of the battle arena when he folds, instead of staying within in the battle arena.

It should be especially noted that a player's experience and possession of weapons and other goods in the RPG has minimum effect on playing the poker game. An avatar's fighting skill also does not enhance a player's ability to play poker. The poker game portion is played with the same rule as with other popular online poker games. Therefore, a player in the casino portion 10 is expected to play poker just as same as regular online poker. A player does not win poker merely by winning a fight in the coliseum. And the player does not win extra poker chips by successfully killing a creature 13. Having the RPG concurrently played provides improved entertainment and added challenge to the poker game.

Continuing with the avatar's capabilities in the arena, in the preferred embodiment, avatars 12 do not directly battle each other in the arena. Direct battle is carried out between an avatar 12 and a creature 13 summoned by another avatar. A group of players may, of course, choose to team up to play at the same poker table, and to team up in attacking creatures 13 in the coliseum summoned by other avatars 12. Other embodiments of the inventive gaming design may allow avatars 12 to directly battle with one another.

In one aspect of the contemplated gaming design, many of the virtual treasures and items, as well as opportunity for character advancements will only be available at the arena, where players engage in gladiatorial battle in the casino portion of the battle poker.

Contemplated home portion of the battle poker does not include the coliseum battle scene. In the home version, avatars roam through a virtual world collecting information, treasure, weapons, etc. Avatars also interact with AI characters as well as other avatars in the virtual world, gaining experience as he travels.

One contemplated gaming design includes a scaling feature wherein any character or team can engage any creature in the battle at any time. The computer automatically scales every creature to the character of the team's level. Unlike other typical MMO games, here, characters can go anywhere at level 1 (for example).

EXAMPLE 2 Vacant Lands—The Beginning (VL-TB)

VL-TB is another casino arcade game similar to Battle Poker in that it also has a casino portion and a home portion. Like Battle Poker, the casino portion of VL-TB performs on an innovative hardware platform called the “Adrenalin System”, detail of which will be described more fully later. Also similar to Battle Poker, home version of VL-TB may be played on any device capable of Internet access, such as personal computers, cell phones, and PDAs (personal digital assistant). In the home version, players cannot play the poker portion of the game.

Contemplated story line of the role play game is as follows: The “Champion of Wizards”, a virtual tournament in the role play game, happens once every lunar cycle. This special event brings wizards from all over the lands to gather and battle it out to see who will become the supreme sorcerer of the Year. Apprentices young and old alike train all year long in the role playing game, developing skills necessary to enter the tournament and win fame and fortune. Would-be wizards take on odd and bizarre tasks in the role playing game to train and obtain specialized skills and spells, because experience and training is critical for any apprentice to prepare for the tournament.

As is true in Battle Poker, a player may continue his use of the same virtual character when playing from the home portion to the casino version. The virtual status, or virtual characteristics of his wizard, can be saved on a server. Alternatively, the virtual status, or virtual characteristics of his wizard can be saved on a personal portable memory device such as a chip, so that a player may carry this chip with him as he visits different casinos to play the casino version of VL-TB.

Preparation for the tournament can lead a player across many lands and encounter many obstacles. The land is filled with many quests and tasks. In this virtual world, bartering is the only form of currency, thus a contestant searching for new skills and spells must learn to negotiate with the common town folks to acquire knowledge and equipment. And, confrontation against other spells and developing defensive skills is the key to gaining experience. Contestants have choices to gain skills of force or magic, and can alter their own destiny by following a specialized path.

Any player worthy of becoming the next “Master Wizard” has taken on tremendous obstacles with valour and skillfulness; knowledge of their feat can spread across all the land in the role playing game. In the role playing game, Karma can effect a player's reputation and their interaction with town folks, who are artificial intelligence (AI) in the role play game. The town breads all types of virtual town folks, their instinct and innate ability to judge character determines which player the town chooses to do business with.

Further, wizards gather in a communal area called the bizarre. The Bizarre is a neutral location where characters can interact face to face. They can trade goods, offer advice, learn about new training areas and more. A wizard initiating their training can choose a level from the Bizarre and can be teleported to that land where he will be free to wander. A wizard will be able to talk and interact with town folks who will barter for equipment and/or offer opportunities to gain knowledge of spells in exchange for something the town folk needs or wants. Achieving these various efforts will lead a player to discover new spells and/or skills. These advanced spells and skills is what separates a wizard from other wizards, and allows game players to use spells that other game players do not have.

Again, when a player joins the tournament by visiting a casino that hosts casino version of VL-TB, the player can play online poker while playing the role play game concurrently on the same screen. In the casino version of VL-TB, a player may play on-line poker where the avatars are animated and can roam vast 3D environments, build their arsenal, and develop personality. Optionally, players may even receive other entertainment (advertisement, ESPN sports, movies, etc.) and news on the screen concurrently. The use of concurrently available programming provides the player something to do while sitting out of poker hands. Poker players create confrontation in the RPG from the card action instead of trigger points in the game.

In such instance, when a wizard takes on quests and wanders the lands, he will be confronted with attack spells cast by competing wizards (controlled by other online poker game players on the same virtual poker table who are also in the role play game) trying to crush their competition. This attack spell will result in an actual creature or magical force that has been summoned to inflict as much damage as possible. This attack can happen at any time and in any location as long as the wizard is also playing in the poker hand. The attack spell is directly linked to a player's raise in the poker game. Once an attack spell is cast upon a wizard, the wizard under attack must defend and battle this obstacle. Fighting the attack will give the wizard experience points. The attack will have a time limit and a poker decision must be made within the time. If a player goes over the time they will automatically fold their poker hand. Once the confrontation is resolved a wizard is able to continue their quests and walk the lands until the process repeats.

In yet other contemplated embodiments of the inventive subject matter, players will be assigned seating at virtual poker tables called ‘wings’. A wing is referred to as any land a player teleport to from the Bizarre. Wings can be categorized base on poker limit, rules, or type of poker game. Each wing is also contemplated to contain special game features (e.g., information, herbs, weapons) that lure players into each wing. As each player play poker in the wing, each player may also search for clue and gather materials and experience points. Some of the contemplated virtual backgrounds for wings may include, woods/pathways, village, subterranean, trading posts.

Just as previously discussed in Battle Poker, how players play their cards can be directly related to the virtual environment they are playing in. Players can check, bet, fold just as in any regular poker game; the key is that any bet, call or fold can be simulated with an intense action sequence which may include intense sound, vibrant visual, and motion (e.g., movement/vibration of the Adrenaline System) effects.

In one contemplated embodiment, players must play poker as they normally do. Simply concentrating on the RPG will not ensure success in the poker game.

Players that limp in before the flop are not making an attack move, thus they are simply calling the Big Blind and will use a standard ‘Limp’ move in the game. In a similar action, players that choose to fold the hand can simply choose the ‘fold’ move in the game to leave the hand and are then free to explore the environment until they are notified of the next hand. If no one raised (attacked) in the same poker game, no one will have an attack creature on their screen.

In one aspect of the present invention, players that are first to make an attack or ‘Raise’ may choose their ‘Attack’ move from a pull down menu and then use it against their opponents. The attack can be some sort of magical force, summoning a creature or a weapon. The card they choose is determined based on the caster's decision to make their opponents call their bluff or not. A player determines the attack based on real dollar value and the damage it can inflict on the opponents in the 3D environment. This fantasy value of the attack spells gives the player a new level of bluffing in on-line poker. Once an attack is cast the attack rolls to the next player to act and will continue to threaten the player until they make a Poker decision to call, fold or re-raise.

In a preferred embodiment, when a player decides to simply call they use a ‘Block’ command that will counteract the attack being used on them. The block command they choose may or may not be directly related to an actual dollar amount. Every Attack move includes a block move. Players that choose to block can simply choose block and the appropriate action to block the attack will result. When a player chooses to re-raise, the appropriate block move will happen and then the player will cast their new attack move to the next player. Attack moves less than the original attack are not available to the re-raiser.

In another preferred embodiment, a player under attack must defend himself against the attack in two phases, the Poker phase and the RPG Phase. In the RPG phase he must defend himself against the creature or weapon being used against him just as in any video game, and within a given amount of time to make a poker card choice to stop the poker phase. The RPG phase attack will not stop until the player decides on a Poker decision. In the RPG phase the attack being used on the player can damage the player's ‘health’ level until they choose a poker card choice stopping the RPG phase attack. Every time the player is hit by the creature or weapon and do not block they can loose health points. The health level is separate from the actual dollar amount in the Poker Phase, and the player's health loss does in no way affect their ability to play cards. However, by not defending himself, a player may lose certain virtual characteristics of his wizard, characteristics which he has built and developed over time in the home version of VL-TB.

Once a player acts upon the attack, the action continues around the table until the ‘pot is right’. This same betting sequence will continue for the flop, turn and river. Players that fold will be free to roam the gaming environment.

In one contemplated embodiment, attack moves are equal to chip values. Meaning a $5 chip is a Level 5 attack move, a $10 chip is a level 10 and so forth. Players with a lot of money can buy $1,000 to start their account. However they can only buy Level 1, 5, 10, 20 level attack moves. If they wish to increase their level of play to a 50, 100, 300, etc. attack move, they must participate in the game and gain experience of their player. The player is not subject to play on a low limit table they are simply limited in their attack move representation.

In anther contemplated embodiment, types of attack moves does not relate to chip values. For example, a player can decide to use a $5 chip in a poker move, while accompany it with a level 20 attack move. This adds a new layer of betting and bluffing strategy, leaving opponents to wonder your motivation in your poker move as well as the RPG move.

In the preferred embodiments, attacks and block moves can be endlessly added and improved into the contemplated gaming design. All game attack moves are stored on the server and players that wish to use attack moves may pay for them. Optionally, players may freely trade attack moves among themselves with money or other things of value.

In building and training a virtual character, players are able to choose from a variety of character types (e.g., a wizard), each with unique abilities. Once players begin their journey they are free to roam the lands and gain as many attack skills as they can find and develop their strength and armour experience through combat with other players. Players can distinguish themselves from other characters by choosing their hairstyle, hair colour, complexion, eye colour, wardrobe apparel and decorative jewellery. Also characters will receive scars and damage to themselves and their equipment from battle.

Players logging into the game system for the first time will be able to enter a design environment where they can review the different types of characters and attack spells available for that character type. This process will set up their account with the server. Players will be able to navigate through option screens and learn about their choices. Options are fairly limited in regards to spells, clothing, etc. Each character type will have the lowest possible strengths and spells making it generally equal across all characters. Players must earn their upgrades through game play.

Once a player decides on their character they will be asked to save their information, which may include personal background information of the player. Data will be sent to the server logging their choice into their account. This data may be used by the casino for targeted marketing purposes.

Character stats, or development statistics increase and decrease based on the characters experience in combat. Characters are limited to certain poker tables and equipment based on their statistics. This is a built-in feature in the system to shelter weak players from advanced tables and levels. The following is a list of possible categories of character stats:

Agility

A representation of a person's grace in motion and general nimbleness of body. Actions requiring balance, maneuverability, or quick reactions are based on this attribute. Agility directly affects a character's defensive strength.

Constitution

Constitution is a measure of the physical durability of a character. It helps with disease, critical hits, and affects the maximum number of Health Points a player can receive. It also affects a number of other things including encumbrance and some maneuver checks. Constitution does not affect a character's stun and Hit Point recovery rate. When the Constitution stat increases, it does not automatically increase a character's Hit Point total, but will increase the character's Maximum Hit Point total. (To actually increase a character's hit points, one must spend points on Physical Training.) Adding their Constitution Bonus to the Base Hit Point Total for the character's race would result in Maximum Hit Point total.

Dexterity

This is a measurement of a person's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. This aids in actions requiring precision and deft manipulation, such as picking locks, picking pockets, skinning, and aiming ranged or targeted attacks.

Discipline

Discipline is a measure of a character's force of will, determination and ability to focus on the task at hand. Discipline is used in a wide range of game systems, some of which include determining the total amount of experience that a character can gain before needing to rest, and attempts to resist mental or emotion-based attacks.

Influence

This measures a person's ability to influence others. Some aspects of Influence include leadership, inspiration, persuasion, intimidation, fear, presence, and personal charm or magnetism. Magic or abilities that affect the target's mind or emotions are typically more powerful for casters with a high Influence attribute.

Intuition

This defines a character's innate or instinctive ability to sense things without conscious deduction or critical analysis. It is distinctively different from Logic in that it refers to the ability to make decisions or leap to conclusions with little or no overt supporting evidence, relying more upon subconscious “hunches.” Included in intuition would be what is commonly referred to as a “sixth sense”, prescience, perception, and luck.

Logic

This defines a person's capacity for critical and rational thought, reflecting their ability to reach logical conclusions based on available facts. Logic affects how much experience a character can gain before needing to rest, how quickly a character can absorb that experience, and the ability to activate magical items and scrolls.

Strength

Strength is a measure of physical prowess. It affects a character's Attack Strength with melee weapons as well as the amount of weight a character may carry (encumbrance) before suffering penalties. The Strength Bonus is added directly to a character's Attack Strength.

Wisdom

A representation of a person's common sense, pragmatism, ability to draw upon past experiences to evaluate new challenges, and the ability to examine problems and issues from multiple perspectives. Wisdom also represents a person's conscious connection with spirituality. Spiritual magic is strongly tied to Wisdom.

Alignment

Alignment will flux through a characters life based on their morals and decisions they make. Characters who save, rescue and protect lives will lead a very different life then those that choose to destroy, steal, torment and persecute.

In one aspect of the contemplated embodiments, armour in the RPG can be used to provide protection against enemy attacks, and will also provide shelter from harsh weather conditions in the 3-D environment. Players travelling through cold or tropical regions must be capable of changing clothing to handle the changes in weather. Some armour will be used for purely protection purposes while others can be used to show authority and class of power.

A big part of the game is how the AI world reacts to a character and how the AI world develops itself base on how each player handles himself in the RPG. As players complete quests, gain experience and collect trophies to mark their conquests, the town folks will start to respect you more and more and treat you like a hero. Of course, if a player play through the game on the evil side, the town folk will fear the player instead. Certain relics and attack moves are contemplated to be available only to good characters and vice-versa to evil characters.

One of ordinary skill in the art would immediately recognize that some of the features in the VL-TB and Battle Poker may interchange with each other. The contemplated gaming design may adapt and combine features as described herein. The key feature of the gaming design being the novel integration of the RPG with online poker to enhance player interaction, player expression, and to provide improved entertainment for players of casino games.

Furthermore, the contemplated game engine provides an ability to add concepts and materials into the game to create new games, new models, new scenery and sounds. The contemplated RPG portion of the gaming design is never-ending, and new updates can be added to the RPG portion for added layers of environments (e.g., hidden world inside of trees, caves behind waterfalls, new passageway to new lands). Different casinos may host tournaments of the contemplated integrated game using different game theme such as Western, Samurai, or Pirate. The theme in the Casino version may be regularly changed based on the need of the particular casino hosting it. Also, the contemplated gaming design has the ability to allow players to play on the same virtual poker table, even when these players are physically located in different casinos each having its own theme, in different cities. In the case where casinos with different themes are involved in the same poker game, the gaming program will automatically make them compatible to each other. Also, product placement in the game as part of marketing strategy may be implemented since the game and visual elements in the game can be modified on demand.

A further contemplated game design includes a poker/RPG combination game having the ability to allow characters from other MMORPG (e.g., World of Warcraft™) to enter and play online poker at the same time play some kind of RPG as described above. The RPG portion of the game may be the original MMORPG (e.g., World of Warcraft™), or it may be any one of the types of RPG environment (e.g., coliseum arena) as described above using characters from other MMORPG. Optionally, the RPG portion may be independently played with no relation to a poker game that is also played or shown on the same screen, or on an adjacent screen. In other words, casino can offer player stations where players can play their favorite MMORPG as they normally do, at the same time offering the same players online poker at the same player station to be played concurrently by the same players.

Although poker is specifically mentioned herein, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate the possibility to replace poker with any other types of casino games. These casino games may be card game, or non-card games. They may be table games, or non-table games. Examples of these casino games include Asian Stud, Baccarat, Blackjack, Casino war, Caribbean Stud Poker, Poker, Chinese Poker, Faro, Five Card Draw, Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, Mambo Stud, Omaha High, Omaha Low, Pai Gow Poker, Razz, Red Dog, Seven Card Stud, Spanish 21, Texas Hold'em Poker, Three Card Poker, Two-Up, Craps, Pai Gow, Sic Bo, Chuck-a-Luck, Big Six Wheel, Roulette, Slots, Bingo, and Keno.

We now refer to FIGS. 3-10. In casino portion of the gaming design can be played on networked arcade gambling machine 15 in the casino. In FIG. 4, one contemplated networked arcade gambling machine 35 has a seat 37, a base 30, and a monitor 36. This particular arcade gambling machine 35 has a base 30 with a footprint substantially close to those current slot machines in casinos. The size of the base 30 allows easy replacement and interchangeability with slot machines.

In FIGS. 5 and 6, a modular arcade gambling machine 45 with detachable parts is disclosed. Here, arcade gambling machine 45 has a head rest 41, arm rest 42, foot rest 43, speaker 44, monitor 46, seat 47A, back 47B, side wall 47C, cup holder 48, and base 49. This modular concept may be applied to any other contemplated embodiments.

In FIG. 7, a touch screen control 56A is provided near the monitor 56B. In addition, a window 57D provides added privacy to the player. This window 57D may be added on both sides of the arcade gambling machine.

In FIG. 8, arcade gambling machine 65 has a flat screen monitor 66B, and a base 69 having storage area 69A underneath. FIG. 9 shows a arcade gambling machine 75 with pivotable flat screens 76C and 76D to complement main screen 76B. The three screens can provide panoramic view of the game (both poker and RPG). Optionally, the three screens can each handle a portion of the game. For example, main screen 76B can show the poker game in progress, side screen 76C shows the RPG in progress, while side screen 76D shows other entertainment or news.

FIG. 10 shows a arcade gambling machine 85 with a large flat panel screen 86B with control panel 86A. Notice there are two sets of control panels 86A. In yet another contemplated embodiment, this arcade gambling machine allows two players to sit side by side on a bench, using separate control panels, to play the contemplated game. Both players may play their own integrated game. Alternatively, one player may concentrate on the poker game while the adjacent player sitting next to him helps him by controlling his avatar in the RPG.

Although only a control panel is shown in the figures, a keyboard or other data input device (e.g., mouse, joystick, trackball, touch screen) may also be used. Arcade gambling machine may optionally include plug-in ports where players may bring their own gaming tools (e.g., trackball, mouse) to use. Arcade gambling machines may also have a payment acceptance device coupled to the station, for accepting payment by credit card, debit card, casino membership card, cash, or any other typical payment methods. Also, although only a simple speaker is shown in the figures, arcade gambling machines may implement typical audio-visual equipments (lights, siren, etc.) to enhance audio-visual impact on a player. A arcade gambling machine may also have a motor that cause the seat to vibrate or move, to indicate a fighting action in the game.

The contemplated inventive subject matter also offers a novel business method of operating a casino by connecting and continuing home RPG play into the casino arena. This business method offers a power marketing strategy for casino seeking to target a particular group of consumers. Casinos may host related events and tournaments, send out invitations to players base on players' background information or gaming usage/characteristic information. For example, player's residence or geographical location of home play can be used to target them for casinos that are closest to their geographic location. And, casinos may target and categorize their marketing efforts to those players who have reached certain level of virtual fighting skills, those players who tends frequent a particular virtual region in the virtual space (e.g., a particular village in the game), those player who tends to repeat certain actions (e.g., having gathered a particular weapon, or attempts to overcome a particular obstacle), or those players who spend certain amount of hours in home play or arena play. These background data may also be used to limit each player's access to different levels of the casino portion. For example, low health level avatars are will permitted to play on the same poker table as high health level avatars. One of ordinary skill in the art would immediately recognize that other player information can be used by the casino to target marketing materials, and formulate marketing events.

The contemplated business method may include any of the inventive embodiments as described above, provide in the casino a plurality of networked game stations for patrons to play the contemplated game, allow product placement as a marketing tool in the role-playing game, make the role-playing game portion accessible by anyone with Internet access. The business method further includes hosting periodic tournaments for the contemplated game, and broadcast said tournament in a media outlet such as wireless phones, television, cable television, satellite television, and the Internet.

Lastly, throughout the description above the casino game is not made available on the Internet, or areas outside of casinos. Such restriction is necessary for some regions to adhere to federal, state, local and regional government regulations regarding legal gambling. It should be noted that making the casino portion available outside of the casino is also contemplated, especially when it is not in conflict with local law and regulations. Likewise, the casino portion can be offered outside of the casino setting where no real money is played. Optionally, winnings from such casino games may be represented by redeemable points for coupons, hotel accommodations, travel vouchers, gift certificates, consumer products, and the like.

Thus, specific embodiments and applications of Integrated Role Playing Poker Game have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced. Where the specification claims refer to at least one of something selected from the group consisting of A, B, C . . . and N, the text should be interpreted as requiring only one element from the group, not A plus N, or B plus N, etc.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32