US 3690657 A
A game machine wherein three-dimensional models of motor vehicles carried by transparent discs are used for forming the image of motor vehicles on a screen, the three-dimensional models being projected obliquely and directly onto the screen. A light source for projecting the motor vehicle models onto the screen can move with respect the discs. The discs carrying the motor vehicle models and a pictorial road and their drive means can swivel to give realistic banking effect to the screen.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Nakamura [451 Sept. 12, 1972 1 GAME MACHINE 3,060,597 10/1962 Gilbert ..273/1 E x  Inventor: Masaya NakamuraTokyo Japan 3,583,079 6/1971 Koci ..35/11  Assignee: xQbushiki Kaisha Nakamul'a Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham I selsakuloi Tokyo, Japan Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Shapiro 22 Filed: Jan. 16, 1970 A'wmey-Greene 3  Appl. No.: 3,450
 Foreign Application Priority Data Sept. 17, 1969 Japan ..44/73354 Sept. 17, 1969 Japan ..44/73355 Nov. 25, 1969 Japan ..44/93967  US. Cl. ..273/1 E, 35/11  Int. Cl. ..A63f 9/14  Field of Search ....273/l E; 35/11 [56'] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,575,413 4/1971 Furukawa 273/l E [S 7 ABSTRACT A game machine wherein three-dimensional models of motor vehicles carried by transparent discs are used for forming the image of motor vehicles on a screen, the three-dimensional models being projected obliquely and directly onto the screen. A light source for projecting the motor vehicle models onto the screen can move with respect the discs. The discs carrying the motor vehicle models and a pictorial road and their drive means can swivel to give realistic banking effect to the screen.
7 Claims, 1 1 Drawing Figures nummm .lllllllllll llllllllllllllllll PAIENTEUSEP 12 m2 SHEET 1 OF 8 FIGI INVENTOR NASA Y4 IVA/r4 n 094 II' L RA? AT'I 'URNISY PATENTEDSEHMR 3,690,657
SHEET 2 OF 8 INVENTOR ATTORNEY PAIENTEDsEP 12 I972 3.690.657
SHEET 3 UF 8 ileillllllly INVENTOR M4 5A YA N4 rrA nue BY HAG/- EAT/1 v ATTORNEY PATENTEDsEP 12 m2 SHEET 6 BF 8 INVENTOR M4 54 W! A/A/mm g;
ATTORNEY PATENTED 12 SHEET 8 [1F 8 FIG IO FIG [I INVENTOR M454 Y4 NA #4 Ire/e "WEL HA TH ATTCRNEY GAME MACHINE This invention relates to game machines which are adapted to form on a screen images of a road and motor vehicles running on the road.
The known game machines of the type described include a game machine of the driving simulator type wherein a road is graphically represented on a rotary drum and projected onto a screen. No images of motor vehicles are formed on the screen in this type of game machine, so that the pictures on the screen are monotonous and without variety.
Another type of game machine known in the art comprises a plurality of transparent discs carrying the image of a road and the images of motor vehicles respectively and mounted in parallel relation for rotation relative to one another, a light source for projecting the images carried by the discs onto a screen, and drive means for rotating the discs. In this type of game machine, .the light emitted by the light source is directed normal to and passes through each of the discs carrying the road and motor vehicle images respectively and is projected onto the screen after being reflected by a reflector. As a result, the motor vehicle images on the screen are two-dimensional and the picture on the screen lacks three-dimensional effect. Because of this, the player of the game can have no sense of himself driving a car on the spot and consequently his interest in the game tends to be reduced. Accordingly, an object of this invention is to provide a game machine of the type described hereinabove which gives an illusory three-dimensional effect to the images of motor vehicles running along the road on the screen so as to thereby enhance the interest of the player in the game.
Another objects of the invention is to provide a game machine of the type described hereinabove wherein the motor vehicles running along the road on the screen have relative speeds, so that it is possible to produce on the screen the scene of one motor vehicle passing and being passed by the other motor vehicle ahead.
Another object of the invention is to provide a game machine of the type described hereinabove wherein the banking. phenomenon of motor vehicles can be produced on the screen when the motor vehicles run along curved turns of the road whereby the player can have the sense of actually driving a car on the spot.
Additional objects as well as features and advantages of the invention will become evident from the description set forth hereinafter when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the game machine according to this invention showing its external appearance;
FIG. 2 is a side view of the game machine of this invention showing its interior;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged sectional view of discs carrying the images of a road and three-dimensional motor vehicle models;
FIG. 4 is a view in explanation of drive means for the discs and an oscillation mechanism for a unit consisting of the discs and their drive means;
FIG. 5 is a side view of thedevice of FIG. 4 showing a light source support moving mechanism;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the light source support moving mechanism of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is plan views showing the discs;
FIG. 8 is a view in explanation of a speed control device;
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the line A-B of FIG. 8; and
FIGS. 10 and 11 are views in explanation of the images of motor vehicle models running along the road on the screen when the vehicles are running normally and when they are banking.
In FIG. 1, there is disclosed a game machine of this invention generally designated 1 which is formed on its front with a simulated driving room provided with a steering wheel 2, panel board 3, wind shield 4 and accelerator 5. 6 is a slit for inserting a coin therethrough.
In FIG. 2, mounted on the game machine 1 is drive means 7 to which three discs 8, 9 and 10 are connected for rotation at relative speeds different from one another. Disposed above said discs is a light source 11 from which light is emitted so as to project on a screen 12 images of three-dimensional motor vehicle models carried by the discs 8 and 9 respectively and the image of a road pictorially represented on the disc 10 in such a manner that these images are superimposed one over another on the screen. It is thus possible to see from outside throughthe wind shield 4 the images of road and motor vehicles on the screen 12.
The drive means 7 includes an electric motor 13 for operating the discs 8 and 9 carrying the three-dimensional motor vehicle models which drives the discs 8 and 9 through a gearing 14 so that the discs 8 and 9 can rotate at different speeds. In addition, a differential gearing may be mounted between the discs 8 and 9 so as to periodically vary the difference between the rates of rotation of the two discs. By manipulatingthe steering wheel 2, it is possible to move, through a pinion 15, rack 16 and wire 17, the light source 11 relative to the discs,so that the position of the road on the screen 12 can be varied to make the player feel as if he were operating the steering wheel of his car to cause the car to keep to the right and left sides of the road as desired. The detailed description of this mechanism is subsequently to be described. 20 is :a continuous speed control device according to this invention which is rendered operative as the accelerator 5 is depressed. The device is connected to the accelerator 5 by a wire 22 trained about a wheel 21 and to a drive motor for operating, through conductors 23., the disc on which the road is pictorially represented, so that when the accelerator 5 is depressed the continuous speed control device 20 is rendered operative to control the rate of revolution of said drive motor. The: details of the speed control device is subsequently to be described.
The three-dimensional motor vehicle models according to this invention are disposed between the discs 8 and 9 which will be described with reference to FIG. 3.
Arranged in a space between the discs 8 and 9 are three-dimensional motor vehicle models 18 and 19 made of a transparent or semi-transparent material. A number of models 18 are fixed at their upper sides to the disc 8 in positions disposed on the circumference of at least one imaginary circle on the disc 8, with a clearance being maintained between the undersides of wheels thereof and the upper side of the disc 9. A number of models 19 are fixed at their wheels to the disc 9 in positions disposed on the circumference of at least one imaginary circle on the disc 9 which imaginary circle is concentric with and smaller than said imaginary circle on the disc 8, with a clearance being maintained between the upper sides of the models 19 and the underside of the disc 8. This arrangement permits the threeidimensional motor vehicle models 18 and 19 to run, when the discs 8 and 9 are rotated at rates differing from each other, without being brought into contact with the discs 9 and 8 opposed to the models 18 and .19. It is possible, of course, to mount the threedimensional models-18 on the upper side of the disc 9 and the three-dimensional models 19 on the underside of the disc 8.
Preferably, each of the three-dimensional models 18 and 19 made of a transparent or semi-transparent material is colored'by applying transparent or semitransparent ink thereto. Alternatively, the material itself may be colored with a dyestuff and fabricated into parts to be connected together to provide a motor vehicle model.
The light from the light source 11 is transmitted through the three-dimensional motor vehicle models 18 and 19 to project images thereof on the screen 12. The present invention permits to give three-dimensional effect to the projected images, with changes in the three-dimensional shape of the images of motor vehicle models on the screen corresponding to changes in the appearance of motor vehicles passing by when one actually drives an automobile on the highway. This has the effect of making the player of this game machine feel as if he were actually driving an automobile. In order that the images of motor vehicles on the screen may resemble real motor vehicles in shape, the three-dimensional models 18 and 19 are preferred to be deformed in shape rather than formed true to actual shape on a reduced scale so as to prevent undue enlargement or reduction in size of portions of the threedimensional models which would otherwise be caused by the distance between the light source 11 and models 18, 19 and between the models 18, 19 and screen 12 as well as their relative positions.
In FIG. 4, the electric motor 13 for driving the discs carrying the three-dimensional motor vehicle models is held on the drive means 7. The motor 13 has a drive shaft 24 which drives, through a reduction gearing 25, an-intermediate shaft 26 which drives a shaft 29 for rotating the upper disc 8 and a hollow shaft 30 for rotating the center disc 9 through reduction gearings 27 and 28 respectively. Slidably mounted on the hollow shaft 30 is a hollow shaft 31 for rotating the lower disc which hollow shaft is driven by an oscillation drive motor 32 shown in FIG. 5 through gears 33 and 34 in meshing engagement with each other and a gear 35 fixed to the hollow shaft 31 to mesh with the gear 34. Fixed to a shaft 36 of the gear 34 is a bevel gear 37 which is in meshing engagement with another bevel gear 39 fixed to one end of a shaft 38 disposed normal to the shaft 36. The shaft 38 is fixed, at the other end, to one end of a shorter arm 40 of a double crank mechanism which is pivotally connected, at the other end, to a longer arm 41 which is pivotally connected to the machine frame by a pin 42 disposed on the side of the longer arm which is opposite to the side on which the shorter arm is pivotally connected. The drive means 7 is housed in a casing which is oscillatably supported by support bars 43 pivoted at 44 to the machine frame.
In FIG. 5, a support 45 for the light source 11 is mounted for movement relative to each of the discs as subsequently to be described. A lever 46 (FIG. 6) carrying the support 45 has mounted on one side thereof a tension spring 47 which is connected at the other end to the drive means casing or a frame secured thereto and on the other side a connecting rod 48 which is attached at its other end to one arm of a double arm lever 50 pivoted at 49 to the drive means casing or frame. Connected to the other arm of the double arm lever 50 is one end of the wire 17 shown in FIG. 2 which is attached at the other end to one end of the rack 16 shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 2, the rack 16 is maintained in engagement with the pinion 15 mounted at the end of a shaft of the steering wheel 2, so that the rack 16 moves in a direction normal to the plane of FIG. 2 as the steering wheel 2 is manipulated.
As shown in FIG. 6, the light source supporter 45 which is mounted on the lever 46 pivotally connected to drive means casing or frame at 51 is capable of adjusting its position on the lever 46 and also of being fixed in any position as desired. The end of the connecting rod 48 mounted on the lever 46 is also capable of adjusting its position on the lever 46 and also of being fixed in any position as desired.
If the steering wheel 2 shown in FIG. 2 is munipulated to move the wire 17, through the pinion 15 and rack 16, in a direction in which it causes the double arm lever 50 to move in pivotal motion in an anticlockwise direction, then the lever 46 is moved, through the connecting rod 48, in pivotal motion in a clockwise direction against the biasing force of the spring 47 in FIG. 6. This causes the light source supporter 45 to move to the left in FIG. 6. It will be readily understood that if the steering wheel 2 is manipulated in the opposite direction so, as to move the wire 17 in a direction in which it causes the double arm lever 50 to move in pivotal motion in a clockwise direction, the light source supporter 45 will move to the right in FIG. 6.
In FIG. 7, the three-dimensional models 18 and 19 of motor vehicles or racing cars are mounted on the upper disc 8 and center disc 9 respectively to be disposed on concentric imaginary circles thereon, and a road 52 is drawn on an imaginary circle on the lower disc 10 which is concentric with the imaginary circles on the discs 8 and 9. The three-dimensional models 18 mounted on the upper disc 8 and the threedimensional models 19 mounted on the center disc 9 are arranged such that the former 18 are disposed in positions corresponding to the outer side of the road 52 and the latter 19 are disposed in positions corresponding to the inner side of the road 52. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, a wall 53 disposed axially of the shafts supporting the discs 8, 9 and 10 is provided on the peripheral edge of the lower disc 10. The upper end of the wall 53 can be shaped like mountain summits so that the images of mountain disposed ata distance can be formed on the screen 12.
In FIGS. 8 and 9, the speed control device 20 has a reflecting surface 56 formed on one inner side wall of a casing 55 which is closed and sealed so as to be impermeable to light. A light source 57 is provided near said reflecting surface. Pivotally mounted on a shaft 58 in the casing 55 is a pivotal member 59 which carries at its forward end a pivotal head 60 which houses therein a photoelectric transducer element. The photoelectric transducer element has a light receiving surface which faces downwardly. The conductors 23 (not shown in FIG. 8, but see FIG. 3 connected to the photoelectric transducer element are passed through the pivotal member 59 to be led out of the casing 55, thence to the oscillation drive motor 32 of the drive means 7.
A tension spring 62 connected at one end to the casing 55 is connected at the other end to the pivotal member 59. The wire 22 is also connected, at one end, to the pivotal member 59 in such a manner that the position in which the wire 22 is connected can be adjusted by means of a screw 64 and a slit 65 formed in the pivotal member 59 with its major dimension being disposed axially of the pivotal member. The wire extends through one side wall of the casing to be led to the outside and connected, at the other end, to the accelerator 5 through the wheel 21 as shown in FIG. 2. A linkage may be used for connecting the pivotal member 59 to the accelerator. 5 instead of the wire 22. The pivotal head 60 is mounted on the pivotal member 59 by a screw 66 received in a slot formed in the pivotal member with its major dimension being disposed axially of the member so that the position of theformer on the latter can be adjusted as desired by the screw and slot arrangement. This permits one to vary the distance between the light receiving surface of the photoelectric transducer element and the reflecting surface 56 of the casing 55 as desired.
When the pivotal head 60 is disposed in a position shown in solid lines in FIG. 8, for example, the light emitted by the light source 57 and reflected by the reflecting surface 56 is incident upon the light receiving surface of the photoelectric transducer element mounted in the pivotal head 60. When this is the case, the volume of light reflected by the reflecting surface and incident upon the light receiving surface is relatively great, because the light receiving surface and the reflecting surface are substantially parallel to each other and the distance between the two surfaces and the distance between the light source 57 and the portion of the reflecting surface corresponding to the light receiving surface are small. If the accelerator 5 is operated to loosen the wire 17 at this time, the pivotal member 59 and the pivotal head 60 mounted thereon are moved, in pivotal motion, by the biasing force of the spring 62 in a clockwise direction about the shaft 58 to, say, a position shown in dot-and-dash lines. This causes a change in the relative positions of the light receiving surface and reflecting surface and the angular displacement of the light receiving surface from the reflecting surface as well as an increase in the distance between the light source 57 and the portion of the reflecting surface corresponding to the light receiving surface. Accordingly, the volume of light incident on the light receiving surface of the photoelectric transducer element is reduced. The volume of light can be varied continuously by the pivotal movement of the pivotal head 60. The position in which the pivotal head 60 is stopped in its pivotal movement can be selected as v desired by suitably manipulating the wire 22.
In operation, if the proper coin is inserted into the machine through coin slot 6, the main switch of the machine will be turned on to supply power to the drive motor 13 and light source 11, causing the upper and center discs 8 and 9 to rotate. Since the lower disc 10 remains stationary, the three-dimensional motor vehicle models carried by the upper and center discs are projected onto the screen 12 to form thereon images of the motor vehicles running on the stationary road (FIG. 10). The rates of revolution of the'discs 8 and 9 differing from each other, the motor vehicles running on the inner side of the curved turns of the road on the screen and the motor vehicles running on the outer side thereof differ from one another in speed. If the disc 8 is caused to rotate in one direction and the disc 9 is caused to rotate in a direction opposite to the one direction, then it is possible toform on the screen images of three-dimensional motor vehicles running in opposite directions on the same road on the screen.
If the pedal 5 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is depressed, then a switch (not shown) is turned on to actuate the oscillation drive motor 32 shown in FIG. 5. If this is the case, the position of the pivotal member 59 and hence the position of the pivotal head 60 shown in FIG. 8 are adjusted through thewire 22 trained about the wheel 21. The oscillation drive motor 32 has its rate of revolution adjusted in accordance with the position of the pivotal head 60 having a built-in photoelectric transducer element as aforementioned.
Power transmitted through the gears 33, 34 and 3 5 and hollow shaft 31 causes the lower disc 10 to rotate, and at the same time power-is transmitted to the double crank mechanism through the bevel gear 37 mounted on shaft 37, the bevel gear 39 in meshing engagement with said bevel gear 37, and shaft 38. Thus, the unit consisting of the discs 8, 9 and 10 and drive means 7 moves in pivotal motion about the pivot 44 shown in FIG. 4. By suitably selecting the mounting position of the longer arm 41 of the double crank mechanism 40 and 41, it is possible to cause the unit to move in pivotal motion only in one direction from its neutral position. For example, if the longer arm 41 is mounted as shown in FIG. 5, then the unit moves in pivotal motion only to the right. By this arrangement, it is possible to cause the road and skyline to tilt periodically and show a change of the scene as will be apparent by comparing FIG. 10 with FIG. 1 1. This makes the player feel as if the motor vehicle he is driving is tilted. As the discs 8, 9 and 10 tilt, the images of motor vehicle models, road and background formed on the screen 12 will naturally tilt, so that the arrangement gives a realistic banking effect to the screen. In causing the motor vehicle models to bank, it is possible to cause the unit to move in pivotal motion without causing the lower disc 10 to rotate. This can be accomplished simply by releasing the gears 34 and 35 from meshing engagement with each other. It is also possible to cause the lower disc 10 to be rotated by the motor 13 at all times. To this end, a clutch adapted to be controlled by the accelerator 5 may be mounted on a shaft mounted for driving the disc 10.
If the player manipulates the steering wheel 2, the position of the road on the screen 12 can be varied because the light source 11 moves relative to the discs as aforementioned. This makes the player feel as if the motor vehicle he is driving were steered to right and left. It is possible to make the whole or a part of the motor vehicle driven by the player appear on the screen.
What we claim is:
l. A game machine in which the image of a road and the images of motor vehicles running on said road can be formed on a screen, said game machine comprising a plurality of transparent discs, a first of said discs having a road pictorially represented thereon and the second and third of said discs carrying three-dimensional models of motor vehicles made of a transparent to semi-transparent material, said discs being disposed parallel to one another and mounted for rotation relative to one another, a screen, a light source for projecting obliquely and directly on said screen the images of road pictorially represented on said first disc and of models carried by said second and third discs, and drive means for rotating said discs.
2. A game machine as defined in claim 1 in which said three-dimensional models of motor vehicles are mounted on said second and third discs in a space between said two discs in such a manner as to permit said discs to rotate relative to one another.
3. A game machine as defined in claim 1 comprising a movable support for said light source, and means to operate the movable light source from outside the machine.
4. A game machine as defined in claim 1 comprising means for controlling the speed of rotation of said first transparent disc, said last named means being operable from outside the machine.
5. A game machine as defined in claim 4 in which said means for controlling the speed of rotation of said first disc comprises a further light source, a reflecting surface for reflecting the light emitted by said further light source, a photoelectric transducer element having a light receiving surface, and a casing for housing the aforementioned elements which is impermeable to light, the distance between said light receiving surface of said photoelectric transducer element and said light source and the relative positions of said light receiving surface and said reflecting surface being capable of variation by operation from outside whereby the rate of revolution of the disc having a road graphically represented thereon can be controlled from outside.
6. A game machine as defined in claim 4, comprising means for supporting the discs and the drive means therefor as a unit, and means for mounting said unit for pivotal motion.
7. A game machine as defined in claim 1 wherein said first disc comprises a cylindrical wall extending from the peripheral edge thereof and constructed to provide a background scene.