DYNAMICALLY CONFIGURABLE GAMING SYSTEM
A gaming system according to one form of the present invention includes a number of gaming machines, each gaming machine including a single player game presentation arrangement that may be reconfigured to provide any one of a number of game presentations. In addition to the gaming machines the gaming system includes a system configuration arrangement and a game modification controller. The system configuration arrangement produces system configuration commands based either on manual inputs, system usage information, or various information related to one or more players in a gaming facility. The game modification controller included in preferred forms of the gaming system receives the system configuration commands, and, in response to the commands, communicates presentation switching instructions to one or more gaming machines included in the system.
This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/643,189, filed Aug. 18, 2003, entitled “Dynamically Configurable Gaming System,” and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/624,279, filed Jul. 22, 2003, entitled “Multiple Video Display Gaming Machine and Gaming System.” The Applicants hereby claim the benefit of these earlier applications under 35 U.S.C. §120. The entire content of each of these applications is hereby incorporated herein by this reference.
This application is also related to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/470,081, filed May 13, 2003, entitled “MULTIPLE VIDEO DISPLAY GAMING MACHINE AND GAMING SYSTEM.” The Applicants hereby claim the benefit of this earlier pending provisional application under 35 U.S.C. §119(e). The entire content of this prior provisional application is hereby incorporated herein by this reference.TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to gaming machines that may be readily modified to change the game presentation provided by the gaming machine. In particular, the invention relates to systems of such gaming machines that configure the various gaming machines to provide different game presentations based upon various conditions.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A number of different games of chance may use electronic gaming machines as an interface through which players may participate in the game. For example, electronic gaming machines may be used to imitate a traditional mechanical slot machine, a poker game, blackjack game, or other traditional casino games. Electronic gaming machines may also be used to play lottery games, bingo and games similar to bingo, and other games of chance that are not necessarily related to any traditional casino game.
Electronic gaming machines are commonly housed in a large and oftentimes standalone cabinet. The cabinet includes a front side on which is mounted a game video display along with player controls. Player controls may include various types of mechanical controls such as switches, buttons, and levers mounted on a forwardly extending ledge below the game video display. Player controls may also be incorporated into the game video display itself using touch screen technology. In addition to the game video display and basic player controls through which the player makes choices or takes action in the game offered through the gaming machine, the gaming machines may also include other player interface devices such as coin or paper currency acceptors, player card or credit card acceptors, keypads, and other player interface devices. As with traditional mechanical gaming machines, electronic gaming machines also commonly include a number of static graphic displays. In electronic gaming machines, these static graphic displays are mounted above the game video display and/or below the game video display on the front side of the cabinet. These static graphic displays generally provide information regarding the game offered through the gaming machine such as pay tables and other game related information, and include colorful and attractive graphics that are coordinated with the video display shown on the game video display in the course of game play. The static graphic displays may also incorporate non-static elements such as counters or numeric displays for showing bonus or progressive play information. Video displays may also be incorporated into the static graphic displays to show game related information or information unrelated to the game available at the gaming machine. The graphic display located above the game video display is commonly referred to as the top glass, whereas the graphic display located below the game video display is commonly referred to as the belly glass.
The look of a particular game to a player at an electronic gaming machine may be referred to as the game presentation. This game presentation includes the animated graphics displayed on the game video display and associated static graphics shown on the top glass and belly glass. For example, a gaming machine providing a game presentation imitating a mechanical slot machine will include graphics displayed on the game video display to imitate a number of reels. In response to a player control, these representations of reels are set in motion using suitable graphics display techniques and are made to appear to stop at some final stop position that indicates the outcome of the play. The top glass and belly glass will commonly have graphics associated with a theme of the imitated slot-type game, and a payout table showing payouts for various reel stop positions. As another example, a gaming machine providing a game presentation imitating a poker game may include animated graphics displayed on the game video display showing a card deal and allowing the player to see the cards they are dealt and perhaps certain cards dealt to the house or other players depending upon the specific type of poker game being portrayed. The top and belly glass graphics which are part of the poker presentation will be related to the poker theme and may also include payout tables for the poker game, game rules, and other information.
The game presentation of an electronic gaming machine may depict the actual game offered through the gaming machine or some other game of chance. An example of an electronic electronic gaming machine that depicts the actual game being played is a slot machine type game in which the gaming machine itself, or some associated piece of equipment, executes a program to independently pick the reel stop positions for a given play, and thus determine the outcome of the play. The component that determines the outcome of a play in these types of gaming machines, including the program, logic, or rules that the component follows, will be considered part of the game presentation for purposes of the present invention along with the pay tables that that correlate payouts with the various outcomes or results of play in the game, and along with various graphics and audio that may be sensed by the player when playing at a gaming machine. A video lottery terminal is an example of an electronic gaming machine that may depict a game different from the game actually being played to determine a win/loss result. In video lottery terminals, the win/loss result is determined by a predetermined video lottery ticket or data record that is selected from a set of such records in response to a game play request. The game video display of a video lottery terminal may simply show a representation of the predetermined lottery record selected for a given game play request. However, the graphics provided on the game video display may alternatively provide a presentation of a different game such as a presentation including spinning reels imitating a traditional mechanical slot machine. The reel stop position is dictated by the result associated with the predetermined video lottery record selected in response to a game play request at the video lottery terminal.
A given gaming facility that employs electronic gaming machines may include numerous machines to accommodate a large number of players. Each of the gaming machines is generally dedicated to a particular presentation or perhaps a number of related presentations. Although the underlying hardware included in the gaming machine may be fairly generic from one game presentation to the next, the overall game presentation provided by the gaming machine may be switched only by replacing the top glass and belly glass and perhaps by changing the player controls to accommodate the new game presentation. Thus, changing the game presentation provided by an electronic machine to an entirely different presentation is a substantial undertaking and may be accomplished only by taking the gaming machine out of service for a relatively long period of time. A switch of game presentations commonly requires removing the gaming machine from the casino floor for the changeover. That is, if a casino desires to change from a gaming machine having one presentation to a gaming machine having another presentation, essentially the entire gaming machine must be replaced or at least taken out of service for a substantial period of time to change the static graphic displays. Because switching game presentations in a gaming machine is so involved, the game presentations offered in a given gaming facility are fairly static. It is noted that even in prior art gaming machines that allow the player to choose from among several different games, portions of the game presentation remains static between the different games available at the gaming machine.
Gaming machines having static graphic displays associated with one or more presentations offered by or through the gaming machine are also seriously limited in how they may be deployed. As mentioned above, prior art gaming machines are commonly located in large gaming facilities having many gaming machines. The large number of gaming machines is required not only to accommodate a large number of players but also to ensure a wide variety of game presentations are available in the hope that each player who desires to play will be able to find the particular game presentation they desire. However, a small gaming facility may simply not have the room to provide a wide variety of game presentations and at the same time ensure that the most popular game presentations are also available to players at the facility.
Furthermore, it has not been practical to place gaming machines in locations such as hotel rooms because if the persons who happen to be assigned to the room do not desire to play the game having that particular presentation, the gaming machine will have little chance of being used while those persons are assigned to the room. For this reason, placing prior art gaming machines in places such as hotel rooms has not been cost effective.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention includes a gaming system having a number of individual gaming machines and the ability to dynamically reconfigure one or more of the gaming machines to provide different presentations based on various conditions. The invention also encompasses a method for dynamically reconfiguring one or more gaming machines based on various conditions.
A gaming system according to the present invention includes a number of gaming machines, each gaming machine including a single player game presentation arrangement that may be reconfigured to provide any one of a number of game presentations. In addition to the gaming machines the present gaming system includes a system configuration arrangement and preferably a game modification controller. The system configuration arrangement produces system configuration commands based either on manual inputs by system management personnel or players, system usage information, or various information related to one or more players in a gaming facility. The game modification controller included in preferred forms of the gaming system receives the system configuration commands and responds to the commands by generating appropriate presentation switching instructions and communicating those instructions to one or more gaming machines included in the system.
A system configuration arrangement embodying the principles of the invention may encompass a large variety of monitoring arrangements or systems in addition to a manual configuration interface. Preferred forms of the invention may include one or more of a system usage monitoring controller, a player location tracking controller, a player preference tracking controller, and a player interface controller. These devices participate in monitoring or analyzing gaming machine usage, player location, player or player group characteristics, and interactive player inputs, respectively, and producing system configuration commands based on this monitoring or analysis. The execution of these system configuration commands dynamically dynamically configures one or more gaming machines, that is, configures one or more gaming machines in response to actual or presumed conditions at the gaming facility or actual or presumed conditions associated with one or more players at the gaming facility. This dynamic configuration of the gaming machines may optimize the gaming system to enhance each player's experience with the gaming system and generally increase gaming machine usage.
The present invention encompasses the gaming system itself and the methods performed by the gaming system. Because the present gaming system is preferably implemented in data processing hardware that operates under the control of operational program code, the invention also encompasses program products for causing the various hardware elements to perform the desired functions. In particular, a program product according to the present invention includes system configuration program code for producing the system configuration commands. The program product also includes presentation switching program code that responds to the system configuration commands to switch game presentations at one or more gaming machines from one presentation to another.
A gaming machine that may be used in the present invention may include a cabinet having a game video display mounted on a front side of the cabinet. The gaming machine may also include at least one more additional video displays mounted on the front side of the cabinet either above or below the game video display. A player control device is also mounted on the front side of the cabinet. This player control device may be separate from the video displays or may be integrated with one or more of the video displays in the form of a touch screen portion of one or more of the video displays. In one preferred form of the invention the player control device includes a player control touch screen display that forms a portion of a forwardly projecting ledge located below the game video display.
In addition to the player control device, a gaming machine according to the present invention may also include one or more player interface devices such as a player card reader, currency acceptor/validator, or coin acceptor, mounted on the cabinet. These player interface devices may be mounted on the front side of the cabinet on the forwardly projecting ledge or elsewhere.
The additional video displays mounted above and/or below the game video display may be used to display the portion of a game presentation previously displayed by the static displays used in prior art gaming devices. For example, a first additional video display mounted above the game video display may extend across the entire front surface of an upper portion of the gaming device, making up the entire area used for the top glass in prior art gaming machines. Such a video display may be used to display the information and graphics previously displayed by the top glass found in a prior art gaming machine. A second additional video display mounted below the game video display may extend across the entire width of a lower portion of the gaming device, making up the entire area used for the belly glass in prior art gaming machines. Such a second additional video display may be used to display the information and graphics previously displayed by the belly glass of a prior art gaming machine. Using additional additional video displays rather than static displays provides two important advantages. First, the additional video displays facilitate animated and more interesting graphics and also allow much more information to be displayed. This greatly increases the flexibility of the gaming machine and allows the gaming machine to provide more interesting presentations. The second major advantage associated with employing additional video displays is that the additional video displays allow the entire game presentation of a particular gaming machine to be modified without modifying the static structure of the gaming machine itself. That is, rather than taking a gaming machine out of service to change out the top and belly glass, and perhaps other static graphics on the gaming machine cabinet, the additional video displays of the present invention may simply be provided with different instructions to display a different presentation. These and other advantages and features of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments, considered along with the accompanying drawings.
Gaming machine 10 illustrated in
It will be appreciated that gaming machines may also include player interface devices in addition to devices that are considered player controls for use in playing a particular game. For example, gaming machines commonly include a player card reader, a voucher or ticket reader/issuer, a currency acceptor/validator, and/or coin or token acceptors/dispensers. The form form of the invention shown in
The invention is not limited to any particular uses of the displays 14, 15, 17, and 18 in a given presentation. For example, only one display among the several displays included in gaming machine 10 may be used in the actual conduct of a game, while the remaining displays may simply show attract graphics. In other arrangements, each display may actually provide a presentation for a different game. One or more of the displays 14, 15, 17, and 18 may be used to to provide other graphic content to the player unrelated to gaming, such as television programming or movies. In yet other implementations, a portion of one or more displays 14, 15, 15, 17, or 18 may be devoted to graphics associated with one presentation while another portion of the same display may be devoted to graphics for another game presentation. For example, a gaming machine 10 may be controlled such that a right-hand side of the machine shows one game presentation while a left-hand side of the machine shows a second different game presentation. It should also be noted that one or more progressive meters may be shown on the various displays in gaming machine 10, or one or more separate progressive meters/displays may be included in gaming machine 10.
All of the elements 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 shown in
It will also be appreciated that graphics processors are also commonly a part of modern computer systems. Although two separate graphics processors 35 and 36 are shown for controlling the four displays included in this form of the invention, it will be appreciated that a separate graphics processor may be included in the system for each particular display. It is also possible for a single graphics processor to control all of the video displays mounted on gaming machine 10. Generally, the invention is not limited to any particular arrangement of graphics processors for controlling the various gaming machine displays.
In the illustrated gaming machine 10, CPU 25 executes game software which ultimately controls the entire gaming machine 10 including the presentation provided through the video displays. CPU 25 also executes software related to communications handled through communications interface 30, and software related to various peripheral devices such as those connected to the system through audio interface 29, serial interface 31, and touch screen controller 37. CPU 25 may also execute software to perform accounting functions associated with game play. Random access memory 26 provides memory for use by the central processing unit in executing its various software programs while the nonvolatile memory or mass storage 27 provides storage for programs not in use or for other data generated or used in the course of gaming machine operation. Communications interface 30 provides an interface to other components of a gaming system that may be involved in game play. For example, some gaming machines rely on remote processing units for providing accounting functions associated with game play and also for providing game results. U.S. Pat. No. 6,524,184 provides an example of a gaming system which includes player terminals and remote systems for providing results from predetermined game play records stored at the remote systems. Even where the results of game play are determined at the gaming machine itself, gaming machines are commonly interfaced with systems for accounting purposes and control purposes, and communications interface 30 may also provide an interface for such communications. Communications interface 30 also provides an interface to a processor that controls presentation changes at the gaming machine as will be described below with reference to
Audio interface 29 provides an interface for an audio system that may be included in gaming machine 10. Serial interface 31 provides an interface for serial devices such as player controls not incorporated in any touch screen display, and possibly the touch screen elements themselves, and other player interface devices such as currency acceptors/validators, a player card reader, voucher readers/printers, and coin/token drops. Serial interface 31 may also provide an interface with various meters that may be included in gaming machine 10 such as a progressive meter, for example. Commonly, a single serial interface device is used to communicate with a number of serial devices through a suitable serial protocol such as USB or IEEE 1394. However, it will be appreciated that additional serial interfaces may be used depending upon the nature of the serial protocols used for communications and the number of serial devices included in gaming machine 10.
It will be appreciated that other basic components will be included in gaming machine 10 such as a power supply, cooling systems for the various processors, audio amplifiers and speakers, and other devices that are common in gaming machines. These additional devices are omitted from the drawings so as not to obscure the present invention in unnecessary detail.
It should also be noted that the data processing required to operate the various displays and other components of gaming machine 10 may be distributed to data processing devices outside of the gaming machine itself For example, gaming machine 10 may rely on data processing and control from a central computer system in communication with the gaming machine or various elements of the gaming machine. The example shown in
Referring now to
As indicated in
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art of computer networks and computer system communications that the arrangement illustrated in
Alternatively to moving processing functions to the gaming machines 10, processing functions may be moved from the gaming machines to other elements of the system. For example, rather than executing game software at the gaming machines 10 to produce the signals required to drive the video displays and audio devices associated with a particular gaming machine, the game software may be executed remotely and the video and audio feeds routed to the gaming machine through a suitable signal feed arrangement.
The three different groups of gaming machines 10 are shown to illustrate that a gaming system according to the present invention at a given gaming facility may include different groups of gaming machines 10 with each different group including gaming machines controlled or configured to provide a particular game presentation. The number of gaming machines 10 shown in
Modification controller 50 is preferably implemented through modification control program code executed by processor 47 and operates to selectively issue presentation switching instructions to the various gaming machines 10 included in gaming system 40. These presentation switching instructions are executed at the receiving gaming machine 10 to cause the gaming machine to switch from a first game presentation to a second game presentation or from a first type of attract presentation to another type of attract presentation.
Presentation server 48 and its associated storage 49 provide a repository of a number of different game presentation instruction sets and perhaps a number of attract presentation instruction sets. Each game presentation instruction set includes program code executable at a gaming machine 10 to provide a particular game presentation at the gaming machine. Each attract presentation instruction set includes program code executable at a gaming machine 10 to provide a particular attract presentation at the gaming machine. In some forms of the invention, the issuance of a presentation switching instruction from modification controller 50 is made in conjunction with a transfer of a given presentation instruction set or attract presentation instruction set from presentation server storage 49 to the particular gaming machine or machines 10 receiving the switch command. Presentation server 48 and its associated storage 49 facilitate storing a large number of different game presentations and attract presentations which may be downloaded to the various gaming machines 10 as needed. In other forms of the invention, however, each gaming machine 10 may include sufficient storage capacity (in mass storage or non-volatile memory 27 shown in
Modification controller 50 issues presentation switching instructions in response to one or more system configuration commands derived or produced by the various components of system configuration arrangement 51 based upon various types of data including system condition data and player-related data. Modification controller 50 may also be configured to issue presentation switching instructions in response to a player input at one of the gaming machines 10. The various components that may be included in system configuration arrangement 51 and the information those components use to produce system configuration commands will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
The usage monitoring controller 52 shown in
The illustrated manual interface controller 53 is preferably implemented through manual interface program code executed by a suitable processor such as processor 47. Manual interface controller 53 communicates with interface device arrangement 54 which may comprise a display screen and suitable pointing/selection device such as a keyboard, mouse, trackball and/or touch screen control. In preferred forms of the invention, controller 53 produces a suitable graphical interface through interface device arrangement 54 which allows a system manager to produce inputs which may be interpreted by controller 53 to generate system configuration commands to be communicated to modification controller 50. For example, a system manager may know that the players in a gaming facility fit a certain profile at a certain time. The manager may know this from experience with the gaming facility or from other information (for example the arrival at the gaming facility of several tour buses full of players fitting a certain profile). Regardless of how the system manager bases his decisions, the manager may make inputs through interface device arrangement 54 to cause a certain number of gaming machines in the gaming facility to switch to provide a game presentation that will hopefully be particularly attractive to the players at the facility.
Player monitoring arrangement 55 shown in
Player location tracking controller 56 cooperates with player tracking system 58 to track the physical location of various players in a gaming facility, and detect presentation switching conditions related to the physical location of various players. Player preference tracking controller 57 cooperates with player data collection system 59 to monitor for conditions related to various characteristics of players using a particular gaming facility. It should be noted that player location tracking controller 56 may also use data from player data collection system 59 in formulating system configuration commands. Player interface controller 60 provides for interaction with one or more players using gaming machines 10 in the system so that system configuration commands may be based not only on player characteristics but also on interactions or communications with players.
Alternatively to the player-carried transceiver, the player may carry some other device that may be read or detected when within a certain range of a suitable detecting device. For example, a player may carry an exposed badge that includes a bar code unique to the player, and the detecting device may comprise a bar code reader. As another example, the player may carry an exposed badge that is encoded with a color pattern unique to the player and the detector may be capable of reading or detecting the color pattern and distinguishing it from other color patterns assigned to other players.
Referring again to
In one form of the invention, player preference tracking controller 57 may use artificial intelligence techniques or any other suitable techniques to analyze player demographics and/or game presentation use patterns together with time of day information available through data collection arrangement 59 to produce system configuration commands to optimally configure a gaming facility or location according to the time of day and/or day of week and/or by month or season. For example, historical data may indicate that a first age group predominates in a given gaming facility over a certain period of the day and a second age group predominates in another period of the day. The data may also show that each different age group has a preference for a certain type or style of game presentation. In this situation, controller 57 may issue signals to modification controller 50 to switch unused gaming machines 10 from a game presentation or style of presentation favored by the first age group during the time that group predominates. Controller 57 may then cause unused gaming machines 10 to switch to a game presentation style favored by the second age group for the hours the second age group historically dominates.
Alternatively to using historical data from the data collection arrangement 59, player preference tracking controller 57 may monitor actual current player age or other characteristics to optimally configure the game presentations available through gaming machines 10 in a given gaming facility or location. This optimization or gaming machine configuration based on current current player characteristics may be implemented especially in gaming facilities that require or allow player club cards or other player identification cards to gain current player information. For example, player card inputs at a gaming facility may indicate that a large number of players fitting a certain player profile are currently in the gaming facility. Player preference tracking controller 57 may use this current player information and profile information in producing system configuration commands to switch unused gaming machines to provide presentations likely to be favored by players matching the identified profile.
Another example of the use of current player information according to the invention relates to the optimization reconfigurable gaming machines 10 placed in limited access rooms such as hotel rooms. Player data collection arrangement 59 may include a database that collects check-in or room assignment information at a hotel that may be associated with a casino or independent from any casino. Player preference tracking controller may use this check-in or room assignment information to identify an individual assigned to a particular room and also use historical game preference data for that individual to formulate a system configuration command for the particular gaming machine 10 in the individual's room. The command would direct presentation switching as necessary to switch the presentation provided at the gaming machine 10 to a presentation preferred by the individual.
A still further example of the operation of player preference tracking controller 57 involves monitoring for certain actions of the player and matching those actions to historical behavior. For example, a player may have a history of playing one game presentation for a certain period of time, then switching to another game presentation, and then perhaps another. In light of this historical behavior, player preference tracking controller 57 may monitor for the player to log off a gaming machine and respond to a log off by issuing a configuration command to effect a change in the game presentation to another game favored by the player.
The invention is not limited to any particular type of player data collection arrangement 59 or database structure used to collect and organize the data required by player preference tracking controller 57. Player data collection arrangement 59 may be a player card or club card system or any other type of player identifying system that assigns a unique identifier to each player and stores player demographic data and perhaps preference data at the time the identifier is assigned. These systems typically require the player to login to play any of the gaming machines and use this login information to collect additional player preference data. Alternatively to player card or player club tracking systems, player data may be collected manually by player surveys or player observation. Regardless of the manner in which the player data is collected, stored, or maintained by player data collection arrangement 59, player preference tracking controller 57 accesses this data and analyzes the data together with data on gaming facility layout and current gaming machine usage information to generate game system configuration commands for presentation switching controller 50. It is also important to note that the present system collects important data regarding player preferences and reactions to various game presentations. Thus, the system 40 in
Player interface controller 60 is responsible for initiating or conducting game presentation-related communications with players at various gaming machines 10 in the system shown in
Assume that a player who has a history of playing a particular game presentation or type of presentation logs on to a gaming machine 10 in
Another example of the operation of player interface controller 60 arises in a situation in which a player has a history of switching game presentations after a certain period of play. In these situations player interface controller 60 may monitor the time that the player has been playing a given machine and then offer new presentations at times when the player is likely to desire a switch to a different game presentation.
Player interface controller 60 may also be used to cause a change in game presentation at more than one gaming machine 10 in
It will be appreciated from the above examples regarding the operation of player interface controller 60 that it may require data from player data collection arrangement 59, player position determining system 58 and/or a player tracking system such as a player card or club card system.
It will be appreciated that the specific system configuration arrangement 51 shown in
From the above examples of the various controllers used to produce system configuration commands according to the invention, it will be noted that the various controllers may require current system status information in order to produce effective system configuration commands. Thus, the present gaming system also includes a suitable status controller 61 shown in
As shown in
In some preferred forms of the invention the system configuration commands are not directly acted upon by the gaming machines to be configured. In these cases the system configuration commands prompt the creation of presentation switching instructions as shown at process block 100 in
The presentation switch instruction issued at process block 101 will be directed to at least one recipient gaming machine 10 shown in
For purposes of example, assume that the gaming machines 10 in group 41 provides a game presentation A, each of the gaming machines in group 42 provides a different game presentation B, and each gaming machine 10 in group 43 provides yet a different presentation C. In this example, assume that presentation A happens to be particularly popular at one point in time and that all of the gaming machines providing that presentation, that is, all gaming machines 10 in group 41, are in use. Further assume that at least some of the machines providing the C presentation, that is, the gaming machines 10 in group 43 are not in use. It may be desirable in that situation to have more gaming machines 10 in the gaming facility to switch over to presentation A from presentation C. According to the present invention, the switch in game presentations is accomplished by communicating a presentation switching instruction from modification controller 50, and perhaps a set of game presentation instructions from server 48/storage 49, to one or more of the unused gaming machines 10 in group 43. The switching instruction will cause the receiving gaming machine 10 to switch presentations to the desired presentation. The new game presentation will include different graphics for the game video display 14 associated with the gaming machine as shown in
It is apparent in this example how the additional video displays 15, 17, and 18 shown in
As used herein, whether in the above description or the following claims, the terms “comprising,” “including,” “carrying,” “having,” “containing,” “involving,” and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, that is, to mean including but not limited to. Any use of ordinal ordinal terms such as “first,” “second,” “third,” etc., in the claims to modify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another, or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed. Rather, unless specifically stated stated otherwise, such ordinal terms are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term).
The above described preferred embodiments are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention, but not to limit the scope of the invention. Various other embodiments and modifications to these preferred embodiments may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the following claims. For example, although the invention contemplates switching from one game presentation to an entirely different game presentation, the switching may be between somewhat related game presentations, or presentations having elements in common with the earlier presentation at the gaming machine. Furthermore, the invention may be implemented in a data processing environment in which more processing tasks are performed at a central processing device rather than the individual gaming machine CPUs.
1. A gaming system including:
- (a) a gaming machine including a game presentation arrangement capable of producing a respective game presentation for any one of a number of different games;
- (b) a player detecting arrangement separate from the gaming machine and configured to detect a player in a gaming facility in which the gaming machine is located, the detection occurring at a point in time at which the player (i) has not reached the location of the gaming machine, and (ii) is thus at a distance from the gaming machine;
- (c) a system configuration arrangement configured to produce a system configuration command specifying a target game presentation to be produced at the gaming machine;
- (d) a game modification controller in communication with the system configuration arrangement and with the gaming machine, the game modification controller configured to receive the system configuration command from the system configuration arrangement prior to the time at which the player reaches the gaming machine, and, responsive to the receipt of the system configuration command, configured to communicate presentation switching instructions to the gaming machine prior to the time at which the player reaches the gaming machine; and
- (e) wherein in response to the presentation switching instructions, the gaming machine switches from a first game presentation to the target game presentation prior to an arrival of the player at the gaming machine, such that the switch to the target game presentation occurs at a location distant from the location at which the player is detected and at a time prior to the time at which the player reaches the gaming machine.
2. The gaming system of claim 1 further including:
- (a) a player data collection arrangement configured to store player preference information for the detected player; and
- (b) the target game presentation is a game presentation likely to be favored by the player based on the player preference information for the detected player.
3. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the player detecting arrangement includes a player location determining arrangement configured to determine the location of the player in the gaming facility in which the gaming machine is located.
4. The gaming system of claim 3 wherein the player carries an identifying device and wherein the player location determining arrangement includes a reading device configured to remotely read identifying information from the identifying device.
5. The gaming system of claim 3 wherein the player carries an identifying device and wherein the player location determining arrangement includes a receiver device configured to remotely receive identifying information transmitted from the identifying device.
6. The gaming system of claim 3 wherein the player carries a transponder transmitting a player identifying signal, and wherein the player location determining arrangement includes a receiving arrangement configured to determine the location of the player based upon the player identifying signal.
7. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the player detecting arrangement detects the player by reading information associated with a player card which is usable by the player in the gaming facility in which the gaming machine is located.
8. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the target game presentation includes an attract display tailored for the detected player.
9. The gaming system of claim 1 wherein the gaming machine is located in a hotel room and wherein the player detecting arrangement detects the player through a check-in procedure for the hotel room.
10. A method of operating a gaming machine, the gaming machine having the capability of producing a respective game presentation for any one of a number of different games, the method including:
- (a) detecting a player in a gaming facility at a point in time at which the player (i) has not reached the location of the gaming machine within the gaming facility, and (ii) is thus at a distance from the gaming machine;
- (b) in response to detecting the player at the distance from the gaming machine, producing a system configuration command specifying a target game presentation different from a current game presentation produced at the gaming machine;
- (c) communicating presentation switching instructions to the gaming machine in response to the system configuration command, the presentation switching instructions including an instruction for the gaming machine to switch from the current game presentation produced at the gaming machine to the target game presentation;
- (d) in response to the presentation switching instructions, changing from the current game presentation at the gaming machine to the target game presentation prior to a point in time at which the player reaches the gaming machine such that the switch to the target game presentation occurs at a location distant from the location at which the player is detected.
11. The method of claim 10 further including retrieving stored player preference information for the detected player, and wherein the target game presentation is selected based on the retrieved player preference information.
12. The method of claim 10 wherein the target game presentation includes an attract display tailored for the detected player.
13. The method of claim 10 wherein detecting the player includes receiving a transponder signal transmitted from a transponder carried by the player.
14. The method of claim 10 wherein detecting the player includes remotely reading an identification device carried by the player.
15. The method of claim 10 wherein the gaming machine is located in a hotel room and wherein detecting the player includes receiving room check-in information.
16. A program product for configuring a gaming machine, the gaming machine having the ability to produce a respective game presentation for a number of different games, the program product being stored in one or more computer readable devices and including:
- (a) system configuration program code executable to produce a system configuration command specifying a target game presentation to be produced at the gaming machine, the system configuration command being produced in response to the detection of a player within a gaming facility in which the gaming machine is located; and
- (b) presentation switching program code executable to respond to the system configuration command by communicating presentation switching instructions to the gaming machine, the presentation switching instructions being effective for causing the gaming machine to switch from a first game presentation at the gaming machine to the target game presentation prior to an arrival of the detected player at the gaming machine such that the switch to the target game presentation occurs at a location distant from a location of the detected player.
17. The program product of claim 16 wherein the system configuration program code is also executable to retrieve game preference information on the detected player, and to specify the target game presentation based on the retrieved game preference information.
18. The program product of claim 16 wherein the target game presentation includes an attract display tailored for the detected player.
19. The program product of claim 16 wherein the system configuration program code is also executable to receive location information on the detected player from a player detection system and to produce the system configuration command in response to the received location information.
Filed: May 2, 2011
Publication Date: Aug 25, 2011
Inventors: Clifton E. Lind (Austin, TX), Jefferson C. Lind (Austin, TX), Brendan M. O'Connor (Austin, TX), Gary L. Loebig (Austin, TX), Robert F. Lannert (Broken Arrow, OK), Joseph R. Enzminger (Austin, TX)
Application Number: 13/098,839
International Classification: A63F 13/00 (20060101);