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U.S. Patent No. 7,532,211: Image processing device and image processing method
Issued May 12, 2009, to Sega


Summary:

The ‘211 patent allows games to have a more realistic and life-like feel to them because the movements of players have been redesigned to simulate those of actual opponents. The virtual camera is designed to provide alternate views of the action based on what is going on during the event. Whenever there are a lot of characters on the screen at the same time, the camera will be pulled out so that the most action can be seen while the player competes in the game.

Abstract:

Games are processed in a more realistic and immediate manner during image processing for soccer games and the like. Specifically, the movements of characters more accurately simulate those of actual opponents, resulting in greater game realism.The invention is an image processing device for imaging and displaying the behavior of characters modeled on opponents in virtual three-dimensional space. It is determined (S21 to S24) whether or not there exists a certain situation in which the relation to the game contents (in the centering area, for example) or the positional relation (such as distance) between characters and a target (such as opponent characters or the ball) having a relation through the game to said characters matches certain conditions, and the eyes of the characters are directed to the target (S25, S26, S28, etc.) when it is determined that the certain situation exists. The invention is especially suitable for soccer games.


Illustrative Claim:

1. An image processing device comprising: image generating means for generating a game screen representing a view seen from a virtual camera disposed in virtual space, wherein a plurality of predetermined areas are defined in said virtual space and an angle of said virtual camera is set for each of said plurality of predetermined areas; object setting means for setting an object in said virtual space; object behavior controlling means for controlling behavior of said object in said virtual space based on an operation of a player; camera angle adjusting means for adjusting an angle at which said virtual camera views said object, based on positional coordinates of said virtual camera in said virtual space; and object positional determination means for determining whether said object is located in one of said plurality of predetermined areas based on the positional coordinates of said virtual camera; wherein said camera angle adjusting means angularly adjusts said virtual camera to 0 degrees if said object positional determination means determines that said object is not located in said plurality of predetermined areas; and said camera angle adjusting means adjusts said virtual camera to the angle set for the area in which said object is located if said object positional determination means determines that said object is located in any of said plurality of predetermined areas.

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