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U.S. Patent No. 7,115,035: Method for controlling display of messages transmitted/received in network game
Issued Oct. 3, 2006, to Square Enix


Summary:

The ’035 patent should appeal to anyone who enjoys playing online multiplayer games. This invention provides a way for multiple players to communicate during a game. The players are able to type text into the communication box and have it appear to the rest of his teammates. The text scrolls upward so that older messages make way for the newer ones. The older texts stay around for long enough that the player has a chance to read it first. The invention also calls for accomplishments to be acknowledged in the chat-text box. For example, if the player gets an ‘x’ number of kills (which is an accomplishment), the others players will be notified of this accomplishment via the text box. This invention was implemented in the game Quake 3 Arena.

Abstract:

Multiple video game apparatuses are connected to a game server apparatus. This network game progresses when players of the respective video game apparatuses exchange messages via the game server apparatus. When a predetermined event is generated by processing in the game server apparatus, a specific message is transmitted to each video game apparatus. In a chat window provided on a display screen of each video game apparatus, the message sent from the game server apparatus is scrolled and displayed from the bottom to the top. When the specific message reaches an uppermost portion of the chat window, a lock window is set and the specific message is displayed therein. The specific message in the lock window is not erased by the reception of a next message.

Exemplary Claim:

1. A network game system having a server apparatus and a plurality of client apparatuses each connected to said server apparatus via a network, said server apparatus comprising: a server message receiver that receives messages from each of said plurality of client apparatuses; a server message transmitter that transmits messages on progress of a game including the messages received by said server message receiver to each of said plurality of client apparatuses via the network; and a specific information transmitter that transmits specific information when said server message transmitter transmits a specific message, the specific information indicating that the transmitted message is the specific message, each of said plurality of client apparatuses comprising: a message input device that inputs a desired message on the progress of the game according to a user's operation; a client message transmitter that transmits the messages input from said message input device via said network to cause said server message receiver to receive the messages; a client message receiver that receives messages transmitted from said server message transmitter; a specific information receiver that receives the specific information transmitted from said specific information transmitter; a message display device that displays messages received by said client message receiver within a chat window while scrolling the messages sequentially; and a display controller that controls scroll-display displayed by said message display device such that the received messages are sequentially scrolled to erase an oldest message from the chat window, and display of the message corresponding to specific information received by said specific information receiver is prevented from being erased from the chat window by the scrolling a until a predetermined condition is satisfied, when the specific message is the oldest message and otherwise would be erased by scrolling in response to displaying a new message.


U.S. Patent No. 7,147,560: Selection of targets for attachment
Issued Dec. 12, 2006, to Sony


Summary:

The ‘560 patent describes a method used in video game for a character to attach itself to a target. The player can move his character toward an object and then selects that object. The game computes the values of the object and determines whether or not the object is available to be picked up. If the object is determined to be available, the character acquires the object and the item is either held or placed into storage. If the item cannot be picked up, a notification is given to the character that the object is unattainable.

Abstract:

Methods and apparatus for selection of a target for attachment. In one implementation, a method of selecting a target for attachment by a moving character in a video game, wherein the character has a position and a velocity, includes: selecting one of a plurality of attachable objects as a candidate object, wherein each attachable object is of an object type from among one or more object types; determining if the candidate object is available according to the current position of the character and the object type of the candidate object; and if the candidate object is available, determining a cost for the candidate object according to the position and velocity of the character and the object type of the candidate object, wherein the cost represents an acceleration to attach the character to the candidate object.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method of selecting a target for attachment by a moving character in a video game, wherein the character has a position and a velocity, the method comprising: selecting one of a plurality of attachable objects as a candidate object, wherein each attachable object is of an object type from among one or more object types; determining if the candidate object is available according to the current position of the character and the object type of the candidate object; and if the candidate object is available, determining a cost for the candidate object according to the position and velocity of the character and the object type of the candidate object, wherein the cost represents an acceleration to attach the \character to the candidate object.


U.S. Patent No. 7,147,562: Input character processing method
Issued Dec. 12, 2006, to Sega



Summary:

The ‘562 patent provides a system during an online game where players can interact with each other by text. Whenever players approach each other they have the ability to type words that the other players can read. The invention also allows a user, whenever he types “ha,ha,ha,” to move his character. Whenever this string of letters is typed the player’s character simulates a laughing motion. By allowing the player to type a command which produces laughter in his character, this invention enhanced the interaction between the players and makes the game more engaging for people.

Abstract:

Three user characters are displayed in a chat room. When a user inputs a character string, the character string is displayed on the screens of the respective users. When a character string inputted by a user contains a character string "Ha,Ha,Ha", a data table outputs an event corresponding to the character string "Ha,Ha,Ha". All the user characters participating in the chat make a laughing action, uttering the laughing sound "Ha,Ha,Ha". The input character processing method not only can simply transmits utterances of respective participants but also can occur various events.

Exemplary Claim:

1. An input processing method for a multi-user system comprising a plurality of information processing devices operated by users of the system, each user of the system being associated with a player character in a virtual environment shared by each user of the system, the method comprising: at each one of the plurality of information processing devices: receiving an input string from a user of the system associated with the information processing device; connecting to a network; sharing information, including said input string, over said network; and processing the shared information to create the virtual environment shared by each user of the system, if said input string contains a string from a set of predetermined strings, triggering a specific event in the virtual environment; if said input string does not contain any string from the set of predetermined strings, displaying the input string to each user of the system, wherein said virtual environment is a virtual chat room, said specific event is a motion of one of the player characters, and wherein when the user associated with the information processing device inputs the input string, the motion of the player character of the other users responds to the input string.


U.S. Patent No. 7,240,093: Use of online messaging to facilitate selection of participants in game play
Issued July 3, 2007, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘093 describes a system for selecting participants in multiplayer online games. The invention provides an efficient way for players to host and join new multiplayer games. Players can look at a list of friends and see who is online. From there they can send invitations either through a voice or text message to the friend inviting them to play. Players who receive an invitation can either accept or decline. If the player accepts they will immediately be placed either into the game the host is playing or into a lobby with the host while waiting on other friends to join. All players can communicate to each other if they have a separate headset.

Abstract:

A method and system facilitating selection of participants in multiplayer online electronic games. The method provides an efficient procedure for players to host and join new instances of multiplayer online electronic games, as well as providing a scheme that enables players to join multiplayer online electronic games that are already in progress. The method is implemented through a gaming utility that runs on each player's electronic device (e.g. PC) and interacts behind the scenes with an online messaging service. Player hosts are enabled to select players from a list of contacts provided by the online messaging service who they want to invite to join a chat session. A selected multiplayer online electronic game is selectively launched on all of the player's computers through a single command issued by the host. Additionally, the gaming utility provides players with a list of existing chat sessions being hosted by other players so as to enable the players to join multiplayer online electronic games that are already in progress. The system includes a plurality of electronic devices linked in communication across a communications network, such as a LAN or the Internet. Each electronic device is operatively coupled to a headset having a pair of headphones and a microphone. The headset is worn by a player, enabling the players to verbally communicate with others in a verbal chat session.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method for enabling a host player to select one or more other participants to join in playing a multi player online electronic game, comprising the steps of: (a) enabling the host player to create a list of contacts comprising one or more other persons who may be interested in participating in playing the multiplayer online electronic game; (b) enabling the host player to select one or more of the other persons from among the list of contacts to participate in playing the multi player online electronic game; (c) automatically sending an electronic invitation to each of the one or more other persons selected by the host player, to join in playing the multiplayer online electronic game, wherein the electronic invitation comprises a verbal message; (d) enabling each of the one or more other persons who receive the electronic invitation that was automatically sent, to selectively join the multi player online electronic game as a participant; and (e)
U.S. Patent No. 7,311,608: Online game invitations using friends list

Issued Dec. 25, 2007, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘608 patent describes a method for enabling a user to load a game and to automatically join an online game with a friend selected from his friends list. Ordinarily, when friends want to play together they must have the same game loaded. With this invention, however, a friend can join another friend on his list without having the same game loaded. If the friend wants to join a game that he does not have the disk for, the invention allows him to download the game to his hard drive where he can then play the game.

Abstract:

A user who has signed on to an online gaming service can send an invitation to a friend appearing in the user's friends list to join in playing the game the user has loaded or may join the friend in playing the game being played by the friend, regardless of whether the game title played by the friend is the same as that loaded on the user's game console. If the game titles are different, the party needing to load the game title to be played is prompted to do so, and then prompted to reboot the game console. Information written about the new game to be played is automatically written on the hard drive of that party's game console and automatically accessed after the reboot for use in expediting the log-in process of the player who had to reboot.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method for enabling a user to load a game and to automatically join an online game with a friend selected from a friends list of the user, comprising the steps of: (a) initiating a gaming session by logging a user on to an online gaming service; (b) identifying an online game associated with the online gaming service to join that is currently being played by the friend, wherein the online game is different than an online game currently loaded for play by the user; (c) causing data identifying the online game currently being played by the friend to be stored in a local non-volatile storage; (d) prompting the user to load the online game currently being played by the friend; (e) restarting the gaming session of the user with a newly loaded online game in response to user input; and (f) automatically comparing the online game being played by the friend, as indicated by the data stored in the local non-volatile storage, with the newly loaded online game, and automatically joining the online game being played by the friend by bypassing at least some login requirements and without requiring any logon or password when it is determined: (i) the newly loaded online game is actually the same as the online game currently being played by the friend; (ii) the current online game being played by the friend has an opening for the user to join; and (iii) the online game of the friend has not yet concluded.

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