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Parallel Networks, LLC v. Riot Games, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Delaware
Case No.: 13-183 (RGA); filed on February 1, 2013.

This is a patent infringement case in which Parallel Network ("Plaintiff") is suing Riot Games ("Defendant") for direct infringement, inducing infringement, or contributing to an infringing use.  The patents in question are United States Patent No: 7,188,145 ("the '145 patent") and divisional U.S. Pat. No: 7,730,262 ("the '262 patent").  These patents were issued to Plaintiff on March 6, 2007, and June 1, 2010, respectively. 

The patents are for a "method and system for dynamic distributed data caching".  Specifically, these patents are for software that allows for peer-to-peer data caching to enable more effective use of bandwidth as well increasing download speeds.  The software utilizes the "always-on" nature of computers and unused processor power to create a "cache community".  This allows users to access stored content without having to retrieve it from a potentially overly burdened origin server.

Plaintiff alleges that Riot Games is infringing upon its patent through its products, specifically the online game "League of Legends".  Plaintiff further alleges that the League of Legends download client utilizes the patents in question which causes Defendant's customers to infringe upon Plaintiff's patents.  In this way, Defendant is directly infringing upon Plaintiff's patents as well as inducing and contributing to the infringement of said patents.

On March 28, 2013, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's inducement and contributory infringement claims.  In an Opening Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss, Defendant alleges that Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged facts to show that there was intent on the part of Riot Games to infringe the patents in question.  Defendant alleges that Plaintiff simply makes a recitation of the elements necessary for an infringement action rather than actually detailing how Defendant's conduct infringed upon its patents.  Furthermore, Defendant alleges that it did not have pre-suit knowledge of the patents, and even if it did infringe upon the patents, it should not be open to any pre-suit damages.  On April 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Answering Brief in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.  In its brief, Plaintiff cites case law which states that, "'if a complaint sufficiently identifies . . . the patent at issue and the allegedly infringing conduct, a defendant's receipt of the complaint and decision to continue its conduct despite the knowledge gleaned from the complaint' sufficiently pleads a prospective claim of indirect infringement."  (Walker Digital, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., 852 F. Supp. 2d, 559, 565 (D. Del. 2012).  Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's conduct of making its website available to customers to download its product by using the patents in question sufficiently shows intent.

This case displays just how significant the method of delivery can become for video game publishers and developers, especially in light of the ever-increasing use of digital distribution for games.  Although both parties have filed briefs regarding the Motion to Dismiss, a hearing has yet to be held, and the case has a long way to go. 

We will update when more information becomes available.
ADC Technology v. Microsoft et. al.
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Case No.: 2:08-cv-10579; filed October 27, 2008.

ADC had brought suit against Microsoft and Nintendo (Sony was originally included, but has since been dismissed without prejudice) claiming infringement of its patents for pay-for-download software over a computer network, including videogames.  The case is currently stayed until reexamination requests are completed.  ADC is providing bi-annual status updates until these reexaminations are complete.

We will continue to monitor this case and update accordingly.
Motiva v. Nintendo
US District Court for the Western District of Washington (originally Eastern District of Texas)
Case No.: 10-cv-349; filed March 2, 2010 (originally filed November 10, 2008)


Motiva originally filed suit against Nintendo for infringing its patent number 7,292,151, which is for a “Human Movement Measurement System”.  Aside from the discovery issues pointed out in a previous update, the case has not moved forward.  The case is currently stayed until findings are delivered by an investigation being conducted by the International Trade Commission.
Patent Compliance Group v. Activision Publishing
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Case No.: 10-cv-00288; filed February 12, 2010.


Patent Compliance Group (“PCG”) originally filed a qui tam action against Activision for using false marks on its titles Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero Smash Hits claiming the games were “patented or patent pending”.  This case was dismissed without prejudice on June 1, 2010, before Activision filed an answer or motion for summary judgment.  The issue is now moot in view of recent law changes barring this type of lawsuit.


T5 Labs LLC, v. Gaikai, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Delaware 
Case No.: 1:12-cv-01281-MPT. Filed on October 5, 2012 

At first blush, this patent infringement case does not seem as though it would fall within the scope of videogame law, but it does. T5 Labs brought suit against Gaikai for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,203,568 ("the 568 patent"). This patent involves using a centralized server within a bank of servers that allows remote access by a user. The server runs a plurality of programs which share a graphical processing unit (GPU) which can store frames generated by different programs at different memory locations. For example, using this technology, a player at home could essentially stream the graphical processing of a game from the remote server to their home. The patent is meant to address, among other things, the speed with which GPUs become obsolete for the average consumer as well as allowing the development of programs over different platforms without having to actually create new code for each platform. Specifically, the patent attempts to address the problems of compressing video data signals over a broadband connection while also decreasing the latency in hosted interactive graphics systems.

T5 alleges that Gaikai is directly infringing by, "virtualizing multiple instances of game programs on a server with one or more shared GPUs through [its] cloud-based gaming applications and service." Furthermore, T5 alleges that by offering for sale and selling the use of its GPU cloud, Gaikai is committing contributory infringement as well as inducing the direct infringement of others. Prior to filing its complaint, T5 claims to have provided written notice to Gaikai that the patent in question was being infringed upon. T5 seeks a declaratory judgment stating infringement has occurred and that the patent is valid and enforceable as well damages and a permanent injunction against Gaikai.

Gaikai filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, but the magistrate court denied the motion stating that T5 had alleged sufficient facts to allow for the inference that infringement exists. After its motion was denied, Gaikai filed an answer to the complaint along with counterclaims that sought declaratory judgment stating that Gaikai has not infringed upon the 568 patent and that the patent is invalid.

This patent dispute is even more relevant with the advent of the next generation of consoles later this year. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 tout cloud-based computing and streaming as one of their main features. Sony's PS4, in particular, is of note because of its acquisition of Gaikai last July. The console-maker has said that it will be utilizing the streaming service in order to provide backwards compatibility with its PS3 game library. Due to the broad nature of the patent, a favorable ruling for T5 could lead to console manufacturers having to rethink cloud computing and its implementation, or will otherwise lead to increased costs to cover the patent license(s).

We will monitor this case and inform you of any new developments.
NovaLogic, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard et. al.
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
Case Number: 2:12-cv-04011

In March 2012, NovaLogic sued Call of Duty developer, Activision, for trademark infringement of its mark "Delta Force" (USPTO marks 2,704,298 and 2,304,869).  NovaLogic maintained that Activision's "Modern Warfare 3"  title (which grossed billions of dollars) infringed upon the mark they had held since the late 1990s when they released "Delta Force".  The game spawned a few sequels including 2003's "Delta Force: Black Hawk Down".  NovaLogic also sued Penguin Group USA, Inc. (who made the official guide for the game) as well as Microsoft on similar grounds. 

Judge John F. Walter ruled that Activision's use of the term "Delta Force" fell within free speech, and that the term would not confuse consumers into thinking NovaLogic endorsed the game.  The court went on to say, "Because the phrase 'Delta Force' and its insignia have an established and well-known prior meaning and connotation . . . that is unrelated to plaintiff and that meaning and connotation predate plaintiff's use of the registered trademarks, it is highly unlikely that consumers will be misled."  The claims against Penguin were dismissed on similar grounds.

NovaLogic argued that Activision had waived its free speech rights because it had initially paid NovaLogic royalties.  Judge Walter said this argument was, "unpersuasive and borders on the frivolous," because NovaLogic had licensed the mark to Vivendi Games in 2005, a company which was later acquired by Activision.  "Plaintiff fails to explain how an unrelated third party's contract could have resulted in the surrender of Activision's First Amendment rights with respect to a product, [Modern Warfare 3], that was not produced until 2011."  Activision had moved for summary judgment in March on the grounds that Delta Force was part of the "public lexicon" and is similar to terms like "West Wing" and "Scotland Yard."

With games having an ever-increasing focus on true-to-life realism, this victory is significant for publishers like Activision.  It allows them to pull inspiration from news headlines and make games directly referencing groups like the "Delta Force" without having to worry about potential litigation or licensing agreements with subsequent groups who use the term as a trademark.  Similarly, trademark owners should be careful when choosing a mark, and might think twice about trying to usurp rights to a name that has a previously understood public meaning.

While these particular claims were dismissed, the court did not address allegations regarding Activision's and Microsoft's  prominent use of the mark on the packaging of the special-edition Xbox 360 consoles that were bundled with the game.

We will update as more information becomes available.
Antonick v. Electronic Arts, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Northern California
Case No: 3:11-cv-01543

On Friday, June 21, 2013, a one-week trial culminated in a jury finding that Robin Antonick (the programmer for the original "Madden NFL" game released in the late 1980s) was not barred from suing for millions in royalties by the statute of limitations.

Back in 1988, Antonick was responsible for programming the first iteration of Electronic Arts Madden NFL series for the Apple II.  Antonick alleges that EA owes him royalties stemming from their Madden NFL game released on the Sega Genesis.  The jury, specifically, found that Antonick did not become aware of EA's alleged breach until 2009 at EA's 20th anniversary celebration of the franchise.  Whereas Antonick's version of the game took four years to make, multiple EA employees involved with the franchise reminisced how the Sega version only took six months to make, even though none of the lead developers had ever created a videogame before.  Antonick alleges that he then began to realize that there was no way the game could have been developed in that amount of time without relying on the source code he wrote.  Leonard Aragon, Antonick's attorney, goes on to allege that the Sega version of the game used a football field 80 yards wide, whereas a typical field is 53 yards wide.  This is significant because, in Antonick's original game, the field was 80 yards wide, and there is, "no reason to have it that size unless you take it from the previous game; [because] if you put [Antonick's] plays on a 53-yard field half the team would be off the field."  Electronic Arts alleges that Antonick could have discovered this information back in 2004 when the publisher was celebrating the franchise's 15th anniversary.

Trial is scheduled to being on July 1, 2013, to determine if, and to what extent, EA owes royalties to Antonick.  The verdict could be substantial.  Under the original contract, EA agreed to pay Antonick royalties on any works that are either derivative of the original 1988 game or any other works stemming from those derivative works.

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.
Case Update: Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Zynga, Inc.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Case No.3:2012cv04099. Filed On August 3, 2012

The suit filed last year by EA for copyright infringement—as well as Zynga's counterclaims—has been dismissed following an out-of-court settlement in February 2013.  Zynga released a statement saying, "EA and Zynga have resolved their respective claims and have reached a settlement of their litigation in the Northern District of California."  All claims were dismissed with prejudice.  Gamasutra claims it has a source familiar with the matter than informed them that, "Zynga is 'pleased' with the nature of the settlement."

We're closing the books on this one.

(Source: Gamasutra)



U.S. Patent No. RE39,830: Method for apparatus for recording and playback of multidimensional walkthrough narratives
Issued September 11, 2007, to Ricoh Co., Ltd.


Summary:

The ‘830 patent describes a method for a player, while playing a three-dimensional game, to record narrative of his movements in the game and then play them back. One option of playback a player can select allows is a passive mode, wherein the user can only navigate along the path taken by the original player who recorded his movements. There is also an active mode, wherein the player is free to move about the three-dimensional world, regardless of where the original player went.


Abstract:

A method and apparatus for recording and playback of multidimensional walkthrough narratives. A three dimensional modeling language is used to automatically create a simple three-dimensional environment using pre-existing electronic documents. A first user, or author may navigate throughout the three-dimensional environment while at the same time recording the path taken and any accompanying audio. In one of two playback modes, a second user can be shown a "walkthrough" of the three-dimensional scene corresponding to the path taken by the author. In the other playback mode, a second user is free to navigate the three-dimensional world while the author's path is displayed.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A method comprising: generating a multidimensional representation of a plurality of electronic documents within a three-dimensional environment; recording a narrative of the multidimensional representation; and storing the multidimensional representation and the narrative to allow playback in at least one of a plurality of modes.


U.S. Patent No. RE41,331: Playing an interactive real-time card selection game over a network
Issued May 11, 2010, to Thwartpoker, Inc.


Summary:

The RE41,331 patent describes a method for playing interactive, computerized card games. The cards are dealt by a computer and the betting is generated by the computer software. The program is written to have a time limit on betting. Each player who wants to play uses a computer to connect to the network where they can join up with other human players or stick to playing computer players. The network records the player’s name, IP address, and requested playing session.  The games continue until all player either leave, lose all of their money, or win the game.

Abstract:

A method of playing an interactive, computerized, multi-player card game in which desired cards are selected by players, some of which may be virtual players generated by the game's software. Each real player uses a computer or similar device that is connected to a network. Virtual player card selection and betting is controlled by computer software. After each player has selected a card in a round, computer software determines what card each player is dealt. Null cards having no value in the scoring are dealt when there is a conflict in card selection or when a player fails to select a card within a time limit. The games follow the rules of poker.

Illustrative Claim:

1. In a communications network, a method for playing an interactive, network-based card game comprising: a) establishing a connection between at least one client software program for a game of cards, said client software program running on a player's computer connected to a network, and a server software program for the game, said server software program running on a computer acting as a server and connected to the network, said connection enabling the player to join a playing session populated with other players selected from a group consisting of real and virtual players, the real players using separate computers connected to the network, each computer running another instance of the client software program, each instance of client software connected to the server software, and the virtual players generated and controlled by the game's server software, said game including the following steps: i) selecting at the player's computer a card from a deck of playing cards, said deck of cards the same for all players in the playing session; ii) communicating the identity of said card to the dealer controlled by the server software; iii) receiving at the player's computer a message from the server software identifying a card from the dealer, said card selected by the dealer from the group consisting of: A) the player's selected card; and B) a null card; iv) displaying at the player's computer the card dealt to that player; v) displaying at the player's computer any face-up cards that have been distributed to other players; vi) communicating a bet to the server software during the betting rounds; vii) receiving at the player's computer software notification of bets made by other players via a message from the server software; viii) repeating steps i--vii until a predetermined number of cards are delivered to each player and betting is concluded; ix) identifying the player with the best hand of cards according to predetermined rules of play via a message from the server software; x) receiving a score based on the player's hand at the player's computer via a message from the server software, said score calculated according to predetermined rules of play; xi) repeating steps i--x until the playing session ends; and b) closing the connection between the player's client software program and the server software to terminate session play.


An order was issued by a district court judge in the Northern District of California on May 30, 2013, dismissing the case with prejudice after the parties came to an outside settlement.  Pecover and Owens v. Electronic Arts, Inc. was a class action suit initially filed claiming that EA had a monopoly on all football games due to its exclusive licenses with the NFL, NCAA, and Arena Football League (AFL).  The court's modification of the settlement's Plan of Allocation granted the lead class members $5,000, their attorneys received fees in the amount of $7.29 million, as well as a $2 million dollar reimbursement for costs.  Furthermore, the order granted class members who filed a valid claim form no later than May 15, 2013, the right to up to $162.96.  The settlement also stipulated that EA is unable to renew its NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co. football licenses for a period of five years after their expiration in 2014.  EA is also barred from obtaining exclusive AFL licenses for a period of five years from the date of the order.  However, EA's exclusive license with the NFL—the basis of its massively successful Madden NFL series—was not affected.


A full copy of the order is available online.

U.S. Patent No. 7,086,946: Game method using network, server executing the game method, and storage medium storing program executing the game method
Issued Aug. 8, 2006, to Aruze Co., Ltd.


Summary:

The ‘946 patent provides a way to identify opposing player’s skill levels during online play. The invention calls for using facial recognition which is directly tied to a player’s skill. Before a match the player submits a facial picture which will be shown to his opponent. The picture will change based on the outcome of the game. This way a player is identified not only by his username but also by a picture. The invention offers a quick scan method of determining an opponent’s skill level since all the player has to do is glance at the picture and he will know the level of his opponent.

Abstract:

On a server, face image is registered and updated according to the player's skill-level. Specifically, as personal information, not only registration of user's address, name, or pen name, but also face information is registered and changed according to the game result. Therefore, this permits a quick visual recognition of the previous game result. As the result, when performing a battle game between terminals, the player can understand the competitor's skill-level.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A game method with which a game player connects to a server by using a terminal and plays a game on the server, the method including the steps of: before starting the game on the server, making the game player register a face image information as personal information; changing the face image information according to the game result; and using the changed face image information as face information of the next game.

Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc.
U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
Case No: 3-09-cv-05990
           
This case was recently remanded to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals after the Court of Appeals held that the grant of summary judgment was in error and that further proceedings were necessary.  The case arises from Plaintiff Ryan Hart (individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated) alleging that Electronics Arts (EA) NCAA Football series of games violated his right of publicity by appropriating his likeness in NCAA Football 2004, 2005, and 2006.  Hart was a successful quarterback for Rutgers University from 2002 through the 2005 season, taking his team to their first Bowl game since 1978.  The case was originally dismissed after EA filed a motion for summary judgment; the district court held that EA NCAA games were protected under the First Amendment.

The Third Circuit, in determining that the District Court erred conducted a balancing test when coming to its decision to decide whether First Amendment rights superseded the right of publicity.  In conducting this analysis, the court looked to three tests: the predominant use test, the Rogers test, and the transformative use test.  The predominant use test maintains that, "If a product is being sold that predominantly exploits the commercial value of an individual's identity, that product should be held to violate the right of publicity and not be protected by the First Amendment."  The court did not, however, that if the predominant purpose is to comment on or about a celebrity (such as parody) more weight would be given to the expressive values.  The court ultimately declined this test stating that at best is was very subjective, but at worst is was arbitrary forcing judges to not only be, "impartial jurists" but also, "discerning art critics."  The court then turned to the Rogers Test from Rogers v. Grimaldi.  This test relies on a theory of trademark law, specifically false endorsement, and it holds that the use of celebrity likeness is acceptable as long as it is not simply, "a disguised commercial advertisement for the sale of goods and services".  The court also rejected this test stating that it would be unwise to determine that Hart was unable to retain his right of publicity because his likeness was being used in the very same arena from which it was derived.  The court reasoned that it made sense that any use of Hart's likeness would be in a football setting since that is where his celebrity came from.  After rejecting the predominant use and Rogers test, the court adopted the transformative use test.  This test requires that an artist adopting the likeness of another must contribute something more than a "merely trivial" variation to be protected under the First Amendment.  However, the threshold to meet this test is rather low, a work is transformative if it adds "new expression".  That alone is sufficient to fall within the boundaries of the transformative use test.  Ultimately, the Court of Appeals decided that NCAA Football was not sufficiently transformative to attain First Amendment protection because it adds nothing creative to Hart's likeness.  EA argued that all player avatars could be customized, therefore satisfying the transformation requirement.  However, the court held that the main appeal of Hart's likeness was maintaining it as is so that fans could play as him.  Furthermore, any customization was not a transformation of Hart's likeness allowing the use, but was instead a new creative product that caused the use to cease to exist. 

This case is still pending in the District Court of New Jersey after the Third Circuit's opinion was filed on May 21, 2013.  If, after further proceedings, the District Court determines that Hart's right to publicity was affected, it could have a substantial effect on EA NCAA series.  Because NCAA athletes cannot receive compensation that in any way relates to their athleticism, it is unlikely that players would sign away their likenesses to EA as there is little benefit to be gained.  This would make the game series a potentially huge liability for the company, putting them in a position that would require they either risk litigation or lose the distinctiveness of the athletes that fans of the series purchase the game for.

We will continue to monitor this case and provide any relevant updates as they become available.
Home Gambling Network, Inc. v. Piche, et. al.
United States District Court for the District of Nevada
Case No. 2:05-CV-0610-DAE-VCF, Filed May 16, 2005

This 2005 case is still pending in the Nevada District Court; it's scheduled for a hearing on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on July 24, 2013. 

Defendants' filed the motion to have the case dismissed on the merits on February 27, 2013.  This motion was filed after Defendants produced database server information to Plaintiffs regarding their online gambling business—Plaintiffs claim this information is necessary to determine wagers made and the IP addresses for their clients to determine if any were located in the United States.  Defendants had already moved for summary judgment, but were denied by a magistrate judge until this information was produced.  After satisfying the magistrate judge's order, Defendants filed this new motion for summary judgment. 

In response to Defendants' motion, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Defer or Deny Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and to Allow Time to Complete Discovery as well as a Preliminary Response to Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion on April 12, 2013.  Plaintiffs claim two bases for the denial of the motion for summary judgment: 1) they have not had the opportunity to properly perform substantial discovery which has prevented a proper response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and 2) based on the incomplete discovery records received, Plaintiff alleges that there are an estimated 34,000 records of U.S.-based players which lends itself to the possibility that the method patent was infringed.  Although this case was initially filed in May of 2005, little to no discovery has been completed due to the court's denial of early discovery requests and Defendants' alleged reticence in providing requested discovery materials.  Plaintiffs therefore allege that they have not had the opportunity to make a proper inquiry to defend against Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.  They go on to assert that, even without complete data, there is compelling evidence to show that patent infringement was taking place in the United States barring an award of summary judgment. 

On May 17, 2013, Defendants filed a Reply to Plaintiffs' Response.  They contend that they have produced the discovery materials ordered by the court and should therefore be allowed to move for dismissal.  Defendants go further stating that, even if they have not properly produced the server data in question, as a matter of law Plaintiffs' case should be dismissed.  Defendants argue that in order to successfully make an infringement claim on a method patent, all steps must have taken place in the United States.  Since Plaintiff concedes that Defendants' servers are located in Costa Rica, Defendants' argue that not all steps of infringement have taken place in the United States.  Therefore, the Plaintiffs' claim is invalid and should be dismissed.

We will continue to monitor this case and provide any updates as they become available.

 


Digital Reg of Texas, LLC v. Adobe Systems Incorporated et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Case No. 3:12-cv-01971-NC, Filed April 20, 2012

This case is still ongoing and has since been transferred from the Eastern District of Texas to the Northern District of California as of April 20, 2012. Digital Reg's claims against AVG Technologies regarding U.S. Patent No. 6,389,541 have been dismissed with prejudice as have AVG's counterclaims. Valve Corporation has also had all claims of infringement and counterclaims dismissed with prejudice as of May 23, 2013.

The most recent developments in the case regard discovery disputes between Digital Reg and Adobe as well as EA. Digital Reg is seeking royalties for the infringed patents, and requests EA's financial information regarding their Origin platform for distributing online games. EA maintains that Origin is a free-to-use platform, and since EA's computer games are not allegedly infringing, the financial information regarding Origin would have only marginal relevance.

The case has also been docketed for trial beginning on January 13, 2014, with jury selection to take place on January 6, 2014. We will continue to monitor this case and provide updates regarding any major developments.
Yesterday there was an Op-Ed in the New York Times presenting the opinion that District Court Judges should use already existing portions of the law more often to shift fees in patent troll litigation.  The writers point out that in 3000 cases analyzed, in only 20 of them were fees shifted to the plaintiff.  Fee shifting refers to when the court requires the Plaintiff  to pay all or some of the Defendant's legal fees to defend the lawsuit in the first place.  Its an interesting, and quick, read.  But what makes it REALLY interesting is that it was penned by Judge Randall Rader, Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears all patent lawsuit appeals), along with two others.  If you are a defendant that appeals a patent case and part of your appeal is fee shifting, cross your fingers that Judge Rader is on your panel.  I also wonder how many District Court judges will see the op-ed and give it any consideration in future fee shifting analyses.

Read the full Op-Ed here.

U.S. Patent No. 6,733,383: Systems and methods for simulating game state changes responsive to an interrupt condition
Issued May 11, 2004, to EA


Summary:

The ‘383 patent provides a system in a racing game where the player can simulate either the whole race or a portion of the race. If a player simulates a race (or only a portion of it) the game will calculate the probability of certain events and, using real-world statistics, can simulate the most realist race possible. The computer randomly generates common racing events such as crashes, spinouts, and debris on the track. Each of the computer-controlled drivers have their own attributes (based on the real-life racers they are modeled after) which ensures that each car acts in its own way during the race. Thus, each race will be different depending on what situations arise. A player has the option of simulating the whole race before the race begins, but he can also manually race for part of the race and then simulate until the end if he needs to move on and does not have time to complete the race.

Abstract:

A simulation module simulates events that may occur during a cautionary period based on, e.g., current relative position of vehicles, vehicle and driver attributes and current game statistics for vehicles, and compiles new statistics and attributes that are used in the resumed race. A full race simulation option and a partial race simulation option are also provided. For example, in a season mode, the simulation module simulates events that may occur during a race and compiles statistics that can be used later, e.g., in a later race, for season standings, etc. A complete race may be simulated, or a partial race may be simulated, for example, if a user desires to terminate a race before it is finished, using the compiled statistics, and a new set of statistics compiled to track the simulated race events. Real world statistics are imported and used in some aspects. For example, real world standings, performance statistics and attribute information are stored in a database and are used as a basis for AI-controlled vehicle performance and AI-generated simulation results.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method of simulating game state changes responsive to an interrupt condition in a computer-implemented racing game, comprising: generating an interrupt condition during game play of the racing game at a first game state, the first game state having a first set of statistics associated therewith; responsive to said interrupt condition, interrupting game play and calculating a second set of statistics associated with a second game state by simulating events that occur after the first game state based on the first set of statistics; and wherein the second game state is a completed game state, and wherein the second set of statistics includes statistics associated with a completed race.

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