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U.S. Patent No. 7,594,847: Squad command interface for console-based video game
Issued Sep. 29, 2009, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘847 patent provides for a squad-based game whereby the player can select characters and give commands which the computer characters will obey. The user interface contains character profiles of one or more of the multiple characters and icons associated with the character profiles that represent the current commands. The player uses the D-pad on his Xbox controller to pull up the command menu, and can then select a command which will be directed at the rest of the squad.

Abstract:

A squad command interface for a squad-based shooter video game maps character selection and command selection to actuators on a game controller. Players can select squad characters and issue a single order to multiple characters with few controller actuations.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A user interface for a squad-based shooter video game system executable by one or more processors of the video game system and displayable on a screen associated with the video game system, the user interface comprising: an indication, displayable on the screen, of current commands that are issued to individual characters of a squad of multiple characters; and an interface displayable on the screen, to enable a player to issue simultaneously a common command to a plurality of characters of the squad by actuating one or more actuators on a game controller pertaining to the video game system, wherein the plurality of characters is less than all of the multiple squad characters, and wherein the squad-based shooter video game is configured to enable the player to concurrently, with a single actuation of an individual actuator of the game controller, select the plurality of squad characters, the plurality being an integer greater than one and less than all of the multiple squad characters, and invoke a command change user interface displayable on the screen, and wherein at least a portion of the user interface is persistently visible on the screen during play of the game, and wherein said single actuation initiates display of the command change user interface on the screen in which at least a portion of the video game is viewable through the command change user interface, wherein the interface comprises: a first graphical user interface to enable player selection of the multiple squad characters; and a second graphical user interface comprising the command change user interface, wherein the second graphical user interface contains command icons of possible commands that can be issued by actuating at least one of the actuators, the command icons being arranged to map visually and spatially onto the at least one actuator.

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