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U.S. Patent No. 6,966,831: Method of branching flow of game
Issued November 22, 2005, to Sony


Summary: 

For all you gamers who grow tired of linear story lines without much of a story, the ‘831 patent will be appealing. The ‘831 patent provides for a story branching control method which changes the story depending upon a player’s choices in the game. The player’s successes or failures determine whether branch points exist during the predetermined period of time. The ‘831 patent gives the player an opportunity to play, explore, and control the world around him. It allows for his decisions to have a real and lasting impact on the game’s storyline and should make the game more enjoyable for the gamer.

Abstract:

Without making such a matter that, for example, a branching point where the flow of a game story is branched is notified to the user, the user is let so as to detect a timing for a hidden branching point to be present, and in dependence on whether the detection of the branching point is right or wrong, the story has a varied subsequent development.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A story branching control method for a video game whose content of a story is branched in accordance with a player's instruction, comprising the steps of: providing a branching point selectable by a user for determining a flow of the story; receiving a search instructing input for searching for the branching point; searching for the branching point for a predetermined period of time after receiving the search instructing input; determining whether the branching point exists during the predetermined period of time after receiving the search instructing input; and determining a branch destination of the story in accordance with a success or failure of determining whether the branching point exists during the predetermined period of time.

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Ross Dannenberg

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