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U.S. Patent No. 7,628,697: Game apparatus, game progressing method, program, and recording medium
Issued Dec. 8, 2009, to Square Enix


Summary:

The ‘697 patent describes a game apparatus where a character is moved between different areas of a map with greater ease. According to the invention, whenever a player approaches a door in the game which leads to a new area, a symbol is displayed for the player. Whenever a player attempts to open the door, if the requirements to unlock the door have been met, the door will open instantly. If, however, the requirements have not been satisfied, the invention calls for a message to be displayed explaining the objective that must be completed to open the door. A hint will also be displayed if the player needs one to help him progress in the game.

Abstract:

A game apparatus executes a game in which a player character is moved between different fields through a given traveling route according to an instruction input from a player. When the player character moves to a first area close to a door, a symbol "!" is displayed. When the character moves to a second area, a symbol set "!!" is displayed. In the second area, if unlocking conditions for the door are satisfied, a method of manipulation for opening the door is displayed. If the conditions are not satisfied, a method of manipulation for displaying a hint for opening the door is displayed. If the conditions for unlocking the door are satisfied, when the player performs the manipulation for opening the door, an action of the player character to open the door is displayed. Map data of the destination room is loaded into a temporary storage from a recording medium and then the player character moves to the opposite room through the door.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A game apparatus for executing a game that is advanced by moving a player character in a virtual space, including a first field and a second field, the second field opening into the first field via a predetermined traveling route, and for displaying an image representing a status of the game being executed on a display, the game apparatus comprising: a normal movement inputter operable to input an instruction to move the player character in the virtual space, including the first and second fields, in accordance with a player operation; a cross-field movement inputter operable to input an instruction to move the player character from the first field to the second field through the traveling route in accordance with a player operation; a normal mover operable to move the player character in any one of the first and second fields in which the player character is present in accordance with the instruction input from the normal movement inputter, the normal mover including a direction changer to change a direction of the player character in accordance with the instruction input from the normal movement inputter; a movement restriction switcher operable to switch a status of the game between a cross-field movement disabled state, in which the player character is not allowed to move from the first field to the second field, and a cross-field movement enabled state, in which the player character is allowed to move from the first field to the second field, in accordance with conditions established during progress of the game; a cross-field movement enable/disable determiner operable to determine whether the status of the game has been switched to the cross-field movement enabled state by the movement restriction switcher when the player character is moved by the normal mover to a specific region set based on a position of the traveling route within the first field; a direction determiner that determines whether the direction that the player character faces is a given direction relative to the position of the traveling route between the first and second fields when the player character has been moved into the specific region by the normal mover; a cross-field movement enable/disable displayer operable to display cross-field movement enable/disable information, indicating whether the player character is allowed to move from the first field to the second field on the display based upon the determination made by the cross-field movement enable/disable determiner, when the player character is determined to face in the given direction by the direction determiner; a cross-field movement enablement displayer operable to display information indicating conditions to be established for switching the status from the cross-field movement disabled state to the cross-field movement enabled state by the movement restriction switcher when the cross-field movement enable/disable determiner determines that the status has been switched to the cross-field movement disabled state and when an instruction to move the player character from the first field to the second field is input from the cross-field movement inputter; a cross-field mover operable to move the player character from the first field to the second field when an instruction to move the player character from the first field to the second field is input from the cross-field movement inputter and the cross-field movement enable/disable determiner determines that the status of the game is the cross-field movement enabled state; and a cross-field movement prohibiter operable to keep the player character within the first field without moving the player character to the second field when an instruction to move the player character from the first field to the second field is input from the cross-field movement inputter and the cross-field movement enable/disable determiner determines that the status of the game is the cross-field movement disabled state.

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