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U.S. Patent No. 7,637,806: Method for dynamic content generation in a role-playing game
Issued Dec. 29, 2009, to Rampart Studios, LLC


Summary:

The ‘806 patent provides a system where NPC (non-playing characters) can be programmed with different “goals’ during an MMOG game. A user can have his avatar approach a NPC and interact with him. Under this invention, the NPC will have a different interaction with the player each time depending on the internal time and past decisions the player has made. For example, at one point the NPC may need the player’s help setting a trap for a bear, when the next time he needs help with his campaign for mayor. By programming several options into the NPC, the invention attempts to make sure that the user’s past choices in the game matter and affect the game play.

Abstract:

The invention provides a role-playing game environment wherein the nature of various NPCs within the game may be varied over time within the game. The goals of various NPCs within the game may be dynamically and automatically changed within the game. At certain in-game time periods, the game server may dynamically assign one or more new goals for some or all of the NPCs based on the current status of each NPC. When a player later interacts with a given NPC assist (or impede) that NPC in reaching its currently assigned goal, the method may dynamically determine a steps that the player's avatar may perform to assist (or impede) the goal. Thus, players cannot predict what will happen when they move through the game and reach a location at which they can interact with a given NPC, making the game-playing experience ever fresh and challenging.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method for varying the experiential content available to human players of an only role-playing game comprising: a computer providing an in-game environment having a number of computer-generated, computer-controlled, non-playing characters (NPCs) with which human players can interact, wherein human players carry a status with in the in-game environment based on their prior game-playing experience, and wherein the in-game status of a given human player is stored so as to be carried forward from one game-playing session to the next; the computer assigning an individual set of values to at least some of the NPCs, wherein the set of values assigned to an y such NPC is stored so as to be carried forward from one game-playing session to the next; the computer providing a set of goals which are available to be assigned to the NPCs with in the in-game environment, wherein for each goal of the set of goals, the computer provides a set of candidate steps which, if accomplished during in-game play, will result in achieving the goal; within an in-game time frame defined by the computer for use within the in-game environment, the computer assigning a specific goal randomly selected from at least a subset of the set of goals to one of the NPCs, wherein the specific goal remains assigned to the one of the NPCs for at least the duration of the in-game time frame; within the in-game time frame, in response to a human player electing to interact with one of the NPCs, the computer defining a set of one or more steps operable by the human player during the in-game time frame to assist the one of the NPCs in achieving the specific goal from among the set of candidate steps for the specific goal; and within a subsequent in-game time frame, the computer assigning a different goal randomly selected from a subset of the set of goals other than the at least a subset of the set of goals to the one of the NPCs for at least the duration of the subsequent in-game time frame.

Good Morning to You Productions Corp., a production company working on a documentary about the song, sued Warner Chappel Music in New York federal court in June 2013, claiming that "Happy Birthday to You" was first copyrighted in 1893 and thus is long past expiration. The suit alleges Warner/Chappell had unlawfully collected millions of dollars in licensing fees for the tune by claiming it holds the exclusive right to control distribution, performances and reproductions of it. Good Morning to You said it had filed suit in response to Warner/Chappell's demand that it pay a $1,500 licensing fee to use the song in a documentary about the history of the song.

Well yesterday, September 22, 2015, a California Federal judge agreed, and ruled that Warner Chappel's copyright is invalid, except with respect to a narrow piano arrangement of music to accompany the song. U.S. District Judge George H. King found that Warner had never acquired the rights to the song’s lyrics, according to Tuesday’s decision. In copyright records, court records and several agreements over the use of the song, nowhere was there discussion of the lyrics to “Happy Birthday,” according to the decision. Some records mention the melody or piano arrangement, but not the words to the song, the judge said.

This means that video game developers can use the song "Happy Birthday to You" without fear of the Warner Chappel Music Police sending you a nasty-gram, demanding a royalty. The case is Good Morning to You Productions Corp. et al v. Warner Chappell Music Inc. et al., case number 2:13-cv-04460, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Read more at Law360.com.

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.


U.S. Patent No. 7,632,186: Spectator mode for a game
Issued Dec. 15, 2009, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘186 patent provides for a system which allows a player to observe other game sessions without participating. The invention monitors the gameplay and allows the player to access game stats (score, time, etc .) in order to follow alongside the game. The invention is intended to allow novice players the chance to watch other players and learn moves or tactics which will help in their progression. Since different players advance through the game at different paces, this observation mode allows a player to learn without being disadvantaged while playing.

Abstract:

Methods and systems for broadcasting game sessions to be viewable by spectators are disclosed. In addition to sending telemetry data to other game clients participating in a game session, one or more game clients in the game session also sends the game telemetry data to a title server for the video game being played. The title server analyzes and repackages the received telemetry data and rebroadcasts the repackaged telemetry as a spectator feed to non-participant spectator client devices for viewing by users of the spectator client devices. Each spectator client device can analyze and manipulate the received telemetry data using a copy of the video game executing on the spectator client device, or may simply playback the feed when the feed includes a complete audiovisual file.

Exemplary Claim:

1. One or more computer storage media storing computer executable instructions for performing a method of distributing game telemetry data corresponding to a game session of a video game to a spectator client to allow a user of the spectator client to spectate the game session, said method comprising steps of: receiving at a network location not joined in the game session, game telemetry data generated by one or more participant clients of the game session of the video game, each participant client executing the video game under the control of a corresponding participant player; the network location creating a spectator feed by aggregating the received game telemetry data; receiving a request for the spectator feed from a spectator client not participating in the game session; the network location sending the spectator feed over the computer network to the spectator client; executing the video game on the spectator client using the received game telemetry data wherein the game telemetry data comprises projectile information and wherein the executing step comprises: establishing a ghost character representation for the spectator at the camera position; and applying the received game telemetry data against the ghost character wherein the applying step comprises the ghost character taking damage as a result of being hit by a projectile.

U.S. Patent No. 7,625,284: Systems and methods for indicating input actions in a rhythm-action game
Issued Dec. 1, 2009, to Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.


Summary:

The ‘284 patent describes the visual concept for games like “Rock Band” or “Guitar Hero,” where a player’s cues are given via a colored highway where the necessary buttons are displayed. The invention here involves using a drum kit during the game. During the game, a player has his own lane which corresponds to his instrument. Each player in the game will be given their own lane which will then be split into different sections (corresponding with the different buttons the players have available). The drum kit features several different pads (which all correspond to color cues that travel along the player’s highway) and also includes a bass pedal which will be required whenever a solid line is displayed along the highway. The player needs to press the buttons in time with the music in order to gain points throughout the game.

Abstract:

Systems and methods for displaying cues indicating input actions in a rhythm-action game may include: displaying, to a player of a rhythm-action game, a lane divided into at least two sub-lanes, each sub-lane containing cues indicating a drum input element; and displaying, to the player, an additional cue spanning a plurality of the sub-lanes, the additional cue indicating a foot pedal action. In some embodiments, the additional cue may span all the sub-lanes. In some embodiments, each sub-lane may contain cues indicating a drum input element of a set of linearly arranged drum input elements. In other embodiments, each sub-lanes may correspond to a fret button of a simulated guitar and the additional cue may correspond to an open strum.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method executed by a game platform for rendering, on a screen display, a foot-pedal cue in a rhythm-action video game, the method comprising: a. displaying via the screen display, to a player of the rhythm-action video game, a lane divided into at least two sub-lanes, each sub-lane containing cues indicating a drum input element; b. displaying via the screen display, to the player, an additional cue spanning a plurality of the sub-lanes and not confined to a distinct sub-lane, the additional cue indicating a foot pedal action; and c. displaying via the screen display, to the player, a cue contained within a sub-lane and overlaid over the additional cue spanning a plurality of the sub-lanes.


U.S. Patent No. 7,614,955: Method for online game matchmaking using play style information
Issued November 10, 2009, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘955 patent describes a method for accumulating data in order to successively match users during online gaming. One way players are matched together is based upon their style of play. The system attempts to match players who are looking for similar game styles, have similar skill levels, and have similar reputations. The invention uses measurements for several different characteristics before it matches up players, including: aggressiveness, playing likeability, and trash talking. After analyzing the several factors, the system matches players based upon its determination of whether the first player is a good match for the second player.

Abstract:

A method and system for accumulating data to match and matching a user, based upon a play style and/or personal attribute, in an online gaming environment is described. One aspect of the invention provides a matchmaking system that matches players based upon a play style of the players. The system matches players who are looking for games with players who prefer similar play styles. Similarly the system can match players based upon a personal attribute of the player. The system can be built into existing general skill level and technical capabilities based matchmaking systems to provide more user desired matchmaking parameters, allowing a user to choose based upon play style, personal attribute, general skill level, and/or technical capabilities.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method for matching users over a network in an online gaming environment, the method comprising steps of: entering a user into a first online game available over the network; receiving from the user by way of the network at least one response to at least one query to the user about the first online game experience following completion of the first online game by the user; determining a play style parameter of a requesting user based on the at least one response, the determined play style parameter for being employed to connect the requesting user to a second online game available over the network, the second game being different from the first online game; and connecting the requesting user to the second online game based at least in part on the determined play style parameter; the connecting being based at least in part on a collaborative filtering method that aids the requesting user in the selection of the second online game based upon evaluations of the second online game made by other users.

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