Title:
GAME PROGRAM AND GAME SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
To provide a game program which realizes an increase in realism by reflecting actual weather information in a hypothetical world in a game. A CPU of an apparatus main body obtains actual weather data via a communication interface, and stores it in an HDD. Simulated weather is determined based on a behavioral model which includes the weather data and average year value data recorded in advance in a DVD/CD-ROM. Then, based on the simulated weather determined and parameter correction functions recorded in advance in the DVD/CD-ROM, a character parameter and a background image parameter are corrected, and the actual weather is reflected in an image displayed on a display device.



Inventors:
Abe, Kazuaki (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/464879
Publication Date:
03/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/16/2006
Assignee:
ARUZE CORP. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
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Primary Examiner:
HENRY, THOMAS HAYNES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (700 THIRTEENTH ST. NW, SUITE 300, WASHINGTON, DC, 20005-3960, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A computer program which is stored in a memory of a computer to: display one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen of a display device of the computer; determine behavior of the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from an operating module operable by the player; and cause the computer to progress a game on the screen, the program comprising the steps of: obtaining actual weather data via a communication section; storing the obtained weather data in a memory; storing in advance in a memory a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in the game in accordance with a passing of time; with the obtained weather data as an initial value, determining simulated weather which changes based on the behavioral model; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correcting at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

2. A computer program which is stored in a memory of a computer to: display one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen of a display device of the computer; determine behavior of the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from an operating module operable by the player; and cause a computer to progress a game in a computer on the screen, a method of executing the program comprising the steps of: obtaining actual weather data via a communication section at each prescribed time; storing the obtained weather data obtained in a memory; storing in advance in a memory a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in the game in accordance with a passing of time; based on the weather data obtained over a plurality of times and on the behavioral model, determining a change of the simulated weather; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correcting at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

3. A computer program according to claim 1, wherein the actual weather data is obtained via the communication section from a prescribed server.

4. A game system comprising: a processing unit; an operating module operable by a player; a display device which displays one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen; and a memory which stores a program and a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in a game in accordance with a passing of time, the program being executed by the processor unit to: display the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from the operating module; obtain actual weather data accumulated in a prescribed server via a communication section; store the obtained weather data in a memory; with the obtained weather data as an initial value, determine simulated weather which changes based on the behavioral model; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correct at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

5. A game system comprising: a processing unit; an operating module operable by a player; a display device which displays one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen; and a memory which stores a program and a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in a game in accordance with a passing of time, the program being executed by the processing unit to: display the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from the operating module; obtain actual weather data accumulated in a prescribed server via a communication section at each prescribed time; store the obtained weather data in a memory; based on the weather data obtained over a plurality of times and on the behavioral model, determine a change of the simulated weather; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correct at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority of Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-238445 filed on Aug. 19, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a game program and a game system.

2. Related Art

As game programs heretofore known, there are a wide variety of kinds such as an RPG (Role Playing Game), an action game, a sports game and a puzzle game. Among this large number of game program kinds, there exists a game program which aims to provide a simulated experience of an event in a game world, configured with an event in the real world as a motif, just as though it were real. For example, in a racing game, by carrying out a driving operation of an actual make of car, with an actual circuit track or public road as a stage, it is possible to enjoy a sensation of actually participating in a real race, that is, a sensation of reality.

However, in previous game programs of this type, environment factors in a game world, such as changing conditions of weather etc., have also been restricted by the program, being, as it were, inaclosed range. Ina game program without a communication section with the real world, change can inevitably only occur with no connection to the environment factors of the real world meaning that, even though an environmental change exemplified by a weather change is expressed, it is no more than a simulated random change based on an algorithm, and has been an obstructive factor in a pursuit of the sensation of reality.

Accordingly, a variety of technologies whereby information related to the environment factors in the real world can also be reflected in the game world have been disclosed in, for example, the following documents: Japanese Translations of PCT. No. 2004-520903 (Patent Document 1) and Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication Nos. 2000-157743 (Patent Document 2) , 2001-022264 (Patent Document 3) and 2002-159739 (Patent Document 4).

In Patent Document 1, a technology is disclosed whereby environment conditions simulated with respect to a place selected in response to real world information is inserted in a game world. In Patent Document 2, a technology is disclosed which relates to a game system which changes weather information of a hypothetical lake, based on weather information from the real world, in actual time, and controls behavior of a school of fish based on the weather information. In Patent Document 3, a technology is disclosed which obtains provided data on traffic information, weather forecasts and sporting broadcasts, which can be obtained through a communication line, and applies the data obtained in a game or an educational tool. In Patent Document 4, a technology is disclosed which transfers measurement data from an external environment transmitting apparatus, which measures temperature etc., to a game machine and, based on the data transferred, determines a name, a characteristic, an attribute and a parameter for a game character.

However, in any of the previous technologies, as a game system, it is constantly necessary to be obtaining information from the real world using a communication section, meaning that a problem occurs in the event that the communication section is cut off for any reason. Also, a constant connection of the communication section leads to a waste of limited hardware resources, and there is also a large disadvantage from a point of view of cost. Furthermore, depending on a type of game program, as there may be a discrepancy between a speed of a passing of time in the real world and a speed of a hypothetical passing of time in the game world, a problem exists in which it is not possible, merely by obtaining actual time environment information, to appropriately reflect the environment in the game world.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, an object of the invention is to provide a game program and a game system which solves the problems, enabling a further pursuit of a sensation of reality.

In order to achieve this object, the game program and game system of the invention provide the following.

1. A computer program which is stored in a memory of a computer to: display one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen of a display device of the computer; determine behavior of the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from an operating module operable by the player; and cause the computer to progress a game on the screen, the program comprising the steps of: obtaining actual weather data via a communication section; storing the obtained weather data in a memory; storing in advance in a memory a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in the game in accordance with a passing of time; with the obtained weather data as an initial value, determining simulated weather which changes based on the behavioral model; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correcting at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

2. A computer program which is stored in a memory of a computer to: display one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen of a display device of the computer; determine behavior of the character which is the player's operation object in accordance with an operation input from an operating module operable by the player; and cause a computer to progress a game in a computer on the screen, a method of executing the program comprising the steps of: obtaining actual weather data via a communication section at each prescribed time; storing the obtained weather data obtained in a memory; storing in advance in a memory a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in the game in accordance with a passing of time; based on the weather data obtained over a plurality of times and on the behavioral model, determining a change of the simulated weather; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correcting at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

3. A game system comprising: a processing unit; an operatingmodule operable by a player; a display device which displays one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen; and a memory which stores a program and a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in a game in accordance with a passing of time, the program being executed by the processor unit to: display the character which is the player's is operation object in accordance with an operation input from the operating module; obtain actual weather data accumulated in a prescribed server via a communication section; store the obtained weather data in a memory; with the obtained weather data as an initial value, determine simulated weather which changes based on the behavioral model; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correct at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

4. A game system comprising: a processing unit; an operating module operable by a player; a display device which displays one or a plurality of characters, including a character which is a player's operation object, on a screen; and a memory which stores a program and a behavioral model which determines behavior of weather in a game in accordance with a passing of time, the program being executed by the processing unit to: display the character which is the player's is operation object in accordance with an operation input from the operating module; obtain actual weather data accumulated in a prescribed server via a communication section at each prescribed time; store the obtained weather data in a memory; based on the weather data obtained over a plurality of times and on the behavioral model, determine a change of the simulated weather; and, based on the determined simulated weather, correct at least one of a background image parameter for generating a background image, an environment parameter for setting environment conditions in the game, and a character parameter for setting an individuality of the character.

The “character” refers to an article independent as a person, an animal, a form of transport or other solid in the hypothetical world in the game. Also, the “behavioral model” refers to basic data, a calculation method or other determination factor which determines a weather change in the hypothetical world in the game. The “simulated weather” refers to the weather in the hypothetical world in the game. The “background image parameter” refers to a value referred to when generating a background image. The “environment parameter” refers to a value referred to when generating an environment condition other than the character in the game. The “character parameter” refers to a value referred to when adding a characteristic to an individuality of the character

Additional objects and advantage of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE INVENTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute apart of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principals of the invention.

FIG. 1 shows a condition in which an apparatus main body 1, which executes a game program according to the invention, is connected to an operating device 2 and a video display device 3;

FIGS. 2A and 2B show an example of a specific configuration of the operating device 2;

FIG. 3 shows a system configuration of a game system including the apparatus main body 1;

FIG. 4A is a table of player potential data and parameter correction functions in a baseball game program according to the invention;

FIG. 4B is a table of stadium data and parameter correction functions in the baseball game program according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a process by which a game apparatus terminal obtains actual weather data from a server via a communication section;

FIG. 6 is a conceptual diagram showing actual weather data accumulated in the server;

FIG. 7 is a flowchart which reflects the actual weather data in a game by correcting various parameters based on simulated weather;

FIG. 8 is a sub-routine showing the process of determining simulated weather data in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a conceptual diagram showing a process by which the simulated weather data is generated;

FIG. 10 conceptually shows correction functions when carrying out a correction of background image data based on the simulated weather data;

Fig. 11A is a diagram showing an image which shows standard weather conditions; and

Fig. 11B is a diagram showing an image which reflects a parameter correction based on the simulated weather.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereafter, a description will be given of a best embodiment of the invention.

An apparatus configuration

FIG. 1 shows a condition in which an apparatus main body 1, which executes a game program according to the invention, is connected to an operating device 2 and a video display device 3 . The apparatus main body 1 is equipped with a power switch 11, a drive open-close switch 12, a DVD/CD-ROM drive 13, an AV output terminal 14, a communication interface (a network terminal) 15, a memory card insertion slot 16, a USB (Universal Serial Bus) terminal 17 and a controller terminal 18.

By operating the power switch 11, it is possible to activate the apparatus main body 1. By operating the drive open-close switch 12, it is possible to load a DVD-ROM in which the game program is stored into the DVD/CD-ROM drive 13, thereby enabling an execution of a game by means of the apparatus main body 1 reading the game program. As an external recording medium which stores the game program, apart from the DVD-ROM, it is possible to use a CD-ROM, an FD (flexible disc) or another optional recording medium.

The apparatus main body 1 is connected, via the AV output terminal 14, through a terminal cable 19 to the video display device 3, which is a display device. An existing television receiver which integrally includes a display screen 41, which can display image data transmitted from a graphic processor to be described hereafter in FIG. 3, and speakers 42, which can output sound data transmitted from a sound processor also to be described hereafter in FIG. 3, is used as the video display device 3.

Also, it is possible to connect the apparatus main body 1 to an external network via the communication interface (the network terminal) 15. By this means, it becomes possible to receive actual weather data and other information.

A configuration being such that it is possible to connect a memory card 5, which is a memory medium configured from a flash memory, to the memory card insertion slot 16, it is possible to store unfinished game data etc. Also, it is possible to connect an operating module such as, for example, a mouse or a keyboard, via the USB terminal 17.

It is possible to connect the operating device 2 to the apparatus main body 1 via the controller terminal 18, The operating device 2 is equipped with various input portions for issuing a control command to a CPU 31 inside the apparatus main body 1 (FIG. 3) in accordance with a player operation.

FIG. 2A and 2B show an example of a specific configuration of the operating device 2.

In FIG. 2A, left, right, up and down direction keys 21 are provided on a left side of the operating device 2, and are used, by a depression of a key of a relevant direction, to move a character in the relevant direction, or to move a cursor on a selection screen etc. Also, in FIG. 2A, code keys 22, on which codes ∘, x, Δand □are inscribed, are provided on a right side of the operating device 2, and are used for a decision input, a cancellation input and other command inputs. An L key 23 and an R key 24 provided on a top of the operating device 2, as shown in FIG. 2B, and operating levers 25 provided in a lower central portion of FIG. 2A and in an upper central portion of FIG. 23, are also used for inputting commands as appropriate in accordance with a kind of game. A selection button 26 and a start button 27 are provided in a central portion of the operating device 2, and are used respectively for inputting commands for switching the screens and the characters, and for starting, pausing and restarting the game.

As previously described, apart from the operating device 2, the mouse and the keyboard can be connected via the USB terminal 17 as the operating module.

An electrical configuration of the apparatus

FIG. 3 shows a system configuration of a game system including the apparatus main body 1. The apparatus main body 1 is equipped with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 31 as a controller, an ROM (Read Only Memory) 32 and an RAM (Random Access Memory) 33 acting as memories, an HDD (Hard Disc Drive) 34, a soundprocessor 35, a graphic processor 36, the DVD/CD-ROM 13, the communication interface (equivalent to the network terminal) 15, an interface 37, and a bus 38 for electrically interconnecting each of the components.

The CPU 31, being one which controls a whole of the apparatus main body 1 by executing a basic program stored in the ROM 32, tobe described hereafter, includes, for example, an RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) -CPU. The CPU 31, being equipped with an oscillator and a timer counter (both not-shown), emits a clock signal based on a timing signal transmitted from the oscillator at each prescribed time, counts the clock signal by means of the timer counter, and carries out a time measurement.

The ROM 32, being a read only memory, stores, for example, an OS (Operating Software) for executing the game program read from the external memory medium.

The RAM 33, being a main memory device used for an execution of a program by the CPU 31, stores the program executed by the CPU 31 and data necessary for the execution, Also, the RAM 33 is also used, when executing the program, for example, as a work area for a correction of various parameters, to be described hereafter, and so on,

The HDD 34 is an auxiliary memory device used for the execution of the program by the CPU 31. The HDD 34 can store a variety of data and programs, such as information downloaded using the communication interface 15 and information read from a DVD/CD-ROM 4. As will be described hereafter, weather data obtained from an external server via a network 99 can also be stored in the HDD 34.

The sound processor 35, being a circuit which carries out a process for reproducing sound data of a game background music, sound effects and so on, generates sound signals based on data stored in the RAM 33 in accordance with a command from the CPU31, and supplies them to the video display device 3.

The graphic processor 36, being equipped with a frame buffer (not shown), plots an image corresponding to a command from the CPU 31 onto the frame buffer. Also, the graphic processor 36 generates a video signal by appending a prescribed synchronization signal to the image data plotted onto the frame buffer, and supplies it to the video display device 3.

The interface 37 is configured in such a way that the operating device 2 and the memory card 5 can be connected thereto so as to be attachable and removable therefrom. The interface 37 controls a transmission of data between each of the sections connected to the bus 38, and the operating device 2 or the memory card 5.

The DVD/CD-ROM drive 13 is a reading device which reads data stored in the DVD/CD-ROM 4, which is the memory medium. The CPU 31, based on the basic program to be executed, executes an application program recorded in the DVD/CD-ROM 4 loaded in the DVD/CD-ROM drive 13. The CPU 31, by executing a control in accordance with the game program recorded in the DVD/CD-ROM 4, realizes a control related to a game to be described hereafter.

The communication interface 15 carries out a communication control with another device (another game device, server etc. connected to the network 99. As will be described hereafter, the communication interface 15 controls a request for and an acquisition of the weather data, whereby the weather data obtained from a server 100 via the bus 38 is stored in the HDD 34.

The above is a description of the electrical configuration of the apparatus main body 1. Next, a description will be given of the game program, in this case a baseball game program, realized by the CPU 31 executing the application program read from the DVD/CD-ROM loaded in the DVD/CD-ROM drive 13 in the apparatus main body 1 with the configuration described heretofore.

Parameters in the game program

In many baseball game programs, a player operates players displayed on a screen, selecting a type of pitch and a course, based on pitching data of a character representing an actual pitcher, and pitching in a defensive situation, while operating a swing of a bat as a batter displayed in a batter's box on the screen in an offensive situation. Among these baseball game programs, there exists a large number in which strength data (pitcher data and outfielder data) and stadium data representing actual professional baseball teams, players and stadia is recorded in advance, and the player selects a desired, optional team and plays a game. In such a baseball game program, in order to reflect an individuality of each player in the game, a playing record and a potential of each player is recorded as numerical data.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are player data and the stadium data recorded in advance in the baseball game program. FIG. 4A shows the player data. In the player data, along with basic data of a shirt number, a player name, a position, a throwing arm and batting side (for example “throws right-handed, bats right-handed,” etc.), potential parameters of hitting (m), multiple-base hitting (1), running (r), throwing (s) and defense (f) are recorded in numerical form.

Hitting (m) being a numerical representation of an ability to hit cleanly, and multiple-base hitting (1) of a distance a ball travels when hit, they are values which, along with a coefficient arising from a player operation such as a position and timing of a bat swing with respect to a pitch, determine a direction and a trajectory of a hit. Also, running (r) being a numerical representation of a speed as a runner, the higher the value, the higher the base running potential. Throwing (s) being a numerical representation of a sharpness of a throw when in defense, it is a value which, along with a coefficient arising from a player operation such as a throwing direction operation (operated with the direction keys 21 in FIG. 2A) and a timing of a depression of a throw button (for example, operated by the o key of the code keys 22 in FIG. 2A), determines the sharpness of the throw. Also, defense (f) reflecting a fielding ability, the higher the value, the less the likelihood of committing an error. These correspond to character parameters.

Then, three factors “heat resistance”, “rain resistance” and “star quality” are shown in right-hand columns of FIG. 4A. These are parameter correction functions which correct the heretofore described potential parameters depending on how far a simulated weather, to be described hereafter, is removed from a standard weather. At this point, the “standard weather” is taken to be, for example, “temperature: 25 degrees”, “precipitation: 0 mm”, “hours of sunshine: 40 minutes” and “wind speed: 0 m/s”.

For example, a player with a shirt number “00” and a player name “AA” has a multiple-base hitting (1) of “50” in standard weather but, in the event of a temperature of “30 degrees” in the simulated weather to be described hereafter, as a deviance (Δh) is 5 degrees, the multiple-base hitting is corrected to “60” and applied to the game. In this case, the player with the shirt number “00” and the player name “AA” is given a characteristic of being a “player resistant to heat”.

In the same way, the “rain resistance” factor is a parameter correction function which corrects the potential parameters of a player in accordance with an amount of precipitation. Also, the “star quality” factor is a parameter correction function which corrects the potential parameters of a player in accordance with a number of spectators determined by a combination of the simulated weather to be described hereafter, a time at which the game is played, a selected team, a playing record and so on.

FIG. 4B is stadium data showing basic information on a stadium at which a baseball game is hypothetically played. From a table it is seen that, for example, a stadium with a name “A stadium” is a stadium including an infield of “natural earth” and an outfield of “natural grass”. A “bounce coefficient” being an amount by which a hit rebounds when bouncing expressed in parameter form, the greater the number the higher the rebound. Also, a “friction coefficient” being an amount of a reduction in speed of a hit when the hit bounces or rolls expressed in parameter form, the greater the number, the greater the reduction in speed. These correspond to environment parameters for setting environmental conditions in the game.

Also, a “precipitation correction” is a parameter correction function which corrects each of the heretofore described coefficient parameters depending on how far the simulated weather; to be described hereafter, is removed from the standard weather. For example, in the case of the “A stadium”, when a precipitation correction of the bounce coefficient is “−3Δw” and a precipitation correction of the friction coefficient is “+2Δw”, in the event that the “precipitation” in the simulated weather is “2 mm”, the bounce coefficient after the correction is “−6” obtained by multiplying “−3” by “2” added to “40” giving a result of “34”, while in the same way the friction coefficient after the correction is “64”. That is, the environment of a hypothetical world in the game is effected by the simulated weather in that, in accordance with the amount of precipitation, the infield bounce is lower and a hit dies more quickly, thereby also having an effect on the game itself.

Next, a description will be given of a process by which a game apparatus terminal obtains weather data representing the actual weather via a communication section.

Obtaining the weather data

FIG. 5 shows a process by which the game apparatus terminal obtains the weather data from the prescribed server 100. As used herein, the “game apparatus terminal” refers to the apparatus main body 1 which activates the game program according to the invention. Also, the “prescribed server”, being a server capable of being connected through the network 99, accumulates various information related to the game as well as the weather data to be described hereafter.

The weather data of actual areas related to the game according to the invention is sequentially accumulated for every hour in the server 100 (step S101). That condition is schematically represented by FIG. 6. In this case, weather information (wind direction, wind speed, temperature, amount of sunshine, precipitation) for an area name of “Osaka” is sequentially accumulated every hour. It is acceptable to either observe this weather information by independently establishing observation instruments, or to obtain it randomly or regularly from information announced by a public organization such as a meteorological bureau.

Returning to FIG. 5, it is determined whether or not a game start signal has been received in the game apparatus terminal (step S201). As used herein, the game start signal refers to a signal, received by the CPU 31, emitted by a depression of a decision button (for example, the o key of the code keys 22) after, in a case of, for example, the baseball game, all selections necessary for the game to start (a selection of a number of players, a selection of teams to play, a selection of a stadium to be used, a selection of a starting line-up) have been made. If it is determined that the game start signal has not been received (step S201: No), the judgment is looped and a waiting condition ensues. If it is determined that the game start signal has been received (step S201: Yes) the CPU 31 starts a connection with the network 99 via the communication interface (step S202) and, on confirming communication connection with the server 100, carries out a transmission of request data (step S203).

At this point, the request data includes stadium location information of the stadium selected as the stadium to be used as one of the selections made when starting the game, weather data at the game starting time as well as that accumulated over a prescribed period before that, for example the previous six hours.

The server 100, on receiving the request data from the game apparatus terminal (step S102), carries out a search for corresponding data from the previously accumulated weather data (step S103). For example, in the event that the stadium location information in the request data is “Osaka”, it searches for the corresponding data from the accumulated data corresponding to this. On detecting the corresponding data, the server 100 transmits the corresponding weather data to the game apparatus terminal which has transmitted the request data (S104). The game apparatus terminal, on receiving the corresponding weather data (S204), moves to a process whereby the weather data is reflected in the various parameters.

Although in the example the server 100 which collects the actual weather data is prescribed as a source for obtaining the data, without being limited to this, it is also acceptable to employ a specification by which the weather data held by a public organization such as the meteorological bureau is received.

A reflection of the weather data in the various parameters

FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a process which reflects the actual weather data obtained in the various parameters.

On receiving the weather data, the CPU 31 temporarily stores the weather data in a prescribed area of the HDD 34 (step S601) . Next, the CPU 31, using a behavioral model which autonomously determines a weather change in accordance with an elapsing of time in the game, determines the weather in a game world (hereafter referred to as the “simulated weather”). A process of determining the simulated weather is carried out based on a subroutine shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing the process of determining the simulated weather.

First, the CPU 31 reads the behavioral model from the DVD/CD-ROM 4 in which the game program is recorded, and stores it in the RAM 33 (step S701). As used herein, the behavioral model includes a model which, based on information on an average year value and a mean value of past weather patterns for each area and each time and date, and on the actual weather data obtained from the server 100 via the communication interface 15, determines a subsequent change in the simulated weather in accordance with the elapsing of time. The model which determines the change in the simulated weather is expressed by the following equation.
Ct =f (Rt, AVG) equation 1

At this point, Ct indicates the simulated weather on a date included in the weather data obtained. Also, Rt indicates the actual weather data at a relevant point in time. Also, AVG indicates average year value data. That is, the simulated weather is determined as a function of the actual weather data and the average year value data.

Time interval Hourly data reflection

The CPU 31 reads the weather data obtained from the server 100 via the network 99 from the HDD, and loads it onto the RAM (S702). As described heretofore, the weather data is the numerical form of each time unit data. Accordingly, a difference between the average year value data and the weather data at an identical time is calculated (S703) . For example, a deviance condition with regard to the temperature is calculated between the weather data and the average year value data for every hour.

FIG. 9 conceptually shows a calculation of the deviance condition with regard to the temperature between the weather data and the average year value data. For example, in the stadium location of “Osaka”, in the event that the game is started at 14:00, as previously described in relation to FIG. 5, the weather data going back a prescribed time is obtained from the server 100 as request data, and stored in the prescribed area of the HDD 34 but, in order to calculate the deviance from the average year value data for each weather factor, it is loaded onto a prescribed area of the RAM 33, which acts as the work area. After loading the average year value data for the same date from the DVD/CD-ROM 4 onto the RAM 33 in the same way, the deviance value is calculated.

Based on the calculated deviance value, the simulated weather for the game starting time and onwards is determined (S704) . For example, in the event that the temperature is higher than the average year value, a temperature change including the average year value data transposed by a size of deviance is determined for each time. As shown in FIG. 9, as the deviance value is +2.5, the temperature pattern of the subsequent simulated weather becomes a value equivalent to the average year value data transposed by the size of deviance.

Simulated weather determination for a following day and onwards

Depending on the kind of game, a time change in the hypothetical world in the game may extend over a plurality of days. In such a case, it is necessary to determine the simulated weather for the following day and onwards. In the baseball game program according to the embodiment too, in the event that a plurality of games in a season is carried out consecutively, the time change in the hypothetical world in the game extends over a plurality of days. The CPU 31, based on an equalizing coefficient, determines the simulated weather for each time for the following day and onwards (step S705). The following equation is used as a determination equation for the simulated weather.
Ct +1=kdRt +(1−kd) AVG equation 2

At this point, Ct+1 indicates the simulated weather in the hypothetical world in the game on the day following the day on which the weather data is obtained. Also, k is an arbitrary coefficient in which 0<k<1. Also, d is a value which represents a number of days since the day on which the weather data is obtained.

When accompanying a time interval correction

According to the behavioral model, while reflecting the weather data first obtained, it is possible to realize the average year value weather pattern in the game world. With respect to this, in order to more regularly reflect the actual weather data, for example, a simulated weather determination method represented by the following equation can be considered.
Ct=f(Rt−1, Rt, AVG, d) equation 3

At this point, Ct represents the simulated weather data at a certain time, Rt−1 is the weather data for the previous time of obtaining the weather data, Rt is the weather data for the latest time of obtaining the weather data, AVG is the average year value data, and d is a value which represents a hypothetical number of days in the game world since the time at which the initial weather data is obtained (where a first day is taken to be d=1).

Specifically, the simulated weather is determined by,
when d=1,
Ct=kd−1Rt+(1kd−1) AVG
when d≧2,
Ct=kd−1Rt+(1−kd−1) {kd−2Rt−1+(1kd−2) AVG}(note that k is an arbitrary coefficient in which 0<k<1) equation 4.

As the simulated weather data determined by the equation 4, while having the average value data as a base, can reflect the actual weather data of a more recent past, it is possible to determine a simulated weather in which the deviance from the actual weather is suppressed, while carrying out an autonomous weather simulation.

A reflection of the simulated weather data on the various parameters

Returning to FIG. 7, the CPU 31 loads the various parameters recorded in the DVD/CD-ROM 4 onto the RAM 33 (step S603). As used herein, the various parameters refers to a background image parameter, an environment parameter and a character parameter, referring to in, for example, the case of the baseball game, personal values for each character such as hitting (m), multiple-base hitting (1) running (r), throwing (s) and defense (f) representing the potential of each player in the team selected by the player, and a quality of earth and grass in the stadium selected by the player and the like, in numerical form.

Subsequently, the CPU 31 calculates correction parameters for the various parameters based on the various parameter correction functions (S604). For example, the player with the shirt number “00” in the team with the name “X” in FIG. 4A, with the player name “AA” has a heat resistance parameter correction function. As described heretofore, as the temperature of the simulated weather at the time of the game starting is the same 32 degrees as the temperature in the weather obtained from the server (that is, the actual weather), as opposed to the temperature of 25 degrees in the standard weather, the deviance from the standard weather being 7 degrees, a correction of plus “14” is made to the multiple-base hitting (1) of the player “AA”, making it “64”. Also, with regard to the stadium data parameters too, the parameter correction is carried out in the same way based on the individual parameter correction functions of each stadium.

Also, the wind speed and wind direction data, as well as enabling a recreation of a hit blown by the wind in the game by storing them in the RAM 33 mainly as functions which correct the trajectory of a fly ball, it is also acceptable to include the parameter correction functions in the player potential data so that, for example, an amount of curve of a pitcher's breaking ball changes in accordance with the wind direction and the wind speed.

The corrected environment parameters and character parameters are stored in a reference work area in the PAM 33 to be referred to when playing the game. By this means, the simulated weather is reflected in the individuality of the character and the characteristics of the stadium in the game.

Next, the CPU 31, in order to reflect the simulated weather data on the background image, carries out a correction of the background image data by means of background image correction functions (step S606).

FIG. 10 conceptually shows the correction functions when carrying out the correction of the background image data based on the simulated weather data. Factors of an image correction in the embodiment are given as three factors of positions of clouds, brightness of the sky and a display level of a flag. In actuality, without stopping at these, it is also possible to represent on a screen a wetness of a ground in accordance with the amount of precipitation and a size of a dust devil in accordance with the wind speed.

For example, in the case of standard weather conditions (wind speed 0, temperature 25 degrees, hours of sunshine 40 minutes, precipitation 0 mm) , a cloud display level is “30”, brightness is “80”, and a flag display level is “0”. These correspond to established background image parameters. Accordingly, the CPU 31 transmits a background image generating signal to the graphic processor 36 based on these values

FIG. 11A shows an image corresponding to the standard weather conditions. Based on information on the cloud display level “30”, transmitted by the CPU 31, a cloud object 51a is generated in the graphic processor 36, and displayed in a sky area 52a on the display screen 41. Also, the brightness and a color tone of the sky area 52a are controlled based on information on the brightness “80” transmitted from the CPU 31. Then, regarding a flag object 53a, a condition in which it is not fluttering is displayed in accordance with information on the flag display level “0” transmitted in the same way from the CPU 31.

However, it is FIG. 11B which shows an image generated based on the simulated weather in the stadium location of “Osaka”, at the time of “14:00”. In this case, the cloud display level being “0”, the brightness “100” and the flag display level “13”, an image display is realized which reflects these coefficients.

Specifically, the graphic processor 36 does not generate the cloud object based on the information on the cloud display level “0”. Also, the brightness and the color tone of a sky area 52b, being controlled based on information on the brightness “100” transmitted from the CPU 31, are controlled in such a way as to display a color of a bright, clear sky in comparison with a time of standard weather conditions. Also, based on information on the flag display level “3”, a condition is displayed in which a flag object 53b is fluttering in the wind to a commensurate extent.

By means of the simulated weather being reflected in the background image in this way, the player can visually recognize the simulated weather conditions in the hypothetical world in the game.

After the weather data is reflected in the game world, the actual game is started by the player.

Then, the CPU 31 checks whether a prescribed time in the hypothetical world in the game, for example one hour, has elapsed (step S607). As a method of measuring the prescribed time in the hypothetical world, as well as a time measurement based on an accumulation of a clock signal in the CPU 31, it is also possible, as for example a time measuring method corresponding to a player operation, to simulate a passing of time in accordance with an accumulated number of pitches.

When it is determined that the prescribed time has elapsed (step S607: Yes), the CPU 31 carries out an update process on the simulated weather data (step S608).

Specifically, in accordance with the simulated weather described in FIG. 9 (S704), simulated weather data for a next time block, in this case “15:00”, is stored in a prescribed area of the RAM 33. Subsequently, returning to step S03, the correction parameter calculation is carried out again. Correction parameter data recalculated in accordance with the previously described process is overwritten in the reference work area in the RAM 33. By this means, a background image change and a ground condition change corresponding to the passing of time in the hypothetical world in the game, as well as a change in the potential value corresponding to the individuality of each character, are realized in the game.

As described thus far, according to the game program according to the embodiment, as it is possible, while reflecting the actual weather data in the game, to also realize an autonomous weather change, it is possible to increase a sense of realism, thereby stimulating interest.

Although the baseball game has been taken up in the embodiment, the invention is not limited to this, as it can be appropriately applied to any game in which the weather plays a part. For example, in the case of a racing game, it is possible to seek greater reality by bringing about a correlation between the hours of sunshine and a temperature of the track surface, and between the amount of precipitation and a track surface condition. Also, in the case of an RPG, it is possible to experience a link with the real world by reflecting meteorological conditions in a battle area in the background image, or by configuring in such a way that a certain weapon or attacking means is unusable depending on the wind speed or the amount of precipitation.

Although it is often the case, in a general RPG, that it has original map information differing from an actual map in the game world, even in such a case, it is possible to indirectly experience reality by configuring in such a way that the simulated weather in a prescribed area in the game world is calculated based on weather data from a specified area in the real world.

Also, although in the embodiment an example has been described in which the game program is executed on a domestic game machine, the invention is not limited to this, as it can also be applied to a game program which is executed on an electronic calculator. Furthermore, it can also be applied to a game program which is executed on an arcade game machine.

Additional advantages and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details and representative embodiments shown and described herein, Accordingly, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the general inventive concept as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.