Computer games having variable execution dependence with respect to spatial properties of a mobile unit.
Kind Code:

Devices and articles generally configured as double shoulder strap systems for supporting loads to be carried at ones side are presented. Dual shoulder straps are arranged to cooperate with the human body shapes and human body motions for aiding in carrying heavy loads at ones side or hip. A first strap, a proximal strap is arranged with a special shape in view of the loading direction placed upon the strap and the shape of the should onto which the strap lies. A second strap, a distal strap similarly is arranged with consideration for the loading direction and shape of the should upon which it is intended to lie. The straps are coupled together at a sewn joint with particular care for properly transmitting force evenly. The proximal strap is adjustable in length whereby its position in relation to the distal strap may be changed. A second adjustment is made whereby the positions of the two straps together are adjusted at once. Finally the system is terminated in quick release clips to allow easy fastening and unfastening from various sorts of objects or loads.

Ellenby, Thomas William (San Francisco, CA, US)
Ellenby, Peter Malcolm (San Francisco, CA, US)
Ellenby, John (San Francisco, CA, US)
Jay, Jeffrey Alan (Petaluma, CA, US)
Page, Joseph (La Jolla, CA, US)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F13/12; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joseph Page (San Francisco, CA, US)

What is claimed is:

1. Computer game apparatus comprising: a) a central processing unit; b) position determining means; c) computer game code; and d) user interface, said central processing unit in communication with said position determining means whereby position information is conveyed to the central processing unit, the central processing unit being operable for executing said computer game code arranged to be responsive to the position information, said position determining means arranged to determine the position of a point reference and convey that information to the central processing unit, said user interface is coupled to said central processing unit whereby interface activity presented depends upon position measurement.

2. Computer game apparatus comprising a) a central processing unit; b) attitude determining means; c) computer game code; and d) user interface, said central processing unit in communication with said attitude determining means whereby attitude information is conveyed to the central processing unit, the central processing unit being operable for executing said computer game code responsive to the attitude information, said attitude determining means arranged to determine the attitude of a direction reference and convey that information to the central processing unit, said user interface is coupled to said central processing unit whereby interface activity presented depends upon attitude measurement.

3. Computer game apparatus comprising: a) a central processing unit; b) position and attitude determining means; c) computer game code; and d) user interface, said central processing unit in communication with said position and attitude determining means whereby position and attitude information is conveyed to the central processing unit, the central processing unit further being operable for executing the computer game code responsive to the position and attitude information, said position and attitude determining means arranged to determine the position of a point reference and the attitude of a direction reference and convey that information to the central processing unit, said user interface is coupled to said central processing unit whereby interface activity presented depends upon position and attitude measurement.

4. Computer game apparatus of claim 3, said apparatus further comprising memory, the memory comprising the computer game code, the computer game code comprising a plurality of computer executable routines arranged to cooperate together to form a game rule set.

5. Computer game apparatus of claim 4, said game rule set is comprised of either of the following functions from the group: challenge questions, awards for prescribed behavior, score keeping functionality, time line processes, riddles, hand skill actions, and comparisons of actions taken by a user to prescribed acts.

6. A plurality of apparatus defined in claim 1 arranged in a communication network whereby each apparatus is a node, each of said apparatus in communication with at least one other.

7. A plurality of apparatus of claim 6, each being arranged whereby actions taken at one node are communicated throughout the network and effect play at another node.

8. Computer game apparatus comprising: a central processing unit; position or attitude determining means; and user interface, said central processing unit in communication with said position or attitude determining means whereby position and attitude information is conveyed to the central processing unit, the central processing unit further being operable for executing computer code responsive to position or attitude measures, said position or attitude determining means arranged to determine the position of a point reference or the attitude of a direction reference and convey that information to the central processing unit, said user interface is coupled to said central processing unit whereby interface activity presented is dependent upon a particular measure of position or attitude.

9. Methods for providing computer game entertainment, the steps comprising: determining position of a point reference; conveying said position measure to a computer processing unit; executing a computer program routine which depends on position values; forming a corresponding game output; and conveying said output to a user interface.

10. Methods for providing computer game entertainment, the steps comprising: determining attitude of a direction reference; conveying said attitude measure to a computer processing unit; executing a computer program routine which depends on attitude values; forming a corresponding output; and conveying said output to a user interface.

11. Methods for providing computer game entertainment, the steps comprising: determining position of a point reference and attitude of a direction reference; conveying said position and attitude measure to a computer processing unit; executing a computer program routine having dependence on position and attitude values; forming a corresponding output; and conveying said output to a user interface.

12. Methods of claim 11, said executing computer program further defined as executing steps whereby a game scheme is supported.

13. Methods of claim 12, said game scheme comprises steps which are affected by steps taken at remote game elements whereby information is conveyed over a network of game player units in communication with one another.

14. Methods for providing computer game entertainment, the steps comprising: determining position of a point reference or attitude of a direction reference; conveying said position or attitude measure to a computer processing unit; executing a computer program routine which depends on position or attitude values; forming a corresponding output; and conveying said output to a user interface.

15. A computer game method, the method being implemented in a programmed computer comprising a processor, a data storage system, at least one input device, and at least one output device, the method comprising the steps of: (a) generating input data for the programmed computer, the data comprising position and attitude information; (b) inputting the generated input data into the programmed computer through at least one of the input devices for storage in the data storage system; (c) applying, to the generated input data stored in the data storage system, by means of the programmed computer a game scheme algorithm; (d) applying the output information to at least one of the output devices.

16. A system for executing computer game play, the system comprising: (a) at least one input device for receiving data comprising position or attitude information; (b) a computer storage system, coupled to at least one of the input devices, for storing data input into the system through at least one of the input devices; (c) a programmable processor, coupled to the computer storage system and at least one of the input devices, for processing the input data stored in the data storage system to generate output data, in accordance with programming implementing the functions of a game scheme; and (d) applying the output data to at least one of the output devices.

17. A computer game program comprising a plurality of routines, at least one of said routines having operations therein responsive to position or attitude measure.

18. A computer game program of claim 17, said operations are arranged to direct a change to the branching between routines.

19. A computer game program of claim 18, said operations are arranged to trigger the execution an object method.

20. A computer game program of claim 18, said operations are arranged to set the state of an object property.

21. A computer game program of claim 18, said operations are arranged to raise an object event.

22. Computing apparatus configured to execute game play comprising a mobile unit having a position reference, position determining means, at least one computer.

23. A computing apparatus of claim 22, said mobile unit is further defined by comprising a mobile telephone.

24. A computing apparatus of claim 22, said at least one computer includes two discrete computing facilities including a server computer unit and a client computer unit.

25. A computing apparatus of claim 24, said client being integrated with the mobile unit, said server is remote but in communication with said mobile unit.

26. A computing apparatus of 24, said server computer is in wireless communication with said client computer.

27. A computing apparatus of 26, said wireless communication is a mobile telephone communication network.

28. A computing apparatus of 24, said server includes an executable software code component with instructions which relate to a game strategy.

29. A computing apparatus of claim 22, further comprising a direction reference and attitude determining means.

30. A computing apparatus of claim 22, further is comprised of executable code including modules arranged to receive point reference position information as input values.

31. A computing apparatus of claim 22, further is comprised of executable code including modules arranged to receive direction reference attitude information as input values.

32. Methods of computer game play comprising the steps: a) determining the position of a hand held mobile unit; and b) selectively executing computer program control branching based upon the values of position.

33. Methods of claim 32, further comprising the steps: c) determining the attitude of a hand held mobile unit; and d) selectively executing computer program control branching based upon the values of attitude.

34. Methods of claim 33, further comprising the step: e) performing a database search of stored information to recall data records associated with objects near determined position.

35. Methods of claim 33, further comprising the step: e) performing a database search of stored information to recall data records associated with objects being addressed.

36. Methods of claim 34, further comprising the step: f) selectively executing computer program control branching based upon information in recalled data records.

37. Methods of claim 32, the steps thereof being preceded by the step: g) manipulating a hand held mobile unit to cause its position and direction references to form an intersection spatial relationship with a geometric descriptor of an object of interest.

38. Methods of claim 35, selectively executing program control based upon object types recalled from database in a search step.

39. A game apparatus comprising: a computer with preprogrammed computer code configured to execute game play, and a mobile unit in communication with said computer, the mobile unit including a point reference, a position determining means, and a user interface, whereby game play is dependant upon the position of the point reference.

40. A game apparatus of claim 39, further comprising a direction reference and attitude determining means whereby game play is dependant upon the attitude of the direction reference.



[0001] 1. Field

[0002] The following invention disclosure is generally concerned with computer gaming and more specifically concerned with computer games responsive to spatial attributes of a handheld mobile device.

[0003] 2. Prior Art

[0004] Computer Games

[0005] Computer games which are executed on a computer generally have a program flow which is variably selectable and dependent upon inputs provided by a user or by a user's actions. A game program is formed by a game designing computer programmer in agreement with some game scheme of interest. During execution of game programming, logical branching actions occur whereby a routine or plurality of routines are executed in view of the state of game program parameters.

[0006] In a computer game popularly known as ‘Solitaire’, a player moves a mouse peripheral device in ‘click-and-drag’ operations to cause a card ‘object’ to be moved on a user interface (display) towards stacks of similar card objects in accordance with the rules of the popular game. The game program responds to such user actions while monitoring the state and condition of game elements, i.e. cards. In computer programming arts, game elements may sometimes be referred to as ‘objects’.

[0007] Players of the computer game ‘Solitaire’ in the city Atlanta and players in the fine city Manchester follow identical rules and computer program flow control is identical and without variation in both cities. The computer program does not depend upon the location of the user. The rules of the game and the flow control of code execution does not depend upon the location of the player.

[0008] Games Controlled by a Joystick

[0009] Some popular computer games such as one known as ‘Flight Simulator’ receive user inputs which relate to the physical state or orientation of a device known as a ‘joystick’. Motion applied to a joystick by a user's tactile forces direct the computer game program flow control. Thus, these games might be said to be responsive to ‘orientation’; at least, with respect to a joystick.

[0010] The orientation of the joystick with regard to some neutral position provides indication to the program of a user's intent to cause an action which may be taken in software. In joystick controlled games like Flight Simulator, there is no regard whatever for the relationship between the joystick and the compass directions about surface of the Earth. As far as a computer program is concerned, a joystick which is pointing North is the same as a joystick which is pointing Southwest. Flight Simulator program control does not account for the attitude of a joystick with reference to the alignment of the Earth's magnetic field.

[0011] Multi-player Role Playing Games

[0012] Role playing games are computer games where players take-on identities of a certain characters. ‘Doom’ and ‘Quake’ are examples of multi player role playing games. Doom and Quake also include a very interesting feature relating to players' locations. Since these are games which are sometimes played in real-time on a wide area network, most notably the Internet, many players from diverse parts may simultaneously engage in game play. Indeed, a Japanese person who does not understand a single word of the German language may be playing against some fellow living in Berlin. Without the ability to speak to each other, people from any country may enjoy a vigorous competition with one another. Although it could be argued that game control logic which includes presentation of words and phrases is different in games being executed in Germany than those in Japan, the game control logic is otherwise identical despite minor language translations.

[0013] Virtual Pets

[0014] Tamagotchi virtual pets stimulated a bizarre craze in the computer game field. The state and condition of a virtual creature is maintained and advanced by user interactive actions. For example, a crying virtual pet may need ‘caressing’. A simple user input may serve as a caress for a virtual pet. The longer a pet is left unattended while crying degrades the overall health and state of being associated with the virtual pet. Similar effects and activity may occur in consideration of a ‘feeding’ state.

[0015] Although Tamagotchi was met with widespread interest, the craze is not limited there. ‘MOPy Fish’ is a virtual pet character presented by Hewlett Packard company. Other animal virtual pets include ‘Happy Hamster’; Java Chocobo, a bird; ‘Cow Simulator’, and internet dairy cow simulator; ‘Digital Guppie’ and ‘Neko’, virtual fish and cat respectively for Palm Pilot; and finally ‘Bright Chick’, a bird for MacIntosh users. These virtual pet computer type games are representative of the latest state of the art.

[0016] Other Important Computerized Games-Toys

[0017] Furbies are for young children including parents and grandparents who are still young at heart. They are small furry creatures approximately 4 inches wide by 8 inches tall by 6 inches deep. Created by HPA/Tiger these virtual pets interact with their environment through sight, touch, hearing and physical orientation. A Furby's eyes open and close, ears wiggle and mouth moves when speaking. Furbies can be trained to perform fun actions such as dancing, singing, and other tricks. However for security purposes, they are no longer welcome in the Pentagon.

[0018] Of particular interest is the functionality relating to a Furby and its proximity to another Furby. An electronic sensor is arranged to detect when a first Furby is placed nearby another Furby. When such proximity condition is affirmed, both Furbies begin ‘talking’ to each other in a peculiar Furby language.

[0019] The proximity sensor has no regard for absolute position of the Furby, for example it does not determine whether the Furby is in Chicago or Phoenix, but rather it merely detects when another Furby is nearby. The sensor is therefore most appropriately classified as a proximity detector rather than a position determining device. This distinction will become rather important in view of the entire disclosure which follows.

[0020] While the systems and inventions of the art are designed to achieve particular goals and objectives, some of those being no less than remarkable, these prior art inventions have limitations which prevent their use in new ways now possible. These inventions of the art are not used and cannot be used to realize the advantages and objectives of the present invention.

[0021] Detail review of the present inventors' previous patents which relate in part to these inventions taught here may lead to a more full understanding. These patents including U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,173,239; 6,098,118; 6,064,398; 6,037,936; 6,031,545; 5,991,827; 5,815,411; 5,742,521; 5,682,332; and 5,625,765. More importantly, a U.S. patent application having Ser. No. 09/769,012 filed Jan. 24, 2001 contains detailed information relating to the following inventions. That document is explicitly and expressly incorporated herein by reference as if it were reprinted in its entirety.

[0022] It should be understood that all of the herein referenced materials provide considerable definition of elements of the present invention. Therefore, those materials are incorporated herein by reference whereby the instant specification can rely upon them for enablement of the particular teachings of each.


[0023] Comes now: Thomas William Ellenby; Peter Malcolm Ellenby; John Ellenby; Jeffrey Alan Jay; and Joseph Page with inventions of computer games having execution dependence with respect to spatial properties of a mobile unit or plurality of mobile units including devices and methods.

[0024] It is a primary function of these computer game systems to respond to the spatial state, and to changes in the spatial state of a mobile unit or plurality of units; more particularly, the position and attitude of a mobile device. In best mode examples, a game scheme executed on a computing apparatus may be incorporated into a mobile telephone having a GPS and electronic compass. The physical states relating to position and pointing attitude of the telephone as described in part by position or attitude parameters, drives computer programming code to takes actions which depend on measured position and attitude values. In this way, sophisticated computer games for mobile users are made highly interactive. User gestures including simple pointing actions allow a user to express desires to a computer in an express and direct fashion. These games have many features which cannot be found in more traditional handheld computer games which do not take into consideration the spatial state of an object controlled by a player-user. Thus these inventions stand in contrast to methods and devices relating to computer games known in the art.


[0025] It is a primary object of these inventions to provide new computer games.

[0026] It is an object of these inventions to provide computer games responsive to a player-user's position.

[0027] It is a further object to provide computer games responsive to a player-user's position and attitude.

[0028] It is an object to provide computer games responsive to the address state of a mobile unit.

[0029] A better understanding can be had with reference to detailed description of preferred embodiments and with reference to appended drawings. Embodiments presented are particular ways to realize the invention and are not inclusive of all ways possible. Therefore, there may exist embodiments that do not deviate from the spirit and scope of this disclosure as set forth by the claims, but do not appear here as specific examples. It will be appreciated that a great plurality of alternative versions are possible.


[0030] In accordance with each of the preferred embodiments of these inventions, there is provided computer programs, computer game apparatus and computer game methods. It will be appreciated that each of the embodiments described include programs, apparatus and methods and that the programs, apparatus and methods of one preferred embodiment may be different than the programs, apparatus and methods of another embodiment. In consideration of the following examples, one can gain a firm appreciation of the spirit of the invention. The reader should remain mindful that these examples are presented without regard for the full breadth and extent of these inventions in their entirety. Thus, these examples should not be used as a limit the scope of these inventions, that scope is properly set forth by appended claims.

[0031] The following examples are directed to various types of computer games where position or attitude of a mobile unit device have effect on the game play. These examples are also divided into categories. In each of these categories, several examples are presented.

Virtual Entity Games

[0032] A virtual entity game, or sometimes known as a ‘role playing’ game, provides a player with an alter ego or second self. In general, a game player navigates game scenarios and schemes trying to improve the health and wealth of a virtual entity associated with the player. The virtual entity can be subject to various challenges which may include those relating to survival, pleasure, enrichment, among others. In these virtual entity games, challenges may be associated with the promotion of a life being. Thus, a virtual entity game might begin with the creation of a virtual entity or the ‘birth’, and end with the destruction or ‘death’ of the entity.

[0033] In special virtual entity games of these inventions, the virtual entity and general game play are highly affected and interactive with a player's instant location; more precisely, with the location of a mobile unit generally associated with a player. In addition, the spatial orientation of the mobile unit also may effect game play and the state of game elements. Particularly, a reference pointing direction of a mobile unit can be used to designate a direction of importance and game play can be driven by or effected by a particular selected direction or direction change. The following examples of games having game play modules responsive to position or attitude, or both, illustrate this more precisely.

[0034] GeoPet

[0035] In a game herein called ‘GeoPet’, a virtual entity is formed and subjected to travails of life and living. The game play, i.e. the rules and function of the game are partly brought about by position and attitude measurements made at a mobile unit. For example, if the mobile unit associated with the GeoPet is in a shopping mall, a module for making virtual ‘purchases’ to enrich an imaginary collection of ‘things’ owned by the virtual entity could be executed. Alternatively, if the mobile unit is near a restaurant, the GeoPet can be ‘fed’ in accordance with game rules which might require feeding from time-to-time during the life of a GeoPet. These and other states of the GeoPet are modified in accordance with the rules of a particular game scheme which in-part is responsive to position and attitude as measured at the mobile unit.

[0036] GeoPet Initiation

[0037] GeoPet game play may be started when a GeoPet is instantiated in a predetermined state. A computer game program causes a new GeoPet to be formed and continuously maintains or updates the state and condition of the GeoPet entity. The initial state may be the same for all players starting a game or may be set with a bias for ‘known’ players; i.e. where advanced and experienced players are starting an advanced game play. From initiation and thereafter, a game computer maintains the state of a GeoPet virtual character. The state of a GeoPet virtual entity is specified via its collection of properties. An instantaneous value can be associated with each of these properties. In any given game, a GeoPet character has a discrete collection of properties associated therewith. These properties are configured at design time when a game designer creates a version of a GeoPet game.

[0038] In a first important illustration of how geography effects game play in a virtual entity game of these inventions, one should consider two contrasting game players one each located in either Japan and in California. It is important to fully appreciate that these are not two distinct games distributed via different geographical channels, but rather, the identical computer game being executed on the identical computing platform; albeit those platforms being physically located in two distinct locations Japan and California. On appropriate prompt from the normal execution of the computer game, a position determining means measures the device position and uses that information in a game initialization routine. A game being determined to start in Japan might have characteristics and features tailored more to Japanese culture. For example, the game play language may be set to Japanese. Also, a Japanese ritual associated with birth may be played forth to celebrate the new virtual being. Similarly, a game being initiated in California may adopt some surf culture characteristics. Game play thereafter may depend upon the location in which a GeoPet was ‘born’.

[0039] Introductory Practice

[0040] Game play may include introductory modules which can be run to introduce new players to the game and certain game features. These may include practice routines which demonstrate activities and skills relating to those found in normal play. They may include illustrations of events likely to occur during the coarse of play. These initiation routines may be interactive and relate to position and attitude measures.

[0041] In one case, an introductory module is arranged to teach a game player how to effectively ‘point’ using a mobile telephone unit as a ‘pointer’ apparatus. A direction reference is associated with the telephone aligned with a longitudinal axis of the telephone case. While gripping the telephone, a user can readily point it about to designate a direction of interest. Similarly, a user might point the telephone towards a target of interest to effect a target designation. The game demonstration module can command the user to point towards the sun. In response, the user moves the telephone with her hands such that the telephone direction reference is aligned in a direction which intersects the sun. This condition can be detected by comparisons of expected sun position in the sky with position and direction measurements made at the telephone via position and attitude determining means. If a user correctly points towards the sun and the computer detects such occurrence, an announcement is made to the user that she has properly executed the task. Failure to address the sun via pointing similarly could draw a response from the computer alerting the user of an error and further providing an invitation to try again. Thus, introductory modules may contain computer commands which interact with and are responsive to position and attitude measurements made at a mobile unit.

[0042] Life of a GeoPet

[0043] After the creation or figurative ‘birth’ of a GeoPet, the GeoPet is subject to changes. These changes to the state of a GeoPet are brought about in various ways and manner. Changes may occur as a result of both actions taken by a game player and those which merely happen as a matter of course. In a very simple example, the mere passage of time causes a GeoPet to age. The natural GeoPet aging process may cause changes to some properties of a GeoPet while having no effect on others. In one version, the property, ‘hair color’ is continuously changed with the passage of time reflecting a ‘graying’ as the GeoPet matures. On the other hand, the property ‘eye color’ may be set at the beginning and not change ever over the course of the game.

[0044] There are three basic elements which express a GeoPet computer game virtual entity. The GeoPet entity may have associated therewith: properties to measure the instantaneous state of the entity; methods which describe actions which may be taken with regard to the GeoPet virtual entity; and events which occur in relation to the virtual entity. Most of the computer game activity will be drawn to the properties, methods and events of the GeoPet character throughout the life of the entity. A more complete and full understanding of this is readily gained in view of the following illustrative examples of each.

[0045] Properties

[0046] To specify the instantaneous state of a GeoPet, a collection of ‘properties’ are associated with the GeoPet object maintained by the computer. These properties may be manipulated in accordance with game rules. Some of the game rules which operate on properties of a GeoPet depend upon inputs relating to position and attitude measurements taken at the mobile unit.

[0047] User activity drives game play. When a user changes the position and attitude of the mobile unit associated with the GeoPet, the computer takes appropriate responses. In these responses, changes to the GeoPet state as expressed in the collection of properties are reflected. Examples of changes explicitly brought about by user activity are many. Although a few are presented here, one will readily appreciate that a game designer is only limited to her imagination. Various parameters not mentioned here can be created and assigned to a GeoPet character without deviation from the spirit and scope of the invention. In an example of a GeoPet computer game, properties including: ‘social conscience’; ‘health’; ‘spiritual’; ‘happiness’; ‘strength’; ‘net worth’; ‘beauty’; ‘hunger’; ‘intelligence’, among others, may reflect the state of a GeoPet virtual entity throughout the coarse of the game. The following paragraphs describe how these properties might be interactive with the player and actions of play taken by a player which may relate in particular to the spatial states of the mobile unit.

[0048] A game stratagem may be adopted whereby a player tries to increase the ‘social conscience’ property of her virtual pet. For systems integrated with mobile telephones, a user can point the telephone towards ‘good’ and ‘bad’ objects identified as such in a database to show a player's awareness of these targets association with ‘good’ or ‘bad’. A community recreation center is a valuable social asset and a player upon seeing one can point-and-click to the target and express a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ indication. The database which has the community center marked as a ‘good’ social facility provides a reference for a comparison to user inputs. Upon concurrence, the computer adds to the GeoPets ‘social conscience’ value. Upon identifying a park for children, the same action of point-and-click adds further to the GeoPet social conscience property. ‘Bad’ targets may include high pollution output factories; gambling parlors and houses of prostitution, among others. Sunday visits to mother's house or with other family can be registered as a positive action with social significance. Game routines having time and position inputs are made aware of the necessary information to determine whether a Sunday visit to moms occurs. Thus, an event may be triggered to add to the social conscience property of the GeoPet who visits mom.

[0049] One game scheme includes a GeoPet having a ‘health’ property. A player is charged with the task of advancing the general health of her GeoPet. A GeoPet can be figuratively ‘sent to the gymnasium for exercise’. By execution of a series of predetermined motions of the mobile unit, these exercises can be used to improve the value of the health property. In a simple case, exercises may include simple patterns of keystrokes on a common cell phone 12-key keypad. Other exercises may include point-and-click events associated with proximity to sporting facilities. Still further, exercises may include complex sequential pointing operations such as tracing a predetermined pattern in space. These may include pointing sweep patterns which might be associated with some exercise. GeoPet ‘jumping jacks’ exercises may include waving a mobile unit up and down with an extended arm thereby changing the inclination in a reciprocating fashion. Upon detection of such changes to the mobile unit pointing direction, the game response can include increasing the GeoPet health state as expressed by the ‘health’ property. When a GeoPet doesn't get enough exercise, its health value is reduced, it may get sick and become susceptible to other detrimental actions, and it may even die. All of these events are regulated by game rules which may be set up by a creative game designer. Although the precise nature of any game may vary greatly from a first designer to another, the notion that game play is responsive to position and attitude as measured in a mobile unit is unique and first taught here.

[0050] A ‘spiritual’ property may be arranged to reflect the spiritual state of a GeoPet. A game scheme can be arranged whereby a player performs certain tasks to add value to the spiritual property; i.e. a sort of ‘score’ on accomplishments related to spiritual matters. For instance, points may be awarded for performing certain rituals associated with a spiritual philosophy. These rituals may have some dependence upon position and attitude of a mobile unit. For example, a sequential visit to a plurality of spiritual sites may earn points in the spiritual category. More simply, GeoPets having a high value spiritual property might be those who visit church or mosque on holy days. Some game schema which allow a player to enhance and improve a spiritual value may do so via attitude operations independent of position. An sweep motion over an arc may be measured as continuous regular changes to the pointing direction. A catholic player who sweeps out a sign of the cross at least once per hour can be awarded special points for having such frequent spiritual thoughts. Similarly, a Muslim player may point towards Mecca at a prescribed five times throughout the day to reflect praise as suggested in certain rituals of prayer.

[0051] Some properties may be interrelated with others while still having actions associated therewith which may add or subtract from those values. A ‘happiness’ property is an example of this kind of effect. The total happiness value can depend on the sum of values of spiritual property, the health property, and the social conscience property, among others. These may be summed in accordance with an algorithm arranged by a game designer. Without regard to other properties, the overall happiness property can also be further affected by certain actions relating to position and attitude of a mobile unit. A mobile unit which is measured to be in a location such as a Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim Calif., or recreation facility like a baseball stadium attracts happiness points added to the happiness property of a GeoPet. Further, a mobile unit associated with a GeoPet which is in jail or the line at the Department of Motor Vehicles is penalized in points with regard to a happiness sum.

[0052] Properties such as ‘strength’; ‘net worth’; ‘beauty’; ‘hunger’; ‘intelligence’ and others, all may be associated with various game rules which dictate how those properties will be assigned values and how they will be incremented and decremented in accordance with certain actions, in particular, those actions which relate to or are affected by position and attitude measures taken with respect to the position and direction references of a mobile unit. Although ‘properties’ may be used to express instantaneous states of a GeoPet via a static values, a GeoPet computer game is also comprised of actions which may operate in various ways where those actions depend upon position and attitude measures.

[0053] Methods

[0054] Although instant states of a GeoPet are specified at any given time by a collection of properties, a GeoPet virtual entity is not completely specified by its properties alone. Rather, a GeoPet also has associated therewith a collection of ‘methods’ in addition to the collection of properties. A method may be embodied as computer code in a routine or series of routines which are executed whenever such method is invoked. A player may desire that her GeoPet ‘eat’. To effect this, she triggers an ‘eat’ method and instructions associated with the virtual entity ‘eating’ method are executed in the game program. Throughout the course of ‘eating’, one or more properties may change. In example, the property ‘happiness’, may be increased as eating tends to make creatures happy. In addition, the property ‘strength’ may be increased. The property ‘wealth’ may be decreased as the acquisition of food sometimes depletes ones monetary resources. Thus, execution of a method may have an effect on values of a property or several properties. These effects are all regulated in agreement with the rules designed by the game author. More importantly, execution of some methods of a GeoPet virtual entity may depend upon position and attitude values as measured at a mobile unit associated with the GeoPet. Of course, one will fully appreciate that a game designer is limited only by imagination and some methods not mentioned specifically here as examples are possibly associated with a GeoPet character without deviation from the spirit and scope of the invention. Examples of additional methods in a GeoPet computer game include the following.

[0055] As mentioned, a game play scheme could have a requirement that a virtual character be nourished from time-to-time throughout its life. Failure to execute an ‘eat’ method could have devastating effects on a GeoPet. The GeoPet could become malnourished, sick or even be met with death as a result of starvation. All these effects could be brought about via way of formulae defined in computer code provided by the game designer. Of particular interest, are those methods which are connected to position and attitude states and measures. The ‘eat’ method for example might be related to position and attitude in the following way. At the expiration of some interval defined in a game rule set, a GeoPet becomes hungry in a virtual sense and the game player is charged with the task of making sure it is figuratively ‘fed’. A virtual feeding may be brought about when a predetermined action is executed by the player. In some cases, a user may be required to point-and-click on a restaurant; i.e. to cause the trigger of a tactile action while the mobile unit is spatially aligned with the restaurant thereby indicating designation and selection of the restaurant by the user. The system measures position and attitude and compares that information to information stored in a database of known objects to detect precisely the objects being addressed by the mobile unit. Thus, at the time a GeoPet becomes hungry, a player might find herself near a McDonalds™ restaurant. The player can operate the mobile unit through graphical user interfaces to trigger the ‘eat’ method while pointing and clicking on the McDonalds™ restaurant. In this way, the GeoPet virtual entity is ‘fed’. A ‘happiness’ property value is increased and $4.95 for a Happy Meal™ is subtracted from the GeoPet net worth property. Further, an audio clip is played to express delight feedback to the player, i.e. an “Mmmmm” sound is associated with satisfying a hunger need. A smiley face icon or frame series motion graphic is provided at a visual display to further express pleasure and success to the game player. Of course, this is just one embodiment of how an ‘eat’ method might work.

[0056] The rules might include dynamic features relating to an eat method. Where a GeoPet is fed McDonalds three times per day, the points allocated to happiness property are decreased in agreement with a diminishing returns principle. Alternatively, a certain GeoPet might be allergic to McDonalds food and have a distinct craving for a certain food type like Texas BBQ. To further support the notion of GeoPets in various cultures, a GeoPet born in Japan may have an affinity for nagiri sushi and sake.

[0057] If a GeoPet does not like Chinese food, but has another preference, for example, Italian food, then the game player would be better served to point-and-click on an Italian type restaurant to feed her GeoPet. Although a Chinese food serving may prevent starvation, it may do little to improve the happiness property of the GeoPet. These rules are written into the game at design time as algorithms in the computer code in agreement with method definitions.

[0058] It is most important for the reader to appreciate here that in normal game play, the device is operable for distinguishing a Chinese restaurant from an Italian restaurant without direct input from a user. A user merely points-and-clicks a mobile device of these inventions with respect to a restaurant. In response, the mobile device measures position and attitude and performs a search on a database to determine and identify objects being addressed or ‘designated’. If they are of the category ‘Chinese restaurant’ they can trigger certain behavior in the eat method. Alternatively, if they are of the category ‘McDonalds restaurant’ they may trigger another response in the execution of an eat method. The ‘eat’ method is thereby sensitive and responsive to the position and attitude of the mobile device. The ‘eat’ method may receive as inputs information relating to objects being addressed which of course depends upon position and attitude measure.

[0059] Game play may require a ‘sleep’ method be executed to cause a GeoPet to reenergized itself from time-to-time. A GeoPet sent to sleep while on the sea may enjoy a peaceful good nights rest. However, a GeoPet which is set to sleep near an airport or railroad tracks may sleep with periodic interruption and have the adverse result of not getting a quality sleep value or a good night's rest. Game routines may also be arranged to connect the sleep method with other physical events related to the mobile unit of these inventions. For example, a sleep method may have code which responds to the charge state of a mobile units batteries. Where the batteries are sufficiently discharged, the ‘tired’ property may be at a relatively high value. As such, the need for sleep is increased and a player must respond. To this end, a player may be encouraged to connect her mobile telephone to a recharging apparatus whereby the batteries are reenergize. The computer game could then reset the tired property. These functions and actions all being part of a certain ‘sleep’ method encoded as computer programming.

[0060] Another certain game scheme may be arranged to include a ‘play’ method. A play method can be written into the game rule set whereby the play method depends upon position and attitude. A player executing a ‘play’ method causes her GeoPet to interact with detected surroundings. For example, where a play method is invoked on a freeway, a GeoPet may engage the dangers and high risk of playing on a freeway. Although such freeway play may be exhilarating and stimulate the highest response possible with regard to excitement, such play may be accompanied by immediate death. Frequently playing on freeways might bolster the value of a ‘bravery’ property, it also might attract a premature end to the game. Invoking a ‘play’ method at a gambling casino might bring rags-to-riches effects on a net worth property. Alternatively, a riches-to-rags condition may result. In either case, the position of the mobile unit at the time the method is executed effects the ‘play’ method. By addressing various places while invoking the ‘play’ method, a player causes her GeoPet to play in a manner with regard to those places.

[0061] A certain computer game in accordance with these inventions might include a ‘read’ method whereby a GeoPet virtual entity ‘reads’ a certain object being addressed. While addressing an object via point-and-click operations, a player might invoke a read method to learn more about the object. A data file associated with the object is ‘read’ and added to a GeoPet knowledge base. By ‘reading’ objects addressed, i.e. performing the ‘read’ method on various objects, the GeoPet becomes smarter and more knowledgeable with regard to its particular surroundings. In this way, a ‘read’ method also depends upon position and attitude of the handheld device associated with the GeoPet.

[0062] Some games may be arranged with a ‘collect’ method. A ‘collect’ method is driven by computer code routines to virtually gather objects and place them into collections. A game strategy might require a player to ‘collect’ famous landmarks. In response to this game requirement, a player upon passing a landmark performs a point-and-click operation to address the landmark and invoke the collect method. In agreement with the ‘collect’ method, the landmark is saved and added to the collection of landmarks associated as visited by the GeoPet. The reader will appreciate that a user must be in proximity to a landmark enabling her to address the site before being allowed to collect it. Thus, the action of collecting, depends upon the position and attitude of the mobile unit associated with the GeoPet.

[0063] Of course, the particular methods mentioned are just examples of methods which may be implemented in a game rule set. It is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of all methods possible and the rules which a game designer may decide to associate with each of those methods. Nearly every verb in the dictionary might be arranged with a set of rules implemented as computer code which could be executed as a method of a GeoPet game. The inventive importance does not lie in any particular method but rather in the fact that a method may be responsive to or depend upon position and attitude measurements of a mobile unit associated with a virtual entity. Thus, methods may receive inputs with information which affects the execution of the method. The information received in a method routine may be dependent upon a position and attitude measure and a database search.

[0064] Events

[0065] While ‘properties’ and ‘methods’ may comprise the majority portion of a computer game virtual entity description, there remains yet another element of import. ‘Events’ are associated with a virtual entity and these events tend to effect game play and status. Normal execution of some methods tend to raise ‘events’. The value of a property might reach some level which triggers an ‘event’. An ‘Event’ is raised whenever the computer monitors a conditional test and determines the condition is met or satisfied. In response to the raising of an ‘Event’ the computer code may call for the execution of some methods or may assign new values to some properties. It is best to consider an ‘Event’ as a continuous test performed on a prescribed condition.

[0066] Events may depend upon the spatial state of a mobile unit. The position and attitude or the position alone or the attitude alone, may raise an ‘Event’. A simple example of an event raised by the results of a position measurement relates to the conditional test: ‘is the mobile unit presently in Chicago?’ which may be embodied in computer instructions. Whenever a position measurement is made, the computer checks the collection of event conditionals to see whether any are met. A mobile unit moving about in California would never meet the condition set forth in this example and thus the event would never be raised. However, a player in Illinois might on occasion make a visit to the Northern part of the state and in fact may arrive within the community area of Chicago, for example, upon a visit to the Chicago suburb St. Charles. When a position determining means provides information to the computer processor which indicates the device is in the Chicago area, the condition is met and the event is raised. As a result of the event being raised, a computer program may be set to execute certain code. In addition, the computer may be instructed to execute certain associated methods or change certain properties.

[0067] In some game stratagems, events may be raised at random. Events raised at random may set into motion a required response. That response might be include a position and attitude dependent action. For example, in the life of a GeoPet, it might have the unfortunate random occasion to contract a virtual disease. In the event a GeoPet gets a disease, the player may be required to respond by taking the GeoPet to the hospital within a prescribed amount of time. A GeoPet ‘taken to the hospital’ may recover from the event. However, one not cured might degrade over time and become severely ill or die. The act of being ‘taken to the hospital’ may include some prescribed position and attitude manipulation. In this way, game play depends upon position and attitude of a mobile device; and in particular, for events which may be brought about randomly.

[0068] Methods and events are sometimes tightly interrelated. The method ‘play on the freeway’ is closely related to the ‘hit by a car’ event. The probability of getting hit by a car is significantly increased while playing on a freeway. The detailed relationship between the two is defined in computer code provided by a game designer. All the game rules for handling the consequences of playing on a freeway as well as being hit by a car are accounted for in computer algorithms. Understandably, any particular code is highly variable from a first game design to another.

[0069] Properties and events are also sometimes tightly interrelated. Where a ‘hit by a car’ event is raised, a health property might be severely degraded. Conversely, some properties are arranged to raise events. For example, an event may be tied to the condition that the happiness property is at least some predetermined value. Where the value of the happiness property is less than the predetermined value, a ‘depression onset’ event may be raised.

[0070] Networks

[0071] In some preferred versions of these computer games, a centralized computer maintains the states of a plurality of GeoPets and centrally executes game play. A central computer may be remotely located with respect to various mobile units which are part of the game but in communication therewith via a network. This is a preferred version where the mobile unit is the type described as a mobile telephone. By way of mobile telephone networks, a mobile phone can communicate with a central computer as required in game versions of this kind. Instructions and parameters are passed between the central computer and hand-held telephone units to effect transactions there between.

[0072] Alternative versions might include a network of small computers without a central computer. A plurality of computers might be arranged to maintain a virtual entity within and to exchange messages over communications networks with similar devices in agreement with a prescribed protocol. In this way, a plurality of players can be in communication with each other where each unit includes an independent computer device.

[0073] Interaction with Other GeoPets

[0074] To this point in the disclosure only rare mention is made of games in which players interact with other game players. However, the GeoPet game might be well suited for and accompanied by interaction between a plurality of players.

[0075] A game maintained at a central computer has access to information relating to several games and players simultaneously. The condition of the game community, the group of all players, therefore may also present opportunity for interesting new game play. For example, where there are several players, a virtual payment from one player can be made to another whereby the payor is depleted in net worth and the payee is enriched. Players might be associated as friends or enemies. Virtual meetings can occur between more than one GeoPet. Collaborations, partnerships, or alliances might be formed between more than one player in a effort to better navigate through game rules and coarse of play. On the other hand, challenges, fights, wars may be introduced as part of the life of a GeoPet in a community of GeoPet players. In this regard, it is interesting to note that game execution with regard to a first player may also depend upon and be responsive to the position and attitude of another player's mobile unit. This can be more fully appreciated in view of the next paragraph which describes a game where two players engage in a fight type competition.

[0076] The physical proximity of an enemy GeoPet may disclosed to a player when the measured positions of both are compared and determined to be within a predetermined range. On such occasion, a player may be required to respond by fighting the enemy. The player might respond by guessing where the enemy is, directing his mobile unit to designate that location, and executing a ‘shoot’ method. If the guess is correct, the enemy can be damaged by the action taken against him. In this way, a war between players might be part of a certain game scenario. This example illustrates that a game may be arranged where not only is the play affected by the position and attitude of a first mobile unit, but also affected by the position and attitude of a second unit associated with another player.

[0077] Where a game has more than one player, family relationships between players might occur. An entire family tree might be maintained to define the universe of GeoPet virtual entities. GeoPets may have pedigree and breeding rights planned into game rules. A shortage of available GeoPets increases a real premium which might be associated with these virtual entities.

[0078] Death of a GeoPet

[0079] When a GeoPet reaches a termination point, it is said to have ‘died’. The existence of the virtual entity is extinguished and the game play is finished.

[0080] Although considerable detail has been presented here to describe how a virtual entity game relates to the spatial state of a mobile unit, other games of considerable interest further illustrate how computer games of these inventions might be realized. These include treasure hunt games, hand skill games, quiz games, and path following games, among others. They may be more readily appreciated in view of the following descriptions.

Treasure Hunt Games

[0081] Treasure hunting games may include a scheme whereby a reward is associated with a certain secret location and a player is challenged with finding that location to collect the reward. Game schemes and play may include receipt of clues to advance the player toward the secret location or may simply involve guessing. These treasure hunt games might be employed to advance a commercial or an educational purpose or may be provided solely for entertainment. In treasure hunt games of these inventions the game play, in some form or other, relates to and depends from measured position and attitude of a mobile unit apparatus. Treasure hunt games, by way of example, may include the following.

[0082] GeoCache

[0083] Cache finding games have recently been developed around ubiquitous GPS devices which hunters, hikers, athletes, environmental enthusiasts, et cetera employ in pursuit of their respective objectives. A cache game sometimes includes a game scheme whereby a hidden cache is set up and players try to physically visit the site to retrieve or merely discover the cache contents. Multiple clues distributed about various locations can provide further indication of the whereabouts of the final cache site. A player must make a visit to a predetermined location to receive a clue in accordance with the game rule set.

[0084] These games however are limited to mental steps. The procedures are executed in the minds of players but not in the computer of a GPS or other handheld unit. The GPS is merely a tool to measure position. From those position measurements, a user navigates to predetermined locations to find additional clues.

[0085] Further, in common cache games directional references are only implied. One might come to the conclusion that a target lies in one direction or another, but the game play as executed by a computer does not have a relationship with the relative directions as occurring in view of the game rule set.

[0086] ‘Win a Hamburger’

[0087] Treasure hunt games which enable a commercial objective are fully anticipated. By way of example, a version of treasure hunt games includes one whereby a player can win a hamburger. As part of an advertising campaign, a commercial enterprise such as the fictitious ‘Big Kahuna Burger’ hamburger company sponsors an interactive game for mobile telephone users. For purposes of this disclosure, it is assumed that mobile telephones comprise position determining means and/or attitude determining means. Such a ‘game’ may have a rule set which includes functions that depend upon the spatial state, i.e. position and attitude, of a user's mobile telephone.

[0088] In one version, a user plays the game by appropriately applying clues provided. Clues may be paid out in response to the telephone being in some physical state. For example, where the telephone is within two miles of a Big Kahuna Burger retail outlet, a clue might include an audio proximity indicator expressing that condition. By way of a graphical user interface or display screen, a user might be directed to a Big Kahuna Burger store where a reward for playing may include a free hamburger. Provided clues may change from time-to-time in view of the instantaneous position and the direction of travel (change in position over a time interval). The precise rule set may be configured for various commercial objectives and goals. Although particular rule sets may be different one from another, it is clear the spirit of the invention is met when a rule set is made responsive to position and attitude.

[0089] In advanced versions of the same game, directional information can also be included. The display screen might show an arrow aligned in a direction which indicates the physical location of the Big Kahuna Burger store in relation to the user position at any location. Since the attitude of the device is measured and the position of the store is recalled from memory, the relative position is calculated yielding a pointer icon to indicate the whereabouts of the restaurant.

[0090] To further illustrate how a game rule set may be arranged to provide a particular commercial advantage, one may consider the following rule which may be adopted in a certain advertising strategy. To attract users to store locations previously unknown to a player, a game rule set might be configured such that a player only receives a free Big Kahuna burger at stores which have not previously been visited. In this way, a commercial enterprise can expose their many stores to their loyal customers thereby increasing business. Where the objectives of an advertising campaign are directed to maintaining customer loyalty, a player visiting her regular store might be rewarded with buyer credits or ‘purchase points’. Accumulation of a prescribed number of points entitles the player to a free hamburger. In the course of play, a ‘visit’ is automatically detected in view of the measured position of the mobile device. Where necessary, an authentication means can also be provided. Where a purchase is necessary to earn the points, a code printed on a purchase receipt can be entered to verify the transaction and indicate to the game controller that the visit was a bona fide visit including a purchase.

[0091] One will appreciate that a very diverse set of rules may be configured to cooperate with and respond to position and attitude measurements.

Environmental Awareness Games

[0092] ‘Save the Kakapo’

[0093] An educational game of great importance is herein known as ‘Save the Kakapo’. This game is important as it illustrates a valuable tool for environmental awareness applications. In the ‘Save the Kakapo’ version of a treasure hunt game, an endangered species of bird, the Kakapo, serves as the main character of the underlying theme. Game play is arranged around actual circumstances which relate to the life and existence of the Kakapo bird species. Players not only learn about the plight of the Kakapo, but also learn to preserve the species through an interactive game medium.

[0094] In day-to-day activity, a player of a ‘Save the Kakapo’ game receives messages at a display screen user interface. These messages are provided by the game code being executed on a computing apparatus within a mobile unit. The messages are aligned with an environmental awareness theme and one which relates particularly to the Kakapo bird.

[0095] In one example, a message reminding a player to choose plastic sacks at grocery store rather than paper is presented. Since paper requires more of the forest to be cut away, this activity tends to destroy the natural Kakapo habitat. Thus, the game is arranged to provide environmental awareness messages to the user in response to a user's visit to the grocery store. A game player who carries her mobile telephone with her to the store causes the device to detect the condition of a store visit. This is accomplished in view of the fact that a position measurement is made and a comparison to a database reveals the mobile unit is near a grocery store. In response to detecting such condition, the game rule set provides that a reminder message be sent which relates to the choice of grocery sacks which favor saving the Kakapo.

[0096] In a similar fashion, environmental awareness groups could arrange games having rules to target certain boycott strategies. Where a corporate policy is questionable and public pressure is needed to bring about change, ‘Save the Kakapo’ players would receive instructional messages when visiting locations which relate to the corporate offender. In this way, a users position as measured at the mobile unit affects game play. In contrast, where corporate policy favors preservation of the species, the game may be set to encourage a user to visit entities relating to the corporation. An enviromentally friendly corporation could attract customers by sponsoring a ‘Save the Kakapo’ effort.

[0097] Any particular game rule set may include many other computer functions which are effected or driven by the location and pointing of a mobile unit. For example, when a user points her mobile telephone which is running a ‘Save the Kakapo’ game software towards a eucalyptus grove, the computer could generate a special audio alert to indicate eucalyptus as being a favored habitat of the Kakapo. Also, an audio presentation about Kakapo relative species who may be present locally in the indicated eucalyptus grove. A guide of what to look for in identifying such a species such that the player may find a bird which is a relative to the Kakapo in the wild.

Path Following Games

[0098] Path following games include games which guide a player about locations of interest and provide interactive games in conjunction with travel or tours.

[0099] Of course, execution of path following computer games may depend upon position information as well as attitude and sometimes time information. In some arrangements, position information as measured at a mobile unit associated with a user drives various execution branches of computer code. Thus, it is said here that game execution depends on a user's position. Similarly, game execution can also depend upon a pointing direction or attitude expressed by a user via a mobile unit having a direction reference. And further, in some special cases, game play may be effected by a time parameter as well. All three of these concepts are illustrated in the following examples of path following games.

[0100] In some versions of path following games, a measurement is made of a mobile unit's pointing direction and that information is passed to a computer. Thereafter, a computer action is taken which depends upon the pointing direction. In some path following games, direction information may also pass in the opposite direction. The computer may generate a direction indication based upon a game rule and convey that direction indication to the user via a graphical user interface. In example, an arrow icon may suggest to the user a certain direction of relevant nature. The user then can act on that directional information to progress or advance in the game scheme depending on the indicated direction. Thus, path following games include those games where a computer suggests directional clues to a game player.

[0101] Tours relating to Historic Events—The Donner Party

[0102] An historic trek of great importance includes the journey known as the ‘Donner Party”. This famous migration west provides adventure makers and hikers with basis for computer games which depends greatly upon position and attitude in agreement with the locations of importance in the actual Donner Party tragedy. A hiker-player can follow precise courses and paths of the Donner Party groups via hints and directions relating to position and attitude provided by the game computer in response to measured position and attitude values in relation to similar recorded information relating to the original trek. These actions can be set to a game theme administered by a mobile computing apparatus having position and attitude determining means. The game could be arranged as an annual adventure tour organized by a game promoter/tour operator.

[0103] In addition to position and attitude data, these games may include time parameters as well to improve the realistic nature of a game presentation. For example, although a unskilled outdoorsman might prefer not to make the passage in the winter, a more realistic game would be synchronized in time with the actual season of the true Donnor Party course. Pace of the game tour may also be regulated by timing of the actual events. Thus, preferred game schemes of this variety are arranged to cooperate with position and direction, and time as well. By way of example, the following scenarios illustrate how game elements could relate to the real life happenings of the Donner Party journey.

[0104] Leaving Springfield Ill. in the early spring, April 1846, members of the Donner family headed for a new home in California. In what has become the most famous of emigrant parties to cross the Sierra Nevada along the ‘Truckee Route’, members of this group suffered tremendously. Thus, an instance of a ‘Donner Party Exploration’ game could be initiated in Illinois in April. A multi-player game could start with each player being assigned to a actual member of the Donner Party. There were finally over 91 participants in the actual Donner Party, as such, a game scheme may be configured to similarly accommodate exactly 91 distinct players. As a player assigned to an actual Donner party member, the game start location might vary from one player to another. The various players meeting up with the group in agreement with the true meetings which occurred more than 150 years prior.

[0105] The actual course taken by the families is well documented with remarkable detail as to precise dates and various location and events. Thus, these details can be incorporated into the journey schedule and game play. Accordingly, games of these inventions include very realistic games constructed to follow an interesting historic journey for education and recreational purposes. The game can also include ‘act out’ sessions where game players would be faced with similar challenges and conditions recreated from the Donner Party notes and diaries. For example, side exploration treks taken by some members of the group such as the hunting expedition which led to the killing of an 800 bear by the famous hunter Mr. Eddy with Mr. Foster's gun who was given half the meat as payment for use of the gun. The game play may include short duration participation of some select players. For instance, one week treks of groups formed as the four rescue or ‘relief’ parties as they were known. Thus, networks of several players may be linked together in wireless communications and follow the game play while being remotely located with respect to other players. In this way, the game scheme is written about a network of players acting in concert and directed from a single game administrator. There are many stories and events on record from which actions designed in a game scheme would emulate. The following examples from the diaries illustrate how game play might be designed about real events.

[0106] Mr. Eddy's Bear

[0107] “The next day, very faint from want of food, he resumed his hunting, and at length came upon an enormously large grisly-bear track. Under other circumstances, he would have preferred seeing the tracks of one to seeing the animal itself. But now, weak and faint as he was, he was eager to come up with it. He was not long in finding the object of his search. At the distance of about ninety yards, he saw the bear, with its head to the ground, engaged in digging roots. The beast was in a small skirt of prairie, and Mr. Eddy, taking advantage of a large firtree near which he was at the moment, kept himself in concealment. Having put into his mouth the only bullet that was not in his gun, so that he might quickly reload in case of an emergency, he deliberately fired. The bear immediately reared upon its hind feet, and seeing the smoke from Mr. Eddy's gun, ran fiercely toward him, with open jaws. By the time the gun was reloaded, the bear reached the tree, and, with a fierce growl, pursued Mr. Eddy round it, who, running swifter than the animal, came up with it in the rear, and disabled it by a shot in the shoulder, so that it was no longer able to pursue him. He then dispatched the bear by knocking it on the head with a club. Upon examination, he found that the first shot had pierced its heart. He then returned to Mountain Camp for assistance to bring in his prize. Graves and Eddy went out after the bear. They, however, finally contrived to get in the bear after dark. Mr. Eddy gave one half to Mr. Foster for the use of the gun. A part of it was likewise given to Mr. Graves and to Mrs. Reed. The bear weighed about 800 lbs.”

[0108] November 21, The Snowshoe Party

[0109] In late November, the group decided to make snowshoes to improve their ability to travel on the heavy snow. A game of these inventions is arranged to include a snowshoe experience whereby players construct snowshoes from materials similar to those used in actual events.

[0110] “In the middle of December, certain members determined to succeed or expire, formed a party of 16 who become known as the ‘Snowshoe Party’. On the first day in particularly deep snow, about 12 feet deep, after having spent several days making snowshows from wagon bows and ox hide, they left the cabins to attempt to cross a divide which required a 1200 foot assent. On the first day, while expecting to go 5 miles, they only made 3 before having to return at night. For the following month this party made progress toward the Sacremento Valley and near the town of Colfax.”

[0111] Thus, these games could have special corresponding multi-day journey for the most hearty of explorers to coincide with the Snowshoe party. The actual location, course and pace could be recreated for the hiking team to experience the actual events of the Snowshoe party.

[0112] Survival Lessons

[0113] Preferred games are arranged to include teaching elements. Modules arranged as survival lessons are modeled after actual events. Actual Donner Party participants were constantly faced with life preserving challenges. These can be incorporated into a game scheme and played out by players.

[0114] “In this critical situation, the presence of mind of Mr. Eddy suggested a plan for keeping themselves warm, which is common amongst the trappers of the Rocky Mountains, when caught in the snow without fire. It is simply to spread a blanket on the snow, when the party, (if small,) with the exception of one, sit down upon it in a circle, closely as possible, their feet piled over one another in the centre, room being left for the person who has to complete the arrangement. As many blankets as necessary are then spread over the heads of the party, the ends being kept down by billets of wood or snow. After everything is completed, the person outside takes his place in the circle. As the snow falls it closes up the pores of the blankets, while the breath from the party underneath soon causes a comfortable warmth. It was with a great deal of difficulty that Mr. Eddy succeeded in getting them to adopt this simple plan, which undoubtedly was the means of saving their lives at this time. In this situation they remained thirty-six hours.”

[0115] Thus survival modules can be arranged to correspond with real events in agreement with the actual locations and times these events occurred.

[0116] While other games are well known whereby a player follows a series of ‘waypoints’ programmed into a GPS. These games are not incorporated with the GPS computer and the computer is not arranged to follow a game scheme and be responsive to detection of certain position conditions or states. In addition, these game devices consider only the position and position difference measures. Position difference measure yields a direction of travel, but does not account for user pointing actions. GPS devices may be moving North, while pointing East. In this regard, the pointing direction of a device does not reflect the direction of travel which may be orthogonal. Addition of a pointing direction reference and measurement of its instantaneous values adds considerable functionality to guided tours games of these inventions.

[0117] While games dependent upon position, attitude and time are fully anticipated here, some games are devised where these factors are not given equal importance without deviating from the essence of the inventions. For example, some preferred games of these inventions are independent of either of these parameters, highly dependent upon another, and loosely dependent upon a third. For example, one such game includes play independent of time, loosely dependent upon position, and highly dependent upon pointing direction.

[0118] Tour of Alcatraz

[0119] A guided tour of the famous prison of Alcatraz island can be incorporated into a game rule set consistent with these concepts. ‘Tour of Alcatraz’ games can be configured to include games responsive to position and/or attitude measurements relating to a user's position and orientation by way of a pointing mobile device. A computer detecting a user's position and address actions responds in accordance with a game scheme to provide education and entertainment.

[0120] As a visitor to the landmark penitentiary follows a computer guided tour which is responsive to actions relating to position and pointing. A user might walk to a particular location and point her mobile unit toward a place of interest. The position and pointing action is registered by the computer. The computer, under the correct conditions, launches a response appropriate for the position and attitude measured. For example, when a user points to the former cell of the ‘BirdMan of Alcatraz’, an audio clip could be played to describe interesting facts associated with that prisoner.

[0121] The entire tour of the prison could be constructed about a game theme where the game actions are taken in response to position and attitude states.

[0122] Experts might be quick to point out that guided audio tours of Alcatraz are presently well developed. These audio tours are particularly interesting as prior art references because the audio tracks played do respond to a user's position. As a user enters a particular room or location, the user's proximity to a fixed transducer causes the tracks to change in accordance with the user's location. This is an elegant solution which allows audio tracks to be played in any order thus freeing a visitor to explore in a manner different from a predetermined sequence. However, it leaves significant and important functionality. There is no ability in these systems to determine precisely what part of a scene is being addressed by a user. These systems do not account for pointing actions. Thus the information presented in general in nature and necessarily vague. Most of these types of audio tours require a user to enter a code which indicates to the computer which track to play rather than the computer measuring the user's position. Thus a user position is implied via a coded system.

[0123] Tours of the Cosmos

[0124] Where a game story or theme is written with regard to the constellations and great myths of gods and the universe, a game can guide an interested player on a tour of the night sky. One can fully appreciate that game schemes of these very modern inventions can be constructed about the oldest stories of our history in a manner to perpetuate and continue the stories.

[0125] These interesting embodiments have temporal-spatial relationships not found in others versions of these inventions. In particular, the manner in which constellations move dictates the precise locations of constellations as a game player might view them from nearly any point on the Earth's surface.

[0126] Because locations and relative positions of constellations and other objects in the night sky do not change appreciably when a person moves from place-to-place on the Earth's surface, these games illustrate a type which has little position dependence but strong time and pointing attitude dependence. A game computer is arranged with information appropriate to determine the whereabouts of objects in the night sky. This is done quite accurately in view of sidereal time and knowledge of a pointing direction with regard to a reference such as the Earth's rotation axis. In this way, a game theme is formulated to cooperate with a user's pointing actions, the present time at game play, and the ever present constellations and cosmos.

[0127] These games serve as wonderful tools to explore the messages of mythology as well as modern space science. The following game elements are illustrative of activity one might find is such a ‘tour of the cosmos’ game of these inventions. To learn of relationships between particular constellations, a game player might be challenged with first finding the location in the sky of the constellation Orion. By comparing a mobile unit pointing reference with known information relating to time and the locations of constellations, a computer can generate hints to guide a game player to view Orion. In this way, it is said that the computer game scheme responds to attitude and time measurements to dispense game play actions.

[0128] By way of stories told in relation to the constellations, one learns of their physical relationships with respect to others. For example, one might learn that Orion is opposite in the sky to Scorpius. This is not by chance, but rather well formed in agreement with the wishes of the gods in agreement with mythology as follows.

[0129] Orion had no mother but was a gift to a pious peasant from Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury. Orion was able to walk on water and had greater strength and stature than any other mortal. A skilled blacksmith, he fabricated a subterranean palace for Vulcan. He also walled in the coasts of Sicily against the encroaching sea and built a temple to the gods there. Orion fell in love with Merope, daughter of Oenopion and princess of Chios. Her father the king, however, would not consent to give Orion his daughter's hand in marriage; even after the hunter rid their island of wild beasts. In anger, Orion attempted to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, having made Orion drunk, deprived him of his sight and cast him out on the seashore. The blinded hero followed the sound of a Cyclops' hammer till he reached Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him, gave him Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the sun. Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion proceeded to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight by his beam.

[0130] After this he dwelt as a hunter with Diana, with whom he was a favorite, and it is even said she was about to marry him. Her brother Apollo was highly displeased and chid her she was, after all, a virgin huntress, but to no purpose. One day, observing Orion wading through the ocean with his head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to his sister and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the sea. The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim. The waves rolled the body of Orion to the land, and bewailing her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the stars (Bulfinch's Mythology, 191-192). Apollo, worried for Diana's chastity, sent a scorpion to kill Orion.

[0131] Orion is visible in the northern hemisphere in the south during the winter. He is generally shown as a hunter attacking a bull, Taurus, with an upraised club, and is easily recognizable by his bright belt of three stars. Orion, killed by Scorpius, was placed on the opposite sides of the sky from Scorpius so that they are never visible at the same time.

[0132] In agreement with concepts taught in the stories, games are constructed to illustrate features of the sky in conjunction with details in the stories. Where reference is made in the story to spatial relationships between constellations, i.e. “shown as a hunter attacking a bull, Taurus, with an upraised club” and “placed on the opposite sides of the sky from Scorpius”, the game scheme can draw attention to these relationships and incorporate the tour sequence such that these spatial hints are followed along with the stories. As an illustration of a game which is highly dependent of time and pointing attitude but very nearly independent on position, one might consider a game formed about the stars.

Quiz—Knowledge Games

[0133] For purposes of these inventions, ‘quiz and knowledge’ type games are computer games which partly depend upon measured information received from position and attitude determining means where the position and attitude determining means are incorporated within a mobile unit. Typically, game play includes a challenge question and demands a particular player response having to do with position and pointing. Thus, position and attitude information drives game program routines to effect game play. These quiz games include at least the following illustrative examples ‘Tour of the Cosmos’, and the quiz/memory game: ‘Point to Home Run Landings’. A Tour of the Cosmos game first presented in the previous section ‘Path Following Games’ serves as a very good platform to introduce these quiz and knowledge games as well. Therefore one can appreciate that a single topic might serve well in various types of these games.

[0134] Tour of the Cosmos

[0135] As described herein, a cosmology game is created with the night sky as a stage. Where players are located high atop a mountain or in the clear desert air with a good view of the stars at night, these games are designed to include interactive activity with the constellations and planets. In game schemes involving quiz activity, players are challenged by descriptions presented at a graphical user interface of a mobile unit to identify and find constellations and/or the stars therein.

[0136] A position determination is used with sidereal time to determine the orientation of the stars with respect to the player at game time. The pointing direction or attitude of the mobile device is used to determine precisely which star or constellation or other heavenly body is being addressed at any time. Thus, the game as embodied in computer code is responsive to the position, attitude and time of the mobile device as measure at the device.

[0137] This game is an important illustrative example. People playing in Finland have a different view of the night sky as those players in New Zealand. Thus, the game program must determine a particular players position and prepare a map of the night sky in view of sidereal time appropriate for the location and time of play. In addition, the pointing actions are taken over a large solid angle. Although previous games may only involve pointing along the points of a compass i.e. North, South, East, West, et cetera, those points all being in a horizontal plane at the location of the player, these cosmology games illustrate the true nature of ‘3-space’ applications where pointing direction is not limited to a planar region.

[0138] In one version of an cosmology game, a display screen challenges players to find a named star. For example, the star named ‘Betelgeuse’ may be presented as a first star to be identified. Experts in astronomy will verify that Betelgeuse represents the right shoulder of the Orion constellation. It can be found in the equatorial coordinate system as follows—right ascension: 5:55:10.307; declination: +7:24:25.35.

[0139] The declination of a celestial body, is its angle distance measured from the equator (0) to the north pole (90) or south pole (−90). Declination is expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds. The right ascension of a celestial body, is its angle distance measured eastwards along the celestial equator from the vernal equinox. Right ascension is expressed in hours, minutes and seconds based on a 24-hour system. In view of sidereal time and the measured players location, a translation can be computed to determine the precise pointing direction which corresponds to a reference direction of the mobile unit being aligned with the star. This can be compared to the actual pointing direction to verify that the player is pointing toward Betelgeuse to meet the game challenge. A player who confuses the left and right shoulders of Orion would mistakenly point at the star Bellatrix found at—right ascension: 5:25:7.857; declination +6:20:58.74. This star would have associate therewith a different pointing direction easily detected in the computer processing routines associated with the game. Players correctly pointing to Betelgeuse get awarded points and further challenges to find other astronomical bodies.

[0140] Various game schemes can be devised including those games which have a plurality of players and interactions between those players. The players can even be located in different continents. They might be in communication with one another as well as a central game server via the Internet, simple telephone or similar networks. It is important to realize here that the game and its subroutines are sensitive and responsive to measured position and attitude of game player's mobile units.

[0141] A game scheme including a plurality of players may also be arranged to be responsive to any of the players. Thus, action taken by a first player might affect the game play at another player. In example, a contest to find a star is proposed to two players, one in Ohio the other in Hawaii, simultaneously. The player look to the sky to find the challenge star and the first to identify it and point to it wins the challenge point. Upon addressing the star by pointing and clicking, the first player ‘locks-out’ the second player from scoring. Thus, an action taken by the player in Ohio, causes the game play in Hawaii to be affected. This is an important concept of these games which illustrates how actions relating to position and attitude in two remote locations might cooperate with a game scheme to form exciting play.

[0142] Point to Home Run Landings

[0143] As a sports fan appreciation game of these inventions, a baseball team can sponsor a hand skill memory game. At the end of a live baseball game, attending fans are invited to play the fan appreciation game. Locations of homerun landings are stored in a memory. Participants point their mobile telephone to designate locations they believe represent those of actual home run landings. These serial designations can be made in the sequence which the actual home runs where hit. Players correctly guessing the locations in proper sequence win a prize.

[0144] Because fans sit in various locations the relative location of baseball landing sites is different for each fan participant. However, since the position and attitude of each fan can be known to the computer, mapping to the guessed landing site is straightforward.

[0145] In an advanced version of the game, after each designation, a list of player names is offered at a graphical user interface. The player, after properly guessing the landing site must select from the list the hitter who made the home run. For each correct answer, additional points are tallied.

[0146] This example illustrates that quiz/memory/handskill may all be combined as a single game. The reader should remain mindful that combinations of games taught here are within the true spirit and scope of these inventions. The examples are drawn to particular categories of games for clarity, but game designers will easily appreciate that combinations may serve well interesting applications.

Multi-Player Games

[0147] For purposes of these inventions, multi-player type games are computer games which may depend not only on a user's position and attitude, but also on the position and attitude and actions of another related user. In a previous example developed herein, a first player was successful in meeting a challenge before another player could meet the same challenge and that player was ‘locked-out’ from scoring points. In this way, multi-player games include cooperation and competition between a plurality of players. As in other games, a player's position and attitude drives game program routines to effect game play. In addition, some game actions as defined by the game rule set are arranged to respond to position and direction conditions detected in competing or cooperating players which may be remotely located with respect to where the action is taken. Teams of players working together to accomplish a common objective are also part of multi-player games of these inventions. Players competing against each other are also part of these versions of computer games dependent upon pointing and attitude. With these concepts, networks of game players are fully anticipated here.

[0148] Multi-player networked games may be embodied in either of two preferred arrangements. In a first arrangement, players each have a mobile unit and that mobile unit is in communication with a game server computer which dispenses game play; i.e. computer actions The actual location of the game server computer is independent of the players and mobile units and is in communication with the mobile unit via wireless communication means. In alternative arrangements, the mobile units execute game play in accordance with a rule set local to the mobile unit. The mobile unit can receive data and information from other units, but all actions taken are executions of code within the mobile unit. In this way, need for a central server is completely obviated. Thus, in networked games, players may be in contact with a central server, or there may be no server but games are executed on each player unit which is made responsive to information sent to it from other units.

[0149] Tag

[0150] A simple game of tag is an old time children's' favorite. Combined here with high technology, a ‘Tag’ game is revived with a new and exciting twist. In versions of these inventions, a ‘Tag’ game includes use of a computer mobile device having position and attitude determining means running game software.

[0151] In a first version, a group of players each having a mobile unit in communication with a server computer enters into a game of ‘Tag’. One player is assigned the ‘it’ status and the other players are ‘free’. The ‘it’ player must point-and-click on a ‘free’ player to rid herself of the ‘it’ status and pass ‘it’ to the other. ‘Free’ players meanwhile try to stay clear of the ‘it’ player and the transfer of ‘it’ status.

[0152] All players have mobile units which maintain awareness of that player's location. The central computer keeps track of not only the whereabouts but the relative positions and proximity to other players. Thus the central computer running the game rules set may pay out clues to any of the players to guide their play activity. For example, clues might be fed to an ‘it’ player exposing the approximate location of certain ‘free’ players. The ‘it’ player can then act on that provided information to more effectively pursue the target ‘free’ player. Similarly, ‘free’ players might receive hints relating to the proximity and direction of the pursuing ‘it’ player in order to improve changes of escape. Of course, a game designer will ultimately decide the conditions upon which these hints are provided. It is important to note that computer game code responsive to position and attitude is used to achieve a game in agreement with these inventions.

[0153] Advanced versions of a ‘Tag’ game include better detail in the characterization of players. An ‘it’ player may be an ‘assassin’ and the ‘free’ players his kill targets. Teams may be formed in multi-player games and game schema relating to double-agents and double-cross activity may be integrated with other game play. The precise nature of a ‘Tag’ game of these inventions is only to be determined by a competent game designer.

[0154] One will now fully appreciate how computer games which depend upon position or attitude measured at a mobile unit are realized. Although the present inventions has been described in considerable detail with clear and concise language and with reference to certain preferred versions thereof including the best mode anticipated by the inventor, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the invention should not be limited by the description of the preferred versions contained therein, but rather by the claims appended hereto.