Title:
Game effecting system and gaming server
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming server constitutes a game effecting system together with a gaming machine and an indoor effecting device, such as a lighting device and a sound device. When a starting condition for a special effect is realized, the gaming server allows the slot machine to change a transition condition from a base transition condition to a high-probability transition condition that is easy to make a transition to a special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition. Additionally, the gaming server allows the indoor effecting device to change an indoor effect from a base effect to a special effect.



Inventors:
Okada, Kazuo (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/494551
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
07/28/2006
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LEE, WEI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC / WATCHSTONE LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game effecting system comprising: a gaming machine capable of changing a gaming mode from a base gaming mode to a special gaming mode when a transition condition is occurred in the base gaming mode; an indoor effecting device including a lighting function, a sound function, an image-displaying function, and other indoor effecting function; and a gaming server, connected to both the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device, that includes a processor programmed to operate the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device to: (a) determine whether a starting condition for a special effect different from a base effect performed in the indoor effecting device is realized or not; (b) allow the gaming machine to change the transition condition from a base transition condition to a high-probability transition condition that is easy to make a transition to the special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition; and (c) allow the indoor effecting device to change an effect pattern representing a situation of an indoor effect performed by the indoor effecting device from a base effect pattern corresponding to the base effect to a special effect pattern corresponding to the special effect, wherein when the starting condition is satisfied, the processor changes the transition condition of the gaming machine to the high-probability transition condition and changes the effect pattern of the indoor effecting device to the special effect pattern.

2. A game effecting system, further comprising: an operating unit connected to the gaming server to output special-effect starting information in response to an operator's manipulation, wherein the processor determines that the starting condition is satisfied when the special-effect starting information is outputted from the operating unit.

3. A game effecting system comprising: a gaming machine capable of changing a gaming mode from a base gaming mode to a special gaming mode when a transition condition is occurred in the base gaming mode; an indoor effecting device including a lighting function, a sound function, an image-displaying function, and other indoor effecting function; a gaming server, connected to both the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device, that includes: a processor programmed to operate the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device to: (a) determine whether a starting condition for a special effect different from a base effect performed in the indoor effecting device is realized or not; (b) allow the gaming machine to change the transition condition from a base transition condition to a high-probability transition condition that is easy to make a transition to the special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition; and (c) allow the indoor effecting device to change an effect pattern representing a situation of an indoor effect performed by the indoor effecting device from a base effect pattern corresponding to the base effect to a special effect pattern corresponding to the special effect; and an opening/closing controlling unit configured to allow the opening/closing driving unit to open and close a stage; and a stage device including a rail arranged along the stage, a plurality of movable hooks movable along the rail, a curtain engaged with the movable hooks and shaped with a size allowing the stage to be covered, and an opening/closing driving unit connected to the gaming server to move the movable hooks thereby opening and closing the curtain, wherein when the staring condition is satisfied, the processor changes the transition condition of the gaming machine to the high-probability transition condition, changes the effect pattern of the indoor effecting device to the special effect pattern, and allows the opening/closing driving unit to change the stage from a closed state to an open state.

4. A gaming server forming a game effecting system together with a gaming machine capable of changing a gaming mode from a base gaming mode when a transition condition is occurred in the base gaming mode and an indoor effecting device including a lighting function, a sound function, an image-displaying function, and other indoor effecting function, the gaming server comprising: a processor programmed to operate the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device to: (a) determine whether a starting condition for a special effect different from a base effect performed in the indoor effecting device is realized or not; (b) allow the gaming machine to change the transition condition from a base transition condition to a high-probability transition condition that is easy to make a transition to the special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition; and (c) allow the indoor effecting device to change an effect pattern representing a situation of an indoor effect preformed by the indoor effecting device from a base effect pattern corresponding to the base effect to a special effect pattern corresponding to the special effect, wherein when the starting condition is satisfied, the processor changes the transition condition of the gaming machine to the high-probability transition condition and changes the effect pattern of the indoor effecting device to the special effect pattern.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon the Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-121365, filed on Apr. 19, 2005, the entire content of which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a game effecting system having a gaming machine, an indoor effecting device and a gaming server, and also relates to the gaming server constituting the game effecting system.

2. Description of the Related Art

A variety of slot machines have been known as a gaming machine that pays out game media (e.g. medals, coins) in correspondence with a winning combination in a game. Note that the game media (game medium) will be hereinafter referred to as coins (coin). In these slot machines, there is a slot machine that allows a player to play not only a base slot game adopting symbols on variable display (sometimes called “scroll display”) in a base gaming mode but also a special game profitable to the player in a special gaming mode. For example, a so-called “free game” performed without inserting coins into the machine automatically is representative of such a special game in the special gaming mode. In the slot machine of this kind, conventionally, a transition from the base gaming mode to the special gaming mode has been performed at random on the basis of a result of lottery performed with respect to each slot machine (see Japanese Patent Application Laid-open 2002-537874 (Japanese translation of PCT international application Laid-open 2000-584971)).

Meanwhile, in a game arcade having a plurality of slot machines (sometimes called “casino” or “hall”), there is often performed an indoor effect where the atmosphere of the whole game arcade is warmed up by activating a lighting device, a sound device or a visual monitor, such as a liquid crystal display.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the game arcade having the slot machines, however, the indoor effect is independent of the gaming modes of the slot machines at gaming. Therefore, even if a slot machine produces an effect (mise-en-scene) corresponding to the gaming mode in order to enhance a gaming will, the slot machine's effect is not effective as far as the indoor effect of the game arcade where the slot machine is arranged does not correspond to the effect produced by the slot machine. That is, in order to enhance a gaming will with increased effect of the slot machine, it is desirable to enhance the effect of the whole game arcade while allowing the effect of the gaming machine to correspond to the indoor effect.

An object of the present invention is to provide a game effecting system and a gaming server, both of which can make the effect of a gaming machine correspond to the indoor effect thereby enhancing a gaming will.

In order to attain the above object, an aspect of the present invention provides a game effecting system comprising: a gaming machine capable of changing its gaming mode from a base gaming mode to a special gaming mode when a transition condition is occurred in the base gaming mode; an indoor effecting device including a lighting function, a sound function, an image-displaying function, and other indoor effecting function; and a gaming server, connected to both the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device, that includes a processor programmed to operate the gaming machine and the indoor effecting device to: determine whether a starting condition for a special effect different from a base effect performed in the indoor effecting device is realized or not; allow the gaming machine to change the transition condition from a base transition condition to a high-probability transition condition that is easy to make a transition to the special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition; and allow the indoor effecting device to change an effect pattern representing a situation of an indoor effect performed by the indoor effecting device from a base effect pattern corresponding to the base effect to a special effect pattern corresponding to the special effect, wherein when the starting condition is satisfied, the processor changes the transition condition of the gaming machine to the high-probability transition condition and changes the effect pattern of the indoor effecting device to the special effect pattern.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a structural diagram of a casino effecting system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an overall structure of a slot machine in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the slot machine, showing its inside structure mainly;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing one example of an inside Structure of an image control circuit;

FIG. 5 is a sequence chart showing the operational sequences of a store server, the slot machine and an indoor effecting device;

FIG. 6 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of a casino effecting process executed in a main process of the store server;

FIG. 7 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of an event generating process executed in the store server;

FIG. 8 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of an event ending process executed in the store server;

FIG. 9 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of an intervention process executed in the slot machine;

FIG. 10 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of a main process from a game start to a game end in the slot machine;

FIG. 11 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of a high-probability shift condition gaming process;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the schematic interior of a game arcade centering on a stage, showing one condition before performing an event;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the schematic interior of the game arcade centering on the stage, showing another condition during performing of the event; and

FIG. 14A is a view explaining an effect pattern in a lighting device; FIG. 14B is a view explaining an effect pattern in a sound device; and FIG. 14C is a view explaining an effect pattern in an image display device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

An embodiment of the present invention will be described below. Note that throughout drawings, identical elements are indicated with the same reference numerals, respectively and their overlapping description are eliminated.

[Overall Constitution of Casino Effecting System]

FIG. 1 is a system structural diagram showing a casino effecting system 100 corresponding to a game effecting system of an embodiment of the present invention. The casino effecting system 100 comprises a store server 20, a plurality of slot machines 1, for example, twenty slot machines 1, a lighting device 21, a sound device 22 and an image display device 23. In this embodiment, the store server 20 corresponds to a gaming server of the invention, while each of the slot machines 1 corresponds to a gaming machine of the invention. Additionally, each of the lighting device 21, the sound device 22 and the image display device 23 corresponds to an indoor (in-casino) effecting device of the invention. The casino effecting system 100 further includes an operating device 25 and a stage device 24 both communicated with and connected to the store server 20 through a privately leased line 26. The operating device 25 corresponds to operating unit of the present invention. The slot machines 1 and the indoor effecting devices (i.e. the lighting device 21, the sound device 22 and the image display device 23) are installed in an indoor-type game facility. This indoor-type game facility will be referred to as “game arcade”, hereinafter. The game arcade has a built-in stage A on which a variety of events are performed as described later. FIGS. 12 and 13 are perspective views showing the schematic interior of the game arcade where the stage A is centered. In these figures, FIG. 12 shows one condition before an event is performed. While, FIG. 13 shows another condition in the course of performing an event.

In the casino effecting system 100, if the operating device 25 is operated by an operator (e.g. arcade manager, owner in the game arcade), then an event is held (or generated) on the stage A. In each of the slot machines 1, . . . , 1, simultaneously, its transition condition changes into a high-probability transition condition. Note that the terminology “transition condition” means a condition to change a machine's gaming mode from a base gaming mode to a special gaming mode. Additionally, it should be noted that the machine's gaming modes becomes easy to change into the special gaming mode under the above high-probability transition condition.

In the casino effecting system 100, with the opening (generation) of event, it is carried out to change the situation of indoor effect, which is effected by the lighting device 21, the sound device 22 and the image display device 23, from a base effect to a special effect in association with the opening (generation) of event. Additionally, according to the casino effecting system 100 of the embodiment, it is performed to open curtains 24b, 24c of the stage device 24 in accordance with the starting of event, making the event on the stage A visible to players in the game arcade. In this way, according to the casino effecting system 100, the effect by the indoor effecting devices (e.g. the lighting device 21) is specialized in accordance with the starting of event. On the other hand, more slot machines than those in case of no event are subjected to the special gaming mode, producing a different effect from that in the base gaming mode. That is, the casino effecting system 100 of the embodiment is constructed so as to enhance the effect of the whole game arcade due to the synergy effect between the first effect (by the indoor effecting devices) and the second effect (by the change in the slot machines 10). The constituents of the casino effecting system 100 will be described below.

(Store Server)

As shown in FIG. 1, the store server 20 comprises a CPU 201, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication processing unit 204 and a communication control unit 205. According to programs stored in the ROM 202, the CPU 201 operates while reading and writing data from and to the RAM 203. On the other hand, the communication control unit 205 operates the communication processing unit 204 in accordance with commands from the CPU 201. The store server 20 transmits and receives data to and from the respective slot machines 1, the lighting device 21, the sound device 22, the image display device 23, the stage device 24 and the operating device 25 through the privately leased line 26. Additionally, the store server 20 receives special-effect starting information from the operating device 25, which will be described in detail later. Further, the store server 20 sends a special effect signal to each of the indoor effecting devices (i.e. the lighting device 21, the sound device 22 and the image display device 23) and a high-probability transition signal to each of the slot machines 1. Still further, the store server 20 can send a curtain-opening signal to allow the stage device 24 to open the stage A and a curtain-closing signal to allow the stage device 24 to close the stage A.

(Lighting Device)

The lighting device 21 has a lighting control unit 21a and a plurality of lamps 21b, 21b, . . . and 21b. The lighting device 21 is provided with a lighting function as one of indoor effecting functions, forming a constituent of the indoor effecting devices.

The lighting control unit 21a includes a lighting control CPU, a RAM, a ROM, a communication control unit, a communication processing unit, a lamp driving unit for lighting on and off the lamps 21b and so on (all not shown). Based on effect pattern data stored in the ROM (i.e. base lighting-effect pattern data and special lighting-effect pattern data), the lighting control CPU controls the operation of the lamp driving unit to perform tuning-on/off of the lamps 21b, . . . , 21b and their lighting control (i.e. control to change their optical power). In this embodiment, the driving pattern of the lamps 21b, . . . , 21b, which is controlled on the effect pattern data stored in the ROM (i.e. the base lighting-effect pattern data and the special lighting-effect pattern data), corresponds to the effect pattern of the present invention. In detail, the driving pattern of the lamps 21b controlled on the base lighting-effect pattern data corresponds to the base effect of the invention, while the driving pattern of the lamps 21b controlled on the special lighting-effect pattern data corresponds to the special effect of the invention. The communication control unit drives the communication processing unit in compliance with indications from the lighting control CPU to perform data transmission/receiving (mainly, “special effect signal”) against the store server 20.

(Sound Device)

The sound device 22 has a sound control unit 22a and a plurality of speakers 22b, 22b, . . . and 22b. The sound device 22 is provided with an acoustic function as one of the indoor effecting functions, forming a constituent of the indoor effecting devices. The sound control unit 22a includes a sound control CPU, a RAM, a ROM, a data reading unit for reading out musical data etc. from a memory medium (e.g. CD) Memorizing the musical data etc., a communication control unit, a communication processing unit, an amplifier for outputting music, sound and other effect sounds through the speakers 22b and so on (all not shown in the figure). Based on effect pattern data stored in the ROM (i.e. base sound-effect pattern data and special sound-effect pattern data), the sound control CPU controls the operation of the sound device 22, so that sound signals amplified by the amplifier are outputted to the speakers 22b, . . . , 22b, performing the music, the sound and the other effect sounds. In this embodiment, the output pattern of the speakers 22b, . . . , 22b controlled on the effect pattern data stored in the ROM (i.e. the base sound-effect pattern data and the special sound-effect pattern data) corresponds to the effect pattern of the present invention. In detail, the output pattern of the speakers 22b controlled on the base sound-effect pattern data corresponds to the base effect, while the output pattern of the speakers 22b controlled on the special sound-effect pattern data corresponds to the special effect. The communication control unit operates the communication processing unit in compliance with indications from the sound control CPU to perform data transmission/receiving (mainly, “special effect signals”) against the store server 20.

(Image Display Device)

The image display device 23 includes an image control unit 23a and a display 23b, such as liquid crystal display unit, CKR and organic ELT. The image display device 23 is provided with an image display function, forming a constituent of the indoor effecting devices.

The image control unit 23a includes an image control CPU, a RAM, a ROM, a communication control unit, a communication processing unit, a VDP (Video Display Processor) and so on (all not shown in the figure). Based on effect pattern data (i.e. base display-effect pattern data and special display-effect pattern data) stored in the ROM, the image control CPU determines an image to be displayed on the display 23b. The VDP forms an image corresponding to a display content determined by the image control CPU, while it allows the display 23b to display the so-determined image. In this embodiment, the image determined on the basis of the effect pattern data stored in the ROM (i.e. the base display-effect pattern data and the special display-effect pattern data) correspond to the effect pattern of the present invention. Further, the displaying of an image determined on the base display-effect pattern data corresponds to the base effect, while the displaying of an image determined on the special display-effect pattern data corresponds to the special effect. The communication control unit operates the communication processing unit in compliance with indications from the image control CPU to perform data transmission/receiving (mainly, “special effect signals”) against the store server 20.

(Stage Device)

As shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the stage device 24 comprises a rail 24f arranged along the stage A, a pair of electric hooks 24e, 24d and a plurality of driven hooks 24g, 24g, . . . , 24g all movable along the rail 24f, the above-mentioned curtains 24b, 24c whose upper edges are engaged with (or hooked on) the electric hooks 24e, 24d and the driven hooks 24g, 24g, . . . 24g and each of which has a size (width and height) capable of covering the stage A and an opening/closing driving unit 24a for moving the electric hooks 24e, 24d to open and close the curtains 24b, 24c. In the embodiment, the electric hooks 24e, 24d and the driven hooks 24g, 24g, . . . , 24g correspond to movable hooks of the invention, while the curtains 24b, 24c correspond to a curtain of the invention.

Respective rollers arc attached to the electric hooks 24e, 24d and the driven hooks 24g, 24g, . . . , 24g. The rail 24f is provided with a guide part which supports these rollers movably in rolling motion to guide the movement of the rollers. Each of the electric hooks 24e, 24d includes a main body containing a drive motor, a roller fixed to a drive shaft of the drive motor and a hook part for hooking the curtain 24b (or the curtain 24c). By rotating the rollers of the electric hooks 24c, 24d in normal or reverse rotation on acceptance of a command from the opening/closing driving unit 24a, the electric-hooks 24c, 24d can move close to and apart from each other. Each of the driven hook 24g has a roller movably supported in rolling motion by the rail 24f and a hook part for hooking the curtain 24b (or the curtain 24c). These driven hooks 24g, 24g, . . . , 24g are arranged in a line along the longitudinal direction of the rail 24f. The curtains 24b, 24c are formed by heavy cloths capable of obstructing players' field of vision and also formed with shapes and dimensions allowing an area from the rail 24f up to the stage A to be covered. The opening/closing driving unit 24a includes a CPU, a RAM, a ROM, a communication control unit, a communication processing unit and so on (all not shown in the figure). In operation, the opening/closing driving unit 24a controls the drive of the electric hooks 24e, 24d on the basis of both “curtain-opening signal” and “curtain-closing signal” outputted from the store server 20. The opening/closing driving unit 24a moves the electric hooks 24e, 24d in directions to separate them from mach other in order to open the curtains 24b, 24c and in direction to approach each other in order to close the curtains 24b, 24c.

(Operating Device)

The operating device 25 includes a CPU, a RAM, a ROM, a communication control unit, a communication processing unit, an operating unit to be operated by an operator (e.g. arcade manager, worker, etc.) and so on. In this operating device 25, when the operating unit is manipulated by the operator, the CPU allows the communication control unit to operate the communication processing unit, thereby sending a signal (i.e. special-effect starting information) corresponding to the operator's manipulation to the store server 20.

(Overall Structure of Slot Machine)

Next, the slot machine 1 will be described with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. In the embodiment, the slot machine 1 is formed by a coin-insertion type gaming machine that requires a player's inserting of a game medium (or game media), for example, coin(s), game coin(s), etc. in order to start a game. In this slot machine 1, a base “variable-display” game is started by a player's inserting of the game medium and a player's predetermined manipulating for game start. Note that the base “variable-display” game will be referred to as “base game” after. After starting the game, if a predetermined transition condition is realized in the base game, then a special game profitable to a player begins. In the embodiment, it is defined that a gaming mode to perform the base game corresponds to the base gaming mode, while another gaming mode to perform the special game as a result of transition from the base gaming mode corresponds to the special gaming mode. In this embodiment, the special game indicates a free game where the variable-display game can be started without inserting the game medium newly. We now describe the structure of the slot machine 1.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the whole structure of the slot machine 1. The slot machine 1 is constructed so as to perform a variable-display game (also referred to as “slot game”) using a variable display image of a plurality of symbols.

The slot machine 1 has a main display 5 arranged on a front surface of a casing 5 to have a liquid crystal display device. Additionally, the slot machine 1 is provided, above the main display 5, with a sub-display 4 having a liquid crystal display device.

The main display 5 includes nine variable display portions 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g, 3h and 3i arranged in three lines vertically and horizontally each. On each of the variable display portions 3a-3i of the main display 5, there is displayed a variable display image as if a plurality of symbols were moving from top down (i.e. a reel image displayed as if a mechanical reel were rotating) in both the base gaming mode and the special gaming mode. As the slot machine 1 has nine variable display portions 3a-3i, as shown in FIG. 2, there are realized a total of eight activated paylines consisting of six alignments (in three lines vertically and horizontally each) plus two alignments on two diagonal lines.

The sub-display 4 displays an effect image in the base gaming mode (i.e. base-effect image), an effect image in the special gaming mode (i.e. special-effect image), an explanation image about game contents and so on.

The slot machine 1 is provided, below the main display 5, with a substantially-level operating panel 11. On the operating panel 11, there are a coin insertion slot 6, a bill insertion slot 7, a spin switch 8, an 1-BET (betting) switch 9 and a maximum-BET switch 10.

The coin insertion slot 6 is provided for a player to insert a coin for playing a game and includes a coin detection sensor 6a (see FIG. 3) for outputting a signal representing the insertion of a coin. Similarly, the bill insertion slot 7 is provided for a player to insert a bill and includes a bill detection sensor 7a (see FIG. 3) for outputting a signal representing the insertion of a bill. The spin switch 8 is provided for a player to perform an operation for starting displaying of the variable display image, namely, starting the game. By operating the 1-BET switch 9 one time, a player can accomplish a setting of betting one coin against the game. While, by operating the maximum-BET switch 10 one time, a player can accomplish a setting of betting the maximum number of coins that the player can bet in one game-play.

Further, the slot machine 1 is provided, at the bottom of the casing 2, with a coin payout opening 13 and a coin receiving portion 14 for accommodating payout coins. Speakers 12L, 12R are also provided on left and right sides of the coin payout opening 13, respectively.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the slot machine 1, showing its interior structure mainly. The slot machine 1 comprises a plurality of constituents with a focus on a microcomputer 31.

The microcomputer 31 comprises a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 32, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33 and a ROM (Read Only Memory) 34. The CPU 32 operates in accordance with programs memorized in the ROM 34 to carry out operation control of the slot machine 1 as a whole by inputting signals from respective parts of the control panel 11 (see FIG. 2) and also outputting/inputting signals to and from the other constituents through an I/O port 39. The RAM 33 stores data and programs that are used when the CPU 33 operates. For instance, after starting the game, the RAM 33 temporarily stores a random number sampled by a sampling circuit 36 mentioned later. While, the ROM 34 stores execution programs for the CPU 32 and permanent data.

Additionally, the slot machine 1 includes a random number generator 35, the above sampling circuit 36, a clockpulse generating circuit 37 and a divider 38. The random number generator 35 operates in accordance with instruction of the CPU 32 to extract an optional random number out of random numbers generated by the random number generator 35 and further outputs the so-extracted random number into the CPU 32. The clockpulse generating circuit 37 generates reference clock for operating the CPU 32. The divider 38 outputs signals obtained by dividing the reference clock by a constant cycle, into the CPU 32.

Further, the slot machine 1 includes a touch panel 56, a hopper driving circuit 63, a hopper 64, a payout complete signal circuit 65 and a coin detecting unit 66. Again, the slot machine 1 includes an image control circuit 71, a sound control circuit 72, a communication control unit 51 and a communication processing unit 52.

The touch panel 56 is arranged so as to cover a display screen of the main display 5 and detects a position of a portion that a player have touched through a finger and outputs a positional signal corresponding to the so-detected position into the CPU 32. According to the control by the CPU 32, the hopper driving circuit 63 drives the hopper 64. Then, the hopper 64 performs a payout operation of coins by a winning, that is, a payout of coins to the coin receiving portion 14 via the coin payout opening 13. The coin detecting unit 66 counts the number of coins paid out by the hopper 64 and informs the payout complete signal circuit 65 of data of the number of coins paid out. The payout complete signal circuit 65 inputs the data of the number of payout coins from the coin detecting unit 66 and outputs a signal informing the completion of payout when the inputted number of the payout coins reaches a preset number of coins to the CPU 32.

The image control circuit 71 controls respective image display operations of the main display 5 and the sub-display 4. That is, the image control circuit 71 allows the main display 5 to display a variable display image of a plurality of symbols and also allows the sub-display 4 to display the base effect image and the special effect image.

As shown in FIG. 4, the image control circuit 71 comprises an image control CPU 71a, a work RAM 71b, a program ROM 71c, an image ROM 71d, a video RAM 71e and a VDP (Video Display Processor) 71f.

Based on parameters realized in the microcomputer 31, the image control CPU 71a determines images to be displayed on the main display 5 (the variable-display image, a stopping symbol image displayed at a standstill of the variable display) and images to be displayed on the sub-display 4, in accordance with the image control programs (about the display operations of the main display 5 and the sub-display 4) previously stored in the program ROM 71c.

The work RAM 71b is constructed as temporary storing unit used when the image control CPU 71a carries out the image control program. The program ROM 71c memorizes the image control program, various selecting tables and so on. The image ROM 71d memorizes dot data for forming an image. In this embodiment, the dot data contains symbol image data representing respective symbols used in the base game and the free game, the base effect image data and so on. The video RAM 71e is constructed as temporary storing unit used when an image is formed by the VDP 71f. The VDP 71f includes a control RAM 71g, forms images corresponding to the display contents for the main display 5 and the sub-display 4 determined by the image control CPU 71a and allows the main display 5 and the sub-display 4 to display the so-formed images.

The sound control circuit 72 generates voice signals to the speakers 12L, 12R in order to output sound therethrough. The speakers 121, 12R outputs, for example, sounds for warming up the game before starting the game and at appropriate times during the game play and different effect sounds in the base gaming mode and the special gaming mode.

The communication control unit 51 operates the communication processing unit 52 in compliance with the indications from the CPU 32, performs data transmission/receiving against the store server 20 through the privately leased line 26 and receives the high-probability transition signal and the base transition signal from the store server 20, which will be described in detail later.

(Operating Sequence in Casino Effecting System)

FIG. 5 is a sequence chart showing the operating sequence of the store server 20, the slot machine 1 and the indoor effecting devices (the lighting device 21, the sound device 22, the image display device 23, the stage device 24) forming the casino effecting system 100.

When an event is held (or generated) on the stage A, an operator (e.g. arcade manager, owner, etc.) operates the operating device 25 (see FIG. 1) in order to start the special effect corresponding to the opening of event, causing the operating device 25 to output the special-effect starting information to the store server 20. Inputting the special-effect starting information, the store server 20 carries out an event generating process (step S2) mentioned later, transmits a special effect signal T1 to the respective indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23, transmits a high-probability transition signal T2 to the respective slot machines 1 and further transmits a curtain-opening signal T3 to the stage device 24. Additionally, when it is determined that the event ending condition is realized in a later-mentioned event ending process (step S3), the store server 20 transmits a base effect signal T4 to the indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23, transmits a base transition signal T5 to the respective slot machines 1 and further transmits a curtain-dosing signal T6 to the stage device 24,

When each of the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 receives the special effect signal T1, a routine goes to step S101. At step S101, each of the lighting control unit 21a, the sound control unit 22a and the image control unit 23a (referred to as “respective control units” after) sets “9” in each special effect flag. This special effect flag constitutes a determination element whether the event is being performed or not).

At next step S102, it is executed to determine whether or not “9” is set in the special effect flag for the respective control units. If “9” is not set in the special effect flag, it is determined that the event is not held and the routine goes to step S103. At step S103, the base effect based on the base effect pattern is carried out. At this step, the respective control units perform the drive control of the lamps 21b, the output control of the speakers 22b and the image control of the display 23b with reference to the base effect pattern data (i.e. the base lighting-effect pattern data, the base sound-effect pattern data and the base display-effect pattern data). On the other hand, if “9” is set in the special effect flag, the routine goes to step S104 on determination that the even is now being held. At step S104, the effect pattern data on reference is changed from the base effect pattern data to the special effect pattern data and additionally, the special effect based on the special effect pattern data is carried out. At this step, the respective control units perform the drive control of the lamps 21b, the output control of the speakers 22b and the image control of the display 23b with reference to the special effect pattern data (i.e. the special lighting-effect pattern data, the special sound-effect pattern data and the special display-effect pattern data).

Based on the base lighting-effect pattern data memorized in the ROM, for example, the lighting control unit 21a of the lighting device 21 at the base effect pattern lights on the lamps 21b, 21b, . . . , intermittently as shown in FIGS. 12 and 14A, keeping the lighting state (lighting power, lighting colors) of the whole game arcade at an uneventful constant state. Then, when receiving the special effect signal T1, the lighting control unit 21a changes the effect pattern data on reference from the base lighting-effect pattern data to the special lighting-effect pattern data and turns on and off the lamps 21b, 21b, . . . , partially on the basis of the special lighting-effect pattern data after changing as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14A, allowing the other lamps 21b, 21b as spotlights to illuminate against the stage A.

Based on the base sound effect pattern data memorized in the ROM, the sound control unit 22a of the sound device 21 at the base effect pattern outputs a “BGM (Back Ground Music) A” consisting of soft and slow tracks through the speakers 22b, 22b, . . . , as shown in FIGS. 12 and 14A. Then, when receiving the special effect signal T1, the sound control unit 22a changes the effect pattern data on reference from the base sound-effect pattern data to the special sound-effect pattern data and outputs another “BGM B” consisting of up temp and megavolume tracks through the speakers 22b, 22b, . . . , on the basis of the special sound-effect pattern data after changing as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14A.

Based on the base display-effect pattern data memorized in the ROM, the image control unit 23a of the image display device 23 at the base effect pattern allows the display 23b to display a simple background image (e.g. game arcade logos, landscape image such as river and mountains) as shown in FIGS. 12 and 14A. Then, when receiving the special effect signal T1, the display control unit 23a changes the effect pattern data on reference from the base display-effect pattern data to the special display-effect pattern data and allows the display 23b to display a character image of “Big Chance” on the basis of the special display-effect pattern data after changing as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14A.

Furthermore, when receiving the base effect signal T4, the respective indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 go to step S105 where the respective control units clear up the special effect flags, respectively.

While, as shown in FIG. 5, the stage device 24 carries out a curtain-opening operation when receiving the curtain-opening signal T3 and carries out a curtain-closing operation when receiving the curtain-closing signal T6. On receipt of the curtain-opening signal T3, the opening/closing driving unit 24a of the stage device 24 moves the electric hooks 24d, 24e in directions to depart from each other, causing the curtains 24b, 24c to be opened as shown in FIG. 5. At this time, on the stage A, there is held an event where a beauty (e.g. female in flamboyant and sweet costumes) B appears while holding up a sign having “Chance Tune” and additionally, a spotlight is directed to the beauty B. On the other hand, when receiving the curtain-closing signal T6, the opening/closing driving unit 24a moves the electric hooks 24d, 24e in directions to approach each other, causing the curtains 24b, 24c to be closed (see FIG. 12).

Further, when receiving the high-probability transition signal T2, the slot machine 1 changes the transition condition from the base transition condition to the high-probability transition condition. Consequently, the gaming mode of the slot machine 1 becomes easy to make the transition to the special gaming mode. That is, a great number of slot machines 1 in comparison with the number of slot machines before starting the event are brought into the special gaming mode, so that different effect from the effect in the base gaming mode occurs in places of the game arcade. While, when the slot machine 1 receives the base transition signal T5, the CPU 32 changes the transition condition from the base transition condition to the high-probability transition condition.

(Operation of Store Server)

The operational procedure of the store server 20 constituting the casino effecting system 100 will be described with reference to FIGS. 6, 7 and 8. In the figures, FIG. 6 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of a casino effecting process executed in a main process of the store server 20. FIG. 7 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of an event generating process executed in the store server 20, while FIG. 8 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure of an event ending process executed in the store server 20.

When turning on power, the store server 20 carries out a main process (routine) of managing the gaming mediums, such as coins, which have been used in the respective slot machines 1 and their gaming modes and also a casino effecting process built in the main process.

The casino effecting process is executed at predetermined intervals (e.g. 1 sec.). With an execution of the casino effecting process, the CPU 210 carries out the processes (i.e. initializing process, event generating process, event ending process) at steps S1 to S3 of FIG. 6, in succession.

At step S2, the event generating process is executed as mentioned above. When the event generating process is started, the routine goes to step S21 where the CPU 201 operates as starting-condition determining unit of the present invention and determines whether the starting condition for the special effect is realized or not, as shown in FIG. 7. At step S21, if it is determined that the starting condition for the special effect is realized, the CPU 201 changes the indoor effecting operations performed by the respective indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 to the special effect and carries out the processes at steps 22 to 25 in order to alter the transition condition for the slot machines 1 to the high-probability transition condition, in sequence. While, if it is determined that the starting condition for the special effect is not realized, the event generating process is ended. In this embodiment, when the special effect starting information is outputted from the operating device 25, it is determined that the starting condition for the special effect is effected. On the contrary, if not, it is determined that the starting condition for the special effect is not effected. At step S22, the CPU 201 sets “9” in an event starting flag as an element for determining whether or not the event is now being held or not element. Note that “9” represents that the event is not being held. Additionally, the CPU 201 sets a predetermined time (e.g. 600 sec.) for an event ending timer and the routine goes to step S23.

At step S23, the CPU 201 operates as effect-pattern controlling unit of the present invention. Here, in order to change the effect patterns representing the indoor effecting states realized by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 from the base effect patterns to the special effect patterns, the CPU 201 operates the communication processing unit 204 and outputs the special effect signals to the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23. Then, the routine goes to step S24.

At step S24, the CPU 201 operates as transition-condition controlling unit of the present invention. Here, in order to change the transition condition for the slot machines 1 (i.e. condition to shift the gaming mode from the base gaming mode to the special gaming mode) to the high-probability transition condition, which is easy to become the special gaming mode in comparison with the base transition condition, the CPU 201 operates the communication processing unit 204 and outputs the high-probability transition signals to the slot machines 1. Then, the routine goes to step S25.

At step S25, the CPU 201 operates as opening/closing controlling unit of the present invention. Here, in order to make the stage device 24 open the curtains of the stage A, the CPU 201 allows the communication processing unit 204 to transmit the curtain-opening signal to the opening/closing driving unit 24a of the stage device 24 and thereafter, the CPU 201 finishes the event generating process.

The event ending process is started on completion of the event generating process, as shown in FIG. 6. In FIG. 8, at step S31, the CPU 201 operates as determining unit configured to determine whether the event is now being held or not. If “9” representing the event in session is set in the event starting flag, then the routine goes to step S32 If “9” is not set in the event starting flag, then the event ending process is ended on determination that the event is not being held.

At next step S32, the CPU 201 operates as ending-condition determining unit configured to determine whether the event ending condition is realized or not. If it is determined that the event ending condition is effected, then the routine goes to step S33. While, if it is determined that the event ending condition is not realized, the event ending process is completed. In this embodiment, if an event ending timer indicates “0 sec”, it is determined that the event ending condition is realized. On the contrary, if not it is determined that event ending condition is not realized.

At step S33, the CPU 210 operates as the opening/closing controlling unit Here, in order for the stage device 24 to close the stage A, the communication processing unit 204 is operated to transmit the curtain-closing signal to the opening/closing driving unit 24a and thereafter, the routine goes to step S34.

At step S34, the CPU 201 operates as effect-pattern controlling unit of the present invention. Here, in order to change the effect patterns representing the indoor effecting states realized by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 from the special effect patterns corresponding to the special effect to the base effect patterns, the CPU 201 operates the communication processing unit 204 and outputs the base effect signals to the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23.

At step S35, the CPU 201 operates as the transition-condition controlling unit of the present invention. Here, in order to change the transition condition for the slot machines 1 from the high-probability transition condition to the base transition condition, the CPU 201 allows the communication processing unit 204 to transmit the base transition signals to the slot machines 1.

At next step S36, the CPU 201 clears “9” in the event starting flag and successively, the event ending process is ended.

(Operation of Slot Machine)

In the slot machine 1, the CPU 32 caries out the main process while operating as gaming-progress controlling unit. In the main process, the CPU 32 controls the progress of a variable display game that is started in the base gaming mode by using a game medium, such as coin and game coin, and further controls the progress of a free game that requires no game medium in the special gaming mode. Also, the CPU 32 carries out an interrupt process to the main process when receiving the high-probability transition signal or the base transition signal from the store server 20. Now, we first explain the interrupt process and thereafter explain the main process.

Starting the interrupt process on receipt of the high-probability transition signal or the base transition signal, the routine goes to step S71 where the CPU 32 prohibits the other interruptions and once evacuates an active program in the main process, which is stored in a memory area (register). At next step S72, the CPU 32 determines whether a transition signal on receipt is the high-probability transition signal or not. If it is the high-probability transition signal, then the routine goes to step S73 to set “8” representing the high-probability transition condition in a transition condition flag and subsequently, the routine goes to step S75. While, if receiving a base transition signal, then the routine goes to step S74 to clear up the transition condition flag and successively, the routine goes to step S75. At step S75, the CPU 32 restores the above memory area (resister) for the so-evacuated program and resumes the main process from the point of interruption (evacuation) on completion of the intervention process. That is, due to the above-mentioned intervention process, when the event is being held, “8” is set in the transition condition flag. While, when the event is not being held, “8” is not set in the transition condition flag. Therefore, by determining whether the transition condition flag has “8” set therein or not, it becomes possible to determine whether it is in the high-probability game at present or not.

The operational procedure of the main process will be described with reference to flow charts of FIGS. 10 and 11. FIG. 10 is a flow chart showing the operational procedure (respective operation blocks) of the main process from a starting of game to an end of game in the slot machine 1.

Corresponding to a starting of the main process, the routine goes to step S51 to start a start reception process that requires a player to operate the slot machine 1 for the starting of game. At next step S52, it is executed to determine whether “8” is set in the transition condition flag or not. If not, then the routine goes to step S53 where the CPU 32 performs a “base transition condition” gaming operation where a transition condition from the base gaming mode to the special gaming mode is identical to the base transition condition and thereafter, the main process is ended. While, if the determination at step S52 is Yes, that is, case that “8” representing the high-probability transition condition is set in the transition condition flag, then the CPU 32 operates as transition condition changing unit and the routine goes to step S54. At step S54, the transition condition is changed from the base transition condition to the high-probability transition condition. Then, the CPU 32 performs a “high-probability transition condition” gaming operation and thereafter, the main process is ended. It is noted that the base transition condition gaming operation is similar to the high-probability transition condition gaming operation. In the high-probability transition condition gaming operation, however, its transition probability of changing from the base gaming mode to the special gaming mode is realized so as to be higher than that in the base transition condition gaming operation. Hereinafter, the high-probability transition condition gaming operation will be described with reference to the flow chart of FIG. 11.

(High-Probability Transition Condition Gaming Process)

When starting the high-probability transition condition gaming operation, the routine goes to step S61 where a lottery operation is carried out. The lottery operation comprises a stopping-symbol determining process, a winning-and-losing determining process and a winning-mode determining process, which are performed in this order. In the stopping-symbol determining process, the CPU 32 first allows the random number generator 35 to generate random numbers within a certain range. Next, the CPU 32 samples an optional random number out of the so-generated random numbers and further acquires symbols corresponding to the sampled random number with reference to a not-shown symbol determination table (i.e. table memorizing both symbol code numbers and random numbers, in association) and a stop table (i.e. table memorizing both symbol code numbers and stopping symbols, in association). The so-acquired symbols are utilized as the stopping symbols to be displayed on the variable display portions 3a-3i.

In the wining-and-losing determining process, the CPU 32 determines a player's winning or losing the game with reference to a winning determination table (i.e. table that symbol patterns are registered so as to allow a discrimination of either winning symbol patterns or losing symbol patterns in association with the combinations of symbol code numbers). If it is determined that a player is winning the game, then the CPU 32 performs the winning-mode determining process to acquire a dividend (payout) corresponding to the winning combination with reference to a combination table where various dividends are registered in association with the winning symbol patterns (winning combinations).

At next step S62, a base gaming operation is carried out in order to perform the base game in the base gaming mode. In the base gaming mode, the CPU 32 carries out a variable displaying (i.e. scroll displaying) of symbols on the variable display portions 3a to 3i of the main display 5 and a stopping display of stopping symbols determined in the stopping-symbol determining process. In case of a winning, the CPU 32 performs a payout of coins etc. corresponding to the dividend acquired in the winning-mode determining process. Additionally, the CPU 32 allows the sub-display 4 to display a gaming effect representing the base gaming mode, for example, simple displaying of a logo image of the game arcade and allows the speakers 12L, 12R to output sounds, such as “Go!” and “Fight!”.

At next step S63, the CPU 32 operates as transition advisability determining unit configured to determine the advisability of transition condition for the special gaming mode (for example, unit configured to determine whether a special symbol has been determined as the stopping symbol or not). If the transition condition is realized, then the routine goes to step S64 where a free game operation is carried out. Note that the probability of establishing the transition condition in the high-probability transition condition gaming operation is preset higher than that in the base transition condition gaming operation.

In the special gaming mode, there is executed a special game profitable to a player. According to the embodiment, the free game operation where a predetermined number of variable-displaying games (so-called “slot game”) are carried out without requiring any game medium and subsequently, the main process is ended. In the free game operation, a lottery operation similar to the lottery operation at step S61 is carried out. This lottery operation comprises a stopping-symbol determining process, a winning-and-losing determining process and a winning-mode determining process, as well. After that, the scroll operation similar to the base game operation at step S62 is performed. That is, the CPU 32 carries out a variable displaying of symbols on the variable display portions 3a to 3i of the main display 5 and a stopping display of stopping symbols determined in the stopping-symbol determining process. In connection, the CPU 32 performs a payout of coins etc. corresponding to the dividend acquired in the winning-mode determining process. Note that in the free game operation, the CPU 32 performs the lottery operation and the scroll operation by a number of times equal to the number of free games.

Here, the CPU 32 allows the sub-display 4 to display a gaming effect representing the special gaming mode, for example, displaying of character images, such as “Free Game Chance!” and “Big Bonus!” and allows the speakers 12L, 12R to output sounds, such as “Lucky!” and “Excellent!”.

Thus, according to the casino effecting system 100, it is possible to make the indoor effect performed by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23 correspond to the effect performed by the slot machine 1, warming up the atmosphere of the whole game arcade due to a synergy effect between these effects and allowing the effect at the game arcade to be enhanced exponentially with player's improved passion for gambling,

Additionally, the indoor effect is changed to the special effect at a timing (e.g. timing of indicating to hold an event or timing just after an event has been held) and the transition condition in the slot machine 1 can be altered to the high-probability transition condition. Therefore, it is possible to accomplish the effect in the special-gaming mode by the slot machine 1 and the indoor effect by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23 in conjunction with the opening of an event, allowing the effect in the game arcade to be enhanced furthermore.

Again, when the indoor effect by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23 is changed to the special effect, the gaming mode in the slot machines 1 become easy to be changed to the special gaming mode. That is, since this appearance of the special effect allows a player to expect the transition for the special gaming mode, it becomes possible to enhance a player's motivation to play a game in accordance with the opening of an event.

As mentioned above, the casino effecting system 100 is provided with the operating device 25 that can output the information about the starting of special effect corresponding to an operator's artificial manipulation. Thus, at an optional timing (e.g. time when a number of players more than one hundred come into the game arcade, a predetermined time (e.g. 8 p.m.)), the operator can start an event, allow the stage device 24 to open the stage A with the starting of the event, allow the indoor effecting devices 21, 22 and 23 to perform the special effect and change the transition condition of the slot machines 1 to the high-probability transition condition. Thus, it becomes possible to allow the casino effecting system 100 to correspond to an event held by an owner of the game arcade, its manager, etc. freely.

In the casino effecting system 100, as mentioned above, the store server 20 manages whether the event ending condition is realized or not. Thus, on completion of the event, the store server 20 sends the indoor effect mode performed by the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 to the base effect mode and also sends the transition condition in the slot machines 1 to the base transition condition. Therefore, respective alterations in both the effect and the transition condition between the event and the other situations are carried out all at once, producing variation and enhancing the effect of presentment.

The game effecting system of the present invention is not limited to the above-mentioned embodiment. As for the gaming machine forming the game effecting system, the slot machine 1 of the embodiment may be replaced by a gaming machine adopting images of playing cards in a card game and a gaming machine adopting images of mah-jong pieces in a mah-jong game. Alternatively, it may be replaced by a slot machine equipped with a plurality of mechanical reels.

In the game effecting system and the gaming server of the present invention, it may be realized in a manner that the starting condition of the special effect comes into effect at a special time (e.g. 9 p.m.) or on special day and time (e.g. on Saturday, 1 p.m.). Alternatively, it may be realized that the starting condition of the special effect comes into effect when any one of players acquires an accumulated dividend in a jackpot game. Note that the jackpot game is a game where a predetermined percentage of bets are added as an accumulated dividend. If any one of players gets a special winning combination in the jackpot game, then the winner is supplied with the accumulated dividend in addition to a dividend corresponding to the winning combination.

In the above-mentioned embodiment, the CPU 201 of the store server 20 operates as the ending-condition determining unit to determine the ending of an event with a passage of predetermined time since the starting of the event. In the modification, on condition of providing the operating device 25 that outputs the event-ending information in correspondence with an operator's manipulation, the CPU 201 of the store server 20 may operate as the ending-condition determining unit when the event-ending information is inputted by the operator.

In the above-mentioned embodiment, with the ending of an event, the CPU 201 of the store server 20 changes the effect pattern of the indoor effecting devices 21, 22, 23 (from the special effect pattern to the base pattern) and also changes the transition condition of the slot machines 1 all at once (from the high-probability transition condition to the base transition condition). In the modification, the change from the high-probability transition condition to the base transition condition may be accomplished with respect to each slot machine 1 independently. For example, a modification may be made in that if the base gaming mode is altered to the special gaming mode as a result that the base transition condition has changed to the high-probability transition condition due to the occurrence of an event, the CPU 32 of the slot machine 1 operates as transition condition changing unit to change the transition condition from the high-probability transition condition to the base transition condition. Alternatively, another modification may be made in that if the number of gaming media, which have been paid out in sequential games to the alteration for the high-probability transition condition with the occurrence of an event, exceeds a predetermined number, the CPU 32 of the slot machine 1 operates as the transition condition changing unit to change the transition condition from the high-probability transition condition to the base transition condition.