Title:
Method and System of Displaying Technical Information on a Gaming System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming system is operable by a player to play a game. The gaming system comprises a first display, and storage arranged to store technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming system. The first display is arranged to show at least a portion of the technical information.



Inventors:
Mckay, Linn Anthony (Henderson, NV, US)
Application Number:
12/424124
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/15/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRAN, THIEN F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCANDREWS HELD & MALLOY, LTD (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A gaming system operable by a player to play a game, the gaming system comprising a first display, and storage arranged to store technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming system, wherein the first display is arranged to show at least a portion of the technical information.

2. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system further comprises an input device for selection of a portion of the technical information to show on the first display.

3. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the technical information comprises one or more of the following: set-up information; settings information; maintenance information; fault diagnosis information; repair information; and parts information.

4. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the technical information is one or both of: textual information; and non-textual information.

5. A gaming system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the input device is arranged to receive an entry of an identifier of a part and the gaming system further comprises an ordering device which causes a part to be ordered based on the entry.

6. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system further comprises a communicator arranged to send a part order message to a receiving device of a stores department.

7. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system further comprises a communicator arranged to send a part related message to an electronic address.

8. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first display is separate to a second display used to display a game on the gaming system.

9. A gaming system as claimed in claim 8, wherein the first display is configured to show other information.

10. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a display controller for controlling the first display to show the at least a potion of the technical information.

11. A gaming system as claimed in claim 2, further comprising an information retriever configured to retrieve the portion of the technical information based on the section received by the input device.

12. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system comprises a stand-alone gaming machine which includes the first display.

13. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system comprises a networked gaming machine which includes the first display.

14. A gaming system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the gaming system is operable in a game play mode or in a service mode in which the at least a portion of the technical information is displayed.

15. A gaming system comprising a first display, a display controller and an information retriever for retrieving stored technical information related to the gaming machine, wherein the retriever is arranged to retrieve at least a portion of the stored technical information and the display controller is arranged to cause the first display to show the retrieved technical information.

16. A gaming system as claimed in claim 15, further comprising an input for selecting the portion of the technical information for display.

17. A gaming system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the gaming system is a stand alone gaming machine.

18. A gaming machine as claimed in claim 15, wherein the display controller comprises a processor.

19. A gaming machine as claimed in claim 15, wherein the processor is controlled by a computer program comprising instructions for controlling the operation of the gaming machine.

20. A gaming system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the stored information is stored on a local storage device.

21. A gaming system as claimed in claim 15, wherein the stored information is stored on a remote storage device which is accessed over a network.

22. A method of displaying technical information related to operation of at least a part of a gaming machine operable by a player to play a game, the method comprising: storing technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming machine; retrieving at least a portion of the information; and displaying the retrieved information at the gaming machine.

23. A method as claim in claim 22, comprising receiving a selection of a portion of the information at the gaming machine to display.

24. A method as claimed in claim 23, wherein the technical information comprises one or more of the following: set-up information; settings information; maintenance information; fault diagnosis information; repair information; and parts information.

25. A method as claimed in claim 22, wherein the technical information is one or both of: textual information; and non-textual information.

26. A method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising receiving an entry of an identifier of a part; and ordering the part based on the entered identifier.

27. A method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising sending a part order message to a receiving device of a stores department.

28. A method as claimed in claim 22, further comprising sending a message related to a part of the gaming machine to an electronic address.

29. A method as claimed in claim 22, wherein the technical information is displayed on a first display of the gaming machine and a game is displayed on a second display of the gaming machine.

30. A method as claimed in claim 29, comprising displaying other information on the first display.

31. A method as claimed in claim 23, comprising retrieving the at least a portion of the technical information based on the received section.

32. A method as claimed in claim 22, comprising operating the gaming machine in a service mode.

33. Logic embodied in a processor readable form which when executed controls the processor to perform a method of displaying technical information related to operation of at least a part of a gaming machine operable by a player to play a game, the method comprising: storing technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming machine; retrieving at least a portion of the information; and displaying the retrieved information at the gaming machine.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/045,059 having a filing date of Apr. 15, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[Not Applicable]

MICROFICHE/COPYRIGHT REFERENCE

[Not Applicable]

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Casinos and gaming venues often have gaming machines. These gaming machines require set-up, configuration, maintenance and repair. Technical information used by a technician to conduct these tasks is typically carried in a paper manual. If the same technician has to work on many different machines then this may require carrying many different technical manuals.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system operable by a player to play a game, the gaming system comprising a first display, and storage arranged to store technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming system, wherein the first display is arranged to show a at least a portion of the technical information.

In an embodiment the gaming system further comprises an input device for selection of a portion of the technical information to show on the first display.

In an embodiment the technical information comprises one or more of the following:

    • set-up information;
    • settings information;
    • maintenance information;
    • fault diagnosis information;
    • repair information; and
    • parts information.

In an embodiment the technical information is one or both of:

    • textual information; and
    • non-textual information.

In an embodiment the input device is arranged to receive an entry of an identifier of a part and the gaming system further comprises an ordering device which causes a part to be ordered based on the entry.

In an embodiment the gaming system further comprises a communicator arranged to send a part order message to a receiving device of a stores department.

In an embodiment the gaming system further comprises a communicator arranged to send a part related message to an electronic address.

In an embodiment the first display is separate to a second display used to display a game on the gaming system.

In an embodiment the first display is configured to show other information.

In an embodiment the gaming system further comprises a display controller for controlling the first display to show the at least a potion of the technical information.

In an embodiment the gaming system further comprises an information retriever configured to retrieve the portion of the technical information based on the section received by the input device.

In an embodiment the gaming system comprises a stand-alone gaming machine which includes the first display.

In an embodiment the gaming system comprises a networked gaming machine which includes the first display.

In an embodiment the gaming system is operable in a game play mode or in a service mode in which the at least a portion of the technical information is displayed.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system comprising a first display, a display controller and an information retriever for retrieving stored technical information related to the gaming machine, wherein the retriever is arranged to retrieve at least a portion of the stored technical information and the display controller is arranged to cause the first display to show the retrieved technical information.

In an embodiment the gaming system comprises an input for selecting the portion of the technical information for display.

In an embodiment the gaming system is a stand alone gaming machine.

In an embodiment the display controller comprises a processor.

In an embodiment the processor is controlled by a computer program comprising instructions for controlling the operation of the gaming machine.

In an embodiment the stored information is stored on a local storage device.

In an embodiment the stored information is stored on a remote storage device which is accessed over a network.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of displaying technical information related to operation of at least a part of a gaming machine operable by a player to play a game, the method comprising:

    • storing technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming machine;
    • retrieving at least a portion of the information; and
    • displaying the retrieved information at the gaming machine.

In an embodiment the method comprises receiving a selection of a portion of the information at the gaming machine to display.

In an embodiment the technical information comprises one or more of the following:

    • set-up information;
    • settings information;
    • maintenance information;
    • fault diagnosis information;
    • repair information; and
    • parts information.

In an embodiment the technical information is one or both of:

    • textual information; and
    • non-textual information.

In an embodiment the method comprises receiving an entry of an identifier of a part; and ordering the part based on the entered identifier.

In an embodiment the method comprises sending a part order message to a receiving device of a stores department.

In an embodiment the method comprises sending a message related to a part of the gaming machine to an electronic address.

In an embodiment the technical information is displayed on a first display of the gaming machine and a game is displayed on a second display of the gaming machine.

In an embodiment the method comprises displaying other information on the first display.

In an embodiment the method comprises retrieving the at least a portion of the technical information based on the received section.

In an embodiment the method comprises operating the gaming machine in a service mode.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided logic embodied in a processor readable form which when executed controls the processor to perform a method of displaying technical information related to operation of at least a part of a gaming machine operable by a player to play a game, the method comprising:

    • storing technical information related to operation of at least part of the gaming machine;
    • retrieving at least a portion of the information; and
    • displaying the retrieved information at the gaming machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a gaming machine in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention with the gaming machine in a gaming mode of operation;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of a gaming machine in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention with the gaming machine in a service mode of operation;

FIG. 2A is a diagrammatic representation of a gaming machine in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention with the gaming machine in a service mode of operation;

FIG. 2B is a diagrammatic representation of a gaming machine in accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention with the gaming machine in a service mode of operation;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram of operative components of the gaming machine shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of components of a memory of the gaming machine shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a gaming system in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention with the gaming system implemented over a network.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Generally the present invention provides for a gaming system operable by a player to play a game, the gaming system comprising a first display, and storage arranged to store technical information related to a gaming machine. The first display is arranged to show at least a portion of the technical information retrieved from the storage. Typically the first display shows the portion of the technical information under the control of a display controller based on a user selecting the portion of the technical information.

Referring to the drawings, there is shown a gaming system arranged to implement a game, such as a probabilistic wagering game wherein a player wagers a bet amount and a prize is allocated to the player depending on a game result.

For example, the game implemented by the gaming system operates such that a player places a bet on a game outcome and will be awarded a prize according to the result of the game and in some embodiments according to the amount wagered. The gaming system comprises at least one gaming machine.

A stand alone gaming machine 40 is illustrated in FIG. 1. The gaming machine 40 includes a console 42 having a display 44. The gaming machine is operable is a gaming mode, where one or more games can be played on the gaming machine 40; and in a service mode, where an authorized person, such as a technician can install, set-up, service, repair, maintain etc the gaming machine (hereafter referred to as service). In the gaming mode of operation the gaming machine is configured so that the display shows representations of a game 46 that can be played by a player.

A mid-trim 50 of the gaming machine 40 houses a bank of buttons 52 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine during game play, including enabling the player to select the bet amount and to provide other inputs. The mid-trim 50 also houses a credit input mechanism 54 which in this example includes a coin acceptor 54A and a bill collector 54B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit card. A reading device may also be provided for the purpose of reading a player tracking device, for example as part of a loyalty program. The player tracking device may be in the form of a card having a machine readable element or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by the reading device.

A top box 56 may carry artwork 58, including for example pay tables and details of bonus awards and other information or images relating to the game. Further artwork and/or information may be provided on a front panel 59 of the console 42. A coin tray 60 is mounted beneath the front panel 59 for dispensing cash payouts from the gaming machine 30.

The display 44 is in the form of a video display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 44 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit. The top box 56 may also include a display, for example a video display unit, which may be of the same type as the display 44, or of a different type.

In the gaming mode of operation, the display 44 in this example is arranged to display video representations of the selected game outcome of randomly selected and displayed game symbols under the control of a game controller. The outcome is often formatted as a three-by-five array of symbols corresponding to a game having five reels with three symbol positions for each.

The stand alone machine 40 may be networked to a slot accounting server or to a jackpot controller for purposes of contributing to a progressive jackpot total and for reporting game results.

In the service mode of operation, the display 44 in this example is arranged to display video representations of technical information 66, under the control of a display controller, for view by a technician or other personnel when servicing the gaming machine 40, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 2. The technical information may be for example one or more of the following: set-up information; settings information; maintenance information; fault diagnosis information; repair information; or parts information. The technical information may be textual information or non-textual information or a combination of both. In the example in FIG. 2, the information 66 is text information about a part of the gaming machine and an illustration of the part.

The gaming machine 40 can enter the service mode by for example opening a (typically locked) service panel which triggers a switch, by manually activating a switch inside the service panel, by connection of a service device or by other means. The gaming machine 40 can return to the gaming mode of operation by a corresponding action, for example, such as closing the service panel, deactivating the switch or by other means.

Referring to FIG. 2A, an alternative embodiment of the gaming machine 40′ is shown. In this embodiment the top box 56 carries a display 70, which is designated the first display. In this embodiment, the display 44 is designated the second display as it is used to display gaming information exclusively. For an electro-mechanical stepper machine, the second display 44 may be a glass for viewing a plurality of electro-mechanical reels. Alternatively the second display 44 may be a video display unit.

In the gaming mode of operation the first display 70 may be used to show advertising, game or prize related information or other information. When the gaming machine 40′ is in the service mode of operation, the first display 70 shows technical information 72. In this example the information 72 is settings for DIP switches (down, down, up, up, down, down, up, up). This allows the service technician to set-up the gaming machine according to the set-up requirements and the technical information 72. Using the first display 70 allows the second display 44 to continue to show the game 46.

Referring to FIG. 2B, an alternative example of technical information 76 is shown on the first display 70. This technical information is an exploded view of a XY bracket of the gaming machine 40 in which each of the parts of the XY bracket are displayed along with the corresponding part numbers (11214, 13142, 12345, and 14546). This can be useful to show how to assemble/disassemble a part or in ordering replacement parts.

FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine 100 which may be the same as or different to the gaming machine 40 shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 2A and 2B.

The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 having a processor 102. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 in accordance with the present invention are stored in a memory 103 which is in data communication with the processor 102. The processor 102 may also be configured to operate as a display controller for controlling the displays 44 and 70, by way of logic comprising instructions. The processor 102 may also be configured to operate as an information retriever for retrieving the selected information from the storage by way of logic comprising instructions. The instructions may be in the form of firmware or software. In an alternative the display controller or the information retriever may be implemented by another suitably configured processor.

Typically, the gaming machine 100 will include both volatile and non-volatile memory and more than one of each type of memory, with such memories being collectively represented by the memory 103. The memory 103 may be configured to comprise the storage of the technical information and/or instructions for controlling the processor 102 to operate as the display controller or the information retriever.

FIG. 4 shows a block diagram of the main components of an exemplary memory 103. The memory 103 includes RAM 103A, EPROM 103B and a mass storage device 103C. The RAM 103A typically temporarily holds program files for execution by the processor 102 and related data. The EPROM 103B may be a boot ROM device and/or may contain some system or game related code. The mass storage device 103C is typically used to store game programs, the integrity of which may be verified and/or authenticated by the processor 102 using protected code from the EPROM 103B or elsewhere, and data indicative of symbols, prize amounts and symbol functions used in the game. In one embodiment the mass storage device 103C stores the technical information.

The gaming machine has hardware meters 104 for purposes including ensuring regulatory compliance and monitoring player credit, an input/output (I/O) interface 105 for communicating with a player interface 120 of the gaming machine 100, the player interface 120 having several peripheral devices. The input/output interface 105 and/or the peripheral devices may be intelligent devices with their own memory for storing associated instructions and data for use with the input/output interface or the peripheral devices. A random number generator module 113 generates random numbers for use by the processor 102.

In the example shown in FIG. 3, the peripheral devices that communicate with the game controller 101 comprise one or more displays 106, a touch screen display and/or bank of buttons 107, a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin acceptor 110 and a coin dispensing mechanism 111. The displays 106 may include the displays 44 and 70. Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted as required for the specific implementation. The touch screen/buttons may be used as an input device by a technician when then gaming machine is in a service mode of operation. Alternatively or in addition other input devices by be used, such as a keyboard or mouse, which are only accessible or connectable by authorized personnel. For example the keyboard/mouse may only be connectable via a port inside the locked service port of the console 42. The input device may be arranged to provide a user selection of a portion of the technical information to the information retriever so that the relevant portion can be retrieved from the storage. The retrieved information is then provided to the display controller for showing the portion of the technical information to the use on the display 40 or 70.

In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. The network card 112 may, for example, send status information, accounting information or other information to a central slot accounting system server or database and receive data or commands from the slot accounting system server or database. The network card may also communicate with a jackpot controller of the type which allocates a percentage of the wagers from the linked gaming machines to one or more progressive jackpot pools, monitors play for jackpot winning outcomes and controls meters and displays associated with the progressive jackpot. In an embodiment the network card 112 communicates with a remote storage device which stores the technical information.

It is also possible for the operative components of the gaming machine 100 to be distributed, for example input/output devices 106,107,108,109,110,111 may be provided remotely from the game controller 101.

The gaming system may include a network, which for example may be an Ethernet network, a LAN or a WAN. In this example, banks of two gaming machines 100 are connected to the network. The game system includes connection to the slot accounting system and jackpot controller for accumulating jackpot totals.

In an embodiment, the gaming machine 100 corresponds to the gaming machine 40, in particular the displays 106 correspond to display 44 and the memory 103 stores the technical information. In one example the technical information is stored in the mass storage device 103C.

In an embodiment, the gaming machine 100 corresponds to the gaming machine 40′, in particular the displays 106 correspond to the displays 44 and 70.

The technician may use the player interface 120 to select which parts of the technical information to show on the display. The I/O 105 may additionally be connected to a technician interface, which may be used for the same purpose.

FIG. 5 shows a gaming system 200 in accordance with an alternative embodiment. The gaming system 200 includes a network 201, which for example may be an Ethernet network, a LAN or a WAN. In this example, three banks 203 of two gaming machines 202 are connected to the network 201. The gaming machines 202 provide a player operable interface and may be the same as the gaming machines 40,100 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, or may have simplified functionality depending on the requirements for implementing game play. While banks 203 of two gaming machines are illustrated in FIG. 5, banks of one, three or more gaming machines are also envisaged.

One or more displays 204 may also be connected to the network 201. The displays 204 may, for example, be associated with one or more banks 203 of gaming machines such as large overhead displays over the gaming machines 202 or displays in the top box 56 or game display 46 or a separate display such as provided with player tracking modules such as the Sentinel III module offered by Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. The displays 204 may be used to display representations associated with game play on the gaming machines 202, and/or used to display other representations, for example promotional or informational material. One or more of the displays 204 may also be used to as the first display to show technical information to a technician working on one or more of the gaming machines 202 in one or more of the banks 203.

In a thick client embodiment, a game server 205 implements part of the game played by a player using a gaming machine 202 and the gaming machine 202 implements part of the game including the random selection of the outcomes. With this embodiment, as both the game server 205 and the gaming machine 202 implement part of the game, they collectively provide a game controller. Furthermore in this embodiment the game server 205 may store the technical information, so that the game server 205 and the gaming machine 202 co-operate the display the technical information. A database management server 206 may manage storage of game programs and associated data and technical information for downloading or access by the gaming machines 202 in a database 206A.

Service personnel, such as a technician can readily access technical information on the gaming machine 40, 40′, 100 or 202 by use of the present invention. The gaming machine will enter a service mode when for example the technician opens a locked service panel. Opening of the service panel activates a switch which sends a signal to the I/O 105, which in turn causes the processor 102 to enter the service mode. In the service mode display 44 or display 70 can show a menu that allows the technician to select a portion of the available technical information to show on the display 44/70.

If a part requires replacement, a menu item may be provided that, upon activation, automatically prepares and sends a part request message to a service department, such as via email. Other means of sending the part request message to an electronic address can also be used. Such a part request message can automatically comprise a designation of the gaming machine. As an alternative, a message can be send indicating that a particular part has been installed by the technician for inventory management/auditing purposes.

The present invention provides a convenient system and method of displaying technical information.

Modifications and variations as be apparent to a skilled addressee are deemed to be within the scope of the present invention.