Title:
GAMING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF GAMING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of gaming includes providing a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game. The at least one attribute value of the game is set based on an allocation of the allocation units and a game outcome determined based on each set attribute value.



Inventors:
Elder, Matthew Ian (Alexandria, AU)
Chapple, Lauren Irene (Cronulla, AU)
Application Number:
12/465196
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/13/2009
Assignee:
Aristocrat Technologies Australia PTY Limited (North Ryde, AU)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/43
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KUSUMAKAR, KAREN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. c/o Armstrong et al. (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A method of gaming, comprising: providing a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game; setting the at least one attribute value of the game based on an allocation of the allocation units; and determining at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the attribute value(s) are set responsive to receipt of an allocation instruction indicating how the allocation units are to be allocated.

3. A method as claimed in claim 2, wherein the allocation instruction specifies a proportion of the allocation units to be allocated to one or more of the attributes.

4. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein different attributes have different effects on the outcome(s) of the game.

5. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein increased weightings of certain attributes increase the probability of being awarded one of a maximum or bonus prize in the game.

6. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the game is a feature game and whereby the allocation units provided to the player are accumulated during game play of an associated base game.

7. A method as claimed in claim 6, wherein the number of allocation units provided to the player is calculated responsive to determining that the feature game is to be awarded.

8. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the number of allocation units provided to the player corresponds to an amount of credit wagered by the player in the game.

9. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the attribute values are allocated a set number of allocation units in accordance with a default setting.

10. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the attributes are virtual character attributes which effect an associated character's ability to perform a task, the outcome of which determines the at least one game outcome.

11. A game controller operable to carry out play of a game comprising: an allocation module operable to: provide a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game; and set the at least one attribute value of the game based on an allocation of the allocation units; and a determination module operable to determine at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

12. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, further comprising an award module arranged to award the player with a prize based on the determined game outcome(s).

13. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, further comprising a display module arranged to cause a representation of the game to be displayed on a gaming device.

14. A game controller as claimed in claim 13, wherein the attributes are virtual character attributes which effect an associated character's ability to perform a task in the game, the outcome of which determines the at least one game outcome.

15. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, wherein the attribute value(s) are set responsive to receipt of at least one allocation instruction indicating how the allocation units are to be allocated.

16. A game controller as claimed in claim 15, whereby the at least one allocation instruction specifies a proportion of the allocation units to be allocated to one or more of the attributes.

17. A game controller as claimed in claim 16, wherein weightings of different attributes have different affects on the outcome(s) of the game.

18. A game controller as claimed in claim 17, wherein increased weightings of certain attributes increase the probability of being awarded one of a maximum prize or bonus prize in the game.

19. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, wherein the game is a feature game and whereby the allocation units provided to the player are accumulated during game play of an associated base game.

20. A game controller as claimed in claim 19, wherein the number of allocation units provided to the player is calculated by the accumulation module responsive to determining that the game is to be awarded.

21. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, wherein the number of allocation units provided to the player corresponds to an amount of credit wagered by the player in the game.

22. A game controller as claimed in claimed in claim 11, wherein at least one of the attribute values are allocated a set number of allocation units in accordance with a default setting.

23. A game controller as claimed in claimed in claim 11, wherein the game controller is constituted by a processor executing program code stored in a memory.

24. A game controller as claimed in claim 11, wherein the allocation instruction is provided by the player.

25. A gaming system, comprising: a game controller in accordance with claim 11; and a display module arranged to cause a representation of the game to be displayed on a gaming device.

26. An article of manufacture comprising: a machine readable storage medium; and executable program instructions embodied in the machine readable storage medium that when executed by a programmable system cause the system to perform functions that implement a method of gaming, the functions comprising: providing a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game; setting the at least one attribute value of the game based on an allocation of the allocation units; and determining at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of priority to Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2008902349, filed on May 13, 2008, entitled “A GAMING SYSTEM AND A METHOD OF GAMING”, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

The present invention relates to a gaming system, game controller and method of gaming.

BACKGROUND

It is known to provide a gaming system which comprises a game controller arranged to randomly display several symbols from a predetermined set of symbols and to determine a game outcome such as a game win based on the displayed symbols. Such gaming systems may commonly be implemented as a stepper machine provided with reels with each reel carrying several symbols of the set, or a video machine wherein selected symbols are displayed on virtual reels on a video display. Win outcomes can occur based on symbols appearing in one or more horizontal lines, diagonal lines, or any other predetermined way.

While such gaming systems provide users with enjoyment, the need exists for alternative gaming systems in order to maintain or increase player enjoyment.

SUMMARY

In accordance with a first aspect, the present invention provides a method of gaming, including:

providing a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game;

setting the at least one attribute value of the game based on an allocation of the allocation units; and

determining at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

In an embodiment the attribute value(s) are set responsive to receipt of at least one allocation instruction indicating how the allocation units are to be allocated.

In an embodiment the attributes are virtual character attributes which effect an associated character's ability to perform a task, the outcome of which determines the at least one game outcome.

In an embodiment the allocation instruction specifies a proportion of the allocation units to be allocated to one or more of the attributes. The allocation instruction may be provided by the player, or alternatively may be automatically generated by a game controller implementing the game.

In an embodiment different attributes have different effects on the outcome(s) of the game.

In an embodiment increased weightings of certain attributes increase the probability of being awarded one of a maximum prize or bonus prize in the game.

In an embodiment the game is a feature game and the allocation units provided to the player are accumulated during game play of an associated base game.

In an embodiment the number of allocation units provided to the player is calculated responsive to determining that the feature game is to be awarded.

In an embodiment the number of allocation units provided to the player corresponds to an amount of credit wagered by the player in the game.

In an embodiment at least one of the attribute values are allocated a set number of allocation units in accordance with a default setting.

In accordance with a second aspect there is provided a game controller operable to carry out a play of a game, the game controller including:

an allocation module operable to:

    • provide a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value affecting an outcome of the game; and
    • set the at least one attribute value of the game based on an allocation of the allocation units; and

a determination module operable to determine at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

In an embodiment the game controller further includes an award module arranged to award the player with a prize based on the determined outcome(s).

In an embodiment the attribute value(s) are set responsive to receipt of an allocation instruction indicating how the allocation units are to be allocated.

In an embodiment the allocation instruction is instructed by the player.

In an embodiment the game controller implements a display module operable to display a representation of the game on a display of a gaming device.

In an embodiment the attributes are virtual character attributes which effect an associated character's ability to perform a task in the game, the outcome of which determines the at least one game outcome.

In an embodiment the at least one allocation instruction specifies a proportion of the allocation units to be allocated to one or more of the attributes.

In an embodiment different attributes have different effects on the outcome(s) of the game.

In an embodiment increased weightings of certain attributes increase the probability of being awarded one of a maximum prize or bonus prize in the game.

In an embodiment the game is a feature game and the allocation units provided to the player are accumulated during game play of an associated base game.

In an embodiment the number of allocation units provided to the player is calculated by the accumulation module responsive to determining that the game is to be awarded.

In an embodiment the number of allocation units provided to the player corresponds to an amount of credit wagered by the player in the game.

In an embodiment the game controller is constituted by a processor executing program code stored in a memory.

In an embodiment the allocation instruction is provided by the player.

In accordance with a third aspect there is provided a gaming system, including:

    • a game controller in accordance with the second aspect; and
    • a display module arranged to display a representation of the game on a gaming device.

In accordance with a fourth aspect, the present invention provides computer program code which when executed by a processor implements the above method.

In accordance with a fifth aspect, the present invention provides a computer readable medium providing a computer program in accordance with the fourth aspect.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of core components of a gaming system, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a gaming machine, according to an embodiment;

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 representing the structure of a memory of the gaming machine shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a networked gaming system;

FIG. 6 is a further schematic block diagram of the gaming system;

FIG. 7 is an example screen shot illustrating game play in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram illustrating operation of a gaming system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Features, further aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. Also, various embodiments of the aspects described in the preceding paragraphs will be apparent from the appended claims, the following description and/or the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS

Although the following discloses example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus including, among other components, software executed on hardware, it should be noted that such methods and apparatus are merely illustrative and should not be considered as limiting. For example, it is contemplated that any or all of these hardware and software components could be embodied exclusively in hardware, exclusively in software, exclusively in firmware, or in any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Accordingly, while the following describes example methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus, the examples provided are not the only way to implement such methods, systems, articles of manufacture, and apparatus.

When any of the appended claims are read to cover a purely software and/or firmware implementation, at least one of the elements is hereby expressly defined to include a tangible medium such as a memory, DVD, CD, etc. storing the software and/or firmware.

In an embodiment a game controller of a gaming device includes an allocation module operable to provide a player with allocation units to be utilised in a game to set at least one attribute value effecting an outcome of the game. The allocation module sets the at least one attribute value based on an allocation of the allocation units. A determination module is also provided to determine at least one game outcome based on each set attribute value.

General Construction of a Gaming System

The gaming system can take a number of different forms. In a first form, a stand alone gaming machine is provided wherein all or most components to implement the game are present in a player operable gaming machine.

In a second form, a distributed architecture is provided wherein some of the components to implement the game are present in a player operable gaming machine and some of the components to implement the game are located remotely relative to the gaming machine. For example, a “thick client” architecture may be used wherein part of the game is executed on a player operable gaming machine and part of the game is executed remotely, such as by a gaming server; or a “thin client” architecture may be used wherein most of the game is executed remotely such as by a gaming server and a player operable gaming machine is used only to display audible and/or visible gaming information to the player and receive gaming inputs from the player.

However, it will be understood that other arrangements are envisaged. For example, an architecture may be provided wherein a gaming machine is networked to a gaming server and the respective functions of the gaming machine and the gaming server are selectively modifiable. For example, the gaming system may operate in stand alone gaming machine mode, “thick client” mode or “thin client” mode depending on the game being played, operating conditions, and so on. Other variations will be apparent to persons skilled in the art.

Irrespective of the form, the gaming system includes several core components. At the broadest level, the core components are a player interface 50 and a game controller 60 as illustrated in FIG. 1. The player interface is arranged to enable manual interaction between a player and the gaming system and for this purpose includes the input/output components for the player to enter instructions and play the game.

Components of the player interface may vary from embodiment to embodiment but will typically include a credit mechanism 52 to enable a player to input credits and receive payouts, one or more displays 54, a game play mechanism 56 that enables a player to input game play instructions (e.g. to place bets), and one or more speakers 58.

The game controller 60 is in data communication with the player interface and typically includes a processor 62 that processes the game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and outputs game play outcomes to the display. Typically, the game play instructions are stored as program code in a memory 64 but can also be hardwired. Herein the term “processor” is used to refer generically to any device that can process game play instructions in accordance with game play rules and may include: a microprocessor, microcontroller, programmable logic device or other computational device, a general purpose computer (e.g. a PC) or a server.

A gaming system in the form of a stand alone gaming machine 10 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The gaming machine 10 includes a console 12 having a display 14 on which are displayed representations of a game 16 that can be played by a player. A mid-trim 20 of the gaming machine 10 houses a bank of buttons 22 for enabling a player to interact with the gaming machine, in particular during game play. The mid-trim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism 24 which in this example includes a coin input chute 24A and a bill collector 24B. Other credit input mechanisms may also be employed, for example, a card reader for reading a smart card, debit card or credit card. A player marketing module (not shown) having 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, flash drive or any other portable storage medium capable of being read by the reading device.

A top box 26 may carry artwork 28, 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 29 of the console 12. A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the front panel 29 for dispensing cash payouts from the gaming machine 10.

The display 14 shown in FIG. 2 is in the form of a video display unit, particularly a cathode ray tube screen device. Alternatively, the display 14 may be a liquid crystal display, plasma screen, any other suitable video display unit, or the visible portion of an electromechanical device. The top box 26 may also include a display, for example a video display unit, which may be of the same type as the display 14, or of a different type.

FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of operative components of a typical gaming machine which may be the same as or different to the gaming machine of FIG. 2.

The gaming machine 100 includes a game controller 101 having a processor 102. Instructions and data to control operation of the processor 102 are stored in a memory 103, which is in data communication with the processor 102. 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 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 peripheral devices of the gaming machine 100. 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. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the reference to random numbers includes pseudo-random numbers.

In the example shown in FIG. 3, a player interface 120 includes peripheral devices that communicate with the game controller 101 include one or more displays 106, a touch screen and/or buttons 107, a card and/or ticket reader 108, a printer 109, a bill acceptor and/or coin input mechanism 110 and a coin output mechanism 111. Additional hardware may be included as part of the gaming machine 100, or hardware may be omitted based on the specific implementation.

In addition, the gaming machine 100 may include a communications interface, for example a network card 112. The network card may, for example, send status information, accounting information or other information to a central controller, server or database and receive data or commands from the central controller, server or database.

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.

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 to be provided remotely from the game controller 101.

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. Gaming machines 202, shown arranged in three banks 203 of two gaming machines 202 in FIG. 5, are connected to the network 201. The gaming machines 202 provide a player operable interface and may be the same as the gaming machines 10,100 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, or may have simplified functionality depending on the rules, guidelines, preferences, and/or 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. For example, the displays 204 may be associated with one or more banks 203 of gaming machines. 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.

In a thick client embodiment, 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. With this embodiment, as both the game server and the gaming device implement part of the game, they collectively provide a game controller. A database management server 206 may manage storage of game programs and associated data for downloading or access by the gaming devices 202 in a database 206A. Typically, if the gaming system enables players to participate in a Jackpot game, a Jackpot server 207 will be provided to perform accounting functions for the Jackpot game. A loyalty program server 212 may also be provided.

In a thin client embodiment, game server 205 implements most or all of the game played by a player using a gaming machine 202 and the gaming machine 202 essentially provides only the player interface. With this embodiment, the game server 205 provides the game controller. The gaming machine will receive player instructions, pass these to the game server which will process them and return game play outcomes to the gaming machine for display. In a thin client embodiment, the gaming machines could be computer terminals, e.g. PCs running software that provides a player interface operable using standard computer input and output components.

Servers are also typically provided to assist in the administration of the gaming network 200, including for example a gaming floor management server 208, and a licensing server 209 to monitor the use of licenses relating to particular games. An administrator terminal 210 is provided to allow an administrator to run the network 201 and the devices connected to the network.

The gaming system 200 may communicate with other gaming systems, other local networks, for example a corporate network, and/or a wide area network such as the Internet, for example through a firewall 211.

Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that in accordance with known techniques, functionality at the server side of the network may be distributed over a plurality of different computers. For example, elements may be run as a single “engine” on one server or a separate server may be provided. For example, the game server 205 could run a random generator engine. Alternatively, a separate random number generator server could be provided. Further, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that a plurality of game servers could be provided to run different games or a single game server may run a plurality of different games based on the terminals.

Persons skilled in the art will also appreciate that the method of the preferred embodiment could be embodied in program code. The program code could be supplied in a number of ways, for example on a computer readable medium, such as a disc or a memory (for example, that could replace part of memory 103) or as a data signal (for example, by downloading it from a server).

Embodiments may be implemented in relation to a spinning reel type game. Gaming systems for implementing games that involve a display of spinning reels as part of the display of the outcome of a game have either a video display or a mechanical display, these later machines most usually being “stepper” machines which have a separate motor for each reel. However, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention can be implemented in respect of other forms of games, including; card games; ball draw games (e.g. bingo or keno); dice games; and pin and ball games.

In some implementations the game controllers of such gaming machines select symbols by employing a stop determining function that randomly determines the stop position for each reel. For example, if there are five reels, each having twenty symbols, the stop determining function might determine that the stop positions are positions: 3, 13, 7, 9 and 17. The spinning of the reels is then controlled so that each symbol comes to a stop in the same row, typically a predetermined row in a “window” visible to the player on the display that which corresponds to a player playing a single win line. When a reel stops, the symbols will be in one of a plurality of possible symbol positions for that reel relative to the stop position.

Spinning reel type games typically allow a player to select how many win lines of a plurality of win lines they will play in each game—i.e. a minimum of one win line up to the maximum number of win lines allowed by the game. Persons, skilled in the art, will appreciate that in other embodiments, the player may select a number of reels to play. Each win line is formed by a set of symbol positions consisting of one symbol position from each reel. That is, a predetermined symbol position of each reel is assigned to a win line. The symbol positions that constitute each of the win lines are usually advertised to the player by markings on the display or diagrams showing the symbol positions that correspond to each win line. Some of the win lines will be horizontal or diagonal lines. Typically, the win lines will be constituted by symbol positions in the visible window. A game outcome is determined based on the symbols on the win lines and a prize table that specifies awards.

Further Detail of the Game Controller

The game controller 60 of an embodiment is shown in more detail in FIG. 6. As described in the preceding paragraphs, embodiments of the present invention provide different game outcomes dependent on set attribute values of a game. Specifically, upon commencement of the game, players are provided with allocation units which can be utilised for setting at least one of the attribute values. For simplicity, only those modules needed to carry out such embodiments are illustrated in FIG. 6. Other standard and/or non-standard modules may also be implemented for carrying out operation of normal and feature game play functionality.

Referring to FIG. 6, the game controller 60 includes a processor 62 which is arranged to control game play and, based on the attribute values, determine a game outcome. It will be apparent that the processor 62 implements a number of modules, namely a random number generator module (RNG) 621, sequence determination module 622, award module 624, attribute allocation module 625, and display controller module 626, based on program code stored in memory 64.

In the following paragraphs, embodiments are implemented as a feature game associated with a primary, or base game. The feature game may be triggered responsive to detecting a conventional feature trigger in the corresponding base game. For example, the feature game may be triggered responsive to detecting a required number, or combination of bonus symbols in the base game, or according to some other triggering technique known to persons skilled in the art. However, it will be appreciated that the game may alternatively by implemented as primary game, secondary game, linked game, stand-alone game, or otherwise. In other words, the actual implementation of the game is not limited to that which is described herein.

With additional reference to the example screen display 700 of FIG. 7, the feature game is in the form of an animated task or “trick” sequence to be performed by a virtual game character 702. The trick sequence is carried out on a half-pipe ice ramp 704. The outcome, in this case the resultant trick, or sequence of tricks, is dependent on attribute values associated with one or more virtual character attributes, namely “height” and “speed”.

Attribute values are set by way of an allocation instruction provided by the player which species how many allocation units (hereafter “ability points”) to allocate to each attribute. In the illustrated embodiment, ability points only become available for allocation upon commencement of the feature game.

Players can be provided with ability points in a number of different ways. In one embodiment, upon commencement of the feature game, a set number of ability points are provided to the player. In another embodiment, ability points can be accumulated during game play of the associated base game (e.g. particular symbols, symbol combinations, or the like, will increase the player's ability point count) and provided to the player upon commencement of the feature game. In another embodiment, the number of ability points provided to the player corresponds to the amount wagered in the game which triggered the feature, or alternatively, to the amount wagered over a series of games prior to triggering the feature game. In the illustrated embodiment, the player is provided with six ability points (see box 706) which corresponds to the amount bet per line in the associated base game (i.e. which triggered the feature game). The player issues an allocation instruction to distribute the ability points across one or both of the two adjustable attributes. In this case the player has decided to allocate the ability points equally, resulting in a strength attribute value of “three” and a height attribute value of “three”.

The random number generator 621 of the game controller 60 determines whether the outcome of the feature game will be a winning outcome. The sequence determination module 622 references a sequence table 642 stored in memory 64 to determine which trick is to be displayed, based on the allocated ability points and RNG 621 determination.

In an embodiment, for each possible attribute value allocation there are a number of associated trick sequences that can be played to the player. An example of a partially filled sequence table is shown below.

HeightSpeedWin SequencesLoose Sequences
11low backflip; side flip;failed low backflip; wall
slow spincrash
12jump low; 180° spin;failed jump low; trip start
medium pace turn
. . .. . .. . .. . .
55360° spin; jump high;failed jump high; failed
quick pace turn180° spin

The actual sequence chosen by the sequence determination module 622 for the set attribute allocation can be selected using either the RNG module 621, or in accordance with a pathway selection process, known to persons skilled in the art. Each trick may have an associated score or, alternatively, the score may be independently determined by the RNG 621.

In an embodiment different attribute allocations have different associated probabilities of achieving winning, or high scoring outcomes. In the illustrated embodiment, the greater the number of allocated ability points the greater the chance of achieving a high scoring outcome. For example, if the player is provided a total of ten ability points (which represents the maximum number of ability points that can be allocated) and has allocated all ten ability points equally across the attributes, then the probability of the character 702 carrying out a high scoring trick is 94%. Alternatively, if the player has only two points to allocate (which represents a low attribute score), then the probability of the character 702 carrying out a maximum scoring trick may only be 25%. In yet a further embodiment, the weightings of certain attributes may play more or less of a role in determining game outcomes. For example, a high strength attribute rating may be more likely to result in the character carrying out a high scoring trick, whereas a high height attribute may have little or no influence. The attributes which have more influence on the outcome may be different for each sequence (e.g. randomly determined).

The resultant credit value payable to the player may be the same as the total trick score, or alternatively may be determined from a prize table that specifies awards (e.g. a score of “50” may correspond to a credit value of “500”). Alternatively, the prize may be the awarding of further feature games. The number of further feature games may, for example, correspond to the total score. It will be understood that the actual form of prize awarded may vary depending on the particular implementation.

Operation of the above-described embodiment will now be described in more detail with additional reference to the flow diagram 800 of FIG. 8.

At step 802, a player is provided with ability points (i.e. allocation units) to be utilised in the game to set at least one attribute value affecting the outcome of the game. At step 804, attribute values are set based on an allocation of the ability points. An allocation instruction can be provided which specifies how the ability points are to be allocated. According to the illustrated embodiment, the allocation instruction is issued by the player and specifies that the ability points are to be equally distributed across the two selectable attributes. The RNG 621 determines whether the game outcome will be a successful outcome. The determination is based, in part, on the set attribute values. Based on the RNG 621 determination and set attribute values, the sequence determination module 622 determines which animated sequence/trick to play (step 806). The first of the three selected tricks, namely a back-flip having a corresponding score of “10”, is illustrated in FIG. 7. The other two tricks (not shown) selected by the determination module 622 were a forward flip and side flip having a score of “20” and “15”, respectively. At step 808 the award module 624 determines the prize. According to the illustrated embodiment, the prize corresponds to the accumulated trick score, i.e. 10+20+15=45 credits.

In an embodiment, the player can place an additional wager, or ante bet, in the game which entitles them to be eligible for a bonus prize. In accordance with such an embodiment, the additional wager buys the player additional ability points (e.g. each ability point corresponding to a set number of player credits) for increasing the player-selectable attribute values. In the illustrated embodiment, hanging fish 708 represent the bonus prizes available in the game. While the character 702 is performing the trick, the enhanced attribute values may affect the probability of the character reaching the fish and thus being awarded the bonus prize. For example, the player may have a 33% chance of attaining the 100 credit bonus prize (indicated by arrow 710) if the speed attribute value is enhanced. Similarly, there may be a 50% chance of achieving the 50 credit bonus prize (indicated by arrow 712) if the height attribute value is enhanced. The player may or may not be aware of which enhanced attribute values increase the probability for achieving the bonus prizes.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that any number of animation sequences, or tricks, could be carried out in a single game. For example, the number may be determined based on the success rate of previous sequences/tricks (e.g. the more successful the character is the more tricks they get to perform in subsequent feature rounds), on the amount bet, turnover, and the like.

In an alternative embodiment to that described above, the allocation of ability points may be automatically carried out by the allocation module 625 utilising the RNG 621. In other words, the allocation instruction is automatically issued by the game controller 60. The player may then have the ability to re-distribute the points prior to commencement of the game using the buttons 22. If the player fails to change the distribution in a defined period of time, the game controller 60 will assume that no change is required and will commence the game. In another embodiment, the player may have a preset preference as to how the points are to be allocated (e.g. stored on a player loyalty card or the like) and the preference is implemented by the allocation module 625. It will be understood that the number of character attributes is not limited to the number described herein and may be more or less depending on the desired implementation.

Embodiments of the present invention may heighten a player's interest in game by providing different game outcomes through the setting/adjusting of various game attribute values. Furthermore, an opportunity to win additional or bonus prizes may be provided in the game by allowing players to wager additional credits in the game.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

It is to be understood that, if any prior art publication is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.

In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context indicates otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.

It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Several embodiments are described above with reference to the drawings. These drawings illustrate certain details of specific embodiments that implement the systems and methods and programs of the present invention. However, describing the invention with drawings should not be construed as imposing on the invention any limitations associated with features shown in the drawings. It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined in this specification extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

The present invention contemplates methods, systems and program products on any electronic device and/or machine-readable media suitable for accomplishing its operations. Certain embodiments of the present invention may be implemented using an existing computer processor and/or by a special purpose computer processor incorporated for this or another purpose or by a hardwired system, for example.

Embodiments within the scope of the present invention include program products comprising machine-readable media for carrying or having machine-executable instructions or data structures stored thereon. Such machine-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. By way of example, such machine-readable media may comprise RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to carry or store desired program code in the form of machine-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer or other machine with a processor. When information is transferred or provided over a network or another communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a combination of hardwired or wireless) to a machine, the machine properly views the connection as a machine-readable medium. Thus, any such a connection is properly termed a machine-readable medium. Combinations of the above are also included within the scope of machine-readable media. Machine-executable instructions comprise, for example, instructions and data which cause a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or special purpose processing machines to perform a certain function or group of functions.