Excerpt from the patent specification:
V. Random Number Replacement System
A method is disclosed whereby events in computer games or live role-playing games (RPG) that are conventionally resolved through the use of a random number, either through computer-generated random number in the case of computer games or through dice roll in the case of RPG, are instead resolved through user performance of a task. This task can be performed individually, which method is probably preferable in the context of a computer game, or collectively with other players, which method is probably preferable in the context of RPG. This task can be of a purely fun nature, as in the disclosed methods of using pre-existing games to produce random numbers, or of an educational, academic, or test preparation value, as in the disclosed methods of using questions which test and develop mental skills and knowledge.
For instance, in the present invention, a threshold used in a RPG is determined conventionally according to the rules of the given role-playing game (e.g., armor classes, attack bonuses, strength bonuses, etc.), but instead of a dice roll being compared against the threshold, a player’s performance at a particular task is measured and compared against the threshold to determine success or failure. Thus, the disclosed method is, in general terms: 1. Determine threshold (on a scale of 1 to 20, as usual in a d20 setting) 2. Have player perform task 3. Grade performance on scale of 1 to 20 4. Compare performance to threshold to determine success or failure
FIG. 61A depicts the basic method whereby the present invention is used to replace the function served by a random number in a computer game 6172 or a RPG 6173. Specifically, when an event occurs in a computer game that would conventionally give rise to the use of a random number, a novel random-number-replacement (“RNR”) software program according to the present invention is prompted to provide a number or result–by challenging the player of the computer game to perform an interesting task–to the computer game software that is then used by the computer game software to resolve or calculate the event giving rise to the need for a random number 6172. Similarly, when an event occurs in a role-playing game that would conventionally be resolved by dice roll, a number or result is instead generated by challenging the player who would otherwise be performing the dice roll to perform an interesting dice replacement (“DR”) task instead 6173.
Typical situations in which a random number is used in a computer game or RPG context can be divided into two types: (i) binary result situations (win/lose, live/die, etc.) and (ii) graded result situations (a mediocre roll produces mediocre results, a very high roll produces excellent results, etc.).
FIG. 61B depicts a disclosed method whereby both situations are fully addressed by the present invention in the context of a RPG so that a binary result or a graded result can be produced through a user-performed task. First, potential tasks to be performed by a user are separated into various levels of difficulty 6102. If a binary result is needed 6101, a threshold according to the given game rules is calculated 6103 and a task with a difficulty level appropriate to the likelihood of success in meeting the threshold using a random number is selected 6104, i.e., if the event to be resolved would have a very low likelihood of success, a very difficult task is selected. The player then performs the task 6105. If the task is performed successfully 6106, the threshold has been met 6107; if the task is not performed successfully 6106, the threshold has not been met 6108. The binary result is then treated as it would have been treated in the context of the game had it been attained through the use of a random number 6109.
If a graded result is needed 6101, a ratio is established between the game-specific quantity that would usually be generated by random number (ability points, hit points, gold pieces, etc.) and potential performance grades 6113. A task is selected 6114, and the player performs the task 6115.
Performance is graded 6116, and the resulting performance grade is converted 6117 to the game-specific quantity according to the established game-quantity-to-performance-grade ratio. The graded result is then treated as it would have been treated in the context of the game had it been attained through the use of a random number 6109.
FIG. 62 depicts a disclosed method whereby both situations are fully addressed by the present invention in the context of a computer game so that a binary result or a graded result can be produced through a user-performed task. First, a user installs a plug-in software RNR module 6201 and installs software for a first RNR-enabled computer game 6202. The user then, in the computer game software, indicates circumstances in which random number replacement is to be used and the types of challenge the user would like to face 6203. Provided that the types of challenges the user has selected are available 6204 using the given RNR module, the user then plays the game 6206. If the user has selected a type of challenges that is not available under the given RNR module 6204, e.g., the user has specified “English vocabulary questions” as his or her preferred type of challenge but does not own the English vocabulary module, he or she must purchase an expansion kit that would enable the preferred question type to be the type of challenge faced by the user 6205.
The types of modules are endless: English vocabulary; other language vocabulary; math; science; music; standardized test preparation (SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, MPRE, Bar Review, GMAT, MCAT, etc.) and many others.
When a challenge-generating event occurs 6207 during the game, i.e., an event that would typically be resolved through the use of a random number and has been specified by the user as the kind of event that the user would prefer to resolve through the use of the RNR module, the computer software communicates with the RNR module per the process depicted in FIG. 72 so as to challenge the user to a user-performed task. If the user accepts the challenge 6208, a determination is made regarding whether a binary result or a graded result is needed 6211. If the user declines the challenge 6208, a random number is generated as usual to determine the outcome without reference to the RNR module 6209.
If a binary result is needed, the probability of success were the event resolved by random number is calculated 6212 and a set of tasks of a difficulty level that is appropriate to the determined likelihood of success is selected 6213. From the group of selected tasks (e.g., individual vocabulary questions), a particular task (e.g., a particular vocabulary question) is chosen by random number generated by the RNR module software 6214. The user then performs the task 6215. If it is successfully performed 6216, this result is communicated to the game software per the process depicted in FIG. 72, and it is treated in the context of the game just as success would have been treated if the success had been generated by random number 6217. Failure is communicated similarly and treated as failure would have been treated had it been the result of a random number 6218.
If a graded result is needed 6211, a set of grade-able tasks is selected 6220 in the RNR module software and a particular task is chosen from among this set by random number 6221.
The user then performs the task 6222, and his or her performance is graded 6223. The resulting grade is then translated into the game-specific quantity which the challenge was undertaken to establish 6224. The resulting game-specific quantity is then communicated per FIG. 72 and then incorporated into the game as though this quantity had been established by random number within the game software 6225.
FIG. 63A is an example of the kinds of events that would conventionally be resolved through reference to a computer-generated random number in an example, pre-existing computer game (“Civilization” in the depicted example) but which instead can be resolved by user challenge through the use of the RNR method of the present invention. Example game-specific events giving rise to both a binary challenge and a graded challenge and the results of these types of challenges are depicted.
FIG. 63B is an example of the kinds of events that would conventionally be resolved through a dice roll in an example, pre-existing role-playing game (“Dungeons and Dragons” in the depicted example) but which instead can be resolved through the dice replacement method of the present invention. Example game-specific events giving rise to both a binary challenge and a graded challenge and the results of these types of challenges are depicted.
FIG. 64A depicts example tasks for producing a binary result and a graded result according to the present invention, which tasks are drawn from pre-existing games like popular games such as “Trivial Pursuit” and “Taboo.”
FIG. 64B depicts example tasks for producing a binary result and a graded result according to the present invention, which tasks are targeted toward developing particular academic, educational, or test taking skills like the skills needed for the LSAT or GRE.
A method of using a pre-existing game “Pictionary” to produce a binary result according to the present invention for dice replacement in a d20-based role-playing game is depicted in FIG. 65A. FIG. 65B is a chart depicting relationships between dice roll thresholds and corresponding seconds allowed to perform successfully a task under the method depicted in FIG. 65A.
FIG. 66 depicts a method for producing a graded result according to the present invention through the use of the pre-existing game “Taboo.”
Alternately (not depicted), the spell-casting function described above can also be used as a dice replacement task. In this case, a user attempts to match a pattern of movement and way of saying the spell phrase as accurately as possible. The closer his performance is to the standard, the higher his score, again on a scale of 1 to 20. The same can also be achieved by using a sensor-equipped “sword” which measures velocity and position and compares a stroke taken by the player to an ideal stroke, rating it, and outputting a score.
FIG. 67 depicts an entire suite of related methods whereby all the dice conventionally used in a d20-based role-playing game are replaced using pre-existing games.
return to games category page