News Column

"Replacing Players on a Collaborative Game Task in an Online Game" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 13, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent application by the inventors Rodkey, Jeff (San Francisco, CA); Mei, Tatung (San Francisco, CA); Sampson, Kyle (San Francisco, CA); Julation, Cesario (San Francisco, CA); Qiang, Yi (San Francisco, CA), filed on July 22, 2013, was made available online on January 30, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Zynga Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Collaborative game tasks are sometimes used in board games to increase player engagement, as such tasks are inherently social. Of course, such tasks bear more than some resemblance to real-world collaborative tasks, which tend to be managed through project-management processes including monitoring and controlling task activities.

"Online games, including massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, tend to have a large number of players who can be described as 'casual' (as opposed to 'hardcore'). Such players are willing to devote only a small amount of their time and resources to game play and would be put off by any collaborative game task that resembled a real-world project.

"Consequently, creating collaborative game tasks for casual online gamers continues to be an ongoing area of research and experimentation for the designers of online games."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In an example embodiment, a processor-executed method is described for engaging players in a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. According to the method, software at a website hosting an MMO game creates a team (or group) to perform a collaborative game task in the MMO game. The collaborative game task is composed of a plurality of individual game tasks. Each player on the team is assigned an individual game task by the software. The software removes an existing player from the team, if the existing player is not participating, and assigns a new player to the team. The software determines that the team has satisfactorily completed the collaborative game task, according to the game mechanics associated with the collaborative game task. Then the software provides a game reward to each player on the team.

"In another example embodiment, an apparatus is described, namely, a computer-readable storage media that persistently store a program for engaging players in an MMO game. The program might be part of the software at a website hosting the MMO game. The program creates a (or group) to perform a collaborative game task in the MMO game. The collaborative game task is composed of a plurality of individual game tasks. Each player on the team is assigned an individual game task by the program. The program removes an existing player from the team, if the existing player is not participating, and the program assigns a new player to the team. The program determines that the team has satisfactorily completed the collaborative game task, according to the game mechanics associated with the collaborative game task. Then the program provides a game reward to each player on the team.

"Another example embodiment also involves an apparatus for engaging players in an MMO game, e.g., a server at a website hosting an MMO game. The apparatus includes one or more processors and memory storing processor-executable instructions. The instructions create a team (or group) to perform a collaborative game task in the MMO game. The collaborative game task is composed of a plurality of individual game tasks. Each player on the team is assigned an individual game task by the program. The instructions remove an existing player from the team, if the existing player is not participating, and the program assigns a new player to the team. The instructions determine that the team has satisfactorily completed the collaborative game task, according to the game mechanics associated with the collaborative game task. Then the instructions provide a game reward to each player on the team.

"Other aspects and advantages of the inventions will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate by way of example the principles of the inventions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a simplified diagram that illustrates a network for an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 2A is a functional software modularization, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 2B is an alternative functional software modularization, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 3 is a flowchart diagram that illustrates a process for replacing a player on team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 4 is a flowchart diagram that illustrates a process for obtaining a new player on a team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 5 is a flowchart diagram that illustrates a process for providing game rewards to encourage participation on a team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 6 is a dialog view in a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows a player to join a team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIGS. 7 and 8 are dialog views in a GUI that notify a player about the status of the formation of the player's team in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIGS. 9-11 are dashboard views in a GUI for a team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 12 is a dialog view in a GUI that allows a player to quit a team performing a collaborative game task in an MMO game, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 13A is a simplified diagram that illustrates a sequence of transmissions associated with an individual game task (e.g., preparing a virtual dish in a virtual meal) in an MMO game accessed from a social networking website, in accordance with an example embodiment.

"FIG. 13B is a simplified diagram that illustrates a sequence of transmissions associated with an individual game task (e.g., preparing a virtual dish in a virtual meal) in an MMO game accessed from an MMO game website, in accordance with an example embodiment."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Rodkey, Jeff; Mei, Tatung; Sampson, Kyle; Julation, Cesario; Qiang, Yi. Replacing Players on a Collaborative Game Task in an Online Game. Filed July 22, 2013 and posted January 30, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1818&p=37&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140123.PD.&OS=PD/20140123&RS=PD/20140123

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Zynga Inc.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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