Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberWO2000009229 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/US1999/018201
Publication date24 Feb 2000
Filing date11 Aug 1999
Priority date13 Aug 1998
Publication numberPCT/1999/18201, PCT/US/1999/018201, PCT/US/1999/18201, PCT/US/99/018201, PCT/US/99/18201, PCT/US1999/018201, PCT/US1999/18201, PCT/US1999018201, PCT/US199918201, PCT/US99/018201, PCT/US99/18201, PCT/US99018201, PCT/US9918201, WO 0009229 A1, WO 0009229A1, WO 2000/009229 A1, WO 2000009229 A1, WO 2000009229A1, WO-A1-0009229, WO-A1-2000009229, WO0009229 A1, WO0009229A1, WO2000/009229A1, WO2000009229 A1, WO2000009229A1
InventorsOwen R. Rissman, Victor Ng
ApplicantTiger Electronics, Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Action figure toy with communication device
WO 2000009229 A1
Abstract
The action toy figure construction (10) which enables a user to play a preprogrammed game with other such action figure toy constructions is described. The action figure toy construction includes a torso portion (12) and a memory for storing a preprogrammed game. A controller responds to input signals from user input commands to buttons on the exterior of the figure and operates the preprogrammed game, outputting data, graphics and text images to a torso mounted display. Lights, sound generator, microphones, metal detectors and motion sensors may also be coupled to the controller.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
- 26 - What is Claimed Is:
1. An action figure toy construction having interactive, preprogramme╬▒ game play characteristics, comprising : a memory for storing a preprogrammed game, wherein the preprogrammed game comprises a means for generating, uniquely identifying and controlling a plurality of separate game functions involving a virtual character; a torso portion configured to resemble a three- dimensional representation of the virtual character; an input device for generating input signals in response to input commands from a user; a communications unit for transmitting and receiving communication signals; a controller for receiving, processing and outputtmg data, graphics and text images, and control signals during operation of the preprogrammed game; ana a display mounted within the torso portion for displaying graphics and text images generated during ╧l╬▒\ of the preprogramme╬▒ game.
2. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein the torso portion includes appendages whicn tne user can move i conjunction with play of the preprogrammed game.
3. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein the communications unit is configured to be coupled to another electronic apparatus.
4. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein said electronic apparatus comprises a remote central processing unit haying means for modifying the preprogrammed game .
5. The action figure toy construction of claim 3 further comprising means for linking the action figure toy construction to the remote, central processing unit.
6. The action figure toy construction of claim 5 wherein said linking means comprises a personal computer.
7. The action figure toy construction of claim 6 of claim 6 wherein said remote central processing unit comprises means for simulating an action figure toy construction for enabling interactive play of the preprogrammed game between the action figure toy construction and the central processing unit.
8. The action figure toy construction of claim 5 wherein said linking means comprises means for communicating on the Internet.
9. The action figure toy construction of claim 3 wherein the electronic apparatus comprises a second action figure toy construction.
10. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein the virtual character is configured to resemble a humanoid character.
11. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein the virtual character is configured to resemble a vehicle.
12. Tne action figure toy construction of claim 1 wherein the communications unit comprises an infrared emitter and detector.
13. The action figure toy construction of claim 2 5 wherein the electronic apparatus comprises a docking station for linking a plurality of action figure toy constructions together for mult -player game play of the preprogrammed game.
14. The action figure toy construction of claim 1 n wnerem communications unit ccmprises an RS-232 communications port.
15. An action figure toy construction having interactive, preprogrammed game play characteristics, comprising : 5 a memory for storing a preprogrammed game, wherein the preprogrammed game comprises a means for generating, uniquely identifying and controlling a plurality of separate game functions involving a virtual character, ana for storing temporary data generated during ╧la_, of 0 tne preprogrammed game; a torso portion configured to resemble ╬▒ three- dimensiona.. representation of the virtual character; an input device for generating input signals in response tc input commands from a user; a communications unit for transmitting and receiving communication signals; a controller for receiving, processing and outputtmg data, graphics and text images, and control signals during operation of the preprogrammed game; a display mounted within the torso portion for displaying graphics and text images generated during play of the preprogrammed game; and an audio circuit for generating audio signals during play of the preprogrammed game and for receiving audio signals from said user during play of said preprogrammed game.
16. The action figure toy construction of claim 15 wherein the audio circuit mcl des a microphone and a speaker.
17. The action figure tcy construction of claim 15 further comprising a light.
16. Tne action figure toy construction of claim 15 further como╧sinq a motion detector.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

ACTION FIGURE TOY WITH COMMUNICATION DEVICE

Background of the Invention

This invention relates to a doll-like toy construction with a built-in electronic game apparatus and a method of communicating between doll-like toy constructions. More particularly, this invention relates to an action figure toy with a built-in electronic game apparatus and a method of communicating and playing the built-in electronic game with other action figure toys, with a computer and over a communications network, such as the Internet.

"Action figure" toys have become increasingly popular with children in recent years. Toys of this nature are generally doll-like in configuration, and are frequently configured to resemble television or motion picture characters, either real or fictional, as portrayed in both animated and filmed versions. Since children frequently play with toys of this nature by engaging in mock combat and battles, expeditions and other adventures, these types of toy constructions are generally referred to as action toys.

While toy constructions of this nature may be configured to resemble human beings, such figures may also be configured to appear as robots, as aliens or as beings having combinations of hu anoid and robotic characteristics. Other types of action figures may be configured as animals or animal characters, or as vehicles, such as cars, aircraft and space ships. Such action figure toys may have accessory vehicles, houses, mock weapons and the like for enhanced entertainment. Action figures, m general, have proven to be among the most popular of children's toys.

U.S. Patent No. 4,802,879 to Riss an et al . , "Action Figure Toy with Graphics Display" describes an action figure toy m which a graphics display is located m the humanoid torso portion. Microprocessor controls are provided for operating and controlling the graphics display to show a representation of a plurality of simulated life functions, thus lending animation to the toy construction. Such simula ed life functions includes a beating heart and circulating blood passages. The toy also includes light sensors so that when the toy is hit, for example, by a light beam, simulating a laser attack, the graphics display is varied to show the e::tent of the toy figure's simulated injury.

U.S. Patent No. 4,813,907 to Rissman et al . , "Toy Vehicle with Graphics Display" αescribes a to_" vehicle construction which has been configured to exhibit animated characteristics. A liquid crystal graphics display is provided on the chassis of the vehicle and is particularly configured to display simulated life functions. An associated microprocessor effects operation and control of the graphics display, with additional sound generating, light emitting and detecting devices further provided to lend to the animated nature of the device.

Inexpensive, hand-held electronic games have become more popular as the complexity and increasing costs of the cartridge-style video games, games m which the user can play more than one game by replacing a game cartridge m the game un t, have increased. Additionally, while users enjoy the low cost of single game electronic game, users have grown to expect features of the higher priced and more complex games to be included in the less expensive units. Action figures, by contrast, are generally more limited in the t^pes of game play ava lable . Some cf the features sought after by users include acces s tc up raαes tc lengthen the life of tne electronic game, h αden features ar.c functionality, and the anility to engage ir. multi-user game play. Also, the aαver.t and increased popularity cf the Internet m homes has maαe multi-user game play with remote users and access to manufacturer web pages as close as the family personal computer .

Increased miniaturization and reductions in manufacturing costs in the semiconductor industry have maαe more sop isticated games for the hand-held electronic game apparatus industry possible. An example of an improved nar.o-heiα electronic game is deεcrioeα ir. co-penαmg application, assigned to the assignee c: t._s invention, serial number 06/940,732 filed September 3C, 1 9", "Electronic Game." However, even with such improvements, the memory available for such hand-helα games, often nc larger than a key fob or pocket water., is insufficient to include the additional software needed to provide the increased functionalities sought. Such simple games, for example, do not contain the additional software or hardware needed to link with other games.

Examples of previous efforts to link game apparatuses are known in the prior art. US Patent No. 5,048,831 tc Sides discloses a hand-held electronic game apparatus useable by a single player, but also useable for direct competitive play between two or more players through both direct physical linkage of multiple units of the apparatus and indirect linkage by radio signals or the like. The electronic apparatus of Sides is designed for larger, more complex games and. requires a communications link be built into each electronic game apparatus. Further, the electronic game apparatus of Sides contemplates operating c larger power supplies such as 12 volt batteries or common household AC current, which is far greater than the : y ical 3 volt battery power supplies used in inexpensive, hand-held electronic game apparatuses.

Vaughn et al. US Patent No. 5,643,088 discloses a game of skill or chance playable by remote participants in conjunction with a common game event including inserted interactive advertising. This system requires communication with a remote central computer and does not permit game play between two or more users directly. There is a need for an improved action figure type toy with increased game play, similar to 'that available to hand-held games. There is also a need for an action figure type tcy which can engage in interactive play w th other action figure type toys. There is a further need for an action figure type toy which can communicate an engage in electronic game play with other action figure type toys and other electronic systems, such as over the Internet .

Summary of the Invention To achieve the foregoing and other objects, an action figure toy construction having interactive, preprogrammed game play characteristics is described. The action figure toy construction is a physical representation of a character in a preprogrammed game stored within the toy construction. The preprogrammed game includes means for generating, uniquely identifying and controlling a plurality of separate game functions involving a virtual character. The action figure toy construction includes a torso portion configured to resemble a three-dimensional representation of the virtual character and has a hollow interior for holding electronic components. For action figures configured to resemble a humanoid or animal, the toy will also include a head, arms (if applicable) and legs. As with other action type figures, the head, arms and legs may be moveable. Some of the electronic components may be located within the head, arms or legs, as applicable. In a preferred embodiment, the majority of the electronic components will be located within the torso section. Action figure toy constructions configured in the shape of a vehicle, such as a car, -airplane or space craft would also preferably have the majority of the electronic components located within the main body of the vehicle. As applicable, other portions may be located in wings, for example.

The action figure toy construction includes a memory for storing a preprogrammed game and other temporary data that may be generated during play of the game. The preprogrammed game includes means for generating, uniquely identifying and controlling a plurality cf separate game functions. A preferred action figure toy- construction is a fighter. The preprogrammed game for the fighter includes a routine for training the fighter in several fighting skills as well as a routine for enabling the fighter to engage in mock battles with another action figure toy construction or with a fighter on an Internet website or with a computer version of the fighter preprogrammed gage.

An input device for enabling the user to input commands to control and play the preprogrammed game is located at a convenient location on the action figure toy construction. Preferably, a plurality of buttons and a directional wheel or button are provided. The buttons generate input signals in response to input commands from the user. These signals are fed to a controller which runs or operates the preprogrammed game. The controller responds to the input signals and program functions in the preprogrammed game for receiving, processing and outputting data, graphics and text images, and control signals during operation of the preprogrammed game. A display, preferably mounted on the torso, displays graphics and text images.

Preferably, the action toy figure construction includes one or more lights, sunn as light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are controlled by the controller. For example, two LEDs mounted in the head for the eyes can be lit when the preprogrammed game begins or when power is turned on. Other lights may be associated with mock weapons built into the torso. For example, one arm may have a laser gun attached to the hand. When the preprogrammed game calls for the laser gun to be fired, or when the user selects the appropriate button commands, the LED on the laser gun attached to the toy's hand is turned on.

Also preferably, the action toy figure construction includes a sound generator for playing sounds in accordance with play of the preprogrammed game. For example, the action toy figure construction can play programmed phrases consistent with portions of the game play. If the action toy figure construction is a fighter engaging in a mock battle, when hurt, the sound generator could play an appropriate sound. Sounds may also be played or generated when a laser gun or other mock weapon is firing tc create greater enjoyment for the user. As part of the play of some preprogrammed games, the action toy figure construction is "taught" or "trained" in certain activities. For example, the fighter must learn tc perform certain preprogrammed fighting tricks. In add ticn tc requiring an appropriate input response from the user, such as selecting a particular button, preferably the action toy -figure construction includes a sound detector for detecting verbal commands from the user. For example, when the user says, "Stop," the sound detector detects the sound and applies an input tc the controller. If the verbal command is appropriate in accordance with the preprogrammed game, the controller causes the action toy figure construction to cease whatever activity it was performing at the time.

Each action figure toy construction includes a communications unit for enabling the toy to communicate w tn anotner electronic system. The communications unit preferably includes an RS-232 port coupled to the ccr.trciler ana lccated at a convenient location on the acticn figure toy construction. Two action figure toy constructions may be linked together through their communications units enabling joint play of the preprogrammed game. Due to the size of the action figure toy constructions, it is not convenient to link them directly together, so a preferred method is with a cable linking one communications port to the other.

For multiple toy game playing, a docking station may be used. The docking station includes a plurality of communications ports to which each action figure toy construction is attached via its communications port and cable. The docking stating includes a controller which enables all docked action figure toy constructions to play the preprogrammed game together. Each user can view the displayed action on his own toy's display. Alternatively, the action figure toy construction may be linked via a cable to a personal computer and then from the personal computer over a modem connection to a Website on the Internet. From the Website, a central processing un t can download upgrades to the preprogrammed game, unlock hidden features m the preprogrammed game cr connect v. e user to other users similarly connected to the Web^-te. The central processing unit can also simulate the preprogrammed game to enable the user to play the central processing unit. Access to the Website will enable users to receive upgrades to the preprogrammed game, compete against the "computer" and other users, have their scores posted, have the computer unlock hidden features in the preprogrammed game. For preprogrammed games in which the user trains a fighter, the user can also access the Website to vary characteristics of the fighter. For example, the computer at the Website can restore a fighter's health, change the fighter's age and weight and even perform some training (or behavior modification', . By being able to link their electronic game apparatuses to other electronic systems, including a Website and other electronic game apparatuses, users will receive increased benefit and enjoyment from their electronic game apparatuses. Alternatively, a wireless communications port, such an IR emitter and detector may be used. Many personal computers include an IR port for transferring date. The hard-wired or cable connection may be replaced with an IR emitter and detector for communicating with other action figure toy constructions and a personal computer.

For added enjoyment, other sensors may be added to the action figure toy construction. For example, a metal detector and a motion sensor. The metal detector maj be used, for example, in action figure toy constructions configured as a vehicle to move along a metal track. The metal oetector may be used to guide the vehicle along the track without navmg to equip the vehicle with trao: fitting wheels. A motion sensor may be used to alert the user if someone is nearbj , simulating an action figure toy construction on "guard dut_, " or "watcn αuty."

By enabling an action figure toy construction to play a preprogrammed game, the user achieves -added enjoyment. The user can move the arms, legs and head of tne action figure m conjunction with the preprogrammed game play and respond interactively with the toy. Instead of a two dimensional representation on a display, the user gams greater enjoyment by playing with a three- dimensional representation of the same character as it proceeds through the rigors of the preprogrammed game.

The action figure toy construction affords the user more e cy ent than playing a simple electronic game because tne action figure toy construction is a physical representation of a character in the preprogrammed game. Multi-action figure toy construction games are also more enjoyable because the user and their toys can act out physically some of the game play when linked together for multi-player game action. In addition to the games thought up by the user's own imagination, the preprogrammed game affords the user the opportunity to think of additional ways to play with the action figure toy construction. Brief Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 is a front elevation view of an action figure toy construction having an electronic game apparatus embodying the principles of the invention; Figure 2 is a front elevation view of an alternate action figure toy construction having an electronic apparatus embodying the principles of the invention;

Figure 3 is a block diagram of two action figure toy constructions linked tc each other according tc tne invent on;

Figure 4 is a block diagram of an action figure toy construction linked via a cable to a personal computer and then to a Website on the Internet;

Figure 5 is a schematic of the electronics for the action figure toy construction of Figures 1 and 2;

Figure 6 is a schematic of a cable for linking an action figure toy construction according to the invention to another action figure toy construction, tc a personal computer, or to a docking station for multiple toy game play; and

Figure 7 is block diagram of a docking station with two action figure toy constructions connected for l iple game play.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments Referring first to Figure 1, therein is disclosed an action figure toy construction 10 embodying the principles of the invention. The illustrated embodiment is shown to have a generally human-like form and will be referred to as having humanoid characteristics. For purposes of the present disclosure, it is to be understood that reference to human-like and humanoid characteristics is intended to encompass both human and non-human (i.e. robotic). Many such shapes are possible. A preferred embodiment may.be configured to resemble a warrior or soldier ("fighter"). Thus the construction may be arranged to include "armor" and may be provided w th mock weapons (which may or may not be rigidly attached to the toy) for the purposes of engaging in simulated "combat" and "battles" with another toy and m accordance with the play of a preprogrammed game contained w tnin the toy.

Action figure

10 includes a mclαed humanoid torso 12, where the head portion 14 is generally shown as humanoid m form. Arms 16 and legs 16 are shown ir. shaoov. form, indicating that various arms ana legs ma^ be interchanged with a single torso 12 and also indicating that the bulk of the electronic components needed to operate the action toy are preferably located within the torso. To this end, torso 12 includes a pair of socketlike portions 15 for connecting arms 16 and a second pair of socket-like portions 17 for connecting legs 18. Not shown are attachment weapons which may fit on one or the other arms. Alternatively, for some toys the weapon and arm may be molded or built as one complete piece. Thus, for some action, figure characters, for example a robot, ira; have ir.fercnanσeable weapo ' rms or weapon/motive means/legs \ i . e . , wneels replacing legs) . A controller and memory (not shown) are located within torso 12. The controller operates a preprogrammed game, stored m memory and displays text and graphics images on a display 30 which may be an LCD display. In particular, game play (an example of a fighter is described below) involves the action figure toy construction as the mam character and its actions are displayed on display 30.

Several input controls for user input and interaction with the preprogrammed game are provided. Button 31 is a reset button, for resetting action of the game play. Button 32 is a directional control for moving the character as displayed on display 30 up, down, right and left. Button 35 is the on/start switch for turning the unit on or beginning a game. Button 36 is a pause button for pausing action during game play. Button 37 turns sound on and off. Button 38 is the off button. Optional buttons 33 and 34 may be programmed to provide additional functions. Connector 45 is shown loca :-.d on the side cf action figure 10 and is used, coπ_ unction with a separate cable, to attach the unit to another electronic system for play of the preprogrammed game. Connector 45 may be an RS-232 connector or other communications port. Alternatively, connector 45 may be an infrared Emitter and detector or other wireless means of communication. For an IR emitter/detector, connector 45 should be located to maintain a line of sight with the electronic system's IR emitter/detector. Action figure toy construction 10 is shown with LEDs mounted in the head portion 14. LEDs 41 and 42 are mounted in the eye location. A speaker 44 is mounted in the mouth location. LEDs 41 and 42 and speaker 44 are activated by the controller in accordance with the preprogrammed game.

Figure 2 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention in which the action figure toy construction is configured in the shape of a vehicle. Referring to Figure 2, action figure toy construction 50 is configured in the shape of a vehicle, in particular an automobile with chassis 52 and wheels 70. Action figure toy construction 50 includes display 54 and input control buttons 56, 58, 59-62 and optional buttons 63 and 64. Optionally, a motor (not shown) may be provided for moving wheels 70 in accordance with play of the preprogrammed game.

Figure 3 shows an example of how two action figure toy constructions 10 are connected together for multi- player game play. Each action figure is connected from its connector 45 through cable 100 to the other figure's connector 45.

Figure 4 shows an example of an action figure toy construction 10 connected via its connector 45 to cable 100 to the input communications port 118 (which may preferably be an RS-232 port) of a personal computer 112. Personal computer 112 includes a display 114 for displaying game play as well as information from communicating with an Internet website. The user may dial into an Internet website, by connecting through the personal computer's modem 116, through a telephone line 122 and into the Internet website of a multi-ga'me play provider .

By connecting to a game Website on the Internet through a modem or other communication means, the user can access many activities designed to increase enjoyment of the game. For example, the Website can download upgrades or modify the preprogrammed game. The Website can interact directly with the preprogrammed game, such as by unlocking hidden features in the preprogrammed game or by modifying attributes of the game character.

The Website can check the user's character's name and verify the highest score achieved among all such characters. The Website and turn on or off certain hidden features (such as enabling the user to save his games or change the speed of time in the game) . The Website can cure any character to perfect health, grow or change any character's health, provide enhanced training. The Website can send messages or greeting screens to the character. The Website can simulate another character (new or old; to interact (or fight) with the user's character. The Website can connect two or more users and enable their characters to interact (or fight) . The Website can make the user's character perform new tricks for added fun and enjoyment.

While the user is playing a game with another user either directly using a cable connection or over the Internet, each ^. er must input commands through the buttons on the action figure toy construction and view action on the toy's display. If connected to a personal computer, the personal computer's display may also display the game action. In addition, because the action figure toy construction is a three-dimensional representation of the character on the display, the user can move the action figure's arms and legs and play along physically with the game action, from time to time.

Figure 7 shows yet another way multiple users can enjoy multi-player game action. A separate docking • station 200 includes four communications ports 204, 206, 208, 210 for connecting two to four action figure toy constructions 10 via cables 100. In this embodiment, two action figure toy constructions 10 to the player fil slot 204 and player #2 slot 206. Docking station 200 includes a controller or microprocessor and memory (not shown) for enabling multi-player operation of the preprogrammed game. Buttons 212, 214 and 216 are provided to operate the docking station during multi-player game play. Preferably the unit is power by AC through a typical plug 202. The action figure toy constructions 10 are preferably battery powered (not shown) . Play of the game by users is similar to that of the other multi-game play, with the docking stating providing the same function as the personal computer and Internet connection. In this way, users without access to the Internet can enjoy game play with more than just two action figure toy constructions connected directly together. Clearly, additional ports may be provided on the docking station for play by more than four users.

Referring to Figure 5, a schematic of the circuitry of an action figure toy construction is shown. As oted above, the programming and locatio and number of buttons may vary depending on the preprogrammed gam.ε and the intended functions of the particular action figure. In this example, the switches or buttons do not necessarily agree with those of action figure toy construction 10 described abcve .

The user turns on the apparatus by depressing on-off switch 510, which is connected to microprocessor 506, preferably a SPL128 at pin 39. In this embodiment, the controller is shown as a microprocessor, but may also be another digital control device, such as an ASIC, gate array or programmable logic device. Microprocessor 506 (LCDEN at pin 40; supplies power to display 501, an 80 X 60 LCD, through voltage divider 504 via LCD Driver 502 (pm 48 . LCI Driver 5C2 provides vertical signals and LCL Iπver 505 prcvides horizontal signals tc display 501. Audio signals are output through speaker 515, which is continued through microprocessor 506 at pmε 78 and 79. Audic input signals from the user to modify game play are received through microphone 516 tc microprocessor 506 at pins 31 and 34. Keyboard commands are input through switches A through I to microprocessor 506 at pins 73-66. DC power is supplied through power supply 520.

Commands from an external electronic apparatus are input through connector 505, a four pin connector. Pins 1 and 4 are ground. Signals from an external electronic apparatus are received through pin 3 of connector 505 and transmitted through ASIC 507 through pins P20-P27 to microprocessor 506. Signals from the hand-held electronic apparatus are transmitted to the external electronic apparatus through pm 2 of connector 505.

Referring to Figure 6, a schematic of a cable 600 for connecting an action figure toy construction to a personal computer, another action figure toy construction or a decking stat cn is shown. A four p connecter C1 connects tc a hand-held electronic game apparatus througr controller 603, preferably an ASIC, to serial port cable 620, wn_cn is tnen connected to "he serial port of a personal computer. Cable 600 is powered by DC power supply 602 (two AAA batteries) . Signals from cable connector pm 2 are amplified at amplifier 608 before being applied to controller 603. Signals leaving controller 603 are amplified at amplifier 609 before being output through connector p 3. Oscillator 6C7 provides tne signal for the internal cable clock. Similarly signals to and from serial port cable 620 ar amplified at amplifiers 619 and 618 respectively.

Fighte . An. example of a preprogrammed game m whicr the user cares for a character which can interact with other s milar characters an action figure to^ construction is called Fighter. The object of this game is to tram the fighters m various fighting techniques, then challenge another user to head-to-head combat. The user may tra up to four fighters at a time, with the active fighter being m the foreground and the other fighters in the background. Alert functions tell the user which fighter needs attention.

Each fighter has three "wellness" statistics: health, training, and discipline. Scores range from 0 to 100. Health is an indication of how healthy the fighter - 1 " - is. If health drops to 0, _the fighter dies. Each fighter begins the game with a health of 80. Training is an indication of how well the user cares for the fighter. If the user performs all the correct activities at the correct time, the fighter's training score will increase. If the fighter misses a training activity, his training score decreases. Each fighter begins the game with a training score of 0. Discipline is an indication of the fighter's temperament. A discipline score of C means a lazy or bad fighter. A discipline score of 100 represents a hardworking fighter. Each fighter begins the game witr. a discipline score of 50.

Each fighter has three "rank" statistics: strength, agility, and willpower. The rank stats are used to determine who wins when the user's fighter meets another user's fighter m combat. Rank stats range from 0 to 100. When the game starts, each fighter has all rank stats set at 50. Strength represents the fighter's ability to wm by sheer brute force (STAT A) . Agility represents the fignter's ability to dodge, duck and out- move his opponent (STAT By . Willpower represents the fighter's oetermmation and will to win (STAT C).

Each fignter also has an age, weight and total score. Age starts at 16 and has no upper limit. Weignt starts at 100 and has no upper limit. Total score is the average of Health, Training, Discipline, Strength, Agility and Willpower and ranges frdm 0 to 100.

Master command LCD icons (activity symbols displayed on the LCD display) for the Fighter include Feed (fork/knife), Spar (boxmg glove), Doctor (cross), Shower (shower) , Sleep (moon) , Discipline (whistle) , Fight (two fists), Command Mode ("Shout"), Score (scale), Alert (alert) . Similarly, Fighter includes a real-time clock, Naming feature and high score and name retention feature. In addition to beeps and other notification sounds, the game will play sound effects such as eatmg, yelling and grunting. Sound can be turned on and off. Keyboard includes five keys: Left, Mode, Light On/Off, Enter, Right.

When the game is first actuated, the clock must be set. Clock mode is selected by pressing Mode then Enter. Left key sets hour, Right key sets minutes, Enter to set the time. Then the user must name the fighter, ,s:r.g the Left/Right keys to move through the alphabet to choose a name. Once cloo. and name are set, the game mode begins. Game mode deg s ith a "welcome" animation wnere the fighter goes through a few of his moves.

Now the user must care for and tram his fighter. The object of the game is to give the fighter the right kind of training so he can defeat other fighters. The user must Feed the fighter. The fighter can be fed either Proteins (the icon looks like a steak) or Carbs (the icon looks like a loaf of bread) . The user must Tram his fighter. Tram is selected from the Menu Op pressing Mode tnen Enter when Tram is mgh-iighted. When reacπing the Tra Men.., four options are possible: Strength, Aq_lιf_, Willpower, and Spar. If Tram is selectee and any of the four activities is selected ana completed (whether successfully or not), the fighter earns one pomt on his Training score. If the training activity is not completed for any reason, one pomt is deducted from the fighter's Training score.

The Strength activity is a weightlift g game. The user must press the Left and Right keys alternately to successfully lift the weight. If the user presses the same key twice in a row, the fighter will falter and the weight will sink down. The fighter has a time limit to successfully lift the weight. If time runs out, the fighter fails and one point is deducted from Health. The trick is to lift the weight quickly by successfully alternating the Left/Right keys. This game is played five times and each time the weight is increased. Weight starts at 200 pounds, then increases 50 pounds each stage. At the end of each successful stage, the fighter's Strength score m increased by one point. However, Strength can never exceed 80.

Ag_l_ty is a dodαm game. Someone off screen shoots arrows at the fighter, wno must dodge out of the by CuChinq, jumping, or striking the arrow aside. Tne arrows comes from either the right or tne left ana can be aimeα hign, low or m the middle. Pressing Left ducks the high arrows; pressing Right jumps the low arrows; pressing Enter strikes aside the middle arrows. Failure to time the movement correctly costs the fighter one Health point. Only 5 arrows are shot; each successive arrow moves faster and the time to react decreases. Each arrow avoided gives the fighter a one point increase in Agility, but this activity never takes Agility ever 80.

In tne Willpower activity, the fighter _.s shown w th his arms outstretched holding two heavy buckets cf vater. If the fighter drcps the bucket ana spills any water, ne fails. If the user sees the fighter's left arm getting weaker, the user must press the Left key to steady him. If his right arm gets weaker, the user must press the Right key to steady him. Each time the user's opportunity to react gets shorter, but control must be maintained for about seconds or the fighter fails ana loses one pomt m Health. Each four seconds completed earn one point m Willpower. Willpower cannot be raised over 80 points. In the Spar activity, the fighter is pitted against a computer controlled opponent. The computer's built m Stats are randomly generated from 30 to 80 points m each category. (See combat description below.) Care of the fighter includes visits to the Doctor. Going to the Doctor will increase the fighter's Health score by one point, but the fighter can only visit the Doctor once per day. Too many visits will cause the controller to deduct one point from Discipline each time. The fighter should clean up (Shower) at regular times. Activities sucr, as Feed, Tram and Combat will make the fighter need Snowerε more ofte -~ . When the fighter needs to sleep, the user should turn out the light. When the fighter's Discipline gets low, this activity will bring him back on track. The Fight icon will operate only when the fignter is linked to another fighter or the Tiger Website. Command Mode is used to toggle voice command on and off. Score Mode brings up the fighter's name, age, weight ana all Stats. The Alert icon lights up when. the fighter needs something. If the fighter needs someth g and the user gives him the correct thing at the right time, the fighter's Health and Training are both increased by one point. The game is over when tne fighter dies cf bad health (Health drops to 0) or retires due to old age (30, unless the fighter's Health is 95 or above, tnen ne will live for an additional day) .

Combat. When two games are linked (either directly or via a PC connection to the ternet Website) together for combat play, each user has the choice of acting first, or waiting for his opponent to act (either another user via the link, or the Tiger Website's "sparring partner"). Each fighter acts by choosing a fighting maneuver to use on his opponent. Pressing Left key chooses the Strength move, pressing Right key chooses the Agility move, pressing Enter chooses the Willpower move. The fighter who goes first will be seen by both users to start his move. This gives the other user a brief movement to react with the correct counter move. The fighter who goes first gets an initial combat value equal to the Stat he chooses; he can receive from 1 to 5 points for his move (randomly generated) and 5 points for acting first. The other fighter gets an initial combat value equal to the Stat he chooses, from 1 tc 5 pcmts (randomly generated) . The combat values are then adjusted according tc the type of move chosen. A Strength mcve receives double value against a Willpower move. An Agility move receives double value against a Strength move. A Willpower move receives double value against an Agility move. This is the same as the "Rock- paper-scissors" method. In other words, Strength will usually beat Willpower, Agility will usually beat Strength, and Willpower will usually beat Agility.

When the fight is over, the computer awards a bonus baεeo on the relative Stats of the two fighters. If a fighter loses, he always gets one point deducted from Health. Tr.en the computer compares the Stats chosen. If a figr.fer's Stat is higher than his opponent's Stat anc the fighter won, the fighter gets one point added to his Health. If the fignter's Stat is higher and he lost, he gets one point deducted from his Health. If the fighter's Stat is lower and he loses, he gets one point added to Training. If the fighter's Stat is lower and he wins, he gets one point added to both the Stat he chose and the Stat chosen by his opponent. For example, suppose Bob (Strength of 80, Agility of 40 and Willpower of 55) fights the Tiger computer (randomly generated Strength of 80, Agility of 40 and Willpower of 30) and Bob waits for the computer to move first. The computer will go for a Strength move (its highest score) . Assume Bob successfully reacts with an Agility maneuver. Bob's combat value is 40 (Agility) plus 5 (randomly generated), or 45. Hal's combat value is 80 (Strength) plus 5 for going first plus 1 (randomly generated), or 96. Since Bob chose the correct "counter move" against Hal, Bob gets his score αoubled to 90 and wins the combat. Bob also gets a one point increase i: both Agility and Strength . If the communications link is broken during combat, tne maten is a αrav, . Since tne Tiger computer matcnes Stat A aαamεt Stat E ana Stat C acccrαance witn t e "Rock, Paper, Scissors" algorithm, it is possible for a Fighter to engage m combat with another character, such as a Dog with Stat A (Size), Stat B (Intelligence) and

Stat C (Energy) . Additionally, the Tiger computer could match other characters with Stats A, B and C.

When the electronic game apparatus of the invention is linked through a cable to a serial COM port of a personal computer, separate scftware is installed on th>- personal computer or containeα the controller of the cable. Tne separate software enables the electronic game apparatus to communicate to a central computer, sucr as on the Tiger Website via the Internet. The separate software is loadable en a personal computer, and thus limited only by the memory resources of the personal computer and not the EEPROM on the electronic game apparatus. Tne separate software will contain the Internet protocol software. The preferred data format is 1 start bit, 8 data bits, no parity and one stop bit through an asynchronous RS-232C port with a minimum speed of 1200 bps.

The commands are typically of one byte length. Some commands may have data parameters follow. The lower six bits are used for command and the upper two bits to specify Reserved, Write, Read, or Send.

The general command format for an action figure toy construction is:

Bi t 7 Bi t 6 Bit 5-0 Remarks

0 0 Command Reserved

0 1 Command Write/Set

1 0 Command Read

1 1 Command Send

Examples of commands include

Command : TYPE Code : XX00 0001

READ TYPE (Link request)

Code : 1000 0001 + byte + 0000 0000

(total 11 bytes) + CKS Remarks : To get the model and revision info, CKS is checksum byte, byte is sender's ID (type) SEND TYPE (Link Acknowledge) Code : 1100 0001 + bytel + byte2 +

0000 0000 (10 bytes) + CKS Remarks : Where bytel = sender's ID byte2 = ID echo of the other apparatus

Command : NAME Code : XX00 0010

WRITE NAME

Code : 0100 0010 + Name (12 character: CKS

READ NAME

Code : 100'' 0010 + 0000 0000 bytes; *- CKS Remarks : Request name SEND NAME Code : 1100 0010 + Name (12 characters) + CKS

Command : STATUS1 Code : XX00 0011

WRITE STATUS1

Code : 0100 0011

+ Pet Select (2 bytes: character/body) + Age (1 byte) + Weight (2 bytes) + Health (1 byte)

+ STATA (1 byte)

+ STATE (1 byte)

+ STATC (1 byte)

+ Score (1 byte)

+ Training Index (1 byte)

+ Discipline Index (1 byte)

+ CKS (1 byte)

READ STATUS1

C Ceeddee : 1 1000000 00001111 ++ 00000000 0 0000000 ((112 bytes) + CKS

SEND STATUS1

Cooe * 1100 0011

+ Pet Select (2 byt<ss : character/body

+ Age (1 byte)

+ Wei ht (2 bvtes)

+ Heε.'th (1 byte)

+ STATA (1 byte)

+ STATE '1 byte)

+ STA (1 byte)

+ Score (1 byte)

T Training Index (1 byte)

+ Discipline Index (1 byte)

+ CKS (1 byte)

Command • STATUS2 > Code : XX00 0100 WRITE STATUS2 Code : 0100 0100 + Pet Select (2 bytes:

Character/body) + Hungry Index (1 byte) + Sleep Index (1 byte) -r Cleaning Index (1 byte, + Play Index (1 byte)

+ 000C 0000 (6 bytes) + CKS READ STATUS2

Code : 1000 0100 + 0000 000C bytes + CKS

SEND STATUS2 Code : HOC 0100

+ Pet Select (2 bytes: Character/body) + Hungry Index (1 byte)

+ Sleep Index (1 byte) + Cleaning Index (1 byte) + Play Index (1 byte) + 0000 0000 (6 bytes) + CKS Command RAM Code XX00 0101

Remarks This is allow read/write access of any parameters stored in GigaPet RAM.

WRITE RAM Code 0100 0101

+ RAM pointer (2 bytes, low byte first)

+ length (1 byte)

+ Content (9 bytes)

+ CKS

READ CI.W Code 1000 0101

+ RAM pointe '2 bvfe: low b.te first)

-t- lenqth (1 byte)

+ 0000 0000 (9 by: es

+ CKS

SEND RAM Code 1100 0101 + RAM pointer bytes, low byte first) + length (1 byte) + Content (9 bytes) + CKS

Command : MESSAGE

Code : XX00 0110

WRITE MESSAGE

Code : 0100 0110 + Message characters) + CKS

Command : TERMINATION COMMAND

Code : X 00 0111

Remarks : Use to terminate linking

FEAD TERMINATION (Termination Reouest Code : 1000 0111 t 0000 0000 (12 bytes) + CKS SEND TERMINATION (Termination

Acknowledgment ) Code : 1100 0111 + 0000 0000 (12 bytes) + CKS

Command : FIGHTING MODE Code : XX00 1000

Remarks : After the ack, the code will become non-1 bytes FIGHTING MODE request

Code : lOOi 1000 + byte + 0000 0000 (11 bytes) + CKS where byte = sender's ID FIGHTING MODE ack

Code 1100 1000 + bytel + byte2 + 0000 0000 (10 bytes) + CKS where bytel = sender's ID byte2 = ID echo of other Pet

Command : FIGHT Cdde : XXOO .001 or XXOO 1010 or XXOO

1011

Remarks : Variab. ^ length commands, in fiqhtmg mode only SEND BUTTON Cede : 1000 10CI - 0111 0110 - bvte

- CKS Where byte stands for the status of the button '(4 buttons) bit 0 = Right Button bit I = Enter Button bit 2 = Mode Button bit 3 = Left Button BUTTON ACK Code : 1100 1001 + 0011 0110 + byte

+ CKS Where byte is the echo of the button status of the other Pet IMAGE REQUEST Code : 0100 1010 + 1011 0101 + bvte

+ CKS Where byte - 01 request half screen image byte - 02 request full screen image IMAGE SENT Code : 1000 1010 + 0111 0101 - fcyfe

+ CKS Where byte = 01 sent half screen image byte = 02 sent full screen, imaqe IMAGE ACK Code : 1100 1010 + 0011 0101 -r byte

+ CKS Where byte = 01 received half screen image byte = 02 received full screen image WINNING Code : 1000 1011 + 0111 0100 + 0000

0000 + CKS Remarks : The winning side sends out this command WINNING ACK Code : 1100 1011 + 0011 0100 + 0000

0000 + CKS FIGHTING TERMINATION REQUEST Code : 1000 1100 + 0111 0011 + 0000

0000 + CKS FIGHTING TERMINATION ACK Code : 1100 1100 + 0011 0011 + 000C

0000 + CKS

While there have been illustrated and described particular embodiments of the mvention, it will be appreciated tr.at numerous changes ana modifications will occur tc those skilled in the n4-, and it is intended m tne appended claims tc cover i . those changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit ana scope of the invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4802879 *5 May 19867 Feb 1989Tiger Electronics, Inc.Action figure toy with graphics display
US5636994 *9 Nov 199510 Jun 1997Tong; Vincent M. K.Interactive computer controlled doll
US5746602 *27 Feb 19965 May 1998Kikinis; DanPC peripheral interactive doll
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
WO2001014032A1 *1 Aug 20001 Mar 2001Digitalconvergence.:Com Inc.Interactive doll
WO2002048850A2 *12 Dec 200120 Jun 2002One2Link.Com Inc.A personal computer system having and operating an external animated doll device
WO2002048850A3 *12 Dec 200111 Dec 2003One2Link Com IncA personal computer system having and operating an external animated doll device
CN102961875A *29 Aug 201213 Mar 2013美泰有限公司Toy figurine with light and sound effects
CN102961875B *29 Aug 201225 Nov 2015美泰有限公司具有灯光和声音效果的玩偶
EP1250179A1 *25 Jan 200123 Oct 2002Mattel, Inc.Interacting toy figure for computer users
EP1250179A4 *25 Jan 20012 Jul 2003Mattel IncInteracting toy figure for computer users
EP1776990A3 *16 Oct 200619 Sep 2007Patent Category CorporationInteractive toy system
EP2108415A1 *7 Oct 200814 Oct 2009Tomy Company, Ltd.Point managing device
US780838522 Mar 20075 Oct 2010Patent Category Corp.Interactive clothing system
US790969717 Apr 200722 Mar 2011Patent Catefory Corp.Hand-held interactive game
US79826131 Oct 201019 Jul 2011Patent Category Corp.Interactive clothing system
US815761129 Sep 200617 Apr 2012Patent Category Corp.Interactive toy system
US846010221 Mar 201111 Jun 2013Patent Category Corp.Hand-held interactive game
US84697663 Mar 200625 Jun 2013Patent Category Corp.Interactive toy system
US892639528 Nov 20076 Jan 2015Patent Category Corp.System, method, and apparatus for interactive play
US893984029 Jul 200927 Jan 2015Disney Enterprises, Inc.System and method for playsets using tracked objects and corresponding virtual worlds
Classifications
International ClassificationA63H30/04, A63H3/28
Cooperative ClassificationA63H2200/00, A63H3/28, A63H30/04
European ClassificationA63H3/28, A63H30/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
24 Feb 2000AKDesignated states
Kind code of ref document: A1
Designated state(s): AE AL AM AT AU AZ BA BB BG BR BY CA CH CN CR CU CZ DE DK DM EE ES FI GB GD GE GH GM HR HU ID IL IN IS JP KE KG KP KR KZ LC LK LR LS LT LU LV MD MG MK MN MW MX NO NZ PL PT RO RU SD SE SG SI SK SL TJ TM TR TT UA UG US UZ VN YU ZA ZW
24 Feb 2000ALDesignated countries for regional patents
Kind code of ref document: A1
Designated state(s): GH GM KE LS MW SD SL SZ UG ZW AM AZ BY KG KZ MD RU TJ TM AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LU MC NL PT SE BF BJ CF CG CI CM GA GN GW ML MR NE SN TD TG
19 Apr 2000121Ep: the epo has been informed by wipo that ep was designated in this application
14 Dec 2000REGReference to national code
Ref country code: DE
Ref legal event code: 8642
16 May 2001122Ep: pct application non-entry in european phase