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A system for providing status indication of a player in an online multiplayer game

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000138731D
Original Publication Date: 2006-Jul-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2006-Jul-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 40K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

In a system described herein, real-world information, from a webcam or other such video device, can be used to provide information associated with a physical status of a player in a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) in an integrated manner. This information can take the form of a video image displayed such that it can be monitored by other players. Preferably, facial recognition is applied to the video image.

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A system for providing status indication of a player in an online multiplayer game

When playing Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) with other players, it is difficult ascertain physical status of another player. Most MMOs have functionality for a player to be able to set an on-screen status indication (e.g. a notification comprising text - "away from keyboard"). The status indication can be triggered in response to an event (e.g. in response to the player not interacting with their computer for a certain amount of time). However, that time period can be lengthy e.g. five minutes. Problems occur in multiplayer gameplay when a member of a group is away from their computer for a short amount of time - too short an amount for the status indication to be automatically triggered - during a critical point in the game, when their in-game presence is needed. There is thus a need for a system for improved display of status indication of a player.

      One such solution is for a player to have a webcam, such that other players can monitor a video image of that player. Disadvantageously, a separate webcam-viewing application is needed for each player, thus requiring multi-monitor setup (such that one monitor displays the game and another monitor(s) displays the video image). Alternatively, the game can be run in a windowed mode to allow space on the screen for webcam windows. This disadvantageously results in a cluttered user interface. Thus, there is a need for a more integrated solution.

      Most MMOs already use icons in the game UI to depict in-game representations of each player in a group. Usually, in-game status (e.g. "health" levels) associated with a player is also displayed alongside the icon.

      In the proposed system, each player has a webcam. However, rather than display the in-game representation of a player, the video image from a player's webcam is displayed in the icon. This provides a method of allowing one user to monitor the real-world status of another player, without requiring the use of any external applications, or forcing...

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