U.S. Patent No. 10,569,178: Automatic movement of player character in network game
Issued February 25, 2020 to Square Enix Co Ltd
Priority Date: January 12, 2011
U.S. Patent No. 10,569,178 (the ’178 Patent) relates to automatically moving a player’s character in an online game when the player is not currently playing. The ’178 Patent details a method of moving a player’s in-game character when the player himself/herself is not playing, such as in situations where a player temporarily steps away from their device, or logs off. A copy non-player character (“NPC”) may be created based on the “away” player’s character. In one embodiment, this is used when the breakaway player is in a cooperative game with other players to allow the other players to still progress in the game while the breakaway player is gone. Automatic movement instructions allow other players to continue progressing without having to wait for the breakaway player. The copy NPC may be given movement instructions by other players.
A game includes player characters in a virtual space. The game is progressed in accordance with game progress information, which is useable for generating a game screen. The game screen is configured to be displayed on a display device. An instruction for registering a player character, which is manipulated in the game by a first player, is received, and the player character of the first player is registered as a copy non-player character. The copy non-player character is configured to be manipulated in the game by a second player. The game progress information is updated, and data of the player character of the first player is updated in accordance with a manipulation of the copy non-player character by the second player during a period in which the first player is in an off-line state.
1. A non-transitory computer-readable medium including a program for progressing a game, the game including player characters in a virtual space, the program being executable by a processor and causing the processor to execute operations comprising: progressing the game in accordance with game progress information, the game progress information being useable for generating a game screen, the game screen configured to be displayed on a display device; receiving an instruction for registering a player character of a first player, the player character being manipulated in the game by the first player; registering the player character of the first player as a copy non-player character, the copy non-player character configured to be manipulated in the game by a second player during a period in which the first player is in an off-line state by the second player performing an operation during a period from when the first player becomes the off-line state to when the first player starts a log-in process; receiving, at a time of a log-in process of the first player, a selection of one of a plurality of copy non-player characters from the first player, each of the plurality of copy non-player characters being present at a position on a field of the game and having not been deleted at a time of a log-in process of the first player; and resuming the game from the position at which a selected copy non-player character is present when the first player switches from the off-line state to an on-line state to resume the game, wherein the virtual space includes a plurality of predetermined registration locations from which the instruction for registering the player character of the first player is configured to be received.