U.S. Patent No. 9,669,291: System and method to facilitate moves in a word game
Issued June 6, 2017, to Zynga, Inc.
Priority Date May 31, 2011
U.S. Patent No. 9,669,291 describes a system and method for distributing letters in a digital scrabble game. In an analog Scrabble game, a player has to rely on luck when pulling their letters, compared to a digital game where a computer algorithm is selecting the pieces. Each letter has a probability rate based on the number of pieces that letter has in the physical board game. Once probability rates are established, the game then analyzes the digital game board, list of playable words, player skill levels, and relationships of particular letters in word formations. From there, the game adjusts the probability rates of the remaining letters. Changing the rates helps balance the competition between players of different skill levels and ensure that a player can play a word in most situations.
A system and method to facilitate moves in a word game includes a game asset distribution module that adjusts the respective distribution weights of letters in a set of alphabet letters. The letters are distributed to players in a word game with a probability proportional to the distribution weights. The game asset distribution module includes an analysis module to analyze the game board, lists of playable words, player skill levels, and relationships of particular letters in word formations. Accordingly, distribution weights of the letters are adjusted in order to facilitate allocation to the player of those letters which will facilitate word formation, ensure at least a minimum playable word experience, and enhance an overall user experience, even amongst players with significantly different skill levels.
1. A computer-implemented method comprising: assigning, via at least one processor, to each alphabet letter a respective distribution weight according to a weighting rule of an online game, wherein each respective distribution weight reflects a frequency the corresponding alphabet letter, to which the respective distribution weight is assigned, is available for a game action in the online game of a game network server system; allocating based on respective assigned distribution weights, for availability in one or more game actions by a particular player, instances of each alphabet letter in a plurality of the alphabet letters; initiating display, to the particular player, of the allocated instances of each alphabet letter in a game interface of the online game; receiving a game action representing completion of a formation of a word, the word based on selection of a subset of the allocated instances of each alphabet letter; determining a losing player being the particular player having a point score in the online game lower than any further player within the online game, wherein each further player has a respective social network connection in a social network server system with the particular player; based on determining the losing player being the particular player: determining a number of remaining instances of the alphabet letters, available for distribution, and yet to be allocated to the losing player, in accordance to the respective distribution weights and the plurality of alphabet letters previously allocated to the losing player; determining the number of the remaining instances of the alphabet letters is less than or equal to a predetermined threshold; comparing a set of played words based on one or more words previously formed in one or more game action selected by the losing player in the online game; determining a prospective word formation, in a subset of the remaining instances of the alphabet letters, matches at least one of the words previously formed; adjusting the respective distribution weight of each letter in the subset of the remaining instances of the alphabet letters, the adjusted respective distribution weight being greater than a prior corresponding distribution weight.