U.S. Patent No. 8,882,594: Control Scheme for real time strategy game
Issued November 11, 2014, to Microsoft Corp.
Priority Date April 5, 2007
Real-time strategy games allow the player to command an army against imposing forces in real time. The player builds his army at the same time his opponent. The classic example of a real-time strategy game is StarCraft. Every movement in a real-time strategy game is crucial because time is a factor; wasteful motion can be the difference between winning and losing. Because time is such a factor, PC has dominated the real-time genre due to the flexibility and quickness of a mouse and keyboard offer. Traditionally, the cursor and screen position moved independently of each other. Early attempts at bringing real-time strategy kept the tradition control scheme, but cursor’s movement speed on a console could not match the quickness of a PC mouse. U.S. Patent No. 8,882,594 (the ‘594 Patent) describes a control scheme for a real-time strategy game on a console that locks the cursor to a fix position in the center of the screen. When the player moves the cursor, the screen position also moves. The cursor always stayed in the center of the screen even if the player tilted the camera. By bolting the cursor to the center and moving the screen position instead, players could move and select units at a quicker pace. Also, the control scheme allowed for players to switch between different units using certain buttons. Microsoft used the ‘594 Patent’s control scheme in the Halo Wars franchise.
A control scheme for a real time strategy game using a game controller includes maintaining a cursor in a known, fixed position of the monitor in a manner so that it appears the game space if moving behind a cursor even during changing viewing positions such as tilting movements. The control scheme further includes other aspects including a technique for selecting units using the game controller and interacting with menus using the game controller.
18. A system comprising: a processor; an input device having a user activated button; a rendering device; and a computer readable storage medium having instructions accessible by the processor and which when executed on the processor conduct a real time strategy game based on user input from the input device, the instructions comprising: operating a plurality of units of a plurality of different unit types in a game space, each of the units taking action in the game space based on corresponding instructions; determining a first user position relative to at least some units in the game space, the first user position being spaced apart from the units and having a parameter indicative of a first tilt with respect to the units; rendering a first view of a portion of the game space on the rendering device based on the first user position, the first view not corresponding to a view as seen by any of the units in the game space, the first view having the first tilt and including a cursor for selecting a unit, the cursor being at a known position relative to an edge of the rendered first view; receiving an indication of activation of the input device and, in response, identifying a set of the units based on the unit types; determining a second user position, with the processor, based on the identified set of the units, the second user position being spaced apart from the units and having a parameter indicative of a second tilt with respect to the units that is different than the first tilt; and for at least some of the execution of the game, rendering a second view of a portion of the game space based on the second user position, the second view having the second tilt and showing the identified set of units, while maintaining the cursor in the known position relative to the edge of the rendered view, the second view not corresponding to a view as seen by any of the units in the game space.