- Activision has published a new patent, which proposes a new game mode that seemingly never ends. The unbounded gameplay session can let the users keep playing as long as the count does not drop to 0 or the minimum threshold. The users can join, quit, and rejoin anytime to play together and the lobby will remain.
- UGS is unlike MMOGs because it can end without players. It also differs from traditional game modes, whose matches end when time finishes.
- The mode comes with its own set of rules and objectives that give players a purpose to play, as it seeks to provide a fair scoring system.
- New players and old players will be able to play together without any prejudice or unfair scoring. The performance of players will be regularly checked to ensure the balance is retained.
Online shooter games by prominent game studios like Activision and Electronic Arts have dominated the gaming industry for decades. These FPS experiences are comprised of varied game modes that feature gratifying gameplay, but these modes are often repetitious in the majority of popular FPS games released in recent years.
Regardless, Activision has recently published a new patent for an innovative game mode that seeks to provide a much-needed addition to its FPS titles, like the Call of Duty IP and potentially other entries.
We stumbled upon a patent dubbed “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING CONTINUOUS GAMEPLAY IN A MULTIPLAYER VIDEO GAME THROUGH AN UNBOUNDED GAMEPLAY SESSION,” which seeks to pitch a whole new never-ending game mode that seemingly plays out without ever concluding on its own.
The patent talks about the conventional multiplayer modes and the drawbacks that come with them, noting how “conventional gameplay sessions for multiplayer video games are typically bounded gameplay sessions that start and end within a given time period.”
These modes come with their own set of hindrances; for instance, a lack of players in the lobby keeps the other players waiting for prolonged periods; the solution to that problem leads to a flawed matchmaking system where newbies end up playing with pros.
Leaving a match mid-game due to lousy internet and rage quitting is also very disliked in the gaming sphere, leading to frustration within the community. Furthermore, the achievements and streaks also end when the time period for each match is over, which can be undesired for certain players due to breaking off the momentum.
Thus, the patent proposes a new “unbounded” game mode that will not end after 10-20 minutes like your usual free for all, capture the flag and many other game modes; it will continue as long as there is a single user left on the server. Note: UGS stands for “unbounded gameplay session” in the patent.
The patent clarifies “players may join, exit, and later rejoin a given unbounded gameplay session at any time. A given unbounded gameplay session may therefore continue indefinitely so long as at least one player wishes to continue to gameplay.”
Activision also compares the unbounded game mode alongside traditional modes, noting how it differs from the “bounded gameplay session.” The primary difference is the predefined time period, which ends the match when it elapses in bounded gameplay sessions. In contrast, an unbounded gameplay session is not held back by time.
Furthermore, the unbounded gameplay session differs from your conventional MMOG and virtual worlds. The patent states that unbounded gameplay sessions are not persistent and will cease when the required threshold of players is not met. In MMOGs, servers typically still stay online despite a lack of or no players at all.
It also highlights other significant differences. “UGS sessions result from player matchmaking (e.g., players waiting in a game lobby to be matched), a UGS is scored based on a rate, the environment is not persisted beyond a UGS, the environment doesn’t change in a material way during the UGS,” and the like.
Unbounded gameplay sessions are not meaningless and will also feature objectives and rules of their own, as per the patent. Goals and regulations are explained to ensure players have a purpose and relish playing, making the gameplay fair for users who have just joined the session.
Activision elaborates, “To facilitate an unbounded gameplay session, the system may score players using time-based or other parameters in a manner that is fair to players who have been playing in the unbounded gameplay session longer than other players.”
The unbounded game mode can not rely on the “highest score” method used in traditional game modes due to a round possibly not ending for weeks or years. So, Activision proposes different parameters that can be utilized to develop the discussed game mode for its games thoroughly.
The time-based parameter may influence a player’s score in an unbounded gameplay session. The patent states, “for example, comprise a rate (e.g., a performance per unit of time), an interval (e.g., a performance within a given time period), or other time-based parameter.”
It gives an instance of a fair scoring system for the new proposed game mode, noting, “in a First-Person-Shooter game, a score of the players player’s score may be based (in whole or in part) on a rate of number of “kills” per minute (e.g., averaged over a given time window such as five minutes of play), a number of kills during a given interval (e.g., in the last five minutes), or using some other time-based parameter.”
The patent delves deeply to provide even more examples that discuss how a fair scoring/goal system can be employed under the unbounded game mode. For instance, in-game items, such as weapons, armor, and the like, could also play a role in completing goals to amass scores.
The patent also discusses the ability of the system to find the disparity in performance among players. The performance may be judged by checking kills on both teams; if the system determines a gap, the patent proposes to provide benefits to the weak team, for instance, switching players to balance the team.
The unbounded game mode comes with heaps of benefits, some of which are deeply noted in the patent. For instance, “the system enables better matchmaking for gameplay sessions by allowing adjustments to matches between players to be made even after a given gameplay session has been initiated.”
Players can join or quit the session anytime they want in Activision’s newly proffered game mode; the users leaving will no longer affect the game as it does in conventional modes. The team that will lose players may receive extra players from the other team, as noted above.
It is worth noting that the patent explicitly states that the “shooter” games are only used as an instance, and it could be applied to other genres of games as well. All in all, we could see Activision Blizzard realize the described prospect into an actual game mode for its games like Call of Duty and its other IPs down the line.
What are your thoughts about Activision publishing a new patent regarding a new innovative game mode for its entries? Do you think titles like Call of Duty could realize the patent and create a new trope for multiplayer future games? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.
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